While on my recent vacation/road trip, I was introduced to a "game" that pretty much ruined me forever.  Do this the next time you’re driving: Say the make and model of the cars you pass on the road, putting the word "anal" in between the make and the model.  Immature?  Perhaps.  Hilarious?  Definitely.  Here are some examples.

  • Ford Anal Escape
  • Ford Anal Expedition
  • Chevy Anal Trailblazer
  • Dodge Anal Ram Heavy Duty
  • Ford Anal Windstar
  • etc.

(Yes, to answer your questions, I am, in fact, still a 12-year-old boy.)

***

My boss, who dressed up like Indiana Jones today (I wish I was making that up) got us tickets to see the new Indy film which was released today.  So, at 3:00, we packed up, went over to the theater, and watched the movie.  Now, I realize this will come as a shock to some of you, but I have never actually seen the original Indiana Jones movies.  I’ve seen bits and pieces, but I’ve never seen any of them all the way through.  It turns out that an unfamiliarity with the films is actually beneficial to your enjoyment of the new one.  I liked the new movie.  It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, but I could certainly understand how this franchise has been such a cultural force for the last 20 years.  I felt a little bit like I was missing some of the depth in the script, some of the self-referential humor that something as well-known and beloved as the Indiana Jones movies would engender.  I figured some of the hackneyed story was just part of the stylization of the movies.  They’re based on the old spaghetti westerns…they’re not supposed to be totally realistic.  For some reason, I was able to do what I can almost never do at the movies (especially movies based on comic books): turn off my brain.  I just enjoyed the ride.  It wasn’t amazing, but it was better than most.

My companions who were lovers of the original films didn’t care for it at all.  I think I need to go back and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark at least to understand why their disappointment was so pronounced.

I will say this, though.  As hackneyed and stilted as the story may have been, Steven Spielberg is a genius through and through.  Nobody can photograph and build a film the way he does.  Not only does he manage to maintain the original look and feel of the Indiana Jones movies, but he is always coming up with interesting camera moves and shots that build tension, drive the story, or show a picture others just can’t see.  Crystal Skull was pretty utilitarian as far as Spielberg’s directing efforts go, but even his most pedestrian is miles beyond any other working director.  He’s simply a genius.

***

So You Think You Can Dance, Fox’s dance version of American Idol, started tonight.  I don’t really do reality television–with two exceptions: Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance.  The thing I like about SYTYCD above American Idol is that you simply can’t get onto this show without being amazing at dance.  And dance is something you can’t be amazing at without training.  Most reality shows where the "best" at something gets voted on and wins the award are unsatisfying.  Often the contestants haven’t had to pay their dues.  Vocalists simply don’t have to spend 6-8 hours a day in voice lessons to be good.  Some of the best singers I know have had almost no training.  It’s very rare to be a great dancer without having trained for 10+ years.  Last year’s winner, Sabra, only had four years of dance training under her belt, but she was an anomaly.

Also, unlike the "reality" train wreck show Dancing with the Stars, the show isn’t about watching washed-up has been celebutards making idiots of themselves.  Everybody on SYTYCD can actually dance, and the heart of the competition is really talent vs. talent.  The choreographers are fantastic, the dancers are at the peak of their abilities, the music isn’t performed by karaoke singers, and the dancing really can tap into the emotion and the feeling capable in that art form.  When you have the best of the best working with the best of the best, you’re bound to create some beautiful work…as has been the case for the last three seasons. 

So, if you haven’t watched SYTYCD, I’d highly recommend you give it a shot this week.  Watch a single audition episode (you can forward through the ‘tards who just come and act like idiots to get on TV) and a single competition episode.  If you don’t enjoy it, then I won’t make you keep watching.