Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Nick: Ben, did you feel that ground tremor at the end of June?
Ben: No. What?
Nick: That was everybody jumping off of the soccer bandwagon.
Ben: Le snaps!
Nick: And we should thank Joe from Top Ten Video for sending in that joke. Keep reading, Joe!
Ben: If any other readers would like a joke featured in a B & N in the A, simply write your joke on a three-by-five index card, take a Polaroid of your junk, and then mail it all to Santa Claus.
Nick: Speaking of junk, I’ve been so hot and sweaty lately that, ironically, my testicles have been the ones wearing the snorkel!
Ben: Our first film this month is Toy Story 3: the third of this Pixar computer-animated series of movies, about a group of toys belonging to a particular kid, taking place in a world where toys can talk and locomote when no humans are around, but play dead whenever they’re being handled.
Nick: Sounds like my ex-wife. (rim-shot)
Ben: Please put down the high hat. This movie opens inside of a fantasy that a child is imagining, in which Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head have just hijacked a train in the Old West. This is clearly a racist comment on the criminality of the Irish.
Nick: Then a bunch of stuff happens, thankfully, at our theater, not in “3-D”. I’ve come up with something, Ben; I’m calling it “4-D”; it’ll be huge: Everyone that wants 3-D glasses is given them, and then is dosed with a Twilight Flip, equipped with glow sticks, and locked on the roof. Then the rest of us make a black-and-white silent film, about them dying from dehydration.
Ben: That’s so spectacular, it’s Scott-Bakular! What I didn’t understand is why this film is all about an 18-year-old trying to part with his toys. When we were eighteen, Nick, we were already living on our own, I had a girlfriend, and the only toys I couldn’t part with were the ones that my lady friend had lost inside of my colon.
Nick: Well, 1998 was a different time. You had to worry about Slobodan Milošević, bird flu, the Backstreet Boys.
Ben: Due to a misunderstanding, the gang of toys in this movie gets donated to a day care, that’s under the political control of a pink stuffed bear, who sounds like Uncle Remus.
Nick: The stuffed pink bear seems at first to be a benevolent ruler, but then is revealed to be a collectivist dictator, who rules with an iron paw. Later, the Barbie Doll comments that power should derive from the consent of the governed, as opposed to coercive tyranny. But I wonder how Barbie would respond to my rebuttal that democracy is a tyranny of the majority.
Ben: I’m sure that’s covered in Cars 2.
Nick: Parts of this movie seemed intentionally to be nightmare fuel for children. There is this creepy damaged baby, and a shrieking monkey with cymbals. I kept waiting for the toy infant to murder Aunt Maggie.
Ben: Aunt Maggie got what she deserved. Nick, there are toy romances: Barbie and Ken finally meet; and cow girl discovers Buzz Lightyear’s Spanish mode. The last time I saw this much plastic in the mood for love, I was watching that one movie where Meg Ryan gets naked.
Nick: Blah, blah, blah, Woody!
Ben: Well said.
Nick: Oh my God, Ben! There are suddenly pictures of Matt Damon everywhere! We must be in the video aisle!
Ben: Or in your bedroom.
Nick: Our first video this month somehow manages to not star Matt Damon. It’s a brilliant schizophrenic comedy, starring Michael Cera (and Michael Cera!), called Youth In Revolt.
Ben: Written and directed by Matt Damon.
Nick: Michael Cera’s character is Nick Twist, a misunderstood youngster, as brainy and wimpy as, well, Michael Cera. To get the girl of his dreams, he goes all Tyler Durden, and invents a French badboy version of himself from whom he imagines he is receiving advise.
Ben: Eventually they hatch a plain to reunite the parents of Hayley Mills.
Nick: This movie was great. It was funny, and quirky, and I liked the poetic, melodramatic dialogue. It was like somebody finally combined a hipster’s sense of strangeness with a sense of humor and an actual plot.
Ben: It’s like they took the script for Napoleon Dynamite, erased it, and then replaced it with a movie that doesn’t completely suck.
Nick: Ben, I don’t approve of the word “script” being used to describe anything having to do with Napoleon Dynamite. Unless a doctor is filling a drug script, to have the man-and-wife team that directed that monstrosity chemically sterilized.
Ben: My favorite thing about Youth In Revolt was the father of Michael Cera’s love interest: another masterful performance by the late M. Emmet Walsh!
Nick: Ben, he’s clearly still alive.
Ben: He clearly isn’t. But my sources tell me that the late M. Emmet Walsh has already signed-on for the sequel!
Nick: Well, it’s good that he’s keeping busy.
Ben: Dead is the new 75.
Nick: Our next video is a Matt Damon movie, because that’s what the dead cat we were swinging around the video store happen to hit.
Ben: It tells the story of Nelson Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, in the 90s, trying to be the first black president of South Africa. This invites comparisons to Barack Obama.
Nick: Because they were both born in Africa.
Ben: Please shut up. This movie is called Invictus, because that was Nelson Mandela’s favorite poem by Shel Silverstein.
Nick: I prefer “Never Bite A Married Woman On The Thigh”.
Ben: Anyway, Mandela unites the emotions of the newly desegregated country, by rallying them around their national rugby team, as it competes in the World Cup. Matt Damon, holding very still, plays the world cup.
Nick: Rugby seems like a cool foreign sport. Maybe soccer is too, once you get into it.
Ben: Nick, do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of billions of soccer fans applauding your open-mindedness.
Nick: I don’t hear anything. These applause are boring.
Ben: Well, they can’t use their hands.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Nick: Ben, the economy is in the toilet—
Ben: I’d like to disagree in advance with whatever you’re about to say.
Nick: Government and business are jointly responsible: the government is at fault for dropping bags of worthless money out of a helicopter; and business is responsible for rolling around in it like Demi Moore in a hairy fat suit.
Ben: Fat-cat bastards!
Nick: Now everybody is buried in debt, and working at the wrong jobs. But Nobel-prize-winning economists have a solution: if everybody just goes deeper into debt, then we can all keep our unproductive jobs.
Ben: Problem solved! But many of our readers have been writing in, saying things like, the kids miss you, and I’m leaving you for your brother.
Nick: Ben, these letters are all addressed to jail. But I’m sure that what our readers really want is advice on how to cut down on their movie expenses, while the economy is recovering, getting worse, recovering, and then killing us all.
Ben: So we give you, Ben And Nick’s Movie-Money-Saving Tip # 1: This one’s called the “Continental”. Take a love-interest to a French movie, but insist on paying Dutch! Then, when the plotless French realism lulls your date into deep sleep, use a Swiss Army knife to harvest her organs.
Nick: That sounds sexy, but I bet it isn’t.
Ben: I wrote a lot of other money-saving tips, but while using the phonebook to find an inexpensive place to make copies, I accidentally hired a high-class hooker to pee on them.
Nick: I guess you could say, on multiple levels, this mix-up involved yellow pages.
Ben: Nick, you’re fired. Our first movie this month tells the story of one man’s obsessive-compulsive fight against wrinkled clothes. It’s called Iron Man 2: Iron Harder.
Nick: No it isn’t. When Iron Man 2 opens, Ben, we see that Robert Downy Jr. has used his flying metal suit, with patented Blasty-Hands Technology, to make the world safe for world peace. He prances around being rich and proud of himself, and generally telling Congress to suck it.
Ben: Then an evil Russian physicist has the bright idea of actually trying to kill Robert Downey when he isn’t wearing the damn suit. This bad guy has the physique and countenance of Mickey Rourke. Also, according to my research, the actor who plays him shares a Social Security number with Mickey Rourke.
Nick: I think you mean Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster has figured out how to make the glowing chest-orb thingy that powers the Iron Man suit, and uses it to make his own suit, which features whip-extensions on the arms, that surge with destructive blue energy.
Ben: Don Cheadle plays Iron Man’s sidekick, wearing a silver version of the suit, with a gun on it. I thought it was a poor use of 4th-wall breaking, when Cheadle, after blowing away a row of bad guys with his Gatling gun, looks right into the camera, and says, “Welcome to the Hotel Rwanda… Bitch.”
Nick: Scarlett Johansson, with hair as scarlet as her name, cartwheels about in form-fitting leather, dispatching bad guys. I’d like to say that I don’t find Scarlett Johansson believable as an acrobatic kicker of ass. I find her physique better suited to more sultry, less athletic things, such as flirting with Bill Murray, and lounging around inside of my spank bank.
Ben: I liked seeing Downey Jr., at the climax of the picture, using his talking British computer, and its virtual-reality science graphs, to figure out the physics that would unlock the mystery at hand. Along with a similarly pensive climax in Sherlock Holmes, I’d say that Robert Downey Jr. is doing for problem solving, what Jackass 2 did for taking a shit into a dollhouse.
Nick: Ben, please join me now, In The Video Aisle, for a film called Legion. This video expounds on a topic that is chicken soup to everybody’s soul: angels. Except, here’s the twist, when you’re touched by these angels, they bite out your Adam’s apple.
Ben: This movie uses overly dramatic camera angles and overly portentous acting, to tell the story of Dennis Quaid, and some other characters, attempting to defend his bar in the middle of nowhere, from an onslaught of invading zombies, which are actually people possessed by angels. Whereas, in real life, as we all learned in health class, zombies are caused by letting a zombie bite you, without wearing a condom.
Nick: Speaking of things caught off of a toilet seat, the angel Michael shows up, to defend a pregnant girl.
Ben: Because her baby will grow up to be John Connor. Or something.
Nick: Here’s what I don’t get: If you know that the army of zombies was sent by God to destroy the world, shouldn’t you just let yourselves get killed? I mean what is your exit strategy at that point? Fight off the zombies, and then die of old age in a country that has no extradition treaty with Heaven?
Ben: I believe that’s true of Las Vegas. Our final film this month is another selection from The Video Aisle, and it’s a septuagenarian snore-fest called It’s Complicated. It’s hard to say, because I was sleeping, but I think that this movie is about Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and Meryl Streep, taking their teeth out and having a three-way. Nick, the last time I saw a threesome this old, I was worshiping the Hindu Trinity.
Nick: Nancy Meyer, this movie’s writer and director, manages to tell the story without making me root for anyone, or wonder what will happen next, or enjoy the wooden dialogue. Apparently she wrote some movies in the 80s that I remember being funny (Private Benjamin, Irreconcilable Differences), but it appears that when the Berlin Wall fell, it landed on her talent.
Ben: In Soviet Union, The Office’s John Krasinski watches you!
Nick: Finally, we should say, Gentle Reader, if you are in the Bloomington, Indiana area, look for a paper version of Ben And Nick In The Aisle, outside of the Waffle House, or Tracks music store, as well as at other locations.
Ben: Make a hat out of it. Or just use it to wrap up a roast.
Nick: That’s what she said.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Ben: Readers, as of this writing, Bloomington has just concluded a fund drive for the police department known as The Little 500.
Nick: The streets are strewn with beer cans, and sombreros full of broken glass.
Ben: Little Five is a city-wide party, which is thrown yearly at Indiana University, in lovely Bloomington, Indiana. It commemorates an historical event that occurred in the 1970s, during which a houseful of five-hundred college students, with only the aid of limitless booze and ridiculously powerful stereo equipment, managed to do nothing all weekend.
Nick: But at least they did it on the sidewalk.
Ben: The average Little Five partier is a 19-year-old college student, who enters an alcohol-fuelled black-out some time on the Monday preceding Little Five Weekend, only to awake again that following Sunday, lying on top of a speaker, balls deep inside his own tweeter.
Nick: That happened to me once, Ben. Unfortunately, in the harsh light of day, I realized it was a woofer.
Ben: And also, I think there’s a bike race.
Nick: I’ve heard talk of that. This bike race was made famous in the 1979 Oscar-winning film Breaking Away. What people liked about that movie is that the working-class children of limestone-quarry workers were racing against the snooty college kids, who were more privileged. The poor kids, since their parents were stonecutters, called their racing team “the cutters”.
Ben: It turns out, in real life, only students are eligible to compete. So, the team that historically 4-peated this year, which calls itself “the cutters”, and is comprised of four IU students, obviously didn’t understand the point of that movie.
Nick: They clearly have not attended my two-part lecture on the Quaid Brothers: Part One: Feeling Randy, and Part Two: Dennis Anyone?
Ben: Your research is harshing everybody’s mellow. Nick, we start this month out in the Video Aisle, with Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans.
Nick: I enjoy your abuse of the colon.
Ben: That’s what she said. Nick, this film stars Nicholas Cage as a cop, who is both very bad, and very much a lieutenant. He is promoted to lieutenant after being injured in an attempt to free a prisoner trapped in his cell by rising water, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is promoted to being bad, after the back pain from said injury leads him to start snorting everything that isn’t Bisquick.
Nick: There is a brutal multiple murder in a low-income New Orleans neighborhood, and Lieutenant Nose Candy is on the case. He is actually surprisingly good at being a detective. He’s like The Thin Man. Except instead having a wise-cracking wife played by Myrna Loy, he pimps for a hooker played by Eva Mendes. And he drink martinis by smoking crack.
Ben: It is often almost comical how strung-out on drugs, and flagrantly illegal the Bad Lieutenant behaves.
Nick: He reminds me of me, when I’m making my living. Except, instead of being tweaked-out on coke, I’m just hungover. And instead of solving murders, I shoplift at the Dollar Tree.
Ben: Werner Herzog pulls some arty moves, by allowing us to see Nick Cage’s hallucinations, which usually take the form of various reptiles, shot through distorting lenses, over wacky music.
Nick: I also thought that it was a trademark Herzog touch, when, at the end of the film, Bad Lieutenant gets eaten by a bear.
Ben: That didn’t happen. Our final film In The Video Aisle this month, is the winner of the recently awarded Best Picture Oscar for 2009. It’s called The Hurt Locker, and its director, Kathryn Bigelow, has historically become the first female director ever to be eligible for Oscar repossession.
Nick: She has my vote, Ben. This movie is about a bomb squad in the Iraqi War in 2004. As students of history know, prior to 2003, Saddam Hussein, the vicious dictator of Iraq, had been fast as work, like an evil Santa Claus, hurriedly assembling improvised explosive devices (or IEDs), in preparation for the day, when he, like an evil Adolph Hitler, would bring them all over to America to, you know, end our freedoms.
Ben: That’s right, Nick. Luckily, George Bush, Jr., thinking on his feet, quickly invaded Iraq, allowed bomb squads to canvass the country, and disarm these IED’s, preventing us from having to, you know, “fight them over here”.
Nick: The hero of The Hurt Locker, a Sergeant William James, shares the name of the philosopher William James, who was a metaphysical Pragmatist. This is ironic, since that reference doesn't work for me.
Ben: The movie is basically just a series of episodes of the bomb squad, under the at-times recklessly brave direction of Sgt. James, disarming various bombs. I thought the movie made a good point about soldiers engaging in war primarily for the thrill of it.
Nick: I disagree. I think this movie makes the point that war is awesome, it won’t kill the hero, and that disarming IEDs is more fun then boring things like hanging out with one’s family.
Ben: Which isn’t necessarily true. I know my wife can leave behind some pretty deadly bombs after Taco Night.
Nick: Ben, you’re not married. The first theatrical release we saw this month was called Hot Tub Time Machine, and it proves the age-old adage, “It’s never too late for John Cusack to have girl trouble in the 80s”.
Ben: A ski-lodge hot tub Quantum-Leaps four friends back to a vacation they had in 1986. At first they attempt to preserve the future, by preserving the past, and inevitably fail with extremely comic results. This movie experience featured a lot of binge drinking and female nudity. But that may have just been in my theater.
Nick: Then we saw How To Train Your Dragon. This was a cross between Avatar and Brokeback Mountain, except the avatars were all dragons, and all the sex scenes between the boy and his dragon only occurred inside of comments that I was whispering under my breath.
Ben: I’ve said it before, finding animals cute is a form of emotional bestiality.
Nick: I don’t think you’ve ever said that.
Ben: I wrote it in my Hello Kitty notebook.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Ben: Well, Nick, it’s March again, when a young man’s fancy springs his clock at a loved one.
Nick: I also suspect that St. Patrick’s Day has recently occurred, based on the evidence that I’ve been experiencing green vomit.
Ben: And everyone is simply mad for brackets! I assume that this has something to do with literary citations. Or else Quantum Mechanics.
Nick: I thought that it had to do with Fantasy Football. Which, as I understand it, is a sport that involves getting together with all of your imaginary friends and then being disappointed.
Ben: Our first film this month, Shutter Island, is a dark, taut, psychological thriller, that’s fun for the whole family –except, possibly, women and children.
Nick: It involves Leonard DiCaprio, and Mark Ruffalo, decked out in fedoras and trench coats, as U. S. Marshalls in the 1950s, who go to an insane asylum on an island, to investigate the escaping of a female patient. The name of said island is “Shutter Island”, and it generally exudes gothic creepiness.
Ben: However they do make a mean hot dog, covered in onions, and smothered in all-meat chili.
Nick: I think that’s “Coney Island”. Ben, this movie was well-written and directed and everything, but I have a bone to poke it with.
Ben: I think you mean, pick—
Nick: This movie was a blatant rip-off of a play that I wrote years ago, and that has already been produced several times inside my imagination. The name of my play is Flutter Island, and it stars a giant butterfly.
Ben: Sounds manlier than Leonardo DiCaprio.
Nick: [Spoiler Alert] The butterfly gets lobotomized.
Ben: Still manlier. The problem you’re describing here, Nick, plagues many a creative person toiling in obscurity: when someone famous has an idea that you’ve already had, it will still forever be remember as the-famous-person’s first.
Nick: Another one: I had the idea for Star Wars bed sheets. Then, years later, George Lucas has the same idea for a movie.
Ben: Our next film, Alice In Wonderland, is full of the gloomy extravagance that can only be the work of Tim Burton. It is a retelling of all the Alice In Wonderland books put together. Alice falls down the rabbit hole, meets a smoking caterpillar, blah, blah, blah. Then she drinks tea with Willy Wonka.
Nick: This movie follows in the grand tradition of Avatar, by being mostly plotless, costing a zillion dollars, and being shown in 3-D.
Ben: Nick, if I wanted to see something that cost a zillion dollars, had no plot, and was in 3-D, then I would just go to the optometrist, and then look at the world.
Nick: This film’s blend of live-action and animation renders most of its stars unrecognizable. For example, Helena Bonham Carter, as the Queen of Hearts, is made to have a really big noggin, which kind of makes her look like Madeline Kahn.
Ben: According to the Wikipedia, Miss Carter has been “domestic partners” with Tim Burton since 2001. I guess we all dealt with 9-11 in our own way. By “domestic partners” I assume that means that they got together and built houses.
Nick: Then that reminds me of the time that I was domestic partners with Jimmy Carter.
Ben: Readers, I hope that you’ve had the good sense to pawn your TV and DVD player, in order to pay your late fees at the video store. Because it’s time again for Ben And Nick In the Video Aisle! My pick this month is a piece of soft-core edutainment called The Suicide Girls Guide To Living.
Nick: Out of a profound respect for women, we would normally have never rented pornography, but this one came highly recommended by a misogynistic pervert.
Ben: This video was put out by suicidegirls.com, which is a website that features pictorials of women whose look could best be described as “punk-rock”, “indie-rock”, “goth-rock”, and “Fraggle-Rock”.
Nick: Suicidegirls.com is looking to dispel the stereotype that beauty consists of young women with perfect bodies that may or may not have dyed hair, tattoos, and body piercings, and instead wants to suggest that beauty can also consist of young women with perfect bodies that necessarily have dyed hair, tattoos, and body piercings.
Ben: Damn it, Nick, these women didn’t asked to be born with tattoos!
Nick: The video is structured as a series of vignettes, in each of which, a featured Suicide Girl demonstrates the steps to mastering a specific skill, such as rolling a joint, or winning a pillow fight. Because, you know, most people, when in-over-their-heads in a technical situation, desire the advice of a model.
Ben: Of course this purported tip-giving is all a veiled excuse for the models, God bless them, to pose seductively and undress, all to the tunes of indie rock music.
Nick: I much prefer this other sexy how-to video that I saw once, which taught naked young women how to do a reverse Heimlich maneuver, in order to dislodge a penis.
Ben: Okay, that was just pornography.
Nick: My video pick this month is a love story between Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams called The Time Traveler’s Wife. Their relationship is complicated, because Eric Bana has a genetic disorder that causes him to diasappear at random and travel through time.
Ben: I’ve noticed that everything that used to be supernatural is now blamed on genes, like zombies, vampires, and being gay.
Nick: If you’re like me, when alone with a new Rachel McAdams movie, you have, before the trailers have even ended, removed your pants.
Nick: But, readers!, I would not advise it in this case, as this movie stubbornly refuses to stop showing you Eric Bana’s ass.
Ben: By the time it finally shows us Rachel McAdams ass, it’s like they’re just mocking us.
Nick: I thought it was funny, how the other characters kept referring to the time-traveling Bana as looking older or younger, when all the makeup department could be bothered to do was put various degrees of white or black in his hair.
Ben: I would recommend that this movie win the 2009 Razzie for Worst Makeup. But I’m pretty sure they already gave that to Amy Winehouse.
Nick: I’m reminded of the relationship that I just lost to time-traveling, Ben.
Nick: We just couldn’t adjust to Daylight Savings.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Nick: Hello, I’m Steve Martin.
Ben: And I’m Alec Baldwin.
Nick: And I’m Whoopi Goldberg!
Ben: Well, Whoopi for you, Nick. Readers, either we’ve each got an Oscar in our pockets right now, or else it really is a pleasure just to be nominated!
Nick: Ben, I believe it was Jesus “Cougar” Christ who once said, “The Oscar stands erect, long after the thrill of handling it’s gone.”
Ben: We’ve got quite an Oscar Blowout planned for Aisle fans this month: Billy Crystal and Lady Gaga will be stopping by later to sing a medley about this year’s nominees!
Nick: There are ten nominees for Best Picture this year, Ben! What a cheap stunt this is! Humphrey Bogart never would have stood for it. I mean, he never would have leaned against something and smoked for it.
Ben: Actually, all throughout the thirties there were ten nominees for Best Picture, right up to and including 1943, the year that Casablanca won! Nick, your pretence of knowledge about the life of Humphrey Bogart is a self-aggrandizing sham.
Nick: …the stuff that dreams are made of.
Ben: Oh, no, Nick! I’m getting word in my Bluetooth that there’s trouble with our blowout musical medley! Apparently Lady Gaga and Billy Crystal have been mugged and sexually assaulted by Lady Gaga’s outfit, which then fled into space after transforming into a Deceptacon!
Nick: A Deceptacon! You mean you no longer want to have sex with it when you see it up close?
Ben: No, that’s not what I meant.
Nick: This isn’t my war! Luckily, Ben, I’m coming to you live right now from the red carpet! Where I’m about to ask fashion-related questions to young up-and-comer Gabourey Sidibe, from this year’s multi-nominated film Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire.
Ben: Coincidentally, I have a line of beer snuggies coming out, that are based on Sapphire’s book The Colors Of The Rainbow. But, I can plainly see from here, Nick, that you are actually standing on our Welcome mat, and talking to our mailman Bill.
Nick: Damn mail. Nothing but Bills.
Ben: But, putting the glitz and glamour of Oscars aside, if you can bear it, reader, please grab our Goobers, won’t you, and meet us in the Video Aisle!
Nick: Our video rental this month has earned Meryl Streep a pending Best-Actress Oscar Nomination, for play a giggling, gawky, red-haired gormandizer, who taught America how to cook.
Ben: Ronald McDonald?
Nick: No, you jackass! It’s Julia Child! This film alternates between two stories: one is the story of Julia Child learning to cook in France in the 1950s, and then writing her famous French cookbook for Americans; the second is the story of a blogger named Julie, in 2002, trying to cook her way through the whole giant cookbook, in a year, while blogging about it.
Ben: Blogger Julie is played by Amy Adams, who, according to my research, is not Isla Fischer.
Nick: That’s counterintuitive. Previously Adams and Streep appeared together as nuns in the movie Doubt. That film was about a priest who may or may not have diddled a kid. Whereas, Julie and Julia features a lot of Julia Child nailing Stanley Tucci.
Ben: Talk about Child pornography!
Nick: You’re fired! This film really hit home for Ben and I, since the Julie character is trying to find fulfillment in life through blogging, having just turned 30 --which me and Ben just did a few days ago!
Ben: Technically we are bloggers. Though we have about as many followers as D. B. Cooper.
Nick: Our next film, Crazy Heart, has earned both Best-Actor and Best-Supporting-Actress nominations for Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhall, respectively. Bridges plays a drunken country singer who spends the whole movie lying around with his shirt open. Gyllenhall plays an aspiring reporter, who lays around next to him and, every once in a while, starts bawling.
Ben: Yeah, this movie is total Oscar bait. If this movie wins an Oscar, I expect Chris Hansen to show up and ask the Academy just what it thinks it is doing here, with these wine coolers and this box of condoms.
Nick: There are extensive presentations of the movie’s original country music songs that are pretty rocking. I would say that these presentations slowed down the pace of the movie., but, luckily, it’s impossible to slow down a pace that is already flatlining.
Ben: By the end of the film [SPOILER ALERT] Bridges has sobered up, and written what he considers to be his best song ever, inspired by Gyllenhall.
Nick: However, sadly, [SPOILER ALERT] his thing with Gyllenhall doesn’t work out.
Ben: There is a poignant scene at the end where Bridges sees Gyllenhall after their breakup, and gives her his song money, telling her that there would be no song without her.
Nick: No one knows this, Ben, but I just finished a novel that I’ve been writing, inspired by a recent real-life unrequited love. I’m calling it The Beautiful Girl That Didn’t Love Me. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful.
Ben: So, after all is said and done, Nick, do you feel grateful to that girl, for inspiring this masterpiece?
Nick: No, not really. I could have written an equally heartbreakingly beautiful novel called The Hot Chick That Won’t Stop Screwing Me.
Ben: You’re a complicated man.
Nick: Speaking of complicated men, Ben, our next movie stars no other than Sherlock Holmes! It’s called Sherlock Holmes. History tells us that he was a detective in England in the 19th Century, who solved crimes while shooting cocaine and not having sex. He was created by God, after God got drunk and watched a lot of House.
Ben: That was an Elementary deduction, Nick: Elementary school.
Nick: This film, unlike the Basil Rathbone movies in the forties, was more true to the original Holmes: for example, there are fights, Watson isn’t an idiot, and there is no deer-stalking cap. Also, the historical Irene Adler was actually Rachael McAdams. Because she travels through time, handing out boners like Halloween candy.
Ben: So, Nick, is Avatar going to win the Best Picture Award at the Oscars on March 7th?
Nick: Ben, listen to me—
Ben: I’m all ears, Bobo.
Nick: At this point, not giving the Oscar to Avatar would be like not buying a Christmas present for your boss.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Ben: Happy Rocking New Year, Aisle Fans! In the coming year, may your life, as well as your aisle, be full of Ben and Nick.
Nick: I had Kinkos make up some fliers to propagate that message. But they were charging by the character, so I just made a thousand fliers that say, “Fill your A. with Ben And Nick”. Then our phone number.
Ben: Our number must be hard to dial, because a lot of these callers have been out of breath.
Nick: Speaking of debacles, Ben, neither you nor I were invited back to Times Square this year, after last year’s affair, wherein we mistakenly referred to host Dick Clark, alternately, as “Father Time”, “The Late Dick Clark”, and “Guy Lombardo”.
Ben: You know what I say: If you’ve seen one ball drop, you’ve seen the next.
Nick: So, Ben, did you kiss anybody on New Year’s?
Ben: I don’t remember. But I did wake up next to Mick Jagger. And those claymation lips from the Twizzlers commercial.
Nick: Speaking of bestiality, our first film is the sprawling 3-D fantasy spectacular Avatar, from director James Cameron. This movie tells the story of a tall thin blue lady, dressed like a Native American, and her amazing attempt to have a nip slip for three hours. This is James Cameron’s follow-up to Titanic, which told the story of Kate Winslet’s nipples, their historical implications, and how they were able to knock a hole in a boat.
Ben: That is not what that was about. Avatar, Nick, is about how in the future, we will need to steal a valuable fictitious mineral from a forest planet inhabited by hunter/gatherers with pointy ears. They will be called the Na’vi, and they will have skin that is colored in a fashionable blue-camo pattern.
Nick: Also, James Cameron has decided that it would be cute if this valuable mineral is named “unobtanium”.
Ben: That name is so damn stupid, Nick, it makes Kid Rock look like Einsteinium.
Nick: Luckily, in the future, according to this movie, we will also have the ability to mix a human’s DNA with a Na’vi DNA, to form a clone, or “avatar”, that can then be “driven” by a human, with his or her mind.
Ben: This movie advances the hurtful stereotype that identical twins can drive each other’s avatars. Nick and I, as identical twins, know that this happens to be true. But that doesn’t prevent it from being terrifically racist.
Nick: Our more erudite readers might be aware that the word “avatar” used to mean something, before it was ruined by the Internet. It originally meant “the body that a god takes, to walk among mortals”, or, “someone that is the figurative embodiment of something”. Now it means, “that picture of a cat, next to your stupid comments on Huffingtonpost”.
Ben: This movie was okay, I guess. The third hour was pretty action-packed. But the first two hours were just about our hero wandering around, sightseeing, and then he rapes a pterodactyl.
Nick: I didn’t care for this movie’s insinuation that primitive oneness with nature is superior to technology and the subjugation of nature. Eventually, all the nature in the universe will need to be disassembled and turned into parts for a giant cosmic computer. It’s all in the Bible, if you read between the lines.
Ben: Nick, it’s in-between the lines that you’re snorting off the Bible.
Nick: Come with us now, won't you, to Ben And Nick In The Video Aisle, for our next film, Paranormal Activity. This film explores the perils of heterosexuality. According to some movies I’ve seen, and some masturbatory fantasies I’ve had, heterosexuality can be complicated: A guy’s got to worry about cooties, babies, and vagina dentata.
Ben: Of course. But this movie touches on a less discussed danger: that special time in a young couple’s relationship, about three years in, when the girl tells the guy about the demon that visits her at night.
Nick: Or her “monthly visitor”, as it’s sometimes called.
Ben: I think that’s something else.
Nick: In this movie a young couples takes to videotaping themselves while they sleep, because they suspect that a poltergeist is occupying their house. But, based on the clues I saw, I began to suspect that their house was in fact being occupied by an uncreative film crew with a tiny budget.
Ben: Nothing happens in this movie, Nick. They should have called it Normal Activity.
Nick: Nothing happens, that is, until the horrifying conclusion, that, by the looks of it, may have cost the filmmakers upwards of ninety-five dollars.
Ben: Why do rank amateurs always gravitate toward horror or porn?
Nick: I don’t know, Ben, but I think, of the two, the one with the more redeeming artistic value is porn.
Ben: Speaking of horrible porn, our next film comes to us again from the video store, and is the Megan-Fox vehicle Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox as Jennifer. And her body.
Nick: This film tells the story of mousey beauty Amanda Seyfried, and her heroic attempt to unearth the premise of this stupid movie. It turns out to have something to do with demons, virgin sacrifice, and high-school girls kissing.
Ben: It was like that made a movie of my life.
Nick: The first thing I noticed about this movie was that everybody spoke in slang baby-talk gibberish. I thought, damn, I haven’t heard dialogue this annoying since I watched Juno.
Ben: It turns out that this movie was indeed written by the same lady that wrote Juno, Academy-Award Winner and dumb person Diablo Cody.
Nick: She joins Al Gore, Ben, in the exclusive club of people who have won Oscars, by triumphantly overcoming the obstacle of not deserving them.
Nick: I did notice, though, that Jennifer’s Body nicely demonstrates a principle elucidated by David Mamet, which says that most movies would be better if you removed the first ten minutes.
Ben: Nick, I can think of two activities that I’m involved in on a daily basis that I would prefer to miss the first ten minutes of: sex and car accidents.
Nick: It sounds like you found your resolution.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Ben: Why, Nick, I see that you’ve built a snowman. But I think that you put the carrot in the wrong place.
Nick: But my heart is in the right place, Ben! Because it’s that time of the year again, when Ben and Nick In The Aisle celebrates Christmas!
Ben: Christmas, for fans that don’t know, is the time of the year that Christians celebrate an event that occurred two-thousand-and-nine years ago in ancient Bethlehem, when a stop-motion animated Bing Crosby, aided only by Charlie Brown, prevented the Grinch from Stealing Christmas.
Nick: In honor of that holy occasion, Ben and I, though you can’t really tell in print, are talking like Boris Karloff.
Ben: There are three words that describe you, Nick: Stink; Stank; Stunk!
Nick: But speaking of Jesus, since his birthday is coming up, we’ve reviewed three Christmas Movies this month, that feature Jesus’ three favorite things: werewolves, spaceships, and the end of the world.
Ben: First we take you to Ben And Nick In The Video Aisle, with our Christmas Video Of The Month: Star Trek (2009). This reimagined prequel retells Star Trek so breathtakingly that I nearly rebooted in my pants.
Nick: This J. J. Abrams visual effects spectacular, tells the story of younger versions of Spock and Kirk, as they pursue their separate childhoods, then finally meet. At first they are rivals, but their acrimony soon turns to friendship, when they find themselves having cowboy sex in a tent.
Ben: That doesn’t happen.
Nick: Gradually young versions of all your favorite original Star Trek characters are introduced. Kirk has a thing for a young Ohura, and ends up accidentally getting busy with Ohura’s roommate, who has red hair and green skin.
Ben: So she is either an alien, or else just extremely Irish.
Nick: There’s a Romulan bad guy named Nero, who is armed with a globe of “red matter”, which appears to be a hot sauce so spicy, that when you shoot it into space it creates a black hole.
Ben: This explains the gravitational pull that I feel toward Buffalo Wild Wings.
Nick: It turns out that Nero came from the future, and wants to kill Spock for something that he will do later. All this time traveling eventually leads to [SPOILER ALERT] young Spock meeting an older version of himself, played by Leonard Nimoy!
Ben: I hope science is working on this technology; it’s my only hope for a threesome.
Nick: Or, for that matter, a twosome. Next we saw another Christmas movie: The Twilight Saga: New Moon. This movie explores a classic Christmas theme: the fragile peace that exists between werewolves and vampires.
Ben: It’s fun to have fun with territorial disputes between werewolves and vampires, Nick, but this film is only using that as an allegory for the heart-breaking real-life violence between Fraggles and Doozers.
Nick: Freud famously admitted at the end of his career that the biggest question that he couldn’t figure out was, what do women want? It turns out that they want to be fought over by monsters.
Ben: This, the second of the Twilight movies, based on the successful series of novels, represents yet another installment in our illustrious series: Sequels To Movies That We Haven’t Seen. But apparently these things are all about two teenage virgins, one a girl and one a vampire, that are in love. The guy wants to suck on the girl, but he can’t. Also he wants to drink her blood.
Nick: At first I wasn’t into it. I thought that the pace was plodding, the dialogue was as eloquent as a tweener’s Facebook, and for the really emotional parts, the soundtrack sounded like it was being done by the guy that scores General Hospital.
Ben: But then we got into it.
Nick: For one, I could watch Kristen Stewart have facial expressions for the rest of my life.
Ben: Dude, I think she’s like seventeen.
Nick: Really? I hope the police aren’t reading this.
Ben: Also, I find Kristen Stewart annoying in interviews. She’s always darting her eyes around and touching her face like she’s in a commercial for headache medicine.
Nick: Whatever. Then a bunch of shirtless underwear models in jean shorts turn into werewolves. Um, our final movie this month, appropriately, is all about the end of the world. It’s called 2012.
Ben: It asks a question that is on all of our minds: If I and everyone I know were to die in a world-wide natural catastrophe in the year 2012, will John Cusack be okay?
Nick: In this movie, Woody Harrelson plays a manic hippy who's always ranting about conspiracies.
Ben: So he plays himself. In this film the Sackman, and his two kids and baby-momma, are always just barely escaping, in cars and planes, from ground fissures, floods, fires, and collapsing urban infrastructure.
Nick: All this grand-scale destruction, of things both man-made and natural, is really amazing and fun to behold on the big screen. What all three of our movies this month taught me is that computer effects finally don’t suck anymore.
Ben: It was bound to happen eventually. It turns out, in the movie, that the government, just in case the Earth is ever befallen by awesome computers effects, has a secret plan that would evacuate all top politician, billionaires, and Lady Gaga.
Nick: Ben, I was able to suspend my disbelief about the likelihood that every possible natural disaster could occur at once, but this movie lost me when it used Danny Glover to portray America as having a black president.
Ben: You should watch the news more. Speaking of Mel Gibson, as most people know, this is all in accordance with a prediction from the ancient Mayans, who apparently predicted that the world would end in the year 2012.
Nick: And, if I’m remembering it correctly, according to the hit Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto, the ancient Mayans helped the Jews kill Jesus.
Ben: Merry Christmas, Everybody!