Monday, December 20, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Merry Fucking Christmas

OK, I realize that if this were a normal week House would have started already, and I said I'd post the non-House clips in the hour leading up to a new episode. But, thank Jesus, it's a Christmas miracle. House is on hiatus so tonight is just a rerun. So nuts to you. It's not like your reading this anyway.

To celebrate the season, I'm fast-forwarding this week's post to the year 2008 for Laurie's hosting of Saturday Night Live. But I must warn you, if you're anything like me then you will want to skip the cold opening by Gilly, a character so bad that it makes me long for the days of "It's Pat." Actually, scratch that. "It's Pat" still sucks ass. Anyway, skip to 0:15 to avoid the colon tumor that is Gilly.

I have to admit, this skit really shouldn't be funny. It's one of those one-note skits that SNL is infamous for (I love Keenan Thompson, but "What Up With That" is NOT FUNNY!). But I think I like it because it would be fun to have a Christmas dinner like that. Granted, I'm sure plenty of families do have a Christmas dinner like that and they would probably say it's not a good time. But what if you just planned a dinner where the whole point was to yell at each other and treat each other like shit. Then after about an hour you can go back to at least pretending to being nice to one another. I don't know, am I the only one who thinks that would be a blast?

Well, with Christmas coming up this will most likely be my last post until next week so have a fantastic Christhanukwaanza, and I'll leave you with a bonus clip: some unexplainable montage of Hugh Laurie pictures set to a piano instrumental of "Silent Night."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Take The Edge Off With The Greatest Kick To The Head I've Ever Seen

While I don't talk about it much on here, I'm pretty much addicted to mixed martial arts. I suppose that makes sense, since I use this blog as a forum to bitch about the things I don't like. But I saw a clip this week that I feel should be seen by as many people as possible. Therefore, I'm dusting off the "Take The Edge Off" post so that I can share this with anyone who may not be familiar with MMA and have not seen it. And if you are one of those people who still think that MMA is nothing more than "human cockfighting," well you are just wrong and I'm not in the mood to try and explain why.

First, you should know that the following clip comes from the final airing of a company known as World Extreme Cagefighting. Lame titles aside, it's been known as one of the few organizations to make the guys over at Ultimate Fighting Championships turn their heads. In fact, the owners of the UFC bought WEC, and used it as a forum for the smaller weight classes to show their stuff. The UFC recently decided to merge those weight classes into its own organization, so the fighters will have a home but there will no longer be a WEC.

Well, the final fight that the WEC broadcast this past Thursday is making waves as a potential fight of the year. Lightweight fighters Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis put together a 25 minute epic fight, probably because they both knew that a win meant better job security going into the merger. I do have to admit, because the fight aired on Versus and I'm too poor to buy that TV package, I didn't get to see the whole fight. But we can all take a look at the move that probably earned Pettis a decision victory over Henderson.

I'm pretty sure I could watch that kick five times a day for the rest of my life and it would never, ever get old. It's just got everything. It's flashy. It's unexpected. It snaps Henderson's head back like a whip. The only thing I can't believe is that Henderson wasn't knocked out by that kick. That man must be a cyborg, because I'm fairly certain a kick like that would have made me cry. Not just tears in my eyes, either. I'm talking full-blown wailing in the middle of the cage. I wouldn't have cared who saw me.

I'd say the only disappointing thing about the kick is that Pettis gave it the rather weak name of the "Showtime Kick." I mean, I guess it's not a terrible name, but that kick deserves better than "not terrible." I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Deathfoot" or "The Decapitanator." Something with a capitalized "The" in front of it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. If not, watch it again because you must be doing it wrong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: The Legends Of Treasure Island

I remember when I first started looking into Hugh Laurie's back catalog, I found that this guy had some really impressive range. Originally seeing him in House, I didn't even realize that Laurie is English. He can really lose himself in a role, be it a crotchety but brilliant doctor, or a goofball Prince of England.

Which is why I find it so surprising that he spent most of his early career being typecast. Case in point: The Legends of Treasure Island. To this point, it seems as though most of Laurie's work has been as an ignorant, but well meaning aristocrat. But in 1993, however, the creators of Legends introduce Laurie to new territory as a voice actor. And how do the creators of the show exploit this new medium for Laurie? By making him an ignorant but well meaning aristocrat...and a bird.

If you take a look at this week's clip (starting at around 7:35) you'll see what I mean. The good news is that if you find yourself entranced by the whimsy of this animated tale, you're in luck because it's one of those shows that nobody gives a rat's ass about so YouTube has complete episodes posted. I, however, will just assume that the show ends with them finding treasure on an island of some kind.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grumpy Movie Review: The Warrior's Way

That was just fantastic. I literally got through the door about 5 minutes ago after seeing The Warrior's Way and I feel obligated to proclaim it's glory. This movie just stamped a smile on my face that may not go away until 2011.

Now, I have to make a confession. I love movies. But they don't have to be great movies. In some cases, I'd prefer they weren't great movies. There Will Be Blood, for example, is supposed to be a great movie. I could barely get through it. Yes, yes, I get it. A man's greed and ambition will leave him empty and joyless. And then he'll kill a skinny preacher with a bowling pin. I still don't get why I had to waste two hours of my day watching it.

If I'm going to waste two hours, I'd much rather it be by watching The Warrior's Way. Subtlety? Who needs it. Character development? Kiss my ass. Plot? Ha. Let me sum up the plot for you. An assassin (played by Korean star Dong-jun Jang) refuses to kill the last remaining member of his enemy clan because she is only an infant. His clan then starts to hunt him down, and he escapes to a small town in the U.S.'s Old West where he befriends a girl (Kate Bosworth) who's looking for revenge against an evil colonel (Danny Huston). The assassin and the girl fall in love, and then a whole bunch of people get shot/cut to ribbons with swords.

If you think I've spoiled the ending for you, then you're an idiot and I'd like for you to be on your way. Of course a lot of people are going to die. This is exploitative trash, and that's why I love it. Everyone knows exactly what's going to happen, but that doesn't make it any less awesome when a faceless ninja dives through machine gun fire to slice off the arms of its user, causing said machine gun to fall on the ground and spray fire at random asshole cowboys.

And by the way, when I mentioned the love story between Dong-jun and Bosworth, I basically mean sword training montages interspersed with lingering looks and I think maybe one kiss. Just enough to show the audience that this guy has something to fight for now. We wouldn't want him to just go around cutting off heads for no reason. We're not mindless animals here, folks.

Plus, I'd be remiss if I forgot about the appearance of one Mr. Stephen "Captain Barbosa" Fry. This has got to be the absolute ugliest man I've ever laid eyes on. But he's still more man that I could ever hope to be, and this movie is no exception. In fact, if I have one complaint about the movie, it's that there wasn't enough Stephen Fry. That, and through the whole movie he never said "Damn! Ninjas." Come on, guys. When you basically center your previews on a phrase like that, it should pay off in the actual movie.

Other than that, however, there isn't anything bad in this movie for me to complain about. That's because it's all supposed to be bad. And it is. It's a terrible movie. But like I said, it put a big smile on my face. And in the end that's all I ask. Bravo to Rogue Pictures for being willing to distribute such delightful schlock. I look forward to their upcoming opus, Season of the Witch. It's got Nicolas Cage in it. I don't think I really need to explain myself any further.

Grade: A

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's "Caffè". Not "Coffee". Stupid American.

Editor's Note: Ha! I called myself the editor...I'm awesome. Anyway, we have our very first guest post today, courtesy of the little woman. I promised this was coming a couple of weeks ago, but she didn't get around to writing it for the crappy excuse of having an actual life to lead. Oh well. Enjoy some estrogen-laced ranting!

So, as all two of you know, the Grump and I were lucky enough to travel to Florence (Italy not New Jersey) for our honeymoon. It was an amazing trip and I'm sure you guys have kept up with the hub's posts concerning our awesome time there. While most of the things that the Grump saw as major enjoyment roadblocks (like not knowing the language...oh, wah) I simply ignored as I most likely had a glass of chianti in hand at the time. However, as a coffee drinker, my honeymoon buzz was nearly disrupted by the lack of a decent cup of joe anywhere in the country.

I started drinking coffee in college, mostly just to get going for my 10:00 a.m. classes. God, I miss college. Anyway, I was introduced to coffee through the roach trucks on campus.


This is coffee that had been brewing for about three days before the cup was shoved into your hand by Vlad, who may or may not be a convicted felon in the old country. Zombie-like, you totter the first few feet towards your class while taking your first tongue scalding sip. What happens internally is only what I can describe as a Van Damme kick to your frontal cortex, tongue and vital organs. Externally, for me anyway, it looks and sounds something like this:

Needlessly to say, I reached the point where this kung fu showdown with my early morning brain function is something that I now require to start off my day. So, imagine my surprise when I asked for a coffee in Italy and the waiter plunked this down in front of me:

"I feel like I'm gonna break this damned thing."

I know what you guys are thinking. "Mrs.Grump, (because you guys are polite) that appears to be an espresso. Coffee-zilla. Even for an addict like yourself, it should be more than sufficient to satisfy your coffee jones." Well, Grumpites, it's not. I like to enjoy my caffeine buzz. Savor it, if you will. And I just can't do that when there's only a quarter of an inch of metallic tasting liquid with an entire pack of sugar thrown in.

Puzzled, I consulted my trusty Frommer's. Skipping past the potential set up they give you for being roofied by someone named Gio the second you step into a bar, "caffè" is listed as the Italian word for coffee....and espresso. Seriously? So a couple of days and almost one full espresso cup later, I overhear a table of French tourists ordering a "caffè americano". I know, right? The last group you would think would order anything "americano". So I give that a whirl and I'm given a cup of something that was quite obviously espresso watered down with the spit of the cafe waiters. Ugh. Good thing it's socially acceptable to order wine at eleven in the morning on a Tuesday here, otherwise there would be dead bodies littering the piazza.

So to bring this rambling post to a conclusion, my coffee confusion was cleared up about a month later when I stumbled upon this post by The Oatmeal, who I absolutely love and am also a little afraid of. While I don't agree with his assessment of the whole Italian/American coffee situation (Espresso with or without water blows goats either way in the categories of taste and strength), I'd recommend reading it before you venture off into the land of Italy. Or just have a backup cup of diner coffee waiting for you like I did when you land.

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Jeeves and Wooster

After last week's tangent that had little to nothing to do with Hugh Laurie, I'll try and stay on point as we take a look at Jeeves and Wooster, a.k.a. A Bit of Fry and Laurie, 1930s Style. For those of you who read more than I do (don't be too impressed with yourselves) you might know Jeeves and Wooster as characters from the short stories of P.G. Wodehouse. The series was adapted for TV by Clive Exton, whose prior work includes the epic period piece Red Sonja.

And the Oscar never, ever goes to...

One thing that I have to share with you from the show is the opening sequence. You'll see that Hugh Laurie is nowhere to be found, but you'll also find that the theme song will be stuck in your head for a better part of the day.

As the following clip will show, there isn't a whole lot about Jeeves and Wooster that will surprise you if you're already familiar with the work of Fry and Laurie, aside from the fact that Fry plays the straight man a bit more than in the past. Laurie, as usual, is a buffoon, and similar to his turn as Prince George he's even dumber for not realizing that he's a buffoon. The humor is a bit more low-key here, and to be honest a little of this show goes a long way for me, but it's still worth a look.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Christmas Shoes: Proof That God Either Doesn't Exist Or Really Enjoys Screwing With Us From Time To Time

I need to make a correction from Monday's post. In my ranting about the insufferable nature of patriotic pop music, I incorrectly named "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (Angry American)" as the worst thing ever written. This is a grave error. It is by no means the worst thing ever written, and I apologize for making such a statement.

After all, how can "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" possibly be the worst song in a world where this exists...

Now, it may surprise you to know that I actually like Christmas music. I even look forward to when the local douche bag top 40 station goes to all Christmas music after Thanksgiving. It gives me time to forget that I'm a cynical asshole for a few minutes on my ride home from work. That's why I get extra fucking pissed when I hear these idiots from Newsong spew this shallow, bullshit bowl of nothing.

I mean, come on. Shoes? Fucking shoes? Of all the things that you could have come up with to shamelessly tug on the old heartstrings you're giving me footwear? And don't give me any kind of weak crap about how it's meant to convey the simple innocence of a child trying to show his love the only way he knows how. If I'm dying of the unnamed disease that is apparently killing the mom in this song, my kid had better not come at me with a pair of goddamn shoes unless he wants me to smother him with the pillow from my hospital bed.

And I'd also like to know what kind of values this family has instilled in this kid, where he thinks that Jesus really gives a shit what his mom's wearing on her feet when she buys it. As if Joan Rivers is going to be waiting in the tunnel of light to bust her chops if she's not wearing Manolos.
"Oh! Can we talk about that hospital gown? It's so assisted living! But that could be forgiven if her brat of a son would have bought her some decent shoes!"


And what the hell is Rob Lowe doing in the shitty TV movie based off this shitty song? I didn't even find that out until today. This man is Sam Seaborn! He was a senior aide to the president of the United States of America, and he deserves better than that!

God, now I've gone and gotten myself depressed in this season of love and family. Thanks a lot Newsong. I hope your exploitation of empty sentimentalism makes you feel really good about yourselves. It's thrilling to know that you're likely richer than I'll ever hope to be. Merry Christmas, trouser stains.