Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ben Stiller

It has got to be really awesome to be one of Ben Stiller's friends.

A few years ago, Ben Stiller directed a sitcom pilot for Fox called Heat Vision and Jack, starring none other than Jack Black. It was never picked up, and I had never heard of it until recently. But, thanks to the anti-memory hole that is the Internet, it has recently resurfaced. (watch it here). So, I downloaded it and watched it. I quickly discovered the reason it was never picked up. It was terrible.

The show was supposed to be a parody of 80s cheese action shows, like The A-Team and especially Night Rider. But they played it wayyy too straight. Instead of being funny for making fun of those shows, it was intentionally unintentionally funny. Which just doesn't work. The pilot is amusing, but there's no way I would have watched the show on a regular basis.

Anyway, back to my original point. In the show, Jack Black gets to make out with Ben Stiller's incredibly hot wife, Christine Taylor. That got me to thinking about how that's a pretty common occurrence in Stiller's projects. Vince Vaughn got to in Dodgeball. So did Owen Wilson in Zoolander. I know that people married to actors have to get used to their spouse kissing other people as part of the roles. But there's a big difference between not minding it and actively casting your wife to swap spit with one of your friends.

Anyway, Ben, if you're reading this, I'm available if you need a geek with no acting experience for your next movie . . .

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bracketology

Coming into this weekend, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. In my NCAA Bracket, I had 12 of my Sweet 16 teams survive the first round. That also included 7 of my Elite 8's and all of my Final 4's. I was expecting eternal fame and glory, and kicking myself for not putting any money on it.

After this weekend of games, that pretty much all went to hell. I was pretty happy on Thursday. I correctly called LSU to upset Duke, and for UCLA to top Gonzaga, both of which went against conventional wisdom. Then my teams started falling. I watched as, one by one, my Final Four teams dropped out. Boston College. Texas. UConn. UCLA did make it through the weekend, but I didn't have them making the Championship Game, so they won't earn me any more points.

Oh well, at least I didn't do as badly as last year when I lost to my friend Frank, who was only in my league because I wanted an even number of people playing and who picked teams pretty much at random.

But still. George Mason. Really?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Aggravation

I think that my feelings on reality television are pretty well known.  I hate stupid, whiny, dumb, bitchy, idiotic people in real life, so why the hell would I ever want to allow them on my television?  But, with that said, I've never really had a problem with American Idol.  Not that I sit around and watch it or anything, but it seems to be just a simple talent show.  The show is pretty much all about the singing, with no artificial "human drama" (read: contestants bitching about each other behind the other person's back) put in.  While I don't care about a show devoted to generating more bubblegum pop acts, it doesn't offend me like every other reality show.

That is, until now.

So:

Dear American Idol,

STOP FREAKING PREEMPTING HOUSE WITH YOUR GODDAMN 2 HOUR SPECIALS!!!11!11!one!1!!!eleven!1!

Thank you,

Wiley

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Growing Problem

Michael Crichton wrote a great article in the New York Times about the growing ridiculousness of American patent law.  This country is going to have to come to a serious reckoning very soon on the subject of Intellectual Property.  I may be annoyed by HBO threatening to sue me over shifting a few bits around the network, but there are things far worse.  My mother recently had her gall bladder removed.  But what if her doctor had not been able to tell her the result of the test to determine that because someone else held a patent on that diagnosis?

I do understand the need for patents.  It is entirely reasonable to protect an idea long enough for a company to produce a product and start making money.  However, when a company can file patents and put them in a drawer waiting to sue someone who actually figures out how to implement them ( NPT vs. Blackberry); Microsoft can patent "A method, comprising: selecting pixels to be used as an emoticon; assigning a character sequence to the pixels; and transmitting the character sequence to a destination to allow for reconstruction of the pixels at the destination" ( Smiley Face Patent); and, as mentioned in Crichton's article, a company can patent a link between elevated homocysteine levels and vitamin deficiency, something needs to be done.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I'm a criminal

Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Abuse Incident Number:      ******************
Report Date/Time:           Fri, 17 Mar 2006 00:55:53 -0500


Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Subscriber:

Comcast has received a notification of claimed infringement made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the 'DMCA').  This notification, made by a copyright owner or its authorized agent, reports an alleged infringement of one or more copyrighted works made on or over Comcast's High-Speed Internet service (the 'Service').  The works identified in the notification of claimed infringement are listed below.  In accordance with the DMCA and Comcast's Acceptable Use Policy, Comcast request that you immediately remove the allegedly infringing works from the Service or Comcast will be forced to remove or block access to the works.

If you believe in good faith that the allegedly infringing works have been removed or blocked by mistake or misidentification, then you may send a counter notification to Comcast.  Upon Comcast's receipt of a counter notification that satisfies the requirements of the DMCA, Comcast will provide a copy of the counter notification to the party who sent the original notification of claimed infringement.  We will then follow the DMCA's procedures with respect to a received counter notification.

For more information regarding Comcast's copyright infringement policy, procedures, and contact information, please read our Acceptable Use Policy by clicking on the Terms of Service link at http://www.comcast.net.

Sincerely,
Comcast Network Abuse and Observance Team

Copyright work(s) identified in the notification of claimed infringement:

Infringing Work: Sopranos, The

Filepath: The.Sopranos.S06E01.HDTV.XviD
-LOL.avi.torrent
Filename: The.Sopranos.S06E01.HDTV.XviD-LOL.avi
First Found: 15 Mar 2006 21:21:52 EST (GMT -0500)
Last Found: 15 Mar 2006 21:21:52 EST (GMT -0500)
Filesize: 359,276k
IP Address: ***.***.***.***
IP Port: 6881
Network: BTPeers
Protocol: BitTorrent

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mamma always said you'd be the chosen one. . .

Welcome back, Tony.

You've been away far too long.  Oh sure, I've been making do, hanging out with Jack Bauer, Greg House, Larry David, the Bluth family, and that group on that fucked up island.  But you're the one I really need.

No one else can match your intensity, you power, your machismo.  You are a flawed, but beautiful human being, and I thank you for it.

Oh, and sorry about that thing with Uncle June.  I hope it all works out all right.

Yours truly,

Wiley

Monday, March 06, 2006

And the Oscar Goes To . . .

Even though I do complain about how lame it is, I watch the Oscars almost every year. I do this even though It has been several years since what I thought was the best film of the year was even nominated. Please, tell me what film was better than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last year, and don't you dare say Million Dollar Baby. So, without further ado, here is a quick hit list of things that I liked about this year's Oscarcast.
  • Dick Cheney accidentally shooting Bjork.
  • Jon Stewart's man-crush on George Clooney. Which was immediately backed up by . . .
  • George Clooney's acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor. Easily the second best speech of the night.
  • Negative campaigning for Best Actress . Steven Colbert is a genius.
  • Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep presenting Robert Altman with the lifetime achievement award. I could have watched them carry on like that for an hour.
  • Jon Stewart making fun of the president of the Academy.
  • The Three 6 Mafia winning Best Original Song. They showed more excitement over winning than all the other winners put together.
  • "Martin Scorsese - Zero Oscars, Three 6 Mafia - One Oscar" Best line of the night.
But, not everybody's cheeks were flaked with God-dust. Here's what I wasn't a fan of.
  • The crowd during Stewart's opening monologue. Come on, the guy was funny. He deserves more than polite laughter and applause.
  • Film clip choice during some of the montages. The Day After Tomorrow crammed in between All the President's Men and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner during the "Relevant Socio-political Films" montage? Give me a break.
  • No Don Knotts during the Memorial segment. I know he's more well known as a TV actor, but he did make movies and is one of the most beloved figures in Hollywood.
  • The constant pro-theater promotion. Yes, I enjoy watching movies on the big screen. But until you install cell-phone jammers and nix all the commercials, my 33 inch wide screen television and surround sound audio system are more than adequate.
  • No Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor. I know this was probably the deepest competition of the night. And I love Philip Seymour Hoffman, and am sure he was spectacular in Capote, which I really want to see. But I happened to come across a real live Johnny Cash concert on CMT this weekend and was reminded again just how well Phoenix nailed him.
And now for a moment on Best Picture. Crash is the only one of the five that I've actually seen so far, and of course it won. And my main reaction was "eh". Don't get me wrong, I really liked Crash. But I just find it hard to believe that it was the best of the five. It seems to me that Capote and Good Night and Good Luck are more likely to be remembered as "Great" ten years from now.

I'm not ready yet to say what I thought the best film of 2005 was. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it yet. Hustle and Flow, Match Point, Jarhead, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, all the non-winning nominees, and a dozen more movies will have to work their way through my Netflix queue. And of course, the movies that I really loved like Sin City and Batman Begins never even had a chance. But on the whole, I enjoyed the show, and still think that any movie or actor even nominated is worth watching.