Monthly Archives: July 2009

He’s Out of Her Life: My mom mourns Michael Jackson

My mother is not one of those melodramatic women you expect to see crying and pulling their hair out over the death of a celebrity. She doesn’t remember where she was when the Kennedys were killed (actually she was just barely alive). She shed not one tear for John Lennon, Princess Diana, or Ronald Reagan. Outside of when Kurt Cobain died and she, knowing that I loved Nirvana, tried to break the news to me gently by telling me something had happened to “one of my friends,” celebrity deaths come and go without so much as a blip on mom’s radar.

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And you my friend will see, you've got a friend in me.

So imagine my surprise when she called me moments after network television stations starting announcing news about Michael Jackson’s passing. I was standing in a store when she called and quickly shooed her off the phone with an “I know, mom. I’ll call you back later.” Imagine my even greater surprise when my phone rang about 90 seconds later and I heard her small, shaky voice admit: “Roxanne, I’m not okay.”

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Review Haiku: Star Trek

This ship is nice and all but we sure wish Roxanne were here to tell us haiku.

Set warp engines to full-haiku ahead.

Since I’m backed up on promised reviews and there are more things on Earth to talk about than movies, I’ve come up with a new shorthand review style I’d like to test-run on Star Trek.

Without further ado, REVIEW HAIKU:
(See what I did there with the rhyming? I slay me.)

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Bigger. F**king. Robots…and not much else (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)

Among the things that I meant to talk about in the last two weeks was the snoozefest otherwise known as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Over the course of 150 minutes (and trust me, it felt every bit as long as it was), I was reminded of why I no longer wake up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

I can't believe I got out of bed for this.

I can't believe I got out of bed for this.

Because, essentially, this film was a two-and-a-half hour live-action cartoon. It picks up where the first film left off: with Megatron, the head Decepticon (that’s Transformer for big bad) decommissioned at the bottom of the ocean, while Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots (that’s Transformer for good guys) is helping the U.S. Marines protect the planet from whatever it is we need protecting from. But the plot — something nonsensical about trying to stop a doomsday device left behind in Egypt by a rogue alien robot, called The Fallen, from blowing up Earth’s sun — has holes big enough to drive an Optimus Prime through. {*Sidebar: the Mister wants to make sure you know that I know Optimus Prime is a proper name and not a type of Transformer.}

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Big Willie’s (Lost) Weekend

So it’s the anniversary of our nation’s independence and I’m thinking about all the movies that have been stewing in my little head for the last two weeks (reviews of Transformers 2, Taking of Pelham 123, Star Trek, and The Hangover coming soon to a computer near you).

Thoughts of movies and Independence Day always bring me around to Mr. July 4th Weekend himself, Will Smith. Remember when he told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show that he had dubbed it “Big Willie Weekend”?

Where's Willie, our perennial July 4th side dish?

Where's Willie, our perennial July 4th side dish?

Ever since Independence Day hit screens on July 2, 1996, the Fresh Prince has been as part of the tradition as grilled meat, sunshine, and illegal fireworks. Undoubtedly the most suited to its release date, ID4 had Will playing Captain Steven Hiller, an Air Force pilot  that teams with an adorably neurotic environmental scientist (Jeff Goldblum) and one of the baddest on-screen American presidents to date (Bill Pullman) to kick some tentacled alien arse.

In the years since, some of Will’s July 4 releases have been hits — 1997’s Men in Black and 2002’s MIB II. Last year’s Hancock grossed more than $62 million in its opening weekend alone. Some have also been colossal misses — 1999’s Wild Wild West…need I say more? Some, such as 2003’s Bad Boys II and 2004’s I-Robot, have even missed the weekend by a few days. You know, like those kids in your neighborhood who don’t seem to run out of bottle rockets for 10 days after the 4th.

So where the heck is our favorite big-eared action hero this year? Nothing goes with potato salad quite like his swagger.

Number 5 is Alive!

Dear Faithful Reader,

My apologies for the long, unexplained and unexpected absence. I’m alive and well. Truth told, this (pop) culture junkie has been a little overwhelmed by the events of the last few weeks. As W.B. Yeats once put it, “too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.”

Malfunction. Need input.

Malfunction. Too much input.

I intended to write reviews of “The Taking of Pelham 123” and “Star Trek” (both of which I mostly enjoyed but also have a lot to say about) but then got engrossed by what looked like it was going to become a full-fledged, bloody, Twitter-fueled revolution in Iran.

I thought to write about the Real NJ Housewives but then got annoyed by the coverage of a certain South Carolina governor’s indiscretion and subsequent diarrhea of the mouth.

I tried to write about “NYC Prep” (which I have TONS to say about, including a few choice literary comparisons) but was then grief-stricken by the loss of the man who was not only the soundtrack to my childhood but the one and only King of Pop (not to mention the other tragic celebrity deaths of Farrah, Ed, and Billy that same week).

If you will be patient with me for just a little while longer, there will be posts about each of the above forthcoming. So stay tuned.

– Blog of All Trades