Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cheers, Yanks

I think I'm starting to develop a problem. I notice it most prevalently when I'm working at the hotel and Neil the housekeeping guy comes down to chat at my work area. The thing is, Neil is from Bristol, a small harbor town in England, as he describes it. He comes down to chat with me because I'm the only American he's met that can carry on a conversation like this (parentheses denote American translation):

Neil: "Brad, did you see that the Scousers (Liverpool) got thrashed by the Saints (Southampton) yesterday?"

Brad: "Yeah, it was 2-nil (zero) wasn't, it?"

Neil: "Yeah. I'll tell you what though, I love how Shaun Wright-Phillips (midfielder) has been playing lately. I think he should be playing on the right (right side of midfield, where David Beckham plays) for England.

Brad: "Definitely. He's playing awesome right now. I also really like Stuart Downing (another midfielder). He'll get picked (selected to play in international matches) soon."

... And so on.

But that gets me thinking. I love soccer, which is obviously the world's sport, and the Brits certainly not only love it too but consistently field great sides (teams). So now that I'm home, I'm looking around my apartment. Here's what I observed:

Song currently playing on iTunes as I write this: Clash (British band) "Train in Vain."

Bedroom contents: Manyoo (Manchester United) "Theatre of Dreams" poster next to my bed; 2004 England wall calendar (featuring pretty pictures) on the floor (it's 2005 now!); Scotland clan flag (formerly the national flag) hanging over my bed; Manyoo kit (soccer jersey) hanging in my closet; Celtic kit hanging in my closet.

CD currently in my car stereo: The Essential Collection Volume 1, The Who.

Next concert I'll be attending: U2.

Song playing now that the previous one ended: Duran Duran (British band) "Sunrise."

My favorite movie of last year: "Shaun of the Dead."

Book I'm having a hard time putting down: "Pride of Lions," story about the family of Brian Boru, one of the first kings of Ireland.

Team that I manage on Total Club Manager: Bristol Rovers (English league Division Two).

And I could go on (let me know if you want me to!).

I really think that I am or have become an Anglophile (not a crime, but a love of the UK and stuff from it). I wonder if it has anything to do with my heritage (the "Nicholsons" hail originially from the Isle of Skye and then eventually from the Stirling area of Scotland), or if I'm just a weirdo. I think it's probably the latter, but I just found it very interesting to reflect on how prevalent Anglo is in my life at this point, and how it really makes me anxious to finally visit someday soon.

Anybody care to join me on the next flight to Heathrow (an airport in London)??

Sunday, January 09, 2005

2004 Year in Review: Everything Else

As I sat here gathering my thoughts for YIR: Music, I made a disappointing revelation. I haven't gotten that much new stuff this year, so music will be lumped in with everything else. Anyhoo, here's a look at the highs and lows for the non-movie aspects of my life in '04.

U2- How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. After 14 records, these guys still have it. Oh, they indeed have it.

The Killers- Hot Fuss. This album is infectuous. Start laughing now, but I actually read about this band before I heard them, thought they sounded like my style, and ordered the CD before I ever heard a note. This was an impulse buy that worked out really well, as every song is great. Try telling that to the Rednex (Cotteneye Joe impulse buy, aka BIG MISTAKE).

Gwen Stefani- What You Waiting For? One of the memory tracks on my satellite radio, so I always switch over when it shows up on a channel. "Take a chance you stupid ho." Classic.

Lindsay Lohan- Rumors. Lindsay Lohan is hot, legal and has more money than I can imagine, and she dares to say, err, sing "I'm tired of rumors starting," and "why can't they let me live?" Sorry, but you're a celeb, honey. You're going to have to put up with your face on a tabloid to keep all those millions you don't deserve. Pity rating: ZERO.

Mark Knopfler- Boom, Like That. Man, I wish I could explain this. My official play count on iTunes is somewhere over 40, but I bet its really more than that, since sometimes I stop it early. This song just doesn't frickin get stale (pun intended), as its about the founder of McDonald's. You know you're getting old when a 50+ year-old guy who sings a 5 minute song about Ray Kroc is your pick of the year.

Jamiroquai- Virtual Insanity. Well, its the only song playing right now. I love how I can use other people's playlists in my apartment complex. This "Insom" guy has all the good trash!

In other news:

Lucy. She's cool.

CSI. I used to skip it, but I actually gave it a chance and watched a few episodes, and now I've put all four of the seasons on DVD on my NetFlix queue. Don't miss it if you don't have to.

Renting Eurotrip. See YIR: Movies for more on this suck-fest.

None. Brianna invited me 8 days before!

Graduate school assignments. They beat you up and then kick you while you're down.

Fox Sports World. It's America's soccer channel!!

Lion of Ireland. The story of the first Irish king to unify the clans around 1,000 AD. Great read.

Beautiful Day. C'mon, you know it was funny.

Facebook. It's fun and addicting and everyone's doing it! And along with that...

Facebook. It's fun and addicting! I don't need that now! I don't need a website to waste time on!! Ahh, irony, how bittersweet thou art!!

Well, sports fans, that's going to do it I think. A fun and memorable year it was indeed; here's to just as many more in 2005!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2004 Year in Review: Movies

Well, kids, 2004 has come to close. With the passing of a year comes my first annual Year in Review! Today I'll be looking back at all of the movies made in 2004 that I saw and picking the cream of the crop and the cream of the dump. Without further ado, grab your bag of popcorn and enjoy!!


Best Action Film: "The Bourne Supremecy." This sequel to 2002's "The Bourne Identity" featured Matt Damon reprising his role as amnesiac super-spy Jason Bourne. Featuring the same fast-paced action, knuckle-clenching car chases, and thought-provoking escapes (can you blow up a house with a toaster?) that made the first film a hit, this "Bourne" delievers all that and a bag of chips. Critics agreed, giving the film an 80% fresh rating on

Honorable Mention: "Troy." I know that this is just a summer Hollywood blockbuster. Ever since the success of "Gladiator," film companies have been spitting out historical epics on a yearly basis. But I can't get enough of them and this film doesn't disappoint. It sucessfully re-creates all of the magic of an invading Greek army, whose sole purpose is to get a girl.

Worst Action Film: "Ocean's Twelve." Where was the spirit that made "Ocean's Eleven" so enjoyable? Conspicuously absent from this yawn-fest. Granted, it kept me entertained with acrobatics and over-the-top stunts, but gave me nothing that a Bond film can't deliver and none of the feeling of the caper that it was supposed to be.


Best Comedy Film: "Shaun of the Dead." Had all of the humor that a British comedy should, but with the interesting twist of having zombies as supporting characters. Throw in two Brits with no brains and zombies who will stop at nothing to find that out, and you get certainly the best comedy to come out this year.

Honorable Mention: "Shrek 2." Although I didn't see the first Shrek, I was impressed at how funny I found this movie, sitting through it as a twenty-two year old. I appreciated that even though the film was targeted towards people younger than myself, that I could still enjoy it. Either that, or I just have a REALLY immature sense of humor. Let's hope for the former...

Worst Comedy Film: "Eurotrip." I'm not even going to waste space on this awful, awful film. Movies this bad should not even be allowed to exist.


Best Thriller Film: "Collateral." Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx keep this film interesting from start to finish. I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect and came out thinking it was one of the best movies I had seen all year. And it still is.

Worst Thriller Film: "The Grudge." Apparently there is a Japanese movie that this one was based on that is much better. Shouldn't be hard as this movie was so terrible it didn't even have an ending.


Best Drama Film: "Garden State." Although it starts a little strange, you can't help but like Andrew Largeman. Even though he is a Hollywood actor (I can't believe he's not really retarded!), he seems very relatable to schlubs like myself. And how could I say no Natalie Portman as a compulsive liar? A movie that greatly exceeded my expectations.

Honorable Mention: "Miracle." *Sigh*, I would say this movie was predictable, but that's because it was based on actual events. Ha! I knew that the US would beat Russia in that "Miracle on Ice" game, but what I would have loved to see was the GOLD MEDAL game!! Gee, might that have been important to the team too? Winning a gold medal? Apparently not, because the movie ends before it gets to that part. But we already know that outcome.


Best Documentary Film: "Super Size Me." I wasn't a big fan of McDonald's before this movie, but I have managed to eat there only once since I've seen it (I had $0, and only a McD's GC). Not only was it insightful, but surprisingly funny as well as we get to watch Morgan Spurlock's health literally go down the toilet! Don't see this movie if you ever care about eating fast food again!

Honorable Mention: "FahrenHYPE 9/11." Although I haven't seen the "documentary" that this film rebukes, I have heard enough about the scenes that this film disproved. I would be very interested to hear Mr. Moore's response to the points made in this film. Very insightful indeed.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

Worst Film of 2004: EUROTRIP. 'Nuff said.


Best Film of 2004: "Shaun of the Dead." When it comes down to it, I just thoroughly enjoyed myself as I watched this movie. You can't help but be entertained. You don't have to be a comedy fan or a horror fan, just a sense of humor fan and you'll get your kicks!

Well, that's all for this installment, stay tuned for future Year in Review's coming soon!!

Monday, January 03, 2005

2004: Year in Review

Coming soon to this blog space will be a series of Year in Reviews for 2004, written by yours truly. I will be discussing the Best and Worst of what I saw, heard and experienced during the course of last year, with my normal humorous insights. I'll be covering music, movies, possibly literature, and anything else I can think of, likely in several installments. So stay tuned for a look back...