Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2nd Team Allstars: Albums of '08

2008 was such a good year for music (almost as good as 2007 was for movies) that I've decided to post the runners-up for the best albums released this year.

(10)The Black Keys, Attack & Release (9) Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreaks (8) Plants & Animals, Parc Avenue (7) Spiritualized, Songs in A&E (6) Foals, Antidotes (5) The Gaslight Anthem, The '59 Sound (4) Santogold, Santogold (3) Okkervil River, The Stand-Ins (2) Titus Andronicus, The Airing of Grievances (1) Bon Iver, For Emma Forever Ago.

Stay tuned for the 1st Team Allstars....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wii Mamma!

More wii remote accidents here and here.

Though it's obviously a dangerous lifestyle, there's also proof that wii gamers can live a long and healthy life.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shrimpies! Don't Be Afraid to Use It

Perhaps one of the funniest moments in television history:

Headline of the Day

Foot found in baby's brain

read article here

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Toronto & San Francisco Let the Right Ones In

Film critics from my current home city and my former home city have both recently announced their year-end awards for motion picture excellence.

Now let's see who has the better taste... is it the poutine and veal sandwich types or the garlic fries and clam chowder in a breadbowl crowd (Toronto in blue / SF in orange):

“Wendy and Lucy" / "Milk"

Jonathan Demme, “Rachel Getting Married” / Gus Van Sant, "Milk"

Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler” / Sean Penn, "Milk" & Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler” (Tie)

Michelle Williams, “Wendy and Lucy” / Sally Hawkins, "Happy Go Lucky"

Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight” / Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”

Rosemarie DeWitt, “Rachel Getting Married” / Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"

Jenny Lumet, “Rachel Getting Married” / Dustin Lance Black, "Milk"

“Let the Right One In” / “Let the Right One In”

“Man on Wire” / "My Winnipeg"

I'm not sure, but I think it's a tie. The SFFCC loses points for making the obvious homer choices with "Milk", but the TFCA loses the same amount for loving the shit out of "Rachel Getting Married" (and boy, that movie is sure full of shit).

Toronto might get the edge in the Documentary category, since "My Winnipeg" can barely, barely be categorized as such. (Toronto also gets props for naming Jean Claude a runner-up for Best Actor in "JCVD").

All in all, they both got Heath right, and that's all that really matters this year. Check out the full Toronto list here and the full SF list here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trailer Park Tuesday: Wolverine!

Gambit! What? This actually looks pretty cool.

200 & Counting!

Voila! Pop Gunning's 200th post.

And to celebrate, I'm going to let you all in on the "Pop Gunning Secret" - it's kind of like the Caramilk secret, in that nobody really cares.

You've always been wondering about the origins of Pop Gunning, right? Keeping you up at night? No?

In any case, here it is. This is where the name for this blog comes from - Mister Edgar Allen Poe:
We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused—in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into pop-gunnery—by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press—their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner.
I wholeheartedly agree with Poe. On the other hand, I completely disagree.

Here's to the discussion of ephemeral matters, ephemerally or otherwise!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best Song Ever of the Week: Double Shot!

Welcome to the Special Year-End Preview version of "Best Song Ever of the Week".

Here are 2 tracks that might show up on Pop Gunning's best of lists:

The Gaslight Anthem - Old White Lincoln [right click link for MP3]
Maybe it's the bouncey Cure-ish bassline ("Just Like Heaven"), but this song caught me quick and hard with its irrepressible chorus and Springsteen via Killers world-weariness.
From the album The '59 Sound.

Chairlift - Evident Untensil [right click link for MP3]
Features some of the most awesomely hilarious lyrics I've heard in a while, and at the same time boasts a Brooklyn meets Miami (see Jan Hammer) sound.
From the album Does You Inspire You?


It's mid-December and the Year End Specials are upon us.

So if you're looking for a solid list of anything from music to movies to the Top 10 Worst Toys or the Top 10 Iphone Apps, then head over to Fimoculous' 2008 List of Lists.

It's the ultimate resource for that wonderful holiday pastime of arbitrary enumeration.

Speaking of which, Pop Gunning will release it's own Top 10 Lists starting next week. They'll include best-of lists for 2008 music, movies, movie trailers (and any other requests you might have).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poster Farts

Each of these posters tell us exactly three things (and nothing more).

1) Will Smith is in a movie this xmas season
2) It is dramatic!
3) It will be bland and formulaic

1) Jim Carrey is in a movie this xmas season
2) It is comedic!
3) It will be bland and formulaic

Monday, December 08, 2008

My nose is running...

Cold season's got a hold of everyone these days... (I am the pupil, coo coo kachoo!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Banana Diet!

Are you on it?

She is. And I'm convinced.

According to an article in Time:
The Morning Banana Diet regime is simple: A banana (or as many as you want) and room temperature water for breakfast; eat anything you like for lunch and dinner (by 8 p.m.). A three o'clock snack is okay, but no desserts after meals, and you have to go to bed before midnight.
It's so huge, you'd be hard pressed to find a banana in Tokyo. God does it again.

New Raptors Coach = Huge Broadway Geek

According to an interview from a couple months back, the Toronto Raptors new head coach (former Team Canada coach) has seen Rent more than 10 times!

Here's what he says about his first time:
I was in awe of the talent, the story, and the professionalism. I couldn’t wait to get back to NY and every time I got back there I went and tried to get in again. The second and third time I couldn’t believe how much more I had missed, and walked away feeling the same excitement. I guess after the third time you become a “RENT HEAD”.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Astro Pop, I Miss You

Why would anyone ever discontinue this wonderful space age three flavour sucker?

Quick, someone write a haiku...

Read the whole delicious history here, complete with tales of punctured throats and business crippling lawsuits.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lunch Bag Delight

Check out Lunch Bag Art, where a dad draws on his kids' lunchbags everyday:

Geez, his kids must be the most popular in school. Maybe not as popular as I was when would go to the Portuguese chicken place at lunch and bring back a bag of fries to the schoolyard, but I digress...

Via Drawn!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Real Race in American Film

Nothing But A Man (1964)

I'd put it right after Cassavetes' Shadows (1959) in a continuum of naturalistic race related films, along with Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep (1977), and even David Gordon Green's George Washington (2000).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who Wants to Watch a Game Show Movie?

I do. I did.

Caught Slumdog Millionaire last night and it's definitely gotta be one of the best films of the year. Director Danny Boyle's slowly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers, with such other gems as 28 Days Later and Sunshine.

But it got me thinking, what are some of the best movies that involve/revolve around game shows?

Well here's my Top 7 Game Show Movies:
  1. Magnolia - finds in the game show the perfect breeding ground for utter misery and disappointment
  2. Slumdog Millionaire - uses the game show as an entertaining framing device in highlighting the deep scars cut through wealth-based class divisions
  3. The Gladiators - a docu-style satire of the military-industrial complex where future wars are fought in a choreographed game show between individual combatants/contestants
  4. The Running Man - anticipating the reality TV phenomenon, the Arnold kicks major ass in this action-spoof of voyeuristic blood lust
  5. Quiz Show - based on the true events of the 1950s American quiz show scandals
  6. European Vacation - Clark and the Griswald gang win a trip to Europe on "A Pig in a Poke"
  7. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - based on the memoir of a former game show host / secret agent
Here's a quiz for you... what movies am I forgetting? I can't think of any more my self, but one thing's for sure. It seems like all these movies have a satirical/critical bent to them. I guess the game show stands for something... nothing?

PS. Let's not forget the amazing South Park episode, "With Apologies To Jesse Jackson". Watch the awe-ful clip here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soap Doggy Dogg

Snoop Dogg is my kind of celebrity. He's certifiably talented, he doesn't take himself too seriously, and he will do anything that pleases him (convention and critics be damned).

He likes country music, so he makes a country record.

He likes porn, so he makes a porno.

He likes coaching kids football, so he creates his own youth football league.

And more recently, he's a fan of the soap opera "One Life To Live", so he makes a guest appearance and records an alternate opening theme song for the show:

Unfortunately, it was only used for a couple episodes. Here's the standard version.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Fruit Creme Lifestyle

What the hell kind of lifestyle is this?!

Eating gross fruité cookies after working out to a Tae Bo DVD before watching Portuguese soap operas on mute and sharing peach schnapps with your cat all night then waking up in your elastic waist jeans to a breakfast of more fruit creme biscuits. Ah, the life!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best Wild Animal Photos of 2008

Above are the winners in the Overall category, in the "Animal Behavior - Birds" category, and "Underwater World" category. The awards are organized by the Natural History Museum of London and BBC Wildlife Magazine. Check out the winners at National Geographic.

Or visit the NHM to browse the entire gallery of photos.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Batman sues The Dark Knight

Yes, this is more stupid than confusing.

Batman, a small city in Turkey, is apparently suing Christopher Nolan and the producers of The Dark Knight (not DC Comics though).

Hurriyet Daily News reports:
“The royalty of the name ‘Batman’ belongs to us … There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us,” Kalkan [Hüseyin Kalkan, the mayor] told to the Doğan news agency.
Even stranger is the above cited article's sub-headline: The mayor of Batman, a city recently under scrutiny due to unsolved murders and increasing rates of female suicides, will sue the director of the movie "Batman" movie.

But as much as this legal action smacks of desperation and inanity, the other shoe fits just as poorly. Meaning, that Warner Bros. is just as much in the wrong if this account of a Batman native who couldn't name his German restaurants Batman is true:
“I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything,” Dağ said.
Can't we all just get along?

Via io9.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hey Change, What's Up?

I definitely didn't get chills watching the first one, but this update of the pre-viral Budweiser viral ad is fan-freaking-tastic.

True indeed!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack Obama is the Next President of the United States of America

Yes, it's true. Thanks and congratulations.

Vote For Lando!

Monday, November 03, 2008

11 Movies to Watch Before the Election

Turn off CNN, turn off MSNBC, turn off PBS. Seriously, turn it off.

Yes, the U.S. presidential election is only 1 day away. No, you won't see/hear anything new or interesting from anyone tonight.

I suggest watching a movie instead. Here's a list of some films that will segue nicely into tomorrow's regularly scheduled obsessive election results viewing.

Top 11 Pre-Election Movies:
1) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - James Stewart plays a young idealistic Senator who shows the old dudes that good things can still happen in Washington. View clip.

2) Street Fight - Documentary surrounding a down n' dirty mayoral election in Newark, NJ. View trailer.

3) The Parallax View - This 70s political conspiracy film stars Warren Beatty. View the wicked trailer.

4) The Day the Earth Stood Still - A benevolent alien beams down to earth to unite humans to avoid certain destruction. View trailer.

5) Persepolis - This animated gem deftly illustrates the profound detachment and investment that simultaneously exist between the personalized individual and the politicized citizen. View clip.

6) Fahrenheit 9/11 - Michael Moore's 2004 film will remind you how badly the last two went. Watch the entire thing on YouTube.
7) The Weather Underground - Check out what Barack Obama's "pal" Bill Ayers got up to with the radical left group the Weathermen. View trailer.

8) Iraq in Fragments - A reminder that this election is not just about the recent economic collapse. It's about the Iraq war, and the fact that the United States and its President has an impact that extends well beyond its own borders. View trailer.

9) Southland Tales - This movie will surely confuse you enough that you'll thankfully forget ever hearing of 'Joe the Plumber'. View clip.

10) The Dead Zone - David Cronenberg's film is based on Stephen King's novel and it revolves around a schoolteacher who's suddenly burdened with psychic powers and foresees that a rising political star will become President - with disastrous consequences. View clip.

11) Election - Alexander Payne's satire on a high school election where Sarah Palin, er... I mean Tracy Flick will do anything to get elected. View trailer.

Just don't watch W.

How'd That Get There?

A giant Lego man mysteriously washed up on a beach in Brighton. It's the 30th anniversary of the Lego man, so I'm guessing publicity stunt. Article.

This ain't no publicity stunt. Just a horse who got his head stuck in a tree. Now that's mystery. Article.

Both of these photos are brought to you by the Telegraph.co.uk, which is obviously very dedicated to hard news. They're also reporting that a flying car based on a Ferrari design could be reality within two years. They make it sound like that's so soon - more like way overdue. I've been waiting on that shit since '98.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Listening Party: Wild Beasts

From Kendal. On Domino. Their debut Limbo, Panto out November 4.

Me likes.

Friday, October 31, 2008


"Child with Hallowe'en mask". Toronto, 1957. Credit: Archives of Canada

Here's a couple more neat-o photos from the vault of Canadian Halloweenin':

Thursday, October 30, 2008

t.A.T.u on the "Big" Screen... Finally?

You and I. A t.A.T.u movie. Yes, that t.A.T.u.

The pseudo-lesbian techno lolitas have a movie based around them, which itself is based on a novel about them. The movie stars none other than The O.C. pout mistress Mischa Barton (with a fake Russian accent no less).

Directed by Rolan Joffé, him of past films like The Mission, and more recent fiascos like Captivity. I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't even make it to video in North America.

Below is the trailer. Starts off awesome: "Lana was a beatiful girl..." and keeps getting better (ie. worse).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On the Road with Obama

Photojournalist Callie Shell's beautiful and unusually candid photos of Barack Obama:

Visit full gallery here.

REAL People in Political ADVERTISING

Okay, so we're all aware that's a barely reconcilable contradiction, right?

Real People/Advertising. Guess it depends on your definition of "the real"....

Well, whatever that is, it hasn't stopped politicians off all stripes from hoisting up the everyman in their TV ads since the 1950s. Framing them with their respective marketing strategies, and basically robbing them of any personal agency, or "realness". In effect, they are often reduced to an instrument of the campaign.

Errol Morris has an Editorial rundown in the NY Times today about these "Real-People Ads."

The impetus behind this article is his recent work on a new campaign ad for Barack Obama. "People in the Middle for Obama". It does better to let the 'real-people' speak for themselves (seemingly), but Morris's signature editing style does just that - it edits their soundclips to echo those of their chosen candidate.

Poor (pun intended) John McCain is getting seriously outspent (4:1) and now outclassed by Obama's advertising campaign (for President). Most expensive election ever.

Check out past campaign ads starring Joe Schmo. From 1952 on. (McGovern's ad is sick).

No matter who gets elected, the Dark Knight broke this thing open...

Over at the LA Times, there's a really interesting 2-part interview with The Dark Knight director Chris Nolan. In the first part he thankfully dismisses the direct political allegories some have attached to the film, and discusses the prospect of a third film:
Is there a story that’s going to keep me emotionally invested for the couple of years that it will take to make another one? That’s the overriding question. On a more superficial level, I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name?
I'll name you some good 3rd movies: Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Return of the Jedi, Back to the Future III, Godfather III, Spiderman III, errr... wait, Nolan might have a point there. Well, I haven't seen The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift yet... where there's Bow Wow, there's hope.

Anyways, in the second part of the interview, Nolan dissects his favourite sequence from the film. Peep it here.

And if you're bugging out for more TDK treats, don't worry. The DVD's on it's way in December and the film is reportedly to be re-released in theaters in January - just in time for awards season. The NY Times has an article on its chances in what might turn out to be the 2008 Pop Oscars.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Song Ever of the Week: Alton Ellis

Sadly, the "Godfather of Rocksteady" passed on recently. Alton Ellis, 70, died of cancer on October 10, 2008.

His soul was legendary - the tough cryer from Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica.

This song does some justice to his legacy. Listen to it: If I Could Rule This World, from the album Mr. Soul of Jamaica (later repackaged as Cry Tough).

As a side note, check out artist Keith Warren Greiman visual interpretation of the song "Cry Tough" by Ellis.

Listen here. Look here. Via Said the Gramophone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Norm Macdonald: Comedic (Un)Genius

Norm pulls an Andy Kaufman style stunt at the Bob Saget Roast a couple months back:

Speaking of Norm, here's a blast from the past where he steals an interview away from "Melrose Place" star Courntey Thorne-Smith on Conan.

Did you know that Neil is his brother? One of Canada's best TV journalists.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Alive!

The post-indie experimental pop outfit Animal Collective have a new album out on January 20, 20009.

This is the artwork for Merriweather Post Pavilion:

Does it move for you? It does for me, and I kind of hate it - i'm now questioning my capacity for objectivity. And I was never even able to do those damned magic eye things....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Antidotes: Drunk History Volume 4

The "Drunk History" series of web videos is hilarious and learn-ed. With cameos from the likes of Jack Black and Michael Cera, the concept is simple - get someone drunk and have them narrate an event from American history... and then come the over the top recreations.

This new one stars Paul Schneider of Lars and the Real Girl and All the Real Girls. He keeps it real in this too:

Indeed. "Don't elect an old dude for President". Sorry McCain fans.

Volume 1 (with Michael Cera). Volume 2 (with Jack Black). Volume 3 (with Danny McBride).

Sexy Canadian Dinosaur!

Pachyrhinosaur lakustai = One sexy motherf- (shut your mouth).

Seriously, take a look at this relative of the Triceratops. He/She is a hottie.

The bones of which were found in along the Pipestone Creek riverbed in Alberta, Canada.

Despite their less-than-cuddly appearance, researchers believe other Pachyrhinosaurs would have found the sharp adornments appealing.

Philip Currie, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta, said "it's generally conceded that these horns on the face and the frill were to make [the dinosaurs] attractive to potential mates."

Via National Geographic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Knack of: Jonah Samson

Jonah Samson: Master of the Disturbing Diorama!

You get the idea what he's grooving on with titles like "Fucking", "Bear Mauling", "Grave Digger", and "Peeping Tom".

Check out more of his work on his website. Via Weekly Teinou.

The Smallest House in Toronto

This weekend I took a little detour... to the smallest house in Toronto - on 128 Day Avenue near Dufferin & Rogers in the former City of York. The house is so small in fact, that you can hardly see it on Googlemaps.

It's sorta kinda near where I grew up so I used to stop by every once in a while. But I had no idea it was so famous. It was on the market for a while in the winter and I guess everybody was in a frenzy about it.

The house has a website. A tribute song. Neatorama has a post on the history of the petit dwelling. And Ellen Degeneres did a whole bit about it on her show - watch the clip here.

Photocredit: Moi

Thursday, October 16, 2008

President Palin

When do you think it will happen? 2012? 2016?

If you can't wait until then to see the zany results, then head to PalinAsPresident and click around the interactive photo.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Trailer Park: JCVD

Besides Watchmen and The Day the Earth Stood Still, this is about the only trailer that's got me excited these days: Jean Claude Van Damme is JCVD!

Looks awesome, eh? Don't be so surprised. I missed it at the Toronto Film Festival, but I will be sure to check it out opening week once it hits theaters.

Don't you wish you were on a first name basis with Steven Seagal? After all, he is God.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Enduring Classic: NHL '94

NHL '94. Quite possibly the greatest sports game ever (the Genesis version of course).

I don't know what beats it - maybe Super Mario Kart or NBA Jam for SNES, perhaps Blades of Steel for NES. What d'ya think?

I recently saw an interview with Jeremy Roenick (the strongest player in the game), and he said that it's by far the most common topic fans will bring up with him.

Immortalized in this clip from the movie Swingers, the game's capacity to make players bleed from the head with no fighting is one of the reasons it's so pure and amazingly playable.

As a testament to it's greatness, there's an entire website devoted to the classic game: NHL94.com.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Under The Thumb

5 Days Left...

Courtesy of the Linux Caffe in Toronto.

Terrible photos courtesy of me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Don't Eat Bison Burgers

Eat Wolf Burgers.

The Dark Knight Pinball Machine = Easy Peasey

I played the new Dark Knight pinball machine the other day (at the perfect Toronto bar The Only).

I lasted forever.

I am very bad at pinball.

I was bored.

Whenever I've played pinball, I've wished it I could last longer. It happened and it wasn't that great. Is pinball inherently boring?

If you're interested in checking it out yourself, then buy it for only $4,395USD. Don't trust me, then watch a 7minute review of it on the Tube (pfft).

Monday, October 06, 2008

Doppelgängers: John McCain Edition

Actor Kevin Tighe is John McCain (and he's even a bigger jerk).

You might remember him as Jersknake Supremo from "Freaks and Geeks", Newsies, and more recently as the villainous Anthony Cooper in "Lost".