Goddess Bless TCM

TCM was showing a bunch of awesomely cheesy '50s monster movies tonight, stuff like It Came From Beneath the Sea (where a giant octopus tears up the Golden Gate Bridge). Then at midnight came the clincher, a movie that I always forget just how good it until I'm actually watching it.


Now, I say this with all the love in my heart, but fuck Godzilla. Fuck him in his scaly rubbery ass. Them! is, without a doubt, the best monster movie ever made.

Want proof? OK. If you were going to make a list of the best modern monster movies, both Aliens and the Host would have to be right up there. And both of them quote Them! fairly explicitly. The scene where Ripley torches the egg chamber is straight out of the assault on the first nest in Them!, while the entire plot of the Host (kid trapped in sewer tunnels by giant monster) is a nod to Them!'s final act.

On top of that, you can't tell me William Peterson didn't base his insect-obsessed CSI character, at least in some small part, on Edmund Gwenn's alternately absent-minded and deadly serious performance in Them!

Forget its spawn though, The movie itself is just a cut above. The scene where the little girl is snapped out of her catatonia with a whiff of formic acid, that descent into the first nest, the destruction of the USS Viking... this is a monster movie that understands how to raise the stakes, and how to put the world in true jeopardy.

Plus, Gordon Douglas is one of those directors nobody ever thinks about but who was pretty consistently great. When you look over the list of films he directed he starts to look like Robert Wise's crazy cousin. You know that one Our Gang short that won an Oscar? Douglas directed it. Elvis' Follow That Dream? Douglas made that too. They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!, the underrated sequel to In The Heat of the Night? Douglas again.

Just a tremendous piece of work all around. If you're only going to see one '50s movie about giant creatures running amok, it should be Them!

My Fake Baseball Team. Well, One Of Them.

The Rotowire baseball Staff Keeper League holds its auction tonight. I'm carrying over a very nice group of players:

3B - Evan Longoria $13 (signed through 2011)
SS - Hanley Ramirez $18 (signed through 2012)
CI - Garrett Jones $9
MI - Maicer Izturis $4
OF - Jayson Werth $27
OF - Nelson Cruz $8 (signed through 2011)
OF - Julio Borbon $3
P - Dan Haren $36
P - Justin Verlander $8 (last year of contract)
P - JA Happ $3
P - Scott Feldman $2
P - Ryan Franklin $5
P - Octavio Dotel $5

Minors - Mike Stanton, Flo
Minors - Neftali Soto, Cin
Minors - Matt Maloney, Cin
Minors - Michael Main, Tex
Minors - Tyler Robertson, Min

I've got $119 bucks to play with, which isn't actually that much (inflation has gone crazy in this league over the last few seasons... an elite bat like A-Rod, who is available this year, will probably go for about $60) but fortunately I don't have any pressing needs. Could use another big bat and some strikeouts, but other than that I'm pretty much set, and can just be patient during the auction and wait for relative bargains.

One thing I do need to try and score is some keepable starting pitching for next season. I had Chris Tillman in my minors last year, and Max Scherzer at a buck, but dealt them both to try and make what proved to be a futile run at the title (I did finish fourth, which at least put me in the money, but it still stings). Depending on how crazy the bidding is, that may put me in the Strasburg sweepstakes. Assuming he plus two other cheap young starters with a bit of upside cost me, say, $29, that leaves $90 for hitting: four $20-$25 players plus sundries, basically, or $30-$20-$20-$15, or thereabouts.

If Only Malfeasance Had Consequences

It look like Liz Palpatine and Bill Kristol have finally done something too stupid for even their conservative colleagues to let go.

Now, in a sane media environment, those two human-shaped tumors would be publicly shamed and laughed off any television set on which they dared to present themselves as experts on any topic except blatant, self-aggrandizing falsehood. (Wait, make it three, as Marc Thiessen has decided to defend their indefensible crap, which I guess makes sense as 'defending the indefensible' is the one topic on which he's genuinely an expert.) None of those three should ever appear on a political show again, until it's to humiliate them by laughing at them and them sliming them You Can't Do That On Television-style when they tell an obvious lie.

But no. I'm sure this little tempest will pass on by and be forgotten, and they'll go back to being trotted out as respectable right wing voices by pseudo-journalists who care far less about truth than they do about ratings.

Feh. The "kill 'em all and let God sort it out" approach seems more logical every day.

Worst Oscars Ever

Certainly the worst Oscars of my lifetime anyway. I'm not even referring to the choices for nominees and winners, which more and more seem to be aimed solely at disproving all that 'wisdom of crowds' bullshit.

I'm talking about the actual production of the show itself. From the technical glitch that prevented them from showing clips from the Best Cinematography noms, to the decision to cut people's speeches short but leave in all the cringe-worthy "hey, wow, you're great" speeches fellating the Best Actor/Actress nominees, to the Twilight whoring in a desperate attempt to get a younger demo watching the show, to the bizarre camera angles they used (the Stanley Tucci Cam, positioned right behind his head, was probably my favourite)... the whole thing was just bad. Martin and Baldwin were amusing at best. The dance number awkwardly attached to the Best Score noms was just plain sad, and this coming from a guy who unabashedly admits to being hooked on So You Think You Can Dance.

And the less said about using "I Am Woman" as Bigelow's send-off music, the better.

Just an inexcusably sloppy, poorly thought out train wreck all around.