Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Monsters Would Say: Baby Godzilla

"Um... can you repeat the question?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Monsters Would Say: Gabara

"Oh my gawd youshe guysh. We're gun have the BIGGESH PARTY!!! I'm a eat me a cake wat'sh THUSH BUG!!!"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On Music: Bad lyrics, good songs (not in the same instantiations)

Some of you may not know this, but I listen to music. Yeah, I love music, it's great, I can listen to it for hours.

Here's some lyrics I dislike:

She was working in a topless place and I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at the side of her face in the spotlight so clear
- R. Zimmerman, Tangled Up in Blue

This is probably one of my favourite Dylan songs, and it is an eminently quotable title. But geez, Bob, you went to go see a girl at a titty bar. Fuckin' just say it like it is. I spent several years thinking it silly that he would go to such lengths to clarify that while this broad's titties was all hangin' out and shit, he was digging on her FACE; I only recently noticed that the previous line even goes out of its way to clarify that Bob wasn't even in the place to look at breasts, and hey, he just stopped in, okay, take it easy.
Side note: His son also has a song about seeing a girl at a titty show and making sure to clarify that he's only looking at her face. Boobies are fine and good, okay?

If Coke is a mystery
Michael Jackson... history
If beauty is truth
And surgery the fountain of youth ...
If OJ is more than a drink
And a Big Mac bigger than you think
If perfume is an obsession
And talk shows, confession
- P. Hewson, The Playboy Mansion

I can't think of many non hip-hop songs that trade largely on their popcult-savvy lyrical cleverness that I don't despise. Whites can get away with savvy lyrics if they're hip hop (Princess Superstar, Haystak, Vanilla Ice) or don't make a Goddamn lick of sense (Stan Ridgway) or knowingly skating the edges of prock, Kanye-friendliness and ridiculous cash-injected self-parody and also musically are a lot of fun (Fall Out Boy), but it's just too risky a game to play. White people copiously referencing pop culture like this just somehow isn't quite right. It should only be done in motion pictures that film-geeks studiously avoid. I can't be bothered getting into a smackdown with any of my whiter-than-clear friends on this (if this offends you, let's just say it's not you), so suffice to say that white people talking in a white way about consumer culture's greatest hits is a bit like tricking your car out then making me sit in it and listen to the entirety of Money for Nothing. I'm glad it makes you happy, but shut up.
It's worth mentioning that this is actually a comparatively unobjectionable song: realistically I ought to have looked up the lyrics for Californication, but if I wanted to feel that way, I'd just spend an evening reading Youtube comments.

I think you can do much better than me
After all the lies that I made you believe
Guilt kicks in and I start to see
The edge of the bed where your nightgown used to be
I told myself I won't miss you
But I remember
What it feels like beside you
I really miss your hair in my face
And the way your innocence tastes
And I think you should know this
You deserve much better than me
- A. Winkler, Better than Me

I know, I know, making fun of anything about Hinder on the Internet seems like a churlish waste of perfectly good pixels and ones and zeroes. The sort of shit that only really low-bar internet comedians would do, cause hey, we all can agree Hinder are an awful band, yes? And yes. We all can agree Hinder are an awful band. Nickelback may only have one song, but that song is infinitely better than all songs by Hinder. Rick Wakeman may have released an ambient concept album based around the signs of the Zodiac, but Hinder have an album called Extreme Behaviour; and Rick Wakeman may wear a cape, but when the cover art for Extreme Behaviour didn't move units, they replaced it with a picture of a faceless girl's cleavage. But so yes, while I am wasting ones and zeroes by talking about Hinder, let's just consider a few things:
1) I am only wasting bandwidth you'd just use playing Wow of Craft anyway. Whatever infinestimable monads rock and roll is composed of, Hinder used up several minutes' worth of them singing a fucking song about how he's sorry he dumped a girl and she can do much better anyway. What the fuck kind of post-grunge faux-shoegaze shit is that? Better than Me is a revolution in rock and roll because it is the first song ever to use distorted guitars which actually wilfully erases all traces of testosterone-dripping swagger from its DNA and doesn't even deliver it in such a way as to imply Hinder is just faking it to get laid. It is INEXCUSABLE to be this much of a mopey dickwad in rock and roll music. I don't know how old people can be all sneery and dismissive of emo music when emo music is about shooting monsters and driving cars fast and loving so hard it kills you, whereas they'll let shit like this get released - shit about moping around your fucking house looking through shoeboxes and remembering the time you had sex in a public place - and not bat an eyelid. Whose fucking watch did this happen on anyway? Shit like this is why I'm learning the guitar (I'm only mostly joking).
b) The lead singer of Hinder is called A. Winkler, and he was recently mistaken for a dead.
3) That anti-comedy video where a white pretends to be Peter Griffin, and his joke is so tenuous that he has to refer to the author os this song as "the band Hinder". God Family Guy is terrible, I hate it.
4) "Innocence" is the uselessest euphemism for "vagina" I have ever heard.

Now here are some songs I like at the moment:

Vanilla Swingers, Goodbye Lennon: I shouldn't be mentioning this, as it's exactly the sort of pop music that I could hear at hairdressers' all the time and become sick of. (And places LIKE hairdressers', obviously). And I don't want to, because it's just so fucking slick and lovely. And as they use Helvetica on their cover, the Vanilla Swingers obviously want to succeed by any means necessary. So don't tell anybody about the Vanilla Swingers.

The Hold Steady, Constructive Summer: I am very, very skeptical of the Hold Steady. I am aware that they have been around for quite a time, and I am aware that they have always sounded like a pastiche of Springsteen and Mellencamp and all those guys your dad likes (on account of they rule), and I am aware that this song sounds so much like Born in the USA partying with The Lonesome Jubilee that it's a little bit sick. But I like it even though it's basically Tony Scott to Bruce Springsteen's Michael Mann. (Bruce Springsteen has never made a song as good as Collateral).

Nas, America: There's nothing I've heard off the Nas album without a name that I don't like. But I particularly like this one because it's like he's forgotten that he's not Shimmon and Woolfson.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Strangers, or On Uninspiration

The opening voiceover of The Strangers informs that the movie is “inspired by real events”. There’s some disagreement here: pic was initially hyped as a remake of French true-crime psychothriller Ils, and the film’s sole plot point hints at that film’s final beat; whereas the director insists that the entire real-life aspect is contained within one small, fairly inconsequential scene.

But whatever it is, that inspiration hasn’t been generous. Rarely has a pic’s title been so unwittingly appropriate: we know nothing whatsoever about our protagonists, and learn nothing over the course of the movie. It’s hard to get involved in a life-or-death struggle when it’s between two groups of utter nonentities.

The titular boogedy-boo kiddies come off as more annoying than anything else: their nightlong torment consists largely of a preternaturally well-executed campaign of irritation. Shambling about in ersatz masks from other movies, the killers seem set on recreating okay slashers in as generic a manner as possible. Being as they’re the closest thing the film has to a driving force, this obviously means the film itself becomes that same generic flavour of forgettable crap. Presenting itself as a mature, character-focused big brother to Scream or Saw, the film is actually shamed by those movies’ depth of characterisation and plotting. The 90-min runtime seems like an eternity, because there’s literally nothing happening to latch onto - just an unconnected series of moments where it’s quiet then something flashes onscreen so you jump.

And The Strangers is competing for Kiwi eyeballs with a film that, famously, actually made an audience member shit themselves in genuine terror. The only reason anyone would choose this film over that one would be laziness: no defecation is required on the part of Strangers audiences, as the shit is already right up there onscreen.