Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vote Bag o' Bones

Round 1, heat 2 is now up over the 'chaw. Once again, I have but one entry in this heat, but it's a doozy - Jack Skellington

Below is Riggs' defense of his "character", followed by mine.


Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men

You have that luxury… you have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiagos death, while tragic probably SAVED LIVES. And my existence, which is grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, SAVES LIVES. Deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you WANT me on that wall… you NEED me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a lifetime spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a person who rises and sleeps under the very blanket of freedom which I provide, and then QUESTIONS the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just say Thank You, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. EITHER WAY, I don’t give a GODDAMN… WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE ENTITLED TO!

I didn’t even recount the most famous of lines, or most commercial I should say, which is of course, YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Nor did I recount the funniest… “Tom, get me the president, we’re surrendering our position here in Cuba”… Or how about,” What I want is for you to stand there in your faggety white uniform, and with your Harvard mouth, extend me some fucking courtesy”.

No, don’t really need to. The beauty of this character, so eloquently portrayed by one the most talented and revered actors of our time, is how he convinces the viewer of how terrifying a man he really is, and at the same time how necessary he is. Not because he is inhuman, but because it is his JOB. His total disregard for one human life, or several, in order to do his job, which is to save thousand as he sees it, is evident in his stance as a Marine. The fact is, men like this (ok, women too you liberal feminist fags), NEED to exist. Jack shows why and more importantly HOW, with his portrayal of Colonel Nathan R Jessup. (insert cheap shot at competing writer) Leave it up to a Canadian to not understand that. After all, what do they ever need to defend. A country? BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

OK, kidding about the Canadian thing… I think… As a movie character, aside from the fantastic acting, the writers make this character. Jack is nothing more than a talented vessel. The writers really try to show the horror of this maniacal, egotistical narcissist who in the end makes you believe that his existence, although grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, really does need to exist. See a sane person knows that it is necessary. A liberal, humanist can keep their head in the sand until another tower falls I guess.


Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas vs Jack Nicholson. Yah, I know it says "Col. Nathan R. Jessup", but let's be honest here - did ANY of you remember that was his name? No. He's "Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men." A middling movie remembered for ONE line. The character isn't memorable, the scenery chewing from one of the greatest actors of the 20th century is. But we aren't here to debate actors or their best quotes. No, we're here to find the best CHARACTERS.

But MY Jack? Why he's ALL character. Do you know who does his voice? Nope. Sure, you can look it up, but that's not necessary, because you remember Jack Skellington, not Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman. Yah, that's right - TWO people were needed to bring this walking, singing, dancing saviour of Halloweentown to life. Skellington is a case study in character growth. Starting out as the toast of the town, putting on the best Halloweens every year, we see that this soul is lost. Having feared that he can't top himself, he wanders and discovers a world he just can't comprehend. His good intentions lead to the Christmas from hell, and through this journey he discovers not only the old "meaning of Christmas", but himself. This leads to him bringing righteous retribution down on the villains of his town, while begging for forgiveness for those he was wronged. Find me one other character from the 90's that can be as joyful, lovable, misguided and terrifying as Jack Skellington. He GROWS, he IS the movie. He doesn't just show up for a cup of coffee and a good yell at some pretty-boy Scientologist, he elevates what could have been just another holiday special to a classic.

Here's a test. Jessup's famous line: "You can't handle the truth!" Now please, recite ANYTHING else he says in that speech.

A line from Jack: "There are children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads. They're busy building toys, and absolutely no one's dead!" You're welcome for the earworm.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but I'm sure you can handle it. Jessup doesn't qualify for this tournament since you don't recognize his name without the picture. 19 years after A Few Good Men, Jessup is good for a single line in Nicholson retrospectives. 18 years after Nightmare, Jack Skellington is still gaining fans, being seen in theatres in 3D, and causing people to hum songs about their confusion about snow. Truly great characters endure through time and become legends. Mediocre ones only survive through their best line.

- Astin


Remember to go over to Filmchaw to vote. NOW. Vote Skellington!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photos of the Day

Like I post these things daily. Hah! Just a couple shots from some recent park wanderings nearby. We'll return you to your regularly scheduled 90's movie characters shortly.

Sexy Sakura

Night Coming On

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Best of the 90's - Round 1a

AKA Mia Wallace Division, Day 1. AKA I only have one horse in today's race.

That horse? An actor's actor playing an actor's actor - John Malkovich from Being John Malkovich.

He's facing some bull-headed religious nut who studied Philosophy 101 from a decrepit old book he found in a Zion basement - Morpheus. But enough about a dude with a fixation on 90's Elton John songs.

Granted, my opponent, one HDouble, wrote an eloquent and tl;dr defense of the self-styled prophet, peppered with quotes that themselves are too long to recall (seriously, who remembers anything more than something about taking a pill based on colour?). But quotes taken from the Moleskine of some high-as-a-kite teenager do not a great character make. To the battle!

Vote over at Filmchaw. You'll also find the whole round 1a over there, where below is only my battle for this round.


Morpheus, The Matrix
It's rare to find a movie character who can believably pull off so many dimensions simultaneously.

Prophet, Mentor, Keeper of the Faith, Martial Arts expert, Hero.

As I was trying to figure out how best to show why Morpheus is a "better" character than John Malkovich, I ended up with a few approaches that all failed to capture the greatness of . So let's go straight to the source and break down my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

Morpheus's first lesson to his pupil is delivered with calm intensity, and explains in simple terms the way in which the "unexamined life" and materialism can imprison us. It's something an expert painter might say to an aspiring painter who has shown early promise. The speech also illustrates the painful reality of being a caring human being: we fight to save our enemies and open their eyes to a way of living outside the system.

Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

The teacher continues his lecture, using a powerful simile to make his point. The "splinter" he refers to reminds us of those moments when we aspire for a more fulfilling life and a better world. In a world filled with depressing headlines, cynicism and sarcasm fill our mind with storm clouds that threaten apathy. With this speech, Morpheus offers us a ray of idealism that pierces the dark clouds.

Morpheus: Free your mind.
[Morpheus jumps from one building to another a long distance away]
Neo: Whoa

Like all great teachers, Morpheus first explains a concept, and then illustrates the concept by doing it himself. Just as Yoda lifts his pupil's ship from the swamp when Luke sees only the impossible, Morpheus forces his pupil to see beyond the limitations created by his mind. Sitting in the theater as a 22 year old, I remember sharing Neo's amazement at the sight of Morpheus's leap of faith.

How many Malkovich quotes do you remember? Do you remember his voice? Do you remember what he was wearing? Take the red pill.


John Malkovitch, Being John Malkovitch
Some characters are incredibly one-dimensional. Others have some pathetic other side that is intended to add depth. Nowadays it seems everything is going 3D. But Malkovich? He's multidimensional, he's got dimensions you can't even imagine. Accessible through a small door on the 7 1/2 floor, you too can be this broad-based auteur. Thespian, tortured soul, puppeteer and puppet both, a man controlled by the whim of petty man-gods, with direct access to the side of the New Jersey Turnpike, Malkovich fights an ultimately fruitless battle against forces he can barely understand. Man vs Army of Senior Citizens inside his own mind isn't frequently visited territory for most actors, but John Malkovich lives it in a means beyond the deepest method actors. Rare is it that one can face oneself, let alone oneself lying on a piano reciting oneself's name. Morpheus nearly broke under the "duress" of being asked some questions by an Australian with an hearing aid. John Malkovich rebelled against a man almost literally pulling his strings. Also, he's best friends with Charlie Sheen. Morpheus is best friends with some dork hacker who refuses to accept the reality of spoons.

- Astin

Friday, May 06, 2011

BBQ Sauce

Yellow onion - chopped and sweated in oil and butter
3 cloves garlic - minced and tossed in onions for 2 min
Brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce
Cider vinegar
White vinegar
Smokey BBQ vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Orange peel powder
Smoked paprika
Roasted garlic salt
Hickory smoked salt
Alderwood smoked salt
Habanero salt
Ghost pepper salt
Black pepper
Ground ghost pepper
Habanero powder
Cayenne powder
Chipotle powder
Ancho chili powder
Chipotle Tabasco
Liquid smoke
Penzeys Northwoods Fire seasoning
Dried jalapeno flakes
Susie's teardrops
Susie's original hot sauce
Smoked chipotle hot sauce
Soy sauce
High fat cocoa powder
Apricot Wheat beer
Jack Daniels

I think that's it...

Stir and boil... blend with immersion blender (if it's metal. Plastic blenders will have to wait until cool). Simmer to reduce.

Sweet, spicy, BBQ sauce. I could probably remove half those ingredients without noticing a difference... or maybe not. It mellows substantially when cooked on chicken. I now have a large squeezable ketchup bottle full of the stuff. Better find me some ribs.