Monday, April 25, 2011

Kitty Needs a Boost

Cats make me laugh more than dogs do.

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, I just find cats to be more humorous. I think the reason behind this is that dogs are hyper and clumsy already, so when they bump into something or knock someone over, it's expected. On the other paw (ZING!), cats are usually prim and proper and so it's funny to see them do something silly or embarrassing. It's the same with reporters and newscasters - I get a big kick out of seeing them goof up.

However, I've also noticed that cats are even funnier with some additional help. On the internet, people have used things such as music, sound effects, captions and voice-overs to help boost the funny level of kitty cats.

I was originally going to show you a picture of a normal cat and then show you how funny it was with a caption, but it literally impossible to find a picture of a cat on the internet without a caption these days. Instead, here's this video of two regular cats interacting with each other:

Click here to watch the video because they disabled embedding, which is really annoying.

See? It was cute, yeah, but not laugh out loud funny.

Now, let's add the human element, as portrayed in this video sent to me by, alert reader, Jen. Witness the difference:

See? Much better.

So, to all you cats out there who think you may rule the world, just remember, in addition to feeding you and giving you shelter, we also make you funnier. So don't look at me with that high-and-mighty smug look on your face the next time I walk by, okay?. . . .You're not even listening, are you?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mysterious Unicorn Music

Faithful readers, I have a quest for you. I was recently sent a unique music video by, alert reader, Mitch and it has me baffled. I don't even know how to present it. So. . .here. . .

Yeah, I know. What WAS that??

As far as I can tell, Unicorns LA was done by a group called My Barbarian and it was NOT done as a comedy. The Wikipedia page for My Barbarian says that they are a trio that "makes site-responsive performances and video installations that use theatrical play to draw allegorical narratives out of historical dilemmas, mythical conflicts, and current political crises." O. . .k. . . So, 1. What does that long-winded trip around a thesaurus mean? And 2. What, exactly, is the "allegorical narrative" they're trying to convey in this video?

Then there's the official website of My Barbarian, which is, if you can believe it, less helpful than their Wikipedia page. The pictures on that site lead me to believe that these are, in fact, the same three people in the music video, but that website is in desperate need of a search bar. . .or a site map. . .or a web designer. There is no mention of "Unicorns LA" on their Wiki page or on their website. You'd think that they'd be more proud of this internet sensation and want to take credit for it.

So I turn to you, faithful readers. What is this music video all about? What are they trying to say? And what did this video say to you? Perhaps this is simply a Rorschach test, where everyone sees what they want to see. However, I would appreciate any background information or explanation for Unicorns LA that you could give me.

Help me faithful readers, you're my only hope.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Soviet Spies and Russian Sitcom Rip-Offs

Russia has given us many wonderful things: Russian nesting dolls, Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, classic Bond villains and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to name a few. But America's relationship with Russia hasn't always been so rosy. Believe it or not, there was a time when we believed that the Russians were spying on us.

Well, I hate to be the one to break this to you, faithful readers, but it looks like the Russians are still spying on us and they're not satisfied with military technology anymore - they want our television programs. That's right, our precious, precious TV shows.

This matter of national security was first brought to my attention by, alert reader, Jeff Tromphlin. He showed me the opening credits for a Russian television show called Project Popcorn (Проект “Попкорн”)

Now, I don't speak Russian, but that looks pretty close to the opening credits for Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. But MST3K was only the beginning. After further investigation, I found a number of Russian rip-offs that shocked me to the very core.

For example, check out their version of the classic 80's television program, Married..with Children.

Счастливы вместе, or "Happy Together" as it translates to, has lookalikes for each member of the Bundy family! Shocking!

But maybe you're not the kind of person who watched Married...with Children or MST3K. Maybe your house was a little more strict and you could only watch wholesome, uplifting shows with a moral or some type of educational message? Well then, here's Russia's version of Full House:

I wasn't quite convinced that дом кувырком ("House Upside Down") was, in fact, Full House, until I saw that it was Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey) himself that posted the video. And, as we all know, if Dave Coulier says it, it must be true. I wonder if the Russian paparazzi is obsessed with the Tsvetkova twins. 

But we all know that TV sitcoms aren't worth their salt unless they feature our very own Tony Danza. But Russia, being the sneaky country that they are, has also copied Who's the Boss, and have creatively named it Кто в доме хозяин (Who's the Boss). They weren't even trying to hide this blatant rip-off!

You know. . .they can have Who's the Boss?. I'm ok with that one.

Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Well, these are all old television programs from the 80s and 90s. Surely now that the Russians aren't our enemies, they don't have need for spying on us and stealing our TV shows!" Tsk, tsk, tsk. Oh, you poor naive reader. Watch the following clip and see if you can guess what modern TV show has been stolen by the Russkies. They call it Теоретики ("Theorists"):

It looks like the Cold War ain't over yet.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Six Sequels Unrelated to the Original Films

We all can agree that sequels aren't that good. In fact, there are only a handful of circumstances where a sequel is considered as good as the original and even less examples of when a sequel could possibly be considered better than the original. Sequels are generally made because the original film made a bunch of money and the studio wants to see if they can make a little more - and movies solely created for the sake of making money are never that good.

Sequels generally consist of rehashed references, second-tier characters and a similar plot to the original. But what about those films that completely disregard these sequel guidelines? What about the sequels that have nothing to do with the original? They deserve a special sort of shout-out because they don't even seem like they're trying at times. Whether it's because they couldn't get the original actors, the characters all died in the first film or the producers just felt the audience needed a change of pace, the following six films all threw the original idea out the window and started with something fresh. . .ish. 

Halloween 3

Original: The original Halloween is one of the forefathers of the modern slasher movie. It tells the story of a very large and disturbed individual named Michael Myers who stalks and kills a variety of individuals while wearing a William Shatner mask.The second Halloween movie actually begins right where the first one ended -- which is a pretty bold and impressive route for a sequel to take -- and tells us a little more about Michael and his murderous rage.

This Sequel: Halloween III is probably the most notorious sequel because it has nothing to do with the original. No Michael Myers, no Jaime Lee Curtis, no Dr. Loomis - just a crazy scientist making non-Shatner masks that can kill (but you have to be watching TV while wearing the mask in order for it to work). There is actually a moment when the original movie plays on a television in a bar, but that's about the only connection between the first two movies and this "sequel."

Open Water 2

Original: The original Open Water is about a husband and wife trapped in the middle of the ocean all alone, fending off sharks. It is loosely based on the real-life story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who disappeared from a Scuba diving group in 1998. Some people hated this movie, others were absolutely terrified by the bleak realism.

This Sequel:  None of the characters from the first movie were featured in Open Water 2 (for obvious reasons) and instead of being stranded alone in the middle of the ocean, this movie was about a group of six friends unable to get back on their yacht. In reality, there's a reason why this movie is so unrelated to the first movie - it was written beforehand. The screenplay was an adaptation of a short story named "Adrift," and it was written before Open Water ever hit the theaters. However, after the success of the first movie, producers thought it would be best to capitalize on the success of the original.

Home Alone 3

Original: Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are about Kevin McCallister being abandoned by his family and defending himself against the Wet/Sticky bandits. Many people criticized the second movie for being almost a shot-for-shot remake of the first, but the first movie was a huge success, so who can blame the studio for wanting to keep a formula that works?

This Sequel: However, when Macaulay Culkin refused to do a third movie, the producers decided to go a different direction - cloning. It wasn't the McCallister's house, but it kind of looked like the McCallister's house. They hired a red-headed woman who kind of looked like Catherine O' Hara to play Kevin's. . .I mean Alex's mom. And instead of having a pair of robbers trying to break into the house, they had a quartet of terrorists trying to get back their missile-cloaking microchip for the North Koreans. Ok, so that last one isn't cloning, it's more like a horrible mutation.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  

Original: The Fast and the Furious is Point Break for the car racing world. Paul Walker plays an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a group of hijackers. In 2 Fast 2 Furious (see what they did there? Clever!) Paul Walker plays an ex-cop who goes undercover for the FBI to help bring down another crime ring. These movies were pretty much an excuse to show hot cars driving around with pretty lights, but that appeals to some people.

This Sequel: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift is about a regular guy (who isn't a cop or on a mission for the FBI) learning how to drift in Japan. Yes, there is a very brief cameo by Vin Diesel to try and connect this one to the others, but that is about as effective as the guy in the bar watching a clip of the original Halloween in Halloween 3. I guess when you can't get Paul Walker, you just do something completely different.

White Noise 2

Original: White Noise is about a man trying to find his wife in the midst of electronic voice phenomena, or EVP. The previews for this movie were actually scarier than the actual movie, but Michael Keaton gave a good performance and there were a few creepy moments that made it worth watching.

This Sequel: Not even Nathan Fillion himself could save White Noise 2. This "sequel" presented the idea that a person could become a white noise receiver themselves, and then completely threw that idea out the window and focused on demonic possession instead. Tria Mera, as they called it, asked the question, "If Christ resurrected on the third day, what did the devil do?" which is an interesting question, until you realize it doesn't make sense.

Troll 2

Original: Believe it or not, there are two characters named Harry Potter in this 1986 horror film (JK was a big fan, I guess). It tells the story of a troll king who possesses a little girl and wreaks havoc on a San Francisco apartment complex. Troll was actually a straightforward horror film and did pretty well at the box office.

This Sequel: One of the most interesting things about Troll 2 is that there are no trolls in the movie. None. The movie is all about a group of vegetarian goblins who live in an isolated town and attract new prey through house swapping. The film was directed by Drake Floyd (aka Claudio Fragasso) who felt they could piggyback on the success of the first movie by using the name, even though there was absolutely no association between the two films. This is probably the most unrelated sequel out there today and it's possibly one of the worst films of all time.

So now it's time, faithful readers, for you to decide which is worse: to create a sequel that uses the same characters, the same jokes and a similar plot line or to make a sequel that is completely off the beaten path of the original.

Pick your poison!