Wednesday, June 30, 2004

BuboBlog Reviews 'Dodgeball'

Saturday night we tried to see "Troy" at the Metreon. But even though it's been out for months, the 10 p.m. showing was sold out. (I suspect that overflow crowds from the Michael Moore film snapped up all the tickets...apparently "White Chicks" was not palatable to them.) So instead we saw "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."

First, let's talk about the movie's subtitle ("A True Underdog Story"). What's that supposed to mean? It's obviously not a true story. And although the team depicted in the film are underdogs, it seems like a random subtitle. Almost like it was supposed to be a pun, but it's not (it would have made sense were this a movie about dogs). But I'll just leave that alone.

The movie stars Vince Vaughn as Pete, the owner of a decrepit gym called Average Joe's. Pete isn't too concerned with collecting gym fees or handling paperwork, and Average Joe's falls behind on its mortgage. A rival gym — owned by the egomaniacal and body-image-obsessed White Goodman — seizes the opportunity to try and buy out Average Joe's. Pete has to raise $50,000 to keep the gym and that's coincidentally the exact prize money of the national dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas.

Some critics have said this movie ran out of gas in the last few minutes. I had the opposite reaction. I felt the first act was a bit slow, without too many laughs. Some of the jokes were lame and cliché. In one part, Pete gets his crotch area licked by his dog and he thinks it's a woman. Hasn't some version of this joke been done several times before?? (Maybe it was a cat.)

Anyway, once the team gets to Las Vegas, the momentum really picks up and it turned into a funny, enjoyable picture. The commentary by Gary Cole (as a sportscaster for ESPN 8 "the Ocho") was especially good.

So on the whole I'd say it's worth seeing (though Kelly repeatedly described the film as "terrible"), and don't forget to stay until the end of the credits since there's a surprise.

Rating: *** stars

Promises Not To Drink Don't Count If You're Drunk

Another high-quality Dear Abby today. Apparently you can promise your girlfriend not to drink anymore, but it doesn't count if you're drunk at the time.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Smart!

Wow, here's a really good idea. A "reality" magazine about nine people you don't know or care about!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Condensed Version of the Condensed Version of Clinton's Book

Slate has a great list of highlights from the new Clinton book, which is reportedly too boring and useless to actually read. But if you're also too lazy to read the Slate story, I'll give you the big highlight of the entire book.

Page 742: Chelsea gets hit on by Strom Thurmond...eewwww!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bad TiVo, Bad TiVo!

So TiVo has done a pretty good job in recent months choosing shows that I might like (for instance, a BBC sketch comedy show called "Velvet Soup"). But on Monday, it decided to devote more than two hours of precious space to "Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical" featuring David Hasselhoff!!!

What the heck?? I was not aware that such a thing existed in the world (a "Dr. Jekyll" musical) and certainly not one featuring the vocal talents of David Hasselhoff! Needless to say, I was deeply disturbed and it may take some time before I can trust the TiVo again.

I do have to say, though, that portions of the musical were pretty awesome. Such as when Hasselhoff as the titular character writhes around on the floor as he's changing into Hyde. And then later on in the show when it happens again during his wedding and he actually says, "No...not during my wedding!!" Maybe there's a highlight CD featuring only Hasselhoff's writhing moments...I'll look into it.

Best Beer Value

The SF Chron had an interesting piece on the high price of beer at SBC Park. Apparently if you want to get the most beer for your money you get the $7.25 20-ounce domestic beer souvenir cup. It's just 36.3 cents an ounce. I've long suspected this to be the case, but it's nice to be validated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Cheerio!

As a fervent cereal eater, I am very excited about this new fast-food franchise. The idea is to sell cereal in 30 different combinations for about $4 a pop. You add the milk yourself. They're expected to start opening up this fall, so hopefully we'll get one in either San Francisco or Sunnyvale.

Where's the Lost & Found?

I came across this site on "The World's Best Bars." They have 16 bars listed for San Francisco, and I've been to about half of them. I guess these are all cool places, but there aren't really any dives here. (Well, Sub Lounge is a bit divey, with the basement that can't possibly be up to code.) I would have included Vesuvio's, Specs, The Mint (for karaoke), among others.

New Feature: Film Reviews!

Most of you know that I'm creatively fueled by my intense hatred of the movie "The English Patient." Anyhow, I figured I'd start putting my film insights and views into a form that my loyal blog readers can use. So here goes:

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
The third installment in the Harry Potter series was more-or-less faithful to the book. They did cut out a lot of the Quidditch scenes, but that was fine by me since those are usually some of the more boring passages. And they gave Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) some menacing prison tats, which was not in the book but seriously awesome.

It's hard to say what the movie would have been like if I hadn't read the book. It seems like the Harry Potter films increasingly reference elements of the books that never pay off onscreen. For instance, the knight character plays a role in the book because he takes over the guarding of the entryway to the Gryffindor dorm. In the movie he is shown several times doing wacky things in the background, but he is never directly alluded to and plays no part in the plot. It's more a wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of thing.

One difficulty in "Azkaban" (and this is somewhat of an issue in all of Rowling's novels) is the villain turns out to be a character who's introduced relatively late in the game. I was concerned that the film would have trouble with this, since he would have little emotional resonance. But they did a good job of introducing Peter Pettigrew in a menacing form earlier than in the book (via the scene where Harry pursues him with the magic map). I think it worked.

The main problem with the adaptation is they didn't explain the significance of Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter being animagi (meaning they can transform themselves into animals). In the book it's explained that this is very rare and moreover that no one knew they had these powers. You kind of get the feeling from the movie that any powerful wizard can turn into an animal, and if so, why didn't anyone suspect that Black might get onto campus in this manner?

Another issue I have is more a problem with the book, but it didn't really hit home until I saw the film. The idea of the time-turner, which Hermione uses to attend two classes at the same time, is pretty ridiculous. If this kind of magic is so easily available that a professor would give it to a student to get ahead on schoolwork, why wouldn't they use it to go back in time and keep Sirius Black from escaping from Azkaban (or prevent Voldemort from killing Harry's parents for that matter)?? There's some lip service to the idea that "wizards don't mess with time," but c'mon. It seems like if you as a storyteller are going to introduce time travel into your universe, you have to think through all the consequences. I'm not sure Rowling has done that here.

Rating: *** (out of four)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Huh

Below are actual items that Amazon.com has recommended for me (based on my past purchases):

DVDs
"Snoop Dogg's Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp"
You may remember this as Snoop's 2002 foray into pornography. I'm not sure why they suggested this title, since -- while I may possess a "Girls Gone Wild" tape or two -- they were left in my apartment by my former roommate!

Books
"The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous"
How on Earth did that get in there?? It's not like I'm ordering cases of bourbon via Amazon.com!! This one really made me want to send a sternly worded e-mail of protest (but wait, are "sternly worded e-mails of protest" one of the steps?).

CDs
"The Carpenters Singles 1969-1981"
I guess this speaks for itself.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Uh-Oh

Apparently if I decide to mass-produce my 2Pac-Biggie Homage, I'll have some competition.

Monday, June 07, 2004

A Timeless Classic

So the Metreon is celebrating its 5-year anniversary and as part of that they're screening a series of "acclaimed" films set in San Francisco. The first film on the list? "The Wedding Planner" with J.Lo.

Was this really acclaimed by anyone? Maybe it's timed to commemorate J.Lo's recent nuptials, but still. [At least they're also showing "So I Married an Axe Murderer." -ed.]