Top 5 Movie: Crushes.

April 5th, 2006

1. Reese Witherspoon in Fear

2. Kate Hudson in Almost Famous

3. Elizabeth Shue in The Saint

4. Kiera Knightley in Love Actually

5. Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That

(Honorable Mention: Larisa Oleynik in 10 Things I Hate About You)

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April 4th, 2006


ThumbsuckerJustin Cobb (Lou Pucci) is a high school senior from a rather...unusual family. He refers to both of his parents (Vincent D'Onofrio and Tilda Swinton) by their first names since calling them "mom" and "dad" makes them feel old. His dad lives each day as if it should not happen. He is the manager of a sporting goods store, which is a far cry from the professional football player apparently everyone expected him to be, before the injury. His mother is a nurse with a not-so-secret and maybe not-so-innocent crush on a television star.

As a senior in high school, Justin was looking at college. His parents suggested local state schools. The explanation was that he may as well have stayed close to home since he would not have many options to go far because his grades would not have raised any eyebrows with admissions departments. Very matter-of-factly they pointed out that he just lacked the things that students need to get into the colleges worth attending.

Justin was socially awkward and had even less interaction with peers than he did with his parents. Issues with his parents and with school, primarily in Mr. Geary's (Vince Vaughn) debate club, kept Justin rattled. He sucking his thumb.

Justin had a very unique support group. His younger brother Joel was his conscience and his orthodontist (Keanu Reeves) was his spiritual and philosophical mentor. They helped kept things in perspective.

To relieve the anxiety that led to his unfocused approach to school, a counselor suggested medication. A.D.H.D. was the explanation given to Justin's parents. His pills and the hypnosis administered by his orthodontist served as the one-two punch to break his dependency on sucking his thumb.

Aside from his orthodontist, no one ever really wanted to help Justin. He was the natural scapegoat for the problems that faced his family. His father's life had turned out entirely differently than was planned. He chose to ignore that fact rather than deal with it, though he used Justin as his aggressive release, though it was verbal and emotional and never physical. He channeled his self pity into disappointment in his older son.

Justin's mother had a similar attitude. Though she claimed she fell in love with Justin's father when he suffered the knee injury, there appears to be a rather ironic lingering-resentment. Any pent-up hostility she has about how her life did not turn out anything like her fantasies of being with a big-shot became impatience towards her older son.

Justin's younger brother, Joel, viewed him as a loser. He pointed out Justin's social short-comings throughout the movie. His frustration was not known until the end when he had to tell Justin how hard it was to be the normal one since Justin had monopolized being different.

Towards the end of the movie, they almost became a real family. While on the medication, Justin became a very successful debater. For the first time in his life, Justin's parents were proud of him. They were able to ignore the pangs of personal regret and accept that their son had talent. Vicariously through him, they were able to forget their own failures. Though it is in short supply, he gave them hope. They focused their issues on him, but later it was in a more positive fashion.

A parent should arguably never be more supportive than when a child strives to meet a personal goal. Justin wanted to go to college out of state, though as mentioned above he was never encouraged to try. When it becomes clear that, even if it is without his family's blessing, Justin was leaving, his family pushed back. His dad said that he was just getting used to his son and his mom accused him of flying the coop, alleging he would never come back. Their motives were selfish ones, for with Justin out of the house, their own problems could not be ignored. What he really needed was to get away. Leaving the house, the town, the state could do nothing but good for him.

No one performance stuck out above the rest, though everyone did a decent job. The movie was relatively thought provoking, which is a plus.

I liked Thumbsucker. I liked how Justin was able, through trial and error (with emphasis on error), to realize how to be himself. He began to see how he was like his dad by never being open with the things that bothered him. And how he was like his mother by desiring a life outside his own family. He knew that while taking his pills, it was a glimpse of who he could be, but not who he was. He even tried recreational drugs before seeing that his way out was not through drugs, but rather on an airplane.

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April 3rd, 2006


BongwaterLuke Wilson is David, your ordinary, run-of-the-mill pot dealer from Portland, Oregon. He coasts through life by rarely, if ever, leaving his house, save the occasional "business trip" into the back woods to see his supplier and re-stock his inventory. He leads a very mundane existence, until Serena.

Serena (Alicia Witt) is a fiery red-head who can never seem to get her life in order, though she tears through the lives of others like a tornado on a warm Midwestern day.

Thanks to Serena, David's house burns down and he finds himself out of luck with love. The movie also features Andy Dick, Scott Caan, Jamie Kennedy, Brittany Murphy, Jeremy Sisto...and Jack Black.

I will forever remain skeptical of the question, "How bad could a movie be that has Luke Wilson and Jack Black?" The answer, if you are curious, is "Really bad."

I have made the sacrifice and watched this movie and can now warn you to stay away from it. I apologize if you beat me to it; in the event you have already wasted time watching Bongwater, there is nothing I can do.

This is not mainstream film, and should not be viewed as such. It is much more accurately described as a B-movie. From the blatant nudity of the opening credits; through the twisted drug use and the violent (though that is any consolation) rape scene; to the aliens; the movie was very bizarre.

There is a silver lining in that I now have a renewed motivation to write a screenplay. I am confident that if Bongwater can raise funds, I will be able to do the same.

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April 1st, 2006
Ferris Bueller's Day OffFerris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Sean Paul - The Trinity

March 31st, 2006

Sean Paul - The TrinityThere probably has not been a dancehall/reggae album this good since...well since Sean Paul released Dutty Rock in 2002. The Trinity, amidst a large handful of references to weed, serenades women from all regions of the world. He stays true to his Caribbean roots and did not Americanize (euphemism for "sell out") his sound for this latest album. I will be the first to admit, however, that it is difficult to understand what he says most of the time. Regardless of that, so far I predict The Trinity to be the best warm-weather-with-the-windows-down-in-the-car-and-the-volume-up-high album this year...even though it was released last year, late last year. I cannot get enough of some of these songs right now.

01. Fire Links Intro I still do not like Intro tracks. This one did nothing to change that. I do not understand them; especially one that is 49 seconds long and yet just repeats the same thing over and over.

02. Head In The Zone A nice beat for a track that warms us up for the rest of the album ahead. I do tire easily of DJs and producers who yell at random intervals (see: Lil' Jon and DJ Clue), which is a blemish on this song.

03. We Be Burnin' We Be Burnin' was the first single released from this album. I became certain of a few things when I first heard this track: I would get this album and this would be the best track on it. I was right and wrong. This is a great song and definitely will get bodies on the dance floor, but not the best song on the album. That is a good thing. You can watch the video here.

04. Send It On This is a great example of a "catchy" song by Sean Paul standards. If I could figure out the words...they would be in my head all day!

05. Ever Blazin' This is my dark-horse pick for favorite track. The beat causes body parts to move of their own accord. Without realizing it you will be bouncing -- sitting, standing, laying down -- I don't care what you are doing. A great track to put on a mix you are making for your special lady friend if you want to add something with a beat.

06. Eye Deh A Mi Knee This is a fine song, but I can't help but think of Tunak Tunak Tun when I listen to it.

07. Give It Up To Me Time to slow it down some. One track that stands out as evidence that The Trinity does not have all of the energy that was in Dutty Rock. Do not misinterpret that, I did not say it was a bad song, just slower than others.

08. Yardie Bone This one is much less dancehall and much more reggae. In case you are curious, Wayne Marshall is featured.

09. Never Gonna Be The Same Another slower track. Sean Paul sets this song aside to reflect on the things that happen in our lives that are out of our control. It is a nice tribute to friends and family.

10. I'll Take You There A good song that would get more respect on an album with fewer "hits."

11. Temperature It is, unfortunately, unfair to the other tracks on the album for this song to appear. There are so many good songs on The Trinity, though this one just won't share the spotlight. As stated above, I was sure We Be Burnin' was as good as they could get. I was wrong.

12. Breakout It is a rare thing indeed when you can find an album you can listen to, start to finish, without skipping any songs. You *can* do that with this album, but if you were going to skip one song, this is probably it. It seems much less refined (for lack of a better word) than the other songs.

13. Head To Toe Has it been too long since he slowed it down for another ode to the ladies? I guess so. Apparently it was time for another. Probably the weakest of the slower songs, but the competition is stiff.

14. Connection One thing Sean Paul did so well on Dutty Rock was collaboration tracks with recent hot, female artists. This is the big one on The Trinity, featuring Nina Sky. She sounds good with him.

15. Straight Up Despite being a three-minute track, it seems to go too fast. The song is, overall, unremarkable -- neither good nor bad. It is fine, and well placed tucked at the end of the album.

16. All On Me Another collaboration song with a female artist. Sean Paul and Tami Chynn team up for this track. A mediocre song.

17. Change The Game Featuring Looga Man & Kid Kurup. This song saves the slow fall-off that was happening. The last few tracks made you think the album had run out of steam. Unfortunately, this track does what many do at the end of hip-hop albums recently; the featured artist takes the front seat and Sean Paul appears only as support.

18. The Trinity Last but not least, the title track. You have made it through 17 tracks to get here; the choice is yours if you let the last one play. You will not miss much if you stop now. The strength of the album is early.

The album's title, if you are curious, has a three-part meaning: this is Sean Paul's third album, it took three years to create, and it was "all done right here in the Third World*," according to him.

*The Trinity was recorded entirely in Jamaica.

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It Was A Very Good Year - 1971

March 29th, 2006
Privatjokr presents: 1971

01. Don McLean - American Pie
02. Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee
03. Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me
04. Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar
05. Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
06. Neil Diamond - I am...I said
07. The Temptations - Just My Imagination
08. Isaac Hayes - Theme from "Shaft"
09. James Taylor - You've Got A Friend
10. Rod Stewart - Maggie May
11. Santana - Black Magic Woman
12. Dawn - Knock Three Times
13. Three Dog Night - An Old Fashioned Love Song
14. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen The Rain
15. John Lennon - Imagine
16. The Isley Brothers - Love The One You're With
17. Cat Stevens - Peace Train
18. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven


Commentators Should Be More Selective.

March 27th, 2006

This past weekend the NCAA Tournament narrowed its field to the Final Four teams. Congratulations to LSU, UCLA, George Mason and Florida for their success. During some games, the analysts providing play-by-play give a player's background. It is a heart-warming, humanizing addition to the action on the court. There were two stories, from separate games, that were presented in the same fashion, yet were nearly polar opposites.

The first was a story of Villanova Wildcat senior guard Randy Foye. Foye's father, they said, left when Randy was of a very young age (3-and-a-half years old I believe) and his mother disappeared after he completed kindergarten. Her whereabouts are still unknown. Randy was raised in Newark, New Jersey by his two grandmothers, one of which had never been on an airplane, but agreed to fly to Indianapolis to see Randy play in the Final Four if his team made it. Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright said of Foye that he has a God-given ability to listen to the right people. When asked about his future in the sport of basketball, Wright commented that above success on the basketball court, Randy Foye would be a great man.

The second story featured George Mason senior guard Tony Skinn. The George Mason Patriots (GMU) were seconds away from completing the upset of top-seeded Connecticut as Skinn walked to the free-throw line. GMU was ahead by two points and Skinn had the opportunity to make it a two-possession game if he made both attempts. While he walked the length of the court the commentator mentioned how remarkable Tony Skinn's story was. He elaborated that Tony Skinn lost himself for a moment with about a minute remaining in a game against Hofstra and punched an opposing player in the groin in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. He had been immediately pulled from the game by his coach and suspended by his team from the first round NCAA Tournament game against Michigan State. The team managed to hold on against the Spartans without him and now here he was with a chance to put the game out of reach. And to think he had overcome this adversity to now find himself with the opp...

:Missed the first free throw, the front-end of a one and one. Rebound to Uconn.:

Well he had the opportunity to "ice" the game for George Mason, he said.

Call it my Villanova bias, but I think Randy Foye's story was a little more vivid and appropriate considering the circumstances. They were both presented the same way. When they launched into story about Tony Skinn it was in a way where you expected to hear of tragedy and triumph over adversity. And you find out he overcame a one-game suspension he received because he punched a guy below the belt.

George Mason, an 11 seed in the tournament, was a controversial invite to the 65-team tournament. Many critics felt that other teams, Hofstra for one (who beat GMU twice head-to-head), should have been asked to the tournament instead. Since the brackets were announced, GMU has beaten 6th seed Michigan State, 3rd seed North Carolina and 1st seed Connecticut. The last two games were wins over the past two winners of the NCAA Tournament. The team's story has been and continues to be a remarkable one. Tony Skinn's story is about nothing but him losing his cool.

The Uninvited Guest.

March 27th, 2006

I was highly entertained yesterday while at lunch with my parents. Our family is very close and I am comfortable saying that it is always entertaining when we are together, but yesterday was different. They told me a story that started with my mom asking if my dad had yet told me about the noises he heard coming from the basement at 6:15AM Saturday.

My immediate feeling was one of shock and terror. What could possibly have happened? Are they ok? ...Oh, right, they are both sitting here with me and in fine spirits. If anything had gone wrong, I would surely have heard about it before now. Dad took the reigns and led me through the details of his story.

Before heading down to the exercise room for his Saturday morning work-out he went to the computer to do who knows what. While sitting at the computer he hears a loud crash and then silence. He pauses and remains silent, listening. A few minutes pass and he thinks that something must have fallen over and he has no cause for concern. And then a crash, louder and longer than before. Something is afoot.

He stands at the top of the stairway leading to the basement and turns on the light. Again he waits, listening. And he hears something walking! Alarmed and confused all at the same time while a few moments pass and he sees the perpetrator. Into the guest room walks a duck. Yes, a duck.

My new brother.

The duck came back out of the guest room, walked into the laundry room, then back into the hallway and sat down. The animal was safely caught and released.

The only explanation was that the duck must have come in through the chimney downstairs in the bar area as the flue was found open. There has been no determination of whether the flue was open prior or if the duck opened the flue by landing on it after falling into the chimney. The sound, by the way, was the duck flying into the blinds on the windows as he attempted to free himself.

Who says there is no excitement in the lives of empty-nesters?!

March 27th, 2006

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

From the main screen move the cursor right to "Starz on the Set" and then move the cursor up. The arrow will appear in an empty part of the boat pointing upwards. Press enter to watch a continuous video of takes while they try to create a scene in which Bill Murray tries out a new pair of shoes. It is hard to explain, but they have him keep jumping and running and dancing around as his character, Steve Zissou, might do to test the merit of such a pair of shoes. Ok so I can't explain what it is, but I can say that it is hilarious.

The Letter Should Read Like This...

March 26th, 2006

Dear Coach Al Skinner,

Thanks for the help.


Billy Donovan