Monday, October 31, 2005

Celebs Beware of The Pop Red Eye

No stupid antic escapes my gaze. Happy Halloween, fools!
Mwaah ha ha ha ha.

She's just a devil woman with evil on her mind
Beware the devil woman
She's gonna get you
She's just a devil woman with evil on her mind
Beware the devil woman
She's gonna catch you with her eye

(Thanks to the supremely evil Cliff Richard for allowing me some poetic license with that last line.)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Masks, Part Duh

There is an episode of The Twilight Zone that many people may recall. The episode actually took place during Mardi Gras, but I think it's appropriate for Halloween. It was titled "The Masks" and was the story of a dying old man in New Orleans who wanted to get revenge on his greedy, selfish family. He proposed that they all wear masks until midnight, as it was a custom. The man lied by telling the others that the masks had to personify the "opposite" of each family member's personality, yet they really portrayed each one's despicable nature. Now, if you haven't seen this episode (or don't know heavy foreshadowing when you see it) and don't want me to spoil it, stop reading. Apparently there is some voodoo curse involved, and once the clock strikes midnight and everyone is able to take their masks off, they all find that their faces now look like the masks. The point was to make them as ugly on the outside as they were on the inside.

I was thinking of starting my own line of cursed, voodoo masks based on celebrities. I imagine it would be a lot easier to dupe someone into wearing a famous face. Here are some examples.

For the person who is...

Outlandishly conceited, annoying and always overcompensating for a lack of physical and intellectual stature.

Simple-minded, spoiled, shameless and starved for attention.

Painfully unfunny, a complete jackass and always wearing out his welcome.

Not really British.

I imagine if I were to turn the tables on myself I would find that I am a little goofy, with possibly too much time on my hands who enjoys making fun of celebrities. I have my mask all ready to go....

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween Costumes That Should Be Buried

This Halloween, I find myself with absolutely no plans. I'll probably sit here like a lump and pass out candy on Halloween night, but as far as the weekend goes, I have no parties to go to. I always loved going to costume parties, but I always got really stressed out about what I was going to dress as. I'm a big fan of homemade costumes. I think it's a perfect opportunity to show off some creativity and create a disguise that 20 other people won't be wearing. I have gone the "costume in a bag" route a few times when I was in a time crunch and out of clever ideas. Even then, I would try to pick out the least popular or worst-selling costume available so I wouldn't look like everyone else. Halloween is a great time to bring out hidden parts of your personality, and a pre-made get-up does nothing to showcase your individuality.

There are certain costumes that actually irritate me enough to the point where I want to go up to the person wearing one and yank it off of them. These are costumes that are so played-out and boring, yet the people wearing them think they are so awesome. And I know that everyone doesn't have the time or energy to make their own costumes or even rummage around Halloween Adventure looking for just the right outfit, but a little imagination wouldn't kill anyone. I have nothing against the old stand-bys like ghost, vampire, devil or witch. They're Halloween classics. These aren't.

French Maid - Oh, how I loathe the French Maid outfit. If I see a girl at a party dressed like this, I immediately dislike her. Most girls who opt for this costume basically think they are hot, even if they're not, and they spend the entire night giggling and pretending that they're worried that the skirt is too short. Occasionally one might utter something like, "Gee, I had no idea this skirt was this short...I probably should've worn underwear!" Now, I know that all men love this outfit. That's a no-brainer. To me, Halloween is not about looking hot. But, if you're a college-age girl you most likely think it is. Less popular but still annoying costumes in the same vein are the Playboy Bunny, Regular Bunny and Kitty Cat. Any excuse to wear a skimpy leotard, right girls? And let's not forget the favorite of the past few years, the Britney Spears/Catholic Schoolgirl look. Her minions are just as original as she is.

Sexy Nurse - Another male fantasy. But unless you're going to a Halloween party at a strip club, why bother? Halloween has somehow turned into Sexual Fetish Night, and I don't know when exactly the change occurred. I have met a few French Maids that actually turned out to be nice women, but I've never met a "sexy nurse" that I didn't want to punch. I was going to use the sexy nurse costume one year, but planned on making some alterations. The idea was to look somewhat va-va-voom, but I was going to wear really screwed up, heavy black eyeliner, lots of red red lipstick, and smear fake blood all over my chest and down onto the costume. I was going to carry a fake hatchet around and sport a nametag that read "R.N. Ratchet". I thought it was a great idea but I couldn't find the right nurse outfit. I wasn't spending $30 on the flimsy pre-made one at the costume store. So I ended up nixing the idea. If anyone wants to use it, feel free.

Priest/Pregnant Nun - It was funny the first time I saw it. It's just stupid now. If you're a couple going for dark humor, go as a fully erect Priest and an Altar boy. I saw a couple once dressed as Siamese twins joined at the boob. Now that was funny...and very creative.

Pimp/Hooker - I'll admit that I dressed as a hooker one time. It was actually around 4th of July though, and I made a lot of money that night. Uh seriously, I did use the hooker costume one year for a party because it was very spur of the moment and I had no other options. It's definitely one of the easiest costumes to put together, especially if you're already kind of a slut. I'm not, but I would sometimes buy "club outfits" that sat in my closet once I got them home because somehow I lost any nerve required to wear them between the mall and my house. They were slightly risque clothes that usually ended up just going to Goodwill after I tried them on 10 times, but never actually wore out in public. So half of the people I've seen at parties dressed as hookers probably got my hand-me-downs from Goodwill. Anyway, it's an easy remedy for a last minute party but I'd rather people just cut holes out of a sheet and go as a ghost. And if the hooker's not bad enough, if I have to see one more guy in that stupid purple pimp costume with the huge hat, I'm going to puke.

Clown - This is just a personal issue I have. I hate clowns. I'm not afraid of them, I just hate them with every fiber in my being. The sole purpose of a clown is to amuse people and they are just about the most unfunny creatures on the planet. And what do clowns have to do with Halloween?? If they're evil clowns, that's fine. But the run-of-the-mill Bozo types? No. They don't belong at a Halloween party. They don't belong on this Earth. Down with Clowns!!

I don't have many pics of my Halloween costumes over the years, but I will post one. This was the last costume I made and got some mileage out of it. I'm a big fan of Miller Lite. That's my beer of choice. So, I decided to make a Miller Lite bottle costume. And lucky for me, I have a brother who's an artist because I never could've made the labels look so good. Sorry the picture is a bit grainy, but that's my crappy scanner. By the way, that's my best friend Angela next to me as Gene Simmons. Gene loves Miller Lite because it tastes great and it's less filling. And he can get his tongue all the way to the bottom of the bottle to lick up every last drop. Or so I've heard.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What's in BeckEye's (Scary) Ear

This installment of "What's in BeckEye's Ear" is comprised of songs related to Halloween. If you're having a Halloween party, this would be a good mix tape to play during. And don't forget to invite me, because I have absolutely nothing to do this year.

1. Monster Mash, Bobby "Boris" Pickett and The Crypt Keepers - Well, duh. This is the ultimate Halloween song. It's not scary, but it's terrifyingly campy and I love that.

2. Twilight Zone, Golden Earring - Really, if you're making a Halloween mix this song should be prefaced with the actual Twilight Zone theme. This song really has nothing to do with the show, but it has kind of an eerie feel to it. And it's a good, straight-ahead classic rock tune.

3. Cry Little Sister, Gerald McMann - This was on the Lost Boys soundtrack and considered the movie's theme. A very atmospheric song that features the always creepy child choir singing back-up.

4. Witchy Woman, The Eagles
5. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
6. Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra
I kind of lumped these all together, because they're variations on the same theme. I like all of them well enough, but "Witchy Woman" actually used to creep me out when I was younger. I'm not quite sure why.

7. Thriller, Michael Jackson - I enjoy the video much better than the song itself, but it's worth it just for that great Vincent Price "rap". He was the best.

8. Welcome to My Nightmare, Alice Cooper - I've never been a huge fan of this song, but it certainly belongs on the soundtrack to any Halloween party. I used to work with this weird lady who met Alice and said while she was backstage, she read him the lyrics to a song that she had written. She wanted him to record it. It never happened. I have to admit, as far as that kind of music goes, it was pretty good. All about corpses rising from the grave and hell fire and so on.

9. Down in a Hole, Alice in Chains - Just about any song from these guys could go on a Halloween mix. They just have that demonic sound. I believe that the lyrics to this song are a metaphor for something else, but it sure sounds like a song about being buried. Kind of creepy. Good song, though.

10. Tomorrow, Wendy, Concrete Blonde - I never really knew what this song was about, but I always assumed it was about someone waiting to be executed. I just found out recently that it's about a woman with AIDS. Whatever it's about, this song has a very chilling effect.

11. Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon - Now we're coming back from scary to a little silly. Yeah, it's a song about werewolves but it's pretty hilarious. Whether you like it or not, no one can listen to this tune without busting out at least a few "aaaa-wooooooooo"s.

12. The Time Warp, Richard O'Brien/Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast - More fun! Even if you've never seen the movie, you can still learn the dance. It's easy! It's just a jump to the left...

13. They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!, Napoleon XIV - Ok, I absolutely hate this song. It still deserves to be on a Halloween mix though. This song scared the beejeezuz out of me as a kid and still freaks me out a little today. All that crazy laughter is just a bit much. It's more than a little creepy.

14. Nightboat, Duran Duran - As with many Duran Duran songs, I have no clue what this one's about. It's rather zombie-esque though. And if you've ever seen the video, it's really quite odd.

15. Pet Sematary, The Ramones - Pet Sematary wasn't a bad book, but the movie was pretty ridiculous. I mean, I'm sorry but that cute little 4-year old trying to make a scary face while holding a scalpel? Didn't quite work on screen. This song was the best thing to come out of that flick.

I have to give a special mention to Bad Company's "Shooting Star". Although it isn't thought of as a scary song, it scared the hell out of me when I was little. Every time Paul would sing "if you listen to the wind you can still hear him play" eyes would get as big as saucers and I would pray for a non-windy day. I was sure I would hear the ghost of Johnny wailing on his guitar outside my window. And let's not even get started on Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary".

One last note - I didn't put any instrumentals on the list, like movie/TV themes and such. There are a lot of those that fit the bill, but I was looking for "real" songs if you know what I mean. Otherwise, the theme from Halloween would definitely be on here. The movies are dumb, but that piece of music makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I've purposely left out any crazy Latin chants. I'm trying to forget about them.

If you feel I've left out any great Halloween songs, let me know!

New Movie Out This Week...

"Attack of the Living Dead Politicians"

Yowza. Looks a bit too scary for me...I'll pass.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Love the '80s....BUT TIME MARCHES ON

There is a huge difference between feeling nostalgic and living in the past.

Exhibit A:
Howard Stern's replacements were announced today, and it appears that Infinity needs at least 2 men and some automated equipment to do his job. Several stations are going to a DJ-free format, but the two "big stars" who will be filling Stern's shoes are the always annoying Adam Carolla and, in my market, David Lee Roth. David Lee Roth as a shock jock. Ok. This would be quite something if it was 1985. It's not. DLR hasn't been shocking since he started spending all his time getting into grumpy old man fights with Eddie Van Halen and trying to cover his ever-expanding bald spot. His voice is the last one I need to hear at the butt-crack of dawn.

Exhibit B:
Madonna never fails to annoy me...but this newest incarnation of herself?? Is this broad kidding? Honey, get your wannabe-Lady Di old ass out of those cheesy Karen Lynn Gorney outfits and figure out once and for all who the hell you are. You've been street trash, a dominatrix, a strip-club version of the virgin fantasy, a street trash wolf in Old Hollywood clothing, a cowgirl hooker and even *gasp* a children's book writer. Now you want to be the lost member of ABBA? When you have to reinvent yourself this many times, that should be the big neon sign that it's either time to hang it up or pick a schtick and schtick with it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Saw Her Again Last Night

Actually, it was Saturday night. But who cares.

CZJ hosted Saturday Night Live this week. It was a good show. I don't really remember much about the skits or anything though, so I can't really give a review. What I can tell you is that somehow, against all odds, I am still straight.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

All The Right Movies

There is a certain type of movie that holds a special place in my heart. I'm not quite sure what name to give them. They're not bad, but they're not good. They're often aired on late night cable stations, but a good majority of my peers still haven't seen them. They are cliche-ridden and predictable, but still amusing. They're incredibly dated, but....well, that may be the very reason I like them. They're the underappreciated movies of the '80s. They take me back to those days, allowing me to feel nostalgic yet glad those days are over at the same time. They never achieved the popularity of other favorites of the decade, like The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off or even Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. And while there are probably several good reasons for that,they are still just as big a part of my past. If I am flipping through the TV dial and any of these movies appears, I am guranteed to watch the whole thing. It makes no difference if it's already 1:00 am and I have to be up for work in the morning. I'm like a deer caught in headlights. I simply cannot turn away. Still, I won't go out and spend my hard-earned money the DVDs. I really should though, because as often as they are on TV, they're always edited to hell.

There are probably many movies that fit this description, but I will narrow it down to my Top Ten. These are the few, the proud, the cheesetastically delicious.

10. Just One of the Guys
It's hard for me to find anything truly gratifying about this movie. I guess it's just so ridiculous that I can't help but watch it every time it's on in the hopes that it will actually get better. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is the story of a girl who believes she has to masquerade as a boy in order to win a journalism contest. She becomes a pretty cool guy at his/her new school and offers to help a loser land the girl of his dreams. But guess what? She starts to fall for him! Yes, the old gender-switch/love mix-up plot. While it does have some amusing moments, the two leads are positively boring. Joyce Hyser as Terry (how lucky for her that she already has a unisex name) has about as much charisma as Mare Winningham had in St. Elmo's Fire. I actually find myself hoping throughout the whole movie that some guy beats the crap out of her before he realizes she's really a chick. Then there's the love interest, Rick, as played by Clayton Rohner. You may recognize Clayton as one of the Worst Actors in the World. There is a scene with him that actually makes me want to put my fist through the TV and beat him to a pulp. I can't remember it exactly, but I think it may be when Terry tells him she's a girl and he says something like, "Yeah right, and I'm Cyndi Lauper". But he pronounces it low (rhymes with cow) -per. That goes right through me, like nails on a chalkboard. However, in spite of those two idiots, the movie remains watchable simply for the silly plot and some of the supporting cast. Billy Jayne, who was on the late, great Parker Lewis Can't Lose, appears as Terry's younger, horny brother and Twin Peaks' Sherilynn Fenn is the school slut who knows so much about men that she didn't even realize she was lusting after a girl in boy's clothing. '80s uber-stud and uber-jerk, Leigh McCloskey and Billy Zabka respectively, also have supporting roles as they so often did in those days.

9. The Legend of Billie Jean
I will hand it to the writers of this one. They came up with a plot that hadn't been done over and over. Essentially, Billie Jean is a pretty girl who gets harrassed by some of the local boys. One of them ends up trashing her brother's scooter and when she tries to get the boy's father to pay them for it, he refuses to pay and then tries to rape her. Trying to get away, Billie's brother, Binx accidentally shoots the old perv and they, along with a couple of friends, go on the run from the law. When the story hits the media, the old perv (who wasn't seriously injured in the shooting) starts selling t-shirts and such, capitalizing on the incident. Since Perv won't pay up for the damage he caused to the scooter, the gang fakes a kidnapping, taking the D.A.'s poor little rich-boy son "hostage", eventually elevating Billie Jean to cult hero status. It's definitely a weird flick. It's all fairly enjoyable, but comparing Billie Jean to Joan of Arc is a bit much. At some point during the movie, I always laugh, throw up my hands and say, "All this over a damn scooter! It's a SCOOTER!" Still, Helen Slater is very likable as Billie Jean, which helps with the suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy many parts of this movie. As for the supporting cast, big star Christian Slater made his major movie debut here in the role of Binx. Keith Gordon, the psycho nerd from Christine, plays the D.A.'s kid and Yeardley Smith, best known as the voice of Lisa Simpson, is one of Billie Jean's fugitive friends. There are also a couple of established actors in this movie, Peter Coyote and Dean Stockwell. Sprinkling in a few well-knowns always gives an otherwise cheesy movie a little more credibility. One good song will give a movie more cred as well, which in this case is the over-dramatic but very singable theme, Pat Benatar's "Invincible".

8. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Ever wonder what Sarah Jessica Parker did in between her transformation from geek on Square Pegs to chic, somewhere around Honeymoon in Vegas? Yes, she appeared in the much better, more popular Footloose, but let's not forget her other foray into the teen-dance movie genre. While she had to take a backseat to Lori Singer in that other film, she was front and center in this one. There are some plot similarities to both Footloose and the as-then unheard of classic, Dirty Dancing. As in the former, SJP plays a young girl whose love of dancing is squashed by her overprotective father. As in the latter, dancing allows the young woman to find love, find herself and stand up to said overprotective father. This really is quite a piece of fluff, but so good for a chilly night curled up in a blanket, eating a tub of popcorn. No thinking necessary! The plot has everything you would expect - a good girl trying to achieve her dreams, a snotty rich girl trying to buy her way into everything, the good friend/"bad" Catholic schoolgirl (in the form of a young Helen Hunt, no less), lots of bad music and plenty of slo-mo dance moves. Unlike Footloose and Dirty Dancing, the soundtrack is pretty horrible. The Cyndi Low-per song of the same name isn't even on it. However, I guarantee anyone who watches this movie will walk around for a week afterwards, against their better judgement singing, "dancing in Heaven I never thought I'd ever get my feet this far...". Damn, I had to start. Now that infernal song is embedded in my brain.

7. Heaven Help Us
I mentioned this movie briefly in my post about forgotten '80s characters, focusing on Stephen Geoffreys. Geoffreys actually has a pretty small role in this film. The stars are Andrew McCarthy and Mary Stuart Masterson. Andrew plays a teenager who moves to Brooklyn and enrolls in a Catholic school, and Mary is the shy, local diner girl who catches his eye. This is the first movie on my list that can actually elicit genuine belly laughs from me. Most of the comedy comes via Kevin Dillon, who is always so good as the stupid punk. Then there is the requisite nerdy, fat kid who inexplicably ends up in the gang even though he's still picked on, but who you can't quite feel sorry for because he's such a pain in the ass. It's basically just a coming-of-age story set in the '60s, and the repressive nature of the Catholic school only helps to make the boys more rebellious, resulting in more comedy. Hollywood heavyweight, Donald Sutherland, appears as the Big Monk on Campus and other well-known character actors like John Heard (Home Alone, Deceived) and Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless) have supporting roles. Many totally '80s folks show up also, including Calvert "Larry 'Bud' Melman" DeForest, Yeardley Smith and Patrick Dempsey.

6. Can't Buy Me Love
Speaking of Patrick Dempsey, his role in CBML is probably his most well-known, unless you're one of those Grey's Anatomy fans. And I have to give the boy props for growing up mighty fine. I always found him rather dorky back in the day. Anyway, this is pretty typical '80s teen fare. Nerdy Ronald is tired of being ignored, so in an attempt to win friends he offers the most popular girl in school, Cindy, $1000 to pretend to be his girlfriend. His plan works and Ronald is soon hanging out with the senior chic clique. As we all might expect, Ronald's popularity causes him to treat his old friends like crap, act like a jerk in general and decide that he'd rather bang every hot girl in school rather than stay with Cindy, who he is really falling in love with. It's actually pretty good as far as illustrating the class wars that go on in high school. Of course, there is that one absolutely laughable, ridiculously over the top moment where Ronald gives a cafeteria speech about how everyone should be friends which causes all the kids in the cafeteria to start clapping. Ugh. For the most part though, this is a fun movie to watch.

5. Making The Grade
I'll be honest. I haven't seen this comedy in years. But believe me, I am dying to see it again. I'm almost to the point where I might just have to go rent it. I remember this movie as being quite hilarious even though the plot was the biggest cliche of all: the switched-identity. Judd Nelson stars as tough kid, Eddie who is looking for a way to escape his gambling debts. Enter lazy rich kid, Palmer, who pays Eddie to go to prep school for him while he goes on vacation. Naturally, Eddie falls in love with a rich girl and starts turning into a stuffed shirt after getting accustomed to prep school life. I don't really know anything about Dana Olsen, who plays Palmer, but he is really funny in this movie. Judd Nelson is interesting enough, but he doesn't seem to have the same spark that he had in The Breakfast Club. It gets really good when Eddie's bookie shows up, who is played by Andrew Dice Clay. His character is named "Dice", oddly enough, and I'm fairly certain he is supposed to be the same character as the bouncer who briefly appeared in Pretty in Pink. He gets some more screen time in this one, and rightfully so. I've always been a fan of the Dice Man. And it's especially endearing that his character seems to want to be John Travolta so badly.

4. Some Kind of Wonderful
Here we have Mary Stuart Masterson in her standard role, the "tough but vulnerable girl", as she described it once on SNL. This is another exercise in high school kids wanting to be popular. Eric Stoltz stars as Keith, who really wants a date with Miss Popularity, Amanda Jones, played by Lea Thompson. Masterson is Keith's best friend, Watts, the tomboy who realizes that she's really in love with Keith. I don't like this movie as much as some of the others on the list, but it made #4 because I've seen it an obscene number of times. I still really don't get the point. It's apparent halfway through that Keith and Watts are diggin' on each other, so I don't understand why he still goes on the date with Amanda. I think it has something to do with the fact that he finds out her a-hole ex boyfriend (Craig Sheffer) and his gang are planning to beat him up if he shows up at their party. And of course he shows up, and he and Amanda embarass the ex at his own party by calling him out as a jerk and a coward. Oh yeah, and you can hear one of my favorite songs, "Beat's So Lonely" in the background at the party!

3. Red Dawn
Wolverines!!! This can really only be thought of as a cheesy movie because of the improbability of it. I mean, let's say that Russia and Cuba decides to invade us. Or at this point, any number of Middle East countries. Does anyone really believe that a small group of only 8 or 9 teenagers could go into hiding and effectively wage a counterattack against the invaders? Then again, not too many of them ended up surviving, so maybe it isn't so far off base. The ensemble cast is comprised of '80s mainstays such as Patrick Swayze, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Grey, and they all do a fine job.

2. Casual Sex?
This is probably the movie I have seen most often out of all of these. There was a time when this was airing on USA practically every night for three months straight. I don't know what it is I like so much about it, it's just fun. Stars Lea Thompson (again) and SNL alum Victoria Jackson play two women looking for love at the beginning of the "safe sex era". They decide to take a vacation at a health spa, assuming that they will find men who care about their bodies and would therefore be less likely to be harboring various STDs. Any single woman can appreciate this movie and will get a chuckle out of the loser guys that these girls encounter. The ladies may be the stars, but this movie belongs to Andrew Dice Clay, who steals every scene he's in. He plays Vinnie, an annoying, horny, loudmouthed Italian wannabe-stud (imagine that) who actually ends up having a sensitive side. I'm even left wanting to marry him after watching this.

1. Fraternity Vacation
Ah, yes....the best of the Spring Break flicks! I don't care what anyone says, this movie is hysterical. The plot is unimportant, but I will summarize. Dorky Wendell (Stephen Geoffreys, of course) befriends two frat boys by offering to let them stay with him at his father's beach house. The father makes his own deal with the frat brothers, agreeing to buy the fraternity a jacuzzi if they can get his son laid. Upon arriving in Palm Springs, they spot a foxy blonde chick who seems to be much more classy than the typical girls gone wild. The frat boys make a bet with two guys from a rival house to see which "team" can get her into bed first. Hilarity ensues. And I say that with absolutely no sarcasm! It's really just another teen hijinx movie, but there is something about this particular cast that makes it rise above the rest of the pack. If for nothing else, it's worth watching to see a very young, charming Tim Robbins as "Mother", the crazy half of the Good Frat Boy team. (That's him in the picture, wearing what I coveted most back Chuck Taylors.) Leigh McCloskey shows up again as, what else, the uber-stud and womanizing half of the Bad Frat Boy team. There are plenty of other familiar faces as well. Cameron Dye (Valley Girl) stars as the GFB team's ladies' man, Matt McCoy (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Police Academy 5&6) is the other half of the BFB team, Amanda Bearse (Married: With Children) is Wendell's would-be girlfriend, John Vernon (Animal House and a million other movies) plays the no-nonsense police chief and Sheree J. Wilson struts around in much skimpier clothes than she could ever wear on Walker: Texas Ranger. Please, if you haven't already seen this movie, go rent it. Now.

If you're wondering why Staying Alive isn't on dare you! That's not cheesy!! Like it's so hard to repeatedly watch a hot man with great hair writhing around in a loin cloth. Please.

Call Now to Receive this Fantastic Employee!

K-Tel Makes a Comeback
Don't call it a comeback, K-Tel's been here for years, rockin' their peers, puttin' suckas in fear.

According to the above-linked story, BCI Eclipse just inked a licensing agreement with K-Tel that will allow the label to release compilation records under the more recognizable K-Tel name. Post Generation Y-ers probably have no clue who K-Tel is or what I'm talking about right now, and that is a shame. But I can't worry about them right now. I'm looking for a job.

BCI Eclipse - I don't think I'm being overly confident when I say that you need me. Read my post about the mix tape/CD. I rock. Compilations are my thing. I can come up with themes that your overpaid execs could never even imagine. Hell, I'll even make the cover art for the records myself. Who needs graphic designers? I can do it all.

Hey VH1, this doesn't mean that I don't still want to work for you. My goal is to be a freelance everything. I'm still waiting for your call. Same goes for you Mr. Travolta. I'm still very interested in the personal masseuse position that you never advertised.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We Interrupt This Pop Culture Blog to Bring You One of those Mimis Momos Mumus Surveys

You have to imagine me singing this in my best scraggly, ragged voice: I've been....Thuuuunder-struuuuck. In other words, Jef aka Thunderfish has tagged me. Here goes.

Seven things I want to do before I die:

1. Visit Ireland
2. Find a job/career I actually enjoy
3. Get married
4. Meet John Travolta
5. See all 50 states
6. Get something published
7. Buy a boat

Seven things I can do (Skills Napoleon):

1. Play darts
2. Fix people's hair
3. Remember an unlimited amount of useless, trivial facts
4. Talk along with/act out the entire movie Grease (But I don't because that would be annoying to other people watching.)
5. Find my way to anywhere within the greater Pittsburgh area
6. Read music
7. Impressions (Very bad impressions that still make my friends laugh.)

Seven things I cannot do:

1. Roll my tongue up (I can however, roll my "R"s.)
2. Fix my own hair
3. Remember important things
4. Watch Grease 2 all the way through
5. Stop swearing
6. Get up in the morning without hitting the snooze at least 10 times
7. Be aggressive

Seven things I say a lot :

1. Like
2. F**K
3. I hate my job.
4. Yo baby
5. Apparently
6. I'll start dieting and/or working out on Monday.

Seven things I find attractive in a male:

1. Sense of humor
2. Blue eyes
3. Love of music
4. Nice build, but not too many muscles. I like some meat on the bones.
5. Broad shoulders
6. Tousled, slightly messy, dark hair
7. Consideration/respectfulness

Seven celebrity crushes?

1. John Travolta
2. Eddie Vedder
3. Jeremy Sisto
4. Ewan McGregor
5. Chris Cornell
6. John Taylor
7. Will Ferrell
8. Catherine Zeta-Jones

Seven random people who have to do this next:

1. Librarian Extraordinaire
2. Lee Ann
3. Masha
4. JC
5. Echeevo
6. Zombie Lama
7. Beautiful Disaster

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Halloween Song For All You Ghouls and Guys

I absolutely love Halloween. It's my third favorite holiday, behind St. Patrick's Day and Christmas. Drinking, giving gifts of love and monsters...I guess those are my interests. Not sure what that says about me. Anyway, I had planned to start making daily Halloween-related posts until the 31st, much like the Family Channel's "13 Days of Halloween". However, I'm a day late. I realized that if I started today, it would only really be 12 days. My idea was ruined, but then it gave me a new one. Boredom and useless creativity came together and inspired me to write a Halloween song based on "The Twelve Days of Christmas". This will either be really funny or really stupid. Or, in the tradition of many classic horror B-movies, it will be both. Enjoy.

The Twelve Days of Halloween
(sung to the tune of...oh, you know)

On the first day of Halloween my true love gave to me
A psycho and his mommy

On the second day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the third day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the fourth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the fifth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the sixth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the seventh day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the eighth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Eight mummies moaning
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the ninth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Nine demons chanting
Eight mummies moaning
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the tenth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Ten corpses creeping
Nine demons chanting
Eight mummies moaning
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the eleventh day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Eleven vampires biting
Ten corpses creeping
Nine demons chanting
Eight mummies moaning
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

On the twelfth day of Halloween my true love gave to me
Twelve witches dancing
Eleven vampires biting
Ten corpses creeping
Nine demons chanting
Eight mummies moaning
Seven cauldrons brimming
Six werewolves baying
Five swamp things
Four crawling bugs
Three severed heads
Two creepy girls and
a psycho and his mommy

I'm going straight to hell for writing this piece of crap!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"Other Guy" of the Month

I'm starting to think that having several recurring topics is a good way to keep the writer's block at bay. That's me, always thinking. Currently, I have two semi-regular features - "Eye Boogers" and "What's in BeckEye's Ear". I'd like to add at least one or two more. This post marks the introduction of the first of those topics, '"Other Guy" of the Month'. All entries under this heading will pay homage to or catch up with those poor guys who had their chance to be stars but were overshadowed by someone else's fame.

Mr. October - Alex Winter
To most of us, Alex Winter will forever be known as the "Bill" to Keanu Reeves' "Ted" in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, as well as the crappy sequel. Many of us also remember him as the littlest vampire in The Lost Boys, but the reaction to seeing him in that movie is usually, "Hey, there's the other guy from Bill and Ted!" No matter that The Lost Boys actually came before. When it first screened, no one knew who Alex was. No one knew of him until he became William S. Preston, Esquire. Only then was he recognized in The Lost Boys, upon repeat viewings.

Sometimes I wonder what Keanu had that Alex didn't. How did Mr. Doofy Ding-Dong shoot to fame while Winter toiled in obscurity? Both had an affability about them, but I wouldn't consider either a master thespian. I'm guessing it's all about aesthetics. Keanu is an undeniably good looking guy. He's not typical looking either; he's kind of got that exotic Indo-Polynesian vibe. Not that Alex isn't attractive. By most women's standards, he's probably average looking. By Hollywood standards, average means ugly. Personally, I find him fairly cute, but there is something slightly off-kilter about his appearance. I don't know if it's all those tight blonde curls, the gigantic eyes or the Laura Dern-esque rubber mouth. He certainly has a knack for making bizarre expressions. On top of that, he's a pretty short dude. I guess if you add it all together, it doesn't exactly equal matinee idol. Still, he has to have more sex appeal than Tobey Maguire or Jake Gyllenhall, and they're quite famous. True that they are both good actors, but they've also been blessed with some good roles. Who knows what kind of Spiderman Alex could have made, if he had just been given the chance? I've always had a little soft spot for him, not only because Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is one of my favorite movies, but he looks a lot like one of my old college roommates, who was always fun to be around.

So whatever happened to this other guy? Thanks to The Alex Winter Fansite, I now know. From what I can tell, he seems like a decent fellow with a good head on his shoulders. Immediately after the success of Bill and Ted, MTV approached him to be a VJ. The catch was that he had to do it as the character of Bill. Proof that he wasn't just some piece of fluff looking to extend his 15 minutes came in the form of his response - "no f***ing way".

I've often heard that Alex is not into all the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood scene and doesn't really hang out with the "beautiful people", but that he's still good friends with Keanu Reeves. Apparently he's not jealous of his buddy's fame. But other than Speed, is there really that much to be jealous of? (Don't start with me, Matrix fans. Those movies are pure crap.)

Winter has appeared in a handful of movies since the late '80s, but most of his film work these days is behind the scenes as a producer, writer and director. His next project is for MTV, a considerably better opportunity than the first one they offered him, writing and directing a movie about Napster. I can't imagine how that subject will translate to the big screen, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. I can only hope that Lars Ulrich won't be in it. I'd rather pay $10 to download one song with a 28K modem than pay the same amount to listen to that self-important bazillionaire jackass whine about how the advent of Napster prevented him from ascending to gazillionaire status. That would heinous. Bogus. Most egregious.

Alex Winter, I'm glad to hear you're still living a most excellent life. Here's hoping that your future projects will be most triumphant. Party on, dude.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Grr, It's Not a Bear

I'm having another bout of writer's block, so I may have to stray slightly from pop culture and venture into zoo culture. I'm about to show my girly side here, so look out.

Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen???

That's baby panda, Tai Shan, who was born on July 9 at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, DC. What is it about pandas that capture everyone's hearts?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

All Mixed Up

Cut a tape of my favorite songs
Said what I can't face to face
I hoped that you would share all my thoughts...

The above lyrics are from one of my favorite songs. It's got a great beat and a sweet melody, but the message is what draws me in. It perfectly illustrates the great impact that something as simple as a collection of songs can have on a person's life. It's an ode to that wonderful creation known as "the mix tape." Yes, mix CDs have taken their place now for the most part, but there's something special about those old cassettes.

First of all, it's really easy to burn a CD given the technology we have these days. Downloading or importing songs to a PC takes mere minutes and burning a disc takes up only a small chunk of time. Most burning programs will even allow you to level the volume of all the songs and fade in or out (although this rarely works as it should). But recording a mix tape was so much more complicated than that. Well, at least for someone as anal as me. I had to test the volume before each song to make sure it was level with the others, make sure the gaps between songs were just right, and be especially vigilant when taping from records that have songs that run together. Imagine trying to tape INXS's "Need You Tonight" from the CD without getting the beginning of that annoying "Mediate" in there. It can be done. I've done it. But it's tricky.

Secondly, tapes are just a reminder of days gone by. Even when CD usage became widespread, most people still made mix tapes to play in their cars because car CD players weren't as common as they are now. They certainly didn't come standard. But nearly everyone had a tape deck, making mix tapes the perfect driving companion, especially for those long road trips.

For me, making a mix tape was a very scientific process. I carefully computed the total time the songs would take up on each side to ensure that the tape wouldn't run out before the last song ended. I look down my nose at people who didn't bother to even estimate the time. There's something very wrong with them. (And don't even get me started on people who try to tape from the radio.) However, even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, so occasionally the tape would run out just shy of the calculated time. I can just imagine the people at Maxell or Memorex, sitting in their labs thinking about this and laughing: It's a 90 minute tape, so there should be 45 minutes on each side. But wait until the poor sap using it finds out there's really only 43.5 minutes! Mwaaah ha ha ha ha!! This has happened to me many times. In those cases, I would usually have the standard profanity-riddled freak-out, followed by a period of intense calm and concentration during which I would scour my record collection for a song that would fit in the allotted time slot. ("Bron-Y-Aur" has probably made its way onto more than one of my mixes.) I couldn't just tape over the truncated song with silence. I never liked having too much dead air left after the last song...that was simply not professional.

I also had to have a theme for each of my tapes. I was never a fan of just random songs thrown together for no good reason. Themes are important. Occasionally, I couldn't come up with one so I would name the tape something like, "The Theme of This Tape is That There is No Theme." So technically, to my obsessive-compulsive, highly disordered mind, it was thematic.

I've always loved making mix tapes for friends and family. The main goal is to introduce them to music that I like, which I think they would also enjoy. But I can never just give them the tape and let that be the end of it. I always have an intense need to know if they like it and how much they like it. Have you listened to my tape yet? What do you think? What's your favorite song on there? Are there any that you hate? How often have you listened to it? Feedback! I want feedback DAMMIT! Well, I try not to get that crazy, but I do want and appreciate some thoughtful commentary. I hate when I give someone a tape and they just say, "Yeah, it's good." What's good about it? I'm all about the details.

As I mentioned before, CDs have practically made cassettes obsolete. I don't have a tape deck in my car anymore or even at home, which is unfortunate because I still have a ton of old mix tapes lying around. Now, I make mix CDs, which has only helped to enhance my anal nature. Since the actual burning process is generally hassle-free, that just frees up more time for me to work on packaging. I am absolutely not happy unless my CDs look as if they were professionally made and could be for sale in any record store across the country. I work hard on getting the graphics just right and often include liner notes with my discs. I'm just as concerned about what the recipient thinks of the whole presentation as I am about the musical content. Stupid CDs. They've just given me more to obsess over!

Since I love to give homemade music compilations, I also love to receive them. To me, it's one of the best gifts anyone can give. It takes more effort than just buying a record off the shelf, and it usually reflects the giver's love of music and how well they really know me. It may not have any resale value, but the sentimental value is priceless.

Right there a song became a soundtrack for this space in time...
- Better than Ezra, "Rewind"

This post was inspired by Paul, my "musical soulmate." Everyone should have one of those. He understands the importance of liner notes.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My American Australian Idol

Everyone has one true celebrity idol. Not just someone you thought was cute or someone whose music or movies you really liked, but someone who you actually wanted to be. They embodied everything that you thought was fabulous, and you strived to be just like them when you grew up. We may have all grown up and grown out of trying to be like someone else, but we will always remember those idols fondly. I'd like to tell you a little about mine - the lovely and talented Ms. Olivia Newton-John.

Now, ONJ's first record hit the states in 1973, which was the same year I was born. Therefore, I may have not gotten to follow her career from the beginning, but I became a fan as soon as I could start formulating opinions.

My oldest brother, who is 16 years my senior, had quite a crush on Olivia and owned most, if not all, of her early country-pop albums. So at a very young age, I had access to her music and the records that were adorned with her pretty, girl-next door face. I remember "jamming out" to one of her first big hits, "Let Me Be There" on a regular basis. I probably didn't even know the Pledge of Allegiance by age 4 or 5, but I had that song memorized. After that one sucked me in, I could often be heard around the house belting out other favorites like, "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)", "I Honestly Love You", and "Please Mr. Please". One of my lesser-known favorites of hers was a song called "Slow Down Jackson", which she wrote for one of her dogs. I actually have a tape of me singing this, although I think I was probably closer to 7 or 8 at the time of the recording. You know, around the time really bad singing fails to be cute and becomes ear-splitting, horrible noise. It is not good. If anything brought me back to the reality that I was not, in fact, Olivia nor would I ever be, it was that tape.

It was in 1978, at the age of 5 that my young life was totally changed. My sister took me to the drive-in to see Grease, a movie that would forever remain my favorite. Not only was I witness to the greatest movie ever made, but I fell completely in love with John Travolta and became fixated on Olivia Newton-John. I already thought she was great. I already wished I could sing like her. I already wished I looked like her. And then there she was, singing, dancing and making out with the most beautiful man on the planet! If I didn't already want to be her by then, I certainly did after seeing that film!

I guess appearing on the big screen shimmying around in tight black spandex gave ONJ some freedom to beef up her sound a bit in the late '70s. Her album, Totally Hot put the country sounds on the back burner and allowed her to have a little more fun and come across as the sexier sister of the girl next door. That record's biggest hit, "A Little More Love" is still one of my favorites. It's extremely rare to ever hear it on the radio, but when I do catch it, I'm in heaven. I usually need a lot of water to sing along with that one though, because there are some serious high notes in the chorus and my throat starts to dry out (and probably bleed) after a few bars.

Next came what might be considered one of the worst movies of all time, Xanadu. Yes, it's bad. But it's not Mulholland Drive bad, it's Roller Boogie bad. In other words, it's good. It may have been a completely inane plot, but it had its moments. For instance, there is this really great sequence where they have a "battle of the bands" between Olivia and her swing-time girls and The Tubes. I have no idea how it worked, but they somehow manage to meld the jitterbug song with the rock song and it sounds great. The movie is worth watching for that at the very least. The song, "Dancin'" is on the soundtrack, and as is usually the case with bad or weird movies, the soundtrack is really good. Anyway, it was during this period that I became even more fixated on Olivia than I was after seeing Grease. By this time I was about 7 and roller skating was IT. I don't like to brag, but I was hell on wheels in my pre-teen years. I could skate. I skated all the time. I was jealous of Tootie on The Facts of Life because she got to go to school and anywhere on her skates. If I would've been allowed, I would've worn mine everywhere too. My issues aside, there was a lot of rollerskating in Xanadu. The storyline revolved around it. Basically, the plot was that one of the Muses came down to Earth to inspire some poor sap to build a giant roller rink. Yes, really. Somehow, the casting people managed to get Gene Freakin' Kelly involved too. If I talk about the plot for too long, I'll get dizzy so let me just get back to the rollerskating.

Olivia had a great wardrobe in the movie. There were a lot of off-the-shoulder, frilly, white, flowing half-slit dresses. Imagine Stevie Nicks on wheels. (I nearly drove my father crazy one Easter looking high and low for a similar dress.) Of course, skating around made the dresses even more flowy and gorgeous. I used to skate in my basement because it was huge with a smooth cement floor. It was a perfect mini-roller rink, because my Dad put up a wall so I had to skate in a circle around it. And we had this exposed pole on one side of the room, which I used to love to swing around on. (NOT like a stripper. Get your heads out of the gutter, I was just a kid.) My friend, Donna, had this really cool lamp that had stencil shapes cut out of the lampshade. Then the shade would spin, creating sort of a poor-girl's disco ball, making pink and purple shapes dance across the walls and ceiling. It was actually pretty trippy, and very cool. She would come over to skate a lot, so she usually just left the lamp there. When I was by myself, I would put on the Xanadu soundtrack (especially the song "Magic") and skate around in the dancing lights, basically pretending to be Olivia. If I did that now, I'm sure I would be put in a rubber room. But as far as kid behavior goes, I'd say that was fairly normal.

After Xanadu, ONJ wanted to delve deeper into the saucy side of her that was starting to come out on Totally Hot. She shocked her country fans with 1981's Physical, a more dance-friendly record with some sexually suggestive lyrics. Of course, up until I was about 13 I really did think she was singing about working out in the title track. Hey, they were all at the gym in the video! Videos don't lie! That song actually got old with me pretty quickly. I'm still not a huge fan of it. I remember really playing the hell out of that album though. My favorite from it was "Make a Move on Me". I remember seeing her perform that on Solid Gold, immediately after which I frantically wrote down the shopping list for my next trip to the mall: headband, long shirt, belt, leggings, huge earrings. Then I made my sister give me a mullet soon after. I still wasn't blonde though, and my Dad wasn't about to let me dye my hair. Drat.

A couple of years later, I may have been ready to move on from my obsession. Not that I didn't still like Olivia, just that I started to get into Duran Duran and was more interested in looking at cute guys than trying to emulate a cute girl. I thought I was out, but she pulled me back in! In 1983, she starred in Two of a Kind, with love of my life, Johnny T. Seeing the two of them together again just thrilled me to no end. When I was younger, I didn't like seeing him kiss other girls in movies, but for some reason it didn't bother me when it was her. I thought they made the perfect couple. I figured if he had to be with anyone it may as well be her. And since I had planned on being just like her eventually, I figured it put me in a pretty good position. Ah, the convoluted mind of a child. Anyway, that was another movie that is typically considered "bad" by most people's standards. They have no idea what they're talking about. I genuinely enjoy it. It was nothing like Grease, but ONJ and JT still had good chemistry and it was a cute story. The soundtrack was pretty good, boasting two hits for Olivia, "Twist of Fate" and "(Livin' in) Desperate Times", which were both a little more rockin' than even the songs on Physical. There was also a lovely treat for me in the shape of a duet between my love and my idol, called "Take a Chance". I hadn't heard John sing since Grease, so I always adored that song. And if you couldn't have guessed this already, yes I did sing along to it in my room using the hairbrush as a microphone, only singing Olivia's parts and imagining John was there singing his. I WAS TEN. SUE ME.

After the novelty of seeing John and Olivia together again wore off and Two of a Kind was no longer fresh in my mind, ONJ's star started to lose its lustre for me and, apparently the rest of the world. She wasn't as popular as she used to be and I was just preoccupied with the new crop of '80s artists that had come along, like Duran Duran, Culture Club, Wham! and new favorite gal Cyndi Lauper, whose style and personality was completely different than that of Olivia's and thus, more exciting. I never really forgot her, but at such an impressionable age and during a time when what your friends think is paramount, I didn't think it wise to let my Newton-John flag fly so highly. Most of my friends just knew her from Grease, so I only really spoke about her in that context. I always liked her though, and if I would hear things about her in the news, I was always interested.

It was around 1993-1994 that I started hearing more about Olivia. Unfortunately, she was in the news due to having breast cancer. I immediately started thinking about what a big part of my young life she was and how much I really did still look up to her, in a way. I have a history of breast cancer in my family, so my risk of getting it is automatically higher. I've been aware of this since my late teens and was always very afraid that I would get it and wouldn't know what to do. So, to find out that my childhood idol had breast cancer was something of a shock, and I was genuinely concerned about her. Luckily, she battled cancer and won. The experience enabled her to become a role model for people again - this time not as a pretty pop singer, but as a strong woman who battled a disease and wanted to help others.

In 1999, Olivia released "Back With a Heart", going back to her pop country roots, gaining cricial acclaim as well as many new fans. It's not really my bag, but even though I may not be a huge fan of her new music these days I will still always be a fan of her. She's still beautiful and still has that sweet as pie persona. She's one of those rare celebrities who could easily be an idol for your mom, you and your kids. She just never seems to get old and has a timeless appeal. And to be honest, if I still had a turntable, I might be tempted to throw on that Two of a Kind soundtrack and lip synch to "Take a Chance". Of course, if anyone caught me, I'd just say I was wasted.


Who Does This Broad Think She Is?

My photo
I am a winsome muse who was sent to Earth to inspire an artist to turn a vacant building into the world's coolest disco roller rink. We fell in love along the way, and I foolishly gave up my immortality. When the disco craze ended and all the roller rinks were shut down, that lazy bum wouldn't get a job. We broke up and I was stuck on Earth with nothing to do and no one to inspire. So, now I write a blog.

What Do Others Think of BeckEye?

"You're like an idiot savant of terrible garbage entertainment." - Falwless

"You're my hero." - Candy

"Get yourself a life. Better yet.....eff off." - Ann Onymous

"There's no one like you." - Klaus Meine