Say Hi (no longer to your mom, or anyone in particular), is the moniker of basement recorder Eric Elbogen, the contemplative dreamer whose sixth album is the first to come out on the Barsuk label. Oohs & Aahs carries the musician’s signature homemade feel, not due to random background noises or lack of recording quality, but in the sense that you can detect the songs’ construction. Opener “Elouise,” for example, begins with a lonely bass line that is eventually joined by guitar, drums parts, and synth as the measures progress, one after another so that when the whole is achieved each part is still distinct. This one-at-a-time assembly feels appropriate for a band that is actually just one dude, and his stacked parts and knack for catchy melodies build into pleasant, emotionally rich numbers. In rhythm and drive, they tend to soar with a hint of 80s nostalgia, while the sometimes Nirvanaish guitar lines root Elbogen in indie singer-songwriterness.
Bright and peppy, Oohs & Aahs is certainly not a downer at first listen, but lyrically it betrays a bumbling, lovelorn soul. Half of the ten tracks contain a lady’s name, and nearly all of them dig into Elbogen’s desire for acceptance and his apparent lack of dating skills. The lonely strums and fanfare synth of “Maurine” give way to wailing regret with “But Maurine, I can’t come to your party, ‘cause I think that I’m dead,” while the giddy handclaps, spastic beats, and droning keys of “One, Two … One” sound like a sports montage before revealing “But I could never see how someone as soft and sweet as you could ever be with me.” The shaker-happy “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” is perhaps the disc’s peppiest song and its least sad, explaining an adorable crush that hasn’t yet burned him. AND it names drops Built To Spill’s “Randy Described Eternity.” Elbogen may be struggling on the inside, but he’s not afraid to share his universal woes, or to shroud them in pleasing low-fi pop.
I’m a big horror movie buff so it’s hard to decide on just ten movies, but these are the ones that have most stuck in my mind. Presenting my top ten horror film picks of the past ten years!
10. The Others (Alejandro Amenábar, 2001)
9. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
8. Mother of Tears (Dario Argento, 2007)
7. Jeepers Creepers (Victor Salva, 2001)
6. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
5. The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro, 2001)
4. 28 Days Later… (Danny Boyle, 2002)
3. Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008)
2. Hostel (Eli Roth, 2005)
1. The Devil’s Rejects (Rob Zombie, 2005)
Dear Mr. Mandel,
I have been a great admirer of your work since childhood. Your animated series “Bobby’s World” was a delight, and who can forget the fine Fred Savage film “Little Monsters” with your starmaking turn as Maurice, the punk rock monster (who kind of reminds me of Vivian in “The Young Ones”)? In recent years, however, your continued involvement with “Deal or No Deal” has somewhat soured your reputation. Now you are known either as the bald germaphobe game show host who tortures us by dragging out the simple act of opening briefcases, or even worse, as the hidden camera prankster behind the abhorrently-titled TV show “Howie Do It.”
So if I may offer my humble opinion, I would like to suggest a project that could revitalize your flagging film career and remind people why you’re a star in the first place. That’s right, “Little Monsters 2.”
Let me break it down for you. It’s been 20 years since “Little Monsters,” which means that the movie’s star, Fred Savage, is all grown up now. So we start the sequel with Fred’s character, Brian Stevenson, as a well-adjusted adult. He’s married (to redheaded childhood sweetheart Kiersten, of course) with kids, and his oldest son is about the age Brian was in the first film. You, Maurice, come back on your usual nocturnal scarefests and become friends with Brian’s son (let’s call him Brian Jr.). You take Brian Jr. away to the underground monster kingdom, and wacky hijinks ensue, until Brian finds out about it. Then it’s a race against time, and Brian must rescue his son before he turns into a monster! And since Brian kind of half turned into a monster when he was a child, that could make him extra immune to the underground lair, or make him the only adult that can go down there. I’m tellin’ you, it writes itself! Just make sure there’s another scene where a bully is tricked into drinking urine. That was the best part of the first movie.
I await your response, Howie!
Liz and I have been big Harland Williams fans since we first watched Disney’s RocketMan, one fateful drunken day. Of course, we were aware of his fine work in Half Baked and other dumb comedies, but it wasn’t until we heard him utter his timeless catchphrase “It burns the flesh!” that we knew what true acting talent looked like.
I was looking up some upcoming Nia Vardalos movie, My Life in Ruins (big surprise, it takes place in Greece!), and I saw that Harland was in the film. How odd, I thought.
Then I checked out Harland’s IMDB page, and to my great shock, not only is he in four or five yet-to-be-released movies, he’s also done all kinds of work in the past that I wasn’t aware of,. And a lot of these movies sound fantastic. Look at some of these roles:
Dahmer vs. Gacy (2010) …. God
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009) (voice) …. Gerard the Exterminator
“Slacker Cats” …. Buckley (6 episodes, 2007)
Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn’t Happen (2006) (V) …. Albert the Thanksgiving Day Turkey
Surf School (2006) …. Rip
Hot Tamale (2006) …. Deputy Moseby
Big Money Hustlas (2000) (V) (aka Big Money Hustla$) …. Officer Harry Cox (catchphrase: “Harry Cox is all over this, sir.”)
Mr. Headmistress (1998) (TV) …. Tucker/Headmistress
…and of course, how can you forget the legendary “Bachelor Party” series, which has given Harland a lot of work:
Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation (2008) …. Derek
Bachelor Party 2: Analysis of a Stripper Fight (2008) (V) …. Derek
The Party Never Stops: Making of Bachelor Party 2 (2008) (V) …. Derek
Oddly enough, Harland doesn’t seem to have been in the original Bachelor Party.
I’m watching Hoda and Kathie Lee right now, and I realized something. I don’t hate Kathie Lee! I know I may have suggested in the past that the Hoda and Kathie Lee hour was something of a trainwreck, and that Kathie Lee was a lush, and not in a good way. But after having become more familiar with the show, I finally get it.
Kathie Lee is just like me! She likes drinking, she doesn’t take her job too seriously, and she likes to give Hoda shit about everything. Just replace “Hoda” with “Liz” and you have the legendary chemistry that has made L&L such a mild success! Plus, even though Hoda is obviously the better TV journalist, Kathie Lee is the one who keeps things interesting by talking about inappropriate topics, flashing her cleavage, hitting on guests, and talking about her love of booze.
I think I even prefer Kathie Lee and Hoda’s inappropriate banter to Mike and Juliet’s these days….I know, shocking, right?
I try to watch every stupid comedy as soon as I become aware of it, which can result in some very disappointing cinematic experiences (Confessions of a Shopaholic, 27 Dresses), and occasionally something enjoyable (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle).
Sex Drive falls squarely between good and bad. It’s basically Road Trip meets American Pie with a bit of Superbad thrown into the mix, and the unrated version that I watched was certainly not afraid to layer on the gratuitous nudity, which recalls a bit of Beerfest and, of course, Troma. The film, by writer/director Sean Anders, follows a young man named Ian (Josh Zuckerman), a high school senior who is still regrettably a virgin. His buddy Lance (Clark Duke) is supposed to be some kind of Lothario, which I don’t understand since he looks kind of like Cynthia Nixon’s girlfriend. Ian has an obvious love interest, his coworker at Cinnabon or something, whose name is Felicia (Amanda Crew). She looks a little bit like Kat Dennings in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which means you know they’re going to have a cute budding indie relationship at some point in the film.
But things are complicated by the fact that Ian is having an online relationship with some stereotypical hot chick, and of course she thinks he’s a tall bronzed god. He and Lance decide to go on a spontaneous road trip to meet this girl in the south somewhere, and of course wacky adventures ensue. They steal/borrow a sweet set of wheels from Ian’s older brother Rex (James Marsden), a huge jock who’s a little too homophobic, and of course he decides to chase after them and kick their asses, complicating the situation further. Along the way they meet a wacky Amish guy, Ezekiel (Seth Green), and the moviegoing public is treated to a lesson about Rumspringa.
Seth Green and James Marsden were a pleasant surprise in this film, stealing every scene they were in. The lead actors weren’t too bad either, which is a nice change from movies like College and The House Bunny. In fact, besides the fact that this is a sophomoric teen comedy with way too many fart sound effects (probably just in the unrated version, to be fair), I have to say that the movie wasn’t all that bad. It’s not on par with larger-budget comedies like Road Trip in terms of scope or production value, but for a dumb comedy to put on when you’ve been putting away cheap beer all night, I give it a mild recommendation!
So I guess we got a Twitter account. I know, I know. We naturally wanted LizandLaura for our Twitter name, but for some reason it was taken!! I was upset. But instead we settled on LizLaura, which I know sucks. So what? We’ll make the best of it and spew mindless thoughts into the atmosphere, carefree and drunk. So “follow” us at…