This just in....

The Good German is a terrible, terrible movie.

For some reason, I cannot stop a movie midway through. No matter how terrible a film is, I have to finish it. Over the years, this has been both good and bad. Good because had I stopped watching the original Planet of the Apes film (which I've found it mediocre at best), I'd have missed the cool twist ending which saved it somewhat for me. And bad because in a movie like Oldboy, which I really enjoyed only to have the entire film perverted by the unnecessarily grotesque (to me, at least) ending.

Back to The Good German, I know it came out in 2006 but I only recently watched it on DVD. Finally. I received it from Netflix back in August. Truthfully, I could've waited even longer to watch. The black and white gimmick was quaint but the joke got old real quick. I mean, I get it. The film is designed to take the viewer back to a time (namely the 1940's) when films were a touch more dramatic but at the same time, a little more understated. The actors were there to drive the film, not the action of the scenes, and their dialogue and actions reflect that (right?). Yet it doesn't make it because while the film does set a proper mood, I felt the graphic language and awkwardly unsexy sex scene (both strictly verboten in movies of that era) yanked me out of the moment every time.

You could tell that the director was trying like hell to replicate the feel of a 50 year-old movie, from the pensive stares of the male characters while the background music swells to the overly exaggerated hair flips from the downtrodden female characters. And I guess that was my big problem with The Good German. I couldn't really tell what this movie's purpose was. Was it to prove that George Clooney was the only honest man left in Berlin? Did Cate Blanchett still love George Clooney after surviving the atrocities of war? And what about Toby Maguire's character? Hey, you know what, who gives a crap?

This movie was lame.

So lame in fact it drove me to rant!

Imagine that!


I Am Very Old

A few years back I realized that I'm a very old man. Not in the conventional sense I guess because I'm only 34, which is still pretty young. (Unless you're my cousin Angie, in which case I may as well be Methuselah.) I feel that I'm older than I really am because I find that these days I have little patience for minor things that didn't bother me before.

Lately, one of the things that irritate me the most is teenagers. Believe it or not, I was once a teenager myself but I don't remember acting like a colossal ass when my friends went out between the ages of 12 and 20. And yes, I know I sound like a cranky old man but it's true.

Which is why I'm glad that the new Arclight Sherman Oaks finally opened. The Arclight Hollywood has been open for a while but this one's only 5 minutes from my living room. Sure I'm paying $13 to see a movie, but now I can finally watch something without half a dozen annoying teenage boys ("boyz!") in their little sisters' skin tight pants throwing popcorn at each other. I stepped out to watch Sweeney Todd recently (which was kind of awesome in my opinion.... There's a hole in the world like a great, black pit....) and my movie experience rocked. I showed up 3 minutes before the movie started, went straight to my reserved seat and watched the movie in peace. Also, there weren't any commercials before or after the trailers. No lame ads for Fanta or the Scion TC or anything else that I'll never buy. Looks like the Arclight Sherman Oaks will be my new place to see movies. A little more costly sure but hey, I'm paying for the convenience of not listening to kids ("kidz!") in dingy laceless Vans and ridiculous Famous Stars & Straps tees act like morons 3 feet from me.

Hey, dig it.... a full post advertisement for a major corporation.... it looks like Jim Chadwick is right. I AM selling out to The Man™!


More Like Mother$$$hip

I plunked down 14 of my iDollars today and downloaded the new Led Zeppelin greatest hits, Mothership, from iTunes. It was pretty good but other than boasting a REMASTERED sound, it didn't offer anything new. It's the same songs that you've heard a million times before. No outtakes, no live versions, no alternate takes, no nothing.

So if you already own the original albums and/or the best of double CDs, then you already have pretty much all you need. Now, I already own all the albums on vinyl, Led Zeppelin I-III and Houses of the Holy on CD plus I have the aforementioned Early Days/Latter Days double discs.

I remember I paid $6.99 each for each of the vinyls at Record Trader in Northridge (now closed) in like, 1990. I also paid $7.99 for each of the CDs, also at Record Trader in 1996. I think the double discs cost $13.99 at CD Trader on Ventura 3 or 4 years ago. (Admittedly, I didn't need the double discs at this point. I just didn't want to go digging through storage because I wanted "Kashmir" as mood music on my outgoing voicemail message.) Adding in the cost of Mothership, I've essentially bought and re-bought the exact same songs over an 18 year period for a grand total of $138.84.

I've always wondered why repackaged material from "classic" bands sell as well as they do. First off, is there really that much demand for yet another greatest hits compilation? And are consumers (like me apparently) such sheep that they don't notice that they're essentially just wasting their money on stuff they already own? Do people these days really have that much disposable income?

Earlier this year, a new Traveling Wilburys collection got released. Was there a demand for that? Really? I know that despite the presence of Bob Dylan, the late great Roy Orbison and the equally late and great George Harrison, you can't compare the Wilburys to Led Zeppelin but still the point remains... How long are we going to have re-buy the same crap over and over again each time there's an anniversary or when some new technology is released? Apparently forever.

(Don't even get me started on the whole Blu Ray vs. HD DVD argument. They're both a fucking waste of money.)

And here, despite all that, I went out about jumped in feet first to the never-ending churn of recycled (excuse me, I mean REMASTERED) products. So yeah, I felt a little stupid after that realization. Although I've got to admit, Mothership does have a pretty kick ass cover. I just don't know if it was worth the $138.84 I paid for it.


Thanks for the feedback... JERK

It's been a couple of days since I added the iTunes link for the many moods of larrydigital and so far it's gotten a pretty decent response. Honestly, I've gotten a lot more feedback than I expected. Some of it has been positive ("Really great mix of songs"), some of it has been constructive ("You need to turn up your vocals"), some of it has been a little baffling ("Stop talking, just play the music") and some of it has been kind of messed up (hence, the jerk part of this post's title).

Real quick about the podcast in general, I'm sort of treating the whole thing as a work in progress. I mean, I know there are some technical issues that need improvement but I'd like to think that I'm improving as I go. I think Episode 2 is slightly better than Episode 1 and I'd like to think that Episode 3 (currently under construction!) will be slightly better than Episode 2. Honestly, I could tinker with these things forever. You can't tell by listening to it but there's a certain part of Episode 1 that I recorded and re-recorded 10 times. So I just sort of release an episode as soon as I'm reasonably happy with it. Otherwise, I'd keep tinkering and tinkering and tinkering and the damn thing would never get released.

But you know, the way I see it, in a way all feedback is positive. It means that people are at least a little interested in what I'm doing. I've maintained a website in one form or another for the last 8 years and one question I've always wondered about was whether or not anyone ever notices what I'm doing. Especially since prior to release of the podcasts, I wasn't really offering anything other than my witty repartee. I mean Bean Robot offers his artistic creations, Suddenly Chadwick offers his original insights plus his creator-owned comic, Rennin. Me? I've got nothing. So really, is anyone reading this?

Probably not.

Early on in the life of larrydigital.com I just accepted the fact that no one notices what I'm doing. No one reads my blog, no one sees my pictures, no one cares about my thoughts. And I'm fine with that. I mean, isn't all this blogging stuff just ego stroking anyway? In the sea of crappy content that is the internet, there's just so much going on, it's ridiculous to think that random strangers are thinking, "Hey, I wonder what larrydigital thinks about the Lakers' personnel decisions." Every once in a while, I notice that I get a few hits but I always assume that someone's probably looking for info on Sensei Larry Reynosa and they just took a wrong turn somewhere.

I've taken the extremely long way to get here but my point is this.... if by some strange twist of fate someone is actually reading this, whether you're here on purpose or you stumbled in accidentally, I'm glad you made it. Thanks for stopping by. Hang out for a bit, take a look around. I'll try not to bore you too much.


the many moods of larrydigital, pt. 2

To download podcast: Click here.

Ok folks, after a long, grueling night, I finally completed my Christmas podcast. Not too bad, I think, I only wasted one week of December before I got it out. It's a little longer than my previous podcast but not by much. Generally, I cap the podcast at 13 songs but since these holiday tunes were so short, I decided to go with a nice, even 20.

By the way, the many moods of larrydigital podcast just got added to iTunes, so feel free to use the link above if you're interested in subscribing to it. Or just click here. Here's what you do, download it, listen to it, write a favorable review on the iTunes page. It's so simple!

I hope you enjoy this episode, let me know what you think.

Episode 2: 'Tis the Season to be Funky Tracklist

1. larry's intro
2. "Christmas Time Is Here" by The Vince Guaraldi Trio
3. larry's interlude #1
4. "Jingle Bells (Greetings From Esquivel!)" by Esquivel
5. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo" by The Billy May Orchestra
6. "The Little Drum Machine Boy" by Beck
7. larry's interlude #2
8. "Christmas In Las Vegas" by Los Straitjackets
9. "Christmas In Las Vegas" by Richard Cheese
10. larry's interlude #3
11. "All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)" by Nat King Cole
12. "Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney" by Ella Fitzgerald
13. "(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man with the Bag" by Kay Starr
14. larry's interlude #4
15. "Ring Those Christmas Bells" by Peggy Lee
16. "The Merriest" by June Christy
17. "Cha-Cha All the Way" by The Capitol Records Studio Orchestra
18. larry's interlude #5
19. "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronettes
20. "Cold, Cold Winter" by The Pixies Three
21. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love
22. larry's interlude #6
23. "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas" by The Beginning of the End
24. "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway
25. "Santa's Got a Bag of Soul" by The Soul Saints Orchestra
26. larry's interlude #7/outro
27. "Christmas Time Again" by Reuben Anderson
28. "Merry Christmas" by Frank Cosmo


A Random Christmas Memory

Back when I was still in college, I had a job interning for a subsidiary of Marvel Comics in Calabasas. It was around this time of year so the company was sponsoring it's annual Christmas party.

One of the events at the party was an anonymous gift exchange. All we had to do was bring a wrapped present ($10 minimum) and place it on a large table. When it came time for the actual exchange, we just walked up to the table and selected a present. After you opened it, the person who brought it was supposed to come over and introduce themselves. Sounds simple, right? My present was a $20 gift certificate to Tower Records. Not exactly an extravagant gift but considering that at the time I was making $5.25, it was a bit of an investment for me. And yes, I know the minimum was only $10 but at the time, you couldn't get anything at Tower for $10. I wanted the recipient of my gift to be able to get themselves something.

So when my table's turn to select a gift rolled around, we all walked up and got a present. I selected a slim box, about 6 inches square, not the biggest box but not the smallest either. I waited patiently as my tablemates opened their gifts and saw that most people were getting decent items... movie tickets! See's Candy! A Lakers calendar!

Now it was my turn.

Slowly, I opened up my average sized box to find... Salad Fingers! Normally, I'm not the type of person who complains about gifts because, after all, it really is the thought that counts but to say I was disappointed is an understatement. Because whoever brought fucking Salad Fingers put absolutely no thought into it at all. It was like they wrapped up whatever random junk they had around the house and brought it to the party. And by the way, there was a $10 minimum! There's no way in hell these useless pieces of driftwood cost $10. Naturally, no one introduced themselves to me after all the gifts were opened.

Salad Fingers aside, it ended up being a pretty nice party and despite my lame ass gift, I had a good time. In fact, I actually won a VCR in the final company raffle. And since I didn't have one at the time, getting a free VCR was a pretty nice consolation prize. It more than made up for the crap Salad Fingers.

But little did I know that my adventures with Salad Fingers were only just beginning.

After the party, I stopped by my friend Ed's house. He had mentioned that he couldn't really hang out because he was on his way to his classmate's Christmas party. I was welcome to come if I wanted to but... I had to bring a gift.

Borrowing some paper from Ed's girlfriend, I quickly re-wrapped the Salad Fingers and headed out to the party. Turns out the gift exchange there was the same as my office party's, unsigned gift on a large table, grab one when you're ready. A discreetly hid the Salad Fingers in the back and selected a similarly sized box and walked away. I settle in with my friends and opened my new gift... Tombstone on VHS. All right! The perfect thing to go with my new VCR!

Now, I realize that it was pretty shitty of me to re-gift a crap gift especially since receiving said crap gift upset me so much. But I thought, hey, these are Ed's friends, not mine. From what I remember (which isn't much because I got pretty drunk that night), this turned out to be a pretty good party too. I may not remember too much about that party but the one thing I'll never forget is, as I was polished off my fourth beer, off in the distance, from the other side of the house, I hear...



R.I.P. P.I.M.P. C.

Brothers and sisters, it is my sad duty to report that last night, we lost another soldier. My man, Pimp C, the OG playa from H-Town, one half of Texas rap superstars UGK, was found dead in his West Hollywood hotel room under what the "authorities" are describing as mysterious circumstances. As we all know, the rap game is a struggle. It was only a matter of time before the hood done took him under.

Words cannot describe the way I feel right now. So I won't even try. Instead, I'll let Pimp C himself say it, as he preached on his 2006 album, Pimpalation....

"You takin' these square ho's out to dinner,
the bitch chose me 'cause she want a winner,
I mix her whole head up like a blender,
ho need a daddy, you's a pretender"

Amen, my brother.


Christmastime Is Here (Almost)

I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas last night and I have to say that it was probably one of the more depressing programs I've ever seen. I'd never seen the whole thing start to finish but last night I made a point to sit down and check it out. If you haven't seen it before, basically Charlie Brown walks around depressed, all the while searching for the true meaning of Christmas. I guess he noticed that Christmas, like most holidays these days, are based on perceived consumer ideals and are rarely celebrated for the reasons that they were founded for.

Which makes my newly-purchased Charlie Brown tree (above) more than a little ironic... but I digress.

This is most obvious example of Charlie's frustration with a consumerized Christmas is the scene where Lucy sends Charlie sent to get a Christmas tree for the school Nativity play. A "big, shiny, aluminum tree," Lucy says. Now, it should be noted that at this point, Charlie is the director of the play (a post, I must add, which was given to him by Lucy out of pity in an attempt to cure his depression). But since all the castmembers (to a one!) ignored him, his role was reduced to searching for props. Charlie bypasses all those fake trees and buys the only real tree left on the lot (now that's a message), a sad little sapling. Of course, everybody hates and berates poor ol' Charlie because of it. Dejected, Charlie asks if anyone knows what Christmas is really all about. Linus quotes the gospel of Luke and Charlie leaves. On his way home, he takes an ornament from Snoopy's garishly decorated doghouse and places it on his tree. The weight of ornament then causes the poor tree to bend in half. At which point, Charlie exclaims "Everything I touch gets ruined!"

Let's think about this for a second. He said, "Everything I touch gets ruined." How harsh is that? Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are supposed to be in the 3rd grade, right? And here you have 8 year old Charlie Brown wrestling with such concepts as depression and alienation, he's already had a crisis of faith and I'm not even going to bother getting into his obvious inferiority complex. Pretty adult themes for a children's cartoon, I think.

The flip side to all that is that Charlie Brown is the ultimate underdog. He always is trying to kick the football even though he knows that that bitch Lucy is going to yank it away. It doesn't matter that his baseball team is apparently the worst ever to take the field, he's out there on the mound every game. He never quits and he's someone that you can't help but root for.

Truthfully, I'm not a big Peanuts fan. As you might be able to tell, I've always found the stories a little depressing. Now, to me, Christmas has always been the most depressing holiday and A Charlie Brown Christmas just reinforced this belief for me. I mean, man, I was bummed out towards the end. Even when all the kids realized what they were doing to Charlie, it was still a little painful for me. Believe it or not, despite all of that, I actually enjoyed it. It had pretty much everything you need for a children's program. It had alienation and rejection, degradation and humiliation but at the end, it had a little redemption for everyone. What more could you possibly want?

I'm sure most of you have seen it, after all, it is 42 years old. But for me, it was a new, yet somehow familiar experience.


Brian Cook, We Hardly Knew Ye

After bad mouthing Brian Cook in my last update, I get back to my desk not five minutes ago to learn that dream of dreams! The Lakers have traded Brian Cook to the Orlando Magic. Brian, along with the hard-working Maurice Evans, got swapped for former UCLA star, Trevor Ariza.

Now that he's gone, I actually feel a little bad for the guy. Not too much though, let's not forget that he sucks. He was probably the worst player not named Sasha Vujacic on the Lakers. He's even a worse prospect when you consider that the Lakers selected Brian over superstar 6th man Leandro Barbosa in the 2003 draft. But the reality is, last year Brian resigned with L.A. at a lower salary because he wanted to remain on the Lakers. He easily could've gotten more from some other team. Not that much more (remember, kids, he sucks) but still, the point remains. He stayed because he wanted to be a Laker.

In this day and age where some sports "stars", who are nothing more than glorified mercenaries, routinely threaten to force trades because "they want to win" (*cough* Kobe Bryant *cough*), shouldn't a player like Brian Cook be admired? Or at the very least respected? After all, he made a personal sacrifice to remain with the city that he considered home. Eh, maybe not.

Anyway, see you around Brian Cook, you won't be missed. Because remember, kids, he sucks.


Ebbsfleet UNITED!

Earlier this week, an amazing thing happened in England's National League System football league.

Twenty-thousand football fans joined an internet venture called MyFootballClub and purchased controlling interest in the Ebbsfleet United team. Each member paid approximately £35 (about $72 USD) and as a result, not only do they own a piece of the team, each of them gets to participate in decisions affecting the team. From player selection to front office decisions, all of them now have a say in their team's future.

As a sports fan, this has to be one of the most righteous things I've ever heard. You wouldn't believe how many times I've dreamed of the Lakers cutting Brian Cook. And I would've paid $7,000 for the privilege of personally firing Grady Little. Being able to have an actual say in what happens to your team is every sports fan's dream.

But let's not get too excited. I'm positive that this is going to be a massive disaster. My friends and I can never decide where we should go to lunch, and there's only 3 of us. Considering that there seem to be no legitimate governing body (which is how another, more famous community owned sports team, i.e. the Green Bay Packers, does it), how the hell are 20,000 equal partners supposed to make any kind of decision? It's conceivable that personnel decisions, for example, could pass with a smallest of majorities. If 10% of the group agreed on a particular player, a player that 90% of the remaining shareholders didn't want would likely be signed. What a nightmare.

One thing that I hate about sports in general is the business of it all. I mean, I'm not naïve. I understand that all of sports is a business but still, there's nothing I hate more than the corporate-ization (!) that's completely taken over sports. For example, the Boston Celtics play in the TD Banknorth Garden. What the hell kind of name is that? Yes, I know, naming rights for arenas is a big source of revenue for teams but come on, if you're a fan, how are you supposed to get excited about that?

Back to Ebbsfield United, I think it's great that fans, regular fans took control of their team. You gotta love it. So let's forget that that Ebbsfield plays in the fifth-highest ranked league and that the entire conference is bankrupt, let's forget that despite the influx of cash from the controlling stake sale the team will still be too poor to be competitive and let's forget that the sale is unlikely to generate desperately needed new fans for the team. In fact, let's forget that this entire situation is unbelievably impractical, I still think it's very awesome.


the many moods of larrydigital, pt. 1

To download, iTunes users: Click here.

For non-iTunes users: Right-click image above and select "Save Link As..."

After 3 months worth of solid procrastinating, I finally got off my ass and put together a podcast. I'd been threatening to do this for a while now but after some gentle (almost loving) encouragement from Bean Robot, I finally finished it.

The premise of the podcast is pretty simple. Basically, I load up iTunes and hit Shuffle. That's it, instant tracklist. Full disclosure time: I have to admit it, I do cheat a little, no intros, no outros, no song fragments (from mixed albums), no interludes or reprises but other than that, what I get is what you get. I also sequence them for you but that's not cheating, is it? Of course not.

Despite the fact that it took me a long time to put it together, I had a great time doing it. I'm hoping to put these things out monthly but we'll have to see. Like I mentioned, it took me far too long to make this, even if that was due to simple procrastination. That being said, I've already compiled the track list for Episode 2 and I've started on Episode 3, which may be a Christmas edition. For reasons that I will not begin to explain, I have a rather large collection of holiday music. The randomness theme of this podcast should still apply, I'll just grab from a specific genre.

Anyway, that's down the line. Maybe. Until then, please enjoy Episode 1: Fever in the Funkhouse. If you hear something you like, let me know. If you hear something you don't like, let me know.

Episode 1: Fever in the Funkhouse Tracklist

1. larry's intro
2. "Move On Up" by The Jam
3. "Nothing Can Stop Us" by Saint Etienne
4. "Six Days" by DJ Shadow
5. "All the People" by Money Mark
6. larry's interlude #1
7. "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" by Queen of Japan
8. "North American Scum" by LCD Soundsystem
9. "Keep Fallin'" by Hot Chip
10. larry's interlude #2
11. "Hey Young World" by Slick Rick
12. "The Vulture" by Labi Siffre
13. "Mr. Cool" by Rasputin's Stash
14. "Hot Stage Lights" by Van Hunt
15. "Sweet Like Candy" by Winston Williams
16. larry's interlude #3/outro
17. "Lonely Avenue" by Stephen Marley


©Murakami @ The Geffen

I got a chance to head down to the ©Murakami Exhibit at the Geffen this afternoon. If you're not familiar with Takashi Murakami's stuff, it can be a bit of a trip. I'm only somewhat familiar with some of it (like Kaikai, Kiki and Dob) but I knew that he was responsible for a ton of work, only some of which is known here in America. I guess his most known piece of work right now could be the album art for Kanye West's latest album Graduation. You've seen it, right? Looks like this.

Anyway, I have to admit that while I was thoroughly entertained by the exhibit, I wasn't really expecting some of the subject matter. For example, I wasn't prepared for My Lonesome Cowboy. How can one prepare for a six foot statue of a naked anime-style manchild twirling a lasso made out of his own ejaculate over his head? There's also Hiropon, which is a statue of a woman apparently using breast milk as a jump rope. Fascinating.

I thought it was a great exhibit. Murakami's uses a whole variety of mediums (media?), from sculpture to painting, from acrylic stickers to video montages, even a line of exclusive designs that he did for Louis Vuitton, all of which are on display here. What I really liked about it is that it's clear that Murakami has his own unique vision. Of course, that can be said of all artists but what I mean in this case is that while a particular artist may present a scene of a man and woman looking at a lake (for example), Murakami's vision is such that you can't tell who is the man, who is the woman, where's the lake, or even if any of those elements are in the picture. What I'm getting at is, Murakami's vision is such that it transforms the entire landscape. His vision affects the world, not just the scene. That make sense?

The ©Murakami Exhibit runs through February 11th, 2008, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Toyko. You should definitely try to check it out if you get a chance.


American Gangster

I saw American Gangster today. I thought it was a pretty good movie. Sort of had to be, right? Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott, uh.... The RZA. It had all the makings of a good film but I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed when it was all over. And here's why....

You've seen the commercial for the movie, right? You know the scene where Denzel walks into a darkened bar or whatever and fires a gun towards the camera and the muzzle flash briefly lights up his face? Well, guess what. That scene isn't even in the damn movie. I mean, it's in the trailer, it's a cool scene, it even inspired the album art for Jay-Z's latest album (right). How can this scene not make the final cut?

In my mind, the muzzle flash clip is the main highlight of the trailer. I wanted to see how it fit in the context of the film. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And when it never came, I was a little pissed. I expect I'd feel the same way if this happened in any other trailer. Like, if you see the trailer for Superman Returns and the whole Superman stopping a bullet with his eye scene doesn't make the final cut of the film. Don't get me wrong, American Gangster is still a really good movie and all but this is kind of like false adverstising, isn't it? Look, go see the film. It's good. Just now you know what not to expect when you do see it.


Griffith Park Observatory

Made it out to the observatory tonight. I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure that it's been at least 20 years since I've been to there. It was a little packed because tonight was the first time they opened it up to the public since the remodeling. Well, actually, it's been open for a while, just tonight was the first night that you didn't need reservations to go.

Anyway, it was fascinating. It helped me look at the big picture. Sometimes I allow myself to get bothered by everyday things. Like I'm stressed from work, or my home life or whatever. Going to the observatory, for me, really helped put certain things into perspective. Meaning that in the grand scheme of things, our everyday lives are so small, so fleeting that how could I possibly allow myself to get stressed out by my job or whatever. There I was, looking at a thousands of years old piece of Mars and I couldn't help but wonder, in this ancient universe, why do I let certain people in my life piss me off so much?