Monthly Archives: June 2009

Documentary Summer: Word Wars


NETFLIX | PURCHASE

wordwars_smHave you ever thought to yourself “I could do this for a living” while you were playing a game of Scrabble? If you’re like most people you probably haven’t. Word Wars is an eye opening film that follows the lives of several individuals who are obsessed with the game of Scrabble. So obsessed, in fact, that some live in near poverty conditions taking part-time, low wage jobs so they have enough time to memorize lists of words that can be used in the game. These gurus have no idea what the words even mean or how to use them in a sentence, but do know they are worth points. Amazing. Grab a seat, some Scrabble tiles and get ready to watch a documentary that is sure to be a triple word score in your movie library.

About Documentary Summer: As the Summer movie box office breaks record after record (biggest opening weekend, most popcorn shoved in mouths, etc), we can’t help but feel bad for the little guy & the films that are forgotten in the multi-million dollar marketing blitz coming from Hollywood. This why we have started our ‘Documentary Summer’ feature. A hand selected group of A&SB staff members will be doing nothing but sitting on their couches throughout the hot days of the coming months, remote in hand, watching documentaries. We will be creating write-ups for the finest ones (A&SB recommended!).

Documentary Summer – King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters


NETFLIX | PURCHASE

kingofkongposter

Red Sox vs Yankees, Chevy vs Ford, Ali vs Frazier, and of course Steve Wiebe vs Billy Mitchell. Few rivalries have been as intense and stood the test of time.  King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (trailer) is like watching a voyage back in time to a place where home game consoles were non existent and the dark video game arcades reigned as kings. TKOK takes a look at the intense battle of a science teacher as he struggles to dethrone a cuthtroat hot-sauce mogul for the Guiness high score of the arcade classic Donkey Kong. Watching this movie feels like watching Rocky for the first time, a true underdog story with twists and turns sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. After watching it you might even want to start playing some old 8 bit games again.

About Documentary Summer: As the Summer movie box office breaks record after record (biggest opening weekend, most popcorn shoved in mouths, etc), we can’t help but feel bad for the little guy & the films that are forgotten in the multi-million dollar marketing blitz coming from Hollywood. This why we have started our ‘Documentary Summer’ feature. A hand selected group of A&SB staff members will be doing nothing but sitting on their couches throughout the hot days of the coming months, remote in hand, watching documentaries. We will be creating write-ups for the finest ones (A&SB recommended!).

Springsteen Wednesday: The Ghost of Tom Joad


BUY ALBUM | SPRINGSTEEN WEBSITE

The Ghost of Tom JoadThis is still one of my favorite songs and albums by Bruce. I chose to feature this one because the content is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. When I first heard this record I had long given up on the hope that Bruce would do something truly great again in my lifetime, I was proven wrong.

I’ll never forget the day I bought this record. At the time I had a job detailing cars in the dead of winter, I was broke off my ass and struggling like hell to find myself as a musician and person for that matter. From the first words to the end of the record I was captivated, inspired and moved. I felt like it spoke directly to me.

For those who are unfamiliar with the book,  Tom Joad is the main character in The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck, one of my favorite books and movies, so this song really struck a chord.

FUTURAMA IS BACK

I am here reporting live at Times Square in New York and it is pandemonium! People weeping openly in the streets, long embraces between strangers, spontaneous kissing and cheers that are ringing off the concrete pillars that surround us and echo throughout the labyrinth streets of the city. This is truly a breathtaking moment which I will never forget.

http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/06/details-on-futurama-returning-to-comedy-central-.html

Drea Smith Is My Friend


I don’t know about you, but I had a fucking amazing time in high school. We released terrible rap albums, evaded the cops (mostly), and engaged in all-American debauchery in the heart of a troubled Milwaukee neighborhood.

But the luckiest thing, I believe, will turn out to be introducing myself to Andrea Smith during the summer high school prep program. A few years later, she and a few of my buddies at Sucka Productions – the collective company under which we still produce all of our creative work – got together and recorded a few acoustic tracks of hers in what we comically called my “studio.” (We used a Logitech webcam as a microphone)

Now, Drea will be happy to know that I have destroyed the remaining copies of those recordings. (Unless they somehow become worth over $500,000 – in which case she can purchase them for a flat rate of $500,000.)But I loved her stuff than, and I love her music now, so do your ears a favor and check out He Say, She Say and Chipped Red Polish on MySpace.

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Documentary Summer: Helvetica


PURCHASE | NETFLIX | WEBSITE

helvetica-posterWe don’t want to come off as a bunch of nerds when talking about Helvetica, a documentary film by Gary Hustwit. That will be hard though, primarily because most people invision this film as a simple homage to a common typeface that you find on your computer. Don’t judge us! But we insist that you open your mind (and DVD player) up to this documentary. What we found while watching Helvetica was not just history of a font, but a wonderful commentary about typography, graphic design and visual culture. Most people go about their day to day not realizing the importance of something like ‘fonts’, nor do they realize how much thought is put into their use around them. From major corporate logos (American Airlines, Bank of America, The Gap to name a few) to subway signs in NYC, the Helvetica typeface is more of a part of your life than you may think and letting this documentary open your eyes to that is more entertaining than it sounds.

Nerdy? Yes or No? Oh and this is amazing.

About Documentary Summer: As the Summer movie box office breaks record after record (biggest opening weekend, most popcorn shoved in mouths, etc), we can’t help but feel bad for the little guy & the films that are forgotten in the multi-million dollar marketing blitz coming from Hollywood. This why we have started our ‘Documentary Summer’ feature. A hand selected group of A&SB staff members will be doing nothing but sitting on their couches throughout the hot days of the coming months, remote in hand, watching documentaries. We will be creating write-ups for the finest ones (A&SB recommended!).

DC Comics' Batman & Robin #1


Purchase | Written by Grant Morrison | Drawn by Frank Quitely

For those of you out of the loop, Bruce Wayne is dead. Long live Batman (and Robin)!

It’s an arduous task, introducing a new Dynamic Duo to the world, and the creative team of Batman & Robin # 1 pull it off masterfully.  Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne’s former protégé, is the Batman while Bruce’s son, Damian, takes up the mantle of Robin.  Gotham City hasn’t seen the Caped Crusader or the Boy Wonder in the months since the Final Crisis took Batman’s life.  They were dark times, but that’s about to change.

Morrison and Quitely show us Gotham in a state it hasn’t been in a long time: fun.  Batman and Robin (in their brand new Batmobile) chase Mr. Toad through the streets of Gotham City.  Each twist, turn and disabling missile give the villain a wild ride that can only end in his defeat.  Batman and Robin are back in town and crime is doomed.

This issue, while predominantly set-up, is how you introduce a new status quo.  Every panel of this book is flooded with detail and nuance.  Through banter, clever facial expressions and clever panel layout, Misters Morrison and Quitely communicate more about these characters and their world in 22 pages than I’ve seen since their last collaboration (All Star Superman).

The Batman’s been with us since 1939.  He died at the age of 70.  I can only hope his replacement, so long as he’s handled as ably as he’s been so far, will last as long.

Viva La Bat!