Did You Try to Watch the MTV VMA’s Online?

So it’s a Sunday night, and I find myself not being able to watch MTV on TV and remember it’s the night of the VMA’s. That’s right, the Video Music Awards. What am I to do? How am I to catch the likes of a Lady Gaga, a Katy Perry, a rumored *nsync reunion complete with Justin Timberlake? As I have a decent internet connection I do some quick online searching and every news story seems to say that MTV will have a live stream of the VMA’s, and I thought, “Sweet! I’ll just watch the show online!” I head to the MTV.com site, there is some kind of All Access feed, and I’m ready for some awards! “Hmm? This is peculiar.”, I think to myself, “Did I click the right feed? All I’m getting are these weird camera views that I could care less about. What the hell is this Stage Manager cam? I don’t care about the audience. Where’s my Gaga?!?!?” I try again. And again. And because I keep thinking I’m clicking something wrong I head back to some of the news stories that had links to the VMA feed. I click. I get the same feed of everything except the actual awards, only in the corner of the video is a view of the awards, but no sound, saying to watch on MTV.

All I can now think is that MTV either screwed up their feed online, or they did a great job of hoodwinking every news outlet, saying they were going to have a live feed of the VMA’s, but not explaining that it won’t actually be a feed of the show, but rather feeds of camera views no one really cares about, unless, of course, Will Smith was caught picking his nose on the Audience cam.

And so it was a night when I realized why I really don’t like MTV any longer. I guess, mostly, it’s because they don’t show music videos like they actually used to, and that they haven’t had a decent TV show in years, but thankfully the company Vevo is starting to take over the video market, and actually show me everything from a Gaga, to Iggy Pop.

The press people for MTV did a great job at getting people to actually go to their site to watch the VMA’s. I’m thinking they also did a great job at pissing off 99% of the people who went to their site actually trying to watch the VMA’s. Either way, I’m plighting: Did you try to Watch the MTV VMA’s Online?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

In Time

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:49 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

In Time
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released On: January 31, 2012
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, better send the little ones to bed.
Date Movie: It’s snuggleable, but she might find it stupid.
Gratuitous Sex: Justin and Amanda get it on, but she’s only in bra and panties. The PG-13 is in effect.
Gratuitous Violence: Some killings, but mostly people die when they’re out of time.
Action: Lots of chasing is going on.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: Even though it was foreshadowed, it was nice to see Will get the bad guy.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: Andrew Niccol
Cool things about the Blu-ray: The Blu-ray is pretty lean on extras, but the “The Minutes” featurette is a nice “documentary” of the fictional city and adds some insight into the characters.

It’s a futuristic world where you stop aging at age 25.  Now that sounds all great and swell except for a few things.  First off, what if your “I’m hot!” age is actually 35 and you find yourself stuck at the “I’m ugly” age of 25? Also, what if you’re into older men or women?  I mean, that girl you are hitting on may have actually been alive for 110 years, but she doesn’t look a day over, well, 25, so you’re S.O.L. And lastly, once you hit 25, you only have one more year to live unless, well, you can get someone to give you more of their time, you can figure out how to purchase more time, you steal someone else’s time, or, well, who cares because in any event you are constantly reminded of how much time you have left because there is this countdown clock embedded in your arm.

As we begin our movie-cal journey we enter at a time when Will (Justin Timberlake) has tripped into that stage of life after age 25 when you have to figure out how you can keep getting more time, and thus keep living (this concept isn’t as complicated as it sounds once you see the movie).  He’s got his mother whom he keeps giving time to so she can stick around, but unfortunately for Will he lives on the wrong side of the tracks, or time zone as it would be, where things are a little more rough and where inflation takes your time away quicker than you can get more (yes, you have to pay for things with hours of your life, i.e., a bus ride might cost you two hours of your life).  As Will’s life would have it there’s a tragedy with his mother that truly teaches him the value of time, and also a meeting with a stranger who is sick of having so much time.  When said stranger gives Will the time he has left (and it’s a lot of time), as well as explains to Will the corrupt world that leaves Will’s side of the tracks with less and less time, Will ends up accused of killing said stranger but takes it upon himself to expose the system of time is money, and share the wealth.

Okay, I know, the movie sounds a little preachy, and yes, when Will finds himself on the “right” side of the tracks he finds a rich man’s daughter (Amanda Seyfried) to fall in love with, but in the end, if you can get past some of the goofiness of the story and obvious foreshadowing of its progression, it’s not that bad in the entertainment side of two people on the run, robbing “time” banks, and spreading the wealth to the poor.

The movie looks great in that futuristic, “The Matrix,” “Gattaca,” kind of way, which makes sense with Andrew Niccol who also directed “Gattaca” as director, and sure, the chase scenes are a little contrived and simplistic, but for a nice, little “two people on the run but not totally guilty but still trying to do good for people” movie, with a villain who isn’t that villainous, it’s okay for a rental and maybe a snuggle on the couch.  Justin Timberlake is his likeable self but doesn’t break any real acting ground in this movie, which is sort of too bad because there are times that I find him a phenomenal actor (“The Social Network” and “Alpha Dog”), but other times it’s like he’s just in a movie that might sound cool (this one).  So, in the end, it’s 3 stars out of 5 for “In Time.” Don’t go expecting the world get past some of the goofiness, and just enjoy the ride.

The Blu-ray doesn’t have too many extras, really.  There are the obligatory deleted/extended scenes that really don’t add much, but I do have to say that if you do like the movie, even a tad, go ahead and watch “The Minutes” featurette.  Rather than a standard “making of” documentary, this feature is told from the perspective of the characters, giving a little more insight into the characters from their own point of view, and kind of helps explain some of the quirks in the movie that might have you scratching your head a little bit.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Black Snake Moan

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:56 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Black Snake Moan
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Paramount Vantage
Release Date: 2006
Kiddie Movie: Only if you might want them to be a foul-mouthed nymphomaniac.
Date Movie: If she can appreciate an artsier movie.
Gratuitous Sex: Some of it by choice, some of it not, and Christina has nice boobs.
Gratuitous Violence: A couple of fights.
Action: There isn’t any chasing going on.
Laughs: A chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: When Lazarus is playing “Black Snake Moan.”
Memorable Quote: Lazarus to Preacher: “My wick is dry on this.”
Directed By: Craig Brewer

Okay, before I get to this review, let me get the male pig in me out of the way. God bless Christina Ricci. God bless her for being 27 years old and maintaining a smokin’ hot body. And as importantly, God bless her for not being afraid to show-off her smokin’ hot body by getting naked in a movie. Now, back to a little more resemblance of professionalism (yea, right).

“Black Snake Moan” gives a movie that I think will split people into two camps. Camp A will really like the movie, understand its artsy nature with great performances, and come out of the theater thinking they have seen a great film accentuated with some good blues music. Camp B will be saying something like “What the hell was that piece of crap?” or “What happened to Samuel L. yelling ‘I want these mother fucking snakes off this mother fucking plane!’? That’s the Samuel L. I like,” and coming out of the theater feeling they wasted their movie-money. Me, I was in Camp A. Here’s the story…

Samuel L. Jackson is Lazarus. He spends his days selling his produce in a small, southern town. His wife has just left him, shacking up with Lazarus’ brother, and he is sort of stuck trying to figure out the rest of his life. Christina Ricci is Rae. She’s a nymphomaniac in love with Ronnie (Justin Timberlake). Sadly for her Ronnie is shipping out to the military, leaving her in uber-nympho mode which leaves her either having sex consensually or, having ingested a few too many pills and liquor, being raped. Rae’s life and Lazarus’ life intersect when Rae is left for dead near Laz’s pad. Laz finds her, and after realizing she isn’t possessed, just messed up, he decides it is his mission to save her from her nympho, self-destructive ways. What better way to accomplish this than by first chaining the girl to his radiator?

And so Lazarus begins his mission, first trying to get Rae physically healthy, and then trying to help her mind. But Lazarus isn’t a psychologist, so in desperation, namely because Preacher R.L. has found out Laz has a young, half-naked white girl chained to his radiator, he works with R.L. to see if the good preacher can talk some sense into Rae to stop her evil ways.

And of course, in the meantime, Lazarus is coming to terms with his own demons, and finding himself smitten with Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson), who helps him with some cough medicine for Rae. Through it all, and with Laz being an old blues singer, the music works to hold it all together, especially when Ronnie is back from his military stint because, well, loud noises frighten him.

“Black Snake Moan” has a lot of darkness in it, which isn’t really a surprise since Rae’s character has pretty much been abused all of her life, compounded by the fact that her mother tells her she wishes she would have had an abortion rather than her daughter. Lazarus, meanwhile, is in his own dark place, having given up his blues playing and hating his ex. But the movie does give a glimmer of hope to the most mixed up of characters, namely Rae and Ronnie, and you have a feeling that Lazarus is going to be all right, too.

The challenge for “Black Snake Moan” was really to find three people who could play the roles of Lazarus, Rae, and Ronnie, and the trio of Jackson, Ricci, and Timberlake was great. Samuel L. was probably in one of the best roles I have seen him in, Christina Ricci again shows a talent way beyond just taking her clothes off and looking hot, and Justin Timberlake has so far been picking roles (this one, and also “Alpha Dog”) that we forget he’s bringing sexy back and that he actually has talent as an actor.

Like I wrote before, I am in Camp A of people seeing “Black Snake Moan.” Even though the movie was more of the artsy, dramatic vein, I really liked most everything about the film, even the fact it didn’t take as dark a turn it seemed to foreshadow. Camp B people probably think the movie is a 1 starrer, but because I’m in Camp A I’m going to give “Black Snake Moan” 4 stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Alpha Dog

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Alpha Dog
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ben Foster, Shawn Hatosy, Emile Hirsch, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Universal Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them on the wrong life path.
Date Movie: Both you and your dudette have bodies to ogle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nudity and sex!
Gratuitous Violence: Mostly hand to hand combat, but sadly one gun scene.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: There’s a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: Frankie trying to get Zack to leave the apartment.
Memorable Quote: I hope I got this right: “Have a period or something.”
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes
Produced By: Sidney Kimmel, Chuck Pacheco

I think knowing the ending of “Alpha Dog” before going in to see it made me feel even worse for Zack Mazursky, the brother of Jake, because up until the end, getting kidnapped was the greatest thing that seemed to have happened to him. Here’s the basic story…

“Alpha Dog” is a fictional look at a true Hollywood story about a kidnapping gone bad, kids gone bad, and parenting that is mostly questionable, except, for, well, that of Sonny Truelove (Bruce Willis), sort of, who supposedly has mob ties and supposedly sets up his son with drugs to sell, yet tries to get Johnny (Emile Hirsch) out of a sticky kidnapping situation, but Johnny doesn’t listen. Such are kids sometimes.

Anyway, Johnny and his group of friends, including Elvis (Shawn Hatosy) and Frankie (Justin Timberlake), enjoy their days by selling drugs, getting high, drinking a lot, and sleeping with hot girls. Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster) owes Johnny money, and Johnny ain’t too happy about it, tries to beat up Jake, and now Jake is pissed. Jake and Johnny seem to go back and forth a bit, but Johnny doesn’t take it too well when Jake takes a dump on his living room carpet.

Meanwhile, Jake’s brother, Zack (Anton Yelchin) is a fifteen-year-old kid, not really happy at home with his over-protective mother, Olivia (Sharon Stone), looks up to his hoodlum brother, and decides to run away from home when he gets busted with having a bong in his room. So Zack is wandering around, Johnny and his crew spot him, and Johnny decides to kidnap Zack so that Jake will pay his debt. As things sometimes go when you don’t fully think about your plan, Johnny finds himself in a pickle, and now instead of just a person dealing drugs, he’s also a kidnapper.

Johnny assigns Frankie to take care of Zack, so of course Frankie invites some people over to party, the girls think it is cool that Zack is “Stolen Boy,” and Zack is having a pretty good time smoking pot, getting drunk, being “cool,” losing his virginity via a threesome in a pool, and figuring he would ride this out until his brother pays his debt, and all will be well. But little does Zack know that Jake, rather than just pay off his debt, intends to kill Johnny, Johnny is now freaked realizing kidnapping can lead to life in prison, and of course Johnny thinks his easiest course of action is to have one of his buddies kill Zack and leave him in a shallow grave, even though everyone and their aunt and uncle knows Johnny kidnapped Zack, and has partied with Zack.

I found “Alpha Dog” a really good movie, tapping into a world of people most of us wouldn’t have far to understand where the kids went wrong thanks mostly to some of the worst parenting out there. The sad thing about “Alpha Dog” is that it is based on some true events. Sure, I’m not exactly sure what was real, and what was Hollywood fantasy, but there were two scenes in the movie that really stuck in my head. One was Frankie, truly torn between his loyalty to Johnny and his liking Zack and wishing Zack would just go back home. In the scene, knowing the fate that awaits Zack, Frankie tries to get Zack to go to the corner store for him, possibly getting Zack out of the apartment long enough to keep him from getting offed. But Zack doesn’t to go, enjoying just relaxing and watching “Austin Powers” on the TV. The other scene is Zack, being driven to what he thinks is back home, talking to Frankie about how he thinks he might change his life, and maybe appreciate his mom more.

What works in “Alpha Dog” isn’t just a great story, but the performances by everyone were fantastic, and yes, especially Justin Timberlake. In the end it’s really a sad story, especially for Zack who, for a few days, enjoyed being cool, even impressing Frankie with his fighting skills, and losing his virginity with two cute dudettes. Then he finds himself dead, when sadly, if Johnny had just listened to his dad, Zack might have been able to learn to play guitar like he wanted to, and Johnny’s friends might have been able to avoid life, and even death sentences, for the kidnapping.

I liked “Alpha Dog,” but it might not be your cup of tea. It’s violent, it’s got sex, it’s really a sad story, but in the end I was gripped with the story and give it 4 stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

RIP Stephen Cannell, Goodbye Jimmy Johnson, The Karate Kid, and Organized Chaos!

By: The Dude on the Right

Download and ListenDownload the Podcast!

As this podcast episode of our “Weekend Wrap-Up!” kicks off, I play “Name That TV Theme Song” with Stu Gotz in homage to the passing of Stephen Cannell, TV series creator extraordinaire. And as I start with some TV talk, Stu kicks right into his wondering more about “The Event” and its likeness to “Flash Forward,” and not liking “Nikita” that much. Me, I’m sad that Jimmy Johnson got booted from “Survivor: Nicaragua,” but I’ll get over it as “The Real Housewives of D.C.” is finishing up and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” comes back.

On the movie front, Stu, for reasons I still don’t understand, watched the original “Karate Kid” via Netflix, while I give a 5 star rating to “The Social Network” and agree with all of the Oscar buzz that is beginning to float around for the movie. The Gotz Children learned about fire safety, I learned the value of organized chaos at Nordstrom’s shoe department, Stu questions the proper way to pay for a magazine subscription, and with the Chicago Bears’ loss, Stu is laughing his ass off while I’m just wondering why anyone would want to take a snap with that offense sucking so bad.

Thanks for listening! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!