Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the Navy: Battleship Trailer

So, about a year or two ago, Hasbro was riding high on the success of their live-action Transformers and G.I. Joe films, so they started looking around at what other things they owned that could be turned into blockbuster movies.  In a move that had a lot of people scratching their heads, Hasbro entered into a development deal with Universal to develop several dozen Hasbro board games into movies.

A few announcements were quickly made to go along with this deal.  Michael Bay (the Transformers trilogy) showed an interest in making a horror/thriller about the Ouija Board.  Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, the most recent Robin Hood) was announced to develop Monopoly into a film.  Scripts based on Candy Land and Clue are also in the midst of development.

The first one out of the gate is coming in Summer of 2012:  Battleship.  At first glance, people were thinking, "Well, OK, Battleship could form the basis for a rather run-of-the-mill Naval thriller...like a good old fashioned submarine movie or something like that."  But then, Hasbro went, "Wait a minute.  Our biggest hit was Transformers.  Let's throw some aliens in there!"

So now it's about a Naval fleet fighting aliens in the Pacific.

Taylor Kitsch, Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, plays our hero, a reckless young Naval officer with the a thing for the Captain's daughter.  Liam Neeson plays the captain, and supermodel Brooklyn Decker is the Captain's daughter.  True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard plays Kitsch's brother, and pop star Rihanna makes her acting debut. 

The director is Peter Berg, who brought us the Dwayne Johnson action film The Rundown, the critically acclaimed football drama Friday Night Lights (both the original movie and the pilot for the TV show) and the Will Smith superhero flick Hancock.  (Oh, and for the the sports fans, he also did the 30 for 30 documentary Kings Ransom, which was about the Gretzky trade.)

Battleship hits theatres on May 18, 2012. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Soon I will rest. Become one with the Force.

Apparently, I caused some concern among a few people this morning over on Facebook when I posted the montage of Star Wars deleted scenes from the upcoming Blu-Rays along with the comment, "I think I'm just getting burned out on Star Wars."  The concern came from some people thinking I had turned my back on the Trilogy, and its prequels.

Like I said, I haven't fallen out of love with Star Wars.  I'm burnt out.  I'm tired.  I'm exhausted.  Normally, a montage of deleted scenes like that would have me wetting my pants with excitement.  But truly, I couldn't care less.

It seems like every six months or so there's something new coming along to "celebrate the legacy."  I'm just tired of celebrating, ya know?  I mean, there are only so many Boba Fett action figures a guy can buy. 

I no longer quiver in anticipation at every new revelation.  Maybe it's because there are no more new movies on the horizon to get a fellow excited.  Maybe it's because I thought that Clone Wars movie was so freaking bad that it killed the love I had left.  (Although, I have been assured by friends who are still die-hard fans that the series has gotten significantly better as it continues.) 

I'm worn out with trying to keep up, you know?  During the era of the prequels - 1999 thru 2005 - it was a fandom that dominated my life and social circles.  Actually, it probably began around 1997 with the release of the Special Editions. 

So, yeah.  I'm just so bloody tired with Star Wars.  It's not that I've turned my back.  It's not that I've fallen out of love with it.  I'm just downgrading to a casual fan. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

My relationship with Captain America is pretty much the same I have with Green Lantern:  I have a soft spot for the character stemming from the fact that I had the action figure when I was kid and I truly loved that action figure.  For a whole summer.  And then I lost his shield.  I was always able to hang onto Green Lantern's lantern, but I lost Captain America's shield. 

Green Lantern finally got his movie this summer and I was underwhelmed.  Would Captain America fare any better?

Head on over to my main website and read the review! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man Teaser

The year was 2007.  Despite mixed reviews, Spider-Man 3 still made a ton of cash at the box office.  Director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire were quickly signed on to star in Spider-Man 4 and development began.

But, problems arose.  It's what the experts call "creative differences," as the studio heads and Raimi and Maguire couldn't agree on a direction for the fourth film.  Eventually, Raimi was let go.  So, what was going to happen next?

There was a running joke in Twisted ToyFare Theatre back in the day...whenever they reached a milestone issue, a "sleazy comics executive" would magically appear and urge that it was time to relaunch the comic.  Well, as Sony was debating what to do for a new Spider-Man film, that TTT "sleazy comics executive" magically appeared in the offices and said, "It's time for a relaunch!"  And Sony said, "Yes!" 

So the decision was made to reboot the Spider-Man franchise.  For a new director, Sony hired Marc Webb, director of the critically acclaimed indie romance film (500) Days of Summer.  The decision was made to base the film more on the Ultimate Spider-Man continuity.  A new cast was soon assembled.

Andrew Garfield, currently best known as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, signed on to be the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man.  Emma Stone is to be Gwen Stacey, Peter's first love.  Legendary stand-up comic and star of Rescue Me Denis Leary is Captain George Stacey, Gwen's father and a pro-Spidey police officer.  Martin Sheen and Sally Field came on board as Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  And for a villain, Rhys Ifans is set to play Curt Connors, aka the Lizard.

The title was revealed to be The Amazing Spider-Man, which the geeks can tell you is the true, full name of the original Spider-Man comic.  Fun trivia fact:  The Amazing Spider-Man is what Sam Raimi and Spider-Man II co-writer Michael Chabon originally wanted to title Spider-Man II.

The first teaser went online just the other day, and will be in theatres this Friday in front of Captain America.

So what do I think of this trailer?  Some say that 5 years is too soon for a reboot.  Well, for the longest time, I've been saying I can get on board with a reboot this soon as long as they don't make us sit through the origin story again.  And look at that!  It's the origin story again. 

And man o man, is it just me, or are they really, really, really trying hard to make it look like Twilight?  The music, how Peter Parker looks, the lighting, the shots...they're really trying to sell this to the tween girls as "Twilight with superheroes instead of vampires." 

I was impressed with that final scene of Spider-Man webswinging, and how it's all done from Spidey's POV.  The movie was filmed in 3D, and when that trailer is shown in 3D, I'm pretty sure that was designed to be the money shot. 

Well, I'm rolling my eyes at how "Twilight-y" it is, but I am rather intrigued.  I'll wait for more trailers before passing judgement. 

The Amazing Spider-Man hits theatres July 2012. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer

Well, I've been putting this off for a few days.  Time to blog my thoughts on the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.

Christopher Nolan, he who brought us Memento, The Prestige, and most recently, Inception, is back for one last Batman film.  Nolan has said in a few interviews that The Dark Knight Rises is a very definitive end for the trilogy he began with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and I for one think that's a good idea.  If there's one thing I've learned from being raised on Star Wars and Back to the Future, when it comes to a film franchise, 3 is a good number to end with. 

I'm also glad that they chose Bane to be the villain.  Bane was high on my wish list of villains for a Batman film, as he royally got screwed in Batman and Robin.  And besides, in the gritty, realistic take that Nolan has taken for his trilogy, Bane is a good fit....  Much like his introduction in Batman: The Animated Series, I can see Nolan re-imagining Bane as a freakishly strong hitman that the mob has brought in to end the threat of the Batman once and for all. 

But Bane is not the only villain.  It was also announced the Selina Kyle is in the film.  Seline Kyle...but not her official alter-ego, Catwoman.  That really has me intrigued.  Will there just be subtle hints at Kyle's destiny throughout the film, with her donning the trademark cat suit at the end?  Will she be a full-on Catwoman when the film begins?  I really don't know. 

One thing I have liked about the Nolan Batman films is he has successfully juggled the multiple villain conundrum.  It's long been said that multiple villains make for a bad superhero film.  But, you know, in Batman Begins, both Ras-al-Guhl and the Scarecrow got their due.  In The Dark Knight, everyone raved about the Joker, but I was also amazed at how Two-Face was successfully adapted for the big screen.  So it'll be neat to see how they juggle Bane and (maybe) Catwoman. 

So, our cast.  Christian Bale is back as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine is back as Alfred, Gary Oldman returns as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman is also back as Lucius Fox.  The new additions include Tom Hardy as Bane.  You probably remember him as the bald guy in Leo's gang in Inception.  Anne Hathaway is Selina Kyle.  And a couple more of Nolan's Inception stars show up:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop, and Marion Cotillard is Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member. 

Christopher Nolan is directing again.  Nolan once again co-wrote with his brother Johnathon and David S. Goyer.

The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pirates and Martians

From the title of this entry, you might be thinking that I've got some idea for a Cowboys and Aliens knock-off, but no, I don't.  There's just two new movie trailers out that I want to talk about.

First up, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.  Finally!  It was about time that Aardman gave us another stop-motion animated epic!

Our story thus far:  Aardman Animation.  Legendary British animation studio.  They began gaining worldwide attention in the 1990s thanks to their superstar animator Nick Park and his creations Wallace and Gromit.  Apparently, back when Jeffery Katzenburg was still at Disney, he wanted Disney to enter into a distribution deal with Aardman, much like the original deal Disney had with Pixar.  Michael Eisner apparently didn't like that idea, though, so when Katzenburg left to become one of the founders of Dreamworks, entering into a deal with Aardman was one of his first goals.

The Dreamworks/Aardman deal produced 2000's Chicken Run (which I still think is one of the funniest animated films ever made), 2005's Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and 2006's Flushed Away, which was Aardman's first foray into computer animation.  After Flushed Away, Dreamworks decided to end their partnership with Aardman.  Aardman quickly found a new partner with Sony Studios, and they've been hard at work ever since.

The first film in the Aardman/Sony deal is the computer-animated Christmas film Arthur Christmas, coming out this December.  But the second one is the one I'm excited about, as it's Aardman's return to the stop-motion animation that made them famous, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Based on the Pirates! series of books by Gideon Dafoe, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is about a band of pirates voyaging across the seas to reach the Pirate of the Year competition.  Along the way, they do battle with fellow pirates, evade the forces of Queen Victoria, and even a young scientist by the name of Charles Darwin gets involved with their crew.

For the celebrity voice cast, Hugh Grant, in his first voice artist role, voices our hero, known only as the Pirate Captain.  Jeremy Piven and Selma Hayek voice two rival pirates, Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, and the 10th Doctor himself, David Tennant, voices Darwin.

It's co-directed by Peter Lord (co-director of Chicken Run and director of countless Aardman shorts) and Jeff Newitt, a veteran Aardman animator.  It hits theatres March 30, 2012.

Now, the next trailer that's caught my eye, John Carter.  This is one that they've been trying to bring to theatres for a long, long time.

It's based on the epic series of books John Carter of Mars, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  You probably recognize him as the creator of Tarzan.  It's a series of science fiction novels that Burroughs wrote between the 1910s and the 1940s, and it's considered one of the most influential science fiction series of all time.  Hollywood's been trying to adapt it for years, but the sheer number of fantastic locations and alien life forms have long rendered the series unfilmable.  But, in this post-Star Wars prequel/Lord of the Rings/Avatar world, the unfilmable is quickly becoming filmable. 

The adventure series follows the adventures of John Carter, a soldier in the American Civil War who passes out in a cave one day, and wakes up magically transported to the planet Mars...or Barsoom, as the natives call it.  He finds a world at war, consisting of Red Martians, Green Martians, and the Tharks, which are 14 feet tall, have tusks and four arms. He also finds that, thanks to Barsoom's lighter gravity, he is granted super strength and the ability to leap long distances.

As I said, over the past 10 years, a lot of the unfilmable has become filmable, and the John Carter property has been passed around Hollywood quite a bit over the past decade.  In one unusual circumstance, Robert Rodriguiz was set to direct, with Internet movie news mogul Harry Knowles to produce. 

But the property finally made its way to Disney, and Disney decided to tackle it with gusto.  And again, I am very curious about this film because of who Disney chose to direct:  Andrew Stanton, the veteran Pixar animator who directed A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E.  This will be Stanton's live-action directorial debut.  Indeed, because of Stanton's involvement, there was a rumor going around that John Carter would be the first live-action film to carry the Pixar label. 

The movie John Carter is largely based on the first novel in the series, entitled A Princess of Mars.  Taylor Kitsch, whom you may remember as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is playing John Carter.  Lynn Collins plays Dejah Thoris, a Red Martian and the princess of Mars in the title.  And Willem Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a Thark warrior who will be brought to life using the same performance capture technology that brought the Na'vi to life in Avatar.

John Carter hits theatres on March 9, 2012. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Wow, been a while, hasn't it?  The day job got busy, and U62: The Targ got put on the backburner.

Long time listeners know I usually take the summer off, but I figured I should at least come back and do a proper season finale.  So that's Episode 4.24: Cute Little Caboose.  I offer up my thoughts on Google Plus, Transformers 3, and the trekkies' long quest to find love.

Give it a listen!

Click here to go download it!

Head here to subscribe in iTunes!

U62: The Targ on Facebook

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Athabasca Fly-In BBQ

Makin' movies again!

Today, the Athabasca Regional Airport had their first ever "Fly-In/Drive-In BBQ."  Basically, pilots from all across the province were invited to fly into Athabasca, hang out, show off their planes, and just see what the town has to offer.  As I've been describing it to listeners, it's like a show and shine, but with airplanes instead of cars.

They've hoping to make this an annual event, to help promote the Athabasca Airport and get the word out to all these hobbyist pilots who are looking for a fun day trip.

Anyway, took my camera out there, took a few pictures, and made a bit of a movie.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Batman: Year One DVD Details

As I've blogged before, I'm enjoying the DC Comics/Warner Brothers direct-to-DVD animated films, but I'm starting to grow frustrated with them.  Apparently, Warner Brothers has decreed that they will only make movies about Batman and Superman, as those are the two characters whose DVDs have sold the most.  That sucks, because this would be a fantastic showcase for some of the better-known B-list, bordering on A-list heroes, like The Flash and Captain Marvel.  But no, we just keep getting more and more Batman and Superman.

Hence their next one, Batman: Year One, coming out on October 18.  It's based on Frank Miller's legendary re-telling of Batman's origin.  Again, this choice deeply frustrates me, mainly because a lot of the good elements of Batman: Year One wound up in Batman Begins, so the whole thing is going to be deja vu all over again.

For the celebrity voices, former star of The O.C. Ben McKenzie does the voice of young Batman/Bruce Wayne; Bryan Cranston, who played the witless dad on Malcolm in the Middle and is currently winning awards for his portrayal of a desperate high school chem teacher/meth manufacturer in Breaking Bad, does the voice of young Commisoner Gordon; Eliza Dushku, still best remembered as Faith on Buffy, will be voicing young Catwoman; Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar: Galactica voices Det. Sarah Essen; and veteran character actor Alex Rocco voices crime lord Carmine "The Roman" Falcone.

They announced the bonus features for this one, and as they always do, it's loaded to bear.  On the DVD, you'll find the bonus features:

  • The featurette Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to His Roots, which analyzes the original comic mini-series and Frank Miller's take on Batman.
  • The featurette Conversations with DC Comics, in which many of the current writers and artists on the Batman comics talk about Year One and Frank Miller's influence. 
  • Running commentary with producer Alan Burnett, co-director Sam Liu, voice director Andrea Romano, and Mike Carlin, whose role on the crew I'm not sure of.  
  • Batman: Year One; Issue 1 in digital comic form
  • A preview of the next direct-to-video animated film, Justice League:  Doom, which is apparently based on the Tower of Babel storyline.  
  • Two bonus episodes of Batman: The Animated Series

However, the crown jewel of bonus features is that they've decided to resurrect their DC Showcase series of animated short films, in which a well-known DC Comics B-list hero gets their own solo short film.  The DC Showcase film on this one?  Catwoman.  Eliza Dushku will be voicing Catwoman in this short as well, and it was written by legendary Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini.

So, yeah.  Like a sucker, I'll buy this.  For Catwoman.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Trailer

When Sherlock Holmes first came out in 2009, I was somewhat surprised to learn that a lot of my friends were Holmes geeks.  I started feeling out of the loop as I could get involved with the debates as to whether it was faithful to the source material or not.  For all practical purposes, it was my first exposure to the Holmes universe, and I liked what I saw.  I felt the movie to be good, but not great.  The one thing that really blew me away about the film was Hans Zimer's Oscar-nominated score.

I walked into the theatre respecting the film's pedigree.  I mean, Guy Ritchie, director of Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was directing, and I liked those films.  Robert Downey Jr is riding new waves of awesome, and Jude Law was pretty good, too.  But still, the film as a whole just never really knocked my socks off.

But still, it made a whole bunch of money, so that means the filmmakers get to try to blow me away again with a sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, hitting theatres this December.

Guy Ritchie is back as director, as are Downey and Law as Holmes and Watson.  Rachael McAdams is also back as Irene Adler, although McAdams has said that her role is very small this time out.

Joining them in this sequel are Noomi Rapace, star of the original Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as Sim, a gypsy fortune teller who gets caught up in the evil plot.  Legendary British comedian and actor Stephen Fry is also on board as Sherlock's smarter brother Mycroft.  And rounding out the cast is Jared Harris, one of the stars of Mad Men, as Holmes's arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty. 

The plot has Holmes enlisted to solve the murder of the Crown Prince of Austria, and this turns out to be nothing but a small part in the latest evil plot devised by Moriarty.  Holmes and Watson are soon having all kinds of adventures across Europe as they seek out to apprehend Moriarty. 

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hits theatres on December 16.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

High Water on the Athabasca River

I don't make YouTube videos as much as I used to, but today, I was inspired to grab the camera and start filming.

With all the rain in the area, the Athabasca River is at its highest levels in the history of ever, according to some of the locals.  Sections of the picnic areas are washed out, the Riverfront Campground is underwater, and for the first time I can remember, the river is touching the Riverfront Stage.

Here's the video of the super-high river.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

My Transformers: Dark of the Moon review is now online!

Click here to read it!

And taking a look at my website, has it really been more than month since I put together a new episode of U62: The Targ?  Yes, it has.  My apologies to my 6 listeners.  This is the time of year when my day job gets super-busy, so I usually go on hiatus to focus on my day job.  At the very least, I think I owe you a proper season finale.  I'll do my best to get one together for next week!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Third Time Not Quite the Charm

Well, going all the way back to my 11th birthday, I do celebrate a bit of a tradition:  I see a movie on my birthday.  Of course, the lack of movie theaters in Athabasca generally means I get to see a movie on the weekend closest to my birthday, and thus declare that my "birthday movie."

I am back from the city, and back from this year's birthday movie:  Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  aka Transformers 3.


I don't know.  At this point in the franchise, Transformers are really starting to remind me of Godzilla movies.  The plot really, really drags when the humans are on screen.  I mean, it served a purpose in the first film.  The character of Sam represented the audience...new to this world of Autobots and Decepticons and thus serving as our eyes and ears.  But now, this far into the franchise, every time we cut away from Optimus Prime to Sam's wacky hijinks...it's just such a distraction.

This movie is way better than the second one, though.  There is more of a plot, rather than just random explosions happening all over the place.  The comedic relief still takes the form of very stupid comedy, but there's significantly less of it.  And there are few more nods to Transformers lore that were nice.  And there's one killer Star Trek reference that I won't get in to because it is somewhat spoilerish.

At the end of the day, the movie this most reminds me of is Terminator 3.  It's good for what it is, it's enjoyable, but really doesn't bring anything new to the table.  All of my childhood nostalgia was used up on the first film...the second film was so bad it burned up all my good will for the franchise...and the third one.  Well, it's good, I guess.

And what the hell is Buzz Aldrin doing in this film? 

And there was another moment...I know it was supposed to be this very emotional moment, but how it was carried out was so expertly spoofed in Team America: World Police that I couldn't help but laugh.

Yeah...look for a complete review on the main site in the next day or so.

In a way, it's not just the movie I'm reviewing.  I decided to pay the extra money and see the film in Cineplex's new and much hyped "UltraAVX" theatres.  They boast the biggest non-IMAX screen you can get, the most state-of-the-art digital projectors and sound systems, bigger, comfier, leather reclining seats, and reserved seating.  It's costs $5 more than 2D movie ticket...$2 more than a 3D movie ticket.

And the truth is...I don't think it really added anything more to the movie-going experience.

Yeah, the bigger screen was nice, but it's not that much bigger than a typical screen.  I don't think the seats really were any more comfy than typical movie theatre seats.

However, I did love the concept of the reserved seating in this case.  I don't know about you, but whenever I've gone to see a movie in 3D, the ticket-taker who hands me my 3D glasses tells me that the best place to sit is as close to the centre of the theatre as possible to get the full 3D effect.  Well, even when I show up a half-hour before showtime, I'll find that all the good seats in the centre of the theatre are taken, so I wind up sitting at the side.

But thanks to reserve seating, I was able to stake out the best seats in the dead centre of the theatre and fully enjoy the 3D show.

So my final verdict on UltraAVX.  If you're going to see a movie in good old fashioned 2D, it's not worth the extra $5.  But, if you're going for 3D, it is worth the extra $2 to guarantee yourself a good seat.

Also, while in the city, I swung by HMV and treated myself to some new CDs.  Way back when I was but a wee lad in Entwistle, my holy grail of albums was always the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie.  (aka the original 1986 animated film)  Never got my hands on it until college.  So, the lingering after effect of that is I've bought the soundtracks for every Transformers film.  So, of course, I had to grab the soundtrack for Dark of the Moon.  It's like the first two soundtracks...full of Linkin Park-y goodness.

I also wound up grabbing the soundtrack for Cars 2.  I haven't seen Cars 2 yet.  I was thinking about seeing it today after Transformers, but dude, Transformers is damn near 3 hours long, and when it was done, I saw far too much of my afternoon was gone.

The soundtrack for Cars 2 is OK.  The main theme is the 1980s classic You Might Think as covered by Weezer.  No doubt, it was chosen for this soundtrack because of the song's original artists, the Cars.

There's also a cut called Collision of Worlds, which is duet between country music star Brad Paisley and Brit pop legend Robbie Williams.  I was curious to hear what this bizarre pairing would produce, but it turned out to be just one of laziest songs ever written for a movie, as all they really do is rattle off a list of American deep South and British slang terms.

There's also a tradition French song and some peppy J-Pop to help add the international flavour of the globetrotting adventures in the film.

However, the main reason why I bought this was for the score as composed by Michael Giacchino.  I've geek out about Giacchino on the blog in the past, and how I think he's one of the greatest film composers working today.  I think he's done spectacular work for Pixar (with The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and his Oscar-winning score for Up), so I was curious to hear what he'd come up with on his fourth outing with Pixar. 

And once again, Giacchino does not disappoint.  No doubt, Giacchino got the gig for the same reason he got The Incredibles:  since the plot borrows from the classic James Bond spy films, they wanted a score that would replicate that classic James Bond sound.  And the James Bond sound is in full force, thanks to the heavy guitars just like in the James Bond theme.

There's also a few cues that seem to harken back to classic Disney films, and I swear that, given the film's subject matter, I could pick up on a few echos of Giacchino's Speed Racer score.  I was listening to it on the drive home, and I was smiling all the way.  Giacchino has composed another winner. 

And, as I reflect on day in the city, I once again lament that flirting is a skill I've never really developed.  So there I am at HMV.  The clerk is ringing me up.  She asks if I want to sign up for their rewards program.  I say no.  She says if I want to hear the sales pitch.  I say no.  She asks why I always say no.  I mumble something about being not interested. 

As I leave and head out into the mall, I start thinking, "Damn it!  Why did I say that?  She was cute!  I should have said something like, 'Well, it's because I never heard the sales pitch from someone as lovely as you.'  Yeah, it's cheezy as hell, but it's better than mumbling 'Not interested!'". 

I need, like, a practice dummy or something that I can practice flirting with.  Wait a minute.  They do make practice dummies.  They're called blow-up dolls.

OK, this is taking a weird turn.  As they taught me in broadcast school, when you don't have anything to say, just shut up and play the next song.