Thursday, December 29, 2005

Return of Paul's Boutique

On November 29, 2005, I sat down and watched Return of the Jedi with Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys. I started the CD after the first 20th Century Fox drumroll on this one, just for poops and giggles. Here's what went down:

- The Star Wars logo appears at the same time we hear the first organ noodlings in "To All The Girls."

- The soundclip of the guy saying "Whoo-HA! I got them all in check!" sounds as Darth Vader steps off his shuttle onto the Death Star.

- Adam Yauch (?) says, "yo, they just got my little cousin, essay!" right as we see Jabba the Hutt's tiny sidekick Salacious Crumb for the first time.

- Much of the rapping in "High Plains Drifter" synchs up with the mouth of the robot in Jabba's dungeon (the one who calls R2-D2 "fiesty"). In particular, the line that rhymes "cellular" with "yeah, the hell you were."

- As Oola, the dancer in Jabba's court, falls into the Rancor pit, Adam Yauch says, "your goose is cooked."

- During "Hey Ladies," someone says, "they flock like bees to a hive" as the denizens of Jabba's court crowd around Luke.

- Lando walks over to Leia as Jabba's dais is moving and makes his presence known to her as someone says, "it was me that you missed."

- "5-Piece Chicken Dinner" starts when we see Luke grab the huge bone in the Rancor pit; the song ends as soon as he shoves it in the beast's mouth.

- As Yoda is about to die, his mouth movements briefly synch up with the ad for Paul's Boutique.

- Somone in "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" says, "your face turns red" as Han looks embarrassed while Leia asks him what crazy fool volunteered to lead the Endor landing party.

Not bad. No Star Wars/La Sexorcisto, but not bad. That Lando thing was about the most off the chain moment. I think we can do better.

The Empire Strikes Bends

Here's what I saw when I tried watching The Empire Strikes Back with Radiohead's The Bends (started after the second 20th Century drumroll) on November 21, 2005:

- The Wampa attack coincides with the weird spacey noise at the end of "Planet Telex."

- Thom Yorke sings "where do we go from here?" as Leia overhears Han saying good-bye to General Rieekan. A few moments later, Thom intones "my baby's got the bends" when Han gets all huffy with the Princess and storms off.

- "High and Dry" begins as the film wipes to Luke hanging upside down in the Wampa's cave.

- Han's tauntaun falls over as Thom Yorke warbles "it wears 'em out" in "Fake Plastic Trees."

- Yorke sings "used to fly like Peter Pan" as the film cuts to a fleet of Star Destroyers.

- Darth Vader chokes his first Imperial underling while some weird feedback plays in "Nice Dreams." As soon as the feedback stops, the Imperial dude falls to the ground, dead.

- The Rebel shield generator blows up just when the somber guitar begins in "Bulletproof...I Wish I Was."

Shocking stuff! Yes, I'm being sarcastic!

Burn, Tatooine, Burn

I'm getting all geeked up about the next synch I'm going to try - Return of the Jedi with Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet. For some reason, I just know that a 1980s rap album has to synch up with that film. Maybe PE will be the one.

For posterity's sake, I'm going to repost my findings from the Jedi/Paul's Boutique experiment in this blog later today, as well as the Radiohead/Empire findings. Holla!

I had an interview with Watson Realty yesterday, which is notable only because the interviewer was about five years younger than me. It was kind of strange, but I looked so good, I didn't care. My threads was poppin', son!

Urban lingo has become my crutch. I am sorry.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Empire Strikes in Utero

Watched Empire again last night, but not with the Who. Instead, I went with Nirvana's In Utero. Started it after the second 20th Century Fox drumroll. There were a handful of interesting moments:

- Every time Kurt Cobain sang the chorus of "away, go away" in "Scentless Apprentice," it coincided with a shot of Han Solo working on the Millennium Falcon and/or telling other characters he was leaving Hoth.

- Chewbacca's loud howl of anguish when the Rebels close the gates to their base before Han and Luke have returned occurs at the same exact moment Kurt Cobain says "rape me" for the first time. I laughed out loud at this, because it synched up so perfectly.

- While we see Obi-Wan's ghost telling Luke about Yoda, Cobain is repeating the words "I'm not the only one" in "Rape Me."

- As we see Luke recovering in the bacta tank, Kurt Cobain sings the phrase "hope you're still with us" in "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle."

- "All Apologies" begins the moment Han tries to kick the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace and it fails. The song's distorted ending coincides with Luke's turbulent landing on Dagobah, and it ends the moment his X-Wing hits the water.

Weird stuff, but I think it's clear In Utero is not for Empire was La Sexorcisto is for Star Wars. The search continues...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Empire Strikes Rust in Peace

I conducted another synchronicity experiment tonight, watching The Empire Strikes Back with Megadeth's Rust in Peace. This one was a dud. There was only one moment that caught my attention: the first shot of Darth Vader came immediately after the line "he who lives in sin shall surely live the lie" in "Five Magics." Aside from that, zilch. I've got nothing on the schedule later, so I'll probably pull another CD from my collection and spin it with Empire. I'm thinking maybe something by the Who.

It Was Just Some Mild Depression!

Last Thursday, I noted in this blog that I was feeling weird. I wasn't sure if I was sick or depressed. I was really hoping I was depressed, because after all that Christmas shopping, I was certain I didn't have the money for a visit to the doctor. Well, my holiday wish came true - it was just some mild depression! Yay! No tongue depressors or antibiotics for me! Whoopee!

I know what you're thinking. Jim, what the hell could you have been depressed about? You have a hot girlfriend, all your limbs are intact, and there's still a slim chance George Lucas will one day release the original, non-special edition versions of the first "Star Wars" trilogy! What gives? Well, you're right on all points. There is something, though, that threw me off my game for a while.

Earlier this month, I was notified that my literary agent was taking a leave of absence to finish a book of her own and that my two projects, Star Wars Ruined My Life and the untitled soda book, would soon be taken over by another agent at PMA Lit & Film. Since then, I have heard nothing - absolutely nothing - from anyone at PMA. My phone calls and e-mails have not been returned, and I have no idea what's going on. I want desperately to know, but like an uninterested lover, PMA ignores my pleas for explanation and comfort.

It could be worse. I have an aspiring author friend whose agent dropped dead in the middle of editing his book. That was a couple of years ago, and he still hasn't straightened that mess out. I guess my biggest fear is having to start over, stuffing my proposal into manilla envelopes all week and mailing them to people who have no idea who I am. I spent more on postage than gas back then.

I want to give PMA the benefit of the doubt, but come on - you're a damn business, and I'm your client. You can't even shoot me a "things are pretty fucked up right now, get with you soon" e-mail? That's messed up, son. I spent two years busting my ass on that Star Wars book. Can't you at least try to act like it's on your list of priorities?

So, you can maybe understand why I briefly sunk into a rivet of depression. I didn't feel like moving, let alone decking the halls or washing the car or flossing the teeth. I really didn't feel like updating the blog, but I forced myself to. This stupid thing is supposed to be my ticket to fame, right? It was tough, but I did it, even though I felt like I was trying to squeezing a river of blood from a grain of sand.

Luckily, Christmas day snapped me out of my funk. It's amazing how a few hours of swapping gifts and chewing candy canes with your immediate family can rejuvinate the soul. I've got grease in my garter again. I guess I owe mad thanks to Jesus, for being born and influencing people to create this comforting holiday in his honor. Thanks, J.C.

The PMA situation is still aggravating like Iggy Pop is wrinkled, but what are you gonna do? It can't go on forever. Something will happen - either someone new will pick up the torch for JG2, or my ass will get stone cold dropped. Hopefully the former, not the latter, but I'm prepared for both. Rome wasn't built in a day, every bowl of sugar has a few lumps, even cowgirls get the blues. I'm ready for whatever they throw at me.

On a completely unrelated note, "Rubber Biscuit" by the Chips kicks ass.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Festivus

It's Festivus. Time to air some grievances.

Hey jerks in movie theaters, no one cares that you're jizzing your pants over X-Men 3. Shut your pieholes so the rest of us can try to enjoy Patrick Stewart's bald, commanding ass.

To the guy who stands outside the library in the do rag cranking Kanye West on his ghetto blaster - you're not a black teenager. You're a fifty year old white guy. You've picked the wrong spot to try and impress your grandkids. Take that sickening display somewhere else.

Jesse Schwindler, you're too loud. Turn your bass down. Also, try whispering. I bet a whisper to you is like normal speaking to the rest of us. And never question my driving abilities again at three in the morning when you're tanked. I was doing you a favor, string bean.

Richard Corliss, it's rude not to respond to a fellow writer's e-mail. Excuse me if you're too busy stroking the unkempt beard I know you have.

High school students, I don't care what the fuck your regular teacher lets you do. When I'm all up in your Kool-Aid, put the goddamn iPod/cell phone/laptop away. You're killing me with that shit.

Jim Raymond, stop acting like you don't remember Orla Collery's essay about her father's spotted dickie bow. You remember everything, and you're just trying to make me feel old and crazy. I don't appreciate that.

Everybody, shut the hell up about the whole Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays thing. There's a war going on. Say whatever you want to people, and don't get uptight if you hear something that you don't wanna hear. America, bitches. Free speech for ALL.

I'll stop there, before I get myself into trouble.

By the way, I'm feeling really weird this week. I either have a cold or I'm depressed. That leads me into today's Christmas memory.

We had a nine foot fake Christmas tree when I was a kid, and for about five consecutive years, I became deathly ill the week after we put that bastard up. Obvioulsy there were some serious germs all over that plastic evergreen, and my young immune system wasn't resillient enough to fight them off.

The last Christmas tree illness was diagnosed as Beijing Flu in the seventh grade. As long as I live, I hope I never encounter that virus again. Time literally stood still. My vomit was plaid. Worst sick ever. Oh wait, that's not how it goes.

Worst. Sick. Ever.

There we go.

Friday, December 09, 2005

JG2: The Movie

Imagine Entertainment, in association with Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox, bring you JG2: The Movie, the enthralling true-life story of America's last great artist.


JIMMY FALLON as James Greene, Jr., the revolutionary songwriter whose song "Peace Jam (Feed the Kids)" single-handedly ends world hunger and makes war obsolete.

BEA ARTHUR as Theodora Zlepko Greene, the woman who had premonitions while she was pregnant that her unborn child was destined for greatness.

CHARLES BRONSON as James Greene, Sr., a man who will do whatever it takes to get his son to part his hair on the right side.

KEVIN POLLACK as Jim Raymond, the childhood friend who tries to topple JG2 from lofty heights of fame by revealing dark secrets about his past.

JOHN TUTURRO as John Piacquadio, JG2's breakdancing instructor who cashes in on their partnership.

THE ALF PUPPET as Chris Shields, flamboyant singer for JG2's senstaional rock combo the Plant-Faced Mulrooneys.

ADAM CLAYTON as Shane Bales, the Plant-Faced Mulrooneys' reserved bass player. What secrets does he know?

H.R. PUFNSTUF as Ross Martin, the diabolical musical genius behind the Plant-Faced Mulrooneys who forces JG2 out of the group after their multi-platinum album Eight Trillion on the Laugh-o-meter.

NICHOLAS CAGE as Drew Mack, the mysterious loner who JG2 suspects is behind his downfall.

JASON LEE as Freedom Johnson, the drug counsler who enters JG2's life and convinces him to give up free-basing Raisin Bran.

JANEANE GAROFALO as Angela Meeks, the woman JG2 falls head over heels for during a natural disaster on his first day back in college.

There will be cameos by Kate Winslet, Brittany Murphy, and Halle Berry as former girlfriends, Jack Klugman as JG2's perpetually ill grandfather, and former President Jimmy Carter as God.

Produced and directed by Ron Howard. Screenplay by Nora Ephron.

Coming to theaters in 2064.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wendie Jo Sperber: 1958 - 2005

Wendie Jo Sperber, the actress probably best remembered for playing Michael J. Fox's frumpy sister in the Back to the Future films, died Tuesday after a nine year battle with breast cancer. She was in her forties.

As some of you may know, I tried to get in touch with Ms. Sperber about a year ago for Star Wars Ruined My Life. She appeared in Corvette Summer with Mark Hamill in 1978, and I wanted to ask her a few questions about the experience of working with Hamill in his first post-Star Wars film. I don't know if Wendie was too sick to conduct a proper interview or if she just didn't want to talk about Corvette Summer, but she politely declined my offer via her publicist.

At the time, I remember being pretty disappointed. Yeah, I wanted to talk to her about Corvette Summer, but I also wanted to inquire about some of the other stuff she'd done. What was it like being in 1941, Steven Spielberg's first (and pretty much only) bomb? Was John Murray cool to work with in Moving Violations? How pissed were you when FOX cancelled "Babes?" Alas, the Man Upstairs works in mysterious and sometimes frustrating ways. My interview with Wendie Jo Sperber was just not meant to be.

I'm still a fan, though, and I get a kick out of seeing her pop up in old movies on T.V. She played a neurotic crank like nobody's business. If I had to pick a favorite Sperber role, I'd go with that of Charlene Gilbert on the aforementioned "Babes." Last week, I heard Gilbert's whiny echo in the recesses of my mind as I wearily greeted the start of the Holiday Season:

"Oh's Thanksgiving again!"

Ms. Sperber also gave much of her time and efforts to raising breast cancer awareness, founding the weSPARK organization in 2001. The foundation provides free emotional support, information, and social activities for individuals whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Check out their website here.

Rest in peace, Wendie Jo. Maybe when I die, I'll find you in the afterlife. Then I'll pester you with questions about Mark Hamill and John Murray.