Strange Voicemail Capsules

Ok so I have a VoIP phone. I moved to a new provider from Vonage about 8 months ago. In the process of porting my number over I ended up with two phone numbers. The one I ported is my real number, but the VoIP account came with an original number that I never used.

We started getting really strange calls on that unused number almost immediately. At first, I was forwarding it on to random restaurants (By random I mean local Pappa John’s) mostly because I was annoyed at the constant calls in the middle of the night.

I stopped that and just forwarded everything to voicemail. Since I needed to troubleshoot a login problem today on the phone, I checked the box. 46 messages! Most of them last about 5 seconds, but a couple of them were longer. I don’t know why I find them amusing, but I figured someone else might as well.

The lost daughter

Did she just say Possum Kingdom?

Where do I send that contract?

As a note – these are not the absolute originals – I removed all the last names and phone numbers used in the message. I’d hate for these people to get a bunch of random Internet phone calls – since I know exactly how annoying that is :)

FCC Okays Nudity In Some Cases

FCC Okays Nudity On TV If It’s Alyson Hannigan

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

This is a classic. In more ways that one. First, it is based on “The Odyssey”. It’s nice to see elements from the classic sprinkled through out. John Goodman plays the cyclops for example – a man with an eye patch. Or a scene with women washing their closes referred to as Sirens.

Second, the music is awesome. They manage to really capture the feeling of a time and place with the music. Music that is good enough I listen to it on my iPod. Some times you just need some of that Old Timey music.

Third, the film itself is well written and beautiful to look at. I’m may ruin a part of that last part. When they went to film it the south was in full summer. It wouldn’t do to have the trees be green in what is supposed to be the era of the dust bowl. So if you see the film – realize that every plant that you see in the film that is brown – has actually be digitally recolored. I believe this was really cutting edge at the time. It is great when someone finds a way to work in a new technique in a way that instead of taking over the film really helps you get into the story.

A fine example of how great the movie is the fact that even though I’ve seen it a number of times – I noticed a joke in the film this time that I don’t remember from any time previous. (my wife R-U-N-N-O-F-T)

Bottom Line: This film is the perfect blend of story, music, and acting – it is two hours well spent!

300 (2006)

300 (2006)

Ok let’s get some stuff out there straight away.

Frank Miller wrote this in 1999. I don’t think it has anything to do with our current conflict in Iraq.

The original graphic novel is 88 pages. That’s not a lot of room for story or plot.

Iran is mad because the movie portrays Persians in a bad light. The sad reality is most Americans don’t know that Persia and Iran are connected in any way.

This film isn’t historical. Yes stuff happened. Yes the names in the film are right. If you dig into it, you’ll quickly realize that may be the only thing they actually got right – as far as historical accuracy goes.

If you want to read into the film a East vs West battle or maybe you want to say that it was Whitey whooping up on a rainbow of other people. You may be able to make that statement and still stand. Of course given where it occurred and the history they’re talking about it’s hard not to have that happen.

All that being said, I saw it on the IMAX. It was great! It was the sort of over the top violence I can get into.

in the words of Kenneth Turan of the La Times

unless you love violence as much as a Spartan, Quentin Tarantino or a video-game-playing teenage boy, you will not be endlessly fascinated.

That’s pretty fair. I don’t think he meant it as a compliment. Not that it bothers me much. It was over the top – but that is why having it as such a spectacle on the IMAX just made it that much better.

I was actually surprised they let any of the 300 die. I suppose that is the benefit of having 300 – you can let some die and still keep some main characters.

I think the work had a statement. One rooted in the original graphic novel. That had nothing to do with East vs West or all the rest of the controversy. The message appears to be that a few determined men can stand their ground even when vastly out numbered and earn a victory.

This seems to be an ode to the under dog – the people with a code of honor instead of the ones who are enslaved and forced to fight.

That’s probably giving it a little more depth than it deserves (I suppose it is what happens when you start calling them graphic novels instead of comic books). Maybe it is really All about the abs

Bottom Line: It is puerile battle at its finest. It is a summer movie 6 months early.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Where to start – it is a musical (I hate musicals) about a boy who becomes a woman but the operation is botched (I hate it when that happens) and becomes a glam rock super star only to be sold out by the one person she thinks she loves.

The plot is complicated and involved. The music goes from ballad to full punk. And I first saw this a few years ago when I met the woman who later became my wife. She loves this film. I’m willing to bet it is in her top ten favorites of all time. Back then I watched out of a sense of duty. You know, you start dating someone and they show you something they really really like. The correct response is never – “oh my god how the hell could you like this”. It wasn’t so much that it was bad – it isn’t, more that it is a lot to take in – and it is a musical (did I mention how much I hate musicals).

All that behind me, I’ve since heard the music on more than a few occasions over the intervening years. I’ve even managed to learn to really like one of the songs – namely the one that explains the Angry Inch.

So not too long an old friend was in town. He likes musicals. Hell he has been in more than a couple! As you might imagine, the beer flowed and out came Hedwig.

I have to say it got a much better viewing this time. Since this time I actually understood what was happening in the film I actually got to spend more time enjoying it. Which in my mind is a good thing. Since this time I thought it got a fair shake.

The story moves along. It bounces around with character. Looking at it more closely I love the amazingly drab restaurants and buffets they make Hedwig perform in.

Bottom Line: If you like musicals with an edge. If you like gay camp/sexual confusion/heart break and redemption with a healthy dose of punk – have I got a movie for you.

Billy Madison (1995)

Billy Madison (1995)

Somewhere between Pan’s Labyrinth and Ultraviolet is this film. A fantasy comedy about an incredibly rich loser who has to go back to school and spend 2 weeks in each grade from 1st to 12th to earn his family fortune.

This isn’t a serious film. It is not a smart film. It is a funny film. Especially, if you want some incredibly guilty dumb comedy. This is Adam Sandler before he worried about his softer side and was happy to play a dofuss that you could enjoy watching.

It has given me one of my favorite quotes :

Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Plus you get an uncredited cameos from Chris Farely and Steve Buscemi.

I consider this a classic of Sandler’s (along with Happy Gilmore and Waterboy)

Bottom Line: It ain’t Shakespeare – but it is funny! Drink and enjoy!

Ultraviolet (2006)

Ultraviolet (2006)

I mentioned that Pan’s Labyrinth kept me from reviewing because I needed time to rally what I thought about it. This is the second film that kept me from typing up reviews.

I so wanted to like it. I didn’t know anything about it – other than it was sci-fi futuristic with Mila Jovovich. She isn’t a terribly good actress – actually she’s just plain terrible. But what can I saw – I really really loved The Fifth Element – so I keep watching to see if she ends up in anything half as good. This is not that movie.

This movie pretty much sums up why people hate sci-fi films. This movie is slick. I mean top of the line. Super high CGI production values. That, unfortunately, is the only thing going for it. The base plot is apparently stolen from Gloria (I haven’t seen it – I found this out reading the Wikipedia – only because I wanted to know if this film butchered a manga/comic book series I wasn’t aware of).

There is a lot of fighting in the movie. It could be so cool – except they make a classic Superman mistake. Superman can defeat pretty much anyone. To make the story interesting you have to find a way to make him weak so there is a challenge. In this film, Mila must polish off about 1,000 bad guys. In most cases they are kind of enough to either form a big circle or a big line so she can kill them in batches. Yawn….

In the 10 minutes they aren’t fighting someone or showing off their visual effects – they manage to cobble together the most convoluted plot of blood disease, fascist regime, blah blah blah. The film is basically 4 characters and a thousand red shirts

Bottom Line: I feel dumber for having watched this movie. Please avoid like the steaming pile it is.

Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)

Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)

Ok full disclosure – I’ve seen more than a few movies, and I’ve been remiss in reviewing them. I blame is split between this movie and one other (I’ll get to that later).

I didn’t review it right away because it took me a little while to soak in this film. I’m not sure what I thought I was getting into when I went to see it. I suppose I expected some kind of other worldly fantasy. It had that, but it had a lot more of the real world in it than I thought it would.

Keep in mind – that real world – isn’t the shiny happy real world you and I live in. Instead it is the fascist Spain of 1944 (Says so right in IMDB). What that means is you ride shotgun with a young girl who is trapped in a dark violent world of adults.

I don’t think I can really stress this enough – this is not some Harry Potter kiddie film. There are some very creepy monsters (hello guy with eyes in his hands) , but the “normal” people are much worse. If you don’t like violence, especially the brutally realistic kind – get some popcorn as soon as you see some hunters get caught – come back in about 10 minutes and you should be safe.

I wish the plot was simple to explain – the film operates in the harsh world of a war with an overlay of fantasy world that promises to grant the young girl the power to escape her fate.

I suppose I’ve been watching too much sweeps week television – I was a little thrown off by the end because I expected them to try some sort of gimmick – which they resisted. Instead you’re left with a moment were you get to decide what happened. Not in a gimmicky – twisty – way but more of a glass half empty/half full kind of way.

Bottom line: It is dark and beautiful, violent and hopeful – if you can handle the subtitles it is worth the effort!

Don’t Play This Game

Ok I didn’t listen and it cost me hours of my life.

I read this (Desktop Tower Defense Considered Harmful) over on Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

At then end he says:

Whatever you do, please DO NOT click the link and start playing that game. You may find yourself in the very same time warp that I did…

The bad news – is that he is right. I’ve spent a lot of time the last few nights trying to beat normal level – so far level 40 is where I max out. This game is some kind of skinner box. It is perfectly tuned to my persuasion. Meaning it has action – and resource management and strategy all in one small package.

So assuming you are going to ignore me – just like I ignored Jeremy – you can play the game at


(If you want you can keep your scores in the economysizegeek.com group and we can compare notes).

You have been warned…

Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy (2006)

This movie was completely buried. It was actually made in 2004 but Fox refused to release it.

Given some of the crappy movies I’ve seen it seems strange that they would bother to smother this film. Unless of course you figure it was buried more because of the way it portrays big corporations (Carl’s Jr, Starbucks, Costco, etc) in the film.

The movie is basically a spoof sci movie about an incredibly average person who is put in suspended animation for 500 years.

If this plot line sounds a little familiar – it means you’re also a fan of Futurama. (fine so Fry is frozen for 1000 years but it’s the same thing) The difference between Groening’s view of the future and Judge’s is displayed by the nature of the main character and the world around them.

In Futurama, Fry is an idiot. A likable idiot – but an idiot none the less. In the future, there are flying cars , talking robots, and space travel. Pretty standard stuff by sci fi standards.

In Idiocracy, that equation is flipped upside down. The main character is absolutely average (thanks for that exposition). In the future, everyone is an inbred idiot. This average man from our time is the smartest man in the world in the future. There aren’t robots or space travel. Instead, there are combo lazy boy-toliets. Starbucks is a place for coffee and sex. (Before I found out that the film was made in 2004 I thought this was a reference to Hot Coffee) They have a Museum of Fart – instead of Art. Judge hurtles criticism at the science of the future since it spent more time working on hair replacement and elongating erections than anything useful.

I pretty much lost all right to criticize the film in the first 2 minutes of the DVD. It came up with a short narration about a garbage avalance. Then it goes to a guy watching a monster TV. On the TV is a show called – “Ow, My Balls!”. You probably already saw this coming – the show consists of a man being hit in the balls by a variety of people and situations. The show lasts about 30 seconds. Then it started over. Half way into the third loop I realized we weren’t watching the movie – we were watching the menu to decide to watch the movie. Yeah – I felt like I would fit into 2505 just fine.

The jokes in the movie aren’t sophisticated. They’re crude, base, and completely over the top. I found them funny in some places and boring in others. Just be prepared for a lot of farting and such.

The thing that really strikes me about this movie is that some of the reviews I’ve read seem to have a fear that Judge’s theory that dumb people breed more than smart people thus insuring that over time the world will be populated with idiots is a fact.

The sad thing is that the people who think that are more likely to be the ones utterly disgusted by the film. If you’re worried that the world is getting dumber because people spend hours on MySpace or have utral violent games – check out Everything Bad is Good For You – since he does a pretty good job of showing how all this “junk” culture is actually making everyone a little bit twitchy – but also a lot smarter.

Bottom Line: If you love Beavis and Butthead – you gotta see it – it’s Mike Judge! If you are looking for Office Space – move along – nothing to see here.

    Stuff I want to read

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