Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something Too Awesome to Sell

What I Almost Sold on eBay

I admit it. I love shopping at thrift shops, well before Macklemore made it a major hit rap song that conquered radio and iTunes. I look through places for collectibles I want, or items that would make great eBay bait.

I have to admit that when I found this Butt Numb-A-Thon t-shirt from 2002 at a Goodwill on Vine Street in Hollywood, I was shocked. It was practically in mint condition. It had Harry Knowles, the guru of internet news, dressed like Indiana Jones. I just thought that someone could spend hundreds for this.

Then I realized, I have a piece of nerd history. This was given out before the main event, when a lucky few gathered at the original Alamo Drafthouse to see such things as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, May, House of 1000 Corpses and Chicago. This is also early in the BNAT history.
So, I bailed out. I sent a link to the above picture on Twitter. Harry re-tweeted it. I just might be famous. Maybe.
I did the right thing.

It's not like another t-shirt I had. It was worn by staff from Aqua Teen Hunger Force in honor of the day they put a couple of Moonites somewhere in Boston in January 2007, setting off a Homeland Security panic. For some reason I didn't get any takers. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscar Weekend, The Final Chapter

Now that I am back in Sacramento, and trying to clean out my bursting DVR, this post will wrap up my last big weekend, unless I get an unexpected offer to move to Hollywood..and I do mean unexpected. I've already been asked to do a report on a Star Trek special from Fathom Events in April. I'm sure to think of other story ideas by then.

First off, this was an unexpected part of my overnight trip to KABC in Glendale to attend the post-Oscars edition of Good Morning America...

From Jack In The Box To Mayor

Rodney Allen Rippy, the cute kid from the Jack In The Box ads from the 70s, is now a businessman and mayoral hopeful in Compton. He asked for my business card, and I gave it to him.

When I tried to get a ticket to Jimmy Kimmel Live After the Oscars, I lost out. I even promised I'd kiss Kimmel's star on the Walk of Fame to get a ticket. If nothing else, I know where it is....

This star is better than Matt Damon's

It's under the show's sign just outside the studio...

How to Find Jimmy Kimmel On Walk of Fame

By the way, it's in better shape than Matt Damon's star.

Hollywood High Honors Oscars

Hollywood High School honored the show, but you'd think they'd get "O"'s that would match the rest of the letters on the sign.

On my way to Hollywood and Highland to get almost at the Red Carpet, I found this on the Walk of Fame...

This Award Jean Herscholdt Doesn't Deserve

Hopefully someone will fix this. After all, his name is on a very important Academy Award. Respect must be paid.

Hammer Improv, a comedy group that includes Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh, performed the night before the Oscars. This is a picture that I took. Sadly Sandeep is blocked here...

Hammer Improv

It was broadcast on Ustream, but it wasn't saved. In case it is, it will be added.

The Jimmy Kimmel Experience

...and more posters from Jimmy Kimmel's Movie: The Movie 2V.

I am hoping that after this trip, there will be more trips to big events that I can cover. That only depends on the future.

I'm Gonna Pop Some Tags, Only Got $20 In My Pocket

If you listen to the radio, the title of this blog may be familiar, and you may know the next two lines. This is how, when I visit L-A, I'm a hunter, looking for a come-up, and eventually find something f-ing awesome.

I always go to Goodwill shops and In The Closet stores, looking for bargains that are mainly eBay bait. Sometimes I keep an item or two that can be a collectible.
Last weekend was a bit different. There was a prop sale at a warehouse a half mile from Burbank Airport. It was mainly a garage sale for One Life To Live. It was wall-to-wall stuff used for the show at one time or another. There was other stuff, too...

A piece of hidden TV history, part 2

This is the back of a cast member's chair for a pilot called The Guilded Lilys. It was ABC's attempt to copy Downton Abbey. It didn't work out, which is a shame. It would have meant bringing John Barrowman to TV. Arrow wound up doing that, but still...
If I knew the name of his character, I would have picked it up, but I got this instead..

Piece of a forgotten TV show

I thought this was Sarah Bolger's role. She was, of course, Princess Mary in The Tudors. Still, a nice piece of TV history that never was. I hear the prime stuff arrives in the summer. If I get lucky, I might try that again. There was also swag from Samantha Who, plus furniture, fake diplomas from OLTL characters, and even an ABC studio spotlight. Naturally, I couldn't get that because it would be too heavy to carry to my flight.

There's also a shop at the Farmer's Market near Television City called the Shine Gallery. This is one incredible vintage shop. There's very expensive stuff, of course, including old Disneyland stuff and Phillips 66 and Coca Cola uniforms. However, you can also get souvenirs of Apollo 11, political conventions from 1960, and the Rose Bowl for very affordable prices. In fact, you order this stuff online. This is what I got:

America, Made In Japan

This was back in the days when we'd get a lot of stuff made in Japan. We still do, but it usually involves driving it or getting anime on DVD.

A piece of NFL history

...and this was a piece of NFL history, a 1957 playoff game that ruined the 49ers for decades

The biggest find, though, was at the Goodwill on Vine Street:

Homer Simpson Doll

A Homer Simpson doll. Big deal, right? Look at the back...

A very rare bargain

Not bad, eh? Four bucks, baby! That is Phil Ortiz with Maggie's head, and Bill Morrison, co-creator of Bongo Comics and illustrator for The Simpsons. Both signatures on Homer's head. May not be worth hundreds, but it's cool.

Who knows what I'll find next time?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Greatest Kickstarter Campaign Ever, or How to Avenge a Youthful Mistake

Rifftrax promised a big announcement recently about its next live show, and it wasn't kidding.

It wants to spin, fold and mutilate, or in lay men's terms goof on, the original Twilight movie.

Just sending mp3's to people who want to see the classic vampire love movie with appropriate commentary just isn't enough anymore.
Nope. Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy all had a dream. They wanted to honor Twilight in the worst way, but then that would involve giving it some reward, and we can't have that.
So, they had a better idea: declare the movie as the Worst Movie Of All Time, according to an internet poll of the most superior experts of such a thing. Sure, they were mainly Rifftrax customers, but that proves they have taste. Add hard-core fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Vampire Diaries, and the case is made right there.

Next, Rifftrax decided to roll the dice and raise money for the rights to riff on Twilight, and broadcast it to willing fans in theaters across the nation. Heck, have this on PPV, and you may be more popular than last week's UFC card.

Now, there are some people who are certain Lionsgate would never let three self-appointed movie critics who base their expertise on being trapped in space while being attacked by Coleman Francis, Ed Wood and whoever thought Hobgoblins was a good idea, riff on Twilight live in theatres. Sure, Fathom Events show classic movies or TV shows, but add featurettes and deleted scenes and stuff like that. It's to commemorate these classic films. It makes no sense to present a classic movie, and heckle it from start to finish.
On the other hand, Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment have both generated billions from this franchise. Maybe it's about time they suffer the consequences. Besides, it's not as if any other movie franchise is upset Rifftrax targets them every time.

So, the Rifftrax boys are giving it a try. In an interesting move, they started a Kickstarter campaign to ask people if they'd help raise 50 thousand bucks to get the rights to show Twilight, and present the money in a big and massive novelty check. That started on February 25th. About 26 hours later, they've raised 145 thousand dollars, and will likely get more. That's a lot of people who want to avenge their youthful mistake that Twilight would be as good as they had hoped, then it turned out it never will be. Heck, with Buffy, True Blood and Vampire Diaries, that ain't happening.

So, if the final tally on March 27 is big, like around 250 thousand dollars, Lionsgate should prove it's got nerve and let Rifftrax mock Twilight this coming August. If the studio demands a "rebuttal", they could ask Taylor Lautner to be part of it. I doubt Kristen Stewart could do much, unless she's been holding back a lot of riffs over the years. If the next live show's target isn't Twilight, it could be a "classic" like Troll II, The Room, or (and this may be a dream) Son of the Mask.

So, click here if you want to contribute to the "Rifftrax wants to riff Twilight in theaters nationwide" campaign today. If Lionsgate does approve this, it will be certain doom....for Transformers, Avatar, the Star Wars prequels, etc. Wouldn't that be cool.

Oscar Weekend, Part 2

My last big trip is almost done. Even though I wasn't close to the Oscar Red Carpet this year, at least I have this...

Best Director..YES!

and his wife too...

Mrs. Best Director

Getting Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner was worth waiting many hours to get a glimpse of big movie stars. It also makes my decision to blow seven hours at Comic-Con to get a poster autographed by Quentin Tarantino look smart by comparison. I am still stunned Oscar got over its fear of blood and gave Original Screenplay to Django Unchained. I was so sure Amour would upset Zero Dark 30. Gosh!
Anyway, it wasn't too bad standing out at Hollywood and Highland behind a fence for several hours. I got more good photos this year, but I really prefer being in the bleachers. I do remember two women arguing over who belonged at a certain spot and who was there first. Also, I'm surprised I got anything because I was barely able to figure out who was where. Again, I should try this again....and I mean it this time...when I manage to get a spot in the Oscars bleachers. At least you also get a small gift bag afterwards
Anyway, here's my link to the Flickr Oscars 2013 album.

Here are some other highlights:

Dolby Theater

The building formerly known as the Dolby Theater

Hey, even Oscar Needs Some Pre-Show Maintenance

Oscar getting some last-minute touch-ups before the actors show up

Quentin Tarantino..somewhere

Tarantino waving to fans.

Lincoln's Head sighting

OK, try to find Daniel Day Lewis' head. (It's under the stylized Oscar sign.)

KTLA Under the Lights

KTLA's famous transmitter at Sunset Boulevard, with blinking lights!

As far as the Oscars are concerned, I'd like to see them again, saved in my DVR. Seth MacFarlane's humor doesn't fit the Oscars. I know that much. It also had great singing, even though it probably added too much time to the show. I guess no musical numbers next year, unless they sing really fast. At least they got a million more viewers than last year, yet people will be undecided on who they should beg to host next year: Hugh Jackman or Alec Baldwin.
I also want to see the Independent Spirit Awards. Thankfully, I know only two things: Jennifer Lawrence showed a lot of skin, and Matthew McConaughey won something and sang.

The weekend also had a new first: visiting KABC so I can see a special version of Good Morning America live. It was odd being up at 4 AM to see it. I also had to walk for a long time to get there. Thank goodness for all those times on the treadmill. They did treat the audience well with free Starbucks coffee and pastries. The main hosts also looked great, especially Robin Roberts. The GMA set was a basic set, but it was still good. If nothing else, I learned Lara Spencer and Sam Champion are great dancers.

After a quick nap, I went to see Craig Ferguson. The new set is a few doors down from the old closet-sized set. While I was surprised Keith Olbermann didn't discuss politics, what was discussed was still very funny. It did reveal one big surprise: Keith was actually interviewed to possibly replace Pat Sajak?? Not sure about that, but hosting the Late Late Show instead of Tom Snyder? That would work. It means Keith wouldn't be on ESPN or Fox Sports. Think about that.

As usual, I scoured the local thrift stores for eBay bait, getting inspiration from Macklemore. I got some unexpected finds, and I'll get to that later.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Oscar Weekend, Part One

After five years, I get another chance

This was even better than when I got to hold an Oscar five years ago at Hollywood and Highland. The fact I have an Oscar in a tux next to me makes it better.

But this version is even better...

Best Actor of 2033

Cute, isn't it.

This will be my last big trip for a while, unless my prospects change for the better and a lot. For now, I will have the time of my life being part of the Academy Awards and Hollywood in general.
I started my trip by getting a new webcam that has software that is somewhat up to date. I also managed to pick up some props from the old version of One Life To Live because there was a prop sale near the airport. It's not every day that you stumble into a garage sale filled with stuff that may have been on TV. I also picked up something quite unusual, but I'll have more on that in a couple of days. I could have bought more, but they only accept cash. Besides, what will I do with Photoshopped pictures of some of the characters, and their fake college degrees? I'm more into wearable swag.

Anyway, some of the other pictures I took...

Jimmy Kimmel's Real Dream

This is what Jimmy really wants....

Even Icons Need Some Protection

An Oscar being protected from the sun, and upcoming cold. He'll be ready for his close-up.

Where I Wish I Was

Where I wish I was this weekend. Next best thing: being at a live airing of Good Morning America at 4 AM Monday. I hope they provide Oscar coffee at least.

Hollywood and Highland

Now that's what I call an Oscar slogan

And that's just the beginning...

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Least Significant Post-Super Bowl Ad Review Blog Today

As I listen to ESPN analyze for the 34,981st time why pass interference should or should not have been called when the 49ers tried to score late in Super Bowl XLVII, I spent much of today looking through several different websites grade the commercials.

There is some disagreement about how good the ads were for the Oreos in the Library ad, the Dodge Ram ad with Paul Harvey, Dwayne Johnson's milk ad that was as action-packed but with a better plot than Fast and Furious 6, or even the Audi ad where a guy goes to the prom alone, kisses the Prom King's date, and gets what he thinks is the coolest black eye ever.

However, there are two things people agree with:

the best ad was the Budweiser Clydesdale "Brotherhood" ad, where a man and his horse are reunited.

Dead last was the Go Daddy ad, where Bar Refaeli shares the most disgusting kiss ever with a geek named Walter, who I am convinced is Sheldon from SNL's "Wake Up Wakefield" sketches.

Sheesh! And the Parents Television Council wanted CBS burned to the ground because Joe Flacco said the f-word after winning the game..and after lots of people pointed that out in social media?

The PTC should complain about whether Go Daddy is more obscene with less skin and more creepy kissing.

Just looking at the kiss, I'm starting to figure out Walter may also be related to the "Pat" character from SNL, too. Bar, meanwhile, has a look on her face that suggests "The paycheck they're giving me will never cover what I just did. Now, get me to a swimming pool filled with Listerine!"

OK, done here?

That being said, I'm glad there was a lot of praise for the Tide ad featuring the Miracle Montana Stain and inadvertent prediction that Baltimore would win. As for the movie ads, I liked Iron Man 3 the best, but I hope someone airs that "extended preview" on ESPN or even the Oscars. It may be 30 seconds of Robert Downey Jr. taking off his sunglasses dramatically followed by a 60 second trailer, but it's still 90 seconds that will convince you to set aside 20 bucks for the movie (including popcorn, if necessary).

Let's not forget Jello, who decided to reward San Francisco with free pudding Tuesday. Now that's a good idea, considering how close the game was.

So, anyone excited for the new commercials that will air during the Grammys...or Oscars?

Well, maybe THOSE big-shot events can work on that, too

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Love Does Not Conquer All, But Amour Is A Triumph

People who have been following Oscar season have been wondering about a French film called Amour, which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes last year. It's been declared Best Foreign Film by movie critics and the Golden Globes, and even got a Best Film nod from the National Society of Film Critics.

A lot of people would know how good this movie is...except it's only been shown in a literal handful of cities across the country. Recently, the film has finally arrived in several cities, including Sacramento this past Friday.

Amour has earned its spot in Best Picture, Director and Actor in the upcoming Academy Awards with a great cast and story. It's about Georges ( Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), two retired music teachers who have lived very well together in Paris. You may think it's a story about keeping love alive as you grow older.
It is, but not in the way you think.

It starts with the fire department breaking into someone's home for a welfare check. They find a woman laid out in her bed, dead.
Then we see Georges and Anne enjoying the piano recital of a former pupil. The next morning, they're having breakfast, when Anne suddenly stops. She doesn't respond to Georges at all. He's about to get help when she suddenly "wakes up" but doesn't remember what happened. We later find out she had a stroke, and gets an operation. However, it doesn't solve the problem, and we see this couple face the health problem that will affect their future...and probably lead to the start of the film.

Director Michael Haneke (who also directed The White Ribbon, and won at Cannes for it) tells this story naturally. While Anne says that she'll be fine and recover from this, it's always followed by a scene where Georges has to help her get off the toilet, or into her wheelchair. We get worried about what may happen if and when she gets worse.

The biggest praise, though, should be given to Riva. To say that she is fearless about showing how Anne's health declines after her stroke is putting it mildly. She tries her best to let her husband know she'll be fine soon enough, and yet her body fails her. That first attack where she suddenly stops, her attempts to walk and talk all over again, and her face when Georges tries to feed her: those are images that you won't forget. I read in another review that this movie should be considered a "horror" movie. Well, if you call the prospect of being too old to care for yourself "horror", I'll agree with that. It's also an inevitable fact of life.

Trintignant is also wonderful as Georges. This is a loyal husband who will do whatever it takes to help Anne recover. It's also tragic when he meets his breaking point. Isabelle Huppert is also great as their daughter, Eva, who seems to be more concerned about what's really to her parents. She'd prefer Anne be sent to a hospice, but Georges will not hear of it. That decision will have consequences.

Riva's performance has earned her a spot in Best Actress at the Academy Awards. While she's gotten a lot of praise, it may not be enough to overcome Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. In the past, Oscars have honored actors in foreign-language films if they do something very different. Remember Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose? Seeing her as a very old Edith Piaf got a lot of votes, and the award. Riva would get a lot of attention in any other year, and we should honor her for how far she went to show us the real effects of a stroke. It still looks like Chastain and Lawrence will be the front-runners.

Amour, though, will leave the Dolby Theater with Best Foreign Language film, without a doubt.

Amour is currently playing at the Tower Theater in Sacramento