Thursday, March 31, 2005

New NBC Show, "The Office" Rules.

As someone about to join corporate America for the first time in his life, I have to say "The Office" scares me a little bit. The characters on this show take so much **** from their idiot boss that it becomes side-splittingly funny. The main character, Michael the boss, is so oblivious to sensitivity and tact that you can't hlep but laugh at a guy that takes himself that seriously. Imagine a short Will Ferrell with slicked back hair and a "world loves me" attitude and you have Michael.

The supporting characters all engage in random acts of petty office politics and time wasting. What's really interesting is that this show sheds light on the "office crush" between a single guy and the young, engaged receptionist. She clearly does nothing to discourage the guy's harmless pining - at one point she falls asleep on his shoulder, putting him in 7th heaven. As long as it doesn't go beyone that, this subplot is funny and interesting. I believe it was CBS's "King of Queens" that shed light on a similar phenomenon, "the office spouse," which has some co-workers acting like a married couple while in the office. That's going a little far, unless both participants in the "office marriage" are single - which the people on "King of Queens" were not.

"The Office" is shot documentary style, with candid "reality show" type interviews that are worth the price of admission alone. Since this show is on network TV and not HBO, it's the best deal in town folks!

Anyway, catch NBC's latest winner on Tuesday Nights. You can also catch it on replya on CNBC and USA. Much like "The Contender," it's a knock out. I'd watch it over a nice bowl of jell-o, extra whipped cream, hold the stapler.

Monday, March 28, 2005

I'm writing my first movie and I don't care if nerds like it

To make a long story short, I've been writing all my life, even if I didn't get paid for it most of the time. I remember writing my first comic book at the age of 8 with one of those pens that has a tab for red ink, blue ink, green ink and black ink. I wrote it on a tiny homemade note pad on paper that I cut and stapled together. My Dad was proud. I always got good grades in creative writing exercises. Then I decided to go John Wayne and embarked on a journey toward becoming a TV sports announcer/reporter after college. That dream lasted a few years, but had to come to a close because I had other plans for my life than living in places like Temple, Texas and Sparks, Nevada. Then I transitioned into PR, still got to write and be creative, just in a different way.

Now I have a two-week layoff before starting a new job with an awesome company just 3 miles from my house. I figured now is the best time to write that movie that's been floating around in my head for the last few years. Around this time last year I fooled around with a superhero movie idea with no idea of how to write an actual screenplay. Over the last year I've been reading and studying Lew Hunter's 434 secrets for writing a "spec", industry-standard screenplay. This thing will be legit, at least in its form and structure. My research comes form a lifetime of experiences and a helluva memory. Beauty will be in the eye of the beholder or the possible agent that tries to sell it (if I'm that lucky).

So, I am off to the races! I may never have two weeks to dedicate to my passion of creative writing, so I am seizing the day, 8 hours a day, cranking out a minimum of 10 pages per. Following my detailed step outline, I feel like this thing is coming to life from the pages of my screenwriting software. I finished Act One today in a flurry of 18 pages that flowed from my finger tips. I feel so alive.

Won't be able to share until I get the copyright is filed, but hey, I may as well secure the intellectual property before the rest of the wannabe's in the world start trashing my effort - and that will happen. There's a lot of jealousy and ugliness in the world of "creatives" and artists. I saw it all the time in the TV biz. Anyway, here's a hint on the premise of my sci-fi thriller:

A man travels into the future where he has a chance to make all of the dreams of his hollow, unfulfilled life come true. The price of success: possible death. The price of failure: a certain, brutal death. How will he respond to the challenges? Stay tuned, true believers.

In closing, here's what I have to say: I'm having fun writing this movie and I don't care if every fanboy in the world nit picks it to death. So there! See you at the movies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Naughty Girls Need Love 2?

While waiting for my car to be serviced at the local dealership, I was treated to free drinks from the coffee vending machine and satellite TV in the lobby. The monitor was tuned to VH1 Classic - and boy, was I in for a treat.

Before my very eyes I witnessed Samantha Fox's "Naughty Girls Need Love (Version 2) Extended Remix." This was music video-making with no expenses spared! It was like 10 minutes long in a day and age when most music videos last a couple of minutes before some veejay cuts in along with a throng of screaming teenagers in the background.

Let me tell you that Fox's extended version of the video was hot. There were black dudes with jerry curls and bejeweled jean jackets dancing in a rain slicked back alley with garbage cans full of flames. Then there was Samantha with her pink hair and pink socks.

Just when I thought this bad boy was coming to a close, here comes the lengthy interlude. It was an extended drum break complete with dimly lit erotic scenes of Samantha with a faceless, non-descript male partner. It was all tastefully accentuated with strobe lighting that would keep pace with the fast edits.

It all brought back pre-pubecent memories of hanging out my friend Shane's garage/bedroom. Shane's mom was pretty loose with rules and allowed Shane a poster of a topless Samantha Fox, in all of her glory, with a wet dress shirt draped carelessly off of her shoulders. We would marvel at how the lighting in the shot revealed peach fuzz on her breasts. Those were the good ole days.

So, I'm back in the car dealership to witness a second offering of Samantha Fox on VH1 Classic. This time it's "Touch Me, I Want Your Body." This video is not so provocative. Some service technician says, "You need new breaks, it'll be $300." I say, no thanks, I'll have it done another time. He says "It could cost you more if you wait." I stand firm.

Next up: videos from Sheena Easton and Donna Summer. I swear I was witnessing this season's roll-out of celebrity judges on "American Idol." Or maybe the next cast of the "Surreal Live." Dude comes back out and says, "There's a nail in your left, front tire. You can either pay us for a whole new tire, or take it to a tire shop." I say I'll take it to the tire shop.

Cost of scheduled maintenance: pre-paid.
Cost of hot chocolate and satellite TV: free.
Cost of not paying for new brakes and a tire: savings of $400.
Cost of reliving youth with has-been divas: priceless.
For everything else, there's a non-auto-dealer repair shop.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A pouch of "Big League Chew" in every purse

A chewing gum which the makers say can help enhance the size, shape and tone of the breasts has proved to be a big hit in Japan. The purple things in the picture are supposed to be part of the magic ingredient for this chewy miracle.

In the words of the late, great Reggie White "The Japanese can turn a toaster into a watch." Or was it a watch into a toaster? Anyway, why an NFL player was making ignorant comments about several cultures from around the world is beyond me. But hot damn, chewing gum that can do what the nerds from the movie "Weird Science" could only dream of?! The Japanese have officially overtaken Americans and Europeans as the greatest inventors on Earth. First Ninjas. Then Nintendo. Then that little electronic pet the size of a pager. Domi Arugato, Mr. Roboto!

If America is the land of milk and honey, then Japan could be the land of jugs of honey? How soon before a car in every driveway, a TV in every home and a pack of "Big Bust Chew" in every purse here in the good ole US of A? Can you imagine something that can whiten teeth, sweeten breath and make a woman look like she's nursing a baby? This is unheard of. I can just see the ads now "New Fruit Stripes by Victorias Secret."

Keep an eye out for updates from The Land of the Rising ... um, errr ... Sun.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My goodness, she's the double-golden child

All parents love their kids and think they are the most beautiful babies ever. I am no different. My 1-year-old girl is the apple of my eye.

What amazes me the most is all of the physical features she has that I always wanted, but never had. I am a Latino with dark and hairy features. My wife is a mix of Anglo-European and Chamoro from the island of Guam, also a dark-haired culture.

Our baby has brownish-blondish hair, blueish-greenish eyes and some big dimples. On top of that, she looks like she will be tall and left handed. All my life I wanted to be tall, with dimples and light-colored eyes. Plus, left-handers are so sweet in sports - a lefty pitcher, quarterback or shooting guard always have such an heir of cool to them. I can already see visions of my daughter growing up to be an All-America athlete and a celebate nun. Every dad's dream! Okay, wifey will never allow for the nun thing, but sports will be okay for sure.

Both my wife and I were somewhat golden children by virtue of good grades and lack of trouble-making, compared to more rebellious siblings. Of course we both came to be uncomfortable with these expectations as we grew up - not to mention it's unfair to other family members. Hopefully our daughter won't feel that way growing up ... but daddy dearest certainly wouldn't mind the good grades and lack of dating until her master's degree is hanging on the wall.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wonder Woman returns on silver screen

That's right, true believers. A Wonder Woman movie is in the works and it will be written and directed by "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" guru Joss Whedon.

There will never be another Lynda Carter, but here are a few good choices to reprise the roll of the Amazon Warrioress:

Boston Legal's Rhona Mitra
Blade 3's Jessica Biel
Jag's Catherine Bell
Lost's Evangeline Lilly

Can't wait for the golden lasso and invisible fighter jet.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Is "Sex and the City" like soft porn for women?

My wife - and women in general - seem addicted to HBO's "Sex and the City" the way my single friends are addicted to Cinemax's late-night offerings of gratuitous nudity. For the beer-drinking, hot-wing loving set, there's nothing like a late-night rerun of "Hard Ticket to Hawaii," or "Savage Beach," or "Hot Babes in Paradise." For the Victoria's Secret-wearing, chocolate-eating gang, 'tis all about the first-name necklace, shoes and the honest sex talk of Sarah Jessica Parker and her gang of single, New York 30-somethings.

This show is also prone to its bits of gratuitous nudity thanks to the slut character, Samantha. It's just not as gratuitous as what the guys are watching. But women don't seem to need lots of visuals of boobs with absolutely no penis in sight - they're the fairer sex after all. The reason why guys can't get into the show is all of the damn sensitivity. The cancer, the alzheimers, the infertility, the impotence, the hurt feelings ... and all of that damn talking! Talking, talking, talking. It's all about shoes and perfume. Couldn't the show's writers mix in a little dialogue about sports and power tools to broaden the audience? I guess not.

So, the division remains clear. Women rent or TiVO "the City" over and over and over. The fellas pop in "Star Wars," "Scarface," or "Swingers" until they've memorized every line. Thing is, it just wouldn't be practical for women to memorize and recite all of that damn witty dialogue on "the City." Oh well, I guess they can just tell us all about their day instead.

Hey honey, do you mind fetching me a Corona with a lime?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Star Wars "Revenge of the Sith" will rock bacon!

I could go on and on forever about this, but I won't. All I'll say is that in two months we'll see a new chapter of Star Wars that should rank up there with the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. It'll be dark, violent, sad, loaded with action and truly Shakespearian in delivering the tragedy that is Darth Vader's life.

"Usted no sabe el poder del lado oscuro de La Fuerza."

'Nuff said amigos.

NBC's The Contender is a winner

Maybe it's because I watched "Rocky" on AMC before switching over to NBC, but I really enjoyed Mark Burnett's latest brain child: The Contender. The show is a winner because of the human interest angle used in devling into the lives of its professional boxing contestants. More so than Survivor or The Apprentice, we get to see the hopes, dreams, agony and defeat of these legitimate boxers and their families.

Don't compare this show to that hastily-produced peice of crap that Fox put out last year. That show was quickly ushered to Fox Sports Net after it died on regular network TV. Paula Abdul could probably host this show and not screw it up because Burnett's production value on this show is that good. As it is, the show is hosted by Sly Stallone, Sugar Ray Leonard and a pair of boxing insiders whose names escape me at the moment.

In the first installment, we see the guys move into a house/training center and work out. They split into two teams and decide who should box from each team. We saw a Mexican underdog named Alfonso Gomez upset Peter Manfredo Jr. (a legit 21-0 as a pro) and dash the aspirations of Manfredo and his whole family. Now that is real drama.

Not since CBS' The Amazing Race have we seen a reality show that actually has some real drama attached to it because of the intense competition. The boxers are real, the matches count on their records and their lives are real.

I covered a few boxing matches during my short-lived TV News career. It was always amazing to me what kind of people are attracted to boxing matches, no matter how small. I shot a few collegiate matches up on the mat at various Reno, Nevada casinos - and as a matter of fact, one of the kids on The Contender is a graduate from the University of Nevada (at Reno). The crowds were always filled with buxom young ladies in evening gowns, big guys with slicked hair, sports coats and gold chains, shady characters with 5 o'clock shadows and cigarettes, boxing scouts and any number of fans with a drink in-hand. These were college matches, and they still attracted a fair number of groupies, goons and gangstas. I can't wait to see the crowds for the Las Vegas matches featured on The Contender.

Tune in for yourself. The show is worth your time, trust me.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Alice @ 97.3 FM in S.F. blows big chance with Kevin Smith on-air

For three glorious days, fanboy-turned-movie-maker Kevin Smith co-hosted a local radio show here in the Bay Area. Rather than let him spread his wings and talk about the stuff that Alice fans really care about these days - pop culture, movies, celebs and comic books - the obnoxious host, Sarah Clark, tried to stifle his air time at every turn. Her self-serving tunnel vision was disgusting. She insisted on playing silly on-air gameshows that are clearly a crutch for her lack of substance. Sarah made no bones about it, she kept complaining that she needed to hear her own voice more and that Kevin was talking too much. A travesty.

It was sad to see her ego get in the way of a truly inspiring co-host that listeners may never have the chance to interact with again. She's used to her regular, deferring co-host - a DJ with literally no name. Her jealousy was ugly. At one point, Smith, Sarah, Alanis Morissette and Kevin Nielen were all on the air at the same time. She couldn't stop flapping her gums and let the truly talented people do their thing - she was clearly rattled that callers wanted to talk the guests and not her. Sad.

Not only was Smith vying for air time with Sarah, he had to battle the phone-answering, on-air wannabe Hooman. Hooman's bits are supposed to last about a minute or two. At one point, Hooman manipulated his movie reviews to last around seven minutes and he was clearly stalling to stretch his air time even further. Disgusting.

I called in three times to coax Kevin into giving out some legit scoops for his fans. I knew more about what was going on with Kevin than either Sarah or Hooman. I got through once and was dumped off the air really fast after asking Kevin about a secret Star Wars TV project he's supposed to be in charge of. The second time, I held for an hour and had to hang up and get to work. The third time I held for an hour and was hung up on by Hooman because of a stupid game called "dick, not a dick." I never got the chance to ask about the "Fletch" movie prequel Kevin is working on. I never got to ask about the "Green Hornet" movie remake Kevin supposedly wrote, but bailed out on directing. I never got to ask if he'd rather use CGI or live action for a Sci-Fi TV show. These are the things his fans, from all over the world, tuned into hear. Not Sarah ranting about cats, or Hooman and his whiny-feminine act, or the "off-air" producer Matty talking and laughing constantly in the backround. Boring.

At one-point Kevin wanted to quickly give out major scoops about projects he's working on. Because the show was ending and they had to run commercials, Sarah wouldn't let him give the scoops. Hooman begged for quick and dirty scoops before the break. Sarah said no. Commercials ran. They came back and played a game. I had to get to work. The show ended. The fans were cheated by Sarah again. Bitch.

All in all, it was a huge disservice to Alice radio fans. I only tuned for Kevin and probably will never tune in again. This could've brought more fans into the Alice tent, but me thinks not so much now. The egos on that show are so huge that they wouldn't care if Jesus himself came in to co-host. Did I mention Sarah has to tell everyone she's an atheist? Self-centered and lazy.

Republic Commando for Xbox outblasts Halo

In the world according to O-dogg, I'd rather take my squad of Clone Commandos and blast up Geonosian Warriors and Battle Droids in the Star Wars Universe anyday. Let's give Microsoft credit for creating the benchmark first-person shooter game, Halo, and allowing Lucasarts to create an exclusive Star Wars title to rival Halo.

First thing first. Star Wars videogames are just plain cool because they come with authentic soundtracks, sound effects and characters. Republic Commando is a bit of a hybrid because although we're familiar with clone troopers and battle droids, the soundtrack is definitely more rock and roll and the story is an offshoot of a plotline, rather than based on one of the movies. The game play is similar to Halo ... but better.

In single player mode, you have three other commandos that specialize in electronics, explosives and flat-out killing, respectively. You can give those commandos orders that make your life as the leader a lot easier. The weaponry is awesome and the controls are almost identical to Halo, with familiar grenades, melee attacks, strafe/look and jump/squat all at your fingertips. What I like about this game is that you have up to four weapons available at one time because the main DC-17 rifle converts into both sniper mode and heavy anti-armor mode. On top of those three options, you can pick up any enemy weapon and throw grenades with your left hand. If all else fails and you run out of ammo, you always carry a hand pistol that never runs out of laser blasts and the handy-dandy melee attack comes complete with a knife that pops out of forearm ... Wolverine-bezerker style.

The features that I like best are the tactical visor, which is so helpful in knowing the status of the squad, and its constant guidance of distances and objectives. I also love that you don't die a whole lot in this game. As long as one member of the squad is alive and kicking, the game continues. There are generous opportunities to refill health at "bacta stations" and revive downed squad members even without a bacta station.

This game is player-friendly and as easy to pick up as Halo was. So, if you're a blogging, Xboxing, Halo-loving, Star Wars fan run out and get this game ASAP. I guarantee you'll have a blast with it.

The Liger Lives! Sweet ...

At first pass, I watched the indy film "Napoleon Dynamite" and thought:

What the hell is this? Nerds? Ligers? Unicorns? Pastel-colored Trapper Keepers?

After watching it again and again, I have to say it gets funnier and funnier. It seems that everyone knows someone like Napoleon or his brother Kip, or maybe his Uncle Rico. It's an honest movie about people that live in their own little worlds.

I certainly thought Napoleon's favorite animal, the Liger, a half-tiger half-lion combo was as fictional as the unicorns and the warriors he pencils and shades to perfection. But alas, the movie is an honest movie, and someone in Siberia has discovered a real Liger. A glorious animal with the head and mayne of a lion, but the stripes of a Bengal tiger.

Long live Napoleon Dynamite, Stan Lee and UFOs.

Who knows, maybe those "Spider-Man Gloves" that scientists are working will soon be a wall-crawling reality for every-day UFO nerds that are good with a bow-staff and set of nunchaku.