Friday is List Day When I Say It’s List Day

This is probably the most uneven feature on the blog, but I like to make me some lists from time to time. It’s just not predictable, I guess. Anyway, enjoy.

Not So Random Ten

I suppose an explanation is in order. Normally I start off a list day post with 10 random songs from my playlist. Lately, I’ve come to realize that my music selection has become rather stale. So I’m attempting to liven things up a bit, with some help, of course. Any musical recommendations are welcome, though I suppose I can’t guarantee I’ll listen to everything… Anyway, what this means is that the selection below isn’t quite as random as normal. Some of it is new, some of it is old, some I’ve heard before, some I haven’t.

  • Vendetta Red – “Shatterday”
  • Arcade Fire – “Intervention”
  • The Animals – “House of the Rising Sun”
  • The Mars Volta – “Aberinkula”
  • The Mars Volta – “Metatron”
  • Sufjan Stevens – “Come On! Feel The Illinoise!”
  • Sufjan Stevens – “They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!”
  • Modest Mouse – “Paper Thin Walls”
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Hanuman”
  • Sigur Ros – “Hoppípolla”

5 Annoying Things People Do When Playing NHL 10 Online

  • Abandon A Game – This happens all the time, and it’s really annoying. Picture this: You’re playing a game of hockey online, and for once, you’re doing really well. The puck is bouncing your way, you’re putting up a pretty good wall of defense, and you’re actually getting scoring chances. You’re about halfway through the game, and you’ve just taken a 4-1 lead when… your opponent quits the game. Now, it can be intensely frustrating to play this game against someone who is a lot better than you, so I can sympathize, but at the same time, this is a douchey thing to do. Indeed, some of the Trophies you can earn are dependent on actually finishing the game (this happened to me for the Century Play trophy, a gold-level trophy I’ve been slowly chipping away at for a few months now). Of course, there are accidents. People lose connectivity, etc… But those are rare. This happens way too often.
  • Watch All the Cut-Scenes/Highlights – Dude, come on, they’re the same damn things every game. There’s no reason to do this. None. It’s a big waste of time. Sure, you want to watch a particular goal because you’re amazed at how good I am (or you want to rub your talent in my face), fine, that’s understandable. But that should be maybe once or twice a game, not during every goddamn whistle. Also related, but not a full-blown pet peeve, are the people who pause the game constantly for some reason. I’m assuming it’s because they’re fiddling with their lines or something, but that’s still annoying. Real players can win with what they’re given.
  • Play With The All-Star Team – Look, if you’re really that bad, maybe you should put in some time playing the CPU on Hardcore Superstar until you get better or something. Choosing the All-Stars as your team just pisses me off. It’s bad enough that most people seem to choose amazingly good hockey teams like Pittsburg or the Canadiens, but there’s at least a reasonable chance that those people are legitimate fans. I play with the Flyers. A good team, but nowhere near the best.
  • Gratuitous Fight Picking – This is partly the game’s fault for allowing so much shenanigans after the whistle and there is a place for fighting in the game (among other things, it boosts your lines energy, etc…), but that doesn’t mean we need to take EA up on the offer every time gameplay stops.
  • Playing With A Slow Connection – Really? You want to play a game that’s this choppy? Gimme a break. This is the one time I think it’s acceptable to abandon a game (but you need to be sure you’re not the offending party, in that case).

All that said, I am enjoying myself with the game. Now I just need to figure out the online league thing. I created a team and I have like 7 members on the team, but I can’t figure out how to join a league or play a game. I guess some of my other members have to be online or something. Damnit.

The 2009 Holiday Movie Season

I’ve noticed lately that people are starting to put out best of the decade lists. Me, I have a hard enough time putting out a best of the year lists, and this year is no exception. It’s been a decent year; better than last year, but then, that’s not saying much. 2009 still suffered from the tail end of the writers’ strike, though that should be out of our system by now. And now we’re beginning to approach the time of year when Hollywood tones down the explosions and starts putting out their prestige fare in the hopes of garnering an Oscar (with at least one notable exception)… but I have to say, i was much more intrigued by the movies being dumped off in August than most of those being released in December. That being said, there are still a few movies I’m interested in seeing:

  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (November 20) – I’m a little disappointed that this isn’t getting a wide release, as it’s something that seems like a big barrel of weird fun. I mean, it stars an apparently unhinged Nicolas Cage and is directed by Werner Herzog. From what I’ve seen, I have this almost cognitive dissonance in my head that I can’t quite reconcile, but that only really makes me want to see this more. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it, but it looks like fun.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 25) – So this came out last week and I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but it looks fantastic. I’m really intrigued to see Wes Anderson tackle something outside his usual “quirky” wheelhouse (which has been getting a bit stale of late). It’s part of a larger trend this year of young, trendy directors taking on children’s stories (the other notable example being Where the Wild Things Are), which I found rather interesting. It’s also interesting in that this year really does have a lot of different animation styles going on. This movie’s got a very old-school stop-motion style, but this year you’ve also got the more advanced stop-motion of Coraline, the computer generated art of Up and even more traditional hand animated fare like Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and Miyazaki’s Ponyo.
  • Up in the Air (December 4) – Jason Reitman’s third film is garnering a lot of buzz these days. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think it will overtake Thank You for Smoking as his best film, but I have hope. But then, from what I’ve heard, it’s a bit of a downer. I’m hoping for some levity through funny cameos though…
  • The Lovely Bones (December 11) – Peter Jackson switches gears to a (relatively) low budget drama about the murder of a 14 year old? I’m there. I haven’t read the book and only have a vague idea of what it’s about, so I’m excited for this one.
  • Avatar (December 18) – I suppose this is the one exception to the traditional December fare, but despite my misgivings (this film is a charter member of the “Films I want to see even though I know they will suck” list (see the bottom of this post)), I am looking forward to the return of James Cameron. I have to admit that I’m not very impressed with what I’ve seen so far (the dialogue seems especially bad), but you never know and at the very least, it looks to have some breathtaking action sequences…
  • Other Stuff: The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio, Ninja Assassin, The Road, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Sherlock Holmes.
  • Stuff to Watch on DVD/BD: February 2 looks busy… I may have to delay my top 10 list until I see these two: Black Dynamite and The House of the Devil. I would also really like to see A Serious Man, but that’s another film that only had a very limited release and I can’t even find a date for the DVD/BD… I know nothing about Franklyn other than that it’s apparently SF and already out on DVD, so it’s in my queue. I missed Extract when it was in theaters, and it’s coming on DVD in December. Perhaps less excited about 9, Pandorum, and Jennifer’s Body, but they’re also coming out soon…

And that about covers it. Will any of these make my top 10? There is certainly a chance, but I don’t see more than 1 or 2 making it on the list (provided I manage to see all these, many of which I predict I won’t be able to due to annoying limited releases and lengthy waits for DVD/BD).

Night of the Friday is List Day

So yeah, it’s been over a year since the last List Day. I figure we’re due.

Random Ten:

  • Mike Oldfield – “Tubular Bells Part Two”
  • Nine Inch Nails – “9 Ghost I”
  • Mew – “Why Are You Looking Grave?”
  • The Who – “Welcome”
  • Clint Mansell, Kronos Quartet – “Winter Overture”
  • Soundgarden – “The Day I Tried to Live”
  • Jimi Hendrix – “Stop”
  • Steroid Maximus – “‘Pusher’ Jones”
  • Fantômas – “Investigation Of A Citizen Above Suspicion”
  • Dave / Del tha Funkee Homosapien / Handsome Boy Modeling School – “The Projects (Pjays)”

5 Interesting Documentaries Available on Netflix Instant Viewing

In honor of Netflix’s newfound PS3 support, I’ve been watching a bunch of stuff this week, including these documentaries.

  • Overnight: Wow, Troy Duffy (of Boondock Saints fame) is a tremendous douchebag.
  • Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired: A little too sympathetic to fugitive child rapist Polanski, but that’s a tough line to walk and the movie does a reasonable job in spite of that. Apparently a sequel covering recent happenings is in the works.
  • Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film: It’s a fun film for fans of the genre (I wrote about this before).
  • Revolution OS: Seems to be a reasonable overview of the rise of Free Software, Linux, and Open Source. Like most movies about technology, it’s out of date, but still interesting.
  • Zombiemania: I don’t even really like Zombie movies that much, but I love watching documentaries about movies, so this was fun.

5 Other Documentaries I Want to Watch

That’s all for now. I doubt this will be the regular feature it once was, but you never know…

Link Dump: Top 10s and Some Nitpicking

Time is short, so here are a few links to end of the year movie lists and the like. Still not sure when I’ll get to my top 10, but it probably won’t be this week.

  • The 2008 Top Tens – Movie City News collects and aggregates 286 top 10 lists, ranking the movies by number of list mentions and a weighted version that considers how high on each list a given movie was ranked. The top 5 movies on the list are WALL-E, The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk and The Wrestler. Not a bad list, though at most, only two of those will be appearing on my list. One nitpicky frustration – why on earth did they put all the data in images? It makes it a lot more difficult to find a movie you want to know about.
  • The 19 Best Movies That You Didn’t See in 2008: An interesting list of the underdistributed, sometimes underrated films of last year. Except for Speed Racer, which was horrible. Honestly though, this year’s list isn’t as good as last year’s list, which I take as just another sign that 2008 was not a particularly good year for movies.
  • jim’s ten best favorite movies of 2008: the movie – Jim Emerson’s top ten is presented in the form of an 8 minute montage of clips from his favorite movies. I was able to name 4 of them (probably because I haven’t seen the other 6, and I have to say, I didn’t see anything in his clips that indicated that I was missing anything). Kind of a stereotypical critic’s list… but I’m greatly looking forward to his 2nd annual Exploding Head Awards (that’s a link to last year’s awards – he hasn’t posted this year’s yet).
  • Speaking of Jim Emerson, he’s been doing some spectacular nit picking (don’t miss Part 2) on The Dark Knight, particularly with the first sequence in the film which culminates with a school bus merging with other school busses. If you still haven’t seen The Dark Knight, don’t read his posts! They will put you in the wrong frame of mind to watch the movie (or any movie, for that matter – at least, any movie you’re watching for the first time). Now, these are nitpicks, but I do believe that Emerson has a point. I love the movie, and I’m sure regular readers wouldn’t be surprised that it will be my top movie of the year, but it isn’t perfect. There are several sequences that cheat in one way or another, whether it be through editing or awkward camera angles or any other number of filmmaking tricks. Emerson’s argument boils down to a question of whether the filmmaking tricks employed in TDK impair suspension of disbelief. I would say that when I view a movie, I have a certain sense of moviegoing goodwill. When I watch a movie, I want it to be good, I want to be sucked in and immersed in the world a film creates. But sometimes there are things that happen in a movie that are simply unbelievable. These movies knock you out of the movie’s world and force you to recognize that you’re actually sitting in a theater (or on a couch, or whatever). These moments work against my moviegoing goodwill. Usually a single moment won’t do it – it’s a culmination of things. After a while, my goodwill runs out and the movie simply can’t recover. The Dark Knight obviously grated on Emerson. He found himself wondering about all the details of the various things that were being presented to him. He claims this was a sorta unconscious effect. He knew he didn’t like the movie, but couldn’t explain why until he’d seen the movie a few more times on DVD/BR, where he could really dig into it. That’s when he started noticing all of the shots or edits that worked against his suspension of disbelief. Now, I didn’t have that problem. Indeed, I’ve seen the movie 5 times since it came out, and while a couple of things jumped out at me during my first and second viewing, I didn’t really start to think about it until the 5th viewing, at which point some of the imperfections became more clear. But even then, it wasn’t enough to ruin my moviegoing goodwill. Even reading Emerson’s well thought out objections, I find that I can see his point without granting that it ruins the movie or the suspension of disbelief that is required to watch it. I’m interested by this sort of thing, because I think people like the movies they like for less rational reasons than we’re willing to admit. There are a lot of great movies that I can nitpick to death, but still love anyway. So when I find myself trying to explain why I dislike a movie with something like “Well he fired 8 shots out of that there revolver! You can’t do that!” or “…giant humanoid robots really don’t make any sense” I think what I’m really trying to say is that the movie did not pull me in and immerse me in it’s own world. The frustrating thing about this is that I think this can be dependant on mood. Context matters, and there are certainly times when I’m muchmore willing to suspend disbelief than I would normally be… and vice versa. Well, I’ve babbled on long enough, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Didn’t mean to get off on that tangent there. That last subject is perhaps something I’d like to revisit at some point, but it will not be tonight…

Friday is List Day

Another Friday, another list day.

Random 10: The Guitar Hero Edition

Ok, perhaps not random, but 10 songs from Guitar Hero III that I like

  • Social Distortion – “Story of My Life”
  • The Strokes – “Reptilia”
  • The Killers – “When You Were Young”
  • Weezer – “My Name Is Jonas”
  • Muse – “Knights of Cydonia”
  • Kaiser Chiefs – “Ruby”
  • Senses Fail – “Can’t Be Saved”
  • Naast – “Mauvais Garçon”
  • Backyard Babies – “Minus Celsius”
  • DragonForce – “Through the Fire and Flames”

Incidentally, I was finally able to actually complete “Through the Fire and Flames” on medium difficulty this week with a whopping 68% of notes played. I’m not sure if I’m really any better at Guitar Hero so much as I’ve memorized the songs and developed muscle memory, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to give myself arthritis if I keep playing the game a lot.

10 Favorite TV/Movie Robots

In honor of WALL·E, here are 10 great movie robots (not necessarily great movies though:P) Ok, I cheated and put some cyborgs on the list. In no particular order:

The Friday is List Day Caper

It’s been a long time since a proper list day, so here’s a few lists. First off comes a meme from Aziz that will take the place of the usual random ten songs:

Seven Songs I Am Into Right Now

  • DragonForce – “Through The Fire And Flames”
  • Weezer – “Only in Dreams”
  • Tool – “10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)”
  • The Heavy – “That Kind of Man”
  • Radiohead – “Bodysnatchers”
  • UNKLE – “Nursery Rhyme / Breather”
  • Mr. Bungle – “Carousel”

So basically, I need to start listening to some new music. Heh.

Top 5 Heist Movies

  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001): Probably the most purely entertaining films of this century, and very well made too.
  • Heat: Michael Mann’s brilliant cops and robbers story contains some of the more memorable realistic heists, including one of the best gunfights in film history. Perhaps a little long and a little unfocused, but it all works for me.
  • (tie) Bob le flambeur and The Good Thief: Yes, I’m cheating, this is a tie. However, The Good Thief is a remake of Bob le flambeur, and they’re both pretty good examples of the heist genre. The newer film has more of the modern conventions of heist films (and it does a good job subverting them as well), while the original helped establish the conventions of heist films (the original is a little slower than the remake, but still worth a watch). The ending of both approaches what Roger Ebert describes as “cosmic irony.”
  • The Killing: Before Stanley Kubrick made a name for himself, he worked on a couple of genre pics, this being one of the finest examples of film noir and heist films.
  • The Bank: Underrated Australian caper flick that might be a little out of place on this list, but I wanted to put it on because almost no one has seen it and it’s worth a watch…

This was hard, there are lots of movies I wanted to put on the list, but fell off for various reasons, including The Usual Suspects (the capers really aren’t the focus of the film though), The Asphalt Jungle (pretty much the blueprint for the modern heist film), The Killers (not really a heist film, though it does feature a heist shown with a great tracking shot), Heist and Die Hard

Top 5 Heist Movies I should Have Seen Before Compiling the Above List

Interestingly, it seems that most of these films are on Filmspotting’s next marathon. Score.

5 More Good Heist Movies I forgot to mention earlier

Ok, so now that I’ve mentioned 20 heist films (without mentioning Dog Day Afternoon!), I guess I should stop.

Friday is List Day: Oscars Edition

The Oscars are this weekend, so here’s a few lists for your enjoyment including some movie related ones. Oh, and of course, I’ll be liveblogging the Oscars (as I did last year, and even a few years before that). Feel free to stop by and play along!

Random Ten

  • Eels – “Rock Hard Times”
  • Guster – “I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today”
  • Weezer – “The Good Life”
  • Mr. Bungle – “Egg”
  • The Who – “Pinball Wizard”
  • The New Pornographers – “Twin Cinema”
  • Mansun & 808 State – “Skin Up Pin Up”
  • Tool – “The Pot”
  • KMFDM – “Blame”
  • Radiohead – “Bodysnatchers”

Top 5 3 Oscar Pseudo-Blunders

Everyone does Oscar Blunders lists, but there are some that I’ve always thought were being a little too harsh. Were the below wins really a “blunder”? Probably, but I think it’s worth considering that the films that won…

  • Rocky beats 3 classics – I think Rocky‘s sequels have irrevocably ruined the reputation of the first film, which is a lot better than most people seem to give it credit for. On the other hand, is it really a better film than Taxi Driver, Network, and All the President’s Men (other nominees that lost)? That’s a tough lineup to beat, to be sure, and I’m conflicted. Taxi Driver is indeed one of my favorite films, but so is Rocky and if I had to watch one of them right now, I’d probably pick Rocky. It’s perhaps not objectively a better-made film, but subjectively, I could definitely see Rocky winning.
  • Titanic wins best picture: This movie gets unfairly maligned, I think, because it just didn’t go away. The film was in theaters for months, we had to listen to that stupid song for months, and we had to watch all those teenage girls swoon over Leo. Nevertheless, Titanic is a good film, and it didn’t have much in the way of comptetition. The only other nominee that puts up a fight is L.A. Confidential, which I agree is a good film, but is this really a huge blunder?
  • <a href="Annie Hall“>Annie Hall beats out Star Wars: On a personal subjective level, there’s no way Star Wars should have lost to Annie Hall. But now that I’m older, and now that I’ve had the Star Wars franchise knocked down a peg or two by the prequels, I think it’s fair to say that, you know, the first Star Wars film was poorly made and it pales in comparison to The Empire Strikes Back. But then, I really don’t like Annie Hall at all. I recognize it as a well made film and it did make me laugh a few times, but hell, we’re talking Star Wars here! Ok, maybe this is a huge blunder.

Alright, so this list didn’t go so well and I can’t think of any more. Fleh. See you Sunday.

Friday is List Day: Book List Meme

Looks like there’s a book meme making the rounds:

Read it? Bold it.

Start it, but didn’t finish it? Italicize it.

Hated it? Strike it through.

As you can see, there are few books that I’ve started and not finished (and the ones I have were only started due to some sort of school assignment that didn’t require a complete reading). I also don’t hate many of the books, but perhaps that’s just because I think hate is a pretty strong word. (I have no idea where this list of books came from – it’s a mildly ecclectic mix of old and new. I guess Sara just made it up? Strange.)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment


One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi: A Novel

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick


Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Iliad


The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations

American Gods

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Atlas Shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Memoirs of a Geisha



Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Love in the Time of Cholera

Brave New World

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum



The Count of Monte Cristo


A Clockwork Orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible


Angels & Demons

The Inferno

The Satanic Verses

Sense and Sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

To the Lighthouse

Oliver Twist

Tess of the Dubervilles

Gulliver’s Travels

Les Miserables

The Corrections

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


The Prince

The Sound and the Fury

Angela’s Ashes

A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present

The God of Small Things



A Confederacy of Dunces

A Short History of Nearly Everything


The Unbearable Lightness of Being


The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake: A Novel

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Cloud Atlas

The Confusion



Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road

The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The Aeneid

Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit

In Cold Blood

Treasure Island

White Teeth

David Copperfield

The Three Musketeers

And Roy’s additions:

For Whom the Bell Tolls


War of the Worlds

The Invisible Man

Time Machine

Old Man and the Sea

Bluest Eye

The Republic

The Bible

Alice in Wonderland

Wizard of Oz

Return to Oz

Ender’s Game



The Chronicles of Narnia


The Stranger

Animal Farm

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Lord of the Flies

Naked Lunch

The Confessions of Nat Turner

Rabbit, Run

As I Lay Dying

Snow Crash

The Sound and the Fury

The Great Gatsby


Charlotte’s Web

The Giving Tree

Good Night Moon

A Wrinkle in Time


I suppose I could add some books, but there’s no real limit here and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of theme, so I’ll just leave it be.

Bride of Friday is List Day

It’s been months since I’ve posted one of these, and even Roy isn’t doing this anymore, but I figure, why not?

Random Ten

  • The Secret Machines – “Road Leads Where It’s Led”
  • Yoko Kanno – “Too Good Too Bad”
  • Guster – “Red Oyster Cult”
  • Mike Oldfield – “Tubular Bells Part One”
  • UNKLE – “Bloodstain”
  • Weezer – “Hash Pipe”
  • The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”
  • Modest Mouse – “People as Places”
  • Steroid Maximus – “Aclectasis”
  • Jimi Hendrix – “Machine Gun”

5 Underappreciated or Unknown Horror Movies

  • Mute Witness: Perhaps not strictly a horror film, but it’s a very tense thriller, which is close enough in my book.
  • Bay of Blood: A great openeing sequence, lots of inventive death sequences (most of which were lifted by American films, notably the Friday the 13th series), and an ending so absurd that I’m still not sure it actually happened.
  • Parents: I haven’t seen this in years and it probably doesn’t really count as horror, but I think I’m one of about 6 people who’ve ever seen this. It plays it’s story straight, but it’s almost kinda funny.
  • Bubba Ho-tep: I don’t know if this counts as overrated, but Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis (who had faked his death) fighting a mummy in a Texas old-folks home (alongside a black JFK). What more can you ask for?
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate: Heh, just kidding.

Friday is List Day

If Friday really is list day, I should really be doing this every week. For some reason, I sometimes don’t get around to it, but really, how hard is it?

Random Ten

  • Faith No More – “Hippie Jam Song”
  • Pigface – “The Greenhouse”
  • Skinny Puppy – “The Killing Game”
  • Gypsy Kings – “Baila Me”
  • Stabbing Westward – “Control”
  • Aerosmith – “Big Ten Inch Record (unplugged)”
  • Radiohead – “Life in a Glasshouse”
  • Einstürzende Neubauten – “Sie”
  • Yoko Kanno & Seatbelts – “Rush”
  • Coheed and Cambria – “Coheed and Cambria / XI”

Five Podcasts I Listen To

That’s all for now.