T-Town Adventures

Here are the pics from our Tacoma Adventure last weekend. I heart the King's Inn.

Pay for Play

So yesterday morning, my assistant and I interviewed the child stars of Bridge to Terabithia, Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb. They were really sweet, kind of cool kids despite the fact that AnnaSophia has a bit of that tiny 40-year-old woman vibe.

In the afternoon, I returned to find a box of DVDs on my desk that needed to be uploaded. Titles like “Japanese Oil Wrestling”, “Topless Fight Club” and “Extreme Fights Vol. 1”. Then, when I took a look at “Punk Rock Girls”, and found that instead of being a softcore rip off of the Suicide Girls, it's actually just girls eating each other out for an hour, I had to talk to my boss to find out if I was still supposed to put the title up on the site. This is the kind of work day I could never have imagined back when I worked in finance, helping rich curmudgeons get richer. Some days, my job is sort of a dream come true. Even if it's a dream I didn't know I had.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

Brugos and I met The Gang Which Has So Many Members It Desperately Needs an All Encompassing Nickname at the Big Time Brewery for some drinks before we went to our respective movies. They were going to see Day Watch at SIFF. I'd seen Night Watch and mostly enjoyed it, but Brugos hadn't seen it, so we instead elected to see Knocked Up.

But first, we made use of the incredibly wonky shuffleboard table at Big Time. That thing is filled with dips and dents and slants left. Also, someone went a little crazy with the wax. The board is surrounded by a big white mote of wax beads in which pucks can be easily lost. I started in on the house wine. The Day Watch crew left to get in line and Brugos and I played one more game of wonky shuffleboard before heading off to our movie. We stopped at Safeway on the way to get some mini wine bottles for the movie. We arrived at the Metro nice and early which was good because it turned out the movie wasn't AT the Metro, but at the Guild. Luckily, the Guild was only about half a mile away. We made it just in time.

We both loved Knocked Up. See my review below! After the movie, we stopped briefly at Al's to play some Medieval Madness. We realised we were a little too drunk to be any good. We learned that some of the Day Watch party were at The College Inn, so we headed down there in time for last call.

SATURDAY

So since I'm no longer a poor college student, I REALLY need to stop drinking the cheap wine. I can afford the nicer stuff and I know my body would appreciate it. But at least my hangovers are keeping me on my toes. On this particular morning, I was not nauseous or throwing up. Instead, I was incredibly dizzy and felt like I could topple over at any moment. I helped Brugos steer the car out of the garage so that AAA could finally come and tow it to the mechanic, and then I somehow cooked a breakfast and lay down on the couch. AAA was able to jump start the car so that Brugos could actually DRIVE to the mechanic. This was good news but it also made both of us kind of angry because months ago when the car died at 2am on a Tuesday outside Clever Dunne's, ALL we wanted the mechanic to do was to try and jump the car but he wouldn't do it. He said he knew it was the distributor cap and that jumping it wouldn't work. So we had to wait for a tow. We got home so late that night. But apparently, a jump WOULD HAVE WORKED FINE. What a dick.

Anyway, by the time Brugos got back from the mechanic, I had gone upstairs and, I guess LITERALLY passed out. Ordinarily, I am a very light sleeper. I should have heard Brugos come home. I should have heard him come up the stairs to check on me. I DEFINITELY should have felt him poke me. I was unaware of any of this. I woke up on my own and went downstairs for water and was completely surprised to find him home. But I did feel infinitely better, which was good because we had a big day ahead of us.

Last year, we'd gone Urban Golfing around Capitol Hill. This year, the party was in Georgetown. We had a nice big team assembled and, best of all, we had RAD costumes. Brugos had the idea that we should dress up like the Hi-Hats, the mime gang from The Warriors. It was a pretty simple costume. Red shirts with stripey sleeves, black pants, black hats,, suspenders and mime makeup. We did the sleeve stripes with gaffer tape. I did a stylized girl version of the costume with a black skirt and a cute, girly hat. We got our makeup on at Erik and Fi's. We all looked awesome.

The Urban Golf is rain or shine. Last year it was a bright, sunny day. This time, it was drizzling. It wasn't too bad though. Georgetown is a really cool area. I wish it weren't so far off the beaten path because it would be great to hang out there more. It's very industrial and there's arty junk around every corner. There are also some train tracks which ended up being the downfall of Urban Golf.

All the Urban Golfers got a lot of attention at every bar. In Capitol Hill, people dressed in costumes is (no pun intended) par for the course, but in Georgetown, you've got a lot of working men who definitely look at you funny. They seemed entertained by us though. And us mime's got the most attention. Though toward the end of the day, I was kind of tired of people miming AT us.

My favorite hole was at a park. The hole was inside the empty kiddie pool. After I sank my putt, I made a bee-line for the giant jungle gym with the awesome slide. Others followed. The jungle gym also had a zip line on it which was a lot of fun to use. The funniest part about the park was that it appeared that not too long ago, someone had a major hamburger bun fight. There were buns all over the ground.

The flaw in the Urban Golf course they'd created was that we kept having to play near the train tracks. The working train tracks. The train operators didn't like this one bit. They called the cops. We moved holes. They called the cops again. By the 7th hole, we were told that we weren't allowed to play the 9th because it was too close to the tracks. We ended our night at Stellar Pizza, eating some dinner and playing in the photo booth. We also ran into Carly and Scot who were, naturally, surprised to see us in our costumes.

After the golf, Erik was nice enough to drop me, Brugos and Darsh off at the Brunswick Towers for some poker. Darsh was fresh from having TWO Irish Car Bombs IN A ROW at the bar next to the car. We'd only gone in to use the bathroom.

We played two games and I won a little money in the second one! My poker skills are definitely improving. I win a little bit most every time I play now. I'm ready for Vegas!

Brugos, Darsh and I got a cab back to the U-District and called it a rather early night. It was only about midnight when we got home. Of course, we'd been drinking for 10 hours…

SUNDAY

Cleaning day! After which Brugos and I watched My Super Ex-Girlfriend. We still aren't sure if it's a good movie or not. It MIGHT be a farce. Or it might be an awful film. Either way, we laughed a lot.

Want to see pics of us dressed as Hi-Hats rampaging around Georgetown? Sure you do!

Movie Review: Knocked Up

“Knocked Up” is the next film from the creators of the sleeper hit, “The Forty-Year-Old Virgin”. Most of the same team is there including Writer/Director Judd Apatow, and improv geniuses, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. This time, there is no Steve Carell to steal the show. And, that, I think, is what makes “Knocked Up” a superior movie. Steve Carell is just too big. Especially now whatwith the “The Offices” and “Evan Almightys”. So even though he does always play the (mostly) lovable loser, he's just not as relatable as a Seth Rogen.

I have been wanting to see Seth Rogen in a lead role since he played one of my favorite characters on the short-lived but absolutely brilliant TV show, “Freaks and Geeks”. He wasn't improvising so much then, but he was only a kid. Now he has definitely blossomed into his own glorious comedic flower.

In “Knocked Up”, Rogen plays Ben, an underachieving stoner who is coasting through life thinking about nothing but himself. Everything changes when he, with the aid of alcohol, manages to score a one night stand with a beautiful, successful woman named Allison (Katherine Heigl). Alcohol also contributes to the titular state in which Allison finds herself 8 weeks later. She decides to keep the baby and, because he's a good person, he decides to raise the baby with her.

Rogen is ably backed by Paul Rudd who, on screen, can do NO WRONG. This time Rudd plays Pete, Allison's brother-in-law who is going through a bit of a rough patch emotionally. Rudd and Rogen could be much funnier versions of people I hang out with every day. The script is heartfelt, hilarious and, because it's about having a baby, TERRIFYING.

The script also does a fantastic job of balancing the male and female sides of dating, relationships and accidentally growing up. In most movies that attempt to show the female side, the women are shoe-obsessed bags of shallowness or else they are cute but completely insane. In contrast, the women in Knocked Up are completely realistic and actually pretty cool. Sure, Allison's sister, Debbie, can be a little crazy at times, but Leslie Mann (Apatow's real life wife and mother of his children) plays Debbie sympathetically as an otherwise level-headed woman who just didn't realize what having kids was going to do to her life. Allison might be smoking hot and working for the E! network, but she's still a down-to-earth, normal girl who's willing to try and work it out with her baby-daddy. She knows that deep down, he's a good person who just needs a kick in the pants to be a great father. I've read that Heigl beat out actresses like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Hathaway and Lindsay Lohan for the role of Allison. And thank God. It would have been a completely different film. Much more traditional Rom Com and far too Hollywood. The reason I don't like most Rom Coms are because I just don't know people like Lindsay Lohan. I'm not a Jennifer Love Hewitt. I could kick it with a Katherine Heigl.

Of course, the character in the move I most relate to isn't a woman. The thing that really struck a chord with me while watching this movie is the fact that I saw more of myself in Ben and his lifestyle than in Allison. Think about that when you watch this movie. What if BEN were the one who got knocked up. Yikes.

“Knocked Up” is one of those rare comedies that goes deeper than just getting from point A to point B. It's about how real people (who are, granted, funnier than you) deal with life not turning out the way they'd planned. And that's something that EVERYONE can relate to.

SIFF Film Review: The Future is Unwritten

It must be incredibly difficult to make a documentary about your friend. Especially if your friend died reasonably young and happened to be one of the Founding Fathers of a musical movement. Julien Temple’s “Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten” is remarkably objective and concise for being a touching tribute to such an important man. However, it still, perhaps unavoidably so, falls into the trappings of a documentary made by a friend. It's just too long. The good news is that is my ONLY criticism of this film. Everything else is just nitpicking. The film covers Joe Strummer's entire life from his childhood with his brother and his foray at boarding school to dealing with his brother's suicide and how that contributed to the man he became. It covers the quiet period between the end of the Clash and the beginning of The Mescaleros that has previously been a bit of a mystery. It ends, of course, with Strummer's untimely death and implicates the full extent of why this was a tragedy. The man simply had so much more to do.

The Clash is absolutely my favorite band. They are also one of the most documented bands and definitely the most documented founding punk band besides, perhaps, The Ramones. It wasn't as easy back then to just carry a camera around with you so it must have been pretty clear to everyone that Joe Strummer was a big deal. What he was doing was important and needed to be filmed. Much of this footage must have been filmed by Temple himself because I have seen every Clash documentary I can get my hands on and I only recognized a handful of the shots in this movie. The only narration is from the man himself, taken primarily from a radio broadcast he recorded. The film is filled with interviews from the people who were close to him, most of which were shot around a roaring camp fire in several cities. The way the interviews were shot, with the people who loved Joe gathered together around a warm campfire, really illustrates how much of an influence he really had on everyone who he touched. This is evident even before you learn that the campfires are a tribute to an ongoing event that Joe had organized himself.

Temple also ignored another documentary film staple. Titling his interviewees with their names. You either recognize an interviewee (the most recognizable of whom is Bono) or you learn who they are through the stories they are telling. If you never learn who they are (the Sex Pistol's Steve Jones is quite a bit more bloated than his skinny young counterpart), it doesn't really matter. The film isn't about them. It's about Joe. His story has been told before and will, thankfully, be told again. But Julien Temple's telling of it is perfect.

SIFF Film Review: The Ten

“The Ten” is written by the same team responsible for one of my favorite comedies of all time, “Wet Hot American Summer”. You might also know these folks from an old MTV sketch comedy show called “The State”. Some of the alumni went on to make “Reno 911” and another sort of surrealistic comedy troupe called “Stella”. I think all of these projects are brilliant (save the short-lived “Stella” TV series that was a bit of a disaster). So I was half ecstatic, half worried to see “The Ten”. Would it be the filthy surrealistic humor that I love from David Wain and Ken Marino, or would it be the flaccid failure that was the “Stella” TV show?

I was overjoyed to learn that it's the former. “The Ten” is glorious. It's very difficult to make a sketch film. Not even all the “Monty Python” movies are great. There are bound to be some weak moments, as with most film, but they will become more apparent when the moments are entire concepts for a scene. Wain and Marino were smart to start with such a strong theme: Take the 10 Commandments and write 10 scenarios in which each commandment is grossly broken. Hilarity doth ensue.

It's true, there ARE still weak moments. But they only serve to introduce characters who will go on to be a part of a really strong moment. Our narrator is the ALWAYS enjoyable Paul Rudd. (And I do mean ALWAYS. I haven't watched “The Object of My Affection” at least 5 times on Lifetime because I'm a big Jennifer Aniston RomCom fan.) Rudd introduces each story after furthering his own plot as man who is in the midst of breaking the commandment about adultery. His jilted wife is played by the tremendous Famke Jansen (Jean Grey!) who can make the phrase “There's something you're not telling me about the pec juice” uproariously funny. Trust me, it makes sense in the context of the scene. Sort of.

The film is actually filled with usually dramatic actors being absolutely hilarious. Liev Schreiber plays a man obsessed with competing with his neighbor…by buying the most CAT scan machines…with tragic results. Winona Ryder plays a woman who has a steamy affair with a ventriloquist's dummy….with tragic results! Of course, all this tragedy is actually hilarious because they are spot-on parodies of dramatic film conventions. And now that I think about it, the less you know about this film, the better. This film scored a distribution deal at Sundance, but whether that means it will be coming to a theatre near you or a streaming video website near you, I'm not sure. All I know is that “The Ten” is destined to be a comedy classic a la “The Meaning of Life” and “Kentucky Fried Movie”.

SIFF Film Review: Death at a Funeral

One of the millions of reasons I love living in Seattle, and one of the main reasons I moved here in the first place (11 years ago!) was because of the independent film scene. It used to be that the Seattle International Film Festival contributed a great deal to this scene by bringing small independent films that might not otherwise be seen on a big screen or, perhaps even make it to DVD to a theatre near you. (If you live in Seattle, of course). Unfortunately, over the years, SIFF has fallen prey to the same trappings that other big film festivals like Sundance and Cannes have. Thousands of hopeful filmmakers scrounge for $50 + postage and submit their small films to these festivals hoping to be discovered, not realizing that before a call for submissions even goes out, half the festival has already been programmed with sure-thing films. Those films have name stars or directors and often ALREADY HAVE DISTRIBUTION BY THE TIME THE FESTIVAL ROLES AROUND. These people do not need help. But, as is the Hollywood way, they get it anyway. I hate being so jaded, so I go to SIFF anyway. I wait in line to see a movie by Frank Oz. Of course, I like Frank Oz. He's YODA, for Jeebus' Sake! He also directed the film of my favorite musical of all time, Little Shop of Horrors. (I would like to say that this is the ONE film that is based on a musical based on a film that actually worked out OK and I hate that it is probably responsible for why that godawful Hairspray adaptation/remake is about to happen. But I digress…)

Death at a Funeral is Frank Oz's latest film. It has the formula for being great. British actors, or actors pretending to be British, dark comedy about death and funerals with drug references and Peter Dinklage. Sadly, I found it falls a little flat. The jokes are surprisingly cliche for a film about funeral mishaps. Also, my enjoyment of the film was impacted by the EXTREMELY overeager audience who, aware that Mr. Oz was in attendance, SCREAM laughed at every single joke. You think I exaggerate? I assure you that this is not hyperbole. The man next to me was shrieking as if his life depended on making sure Frank Oz knew he LOVED the film. The experience was both physically and emotionally painful.

There were good points about the film. The aforementioned Dinklage is always fantastic. Likewise with Alan Tudyk (he with the decent fake British accent and expressive face). In fact, the entire cast was pretty spot on. I just wish they'd been given something a little edgier to do with their talent. In the end, it felt like my boyfriend and I were actually attending movie night at the retirement home. For a movie with profanity and references to hallucinogenics and gay sex, the whole affair felt pretty tame. But at least now I know what DVD to get my grandmother for Christmas.