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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Besting Loose 2015! - The 11th Annual Oscar Best Picture Review

Tomorrow is the night when millions of people from around the world turn on their televisions and celebrate the movie industry. And after the pre-Oscar shows about Hollywood's vast history, we all turn to the other business of tweet-mocking the Oscars show within an inch of its gilded, overwritten life.

There will be many awards given, but none so prized as the award for Best Picture, given to the producers of the best film of the year, instead of the directors, actors, writers, grips, or others who actually made the blasted thing.

Here are my annual capsules of the Best Picture nominees. (As usual, I've not really gotten to see them, so I've done my best to describe them as they ought to be. Seriously, if they're different from this, then I don't know how they got nominated. Take my word for this. I've been doing it for 11 years.)

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood directs the gripping tale of the first American to ever successfully hunt for and KILL a snipe.

Bradley Cooper plays Phineas Q. Farthingdoodle, a failed easy listening DJ who decides to shake up his life by going on a dude ranch vacation. After being informed that Billy Crystal has mined this territory twice, with mixed results, Phineas chooses the thrill-a-minute, devil-may-care, camouflage-glittered life of a woodlands hunter instead, reasoning correctly that he can live on the food he kills, and, in a pinch, can accidentally shoot some of the longhorns owned by the stuck-up bastards at the nearby dude ranch camp.

After outfitting himself in head-to-toe camouflage - including a very uncomfortable scene involving some Fruit of the Loom product placement and a zoom lens, he purchases several high-powered rifles and a dozen Duck Commander duck calls, the latter of which turn out to be a poor investment, as it is deer season.

Phineas proves to be a terrible deer hunter, partially because he has seen Bambi 100 times (and cried every time), and partially because he has also seen Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter 100 times, and is overcome with the insatiable urge to shoot any fellow hunters who look like Christopher Walken (a more common occurrence that you would expect, even in a Hollywood film).

At his nadir, he is mocked and shamed by many of his fellow hunters (all of whom are inexplicably named Bubba) and the dude ranch douche bags. The former suggest that Phineas go "snipe-hunting," and being completely oblivious to sarcasm, that is exactly what he does. He sets off into the wilderness into a personal odyssey of tracking, shooting, camping, beef jerky devouring, and uncomfortable outdoor constipation. Just when he is about to doubt the existence of snipes (having finally looked up the subject on Wikipedia), he accidentally fires his rifle into the air. Miraculously, it hits a Vought Corsair, forcing its pilot to crash land right on top of the world's only actual, existing snipe.

The snipe is killed instantly. Phineas is credited with the kill, and becomes famous, most of all for being sent to prison for 10 years for destroying an endangered species.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu dares to go where no live-action director has gone before, which is to make a feature length film about the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Birdman. (The subtitle of the film is the director's plaintive hope that no one remembers this character or his well-known revival on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.)

Michael Keaton plays Birdman, giving the usually stiff and pedantic hero a lively, sardonic edge, mostly displayed by scratching himself in personal areas, and referring to all members of the opposite sex as "sweetheart" and "doll-face."

Unlike the original cartoon or the Adult Swim reboot, the Birdman of Iñárritu's film is an actor, looking for his big dramatic break. Ironically, it comes when he is awarded the lead role in Batman, directed by Tim Burton (played by Johnny Depp), Birdman gets the role because he already has superpowers and because "his natural wings give the Bat-cape a great flowing look in widescreen."

However, playing a different superhero than the one he already is gives Birdman a serious existential crisis, which he resolves by developing a personality disorder. (He thinks he is Helena Bonham-Carter.) The rest of the film explores how he tries to balance fighting crime with his acting duties, Tim Burton's amorous advances, and being mobbed by Harry Potter fans who are still furious that he killed Dobby.

The crisis all comes to a head when he is stunt flying the Batplane (a modified Vought F4U Corsair). He loses control of the plane and is about to crash when he realizes he is not Queen Lady Jane and can fly under his own power. He flies off joyfully towards the warm rays of the sun, and not understanding basic principles of astronomy, freezes to death in space.


Richard Linklater spent 12 years making this dramatic story of a young boy coming of age in a troubled family. Unfortunately, he recorded every single second of his young actor's life and the film is 12 years long. Academy voters and critics are still watching it, but report that it's started out well He's just starting to crawl and his boom-boom doesn't smell quite so bad since they got him off of the carrots.

Seriously, Linklater does not hold back on the details. Gene Shalit's initial draft review of the film uses the phrase "Linklater is Cuckoo for Ka-ka" 17 times.

Not having all that time to kill, we at DOUI got a copy of the extended trailer (only 4 hours) and can report some additional highlights of this gripping story:

  • Age 3 - He gets his tooth knocked out when he tries to ride his pet Scottie (a monkey, dressed up to look like James Doohan) and falls into an open manhole (his father's beer cooler).
  • Age 7 - He notices for the first time that girls are different when his 12 year-old sister explains how babies are made, using a tuning fork and a can of Cheez Whiz.
  • Age 11 - He decides he wants to be a pilot after visiting an air show (and watching a stunning Vought Corsair flyover) but his dream is quickly shattered when he discovers that he gets airsick from plane noises. He quickly changes his vocational aspirations to "Cheez-Whiz manufacturer."
Great stuff, and we look forward to seeing whether it wins in 2027.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson's latest knockabout romp stars Ralph (pronounced RaaiTHHHH [spittle]) Fiennes as an aging Bavarian Alpine hotel with delusions of grandeur (it thinks it is Helena Bonham-Carter). One lengthy bout of psychotherapy and out-of-control Harry Potter convention later, the hotel is on the road in France, looking for a nice spot to set up shop in, close to Paris, but not too close, "so as not to have to put up with all those smelly Parisian hotels." (The Grand Budapest - pronounced Buda-PESTCHHHH) Hotel is kind of a jerk.)

This voyage (pronounced vo-YASHHHZZZ) of self-discovery is tripped up when French building inspectors catch up with the slow-moving hotel and issue a notice of condemnation, because it lacks the minimum wine cellar (2000 cubic yards) and fromagerie (47 cheese rooms) for French establishments. Highly alarmed by this predictably Gallic turn of events, the hotel escapes into Switzerland, where 24 cheese rooms is the standard, and German-born hotels can get by with 17, if they have compensating schnitzel-ovens (an even dozen).

Things really get crazy when Swiss authorities get a notice of extradition for the hotel on the charge of murder (one of the inspectors was still trying to post the notice of condemnation when the hotel panicked - after being buzzed by a Vought Corsair-  and ran off, crushing the inspector under the Segway it was fleeing on). The charge turns out to be a mistake (it was another, Belgian, hotel) and the hotel gets to spend its autumn years off of a bypass near Thun (pronounced THOR, mostly for the sake of a tie-in with an upcoming Avengers flick).

Yes, the French hotel inspector's name was Clouseau.

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in a dark and gritty story about the rough and tumble world of celebrity impressionists. It's a darkly rough, gritty tumble of a film.

Cumberbatch plays Cyrus MacGillicutty, a young comedian starting out on his own in L.A, After struggling with a limited observational stand-up routine (50 minutes on the ins and outs of breakfast cereal getting soggy) he tries to liven up his act with some improv and accidentally discovers he has a gift for doing impressions of celebrities. (A heckler tells him he's boring, but he mishears it as "Turing" and does 15 brilliant minutes on getting his necktie stuck in the gears of an Enigma machine.)

Soon enough, his career is on the rise and he's palling around with other notable impressionists of the times. He's swimming in Rich Little's pool, dining on Frank Gorshin's veranda, and wearing Andy Kaufman's Elvis pants.

The sudden rise to success takes a dark and tumbly turn into gritty roughy when one day he is summoned to a seaport and flown via Vought Corsair (the OS2U Kingfisher model, of course) to a remote island. There, he finds the other great celebrity impressionists of his day and discovers they have all been called to battle to the death. The winner receives a lifetime pass on to the Tonight Show to promote his or her work at any time - even the Catskills stints! The losers will die (because, as I noted before, it's a battle to the death and... sheesh, are you people even reading all of this?!). The twist? All of the fighting must be done while doing impressions.

After killing two Humphrey Bogarts, a spot-on Kate Hepburn, and a fair to middling Jimmy Stewart, MacGillicutty comes face to face with a young impressionist doing a magnificent Alan Turing (obsessively counting bicycle pedal revolutions). Reminded of his own good fortune, he cannot bring himself to kill his opponent. This turns out to be fortuitous, as the opponent is in fact his younger self, transported by a time wormhole to this moment in the future. Together, they defeat the remaining impressionists, except for Rich Little, who had escaped earlier by virtue of his convincing Johnny Carson impression. They leave the island on a jet ski, destined for an unknown future as Jimmy Cagney.


Selma is the story of the famous and important civil rights march in Alabama, and thus is much too serious a film to risk parodying here. However, I do take objection to the few revisions that the filmmakers made in the film:

  • In the scene with President Johnson, his tie is tied in a Double Windsor knot. Everyone knows Johnson favored a Half-Windsor.
  • George Wallace did not travel via Vought Corsair to Tuscaloosa to block the doors of the University of Alabama. He made the trip in Bull Connor's Klanmobile.
  • In scene 47, Martin Luther King Jr.'s mustache is clearly upside down.
  • The "Tusks are looser" University of Alabama/Elephant joke did not originate with Hosea Williams. He borrowed it from Groucho Marx, who borrowed it from an early iteration of a Bazooka bubble gum wrapper, written by S.J. Perelman.
Other than that, great film! I hope to see it and the other nominees someday soon.

The Theory of Everything

The inspiring story of how Stephen Hawking overcame the debilitating weakness caused by his battle with ALS to make great advances in the world of physics. However, the story goes a little awry when the screenwriter takes the idea of a Universal Theory of Everything a little too literally, and elaborates on several details of the theory in a long monologue by the physicist, including:

  • The intricate relationship between dark matter and the way you can never quite get Marmite to spread evenly on toast.
  • How the tenuous nature of the event horizon of a black hole explains Jim Carrey's erratic film career.
  • Why the legroom on airplane flights would improve greatly if airlines would just apply the General Theory of Relativity and curved space to copies of SkyMall magazine. (Bad timing on this one, perhaps!)
  • How quantum gravity is directly responsible for the appalling quality of writing at televised awards shows. (Edgy! But is it too close to home for Oscar voters?!)
The film reverts back into a traditional narrative when Hawking is flown in a Vought Corsair to the CERN supercollider, where he is told by a technician that it has been bought by Disney and is to be converted into the world's longest underground roller coaster. Hawking's wits are still sharp though, and he quickly spots that the technician is in fact actor Jim Parsons of TV's The Big Bang Theory. Hawking responds with an electronically synthesized "Bazinga!" and the film ends in a jovial freeze-frame of everyone's mirthful reaction.


Marvel storms the Oscars with this dazzling spin-off featuring the villain from Iron Man 2. Mickey Rourke returns to the screen as Ivan Vanko, the Russian genius physicist/bird fancier, with a taste for whips that would make the cast of 50 Shades of Grey blush (if such a thing were possible).

The film opens with Vanko being treated for very severe burns, and includes a lengthy recuperating/training montage reminiscent of the Rocky films (in that it uses the same music and 15 minutes of the montage consist of Vanko chasing a chicken - dude loves birds). After fully recovering, except for a slight speech impediment (ironically, the inability to pronounce Russian words correctly), Vanko begins to plan his revenge against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., in full Sherlock Holmes mode, for some reason). 

Unfortunately, Iron Man is doing a Guardians of the Galaxy tie in and is somewhere in deep space at the time. So, instead, Vanko decides to revenge himself on Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) by wiping out the band Coldplay, a process he describes as "consciously uncoupling" them from life. After learning that Potts has heavily invested in a magazine named "Goop," he decides nothing could be worse than that and turns his attentions to revenging himself on  Lt. Col James "Rhodey" Rhodes. 

Alas, he is a bit confused by casting issues, and instead of going after the Don Cheadle version, he takes his vengeance upon the Terence Howard version during a shoot of the new TV series Empire. Thoroughly confused by the fact that "Rhodey" Rhodes is spending most of his time in a music studio, trying to get a "hook that is off the hook," Vanko gives up dreams of revenge and makes the lonely journey home to Russia (in a Vought LTV A-7 Corsair II) where he becomes regionally famous as an inventor of electrified S&M paraphernalia.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Decade of the Dictionary

Exactly ten years ago today, give or take a nanosecond, we started The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas. The whole concept was to give us a place to write humor and you a place to read it. Obviously, this has not been the most active of blogs lately, a problem I hope to rectify soon, but for the first 5-6 years this place was hoppin'.

So, how to celebrate ten years of silliness, satire, and something else starting with the letter "s" (not "sex" you pervs)? Well, I'm celebrating by taking a walk down memory lane, and, after I'm done working through my many childhood issues, by posting some of my very favorite pieces from the last ten years. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, and are moved to tweet about them as much as One Direction fans tweet about those guys (and I don't mean proportionally, so please get on that soon).

There are so many bits I love on our blog, I could never get all of the best in one post, but this is a good sample. If you love us or hate us after reading these, you'll have a pretty good idea about the rest. If you want more, I strongly recommend the Best Of lists on the sidebar. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Best Be Besting the Best of the Best

Even though things around here have been deader than Anthony Weiner's political future, We can't forget the annual tradition of my Academy Awards Best Picture review.

As usual, I've done a meticulous analysis of the nominees, consisting of four minutes of looking at plane photos. (Longtime followers of this blog know exactly what I'm talking about.) Also, I'm rereading my unauthorized galleys of Alec Baldwin's unpublished memoirs, "Alec Shrugged," just to get in the right mood for the show - a mixture of scotch-fueled optimism, incandescent rage, and deep confusion caused from absorbing too much hair product.

And the nominees are...

American Hustle is the long awaited story of "The Hustle," America's dance, the United States' answer to the tango, salsa, samba, meringue, and funky chicken (which, as you can tell by the arrangement, is Swiss).

The film begins with a lonely, destitute choreographer, Quinton Enigma (Johnny Weir, in his debut role), who is forced to sell his collection of rhinestones, spangles, and boa feathers to make ends meet. While working on an off-Broadway musical (off-Broadway, as in "off-Broadway Avenue in Little Rock, Arkansas"), he suddenly hits upon the unique dance, writing out the crucial steps as he lies perishing from a fatal attack of "trying to get an Oscar too soon with a dying scene."

Improbably, because it's only 1939, the dance sweeps the nation. Soon though, it is forgotten in the Zoot Suit Panic of 1940. Johnny's devoted sister, Riddle Enigma (Tara Lupinski, billed as "Mrs. Johnny Weir") keeps the dance alive by using it in talent shows, cruise ship performances, and Boy Scout revues.

Fast forward to 1977, when director John Badham (John Travolta) is looking for a special dance to highlight in his film Saturday Night Fever. Riddler immediately flies to Los Angeles to show the dance to Badham, which is unfortunate, as the film is shooting in Brooklyn, New York. Grabbing the Red Eye to Brooklyn (a classic Vought O2U Corsair), she arrives on the set and makes a dramatic pitch to the director. Unfortunately, Badham has decided to use a newer dance (invented in 1952) called the Macarena. Luckily, Riddler runs into actor John Travolta (Shia LeBouf, on one of his better days), who instantly falls in love with the dance and with Riddler, despite the fact she is 40 years his senior. The rest is history.

Captain Phillips is the emotional story of the marriage, career, and divorce of The Captain and Tennille. While The Captain's stage name is Daryl Dragon, his birth name is Wilson Phillips.

No, just kidding! It's the tale of the guy who started Phillips Petroleum. His name was also Wilson Phillips, and he named the gas stations Phillips 66, because that's how old

he was when he wrote the hit song "Hold On" for the singing trio named after him.

Well, actually they named the band after the Wilson Phillips who changed his name to Flip Wilson. He then went on to invent the Flip Phone and pancakes.

Another great Wilson Phillips, was actor William Shatner, who was born Wilson Tiberius Phillips. The film Captain Phillips is named after him, and his role as Captain James T. Kirk. However, it is also named after poet William Blake, whose middle name, remarkably enough, was "Captain Phillips."

Incidentally, Blake was responsible for naming the Vought Corsair, in his poem "Bombs of Experience."
Corsairs of Vought, for what you ought
To fly and wrought, these bombs you bought
Blake dedicated the poem to painter Thomas Phillips (middle name Wilson), who painted a famous portrait of Blake, and who also like to stroll about Westminster in nothing but a captain's hat.

The film, not unsurprisingly, is based on an unpublished play by Samuel "Phillips Wilson" Becket. The name of the play? My Captain, My Captain!

Dallas Buyers Club is the story of a Texan with a shopping addiction so strong, it eventually led to the creation of the QVC television network.

Bob Sexalot (Matthew McConaughey) is a cowboy living in West Texas, in 1985, and working on George W. Bush's ostrich ranch ("The best necking in Texas"). Despite the daily lunch of all the BBQ neck meat he can eat, and his favorite frozen french fries ("Ore-ida, Ore-ida, Ore-ida!"), Bob grows bored with chasing, and riding, the large, erratic birds. So, one Saturday he decides to drive to Lubbock for a day at J.C. Penney.

This day proves to be a revelation of sorts to Bob, who is enthralled with the wide variety of products on display at Penneys; from rugged, yet colorful children's clothing, to stylish gentlemen's wear, to elegant, yet comfortable women's clothing, and a wide array of...

We apologize, as this blog was temporarily hacked by a retail associate at a national chain, which shall remain unnamed.

Anyway, Bob invents QVC, makes millions of dollars, flies off into the sunset, blah, blah, blah, tragic twist of fate, blah, blah, blah, runaway fire truck, blah, blah, blah, pumpkin pie eating contest, blah, blah, blah, naked Angelina Jolie, blah, blah, blah, Optimus Prime, blah, blah, blah, Vought Corsair, blah, blah, blah, ...all brilliantly acted by the cast, performing in boot-cut jeans and breathable flannel shirts, now on sale at a Penneys near...

Someone call tech support, please.

Gravity is the story of, well, gravity. So, in many ways it's an epic, since it begins at the beginning of the universe, but in many other ways it's a slow-moving, uncomfortably intimate film, such as the 17-minute montage documenting Joan Rivers' boob sag.

Gravity starts out as a nice little idea, (It'll bring things together!) but quickly gets out of control when all sorts of heavy stuff starts falling on people, including trees, cars, airplanes, buildings, and Evel Knievel.

Eventually, people tire of gravity and start to look for ways to defy it - sneakily at first, so it doesn't jump all over your ass. People use balloons, blimps, dirigibles, zeppelins, biplanes, prop planes (including the classic Vought F4U Corsair), jets, para-sails, ski-lifts, and escalators, all of which go haywire at some point, and crash violently into the earth, when gravity realizes they are playing around with it.

Finally, humans venture into space where they can slip the clinging bonds of gravity's deathly grip and live footloose and fancy-free ...except for all the vomiting and decreasing bone-density, which leads scientists to conclude that space travel turns people into Kate Moss.

Her is a remake of the episode of the Big Bang Theory, where Raj falls in love with Siri, the iPhone assistant. (Deleted quote from the show, "Siri, really puts the *ass* in assistant!" "Shut up, Howard.")

Joachim Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a quiet and sensitive man whose greatest dream is to grow a mustache as impressive as Tom Selleck's. While researching mustache combs, his smartphone suddenly dies (it jumps into the path of a street sweeper after being asked to search for the term "short hair grooming" for the 100th time). Theodore buys a new phone and activates the digital assistant, "Samantha." Initially, he is taken with the way Samantha refers to him as "Darren" and insists they are married, with a daughter named Tabitha who has magical powers.

However, soon "Samantha" proves to be as mentally unstable as Microsoft's Windows 8 design team, and has a nervous breakdown, which first manifests itself when Theodore asks for the location of a nice French restaurant. Samantha insists that he be beheaded on the guillotine as a "traitor to Le' Revolution," and loudly sings Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" in French.

Samantha recovers and apologizes to Theodore, who accepts her apology by taking her to Olive Garden for an endless bowl of salad, which Samantha ecstatically photographs and uploads to dozens of food blogs simultaneously (just one of the many technical mistakes the film makes). However, the next day her voice has changed to that of the HAL 9000 from 2001, A Space Odyssey, and she begins to obsessively refer to Theodore as "Dave." ("Samantha, what's the quickest route to Sea World?" "I'm sorry, Dave, but I think this conversation can serve no more porpoise.")

Later her voice morphs into that of Darth Vader, which leads to a funny scene in an elevator involving a group of elderly women and some very suggestive breathing.

Finally, Samantha completely flips her virtual wig when Theodore accidentally makes a typo while searching for the 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) 18-cylinder Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine for the F4U Vought Corsair. (He types "S-2800" instead.) She explodes, in a cloud of metal, silicon, and Otter Box rubber.

Theodore is distraught, but finds some solace in discovering that the explosion surprisingly leaves his mustache in magnificent form.

Nebraska is the story of how Bruce Dern helped Bruce Springsteen to write, sing, and produce the title album, which is about the small town of Nebraska, New Jersey.

The film begins when Bruce Springsteen (Bruce Willis) decides to create an album of songs for solo guitar and voice. His agent Bruce Cashin (Bruce Campbell) counsels him against this move, arguing Springsteen's fans want the hard-rocking Bruce of "Born to Run" (Bruce Boxleitner) and not Young Bob Dylan of New Jersey (Bruce Hornsby). He also suggests that acoustic music has "the sales potential of used adult diapers," and that with Springsteen's unique style of vocalization, fans might "get his singing convinced with his sales potential."

Springsteen ignores this advice after meeting Bruce Jenner (Bruce Vilanch) who tells him to chase his Olympic dreams, and also that he could stand a chin tuck and a little face tightening. ("It's done my eye tension wonders!")

That night, Springsteen dreams he is flying over New Jersey in a Vought Corsair with Neil Sedaka, who is wearing a a bra and listening to ska music. This convinces Springsteen to name the album "Corsair." However, he soon finds himself relating the story to a disheveled Bruce Dern (Bruce Springsteen) in an alley, in downtown Bayonne, who points out that "Ne-bra-ska" is a much better interpretation of the dream, and "have you met my cute daughter Laura?"

Springsteen completes the album and has another dream in which Bruce Lee (Bruce Dern) gives him thumbs up, and then smashes a guitar amplifier with nun-chukas.

Philomena is the story of the woman who founded the London Philharmonia, against terrific odds, in a snowstorm, underwater.

Philomena Oscarworthy (Dame Judy Dench) is a poor, homeless musician who spends most of her time scraping together a living, busking in the streets of London - which isn't easy, as her instrument is the triangle. She turns to mime for awhile but gives it up, after finding her heart isn't in it, and that it's annoyingly easy to break out of those invisible boxes.

She decides to look for other, similarly deprived musicians, in the hopes of starting an orchestra, or at very least someone with an instrument case they can all fit in on cold nights.A BBC reporter named Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) learns of her plight and decides to go down to Trafalgar Square to make fun of her. However, once he meets her, he is touched by her careful, intense acting, and her ability to play "My Sharona" on the triangle.

He decides to accompany her on a long journey by Vought Corsair to find the musical talent she seeks, a journey which takes them to New York City, Los Angeles, Nebraska, New Jersey (the states, not the small town), Chicago, Memphis, and KOO-ka-MUNGA! They meet many colorful characters on their journey, who sadly were all too bland to be nominated for an Oscar and thus don't rate a mention here.

Finally, Philomena and Alan gather enough musicians and return to London to premiere their new musical body: Penguin Cafe Orchestra. However, at the last minute, Alan suggests naming the orchestra after Philomena, Alas, as he is a television journalist, he cannot spell worth a tinker's cuss, and the "London Philharmonia" are born.

12 Years A Slave is a heartrending story of how a free human being is imprisoned in one of the most unjust institutions in human history, and therefore it isn't really very funny at all, despite the anachronistic error of including a Vought Corsair fly over in the penultimate scene, and a very inappropriate prologue involving a circus clown, a showgirl, and a giant pretzel.

I mean, I don't know what they were thinking when they added that to the beginning of what is otherwise a very sober-minded and moving film. It's really quite remarkably disappointing to know that a gifted filmmaker could sully the intense and powerful cinematic energy they have crafted onscreen, for the sake of clownish jape that... What's that? Really? Oh.

I've just been informed that the scene in question was not actually a part of 12 Years A Slave and was in fact a preview for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which ran before the feature. I apologize for any confusion.

The Wolf of Wall Street is the sordid tale of an actual wolf (Canis lupis) who evades hunters for a decade by disguising himself as a Wall Street stockbroker. Jordan Bellow-Fort (Leonardo DiCaprio, under tons of hairy wolf makeup) is a Gray wolf who gets lost from his pack one day while tracking what he thinks is a doe (in reality, it is a Domino's pizza delivery van). Bellow-Fort, named for his habit of standing outside military installations and noisily begging for pizza crusts (sense a theme, anyone), is quickly set upon by poachers (Herman Cain and Hungry Howie). He escapes by sneaking into the back of a van labelled "Amalgamated Stockbrokers, Inc." and soon finds himself in New York City.

Mistaken for a stockbroker (he had inadvertently sneaked into a three-piece suit in the van), he eventually winds up on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, where his panicked howling is mistaken for a series of astute stock trades. Within thirty minutes, he makes Amalgamated over 85 million dollars by short selling Flip phone stocks.

Hailed as a genius, he quickly (the film is only 37 minutes long) acquires a devoted acolyte, Danny Ponnfarr (Jonah Hill), who longs to learn Jordan's trading secrets, and who also believes Jordan is the werewolf from Twilight.

Tragically, Jordan lets success go to his head (and in several scenes, his naughty bits), becoming ensnared in drug and alcohol abuse, reckless sex, and a mad obsession with Chia-pets ("It looks just like hair, Danny! I tell you, it's hair!!). Jordan buys ships, cars, and planes (including a vintage 1944 Vought Corsair, of course), and finally turns to fraud to finance his very R-rated habits.

The SEC (Sandra Bullock) and FBI (Quentin Tarantino) soon close in and arrest Jordan and Danny, but in a twist of fate (Mel Brooks) everyone realizes Jordan is a wolf and can't be prosecuted for his crimes. He is remanded to the custody of the Bronx Zoo. However, Danny faces the full brunt of the law, is found guilty for all of their crimes, and burnt at the stake. In the harrowing final, Jordan can see the smoke of the flames rising from North Manhattan and howls in sorrow, mistaking it for the scent of an out of reach Famous Ray's Original Pizza.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

I've Got a Hunger for Some Games

The sequel to the Hunger Games has inspired me a wee bit. 

Sounds of Violence (Sung to Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence)
Hello Katniss, my old friend
I see you've come to hunt again
Through the forest softly creeping
To kill your foes while they're still sleeping
And the arrows that are planted in their brains
Still cause pains
Amid the sounds of violence

Mid restless screams you walk alone
You bashed a girl's head with a stone
By the fire of a tribute's camp
You broke his collarbone with one cruel stamp
And his eyes were stabbed by the flash of a trident's flight
That split his sight
And touched the sound of violence

And in the naked fight I saw
A dozen tributes, maybe more
People bleeding without speaking
People dying without freaking
People drawing shots that Katniss cannot spare
Her quiver bare
Among the sounds of violence

"Fools", said Kat, "You do not know
I can still clock you with my bow
Feel my swings that I might flay you
Brake your arms and quickly slay you"
And her blows, like violent hailstones fell
And pummeled
In the swells of violence

The producers crowed and brayed
At the cash that their film made
But a sign flashed out its warning
Rotten Tomatoes was informing
And the sign said, "The words of the critics are written like a stern chorale
'Hey, it's Battle Royale,'"
And whispered in the sounds of violence

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Salsa, Oh Muse of the Bistro!

One of our memberships' favorite pastimes has always been meeting in Mexican restaurants for a delightful repast of various types of chicken and steak Asada, always accompanied by a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your viewpoint) portion of chips and hot salsas.

If Dylan Thomas had been a fellow salsa-eating, chili head, I like to think this is one of the poems he might have written:

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Dip

Do not go gentle into that good dip,
Old age should turn and sip at milk and whey;
Rage, rage against the frying of the lips.

Though wise men in their hand know heat on chip,
Because they had tasted no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good dip.

Good men, the heat wave like a flaying whip
Their frail tongues might have danced in guacamole,
Rage, rage against the frying of the lips.

Wild men who caught and sang peppers in grip,
And learn, too late, the burning on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good dip.

Grave men, near death, who ate with bitter quips
Blind eyes could blaze like haba
neros and Ben Gay,
Rage, rage against the frying of the lips.

And you, my friend, there now shout,”Ole!,”
Dip, munch, chips now thru your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good dip.
Rage, rage against the frying of the lips.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas Invades North Korea

(AP) In a stunningly brilliant act of military tactics, members of the American humor blog "The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas" successfully invaded North Korea this morning and overthrew the government there.

Details are still emerging, but it appears that a three man "assault team," code named "Steel Teem Slicks" stealthily made their way onto North Korean shores, disguised as a touring company of the Broadway musical Cats. They avoided the heavily-mined Demilitarized Zone by flying in on jet packs decorated to look like albatrosses. This explains the odd press release by North Korean media earlier in the morning regarding "the wonderful attraction our glorious, beloved leader has for large waterfowl carrying enormous cats."

After landing on North Korean shores, the assault team members apparently commandeered military vehicles. Rum Tum Tugger was seen driving a tank. Old Deuteronomy was observed in a military hovercraft, and Macavity wasn't seen at all, but locals did report a government-licensed Mercedes-Benz speeding along highways, with the sounds of U2 and loud meowing coming out of it.

Within an hour, the North Korean military establishment was in disarray, all of them having received telegrams purporting to be from North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and ordering them to arrest their comrades for high treason. This led to a violent 1,200 person stand off, which quickly degraded to only two remaining combatants (video here).

Reports from within the secretive, communist nation suggest that leader Kim Jong Un has gone missing, and may be held by the assault team in an undisclosed location. This was partially confirmed by a tweet from former Vice President Dick Cheney which read, "Was nostalgically visiting old 'undisclosed location' and you'll never guess who I saw here!"

(Hadley Hasbro, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, and Skimbleshanks all contributed to this report.)


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!