Sunday, July 22, 2007

Around the Internets: 07/22/07

- That Pepsi Girl--who also happens to be Kabuki and Daredevil artist David Mack's muse--loves film scores! (Insert Ice Cube-style "Yay-YAY!" here):
The Trevor Jones half of the Mohicans score (Randy Edelman scored the more synth-heavy and less well-received half) is one of my favorite '90s scores, from one of my favorite Michael Mann flicks. Mandy's got awesome musical tastes--and is one hot-looking geek.

- Speaking of geeks, I'm attending the Nerd Prom for the first time ever this year. I'll be there only on Saturday, the most star-studded day of the weekend. Newsarama has posted a helpful rundown of all the essential movie and TV-related panels at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con.

- Paget Brewster kills yet another show. Harvey Birdman has ended its run after 39 Hanna-Barbera-tarnishing episodes.

Part of the fun of watching Birdman was seeing which wholesome H-B character from my childhood would get skewered and TV-MA-ized that week. From the revelation that Apache Chief likes going commando to the insert shot of a Kama Sutra illustration of Baba Looey and Quick Draw McGraw doing "the Cowgirl," Birdman never disappointed in pissing on my memories of H-B shows. But Birdman pissed on my childhood memories in an entertaining way, as opposed to the Star Wars prequels, which pissed on my memories in a "God, I can't believe a grown man actually wrote this" kind of way.

Birdman was also one of the last of a dying breed--it was a show that had a catchy, old-fashioned opening theme song ("Who is the man in the suuuuuit?/Who is the cat with the beeeeeeeeak?"). So did The Knights of Prosperity and The Sopranos ("Woke Up This Morning" was no old-fashioned Sherwood Schwartz ditty, but it sure was catchy). Now The Knights, The Sopranos and Birdman are all gone--and in the same year too.

Not many people know this--or even care--but Birdman's opening and closing themes used a Sam Spence NFL Films library music cue as the backing music. The brassy cue can be heard during a 1968 New York Jets year-in-review film I once caught on the NFL Network. When the tune started to play in the middle of this ancient Jets highlight film, I was like, "Hey, what's the Harvey Birdman theme doing here? Are the Jets about to feel the power of attorney?"

I'm going to miss the likes of the creepy but hilarious Phil Ken Sebben, Ernie Devlin, Avenger and the Bear, but I'll miss you most of all, Birdgirl, my favorite Paget Brewster character.

- On his blog, David Mills, writer of last season's great Wire episode "Soft Eyes," hates on Rob Schneider's lame yellowface routine in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Mills says, "Are Asian Americans gonna tolerate this bullshit?" Hell no.

A commenter below Mills' post mentions the even more annoying Carlos Mencia and his shrill and unoriginal shtick. I knew Mencia was a hack years before everybody else did, when I saw him do an unfunny impression of "an Asian mugger" on HBO's Comic Relief in the mid-'90s, complete with that favorite prop of every racist '80s stand-up hack, buckteeth. I want to see Joe Rogan lose it again one night and wipe the floor with Mencia's ass like Lovitz did to Andy Dick.

- Oliver Wang looks back at one of my favorite movies, Chan Is Missing, a film us Filipino Americans especially appreciate because Wayne Wang shot Chan in parts of San Francisco that have been ignored by other San Fran movies--particularly the brown part of town--and he gave S.F.'s manong community some rare screen time during one terrific little scene:
Early into Wayne Wang's CHAN IS MISSING, gumshoe detective Jo (Wood Moy) and his sidekick Steve (Marc Hayashi) wander into a Manilatown senior center in search of their wayward colleague, Chan Hung. The movie takes a brief pause here as Wang shoots old manongs dancing to the Mexican bolero, "Sabor a Mi." One shot lingers on an elderly man staring at the camera, collapsing the third wall with his steady gaze. The entire scenes only consumes a minute or so and then Jo and Steve are back on Chan's trail, but the beauty of the moment lingers on...

However well-intentioned, many of the attempts that followed CHAN IS MISSING these past 20 years have either resulted in anemic, feel-good tales that celebrate multiculturalism without tackling the complexities of race and ethnicity seriously, or they reproduce the same narrow, troubled politics of cultural nationalism that have proven untenable as the community grows more diverse and disparate. What both sides lack is a politics and aesthetics of nuance...

It's these many small touches that give CHAN IS MISSING its soul. It's Peter Wang, dressed down in his Samurai Night Live t-shirt, singing "Fly Me to the Moon"; it's the paranoid piano score that stalks Jo around Chinatown; it's the overeager attorney who only speaks in legalese; it's the faces of people at a bus stop.
- Kim Morgan also devotes an entire post to another favorite flick of mine, Mean Streets, the movie that spawned a million hacky Queens Boulevards:
The thumping beat of the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" begins and the scene shifts to a screening of Super-8 films of the young man and his friends. Just as Ronnie Spector breaks into the beautifully sweet chorus of "Be my, be my baby," the film reveals its title in plain, typewritten letters: Mean Streets.

Man, oh man. This opening always gets me right in the gut and even at times, almost makes me cry. Well, not almost. It does make me cry. It's just so fucking brilliant and wonderfully bittersweet. It's reminiscent of a past that isn't mine and yet, Scorsese makes me feel like it could be. It gets me the way Wes Anderson gets me. No wonder Scorsese loves him so much.
- "Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, pissant." Slate asked readers to create the perfect action-movie one-liner, and now the site has posted the amusing and often cheesy results. My personal favorite fake one-liner is a quip intended for some Eurotrash villain: "You shouldn't have said shed-yul, asshole."

A couple of the submissions are on the trendy side, a la Live Free or Die Hard's cyber-terrorism plot ("Consider this negative eBay feedback." "MySpace friend add...denied!").

I've come up with my own trendy catchphrase, to be uttered by some hero after he or she administers a crowdpleasing punch to a baddie's face: "How's that for a Facebook poke, assmunch?"

- Patton Oswalt mocks a douchebag interviewer who recently told him during a press junket that Ratatouille would have been a better movie had it used Coldplay songs on the soundtrack. Fuckin' Coldplay? This loser prefers fuckin' wuss rock over the beautifully crafted original score by composer Michael Giacchino?!:
Later, when I was telling this story to Brad Bird, he said, 'You should've asked him if, when he was Star Wars, if he was pissed that he didn't know any of the music in that."

"Couldn't they have put a cool Jerry Reed song in that?" I whined.

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