Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Back!!

So, this past month and a half has been quite busy.. and as you may hove noticed the blog has suffered as a result. Job hunting can take up a lot of time. But now that I have a new job I hope that I'll be able to write here more often. Anyway.. it's almost the end of the year so that means a top ten list of my favorite TV shows and movies of the year... but before that, I would like to review two animated movies that have come out in the past month or so... Both of them very good.

First off is "Fantastic Mr. Fox." The film is an adaptation of the children's book by Roald Dahl. As a kid Dahl was one of my very favorite authors... but I didn't remember the book very well. It didn't really matter. The film is directed by Wes Anderson of "Rushmore," and "The Royal Tenenbaums" fame. So if you like that quirky type of humor you'll enjoy this movie. I would say it's probably my favorite Anderson film. I laughed throughout the movie. It's just so hilarious. So if you like either Dahl or Anderson... this movie is for you... PS.. in case you didn't know, this film is stop-motion animation.. but don't let that scare you... it only adds to the charm.

I also saw "The Princess and the Frog" which is Disney's first traditionally animated film in sometime... and the film is gorgeous. John Lassetter the man behind Pixar is now running Disney's entire animation department.. so we can all thank him for the return of hand drawn cartoons. I really enjoyed "The Princess and the Frog," I thought the music was good and the story fun. If you like films like "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin," or "Beauty and the Beast," you'll probably like this movie. Now I don't know if "Frog" will stand the test of time like those other films but.. it's definitely worth seeing now.

Both films get an A from me... but I probably liked "Fox" better just because it's funnier... and quirkier. Has anyone else seen these movies?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I hated her... so... much...

So it's Halloween today. I'm up at 2:30 in the morning... and I thought what better time than to write about one of my favorite Halloween movies. It may not be what you expect. My favorite Halloween movies actually aren't horror flicks. They're comedies. And since I've already written a blog about the greatness that is "Ghostbusters," I've decided to write about my other favorite Halloween comedy, "Clue."

I'm amazed at how many people can quote this movie. I thought it was a little gem that only I knew about. But I was wrong. It seems like everybody I know is fond of "Clue." Of course, there are exceptions but for the most part people like "Clue." I can think of numerous times I've bonded over "Clue." Here are a few that come to mind:

My best friend when I was a kid, Trevor, and I used to borrow this movie from our neighbors all the time and watch it. (This is when I discovered "Clue.")

On my mission when one of my companions told me it was his favorite movie. He said he wasn't a movie person but that he'd watched "Clue" dozens of times.. and planned to watch it dozens more.. Ahh Elder Howard... you sure were disobedient.

The first girl I kissed loved "Clue" and her brother loved it even more. We watched it at her house and they both kept saying how much they loved the movie.

Two weeks ago, at work, I mentioned this was one of my favorite movies.. and everybody in the room agreed that the movie was great and everyone decided they were going to go rent it that weekend and watch it.. (most of them did, including myself)

There are other stories but those are the ones that come to mind tonight.

The other thing I've found is everyone seems to agree that the best quote from the film comes from Mrs. White.

They don't make madcap comedies like this anymore. I heard another movie based on the game "Clue" is in the works. I don't know if it'll be any good, but it'll be hard for it to be more memorable or fun than the 1985 film.

IMHO, this is Tim Curry's best role. How he was able to remember all those lines.. I don't know.

So that's my love letter to "Clue." On related note, can I tell you how unhappy I am that they've changed the original game.. and I read somewhere they are no longer selling the old one (although I've seen them online, I don't know if they're only old copies)...
Anywhoo, they've made Colonel Mustard a football player, and Professor Plum a video game designer.. I don't have a problem with having a different version of the game, ( I would like to play the "24" version) I do have a problem with it replacing the original. And who knows, maybe what I read was wrong.. but if not.. Hasbro needs some talking to.

PS. Even if you were right, that would be one plus one plus two plus one, not one plus *two* plus one plus one.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Attention Nielsen households!

Attention Nielsen households, I would like a moment of your time. It's true I've never met anyone who said they belong to the mysterious group of people who decide what it is Americans watch on TV. To be honest I'm not entirely sure that you exist... or that if you do exist you are not a bunch of funny monkeys.

But for whatever reason, the gods have decided that you are the people that matter. You are the ones that tell the networks what is popular and what people are watching... despite the fact that technology has improved so much in the past ten years... that we probably don't need a random sampling of TV "viewers." I'm sure there's probably a way that the "powers that be" could create a system where almost everyone's viewing habits mattered... but apparently society would rather stay put in the 80's.

Now I know we've had a difficult relationship in the past. It's because of you "Arrested Development" is no longer on the air. It's your fault "Firefly" no longer charms sci-fi audiences. "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" would be in it's 8th season without you.. It's your fault that "American Idol" is the top rated show on television. I won't lie. I am bitter. But you have done a few good things... somehow "Lost" is still on the air... Okay, so you've really only done one good thing.

But I'm willing to put all problems aside if you will please watch "Dollhouse." The rumor mill is suggesting that the show may not be long for this world. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN. Make a difference. Watch a show that is different. That is fun. That is challenging. Don't let another "Firefly" happen.

Yes, "Dollhouse" isn't the best show on TV.. but it one day could be. Don't let this show die before it's had a chance to become great. Stop watching "Dancing with the Stars." Please.

I will send you money.

Thanks for your time.

PS. Please also watch "Good Morning Utah"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Overload

So, as soon as you guys start commenting more, I'll start posting more. That's a promise...

Anywhoo. So the new TV season has started and almost everything I watch is on Thursday night. If I didn't have the Internet and Tivo I don't know what I'd do. I'm giving "Flashforward" a chance right now. The first episode was pretty good.. I love the premise but I'm not sure I love the characters. Maybe after a few weeks there will be some character development. If not I may have to re-evaluate.

On NBC it's all comedy, all the time. I've been enjoying the oddly titled "Weekend Update" Thursday edition. It's good to see Seth and Amy back at the desk. And the opening sketches have been great. The same cannot be said for the actual Saturday night show which I didn't think was very good at all on Saturday.

That's followed by "Parks and Recreation" which I think is getting better all the time. I love all of the actors in the show and I think they're starting to understand their characters better. My favorite character is Andy who is played by the always excellent Chris Pratt. I hope this show gets the chance to mature and be great. Remember, "The Office" and "30 Rock" weren't awesome at the beginning of their runs. Shows, particularly sitcoms can get better with age.

Speaking of "The Office" I've been enjoying this season. I've heard some people tell me it's not as funny as it used to be. And sure some episodes aren't that great.. but compared to most other sitcoms this stuff is gold.. so lay off people and enjoy the show. I hear the wedding episode is supposed to be good. Although, I hear it's an hour long and some of those hour long episodes aren't as good as the half hour ones... so we'll see.

I watched the first episode of "Community" and wasn't that impressed... and since my plate is full right now I'm not going back... But if the show's still around in the summer I'm open to giving it another chance. I do love some Joel McHale, John Oliver, and Chevy Chase.

"Fringe" is also on Thursday nights. I didn't love last week's episode. It felt familiar and not all that interesting. I'm all for the continuity stuff and last week just felt like filler. Here's hoping they get back to the alternate universe stuff. I really like this show and hope it doesn't start losing it's charm.

"Supernatural" has been pretty good so far. The brothers are fighting right now and so they are separated... hopefully that will get fixed soon and we can get back to some of the more silly episodes which are my favorite. Ben Edlund rules.

"30 Rock" has not premiered yet. I'm counting the days.

So that's Thursday night for you. I'm going to have to spread the shows throughout the week so as to not be overwhelmed. I don't have any shows on Tuesday and the rest of the week is pretty slim. These TV programmers need to get on their game.

So what have you thought of the TV season so far? Any new shows you love? Any old ones that aren't good anymore? What's the verdict?

PS I think you should all watch "Good Morning Utah" I hear that show's amazing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apple day x2

So today is 9-9-09. It's a day I've been waiting for, for some time. Why, you ask... because all of the Beatles albums are being released today.. completely remastered. The albums haven't been touched since the late 80's back at the dawn of the CD. And apparently the transfers weren't very good. So now they've been remastered and according to every article I've read... they sound amazing. I haven't decided if I'm going to repurchase the albums... At this point I think I might buy one and see what the difference is.. and go from there.

Also out today is "Beatles: Rock Band" for Wii, Playstation 2, and XBOX 360. At this point I don't have plans to buy it but my friend already has it on order and we have a Beatles party night planned. I'm really excited. The reviews for the game have been stellar... and I only just discovered that I like "Rock Band" so I'm looking forward to playing it.

Finally, Apple (the computer company, not the Beatles record company) is having a big event today where they're expected to talk about the latest edition of the Ipod touch... an announcement I've been waiting for, for years. I'm hoping they announce a storage improvement. Rumor is that the storage will be upped to 64 gigs... and that a camera and microphone are going to be added. We shall see. But I have money stored away for just such a purchase.

There's also a small chance Apple will announce that the Beatles are finally coming to Itunes.. due to the coinciding of the two events.. but advance buzz is that it won't happen. We shall see. Everyone have a great 9-9-09... I now have to go to a crappy work meeting. See ya.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I finally saw "Paper Heart"

So I'm not sure if I wrote a blog about my Sundance experience this year. But if I did I probably mentioned that we waited in line for a few movies we weren't able to get into. One of those lines was "Paper Heart." It's a film starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. It's a hybrid documentary/fiction film.

The film follows comedienne Yi as she talks to different people across the about their love lives. There's some funny stuff and some touching stuff.

The fictional storyline follows Yi as she "falls in love" with actor Michael Cera. Apparently the jury is still out as to whether to the two ever actually dated in real life. At last check they had not. But I wouldn't be surprised to hear differently tomorrow. In the end I guess it doesn't matter. Cera is as usual pretty funny. And Yi does some fun scenes with paper machete...

It's a cute little movie but definitely not worth $8.00. It wasn't worth the wait. It's more of a redbox rental. So check it out then.. just be aware that the scenes with Cera were all scripted.

Grade: B-

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fall TV preview

Does anybody remember how back when there used to be Saturday morning cartoons they would have a primetime preview of the upcoming cartoons. I loved that. Often they would use a current primetime show to pimp their cartoons. For example:

Ah. "Perfect Strangers." I miss the Dance of Joy. I wish that clip hadn't edited out the cartoons.. oh well. I also wish Saturday morning cartoons were still around. This current generation doesn't know what it's like to get up before six in the morning to watch cool cartoons. Sigh.

Anyways, my point. Primetime shows don't often have a preview show. So what I would like to do with this column is look ahead to the upcoming primetime sci-fi shows.

See, here's the thing.... "Lost" will be on it's last season in January... so I need to find a new show to possibly replace it. There seem to be big three sci-fi shows coming up this season. I want to know what you think I should give a try.

First up is the one I think looks the most promising: "V"... Really one of the reasons I think it looks cool is because it has two "Firefly" alums in the cast as well as a "Lost" cast member. It's a remake of the 80's miniseries.. that was apparently pretty popular. I have never seen the original but I hear one of the aliens eats a live rodent.. so that's cool. Also the executive producer is Jeffrey Bell who exec-produced the last few seasons of "Angel" and "Alias." Take a look. Tell me what you think.

Next up is "Flash Forward." It's based on a novel.. and comes to us from David Goyer (Batman Begins) and Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation). The premise seems really cool. And I like the cast here as well... another "Lost" star is in this one. As far as previews go I think this one is my favorite of the three. What think ye?

And finally we have "Day One" which actually doesn't premiere until midseason on NBC. It's about apartment residents that survive an unknown world-wide cataclysm that destroys modern infrastructure.... or something like that. This one come's to us from Jesse Alexander who did some good work on "Alias" and "Lost" but from what I understand is one of the people who got fired from "Heroes" after it started sucking. I don't know that much about the show except I know the TV critic at Aint It Cool News says it's his favorite of the three.

So there you have it... a sneak peak at what's ahead on primetime... at least what's ahead that's not a medical show, a cop show, or dumb sitcom. In the end I may just wait to see what sticks. There's nothing worse than starting a great show only to have it canceled. Besides, right now I'm really looking forward to the second season of "Dollhouse" after having seen the lost DVD episode (it rocked).

One more thing of note.. AMC is making a TV show based on the graphic novel "The Walking Dead"... the show will be written and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile).. So maybe I should just hold out for it.

Till next time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Playing Catch Up

So a number of posts back I said I'd review a few movies that I never actually reviewed. So now I'm finally getting around to reviewing the movies.

The first one I saw at the Broadway theaters in downtown Salt Lake. It's called "The Brothers Bloom." The movie stars Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, and Rachel Weisz. It's a con-artist movie. I really enjoyed this one. It didn't open in a ton of theaters, but I think it's the type of movie a lot of people could get behind. Brody and Ruffalo play brothers who try to pull one over on Weisz's character... and of course there's more to it than that... but to say more would be wrong. My favorite part of the movie had to do with the brother's assistant Bang Bang. She has the best lines, or actually non-lines in the movie. So for anyone that likes a good con artist movie, this one's for you. Definitely worth your time.
The second movie you may have heard of, it's the latest film from Ron Howard and Tom Hanks. "Angels and Demons" is the "sequel" to "The DaVinci Code." It's based on the book which actually was written before "The DaVinci Code." I really enjoyed the book and thought it was actually a better thriller than "The DaVinci Code." For the record I thought "The DaVinci Code" movie was actually pretty boring... though I really liked the book. So I wasn't sure what to expect from the new movie. I actually enjoyed it. It did have a couple moments that dragged but overall it was a big improvement over the last movie. It's not really even worth mentioning the plot.. but it all takes place after the Pope dies.. Robert Langdon is called in to solve some "symbology" mysteries. And of course he succeeds. The movie's a little long... but if you read the book and liked it... the movie is worth a rental.

And finally, I saw "The Proposal." Yeah, it was your typical romantic comedy. But I like Sandra Bullock and I prefer her to many typical rom-com stars. I also like Ryan Reynolds, soon to be Green Lantern. Anyways I don't have a lot to say. You already know if you're going to like this movie or not. It does have the wonderful Betty White.. so that could be a convincing reason to see it. I don't know. I obviously prefer "500 Days of Summer"... but you could do a lot worse than "The Proposal."

So I think you now know my opinion of every movie I saw in theaters this summer. I saw more movies on DVD but who know if I'll ever get to those. What were your favorite movies this summer? Worst movies? Please comment. The more people comment the more likely I am to update this blog more frequently.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Four stars

Sometimes I think the way critics review movies is kinda dumb. I mean just because somebody likes a movie doesn't mean that somebody else is going to like it. For some people "Transformers 2" was the best movie out this summer. For others, it was some artsy Russian movie that no one's ever heard of. I wish when people reviewed movies they wouldn't say, "this movie sucked" or "this movie is the best thing since sliced bread." I think they should say "I thought this movie sucked" or "I loved this movie so much I want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant." That's why I like Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic. What's my point... I'm not sure but, let me say this. I loved "500 Days of Summer."

My lovely wife and I almost caught this movie at Sundance this year... but the stars didn't align and we didn't get to see this movie, "Paper Heart," or"Afghan Star." It's a long story. But now I know we should have tried harder to see "500 Days of Summer." And probably those other movies too, because they look good. Anywhoo. For those of you who aren't familiar with this movie, it tells the story of the relationship between the two people in the picture above. I don't want to give much more away than that... but it's one of the most realistic portrayals of dating and looking for love I've seen on the big screen. There are some TV shows that have portrayed it very well... cough "Freaks and Geeks" cough. But that's for another post that I'll probably never get to. While watching this movie I found myself reliving many joyful and painful experiences from earlier in my life.. This movie is hilarious, heart breaking, sincere, thought provoking, and just all around well worth your eight hard earned dollars. Just don't expect your typical romantic comedy. This movie is anything but cookie cutter. So if you get the chance check it out. You won't regret it... Unless you don't like this type of movie.... because, remember I liked this movie.

PS. I didn't love this movie just because it starred the beautiful Zooey Deschanel (although that didn't hurt). I think it's funny that people always seem to think that I love shows like "Buffy" or "Dollhouse" or "Veronica Mars" because they have attractive women... I love them because they are very well written, acted, and directed. So there. :-P

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harry Potter 6

Yeah, so I took a few days off but I'm back with a review of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." I saw the movie this past weekend and I'm glad I did.

In case you don't know, I'm a huge fan of the books and can't say enough positive things about them. I'm a big enough fan that I watched the ABC special the other night about a year in the life of J.K. Rowling. (It was good). So... the movie. I thought the movie was great. I have enjoyed most the of the HP movies and this one was as good as any of the others. Yes, in an ideal world, Harry Potter would be a miniseries on TV that could include every part of the book. But considering the length of these movies, they try. They made a couple of big changes from the book, some definitely unnecessary but in the end I was okay with it. I know some are complaining about all of the adolescence love scenes, but I quite enjoyed them. They gave a lot of needed humor to a dark movie.

I just look forward to the next two movies (they're breaking the last book into two movies.) I think they should have no reason to include all of the best parts, especially the battles.
HP 6 grade: A-

Now I want to hear from you... do you like the movies, what would you change if you could? And what do you hope will appear in the next two movies.. spoilers are allowed, cause come on you should have read the books by now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Year One

Yeah, I know. The reviews for this movie were horrible. But I just couldn't believe that a movie directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhogs Day) and starring Michael Cera and Jack Black could be all bad. I was kind of wrong. It pains me to say this but I think all of the funny parts were in the trailer. There were some cool supporting characters but they weren't really given much to do. The movie's not that long so it wasn't painful or anything. Just a major, major disappointment. I look forward to Cera's "Scott Pilgrim vs the World," and "Arrested Development: The Movie." I'm not sure what's up next for Black, but it probably can't be much worse than this.
"Year One" D+

P.S. This was the other half of the double feature I mentioned in yesterday's post.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Land of the Lost

Today's movie is "Land of the Lost." It was the second of a double feature I saw at a drive-in theater. I will tell you of the other movie at a later time. "Land of the Lost" was actually the better movie. It was also better than I thought it would be. But that doesn't mean it was quality cinema. This is probably a movie to catch on TBS late at night. Or if you have a free rental at the redbox. It's typical Will Ferrell fare. He acts like a pompous idiot like you would expect. I love his schtick, so you should keep that in mind while reading this review. Now I never saw the TV show upon which this film is based but I'm told that's it's not the most faithful of adaptations. Will Ferrell plays a discredited scientist who happens across a strange new world. And wackiness ensues. There are some scattered laughs but not enought to pay eight bucks for.
So in the end I give this movie a C.

I look forward to Will Ferrell in "Anchorman 2"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Movie A Day

So, I know I'm sporadic on this thing, but I'm going to try something new. For the next few days, I will post a movie review a day. Or I won't. Sometimes life happens. But that's the goal. There's too many reviews to do them all in one day. They will be in no particular order. Today's movie: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen".

This is an interesting movie to review. I liked the first move but I didn't love it. I just had too many problems with the plot. Yes I know it's based on a cartoon. But for whatever reason, I just thought some of the problems could've been fixed with a line or two. Was it really a smart idea to hide the little spark thingy in the middle of a populated city -- where robots could wreak crazy havoc? No it's not a good idea. How about in the middle of an abandoned desert. That's a better idea.

Speaking of abandoned deserts that where most of this movie takes place. I quite liked all of the robot fighting. But I think they could've taken out 5-7 minutes of robot fighting from the desert scenes and we'd have all lived. Also they could've taken out the entire parents subplot and the scene in China and I would've liked the movie even more.

Another thing about this movie is it's very sexualized. Isn't this a movie about toy robots. Do we really need everything to be sexy?

So you're asking yourself, did he like the movie, or not? I'm going to go with yes. I had so many people tell me that the movie wasn't any good that I went in with low expectations and was I kind of surprised by how not completely sucky it was.

So let me write a list of reasons to see the movie and reasons to not see it.. so you can decide for yourself if this movie is for you.

Reasons to see the "Transformers":

Big robots fighting
Great special effects
The plot makes more sense than the original. Although it is convoluted.
John Turturro doesn't suck in this movie like he did in the last one.
Lots of pretty ladies.
Big explosions
Big Robots fighting
Rainn Wilson

Reasons to not see the movie:

The twin robots
Too sexualized for children
The mom gets high for no apparent plot reason
Two dogs hump for no apparent reason
It's too long (a lot of scenes could've been excised and not hurt the movie)
The dialogue, especially between Shia and Megan

The fact that somehow the government was able to hide from the public the events of the first movie -- I mean come on -- No one noticed L.A. was destroyed by giant robots. If that happened in real life you can bet it would've been all over the news, not to mention youtube, facebook, etc.

CrOW is watching giant robots destroy L.A.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Okay, I'm almost done. All I have left is Friday and then I can move onto other pop culture related posts. Friday television probably hasn't been good since "Firefly" went off the air years ago. Well this season it got good again. First off was "Prison Break" which finished it's series run this year. I know a lot of people abandoned PB over it's four year run. But I stuck with it. And I'm glad I did. Yes, it had some problems, yes it strained credibility, but yes it was also entertaining. I thought this last season started out really strong. The "Ocean's 11" episodes (as I like to call them) were great and brought new life to the series. The "Miami" episodes, though, dragged. I thought the finale was good and a fun way to end the show. I was blindsided by the surprise ending. I did not see that coming at all. I look forward to renting the DVD movie coming out this month that supposedly explains how that all went down. PB probably should've ended earlier than it did but I still enjoyed it to the end.
Series B+
First half of this season A-
Second half B-
Series Finale A-

And for the final show I plan to review this year: "Dollhouse." I wrote about this show earlier in the season. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan. So when I found out about his new show my expectations were quite high... Well when it finally premiered I was let down. I liked the premise but had a hard time getting used to the procedural element. I prefer serialized shows ala "Lost" and "24." Well things started to really pick up starting at episode six. I found myself drawn into this crazy, messed up world. Now this wasn't my favorite show last season as I hoped it might be... But it did prove to me that this show has big potential. I'm extremely excited about it's unlikely renewal. I have no doubt season 2 will be twice as good as season 1. As far as the finale.... who doesn't love Alan Tudyk. Right?
First half of Season B-
Second half of season B+
Finale: B+ (I actually liked the second to last episode better... but this one was still good.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thursday part two

This is the post where I talk about NBC's Thursday night line up. I'm going to start with "Parks and Recreation", NBC's newest sitcom. It stars Amy Poehler and it comes to us from the writers and producers of "The Office." I found this one growing on me as the season progressed. I particularly enjoyed Chris Pratt's character Andy. He's the boyfriend who gets both his legs broken. I've been a fan of Pratt's since "Everwood" and am glad to see him use his comedic chops on this show. I think this one has real potential. There were only like six episodes this season so I will only grade the season and not the finale.
Season grade: Solid B

Next up is "The Office." I really enjoyed this season particularly the second half of the season when Michael quit the office and started his own business. Sure it was improbable but it was funny. I liked how he got his job back and how he tried to make everyone feel guilty about sticking with him. This is just a solid sitcom. Sure it's not as funny as "30 Rock" but it's still a great way to spend 22 minutes.
Season: A-
Season Finale: B-

Speaking of "30 Rock," why is this show so funny. I could list the reasons. The incredibly talented Tina Fey, the hilarious Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan's insanity. I know everyone was supposedly tired of all the guest stars this season. But if it keeps this show on the air I say bring them on. I don't understand why this show doesn't have a bigger audience. Everyone I know watches it and loves it but yet there are no ratings. I only have six more words: I want to go to there.
Season: A
Season finale: B (not sure what happened here but I was underwhelmed by the finale)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday part one

Sorry I've been gone for a week or two. I went on vacation. Which also means I saw a few movies. So hopefully I can get to those soon. I think you can expect more post come July after I've finished the screenplay I've been talking about.

So, Thursday. I'll start with my CW shows. "Smallville" just finished what I believe was its eighth season. I think this show is probably past its prime. But I'm sticking this one out to the end. But so help me if he doesn't turn into Superman before the end. This season started out really strong. I enjoyed the new angle now that Lex Luthor and Lana Lane are no longer on the show. My favorite episodes were the ones that revolved around Lois and Clark. They should just change the show to center around those two. That's what it's all going to be about in the end anyways. The finale was okay. I thought the fight between Clark and Doomsday was a real letdown. I realize it's a TV budget but come on give me something a little more. So here's hoping next season will be "Lois and Clark: The Next Generation"
Season: B-
Finale: C+

Next up is "Supernatural." This show has really evolved over the years. This season got pretty dark towards the end which is fine. Dark is good. But actually my favorite episodes are the funny ones. They're usually written by Ben Edlund of "The Tick" fame. He really was a warped sense of humor. The finale ended with a big battle between the two brothers and it looks like Satan is on his way out of hell. So I'm excited for what's expected to be its last season. If you like scary, goofy fun, I recommend giving this show a try. It's a largely undiscovered gem.
Season: B+
Season Finale A-

In the next post I will be tackling NBC's Thursday comedy night. So you can look forward to that... and hopefull soon I will review "The Brothers Bloom," "Angels and Demons," and "The Proposal."

One more thing I just want to thank those people who choose to make comments. Just when I'm not sure this thing is worth keeping up, I see a comment. So thanks. See ya next time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Okay. Back to the TV schedule. I'm pretty sure "Lost" was the only show I watched on Wednesdays... but if you think I missed something let me know. Just a warning there may be spoilers for the fifth season.

"Lost" as far as I'm concerned is the best show on TV right now. Season five was as good as any season so far. People may moan and complain about the time travel but I say to you: "tough beans." Time travel is awesome. I've read a number of things over the years about how time travel is an overused sci-fi trope. It's overused because it's beyond cool. Sure sometimes it sucks if people think about it too hard.. the paradoxes and all... but this season hasn't created a paradox yet. It will be interesting to see what happens next season.

I thought the finale was perfect. Not as mind blowing as the season three finale but... perfect for what it was. The actual introduction of Jacob and the "man in black" was my favorite part. I'm assuming one is good and one is evil.. but I'm always surprised on this show. I feel like I'm always talking about "Lost" or "Star Trek" on this blog so I'll finish up. If you are one of those people who has given up on "Lost" or has never given it a try.. Now is your chance. The last season starts in January. The season with all the answers. The DVDs are probably at your local library or you can watch them online. Do it. You won't regret it... Unless you're one of those people who thrives on reality TV and doesn't like complex rich storytelling.. Then I'm sorry there's nothing here for you. Good Day Sir.

Season Grade A+
Season Finale A+

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Midweek Movie Reviews

I'm going to take a break from my TV reviews today to address to the new movies I saw in the theater this weekend.

The first movie I saw was "Up." It's the latest movie from the Studio called Pixar. You may have heard of them... Probably because they are incapable of making bad movies. Sure some are better than others but none of them are bad. "Up" is the story of Carl Fredrickson... He's an octogenarian who decides to fly his home to South America. I won't give away the circumstances behind his decision but it makes sense in context. The thing is.. he's got a stowaway on board. A young Boy Scout. The dynamic between the two is the heart of the film. The cool thing about Pixar is they get to make movies that no regular studio would greenlight. Just think about it... when's the last time you saw a movie where the main character was over sixty years old... and it's an adventure/comedy. The movie is touching, funny, adventurous, and just a lot of fun. A definite must see.
Grade: A

The second movie I saw this weekend was "Drag Me To Hell" -- which for the record couldn't be more different than "Up." But it was great all the same. The movie comes to us from the same crazy mind that brought us the "Evil Dead" trilogy and the "Spiderman" trilogy... (yes I know the third one was crap... but the first two were great). This new movie is a horror film... but the cool thing is that it's not like the horror films we get now days. It's not "The Grudge" or "Saw IV"... It's actually good. Sam Raimi scares us with what's not on screen. Which in my opinion is the sign of a talented director. There's not a lot of gore or blood.. In fact the movie is PG-13. It does have some definite gross out parts... but that's part of the fun.. Trust me you don't want me to give it away. You may not want to eat during the movie... or for a couple hours afterwards. The movie follows Alison Lohman's character.. She plays a bank loan officer who feels pressured into denying a loan extension to an old lady who it turns out is an evil gypsy. The gypsy curses her and hijinks ensue. I couldn't find one girl I know who had any desire to see this.. They're missing out. So as a great horror/comedy

I give this film an A-... As my friend Dave said, "It could've used some Bruce Campbell.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Let me start off by saying how disappointed I am this weekend that "Terminator: Salvation" and the "Night at the Museum" sequel are getting really bad reviews.. I was really looking forward to "Terminator" and I wanted to see "Night" for the Amy Adams factor.. I'm sure I'll still end up seeing both of them eventually... but all my desire to run out and see them quickly has gone. I have high hopes for "Up" and "Drag Me To Hell" both which as of this typing are rated 100% at Rotten Tomatoes. Don't let me down.

On the the fact that I watch too much TV.. Tuesdays didn't have a ton to watch this season.. But "Fringe" the new J.J. Abrams sci-fi show was on now and again.. "Fringe" started out a little slow for me.. I liked watching it but was never enamored with it.. But as the season went on I started to enjoy it more and more.. It's still no "Lost" but perhaps it could be.. I will be sticking with it. The season finale.. had some cool #$%@ in it so... yeah.
Season grade: B
Season finale grade: B+

"Scrubs" ended this season.. or so I thought.. I thought it was a little more grounded this year.. which I think was an improvement.. It got a little too silly for it's own good the previous few seasons.. I thought the finale was great and a good sendoff for the characters... But wait.. what is this I hear? They're bringing the show back.. Bad idea. Bad idea. Let this show die in peace.. Sure it will be filled with new characters.. and some of the old one's will drop by from time to time.. but it's time to let this one end. Please!
Season grade: B
Series finale? grade: A-
Series renewal: F

I would like to mention a show that I won't review but needs attention: "Better Off Ted." The show is really funny and quirky.. I definitely recommend it. It's not for everyone but anyone who's a little twisted will enjoy it. Plus it comes from the creator of the wonderful "Andy Richter Controls the Universe"... one of the best (short lived) sitcoms of all time! The DVDs came out last month.. Do yourself a favor and check them out... You won't regret it.. If I were reviewing "Andy" it would get an A+. Anywhoo like I said check out "Better Off Ted" which somehow was miraculously renewed for another season. Yay!

Finally I need to mention a Monday show I neglected to review.. It was brought to my attention by Rice.and.Mr.Pudding. "Chuck"... I really enjoy "Chuck".. in fact I'm going to try to write a spec script of the show for a contest I'm entering.. I have a good outline.. I won't share it for fear my loyal readers may steal it... Anywhoo "Chuck" was also somehow miraculously renewed another season.. Let me just say this.. any show that brings in Scott Bakula.. is okay in my book.. It's such a great cast.. I of course love Adam Baldwin... of "Firefly" fame. I know a number of people who think this is one of the best shows on TV... and you know they're probably not wrong.. I thought the second to last episode was darn near perfect.. The finale lacked a little bite but was still good.. Anyone who just loves a good action, comedy, romance, with superb shout outs to superb 80's movies will like this show.. My only complaint is the show isn't serialized enough for my taste.. but other than that... who can't love a show that does an entire episode homaging the brilliant "King of Kong".... anyway I realize this review was a little scattered... but that's how it came out.. Since I neglected reviewing it earlier.. I will grade it a little different than the other shows..
Use of Scott Bakula: A
Use of Huey Lewis music: A
Use of Adam Baldwin: A
Second to last episode: A
Soundtrack in general: A
Renewal: A

Until next time... when I review the only Wednesday show worth watching: LOST! As if I don't talk about it enough..

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Television Season (Monday Edition)

All right... first off. "Star Trek" gets an A. I've seen it twice now.. and I can't come up with any noticeable flaws. Go see it!

Okay now on to my latest project.. I am going to evaluate this past season's television shows. A warning to everyone... SPOILER ALERT! If you do not want to be spoiled on certain shows do not read their reviews.

And we're going to start with Monday.. We kick the night off with "House".. I enjoy watching "House" but I only get really interested when there are changes in the lives of the characters.. I could really care less about the "patient of the week." And this season.. there were a few really good episodes where characters went through dramatic things cough Kutner's death cough.. but for the most part they were average episodes.. In the finale they made it look like a lot of things happened that actually didn't happen.. A device I'll fall for once.. but they've gone down this road before.. Call me back when something actually happens between House and Cuddy.
Season grade: B-
Season finale: C-

"How I Met Your Mother" had a pretty good season. There were a couple less than funny episodes but.. I really enjoyed the Barney & Robin story line.. As well as some of the more random story lines about Lilly and Marshall.. The finale had some problems.. most notably the "goat hype" didn't live up to its potential.. Plus did they even have a slap bet episode this season.. If they did I don't remember it.. It's been too long.. Feel free to remind me..
Season grade: B+
Season Finale B

"24" got good again this season.. Last season almost made me give up on the show.. This season the show moved to D.C... I'm not sure if that's why it's better but the change of venue definitely helped.. The episode set in the White House was awesome.. I couldn't breath for portions of it.. I only have two complaints about the season.. First the novelty is wearing off a bit.. It's not as exciting as the first few seasons.. We're too familiar with it.. It's nothing producers or writers can really fix but.. it lessens my initial excitement about the show... And second: Tony!!! How could you? I trusted you.. I would've let you babysit my pretend children.. I'm so disappointed.
Season grade: A-
Season Finale grade A-

My hopes for "Heroes" was high this year.. There was all kinds of buzz after they premiered the finale at Comic-Con... So I was excited that they might rebound from a boring season 2.. My hopes were dashed.. I made it through the first half of the season.. hoping things would change.. they did not.. I did the unthinkable.. I quit the show... The characters I once loved had become parodies of themselves.. I heard the show got a little better after Bryan Fuller (of "Pushing Daisies" fame") came in.. So maybe I'll check it out on DVD.. We'll see... So sad.
Season grade: C-
Season finale grade: didn't see it

Next time.. we'll cover Tuesday...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The time has come

So anyone that reads my wife's blog knows that last weekend she and I got to go see an early preview of "Star Trek." I got the tickets from work.. the only catch was that the premiere was at ten in the morning.. which isn't so bad for normal people but I work the night shift. Anyone that knows me though, knows that I can make big sacrifices if geek things are involved. So I got up at 7AM in order to get to the theaters by 8AM... to make sure we got in..

Turns out we were like tenth in line. There was no real need to get there so early. The crazy thing is that a lot of people at the front of the line were not "Star Trek" fans. That kind of caught me by surprise... Then I started remembering all of the people who had told me throughout the week that they had never seen a "Star Trek" movie or TV episode. Many considered it a matter of pride. Boo!! I say to them. Boo!! What if I had done the same thing with "Harry Potter." I considered it a matter of pride for a while to not have read any of the books. But eventually with some strong encouragement I gave in... and now my life is better for it.

So my point is that even though some people may think "Star Trek" carries a stigma.. that shouldn't stop people from giving it a try.. I held out watching the original series because I thought it looked cheesy and outdated.. But I started watching the show last year to prep for the new movie.. And let me tell you it's worth watching.. Sure there are some ultra crappy episodes.. But the characters are just cool.. and they are fun to get to know.. And some of the plots would make good movies.. So check it out..

I won't even talk about how good "The Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine," or some episodes of "Voyager" were... I'm reserving judgement on "Enterprise"... haven't seen enough episodes. And the movies.. some awesome, some not so awesome.. Check out the even numbered ones... except for 10... eh.

Finally... now I come to the good part.. The new movie.. It's very good. I think it's a movie for fans and non fans alike. As the time of this writing "Star Trek" has a 100% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Not a bad sign.. The casting in the movie was impeccable. Pine embodies everything that is Kirk.. Quinto isn't exactly an unemotional Spock... but the script necessitates that. Karl Urban is perhaps my favorite.. he becomes Bones.. Everyone else was great as well. Once the movie starts it doesn't really stop.. Great movie.. I will give it an official grade after I see it for the second time on Friday in IMAX.

Also I saw "Wolverine" over the weekend.. Not a great movie.. but worth a matinee or dollar theater.. Not a lot of substance to it.. But some fun action scenes.. and special effects.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2 More Movies

Since I last wrote I saw two more movies.. The first was a DVD rental that was free thanks to the beauty of Red Box promo codes.

"Yes Man" is the latest movie from Jim Carrey... who's getting a little old. I was particularly intrigued by this movie because of the beautiful Zooey Deschanel. She play Carrey's love interest in the movie.. When previews for this movie started coming out it looked like this was a variation of "Liar Liar." It looked like Carrey was hypnotized say yes to everything.. Well turns out, that's not true. There are no supernatural/magic/hypnosis story lines in this movie.. Carrey just decides he wants to say yes to everything... so he does. I thought it was a pretty good rental. I laughed out loud a couple times.. So like I said a worthwhile rental. I give it a B.

Also I'd like to plug Deschanel's music group called "She and Him." It's her and indie artist M. Ward. Check out the website.. It's fun and light.. and there are Beatles covers.. you can't go wrong. I give the bands album "Volume One" an A.

The second movie I saw was "State of Play" starring Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman. I really enjoyed this movie.. We don't get a lot of films like this anymore.. It's an old fashioned thriller about a journalist who is trying to get to the bottom of some murders. I don't want to say more than that because it would give too much away. But the performances are great and there are some fun twists and turns. I would recommend people check it out before the summer movie season hits in a couple weeks because it will get buried soon. Also I don't think we'll see many more movies like this... old fashioned newspaper journalism is unfortunately dying a slow death... and the topic is actually addressed in the movie. I give it an A-.. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

So it's April.. and that means it's less than a month until summer movie season. In May alone we have "Wolverine," "Star Trek," "Angels and Demons," "Terminator: Salvation," "Night at the Museum 2," "Up," and "Drag Me To Hell." I'm saving up the money now. And I'm sure some of those movies may end up being awful.. but at least they are movies I want to see.. There's been so little worth going to the theaters for... that it's a bit depressing. Only a few more weeks to go.

On the positive side some really good DVDs have been coming out. I finally got around to seeing both "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Doubt." Both really good and both worth a rental.

As most of you probably know "Slumdog Millionaire" was this years best picture winner at the Oscars. Now I haven't seen all of the films that were nominated so I can't say whether it deserved the win.. but it's definitely worth watching.. The movie follows the story of a kid who grew up in the slums of India.. and gets to be on their version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".. but he's not there to win the money.. He's there to find someone. I don't want to give more away than that. It's a very uplifting and enjoyable movie.. It's not as good as I thought it would be. I think my expectations were too high because of all the praise it received. But I certainly enjoyed it and am glad an uplifting positive story can win an Oscar. B+

"Doubt" is an adaptation of an award winning stage play. The writer of the play wrote and directed the movie. I wasn't sure if I'd like this one because of the subject matter... basically a nun suspects a priest of having inappropriate relations with a male student at the school. But everything is discussed in a very puritan way. I didn't find myself uncomfortable or grossed out by the conversations in the movie. I was really impressed with this one... I find myself still thinking about it days later. I don't want to give anything away but I will say the performances are superb.. You put Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the beautiful Amy Adams in a room and you can expect some high quality drama. I listened to a "Creative Screenwriting Podcast" that interviewed the writer.. He gave some good insight into where he was coming from when he wrote the story. He was really fascinated with the concept of "doubt" and now I am too. Excellent movie. A

PS. Interesting side note: apparently the author also wrote and directed "Joe vs the Volcano." Odd.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Saw a Movie This Weekend

And what did I see? "Monsters vs Aliens."... in IMAX 3-D. It was pretty fun.. I think I'd probably give it two and half to three stars.. A B+ rating. It wasn't as funny as "Kung Fu Panda" but its worth seeing.. especially if you're willing to cough up the extra five bucks to see it in IMAX 3-D.

So what was good about the movie? The voice actors. Stephen Colbert plays the President of the United States.. I don't think I need to say more than that. But I will because this blog isn't long enough yet. Reese Witherspoon did a good job playing the 49-foot-11-inch-tall woman... she was able to bring across emotions.. in a plastic face.. Will Arnett of "Arrested Development" fame plays The Missing Link.. and Hugh Laurie plays this movie's version of "The Fly." It was good to see Laurie back in his comedy roots. Kiefer "24" Sutherland plays a military type person.. but it's definitely different from his usual voice. But the scene stealer is probably Seth Rogan as BOB. I think if the only thing Seth Rogan ever did was voice cartoon characters he would have made his mark in history. "Kung Fu Panda," "Horton Hears a Who?" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles" should be all I have to type. Also listen for John Krasinski who has a small cameo.

The movie basically spoofs/plays homage to the monster/alien picks from the fifties. I'm not as familiar as I should be with that genre.. but I still appreciated the love the writers had for the material. There's also a shout out to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".. but I won't give it away.. It's too good.

So that's all I have. See it if you want to see it in 3-D.. otherwise wait for the dollar theater or DVD... Stay tuned for my next post where I will hopefully review "Slumdog Millionaire".. finally.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pop Culture Blogs

So I know many of you stay up late at night wondering.. what pop culture blogs/websites does CrOW (me) read? Well I have the cure for you insomnia this morning.. My list of favorite pop culture websites... in no particular order.

Pop Candy
I discovered this USA Today blog a few years ago.. and now I can't live without it.. It's written by the ultra cool, ultra savvy, Whitney Matheson. She covers a wide array of pop culture.. Everything from cool indie music to the latest graphic novels.. She's really cool and fun to read. She even has a podcast where she shares free music and interviews the very cool. She has very similar taste in movies and television.. She's a fan of "Buffy" and "Lost." In fact she does a weekly lost post where people comment about that weeks show and she posts the 10 most interesting comments. Oh and her graphic novel guide.. is a must. Also she reads a lot of books and has good recommendations.. Please check it out... because perhaps one day I will be the featured reader of the day.. If I ever get around to sending my profile.

Aint It Cool News

This is a great site for movie and tv news and rumors.. My only piece of advice.. completely avoid the talkbacks.. Everyone that post comments has the maturity level of a seven year old. They can't post without insulting someone or something. My favorite person from the site is Herc.. he monitors the TV section.. and has for the most part great taste.. If you read anything from Harry be aware that he loves to hyperbolize his movie reviews... but it's still a lot of fun to read because he has such a passion for movies..

Dark Horizons
This is actually one of the very first movie news sites I found when the Internet was just a young new thing. Garth Franklin runs the site and he's pretty cool.. My only complaint is he only updates the site once a day or two.. all at once.. Whereas Aint It Cool updates whenever there is a new story.. I also really like the site's calendar section for upcoming movies, dvds, etc.. Also the movie trailer section is great. Well worth a bookmark.

Entertainment Weekly
This is the official website for Entertainment Weekly.. The wonderful magazine of which I subscribe to and read cover to cover every week.. There are a lot of reviews.. and articles.. and tv/movie scoop to be found in the site. If your a "Lost" fan be sure to check out Doc Jensen's weekly column.. and web video.. A lot of fun. A definite must for fans of... well... Entertainment.

There are a few more sites I visit frequently.. Whedonesque, TV Guide, and E Online's Watch with Kristen.. All worth your time.. and perhaps worthy of their own blog post.. But until then... go watch the "Battlestar" finale.. and this week's "Dollhouse" which finally got really good.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A roundup of sorts

I had to start this post with the preceding trailer. Because it is awesome. It's the third and final trailer for the new "Star Trek" movie coming out in May. It is directed by J.J. Abrams who created or co-created "Alias" and "Lost" and co-wrote and directed the last Mission Impossible movie (the good one). He is my second favorite guy in Hollywood. So I am very excited about this movie.. I've already been reading the prequel comic book which ties in the new movie to the "Next Generation" era. So far it's great and gives me hope that the movie will also be good. I was a Trekkie in my early teens.. back when TNG was still on the air... I subsequently watched all the Star Trek movies, DS9(way underrated), Voyager, and some of Enterprise. And in anticipation of this movie I have gone back and started watching the original series. Which turns out had some good and not so good episodes... but fun to watch either way. I knew Kirk and the gang from the movies but the series is a whole 'nuther ball game. "City At The Edge of Forever" comes on this week... considered the best original series episode.. so I'm excited... Anyways the combination of Abrams, Star Trek, and early "very very" positive buzz.. has me dying to see this one. I hear non Star Trek people should enjoy it as well... I know that's a hard sell.. but come on i has Simon Pegg as Scotty... that's worth the price of admission alone, right?

Next topic... "Lost." Oh the season is so good. And for some reason there's a rerun next week.. right in the first week of sweeps.. It makes no sense. Anways just thought I'd plug my favorite show right now.

And finally... speaking of my favorite people in Hollywood... my favorite person is Joss Whedon... creator of such outstanding shows as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly"(and the movie sequel "Serenity"). So he's got a new show on the air called "Dollhouse." It stars Eliza Dushku as a woman who is has her memory wiped each week by an organization called the Dollhouse... She is then imprinted with a new persona.. and she and her skills are "rented" out to people who are in need of crazy things... It's kind of hard to explain the premise but... anyway it premiered a few weeks ago.. The internet buzz was that it wasn't very good. And so I lowered my expectations... and that was probably a good idea.. the show has some very promising parts.. but it hasn't won me over yet... I do have complete faith that the show will rock given the chance to find its footing... Dushku has been saying in interviews that the show starts taking off on episode six... Episode four was on last night... so if you have a tivo start recording the show... and if you don't want to watch it.... just leave it running so it can get some ratings... and not get cancelled... Trust me I have faith this show's going to be great if given the time to grow.. But since the show isn't quite excellent yet.. I have another treat for people who aren't sure about this Joss Whedon guy... It's called "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog," and it's a grand piece of entertainment... So check it out... Trust me it's worth it.. It's under an hour long... and it's a musical about super villains.. WATCH IT NOW!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

So this past weekend the wifey and I took a small weekend vacation to the city of Las Vegas. I've been to Vegas a few times before.. and each time I go I forget how dirty the place is.. And by dirty I mean hundreds of immigrants handing out handy porn that fits in your pocket. Anyways the reason we went to Vegas was to catch the Cirque Du Soleil show "Love." Which in case you've been living in a cave is a Cirque show set to Beatles music.. I've actually seen "Love" before... but it was worth seeing twice.. The music sounds so amazing. In my opinion it's worth the price alone just to hear how good The Beatles sound in that auditorium... My wife turned to me at one point and asked where they were... Of course, there was a lot of remastering and tinkering done to make it sound so good... There's a whole DVD dedicated to how they made everything sound so good. And the Cirque guys and gals are also great.. So I definitely recommend checking it out next time you head to Sin City.

PS. Feel free to skip the new Treasure Island show.. They apparently decided they'd rather have a Pussycat Dolls show than a kids show about pirates. Lame.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Next Post (audiobook edition)

I'm getting old... How do I know this? Because for the past year or so.. I've listened to more audiobooks than I have music. And I love music. My sixty gig Ipod is full.. and yet for whatever reason I have felt the overwhelming need to gorge myself on books. Libraries are great. So in an effort to share all I've learned with the rest of you.. I now will give my reviews of the following audiobooks in no particular order:

"Bringing Down the House"
This book is the basis for the movie"21" that came out last year. The movie kind of only takes the idea of the book rather than the plot.. I actually enjoyed both.. But the book definitely goes into more detail. It's the incredible story of how a bunch of MIT guys were able to bilk Vegas for lots and lots of money.. I give it an A-.. the minus because I didn't love the ending.. It just seemed very abrupt.

"The Book Of Lies"
This book is by Brad Meltzer... who is great at writing comic books.. and good at writing books.. This story has an awesome premise.. Not to give too much away... but it involves Superman and Cain & Abel.. The book follows the protagonist as he realizes that the man who invented Superman was inspired to write a story about a bulletproof man because his father was murdered.. murdered with the same weapon that Cain killed Ablel with. Like I said cool premise but poor execution... But I loved the Superman history... so unless you love Superman probably not the best book.. I give it a B-

I was recommended this series by a friend.. He said it was his favorite current fantasy series out right now. Supposedly it's being looked at as a possible movie franchise... but I haven't heard anything about that in about a year.. It follows to kids who go to live with their grandparents over the summer and realize that their grandparents are the keepers of a mystical forest that lies behind their home.. I give this series a B.. I really don't care for the boy protagonist... He makes the dumbest decisions ever... You know how in Harry Potter how you're always asking yourself.. why Harry doesn't just tell Dumbledore everything that's happening.. that would spare him a lot of grief... Well this kid is repeatedly... and I mean repeatedly told not to do things... He does them.. suffers the awful consquences and then proceeds to break the rules again.. all while not telling anyone that he's done stupid things... AAGH!! But it's worth a listen if you like the fantasy.

"Team of Rivals"
As I write this it is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.. And I appreciate what he did for this country even more than I did before after listening to this excellent book. I found the entire thing riveting.. I love how he was so willing to listen to his opponents and take their suggestions seriously.. Anyone who loves history should love this book.. It was very enlightening. My grandma also listened to it and thought it was great.. what better recommendation can you get than that. I give this one an A for history buffs.

"A Magnificent Catastrophe"
I watched the HBO miniseries "John Adams" and thought they were great.. and that prompted my desire to learn more about Adams and Jefferson.. This audiobook takes a close look at the election between the two and all of the underhanded things that went on from both sides. I listened to it as our Presidential Election drew to a close and the parallels were uncanny. We never learn. Also Alexander Hamilton is an idiot. He needs to be taken off the ten dollar bill immediately. B

"Harry Potter"
Yeah, I know everybody's already read these but too bad it's my blog. I decided a few months ago to listen to "The Deathly Hallows" (I read the book when it came out originally). And suddenly I was going through an emotional rollercoaster... all the death and mayhem.. I can't believe she killed Dobby and the owl in the first half of the book.. I lived through the story... probably my wife was ready to hide my ipod.. I thought I'd just listen when I had the time.. but I was listening every spare second I had.. Really one of the best book series ever written.. and well worth listening to on audiobook.. A+

"The Innocent Man"
Finished this one just the other day.. It was really compelling.. and quite disturbing. I couldn't believe all of the stuff that happens in this book.. It's the true story of a man who is convicted of a crime he didn't commit... It also follows the story of a couple of other men who suffer the same fate... It's kind of long but well worth it... far better than anything Grisham has written in the past ten years.. ("The Brethren" yawn) B+.

"The Areas of My Expertise"
You know the guy who plays the PC in those Mac ads... well he decided to write a book. And it's awesome.. The complete book of world knowledge... Hilarious. It's very droll... and this one has to be listened to.. it's far better than reading the book.. And the ending to this thing may be the best ending of anything anywhere ever... I stand by that. The book is an acquired taste but if this is your type of humor... well what are you waiting for go get it. You'll learn all you'll ever want to know about crabs, hobos, and U.S. states. A+

This is one of those books kind of like "Freakonomics" that tries to shake your faith in everything you thought you knew about the way the world is run. And it's definitely interesting... I don't know if I agree with everything the author says but.. something to think about and debate... I found his chapter on Korean airplane crashes to be fascinating.. and after reading this book you may try to have all of your children born in January. B

"Assassination Vacation"
You know the girl who's the voice of Violet in "The Incredibles".. well apparently she's an author.... An author who likes to talk about random historical events and put them in a funny perspective. This one is all about presidential assassinations.. I learned some amazing stuff about some of the lesser known presidents and the stories behind how they were killed. The author isn't a fan of Pres. Bush though, so if that bothers you.. probably one to avoid.. But she does make some parallels between Bush and other past presidents that I thought was kind of cool. B

I finally got to it... I finally gave in and listened to this one.. And let me say this... I listened to the majority of it in my car and I was able to tune out for like ten minutes at a time.. start listening again and not miss anything... She was still talking about Edward's chiseled chest. The book is 85% Bella going on and on about Edwards eyes, smile, crazy cool hair.. and 15% actual story. It didn't convince me to come back for the sequels... It just made me realize I needed to watch some "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." But I'm not a hater either.. if people want to obsess about this stuff.. I say go for it... as for me I'll be obsessing over the smoke monster on "Lost." C

Speaking of "Freakonomics" this one is a must listen.. I don't want to give to much away.. but I think people should check this out purely for the fact that you can have some pretty cool debates and conversations with people over the claims made in this book.. I particularly liked the chapter on the "Ku Klux Klan" and Superman.. And the chapter about cheating teachers should be read by all teachers and administrators.. A

Tell me if you've read or listened to any of these books.. and what you think of them.. Also have you listened to any audiobooks lately? Give me your recommendations.