Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Dollhouse" in the middle of our street

So, the first episode of "Dollhouse" aired, and I watched it. I may have mentioned that I tried to get my sister's eight year old to watch with me, since she loves "Buffy" and "Doctor Horrible," but she gave up on the show about ten minutes in.

I stuck with it longer than that.

Tyranist and I watched every episode of "Buffy" and "Angel" together, so it was probably wrong that I watched this show without him, but he was out of town, and hey, I had a silly idea that he could skip the first episode and tune into the second episode first, and we'd compare notes.

But alas, that was not meant to be. First of all, our local FOX station pre-empted "Dollhouse" its second week, and when tyranist was able to catch it on a later feed, it turned out not to be Joss's original pilot "Echo" after all. So, the waiting had been for naught, and he just went ahead and watched the show without me as well.

Serves me right, I guess.

So, I suppose I should blog about the show. The thing is, it didn't strike me as particularly good or bad, as I've heard a couple of people discuss. The premise might be really great, with a dozen different scenarios to get Eliza Dushku into skimpy clothing, and a chance for her to beat various people up. The characters, particularly Amy Acker's*, are interesting, and it's possible I will grow to like them in the coming weeks.

I already like Tahmoh Penikett and Harry Lenix from other shows, so that helps.

Apparently, the new pilot, written and directed by Joss Whedon, was called "Ghost." Basically, we meet Echo in the first episode, and catch a glimpse of who she was before she lost her memory. Her name was Caroline and she's talking to DeWitt (Olivia Williams) about something she's done and its consequences. DeWitt offers her a life WITHOUT consequences, and she joins up.

The Dollhouse is a secret organisation where several young people, called Actives, have their personalities erased and are imprinted with new personalities, skills, and memories. These enable them to go on specific missions for expensive clients, such as a unique date for the super-rich, or, in this case, as an experienced negotiator for kidnapped children.

Echo becomes this negotiator and arranges payment for the safe return of a little girl, only to discover that one of the kidnappers took her when she was a child. Or rather, took the person she has been imprinted with the memories of. Even so, Echo is able to use these memories to figure out how to track the stolen girl down, and rescue her.

We had a B-story of FBI agent Paul Ballard, who has been investigating the so-called Dollhouse, and who receives an important tip about Echo at the end . . . from someone who appears to be a rogue Active called Alpha.

I complained that this episode probably wasn't 100% integral to the overall plot of the show, since it was essentially a prequel created after the show had gone into production, and taking place before the pilot Joss wrote and directed. But now, knowing that Joss's original pilot has been jettisoned (sort of like "Serenity" was), I have to judge it on its own merits. And yeah, I didn't get a lot out of it, except that it was nice to see Amy Acker and the Wolfram & Hart set from "Angel" again. And it was cool when the "Grr, argh" guy showed up at the end.

I promise, though, to watch the next episode with tyranist, and try and get into the show as best I can. After all, it hasn't been canceled . . . yet.


*It really freaks me out to see her face cut up like that. Her character on "Angel" was just so damn sweet (she was the Willow/Kaylee on that show) that I instantly feel protective of her. And yeah, I realise that I'm one of those fans who is blurring the line between reality and the characters she plays on TV. It reminds me of the time I was stuck in an elevator with Hugh Laurie and I asked him if he could take a look at my hemorrhoids.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bottom Three Steve Martin Movies

So, as I mentioned last week, PINK PANTHER 2 just opened, and I had no intention of seeing it. I really hated the first one (if you can call a remake of a film with several sequels "the first one"), so I thought I'd ask for the bottom three (or five) Steve Martin films from everybody too.

My picks are:
1. PINK PANTHER (2006)

Tyranist was first to respond on this one, giving me:
1. The Man with Two Brains
2. Planes Trains and Automobiles
3. Novocaine
4. All of Me
5. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Strangely, two of his bottom picks were two of my top picks. Hmmm.

Evil Cousin Ryan told me that he's never seen a Steve Martin film he didn't like, so his list consists of nothing.

Which is pretty high praise, I guess.

My pal Saur gave me:
1. Bringing Down the House
2. Housesitter
3. Pink Panther
4. Cheaper by the Dozen
5. Sgt Bilko

Prison Guard Johnny was back to his old tricks in chapters four five and six, with:
356. Baby Mama
357. Sgt. Bilko
358. Looney Tunes: Back in Action
359. Father of the Bride 2
360. Cheaper by the Dozen 2

Since hardly anyone contributed to this one (it may be that my emails are relegated to the spam folder now), our bottom five appear to be:

Yeah, I'd better give this a rest for a while.


Disturbing Thing of the Week

So, my uncle must have had a late date the other night, 'cause he said he was driving past my house at four o'clock the other morning. He came by the next day and asked, "Did you get locked out or something?"

I didn't understand.

"'Cause I saw you sitting on the lawn when I drove by," he said. "A few minutes later, on my way back, I drove past again . . . and you were gone."

Well, I assured him that I was asleep by four Monday night/Tuesday morning, but he just laughed and gave me the old "if you SAY so . . ." look. But I wasn't out at that time, and I certainly wasn't sitting out on the lawn.

Makes me wonder who it was, what they were doing . . . and even more disturbing . . . if they were, in fact, me somehow.

If there's not a story in there somewhere, well then, I don't have the imagination I thought I did.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week: Part III

or "The Best Thing About Senility is You Get To Hide Your Own Easter Eggs."

So, I was driving to the an Oscar get-together yesterday, when something reminded me of an old show or story I couldn't quite place. You know the one, there's the married couple and the wife begins talking in her sleep at the same time each night, and he starts to pay attention and she knows things she couldn't possibly know, secret things and future things, and when the husband asks her about it, she has no memory of saying any of those things. Sounds familiar, right?

Well, I kept thinking about it, trying to figure out if it was an old "Twilight Zone" episode (it was in colour in my mind, so no), or a Richard Matheson story (I could see the bedroom where they slept, so it was probably something visual), or an episode of "Amazing Stories" or "Tales From the Darkside" or a movie (I couldn't remember the actors though). And then I remembered the reason the husband first woke up to hear her sleeptalking and I realised something chilling: this was a story I wrote.

What was it called? When did I write it? Where was I when I wrote it? What inspired it? Did I finish it or was it abandoned?

So, I came home and looked it up on the computer. Yes, it was one of my stories, and yes, it is unfinished. But worst of all, according to the date-stamp, I last worked on it in September of 2008.

Never get old, kids.

Rish Out . . . something

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week: Part II

So, I went to a movie with a friend last night, an old roommate from college. We hadn't hung out in a long, long time, but hey, people don't tend to want to hang out with me.

Anyway, they showed the preview for that new ESCAPE FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN flick. In the middle of the trailer, my friend said, "Dang." I leaned over and whispered, "I know, Annasophia Robb is really getting hot."

He paused, looked at me, back at the screen, then looked at me again. I guess that's not what he was getting at at all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week

Hmm. I created this post to be this week's Stupid Thing, but I can't remember what it was supposed to be about. I left it, went about my business, then when I came back . . . nothing.

Well, I did spend a hundred and twenty-five dollars on something I didn't really want this week (never drink and bid), so I think that qualifies. If I remember exactly, this can be a twofer.


I guess it techincally is two Stupid Things, since I couldn't remember what I was posting about but posted it anyway. Or three Stupid Things if you count the way I spelled "technically."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Facebook (pros and cons)

So, as I mentioned the other day, I got on Facebook, and tyranist made fun of me immediately. I guess I deserve that, because I do tend to jump into these these head-first (selling on eBay--I spent a thousand dollars on stuff to resell the first month; World of Warcraft--I played a hundred hours the first week; religious cults--I killed five non-believers the first two days; gay porn . . . well, you get the picture).

And yeah, the darn thing is super habit-forming. First it was just filling in the slots of what I am a fan of. Merrill also mocked me, that I'd wake up at five in the morning, remembering I'd forgotten to list some book I like ("Oh no, what if someone reads my profile and doesn't see Men Are From Venus, Mars Needs Women on there and thinks that I'm a tool..."), and have to put it on there before I could go back to sleep.

Next it was adding friends and searching for people I had crushes on back when I was alive. After adding a friend, they can type in what they're currently doing, and you can hit a refresh button to see if anything's changed with anyone. And yeah, that's not a humongous time-waster.

Then it's sticking photos up. Back in the day (which, I guess was January and before), I was hesitant to ever stick a picture of me on my blog or my other websites, just in case people started sending me invitations to the Steve Buscemi Lookalike Society (Burn Victims Branch). But once I'd stuck up one picture, I couldn't stop. I put up five, then ten, then thirty, then I started downloading random pictures of celebrities and photoshopped myself into them. The madness never ends.

Now there are games you can play with other users, or by yourself, or sending virtual Star Wars figures to people, or taking little quizzes with five questions that you can't get right because one of the answers is written wrong, and before you know it, life has passed you by.

Ho hum.

But there is a silver lining, though. I got an email today from a friend of mine that I guess I would have categorised as an ex-friend of mine, or merely an acquaintance, and he was lamenting the fact that we didn't stay in touch, but now, thanks to Facebook, he knows how to contact me and what I'm up to. He wrote a long, way-too-early-in-the-morning email, and I realised something:

This guy didn't stop being my friend because I was just a tag-along who wasn't worthy of him . . . we stopped socialising because of that nasty little thing called life.

Hearing from him made me feel really good. You can never have too many friends.* And I gotta say, even though I've wasted pretty much all of my youth (but what else is new?) . . . I don't regret joining Facebook at all.

How's that for a silver lining, be-otch?

Rish "Social Butterfly/Distortion" Outfield

*Dude, that reminds me of my October Scary Story Event tale of 2007. It was about a loser guy who moves away from Los Angeles to his crappy little hometown and gets a job at the run-down movie theater on Main Street. His uncle has spent all of his savings on renovating the place and offered him the job of ticket-taker. Later, when business amazingly/mysteriously begins to pick up, the uncle hires the prettiest girl you ever did see to be the new ticket-taker, while our main character is relegated to selling popcorn and watered-down soft drinks.
Well, naturally, our main guy is attracted to the pretty new girl, so he tries to chum up to her. She brushes him off, and he says, "I'm just trying to be friendly," to which she says, "I've got enough friends, thanks." Before he sulks back to his little butter-and-salt-smelling cubbyhole, he mutters, "NO ONE has enough friends."
Well, that damn story was meant to be about fifteen pages long, but after reaching twenty or so, and still not getting to the Horror-part, I abandoned it. As I so often do.
But typing this and hearing from Brian makes me want to dust off that old story and write it through to the end. Thanks, dude.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dollhouse . . . is a veryveryvery fine house

...or is it?
So, Joss Whedon's new show "Dollhouse" premiered tonight, and people are already complaining.

Okay, that's not entirely accurate; I've heard people complaining for months.* Hell, I'VE complained.

But the show aired tonight, so I consider the mid-February 2009complaints more valid and at least somewhat informed.

People thought the show was boring, people thought Eliza Dushku was miscast, people found the premise flawed (or derivative, or uninspired, or just dumb), my niece abandoned it at around the fifteen minute mark, and I'm not sure what to think. I hope FOX doesn't cancel the show for a while, just so we can see where it's going, and if it gets better.

Because the episode that aired tonight was a studio-mandated new pilot, and the episode that airs next week is the actual pilot that Whedon shot and intended to introduce the series . . . I thought it would be a cool experiment to ask/beg/demand my pal tyranist to watch the SECOND episode first, while I watched tonight's show, so we could compare notes about our experiences.

Of course, the fact that we won't be able to get together to watch "Dollhouse" until there's two episodes on the TiVo doesn't hurt.

We shall see.

Rish Dollfield Outhouse

*I think I blogged about the woman at the "Dollhouse" panel who said she loved "Buffy" and loved "Angel" and loved "Firefly" and loved TOY STORY and loved (the trailer for) ALIEN: RESURRECTION . . . but thought "Dollhouse" just looked boring. A few people agreed with her, but the vast majority were booing and wishing eye cancer on her.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week

I got my niece an mp3 player, and she asked me to put some songs on it for her. I stuck on some tracks I knew she liked, and she asked me to put on some Taylor Swift, but didn't know the name of the song she wanted.

So I went out and grabbed some random songs, and in listening to them tonight, I got all emotional, like a dateless thirteen year old on the night of the Homecoming dance (which, it seems, I will always be). It's rather embarrassing, but I listened to two songs about four times each, sniffling like I just eskimo kissed Jeff's cat.

I think I'm gonna buy my niece an ice cream next time I see her.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top Five Steve Martin Movies

So, Steve Martin's got a sequel out to his PINK PANTHER remake this week. My niece was over the other day, and had turned on the 2006 film . . . and I had forgotten how awful it was. I fully expect the sequel to be awful too.
But rather than focusing on the negative, I thought I'd look back at Steve Martin's brightest moments. I asked people for their favourite five Martin films, and I think it was an easier question to answer, since I got more responses the first day than I did on the last one total.

My picks would be:

My evil cousin Ryan responded first. He, apparently, has only seen five Steve Martin films, so his list was:
Three Amigos!
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Father of the Bride
The Muppet Movie
Father of the Bride 2

Tyranist responded next, with:
1. L.A. Story
2. The Muppet Movie
3. Little Shop of Horrors
4. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
5. My Blue Heaven

Wow, two mentions of MUPPET MOVIE. Maybe I should check that out again.

Merrill sent me:
1 Planes, Trains & Automobiles
2 Little Shop Of Horrors
3 Parenthood
4 Father Of The Bride
5 Cheaper By The Dozen

Prison Guard Johnny gave me:
1. Three Amigos
2. Planes Trains and Automobiles
3. The Jerk
4. Father of the Bride
5. Bowfinger

And Saur Patch Brian sent me:
1. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
2. The Muppet Movie
3. The Jerk
4. Planes Trains and Automobiles
5, (tie)My Blue Heaven/Roxanne

The day after I finally posted this list (which was so late, President Obama's second term is about to begin), Jeff the Chemist sent me his list. He also has only seen a handful of Steve Martin movies. Weird.
1-Planes Trains & Automobiles
2-The Jerk
3-LA Story
4-Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
I've been slow in compiling the results, but they appear to be:

Not bad. I ought to do this more often.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Those Really Hard Questions

There comes, I imagine, a day in every parent's life, when their child begins to ask the really tough questions. The ones about starvation and injustice . . . the ones about loss and mortality . . . the ones about anal beads and where babies come from.

Well, I had one of those moments with my sister's kid the other night. I was babysitting her because her mother had a date, so I picked the child up at the shoe store across from the Wal-mart parking lot. I took her to Burger King, then we went to my place, and in trying to keep the eight year old entertained, I asked her what movie she wanted to watch.

She suggested we watch STAR WARS again, Joss bless her.*

So, we were about two minutes into it, when Leia is putting the data into Artoo, and my niece asked me "Uncle Rish, who were Princess Leia's mom and dad?"

I had to pause and think about what to say. The easy answer was to lie to the girl ("They're on Alderaan, her home planet") or to give a limited but truthful answer ("At this point in the series, we don't know"), or be like my father was whenever I asked a question like that and say, "Why don't you go look it up instead of asking me?"

But the truth? I'M not the girl's father, I don't have the right to tell her things like that, do I? If she asks me those really tough questions (the ones that occur to every child at some point), for example:
"What's an abortion?"
"What was the Holocaust?"
"What is a roofie?"
"Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th if that was a pagan observance not in the least bit rooted in Christianity or Santa Clausanity?"
"Who was Ted Bundy?"
"Why do people use the N-word?"
"Why do you keep magazines between your mattress and the box spring on your bed?"
"Why do people in the Middle East hate us?"
"Why is Paris Hilton famous?"

Is it my place to answer? And if so, how to I explain it so as not to frighten her about the world, or shatter her innocence? She shares some of my genes, and has an overactive imagination, and I could just picture her, lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about midichlorians and Jake Lloyd putting together C-3PO and it being forbidden for a Jedi to love and antics with battledroids and Padme simply giving up on life despite having two newborns to care for and present obstetric technology so advanced its practically magic.

I shudder at the thought.

It didn't occur to me until just now that I probably could have said, "I'll tell you when you're older." So, I told her that her mother was a queen and that's why she's a princess, and that her father was Darth Vader.

That opened a can of worms when she realised that it made Luke and Leia siblings, and wondered why Vader, if he had the Force so good, couldn't sense her. Not to mention the "And now, your Highness, we will discuss the hidden location of your Rebel base" scene.

Ah well. At least she fell asleep before the part where Leia retreats to the Rebels' secret stronghold despite knowing that there's a tracking device onboard her ship and that the Empire let them escape hoping she would do just that.

Innocence only lasts for so long, kids.

Rish Outfield Organa

*Actually, she wanted to see the one where Luke Skywalker goes to the bar where Chewbacca and all the monsters are and there's a pit underneath where a green girl falls and then Luke Skywalker has to fight the big monster that lives down there.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


So, I tried to get registered with Facebook yesterday, and I still haven't quite figured everything out.

I'm not sure why someone with a face like mine would want to join that organisation, but ah well.

Once I catch on, I hope it ends up being more fun than MySpace. And anything would be better than Friendster.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

why Spidey is king

So, it's been a couple of years since SPIDER-MAN 3 came out, and though I have more reason to hate it than you do, I don't really despise it so much. But everyone else does, though, and although there's talk of Sam Raimi doing a fourth film next year, people don't seem so excited anymore.

But here's a reminder of the greatness that is Spider-man, folks:

Just try to deny it now.*

Rish Irving Spiderman Outfield

*Yes, you, Ryan.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Top Five Prequels

So, this week I saw UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, and except for the last thirty seconds, absolutely loved it. Afterward, I was comparing it with other prequels I've seen, past and present (was it better than BUTCH & SUNDANCE: THE EARLY DAYS? How about LITTLE MERMAID: ARIEL'S BEGINNING?). So I thought, hey, why not ask people to give me their five favorite prequels?

I wonder if J.J. Abrams's STAR TREK will be considered a prequel or a sequel.

So, mine would be . . .

4. GODFATHER II (while this is, technically, not a prequel, there's about an hour and a half of Sicilian scenes in there, and they're what I like most about GII)

You know, there aren't a lot of prequels I like.

Ryan couldn't think of any that didn't have Jar Jar Binks in them, and tyranist wouldn't list any until I defined my term better (in fact, he suggested my last couple categories were too broad to answer). Rhett also emailed me to say that, except for THE HOBBIT (which hasn't even been filmed yet), he was drawing a blank.

Merrill sent me two (along with a note that five was too many to ask for). They were:
1. Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
2. Ewok Adventure

So, we'll probably have to call this one a failed experiment and just move on.

Rish "The Mid-quel" Outfield

P.S. About a month later, Prison Guard Johnny sent me this list:
1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
2. Star Wars III
3. James Bond Quantum of Solace
4. Star Wars I
5. Dumb and Dumberer

How QUANTUM OF SOLACE is a prequel and not CASINO ROYALE I couldn't get him to explain.