Monday, May 26, 2008

Swan Swan Hummingbird

Lifes Rich Pageant is probably my second favorite R.E.M. album (second to Automatic for the People). I love it when he sings "this is where we walked/this is where we swam/take a picture here/take a souvenir"/ in the song Cuyahoga. It reminds me of falling in love... even though the song is really about the "once heavily-polluted Cuyahoga River" according to Wikipedia.

This is a catchy album, the songs flow really well together and you're guaranteed to have these songs stuck in your head after a few spins. Other than the two aforementioned albums I haven't indulged in REM lately. Nevertheless here is another list of my "Top 5" (subject to change because I don't have their latest album).

Top 5 R.E.M. albums
1. Automatic for the People
2. Lifes Rich Pageant
3. Murmur
4. Out of Time
5. New Adventures in Hi-Fi

"I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Movie Review

Harold & Kumar Escape... (R) 102 minutes C-
Go back to White Castle for your meat sandwich

Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Roger Bart, Neil Patrick Harris, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Roger Bart, and Neil Patrick Harris

This is a hard film to review because it's suppose to be stupid, dumb, and crude. I can't say I disliked the film- I laughed a few times and enjoyed the nudity.

But much of this sequel is mind-numbing and outrageous... which is just what it's meant to be.

Yours truly to appear on Showtime... Possibly?
Ok, save the date- June 22nd, 11:30 pm (I think that's eastern standard time)!!! That is the debut of " Eric Schaeffer's I Can't Believe I'm Still Single From Portland To Portland, and yes, there's a small chance that I might make an appearance on one of the episodes.

(To reiterate) The show debuts on Sunday, June 22nd, 11:30pm (eastern?), on Showtime. It will also be available on Demand starting June 23rd.

Here's a blurb from the Showtime website:

I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M STILL SINGLE FROM PORTLAND TO PORTLAND: EPISODE ONE (TVMA - LD) In episode 101, the series premiere, Eric begins his cross-country trip in New York, where he meets up with a dominatrix, and in Hollywood, where he goes on a date with a sexy brunette.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Then She Found Me - Movie Review

Then She Found Me (R) 100 minutes C
All that she wants...

Starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, and Ben Shankman

I think Helen Hunt could be a big time Hollywood actress if she wanted to be. She's pretty, she's talented, and she has an acting style that's unique. But I get the feeling that she's selective about her roles, and/or is committed to her family (raising her daughter) first and foremost. Whatever the case, I respect her choices even if their a tad disappointing, i.e Then She Found Me.

This film is Hunt's debut as a feature film director, and she is also co-writer and star of the film. Then She Found Me isn't bad, but it underwhelms and comes off as a little unconvincing. The characters in this film are likable but they don't feel genuine.

Thirty-nine year old April Epner (Hunt) desperately wants to have a baby, her one-year marriage has just ended, and one day after that her mother dies (that's just the beginning).

There is quite a bit of melodrama here, and to reiterate this point Helen Hunt spends a lot of this film sans make-up. Film critic Wesley Morris says "Helen Hunt deserves a lot of credit for agreeing to look like hell in Then She Found Me", while Paula Nechak of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes Hunt as "drawn, raw, drab and fragile as your grandmother's faded wallpaper."

Looks aside, Hunt does a nice job acting, as does Broderick. But the film is a little too scatterbrained to deliver the emotional punch it's aiming for (and should deliver).

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Dirtbombs live at Larimer Lounge

Tonight was a reminder of why I love seeing good bands in small venues. Diddlefinger and I went to the Dirtbombs show at the Larimer Lounge, and watching all those white people cheer and adore Mick Collins (lead singer of the Dirtbombs) you'd think he was Barack Obama.

He was the f*ckin man tonight and he rocked the house! For those of you unfamiliar with the Dirtbombs, wikipedia describes them as a "garage punk band notable for blending diverse influences such as garage rock, punk rock and soul while featuring a dual bass guitar and dual drum". Spin magazine listed the Dirtbombs as one of the 25 greatest live bands (ranked #10). That's saying a lot considering the over saturation of music and all the big name bands on the airwaves today.
Tonight was one of those magical rock show nights when all the stars aligned, the beer went down like water, the band was tight, the boys shook their moneymakers, while the rock girls bopped their heads and shook their booty.
The show was amazing, energetic, and a rockin good time!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Iron Man - Movie Review

Iron Man (PG-13) 126 minutes B-
A fast and furious I-robot

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Shaun Toub, Leslie Bibb, Bill Smitrovich, and Nazanin Boniadi

The concept of a superhero made of iron or outfitted in iron (I'm unfamiliar with the comics) always seemed a little cheesy to me. I've always preferred humanistic heroes like Batman, Robin, Superman, and Spiderman, but after seeing this film I have a new respect for Iron Man.

I still think the concept is a little clunky, but thanks to Downey, Iron Man was more likable than I expected. This film is a nice introduction to how Iron Man was born and why he uses his power for good instead of evil. It's a little better than your typical superhero film (not featuring one of the aforementioned superheroes) but it's not without some predictability, machismo, and cliches. Luckily, some of these weaknesses work as strengths thanks to the direction of Jon Favreau. He gives the film a light-hearted, yet earnest vibe that's not to be taken too seriously.

There are some definite edge-of-your-seat moments here, and the two hours go by fairly quickly. Jeff Bridges and Terence Howard weren't particularly convincing in this film, but Gwyneth Paltrow was a charming and effective sidekick. If you like fancy cars, explosions, and special effects, get your large popcorn, soda, and dig in.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

San Francisco Days, San Francisco Nights (part II)

Day three in San Francisco we went to Fisherman's Wharf. I think RW and I were both a little underwhelmed (very touristy), but we did take a nice bay cruise around Alcatraz and underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The highlight from day three was easily Haight Street and Amoeba Music. Diddlefinger was right, Amoeba rocks!
Day four was fairly uneventful- we walked around, had an early lunch, browsed a few shops, and sat outside and drink java before catching our shuttle back to the airport.
All in all it was a good trip. SF is a cool city, but I can't understand how anyone can afford to live there. A small studio apartment in the city cost more to rent than my monthly mortgage payment. SF is truly a melting pot of diversity and it's interesting to compare it to a city like Denver.
Help Me I'm in Hell
The album of the week is Broken by NIN, and I can't begin to tell you how good this album has sounded today. It sends tingles up my spine, I feel like a teenager... Listening to Broken brings out my inner rage and makes me feel euphoric at the same time. This album is a classic, along with Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral.
Trent Reznor is one of the most important artist of my lifetime. His music, even the remixes are always vital. Below are my top 5 NIN albums in order.
1. The Downward Spiral
2. Pretty Hate Machine
3. Broken
4. YearZeroMixed
5. Further Down the Spiral
Portishead - Third
I got the new Portishead album a week or so ago. It's pretty good, although it didn't hook me immediately like Dummy... but this is a richer and more mature album. I think it'll grow on me after repeated listens.

Monday, May 19, 2008

San Francisco Days, San Francisco Nights (part I)

Blogging live from San Francisco
So far SF is pretty amazing. Day one we explored the city on foot. We accidentally ended up in one of the worst parts of town (the Tenderloin district), and had a fabulous lunch. The highlight of day one was Chinatown. It was probably the closest I will ever get to being in China. It was a cool and unique experience. Unfortunately we did not eat in Chinatown... We also went to the infamous City Lights bookstore on Saturday.

Day two was a blast! We went on a wine tour of Sonoma, the Muir Woods, attended 3 semi-private wine tastings, and had lunch at the Cheese Factory Deli and Grill (lots and lots of free cheese samples- heaven!) . The tour was both fun and educational (pictures to come). Last night ended with a delicious streak dinner and a brief walk through SF after dark.

That's it for now. So far so good...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby Mama - Movie Review

Baby Mama (PG-13) 96 minutes B
Save the drama for yo mama

Starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shepard, Romany Malco, Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor, Steve Martin and Sigourney Weaver

Baby Mama has been criticized for being too predictable and uneven. Film critic Mike Russell wrote, "Baby Mama, I'm sad to say, is just sporadically funny, bland, talent-wasting junk."

I, on the other hand, found Baby Mama to be charming and entertaining. Yes, it is a little predictable, but Tina Fey is extremely likable and dare I say... believable. She plays a successful 37 year old business woman who has sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder. Now that she has achieved success she desperately wants to have a baby, but unfortunately her T-shaped uterus is no good for baby making.

Blinded by desperation she chooses to go the surrogate route and settles for a woman (Amy Poehler) who is the complete opposite of what she hoped for in a surrogate.

Poehler is awesome, Sigourney Weaver and Romany Malco are nice compliment characters. But my favorite thing about the film is the chemistry between Fey and Greg Kinnear. It was only a small part of the film, but I liked it.

Baby Mama is very lite and lacks complexity, but it's an entertaining film and one that I think is worth seeing. Escape the drama and go see Baby Mama!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You're the buffet, I'm just the table

Kathleen Edwards, Live at the Fox Theater 5/9/08
On May 9th, 2007 I saw Morrissey, live in concert at the Fillmore Theater. On May 9th, 2008 (last Friday night), I saw Kathleen Edwards live at the Fox Theater in Boulder. Both shows were awesome! Now I'm considering attending a rock show every year on May 9th.
Kathleen Edwards is touring in support of her latest album, Asking for Flowers. An album that hasn't hooked me like the previous two, but after her performance Friday night, I will definitely give that album a few more spins this week.
The acoustics at the Fox were great, her voice was amazing, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much she rocked! Songs like Oh Canada and Back to Me rocked my balls off, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention how incredibly sexy she was. Edwards is even more attractive in person; making the men swoon, while the women all wanted to be her. She put on one of the best shows I've seen this year. Kathleen Edwards is the real deal. I expect (more) great things from her in the years to come.

Come on Feel the Lemonheads
OMG! I love this album. This is pure pop (It's about Time), catchy as hell (Into your Arms), playful (Being Around), bittersweet (Big Gay Heart), and heartfelt (Favorite T). This is my favorite Lemonheads album, and a near masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Blueberry Nights - Movie Review

My Blueberry Nights (PG-13) 90 minutes C
Dizzy up the Girl

Starring Jude Law, Norah Jones, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and David Strathairn

The first 10 or 15 minutes of My Blueberry Nights left much to be desired. As I dropped buttered popcorn down my shirt, I worried that this might be a long (and messy) 90 minutes. The film starts with few words and several out of focus mood seeking camera shots and angles. Norah Jones isn't much of an actress, but then again, she doesn't need to be. She's surrounded by a phenomenal team of actors and they do most of the work. Jones just needed to look quizzical and heartbroken... which she did.

My Blueberry Nights is all about heartbreak. Elizabeth (Norah Jones) leaves town to escape the memory of a recent break up and to do some soul searching. She encounters heartbreak and/or sadness everywhere she goes, but through this misery she somehow finds herself and regains her mojo.

This film looks independent, feels independent, and sounds independent (nice soundtrack)... but at times I thought it was trying too hard to be independent. Sometimes the film lacked a natural sensibility and flow. Rachel Weisz is divine, but in this film her character feels a little contrived. My Blueberry Nights isn't bad, but it's definitely an acquired taste.

Diet Aftertaste
I went 11 days without drinking soda, and ironically I gained 3 pounds. Most of which I probably gained this past weekend. RW and I went to a wedding- buffet style reception dinner, open bar (lots of beer consumed), and Carl's Jr. across the street from our hotel (munchies). Then I proceeded to get up the next morning and devour a breakfast buffet... still cool!

Plus, like RW said, all that vitamin water and juice I drank for 11 days was not calorie free like diet soda. Anyway, I still plan to cut back on diet sodas but I won't abandon them completely.

O.G. Original Gangster
This is one of my favorite albums and one of the most influential rap albums of all time. "I find Ice-T to be the dopest, flyist, O.G. pimp hustler gangster player hardcore muthaf*cker living today (from First Impression)".

Friday, May 2, 2008

Random News & Notes

Celtics vs Hawks - Game 6
Wow! What a game! During the regular season the Hawks won 37 games, and the Celtics won 66 games. Yet the Hawks are giving the heavily favored Celtics all they can handle. I hope the Denver Nuggets are taking notes.

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
I finished reading The Poisonwood Bible this week. It's an epic and challenging novel, a compelling story of humanity and politics told through the eyes of a mother and her four daughters. I've always wanted to read Kingsolver, but in retrospect I’m not sure if this was best place to start. The Poisonwood Bible shows what a gifted writer Kingsolver is, but it’s also an overwhelming read.

A Long Week
This has been a very long and exhausting week. I'm paying the piper for procrastinating on homework and various other tasks/chores. I get so frustrated with myself because it never seems like I have enough time! I'm unorganized, unprepared and undecided. It's a sickness. ..

After work today I went to Men's Warehouse to buy a suit. I was disappointed with their limited selection of black suits in my size (only 4 on the rack). I was also disappointed with their prices. The two suits I liked best were $600 and $460. Maybe I'm being too cheap but I was hoping to find a decent suit for $300.00 or less.