Get A Haircut. . . .

Chaos in Print

Greetings, y’all! It’s just been so long that I started a column with that phrase, so I thought I’d do it with this one. In fact, it has been so long since I’ve done a 100% goofy column. So, here we go with the goofiness! This is going to be one of those Seinfeld-ish columns. You know, where I rant and rave about the absurdities of everyday life. Are you pumped? Are you primed? Here we go!

I went for a haircut the other day. It annoys my sister when it comes to the frequency of my haircuts. I tend to get them seasonally. My last one was in May, and that did me for summer. Now, it’s September, and it’s time to get one for fall. My next will probably be in December, to get me through the winter. But anyway, it was September, so needed one for Autumn. That means it was off to the local barber shop, the Final Touch!

In my first days of college, I’d always time my haircuts for the weekends I’d come home, simply because I like being able to hop into the barber chair and say “Give me the usual!” I’m just one of those people who resists change, especially when it comes to my hair. I’ve been saying for the last two years that I’m going to shave my head to see how it looks, but I never do, because I resist changes to my hair. For the last month, I’ve been saying that this would be the one where I shave my head! But, it didn’t happen. My sister says it’s because I’m chicken, but I say it’s because I resist change. But I digress. I got to the barber shop, and it was time for a clipping!

As always, the lady who was clipping my hair (I never ask for anyone specific) asked if I needed a wash. And, as always, I said “Sure. What the hey?” So, over to those fancy sinks. I got in the chair, leaned my head back, and the lady went to it! Call me a pervert, but I’ve always found something mildly arousing about someone else washing my hair. I just said too much, didn’t I? Forget I said that, if it hasn’t already been burned into your brain. Anyway, as I was getting my hair washed, she leaned over to get something, and ended up shoving her armpit right into my nose. That’s when it donned on me: hairdresser is probably a profession where you need really good deodorant. I mean, you’re shoving your armpit into other people’s noses, for crying out loud! Yup, good deodorant is a must. After this, it was off to the chair for the usual!

I always get a twinge of fear when I get a haircut. The person doing it always tells me to remove my glasses. When I get a haircut, I’m always flying blind. I have to have complete faith in the barber, for I can’t yell out “Hey! Watch it!” I have no idea what’s going on. You want to know how I feel? Next time you get a haircut, tell the barber how you want it done, and then close your eyes until they say “All done!” I dare you. I bet you you won’t be able to handle it. And I go through that every time. But, this time was a lot scarier.

Problem with getting a haircut in a small town is that people tend to drag their little kids with them wherever they go. The barber shop isn’t any different. Today, their happened to be a 3-year old and a 2-year old there. And, in true little kid fashion, they were running around screaming and playing with noisy toys. That would be OK, but the lady I got was jumpy. Really jumpy. And that’s not the kind of person you want handling a pair of scissors around your ears. I was blind at the time, so I had no idea as to weather this would result in a good haircut, or a bad haircut. The last thing I wanted was to go through the next four months with a bad haircut. As always, I had to leave my faith with the person with the scissors. And pray that it comes out good.

In that chair, my mind starts to wander. First of all, I don’t like how my reflection looks when it’s all blurry. It looks skull-like, which tends to freak me out. Then I start looking at all the other stuff on that barber counter. There’s that blue stuff that the combs are always soaking in. I wonder what it tastes like? I wonder who’d be stupid enough to drink it. Then, there are all sorts of scissors. Why do there have to be so many scissors? I mean, you’re just cutting hair. It’s not like you have to switch from wire cutters to sheet metal scissors. It’s just hair! Then, all those electric gizmos. Since I don’t get my hair done, I tend to wonder what each one’s purpose is. What does that clip? What does that dry? Does that induce growth? The mind boggles. But, back to the task at hand: a jumpy person clipping my hair.

For some reason, I never converse much with the person cutting my hair. Perhaps it’s just my quite nature. I don’t know why, perhaps its just that I’m never too good around new people. A hold over from infant-hood, I guess. I’ll probably get over it as I grow up. I always wonder if I should try to stimulate a conversation. You know, just say something like “So, lovely weather we’re having!” or “See any good movies lately?” When getting a haircut, who’s responsibility is it to stimulate conversation? Someone should write these rules down somewhere. The Handbook to Society. It’d probably be a bestseller. But again, I digress. Around this time, the cut was being completed!

The moment of truth: “Put your glasses back on,” she said. I donned my spectacles and looked into the mirror. It looked not half-bad. As always, I turned my head from side to side, checking out the profile shots. Not bad at all. “It’s good!” I said to her. She took that cape-thing off and it was time to go! As always, I was charged $10. I always think that it’s a rip-off. I mean, for $10, I could get a soup bowl and do it myself at home. But, I was happy. Good for another season! And, from here, it was time to go home.

The only time I don’t like wearing a hat is right after I get a haircut. I like to show it off a bit before covering it up. I get home. First person I see is my sister. She took one look and said “I knew you wouldn’t have the guts to get it shaved.” Yup, she knows me all to well. I’ve got to get a job so I can find my own place. If only to put some distance between myself and her.

And that’s it! My Seinfeldian adventure, getting a haircut! Yes, it was a slow week for me. But, just keep reading. Things are bound to get more exciting eventually. I promise. Goodnight, everybody!

Can You Go Home Again?

Chaos in Print

Well, I’ve been home for 24 hours now. “What?” you are asking yourself. “Were you gone?” Yup, I was. It was an eventful five days for me, in which I returned to my former haunt. Was it to visit old friends? Or search for things lost? Who really cares. It got me out of the basement for a few days. It all started on a sunny Saturday afternoon. . . .

My mother was taking me into Edmonton. I was going to meet up with one of my old buddies from the Camrose area, and I was going to head down for a few days and just chill. As always, I was going to meet them at Comic King, the only comic store in West Edmonton Mall. As always, I was early (even though my watch said I was five minutes late). So, I browsed through the comic books. I browsed through the neighboring stores. I browsed through the mall-within-the-mall. (Yes, to the uninitiated, West Edmonton Mall is so big it contains a smaller mall, called the Galaxyland Marketplace). By now, I was a good twenty minutes late, so that meant my friend was going to be there. I returned to Comic King and yup, he was there. Oh, and let me say this: I’m changing names to protect the innocent (although innocent is such a relative term).

There was my friend, whom we’ll call Chuck. Chuck had brought his best friend and landlord, whom we’ll call BigGuy, and his girlfriend, whom we’ll call Didi. They were browsing through the comics, acting like they had been waiting for a long time. I walked up to them and we all hugged in that way that we do. Pleasantries were exchanged, and it wasn’t long until we were back to browsing through the comic books. I decided to head over to the action figures. Oh, if only I had more money! Thanks to the surge in action figure collecting, comic book stores are starting to get a lot of exclusive stuff. Man, I want one of those new Lara Croft figures! Anyway, when you are in a comic book store with three comic-loving geeks, you tend to be there for a while. But, soon everyone had bought the latest X-Men and it was time to move on. Now, we hit the mall! I wish I had grown up in a city. I would have been a perfect mallrat.

First, to HMV. Much to my disappointment, they still did not have the Batman Beyond soundtrack. I must get that! And I did what I always do when I’m in HMV: drool over the DVD titles and wish for more money. I did get the single for Look At Me by Geri Halliwell. That song sure grew on me over the summer. From here, it was the quest for beads. Seems that Didi (the only one of us still in university) needed beads for some group she was in. So we searched for beads. We eventually found a store that sold them after the bead store didn’t have what she was looking for. Since we were all a bunch of movie-loving geeks, we decided to see a movie. Three theaters in West Edmonton Mall. Theater one: “Oh, I’ve already seen that and it sucks.” “Is that all? Not really much there.” Theater two: “Universal Soldier 2? That can wait until video.” Theater three: “Am I the only one who wants to see Wild Wild West?” “YES!!” So, we didn’t see a movie. Time to pile into the car and go home! But, we couldn’t. Didi still needed more beads, and knew of a better bead store on Edmonton’s world-famous Whyte Avenue. (Oh, but I can’t forget to mention that one of the highlights of the WestEd trip was getting mauled by an old friend, who just happens to work there now.)

Well, sadly, we got to Whyte Avenue too late, and the bead store was closed. But, Didi needed string to put the beads on, and she could think of nothing better than hemp twine. So, it was off to the nothing-but-hemp-products store, which just happens to be Edmonton’s #1 supporter of the legalization of marijuana. This is not the place for my views on the legalization of marijuana, but let’s just say I was a little on edge the whole time I was there. That, and the store smelled funny. The whole time I was there I just kept wanting fresh air. But, not wanting to offend my friends, I kept my mouth shut and browsed. I’m sure I looked like some kind of narc. But hey, that’s me. We soon left, but that store seemed to have given Chuck the munchies, and we went by IGA, where he treated everyone to doughnuts. And I just couldn’t turn down a good ol’ chocolate covered boston cream. From here, I finally got to go to a place I’ve been told about my whole life.

I’ve already mentioned that we are a group of comic book geeks, and Warp One Comics was just a hop, skip and a jump away. For the uninitiated, Warp One Comics is the largest comic book store in the City of Edmonton. They even have a section devoted to anime, and that goes under the name of Anime 1/2. I entered the door, and gazed upon the promised land. Vintage movie posters. Incredibly cool and rare action figures. Collectors cards. Anime 1/2. T-shirts. Life sized cut-outs of Princess Leia in the Gold Bikini and Seven of Nine. And comic books. Lots of comic books. Heaven! I immediatly started flipping through the movie posters. Soon, the clerk was handing me a paper towel and saying “Forgive me for being anal.” Turns out my hands were still covered in chocolate from the donuts. I thanked the man and cleaned my hands. Fortunatly, none got on the posters. I ventured further into the store. Chuck desperately wanted to see my reaction to the life-sized Princess Leia in the Gold Bikini, to see my reaction. I was a little underwhelmed, as I already have the action figure, which has the bonus of being in 3-D. I drooled over the book Batman Animated. The complete guide to the Batman cartoon, featuring some of the show’s best artwork. I ventured upstairs, where I met more action figures than I could shake a stick at. I peered into Anime 1/2, where I was greeted with all manner of mechs and pokemon. Sheer bliss. BigGuy was over in the collectors cards, where he was picking up a deck of Pokemon cards. Didi ventured into the underground comics section. Chuck was looking through back issues of X-Men. And I was wishing I had more money. I told BigGuy that I could drown of coolness in here. So happy. When we finally left, I vowed to return one day with a fistful of dollars. So many cool things. And now, the drive to Kingman!

See, Chuck and BigGuy live just outside of Camrose in the tiny town of Kingman. The drive was uneventful. We got there, and promptly figured out how to spend the evening. BigGuy and I started playing the new video game he got, called Deer Avenger. You are a deer, hunting hunters. It rocked. Chuck and Didi did whatever it was that boyfriend and girlfriend do. It was a slow evening. It ended the way all my Saturdays end: watching Saturday Night Live. A classic show! And then, it was to bed, where I learned that Chuck has quite a comfy sofa.

Sunday was quite uneventful. See, I hate hanging out with a person and their lover. They spend all their time getting all kissy-face, and you are left to amuse yourself. You know, you have to wonder what they were doing when it results in her sleeping until 3pm. I’m sure Chuck would have slept until 3 too, but he comes from a good church-going family, and had to go to church at 11am. So, most of the day was just me and BigGuy. We watched John Carpenter’s Vampires and Kull the Conquerer, two examples of classic cinema. That evening, we fired up the N64, and played countless hours of Star Wars Rouge Squadron, Super Smash Bros., and GoldenEye. Soon, BigGuy was in bed (he’s one of those early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinds of people) and Chuck had to take Didi back to campus. I amused myself with Chuck’s vast collection of old Jem cartoons. That is one classic show from the 80’s. I soon got tired of waiting for Chuck and went to bed.

Monday morning, I discovered BigGuy’s dark secret: he gets up at 6:30 am not because he has to go to work, but because that’s when Rocky and Bullwinkle is on. In reality, he doesn’t have to be out the door until 8. I should know. Even though I was sleeping on the couch, he would come into the living room, and crank up the volume on the TV as he made himself breakfast. Most of the time, I would fall back asleep after 10 minutes. Then, I would crawl off the couch at a more reasonable hour, like 10 am, get my morning glass of milk, and watch TV until Chuck woke up.

When Chuck got up around 11, he said that this was like day one. Now that BigGuy and Didi were gone, it was just him and me, like we were planning from the beginning. So, what were we to do? Well, first order of business was food. It was almost lunch time. As I said to Chuck, one of the great things about living on your own was that if you wanted to, you could have cookies for lunch! So, we had cookies for lunch. And I have never had a more satisfying meal. Then, more N64. About this time, Chuck thought it was time to show me the thriving population of Kingman! Population: 75 (if I remember correctly). What a quaint little town. A little anecdote with every stop. I was shown the gravel pad that used to be Chuck’s school. The field that was the home to many schoolyard games. The house with a gargoyle on it. The town’s two churches. The skating rink, where we just had to do a lap walking around the tops of the boards. The post office. Yup, Kingman is a nice little town. With nice people. Almost like the town of Springfield in the G.I. Joe comics. And we all know the dark secret of Springfield. But I’m sure Kingman has no dark secret. Positive.

So, we spent the afternoon talking, playing on the computer, and just plain screwing around. Then, as the supper hour was drawing near, I finally spoke up and said what I wanted to do: I wanted to head on down to Camrose and say hi to some people. So, we did. Got there just as the cafeteria opened, and I ran into everyone I wanted to see as they were heading off to the cafeteria. The (remaining) gang hasn’t changed a bit. As I dined with them in the cafeteria, it was just like old times. Same old conversations. Same old meals. I was home.

It was during this meal that I was approached by this year’s radio station manager. Seems that he wants to have a top DJ award at the station, and wanted to name it after me. Of course, I said yes. I was honored! I was touched! Then, reality set in. No matter how many good things a station manager does, none of them carry on to the next year. So, I’m sure that this award will no longer be given out after April 2000. But, for the time being, I congratulate all future winners of the Scarecrow Top DJ Award!

Now it was time to do some good old fashioned hanging out. Chuck wanted to go hang out with Didi, so it was just me and the old gang! And, as always, we ended up in a floor lounge, watching TV. You know, those great buddy shows of Friends and Frasier. When 8 rolled around, it was time for a good old fashioned Sev-Run! This is the Augustana slang term for “7-11 Run.” The tradition is you gather a good size of your friends (4 tends to be the average), and head on down to 7-11, for a Slurpee and some other form of sweet treat. If you are doing an assignment or studying for a test, then the Slurpee is usually replaced with a bottle of Jolt Cola. And I missed the Sev-Run! Sure, it sounds like a simple act, but the comraderie! The sharing of tasteless jokes and anecdotes about professors! And, there is nothing like a Slurpee. Ah, yes. I miss it. I just miss too much of it.

Then, an evening of more hanging out! One of my buddies had the brand new game Star Trek: Starfleet Command that he wanted to show me. Great game! Then, someone had to take some movies back to the video store, meaning a nice, hour long walk. Like the Sev-Run, only longer. We got back to the dorm just in time for Ally McBeal. I am the only one in my gang who enjoys that show, and no matter how many times I try to inaugurate them to it, they just don’t get it. As the show came to a close, Chuck came by, and it was time to go back to his place. So, I said my good-byes, and promised to come back down when my friend with the DVD player gets The Matrix. And it was back to Chuck’s place. On the drive back to Chuck’s place (and into the wee hours of the morning) we had one of those deep, meaningful conversations about life, love, fears, and the like. You know. One of those conversations. Good stuff.

Next morning. This would be Tuesday for those of you keeping track. It was getting to the time where Chuck and I were running out of things to do. So, we played video games, read comic books, and began working on our magazine. Yes, we got this idea to do our own magazine! It’s going to be called Toonage, and be all about the world of animation! Even though we are all at our respective homes now, we are still planning it. If it takes off, we’d be set for life. So, wish us luck! That was the day. For the evening, it was back to Augustana. We wanted to catch the first meeting of the Anime Club, and just watch some cool anime. And there I picked up another task for myself. Seems one of the new members has put in a request for Beast Wars the Second, the Beast Wars anime. Of course, they came to me, the resident TransFan of the gang. I said I had no idea how to get my hands on it, but I’d keep my eyes open. And my eyes, they are open. But, when we were done with the anime, I did something I wanted to do: head on up to the radio station and check out my old haunt! There weren’t many changes. A new CD player. One that can hold 20 CD’s, so we no longer have to re-broadcast another radio station! There were two freshman DJ’s up there, and they both had a lot of attitude. The usual “We’re gonna change this station! We’re gonna be famous!” attitude that DJ’s tend to have in the early months. If the trend holds, they’ll be bored with it come December. And then there was that one: “Gimme your name so I can report you!” He needs to work on his people skills. But, they were having fun up there, and that should always be the #1 mandate of the station!

Then, I just wandered around campus a little more. Very little has changed. I hope they never remove my bench under the tree. That is just a perfect bench. Soon I met up with Chuck, and it was time to go. After he spent 20 minutes saying good-bye to Didi, that is. I was feeling hungry, so we stopped by McDonald’s on the way out of town. I just had a craving for a McChicken Sandwich. And, back to Kingman!

Wednesday, and time to go home. Chuck and I headed off to the city, where I was to meet up with Mom. But, first I was going to drag Chuck to see The Iron Giant. It seems I always have to drag Chuck to good movies. It’s the only way I got him to see Blade. But, he agreed with me in that The Iron Giant is one of the best animated movies ever, so go see it! Then, just more chilling at the mall until my Mom showed up. Chuck and I hugged each other good-bye, and then it was off to home for me!

And that concluded my return to Camrose! So, can you go home again? I’m still not sure. Part of me thinks I haven’t really left yet. But, for the time being, it is yes. And now, my hopes are renewed that soon I will get out this basement, and be free once again! But sadly, freedom now means getting a job. But, free I will be again! Someday. . . .

The 10 Women I Would Like To See Naked!!

Let’s face it. We all get crushes on celebrities. I mean, when they are always thrust before us as being the standard of beauty in society, it’s kind of hard not to. Whether it’s someone on your daytime soap, or a favorite talk show host. For most Trekkers, it’s someone from Star Trek. It could be anyone, just as long as we are always presented with their picture on a magazine cover, TV show, or movie poster. I tend to get quite a few crushes on celebrities, but luckily it has never evolved beyond the crush. It’s not like I’ve ever tried to break into their homes and steal their underwear, or have a shrine set up to them in my closet. If that ever does happen, I hope one of my friends locks me in my room until I get the courage to seek help. Nope, all I want to do is see them naked!

Perhaps I should specify what I mean by naked. I don’t mean one of those doctored photographs on the Internet. I don’t mean some blurry, black-and-white picture that was probably obtained through illegal means. I don’t mean full-blown hard core porn. What I mean is a nice, tasteful pictorial, kind of like what you’d find in the pages of Playboy magazine, and fully consensual by the woman being photographed. Not that I’m a connoisseur of nude photos or anything. I’m just describing what I’d like to see. Well, if you haven’t been turned away yet by my perversions, you probably want to see the list. Here then, in alphabetical order, are the 10 celebrities I would like to see naked!!

Amy Jo Johnson – She is currently on the breakout hit Felicity, but she first gained recognition as Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. What can I say? Power Rangers first came on when I had just started high school. That tends to be a time when a lot of crushes develop. That, and I think I have a thing for pink spandex. Anyway, I have yet to see an episode of Felicity, but I did catch a bit of their Halloween episode. Amy Jo’s character went as Catwoman. You know, Catwoman in that black leather outfit from Batman Returns. And a woman dressed as the Pink Ranger figured into the plot! Talk about weird coincidences. . . .

Ana Gastyer – Perhaps the most out-of-left-field choice on this list. She is one of the current cast members of Saturday Night Live, and some of her characters include that high-school music teacher who’s always butchering the top 40, and the host of that radio show that does nothing but talk about food. Plus, she is the resident Martha Stewart impersonator. I can’t describe what I see in her. All I know is, she does something to me. And I think it’s a good thing. So, I hope you don’t ming, but this one will go unexplained for the time being.

Caroline Rhea – This Canadian-born stand-up comic can currently be seen as Aunt Hilda on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Plus, she’s on Hollywood Squares just about every week. What about her tickles my fancy? Maybe it’s that sense of humor. Maybe it’s that her stand-up act involves her sex life a lot. Maybe it’s because whenever I watch Hollywood Squares I hope she gets picked just so I can see her. I’m actually not to sure. She just has this indescribable quality about her.

Christa Miller – Can currently be seen as Kate on The Drew Carey Show. Part of my lust for her probably has a lot to do with the good-time-party-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold aspects to her character. The only time I’ve ever seen her outside her show is one time she was on Late Night with Conan O’Brian, and, in keeping with this list, she shared her tale of adventure on a nude beach in Europe! Yes, she was nude, if simply because her boyfriend urged her to do it. Man, I’d love to be her boyfriend! She strikes me as being somewhat of a free spirit, which is always a good quality to look for.

Courtney Throne-Smith – The majority of the world first saw her as one of the blonde vixens on Melrose Place, but I wasn’t aware of her until she started playing Georgia on Ally McBeal. Maybe it’s because her character isn’t as whiney as Ally. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t wear as many short skirts as Ally, leaving more to the imagination. Who knows? So many of my reasons (for all these people) rely on things I can’t put into words. As John Cage on Ally McBeal once said, “She makes my heart go boom.”

Gillian Anderson – Oh, sure, you’re going to say that the only reason why I’ve got her on this list is because she’s trendy right now. But, I’ve been following her exploits as Special Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files ever since that show premiered. And, as someone at one of my movie gossip sites said one time “People who have been watching the show for that long love her for her mind, not just her body.” Yup. Let’s go with that for now. She’s been in a few movies recently, and it would be worth my while to check them out.

Jill Hennesey – I knew all those reruns of Law & Order would take their toll eventually! She is best remembered from that show as Assistant District Attorney Clair Kinkaid. She’s kind of been out of the spotlight when she left that show a few years ago, but popular rumor says she has signed on to star in the eagerly-anticipated live-action Americanization of Mobile Suit Gundam. Now what is it about her? Classic good looks, pure and simple. Plus, in every winter scene in Law & Order she’s wearing that cute little toque. And, I heard somewhere that she’s from Edmonton, so she’s got this local-girl thing going for her.

Joely Fisher – She first stole my heart as Paige, one of the best friends of Ellen deGeneris on Ellen. I will admit, my memories of her were starting to fade, but then I saw her in this summer’s Inspector Gadget. Let’s just say a whole wealth of memories came flooding back. Especially in that scene in Inspector Gadget where she’s wearing the purple latex outfit. And, to top it all off, she’s a redhead. You know what they say about redheads. Actually, do you know what they say about redheads? I don’t. But still, she’s on the list.

Tea Leoni – She first rocketed into my heart as star of the short-lived sitcom The Naked Truth, in which she played Nora, a highly respected photo-journalist starting all over again at a trashy tabloid. And, she can be seen on the big screen in movies like Bad Boys, Flirting With Disaster, and Deep Impact. Her beauty can best be summed up in what I read about her when The Naked Truth first debuted: “A killer combination, with the looks of Madonna and the comedy stylings of Lucille Ball.” With words like that, how could you not want to see her naked?

Terry Ferrel – Currently on the sitcom Becker as Reggie, the owner of the local coffee shop. But, in my heart she will forever be Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. My friends will verify that my lust for her has been around for a while now, and is well documented. Hell, for the time being, she’s the only reason why I watch Becker! She’s got one of those smiles that light up a room, and such beautiful eyes. Plus, you’ve got to admit that just about any woman looks good in that Starfleet uniform.

And that’s all! Firstly, let me apologize for any names I may have misspelled. By now, you either think I’m a normal guy with normal crushes, or some kind of pervert who really needs to get a life. But hey, I’m a 22-year old virgin! Allow me my fantasies until the reality comes along.

7 Movies for 7 Days for $7.99

Chaos in Print: Online Edition

Recently, my parents went away on vacation, leaving me a house all to myself! Well, to me and my sister, but it was really to myself because my sister spent all her time at her boyfriend’s place. Not wanting to squander an opportunity like this, I went over to the local video store, and took advantage of their 7 movies for 7 days for $7.99 deal! Since I’m currently having a slow news week, I thought I’d devote this column to reviews of those 7 movies! The 7 movies consisted of classics I’d always wanted to see, and classics I wanted to re-acquaint myself with. So, let’s get to those reviews! (Reviews are presented in the order I watched the films)

The Shawshank Redemption – I already raved about this in a previous column. Tim Robbins plays a man wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Morgan Freeman plays a fellow lifer who befriends Andy (Tim Robbins’ character). Andy proceeds to show everyone that the old saying is true: “Stone walls do not a prison make.” He proceeds to keep a sense of hope about himself, even when things are at their worst. It’s a simple tale, about how hope can help people survive the worst of circumstances. It shows the power of determination, as Andy sends a letter once a week to the state governor, asking for improvements to the prison library. He even attempts to reach out to the brutal guards and the sadistic, Bible-thumping warden. But, all throughout his living Hell, hope survives. And he manages to pass it along to others. In my first year of university, someone on my floor told me that if I loved film, I had to see this movie. I finally did, and man is it good! It has a great ending (I won’t spoil it), so all’s I have to say is go rent it. And if you’ve already seen it, see it again. It’s that good.

Masters of the Universe – The live-action He-Man movie!! Things are grim on Eternia. Skeletor has finally taken control of Castle Greyskull. He-Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela, and Gwildor stage an attempt to break into the castle and free it, but Skeletor ambushes them! Using Gwildor’s cosmic key, they are able to escape. . .to Earth. There, they ally themselves with two teenagers, as they evade Skeletor’s forces and attempt to get back to Eternia to prevent Skeletor from becoming the new Sorcerer of Greyskull. This movie epitomizes my childhood every bit as much as Transformers: The Movie. He-Man was one of the heros I wanted the most to be like. Plus, this movie is also good to see a before-they-were-famous Courtney Cox (Monica on Friends) and Robert Duncan McNeil (Paris on Star Trek: Voyager). They play the two teenagers. Actually, besides Paris being in it, there is one other cool Star Trek reference: all the make-up F/X were done by Michael Westmore. If you look at Skeletor long enough, he looks kind of like a Cardassian. The F/X were done by the same folks who did the F/X for Ghostbusters. Oh, and I’ve got to get the score! Skeletor’s theme is either one of the best forgotten villain themes, or it is the most shameful rip-off of the Imperial March I’ve ever heard. But it is really cool! Just like this film.

The Abyss – James Cameron’s first big epic about the ocean. An experimental undersea oil platform is used by the Navy to rescue a sunken nuclear submarine. On the edge of one the deepest trenches in the ocean, tensions run high between the oil drillers and the Navy SEALs, but tensions increase even more when they discover an other-worldly presence in the trench. The drillers greet it with a friendly curiosity, but the SEALs want to blow it out of the water. This film is notable as being the film that brought computer animation to the forefront of F/X technology. Plus, it seems to have become one of James Cameron’s forgotten classics. Rumor has it that, during filming, James Cameron spent so much time underwater, that he had to go through a decompression tank at the end of everyday. In this tank, he’d hang upside down to relieve his helmet’s pressure on his shoulders, and watch the footage he filmed for that day! It’s truly a cool film. All of the undersea shots were filmed in a nuclear reactor’s cooling pond. Don’t worry, the reactor hadn’t been installed yet. If you haven’t seen this film, you must. It rocks. (And, in case you need reminding, James Cameron is the guy who brought us the Terminator movies and Titanic.)

Bambi – Disney’s animated classic! A young deer growing up in the woods. Somewhere in there, his mother gets shot. This film establishes one of the most critical parts of the classic Disney formula: Thumper is definitely the first true comic sidekick. This would make a great double-bill with The Lion King. Many a movie critic pointed out the similarities between the two. What struck me this time was the character of Bambi’s father: the prince of the forest. At first you think that he’s some kind of dead-beat dad. You know, running off to be the prince instead of raising his son. But, as you get further into the film, he becomes more like Bambi’s guardian angle. It is he who first saves Bambi from the hunter. After the mother’s death, it is implied that he stepped in and became a father. When Bambi is all grown up, and about to be consumed by the forest fire, his father once again comes to save him. And, at the end, Bambi becomes the new prince, taking his place in the circle of life. You can’t tell me that that end does not smack of The Lion King. Even in the imagery, with Bambi looking over the forest from a hill that looks a lot like Pride Rock. Still, one of Disney’s greats. And I hear it’s coming to DVD in time for Christmas! Definitely one to get, you DVD people.

The Quick and the Dead – A western! I’m still wondering why I rented it. Probably because it’s from Sam Raimi (the Evil Dead movies). Sharon Stone plays a mysterious woman who enters the annual quick draw contest in the town of Redemption. Seems that the town’s boss (played by Gene Hackman), and champion of the contest, killed her father, and she’s out for revenge. Along the way, she befriends the Kid (Leonardo DiCaprio), the local gun shop owner who claims to be Hackman’s son, and Cort (Russell Crowe), a former henchman of Hackman’s who has given up his career to become a man of God, but is forced to compete. I don’t watch westerns that much, but this one is OK. Raimi’s definitely has a style that comes across in his films. Not bad, but not great. A good way to kill an afternoon. Oh, and as with most Raimi films, keep your eyes peeled for the cameo by Bruce Campbell.

Sabrina – Ahh, romance. Sabrina (Julia Ormand) is the daughter of a chauffeur. Her father works for the Laramie Corporation, which is run by the eldest son Linus (Harrison Ford). The younger brother David (Greg Kinnear) is somewhat of a womanizer. When Sabrina returns from a year in Paris, she has become quite the babe, and David is ready to dump his fiancee for her. Since David dumping his fiancee could screw up an upcoming merger, Linus decides to romance Sabrina away from David. But, it’s not long until Linus honestly falls in love with her. Just a sweet, old-fashioned romantic comedy, where everyone ends up with who they’re supposed to in the end. It’s a great date movie, so I recommend you rent it if you want to get snugly with someone special some night. Oh, and one little thing I couldn’t get over: the emblem of the Laramie Corporation looks a lot like the emblem of LexCorp. on the Superman cartoon. Really! Check it out when you see this film.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – The classic Steven Spielberg film! A young boy, currently in the throes of his parents’ divorce, befriends an alien who is stranded on Earth. Together, they become fast friends, and work on getting the little guy home. This film was the one that got Spielberg his first Best Director nomination at the Oscars. And who can resist? It’s just a sweet, heart-warming tale about a boy growing up. I remember seeing Spielberg in an interview, who said that this is the film he wants next generations to remember out of his work. Actually this was the exact dialogue: Interviewer>> Which of your films do want next generations to remember the most? Spielberg>> E.T. . . .And Schindler’s List. One of the main reasons I wanted to see this was because of E.T.’s cameo in Star Wars Episode I. Watching this film, I couldn’t get over all the Star Wars references in it! When Elliot first meets E.T., one of the first things he does is show E.T. his Star Wars action figures. When the government comes in to take E.T. away, they are all wearing clean suits and breathing like Darth Vader. Oh, but this is my favorite one that I read about on the Internet and had to confirm. During the Halloween scene, E.T. is staring at all the kids in their costumes. He stares for the longest time at this kid in a Yoda costume. While he’s staring at this Yoda-kid, composer John Williams (who wrote the music for E.T. and the Star Wars films) plays Yoda’s Theme in the background. You have to listen for it, but it’s really cool! Just like this whole film. Rent it, and be a kid again.

And that was my week of movies on the couch! By the time this is published, my parents will be home, and I will once again have to share the TV. But, be assured, as soon as I’m home alone again (or finally out on my own, whichever comes first), I will do this again! Until then, enjoy the movie!