Ryan’s Junk Drawer

"With great junk, comes great responsibility" - Better Off Ted

It's been too long since you saw my junk. I'm embarrassed, but last Friday I just couldn't get it up. That sacred day that signals the beginning of the (week)end, the day reserved by a devoted legion of followers out there for rolling around in my junk, came and went with nary a peek. It wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last, but I do apologize for depriving you of my junk. How are you supposed to kick off the weekend without seeing it? It's what sets your course, gives you the direction for your free time. Why, without my junk, what would you think about all weekend? How are you supposed to get through those last few hours of your workweek without my junk?

Of course, by "junk," I mean my collection of movie tidbits and nuggets too small to warrant their own blog post. It's basically exactly what I'm doing the rest of the week, but I get to make more inappropriate references. Hey, you're lucky I didn't think of anything fart-based because, let's face it, farts are the Esperanto of comedy. We start each weekly edition of my junk by looking at the creepy-ass image above, taken from Highlights Magazine FOR CHILDREN. I choose an item and make up a story about it for no good reason. It amuses me, and until someone tells me it's (A) pointless or (B) hilarious, I'm going to just assume it's everybody's most favorite thing ever.

Today's item is the battery in the middle. Some people were outraged after Michael Bay introduced the most racist characters not currently in the Tea Party, but hey, those are the breaks when you strike a deal with Satan. The dark lord demands that you wear a mullet for eternity and introduce characters that are one "mammy" away from inciting a riot. Them's the breaks. Luckily, one intrepid fan of robots that transform into other robot-like things had enough. Infused with a passion for social justice and one of the remaining cans of 4-Loko, the erstwhile chap began stealing the batteries out of the laptops on which the CGI monstrosities were conceived. Of course, given Bay's budget of 5 billion euros, this was a mere nuisance at best, but one brave soul managed to push the release of the third installment, Transformers: We're Going After Jews and Latinos This Time back 2 days. Small victory? Certainly. But when you're fighting the right hand mullet of an unholy beast, you take what you can get.

Okay, enough with that, on to the movie news. Oh, and I'm going with something new. In the interest of only wrangling this challenging booger of a system once a day, I'm going to stick the weekly box office predictions in the fourth spot here every week right before the trailers. What? It's like how you KNOW that the duct tape and the Phillips-head screwdriver are always in the junk drawer. There's comfort in that.

1.) Set photos make Ryan sad

If you listen closely, you can hear my brief hope for the new Spider-man film slip away in the space of one W-T-F. What do I mean?


Why does my Spider-man have a black bing bong? What's he doing to that Michael Bay impersonator? Why does the spider on his back appear to have gone on a celebrity starlet diet? Why does it look like he has ice skates on? Look, I get it. They can fix a LOT in post-production. This is likely going to be tinkered with like crazy and may end up looking good. Hell, at least they're TRYING a real costume (cough, Green Lantern looks like a rejected Cartoon Network pilot). I get it, but at the same time...dude...what the hell?

2.) Affleck + Clooney = Mad man love

Ben Affleck can direct anything he wants right now.

He's that hot. If he was like "I want to finally do my live-action Gummy Bears movie," it would be in pre-production faster than you can say Battleship. So it's encouraging that a man on as much of a roll as the 'Fleck has chosen wisely. He's in negotiations to direct a project for producer George "All I do is help Darfur and bang hotties" Clooney called Argo, which sounds awesome. It's about a real-life story in which CIA operatives rescued Americans in Iran during the hostage crisis by pretending to be shooting a sci-fi movie set in Iran. Seriously. Yeah, it may sound a little like The Informant meets Wag the Dog but that's not an insult. Plus, I don't think ALL the extras in Iran can have Boston accents. Although, that would be hilarious. This is a good idea and represents both a stretch and a nice change of pace from my boy Ben. Just don't mess up. Nobody around here threw away their "Damon's Bitch" shirts with your picture on it.

3.) Dude, do you REALLY want to star with a movie that has madness in the title?

Despite opening himself for an insane number of jokes...about his insanity...Tom Cruise is reportedly doing the "maybe" dance with Guillermo del Toro for At the Mountains of Madness.

I'm not saying it's not a potentially good movie with a great director, I'm just saying when you're trying to run away from a certain image, you don't star in a movie with that in the title. I mean, that would be like Ashton Kutcher starring in Mentally Challenged or Jennifer Aniston starring in Love Me...Please. I do like that this means the project will probably actually happen, a rarity for Lovecraft adaptations that are in any way aspiring to be faithful. And you know what? Cruise is actually a great choice for the part. He's a good actor, and this is the sort of material I think he handles best. So, let's see. And by let's see, I mean let's see how many jokes late-night talk show hosts are going to lob at ole toothy mccruise over this one.

Fearless, Flawless Box Office Predictions

The same rules apply as usual, I'm just shoehorning this in here. The Super Bowl is this weekend, which means while I'm deciding whether it's worse to root for a team I despise more than anything that doesn't rhyme with Blenn Geck or a team with a rape-enthusiast on it, nobody is seeing movies. The biggest releases this week involve a Single White Female retread and a cave movie. Yeesh. Here's how I see it, haiku style.

1.) Sanctum - $12 million
James Cameron or not
this will not be a big hit
with non-spelunkers

2.) The Roommate - $12 million
Grr Minka Kelly!
And as far as the plot goes...
Grr...Minka Kelly!

3.) The King's Speech - $9 million
This non-best movie
keeps on racking up awards
and also my ire.

4.) No Strings Attached - $8 million
I love Natalie
but I have found my limit.
Kutcher negates her.

5.) The Rite - $7 million
Pardon me for this.
But if this is what is Rite
I'd rather be Rong.

Wildcard - The Green Hornet - 7 million
Better luck next time
This did not hit the jackpot.
Rogen, hit the bong!

5.) Trailers, Parked

For this week, we have sexy dancing,

First up is Freak Dance, a feature-length ACTUAL MUSICAL from The Upright Citizens Brigade. I love sketch comedy troupes, and when they go all-out in a full format, I usually enjoy myself (I'm thinking of you Derek Comedy). Here's what UCB has to offer...it involves rubbing.

Do you like your assassin films to involve young girls? Don't answer that. I really don't want to know. I do know that I like Cate Blanchett, I loved "Alias," and I adored Le Femme Nikita. Hanna pushes all those buttons.

This one makes me the happiest, as it is a run-of-the-mill, Apatow-styled, buddies-being-naughty comedy...only with a cast ENTIRELY made of ladies. Written by Kristen Wiig, this looks fantastic...and is 100% less likely to have jokes written by dudes trying to write funny stuff for chicks. Howsabout that? A lady-written comedy for ladies who love comedy? Here's Bridesmaids

That's it for my junk this week. I hope you enjoyed my junk. Tell your friends about my junk and follow me on Twitter (Dan Harmon, creator of "Community" retweeted me last night...so I'm a pretty big deal)!


entered on 02/04/11 at 10:13 PM | read comments »


Things You Should Buy Me (Volume 63)

Folks, I'm not the greedy bastard this column's title would have you believe. Oh, sure, I like getting stuff...but receiving like 3-5 items of the nearly 200 items I've posted in this segment has taught me that life is about NOT getting stuff. In which case, I am really, really good at life. My point is this, I'm not going to sit here and once more beg you for material goods that you will find awesome (and probably buy for yourself) but never send my way. Not this week (I will NEXT week). No, this week...it's all about love. What with us being something like 11 days away from the pointless, money-sapping, capitalist created non-holiday "holiday" known as Valentine's Day (a day so horrifying the movie based on it stars Ashton Kutcher), why not dedicate THIS week's column to "Things You Should Buy Abbie." That's right! This week's collection of three items details the newest, nerdiest things I think my largely non-nerdy wife would still enjoy. So sit back, relax, and prepare to NOT buy something for someone other than ME for once!

1.) The ladies love their baths - I don't know what it is about the process of washing themselves that women seem to enjoy so much. Most dudes I know are content to quickly wash in a shower, sometimes lingering if extra grime needs a'scrubbin' or if it's chilly outside...OR SOMETHING MANLY HAPPENED TO OUR MUSCLES!!!! My wife has been known to take 3 baths in one day. I'm told it's relaxing, and yet it seems like a latent desire to be a merperson manifesting itself if you ask me. Arguably the only thing my wife enjoys MORE than her baths is talking like Russell Brand and Mark Wahlberg. If there is a second thing she likes more than her baths, it's coffee. So this may be ideal:

ThinkGeek has created a caffeinated bubble bath. For the longest time, the problem for bath lovers has been "Baths are relaxing, so how can I take them in the morning and still be alert?" This has led to the dangerous cycle of "showers in the morning, baths in the evening," a phenomenon that may be responsible for our impending water shortage. With this strawberry-scented bubble bath, that's no longer an issue, as you can bathe in the morning while laying down AND still be woken up. Nice.

2.) Shhhh...don't tell her she's "role playing" - Honestly, the only thing my wife enjoys more than talking about the inevitable postapocalyptic scenario we'll all find ourselves in any minute now (probably zombie related) is discussing historical settlers doing settler things. So she wants to play this, she just doesn't know it.

You can also buy this at ThinkGeek , and then have a wonderful time...buying sheep and building settlements. Yes, that's right, this German-created game is all about having enough resources to start a new settlement, which involves trading sheep, building proper facilities, and staving off death. In short, it's everything Abbie wishes she could discuss every minute of the day. The funny thing is, this is an incredibly popular nerd game...and that overlap makes me giggle.

3.) If you don't watch "Community," we need an intervention - One of the things that Abbie and I agree on entirely is this: If you don't watch "Community," you hate things that are awesome. Unless you routinely save orphans from burning buildings every Thursday at 7, I don't know why you wouldn't watch this show. And even then, hello heroic baby saver, it's called DVR. At any rate, when thinking about apparel that is nerd-based, I settled on Abbie needing one of these shirts. Some of them are more on the "obvious" side of "Community" fandom, but the last one is only for die-hard lovers of the show...so it's the coolest. All of these are available at the NBC Store...and given their ratings, they could really use the business.

So there you have it: Plenty of stuff for you to buy (or more likely NOT buy) for someone OTHER than me. For the record, I think I'm going to count "giving this column" as my Valentine's Day gift this year. I knew internet writing would be good for SOMETHING.

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entered on 02/03/11 at 05:12 PM | read comments »


Daily Dump for Wednesday (February 2)

Chances are, if you're reading this, you're only running your computer to generate heat in order to stave off Snowpocalypse Now. Seriously, did you see this?

That's NOT from a movie. That's the Windy City today. Luckily, I live in Omaha, which only has to contend with ridiculously sub-zero weather (a sneeze will freeze on your face)...but luckily, we were just selected as one of the top 10 drunkest cities, so the boozy booze will keep us warm inside. And if that doesn't do the trick, maybe these SIZZLING movie news tidbits will warm the cockles of your...cockles? I was going to look up the definition of that word, but I'm on a public computer, so that's probably not the best choice. Anyway, here's the day's big news!

WWSD?

That's right, now that we know Superman will be sniveling Brit Henry Cavill, we are left wondering Who Will Superman Do? As in, who is going to play the lovely and usually lackluster Lois Lane? The character in the comics has verve and fight, but she's usually used on screen as all women are used on screen in action movies: Bait. Superman will likely face some intergalactic villain with mind-bending powers who has traveled vast universes to find a foe worth fighting...and then decide the best course of action is to hold his girlfriend hostage. Seriously. The short list for the part reads like the short list for almost any part requiring boobies these days (provided said boobies aren't older than 30, in which case the answer is always Meryl Streep). Here they are:

Kirsten Stewart

Jessica Biel

Malin Akerman

Dianna Agron

Olivia Wilde

Rachel McAdams

Now, obviously, you know my vote. If the choice was between Rachel McAdams and anything else in the world besides "Save yourself from a horrible death, Ryan Syrek, or Rachel McAdams," I'm going to choose Rachel McAdams. Still, my rationale here extends beyond the obvious. Agron and Stewart are FAR too young (seriously, that they're on this list at all is troubling), Akerman and Wilde are capable but uninspired, and Biel is flat-out wrong for the part. If done right, Lois Lane is one of my favorite female comic book characters, and this is coming from someone who is only lukewarm on Superman in general. If done wrong, she's Kate Bosworth. I'm just saying...

The info that drove a bat-world battier

How desperate is the blogosphere for news about The Dark Knight Rises? A dude was thinking out loud on a blog about Robin Williams playing the role of Hugo Strange...a part that may not even be in the film and an actor never associated with it by anyone. The next day, there were posts and tweets and skywriters declaring ROBIN WILLIAMS IS HUGO STRANGE! Seriously, people are so jonesing for another fix of information that any real nugget may kill them. Then came a real nugget.

It sounds like the long-rumored reunion of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the only dude with three names that's famous for reasons other than assassination) and Chris Nolan is true. Now what? Well the rumors of who JGL may play have ranged from the insulting ("he kind of looks like Heath Ledger...maybe he's playing the Joker?") to the stupid (Robin?) to the sublime (a dude inspired by the joker?). Everyone seems stuck on Hugo Strange, but that's not true, I just don't feel it. And The Riddler was ruled out by Nolan himself. So who does JGL play? I don't think it's a superhero (no Nightwing) and I don't think it's a supervillain either. I think it's going to be someone prominent in Bruce Wayne's life that ISN'T those things. Maybe a politician? A new mafia member? Or maybe someone else....maybe someone like a Zzazz or something. Supposedly he's a villain and supposedly he'll "tie together" Catwoman and Bane, but that makes no damn sense. The point is, get ready for lots of idle speculation that has him playing one of a hundred roles, and we'll be wrong every time.

Gettin' back to Jack

I'm now even more excited for the franchise that refuses to die! That's right, the Jack Ryan franchise has had more fits and starts than an epileptic at a hundred yard dash, but it works every time. I've pretty much loved all of the Jack Ryan flicks from Hunt for Red October to Sum of All Fears. Now that Chris Pine is taking over, he's going to bring a boatload of charisma to the role. Seriously, I've seen Star Trek 1000 times now, and every time I watch it, I like him. The news got better today, as Steve Zallian is returning to the writing role. Dude wrote Schindler's List, which I'm guessing is not how he prepared for this gig. At any rate, I love spy movies. I love Chris Pine. I love that there's progress on this front. No Bourne movies means there's a void adult audiences are starving to fill. Fill us Chris Pine and Steve Zaillian!

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entered on 02/02/11 at 11:01 PM | read comments »


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Dear White People

The type of smart, ballsy satire that comes along all too rarely.

GRADE
A



War is hell, but this movie is just hella slow.

GRADE


Dracula Untold

What if Dracula was a superhero?!

GRADE
C


Gone Girl

This thriller has many twists, the biggest of which is that it's kind of a satire.

GRADE
A


The Boxtrolls

A stop-motion romp with near-nekkid trolls and a cross-dressing villain.

GRADE
B-


The Skeleton Twins

A dramedy about suicide elevated by its stars.

GRADE
B


Frank

A band that has a lead singer with a fake head will win your heart.

GRADE
A-


The Adventures of Super Vlad

Left out of the superhero movie party every other studio is throwing, Universal made the ballsy decision to turn Dracula...

more »


Everyone is Awful

Warning to newly engaged couples: Do not see Gone Girl, a movie that makes marriage look like The Hunger Games with slightly...

more »


Swimming in the Laika

From Ray Harryhausen’s Medusa to Henry Selick’s Jack Skellington, stop-motion animation is just frickin’ cool, yo. Maybe...

more »


The Dies That Bind

“Hilarious!” say the trailers! “Really funny!” says the poster. “You are all sick people!” says me.

Yes, in parts, The...

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