Friday, December 24, 2010

18 Noteworthy Film Villains of 2010

A perennial sucker for year-end top ten lists, I will bombard you with a few of my own. First up: noteworthy film villains of 2010:

18. Dieter Von Cunth - "MacGruber" - Terrible name; hilarious send-up of 80s action baddies. How can you not like Val Kilmer?

17. Lotso - Don't let his looks fool you; the arch-villain of "Toy Story 3" is the most bloodcurdling of the series. The replaced and forgotten teddy bear's story is sad, his anger understandable. But his toy gulag is run without sympathy and any heart that he threatens to show is quickly snuffed. "Toy Story 3" contains one of the most tense and unforgiving scenes in any kid's movie.

15-16. Lorenzo/Sweet Tee - "Lottery Ticket" - Lorenzo's no Deebo, but he makes a good meathead bad-boy to Bow Wow's "lucky" scapegoat. But Sweet Tee's the guy that gave me chills - a too-slick fat-cat who keeps the projects under his thumb.


12-14. Boggis, Bunce and Bean - One short, one fat and one lean. Created by the brilliant Roald Dahl and adapted by Wes Anderson, this trio of villains aim to kill Mr. Fox. While Bunce and Bean come off as eejits, the sadistic Bean takes to wearing Mr. Fox's tail as a necktie. I didn't know what to expect of "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and loved it. It's gorgeous, hilarious and touching. I guess I'll admit I'm a Wes-ophile.

11. Whiplash - As much as I love The Dude, (can't wait to see True Grit) Mickey Rourke embodies a supervillain better. The vodka-swilling Russian scientist-turned laser-whip-wielding freakshow is written a bit broad, but the Formula One scene is one of the best in any superhero movie.

10. Father - The eerie, surreal plot of "Dogtooth" unfolds slowly. Disbelief turns into calm horror, like the dread that swarms through a Lynch drama. A man whose actions are conceivably noble in aim, the character known only as "Father" is a psychological puppet master. His twisted design is unforgettable. To reveal any more would be a disservice. "Dogtooth" is highly recommended.

3-9. The League of Evil Exes - When I was conjuring this list I was certain my favorite Evil Ex was the Saito twins, the monster-summoning DJs. The fact is, they're all amazing and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One of my favorite films of the year, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" features a septet of terrific villains, from the dancing pirate ("Pirates are in this year!") to J-Schwartz's smarmy record exec.

2. Winter - "Winter's Bone" is on nearly every top ten list of this year, so why not this one? And while the enigmatic Thump Newton is undoubtedly behind of the heinous acts in the film, the true nemesis is the stark landscape of the frozen rural Ozarks. It's grim enough, in subject matter, before the camera drapes a cold blanket of dread across the story. Even if winter does eventually throw our protagonist a bone, it's hard to shake the chill.

1. Dr. Ronald Chevalier - Smug doesn't begin to describe the manuscript-thieving sci-fi author in "Gentlemen Broncos." From his rebuke of a young girl's choice of names for her troll character, to his attempted character assassination of young Benjamin, Chevalier is a deliciously evil comedy villain. "Gentlemen Broncos" is unfairly maligned. It's not the best movie of the year, but it's a must-see.


Cyrus - "Cyrus" - Not so much a villain as an Oedipal cock-block, Cyrus is a major drag.

Lieutenant Terence McDonagh - "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans" - He's too redemptive to be a villain but Nic Cage's madcap performance is awesome. Also in the much-maligned category.

Red Mist - "Kick-Ass" - The Red Mist's turn was tragic. Hopefully he lives up to his closing words in the upcoming "Kick-Ass 2."

Might have made this list if I had gotten around to seeing the films (it's been a busy semester):

Dr. Heiter - "The Human Centipede"

Bronson - "Bronson"

If I missed any, lemme know!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Huh? Moments in Advertising

The greatest aspect of this critical drubbing isn't even in the column. It's a perfect example of incongruous Web advertising.

The review is terrific. I love a lambasting with style. "Bad taste doesn't begin to describe the revulsion it evokes when you first hold it in your hands," writes Rutten. Brilliant.

I wonder, then, his reaction to the ads that follow the column, under the dateline. You have to read the column for this to make sense. But in case it changes, here's the "Ads by Google" block that follows Rutten's review:

Lamps Plus®-Official Site
Home Lighting, Furniture and D├ęcor. 1000s of Items Ship Free!
Looking for Lamp Shades?
Shop All Styles & Sizes Online Find the Best Deals Here!
Drum Lamp Shades - Cheap
Get Great Deals on Lovely Drum Lamp Shades. Save Big on Many Styles!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Rain Radio... G Dazzle Theme Hour

Radiohead - Sit Down, Stand Up

Prince - Purple Rain

BJ Thomas - Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

Curley Weaver - Some Rainy Day

Singing in the Rain

Johnnie Ray - Just Walking in the Rain

Irma Thomas - It's Raining

Marty Robbins - September in the Rain

Bobby Darin - Don't Rain On My Parade

Supertramp - It's Raining Again

Eddie Rabbitt - I love a Rainy Night

Steve Young - Montgomery in the Rain

Ryan Adams - Damn, Sam (I love a woman that rains)

Tom Waits - A Little Rain (For Clyde)

The Beatles - Rain

Blind Melon - No Rain

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown

What is it about The Kings of Leon that makes them so much fun to listen to? At the risk of deconstruction, I offer this analysis:

1. Simple song structure - the hallmark of a good pop band is taking simple, repetitive chord structures and turning them into something inimitable.

2. Good bass - the best bands know how to weight their instruments. Guitar idolatry is a sin. An alternate harmony bass line is sacrosanct. Especially if you've figured out a clean, organic sound like KOL has. Think "Longview" or "Seven Nation Army." It's all about the bass.

3. Voice - obvious, but a good voice that doesn't insist on album domination allows a huge range.

First impressions: way-past-bed-bottle-of-wine-deep edition:

Totally enjoyable, fun listening. How can you not like this band? A bright summery sound that complements a barbecue, drunken conversation, walk to school or anything in between. As I drove through the northwest Sierras last summer, listening to "Only By the Night," I was overjoyed - this band travels and they make traveling music.

Shades of Huey Lewis, Elvis Costello, the Kinks, the Police and the Avett Brothers. Somehow, KOL evokes favorites without being derivative. The best drinking music I could imagine.

Check out "Come Around Sundown," the latest Kings of Leon record.

Recommended: "Birthday" and "Back Down South"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2010

This year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival had a lot to live up to. It didn't fail. It was as emotionally powerful as ever. And a lot of fun. Here's some pics I took over a couple of days. Be sure to check out The Life of Rasket for some equally (well almost) good pictures of the event. Click on the pictures for the full-size image.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops play old-timey tunes with verve and panache.
Jugs, Jews harp, they are decidedly more low-tech than most of the other bands, even at a bluegrass festival.

With impeccable style, no less.

My favorite crowd shot. There's so much to see in this photo. I especially like the anxious girl in red.

Elvis Costello and Jerry Douglas slayed 'em.


Exene is incredible - a really haunting beautiful sound.

This is a nice stage because it's not overcrowded. You can move around and see the bands from different places.

Exene talked about the Phoenix Hotel. Apparently, she's seen a ghost in her 20+ years staying there.

Exene was one of many to sing songs about L.A. I didn't hear anyone do "If You're Going to San Francisco."

Someone snapping a photo of Patti Smith amongst the throngs.

Go Giants!

Patti Smith is an amazing presence. Her "Play With Fire" cover was exceptional. She drew the most tears, from what I could tell.

Randy Newman. Wonder if he brought that piano from home.

Nice Gillian Welch suspenders.

Lots of stylish people to gawk at.

"I Love L.A." may have sparked some rivalry in the audience.

Dancing to "Stacy's Mom." Fountains of Wayne was a bit of a head-scratcher,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Great Movie Blogs

Aside from the illustrious webpage you're gazing at now, there are quite a few great websites for film buffs. Here are some of my favorites:

IMDB is the go-to site for film information. It's almost always accurate and has great cross-referencing for the who-what-when-where's.

Rotten Tomatoes is a "meta-critic" style site that aggregates professional and amateur reviewers into a nice tidy score. They have some good features and it's a great place to compare professional critics' opinions.

VideoETA shows DVD release dates. It's super useful at my work and when you are holding your breath for the next season of Mad Men to come out.

The AV Club is the Onion's sister publication with game, music, TV, book and movie reviews. They have cool pop culture features like their weekly "inventory" where they come up with pop culture ephemera fitting a certain theme: i.e. "14 Cases of Actors Getting Cut Entirely From Notable Films." Cool stuff but beware: the AV Club has the worst comments board of any respectable website I know.

Sight and Sound is one of the better film magazines in the world. It's the British Film Institute's publication and it has a healthy focus on foreign and art films as well as a conscious respect for the importance of film critique. Unfortunately their website has a limited amount of what the print edition has to offer but there's still some tasty treats (like this awesome feature on filmmaker's favorite soundtracks).

Speaking of soundtracks, Sleazy Listening is a great source of less-noteworthy film scores. As the name suggests it has a focus on b-grade/grindhouse/eurotrash tunes that are often surprisingly good.

Dark Horizons has a good collection of trailers and industry news/gossip. It's really best for the trailers as it collects more than any other site I've found.

If you're into horror it's hard to beat Fangoria and Rue Morgue. Fangoria definitely has horror buff cred but I tend to like the coverage and tone of Rue Morgue a little better. Like other print magazines, their websites have limited features.

The Criterion Collection has a pretty website (as you would expect from their cover art) that's mostly up to sell their (very, very expensive) DVDs and BluRays. But it's fun to drool over and they have fun features where they ask filmmakers to talk about their favorite Criterion movies. It's also a good place to do some "impressive-artsy-party-talk" fact-finding to cover up the fact that I really only watch Hot Tub Machine and the Andy Griffith Show.

Flavorpill is a decent arts/culture website. I actually don't look at their site much but I get a daily email with links to cool sites about pop culture. It's called "Daily Dose" and it's one of the few companies whose newsletter I've ever signed up for and enjoyed.

IFC and Slashfilm are both pretty decent websites that cover the industry and art of film. They deserve a mention.

And as far as critics go, I only regularly read Mick LaSalle in the SF Chronicle and Charlie Meyers in the North Coast Journal. But I also enjoy reading Kenneth Turan (LA Times) and A.O. Scott (NY Times).

I'm sure there are dozens (if not more) of other websites with great content, and I'd love to hear about them. When you get into blogs about specific types of movies/actors/music you start to find some obsessively awesome collections of lore and ephemera. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Song of the Week

Smokin' into Texas with the hammer down... Time to get pumped for HSB!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Song Frenzy

My girlfriend thinks I'm insane. But I can't get over this song. I don't think I've ever listened to anything so many times in 48 hours. Twice on the way to school today. Twice on the way home. Once on the way to dinner. Once back. And when I post it here, it's gonna have to be played to make sure it works properly.

I don't know why I like it. It's the official song of World Cup 2010 (fuuuuuuck yeah), so maybe that's it. Football and global camaraderie kinda give me chills anyway.

It's also that classic chord progression - used by many songs - but it stands out here. The lyrics are bombastic and cheesy, and it has that subtle undertone of Disney-fied (Rachael said it sounded like the Lion King soundtrack) "world" music. Like, just exotic enough to be cool, but totally safe for housewives. Like Slumdog Millionaire.

Regardless, I can't get it out of my head, and it was giving me major, major chills on my way to school today.

By the way, this is the World Cup remix, the original can be heard here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I just had an epiphany, the day that the new panhandling abatement law goes into effect in Arcata. What if, using the same guidelines for targeting nuisance or aggressive spanging, we fined those caught giving money, rather than those receiving it. The long term effect would be the same, corner campers and the like would give up because their business would go away. People who otherwise want to give would be directed to donate in the appropriate way, and the houseless would feel less targeted. Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

G Dazzle Theme Hour - Numbers Part 2

Part 2 of G Dazzle Theme Hour: Numbers...

Beach Boys - 409

Public Enemy - 911 Is a Joke

Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home

Green Day - 2000 Light Years Away

10,000 Maniacs - Everyday is Like Sunday

Captain Beefheart - Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles

Tommy Tutone - Jenny

Bill Haley and the Comets - Rock Around the Clock

The Searchers - Love Potion # 9

The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives

Morphine - Slow Numbers

Panic! at the Disco - Nine in the Afternoon

Tom Waits - 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent black Lightning

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

G Dazzle Theme Hour

# Numbers #

The Fixx - Saved By Zero

Three Dog Night - One

Marvin Gaye - It Takes Two

The Doors - Five to One

White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

Beatles - Eight Days a Week

Dolly Parton - Nine to Five

The Crests - 16 Candles

Alice Cooper - Eighteen

Avett Brothers - Four Thieves Gone

Paul Simon - 50 ways to Leave Your Lover

? and the Mysterians - 96 Tears

Nena - 99 Red Balloons

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen

Prince - 1999

Thursday, March 25, 2010

G Dazzle Theme Hour CANDY

This week's show was all about the sweets.

Here's the playlist: (the recording starts at Wilco, sorry. You an click on the links before that to watch them on youtube)

Bow wow wow - I want Candy

Chordettes - Lollipop

Tom Waits - Ice Cream Man

Marcy Playground - Sex and Candy

Tiny Tim - Good Ship Lollipop

Wilco - Candy Floss

Lonely Island - Ras Trent

Mr. Loco - Bubblegum

MC Chris - I Want Candy

Harry McClintock - Big Rock Candy Mountain

Dave Rawlings Machine - Sweet Tooth

Nacho Libre - Encarnacion

Celia Cruz - Obla Di Obla Da

Dan Wilson - Sugar

Sleater-Kinney - Buy Her Candy

The Raveonettes - You Want The Candy

Dead Prez - Be Healthy

Tom Waits - Chocolate Jesus

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break Beer-nanza

In which I go with Sean on his pre-wedding trip to San Francisco and Santa Rosa to drink some of the best beer in the world (isn't California great?!).

Monday night in Fremont, a warm, gardenia smelling city that reminds me of my childhood trips to San Jose. It's March and the air is already warm by 8 a.m. A jump across the bay to SFO and we're into the city. We've picked up Paul, Sean's cousin. He's a soft-spoken beer judge, humble tome of knowledge and Germanic brew-wizard.

A few circles around the block and we're parked in the hotel garage. Immediately fire alarms are going off. A soothing, calm male voice suggests we use the stairs- not the elevator- to return to the first story. No one down there looks concerned and the elevators are running so we unload on the ninth floor and fill the sink with beer. Then ice. I begin to wonder if we should heed the voice that joins us in our room. As we leave, the maid beams. "Juss a tess!"

Magnolia Pub and Brewery for lunch - bratwurst and sauerkraut. A pint of cask 'Cole Porter' and another of 'Stout of Circumstance'. The pub is bright and airy and mellow. A good start to the day. I've already decided to try and replicate the appetizer Sean orders. Candied dates stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon. mmm. Also, scotch eggs, which I'm amazed haven't caught on here on the west coast.

OK. Amoeba, which takes a good while to browse through and I still don't feel like I saw even half of it. The comm system chirps, "Attention Amoeba shoppers: if you lost your string cheese, it's at the information counter." At least I found some Patton. Spoon's good too. Maybe not ga ga ga good, but good. We learn the McDonald's bathroom gambit.

As the buzz wears thin we walk to Toronado, the unlikeliest best bar in SF. It's packed at 2 p.m. and it only gets busier. We swoop a table from a fellow wearing an early 90s Arcata Oyster Fest sweater and it's on.

My guilt for going into a dark bar on a nice warm day is quickly assuaged by the maelstrom of Toronado. It's a dark, loud bar. The mellowest band on the jukebox is .38 Special - which I play - along with Waylon and... something else. Most of the day we listen to Mastodon and QOTSA, which is somehow perfect.

There are hundreds of tap handles, stickers, autographed magnums and other paraphernalia. This place is legendary, and they know it.

I order an Alagash White, Double Hefeweizen, Bombay by Boat, an IPA whose name I've forgotten and... I'm still pretty sure I'm missing one - we'll never know. Sean orders a $35 bottle of Lost Abbey's Cable Car. It's an American Wild Ale, and it's sour like nothing I've ever had before. It's indescribable but it's heavenly.

My in-the-trenches seminar has begun and it's the best way to experience beer. I may not remember most of the details, but I'm developing a palette, experimenting and exploring. Life is good.

Sean introduces himself to the owner of Moonlight Brewing, who also happens to be delivering the beer (that he personally brews) to the bar. Talk about a one-man-band. By the time he carries his keg into the back, there's a glass of beer waiting for him at the end of the bar.

We leave with a healthy volume of beer in our guts. The sky is yellow with high streaky clouds. We get our picture taken in front of the bar. Apparently, I've forgotten how to smile.

Taxi to the 21st Amendment Brewery for dinner. I have two pints of their pale ale. It's good, but the pub is bright, loud and clean compared to our afternoon haunt. It's nice, but it feels gentrified and sterile. Sean mistakes imperial ale for "period ale," and our hostess pretends not to notice.

Bellies full, we're in a cab back to the hotel. Our cabbie mistakes us for gay bachelors, and roars through yellow lights. Cabbies on the east side of SF drive too fast.

Back at the hotel, I drink a tall can of Surly Bender - "the best beer in a can." Paul falls asleep with an empty can in his hand while Sean and I try to decide which $14.95 movie to order. Luckily we both fall asleep before charging anything to the room.

I wake up bright and early. Sean and Paul have been up for an hour at least, but 8:30 a few days after spring forward is good for me. Breakfast at the hotel ends at 9:30. We show up at 9:40. There's an above average diner around the block. A toothless gentleman wearing thigh-high white socks, pink crocs and camo shorts paces the sidewalk. I'm pretty sure he's the definition of "don't give a shit."

We spend a couple of comfortable hours in the car. From 580 south of Oakland I see an Old Crow tag daubed across a corrugated steel rooftop. We dodge around a smoking truck on a frontage road. We are not city folk.

Santa Rosa Travelodge: about what you'd expect. It's a great place to sleep, especially since it's only a few blocks from the Russian River Brewery. This is Sean's Eden. It's a damned shame he ate so many hotwings last night. He is physically incapable of appreciating his favorite beer. I start with Pliny the Elder, their double IPA. It's hoppy, slightly sugary and delicious. Then Redemption, a blonde Belgian. Happy Hops pale ale. Rejection Belgian black. AUD blonde. I now know what IBU and ABV means. Pliny the Elder again. I now know what a Randall is.

The Danish Dynamite, Sean's brother-in-law, eats an entire 16 inch pizza, then declares it disgusting. He will go on to eat an enormous sundae minutes later.

The Flavor Bistro makes me yearn for urban, sophisticated cooking. Lamb roast for $18. It's tender. I drink more Moonlight Brewing Company: Misspent Youth, and Lunatic Lager. I love lagers. We go back to the hotel satiated and drink Cazadores.

Congratulations, S+J.

Friday, March 12, 2010

G Dazzle's Theme Hour

Non-motorized transportation ... I decided to wrap up the theme this week. Enjoy (sorry, I didn't get the Proclaimers in time)

Proclaimers - I Would Walk 500 Miles

Flock of Seagulls - I Ran

Missing Persons - Walking in L.A.

Iron Maiden - Run To The Hills

America - Horse With No Name

Big & Rich - Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy

Gene Autry - Back in the Saddle Again

Bobby Darin - Michael Row Your Boat Ashore

Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Weezer - Surfwax America

John Hartford - Gum Tree Canoe

Styx - Come Sail Away

The Thrills - Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Humby TV

Check out this site. These guys are doing awesome video productions about local arts, culture, sports, etc. A positive image of Humboldt County.

2010 Oscar Contest

That's right - the 2010 G Dazzle Oscar contest is underway.

In order to win this year's fabulous prize, simply post your predictions for each Oscar category into the comments on this page. The person with the most right answers will win the G Dazzle prize pack. You don't have to be local (Arcata, CA) to win.

To see this year's nominees, follow this link.

Be sure to tune in to The Man Who Knew Too Much on Friday at 5 for Oscar movie music and a few hints - if you need them. Listen live at

- Answers MUST be turned in by NOON PST Sunday, March 7.
- The person with the most correct answers will win.
- Identify yourself - anonymous comments will not count (contact info can be arranged later).

Good Luck!

Here's a handy cut & paste template for you to post your answers in the comments for this page.

Best Picture -

Actor in a Leading Role -

Actor in a Supporting Role -

Actress in a Leading Role -

Actress in a Supporting Role -

Animated Feature Film -

Art Direction -

Cinematography -

Costume Design -

Directing -

Documentary Feature -

Documentary Short -

Film Editing -

Foreign Language Film -

Makeup -

Music (Original Score) -

Music (Original Song) -

Short Film (Animated) -

Short Film (Live Action) -

Sound Editing -

Sound Mixing -

Visual Effects -

Writing (Adapted Screenplay) -

Writing (Original Screenplay) -

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Man Who Knew Too Much - Friday 2/26/10

Actors who took a shot at singing careers... The good. The bad. The ugly. Enjoy!

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Theme

Scarlett Johansson - Falling Down

Juliette & the Licks - You're speaking My language

She and Him - Please Please Please Let Me Go

William Shatner - Common People

Jimmy Fallon - Idiot Boyfriend

30 Seconds to Mars - The Kill

David Hasselhoff - Hooked on a Feeling

Robert Downey Jr. - Broken

Eddie Murphy - Party all the Time

Robert Mitchum - Beauty is only Skin Deep

Boxmasters -She's looking better every minute

Crispin Glover - Clowny Clowny Clown

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Here's my Wednesday bare-it-all show. A little flustered in the beginning.

Two regrets:

1. I could not find Sean's request - Diego's Umbrella... I will play at a future date.

2. I chickened out and could not play this EXCELLENT Richard Thompson song (naughty words). So PLEASE listen to this on his website (click on "Dear Janet Jackson")


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michaela's Wedding Show

Frank Sinatra - Love and marriage

Postal Service - Such great heights

White Stripes - we're gonna be friends

Rupert Holmes - Escape

Moldy Peaches - Anyone else but you

Gavin Mcgraw - I don't want to

Jason Mraz - You and I both

Tom Waits - Never Let Go

Mariah Carey and Luther vandross - Endless Love

RJD2 - The shining

Avett Brothers - January Wedding

Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kokatat News Package

News package - My final from Video Production last semester...

The video player doesn't fit on this blog template, so hit the fullscreen button to see it as originally intended.