Thursday, December 26, 2002

To continue with the reviews of new things, I saw "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". Wow! I loved this movie. I'm not sure if I liked the first or second film better, but it was great. I loved the way they made Gollum, and the scene where he talks to himself is brilliant. The effects were great, of course. However, in this film probably more so than "Fellowship", I think that having read the book before seeing the movie is beneficial. You can enjoy the movie without having read the book, of course, but there are some things in the movie that will make more sense or won't require as much thought or piecing together if you read the book first.

I watched the video "Into the Woods" with the original Broadway cast. What a cute little musical! It combines the stories of several fairy tales (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.) into one cohesive story. The music is quite good as well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

I finally finished reading "About a Boy" by Nick Hornby. I was a little afraid to read this book because I liked the movie so much. But I really did enjoy the book. It has 2 main characters. Will is a single man in his late-30s who somewhat reluctantly befriends Marcus, a 12-year-old boy. The movie followed parts of the book fairly closely, although there were some huge deviations. For example, the book goes into much more detail about Marcus' friendship with Ellie, a girl he has a crush on. You don't see much of her in the movie. The movie has a completely different ending and plot twist than the book does. However, both are enjoyable. The movie ends up being a bit more predictable, but a bit more heartwarming. I can see how someone who read the book first would be disappointed. But I like both.

I watched the movie "I Love You, I Love You Not" Friday morning. The only reason I watched it was because Claire Danes was in it. I liked her in this movie. She plays a prep school girl who doesn't really fit in. Her best friend is her grandma (who she often stays with when her parents leave town) who is a concentration camp survivor. Daisy (Claire Danes) is a very shy girl who loves to read. She has a huge crush on the captain of the lacrosse team (Jude Law). They end up dating. Oh, and Dawson is in this movie as well. It's not a great movie, but not a total waste of time either. Some parts were hard for me to watch because they hit a bit too close to home.

Another movie that hit a bit too close to home in some scenes was "When a Man Loves a Woman". In this film, Andy Garcia :) is married to Meg Ryan, who is an alcoholic. She hits bottom and goes into rehab. The movie is about her struggle and the strain on their relationship. It can be a tearjerker at times, especially a scene toward the end when Andy Garcia is talking to his daughters. While neither of my parents are alcoholics, I relate to that scene too well.

"The Big One" was a Christmas gift from Tim. It's one of Michael Moore's documentaries. He's on a book tour, and in many of the cities he is stopping off at the corporate headquarters of various companies to ask them why they are laying people off when they are very profitable. These aren't companies going through financial woes. Ever since seeing "Bowling for Columbine", Michael Moore has been my hero. Oh, and he sings with one of the guys from Cheap Trick, too.

More later.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Twisted 9

Yesterday was Q101's Twisted 9 concert. Here is my review of the concert.

Sugarcult was the first band to perform. They weren't bad if you didn't consider the crappy sound engineering. This is a problem that plauged the whole event. The guys from Sugarcult said that this was their first arena show. Whether or not that's true I'm not sure, but they did want the house lights on for a minute so they could see all the people. Unfortunately for them, since they were the first band out of the gate, about half the crowd hadn't shown up yet. Oh well. They did a fine job relatively speaking. Didn't sing "Boucing Off the Walls", either that or I wasn't paying attention.

The Vines
This is, without a doubt, the absolute worst live performance I have ever seen bar none. Highlight of the set: during the first song the lead singer was on the very front of the stage acting like an ass when he totally fell off the stage. That was great, and he totally deserved it. Granted, he could have been seriously hurt, and I'm glad he wasn't. But seeing as how he wasn't hurt, he totally deserved what happened to him. This guy is awful to watch. For the first half of the set he was pretending to be Kurt Cobain in terms of his movements and how he acted. Only it didn't come off as sincere, like that's how he normally is. He went through like 3 guitars during the set because he kept destroying them. I don't see how this band will ever make money if he goes through 3 guitars in a 20-minute set. After being Kurt Cobain, he decided he was going to act like Liam Gallagher. I don't know what this guy is actually like because he spent the whole show being someone else. He's probably nothing, which is probably why he has to act like someone else. All he really did was scream. I don't have their album and only knew one of their songs going in, so I don't know if that is how they normally sound. Half-way through the last song he started destroying the drum kit, so that by the end only about half of it was left. The drumming kind of sucked at that point. And to top it all off, as soon as they were done they just walked off the stage. No thank-yous, nothing. They didn't acknowledge the audience at all after they were done performing. As a matter of fact, I don't recall them doing so at all during the set, although I could have missed something. What a bunch of ass holes.

Public Enemy
I have never heard a Public Enemy song on Q101 ever, so I was kind of curious as to why they were there. Don't get me wrong, I was glad because I loved Public Enemy in high school (I am now dating myself), and I was excited to see them. I also thought it was interesting because the vast majority of the crowd seemed to be well-off white high school kids, many of which are probably too young to remember their more popular years. It's unfortunate they were only given about 30 minutes to perform, because they were great. Instead of doing only a few songs, they did about a verse of a lot of songs, blending them into 2 or 3 medleys. They did part of a Run DMC song in tribute to Jam Master J. They were awesome performers. It's too bad the sound sucked during their set (you couldn't really understand what was coming out of Chuck D's microphone, even when he was just talking...I only caught pieces here and there). I was thrilled to hear part of "Bring The Noise". Okay, back to sound and performing. The DJ booth lost power during the set, but they were really professional about it and continued on. They started "Fight the Power" without it, but the power kicked back in during the song. I really wish they would have been further back in the line up so that they would have a longer set. They were one of the highlights for me.

Local H
The fourth band of the day was Local H. It was supposed to be Moby, but he cancelled. This was terrible for me because the main reason I even went to this concert was to see Moby. But I guess Local H is a good last minute replacement. After my initial disappointment at the beginning of the set because they aren't Moby, I actually enjoyed their performance. They had one guy who came out and did some backing vocals, and another guy who came out on a few songs to play and extra guitar. I only have one of their albums ("As Good As Dead"), so I thought it was cool that about half the songs from their set came from that album. They did a good job.

Jimmy Eat World
Jimmy Eat World was lucky because they didn't suffer from some of the sound problems that other bands had. They put on a good set, and it really seemed like many of the people in the crowd were there specifically to see them. Their drummer was awesome. They performed their most popular songs. They have a good stage presence. They were fun to watch.

Box Car Racer
Again, big sound problems. The lead singer's microphone sounded the same way Chuck D's did. This was a problem for one song in particular where the drummer was playing more than usual (well, more elaborately than on the album for that song) and the drums were drowning out the singer. I wasn't overly impressed. Their stage presence is average at best. They weren't fun to look at. I'm not the biggest fan of their music. I don't hate it, but I wouldn't buy it either. I really didn't need to see them. But I bet their big fans probably enjoyed their set. This is another band that left the stage without really acknowledging the audience at the end of their set. No "thank you". I don't remember if they thanked the audience during the set. I remember them saying, "We're Box Car Racer," but I don't remember if they actually thanked the audience or not. They didn't at the end. How did they get to do a full set and Public Enemy didn't?

3 Doors Down
Compared to The Vines and Box Car Racer, 3 Doors Down were overly gracious. They are great performers. They did all their big hits and some new songs. I probably have them tied with Public Enemy for my second favorite band of the night. They just put on a really good show, and I would love to see them live when they are headlining.

This was definitely the highlight of the evening. Disturbed was awesome! They had awesome stage presence. They were just so cool. They really know how to put on a show. They don't insult the audience's intelligence when speaking to them. They were gracious. You could tell they were so excited to be performing to such a large audience in their hometown. Another band I would love to see live when they are headlining.

Other tidbits. The guys from "Jackass" were there. They came onstage twice and really did nothing. I don't even know why they were there. I think Q101's DJs are really annoying on the radio. They are even more annoying in person. Right before the 3 Doors Down set, the cast of Mancow's Morning Madhouse came on. Mancow looked rediculous in a green suit. They came out with Local H and started singing "Surrender" by Cheap Trick. They stopped the song and one of the guys from Cheap Trick came out to play it with them. That was pretty cool.

Finally, this is supposed to be a holiday concert. The original concert was called Twisted Christmas, and I'm pretty sure at least the first 3 were called that. At some point they dropped the Christmas part. Anyway, I have been to Twisted 1-3, 7, and now 9. For all of the others there was a holiday theme. There were clips from the Grinch or just other little things where you could tell it was a holiday show. Not this year. What was the running theme this year? The Soviet Union. I swear, the logo or whatever for the concer was this guy waving a red flag with the name of the concert and the slogan. They stuck in cyrillic letters where they looked like they could fit (like using the backward N instead of a regular N). The program was drawn, not actual photographs. So Jimmy Eat World so they were wearing Soviet military garb. One of the guys from 3 Doors Down was drawn holding a hammer like the one from the hammer and sicle. Even the background designs of the pictures were Soviet looking. For a holiday concert? Why? I'm confused. If someone from Q101 is reading this and would like to explain it to me please do.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Yesterday I had to go to this hotel for 2 hours for a meeting for all of my company's Chicago-area employees. It basically covered how our business did over the past year and our plans for 2003. We then had the rest of the day off. I did no work. I showed up for that meeting, which was lame and I knew most of that stuff already, but better to sit through that for 2 hours than work all day. Since Tim had the day off he came with, and waited in the lobby for me during the meeting. We had lunch at Thai Garden, walked around Ikea, walked around Woodfield Mall, and then went to my mom's.

My mom took us for dinner. We went to Al's Char House, which is a Texas-style steak place. The food is good. It's in this place that used to be another restaurant that I used to go to when I was little. It was cool to be down there again. It's in the basement of another restaurant (I don't remember what it was then, but now it's a Mexican restaurant). It's rather nice down there. You would never think it was so big while walking down the stairs.