We Are N.D. We Are Notre Dame – WTF?!

30 04 2010

A couple of months ago we posted an amazingly awesome OKGo video which they filmed with the Band of the Fighting Irish for the song “This Too Shall Pass.”

Again we repeat. That was awesome.

But, Notre Dame just posted a craptastic video that I assume is meant to pump up the crowds at any sporting event in the near future.

Or maybe they want the student body to come together united behind their sports teams and coaches.

Or maybe they just want the University to be ridiculed. I mean, it’s been almost a year since Obamagate went down when some crazy people thought it would be awesome to throw fake blood on students and harass them with crucifixes while informing them that if they support the President of the United States speaking at graduation then they themselves are abortionists. At least this time the ridicule will be warranted.

Or maybe….I got nothin’ else.

But for some reason they decided it was a good idea to film, edit and publish a video so horrible and kitschy and disturbing and WTF-esque – and did I mention horrible? – that I absolutely have to do my part to make it viral. Especially since I know multiple people in it.

Watch it. Hate it as much as I do. And pass it along. We all know some blogger that hates the Irish (and probably even ESPN) will pick it up and ream us for it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "We Are ND – We Are Notre Dame", posted with vodpod

Things like this make me proud to be able to say “Oh Notre Dame? No, I didn’t graduate from there…” I may bleed Blue & Gold, but thank God I can disassociate myself from them sometimes. GO IRISH! Beat Boilermakers!

And just to get that horrible, horrible taste of crappiness out of our heads. Let’s look at OKGo and the Band again.

Vodpod videos no longer available.





Unbelievable interactions prove the undoing of ‘Everybody’s Fine’

21 12 2009

Director: Kirk Jones

Starring: Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale & Sam Rockwell

Released: Dec. 4, 2009

Incorrectly and unfairly advertised as a Christmas movie, Kirk Jones’ 2009 dramedy Everybody’s Fine leaves viewers with a feeling very much the opposite.

Set in August, Robert DeNiro plays Frank, a retired father of four who is struggling with the loss of his wife. His wife was the one who always kept in touch with the kids and he is unsure of how to interact with them now that she is gone, leaving him more alone than he thought possible.

He tries to reach out to them in the only way he knows how – by inviting them to a backyard barbecue, as that is what he remembers most about their family when the children were little – but his eager enthusiasm is thwarted as life gets in the way and none of the children can make it home.

In one of the few moments that evokes empathy for Frank, he listens to the messages of his kids bailing on the weekend as he looks at the photos of them when they were younger.

And just like that the sympathy dries up as Frank makes the decision that he is going to visit the kids. And not just any visit. He is leaving immediately and without warning so as to surprise them.

On his journey to his first son, David’s, house in New York, the thread tying the movie together is introduced. It turns out that Frank spent his life working in a plant that manufactures the coating that surrounds telephone wires. As he travels across the country, he gazes out the windows of the trains and buses he uses to traverse the country at these wires and we hear the snippets of conversation his children are having with each other. And they’re all discussing David.

When Frank arrives at David’s apartment he isn’t home. So Frank waits. And waits. And waits. Until he finally decides it’s not a good idea to wait on the steps of a sketchy brownstone in the artist district of New York and gets a motel room for the night before heading to the midwest to visit his daughter.

On his trip, we hear his daughter, Rosie (Drew Barrymore), asking her sister Amy (Kate Beckinsale) if she’s heard from David. Amy says no, and as they hang up we arrive outside Amy’s home in Chicago. The unexpected visit throws Amy for a loop and she sends Frank outside with her son.

DeNiro shines as he interacts with Lucian Maisel’s Jack. Maisel nails his role as a teenager who is skeptical that his grandfather can do relate to him, and DeNiro, who’s always excellent as a grandfatherly figure, tries his best to seem cool. Their banter about golfing is lighthearted and a welcome break in the tension of Frank not knowing what’s going on in his kid’s lives.

Amy and her family prove too busy for a lengthy visit with Frank, but that doesn’t stop him from witnessing Jack’s blow up at his father or from Frank to unexpectedly meet Amy’s coworker as she waits with him for his train at the airport.

If movie cliches’ aren’t your forte, as they obviously aren’t Frank’s, it’s clear that Amy and her husband are no longer living together, which angers Jack, and Amy has started seeing her coworker.

While it’s understandable that Amy wouldn’t want her dad to know that she’s having marital problems, his visit would have been a great time to tell him, but instead she shunts him onto a train to sibling number three, Robert, a “conductor” for a traveling symphony.

Robert isn’t a conductor, though, as Frank soon realizes when he sees him playing percussion in the symphony. Either Frank misunderstood his wife’s relaying of the message, or he chose to believe what he wanted, but he’s shocked and disappointed, nonetheless.

The terrific Sam Rockwell, coming off of amazing turns in Frost/Nixon and Moon, plays Robert in such a hapless and despondent way that it makes it believable that he wouldn’t want to correct his father’s glorified vision of his profession. Still, he’s busy as well and immediately turns around to put his dad on a bus to Las Vegas, where he’ll visit with Rosie.

All the while we’re hearing snippets of conversation about the elusive David, who appears to have gotten himself arrested for drug possession in Mexico, until Drew Barrymore picks up her father – a little worse for wear as he got into a fight at the train station – in a limo.

She discusses how the show she was a dancer in ended the week before Frank’s visit but she wants him to come see her next one as they drive down the strip towards the Luxor and Mandalay Bay to her condo next to the Stratosphere (anyone with a general knowledge of Vegas would recognize the fact that these locations are on opposite ends of the strip). They’re supposed to go to dinner in the Stratosphere, but those plans are derailed as Rosie’s neighbor brings her baby down with a plea for an emergency babysitter.

As movie cliches’ go, we’re up to two glaring monstrosities as it’s obvious from the loving gaze Rosie shoots her father as he plays with the baby that Frank is actually holding his grandchild for the first time.

Things start falling into place in Frank’s mind and he decides he has to leave for home the next day to sort things out in his mind. En route, he has a heart attack which induces a strange dream sequence in which he confronts all of his children, as children, about why they lied to him, which is where the movie completely derails.

While the dream sequence clears any questions one might have had about the identity of Rosie’s baby and the fact that she’s a waitress on the strip instead of a dancer, or the state of Amy’s marriage up, it breaks up the flow of the movie and tells the audience everything they already know.

The heart attack brings all of his children to his bedside, though, so in a way, they’re all together, just as he wanted. Until he forces them to tell him that David is dead, which is where the train, which has already derailed, is hit by another train to create a whole mess of craziness.

It’s understandable that one might not want their father to find out that they’re having marital problems, or are a percussionist instead of a conductor, or are questioning your sexual orientation, but it’s quite another to not tell your father that one of his children is dead. That’s not the type of information you keep from a parent, ever.

But this movie has a happy ending, as Frank forgives his children for not telling him one of his offspring is dead in Mexico and they all get together for a happy-go-lucky family friendly Christmas.

Final verdict: The completely unbelievable plot line is only slightly forgiven with a masterful turn by Sam Rockwell and Lucian Maisel’s interactions with the grandfatherly DeNiro, but that doesn’t stop this movie from being REALLY CRAPPY.





Post Grad

25 08 2009

Director: Vicky Jenson

Starring: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett, Rodrigo Santoro and Bobby Coleman

Released: Aug. 21, 2009

Vicky Jenson’s Post Grad, a story following Ryden Malby (Bledel) as she graduates from college and is forced to move back to her childhood home when she can’t find a job, held a lot of promise in a time with a statistic like only 20% of 2009 graduates had a job upon graduation.

Unfortunately, the plot, acting and overall feeling of the movie let down those 80% of graduates who found themselves in the same place as Ryden in May.

Bledel never fully embraces Ryden, or maybe its the fact that Ryden seems so much like the girl Bledel is known for playing – Rory Gilmore. Whatever the case may be, Ryden lacks spark and spunk, instead coming off as an impulsive, ill-informed, ill-prepared job seeker that makes it seem natural that she isn’t getting a job. She sinks her first interview with her dream job at a prestigious publishing house, bombs another by asking the “VP if she was pregnant” (how many entry-level job seekers interview directly with a VP?) but she was just fat, quits part-time job working in her father’s luggage shop after one day because a rival classmate irks her by talking up her job (which just happens to be Ryden’s dream job) and runs from another part-time position because her hot Brazilian neighbor who hired her decided that her first day was a great day for him to quit his life of directing infomercials and she needed to come to the beach with him. Ryden seems like Rory-light. She has the same insecurities as Rory, without the zingy one-liners and the ability to play off Lauren Graham’s comedic timing.

The job search that seemed so central to the film’s marketing is really portrayed as a means to an end. The writer needed some reason to make this 22 year old move back home to deal with her family, neighbor and best friend so what better way than to include a four minute montage of  Ryden going to job interviews and looking stressed. That’s the perfect way to deliver any and all backstory.

Ryden’s family would have been better promotional material. Keaton and Lynch deliver wonderful performances as Ryden’s parents with what little screen time they are given. Keaton is very convincing as a Dad with a penchant for impulsive career changes (maybe that’s where Ryden gets it) as he manages the luggage shop but decides to peddle tacky belt buckles on the side. Lynch, as in many of her other roles, plays a woman who seems to find it normal that her family is a little on the strange side. Her straight-faced delivery of seemingly mundane lines gives a good chuckle, but she isn’t given enough material to truly shine.

Burnett and Coleman are also underutilized. Burnett’s character – the grandmother – never seems to really connect with the family. She’s less of a relative and more of the strange neighbor who always seems to show up and never leave. She’s offered a couple of witty lines, but she could have been cut from the plot entirely without leaving anything to be desired. Coleman is much of the same as the little brother. There are a few references to the fact that he licks things – most notably his classmates heads (but, wait, this is the summer, why is his mother getting calls from his teacher) – and is weird, but neither is fleshed out enough to make any sense. Instead, the viewer is left wondering if this kid has some undiagnosed mental problems. The only time he’s given to shine is during a superfluous boxcar derby race – which adds nothing to the main story except give the family a time to interact with each other, which they do rather poorly with the script they are given.

Really, though, the entire movie could have been about this kooky family getting ready for the boxcar derby. It would have been a feel good movie and Ryden could have been shuttered away as the older sister just passing through.

Another underutilized character, Zach Gilford’s Adam, could also be the focus of a decent movie. Adam has been best friends with Ryden for years. He also comes from a dysfunctional family, though his deals more with an absentee father and less with a head-licking little brother, and is also in the transition between college and life. Gilford, best known for playing quarterback Matt Saracen in Friday Night Lights, does wonderfully in this role as it is an extension of Saracen without the football. He is innocent enough to be believable as the boy who sticks around for years even though Ryden is uninterested in anything more than friendship, and Gilford slips into these types of roles seamlessly. The major drama in his personal life – the decision to go to law school or pursue a music career – could have easily filled the entire movie, but we are instead subjected to him referencing his displeasure with their completely platonic relationship while giving Ryden a foot rub, and getting angsty when Ryden forgets to show up to one of his gigs.

Eventually, like any good formula movie, Ryden does land her dream job. In about four weeks – because, yeah. That’s believable. After spending about another week at the job she realizes that she feels more for Adam than she previously thought, probably because he moved across the country. And, in the biggest lapse of judgment ever, decides to quit her job to move to New York to be with him.

Wait, didn’t she have to move home because she didn’t have an income? How is she going to live in New York?

But she got the guy. And that’s all that matters in this day and age, apparently.

The movie wasn’t as unbearable (albeit it was very choppy and didn’t seem to tie anything together) until they set up the idea that Ryden could chose the guy or her job. There was no in between. No talk of a long-distance relationship.  Just the impulsive move to New York to be with him. I, for one, thought we were past those rules governing women, but apparently not in Ryden’s world.

Well, ladies and gentlemen I have to say, I didn’t think it would come this soon. But, we have just achieved our first rating of: Really Crappy.