Today started like any other day as I crawled out of bed, had some Frosted Flakes, and got on my laptop to check out the same web sites I go to all the time. Over an hour later and I can’t remember how I stumbled over it, but there is apparently a Naked Gun 4 in the works. Even though Leslie Nielsen is over 80-years-old. Even though O.J. Simpson is serving time in Lovelock, Nevada. Even though the last movie in the (best) series (ever) came in 1994.
Dear Hollywood, please do not mess up my favorite film series (and three of my favorite movies ever). I want to go to a theater in late 2010 with my dad and brother and laugh as hysterically as I have the other 20 times I’ve watched each movie. I want more lines like these:
“It’s fourth and fifteen and you’re looking at a full court press.”
“It’s a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don’t amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans!”
“That’s the red light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there.”
“Uh, no, not right now, Ed.”
“This is Frank Drebin, Police Squad. Throw down your guns, and come on out with your hands up. Or come on out, then throw down your guns, whichever way you wanna do it. Just remember the two key elements here: one, guns to be thrown down; two, come on out!”
“Dyslexia for cure found.”
“With a mustache, about 6-foot-3.”
“Awfully big mustache.”
Hollywood, I can forgive you for every sequel I’ve paid 10 dollars to see that has been awful — as long as this is done right. Please don’t mess this up.
Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures
86 minutes/Rated R
It was 5 am and I was still awake. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” had pundits arguing about nonsense when I finally thought, “I never should have seen that movie.” It was the first time in my life I’d thought that about a movie that was actually pretty close to cinematic genius. “Paranormal Activity,” despite the numerous comparisons, is easily better than “The Blair Witch Project.” And for the first time since being a kid, I was scared in a movie theater. Edge of my seat, emotionally frightened.
As the crowd braced themselves during the previews, it was obvious this wasn’t going to be another Hollywood torture porn film (“Saw 16” coming October 2019). It opens with a young couple investing in some video camera gear, which ends up filming the couple every night as they try to sleep. Eventually, the demon haunting Katie makes loud noises, crawls into bed with the unsuspecting couple, and takes over Katie’s body. It’s all much more mind-blowing on the screen than in text (meaning don’t just read the Wikipedia summary, wusses).
And then, with everyone in the theater truly testing just how well their deodorant works, the screen goes black, leaving everyone to finally catch their breath. Except the four people I saw leave during the film. All of it goes down in a mere hour and a half. With just $11,000, director and writer Oren Peli made a truly scary movie for those who don’t get scared. Thanks, I guess.
Death Cab for Cutie
Meet Me on the Equinox (Single)
Just six months ago I got to see the little-band-that-could in a special WWU students show in their hometown of Bellingham (with opener and one of my favorites, Ra Ra Riot). As I stood in the second row it was easy to see the passion Ben Gibbard and company put into every song and every performance. The band played plenty from their first couple albums (with references to Railroad and Holly getting huge applause) and from their breakthrough albums “Transatlanticism“ and “Plans.” Only songs from their most recent album, “Narrow Stairs,” came off as a bit underwhelming (although “Cath” was spectacular). So after this year’s “The Open Door EP” (catchy, very “Narrow Stairs”), I was hoping the band might sit back for a little while and get back to their old ways in a year or two. Then it was announced the lead single for the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack would be by Death Cab. Sigh, right? Most fans were more than a little disappointed by the news that they’d have to listen to a Death Cab song and think of Robert Pattinson. But, if you can separate the song from the movie (or if you can’t and you’re a Twilight fan), “Meet Me on the Equinox” is a worthwhile addition to the band’s collection. Almost immediately Gibbard’s echoed vocals come in, with the big lyrical moment being “everything, everything ends.” The breakdown mentions an “open door” for the third time in a Death Cab song in the last year. It doesn’t feel very deep and it’s far from the band’s best moment. But in the end, it’s a Death Cab for Cutie song, which makes it worth a few listens. Until the next album, I’ll be content on wondering why nobody has changed the name of that darn glove compartment.
This brought back some great memories! Here’s the finished product… da da da da da da…
Forget and Not Slow Down
Mono Vs Stereo/Jive
After 2008’s double-EP cleverly titled (sort of) “The Birds and the Bee Sides,” every Relient K fan out there knew it wouldn’t be long until a new full-length album. “Forget and Not Slow Down” arrives following the somewhat Christian rock-pop-punk-whatever group’s most successful two albums. 2004’s “Mmhmm” reached 15 on the charts and went gold while 2007’s “Five Score and Seven Years Ago” reached a surprising number six. As with those two albums, there aren’t any vintage Relient K pop culture songs here. Instead, they release their most complete, mature album to date.
Complete with intros and outros to several songs, the whole thing clocks in around 45 minutes. The first two of the bunch, “Forget and Not Slow Down” and “I Don’t Need a Soul,” are the best two tracks the band has produced since “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” from five long years ago. I got to hear both these songs during their show with The Classic Crime and Owl City in Seattle earlier this year and they come off as well on the album as they did live (that’s a compliment). “Candlelight” is memorable in that Matt Thiessen manages to get “moths” into his lyrics in the most happy-sounding tune here. It’s followed by a little, peaceful outro before “Part of It” kicks in.
And it becomes obvious that this album is most certainly about Thiessen and his ex-fiancé (they split after he cheated on her). He sings, “When a nightmare finally does unfold/perspective is a lovely hand to hold,” before again going into another outro that calms the mood down and lasts a minute too long. “Therapy” is by far the most Christian this album gets (“cause you won’t hear me out and that makes God the only one left here listening/to me”). It’s a nice track and undoubtedly the lead single for Christian radio stations across the nation. “Over It” is a forgettable sing-a-long (“over it/yeah I’m finding out I’m just over it”).
Then the second half of the album begins to pick up, starting with “Sahara,” a fast-paced, guitar pop-rock, standard (that’s a good thing) Relient K track. Then a dull intro leads into the most interesting song the band has made in a long time, “Savannah.” For some it will be a great Jason Mraz tune and for others it’s going to come off as the worst song on the record. With an outro it all adds up to six minutes of waiting for the best closing to a Relient K album ever. “If You Believe Me” rivals the opening two tracks of the album with some memorable piano added in for good measure.
Closers “This Is the End” and “(If You Want It)” are actually one brilliant song. Thiessen concludes with just his vocals and accompanying piano – “I met the devil and I stared into her eyes/Her hair had scales like silver serpents high as statues, stood there/mesmerized.” And coming full circle, Thiessen, as the title suggests, moves on – “Nourished back to life by life alone/With one shake of the mane regain the throne.” Whether you take the Christian meaning in it (Chronicles of Narnia?) or not, it’s hauntingly beautiful. And it’s a reminder that the toughest parts of life can be turned into great music.
7/10 (the Amazon mp3 version includes the song “Terminals,” produced by Owl City)