Thursday, August 13, 2009

100 (More) Things, Part 2

26. I don't drink with a straw unless I have to. If I'm drinking in the car I'll use a straw but just until the pop level is down enough that I can have the drink in the cup holder without it tipping over. I like to crunch the ice along with the pop so straws don't work for me.

27. We got Chicago's WGN when I was a kid so I watched a lot of Cubs games. For those of you who don't watch baseball, it's Wrigley tradition to throw a home run hit by the visiting team back onto the field. I dreamed of going to Wrigley, catching an Andy Van Slyke home run, and then refusing to throw it back. (A few people have told me that this might have resulted in my death, regardless of my age.)

28. Speaking of WGN, I also dreamed of playing Bozo's Grand Prize Game. The game was pretty straight-forward - you had to throw a ping-pong ball into 6 buckets, each a little bit farther than the one before it, the prizes getting a little bigger with each bucket - and I could not for the life of me understand how anyone could miss.

29. I'm a huge fan of movie trailers. I hate if we're running late to the movies and we miss the trailers. (Fun fact: They're called trailers because they used to run at the end of movies.) When we finally got high speed internet and a decent computer, I clearly remember saying, "Now we can watch trailers without them skipping and blinking out." I think there's an art to making a great trailer - one that makes the movie look interesting without giving away the entire plot and/or ending - and if it's good, I'll watch it over and over, sometimes long after the movie has played. My favorite trailer out there right now is Where the Wild Things Are. It just feels perfect. I've watched it at least once day since it was first leaked. (I have some reservations about turning a 20 page book into a full-length movie - I don't think anyone's done that well yet - but I'm encouraged that Maurice Sendak seems to really love the adaptation.)

30. My favorite summer TV show has been Top Chef Masters. I think my favorite moment was world famous chef Hubert Keller trying desperately to figure out the microwave oven he had to use in a challenge. I hate to cook but I love to watch other people cook.

31. In addition to movie trailers, I love movie soundtracks. I'm fascinated by how music can work (or not work) with the images of a film, how some soundtracks are beautiful even without the images, and how some soundtracks really need the images to support them. I love how certain pieces bring to mind exactly what happened on screen at that point in the movie. My favorite right now is So Was Red from The Shawshank Redemption. I think it falls into both categories: I can hear it and see the movie ("I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.") but it also doesn't need the images to have power. Even if I'd never seen the move the piece is a slow build of hope and joy.

32. I don't care if the NHL is ever on ESPN again or not. I understand why people want it to be and I wouldn't protest it or anything. But it's not a make or break thing for me.

33. I once had a My View column printed in the Buffalo News. I'd link it but I'm sure it's buried deep in the archives at this point. It was about my best friend growing up, Shabana, written in the aftermath of 9/11.

34. I pretty much always have a book with me. I read in the regular places - doctor's waiting rooms etc. - but I also read, among other places, in traffic, at stop lights, and in fast food lines (inside and in the drive-thru). I also, despite attempts from my mother to be more polite, often read at the table.

35. Favorite Pixar movies in order: Toy Story 2, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Monsters Inc., Cars, Ratatouille, A Bug's Life. I haven't seen Up yet.

36. Favorite non-Pixar animated movies: Beauty and the Beast, The Iron Giant, Peter Pan, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

How about you guys? Any favorite movie music? Favorite Pixar movies? Read any good books lately? Watching anything good this summer?


Lee Andrew said...

Burn Notice is not only the best show on in the summer but it is the second best show on television period.

Pixar Movies in order - Toy Story 2, Toy Story, Wall-E, Incredibles, the rest.

Non-Pixar Animated Movies - Robin Hood, Black Cauldron, Secret of NIMH, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the original GI Joe movie.

If you like soundtracks you should listen to some anime and Japanese video game soundtracks. They are as good as movie soundtracks. Especially look for stuff by Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series). My favorite songs being "Go Go Cactus Man", "Those Who Fight (Piano Version), "One Winged Angel", "The Chase of Highway", and "Greenbird". I imagine if you look up any of them on YouTube it will one of the first results.

War Penguin said...

This is sort of embarrassing, but the score for the Legend of Chun Li Street Fighter movie is surprisingly good. (The movie itself is totally skippable.) I stumbled across a used copy of Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse. Mannheim Streamroller performing classic Disney tunes was just too weird to pass up.

Also, I've been re-watching The X-Files season by season. I'd forgotten how awesome Mark Snow's work on that series was. It's almost criminal that there isn't a comprehensive collection of the music available.

Non-Pixar animated movies ... Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Spirited Away. (Both Miyazaki, like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke.)

I've been reading a lot of fiction lately, particularly YA stuff. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is a fun read. (I particularly recommend the latest edition - it has an essay that those of us who always have least one book when we they leave the house will enjoy.)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel isn't bad, but the sequels seem to have basically the same plotline as the first.

Rookie of the Year by John Tunis - I thought it was interesting, but as a much bigger baseball fan than me, I suspect you've probably read this one already. :)

If you like superheroes, Black & White by Kessler and Kittredge was pretty good. And if you like vampire romance, Wicked Games and Bad to the Bone are mildly entertaining.

As far as non-fiction goes, I can't remember if I've plugged Gare Joyce's Future Greats and Heartbreaks here before, but if not, I highly recommend. (Joyce basically follows the Blue Jackets' pro scouts around for a year, and even does a little scouting/background reporting himself.) It's available more cheaply from than

(Apologies for wall of text.)

Ebscer said...

The Incredibles was a surprisingly awesome movie. I had put off seeing it for years after it came out, feeling that it was too much of a kids movie to be any good. Now I know better than to pass up on anything done by Pixar. (although I too have yet to see up)...

TheSharpie said...

Now that I have time to read since I'm not reading for college I don't have access to a lot of books. I did read a book called If Your Survive about an office in WWII. He was a replacement and joined his unit in July 1944 (after D-day, obviously), and by the end was the only guy from that group still fighting. He fought in the Hurtzgen and the Battle of the Bulge. I also re-read the Lord of the Rings a few weeks ago. (when I was a kid my parents used to always have to tell me, "put the book down" and do whatever job they gave me to do)

I'm fascinated by how movies are put together, from the costuming to the music to the sets to everything else. I love the LOR soundtrack, though if you listen to the Shire theme the opening bars sound just like "This Is My Father's World." (an old hymn)

As far as movies I obviously haven't really seen any new movies, but I did just finish watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" again.

My favorite Pixar movies would probably be "Toy Story 2," "Monsters Inc.," "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," "Finding Nemo" and "Cars."

Heather B. said...

Lee, Burn Notice is on my list. Just haven't gotten around to it. I haven't seen The Secret of NIMH in years but I remember it really scaring me when I was a kid. It's funny you bring up Cowboy Bebop though because I've been meaning to ask you: Last time I was home there was a song from CB that I listened to over and over. I don't suppose you remember what it was?

War Penguin, I'm intrigued by Mannheim Meets the Mouse. How is it? I definitely thought of Spirited Away when listing the non-Pixar movies and almost added it. I do really like it. Gotta see more Miyazaki movies. I have not read Rookie of the Year and will check it out for sure. Haven't read Future Greats and Heartbreaks either but it's been on my list forever. One of these days I'll get around to it. Might check out Black & White too. Thanks! (Never come here and apologize for writing a lot :))

Ebscer, I think The Incredibles is probably Pixar's most grown-up movie but I'll take a flyer on pretty much anything they do. They're geniuses.

Sharpie, "Concerning Hobbits" is my most favoritest thing in the LotR soundtracks and while I never made the connection to "This is My Father's World" I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. (Love, love, love my hymns. I'll take a beautiful old hymn over a catchy, repetitive contemporary chorus any day. Don't even get me started.) And where are you these days, btw?

Lee Andrew said...

I think the only Cowboy Bebop song I have on CD other than the theme is "Go Go Cactus Man" so that was probably it. It sounds like a Wild West song and has a lot of whistling in it.

Lee Andrew said...

Oh and another thing I forgot. Rumor is Chicago fans bring their own baseball with them to the games now. When they catch a home run they keep the ball that was hit and throw their own ball back. It's like PED's for fans. I'm waiting for Jose Canseco to confirm it.

Heather B. said...

Yeah, I was just coming here to tell you I listened to the clips you mentioned and I'm pretty sure it was "Go Go Cactus Man." It definitely sounded like music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

And ha! to Cubs fans. That's hilarious.

War Penguin said...

If you like Mannheim Steamroller, you'll probably enjoy its take on the Mouse's music. If you're mostly in it for the Disney tunes, I'm not sure. On some of the tracks it seems like they've embroidered on the original melody so much that it gets a bit lost.

TheSharpie said...

I'm in Iraq, which makes it more difficult to follow hockey, got to the movies, or go to a bookstore. My brother was able to record and send me the tv shows I follow though.

mcguffers said...

I second the shout out to Burn Notice. LOVE Bruce Campbell.

I'm totally with you about movie trailers. My love for them first started when my mom and I used to go to movies together every week, but we'd rotate who got to chose. We have very opposite tastes, so her weeks, the trailers were the best part of my trip. I really like the song they use for the Where the Wild Things Are trailer. Not good for Sabres goals. Priceless for little boy running through the woods with creatures.

Lee Andrew said...

I commented on so many other things I forgot the trailers. I love the trailers but I hate it when somebody definitively says a movie is going to be good or bad based on what they saw on a trailer.

Maybe the most successful trailer ever was the trailer for Taken earlier this year. Before the trailer it was going to make maybe $20 million. Then everybody saw the trailer and it made $145 million instead.

Did you know there is an award show just for trailers?

TheSharpie said...

I'm more likely than anyone in my family to watch trailers, but I'm wary of them ever since the trailer for "The Sum Of All Fears." I hadn't read the book at that point and the trailer gave away too much of the movie. (I did, however, read the book before going to see the movie.) I do, however, love watching trailers for the heavily promoted movies as they can indicate whether or not there is an actual plot. I don't care how good the special effects are I don't like to waste my money on a movie that doesn't tell a good story. (which is why even if I was stateside I wouldn't have gone to see Transformers 2.) There have been a few movies over the years that I have refused to watch since people said, "well, the plot wasn't that great, but it was a good move -- it had great special effects." Special effects are great, but they don't make up for a lack of a plot!

mcguffers said...

Special effects are great, but they don't make up for a lack of a plot!

It might have helped if I had watched the cartoons as a kid, but I'm still not sure what the point of Transformers 2 is. Well, besides the constant need to show off Megan Fox's body.

Lee Andrew said...

A) It doesn't help to watch the cartoons. Transformers still sucks.
B) I guess Megan Fox has a nice body but I think she is kind of ugly in the face area.
C) I think the only point to Transformers was to make $400 million. Which actually makes it very similar to the cartoon since the cartoon was basically 30 minute commercials to sell toys.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

My favorite Pixar are A Bug's Life and Cars (tie for first), Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2, then the rest. I also haven't seen Up yet.

I'm a big fan of any of Ry Cooder's soundtracks, mainly Southern Comfort and The Long Riders.

I stand in the hall until the trailers are over, if I can. They always tell too much of the story.

Aren't you glad you asked? :P