Tuesday, December 25, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 25. The Christmas Song - Hootie and the Blowfish

Day 25: The Christmas Song - Hootie and the Blowfish

Why are you reading my blog. Go be with your family

Monday, December 24, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas - 24. One More Sleep til Christmas - The Muppets

Day 24. One More Sleep Til Christmas - The Muppets

I've said it once and i'll say it again. The Muppets ARE christmas. Enjoy this article on Geekscape.net I wrote about the 20 year anniversary of Muppet Christmas Carol.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 23. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Day 23. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Before this song The Carol of the Bells was just a boring old Christmas song. Trans-Siberian Orchestra managed to take what made that song great and make it amazing. Now this is a regular christmas cover by most bands, I would bet anything had this never been recorded this wouldn't be the case. 

If you've never gotten to see Trans-Siberian live I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 22. Christmas in Hollis - The AKAs

Day 22. Christmas in Hollis - The AKAs

I'm not going to lie, this isn't as good as the original. Nothing ever will be. Nothing. However The AKAs made a good effort to stay true to the original song, put their own unique twist into the song and then add in a tribute to Jam Master Jay. I still dig it, The AKAs just aren't Reverend Run nor D.M.C.

Friday, December 21, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 21. Silver Bells - Relient K

Day 21. Silver Bells - Relient K

I don't think Relient K ever fully gets the appreciation they deserve. They tend to be lumped in with bands like All Time Low and Simple Plan as another cheesy, by the book pop punk band. However the group contains some of the most creative songwriters in the pop punk music scene as well as having enough great vocalists in it to create some of the most magical harmonies your ears could ever want to hear. They even managed to make Silver Bells (one of my least favorite carols) a beautiful sing-along

No Question just share if love Relient K

Thursday, December 20, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 20. What WE do at Christmas - Atom and His Package

Day 20: What WE do at Christmas - Atom & His Package

Gotta show a little love to my Hebrew friends with Atom and His Package's hilarious song about the plotting of the Jewish takeover that happens ever christmas. I specifically love that Atom is neurtoic enough that he even apologizes and clarifies that he doesn't hate Jewish people or Christians at the end.

Check out my interview with him (sorry the shitty audio) on my podcast THE SAINT MORT SHOW

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 19. Silent Night Medley - Hanson

Day 19. Silent Night Medley - Hanson

Before I was willing to admit that I actually liked Hanson I still loved this medley of christmas classics from their classic Snowed In album. It still remains my favorite song on the album and one of my top 5 favorite things Hanson ever recorded. Say what you will about the band (SongPop calls them a One Hit Wonder which is utter bullshit) they were talented.

What's your favorite song on Snowed In?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 18. Joy to the World - Supertones

Day 18: Joy to the World - O.C. Supertones

Did it really take me this long to put a Christmas Ska cover? Ridiculous. If there was a ska band I wish would have done a full length Christmas album it'd be the Supertones. This cover of Joy to the World is my all time favorite version of the song and I will continue to love it til the day I die. Maybe with the Supertones reuniting I can finally get Christmas album I've dreamed of.

What band do you wish would record a christmas album?

Monday, December 17, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012 - 17: Christmas Song - Denison Witmer

Day 17: A Christmas Song - Denison Witmer

I will always remember this song as the song I heard back when I listened to nothing but pop punk and metal that made me start to love folk music. This beautiful song felt out of place on Happy Christmas Volume 3 but I immediately loved it. I still never looked into Witmer's other music but it doesn't change how much I love the song. THe attached video is someone's old christmas videos mixed with the song and they blend together beautifully

What's your fondest Christmas memory?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Songs for Christmas 2012 - 16. The Chipmunk Song by Hawk Nelson

Day 16: The Chipmunk Song - Hawk Nelson

Hawk Nelson has taken one of the most obnoxious christmas songs and made it a delightful little sing-along. Don't get me wrong, I like the Chipmunk Song but the more you hear it the more annoying the song becomes. Hawk Nelson sped it up and got rid of the chipmunk voices and just made it a delightful pop punk jam.

Am I the only one who dislikes the original these days?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 15. Snow Miser by FM Static

Day 15: Snow Miser by FM Static

I think we can all agree that A Year Without Christmas is one of the shittiest Christmas Specials (almost as bad as Little Drummer Boy). However the Heat and Snow Miser songs are the best part of them. Thousand Foot Krutch vocalist did an awesome cover of Snow Miser with his side project FM Static. It's a chill jam which is a change up from yesterdays song.

What's your least favorite christmas special?

Friday, December 14, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 14. December is for Cynics - The Matches

Day 14: December is for Cynics - The Matches

For the most part I hate songs about unhappiness at Christmas time. For me it's always such a joyful time and I know the winter blues are a very real thing but I don't want it in my Christmas music. There's one or two good ones however and one of the best ones is The Matches December is for Cynics

Beyond solid lyrics it's just got an awesomely catchy chorus that gets trapped in your brain and won't go away.

What's your favorite 'negative' Christmas song?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 13. White Christmas - Goldfinger

Day 13: White Christmas - Goldfinger

For some reason Goldfinger doing White Christmas as a reggae jam just seems to make sense... and it does. There's not much to say about a minute long cover, just enjoy and move on with your day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 12. Zat You Santa Claus - Neon Horse

Day 12: Zat You Santa Claus - Neon Horse

When I bought Happy Christmas Volume 5 last year I saw someone covered Zat You Santa Claus which is one of my favorite christmas songs (but most people don't know it) so I was excited to check it out. I really liked the song but had NO CLUE who this band was.

Turns out Neon Horse is a combination of 4 members of famous christian bands (Stavesace, Starflyer 59, Joy Electric and Project 86). If their original stuff is this good, I may have a new favorite band brewing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 11. O Come, O Come Emmanuel - August Burns Red

Day 11: O Come O Come Emmanuel - August Burns Red

I've never been huge into metal. I've seen August Burns Red once or twice live and I enjoyed their show but its just not my type of music. However their christmas covers are incredible and epic (though I hate that word).

This was the first of their covers I ever heard and I fell in love.

How do you like this heavy metal christmas? Is it better than Twisted Sister?

Monday, December 10, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 10. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy

Day 10: Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy

I got plenty of crap for not putting this on last years list. So I had to include it this year. This was actually the first Fall Out Boy song I ever heard. However before I heard the real version I heard my friend Matt Howard's cover of it at a Christmas Coffee House. Matt's a decent musician but singer he is not. 

However I enjoyed the lyrics enough to download the real version which I liked enough to track down the album it appeared on (A Santa Cause). Shortly after the band exploded, to this day this is still my favorite Fall Out Boy Song

What's yours?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 9. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Element

Day 9: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Element

Element 101 (later just Element) was one of my favorite female fronted bands. Their career was sadly short-lived. However in between the recording of their 3 stellar albums they recorded this solid christmas cover.

It's short, sweet and makes you wanna dance. What more do you want out of a christmas cover?

When I hear this song I always think of Home Alone? Is there any other famous usage of this song I'm forgetting about?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 8. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - All Star United

8. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - All Star United

I never was a huge fan of All Star United. Even in the peak of my Jesus Freak listening strictly to Christian Music phase I only enjoyed about half an album of songs. So for that reason I normally skipped this song on Happy Christmas Volume 2 on principle. When I finally listened to it I was really sad for how many years I went missing such a catchy rendition of this song.

What would you do if it were christmas everyday?

Friday, December 7, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 7. Heavy Metal Christmas - Twisted Sister

7. Heavy Metal Christmas - Twisted Sister

Let's get ridiculous in this bitch.

Twisted Sister released a christmas album a few years ago. Never understood why but frankly I didn't care. Listening the Dee Snyder belt out classic carols was too awesome to ignore. However the highlight of the album is their version of 12 Days of Christmas titled "Heavy Metal Christmas". Enjoy this

Which thing would you want most from the lyrics? For me It's the Two Pairs of Spandex Pants.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 6. O Come All Ye Faithful - Abandon Kansas

Day 6: O Come All Ye Faithful - Abandon Kansas

For a hot minute I wrote CD reviews for Absolutepunk.net. I was terrible at it and only one review was ever published. It was for Tis the Season to Be Gotee from one of my favorite christian labels growing up. While there were some good Relient K songs in general it was a pretty underwhelming cover album... however I was floored immediately by Abandon Kansas. I've never heard their other songs; but I loved the instrumentation choices made on this particular cover and it quickly became my favorite version of this song.

Has anyone else heard them? Are they any good?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 5. The Night Santa Went Crazy - "Weird Al" Yankovic


There's a magic moment when you hear Weird Al for the first time. I first discovered him when he released Amish Paradise. I immediately got a copy of Bad Hair Day which ends on this little demented holiday song. A nice blend of alt-rock and christmas the song is performed in the style of Black Gold by Soul Asylum (although I'd argue the main music hook also has elements of 'Mama I'm Coming Home' by Ozzy Osbourne). While there was never an official music video I did find this bad ass home made version. How do you guys like it?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 4. The First Noel - Weezer


I heard this cover for the first time last year. I was getting ready to move back home from my brief stay in California. My friend Jonathan (of Geekscape) lent me a CD of random christmas songs (some weird 50's originals and other covers) the CD ended with this Weezer cover. I've always loved Weezer no matter what album it was (screw the haters) and this cover just further makes me love the band.

What's your opinion of Weezer?

Monday, December 3, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 3. It's Christmas Time Again - Harley Poe


Okay, our first original on the list. Harley Poe is the brain child of Joe Whiteford (formerly of Calibretto 13). They are one of my all time favorite bands and I was lucky enough to have Joe on my podcast earlier this year. 

This demented warning to kids about the evil Santa Claus feels like a belongs in a Tim Burton film. The Elfman like quality is only amplified by the haunting child-like "la la's" that fill the background. 

If you've never heard Harley Poe before check out their newest record Sex, Satan and No Regrets

So what do y'all think? Too dark to be a Christmas song or all in good fun?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 2. Baby It's Cold Outside - Brian Setzer Orchestra


This is probably one of my favorite Christmas songs ever. In fact 2 years ago I included TWO covers on the countdown. However while it's not my favorite version of this song, there's no more appropriate person to tackle this song than Brian Setzer. 

A nice jazz/blues version really makes this song sound the way it should. While I still prefer Zooey Deschannel/Leon Redbone's version. This version definitely squeaks by in a tight second place. Plus who doesn't love Brian Setzer?

What's your favorite version of this?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Songs of Christmas 2012: 1. Motorhead - Run Run Rudolph

DAY 1: Run Run Rudolph - Motorhead (technically just Lemmy)

Okay I'll get this out of the way first. Yes. This isn't actually Motorhead. It's Lemmy of Motorhead featuring Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana)... but any band that involves Lemmy singing is Motorhead in my brain.

I first heard this song on the Kidd Chris show last winter. Absolutely love it.

This is what 25 songs of Christmas is all about. Kicking it off with a nice heavy cover of a moderate christmas classic. I've never been a fan of this song, I mean it's okay but it just never feels like a christmas classic to me, so I welcome heavy metal legends to do their own thing to it.

How do you feel about this cover?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film - 58. Lost Boys

58. Lost Boys

I think I’ve pretty much established that I love horror movies in this blog. But I didn’t always love them. For years I was terrified to watch any of them. This was weird for a kid who’s favorite movie as a kid was stuff like Monster Squad and Beetlejuice. Regardless for the most part I avoided horror movies like the plague until about 6th grade. However despite all that I’ve always enjoyed Lost Boys. 

It was probably one of first ‘real’ horror movies I ever watched. I put horror in quotes because my roommate Jeff seems to think this is more of an action/comedy than a legit horror movie. To that I say... blood explodes out of sinks, heads explode, vampires sink their teeth into people’s skulls... it’s a horror movie.

When brother Michael and Sam move to their grandparents house with recently divorced mother Lucy they’re forced to try to get used to their new home. Luckily Santa Carla is a coastal location so their’s plenty of beach parties where things like this happen

Michael defends a group of biker rebels mostly based on his desire to bang the free-spirited Star. Sam meets a group of militant comic store kids Edward and Alan Frog who warn Sam to keep an eye out for vampires. The two even claim to be expert vampire slayers. Sam laughs off their claims, until Michael becomes a vampire when being inducted into the biker gang (who all happen to be vampires). Sam must find the head vampire and kill him or deal with the fact that his brother is one of the undead.

Lost Boys is a fine example of how to mix horror and comedy effectively. The film has some extremely dated 80’s moments that may turn off some viewers but for me I find that to be part of the film’s charm. 

Jamison Newlander plays Alan Frog. Sadly he had a very short lived career (based on his own decision not death or anything) as he has the best delivery of anyone in the movie. That being said this is the film that started the Corey’s friendship and the two of them certainly take joy in overacting in any scene that they get a chance to. 

If you’ve seen Lost Boys than chances are you already love it. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s hard to say if the movie holds up without the glasses of nostalgia. Regardless it’s the best film Joel Schumacher ever made.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 58. Cake - Fashion Nugget

58. Cake: Fashion Nugget

One of the most unexpected hit singles ever was The Distance by Cake (or really any Cake hit single). The band was Anti-Rock, Anti-Hip Hop, Anti-Pop and Anti-Grunge yet they exploded in a time when those were the biggest things on the radio. For a kid in Elementary School at the time of release this was a confusing thing.

I loved The Distance when I heard it and asked for Fashion Nugget for Christmas. When you’re a kid you can’t wrap your head around some things. One of those things is that the single should represent the album as a whole. Fashion Nugget definitely didn’t do that. I wanted 14 tracks of monotone rapping, at best I got 2 of them. At 27 I love the very thing that 11 year old me hated (holy shit this CD is 16 years old!?)

It seems like the three songs I disliked as a kid are now the three songs I loved the most. Those songs are opening track Frank Sinatra and closing tracks Italian Leather Sofa and Sad Songs and Waltzes. Vocalist John McCrea’s “singing” on this particular songs are the best he’s ever sounded. 

The album blends Jazz and Rock in such a strange way that it’s almost impossible to correctly categorize it to any specific genre. The band has had plenty of records after this, many of them good and full of catchy singles but none will ever surpass Fashion Nugget.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 Movies that Makes Me Love Film: 59. All Dogs Go to Heaven

All Dogs go to Heaven was the first movie I ever saw in the theaters. I was four years old at the time (which makes me happy, it means my mom and dad weren’t those assholes that brought their new born to the movies) so I don’t remember much about the experience but I remember being completely in love with the whole moment. 

For years after seeing the movie the film was a source of rare bonding for my father and I. My dad was an athlete throughout high school, a big drinker and partier post-school. I, however, at 24 still have yet to drink, I’m not much of a partier (and never was) and I hate sports in general. All Dogs Go To Heaven will always represent my big moment of finding out that movies were something connecting me with my dad. As the years went on my taste in film and his have started to differ, but we still can bond over the first one: taking me to see All Dogs Go To Heaven. 

The animated film opens up with Charlie (Burt Reynolds) being broken out of “jail” (aka the pound) by his best friend, a nervous Dachshund Itchy (Dom Deluise). Charlie co-owns a popular dog casino currently run by Carface (Vic Tayback). The money is really rolling in and taken over by greed, Carface decides that he and his sidekick Killer (Charles Nelson Reilly) need to take Charlie “out of the picture”. So they take him out to Mardi Gras to celebrate Charlie’s freedom. They get Charlie drunk and then hit him with their car (subtle they are not).

Despite having never doing a single kind and unselfish act, Charlie goes to heaven (because all dogs go to heaven, as I’m sure you heard…I mean it’s the title of the movie). While in heaven, Charlie finds a room of pocket watches (each one representing a person’s life; once the watch stops the person dies), he tracks down his watch and winds it up, thus returning to Earth.

Once he’s back on Earth (with the pocket watch around his neck) he visits Itchy and begins planning to build a rival casino against Carface. To get the funding they decide to steal Carface’s “secret weapon” Anne-Marie (Judith Barsi) a young orphan with the ability to talk to all animals. They take Anne-Marie to various animal races, having the animals tell her what animal to bet on. They promise Anne-Marie that the money will go to the poor (like Robin Hood) however, the only use the money to fund their casino. Getting upset with their lies Anne-Marie goes to visit one of the families that they stole from in order to bet on the animals. Charlie tricks Anne-Marie into leaving the house and takes to hiding inside of an old warehouse. They fall through the floor and land in the lair of a giant singing alligator who bonds with Charlie over their mutual love of song. The ordeal leaves Anne-Marie with pneumonia.

Charlie takes Anne-Marie to an abandoned church in hopes that she’ll get better. Meanwhile, Carface and Killer beat up Itchy and burn down the casino. Itchy yells at Charlie for caring more about Anne-Marie than his own best friend and despite growing to care about her, Charlie denies that Anne-Marie means anything to him, saying that she’s simply been kept around to make some money. Anne-Marie overhears this and runs away only to be kidnapped by Carface.

Charlie goes after her while Itchy rounds up other dogs to get the family they had robbed to save Anne-Marie as well. Charlie, Anne-Marie, Carface and Killer all end up on an oil tanker fighting. The alligator comes to help and eats Carface. Anne-Marie and Killer abandon ship but Charlie doesn’t get off the tanker in time and is killed in an explosion. The family welcomes Anne-Marie with open arms. 

A few nights later Anne-Marie is visited by Charlie’s ghost, he asks her to take care of Itchy and then returns to Heaven.

All Dogs go to Heaven is an interested example of animated films, specifically non-Disney films. Don Bluth’s film has such dark undertones; these characters are all cruel and selfish (except Anne-Marie and the family that eventually takes her in). Charlie can only really be described as an anti-hero (though in true kid’s movie fashion he learns the error of his ways). From the start our character is breaking out of prison, runs a casino/speakeasy for dogs, he steals, he’s greedy and  selfish, yet we in the audience cheer for him regardless; he’s practically a character from a Martin Scorsese film.

This is not Don Bluth’s best film, but it’s always been my favorite. The characters of Charlie & Itchy as well as Carface and Killer have such wonderful chemistry together. This is partially due to the fact that Dom DeLuise (the world of voice-actors is still mourning his loss, or at least I am) and Burt Reynolds requested that they be allowed to record their dialogue together (Vic Tayback and Charles Nelson Reilly followed in their foot-steps as well) which lead to all four actors improving lines which Don Bluth has said “were many times funnier than what was written in the script”. This movie will always be remembered as the movie I first saw in the theaters, but it’s also the movie I watched in honor of Dom DeLuise, just to remind myself that you can’t keep a good dog down.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

100 Albums that Make Me Love Music: 59. Modest Mouse - We were dead before the ship even sank

I don’t remember this album coming out. I feel like Modest Mouse was a band that was popular for a single hit and then quietly disappeared into a career of occasionally having their songs pop up in Indie Film Soundtracks. Then during my senior year of college I took a Bi-Sci class. How teacher was this hot indie rock/hipster and she played us the song Parting of the Sensory in order to explain Biology to use (Someday you will die and somehow something’s gonna steal your carbon). About a week or two later Scrubs used the song Missing the Boat on an episode and I decided that I should pick up this record.

From the first ten seconds of March Into the Sea I realized that Modest Mouse had continued their ongoing evolution into one of the strangest and most unique bands out there. Issac Brock’s bizarre vocal style, catchy guitar hooks and awkward time signatures are scattered all over this record. While there’s no throwaway tracks there are definitely stand out tracks including the 3 tracks I’ve already mentioned as well as the first single Dashboard.

Almost all the tracks have an general “sailors sinking to their deaths” theme. While I don’t relate to this particular topic as I fear the ocean and think we all should Brock’s ability to write through each characters eyes/mind while making it all relatable is impressive.

If there was ever a song I wish I wrote though, it’s March into the Sea. It’s so bizarre Chaotic and fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

100 Movies that Make me Love Film: 60. Wristcutters: A Love Story

I first heard of this movie on an episode of Geekscape and it sounded incredible. Sadly it never came to a near by theater and I was forced to wait almost a year until it was available on netflix. I immediately watched it the second I had time and fell head over heels in love with it. 

The film is a weird little flick about limbo. In the mythos of movie if you commit suicide your punishment is living in a weird limbo which is basically exactly like earth except duller. You can see how everyone committed suicide as the effects of your suicide are evident. Your wrists are cut, there’s exit wounds, there’s twisted necks and much more.

After committed suicide when his girlfriend dumps him Zia ends up in this limbo. However he discovers after his suicide his ex also took her life and he decides to go on a roadtrip to find her.

Along the way he meets Eugene and Mikal and the three develop a close bound. The best part of this movie is the relationship between the three. Their journey is filled with fun twist and turns. I’m not sure if I should thank Etgar Keret (who came up with the story) or Goran Dukic (who wrote the screenplay) but whoever crafted out the weird road trip through the afterlife did an exceptional job.

While the ending leaves something to be desired all in all this is a film that I love showing people, and they’ve all seemed to love it as well.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 60. Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy

The first time I listened to Eels Daisies of the Galaxy I tweeted a statement along the lines of “I think my favorite Eels album is ‘whatever one I’m listening to at that moment.’ It’s not far from true, I could easily have included their entire discography (except for their debut Beautiful Freak which I have lukewarm feelings for). Daisies of the Galaxy is the band’s follow-up to their critical adored sophomore record Electro-Shock Blues.

Daisies of the Galaxy follows the same path the band started on with Electro-Shock Blues. If nothing else the album gets a little softer. E and Butch crafted out there bizarre Indie folk sounds with songs like “I Like Birds” and “Smell of Fear”. However it’s the acoustic songs like “Packing Blankets” and “It’s a Motherfucker” that make the record so perfect in my eyes. The latter being the stand-out track.

I think that song more than any other exemplifies why I love the emotion in this record. Without getting too deep into the history of Electro-Shock Blues (because spoiler alert its on my list also), Electro-Shock Blues is an album that was birthed out of E finding out his mother and sister had both died while he was on tour. “It’s A Motherfucker” on first listen sounds like something that should belong on Electro-Shock Blues more than Daisies of the Galaxy. But soon you realize how incorrect that is.

If Electro-Shock Blues is a record about getting over loss than Daisies of the Galaxy is about moving on. “It’s A Motherfucker” is the most important song on the entire record. While songs like “Packing Blankets”, “Mr E’s Beautiful Blues” and “I LIke Birds” have an upbeat sound and good vibe but “It’s a Motherfucker” is the reminder that moving on isn’t easy.

If you’ve ever lost anyone you loved deeply, you know how this feels. You can move on and you’ll be doing great. And then suddenly you remember that someone you love is gone and you won’t ever see them again (or for a very very long time if you believe in a Heaven). “It’s a Motherfucker” perfectly captures all of these emotions as well as the way death changes a person. 

You’ll have to believe me when I say that the rest of this record is incredible but this is one of the rare articles where I just want to praise a single piece of songwriting to represent the album as a whole.

<-------- a="a" href="http://saintmort.blogspot.com/2012/11/100-albums-that-make-me-love-music-61.html"> 61 The Postal Service: Give Up

Thursday, November 8, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 61. Annie Hall

Woody Allen’s career has been filled with ups and downs, Annie Hall is the point where he struck his stride. From this film he managed to release a new movie ever year and for the first 20 years they’ve almost all been critically adored. 

Annie Hall tells of a man’s relationships, specifically his most recent one with Annie Hall. The film jumps all throughout his relationship history and goes into various fantasy pieces (including an extremely humorous animated segment). 

Never has Diane Keaton looked more adorable than she does in this film. For decades this was the most realistic break-up film ever made. In the 40+ years since it’s release I can still only thing of two movies that have come close to matching it’s realism

This is a short one folks. If you’ve seen this film you know why it’s great, if you haven’t seen it I’d rather not ruin it for you. Here’s the trailer.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100 Albums That Make me Love Music - 61. The Postal Service: Give Up

I love Ben Gibbard. I really do. Death Cab For Cutie is a great band and he’s a fantastic songwriter. However none of the Death Cab albums will ever be as great as the lone album by The Postal Service.

The two-man electronic group has only made 10 songs and a few remixes but those 10 songs are absolute perfection. The combination of Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic work and Ben Gibbard’s lyrics create an almost mystical world of it’s own.

I’ve never heard the album referred to as a concept album, but it certainly seems like it to me. I think this is what I’m going to discuss.

Perhaps it’s the synths but something about the album makes me think of a futuristic world. The album opens with The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. It paints the picture of an apartment complex on a quiet night. Songs like Recycled Air, This Place is a Prison, Brand New Colony and Natural Anthem all have science fictiony sounding names.

Ironically though my favorite songs are the 3 I haven’t named yet. Clark Gable which tells the story of a guy making an indie film with the girl he loves, Sleeping In which is a mostly non-sensical but catchy pop song and their biggest hit Such Great Heights. That was the first song I ever heard by the band and it quickly became a favorite song of mine (although at the time I was a biggest fan of the Iron & Wine cover). The song is almost too catchy for it’s own good and has one of the best melodies in the last decade.

I’d like to discuss this album more but I think I’ve just convinced myself to write a sci-fi music based on the album so I’m going to go do that instead.

<------- a="a" href="http://saintmort.blogspot.com/2012/09/100-albums-that-make-me-love-music-62.html">62. Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 31. Night of the Living Dummy Part 2

Well it’s been fun. I’m excited to get to end this first round on the only sequel that’s arguably more famous than the original. You see while most people talk about how much they loved Night of the Living Dummy... usually they’re actually talking about the sequel. There’s two reasons for this.

Reason 1: People remember “SLAPPY” who wasn’t the evil dummy in the first book. In fact he only comes to life in the last sentence of the original book

Reason 2: It’s a way better book

The book follows Amy who loves Ventriloquism, however her dummy Dennis’ head always falls off. Eventually her dad buys her a new dummy Slappy. She’s excited until the dummy starts causing trouble around the house and Amy is getting blamed.

Suddenly Slappy begins speaking to her and telling her that if she doesn’t be his slave he’ll make sure that her life is miserable forever. Eventually she convinces her family to believe her and the put together a plan. Her brother Jed will dress up in Dennis’ clothes and attacks Slappy, cracking his head. 

However as they celebrate Jed runs out of his room admitting her forgot to set his alarm. Dennis came to life all by himself.

THE BAD: I realize the supernatural circumstances and all but the parents are pretty quick to just believe that their daughter (who before the whole dummy showed up was typically good) is suddenly this cruel and destructive monster. Also the ending is basically the same as the first book... just less dark.

THE GOOD: Slappy is a great villain and that’s why he’s always been the face of Goosebumps. I believe he’s also had more books than any other Goosebumps creature (if you don’t count Horrorland having an entire spin-off series).

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  It’s a pretty good episode. They sped up the plot to keep it down to just 20 minutes. The dummy is terrifying looking which is kind of the point. While there’s been plenty of these episodes where the horror is downplayed they really keep the horror of the situation at the forefront. That being said when Slappy is walking around the midget in a costume effect looks pretty awful.

<------ 30.="30." a="a" book="book" href="http://saintmort.blogspot.com/2012/10/31-days-of-goosebumps-part-1-30-it-came.html">It Came From Beneath the Sink

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 30. It Came From Beneath the Sink

I didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did. I think because there’s such an underlying feeling of hopelessness throughout the book. When I put myself in the shoes of Kat and her possible “forever bad luck” I couldn’t help but think about how it would have driven me crazy. 

You see when Kat and her family move into a new house she finds a weird living, breathing sponge under the sink. After further investigation she discovers it’s a Grool. It feeds off bad luck and can’t be killed by violence. Furthermore if she gives it away she’ll die in 24 hours.

People all around her are getting injured and no one will believe her or her brother Daniel. Kat decides that she’s clearly going to be stuck with bad luck forever until she realizes the only way to stop the Grool is to love it.

Okay so the ending is a little cheesy but overall imagine having to choose between bad luck for the rest of your life or death. Pretty heavy shit for a 12 year old. 

I realized that this is probably the 15th book out of the 30 I’ve read where the main character is celebrating their 12th birthday. Pretty lazy R.L. Stine.

THE BAD:  The ending. It’s usually the best part of the book or the worst. This one it’s actually both. The killing the monster with love is kinda lame but the very very end (which I won’t spoil because it involves way too much explanation) is a nice one.

THE GOOD: As I stated before (much like Cuckoo Clock of Doom) this one proposes some pretty heavy issues for a 12 year old to handle.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  Holy Hell! Ginger from Ginger Snaps! That’s awesome! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a ‘recognizably well know actor/actress’ before they were famous. The look of the Groll (the few times that they show) isnt’ terrible looking. However when I read the book I continually wanted it to look like the parasite from Brain Damage. 

For obviously reasons this one is rushed to fit into 20 minutes but I’d argue this is another one that could have been a two-parter quiet comfortably.

<----- 29.="29." a="a" href="http://saintmort.blogspot.com/2012/10/31-days-of-goosebumps-part-1-29-monster.html">Monster Blood III
Book 31 ----->

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 29. Monster Blood III

So while I really liked the first Monster Blood I still don’t get why there were so many sequels to this particular story. It’s not really sequel worthy. Even The Blob didnt’ get this many reboots.

This particular book kind of annoyed me though because this time it’s Evan who eats the Monster Blood and grows giant. This already happened in Monster Blood II but throughout the book they just act like that never happened. That really annoyed me.

The book revolves around Evan, Andy and Evan’s obnoxious super-genius cousin Kermit. Kermit spends all day in a lab making weird mixtures that alway lead to Evan getting in trouble. Finally Evan has had enough and decides to put some Monster Blood in one mixture and see what will happen. It causes the experiment to explode and Evan accident eats some of it causing him to grow to giant proportions.

Kermit manages to mix up something that shrinks him down to normal size, however in the morning he realizes that he has shrunk to the size of a mouse. His dog picks him up in his mouth and the book ends.

THE BAD:  There’s a lot of things that just never get brought up. I’ve already mentioned that they never mention that Evan has eaten Monster Blood once previously, but they also never mention how Evan’s aunt (Kermit’s mom) reacts to the destruction in his house. He talks about breaking railings, walls and shelves, but he seems to never get in trouble for this. Meanwhile in the middle of the book she flips a shit that he drank all the Orange Juice.

THE GOOD: This was definitely the most depressing Monster Blood book ending. The fact that Monster Blood 4 didn’t come out until 30+ books later I’m sure scarred a few kids into thinking that one of their favorite characters was eaten by his own dog.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  None Ever Produced

<---- 28.="28." a="a" href="http://saintmort.blogspot.com/2012/10/31-days-of-goosebumps-part-1-28-cuckoo.html">The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
Book 30 -------->

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 28. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom

I’ve seen this pop-up on quite a few ‘best goosebumps book’ lists and even read that this is R.L. Stine’s favorite book. I will say this much, while it’s not my favorite book of Stine’s it’s very different than his previous books and has a very psychologically deep ending.

Michael is about to celebrate his 12 birthday however his sister Tara ruins everything. When his father buys a weird cuckoo clock Michael sees his chance to get Tara in trouble as revenge for all the times Tara has gotten Michael in trouble. He decides to turn the cuckoo birds head backwards.

When he wakes up the next morning it’s his birthday again. Michael continues traveling backwards in time. When he walks up as a one year old baby he knows that this is his last chance to turn the head back into the correct direction otherwise erase his entire existence. 

Luckily his parents go to the antique shop that the clock was first found in. Michael manages to crawl up the clock and turn the birds head, when he returns to the present day Tara is no longer around. The book ends with Michael promising one day he’ll go back for her.

THE BAD: The book is a little slow at times. Michael is a little whiny and Tara is total bitch (even if she is only 7)

THE GOOD: The ending of the book pitches a delightfully dark question. WIll Michael actually go back in time and get Tara? Most likely not. It raises some questions of what you’d do in that situation. Obviously deeper than R.L. Stine probably intended but what the hell’s the point of reading these books 15 years later if you’re not gonna read into this stuff.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  They did a good job of telling a rushed version of this story, it managed to not be nearly as slow as the book and actually had some interesting camerawork. Since there’s no much new though there’s really nothing to say in relation to the episode vs. the book.

<------ 27. Night in Terror Tower

Book 29 ------>

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Goosebumps Part 1 - 27. A Night in Terror Tower

I know I never read this book. In fact I think it’s possible this book was around the time I stopped buying every Goosebump book. This was definitely not a book who’s cover would have enticed me back then, specifically do to my lack of interest in things from Medieval Times... perhaps it’s a weird irony that I’m now 27 and writing this the night before I got celebrate my birthday AT Medieval Times... oh how things change.

Sue and Eddie are in England for their parents job. While their parents attend a big meeting Sue and Eddie are on a tour of Europe. The final stop is the infamous Terror Tower where a cruel king tortured and slaughtered his enemies (including his niece and nephew Susannah and Edward out of fear they’d over throw him). The room instantly brings deja vu to the two children.

They suddenly find themselves separated from the tour group and being chased by a strange man dressed in executioner garbs. As they attempt to escape him they realize they can’t remember there parents, last names or anything else. Suddenly they find themselves taken back in time.

It’s revealed to them that they are Prince Edward and Princess Susannah. Their Magician friend Morgred had transported them forward into the future to save their lives. In a last ditch effort they try the time travel one last time, bring Morgred with them as their surrogate father.

THE BAD: They reveal the “Prince Edward and Princess Susannah” thing too early in the book in my opinion. It became obvious to me that they were at least descendants.

THE GOOD: The book is just a good book. I genuinely was curious as to the answers to all the mysteries and the fact that they couldn’t remember their parents names or their own last names was a nice touch. It reminded me of great ‘what is reality’ stories. I enjoyed it this far more than I anticipated.

THE TV SHOW EPISODE:  This is a very very faithful adaptation, but I don’t think everything in the story was important. This could have been a 20 minute episode instead of a two-part 40 minute episode. All the child actors are good in it though... which makes it a shame that the girl who plays Sue only did Goosebumps episodes and then never acted again.

<------ Book 26. My Hairiest Adventure
Book 28 ------>