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This is an amazing video by one clever and musically talented dude. It takes movie theme songs and combines it into a lovely compilation with Star Wars tribute lyrics. Check it out! :)

Skip Tropic Thunder

The wife and I thought that we'd catch an early evening movie. She thought that Ben Stiller's latest lunacy, Tropic Thunder, looked amusing in the previews, so we gave it a go. Boy, what a mistake! I should have known from the size and depth of the ensemble cast that it was going to be bad, but this was absolutely horrendous.

As a public service to the two of you who might accidentally read this blog, I provide you with three reasons not to go see it:

#1: It's not funny. Seriously. The trailer had all the funny parts. Everything else is just plain stupid or mean or ugly or all of the above.

#2: There's more cursing than a Denis Leary stand-up act. Seriously. More than every-other-word during most scenes are cusses. It's was unnecessarily excessive.

#3: The controversy is valid, it is insensitive to the mentally challenged. Seriously. If you've not heard about the controversy, just Google the movie title. The groups were right to protest. They literally make fun of Stiller's mentally challenged character using derogatory terms denoting a mentally challenged individual. It's just tasteless.

Now, none of us should be surprised by any of this. It is, after all, a Ben Stiller movie. Well, except for the language. I don't ever recall so much profanity crammed into his movies. You should do yourself and your family a favor and simply skip this rubbish. Go watch Dark Knight again or something.

Since everybody else these days seems to be blogging about WALL-E, and since I don't plan to see if because I don't get it :), I thought I'd post a quick post about a couple DVDs we recently watched: I Am Legend and Definitely, Maybe.

In a word: *yawn* For whatever reason, I did not find the movie overly entertaining. Yes, I laughed at a few lines, and I was grossed out by the fire ants, but overall, it was really not much fun. Oh, well. If you haven't seen it, my suggestion would be to wait until it's out on DVD.

Brief Thoughts on American Idol

Totally off the security topic, but let me just say that, for once in my life, I actually found the American Idol final to be somewhat compelling. Why? Because I didn't care which David won. David Cook (the winner) has been drawing many comparisons to Daughtry (though is clearly much more humble). I think that he'll do well in a Pop Rock career. David Archuleta is also a very good musician, despite the naysayers. If anybody out there is familiar with Josh Groban, then they'll understand how David A. can have a promising and successful career in the music biz.

My 2 favorite moments from the final:
1) Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. playing the role of the "Pips" to back up Gladys Knight.
2) David Cook dragging all the other finalists up onto the platform with him while he sang out the final song upon winning the competition.

HBO's "John Adams" Miniseries

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Due to travels, it's taken me a little extra time to catch up on the last four episodes of HBO's "John Adams" Miniseries (based on the book John Adamsby David McCullough), but I've finally completed the set, and thought I'd take a moment to comment. Overall, I liked the series, though I never full adjusted to Paul Giamatti in the lead role. He seemed to grow into the role eventually (particularly as Adams ages), but in the end, I wasn't fully convinced. That's not to say that I could think of any other actor who might have done a better job.

I truly enjoyed Laura Linney in the role of Abigail Adams. To me, it was refreshing to see her playing a strong, intelligent woman instead of her typical neurotic characters. And, she did a remarkable job. The tale of Abigail Adams is one that should be instructive to everyone, representing how to be general wise and discrete. She also sets what appeared to be an excellent example for a first lady (or first spouse, if you will).

Hanna and I went to see our first official ballet performance last Friday (2/1/08) at the Kennedy Center. The American Ballet Theatre performer The Sleeping Beauty. The music was excellent, the staging and costumes elaborate, lush, and vibrant. Being our first ballet attendance, I wasn't truly sure what to expect. I'd worked modern dance performances while doing tech in college, but this was completely different. For one thing, the point shoes that the women wore made a clacking sound on the floor when they walked around. I was in awe of the amazingly vibrant colors in the scenery and costumes. That alone made it worth attending.

I received the DVD edition of Black Adder: The Complete Collector's Set for Christmas this year, and have recently completed watching all episodes. This is some darned funny stuff! I'm a big fan of British comedy already (Eddie Izzard is one of my favorites), and am likewise a fan of Rowan Atkinson (more often known as Mr. Bean here in the US), so this was just perfect. Add to the mix Hugh Laurie (aka "House, M.D." from the Fox series), and you get a fairly complete picture of humor and inanity.

The first season wasn't nearly as good as seasons 2-4, I think because it was a new series just trying to establish itself. But, Atkinson really gets going well in the Blackadder II, ending spectacularly with the introduction of Hugh Laurie in the last episode ("remember the sheep?" "oh, no, that was you?!?"). HL plays a marvelous counter-lead throughout season III as the Prince Regent, with lots of funny faces. Atkinson is by this point very classic. And let us not forget Tony Robinson as Baldrick and his famous line "Sir, I have a cunning plan."

The BBC has pictures and interviews on their site, which you can check out here. Overall, this collection is highly recommended, if you like that sort of humor. :)

We took the opportunity to attend the National Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops concert on Saturday evening. As usual (and possibly for the last time), the great Marvin Hamlisch conducted. There were marked similarities to the last such performance we saw 2-3 years ago, with Kevin Glavin playing a very familiar Santa Clause role and all.

The opening piece was a wonderful arrangement of "Away in a Manger" for which they turned all the house and stage lights down, then slowly turned up decorative lights throughout the staging, such as stars, wreaths, and trees.

Another Long Tail Example

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Speaking of The Long Tail, here's a perfect example of a very successful niche band that's probably somewhere in the short head, but which doesn't fit the critics' model of a "blockbuster." If ever you needed proof that critics don't have nearly the collective intelligence as the crowd, here's a perfect example.

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