Friday, October 31, 2008

A Fistful of Soundtracks' special Halloween schedule

'Werewolf bar mitzvah/Spooky, scary/Boys becoming men/Men becoming wolves...'
Almost nothing but spooky, scary soundtrack music on the channel today.

4am. A Fistful of Soundtracks, episode WEB98, "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives."
5am. Assorted Halloween music
7am. WEB98
8am. Morning Becomes Dyspeptic
8:20am. "Assorted Fistful"
9am. A Fistful of Soundtracks, episode H02, "My Big Fat Fistful of Soundtracks Halloween Special." (First aired: October 27, 2002.)
11am. WEB98
12pm. Assorted Halloween music
2pm. WEB98
3pm. Assorted Halloween music
5pm. WEB98
6pm. H02
8pm. WEB98
9pm. Assorted Halloween music
11pm. WEB98
12am. Assorted Halloween music
2am. WEB98
3am. Assorted Halloween music

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rik Cordero: Better Know a Blogroll Link, Part 5

Rik CorderoI'm a bad Pinoy. October is Filipino American History Month, and I haven't posted anything that's related to FAHM until now.

Minority history months always remind us to celebrate our past history. What about history that's being made right now?

The work of talented Fil-Am music video director Rik Cordero is worth celebrating in any occasion. Born in Queens and raised in Strong Island, the New York-based founder of Three/21 Films is making noise with his clever videos for the Roots, Nas and Snoop Dogg. Earlier this year, the FOBBDeep blog bestowed upon Cordero the honor of "FOBB of the Week."

Most of my favorite hip-hop videos are the less glitzy ones, like Sanji Senaka's video for the Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By" and the Beastie Boys' lo-fi "Three MCs and One DJ" video. Cordero's gritty work reminds me of those classic videos.

The first Cordero joint I ever saw was the Office Space-inspired video he directed for the Roots' "Get Busy." Cordero's dark-humored, torture imagery-filled video for the Roots' "75 Bars" is even doper.

Cordero made a powerful video for Nas' "Be A N****r Too," which contains cameos by John Cho, James Kyson Lee, Danny Hoch and former Wire cast members like Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo), Andre Royo (Bubs) and Gbenga Akinnagbe (Chris).

In the "Sly Fox" video, Nas and Cordero bash the racist rhetoric of Babble O'Reilly and Fox News:

Changing music industry trends--like the fact that most viewers now prefer the Interwebs over MTV for their music video fix--have caused record labels to slash video budgets. So directors like Cordero have had to become more creative, like when he channeled R&B videos from the Donnie Simpson era of Video Soul in a lighter-hearted and more recent Three/21 video, for Q-Tip's "Move":

As Cordero and his Three/21 business partner Nancy Mitchell have said in a promo for their production company, Three/21 makes more than just hip-hop videos. They've also done videos for artists from other genres (Tigers and Monkeys, The Mighty Sweet) and both short and feature-length films.

Cordero's other videos can be viewed at Three/21's YouTube channel. This Pinoy filmmaker is going places.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore (1937-2008)

Rudy Ray Moore (1937-2008)

Fuckin' up muthafuckas was his game.

Comedian Rudy Ray Moore, a.k.a. trash-talking '70s action hero Dolemite, a.k.a. the Human Tornado, has died of complications from diabetes. He was 81.

Famous for its stiff martial arts choreography and production values that were so low that the boom mike gets enough screen time to qualify as a supporting character, Moore's 1975 cult classic Dolemite is a pretty bad movie (bad not meaning good in this case). Not a lot of bad movies are fun to watch (exhibit A: Nicolas Cage's last few action films). But Dolemite is fun to watch--and endlessly quotable ("Man, move over and let me pass 'fore they have to be pullin' these Hush Puppies out yo' muthafuckin' ass!").

Moore's B-movies have had such a huge influence on the hip-hop generation. Robin Harris is seen watching Dolemite and quoting from it during House Party, Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money" video consists of nothing but footage from Dolemite and the Beastie Boys constantly reference Moore in their music (the classic "Hey Ladies" video recreates a sex scene from one of Moore's movies):

One of my favorite MADtv sketches spoofed Dolemite and its wooden actors and lousy production values. As the "Son of Dolemite," a half-naked Aries Spears ran around fuckin' up muthafuckas in "Pas-uh-DEE-NUH!" with his beergut hilariously hanging out of his bikini briefs.

It's been kind of a tough past three days for the hip-hop generation. First, we have to endure the sight of Sarah Palin attempting to relate to us by "raising the roof" on SNL*, and now a favorite blaction hero dies.

* I'm not a fan of SNL's "really white white people trying to rap" shtick, but Amy Poehler's got skills. When 8 Mile co-star Brittany Murphy guest-hosted SNL a few seasons ago, the show did an 8 Mile-inspired sketch about a fake feud between the cast members from the East Coast and the cast members from the West Coast, and Poehler was killin' it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Levi Stubbs (1936-2008)

Levi Stubbs (1936-2008)Four Tops frontman Levi Stubbs, who possessed a baritone that could knock you on your ass, has died. He was 72.

The Tops' most memorable hits include "Baby I Need Your Loving," "It's the Same Old Song," "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)" and "Bernadette" (WARNING: white people dance to "Bernadette" in this clip from John Larroquette's 1990 slapstick comedy Madhouse, but despite the gratuitous white guy dancing, it's a great scene in an otherwise dumb and forgettable movie and it shows why Larroquette has nabbed the Emmy so many times).

On the film music side, the legendary vocalist and his cohorts performed the catchy theme from Shaft in Africa, "Are You Man Enough?" (which is effectively used in Superbad).

Also, Stubbs lent his booming pipes to Audrey II, the carnivorous alien plant in the star-studded 1986 version of Little Shop of Horrors. Audrey II killed more white people than Candyman.

The Mondo Musicals! blog notes that some critics found Audrey II to be an offensive black caricature (!). Stubbs responded to those criticisms in a 1987 interview and said, "Sure, a lot of black people have big lips, but this is a plant, for crying out loud! That attitude is stupid."

Edward Copeland is right: even though he never appeared onscreen, Stubbs stole Little Shop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Neal Hefti (1922-2008)

Neal Hefti (1922-2008)
The composer of the themes from the '60s Batman TV series and the 1968 movie version of The Odd Couple, Neal Hefti died of a heart attack over the weekend. He was 85.

Here's what Jeff Bond wrote about Hefti's surf rock-style Batman theme in his liner notes for the Film Score Monthly release of Nelson Riddle's 1966 Batman feature film soundtrack:
Hefti (like Riddle a band leader and jazz arranger) wrote an appropriately dynamic and instantly recognizable theme that launched with a heavy 4/4 rhythm for bass guitar, low brass and percussion and eight singers (four sopranos and four tenors) singing the words "Batman!" in unison with the trumpets... Ironically, despite (or perhaps because of) its apparent simplicity, Hefti has described the Batman theme as one of the most challenging things he has ever written.
In 1989, Hefti received the ultimate shout-out when Prince quoted the former Sinatra bandleader's Batman theme during "Batdance," a highlight of the Purple One's much-maligned Batman-inspired concept album.

Hefti's other credits included the cult favorite Lord Love a Duck, Sex and the Single Girl, How to Murder Your Wife, Duel at Diablo, Barefoot in the Park and A New Leaf. It's a shame that much of Hefti's work--like the enjoyable Odd Couple soundtrack, which contains themes that were later reupped on the classic Tony Randall/Jack Klugman TV series--hasn't been reissued on CD (props to Film Score Monthly for including Hefti's How to Murder Your Wife and Duel at Diablo score tracks on its now-sold-out MGM Soundtrack Treasury box set).

The Nov. 4 edition of "AFOS A-Go-Go" will open with a tribute segment consisting of Hefti's themes from Batman and the '68 Odd Couple. Those Odd Couple tracks still sound sweet even though the soundtrack album is a re-recording that's interspersed with Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthau dialogue clips that for some stupid reason, were reedited to include a laugh track (canned laughter on a film score album is like Mohinder's voiceover narration on Heroes--totally pointless).

AFOS: "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives" playlist

Yaphet Kotto stars in 'Homicide: Alien on My Ass.'

1. Michael Giacchino, "Roar!" (from Cloverfield), Little Jacket Music, Inc.
2. Akira Ifukube, "Godzilla Main Title" (from Godzilla), The Best of Godzilla 1954-1975, GNP/Crescendo
3. Akira Ifukube, "Four Monsters Attack Tokyo" (from Destroy All Monsters), The Best of Godzilla 1954-1975, GNP/Crescendo
4. Akira Ifukube, "Ending Title" (from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah), The Best of Godzilla 1984-1995, GNP/Crescendo
5. Takayuki Hattori, "Godzilla Roars/Godzilla's Theme: 2000 Millennium," Godzilla 2000: Millennium, GNP/Crescendo
6. Max Steiner, "Main Title," King Kong, Turner Classic Movies Music/Rhino Movie Music
7. The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Cracow, "Main Title" (from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms), Sci-Fi's Greatest Hits Vol. 3: The Uninvited, TVT
8. The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Cracow, "Main Title" (from Them!), Sci-Fi's Greatest Hits Vol. 3: The Uninvited, TVT
9. Jerry Goldsmith, "Parker's Death," Alien: Complete Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Intrada
10. Alan Silvestri, "Main Title" (from Predator), Sci-Fi's Greatest Hits Vol. 3: The Uninvited, TVT
11. Dimitri Tiomkin, "Main Title" (from The Thing from Another World), The Thing from Another World/Take the High Ground!, Film Score Monthly
12. Ennio Morricone, "Humanity (Part II)," The Thing, Varèse Sarabande
13. Byeong Woo Lee, "Sudden Attack in Broad Daylight," The Host, Milan
14. Byeong Woo Lee, "Hyun Suh!," The Host, Milan
15. Mel Tormé, "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives" (from Daffy Duck's Quackbusters), Mel Tormé at the Movies, Rhino
16. Jerry Goldsmith, "Gremlin Credits" (from Gremlins 2: The New Batch), Hollywood Soundstage: Big Movie Hits Volume 1, Varèse Sarabande

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Little Bill O'Reilly

The Daily Show used to do a clever segment called "Great Moments in Punditry," which skewered right-wing pundit shows by having kids read aloud transcripts from them. The spirit of the much-missed "Great Moments in Punditry" lives on in an amusing video featuring "Little Bill O'Reilly."

When I play the video with just the audio and no picture, the pint-sized version of Babble O'Reilly sounds like Holly Hunter if she got brainwashed by neo-cons.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New AFOS episode: "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives"

The Host monster is ready for his close-up.
Just in time for Halloween is the next new episode of A Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series, which will consist of selections from scores to monster movies, including cues from Byeong Woo Lee's score to The Host and the iTunes single release of Michael Giacchino's "Roar!," the closing credits theme from Cloverfield.

Episode WEB98 begins streaming Monday, Oct. 13, at midnight.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

AFOS: "A Better Class of Criminal" playlist

'Do you want my opinion? You need to lighten up.'

1. Hans Zimmer, "Why So Serious?," The Dark Knight, Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.
2. Danny Elfman, "First Confrontation," Batman: Original Motion Picture Score, Warner Bros.
3. Danny Elfman, "Waltz to the Death," Batman: Original Motion Picture Score, Warner Bros.
4. Shirley Walker, "Phantasm and Joker Fight," Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Reprise
5. Nelson Riddle, "Emergency Operation," Batman, Film Score Monthly
6. Danny Elfman, "Selina Transforms," Batman Returns, Warner Bros.
7. Shirley Walker, "Ski Mask Vigilante," Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Reprise
8. Hans Zimmer, "Tadarida," Batman Begins, Warner Sunset/Warner Home Video
9. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, "Blood on My Hands," The Dark Knight, Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.
10. Hans Zimmer, "Introduce a Little Anarchy," The Dark Knight, Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.
11. Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Face to Face," Batman Returns, Warner Bros.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin reminds me of Picket Fences' Mayor Rachel Harris

Governor Marge GundersonGovernor Palin has been called many things. Caribou Barbie. A Tina Fey lookalike. A Peggy Hill lookalike. A Chief Marge Gunderson soundalike. Bush in drag. Dan Quayle with an updo. "Mom" from Futurama. Lonesome Rhodes from A Face in the Crowd. Charo to Biden's Johnny Carson.

I once compared her grasp of foreign policy to Miss Teen South Carolina's grasp of the English language. I'd like to add another two cents to the "Palin is like..." game and compare her to someone really obscure: Picket Fences character Rachel Harris, the lingerie store owner who was hastily thrust into the job of mayor of Rome, Wisconsin despite her lack of qualifications.

Leigh Taylor-Young won an Emmy in 1995 for her role as Mayor Harris, a cougar long before the term became popular (she was an early example of Picket Fences creator David E. Kelley's obsession with cougars, which was most memorably and disgustingly depicted through Fish's wattle fetish on Ally McBeal). The mayor slept with the much younger Deputy Kenny (but he pined for Deputy Max, played by Lauren Holly).

Leigh Taylor-Young at the '95 EmmysPalin's beauty pageant past isn't as lurid or hot as Mayor Harris' porn star past, but their policies and knee-jerk, out-of-control responses to issues are similar. The former Wasilla, Alaska mayor's attempt to ban books from the local library reminds me of the Picket Fences episode in which Mayor Harris ordered MTV to be removed from the local cable company's channel roster because she thought Beavis and Butt-head influenced the youth in Rome to be violent to each other (a grade schooler was on trial for shooting one of Sheriff Jimmy Brock's sons as payback for injuring his older brother during a prank-gone-bad). Mayor Harris continued to piss off the town by enforcing weapon searches on motorists and the fingerprinting of every Rome citizen.

That's what I fear will happen if Palin wins the VP seat. Like the citizens of Rome, we'll be treated to lots of bullshit enforced by someone who plays on people's fears and uses her looks or faux-folksy demeanor to distract the public from how underqualified she is for the job and how stupid and underwhelming her policies are.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Funniest comment on the Biden/Palin debate

Another one of Caribou Barbie's talking points cracks Senator Biden's shit up. Or maybe he's amused that Palin dodged yet another one of Gwen Ifill's questions. She dodges subpoenas, the press and now the moderator. Never trust a big wink and a smile.Garry Shandling's guest appearances on Real Time with Bill Maher are hit-and-miss, but on this week's Real Time, his theory on how Joe Biden prepared for his debate with Sarah Palin had me rolling:

"I think he watched tapes of how Johnny Carson used to deal with Charo... She was this close to saying cuchi-cuchi."

Why the hell did moderator Gwen Ifill let Governor Peggy Hill change the subject during the debate? I've seen better moderating on an IMDb message board.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New AFOS episode: "A Better Class of Criminal"

The Joker wonders, 'How does Batman get all those wonderful toys when the economy's in the crapper?'
The next new episode of A Fistful of Soundtracks: The Series focuses on the villain themes from the Batman feature films (five of the six animated Batman features are excluded because they weren't theatrical releases and the Joel Schumacher movies are excluded because they suck).

Episode WEB97 begins streaming Monday, Oct. 6, at midnight.