Monday, June 29, 2009

About ten days ago, I committed a cardinal sin, especially for someone who calls himself a Republican: I wasted my time arguing with someone who skips facts and goes right to criticism, name-calling and finger-pointing. Invariably, I find myself in this position with regularity because of several reasons, most prominent of which is due to the fact that I rarely take a position until I've drenched myself in as much fact as possible. In general, whether wrong or right, I find it's better to make an educated guess once I've opted to become educated.

Unfortunately, the scope of this particular argument to which I refer above was Obama's limited reaction to the implosion resulting from Iran's "election" which maintained President Ahmadinejad. Rather than bother rehashing the facts, let's assume that the election was a complete joke, and that two-thirds of the nation of Iran has had it with Ahmadinejad, the symbol of lies, control and dictatorship.

The post-election demonstrations that resulted in bloodshed, unrest and, in some cases, death, was notable in that it was the largest such show of dissent by the people of Iran since 1979, the year there was a revolution which overturned the leadership of that nation.

The original premise that started the discussion was that the people of Iran largely support the West and are not anti-Israel, and are in fact opposed to terrorism and suicide bombing.

And it went downhill from there.

I won't bother rehashing the back and forth, as it was nauseating to experience it first-hand and even moreso when I posted the entire text thereof on a Facebook page. I didn't do so to prove a point or to vindicate myself in bothering making the argument with the other person; I did so to make sure my points were clear and that I wasn't clueless, as I suspected the other person with whom I was arguing.

Once I had a variety of people review the text, I was a bit relieved, because most of the people with whom I shared this reacted in much the same way I did, ostensibly suggesting the person with whom I was arguing had absolutely no clue what she was talking about and was merely spewing anger and hate at Obama for, ostensibly, no reason that any sane person would be comfortable to determine.

In either case, I came across two articles which I think are useful in the context of part of that particular discussion, was the premises I suggested supporting Obama's restrained response to Iran's implosion. Rather than go rushing in as the Big Powerful USA and dictate to the people of Iran the direction their nation should go, which was already perfected in the 70's with disastrous results, which is what my discussion partner demanded Obama do, my supposition was that by allowing the people of Iran to choose their own path -- even if difficult, painful and circuitous -- we would eventually gain better results. Of course, this was met with scoffs, ridicule and more name-calling and derision. Considering that the person with whom I was arguing seems to skip using facts to support her position, it makes a lot of sense that these other options were her main supporting cast.

The first article I came across discusses the notion, put forth by a Afghan cleric, of how suicide bombing in certain situations is acceptable. Never mind that my discussion partner downplayed the fact that most Iranians, who are Muslim, would probably agree with this cleric in his theory. What is most disturbing about this statement is it was offered up by the son of another Afghan cleric who, after decreeing that suicide bombing is wrong, was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber. Beyond the irony of the situation, what's really disturbing is that the son, by way of the article, indicates one very cold, chilling point of view: "suicide bombings in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO troops are justified because they are invaders killing Muslims."

Next up, this article discloses the fact that Iraq as a nation is celebrating the deadline for American troops to begin their gradual withdrawal from that nation.

What these two articles share in common is that we are still in the business of "doing good," even for people that clearly don't want our help or assistance. Celebrating the US exit from a nation and earmarking our troops for suicide bombings simply because we don't belong involved in their affairs are two pretty stark, strong statements. And frankly, while I don't suggest we turn our back on the strife in Iran or other hot parts of the Middle East, I can't particularly understand why, given these facts, anyone rational or sane -- significant caveats, I know -- would advocate involving ourselves in the natural progression of events in or outside Iran.

Inevitably, I think it's clear that people who want to criticize Obama will do so regardless of the facts or the long-term successes or damage he achieves or inflicts. The fact is, although I'm not a huge supporter of his, I can't really fault much of anything he's been doing. I continue to be leery of his treatment of Israel, but thus far he hasn't done anything to warrant my criticism or scorn, except to say that his mere presence has given license to foolish, right-wing nuts who feel satisfied by exerting their anger and frustration -- for whatever the reason -- and who use him as a target.

In either case, aside from the universal fact that Muslim nations will always detest, resent and be hostile toward and suspicious of any involvement by Western nations in their affairs unless it saves them from a worse fate, what I've learned in all of this is the following: when you ask someone to explain their anger, frustration and/or their overall depression and their answer to same is by insulting or chiding you for asking the question, you're better off ignoring their disdain and advising them to seek qualified professional help. And, much like with many nations in the Middle East, it's advisable to learn from one's mistake(s) and get the hell out of the way and staying out of the way forever.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hope is found in the darkest places, but not in Powder Blue

What do you get when you combine these actors -- Jessica Biel, Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Lisa Kudrow, Patrick Swayze and Kris Kristofferson -- in a hotly-anticipated, straight-to-DVD release? You get a long waste of a film called "Powder Blue."

The tagline for this film is "Hope is found in the darkest places." After watching this movie, it's pretty safe to say it wasn't in this film, that's for sure.

First and foremost, anyone reading this may recognize this film as Jessica Biel's first foray into "serious" film; she plays a stripper and single-mother (one character). And yes, I had as difficult a time writing that without breaking out laughing as you did reading it. The film's release was anticipated by men around the world because this marked Jessica Biel's first nude scene. Unfortunately, even her bare boobs didn't bring this back from the abyss.

Disappointment, I think, should be this film's hallmark, and not (merely) because the film fails despite the aforementioned bare boobs. Anne Hathaway had a similarly awful first step towards movie drama mixed with nudity in "Havoc," and this film had a far better cast (and you could understand most of the dialogue herein, whereas in "Havoc" the majority of the film is in 'ebonics' and even if you wanted to know what was being said, there was so little of value there it wasn't worthwhile finding an online Ebonics to English translator. Put another way, shit is shit no matter what language is being spoken.

With a cast of heavy hitters, this film should and could have been better. To be completely fair, it wasn't an awful film, it was a film based on an awful story. "Dark" films are not to be avoided, and this film -- on certain levels -- qualifies as dark. The point being that there's so much depression happening here that by the time the climax arrives, the viewer has, most likely, reached the point of not really caring. I won't spoil any of the theoretical surprises, but I can say that the performances were fairly solid -- Forest Whitaker, for sure -- but the story, which is interspersed between the lives of these disparate, desperate characters, is scattered and it almost seems like the action is following one story of modern pathos to another.

This film's title will be the answer to the trivia question "What movie did Jessica Biel first bare her knockers" -- but the real question should be how an assembly of such talented actors and actresses (and I'm not sure if, or where on, the list Ms. Biel should be) managed to get roped into doing a film this, at best, mediocre.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chickenfoot: The More Things Change...

About a year ago, when Van Halen announced a world tour that would -- for the first time since the early 80's -- include David Lee Roth and not Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone on vocals, it was pretty clear that hell had frozen over yet again. The first over-frozen hell was The Eagles reuniting for 20 farewell tours, and of course seeing Pink Floyd -- David Gilmour and Roger Waters -- on one stage for Live 8 was a similar cooling.

The fallout from the post Sammy Hagar era of Van Halen was the band's long-time bassist, Michael Anthony, left along with Sammy Hagar and the two of them formed a band with the rest of Sammy's old (and new) bandmates called "The Other Ones." That project, to my knowledge, pretty much went nowhere.

Then out of the ether came news that Sammy and Michael joined up with a guy who plays guitar named Joe.

I believe I've mentioned my all-out respect for Joe Satriani in these pages before. If not, I'm remiss.

Joe Satriani is among the most incredible guitarists ever to walk this -- or any other -- planet. He's capable of eliciting and inciting more incredible noise from a six-string than anyone before him, and his way-out-there approach to making music on every level is pretty much indisputable. Put another way, the guy fucking wails. I've seen him live six or seven times throughout venues in NYC from opening to Stevie Ray Vaughan to packing the Beacon to Roseland to other similarly-sized houses.

So when I discovered he was joining with the aforementioned Sammy and Mike and drummer Chad Smith to form a new band called Chickenfoot, I scored a copy of their eponymous debut and I have some reactions, which is to be expected.

First and foremost, anyone who listens to this album is going to instantly compare Joe's work with Eddie Van Halen's. Both are, without question, incredibly talented and solid songwriters. The difference is that Eddie's style is distinct and tunnel-visioned. Basically, there's little chance you'll mistake Eddie Van Halen's playing with someone else's, much in the way you could never mistake Eri Clapton or Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix with some miscellaneous axe-slinger.

Joe's style isn't nearly as simple to discern because he's so adept at being all over the place and doing anything that strikes him as doable. The guy's style is eminently fluid and all over the place from song to song, but once he finds a mood, a tone and the aim of a song, he's dead on target. But he can just as easily do a sappy ballad with quasi-acoustic guitar parts to crushing the listener with tone and attack.

So when this collection of 11 tunes reached my iPod I was excited because I like Sammy both as a person and a vocalist, and I apotheosize Joe in every way one musician can another. I had a chance to meet and (sort of) play with him, and there's something quite humiliating knowing that if I spend every hour of the rest of my life dedicated to becoming a better player, I know I'll still never reach the edge of the mountain on which Joe stands at said mountain's peak.

Having said all that, the album -- musically -- cooks. There's really no better way to describe it. For the most part, the guitars are aggressive and loud and the songs are bold and in your face. Sammy's vocals are strong as per usual, and the overall expression of the album is a scowl, without a doubt.

There are some problems, however.

Inasmuch as I'd love to love this album, it's not going to withstand the test of time as a daily listen. Some of the tunes are really solid, but at issue is the questionable lyrics. Essentially, it's -- for better or worse -- the same thing that plagued Sammy's limited tenure as David Lee Roth's replacement. These tunes have some measure of humor but, for the most part, they fall a tad flat with lyrics that should be edgy and instead come across as quasi-generic. No one expects a modern band to write the next Stairway to Heaven or You Can't Always Get What You Want, etc., but a good chunk of these tunes are disposable, lyrically speaking. A lot of it sounds like "5150" -- which is both a compliment and a knock.

Examples of this are "My Kinda Girl," which feels like the Hagar-era Van Halen's version of Donna Summers' "She Works Hard For The Money" mixed with "Summer Nights" or "Dreams." Another Chickenfoot tune, "Oh Yeah," lyrically, is repetitive and leaves the listener thinking to him- or herself, "This song isn't over? Oh no."

Musically this album is tighter than a Bavarian bank vault. Joe's guitars and everything under that umbrella -- tone, the mix, the playing -- is spot on, as per usual. Most of the album, like the Van Halen stuff featuring Sammy, is solid, straightforward rock. There are a couple of limp tunes that can be categorized as "love" songs -- on this record, the aforementioned "My Kinda Girl" is closer to that than anything else, as well as "Learning to Fall" and "Future In The Past." These feel relatively akin to 5150's "Dreams," "Love Walks In" and "Summer Nights" or 0U812's "When It's Love" or "Feels So Good."

Make no mistake, the musicianship here is really tight and solid; it's somewhat akin to shopping for a Ferrari and coming home in a Vette. It's not quite what the doctor ordered.

There are some pretty stellar, noteworthy high points to this album. The disc's first two songs, "Avenida Revolution" and "Soap On A Rope" are both heavy on attitude and wham. "Sexy Little Thing" is a tad generic but a good, grooving tune. And finally, "Down The Drain" is a great Satriani-esque funk that would have been better without the sentiment of lyrics. Had these guys left that last one as an instrumental it would have likely been the best track on the album.

That, in a nutshell, is actually a good description for the entire disc. It's solid, but the lyrics -- not the vocals -- compromise these tunes rather than compliment them. I think Sammy's vocals are pretty much flawless, and pair well with Joe's multi-faceted attack.

Put another way, it's hard to listen to this stuff as a centerpiece for your attention; as background music, it's great. But front and center, it's difficult to not want to hit the track skip button.

An interesting addition to this album, the track "Runnin' Out," is clearly about the environment and conserving what we've got before it -- duh -- runs out. Problem is, the real concern after listening to this disc is that, lyrically speaking, these guys are running out of ideas.

Thankfully Joe's got plenty of packages of strings from which to choose. Let's hope he keeps on burning through them; as long as he does, I'll be listening.

As for this album, I give it a limited recommendation, so long as the listener expects mindless drivel paired with balls-to-the-wall tone and endless riffing. It's very much deja vu; it leaves you with a similar wind-down that Sammy's Van Halen stuff does, as well as pretty much everything he's done before or after. It's worth a listen and, with Joe's guitars driving this project, worth more than just one listen.

Pro or con, caveat emptor.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Remains of The Day

It's always the same.

I find myself observing the world through what I believe are relatively unbiased, logical eyes, and try and ruminate on things prior to reacting to them. In a world this busy, this chaotic, this overloaded by everything and everyone, reacting too quickly can be and usually winds up being erroneous and regrettable.

However, after seeing a day's worth of unrest exploding on the streets of Tehran, I've essentially reached the point where I'm not sure how anyone can believe that the recent election for the Iranian presidency -- which are the focus of the massive protests, unrest and violence -- were anything but a ridiculous example of fraud.

The leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is, as I've indicated earlier herein, one of the World's Great Assholes. He has publicly questioned whether the holocaust ever happened and has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction. Further, he has repeatedly suggested that Iran's nuclear program is one deigned for civilian energy, not for military use. Unfortunately, he has also denied that Iran has supported -- with funds, weapons and protection -- Hezbollah and Hamas. Basically, everything that he says is complete bullshit.

So by virtue of the fact that the election results picked him as the clear winner -- by a 2-to-1 margin -- it's relatively obvious that there's something amiss. Why? Because 2/3's of Iran is under the age of 30, and that demographic overwhelmingly favored Ahmadinejad's challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a guy who ran on a platform of reforming the rigid, heavy-handed control of the traditional leaders of Iran. How is it that half of Iran is comprised of eligible female voters who undoubtedly supported the challenger, yet 2/3 of the vote favored a man, Ahmadinejad, who supported restricting womens' rights, including voting and being unescorted during the day and night?

It's clearly and patently ridiculous that the Iranian people would vote for Ahmadinejad, and the massive protests through Tehran and some other large Iranian cities suggest that the people have had enough, as has the rest of the world.

Why is any of this relevant at all, and why did I bother committing these thoughts herein? Well, first and foremost, if this bullshit election result stands, I worry about the state of Israel. If there is only dictatorship in Iran -- and frankly, even before the election was held, I never doubted that somehow Ahmadinejad would "win" -- then what is to stop a nuclear-equipped Iran from targeting Israel? A man like Ahmadinejad, who is either completely crazy or completely overtaken by his adherence to the old guard -- the old guard that has managed to create war between Jews and Muslims for millenia -- would have absolutely no hesitation, on a moral level, in attacking Israel.

Before we start considering Israel's demise an inevitability, the fact is that Israel won't permit Iran to weaponize plutonium. As much as North Korea enjoys jerking our government with threats of weaponizing plutonium, once Israel is convinced that Iran is ready, willing and able to do just that, there's little doubt their nuclear reactors will be reduced to dust.

That, of course, eliminates the initial threat of nuclear attack by an unhinged, crazy dictator. However, that will likely usher in other problems, including suggestions by other nations -- both in and outside the Middle East -- that Israel is the aggressor in this ongoing, eternal conflict, and regardless of her right to defend herself, Israel will be yet again castigated for attacking her neighbors. Soon thereafter, expect suicide attacks, random missiles, anti-Israeli protests from New York to Washington to Damascus to Beirut, and light the fuse on another year or five of things that make heroes and martyrs out of repulsive examples of human beings like James Von Brunn.

The world is getting increasingly smaller; I'm not sure if this is becoming clearer to me because I am more mature or because I'm not foolish enough to miss the signs of this phenomenon. Unfortunately, with Obama's public overtures to Muslim states, I wonder what will transpire from this false election. We have to assume the result will stand, despite Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly calling for some sort of bullshit investigation; after all, it is the traditional men of power in Iran who want to keep that maniac, Ahmadinejad, in power in the first place. However, with the protests continuing, despite clear and present danger to each person ballsy enough to challenge Iran's security forces, it's clear that the people of Iran are increasingly realizing that they need to challenge authority rather than continue accepting it.

Personally, I think the majority of Iranian people are good, decent people. I am confident most people there are anti-Israel, simply because they have been taught to be anti-Israel from birth. It's a cultural and governmental socialization that competes with our respect of laws, justice and government. However, with this latest example of dictatorship, I think the people of Iran are quickly realizing that they are being controlled, not governed, and I wish -- if not hope -- that the real results of this election comes to pass and Ahmadinejad is put in the past tense. Frankly, I could care less about the people of Iran. My interest is selfish; getting rid of Ahmadinejad would restore some balance to the region, it would increase the safety and security of the people of Israel, and it would -- on some level -- reinvigorate the ability of Israel and her neighbors to legitimately restart some discussions on a bona-fide demilitarized two-state solution.

I'm not naive enough to believe any of this will ever happen -- not now, and not in the future -- but being hopeful is about as good as it can and will get until the aforementioned peace becomes reality.

Put another way, we will never be in a position to achieve the unthinkable until we begin to think it's possible to achieve it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Reevaluation and Revolution and De-evolution

I came across an article by CNN's Jack Cafferty regarding Obama's trip to the Middle East and the President's revamped strategy for the region, ie reaching out to the Muslim world, and I found much of the trip, and the reaction to Cafferty's comments, to be pretty disturbing. Obama's trip to the Middle East was significant because he clearly attempted to demonstrate to the Muslim world that he intends to change the dynamic between the US and Arab nations -- by quoting the Quran and by snubbing Israel during this trip -- and the comments that followed the article are equally if not more disturbing than the actual events on which the comments are focused.

But what concerns me even more is the fact -- or my assumption -- that Muslim nations have always spoken out of both sides of their mouth, depending on what suits them best at each particular juncture. Israel, in contrast, has typically been straightforward. Arab nations have always publicly proclaimed their love for peace but ignored and nurtured extremists who have received protection and -- in many cases -- funding and support from the very nations who publicly claim to decry their violent actions. The only real exception to this, of course, is Egypt; Anwar Sadat's assassination, unfortunately, was its legacy.

In either case, many of the comments in the linked article seem to denounce Israel as a selfish, bully of a nation that has been unwilling to accede to US interests and repeatedly behaved in contradiction to US interests in the Mid-East. Of course, none of these comments -- or the biases of the people making them with increasing honesty -- account for the fact that supporting nations who accept or use terror and extremism is a mistake. Nor do they have any basis in fact. Whether it's Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Syria or Libya, it's clear that Obama -- and the individuals behind these comments -- would rather sacrifice or at least temper our relationship with Israel than lessen our commitment to the Muslim world by withdrawing our need for their only international contribution -- oil. Assuming we are able to significantly reduce our dependence on oil in the Middle East, our support for the only democracy to ever survive -- and thrive -- in that region will continue to be our only true and honest ally in the region. What will happen when the duality -- the two-faced nature of many of Israel's neighbors -- is demonstrated post Obama's new treatment of these nations? Will we continue to reach out to the Muslim world, or will we in turn see their behavior as the rule rather than the exception? And will the people who decry Israel's existence and/or "selfish" behavior ever figure out that Israel -- the so-called "bully" is a state the size of Rhode Island surrounded by neighbors in totality are ten times the state of Texas who -- combined -- would just as soon see it wiped off the map as a legitimate reason to maintain its self-preservation? Or will they continue to support and hope for peace among nations that sponsor and breed hate and extremism?

I think the answers to both of these questions are evident. Unfortunately or otherwise, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm thankful on the one hand that the comments were as honest and frank as they were; but I'm equally disappointed that the authors of those comments have very little understanding of the situation, and, for the first time in sixty years, they seem to have an ally in the White House. And that, frankly, while not a surprise, is very disturbing indeed.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pop Goes The Culture (Movie Night Part II)

The film "Doubt" was written and directed by its original playwright, John Patrick Shanley. It's heavy on catholic imagery and overtone, and while it is set in 1964, it, for better or worse, could easily -- with few tweaks -- be a story in today's headlines.

The plot focuses on a priest (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) at a Bronx Catholic school who is accused by the school's iron-fisted, uber-disciplined principal (Meryl Streep) of molesting one of the school's male students. That, essentially, is it; I won't elaborate much because this story plays out both as a drama and a mystery and uncovering either prematurely would ruin the experience, if just a bit. The tension ratchets and soars with the film's two stars (with a surprisingly strong performance from Amy Adams as well). The film comes alive with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, and frankly, both give incredibly vivid, impressive, colorful performances. This is especially interesting given the muted, restrained color palette Shanley uses to frame the story.

The film's themes are, among others, perspective and perception, compassion, relationships and the role of religion and faith in a society where these values are slowly beginning to erode. After President Kennedy's assassination, many people felt lost and isolated -- an early point of the film on several levels -- and that is why the story is as powerful, on several levels, as it was.

It could been another "Class Action (1991)" the awful movie starring Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, about an auto industry cover-up that pits father and daughter on opposite sides of a big-time judicial fight. That movie featured incredibly solid performances from its two stars as well, but the crux and the drama was limp and forgettable (except to those who suffered through it).

Not so in Doubt. This film used symbolism and imagery to make subtle yet lasting points. Essentially, both Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep interact with the film's characters -- including one another -- in whispers and shouting and everything in between, and the fact is this film communicates with the viewer in similarly varied tones. Whether the volume is to the top or barely audible, the drama and the competing core values of discipline, compassion and humanity are front and center. I found some of Shanley's symbolic action to be particularly effective and appropriate.

This is not a flowery, happy, warm film. It is as cold and stark as the weather outside the Bronx parish in which the school is located.

However, seeing it, and contemplating its message -- both literally and figuratively -- was rewarding. I suggest viewing it with someone who will enjoy discussing the film after viewing, as I think Shanley's message is secondary to the characters in the story and instead focuses squarely on how these values, especially within the umbrella of organized, strictly-defined religion in particular, can exist in a society like the mid-1960's, a society whose discipline is waning on both personal and institutional levels, in the face of transgression. I think the film's main question is to investigate how we as individuals can balance what's morally right with the human need to share love, compassion and interaction with our fellow man, and still maintain discipline, order and our beliefs.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Pop Goes The Culture (Movie Night Part I)

As we ebb towards the flow of pop culture and miscellany which increasingly seems to occupy our inexorably faster-paced existence, there seems to be something which wakes us from the otherwise autopilot-guided existence and forces to take notice.

The movie "Fanboys" isn't necessarily it, but it is definitely worth considering for that "wake up out of your stupor" trance that the balance of pop culture and worthless information brings. There will always be a full plate of things to distract us from our daily lives, and there will always be more and more information that we need to process -- whether for personal or professional reasons -- but inevitably, we must pick and choose from them, and in doing so we can determine, by which items and/or crap stays with us long thereafter, which things were worthwhile and which should have remained in the "crap" bin for posterity.

The movie "Fanboys" is something of an anomaly. It's a stocked cabinet filled with Star Wars geek humor, the celebration of all things Nerd, and -- if that wasn't sufficient -- a full-on variety of how to make an entertaining -- if relatively stupid and low-brow -- film.

This particular film's cast is a veritable who's-who of Judd Apatow alums as well as a smattering of otherwise perfectly-cast plug-ins, all of which works perfectly. Assuming you've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Clerks, and managed a viewing of the HBO Series "Eastbound and Down" (Danny McBride) you'll be perfectly-equipped to view this film with "I know that guy!" left and right.

That's not necessarily the sign of a good film, mind you, but when a film manages this many "that guy was in X or Y," that in and of itself will be an interesting side dish to the otherwise main entree, which is the film itself.

In any event, moving on to the film itself, the plot centers on a group of five friends. The main character works in the "real" world as a car salesman with his brother and father, and his friends have spent their post-adolescence fawning over the cult of Star Wars. The film is set about a year prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the first of the second trio of Star Wars films, and the friends decide to take a trip to George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch in San Fran to score a print of the movie prior to its release.

I could go further into detail, but there's really nothing you need to know other than it's about geeks and Star Wars. I could list the actors that participated in this film in large, small and ridiculously funny ways, but the real point of this is to insure that you, the reader, are able to enjoy the film with the same uninformed, "I know this will be good but I don't know much about it" sort of way.

The plot is relatively simple, but the entirety of the film is solid, entertaining and will land among other niche comedy 'classics' like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Office Space," "Superbad" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." This is one of those films that captures its genre and its subject perfectly. And frankly, part of why this film works on so many levels is its cast is dead-on perfect (here's the film's profile at

The names Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, Chris Marquette and Jay Baruchel shouldn't be too much of a draw. Kristen Bell, however, is, especially given the target audience of Olivia Munn fan club members. Add to that a variety of cameos and great inclusions -- especially Seth Rogen in three different roles -- and this is really a "perfect little film."

As summer approaches, the new Terminator and Star Trek films are definitely worth seeing on 40-foot screens with 50-channel THX-certified ultra-powerful sound systems. But I am glad I managed to view this film (in Blu-Ray, natch) and don't feel so badly missing the aforementioned summer blockbusters. And frankly, Fanboys rips into everything that those two movies hold sacred with hilarious results.

One final note, before you're commanded to go forth and buy/rent/steal a copy of Fanboys for your own personal viewing: you should keep in mind that you will need a quasi-working knowledge of the Star Wars and Star Trek films/shows/etc., and further, you should also be prepared with a decent working knowledge of Rush, pop culture, geeks, and in a final touch, in the film's final scene, a modernized ode to Rocky Horror.

Now go and get a copy and thank me later.