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Archive for ‘Greatest Hits’

The Faith Project: Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

September 17, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Jeffrey:

Wait ... there was another dude in GnR who wore a top hat? And when have you ever seen Axl wear a gay turquoise biker cap?

I never had a metal phase. Well, that’s not entirely true: I had a brief flirtation with best-forgotten hair metal bands like White Lion and Kingdom Come in the ’80s, but in my defense I only listened to them because I wanted my older sister to think I was cool. (Didn’t work.) But the real metal bands, your Metallicas, your Iron Maidens, your Slayers … I never felt pulled to those bands as a way of working out my adolescent male angst. Instead, I went straight from pop to the Sex Pistols and Ramones, and from then on my tastes were pretty well focused on punk and what was once called “college rock.” I guess I’ve always preferred the scariness of shitty recordings and bad singing to the scariness of wicked guitar solos and evil lyrics.

So then, what to make of my 23-year (gulp) love affair with Appetite for Destruction? If I don’t particularly feel drawn to metal, what is it about this record that still keeps me enthralled every time I hear it?

Well, for starters, where does Appetite even fit in the rock music spectrum? Is it hair metal? Metal metal? Glam? Hard rock? Dirty blues? Punk? Pop? In truth, it’s a little of everything, and that’s what makes it such a fascinating record 23 (stop saying that!) years after its release. (more…)

The Faith Project: Tone Loc – Loc-ed After Dark

July 29, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Music, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Matt:

Let’s do it.

You know those words. You remember those words. You don’t even have to hear the beat—one of the most immediately recognizable beats of all time—to know what comes next. Not one of you leaning on the carpeted benches at the roller rink didn’t scramble out there when “Wild Thing” came on, I guarantee it.

Yes! Hip hop is back to par-tay! We got pretty worried during those couple of years between Licensed to Ill and Straight Outta Compton. Don’t get me wrong, we ate up N.W.A., too—god did we laugh at all the swearing!—but when Tone-Loc hit the scene it was suddenly like, okay maybe I can play this guy for my mom. Yeah, it’s probably too raunchy for her but it’s on the radio and check it out, he’s a rappin’ Robert Palmer in his video! And Spuds McKenzie!

Tone-Loc brought hip hop to all the white kids who hadn’t yet discovered hip hop through Run-D.M.C. Sure, the Beastie Boys stormed suburbia with “Fight for Your Right” three years earlier, but that song was really more garage rock and besides, they were a bunch of Jewish kids from New York. Tone-Loc was a black guy from LA—home to Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Ice-T, Dr. Dre, the hardcore tough dudes—and all Loc wanted to do was drink potions that made him sexy to girls. He didn’t want to shoot nobody! (more…)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: The Big Lebowski

July 28, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

movie-challenge-header

According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their ongoing feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Mike:

Most of the time, I couldn’t care less about sitting outside of pop culture obsessions. I have no more desire to understand the appeal of Twilight or Lady Gaga or “American Idol” or sports than I care to understand the appeal of sticking a chopstick in ones peehole. But there are a few beloved pop items that really irk me because I don’t get them. One is Some Like It Hot, which has so much going for it—Billy Wilder and Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe and a reputation as the greatest comedy ever made—but never fails to bore me. Another is The Big Lebowski.

The Big Lebowski (1998) stars Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, aka: The Dude, a middle-aged hippie stoner who wants nothing more than to bowl with his crazy Vietnam Vet buddy Walter (John Goodman) but gets caught up in a scheme to deliver ransom money to the kidnappers of the wife (Tara Reid) of a millionaire (David Huddleston), also named Jeffrey Lebowski. Being that this is a movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, greed inevitably fouls the plan when Walter decides that he and The Dude should keep the ransom money for themselves. (more…)

My Feelings on Comic-Con Are Quite Interesting

July 23, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, Greatest Hits

"Those sure are some smart-looking clothings, fellows. We are certain to be comfortable for the next 4 hours as we wait in line to see an extended cut of the trailer for Jonah Hex 2."

I sure don’t get the excitement about this whole Comic-Con thing. It sounds like Sundance, only instead of seeing movies, you watch trailers. And then you get to see celebrities talk about the trailers, but in that promotional way, like how they might talk about the film in a DVD extra you’d never watch.

I mean, I like comics as much as the next guy. I’m not rushing out every Wednesday to get the new Justice League, but I like seeing what Garfield’s up to in the morning. But are there even any comics at this thing? All I ever hear about is Jon Favreau. If I was the dude who was there to check out some new comics, I’d be pretty annoyed that I had to shove my way through a bunch of Jon Favreaus to get to them. At an event that is ostensibly all about those comics.

Final analysis: Comic-Con, which I have never been to, is a terrible thing that no one should ever experience. That is all.

The Faith Project: INXS – Kick

July 20, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Faith Project

Inspired by their mutual love of the INXS record Kick, Matt and Jeff have decided to take another listen to their favorite classic and forgotten records from the 80s. This is the Faith Project, and it is 100% guaranteed to contain absolutely no analysis of George Michael’s Faith.

Jeffrey:

About a month ago, I learned that Beck’s record club was doing a song-by-song cover album of INXS’s nearly forgotten classic Kick. I immediately sent the link to Matt, knowing him to be a Kick fan from way back. The covers got us motivated to dust off the original, and we spent the next 2 weeks on a serious Kick bender. When talk came around about the next old favorite we should put into rotation, I brought up George Michael’s Faith. Matt came up with the idea of calling our newly-formed record club The Faith Project. Then he suggested that it would be better if we called it the Faith Project and never actually listened to Faith. Thus, the Faith Project was born. This week, we take a listen to the record that got the whole thing started, Kick.

I don’t have memories of listening to Kick the way I do some of my other early favorites, like R.E.M.’s Document or U2′s The Joshua Tree. The main thing I remember about INXS is that my friend Jon Harmon’s sister Libby was super into them, and I thought she was cool because she was older than us and dressed like Molly Ringwald’s wacky friend in Pretty in Pink and knew what KROQ was even though we lived in Michigan. I know I listened to this record over and over again, I just can’t recall how old I was, or where, or with who. I have repressed all memories of listening to this record. I have also repressed all pictures of me trying to grow my hair out to look more like Michael Hutchence, because yowch.

Any discussion of INXS has to begin by acknowledging that Michael Hutchence died by choking while wanking himself off. In my opinion, the less said about that, the better. Autoerotic asphyxiation is one of those things that should theoretically be funny, but really is just a reminder that even the coolest guys in the world are nothing more than dick-spanking apes desperately groping for a few seconds of happiness in an otherwise miserable existence. I’m sure there isn’t a man among us who doesn’t have at least one adventure in his long history of self-cultivation that maybe wasn’t such a great idea in retrospect. Michael Hutchence didn’t just look like a rock n’ roll Jesus: he died for our sins. (more…)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Showgirls

June 24, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

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According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Jeffrey:

The summer before my junior year at the University of Michigan, I got a job at Record Town in the Briarwood Mall. As record stores go, it was not one. We didn’t sell records. CDs and cassettes only. And cassingles, of course. Hahaha. Cassingles!

I recognized that it was a terrible store for anyone who liked music, but nonetheless, I felt like I’d finally hit the big time. Who wouldn’t want to work in a record store? I mean, working in a cool record store that was not in a mall would have been better, let’s face it. But it was still a bit of a dream come true. There weren’t a lot of real record fans shopping at the mall, though. The Jock Jams compilations did not leave our top 20 bestseller wall in the entire two years I worked there, and that is not hyperbole.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad about your crappy college job. So you worked in the caf, no big deal. Someone had to refill the soft serve machines. But there is a tie-in between Showgirls and Record Town. A few months before the film came out, we received a promotional video at the store featuring 20 minutes of unrated footage from the movie. Like an extended preview kind of thing. I took it home with me because no one else in the store gave a shit about Showgirls. Because no one in America gave a shit about Showgirls. Contrary to what you may have heard in Bible class, the country did not spend 1995 in the grips of Showgirls fever. (more…)

The BP Boycott Starts Here

June 04, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, News

I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told.

I don’t drive much. I have nothing against driving. I am just lucky enough to live within walking distance of my office. So there is no reason for me to drive most days.

But nonetheless, we live in Los Angeles, so we have 2 cars. One Honda Civic that sees a fair amount of road time, and one Ford Focus that sits unused 300 days a year. It’s kinda like having a spare bedroom for the 1 week a year when your parents visit. Ever so often, I’ll have to drive somewhere to meet Sarah or run some errands on my own. But really, I could accomplish pretty much 95% of the things I need to do with a bike and a tiny bit of motivation.

Today was one of those days that I needed the car and the car needed gas. This only happens about once every two months, on account of how seldom I drive. I had one rule when it came to getting the gas: do not buy from BP. There’s a reason for this, and it has to do with the news. Have you heard about the news? It’s an information-distribution system whereby you can learn about things that are happening in the world. Sort of like a sitcom, but real. If you have heard of the news and you watch or read the news, then you probably know that there’s some kind of oil disaster happening right now. And BP is the company responsible for this oil disaster.

Now, let’s get one thing straight: all oil companies are evil. Oil is evil. It’s what they call a “necessary evil,” because no one has taken the time to establish an alternative system to extracting it from the ground and using it to power things. These alternatives do exist and could, with relative ease, be implemented to make the use of oil less necessary — “relative ease” in terms of, say, “wiring the entire country for electricity,” mind you, not relative ease in terms of choosing between butter and margarine at the grocery store (team butter, holla!) — but as of this writing, plans to implement these alternatives have gotten about as far as the nacho delivery service dreams of a hungry stoner. We’ve known for quite some time that oil is evil and dangerous … decades, even … but we have still not put much effort into fixing the system for reasons that are unclear to me but probably have something to do with Americans’ innate distrust of things that are natural and people who remind them of hippies. (more…)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: I Was a Teenage Werewolf

May 24, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

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According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Mike:

Movie monsters have always been handy vessels for metaphor. Dracula is the embodiment of sexual terror and venereal disease. Frankenstein plays on distrust of science. Dr. Jekyll is a junkie. The Creature from the Black Lagoon symbolizes man’s inherent fear of fish. But no monster is as metaphorically ripe as the werewolf. Werewolves represent the subsumption of the ego by the id… an inarticulate, self-control devoid, hairy-palmed, snarling, drooling, havoc-by-moonlight-raising id. Sound like someone you know? No? Well then you’ve never been or spent time around a teenager. By all accounts, teenagers are pimply, violent, amoral, unhygienic creatures, and no one believed this more than the adults of the 1950s. Before that decade of pre-fab housing and six-martini lunches, teens were essentially societal nonentities. They were only bit players in both everyday life and fiction. Hell, even the fucking Bible totally skips over Jesus’s teen years. This changed in the ‘50s when things like TV-watching, comic book-reading, and record-buying made teens viable demographics to advertisers. In other words: they became actual people. But the programs they watched, the comics they read, and the records they dug convinced a good portion of adults that this once invisible minority was being pumped with a disturbing dose of rebelliousness. Adults imagined a generation of kids hopped up on the dope, filled with murderous impulses by E.C. comics, and driven to unimagined heights of sexual mania by Buddy Holly records. Teenagers became enemies every bit as formidable as Joe Commie. They were all id.

(more…)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Troll 2

March 30, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

movie-challenge-header

According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Mike:

13 year olds don’t have the most discerning taste. After waddling home from Junior High, I vegetated in front of pretty much anything that happened to be on HBO. This means I watched movies like Howard the Duck, The Wraith, Jumping Jack Flash, Regarding Henry, and Troll more times than any human being ever needs to (i.e.: more times than never). Yet, as undeveloped as my tastes were, and as devotedly as I watched and re-watched and re-re-watched these movies, I could still recognize that they were, well, crappy. Really crappy. Take John Carl Buechler’s Troll (1986), which cashed in on the Gremlins craze that included other mini-monster movies like Munchies, Ghoulies, and Look Who’s Talking. Here was a movie about a girl named Wendy who is bitten by a little beastie, which then uses a magical ring to possess her and turn the family apartment into a woodland freak show of singing, havoc-raising trolls. Clearly, not a brilliant premise, but there was also the piss-poor troll puppets, a strangely disturbing sequence in which Wendy’s dad rocks out to Blue Cheer’s “Summertime Blues”, and the presence of Sonny Bono. (more…)

James Franco Totally Deserves that Book Deal

March 26, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Publishing

James Franco and Seth Rogen: Friends Forever!

Far be it from me to criticize other people for wanting to write. I like writing. I like reading. I like people to write good things that I can read, and I hope that I can return the favor every once in awhile with my own writing.

However, there comes a point when writing is so egregiously bad, that an intervention must be staged. Such is the case with James Franco.

Now, I have always had a soft spot for Franco. I’m pulling for the guy. He seems like a good guy, he’s a hell of an actor, and I love that he does whatever the fuck he wants to do. We need more actors like him out there, unconcerned with climbing the weird Hollywood ladder in which starring in a Roland Emmerich movie is the pinnacle of success. I love that he took a role on General Hospital, just because he could. And I love that he put his career on hold for awhile to get an MFA in writing from Columbia. That is a very respectable, decent thing to do if you are interested in pursuing a career as a writer.

Franco is still in college, but unlike most people who are still pursuing their MFAs, he already has a book deal with Scribner. Because he has an amazing agent. Because he is James Franco. See how that works? But no snark: I’m still pulling for you. We all use our connections to get what we want. And if I had as many connections as James Franco, you can bet to fuck that I’d have the best agent in the world.

But here’s the thing: if the story he just published in Esquire magazine is any indication, James Franco does not deserve to have a book deal. I have no problem with someone using his celebrity to publish a book if he has worked his ass off and learned how to be a writer. But here’s a bit of cold reality that your friends and family and book agent-with-comical-dollar-signs-in-his-eyes will not tell you, Franco: you are not ready. Maybe if you keep writing for a few years, you’ll hone your craft. You are clearly not without ability. But you need more guidance than people seem willing to give you, and you need it NOW.

Since apparently Scribner cannot afford to hire editors, and apparently Columbia’s MFA program does not offer much instruction, here are a few tips from a guy who’s managed to successfully make ALMOST MORE THAN $20,000 PER YEAR for at least 5 years now. In other words: a professional. (more…)