All of My Obsessions in One Place

My Life

And You Don't Stop

Posted by doktakra on July 2, 2008 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (6)

I'm not sure if you already know this, but I'm a huge Rocky Balboa fan. I own all six movies from the set (including the barely-watchable Rocky V) and I'll still watch them when they air on basic cable.  Well, a few weeks ago, I discovered a great deal on the Rambo Collector's Set, courtesty of the fine folks at FatWallet, which inevitably led to a new obsession. I am now fixated on crappy awesome Sylvester Stallone movies. I'm especially drawn to such 1980's classics as Over the Top (he plays an arm-wresting champ trying to reunite with his son) and Victory (he's the goal-keeper on a concentration camp soccer team that plays the Germans).  And of course, I love the standard '90's crap that has no chance of scoring above 30% on Rotten Tomatoes -- see The Specialist (4%!), Demolition Man, and Judge Dredd. Basically, if Sly is in it, I want it, bad.  I won't stop until I have them all.  Well, aside from that horrible movie with Dolly Parton and his first role in a 70's porno....actually, scratch that, I'll get both eventually.

My updated, 21-movie collection includes:

  • Rocky, II, III, IV, V,?Balboa (6 total)
  • First Blood, Part II, III,?Rambo (4 total)
  • Victory
  • Cobra
  • Over the Top
  • Tango & Cash
  • Lock Up
  • Cliffhanger
  • Demolition Man
  • Driven
  • The Specialist
  • Cop Land
  • Judge Dredd

At a time when I'm trying to curb needless spending, I'm getting more DVDs every week. I can easily justify these purchases though, since Sly movies are one of life's biggest neccessities.

Please donate to the " Stallone Fund" by sending money to my Paypal account. No donation is too small.

UPDATE: I picked up four more movies during a Circuity City clearance sale (is $6.99 really a clearance??) I now have 25 movies, after the additions of Paradise Alley, DaylightOscar, and The Lords of Flatbush. I've watched only Daylight so far, and it was surprisingly good....seriously, if you can overlook some shoddy acting, it's highly entertaining. And Sly doesn't even take his shirt off --seriously, not once!

 I'm not sure if I should be pleased or slightly ashamed of this, but knows me a little too well at this point.  I logged in this morning, and saw the greeting below. I might need to reconsider some of my life choices.

Latest from Sylvester Stallone

Spy Kids 3-D Game Over (Two-Disc Collector's Series)
The adventures of pint-sized secret agents Juni and Carmen Cortes (Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega) continue. As Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over opens, Juni has left the spy agency and launched a career as a private detective--but when he learns that his sister Carmen has disappeared into a nefarious multi-user computer game, he... Read?more? $14.99? $10.99

Concrete Streets

Posted by doktakra on June 19, 2008 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (3)

I caught "American Beauty" on cable the other day, and it got me thinking -- you know how Kevin Spacey's character quits his crappy job and applies at McDonald's just because he feels like it?   Never mind the improbability of his fake sexual harassment claim, which is so ridiculous that it almost ruins the movie.  I just envy him for getting up one day and saying, "screw it, I'm doing whatever the hell I want."  But that's not the only reason why I'm bringing it up now.  You know what it's time for....a classic from the vault.  I'll introduce this in my best Power 105.1 announcer voice:  back in the day....1999....Linens 'N Things in New Jersey.

I remember discussing the premise of American Beauty with my manager, a 30-something, (relatively) attractive Latino woman.  About halfway through our conversation, she chuckled and said, "well, the pie was warm and soft, so it felt just like the real thing, you know what I mean?"  After an awkward pause, I realized that she was referring to "American Pie", yeah, who doesn't get these cinematic masterpieces confused?  I didn't think that was an appropriate comment for her to make to a 16-year-old....but then again, this is the same woman who constantly asked if she could (or more correctly begged to) grab my ass...which would've been troubling if I didn't sort of like it.  And you wonder why I have problems now.  I keep it clean, so I won't divulge any further details here...let's just say that it was an um, interesting work experience.  Oh, and years later, I ran into one of my former LNT store managers, and he told me he married her.  I actually laughed because I thought he was joking...expect he wasn't.  At least five awkward seconds passed before I realized I should tell him congratulations and quickly walk away...ah, memories.

In other news, a subway performer brightened up an otherwise long and boring trip.  Now, if you've ever been on a NYC train, then you've come across beggars, bootleg DVD sellers stuck in a time warp, and all kinds of "musicians."  I hardly ever enjoy any of these spontaneous concerts, and start moving to the back if I hear anything that starts with, "ladies and gentlemen."  The worst part is when I'm forced to look down at the floor when they come around asking for tips.  Look, I'm not a bad person, but I'd rather contribute to an organization so I know where my money's going, you know?  Or maybe I'm just a cheap bastard.  It's one or the other.  Anyways, I almost broke my own rule...all in the interest of unintentional comedy.  An elderly woman sat down in her seat, and started singing one phrase, over and over, without the aid of instrument: "It ain't no joke, I'm broke."  This went on for a solid two minutes, and at the end, almost everyone around me put change in her cup.  I couldn't bring myself to do it, but I came close...I almost reached for the change my pocket.

Elevators ( Me & You)

Posted by doktakra on April 28, 2008 at 10:42 AM Comments comments (3)

I read a crazy (and long as hell) New Yorker article about a man who was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours with no cell phone, food, or water.  The accompanying security camera video is semi-entertaining, if only for the part when he pries open the doors to urinate...yes, I had to mention this.  It's not like I'm suddenly afraid to ride the elevator, since according to statistics, I'm more likely to get hit by a car than get stuck, but still.... Of course, the elevator in my apartment building slightly malfunctioned the next morning and wouldn't go down for a few minutes (or more like, 10 seconds).  No biggie, but not the best timing....  And then a short while later, the elevator at my work stopped moving on the way up to my floor.  While I acted calm and cool, I grew increasingly terrified by the minute.  Jay-Z's "Threat" came on my iPod -- "Am I frightenin' ya?  Shall I continue?" echoed in my ears.  Thankfully, I wasn't in there alone this time, though I immidiately wished the two women beside me were younger and infinitely more attractive.  I mean, if we were gonna be trapped for a long time and fearing for our, nevermind.  But these are the things that went through my head.  Anyways, the elevator inexplicably began moving again after a few minutes, and a crisis was averted.  The moral of the story:  I'm taking the stairs whenever I can from this point on...

I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall last Saturday.  I knew about the now infamous full-frontal scene (no worries, link is to L.A. Times article, not a clip) going in, so I can't act too displeased.  I'm not gonna lie to you, I don't particularly enjoy male nudity ever --especially in the gym locker room where old dudes think it's okay to do everything naked (seriously, do you need to shave in the nude??  Did you notice the big stack of towels going in???) -- but at least have it serve a purpose if you put it into the movie.  Granted, it created some buzz and may have sold a few extra tickets for the shock value, but it contributed absolutely nothing to the plot or character development.  Whatev...that's just the first five minutes.  The whole movie, despite getting good reviews, is as predictable and formulaic as they come.  Sure, there are some funny parts here and there, but it's like a recycled version of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.  Blah...this 'raunchy comedy' genre is getting played out...  I thought Forgetting would be the best part of my weekend, but it didn't even come close to the thrill of getting my first autographed photo of Candace from a friend.  Good times!

Swing Away

Posted by doktakra on January 8, 2008 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (5)

"See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"

I caught the end of Signs the other day (that M. Night Shyamalan movie), and it got me thinking.  I wasn't a huge fan when it first came out, and I don't really like it all that much now either.  It's certainly no 6th Sense or the underappreciated and grossly underrated Unbreakable.  But I did like the theme -- something like everything is connected, or that it will all make sense and come together one day.  I don't know, maybe I missed the whole point and that's not even right, but it's what I took away from it.  Why is this mentioned now?  To quote Nas, "f*** it, it's just an intro."  Or maybe it's because there was a reason it was playing when I turned on the TV... Check this out:

  • A few years ago, my friend from Japan sent me one of those wristbands/bracelets with "Dream" written across the front.  I thought it was cool and wore it every day for over a year.  On the day I lost it, I had one of the worst, most embarrasing experiences of my life.  (If you don't know the full story, let's just say it involves me making a fool of myself in front of a, much more so than usual, that is).  That was in May of 2006.  A few days ago -- on New Year's Day, actually -- I randomly checked the back pocket of a jacket I hadn't worn in a few years, and came across that wristband.  I haven't taken it off since.  I need all the help I can get at this point, you know?

  • For the last couple of days, I've had parts of Eminem's "Stan" stuck in my head.  I have no idea why, since I hadn't heard since it first came out seven or eight years ago.  I mean, I did like the song enough to write a remix version that would later be banned from my high school talent show for inappropriate content, but that's besides the point.  This morning, my alarm rings as usual at 5:23 AM, and guess what's playing on the radio?  I mean, what are the odds of that happening?  Just think for a second about how many things had to fall exactly in place...  Yeah, you can say it's just a coincidence, but still...

  • My co-workers and I had a long and funny conversation about what we would name our children, which led to us looking up the most popular baby names in the US.  Not only can you waste a good chuck of time on this site, but there's a clear sign in the Top 20.  I won't say it outright, but trust me, it's there.

I wish I had more of these, but these are the only "signs" I've encountered over the last week.  Oh, and my New Year's resolution is to stop being so damn dramatic and let everything happen as it happens.  And if some things go how I'm praying they do, then I'll have some type of update come this weekend (aside from how the Jags beat the Patriots).  I'm just hoping I'll get another sign before then.

UPDATE:  No signs...same old crap.  I've already broken my New Year's resolution.  Honestly, I'm getting pretty tired of this.

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Posted by doktakra on November 12, 2007 at 4:53 PM Comments comments (0)

I saw American Gangster over the weekend, and came away impressed.  It started off a little slow, and for a second I thought I was getting lost -- which, by the way, is the worst possible feeling in a theater.  But the action picked up at just the right moment, as the rise of Frank Lucas unfolded at a steady pace.  It reminded me of Scarface in some ways, which is the biggest compliment a rapper could give (just ignore that last comment).  I did find a few small things a little odd...none of them ruined the movie or anything, but you know...over-analyzing is my hobby.  **Minor spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie yet.

1)  The casting of Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the pimp/club owner was the pinnacle of unintentional comedy.  I kept waiting for him to starting yelling, "Hey, Denzel!  I'm wearing your underwear!"   Seriously, whoever decided it was a good idea to put him in that role should never work in Hollywood again.  This singlehandedly ruined one of the pivotal scenes in the movie (the brand discussion).

2)  I loved the trio of rappers (Common, T.I., and The RZA) in supporting roles, as you knew I would.  The problem was that I was distracted by the Wu-Tang Clan tattoo on RZA's shoulder.  They couldn't have him wear a shirt with sleeves, or maybe digitally removed it?  I mean, sure, he doesn't have to be a rapper to have a tattoo like that...except that it's supposed to be the late 1960s, remember?

3)  We're told that Frank makes his female employees work in the nude so they can't steal anything from him.  That actually made me think of a way they still could, especially since the movie is about illegal drug smuggling, but that's besides the point.  Some of the women were clearly wearing bras and/or panties, which made me wonder if those particular actresses refused to be fully nude.  Um, they couldn't find enough extras to appear naked on screen with Denzel Washington?  Hell, I would've done it had they asked me.  You heard me.

On a related note, Jay-Z's new album -- which is based on movie and shares the same title, but is NOT the official soundtrack -- makes much more sense after seeing Gangster.  I was really looking forward to it, but despite the good reviews from just about every trusted source, I'm not feeling it that much.  For the record, I own every Jay-Z album -- save The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (which isn't really a solo album, as much as a Roc-a-Fella collaboration) -- so its not as if I'm a newcomer to his style  Even Kingdom Come, arguably Jay's weakest effort, had a couple of favorites that I are in my steady rotation.  The man himself calls Gangster a "work of genius," and all modesty aside, Jay is as lyrically sharp as ever.  But I just feel like there's something missing --  I find the pace a little monotonous and slow.  Maybe that's because it's a 'concept album' with each song based on a scene in the movie and simultaneously incorporating his own upbringing.  I'll probably give it few more spins to see if it'll grow on me a little more, but after two listens, I'm yet to find a song I really love. 

[Minor Update:  "Roc Boys," "Ignorant Sh*t," and "American Dreamin'" have so far warranted repeat play.]

Knocked Up Waitress

Posted by doktakra on June 14, 2007 at 10:19 AM Comments comments (3)

Note the cleverness in title's combination of two standout movies.  I really enjoyed both, and while one certainly received more laughs than the other, I ultimately found the other to be more emotionally satisfying than raunchy and overrated.

I hope you're not having trouble figuring out which is which.  I'll begin with Knocked Up, since its been hyped as the "funniest movie of the summer/year/decade/ever" by every major publication.  But first, a little back ground to set the mood right.  I remember similar reviews for Old School some years back, and I think I was the only college sophomore who wasn't enamored by what I saw as a funny, but gimmicky and ridiculous collection of gags.  On the other hand, I actually loved , The 40-Year-Old Virgin (this director's first movie)-- feel free to insert your jokes with possible hints of truth to them.  So perhaps you should take this with a grain of salt or something:  I wasn't impressed with Knocked Up.  Don't get me wrong, there are tons of hilarious lines and scenes that make you cringe (in a good way).  The freaks and geeks of the central character's entourage accomplish their one task of non-stop gross-out comedy, but I think the writers were trying way too hard to be funny.  Paul Rudd does a great job as the sort of counterpart to the central character (Seth Rogen), even though I could have lived without the whole Vegas/shrooms/chairs episode.  In fact, I think the two-hour-nine-minute movie would have been better off sans about 40 minutes, as it gets stale and drags towards the end.  I also struggled to accept why a woman as beautiful and successful as the E! correspondent played by Katherine Heigl would choose to not only sleep with such an immature douche, but then practically beg for his commitment.  Yeah, he's a sweet and caring guy, but is that the best she can do?  Okay, maybe that's some of my jealousy creeping in, but it still didn't work for me, along with other cheap movie tricks that allow everything life to be simple, straight-forward, and perfect in the end. 

Final grade: B

I won't go into as much detail on Waitress since this is already a long enough post.  Actually, it's because I doubt even a quarter as many people have seen it.  I wasn't sure if I was going to go myself, since I didn't hear all that much about it.  But when my friend and his girlfriend invited me along, I couldn't pass up the awkwardness of being the third wheel.  And I'm glad I didn't.  Honestly, it's probably more of a chick flick, so my appreciation shouldn't come as a surprise.  It's a beautiful story about relationships and finding your true path in life, overcoming your insecurities and becoming comfortable with yourself.  The movie is almost flawless, and while there are certain standard, predictable elements, you will not be disappointed at the end.  Then again, no one will listen to me, especially after I just bashed Knocked Up

Final grade: A-

Rocky Followup

Posted by doktakra on December 27, 2006 at 2:23 PM Comments comments (2)

Seeing Rocky Balboa last week inspired me to pick up the "Rocky Anthology" box set of the five previous releases.  I hadn't watched these movies in 15 years (hard to believe it was that long ago), and while they're inevitably dated, I fogot how much I used to love them as a kid.  I watched the first two this week, and I'm planning a Rocky III evening tonight (I think this was was my all-time favorite).  I also wrote in response to a review by ESPN Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons, and there's a small chance he may publish my letter.  I will provide the link this dream comes true.  The only problem now, is I can't get the music out of my head -- I'm constanly humming it and nodding my head at my desk at work.  This probably makes me look even more crazy than the five people that are actually here.  Getting strong now...

Rocky Return

Posted by doktakra on December 24, 2006 at 5:03 PM Comments comments (0)
I saw Rocky Balboa last night, and to my surprise, I wasn't the least bit disappointed.  Sure, the premise is a little dumb and unrealistic (a simulated boxing match tempts the nearly 60-year-old Rocky to fight the world champion), and the whole "underdog who has no chance to compete" shtick gets tiresome.  But the movie is entertaining and brings back those familiar goosebumps with the training scene music and the very realistic fight sequences.  It's also a much more fitting end (hopefully) to the series than the horrific Rocky V -- the events of which, by the way (that whole broke and brain-damaged thing) are not even mentioned.  I will also admit that while I resisted the urge to join the excited theater crowd in cheering and clapping during the movie, I broke one of my personal rules and applauded during the final credits -- I don't know what came over me, but I was slightly ashamed afterwards.

It's (Kinda) Niiice!

Posted by doktakra on November 11, 2006 at 3:18 PM Comments comments (0)

I went a full week listening to everyone's comments on Borat, inadvertanly hearing some of the best jokes and learning about the funniest parts.  After finally seeing the movie, I wasn't that impressed.  Don't get me wrong, it has several unparalled comedic scenes, and Sacha Baron Cohen does an admirable job of staying in character while putting unsuspecting people into extremely awkward situations.  I'll even go so far as to agree that on a small scale, he's a comedic genious and exposed his subjects for the bigots, racists, and just plain idiots that they really are.  But I thought that the movie dragged on during the scripted 'plot' parts, and I found myself wondering whether some of the pranks were actually staged.  Since everyone has seen the movie by now (spolier alert if you haven't), the Pam Anderson sacking was undoubtedly set up, and I refuse to believe that it wasn't.  There is no way that it would have went on for that long and she would not have run outside to the parking lot.  And some of my friends loved the nude wrestling sequence, but I found it gross and completely unneccessary...okay, the look on the guy's face in the elevator was priceless, but it was still too painful for the eyes.  I'm also certain the DVD release will have tons of deleted and uncensored scenes that we too controversial for the already lenient 'R' rating -- and I may just have to watch them...