Ted 2 review

July 28, 2015

After last being seen attracting the attention of the Anti-Defamation League at the 2013 Oscars, Seth MacFarlane’s foul-mouthed, bong-hitting teddy bear is back and blander than ever. When his failed plans to adopt a child result in government scrutiny, Ted is stripped of his rights as a person and is recognized only as property, making void his marriage to “Boston trash” Tami-Lynn McCafferty (Jessica Barth). Ted sets off to secure his equal rights with help from his newly divorced “thunder buddy” Johnny Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and novice defense attorney Samantha L. Jackson (Amanda Seyfried), the latter of whom serves as a lackluster replacement for Mila Kunis’ character from the first film. Meanwhile, disgruntled Hasbro janitor Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) schemes to capture and mutilate Ted in hopes of duplicating his sentient nature for mass consumption in a subplot that ultimately goes nowhere. While the main premise and one heartfelt if trite courtroom scene from Morgan Freeman may attempt to convince audiences that Ted 2 embraces the idea of equal rights, the film is typically filled with MacFarlane’s swill of so-called “hipster racism” including a middle-aged black woman’s ¬repeated use of the oxymoronic phrase “white n*gg*rs” as well as tired jabs at the disabled and other minority groups. Add in dozens of forgettable pop culture references to Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Rocky, Mr. T, and Superman, unfunny cameos by Jay Leno and Liam Neeson, several obnoxious running gags that become staler with every recurrence, gay jokes, dick jokes, shit jokes, and weed jokes, and you have one of the laziest and most insipid comedies of 2015. As another MacFarlane vehicle, Family Guy’s Brian Griffin once said, “swing and a miss.”

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water review

February 26, 2015

Explaining the widespread appeal of the long-running animated Nickelodeon children’s series Spongebob Squarepants to those who take displeasure in its self-proclaimed “nautical nonsense” is one of the most difficult tasks a person can embark on.

It is a challenge that brings to mind the sentiments of Grateful Dead bandleader Jerry Garcia, who claimed that everyone either loved or hated his equally trippy and folksy musical concoctions with no in-betweens. Therefore, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, the series’ second feature length incarnation, will convert no skeptics to embrace the sponge.

Yet for those who enjoy the quirky cartoon and 2004’s confusingly, similarly titled The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, this film will not disappoint. Though the departure of showrunner and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg resulted in years of mediocre episodes, Hillenburg has returned, and Sponge Out of Water is up to the standards of the show’s 
golden age.

Like many episodes of the show, Sponge Out of Water sees the optimistic and spontaneous SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) saving the reputation of fast food establishment the Krusty Krab from the conniving and inconsistently miniscule rival business proprietor Sheldon Plankton (“Mr.” Doug Lawrence), who persistently plots to obtain the coveted Krabby Patty secret formula in a hapless way not unlike Wile E. Coyote.  Unfortunately, for both of them, a much more competent third party in the form of the outrageous live-action pirate Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) steals the formula instead, causing the fast food-addicted citizens of the underwater town of Bikini Bottom to destroy their civilization and enter an anarchic post-apocalyptic lifestyle. With even his dim-witted best friend Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) betraying him in a gluttonous rage, SpongeBob teams up with his former foe Plankton in a quest for the lost formula.

This loose and unusual plot allows for a plethora of styles of animation, including a hallucinogenic series of time travel sequences and ultimately a mixture of CGI and live action in which SpongeBob and friends step onto a beach and interact with human beings, which the naïve sponge mistakes for “land porpoises.” Add in a handful of pleasantly forced references to early episodes and a superhero showdown complete with Patrick’s superpower being the ability to conjure ice cream cones, and you have one of the most entertaining, if inessential, children’s films of the year.

Hate

February 23, 2015

In my lonely hours I find myself fueled to the stomach by a most bitter gas
Though I attempt to love my peers, I instead chase them out with a child’s garden of retorts
Then I wonder why I am excluded from activities while pitying myself as a suburban sage
Too blind to see that while I hate because I am alone, I am alone because I hate

Accomplishments of others are lambasted and lampooned by my whirling cyclone of a mind
This is because I cannot grant praise for them due to my own personal insecurities
Then I wonder why I am excluded from activities while pitying myself as a suburban sage
Too blind to see that while I hate because I am alone, I am alone because I hate

How much longer will I fail to fulfill my potential of decency in lieu of my petty threatened ego?
And why do I keep on claiming to have grown when I still have a long way to go in development?
And why do I wonder why I am excluded from activities while pitying myself as a suburban sage?
Still too blind to see that while I hate because I am alone, I am alone because I hate.

Lunch Poem 1

December 16, 2014

I’d like a footlong cold cut combo please on wheat
Pepper jack cheese, not toasted
Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, olives, jalapenos, and banana peppers
Mustard, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper
Chips and a small drink, for here please.

Bowling for Corralberg

November 23, 2014

Detective Paper held this morning’s issue of The Corralberg Chronicle in his callused hands as he sipped a venti cup of decaf coffee. After battling insomnia for multiple months, Paper’s doctor had recommended he switch to decaf, which he found insipid and bland, much unlike the headline on the front page: “Corralberg Bowling Alley Reports Record Number of Gutterballs.” Corralberg historically had the best bowlers in the entire state of Calpurnia, so how could they manage to achieve so many gutterballs with so much athletic talent? Paper didn’t know, but he sensed a conspiracy and hoped the rest of his detective agency did too.
“Pass me the cream,” said Officer Laura Palmhair, Paper’s partner in criminal investigation with benefits, from across the grungy table. Their mutual friend, Junior Detective Bernard, sat hunched in the corner of the room, content with a cold Pop Tart.
“Sure,” said Paper, sliding the condiment across the table. “Laura, how would you like to investigate the Corralberg gutterballs with me?”
“I don’t know, I remember they weren’t pleased when we attempted to investigate the firebombing of their Little Italy back in June,” said Laura, seasoning her coffee with a few dashes of cream. “They have a very rigid, not to mention religious police force who want no foreign detectives embarking on their soil.”
“They did,” corrected Paper. “Unfortunately for them, the Corralberg killer, Keef Smite, offed their two most intrusive officers, Conner and Dustin last year before being given a lifetime sentence in the Tijuana Jail.”
“How’d he get to Tijuana again?” asked Laura.
“It’s very complicated and confusing. I found a book about it in the library a while back and quit reading after the first twelve pages or so,” said Paper. “Same way everyone gets to Tijuana, I guess. But that’s not important now.”
Bernard finished his Pop Tart and eagerly smiled at his two superiors. “Can I go to Corralberg too?”
“Ask your mother,” joked Paper, neglecting the fact that Bernard was currently in his mid-20’s and long free from his overprotective mother’s clutches. “I don’t see much of a problem with it, as long as you remain completely discreet. No using skinheads’ heads as bowling balls or any monkey business like that.”
“Why would I do that?” asked Bernard. “Just because I’m Jewish, huh?”
“God, boy, it was just a joke,” said Paper. “We like to have fun here in Brixton, much as they do in Corralberg. Or San Narciso. Frankly, everyone everywhere likes to have fun, except you for some reason. I don’t know why that is, and we all have more important things to find out. So are you coming or not?”
“I’m coming,” said Bernard. “I haven’t been to Corralberg since my days of Jewish summer camp high in the Corralberg Hills.”
“You were high?” laughed Paper.
“No, the hills were,” snapped Laura. “C’mon, Paper, no more goofing around. We have a mystery to solve and the next bus to Corralberg leaves in 30 minutes, unless you want to walk 600 miles and end up sleeping in hotels in crap towns like Kling City.”
“I’ve got a cousin in Kling City,” said Bernard.
“Well, Bernard makes a pretty convincing argument for Kling City, but I’ll be danged if I’m not taking the bus,” said Paper, and joined his colleagues on a bus trip to Corralberg.

“Dang good decaf here in Corralberg,” said Paper as he sipped perhaps the best decaf he had ever tasted the next morning in the Corralberg Motel.
“Dang good cherry scone,” said Laura.
“Dang good nut log,” said Bernard. “That nut log lady really knew what she was talking about.”
“So how far is it to the Corralberg Bowling Alley?” asked Paper.
“I just got off the phone with a guy named Dave Warson, who’s a youth bowling instructor there. He said that we can’t get in without lifetime memberships,” said Laura.
“Lifetime memberships? What kind of hogwash is that?” exclaimed Paper. “I’ve probably been to three dozen bowling alleys in my life, and I’ve never paid a single one of them a cent in memberships.”
“Paper, don’t worry about money. I already told you, I got enough from my brother Nick’s inheritance.”
“I feel like that’s dirty money, but what the hey,” said Paper, who had always had disdain for Laura’s brother Nick.
“No, dirty money is what the Corralberg Bowling Alley is probably making, fixing the bowling alleys so that even the most talented of bowlers consistently wind up with gutter balls instead of strikes or even spares. The lifetime membership fee is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Laura.
“Have you ever bowled?” Paper asked Bernard.
“A couple of times in college,” said Bernard. “Didn’t your parents die in a bowling competition?”
“Jeez, talk about insensitive questions,” snapped Paper. “No, they died en route to a bowling competition in the Bermuda Triangle. Can you please never talk to me about that again?”
“I’m sorry, my curiosity got the best of me again,” said Bernard.
“Let’s hope that it doesn’t happen again,” said Paper.

Dumb and Dumber To review

November 20, 2014

The Farrelly brothers’ darling dimwitted duo of Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) are back, and this time the laughs are few and far behind.
When Lloyd, who has spent the past 20 years faking catatonia in a Rhode Island psychiatric institution, is approached by Harry about his own pressing medical concerns—a desperate need for a kidney transplant—Lloyd declines in typical inconsiderate carelessness for the only human being on Earth who even gives him the time of day, so the numbskulls set off to find Harry’s old flame, the intrepidly named Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner), whom they believe to be the mother of Harry’s long-lost daughter Penny (Rachel Melvin), who rivals Lloyd and Harry in her idiocy.
However, in ways which succeed at nothing but mild nostalgia of the first film, the shabby plot soon convolutes into a combination of insipid bathroom humor and both uninspired and ultimately irrelevant villainous threats from bumbling antagonists Adele Pinchlow (Laurie Holden) and Travis Lippencott (Rob Riggle), who plot to put the nitwit pair out of their misery.
Even devotees of the first Dumb and Dumber will likely shake their heads in shame at this shoddy excuse for a sequel, as it easily fails to live up to both its predecessor and subsequent Farrelly brothers efforts such as There’s Something About Mary and Kingpin (the poor man’s Big Lebowski).
While the first film at least featured amusing throwaway dialogue like “the Monkees, they were a major influence on the Beatles” as well as memorably asinine soundtrack material including Green Jelly’s piss-take on “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” the Butthole Surfers’ reverb-heavy caricature of Donovan’s drippy hippie anthem “The Hurdy Gurdy Man,” the sub-Primus bass funk of the Lupins’ “Take,” and even an unexpected appearance by Nick Cave’s sinister epic “Red Right Hand,” audiophiles and audiophobes alike will find little to appreciate here except a brief reprise of Apache Indian’s reggae goof “Boom Shak-A-Lak,” the unofficial theme song of the first film.
Indeed, every flashback to the 1994 film becomes progressively staler, from a tired reference to the infamous “most annoying sound in the world” to a post-credits cameo by retired hockey player Cam Neely as the trashy trucker Sea Bass. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Banana Split Serenade

November 11, 2014

The coffeehouse tonight was a living hell
When the attractive young barista called me a monkey
And I forcefully retreated to the jungle
In pursuit of bananas and cream.

Other Lives

November 11, 2014

While we may barely glance at some people

Each of them plays a vital role in one of our other lives.

Doing It For Her

November 11, 2014

Even though we only meet other week
I find my lost pulse in her
Every conversation brings me back to life
I become the man I used to be
The man people love and miss
With bounce in his step and a smile on his face
And when she leaves me, I start to die again
Wither into nothingness, feel less than a life
Still I do it for her when she’s gone
Because I know she wants me to carry on.

Jennifer Wears a Leather Coat

August 30, 2014

Jennifer wears a leather coat which she received from an abusive old flame
She turned to me for guidance on solving her troubles and I did quite well, I admit
But when the couple came to part, she turned away from me and I stood alone in the cold new mist
Praying to God for a leather coat of my own.


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