Saturday, August 05, 2006

Big Head Floyd and the Monsters

Floyd LandisEvery morning when I fire up the computer and hop onto the internet, the very first place I go, considering it is my homepage, is . And when the page loaded I met with the not so surprising lead story of Floyd Landis “B” sample coming back positive for abnormal levels of testosterone. After a week of hearing excuses after excuses of why he failed the first test, from shots of whiskey to cortisone shots, it was almost as if they were bracing for a second failed test instead of expecting the test to exonerate Landis. With all of his excuses, as well everyone else's, there is something to be said about the steriod user that looks the best now is the only one to come out and said, yeah, I used them to make me better in Jose Cansaco.

Justin GatlinSpeaking of other athletes and their excuses, if there was one bit of relief for Landis was that there was another positive test recently by an athlete in a sport that people actually care about with Justin Gatlin, the supposed fastest man in the world. Big Head Justin was even able to come up with a more insane excuse than Big Head Floyd with the “a masseuse with a grudge rubbed him down with the infamous The Cream” excuses. This begs the question, why go to a masseuse that doesn’t like you? He was also able to pull out the most guilty excuses out, the one patented by the biggest oversized dome of the all Barry Bonds with the “I never knowingly took any banned substances.” And to further prove Gatlin’s guilt, much like Bonds, his trainer/coach, Trevor Graham, was linked to the BALCO probe. Oh, and for those keeping track at home, Graham has coached six athletes that have received drug suspensions.

With these two high profile cases the latest of a laundry list steroid abusers dating all the way back to Ben Johnson back in Seoul (seriously, like a Canadian can run fast, talk about red flags) the best show currently on television, even with the hateable Dan LeBatard, debated if we can trust any athlete to be clean. Mike Wilbon brought up Derek Jeter but I’m not sure if I can trust anyone who place baseball, football, or hockey not too mention the lesser sports. They only sport I can remotely trust is clean basketball, and by clean I mean of performance enhancing drugs because they have plenty of other problems including reports from players that over fifty percent of the league enjoys the sticky icky and there is even a franchise nicknamed the Jailblazers, although the Cincinnati may have to co-opt that name soon.

I know some of you may think I’m a hypocritical for the time I mentioned I coerced a young cousin to move my ball during the bi-annual McGavin Family Croquet Deathmatch, but to me there is a big different with cheating and chemically altering you body. Growing up, I loved hearing of stories of pitchers doctoring the baseball with nail files and storing Vaseline in their pocket or even dudes, much like George Brett, who lathered a little too much pine tar on their bat. I grew up being taught if you aren’t cheating you’re not trying. But I draw the line with putting things into my body, especially the kind that makes Little Scooter, well, more little. Not only is it wrong, it’s downright creepy.

But it will be the baseball writers will be the one who will be determining the legacy of steroids as more and more oversized domes become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in the next couple of years starting next year with Big Head Mark Mcgwire. Personally if it were up to me, I would induct Cal Ripkin Jr. and Tony Gwinn next year and not induct anyone else for the next fifteen years except some old timers that were overlooked the first couple times they were on the ballot.

And there is an easy solution to the steroids problem. It is no coincidence that the use of performance enhancing drugs skyrocketed at the same time player salaries did. Back in the eighties no one made more than a million dollars but today even players that haven’t play a game routinely make millions of dollars. And what is one to do with all that disposable income, one would make sure that income keeps coming in especially when others are trying to get an unfair advantage. So here is my solution, one that have advocated for a long time and would be the first thing I would implement if I Ruled the World (right after I freed all my sons, you know, because I love ‘em, love ‘em baby) would be a salary cap. Now this salary cap wouldn’t be like the one’s today that put a cap on players salary, no this one would instead benefit the fan, it would be a cap on ticket prices and here it is the max places would be able to charge for different sports.

Baseball - $10
Basketball, Hockey, Soccer - $15
Football - $20
World Cup, Olympics, other special events - $25

So a family of four could go out to a ballgame for less than forty buck, what a novel idea. And of course to keep from pouching other aspects there would be a cap on parking and food too.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Every Mother's Child Sings a Lonely Song

Two Lights - Five for Fighting

With a name like you would think it would be a band that would get a few spins on Headbanger’s Ball. Instead the band broke out five years ago to the delight of moms everywhere with melodic piano driven songs that have been adult contemporary radio staples since, mostly due to the woe is me song through Superman’s eyes. Not that we need another whiny Superman, that's what Smallville is for. But anyways. And of course when I say band I mean John Ondrasik who is basically the whole band and obvious hockey enthusiast. As a piano enthusiast myself, I been trying to get into his music, but nothing has really locked on for me yet.

What was surprising at first listening to a Five for Fighting album was how political Two Lights is. Granted it is not all that overt or even takes sides. This starts with the opener Freedom Never Cries with lines like, “I never loved the soldier until there was a war” and a verse about seeing a father and son on television with the younger holding a gun. World is a pseudo-environmental song asking, “What kind of world do you want?” And also warns, “Be careful what you wish for, history starts now.” On the other hand there is the tongue in cheek (I think) California Justice where he wonders why people care about him killing another dude. Although I have no clue why he claims Lance Armstrong is the new sheriff in town. I'm sure he’s no Sheriff John Brown. Another song that could go into the sarcasm category is Policeman’s Xmas Party where the cops are likened to Inspector Clouseau and they like to dance to Everybody Wants You.

But it’s not all pseudo politics on Two Lights as there are plenty of song that will keep your moms tuned into the radio for the next year. The current single The Riddle sounds like it’s a sequel to 100 Years. If there were proms for middle aged people, I Just Love You would be a staple at them for years to come. On Road to Heaven Ondrasik trades in his piano for an electric one, but the song is bogged down by its sappy message. But when it comes down to it, his voice is an acquired taste that I still haven’t obtained yet. In fact, his voice is most palatable on Policeman’s Xmas Party where he pulls a circa Just a Friend. Now that’s entertaining.

Song to Download - I Just Love You

Two Lights gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Five for Fighting on iTunes

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First Impressions: Flavor of Love 2

Flavor of LoveIn yet another 9th Green exclusive*, I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced copy of the new season of Flavor of Love days before it premieres on Sunday. First off we get a long rundown on how we got to the second season including his stints on the Surreal Life 3, Strange Love with Bridgette Neilson and of course the first season of Flavor of Love which ended with Hoopz knowing what time it is. But between the season one finale, which just so happened to be the largest audience of any show in VH1’s history, and the reunion show, Hoopz no longer knew what time it was leading to the inevitable second season.

This time around took a hands on approach to the casting as this time he didn’t want any gold diggers. But with Flav in charge in the casting, this led to, um, larger contestants and shockingly, girl that seem crazier than the first batch. And even more surprisingly, there were actually a few chicks I found attractive this time around. But when it comes down to it, the show still feels like a ghetto version of The Bachelor that they’d show on public access in Compton with some white chicks thrown in for affirmative action purposes.

The show’s format didn’t really change much though where the girls first show up and claim beds, and then it’s off to get drunk. Then there is the ceremonial nickname banding, also know as where Flavor first gets to grope the girls, and then the girls go off to drink some more. After that is the mixer where Flav gets to meet and chat with the girls and gets his first chance to make out with them, all the while the chick drink some more. And finally the passing out of the clocks at the first elimination, followed by drinking to celebrate those who made the cut while Flav pours some out for the chicks that didn’t know what time it was.

Even though it was very repetitive from last season, there are plenty of reasons to watch the premier including someone getting tossed before the third commercial break. And seeing why she was tossed was entertaining which they showed multiple times including in slo-mo. The one big change this time around is Flav brought in a spy to make sure all the gold diggers and reality shows professionals didn’t slip through, although it’s surprising that Trishelle hasn’t shown up yet as this is one of the few reality shows she hasn’t been on yet. And for the first time ever we get Flav-lation where they translate what Flav is saying so those of us white people in the Midwest can understand.

And they save the best, and by best I mean the worst for last. And all I have to say make sure you don’t eat before you watch the show because the most discussing thing I’ve ever seen on television happens in the last act.

Verdict: With Jerry Springer no longer entertaining, Flavor of Love has become the best train wreck on TV. As much as I don’t want to watch it, I’m sure I’ll see every episode by the time the finale comes around.

* Okay, so this wasn’t so much a 9th Green exclusive because you too can watch the first episode of Flavor of Love, along with the new season of Celebrity Fit Club, on VH1’s Broadband channel with limited commercial breaks. Or you can still see it on VH1 this Sunday at 10:00 and of course since its VH1, it will be repeated constantly throughout the week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We Would Say Our Rhymes to the Beat Right

Feedback - Jurassic 5

I know I’ve said this whenever I talk about rap, but as a youth, I was a huge hip-hop fan. For most of Middle School that was all I listen to. Then as I grew, I listen to less and less because I found it, for the most part, uninspiring. Just the same raps about bling over the same tired beats. Seriously, how hasn’t anyone figured out that Lil’ Jon only has just one song. But anyways. One of the few rap troupes worth listening to, is back with their latest album, . Don’t expect the normal rap fair of recent times because, as they say, “we would say our rhymes to the beat right, but we never indulged in the street life.”

The boys came up around the same time as another underground sensation, the , but unlike the Peas, this group didn’t become Jurassic 6 by adding a cast off from and not so coincidently Jurassic 5 has yet to have a breakout hit. But on Feedback, the 5 do some things that could be considered selling out. First they brought in Scott Storch, one of many new producers they worked with after longtime DJ left to pursue a solo career. Storch is best know for being responsible for bringing and to the radio, thanks for that by the way (end sarcasm), produced Brown Girl (Suga Plum). Needless to say this is the weakest track on the album. The other and more successful way the boys try to crossover is the addition of the on the track Work it Out.

The collective expands their horizons more than just bringing talented guest, and Scott Storch, like on How Did We End up like This, a smooth track where the group look back at themselves, and possibly hip-hop culture as a whole and wonder what went wrong. But the backpackers are at the top of their games when they kick it old school like Radio. They seamlessly switch between each other before coming together for the chorus and the song should be coming out of your radio’s speakers this summer. In the House sounds like something that could have been heard in New York City in the early eighties. Hopefully the next time around Jurassic 5 don’t call up Scott Storch, because they don’t need him.

Song to Download - Work it Out

Feedback gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Jurassic 5 on iTunes

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Huh, Huh, Huh, Huh, Huh, Huh, That Was Cool

Beavis and Butt-head

In a story I broke yesterday, MTV turns twenty-five today, not that you would learn that from watching the channel as they are too busy showing a mini-marathon of Real World:… um, actually I have no clue where they are this time around. Shouldn’t you be on the wrong side of thirty before being ashamed of your age? But anyways. Yeah, it’s been decades since the channel has shown videos on a regular occasion, and you may not remember due to all the trash on now, but MTV has had a few great shows like the Unplugged series, Remote Control, Rich Girls, and even the didn’t suck in it’s pre-Chicago days. But for my money, the best show was the one the featured the only two high school students even more dumb than the cast of , . So in honor of MTV’s birthday, someone’s got to celebrate, the boys will be the first television show inducted into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

As the legend goes, the show started after the Mike Judge cartoon appeared on the weird collection of animated shorts, Liquid Animation. This particular short introduced America to the greatest inventions to sports since fantasy sports, frog baseball. Shortly there after the duo got their own television show. When Beavis and Butt-head first aired, I was definitely smack dab right in the middle of their target demographic. I, like most f my male classmates, watched obsessively and discussed at length the next day in the lunchroom, quoted every line, did the laughs, but were drew the line at burning down our mobile homes (thanks dude who did that which forced MTV to push the just to 11:00 just because you are a moron and your mother was too lazy to be a parent).

There were many classic episodes in the cartoon’s run, my favorites being the time they weren’t allowed to laugh, anytime Cornholio made an appearance, the time Butt-head choked on his chicken (huh, huh, I wrote choked on his chicken) then Beavis had to perform the Heimlich (he, he, I wrote Heimlich), the time the boys had to buy jockstraps but all that fit were eye patches, when Bill Clinton came to speak at Highland High, and many, many more. But the highlight of every episode was when the boys would sit down and watch, mostly obscure, music videos. I doubt Rob Zombie would have had a career had Beavis and Butt-head not made fun of a White Zombie video.

Another great part of the show was when the boys would dream about being other people, most notably when Big Daddy Butt-head stood in for David Letterman with Beaver as his Paul Shaffer. And the secondary characters always added to the show, my favorite being Major Buzzcut, but you were sure to get a laugh whenever Principal McVicker, Mr. Van Driessen, or the dude with the Winger t-shirt.

Unfortunately Mike Judge eventually got bored with his imbecilic creation and pulled the plug on Beavis and Butt-head after their movie was released so he could focus more on the less funny , although we did get the brilliant in the post-Beavis and Butt-head era. Another unfortunate postscript to the show is it looks like we will never get season sets from the boys with all videos included. Instead it looks like the three set Mike Judge collections (the third and final one being released today) will be as close as a definite set that we will get, well until in about five years when MTV and Judge want to suck even more money out of fans. I’m sure I will break down and buy this collection in the near future (hey Christmas is only five months away, hint, hint.) So happy birthday MTV even though the only music shown on you channel nowadays is the soundtrack to crappy reality shows, and congratulations to Beavis and Butt-head for being inducted to the SHoF.

In honor of Beavis and Butt-head's induction, I compiled a bunch of my favorite clips over at my sister site, Scooter McGavin Takes Pictures.

Monday, July 31, 2006

We on Award Tour - 2006 MTV Video Music Awards Nominations

A day before their twenty-fifth birthday, which I’m sure they will celebrate with a marathon of The Hills rather than break out Thriller one more time, MTV has announced it’s nominations for its annual Video Music Awards. For most of its existence, the award show was ground breaking and even influenced older one. But lately it has just been a forum for artists to hype their latest endeavors. But with all the complaints, I’ll surely be turning in this year much like I have since I first got cable.

Even though the nominees were announced today, there is still no word on a host yet. You’d think after the debacle two years ago where they were host-less, they wouldn’t let that happen again even if that meant bringing in the unfunny Jimmy Fallon one more time. And after the poor performance the extremely boring Diddy last year that they would throw all their money in the budget at for one more go around. But some performers have already been confirm with who may or may not have the first dude on dude kiss in VMA history with former boy bander Lance Bass. Oh wait; Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith already did that, never mind then. Also scheduled are , Beyoncé, , T.I., and five time nominee Panic! at the Disco, you know, that band with that horrible song and cheesy Ringling Brothers in a church video, they got more nominations than everyone but Shakira and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And there wasn’t even a new category for band that best ripped off Fall Out Boy’s sound. will provide the soundtrack for the event, not that I have a clue what that means, are they the house band or something?

In an odd change in VMA format, you actually have a chance to vote this year. This was put near the end of the press release from MTV with little explanation. So I’m not sure if the fans have total control or if we get one vote total. Either way, I this is a bad idea to end all bad ideas because as a wise man once said, “The world is full a stupid people.” So the winner won’t be the ones that deserve it rather those who have fans with absolutely no lives who have nothing better to do than sit on the internet and vote all day. But if you would like to vote, head over to the website. Now on to the nominations for the awards that will be handed out August 31 (if you are interested in buying the video, click the song name where available in iTunes, if you just want the song, click the artist's name):

Video of the Year
: Ain't No Other Man
: Hung Up
: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
: Dani California
f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Dani California
Who Should Win: Hips Don’t Lie
Should Have Been Nominated: : Crazy

I already stressed my dislike for Panic! and another head scratcher is Madonna. How does a chick on the wrong side of forty in a leotard get a Video of the Year nomination? And it wasn’t even a down year as Crazy, Gold Digger, Wake Me up When September Ends, Doesn’t Remind Me by Audioslave could have been in here.

Best Male Video
f/ Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose & DMX: Touch It (Remix)
: You're Beautiful
f/ Jamie Foxx:
: What's Left of Me
: What You Know

Who Will Win: Kanye West
Who Should Win: Kanye West
Should Have Been Nominated: : Upside Down

A poor category, they didn’t even nominate the right Busta Rhymes video (should have been My Chick). Then throw out the two wusses and the Antoine Merriwether look alike, and the only worthy video here is Kanye.

Best Female Video
Christina Aguilera: Ain't No Other Man
: Because of You
Madonna: Hung Up
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: Promiscuous
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Ain’t No Other Man
Who Should Win: Hips Don’t Lie
Should Have Been Nominated: : Not About Love

Again with the old chick in the leotard, but she doesn’t have chance anyways. Nice to see two dudes in the Best Female Category like in previous years. Clarkson’s daddy issues video and is too depressing to win (Walk Away should have been here instead), so between the two hot chicks and the drag queen I’ll go with the best hip shaker to win (although the drag queen will win).

Best Group Video
: Move Along
: Dance, Dance
Gnarls Barkley: Crazy
Panic! at the Disco: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California

Who Will Win: Dani California
Who Should Win: Crazy
Should Have Been Nominated: : Soul Meets Body

Death Cab for Cutie released two great videos in the past year yet neither got any love, except from me. I’m convinced that Panic! and Fall Out Boy are actually the same band so they cancel each other out so I think muck like the old guard Green Day were the big winner last year, the Red Hot Chili Pepper will get it this year.

Best Rap Video
: Window Shopper
Busta Rhymes f/ Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose & DMX: Touch It (Remix)
: Ridin'
T.I.: What You Know
f/ Nitty: It's Goin' Down

Who Will Win: What You Know
Who Should Win: Nothing

First off, there’s a rapper named Nitty? If you are on a song with some dude named Young Joc and you have the wussier name, that’s not a good sign. But anyways. It’s been five years since they introduced the Best Hip-Hop Video award but I still have no idea what the difference between these two awards yet. None of these videos or songs are any good so like my mom told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” So I’ll just go to the next category.

Best R&B Video
f/ Slim Thug: Check on It
: Yo (Excuse Me Miss)
f/ Ludacris: Unpredictable
Mariah Carey: Shake It Off
: Be Without You

Who Will Win: Check on It
Who Should Win: Be Without You
Should Have Been Nominated: : Black Sweet

Another pretty sad category with only Mary J. the only thing worth watching here. Remember the good old days when there weren’t any rappers in R&B videos? No? Well it has been a long time.

Best Hip-Hop Video
: My Humps
: Testify
: Rompe
Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx: Gold Digger
: Stay Fly

Who Will Win: Gold Digger
Who Should Win: Testify
Should Have Been Nominated: Heard ‘em Say: Kanye West &Adam Levine

Um, the Black Eyed Peas are considered hip-hop? Yeah, okay. Kanye will run away with this award anyways, but Testify had a much more entertaining storyline with actual actors, not just eye candy. In all actuality though, Kanye could have been nominated three times over here.

Best Dance Video
Madonna: Hung Up
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: Promiscuous
f/ Snoop Dogg: Buttons
: Temperature
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Hips Don’t Lie
Who Should Win: Temperature

Two of the video don’t even want to make me dance (Madonna, Pussycat Dolls) and it’s odd that the other ones were all featured in a cell phone commercial (good marketing ploy though because I can’t remember which one) so I’d give this to Sean Paul solely because of the bowling dude in his ad.

Best Rock Video
: The Kill
: Miss Murder
: Wake Me up When September Ends
Panic! at the Disco: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California

Who Will Win: Dani California
Who Should Win: Wake Me up When September Ends
Should Have Been Nominated: : Life Wasted

Holy Jared Leto sighting! How did he sneak in here? Looking at these nominations, it looks like rock is truly dead. Where’s Pearl Jam, U2 or Snow Patrol? Seriously, will anyone care about Leto, AFI or Panic! in a year or two? Well at least there was no Nickelback.

Best Pop Video
Christina Aguilera: Ain't No Other Man
Madonna: Hung Up
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: Promiscuous
: Stupid Girls
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Hips Don’t Lie
Who Should Win: Hips Don’t Lie

Wait, isn’t this the same as the Best Female Video? Although why switch in Pink for Kelly Clarkson?

Best New Artist in a Video
: The Adventure
: Bat Country
Chris Brown f/ Juelz Santana, Run It!
James Blunt: You're Beautiful
Panic! at the Disco: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
: S.O.S.

Who Will Win: S.O.S.
Who Should Win: None
Should Have Been Nominated: Crazy

S.O.S. is the best video here, but I swear Rihanna was nominated in this category last year, so I refuse to put my support behind it. The rest of the nominees are all contenders for making my Worst Songs of 2006 list.

Viewer’s Choice
Chris Brown f/ Juelz Santana: Run It!
Fall Out Boy: Dance, Dance
Kelly Clarkson: Because of You
Rihanna: S.O.S.
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Dance, Dance
Who Should Win: Hips Don’t Lie
Should Have Been Nominated: Crazy

Again, this award typically goes to the artists whose fans are the biggest losers, so naturally Fall Out Boy will win. Oddly, the only category you cannot vote on as I write this is this one. All in all, this viewer chooses Gnarls Barkley as the best video of the past year. And not that I miss it, but what happened to the MTV2 award?

Best Direction in a Video
: Wasteland (Director: Christopher Sims)
AFI: Miss Murder (Director: Marc Webb)
Common: Testify (Director: Anthony Mandler)
Gnarls Barkley: Crazy (Director: Robert Hales)
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California (Director: Tony Kaye)

Who Will Win: Dani California
Who Should Win: Testify

Testify could win a short film award, it’s that good. But in a measure of full discloser, I’ve never heard of 10 Years, let alone seen their video.

Best Choreography in a Video
Christina Aguilera: Ain't No Other Man
Madonna: Hung Up
Pussycat Dolls f/ Snoop Dogg: Buttons
Sean Paul: Temperature
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

Who Will Win: Hung Up
Who Should Win: Hips Don’t Lie

Déjà vu all over again as these videos were all nominated in the Best Dance Video category too. I’m sure Madonna will get one of these awards just to get her to show up and more out with more video hofessionals bevause that was that last time anyone actually talked about the VMA’s aside from how bad they were.

Best Special Effects in a Video
Angels and Airwaves: The Adventure
: Hell Yes
: We Run This
Pearl Jam: Life Wasted
: Original of the Species

Who Will Win: Life Wasted
Who Should Win: Original of the Species
Should Have Been Nominated: Crazy

A hard one between U2, Pearl Jam and Beck (which I though was last year though), but how was the Rorschach inspired Crazy not get a nod?

Best Art Direction in a Video
10 Years: Wasteland
Common: Testify
Panic! at the Disco: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: Hips Don't Lie

I think I’ll just end the commentary here because I don’t really care about the technical awards and I didn’t play any of the video games, but again, the awards will be handed out on August 31.

Best Editing in a Video
The All-American: Move Along
Angels and Airwaves: The Adventure
Gnarls Barkley: Crazy
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California
U2: Original of the Species

Best Cinematography in a Video
AFI: Miss Murder
: Invisible
James Blunt: You're Beautiful
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Dani California
Prince: Black Sweat

Okay one more comment: seriously, Ashlee Simpson?

Best Video Game Soundtrack
Final Night Round 3 (Electronic Arts)
Burnout Revenge (Electronic Arts)
NBA 2K6 (2K Games)
Driver: Parallel Lines (Atari)
Mark Ecko's Getting Up (Atari)

Best Video Game Score
Hitman: Blood Money (Jesper Kyd)
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (Tom Salta)
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey (Even Magnet Johansen)
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Jeremy Soule)
Electroplankton (User Generated Soundtrack)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why Go Up There When People Are Dying to Get Down Here?

The Corpse Bride

As a child, one of the many reasons I loved Christmas was the many stop-motion animated specials that were shown at the time. But with the advent of CGI and other special effects of the like, the stop-motion art has nearly died. But luckily the genre has a savior in director who created A Nightmare before Christmas back in 1993. Over a decade later he Burton put out his second full length stop-motion animation feature film The Corpse Bride.

And since this is Tim Burton, the story is macabre and somehow sweet at the same time. The story takes place in Victorian times focusing on the arranged marriage of Victor, in his sheepish Edward Scissorhands mode, and Victoria, voiced by (Punch-Drunk Love), yet somehow a joke was never made at this similarity. Unlike many arranged marriages, the two are smitten wit each other but this makes Victor a little too nervous as he messes up rehearsal. So he heads off to the woods to practice his vows only to unknowingly put the wedding ring on the finger of the undead who becomes, naturally, his corpse bride, as voiced by (Planet of the Apes, the Marky Mark version) and hilarity ensues. To all the dues that had to explain the stripper at your bachelor party, try explaining to you fiancée how you ended up married to the undead the night before your wedding.

The puppets themselves were brilliantly crafted and very similar to those seen in Nightmare with a lot of very tall, very skinny or very short and very obese characters. Each and every puppet that shows up on screen is so entertaining and detailed in their own way they each could have warranted their own movie. The motions of the puppets are very slick and are not at all choppy like the old Christmas specials. There are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing who Victor end up with and even if you are like me and are able to guess the big twist early, it still doesn’t take away from the story.

The only problem with the movie is the stop-motion animation does get a little old as the film progresses. Maybe the Christmas specials had the right time frame with a half an hour runtime. But that is totally made up for in the DVD extras as there are seven mini-documentaries that run about five to ten minutes that show the behind the scenes on how the movie got made. Those alone make the DVD alone worth watching.

The Corpse Bride gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.