Daily Dump for Monday (February 7)

With apologizes to Mr. Eliot, February is the cruelest month. Football is over (maybe for, like, forever), it's colder than the cockles of Rush Limbaugh's soul, the weekly movie selections read more like a set of "dares" (seriously, who would voluntarily see The Roommate if it wasn't some kind of physical challenge?). This is one of those months you just endure. And a MONDAY in FEBRUARY? Forget about it. That's like gettin' hit TWICE with the ugly stick. In other words, let's just get this over with, shall we?

Will Aronofsky remember the unicorns?

Darren Aronofsky loves him some comic books. If you count his current courtship with Wolverine, which is set to fire on all cylinders the minute the acclaimed director stops doing the awards junkets for Black Swan, dude has been all up in some comic projects. He was supposed to relaunch Batman before Chris Nolan did his thang (but my money still says Aronofsky MAY do the Bat-toosie one day, as there will be a 2-3 year cool-off after Nolan completes his trilogy but then another inevitable relaunch). He released his original version of The Fountain (the CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED WORK OF ART) as a comic when his funding fell through at first. Now comes "Noah," which was illustrated by the guy who did "Pride of Baghdad," which should be Pixar's Oscar movie one day (please, please, please).

As you can see, this is Aronofsky writing a weirdly postapocalyptic and beautiful take on Noah's ark. He keeps saying he can't see why all studios wouldn't want to make this movie, and I have to agree with him. Biblical stuff alone guarantees a built-in audience, but combine that with a special effects showcase and you'll have packed houses for months. Until such time as someone wises up, at least well have this new comic version to see how things look to good ole Darren in terms of pairing up animals for at-sea borking. Oh, and speaking of borked, when is Aronofsky going to win his directing award? After resurrecting Mickey Rourke's career and (please, please) getting Natalie Portman an Oscar, can we just accept dude is directing the crap out of actors here? Give the man a statue...and maybe do it before TOM FRIGGIN' HOOPER gets one.

But will they use "Werewolf Barmitzvah?"

Those two should be smiling, because when they work together everyone gets a bit of joy. After owning the world with Slumdog Millionaire and a good run with 127 Hours, director Danny Boyle and writer Simon Beaufoy may reteam for Sharp Teeth, a movie about werewolves in gangland LA. This will mark the first time urban gang warfare has combined with horror since Snoop Dogg did it, although I'm guessing the outcome may be slightly different this time. For me, this is absolutely great news, as I find Boyle to be at his best when working with more off-beat material. His deft use of sci-fi and horror have resulted in some of the best that both genres have seen, and I would welcome a return to that form for him. Apparently, the book upon which the movie will be based is pretty kick-ass, so this is definitely something that may happen. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a werewolf movie that didn't also involve sparkling vampires and audiences filled with people I loathe?

Box Office Results for the Weekend of February 4-6

Just like on Friday, I'm going to be combining this regularly into one post, instead of splitting it out into a separate one. It's just easier that way, so trust me. Here's how I did with my predictions this weekend, haiku style:

1.) The Roommate - $15 million (Accuracy of prediction - 80%)
Oh, Minka Kelly
what a siren's song you sing
in this crap movie.

2.) Sanctum - $9.5 million (Accuracy of prediction - 77%)
No big name actors
and no unique storylines
what did you expect?

3.) No Strings Attached - $8 million (Accuracy of prediction - 90%)
This keeps on trucking
As Natalie keeps dragging
Kutcher's ass along.

4.) The King's Speech - $8 million (Accuracy of prediction - 84%)
It's inoffensive
but as far as I'm concerned
that's not good enough.

5.) The Green Hornet - $6 million (Accuracy of prediction - 91.5%)
Are we done here yet?
The sooner we move along
the better I feel.

Overall accuracy of prediction - 84.5%
I'm good with a "B"
Although I'd prefer an "A"
...I'll "C" you later?

Follow me on Twitter! Dan Harmon retweeted me once, so I'm practically famous.

entered on 02/07/11 at 10:50 PM | read comments »

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.

Follow me on Twitter!

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

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The Babadook

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A water-colored take on a Japanese folktale that is prettier than it is interesting.


The Theory of Everything

"Out of this world" performances buoy a sub-par script.


Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.



A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 


The Overnighters

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If this was humanity's last hope, give up.



A condemnation of crime pornography with a chilling central character.


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Leni Riefen-stalling

On the one hand, any film subtitled “Part 1” is a naked cash grab. On the other hand, shut up and take my money, Hunger...

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Oopsie Genius

I know two things for sure: (1) Birdman aims to relentlessly drive home one singular point, one thoroughly expressed thesis...

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The Burden of Actual Christianity

Most praise for writer/director Jesse Moss’s documentary, The Overnighters, has rightly been focused on its Steinbeckian...

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