Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Near Decathlon of Live Music

I go to a lot of shows.

More than most, less than some.

But never have I had this many of my favorite bands play back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back like I did these past 2 weeks.

9 shows in 11 nights.

2 in NYC, the rest in Philly.

Only 1 was a why-the-hell-not show.  The rest all featured an artists whose music means the world to me and I see every chance I get.

And they kept slotting into my calendar perfectly, like Tetris if it were designed by Bill Graham, rather than some drunken Russkie.

This is their story.


1. Tuesday, October 19th: Two Cow Garage @Mojo on Main, Newark, DE

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’re probably sick of me pimping these guys. They’re my favorite band that no one’s seen.  They write poetic songs sung with insistent, raspy vocals, giving it a Jason & The Scorchers drinking with the Replacements vibe.

Someone needs to tell me how a band capable of writing a wondrous mixed message of a song like “No Shame” isn’t at least filling small clubs.  The lyrics are all about someone ready to quit rock & roll and get a normal job.  He’s telling himself that there’s no shame in walking away from a fruitless pursuit of fame and fortune. But this is not a mournful tune.  It’s filled to the top with piss & vinegar. The song's protagonist never reveals his decision. But like the band who sings it, I don’t think he’s quitting any time soon.  At least I hope not.



Honestly, I couldn’t blame them if they did. I’ve never seen them play to more than 10-15 people.  Of course they still call down the thunder even with the sparse crowds. God help us all if they get a following.  They’re like Pol Pot in the early 60s.

I was heartened to see a full room at Mojo (formerly the East End) when I arrived in the middle of the proactively terrible second band’s set. As it turned out, most of those people were friends of the earlier acts. By the time TCG played, they were down to their usual dozen, and I think several of them were actually members of the earlier acts.

Sigh.  But the show still rocked, and I realized that the lead singer’s mannerisms and singing style reminded me of a young Elvis Costello. The set also included a cover of The Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait”.  This is from an earlier show, but you get the drift:



2. Wednesday, October 20th: Greg Dulli @Johnny Brenda’s, Philly

There are 2 bands that I would donate large amounts of bone marrow to ensure that they reunite and resume blowing my mind. 

One is Sleater-Kinney (see way below).

The other is The Afghan Whigs.

Despite all my friends’ opinions and legions of unsatisfied women, I am not gay.  I would, however, go gay in a Five Hour Energy heartbeat for Mr. Greg Dulli.

He oozes charisma like really sick people ooze pus. 

His yowl comes from a bad part of Hell’s Basement, where all the hot demons make out

He’s also funny as hell.  After some early “whoo”s directed towards him: “I know, right? I see this every morning when I brush my teeth.”

But he saved the better portion of his wit for this girl at the front of the stage who was so excited that she screamed like the lead in a 1950s horror movie. 


At first it was kinda charming, then like most female sounds, it got annoying after a while.

About halfway through the show, him and his guitarist just started roasting her Jeff Ross-style:


Dulli: "Jesus, what do you sound like when you fuck?"

Guitarist: "No one's ever lived long enough to find out."

Dulli: “I want to use your voice as my car alarm.”

Guitarist: “You would find them dead by your car with blood running from their ears.”

Dulli: “It’s strange, she can only date deaf guys. ‘Yes, we can watch “Children of a Lesser God” again.’”

That’s right.  He made a Children of a Lesser God reference.

He’s always laid claim to my crotch, but now he had my heart.  To the shrieker’s credit, she seemed to take the jabs in stride.  Maybe she just loved the attention.

An early heckler gave him shit about the Reds being out of the playoffs (Dulli’s from Cincinnati).  He seemed taken aback at first, but then proceeded to gleefully needle the crowd about the Phillies, especially after they lost Game 4 of the NLCS during the latter part of his set.  He was, of course, lustily booed. “I wasn’t going to say anything about the Phillies, but you guys started shit.”

Oh, and the actual show? Good. It was semi-acoustic, which is not the ideal Dulli venue, but it whetted my appetite for when he returns next year with the full Twilight Singers band.

You can hear a little bit of the shrieker in these clips, especially the first one which drowns out the song at times.



3. Thursday, October 21st: My Morning Jacket @Terminal 5, New York City

Are My Morning Jacket the Best Live Act going?  Possibly.

All I know is that I hadn’t seen them live for a couple of years, and my soul was worse for it. Much worse.

I caught them at Penn’s Landing a few months back, and they reaffirmed my faith in them.  As if it needed any.

I head up to New York for shows sporadically, but a midweek jaunt up there necessitates a special event.  Either it’s a band I love who is skipping Philly (they’re assholes), it’s a special event-type show (e.g. The Decemberists doing Hazards of Love in its entirety at Radio City Music Hall), or it’s Marah (i.e. I get to see fellow fans/friends/foes I don’t see too often).

This show fell into the second category.  MMJ were doing 5 nights at Terminal 5.  Each night focused on a different album (Tennessee Fire, At Dawn, It Still Moves, Z, Evil Urges).  This was an easy choice for me.  ISM is almost definitely in my Top 10 Albums of All Time, possibly even Top 5 with gusts up to Top 3.

My friend Andrea surprised me by attending the show when she had originally planned to catch some random CMJ gigs and meet up for drinks afterward.  But she generously gifted the CMJ badge she had won from some blog to a fan who would get more use out of it and got a ticket for the MMJ show that I had thought to be sold out.

We had been having an ongoing battle over whether Terminal 5 was, in her words, “a shoebox”.  I had only been there once before for Hold Steady/Drive-By Truckers, and my memory of it was that it was rather large.  Maybe I got the venue confused with Chuck Klosterman, who I saw at that show. As I arrived, I was willing to concede that it was not as large as I remembered, but wasn’t ready to deem it of shoeboxian dimensions.

The beer selection seemed limited to MGD, so I opted for a Vermont (Vodka Tonic). A small, shitty one at that. 

We made our way out to the floor, trying to get to the other side of the sold-out room.  About halfway through we quickly realized that we had found the base camp from which we would ascend Mount Jimjames.  We also realized that it would be a dry base camp since it would have taken a herculean effort to fight our way out and then back in with drinks. By far the least I’ve drunk on an overnight trip to NYC in many a year.

The show started and an unusually raucous NYC crowd soaked up every last note.  The first set was “It Still Moves” done in order, and it was proven yet again those songs were not meant to be caged in a digital prison of 1s and 0s. Ideally, they’d be played on a cliff overlooking the ocean while the world ends.  But this was an acceptable Plan B.

The second set was notable for its covers, including Dylan’s “Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You”, The Band’s “Makes No Difference”, and the legendary Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”.  The Dylan cover worked the best.  As much as I love “Makes No Difference”, if it isn’t Rick Danko’s falsetto singing it, it ain’t breaking my heart. And the campy cover of Mr. Richie was fun, but a little bit anticlimactic way to end the evening.






4. Friday, October 22nd: Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (w/ Langhorne Slim) @The North Star Bar, Philly

The day after MMJ in NYC was a busy one.  I had taken the day off of work, so I used the opportunity to grab lunch with Brooklyn friends on the Upper East Side for lunch. I also took advantage of the time to trek up to Queens so I could look over the shoulder of an editor working on a film project of mine and give him bad advice.

By the time Friday night back in Philly rolled around, the the late nights were beginning to catch up with me.  I showed up during Langhorne Slim’s opening set and took a folded-arms, Missouri state motto attitude.  He did indeed show me, as I was pleasantly surprised by the energy he put out.

The room was pretty packed, but after Mr. Slim left the stage, he took about half of them with him.  I don’t mean that literally.  I highly doubt he took them into a series of unmarked vans and drove off to a compound which doesn’t exist on any maps for purposes nefarious or humanitarian. Because that would be weird.

I’m not a huge fan of The North Star as a venue.  Unless you’re right up front, the sightlines are terrible, the sound not much better. And because there’s no way for people to get back to the bar except to fight through the crowd, you’re dealing with people jostling you in both directions much more than at other, more open venues.

And because of Langhorne Slim’s alleged compound, the area in front of the stage opened up, and a hell of a good show commenced. The half that stayed was definitely into the show.

His vocals were muddy as hell, but every guitar lead was crystal clear. And for a change of pace, Jason was taking all of them.  Normally, I enjoy the back & forth he has with Browan Lollar, his regular and quite skilled lead guitarist.  But Lollar was on tour with Azure Ray.  So it was a rare and sweet opportunity to hear Jason’s formidable guitar work front and center.

Especially notable were a few covers (“Atlantic City”, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”) and some new songs.





5. Saturday, October 23rd: The Felice Brothers @Johnny Brenda’s, Philly

At the Newport Folk Festival earlier this year (my write-up), my friend Jarsh said of The Felice Brothers that he enjoyed their music.  But also that if you’ve seen one of their shows, you’ve seen them all.

While I can see his point, their unbridled and raucous musical joy never fail to leave me stoop-shouldered and grinning.

If Jarsh had been at this show, however, I think his opinion would have changed.

It was a dark, brooding set.  The rave-ups were much more the exception than the rule.  Songs were heavy on keys, though the undertone they added was more gloom than frivolity.

I’ve no idea whether this signals a permanent change in direction for them, or if they were just in a dark mood. As much as I love the stuff they’ve done, I’m intrigued as hell to see if this is them evolving from fun to something more nuanced.

And in a really weird scene of déjà vu (see the Dulli notes), someone in the crowd gave the band shit about the Yankees losing (they’re from upstate New York).  So of course the band responded by giving the crowd shit about NLCS Game 6 (Phils were losing at the time), asking what the score was, etc. Luckily for their safety, they didn’t pile on when word got around that the Phils lost.





6. Monday, October 25th: Marnie Stern @Kung Fu Necktie, Philly

This show was the only one I didn’t buy tickets for as soon as I heard about it.  In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to eschew a rare off-night during this run.  But I had kinda rested up the night before with no shows, and my friend Lindi would also be attending with her (other) friend Chris.

Wasn’t that familiar with Marnie’s stuff, but she was getting a lot of buzz.  I checked out a few YouTubes and was rather intrigued. She uses a distinct style of finger-tapping guitar that works beyond just gimmickry. Sure, it’s technically proficient, but unlike a lot of hyped Indy bands, it sounded like she brought the rock.

As I walked through the doors of the upscale scuzzy Kung Fu Necktie, I saw Marnie Stern punching the guy working the door in the arm.  Hard.  She had spunk, which I liked.

The opener was some kind of industrial band who afforded me the opportunity to learn what it would sound like to live inside a power drill.  The best thing I can say is that they were brief.

Marnie's set was impressive.  The sound wasn’t great, so her vocals kinda disappeared into the noise.  Her guitar work was impressive, and the band held my interest. Which may sound like faint praise, but given my level of familiarity with her work, it’s not.

As I tweeted that night:

I'm bad at deconstructing band math, but Marnie Stern kinda equals Zeppelin + Pixies + MUCH less annoying Yoko. I'm digging it.



7. Tuesday, October 26th: Corin Tucker Band @Bowery Ballroom, New York City

8. Thursday, October 27th: Corin Tucker Band @First Unitarian Church, Philly –

It was a dark, dark, day when Sleater-Kinney decided to take a permanent(?) hiatus a few years back.  I saw one of their last shows, and they indisputably left at the top of their game. They’re easily one of my Top 5 bands of all time, and if they ever deign to return in full force, I can see myself taking several days off of work and follow them around like some kind of mustachioed puppy.

They had many weapons in their arsenal, but one of my favorites was the piercing vibrato of Miss Corin Tucker.  It could shake you to your core in one beat and then warmly caress you the next.

As I tweeted during the NYC show:

If I could make pajamas from Corin Tucker's voice they'd be as soft & warm as flannel but simultaneously impervious to all metal implements.

So when she announced a solo album and tour, I was there with bells on.  And like a greedy trick-or-treater, I decided to double up.  I didn’t know the next time I would be able to hear her voice live again.

Corin’s first solo effort is quite good. It’s overall a lot quieter than S-K and a lot of the rough edges have been winningly smoothed over.  But don’t start playing “I Knew the Bride When She Used To Rock & Roll”, just yet.  There’s still a fierce backbone supporting the softness.

The Bowery show was weird.  Enjoyable? Yes.  Was I over the moon to be in a room with her playing again? Most definitely.  But the energy in the room was minimal, even by jaded New York show standards. As raucous as the MMJ crowd was, the Bowery audience was (I guess) reverent.  And that’s being generous.  Granted, it was a Tuesday night. But I would think that most of the people there were Sleater-Kinney fans, and S-K evoked high levels of passion from their fanbase.  That was not in evidence.

Meanwhile, back in Philly on Thursday, I was knee-deep in passion. The venue definitely helped, as a Unitarian church basement provided a level of intimacy lacking from the Bowery.  A crowd of similar size put tenfold more heart into their reactions.  And the show was better for it.  Corin seemed a lot more relaxed and into it throughout.  Especially in the encore:

  1. “Miles Away” with just her heart-rending voice and some light keys.  Both nights, this was a show-stopper. It almost made me wish she had done more of the quieter songs as stripped-down as this. The few up-tempo #s from the album worked well with the full band, but it was overkill on several of them.
  2. “Party Girl”, which I believe is an Elvis Costello cover.  To his song, she applies a torch singer’s fiery touch. Remember that scene in “A League of Their Own” where Marla Hooch sings her heart out to this nebbish guy? Well, this was a billion times better.
  3. And finally, a cover of Sheila E.’s “The Glamorous Life”, which is one of those covers you don’t recognize at first, and then about 45 seconds you’re all “OMG OMG OMFG!”.  Yeah, this was one of those.

One moment early on struck me hard. The way she sang the word “taste” in “Handed Love”, that was a moment I could be trapped in an endless loop to experience, and I would likely go mad.  Not from repetition, but from sheer joy.

And finally, I have to give props to Corin Tucker’s hotness. She’s one of those girls that is cute off-stage, but when she grabs the mike, straps on the guitar, and shakes her hair back and forth? In the words of Jay Sherman, HACHI-MACHI!

First is the fiery “Doubt”, followed by the 3 encore songs.  How can the same woman be responsible for the extremes of the first 2 videos? Fucking incredible.






9. Friday, October 28th: Lucero/Social Distortion @Electric Factory, Philly

And then there was 1.

Or, 2 rather.

Lucero & Social Distortion are 2 of my favorite bands who have 2 of my least favorite fan bases in one of my least-favorite venues.  So something had to give.

Lucero is a band that has definitely grown on me in recent years.  Their most recent effort, 1372 Overton Park, added some horns and variety to their sound.  They’re growing.

Social Distortion is largely coasting by on an impressive catalog.

In my mind, these 2 should be co-headlining. That was, however, not the case. It was overwhelmingly a Social D show, but as Lucero paced their way through a brief, 45-minute set, you could see little pockets of Lucero fans.

Social Distortion was solid and professional.  I particularly enjoyed the songs they played off of the criminally underrated “White Light White Heat White Trash” album. 

But my needle was pushing hard on E by the end of their main set, so I bailed before the encore.



That was one hell of a run.  Every show was interesting in its own right.  None of them were all-time favorites, but shit-eating grins still abounded.

My 2 favorites were probably the Philly Corin Tucker show and the Felice Brothers.

Will the fates conspire to ever provide me with such a run again?  Probably not.

But unless I’m dead or syphilitic, I’ll saddle up and ride again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stuff You Don't Want This Halloween

First of all, this list of Halloween candy nobody wants is a travesty. I just can't trust anyone who can't tell the difference between a Skor bar and a Heath bar. And I also can't trust someone who doesn't like Smarties. It's the perfect candy for kids to pretend their dropping some E.

The other thing is, his list is extremely incomplete.

I see no mention of Almond Joy or Mounds (I realize there is a strong Coconut bloc out there, but c'mon - if you're faced with an Almond Joy and a Snickers, which do you grab for? The existence of Almond Joys and Mounds is good for one thing - and easy way for elementary school kids to categorize genders, and therefore taunt and torment their friends). And what about these...?

Circus Peanuts
Sure, I actually enjoy circus peanuts. At least for the first 18 I eat. After that, it gets a little hazy. And icky. In my stomach. That's the problem with circus peanuts. I can't just eat one. I have to eat the whole bag. But I also know that I'm a freak for enjoying circus peanuts. And my weird obsession should not be mirrored or followed. It's a curse.

Good & Plenty
I'm not even sure what flavor they're trying to accomplish. Licorice? Mint? Mint licorice? Sugar licorice? Their existence doesn't even make sense, which suggests to me they're from another dimension. And I'll be damned if I'm going to eat another dimension's candy. They probably are simply pawning it off on our dimension because they don't like it either.

Tootsie Rolls
Bite sized tooth destroyers. Plus it looks like poop. Why start children on the road to coprophagia? If they're into it, they'll get there all on their own.

And on that note...Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with Frank Darabont

Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption and more currently, The Walking Dead, talks about zombies on television and the freedom AMC offers. I have to admit, I'm definitely excited for The Walking Dead, premiering on AMC Sunday night. So get your kids out there early (or go out yourself early - i have no idea how old you are!) and make sure you're back inside in front of your television!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"He's living an extraordinary life, but he's just like you and me."

I can't wait until we all have the ability to produce and release documentaries of our personal lives for everyone to enjoy. Until then, we'll have to be satisfied with Justin Bieber's. Thankfully, it's in 3-D.

We can learn a lot from this kid. Like how he struggled, put in the hard work and became a star...even when there were so many naysayers. Just think, if we had believed in him, he would have been a star at 12 instead of 14! Oh what we missed in those 2 years!

Your Mischief Night Plans

Traditionally, at least in my 'hood, the night before Halloween was known as "Mischief" Night. Tweens and young teenagers snuck out of their houses and caused well...mischief.

While we here at The Popcorn Trick would never condone such activity, we present this how to guide on how to properly TP a house.

Research properties only of course!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Differences Between Men and Women

To me, these 2 videos pretty much sum it up.

While most likely fake (she really has to throw in that line at the end that her dorky boyfriend is good in bed? Probably the only way he would agree to something like this going on the Internet) this certainly shows how a woman will get off in the most unusual of places.

And of course this video pretty much shows how a man will get off in the most unusual of places. I weep for the male species.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some of the Scariest Bands Out There

Sure, you can guess some of the bands on this list. It has Slayer and Cannibal Corpse, standards when it comes to "scary" bands. But then you'll get to Stalaggh & Gulaggh, and you'll give the list a little more credence...

No one really knows who they are but they allegedly use the screams of mental patients in their recordings. If that sounds like the set-up to a horror movie you wouldn’t be far off, the two albums by Stalaggh and Gulaggh are two of the most terrifying and disturbing recordings ever released, even if they barely qualify as actual “music.” If the tape from The Ring had a soundtrack, it would be these records.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Most Realistic Ghost Stories According to...?

There are a few problems I have with this list of "realistic" ghost movies. The main one is that it's created by a psychic and passed off as completely accurate, with no disclaimer. While I'm not here to tell you what's real and what's not, and won't suggest there isn't an afterlife, can we at least maybe pretend there are some questions as to what it could hold for us? This psychic basically is defining what waits for us after we pass - and no one is questioning that?

Second, if she does know what she's talking about...we have Witchboard to look forward to?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Lost Songs: An Ipod special

I currently have over 10,000 songs on my Ipod. And countless other songs on my computer, on CDs, on vinyl and everywhere else. It's extremely difficult to keep up, and I've definitely fallen behind. And so I've decided in an effort to get back on course (or mostly to continually surprise myself), I've set aside a part of my day to randomly play songs on my Ipod with no repeats. (It's fairly easy to accomplish - set up a smart playlist and have it set to date played; once the song plays it will be eliminated from the playlist. Bonus is that songs that have never been played will also show up in the playlist so theoretically you could continually add and never have a repeat listen).

In doing this experiment, I have come across a bunch of songs that I'd forgotten or just plum never heard. It happens. (I'd love to read accounts of how people's music libraries were amassed. Go through the evolution and levels of interest. It fascinates me. Of course, I'm a weirdo). So I figured I would share with you, the reader, a few of the gems that pop up, in hopes that you'll be mildly entertained, and better yet, find something you might enjoy listening to.

Mississippi Mud - Hank Williams III

Coming from a royal lineage in music, Hank Williams III probably figured he had to do something a little different to A. stand out in the music business; and B. not get lumped in with his dad as a honky tonk country singer. That he chose to invest half of his music into a a hybrid country/speed metal mishmosh might be a decision that not everyone would have agreed with. But hey, it's different. And in doses (3-4 second doses, for me personally) it's interesting. Mississippi Mud comes from his more traditional country roots and is catchy, and reminds me of pure back country country music.

Sit Down By the Fire - The Veils

A friend turned me onto The Veils. Basically the conversation went like this:

Friend: Hey, you like music. You should check out The Veils.
Me: Ok.

(I'm easily influenced.)

While I don't think I've listened to the entire CD, but I think I remember what I've heard I liked. Hearing this song, I figure I'll head back and check them out in more detail. I like the "big" sound this song has, and feel it could be the score to someone running through the hills of the English countryside. Helicopter shot of course. Does someone have a helicopter I could borrow? I'm suddenly in the mood to make this shot a reality.

Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further? - Lee Dorsey

I make no apologies for enjoying a good funk/soul song. Deep funk is actually what I would call it. The more obscure, the better. While not necessarily obscure, Lee Dorsey still fits this bill. You've probably heard him because of his "Working in a Coalmine," or "Ya Ya" singles. If you liked them, you'll like "Who's Gonna..." It's off a New Orleans funk compilation I stumbled across in my travels.

Brenda - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Mixing the blues with punk, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is not for everyone. This is one of the group's more accessible songs. If you've never heard them and are intrigued, I would recommend starting out with the album Acme, and go from there.

GirlShapedLoveDrug - Gomez

Another band I got into on a friend's recommendation, I liked them because they had 3 distinct vocalists and you could get almost 4 different bands on each album. And then they fine tuned their sound, toned it down some, and kinda got a little more vanilla in my opinion. This song is off their "How We Operate" album, which, while I like it, just makes me want to listen to old, rocking Gomez. Still, I like this song a lot.

Man on the Corner (live) - Genesis

Yeah, that's right. I have Genesis on my Ipod. And a lot of it. I know this is basically admitting you enjoy Hitler's body of work for some people, but I won't make any excuses. And yes, I run the gamut on Genesis, so I can't even hide behind the "well, they did some pretty interesting stuff with Peter Gabriel" excuse. I fully enjoy the Phil Collins years. And I think this is a great one. Sure, aside from the crowd noise in the beginning and a few errant shouts here and there, there's no way to tell this is a live version. But so what? It's the band giving to their fans, and I feel like Phil is giving it his all here.

The True Story of Flying

If the thought of flying makes you queasy, you probably don't want to read this collection of quotes from pilots. Among some of the things they admit:

  • They will probably never tell you when an engine fails
  • They rarely, if ever, get a good night's sleep
  • Turbulence isn't going to crash the plane
  • Don't expect a water landing to be a good thing

Also, here's a handy list of airplane jargon. I'm particularly fond of "gate lice."

Airline Lingo

Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet. “There’s no blue juice in the lav.”
Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened. Also: “groin scan.”

Crumb crunchers: Kids. “We’ve got a lot of crumb crunchers on this flight.”

Deadheading: When an airline employee flies as a passenger for company business.

Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane. “Oh, the gate lice are thick today.”

George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”

Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.

Pax: Passengers.

Spinners: Passengers who get on late and don’t have a seat assignment, so they spin around looking for a seat.

Two-for-once special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.

Working the village: Working in coach.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Political Ad Awesomeness

I don't know. Sometimes they probably deserve it.

"The evil that never just waits to be reborn."

As a writer, I can only wish that I wrote such a memorable line. But alas, I did not. It's from the trailer from The Manitou, a movie about - well I'm not really sure. But I do know it's EVIL!

Starring Tony Curtis, during his "what did you say? My account is down to what?" phase, the movie looks completely horrible and therefore a must see for the upcoming Halloween celebration. And was that Burgess Meredith I spotted?

Come for the fantastic effects, stay for the climactic moment when Tony Curtis and the Indian guy (what? you thought this movie wouldn't have an Indian guy?) confront the thing in the hospital, where good ol' Tony maybe lingers a little too long on top of Indian guy as they dodge a 1970's fireball special effect.

It's something you won't want to miss! (Had I been able to stream The Manitou from Netflix, this post would be coming to you 2 hours from now.)

Here is a list of the 10 best scenes from the movie, but if you think I'm going to read that and spoil my virgin viewing of this movie, you're just being silly!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Best New Show of the Season You're Not Watching

Forget The Event (seriously, I hope you have and are not watching it because, c'mon!), watch Boardwalk Empire but realize it's not the best new show on cable right now.

That's because Rubicon is.

I realize that probably 95% of you have no idea what Rubicon is, and that's a shame. On AMC (and with the history of Breaking Bad and Mad Men, that fact alone should get you to at least check it out), the show follows the personnel of a government-funded think tank, and what motivates them. It has good guys and bad guys and twists and turns, and possibly 2 of the greatest television characters of the last 10 years. And yes, I'm including Omar from The Wire on that list.

Yes, it's slowly paced. That's the point of it. The unraveling of the larger story is taking time, which ultimately rewards the viewer immensely. It's different than other shows on television. It should be rewarded for that.

If you've never heard of this show, and feel you might be intrigued, read this interview with the showrunner. It will give you a broad idea of the show without spoiling too much.

Google at it Again!

Over at Google, they created a slideshow of recent things found on the 'net that display some examples of how people are using technology in cool and creative ways. This is a good way to waste your day at work. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"You've got a movie to watch, and I have a car to drive off a cliff."

TBS is shelling out the big bucks to promote Conan's new show...

I hope all goes well, because I've been a Conan fan since day one. Yes, even the first year when me and Conan's mom were the only ones watching. And is it just me, or could he pass for Donal Logue's brother at the end of this stunt?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

YouTube Goodness: What a Nightmare!

When you think of former NFL running back Christian Okoye, you think of 3 things:

  1. His punishing running style.
  2. His awesome nickname: “The Nigerian Nightmare”.
  3. How a small girl totally wouldn’t lose their shit if he ever appeared to them in a dream sequence.

Wait, what?

Besides the Creep-o-Meter getting redlined, I love the undiluted hatred Steve Sabol has for the producers who came up with the concept for this clip.

Remember, “Keep Looking, Keep Learning, Keep Laughing”!

Famous Director directs Stella Artois Ad

The retro look and feel. The perfectly balanced shots and set. The color scheme. If you can't guess the director behind this commercial for Stell Artois, you are not a fan of the #1 name in hipster movies. Answer below the video...

(Answer: Wes Anderson! Ok, so I guess Roman Coppola helped too, but c'mon.)

New Between Two Ferns

Bruce Willis stops by the set. Still hasn't jumped the shark. I enjoy the turn it takes at about the 2 minute mark.

More Empire Strikes Back Fun

In keeping with the unofficial theme of Empire Strikes back here at The Popcorn Trick, here are 10 things you probably didn't know about the movie. My favorite?

Vader wasn’t Luke’s father at first. In Leigh Brackett’s first script draft, Luke meets his real dad, who says he sent away Luke and his secret sister for their own safety. (Luke’s sister has been training to be a Jedi knight in secret, just as Luke has.) And Papa Skywalker administers the oath of a Jedi Knight to Luke, in which Ben, Minch, Anakin and Luke cross lightsabers, and Luke swears to “dedicate my life to the cause of freedom and justice.”

Reading through these, I can't imagine the movie being that good if these choices had been made.
There's also some really cool concept art from the movie, so you'll definitely want to check it out. If you're a Star Wars fan of course.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Behind the Scenes of The Empire Strikes Back

Just a few photos from the coffee table book that is coming out. For hardcore Star Wars fans obviously. For more fun and interesting stuff from the set, read this interview and then this one with the original Boba Fett. Many consider this second installment of the original trilogy the best of the bunch, but to them I say, how can that be without any Hayden Christensen action?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You Can 360 on a Swing

Of course you realize what's going to happen 2 seconds into this video. That doesn't make it less funny when it does happen. I also love the awesome war cry.


One of the better wingsuit videos I've ever seen. If you're not sure what a wingsuit is, I won't ruin it for you. Just watch the video.

Postseason Baseball Prediction

No, not from me. I will never predict postseason success/failure when I team I follow is involved. But I will link to a postseason prediction that includes the sentence, "And then his towel fell off, and Fregosi's dick was swinging maybe two feet in front of my face."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Wedding Video to End All Wedding Videos

There's a lot here. Too much for me to comment on everything...

A few comments:

  • I have no idea why her kisses knock him down, but I like the implications.
  • The Pong like game they played back and forth? There are no words.
  • Wonder why they had to trek so far into the woods for this? Hoping the camera guy wasn't taken out after the video shoot.

Trailers for the new Coen Brothers Movie

True Grit, the next movie from the Coen Brothers is a remake of an old John Wayne movie. The first trailer for it came out earlier last week, and simply looks awesome, and like a complete return to No Country for Old Men...

And then a second trailer was released, earlier this week...

Fleshing out some more of the characters, this trailer goes into a little more detail of the film, giving the viewer a better idea of what the film is about. Unfortunately, it also seems to suggest it is NOT in the same vein as No Country for Old Men, and instead introduces a few elements of humor. Now, I'm not saying I'm not going to go see it based on this new trailer, but I am a little disappointed with the tonal shift. I loved the first trailer. I'm not too keen on the second one.

Mitch Hurwitz Interview

This interview with Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development, is insightful, depressing, and refreshingly honest. Mostly about his new show, Running Wilde, it also takes a peak inside the mind of a successful creative person and reveals just how much it matters to put out something people will enjoy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Trailer: Paranormal Activity 2

The movie Paranormal Activity, made on a shoestring budget, took the country by storm last year with a brilliant trailer (showing the audience react to watching the movie), and a clever, if slightly cliched home movie, Travel Channel ghost special approach. I watched it and enjoyed it, even though I thought it had a few problems. But if you can get over the fact that no two people would let what happened in the movie go on without getting outside help, I think you'll be able to enjoy it.

Of course, with it's success, the inevitable sequel had to be made. Wisely (at least in my opinion), they chose not to go the Blair Witch approach and make a crappy, horribly cliched, non-sensical, traditional horror movie, and instead stuck with what got them there and kept the handheld, "mockumentary" approach. And then they upped the ante and introduced kids!

Hating on The Smiths

Speaking with music lovers everywhere, it sometimes seemed I was the only person on the planet that hated The Smiths. As it turns out, there are a few others. And even a few who have chosen to write songs about their hatred.

Friday, October 1, 2010

HD Camera Space Trip

My dad scratched my cornea with an errant tennis shot when I was a young child. This kid's dad helped create a panorama of space...