Netflix gems: Death Tunnel and Axe

I hope this is the first in a continuing series. I am a Netflix subscriber, for better or worse. But one of the things I love best about them is the RSS feed of new releases. Because they include a synopsis of the movie in question. Some of them are delightful. Like this one, for Death Tunnel:

“When a creepy college dare lands five coeds (Steffany Huckaby, Annie Burgstede, Kristin Novak, Melanie Lewis and Yolanda Pecoraro) in an abandoned sanatorium — dubbed “the Scariest Place in the World” — they’re forced to bunk with the spirits of the building’s tortured past. So, how could it get any worse? The only way out is the dreaded Death Tunnel, a 500-foot underground chute used to evacuate dead patients.”

There’s a trailer!

And from a movie called Axe, or Greed or something:

“Hassled by a motorcycle gang at a dusty tavern in the California desert, resourceful rock climbers Raven (Darlena Tejeiro) and Ashley (Andrea Bogart) make a fast exit — on the gang leader’s hog. But with the enraged bikers in pursuit — not to mention an ax-wielding, escaped serial killer on the loose — the two ladies have their work cut out. The supporting cast includes Jason London, Joe Goodrich and Nathan Anderson.”

Here’s a review of Axe from The Video Graveyard.

I like that the protagonists are all girls. No attempt to make these anything but what they are. Except, of course, for poor Jason London.

Yo ho, yo ho

I just discovered that Thurl Ravenscroft died last May, 2005. He has an extensive Wikipedia entry, if you’re interested, but know that he was a singer and voice-over actor, most famously for Tony the Tiger. I just discovered, however, that he is also the singing voice behind the theme of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, as well as featured in many other Disney atttractions.

So, long overdue, in his memory: Yo ho, yo ho!


Getting Jobsed

I was looking through some old draft posts I never managed to finish, and came across one I intended to publish about Macworld this past January. The big news, of course, was the release of Macintosh computers running the Intel chip instead of Motorola/IBM’s PowerPC chip. Fully six months ahead of the announced schedule.

The problem was, the machine that was announced was the iMac, nearly identical to the much slower G5 iMac announced not three months earlier. Many people had bopught the brand new iMac just before Macworld, never dreaming that Apple would so thoroughly update that very computer just three months later.

But they did, immediately rendering obsolete (or at least 2-3x slower) the brand new iMacs of many Apple customers.

This gave rise to the term, “Getting Jobsed,” first heard (by me) on Matthew Haughey’s web site. Also amusing was Jason Kottke’s letter seeking support from Apple.

Ouch. It still stings.

Curling up with some good sports

Another entry in our continuing coverage of the Winter Olympics from Torino. I am a curling convert. During the 2002 games in Salt Lake I didn’t really get to watch any curling. I thought, intellectually, that I might like it, but never got around to it.

This year I set TiVo to curling, and I haven’t looked back.

The sport (you know, shuffleboard on ice with 42-lb. rocks) is delightfully slow, intricate, and human. A lot like baseball, which I love for those same reasons. I much prefer watching baseball live though, and I wonder if I wouldn’t like curling even better that way, too.

I’ve only watched women’s curling (TiVo is taping some men’s stuff today, I think), so I am interested to see what I think of the (more) macho version. One of the things I like best about the women’s curling I’ve watched is the interaction among the players. NBC has them all fitted with microphones, so you can hear them discussing strategy, or commiserating after failure (the Americans are so nice and graceful in defeat). I suspect it is a girl thing, like how watching girls play soccer is a more life-affirming endeavor than watching boys ultra-compete.

Notes from the audio track: Finnish is a weird language. There’s a lot of shouting (of instructions) during this game. The unique vocabulary of curling is delightful. And all the Minnesota/North Dakota accents are fun(ny).

The women’s semifinals start today, too, I think. I encourage you to take a gander.

They ain’t no Torvill and Dean

Next in our continuing coverage of the Olympics: ice dancing. Last night (Tuesday) we managed to watch the already tape-delayed Monday showing of the final ice dancing competition from Torino 2006.

I liked the skating done by two of the couples, the Bulgarians (Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski) and the Americans (Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto). The Bulgarians especially had a pretty skate. Well, and then the frosty-but-I-love-you-I’m-so-sorry-I-will-cry-now Italians were entertaining too, though not for their ice dancing.

But they really can’t hold a candle to Torvill and Dean’s performance from the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. A video of that performance is out there on the Internets (though not on the Web, if you know what I’m talking about), and it still holds up, even twenty-two years later. Don’t get hoodwinked by their performances in 1996, when professionals were allowed back into the Olympics. You’re looking for the 1984 video, complete with 80’s-era television graphics.

Well worth the hunt, to see what real ice dancing was, and probably won’t ever be again.