Saturday, February 26, 2011


Tomorrow is Oscar night. Whoo hoo! Actually, I have a love/hate thing for the Oscars and no it has nothing to do with the tired old complaint/running joke about the length of the show. Seriously people, stop that! It's not funny or clever anymore. Yet every year people are acting like they never heard of a DVR.

I love movies! It's the industry's biggest night and I have been watching these shows since I was a kid. I mainly watch for the comedic moments, my all time favorite host being Billy Crystal. And it's always exciting to see how well a first timer will do. Without the comedians the Oscars would be an extremely boring show. Besides the funny bits, you have the opening montage, the remembrance, honoring past achievement...a lot of good stuff. .Sure it can get slow at times. You can't expect to entertain non-stop like The Grammy Awards. With the exception of those special honorary awards, the speeches are what kills it for me. Usually this is when I leave and get a snack. But I can only get up and eat so much. Some speeches are good but generally it's the worst part of the show. Sure come up and get your statue but do you have to go overboard with the thank you's. It gets out of control. Fine, thank a few key people or spirits but bring out a list?? "I don't want to miss anyone" Why? Will you get in trouble? Will you not get rehired? Not gonna get laid? Why not a short "I'd like to thank everyone involved in the making of this film, you know who you are." There's a billion people watching you. Make it interesting. For cryin out loud you are the creative people, you can think of something! For once I'd like to hear "I was prepared to thank everybody but I just realized you were all just doing your job and we made a lot of fucking money, so I expect to see your thank you cards in my mail" I'd love that!


I wasn't planning on watching the Oscars as I never really plan on making an effort. Usually, somehow I end up half ass watching, jealous as shit of course. I wanna wear jewels and prance my ass around and get photos taken of my gorgeous perm, and win trophies and junk. Maybe that's why I say I'm going to avoid watching but then still watch because deep down I want to be a Hollywood celebrity and wake up next to Haley Joel Osmend. This year I was invited to countless Hollywood parties to watch, but declined each and everyone of them. One of which was taking place at my girlfriends' parent's house. There was gonna be the fucking most amazing food, and the tv was all HD'd out and shit, and I was like "oh im so there," but then at the last minute her grandma showed up and took my spot and i guess i was supposed to RSVP, and they wouldn't let me in because of some fire hazard with too many people even though when I looked through the window there was only 4 people. So, I just was like whatever and went to my video store and rented Due Date and Eagle Eye. These were good movies. Very different from another. Why weren't these acceptable award nominees. I don't understand Oscar. Anyhow, I ended up watching the Oscars on my DVR very late at night. It was really cool. I liked it. So many sparkly things everywhere. And Bob Hope came back from the dead. In a good way. I will definitely watch next year.

Apparently you do not take the Oscars too seriously. You say you liked the show and that you wait with bated breath for the next one?? I'm confused here bro. It was an awful show. It sucked monkey balls. One billion people were temporarily depressed. Ninety four people committed suicide during the 'In Memoriam'. Either you are not human or I must conclude that you did not watch it; that you are lying to protect my feelings as I'm sensitive to these kinds of things. It's ok, I can handle it. I'm a grown-ass ass man. You don't have to like the Oscars. But damn this sucks. I had things I wanted to discuss. I had comments. Since you mentioned the odd looking feller Haley Joel Osmond, I was gonna be all like hey Erick "I see dead people", then I was gonna be all like, "speaking of dead people, did you see Kirk Douglas?" But I can't. It's been ruined! Now that I know you don't do Oscar I'm wondering, do you even know who Kirk Douglas is? Did you even see Spartacus?? Have you been staying away from the show all these years? Wow, because you missed a lot. Ok, hopefully the show will get better next year. Hopefully they bring back a comedian. Hope we have something to talk about.

Stay tuned to this post cause I want your opinion regarding some movies that failed to win best picture. I will get back to this later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greatest Heavyweights


This is the game we are talking about! We would play it on Sega Genesis.
Greatest Heavyweights of the Ring! Man, the internet is amazing right? Beep, bop, boop, all your memories are kept on file.

I was always Muhammad Ali, my favorite boxer of all time, and I'm pretty sure you were Rocky Marciano.

What we loved most about the game was the catch phrases that the boxers were able to utter at the click of a button. And we had the old controllers, the ones with only three action buttons. What is hilarious is one of the buttons was solely for trash talking.

Muhammad Ali's two phrases were, "Oooh, I'm so pretty," and "What's my name?!" I can only remember one of Marciano's being, "I'm gonna embarrass you," in a thick NY Italian accent. We would try so hard to get some trash talk in, but it would most likely cost you a punch in the face. It was worth it.

This is great -- I found someone posted a Ali - Marciano - match on youtube! Watch how from the start the Ali fighter keeps trying to get out his catch phrase at the expense of taking some hits. Classic. The Marciano fighter is a bit more cautious about running his mouth. He succeeds on minute 1:27 - I'M GONNA EMBARRASS YOU.


Yep that's it! Sure brings back some good memories. I watched that whole match-good find there. A lot of tough battles we had, and thankfully it never spilled out of the ring with all that loosey lippy. I guess it was too early to put Tyson in as one of the GOAT's. I'm pretty sure I had the bronx bomber Joe Louis and what his taunt was, I have no idea. And if Steve was around, I certainly couldn't be Rocky! You know them Italians- they love their fighters as much as their cannoli. "Leave the gun, take..."

"Yo Andrian, I did it!" Yeah I'm switching gears here. I got to say, that was a great movie, well deserving of it's Best Picture win. You can't go wrong with boxing in film and now up for the Oscars is yet another one. I gotta check out 'The Fighter' soon. I miss what boxing used to be. It has been taken over in popularity by the lesser sport of MMA. I like MMA, don't get me wrong, it's just an entirely different animal, and good luck trying to win an Oscar with cage fighting!

balboa character inspired by rocky marciano

Since you brought up Sega I'm gonna have to go in search for Atari. You opened a can of worms bro, Ima gonna get deep in the 80's. OR more boxing?



You have to mention that this is you and David. I see you are doing a little showboating of your own. Who would win these matches?


Yes, David the middle-little-brother and I going for a few rounds. I could never go hardcore so it was just sparring and pretending we were Rocky Balboa and Mr. T, however, one time I did get caught up in the moment and that led to his abrupt retirement from the ring so early in his career. Before we got the gloves I remember talking to him about how exciting it would be and that I would record  'Eye of the Tiger" off the radio. It would be our fightin music. He didn't seem as thrilled as I was. Thankfully I had other siblings.  The real boxing came in when the white Don King pit Andrea the Assassin vs Erick Mount Everest.  Those were some pretty badass matches!  I'm so glad that there was no serious permanent damage and that you two still talk to each other.

many years after their legendary bouts, assassin and everest were able to reconcile enough to start doing each others hair

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I will sing again

I know I haven't been contributing to the blog as much.  I will get back to it soon.  In the meantime, enjoy some of my proposed tweets.  No, I don't have a twitter account yet but I think it would be a good idea to tap into the demographic of those with short attention spans or those who simply dislike reading too much. Twitter with their 140 character limit is perfect!

"I love string cheese!"

"The NFL is socialism"

"If you ever had to resort to cannibalism to survive, you better hope your friends are Americans!"

"I'd like to try a bacon flavored coffee!"

Maybe these didn't knock your socks off. I thought they were pretty good. If you feel you don't have the tweeting magic, you can always resort to a famous quotation.  People eat those up.


Whoa, killer tweets, Chris! You need to get on that and rope us in some viewers that way! Hot damn! I want to know more about why the NFL is socialism but I don't care enough to read another sentence on the subject.

So, in reply -- Yes, I sold out to Facebook. We were going strong for months without any need for viewers but I took it upon myself to do so in an act of desperation as I was worried that you needed some audience. You weren't posting. Your morale was low. You grew weak without any fanfare. I blame you, Chris. I blame you. And now our number one fan that was with us from the start, who's name will be kept a secret, is considering to never post a comment again. It's a sad day on this blog. Very sad. On the upside it boosted our regular audience of around 77 viewers a day to 135, and now settled in around the 100 mark. Was it worth it to sell the blog out, opening us up to possible family members and friends that can read our blog in secrecy. I dunno. I'm cool with it. Let's keep this random quote I found by googling, "quotes about being yourelf," in mind as we go forward -
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. ~Raymond Hull
That's a tweet if I ever saw one! 


Well get ready to strap on a pair of Depends . Putting aside those clueless folks who cry 'socialism' at every turn, yes, the NFL is socialistic in their structure with all owners sharing the profits.  The result is parity within the league resulting in better competition, more fan enjoyment etc.  Contrast that with baseball where you can sometimes just buy yourself a world series.   Ok, enuff bout that.  Why did I even go there.

Damn that Mark Zuckerberg!  He's got to get his pausz into everything. 

    "Whoa, wait a millisecond guys. True I want ALL your info, but seriously, what the sheol were you thinking?"

I'm just messing with you. I understand why you made the assumptions that you did.  You thought more viewership would = motivation for increased blogginess. I was just not in the blogging mood as of late and had other things on my mind-For one thing, I'm quitting tobacco and it's a strange transition. Perhaps the increased carbon monoxide in the blood dulled my senses of outside distractions enough to focus better? Ok, maybe I can't blame it on that. Idk,  but I can assure you my blog apathy it's just a temporary thing.   Did you think we would duplicate our crazy first month?  That was a LOT of blogs. But hey, I'm not saying it won't go back to that!  The mind of Chris works in mysterious ways.  Whoa did I just refer to myself in the third person who is god-like?? Ok, regarding the audience.  The audience size does not determine my productivity level-.  I was never overly concerned with views. Sure, I thought it was exciting in the beginning to leave a link some place and get 300-400 unique hits a day.  But eventually you value interaction and comments over numbers and ultimately what I value over everything is simply the creative expression.  It's an outlet and a bonus is that you leave behind a window into who you are.  Pretty cool.  Lettuce be real. taking down the faux exterior, our public persona, can be quite liberating.  Self-actualization is a worthy goal.  It's also cool that sometimes you are forced to try and recollect things from the past and there is someone else there to help in filling in the details.  Everybody should do a blog.  I just try to make it somewhat entertaining.  Some blogs are just informational. I like reading Grandma L's blog (although it hasn't been updated since Thanksgiving).  Her blog is more like a family diary with a lot of emphasis on what she has eaten or what she will be cooking or what food someone is bringing over.  I'm usually raiding the fridge after reading her stuff.  Anyhoo, I'm rambling on and lost my focus again!
Back to your last point.  I'm fine with whoever/whomever/hoo-hoo reads the blog.  



Saturday, February 19, 2011

You're the bitch. Bitch.

I'm sure you've seen this commercial. It aired during last years Super Bowl.

But did you see this version?

Women! Who knew they were funny. And who taught them how to use video equipment? Weren't they too busy at a PTA meeting or something, I mean --

I'm kidding! Geez!

Great video ladies. Well done. I do in fact cry everytime I watch "Rudy!" Haha! How did you know?!

This video isn't going to be broadcast during the SuperBowl, or go viral as effectively as a kitten riding a turtle. But, it is a nice kick in the crotch to all the meatheads out there that Dodge was counting on to eat it up.

Score one for the ladies!


Ok, I'm trying something new here.  I hope I'm not messing up your shit, but I have entered/trespassed your blog post.  I'm thinking it would be cool to continue a blog post if either party felt they wanted to add more to it.  The trespasser should use writing in bold.


Man, Chris, you really do like your white space. I like your idea. I really don't think I can top your pic, but this will have to do for now.


Cool pic man. you look pretty happy, like you were naively expecting a lot of money from the tooth fairy.  So yeah, this might work OR we get tired of it and it lands in the ash heap of failed blog ideas.  Let's think of new ways to structure the blog, like an individual post for a particular i wanna know more about something like how many takes did you have to do for Mr. Monkey...this is shit I'd like to know b4 I start losing my memory...I turned fcukin 40 ya know

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Netflix Space Cats

Editing is not cool. This is what I must have looked like to my girlfriend this weekend as I edited for three straight days trying to knock out a 30 second spec commercial for Netflix.

I didn't find out about the contest until a few days before the deadline and it was a mad rush to finish. Bianca drew and colored all the backgrounds and we recorded all the voice overs in our closet.

I used all the footage of our cats shot on greenscreen from a previous commercial and the only thing I had to shoot was the cat spaceship. (Which I picked up at a collectible shop near my work - a mini enterprise! how cool is that!? - Bianca added the ears and whiskers in photoshop - looks awesome!)


Computer magic!

We didn't have time to make the second video. Bianca had a great idea to have one with an evil double headed dog that eventually makes nice with our cat buddies and watches a movie. Too bad. But I think we came out with a really fun video none the less.

Without further ado it is my tremendous honor to present, Netflix Space Cats!!!! starring Bianca D'Amico in her greatest performance yet!!!!

I have to give crazy mad thanks to Bianca for all her hard work, her great drawings, and voice over work, and letting me get away with editing on Valentines Day. Thanks babes! We did sneak out for two amazing meals - one of which was the lamb shepards pie at Auntie Em's. Thank you shepards pie for giving us the endurance and inspiration to keep going.
It looked something like this:

Photos just don't do this meal justice! Do you like melty buttery potatoes? I see your head nodding. That's a yes. Do you like lamb? You're probably like, I dunno? Do I? You do, trust me. They braised the hell out of this lamb and hid it under a pile of those melty potatoes you love so much. It's a surprise search party and what you uncover just might make you love yourself again. It's okay to smile. You have lovely teeth. Show them off. And hey, while you're smiling, why don't you come down off that ledge. Life is great isn't it? That's how good this fucking pie was. And is. Again, thank you pie.

There are close to 400 submissions! Whaaaat? A new Poptent record. 5 winners get 8 grand each. Say whaaat? I know. I really want to win. Like really bad. Really really bad. Just like any Poptent contest there are some really good videos and some terribly awful ones. Send me a link to your favorite and worst submissions.Watch Here


Erick, I watched many of those submissions and thought a lot of them were pretty good.  Some of them were highly polished and you would think they should be TV commercials, for example, Netflix Noir and Moments Notice.  But are they out of place?  Are they made for the internet? I would think the internet audience is younger and needs something to really catch their attention.
 The whole family angle or the young couple in love is just so cliche, I had to keep myself from vomiting every now and thenCan't wait to see the results of the judging.  This is one tough competition.



Yes, I definitely think the super polished videos seem out of place -- I couldn't agree more. I don't think Netflix is doing this ad contest to save money but instead to look for something a bit unusual and to get an idea of how they can go about packaging the somewhat complicated new campaign of netlix streaming. There is a lot of info that the viewer must know in 30 seconds, and in the "creative brief," netflix was very specific about communicating this. They preferred to not use the word "streaming" and instead "watch instantly," for those who are not versed with the term. Anyhow, I think it works as a great focus group, in order for them to package it more effectively. Yes, maybe they would use an entire video as is, or they could use an idea of a video and remake it entirely. That obviously remains to be seen. As far as the video you were referring to involving the "couple in love," yes I couldn't agree more. Looks great. Terribly cliche and boring. Not to mention borrowed from a recent Iphone commercial. I think Netflix is better than that. There is a great article here, you definitely have to read, I'm curious on your take. Teaser: "If a company like Pepsi or Trident wanted a standard commercial shot with a $20,000 camera they would just hire some production company to do that for them."

So, what are my chances? Not really sure. I definitely would have done a few things differently if I had the time. I think it could have been more fun if we had more time to toy around with the dialogue. Take some more chances. Make it a little more edgy and offbeat. Especially the first third. But 30 seconds goes by so fast! You really have to stay on point. And yes are cats overdone on the internet? Yes! (Netflix probably doesn't know I had to reuse the footage from when I thought cats were in vogue. 2009. Cats were freaking inspired!) What I am hoping is that they like the idea. The branding. For me, I am always amazed by the future. Something like Netflix streaming for me is proof of how great the future we are living in really is. And as far as I could tell I don't think anyone else hit on that idea. Either way, I was happy with the finished product, and after seeing most of the competition, I would like to think I still have a fighting chance.--- Did you happen to see how many videos were made featuring bratty evil kids that finally chill out after their clueless parents put on a Netlix movie? Oh man! There's at least three of them and the makers are arguing with each other regarding stealing one another's ideas. (Check out the comments) It's wrong on so many levels. 


I wasn't joking when i said I watched half the videos submitted.  Many I thought had a clever concept or the funny, but failed to adequately sell the netflix it was an afterthought or they ran out of time.  How often do we hear that consumers will remember a memorable ad campaign but not the product.  It's really hard to guess how the execs are going to judge this.  I certainly thought your video was different than the others, good concept, cute dialogue (saturday morning cartoonish-like) and you devoted plenty of time to pushing the netflix details.  Now as far as doing something different, someone mentioned to me that perhaps it would have been better if you had a 3rd distinct voice in there.  Idk, I didn't notice anything too off.  Did you get that sense?
I agree your video had a certain vibe to it..upbeat, positive.....yeah! the future is awesome...let's buy this shit, let's get in on what these happy cats are so excited about.  And the whole futuristic space travel thing ties in real well.  I know I'm biased, but I thought this is something that will surely catch and retain ones attention so yes, you got a fighting chance. Also, people are impatient these days, especially more so since DVR's, people get easily irritated with commercials, especially ones that try to manipulate your feelings like those 'you can have a nice family experience if you buy into our product'...oh please.  Your cats are not manipulating anyone...they're just fcuking cats! Who could get annoyed with cats?  I think you appeal to a larger audience.  Idk, I'm no expert.
Overall, I was just amazed at all the creativity people put in their work. And let's not forget the bad ones!  Those were interesting- too many to list! Ha! people are arguing over the rights to the bratty kids idea?  I saw the one 'eat your veggies'  Placating bratty kids is nothing new in commercials...I remember that horrible commercial ad from toyota 'just because you're a parent, doesn't mean you have to be lame'  raaaaage! I will look into those comments.

Did you see 'Let's go back to your place'?  That cracked me up....."What, what?"


Yeah, if you find any links put them up here. I meant to do a bad/good link but I worried of being a jerk and it trailing back to the blog. Anyway, yes, this "mystery person" is accurate in wanting three distinct voices. My two voices, "announcer voice," and "cat voice," sound eerily similar. I would have liked to have the time to experiment with my "cat voice," or have someone else come in. Maybe a Russian accent, a Shatner impression, generic cartoon character. I'm as confused now as I was in the hours leading up to the deadline on what the hell that cat was supposed to sound like. He was basically the straight man. But, yeah, definitely would have taken more of a chance with that one. Bianca wants me to sign up with her to take a voice over class. If that ever happens come next time when someone needs a talking animal I'll be prepared. 


You did what you could do on short notice.  Am I correct in assuming that all these videos needn't be media-ready right NOW as they have been submitted?  I would think that if they like a particular concept that there would be an opportunity to fine tune.
Definitely do that voice-over class! Before you sell a billion dollar script you could be making 500-700 an hour being your zany self. How sweet is that.

Friday, February 4, 2011

At the Movies

I grew up watching At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert. Never agreed with anything they ever had to say. That's not exactly true but definitely for most of my childhood. At the time I was too young to have a discerning opinion when it came to movies. Any movie where characters fell down, threw around cuss words, got kicked in the penis, most likely made it into my must see list. I remember being so confused when Siskel and Ebert gave "The Great Outdoors," two thumbs down. Say what? You guys wouldn't know funny if it farted in your face! I took it as a direct attack at me and my comedy sensibilities. I had only seen the tv trailer, but still, I was certain it was a gem. Someone got shot with a bow and arrow, a bear attack, John Candy is... fat. I've seen enough. Instant. Classic.

In my teens I started to make films of my own, and started to take movies and myself pretty seriously. In community college I saw Citizen Kane for the first time and thought I was pretty hot shit. Did I mention I owned A Touch of Evil, and at the time would act surprised that you never saw it. Really? The opening shot is revolutionary! I'd let you borrow it, but it was really hard to find. For the first time I was watching Siskel and Ebert with a new found respect. What they did was fucking important. I was important. Movies. Or I should say, Film, was important. They introduced indies that I would have no way of hearing about, they showcased classics, they were my pre-film school, film school.

I even watched after Siskel sadly passed away and was replaced by Richard Roeper. The show changed. The chemistry was different. It lost a little bit of magic. I still watched. I was attending a film school now, in the downtown area of Chicago. Surrounded by real film buffs. People that took themselves very seriously, wore black, and chain smoked outside of the film building. After a semester I realized I was not one of these people. I switched majors over to television writing so I could be more loose and fun, goof off a little, and not take myself so seriously. This was the real me. The same kid that loved the trailer to the "Great Outdoors."

When the revamped At the Movies came back on the air in 2008, I am not proud to say I was recording it, and watching it. In an attempt to reach a younger audience the two hosts were a bit younger, hipper? I don't know? Likeable? Not really? Interesting? Uhhh... I don't remember loving the show but I don't remember hating it as much as most people. I mean people really hated it. Ben Lyons got the brunt of the hatred for his love of everything mainstream, once calling I am Legend, "one of the greatest movies ever made." (that's a real quote. seriously.) They only lasted a season before they got the axe.

I was living in Los Angeles now. Long graduated from Columbia College of Chicago and working on the TV show, "The New Adventures of Old Christine." Working as a Producer's Assistant was draining me physically and creatively and I eventually quit my job, the equivalent of jumping off a cliff in this industry, to figure myself out. I decided around this time that I really wanted to try my hand at writing feature length screenplays.

In 2009, At the Movies decides to go with a more established pair in A.O. Scott, from the New York Times, and Micheal Phillips from the Chicago Tribune. Like all new hosts I was a bit weary of these guys, but they quickly won me over.

I feel like they were the closest thing to what made Siskel and Ebert really good. They felt lived in. Confident. Comfortable. They were funny. And they had great chemistry. It was one of my favorite shows to find on my dvr. It was a real bummer when I found out Disney, who owns the rights to At the Movies, was canceling the show after 24 seasons, due in part to poor ratings. Ebert wrote, "Blame the fact that five-day-a-week syndicated shows like 'Wheel of Fortune' went to six days. Blame the fact that cable TV and the internet have fragmented the audience so much that stations are losing market share no matter what they do. Blame the economy, because many stations would rather sell a crappy half-hour infomercial than program a show they respect."

Recently, Ebert announces he is planning on revamping the show himself and bringing it back to PBS where it originally aired. Sounds great! I'm pumped. I waited months. Wait, you're not bringing back the seasoned vets in Phillips and Scott? But who? Unknown talents? Uh, okay. I guess I'll give it a try. Got to admit, I'm not as excited anymore, but what the hell. Fake enthusiasm. Let's do this!

Another chapter...

You decide for yourself

As for me, my ultimate goal is to one day soon have my own film reviewed by At the Movies.  Stay tuned.

Blizzard 2011


My street.


 Cool.  I like the idea of 'looking' at snow from a distance, kinda like staring endlessly at the sun and appreciating it's warmth and life sustaining energy but glad you are 93 million miles away.
I can't wait to see these mountains next month.  Although we have had a lot of snow here, I'm not going to ruin your plans of us climbing these peaks.  I'll be ordering some supplies.

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