Pop Rocks: And I Beheld a Pale Horse, and His Name That Sat Upon Him Was Gump

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Behold the doom of mankind.
Yesterday the Library of Congress announced the 25 films selected by the U.S. National Film Preservation Board for inclusion in the National Film Registry. One of which, judging by online reaction, was a bit of a surprise:

The Oscar-winning "Forrest Gump," Walt Disney's 1942 classic animated film "Bambi," Charlie Chaplin's first feature-length comedy "The Kid" and a 1912 silent comedy "A Cure for Pokeritis" (starring cinema's earliest comedy superstar, John Bunny) are among the 25 movies that have been selected to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Registry of the Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made the selections.

With this year's selections, there are 575 films in the registry. Movies are selected to the National Film Registry because they are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" important. "These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture," Billington said in a statement. "Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams."

Bambi yet no Bambi vs. Godzilla? An outrage, says I.

Films must be at least ten years old to be eligible, and are nominated by the public. Questions of historical and aesthetic importance are decided by the Film Preservation Board, meaning the inclusion of Gump leaves plenty of blame to be shared around. My concerns about the film's inclusion are of a more...practical nature.


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Pop Rocks: And Now, Your Worst Movies of 2011

Categories: Pop Rocks

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As 2011 draws to a close, the natural tendency is to reflect on events of the past 12 months. Did we accomplish everything we'd hoped? Did we end the year in a better place than we started? Did that terrifying rash all over our genitalia clear up on its own, or should we finally see a doctor?

For folks in the lucrative movie reviewing biz, this is the time of year when we find ourselves banging our collective heads against the wall in order to come up with our annual "best of" lists. It's an excruciating exercise, not just because ranking what we saw in cinemas in 2011 is often a chore slightly less enjoyable than a latter period Nicolas Cage movie marathon, but because whatever we come up with is inevitably challenged by everyone who takes umbrage with your leaving their particular favorite off your ultimately meaningless list.

So more fun, for me anyway, is documenting the lesser lights of last year's offerings. Being older and feeling the hoary spectre of death hovering over my every step, I don't go out of my way to see every stinker out there, but I see enough. And like every other year, 2011 offered plenty to choose from.

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Pop Rocks: Anyone Else Underwhelmed by The Hobbit Trailer?

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Can Peter Jackson top this? I doubt it.
The trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dropped like Boromir after taking a few Uruk-hai arrows yesterday. The first of Peter Jackson's two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy doesn't hit theaters until December, 2012, giving all us all ample time to pick the preview apart like so many pocket protector-wearing vultures.

I have to admit to feeling a bit underwhelmed after seeing it. Yeah yeah yeah; don't judge a movie by its trailer. And I'm not, but having seen Jackson's LotR movies, there's plenty of fodder for discussion here.

And fair warning, there will be spoilers. For while I realize the movie doesn't come out for an entire year, the book it's based on was published before World War II. Chances are your dad has a copy lying around someplace.

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Pop Rocks: In Which I Conclusively Prove Lisbeth Salander's Cultural Supremacy

Categories: Pop Rocks

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​David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's gazillion-selling The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opens today. I'll have a review up tomorrow, which will likely have no effect on the reportedly large numbers of women planning to avoid the film entirely.

Says another marketing exec, "Hyper-realistic violence against women is very different from the average horror movie. They're escapist, 'movie-date' oriented. This is different, and I suspect the female numbers [Sony does] have are inflated by title recognition, not actual desire. Do women really want to see a movie like this at this time of year?"[...]
A third marketing insider put the film's lack of success with connecting to its female fans this way: "I am surprised by those female [tracking] numbers, but I am not surprised that women don't want to see an ultraviolent David Fincher movie about women being tortured and raped. I think women see these trailers and are being scared shitless away from it."

I love marketing people: "Hey ladies, we know you don't have the stomach for 'realistic' violence, especially at Christmas." If he'd only added, "And you should really be baking cookies this time of year anyway," it would've been a perfect storm of douchery.

Why do tracking numbers show women avoiding Fincher's latest? Maybe they all saw the originals and aren't enthusiastic about what amounts to almost a shot-by-shot remake, albeit with James Bond. Ot maybe they're uncomfortable with the abuse heaped upon the quote-unquote "hero" of the movie, Lisbeth Salander. I don't know. Doesn't mean we can't speculate, or make some wildly inaccurate off-base comparisons.

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Pop Rocks: Matt Damon Should Totally Make That Porno He Talked About.

Categories: Pop Rocks

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"The InPORNant!" No?
Matt Damon has always seemed like a pretty personable guy. He comes across as pretty smart, isn't known for being a cad (poor Minnie Driver notwithstanding) or acting like a jackass in public, and generally seems like one of the few celebrities we might actually invite into our home.

Unless you're Bourne trilogy screenwriter Tony Gilroy, that is, from an excerpt of Damon's GQ interview:

[Damon] claims Gilroy originally turned in a sub-par draft of "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third film in the franchise, just to cash in on a big paycheck.

"I don't blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It's just that it was unreadable," Damon says. "This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It's terrible. It's really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left."

But being the good guy that he is, the Harvard drop-out felt bad about talkin' trash, and followed up with an apology phone call.

"My feelings were hurt," Damon later told the article's author. "And that's exactly why I shouldn't have said anything. This is between me and (Gilroy). So saying anything publicly is fucking stupid and unprofessional and just kind of douche-y of me."

I don't know why, but this exchange reminded me of an interview Damon did waaay back in 2004, where he said he wanted to do a "character-driven porn movie." Maybe it was that "career-ender" crack, or a reference to an "unreadable" script (like porn movies have scripts), but it got me thinking about good names for a Matt Damon "adult film."

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Pop Rocks: So Who Really Isn't Sexier Than Jennifer Aniston?

Categories: Pop Rocks

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You win this round, Aniston.
Men's Health magazine, which I'd always assumed was largely aimed at the gay population (much like Field & Stream), recently declared Jennifer Aniston the "sexiest woman of all time:"

Forget that "Sexiest Woman Alive" nonsense. Jennifer Aniston has just been named "Sexiest Woman of All Time" by readers of Men's Health magazine.

In their explanation of why the 42-year-old "Horrible Bosses" star topped the poll, the editors of Men's Health wrote, "'Funny is sexy, and Jennifer Aniston is funny. Her down-to-earth persona makes her seem attainable, and anyone who's seen her in 'Office Space' has to admit she makes even pieces of flair look good."
[...]
Aniston also beat out Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears, Madonna, Ursula Andress, Bettie Page, Pamela Anderson and Jane Fonda.

And there was much gnashing of teeth. Look, I've had my issues with the former Friend in the past, but rather than trot out a laundry list of my own sexiest women contenders (WHERE'S LYNDA CARTER?), I thought I'd acknowledge that there are, in fact, quite a few women less sexy than Jennifer Aniston.


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Pop Rocks: How Do You React to the Proposed Grown Ups Sequel? With Animated Gifs.

Categories: Pop Rocks

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It's a busy time of year for movie critic types. Many of us are butting up against deadlines for award nominations, watching lots of year-end screeners of some pretty memorable films by the likes of Terrence Malick, Steve McQueen and Lynne Ramsay, among others.

But everyone needs a palate cleanser now and again.

Did Happy Gilmore get a sequel? Or Billy Madison? What about The Wedding Singer 2? Nope. And as beloved as those movies are, I doubt many are complaining about the fact that Sandler didn't try to recreate the magic with a continuation of their stories. Grown Ups may be the first Adam Sandler movie to get a sequel. Variety is reporting that Sony Pictures and Sandler's Happy Madison Productions are in talks with Fred Wolf to write the script for the sequel to the 2010 comedy Grown Ups. At this point, that's as far as it goes as the site notes that Sandler is not locked in to star and his involvement is "contingent on the script."

For those who don't remember, Grown Ups was the Sandler movie that had him (and Chris Rock, and Kevin James, and Rob Schneider, and David Spade) peeing in the pool at a water park. Not to be confused with Big Daddy, the movie where he pees on the wall, or Billy Madison, where he (fake) pees in his pants (and leaves a flaming bag of shit on someone's doorstep).

Because it was such a rousing success the last time I did it, and because I'm once again up way too late on a school night, here's my response to Tuesday's announcement, in animated .gif form.


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Pop Rocks: A Few (Updated) Non-Pokemon Speeches for Herman Cain

Categories: Pop Rocks

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"Over?"
It was fun (to watch) while it lasted, but Herman Cain officially "suspended" his Presidential campaign last weekend. The former Godfather's CEO had long been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment (to say nothing of his unfamiliarity with the Libyan crisis or how to pronounce "Uzbekistan"), but the final nail in his political coffin came in the form of one Ginger White, who came forward to disclose their 13-year extramarital affair.

Leaving aside questions of whether or not a longstanding "arrangement" between consenting adults is somehow worse than insinuating you'll exchange employment for a blow job, the weirdest part of this whole thing was Cain's choice of farewells:

On Saturday, Cain announced that he was suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, and his parting words included a quote from an unlikely source: A song from "Pokémon: The Movie 2000."

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said this weekend as he has previously during his campaign, "Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, it's never easy when there is so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference."

Source material aside, that's pretty...uninspired. Considering there's over a century of film history to choose from, perhaps Cain could've tried a little harder. No worries, I've taken care of that for his next speech.


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Pop Rocks: The "Mane" Course -- Eight Famous Horses We'd Like To Eat

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Were you thinking horse meat was going to stay off the menu in American restaurants indefinitely? Neigh:

Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.
Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.
[...]
The last U.S. slaughterhouse that butchered horses closed in 2007 in Illinois, and animal welfare activists warned of massive public outcry in any town where a slaughterhouse may open. "If plants open up in Oklahoma or Nebraska, you'll see controversy, litigation, legislative action and basically a very inhospitable environment to operate," predicted Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States.

I predict Wayne Pacelle is vastly overrating the equine-related indignation of the citizens of Oklahoma and Nebraska.

I've eaten horse. I was overseas at the time, and although I knew I should probably make an effort to remember the experience, the taste escapes me. But let's not linger on my failings as a culinary correspondent; rather, let's consider some of the more famous horses we'd like to...chew the fat with.

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Pop Rocks: The Kardashians' Popularity, Explained

Categories: Pop Rocks

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"You will watch 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians.'"
America, you have serious problems:

It was business--big business--as usual for Kourtney & Kim Take New York and The Walking Dead.

Here's what the shows' Sunday-night TV ratings performances meant:

For Kourtney & Kim, the reality-show's season premiere, which scored a series-best 3.2 million viewers for an opener, showed audiences were still married to the reality clan, even if Kim Kardashian was divorcing Kris Humphries.

The Kardashians' TV shows are inexplicably popular. Despite the heinousness of pretty much everyone involved, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami and the aforementioned NYC installment all draw viewers by the millions, in spite of the fact I've yet to find a single human being who admits to watching them.

I call it the "Billy Ray Cyrus Effect."

Then again, viewed through the prism of a certain 1980s John Carpenter movie, the whole thing is perfectly understandable.


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