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I've been slow to accept Stephen Colbert's new gig, but either I'm softening or Stephen is getting better.
On last night's Late Show, Stephen opened with a frank discussion about how we can solve the ISIS problem before getting into a deliciously contentious debate with Bill Maher. He closed the show with an animal act billed as the "Acro Cats." The cats responded to the high-pressure of a televised performance pretty much the same way Bill Maher did: by refusing to be led or cajoled. Hilarious.
Good work, Mr. Colbert. You've got my attention.
A new year means new movies! Here's the first of two batches of movies watched in December. Pay attention, there will be a quiz.
198. (735.) Diabolique (1955)
Great French noir. Did I solve the mystery before the movie spelled it out? You bet I did. That did not, however, diminish my enjoyment. Gone Girl should have been paced so well.
199. (736.) The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
I recorded this movie specifically because it was the setting for My Week with Marilyn. Shortly after seeing that movie, I worked a jigsaw puzzle that included the poster for this movie, cementing it in my mind. So when this came on TCM, I captured it with my DVR. Where it languished. I simply couldn't gather enthusiasm for this for months, until at last I was forced to either watch or delete it. I'm glad I chose to watch it. It's a cute, light romantic comedy that features Marilyn at her best.
200. (737.) Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014)
Oh, yes. I will watch this again.
201. (738.) Gaslight (1944)
I criticized Gone Girl above, but here's a movie that takes even longer to get to its point, waiting until even the most dim audience members have realized the truth. With some better editing, this might be suspenseful. As is, it's an exercise in patience.
202. (739.) Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)
The role Jack Webb was born to play! Actually, he was Pete Kelly on the radio years before this movie, so maybe there's some truth to that. The movie is a stock 30-minute Dragnet radio episode about a small-time mobster's protection racket padded with an awkward romance and blues music. I enjoyed it.
203. (740.) Roller Boogie (1979)
Ah, fad exploitation films at their finest! I am not going to try to explain why (Freud would have a field day!), but I loved this film. It pretends to be a ridiculous romance, but that's only an excuse for scenes at a roller disco, baby! Really, truly a masterpiece in the vein that would later produce Breakin' and Gleaming the Cube.
204. (741.) Lili (1953)
This is a musical romance about a girl who falls in love with a married man and a marionette. I'm still not sure whether the girl was stupid or retarded, and her "romances" were all the more creepy for that indecision. Ultimately, the movie is charming, but in a weird and unsettling way.
"Moar" to come.
While watching the Bulldogs lose the SEC Championship last week, I angered my brother by alienating his fiancée. Trey hasn't exactly told me that he's not talking to me, but I figured that he was mad because he wasn't answering my phone calls. I now also hear through the grapevine that I won't see him at all this Christmas, as he has chosen to avoid me and my mother this season. (From what I hear, Mom gets the blame because she did such a poor job raising me. Talk about holding a grudge!)
We all already know that I'm an asshole. Certainly, I resent that Trey won't spend any time with me now that he has a fiancée. I hadn't intended to insult her, but my resentment coupled with my natural anti-social behavior made me even less warm and fuzzy than usual. If that's even possible.
I know that I must be in the wrong. In a romantic comedy, I'm the character that starts out as a friend of the protagonist, but my reluctance to adapt to the circumstances resulting from the initial meet cute causes friction between me and the protagonist. My character becomes sidelined and eventually either A) comes to accept the new status quo, appearing cheerfully smiling as a member of the wedding party, or B) is revealed to be a sub-human wretch who gets fired from his job, falls into some dog shit, and is arrested in a comedic case of karmic mistaken identity for a child pornographer. Obviously, I'm working with my agent to land the part in script A.
So, I've been having a bad week. It's for times like these that I have a poster on my desktop. You know, that one with the cute cat and the motivational phrase? Yeah, this one:
Thank you, Frowning Cat. You always know how to cheer me up. And Trey and Melissa, if you read this, know that I am trying.
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Three or four times a year, I'm employed to open and sort packs of Magic: the Gathering™ cards. Usually, as I stare at the typical variety of Dragon Whelps, Defiant Elves, and Goblin Balloon Brigades, I think to myself, "who would want to play with these cards?" Now I wonder no more!
Introducing the most awesome card ever: basement cat.
I was completely unaware that Wizards of the Coast bought the rights to publish Pet Sematary-themed cards, but it was a great idea: when it comes to Magic, dead isn't just sometimes better! I've always said that the best cat is an undead cat, and now I can play with my very own. Thanks, WotC!
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