Friday, September 29, 2006
Producer Series Mix #5: Neo Da Matrix

1. Juelz Santana - "Mic Check"
2. Juelz Santana - "Good Times"
3. Cassidy f/ Fabolous and Lil Wayne - "6 Minutes Of Death" (mp3)
4. Cassidy - "AM To The PM"
5. Cassidy - "On The Grind" (mp3)
6. Cassidy - "Around Tha World"
7. Jadakiss - "Bring You Down"
8. Jadakiss - "Air It Out"
9. Ruff Ryders f/ Jadakiss, Infa-Red, Kartoon, and Flashy - "If It's Beef" (mp3)
10. Ruff Ryders f/ Drag-On - "Throw It Up"
11. Bravehearts - "I Will" (mp3)
12. Jin - "Get Your Handz Off" (mp3)
13. Jin - "Señorita"
14. Jin f/ Lyfe Jennings - "Cold Outside"

Neo Da Matrix, also known as NEO.COM or just plain Neo, has been an in-house producer for Ruff Ryders for a few years, and more recently for Swizz Beatz's Full Surface label, although his best known track might be one he did for Dipset, "Mic Check." "On The Grind" features one of my favorite uses of a "Wildflower" sample, and there's a nice Al Green drum break on "I Will." He's also done some mixtape cuts recently that I wasn't able to find mp3s of, like Styles P.'s "Who Wanna Problem" and Fabolous's "Back Atcha."

Previously in the Producer Series:
#1: Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford
#2: Rich Harrison
#3: Kevin "Khao" Cates
#4: Chad Wes Hamilton


Wednesday, September 27, 2006
This week in the City Paper I have a lengthy review of the new comedy flick School For Scoundrels, although for whatever reason it's not on the CP site (Edit: it should be there now, I think). It's pretty funny, despite biting a Moby joke from an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and towards the end feeling like a retread of the worst parts of Rushmore and Anger Management.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006
DJ Kay Slay and Greg Street f/ Ghostface, Kool G Rap, Raekwon, Lord Tariq and Big Daddy Kane - "5 Deadly Venoms" (mp3)

The Kay Slay/Greg Street album is pretty subpar, but I'm still cool with it for including 4 productions by Stay Gettin'. Their beat on this is kinda weird, with a high pitched whine over the verses, but the lineup is pretty ridiculous, even with the "one of these things is not like the other" feeling you get from Lord Tariq being thrown in there.


Sunday, September 24, 2006
Although it's not necessarily high praise in and of itself, My Chemical Romance's last album, Sweet Cheers For Sweet Revenge and particularly its first two singles, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" and "Helena," are easily some of my favorite music to have come out of the punk-pop/goth-emo sweepstakes that the last half decade of alt-rock radio has become. I'm still not sure if my anticipation for the follow-up, The Black Parade, due out next month, has deflated much since hearing the disappointing first single, "Welcome To The Black Parade," though. There's a 40-minute collage of excerpts from new songs and interviews with the band about the album that comes bundled with an iTunes purchase of the single, and even after listening to that, the quick snippets haven't really told me much about how I'll like the whole thing. In the interview, they cite a lot of grandiose classic rock albums as influences (The Wall, Sgt. Pepper's, A Night At The Opera), but what's more telling is the interview in their MTV2 "$2 Bill" special where they talk about how their last album was their Siamese Dream and this album is going to be their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. A lot of people have thrown around Smashing Pumpkins comparisons, but I don't think I really bought it until Gerard Way showed up on the VMA pre-show singing "Welcome To The Black Parade" with short bleach blonde hair, which seemed right out of the Corgan playbook from when he debuted the shaved head look on Saturday Night Live. Still, even Corgan had the sense not to release something as schmaltzy as "Tonight, Tonight" as the first single, which is essentially what MCR are doing with "Welcome To The Black Parade."

One of the more intriguing things My Chemical Romance say in that interview is this: "the last record was about aggression and maybe violence and dealing with things in an angst way, whereas this record, we wanted people to get over that and stop being upset and really carry on through anything bad that happened." So, even though it's essentially a concept album about death, they're really going for an uplifting vibe, and it should be interesting to see how that plays out. I don't wanna come off as, like, someone who blamed Marilyn Manson for Columbine or whatever, but I have to admit there is something refreshing about a band whose breakthrough album was all about violent revenge fantasies turning around and trying to tell the kids that listen to them that there's better ways to get through life than being pissed off all the time. Lately a lot of peppy rock bands have gotten one platinum album under their belts and decided that their audience would stay with them through a "dark" album and saw a sharp and immediate sales decline (Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, probably The Killers next (I'd say Fall Out Boy too, but I get the feeling that they'll stick to the winning formula on their next album while the videos will become bigger and bigger spectacles of Pete Wentz self-worship)). MCR were pretty dark to begin with, so hopefully this album won't alienate their fans too much, but it's probably important to remember that Green Day were the definition of "workmanlike" for a decade before managing to sell their audience on a big pompous rock opera.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
My friend Mike, whose short film "Cabbagehead" I starred in about 3 years ago, sent out a MySpace bulletin that two of his films, including my first (and probably only ever) acting performance, are being screened tonight:

Hi Friends!


Two of my films, "Cabbagehead" and "Mr. Grooples Grows Up", are screening tonight as part of a big-ass party/show/local filmmaker showcase. Come out if you can make it!!!

Big thanks to my buddy Jim from Bluetrane Productions for putting everything together. Be sure to catch his band, TARPIT, as well several of his bad-ass films, which should be the highlight of the night!

CHECK IT OUT DUDES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the official invite below:

September 23, 2006

Bluetrane Productions Presents
a night of CINEMATIC TERRORISM and music

Featuring the films of Bluetrane Productions directed by James Branscome along with films by such filmmakers as Evan Devine, Tim Snodgrass, Chloe Jenson, Mike Bartolomeo, Jason Wurm and maybe a surprise or two

And the musical onslaught of:

Tradition Dies Here (Soaring Melodic Crust)
Tarpit (Crushing Prehistoric Sludge)
SANS (The magic hands of David Zimmerman)

Doors @ 6:30 PM
Bands @ 7:00 PM
Films @ 9:00 PM
Dance Party @ Midnight
Admission is $5.00

The Floristree
405 West Franklin Street
6th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
(above the H and H Campers Haven)

In My Stereo

Friday, September 22, 2006
Two Dollar Guitar - The Wear And Tear Of Fear: A Lover's Discourse
Nels Cline - New Monastery: A View Into The Music of Andrew Hill
various artists - Smooth Grooves: A Sensual Collection Vol. 1
Mary J. Blige - My Life
DJ Kay Slay & Greg Street - The Champions: The North Meets The South
Stay Gettin' Ent. & Plain Pat presents Dope Boy Music
"The Club Queen" K-Swift - The Jumpoff Vol. 7: Summer School Edition
Little Clayway - Still Movin' Independently
Brown F.I.S.H. - The Bootleg Album
Bear - CD Sampler

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

2006's Best of Baltimore issue, the City Paper's biggest undertaking of the year, is out this week. So pick up the whole big thick thing and flip through it, and maybe keep it around all year for whenever you're trying to figure out where to eat or whatever. The blurbs aren't credited to individual writers but I wrote the following:

Best Club DJ: K-Swift
Best Club Music Producer: Debonair Samir
Best MC: Verb of Dirty Hartz
Best Hip-Hop DJ: DNA
Best Record Label: Unruly Records
Best Place To Heart Hip-Hop: 5 Seasons
Best Weekly Event: Sonny Brown's Old School Mondays

Congrats to all of the above. Don't be mad if you're not in it this year, just grind harder next year. The Arts & Entertainment section is full of Baltimore club music and hip hop: Blaq Starr's "Hands Up Thumbs Down" and "Ryda Gyrl," Baltimore club music clips on YouTube, 92Q, "Momentz" by Killa Kamillions, Strictly Hip Hop, Baltimore Club Tracks Radio, ShellBe RAW, Golden Seal, Young Leek, and Darkroom Productions. But my favorite surprise of the issue was that the Best Neighborhood award went to Upper Fells Point, where I live, which I totally agree with.

(illustration by Alex Fine)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Prince - "17 Days (Extended)" (mp3)

Prince - "Erotic City (Dance Mix)" (mp3)

A few months ago, I posted a Prince extended mix and talked a bit about the Ultimate Prince comp that was at the time still in limbo. It finally came out last month, and the 2nd disc, which is all remixes, contains a few extended mixes I was already familiar with thanks to Mat, like the dance mixes of "Little Red Corvette" (with that crazy-ass spoken bridge) and "Let's Go Crazy." And there's plenty of stuff I hadn't heard before, and while none of it's particularly essential, they're all pretty interesting to listen to. "Hot Thing (Extended Remix)" is in my opinion a complete improvement on the original, and "Pop Life" is one of those songs I think I could listen to on a constant loop, so a 6-minute version is real welcome. Now that it's out, I decided to post a couple mixes that aren't on Ultimate, presumably because even the original versions were merely b-sides. I always thought "Erotic City" was a little overrated, I mean, it's good but doesn't necessarily deserve its reputation as Prince's greatest dirty b-side. "17 Days" took a while to grow on me but now I'm crazy about it, especially this 13-minute version. Ultimate's first disc of proper versions of a chronological selection of hits is of less interest, although one advantage it has over The Hits is the inclusion of the batshit crazy "My Name Is Prince."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hip Hop 101 at the 5 Seasons is a great event every Monday, but I'm pretty hyped about this week because for the first time, I'm going to be one of the 4 judges of the rap battle to decide who'll get to be on 92Q. Shout out to Sonny Brown for asking me to do it. Styles P. from the Lox is one of the other judges so that's pretty cool, too.

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Movie Diary

Saturday, September 16, 2006
1. The Illusionist
This was alright, although kind of underwhelming, and it looks like The Prestige might do something much more effective with similiar material. I think I just never got caught up in it enough for the twist to hit me very hard, although I wasn't exactly expecting it either. And while I've made no secret of my Giamatti hate, I thought he was pretty good and subtle in this. They did a pretty good job of de-Maxim-ifying Jessica Biel and making her believable in the role, too.

2. The Forgotten
I was always intrigued by the trailers for this enough that I wanted to see it, but now that I actually have I'm kinda lukewarm on it. It was like an X-Files episode where they managed to get through a whole story arc that confirmed some spooky alien power while showing you as little of it as possible and wrapping it all up pretty tidily by the end. But then, it's a movie and the end is the end, so it feels a little more unsatisfactory than a show that will continue next week. The "A Friendly Man" character was totally creepy, though. And it was cool to see McNulty in a movie.

3. Trees Lounge
I love Steve Buscemi but it really was hard to watch this without wanting to make a joke about how the only way he'd ever get a lead role with a love interest is if he wrote and directed it himself.

4. Dog Park
Bruce McCulloch is maybe my favorite Kid In The Hall, and his Shame-Based Man LP is my favorite comedy album of all time, but somehow I never got around to seeing his debut feature as a director until recently (although it seems like the movies he's directed since, Superstar and Stealing Harvard, are worth avoiding). I was a little surprised how much of a light, traditional rom-com it was, considering how dark and conceptual a lot of the KITH sketches he directed were. A couple old KITH bits did pop up, though, in reworked forms (the answering machine message, someone stealing a bike but leaving a wheel behind, etc). Mostly it was a lot like several Luke Wilson vehicles that have been made since. Harland Williams definitely stole a few scenes, his character was just bizarre.

Friday, September 15, 2006
Mystery Mix for J.G.

1. Devo - "Wiggly World"
2. Morningwood - "Jetsetter"
3. The Raconteurs - "Hands"
4. Private Eleanor - "Photocopy of a Photocopy of a Photograph '05"
5. Ted Leo/Pharmacists - "Army Bound"
6. The Kinks - "Victoria"
7. Chris Daughtry - "Wanted Dead or Alive"
8. Fall Out Boy - "So Sick"
9. "Weird Al" Yankovic - "You're Pitiful"
10. Dane Cook - "The BK Lounge
11. De La Soul - "Bitties In The BK Lounge"
12. R. Kelly - "Etcetera"
13. Prince - "Starfish And Coffee"
14. Jay-Z - "Encore"
15. Carla Bozulich - "Remember Me"
16. Steely Dan - "Chain Lightening"
17. Talking Heads - "Take Me To The River"
18. Foo Fighters - "The Deepest Blues Are Black"
19. Jon Auer - "Wicked World"

A few weeks ago I gave J.G. this CD with no tracklist or explanation. It's kind of a random selection, but almost every track was picked for a specific reason, albeit often a flimsy or in-jokey reason. #1 because when the Posies' cover popped up on my iTunes shuffle one day, she thought the chorus was "jigglypuff." #4 because she loves Private Eleanor's last CD and it's one of the only songs they play live a lot that isn't on that album. #5 is the more promising of the two new songs Ted Leo posted practice space demos of on his site earlier this year, and #6 is the Kinks song that Ted Leo's bridge openly borrows from. #7 is the track on the American Idol CD from J.G.'s favorite contestant from last season. #8 because she likes Fall Out Boy and I like Ne-Yo, and #9 because we both like making fun of James Blunt. #10 and #11 to make explicit the link between one of her favorite Dane Cook routines and one of my favorite Native Tongues jams. #12 because IHOP is our dining establishment of choice (seriously, I think we've been there 20 times in the past year). #13 because there's a mention of Lucy, one of our cats' names, in the song, and because it carries on the breakfast theme of R.'s IHOP reference. #14 because she likes the Linkin Parkified version, but doesn't know the original. #15 also popped up on iTunes one day and caught her ear. #16 because there's a weapon called 'chain lightening' on the computer game RPG she's been playing all the time for the past couple months. #17 because she heard one of those Billy Bass things sing a song called "Take Me To The River" and didn't know if it was a song specifically written for the automated fish to sing, so I had to educate her (although it's not technically the original version but it's still a pretty good one). #18 because a couple songs from the last Foo Fighters album really gradually creeped into most-played status on my iTunes a while back, and that was one of htem.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Shawnna f/ Buddy Guy and Shareefa - "Can't Break Me" (mp3)

I had moderately high hopes for Shawnna's new album, based partly on the show she did in Baltimore a couple years ago that I mention briefly in my City Paper review, but it's a pretty underwhelming record. I wish more of it was like this, or at least succeeded more in its attempts to be a Southern rap album. The Field Mob was pretty good, though, and if the Shareefa album lives up to the promise of "I'll Be Around" and Release Therapy is any good, DTP might stealthily become the most consistent rap label of the past year. Even that compilation was pretty strong.

Also in this week's City Paper, I review Gridiron Gang, one of the better flicks I've seen this year.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It should be obvious by now, but I've been pretty hyped about the new season of The Wire that started this week. HBO sent out the whole season to critics, so it seems like half the writers I know have seen the whole run already (although thank lord noone's seemed to let any big spoilers out of the bag), but I'm kind of glad I'm going to have the next 3 months to soak up each episode one at a time and anticipate the next one. Of course, I'm impatient enough that I watched the first 2 episodes as soon as they went On Demand, on the Monday before officially premiering the following Sunday.

As much as advance press has focused on praising the teenage actors joining the cast for the public school plotline this season, I think it's gonna take me a few episodes to really warm up to these kids. Part of it is that none of them (except for Donut, the kid who steals the car in the next episode, who's also a rapper signed with K-Swift's label) is played by a Baltimore kid, and it kinda kills some of the authenticity for me. Even if you've never been to Bmore, you can watch Boys of Baraka and get a good basis of comparison for how kids of that age from this area act and talk. When Namond says he's going to Mondawmin Mall, even the way he pronounced it just didn't sound right to me. In the two half-hour specials about The Wire that HBO's been airing for the last couple weeks, "It's All Connected" and "The Game Is Real," there's a great part where the kids talk about getting their scripts and being bewildered by Baltimore slang like "how you gonna carry it?" and using "Yo" as a pronoun (in the same way that you might use "he" or "she" or "dude" or "homeboy"). It's good to see the show focusing on these kinds of linguistic details, because as meticulous as The Wire is with continuity and creating a realistic, lived-in universe, the lack of Baltimore accents has always been the big exception that's bugged me. Most out-of-towners have no idea that there even is a Baltimore accent, much less what it sounds like (for me, the way "ooh" vowel sounds are pronounced is the most obvious characteristic), so it doesn't pierce the realism as much as if, say, a movie took place in the South but everyone sounded like they were from New York. And I do understand that, as perfectly cast as most of The Wire's characters are, it's ultimately better to go with the best actors they can find anywhere than just the best ones they could find in Maryland. Still, it's always bummed me out that, aside from the countless extras and small speaking roles filled by local folks, only a handful of recurring characters (Proposition Joe, Snoop, Sergeant Landsman, the Deacon, Ed Norris as Ed Norris) are played by Baltimore natives. I guess people are just impressed enough that McNulty and Stringer Bell don't speak with English accents that they don't think about whether they sound like they're really from Baltimore (although in the first episode, with all of the scenes of Carcetti getting pissed off and yelling, I think Aiden Gillen's Irish accent broke through a couple times).

That said, the first couple episodes are a really promising start. Some great understated humor in some scenes (the receptionist who won't even try to pronounce Pryzbylewski's name, Freamon's "there's an election this year?", the looks that Prez and Bubbles exchange in the school), a lot of interesting setup for things to come. The scene with Daniels and Pearlman in the 2nd episode is great, a real moment of intimacy between them that hasn't been shown before, especially the way Daniels clowns on Freamon. Weirdest thing about the first episode was two seperate scenes of Bunk jokingly engaging in some homoerotic/homophobic innuendo with fellow officers. Not necessarily anything new but it was just weird that they put that in there twice in one episode. Are we being set up for something later on, like the glimpse of Rawls in the gay bar back in Season 2? So many seeds were planted in the first episode that it's almost easy to forget that a lot of key characters hadn't been seen yet -- Bubbles didn't show up until the 2nd episode, and there's still no sign of Omar or Avon (is Avon gonna be in this season at all? They followed him in jail during Season 2, but a lot of that was leading up to him getting out, which I assume isn't going to happen again.) Can't wait to see what happens next.


Monday, September 11, 2006
This past weekend, The Talking Head, one of the two tiny rock clubs that sit in the shadow of the Baltimore city courthouse, hosted its second annual Reverent Fog festival, which is basically a 2-day outdoor free show in the tiny side street in front of the club during the afternoon, and then some more bands playing inside the club at night. I didn't catch it last year but wanted to see some of it this time, especially since I'm so broke these days that it seems like a waste not to jump at any free shows I'm slightly interested in. After blowing it off on Saturday and spending a lazy Sunday recovering from a hangover and going to IHOP and watching The Wire, I finally got out to the show on Sunday night around 10, right around the lull between the last outdoor performance and the first indoor performance, just as it was starting to drizzle a little.

The first band to play inside the club was Human Host. They've been around a few years now and I always hear really good things about them, and a kid I used to play pick-up soccer games with on top of parking garages in Towson used to play with them, but the only time I'd ever seen them was when I walked into the Ottobar once about 30 seconds before the end of their set, so I only ever had a pretty vague idea of what they were like. But HH leader Mike Apichella's previous band, Charm City Suicides, were this bizarro hardcore group that I saw once about 5 years ago and were pretty awesome. Human Host, at least in the form that played at Reverent Fog, were just Apichella and two other people, a guy on guitar and a girl on keyboards. For the first half of their set, Apichella played drums on a super basic snare-drum-and-floor-tom set, and they basically did a few really primal sludgy rock songs, although the guitar tone sounded pretty fantastic. Then, after a weird intermission of keyboard noise, they transitioned into a few songs where they sang over pre-recorded beats, mostly Apichella (at some points the other members of the band just stood on the side of the stage or in the audience and watched him), and his singing style was this weird over-the-top metal scream, which in effect sounded like Ronnie James Dio a cappellas over someone's Fruity Loops demos. At one point he just gargled into the microphone for a full minute or so. Human Host are kind of characteristic of a lot of Baltimore bands, in that I sort of admire their chaotic lack of boundaries, but they tend to take it to weird sketch comedy extremes of deliberately awkward amateurishness, and in general the music isn't actually very good. I mean, a scene full of inconsistent eccentrics is better than a lot of other options, but it gets a little tiring in its own way.

The next band that played, The New Flesh, were an awesome noise rock power trio that I'd never heard of before. The drummer, who played these great constant flailing beats, had his snare drum tuned way down and the guitar sounded almost as low as the bass, so their songs all sounded like a big low rumble with some cymbals on top and virtually no midrange. I never really actively seek out heavy music, be it hardcore or underground metal or whatever, but now and then I hear a band like them and the sound is just a big visceral punch in the gut and I wonder why I don't listen to more stuff like that. It was a really weird contrast when, after their set, Daft Punk's Discovery was played over the sound system during the incredibly long wait for the next band. I wanted to hang around and check out at least one more band, but I got so sick of watching assholes dance and strike ironic disco poses that I eventually just decided to call it a night.

Saturday, September 09, 2006
James Hunter - "Tell Her For Me" (mp3)

It might not be a ringing endorsement of the tasteful but somewhat bland James Hunter record that my favorite song is also the shortest one, but it's a swooning slowie addressed to the moon and it gets me every time.

In My Stereo

Friday, September 08, 2006
Prince - Ultimate Prince
Shawnna - Block Music
Twista - The Day After
System of a Down - Hypnotize
DNA/Young City aka Chopper - The Re-Up
UnReal - Dat Boyz A Problem
Skarr Akbar Vs. Bossman - Face Off: The Battle For Baltimore
Cutthroat - Chapter 2.5: Words Can't Explain It
Ace - CD Sampler
Circle 9 - Travelogue: Act One


Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I wrote the review of mediocre street ball flick Crossover in the City Paper this week, and though my byline is in the print version, my name is nowhere on the review's page on the site. Is it just me or has the upkeep of the CP site really fallen off in the last few months? All the sudden weird glitches like that and entire articles not online at all seem to abound.


Sunday, September 03, 2006
The Alchemist - "Your Boy Al" (mp3)

The Alchemist - "That's That" (mp3)

I've got a review up on Stylus of Alc's new mixtape and the reissue of 1st Infantry. For obvious reasons, I'm dying to know where that "our boy Al" sample is from, and Google's been no help at all.


Movie Diary

Saturday, September 02, 2006
1. An Inconvenient Truth
It was good timing for J.G. and I to go see this at the Charles in the middle of July when the Summer was at its hottest and there were reports of heatwaves and droughts all over the place. The whole thing was pretty much scary as hell. The most depressing thing might have been the fact that most of the audience we saw it with was elderly. Maybe it was just because it was a Sunday afternoon matinee, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that most of the people seeing this movie aren’t going to be the ones who need to see it, people of my generation who are going to live its consequences and maybe have a chance to do something about it.

2. The Aristocrats
Although I could never be a comedian, I’ve always been fascinated by the way there seems to be this kind of code among stand-ups, this community of mutual respect between peers, but it’s really just a bunch of people trying to make each other laugh. And this movie is really illustrative of that, the idea that there’s some joke so dirty and ridiculous that they only tell it to each other and never audiences. I think my favorite version of the joke in the movie was Martin Mull’s which was really a completely different joke with the same name.

3. The Aviator
Blanchett as Hepburn was definitely the best thing about the cast (although the other stars-of-today-as-stars-of-yesteryear cameos by Jude Law and Gwent Stefani were just flashy bullshit), but I went back and forth about how DiCaprio did -- sometimes I thought he was hammy and ridiculous, sometimes he seemed fully absorbed in the character and I kind of bought it. I think the film did a good job of illustrating why Howard Hughes led a fascinating life but it was all so surface level that it made me want to read a bio about him (are there any particularly good ones out there?) more than anything else.

4. House of Wax
The one stock horror movie device that almost always works on me is when the protagonist/victim is in a room full of inanimate objects with human features, and they’re paranoid that some person that’s out to get them is actually in there. It gives me the heebie jeebies every time. Since this movie is basically scene after scene of that, it worked pretty well for me. And despite all outward signs of not taking itself to seriously (being a horror remake, casting Paris Hilton, etc.), it was a pretty good flick. Elisha Cuthbert is one of the only women who’s ever defied my brunette fetish to look worse with dark hair, but I guess they were trying to dirty her up a little bit in this. That last scene with the fire is just awesome, though, serious nightmare material.

5. Cursed
Supposedly this movie was plagued by re-shoots and delays (supposedly due in part to re-shooting an ending that took place in a wax museum, which makes me wonder if they changed it because of House Of Wax) and I remember it getting terrible reviews, but I thought it was kind of fun even if it had some pretty stupid parts. The best part was Judy Greer’s big scene, where she seemed like she was having a lot of fun playing against the type of characters she usually plays.

6. In Her Shoes
I was kinda cynical about this, figuring oh, this was Cameron Diaz’s chance to do a ‘smart movie’ while still playing a blonde bimbo. But it turned out to be pretty good, or at least an above average chick flick that was brutally honest about sibling relationships in a way that I could really identify with.

7. The Upside Of Anger
Proof that I will watch anything with Erika Christensen in it. Again, this was pretty good for a chick flick, better than I expected it to be given how terrible Mike Binder’s show on HBO was a few years ago. Joan Allen got a little over the top at times, though.