Mr. White’s Neighborhood

12/06/2012

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Portland to Houston. Since I had the time to waste on it, I decided to alter my route to visit the city of Albuquerque. Yes, we all know this to be the city of fame because it’s the only word to feature 3 U’s. That is a pretty impressive achievement, but I’m not going to denigrate that fine city by pointing out its inherent vowel-fouls. I’ll just go with the obvious.

I took these pictures:

IMG_1052 IMG_1053

Fans of Breaking Bad need no explanation. The first photo is that of the White residence, and the second is that of Saul Goodman’s office locale, sans giant inflatable Statue of Liberty. Incidentally, Saul’s office is located a mere six or eight blocks from the house, which made this detour easily reward-able.

I had help from this site in finding the locations, and there are many more, but I had to get to Houston for my new job pronto, and couldn’t stop for a car wash and some Pollos Hermanos chicken.


LOST Meets The Exorcist

07/25/2012

I’m watching LOST again, just because I want to sort things out, and I think I got everything straight, and of course all those ostensibly unanswered questions have been answered, but what’s this I noticed? And this just happens to be on YouTube. (Spoilers?)

At 0:56 it sounds like a dubbed voice, not Naveen Andrews’ (Sayid’s) voice. It sounds a lot like the voice of the demon from The Exorcist. “Do you want to know who I am?” the voice asks. Very similar in theme and I just bet the sound people played with it a bit there to make it sound like that.

Mind you, Sayid has been through a lot, and will continue down a dark path, one that is intertwined with the hapless demonesque Linus, only to be overshadowed by a larger demon.

Maybe I’m just too into it at this late hour, but that sounded like the Exorcist demon to me.


20 TV Show Intros (Awesome Enough to Watch Over and Over)

06/06/2012

via fanpop

In a time when consumption of television shows is gravitating to instant gratification, when you can just marathon through an entire series on Netflix or YouTube, less time between episode watching ensues. So every time a new episode starts, you have to choose: zip through the opening title sequence, or watch it again because it’s actually quite enjoyable? Even though you just saw it like 50 minutes ago? What is it about this feature that is basically a title card with What This Is, Who’s In It, and Who Made It? The well-crafted ones use a distinctive piece of music, and an original, engaging visual narrative.

The following twenty are by no means an authoritative list, just another opinion by Johnny Cat, some guy on the Internet.

20. The Outer Limits

This was clever for its time, because in the 60s, TV sets would always be “going on the fritz” or otherwise losing picture quality. So when people first saw the intro to the show, they were creepily informed that the horizontal and vertical controls of their prized living room television were in the hands of some weird television show.

19. M*A*S*H

Photo: Wikipedia

Filmed in the mountains of California, the famous intro to M*A*S*H describes a typical day for our friends at the 4077th. The helicopters glide over the “Korean” landscape, seeming to dance gently to the sweet music… um, yeah the song’s titled “Suicide is Painless” and had lyrics in the original movie version. But anyway, then the doctors run and whisk the injured away to go to work on them. Always fun to watch, never a chore.

18. 30 Rock

One aspect of an awesome intro is getting the information out to the viewer efficiently; entertainingly, as well. There are a few very short entries on this list, and third shortest is the zippy punch that is the intro to 30 Rock.

17. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Although I watched every episode of this dreadful show, and have previously named Dr. Theopolis as the most worthless droid, the best part of those otherwise wasted viewings was the opening sequence.

16. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Go on, sing along to the original, extended version and see how you do on that middle part.

15. The Simpsons

The show hit the airwaves running, and never looked back. Throughout the hundreds of episodes, the iconic opening sequence remains generally the same, of course with a different blackboard phrase, and a different couch scene. Here’s one with an oddly serious ending, and here’s every couch scene in a row.

14. LOST

The shortest one on the list, and included for its sheer simplicity. The show’s structure was one with an opening scene, which would usually end with some WTF moment or discovery, then – cut to this intro. It’s interactive, because the audience is simultaneous feeling what the word is saying. It’s effective.

13. Weeds

The Malvina Reynolds song “Little Boxes” is one of the best choices for a show like Weeds. Nancy Botwin and her family feel so out of place in a gated community, and its ticky-tacky people. As the series went on, the theme song would be covered by various artists. This is the original.

12. The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling was a fan of anthology pulp fiction stories as a little boy. As an adult, he wished to write on social commentary themes such as racism, government, war, society  and human nature in general. He decided to combine the two so he could not only indulge both of these passions, but also to get away with talking about these on television at a time when television wasn’t allowed to address such things.

Perfectly sums up one of the most loved TV shows, with one of the most unforgettable intros.

11. The Sopranos

In this intro, we simply sit shotgun and look around as Tony Soprano makes a drive from the city to Jersey, and finally to his nice home in the hills. With an edgy song as backdrop, the journey is a beautiful one of neighborhoods, people, and T smoking a cigar.

10. The Walking Dead

Riveting music, broken picture frames, the modern wasteland. It’s explanatory and beautiful in its depiction of the show’s premise. And I love how it always blends in with the opening scene.


9. Breaking Bad

Short, sweet, and to the point. Yo! Bounce!

8. Star Trek

Have you seen this? I mean, have you seen it? The ship flies from one end of the universe to the other, right in your face! Epic narrator, sweeping sci-fi-ish music, and The Enterprise swishing speedily across your face. It’s so… fascinating.

7. Rescue Me

Ostensibly filmed using actual FDNY guys. The song fits the mood of the show, and the cinematography is brilliant.

6. The Six Million Dollar Man

My friends and I were such geeks about this show, and would be upset if we somehow accidentally missed the intro. I love the high tech stuff, and the music, and the drama. Shucks, embedding disabled. Check out the HD version.

5. The Dukes of Hazzard

Sure, most of the beauty of this one comes from the car, but there’s also the kooky song, Daisy kicking some dude with her high heels, explosive arrows, breakfast… But yeah, it’s mostly about the General. Odd footnote: to my knowledge, Waylon Jennings never did appear in character as The Balladeer, he just sung the same damn song every week.

4. The Muppet Show

Gonzo’s finale was always different, so you pretty much had to watch each intro just to see that, and whatever else they sometimes threw in there.

3. Freaks and Geeks

This masterpiece of an intro never gets old. The setting of the thing takes place during school pictures, and we meet our characters as they attempt to pose for the camera while Joan Jett hammers out the angst musically. The song alone is probably the best on this list, but the editing is what really makes this one rock.

2. Dexter

I know if you’re a fan of good modern TV shows, you knew this one would be on this list, probably near number 1.  The tableau of our title character waking up and getting ready for work has all the right elements to describe the mood of the show, as well as the creepy undertones to everything Dexter does, no matter how mundane. The song is also perfect in those regards, and I’ll never have ham for breakfast again.

1. The Prisoner

If you were a fan of  British scifi/spy shows from the 60s, you no doubt knew this one would be here, by hook or by crook, and especially had to live in the number one spot. Its epic scale exceeds all expectations of what a watchable (over and over) intro should be. It’s the Anti-LOST intro, in that it’s three and a half minutes long, but it’s sooo watchable (over and over).

There are many more good, re-watchable intros out there, old and new. I know it; it’s why I pinned a still from the Gilligan’s Island intro up top. So remind me, what’d I leave off this list?


Crushin’ on Sarah Rush

05/20/2011

Photo: ABC

When the original Battlestar Galactica series captivated my attention in the late 1970s, my friends were all kinds of hot for Athena and Cassiopeia, while my Dad lost interest in the show after Serena (the lovely Jane Seymour) was killed off. But for me, infatuation was found in the fleeting glimpses of Flight Corporal Rigel’s announcements; I absolutely adored her then, and can honestly say I still have a crush on her. She comes across as someone who not only inspires the likes of Princess Leia on hairstyles, but someone who would actually have something to talk about on a date. Also: no competition from that player, Starbuck.

The actress who played her, Sarah Rush, was interviewed last year on Galactica.TV.

Can you talk about your audition for Battlestar Galactica?

Since I was under contract, they called in all the girls, all the contract players. I came in and was very serious about my craft. I still am. It’s not brain surgery, but I feel passionate about it. Though I now have more fun in doing it than I did back then.  When I was younger I was so very serious and committed. So I came in, I auditioned and there was Glen Larson and all these people and I had to say something like: “Red alert! Red Alert! 100 microns and closing, 99 microns and closing…”; something like that.

I sat in the middle on a chair with everybody around me and I used my fist as a microphone, said my lines and then looked at everybody. They all burst into laughter! I was so serious about it. We laughed and I got the job. It was wonderful and a blessing, even though my role was so small. I wished I could have been around more. You can imagine. I was just 22 years old and this show was so fantastic. I got to work with Terry Carter a lot and talked to him about acting. I don’t even know if he knows how important he was for me. He was so supportive. It was such a great cast and to me it was a blessing to be on the show.

Frakking adorable.


Censorship is Stupid

08/08/2010

Lionsgate Films

A memo to the entertainment industry, particularly cable TV:

Stop censoring words that you think are offensive to us, the general public. Americans can handle curse words, the young among us included. It’s fair to say that most kids know all the bad words out there; I have it on good authority (from about ten years ago) that your average 10 year old knows every word, even MF, and doesn’t use them in polite company.

This weekend, I had the unpleasant experience of watching what seemed to be a cavalcade of disaster from the sky movies on cable television- Deep Impact, Armageddon, and Terminator 3 seemed to be on repeat. If I had kids, I’d be more worried about their perception of near-future events than what was the stupidest word-censor ever during Armageddon. Steve Buscemi’s Rockhound screams “This is a kick-ass ride!” during the shuttle launch, but “ass” was simply blurred over with a noticeable silence.

I can’t believe this word in such a context is so offensive; I mean, seriously, Kick Ass is the title of a pretty successful movie aimed at a younger generation, anyway, and it’s a stupid, harmless word! Even if I said I wanted to kick your ass, it’s not like I’m implying anything sexual, and if I say this ride is “kick-ass,” it’s not like I’m implying violence.

Get over yourselves, censors.


Friends as The Seven Deadly Sins

07/18/2010

Wrath

Pride

Greed

Lust

Sloth

Gluttony

Envy


5 Eastwood Flicks You May Have Missed

07/09/2010

AMC is running a day long Clint Eastwood fest tomorrow called “Make My Saturday.” Back to back Clint starting with Pale Rider, and ending with the one (excellent) Eastwood flick I have no desire in seeing again, Million Dollar Baby. They also have a list of five films that may have escaped many a Netflix queue, and five honorable mentions.

On A Perfect World, which came in at number 1:

Definitely Clint’s most underrated movie. Eastwood directs and stars in this story of a lawman in pursuit of an escaped convict and the boy he befriends. Heartbreaking and human, this was the first of many directorial triumphs for Eastwood — but it’s his performance as Texas Ranger Red Garnett that takes A Perfect World to another level. This bleak, unsparing movie — and ending, in particular — is perfectly encapsulated in every line on Eastwood’s visage.

Link to full list.

The only one on this list I have yet to see is The Beguiled.

Photo courtesy fabio venisius’ photostream.


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