Monday, October 30, 2006

Witz DOESN'T Pick: Inaccurate TV Ad Campaigns and Taglines

Some ad campaigns/movie trailers have taglines that are perfect-- they're witty, funny, or just dead on and make their product sell. Swingers: Get A Nightlife. Gatorade: Is It In You? But some marketing just doesn't make any sense, and it's time someone told them that. Here are a few that have been driving me crazy.

I was watching tv, minding my own business and then I hear this-- "There's only one thing to do when you live across the street from a Monster House!" the following scenes alluding to "go inside the Monster House." Well, no, movie, that's not true. First, you are presupposing that there are Monster Houses, and that people live ACROSS THE STREET FROM THEM. Then, you're telling me that once put in this position, the only option I have is to enter the house to snoop it out? Sorry, but I'm just not gonna do it. I do have other options. When you live across the street from a Monster House, you can choose to continue doing whatever you'd ordinarily be doing, and the Monster House will go on existing just fine without me in it. If I wish to take action, I can create a petition and get neighbors to sign, stating their discontent with the Monster House situation. I could buy numerous long range weapons and test out their effectiveness against said Monster House until I find one that can do harm to it. What the film Monster House doesn't seem to understand, is that I have all the time in the world. It's the Monster House that's bored and immobile. I would go so far as to argue that "when you live across the street from a Monster House" there are innumerable things I can do, the very last of which being to actually place myself in the maw of the beast. Now I can see some exceptions-- The Monster House might have HDTV with NFL Gameday Package or a really comfortable couch. Maybe the fridge is stocked with Sunny D and includes a mom that will clean my grass stained clothes with a smile on her face-- in any of these cases I'll take my chances and enter the Monster House, but not because I HAVE TO-- because I CHOOSE to. So sorry, Monster House, but your clever mindgames won't work on me. Besides, you didn't even try and ask me to go SEE Monster House, you simply are setting me up for my own terror ridden adventure by having me seek out and enter ANY Monster House. And if nothing else, that's just plain rude.

Another joy in all our lives is the Hummer H2. Luckily, while Hummer: Like Nothing Else, is an amusing tagline given the puns, their new slogan, "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" doesn't make ANY FUCKING SENSE. I'm really stumped. Honestly. I'm not saying I think the campaign sucks, I'm just saying I have no idea why anyone needs a goddamn Hummer to cruise around on paved, traffic light ridden streets. I'm not saying the commercials are bullshit, I'm just saying that they either lack creativity or have so much creativity that they operate on a level mostly reserved for mathematical equations and binary code. I'm not saying that I change the channel every time these commercials come on, I'm just saying that I can't think of any other way to finish this sentence. Oh-- and I'm not saying that you're using completely incorrect punctuation and sentence fragments, I'm just saying that your slogan has nothing to do with your product and you dont' present us with a single relevant idea.

That's it. I'm all worked up. I'm outta here.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Witz Pickz: Endless Hours In Front of the TV to Avoid the Real Everyday World

Here is my Fall lineup of shows to watch:


Prison Break: 8pm on Fox

Here's the thing-- I pick the first season of Prison Break because with such a thin, lame sounding plotline, it managed to be extremely interesting because the question was, "what did he have planned to get through this problem and how is he going to adjust that plan now that something is going wrong?" While Michael Scofield (the main character) has only two acting faces (I'm a quiet genius and I'm totally fucked), and while any other emotion or face he tries to show looks absolutely insane, he is an enjoyable lead character to follow. Unfortunately, the second season is Prison Broke-- they are out of jail and running around the US. This is no longer very interesting because the show is no longer contained and based around his plan, it's just another show about escaped convicts you empathize with trying not to get caught. They removed the one aspect of Prison Break which made it worth watching.

Heroes: 9pm on NBC

What sounded like a poor attempt by a major network to make a show similar to X-Men, The 4400, or another superhero show is actually really really good. There are about seven main characters running around either with powers, learning about powers, or trying to catch those with powers.

There is the guy who can fly, but is unable to stop looking like Jason Schwartzman. His brother, the candidate for Congress (political and sexual)who can also fly, but mostly thinks it won't help his candidacy (Despite the fact that nearly everyone in the world would say "I wish I could fly" he would much rather get really involved in red tape bureaocracy). Then there's the girl who has a mirror double personality that usually kills or beats up people, but is still unable to kill or escape the fact that she's the whipped cream chick from Varsity Blues. Ya got your super-chearleader girl who can't die and doesn't want to be a freak-- oh and she's hot. That's kinda her thing too. There's a cop who can read minds, but also might be dead, so I don't know; an Indian scientist whose father was exploring possible superpowers in humans and died because of it (he's fun except that every time I see him I wonder when he's getting on the plane from Sydney to LA...yeah, that's a Lost reference); an evil supervillain named Sieler or Sielert or something-- they never made it clear if there's a "t" involved. And finally, there is the nerdy Asian guy who can traverse time and space and even has a "timeout" power like Zak Morris that he can use to stop time and cheat at casinos.

The storyline is extremely well done and interwoven and while some plotlines are more interesting than others, they all are ultimately leading towards one resolution. That being said, the problem with Heroes is that there are seven or so main characters! An hour long show is not nearly enough to give a sense of advancement each week when there are so many characters and stories trying to move forward. It ends up being about 1 plot point per character, which is extremely slow moving. Still, it's definitely a show worth watching and has the feel that a well planned out story exudes.

Studio 60: 10pm on NBC

Ok, I don't know. Aaron Sorkin is brilliant and the pilot episode of this show inspired me beyond belief and got a "best pilot ever...even better than Six Feet Under" rave from numerous friends of mine-- HOWEVER, in subsequent weeks, the urgency or immediacy of the show has dissipated. The show is set behind-the-scenes at an SNL like sketch comedy show (The West Wing, Sports Night style), and has the same Sorkin feel of his two previous shows. The problem is twofold...I guess that means they are problemS. The first problem is that coming off of a show about The West Wing and politics and world problems makes it very difficult to care about the similarly styled happenings of a sketch comedy show. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are brilliant, and Amanda Peet manages to be likeable and not bad at all, but it just doesn't carry the same gravitas. The second and I would argue, bigger, problem with the show is that they don't show the part of the show you end up wanting to see-- the actual FUNNY, EDGY SKETCH SHOW. With SNL eating it week after month after year, Studio 60 claims to be a hilarious better version of SNL but we never see the actual proof or fruit of the episodes. An entire episode might talk about the political wit and hilarity surrounding a controversial skit, but then we NEVER GET TO SEE THE SKIT. In addition, the skits they have shown AREN'T FUNNY and while the audience may laugh in the show, and while the characters all act like they pulled something off, I KNOW THEY DIDN'T! That's the problem. You can't talk about funny and then not deliver funny. It's not a flaw with the show so much as the premise or possibly just me, but it's a big problem in the long run.

TUESDAY: (are you serious, all of that was just monday???)

Friday Night Lights: 8pm on NBC

Unfathomably good. For a tv show about football which was already an incredible movie, I am shocked by how good Friday Night Lights is. I should have known it was going to be great though since the guy from Morning Edition is the coach and probably knew ahead of time via that cat newspaper that it would be a hit or else he wouldn't have taken the job. Anyway, the show is exactly what you'd expect, diving into high school football culture, the players as people, high school drama, and the power of sports. If you've ever played a sport that you can't play anymore, or miss playing, the show and movie, with the help of Explosions In the Sky (soundtrack) will have you getting a little choked up.

House: 9pm on Fox

Everyone knows what House is. Dr. solves medical mysteries like Sherlock Holmes solves regular mysteries. It's good.

Veronica Mars: 9pm on The NEW CW

I dunno how it happened either, but someone at some point suckered me into watching Veronica Mars (there were promises of food involved) and I got into it. It's entirely about the banter/dialogue for me, but the mysteries are kinda good too (she solves regular mysteries the way House solves medical mysteries).


30 Rock: 8pm on NBC

I'm not sure how anyone managed to pitch another behind the scenes at an snl like sketch show idea to NBC and have it pass, but I'm glad it did. NBC now has the most confusing 3 related shows on television. One failing sketch comedy show (SNL) and then two shows about better sketch comedy shows. Somehow this has made SNL try harder to be good and actually end up being worse from what I've seen. 30 Rock is the newest of the three and stars Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan (as Tracy Jordan), and Alec Baldwin who ironically has been on SNL more times than anyone else...well besides Tracy Morgan...and Tina Fey also is from SNL...i'm telling you, it's awkward. OH YEAH, and the show...yeah, it's produced by LORNE FUCKING MICHAELS. I have no idea how this happened. BUT i'm glad it did as I said before, because it's absolutely hilarious from the one episode I have seen (and aired). All the parts of Mean Girls that were funny (Anphernee bit, etc) are brought to the show by Tina Fey and with the always hilarious delivery of Tracy Morgan (playing an insane megastar), the show is going to be very very funny. They might even be on TBS someday because TBS knows funny...or at least Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Lost: 9pm ABC

Yeah, I mean, it's Lost, you guys have heard of, like, watch it...from the beginning...because it's great.


The Office (US): 8:30pm on NBC

Apparently NBC owns me and by my count if they don't smash all competition in the ratings, I'll be shocked. Anyway, The Office has fully developed into its own and the third season promises to be great although it did look like Steve Carrell had his fingers crossed. The season premier was hit or miss with viewers, but I thought it was brilliant and definitely worth checking out. You guys know The Office.


Battlestar Galactica: 9pm Sci-Fi

I know right, like I got into Battlestar Galactica despite my time harassing my friends who watched it and it's simply because I watched it once and now I need to know what happens. Season three just started and it's the easiest show in the world to download or get on DVD so you should just do that. The plot is that people are in space and worlds and Cylons (robot people) who look the same and God told them to destroy people...BUT ITS GOOD. Also, the language has made it's way into other shows now (I caught a Cylons reference on THe Daily Show and Veronica Mars used "Frack" so they could swear. Very interesting time in television.

SATURDAY: 8-10pm

Why are you watching television on a saturday? THere's NOTHING on! Go drink or play sports or watch a movie-- possibly one that that always enjoyable and fiendishly clever Witz has picked!


Remember when you watched Friday Night Lights? Remember the football part? Yeah, watch that, it's all consuming.

And on the 8th Day God Created CSI: Galactica...but then scrapped the day because it wasn't as good as CSI: Miami. Now the 8th Day exists in the 4th Dimension and is known as "the premium channels." The shows on the 8th Day are:

Entourage: Sometime on HBO

Amazing show as previously discussed on this website. It's like a shot of pleasure followed by the realization that you just wasted half an hour.

Weeds: Sometime on Showtime...which really isn't a channel in existence

WEEDS ISN"T GOOD. THERE I SAID IT. IT'S NOT FUNNY. IT HAS MOMENTS BUT IS NOT BRILLIANT. More people like this show than just smokers, so I really don't get it, but I also don't get why I keep going through many hoops in order to acquire the episodes and watch them only to say, "Meh, that was totally mediocre."

The 4400: On USA but who watches shows on the USA Network? It's reserved exclusively for Chuck Norris and Pacific Blue.

Show like Heroes only worse. People disappeared, then came back and now have trouble acting...I mean have superpowers. The story is midlly interesting but it's not nearly as good as any of your friends who like it would have you believe.

Huff: I don't know where this show exists

BUT it's really enjoyable from the few episodes I saw. Check it out on DVD because Hank Azaria is more than just Moe from the Simpsons.

So that's what I got. Watch those shows, c'mon, do it. Don't watch Grey's Anatomy, it's stupid and you're uglier for it,


Friday, October 13, 2006

Witz Pickz: The Puffy Chair

I only saw two films at the Seattle International Film Festival and they were both amazing. The first film was Wristcutters: A Love Story starring Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous), Tom Waits, and that vaguely french looking chick from The Rules of Attraction and A Knight's Tale. The story, dialogue, music, acting, and cinematography were all pitch-perfect (unlike Fever Pitch which was miserable), and the minute it ended I wanted to watch it again-- Unfortunately that didn't and will not happen in the near future, because while the film has won numerous festival awards and is getting rave reviews around the world, it hasn't been picked up for distribution because of its title and the fact that it could be interpreted as glorifying suicide. You can check out the film site HERE and if you have the opportunity to see it, definitely do so.

The other film I saw was The Puffy Chair. This story is much more inspiring, not necessarily by content so much as viewability. Filmed for $15,000 by two brothers, with their parents on the set as crafts services, The Puffy Chair has won numerous festival awards including Audience Choice Awards and has none of the technical issues which usually accompany low-budget productions. The film follows a guy and his girlfriend on a trip cross country to pickup a puffy chair he bought on ebay and deliver it to his father for his birthday. Along the way, the characters discover things about themselves and each other which are both hilarious and saddening.

While it didn't look as though this film would see the light of day either, Netflix recently bought distribution for the movie are now distributing it through Netflix under their new production company Red Envelope Entertainment. This is part of Netflix's ongoing efforts to make money while endorsing and helping spread independent cinema. They have put out over 100 dvd's of independent film and are on their way to producing original content themselves. BRILLIANT. Witz Pickz Netflix A LOT.

The distribution rights to The Puffy Chair aren't exclusive, so other companies such as Blockbuster might start distributing the film, but if you have a Netflix membership or plan on getting one, rent The Puffy Chair.

Witz Pickz Flickz,


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Witz Can't Figure Out If He Pickz: How I Met Your Mother

There is an ever-increasing list of things that I can't figure out if I like or not on television. Are the shows good or are they bad and I just don't care about quality anymore so much as immersing myself in other worlds? Television has always been inundated with these types of shows, however, recently, more and more shows have had a more eclectic humor or plot mixed in with typical sit-com humor and drama television. Here are a few I am confused with:

How I Met Your Mother:

I just don't know. At first glance, it's another sit-com about men and women with narration by Bob Saget. But it stars Jason Segal who has been nothing short of brilliant comedically in films such as Slackers and SLC Punk, and in the tv series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared (another one of those "is this good?" shows). It also has Neil Patrick Harris who somehow miraculously revived his career after the Doogie Howser years and now goes by NPH thanks to Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Apparently when he was younger, being nice and smart worked out for him, and nowadays, being the arrogant prick who lacks intelligence is more his style. Anyway, the show manages to ride the thin line between good and terrible and while I won't ever watch the show on purpose, if I flip to it I will stick around to see what turns up. It's a show I'd like to like, but am not sure if it's actually worth anything. MUCH LIKE--

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia:

So I kinda hated this show without having seen much of it during its first season, but have since come to really enjoy it. The problem is that whenever I watch it with anyone else or say, "You gotta watch this show" it's NEVER FUNNY. But then I'll watch it and one single moment will have me laughing for the rest of the show. This means that the show is hit or miss and really doesn't have that much funny packed into it so much as one or two solid jokes which have some shelf-life, which might be all we can expect from tv comedy these days.


I don't even know if this show is coming back for a second season, but from the moment I heard about Invasion I thought, "This would be a good show to get into from the beginning and watch on dvd." After downloading all the episodes and watching them, I found myself intrigued and on the edge of my seat-- in such a way that I couldn't tell if I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen or to actually stand up and leave the show behind. Certain elements of it are enjoyable and other parts are annoying and boring. If it doesn't come back I suppose it doesn't matter, but did ANYONE else watch this show or was it just me?

Soft Quilted Toilet Paper:

HOW SOFT IS TOO SOFT??? I think we all know that there's this moment when soft, comfortable toilet paper crosses into the realm of too soft, "Oh dear God....OH DEAR GOD!" toilet paper. Obviously I'm not voting for sandpaper or that brown paper that must have been invented as the bridge between leaves and good hand-drying paper and then somehow hasn't left the market yet, but when my toilet paper is soft, I'm always a little wary and not sure how I feel about it. Soft toilet paper is a slippery slope and therein is the actual problem.

The Marianas Trench:

Cool secret-holding ravine or the deepest possible place I could drown? I DONT KNOW!


PSYCHE! I EFFING LOVE FUNFETTI! THe fact that they took FROSTING and made it WAY BETTER blows my mind!! I'm not sure what part is "fun" exactly though. Were the marketing execs like, "How would you describe a product that makes you gain weight, causes cavities and possibly even diabetes?.....uhhhh.....f-...Fun?.....That's it, I love it. We'll call it Funfetti." Does that mean that Confetti is by definition LESS FUN than Funfetti? I feel it has to. However, if you eat confetti you probably still would get some fundigestion, but wouldn't die of a Fun Attack (read: initially going to be Feart Attack which is homonymous with Fart Attack which made me giggle a little too much since I'm out of the 4th grade, so I had to change it slightly, but I wanted you to still enjoy the accidental humor without having to feel shameful for my giggles-- this is like bonus features).

A Funfetti Parade Would Be Fun Just Until the Moment When All Vehicles Lost Traction From All the Frosting and Careened Into Other Vehicles And Humans,


Monday, October 02, 2006

Witz Pickz: A Whole Slew of Things!

It's been a bit, as work suddenly became work-like and I've been investing some time in the previous Sabbatical videos as well as the upcoming "Couples Therapy" internet series. So without further procrastination here are a bunch of pickz/doesn't pickz!

Witz Pickz:
The Word "Slew" -- Kicking it off it the word "slew" which I enjoy thoroughly it turns out! I didn't know this up until I just used it in my title, but I'll be damned if it isn't a fun word. The definition I utilized means "a large quantity" but can also mean "killed" which allows the silly sounding genocidal sentence, "He slew a slew of Slavics!" The word seems to roll off the tongue in a satisfying way and also reminds me of an amusing man with a speak impediment i.e. "I slew it in the garbage," "Slew! He's finally gone!" and "Those goddamn slews! (gee, I wonder why that guy's a bigot-- SPEECH IMPEDIMENT!) Don't worry, I got a whole slew of picks.

Rubber-bands -- These fuckers are off the hook! Stretch em, shoot em, wrap em, flex em...they might just take your eye out! They'll hold shit together, but enough is enough and when you push them too far-- they're gonna snap and sting you right on your motherfucking wrist you shithead! OUCH! Use them to shoot paper wads, hold your envelopes, or cause tremendous pain to the backs of others' necks! BIZOING! RUBBER-BANDS!

"Ads By Google" -- I love the "ads by google" feature which appear on this and many other blogs. I love them because they utilize the content of the site to produce relevant ads which almost always results in amusement. For example: the current ads for goodle ad appearing while I write this is "Crack Cocaine Rehab" due to my previous post on Crack vs. Heroin. These means two things: First, Ads By Google chose Crack and second, ads by google thinks there's more profit in crack rehab ads than say, oh, I dunno, CINNAMON OR BAKING??? COUPLES THERAPY???

Witz Doesn't Pick:

"Ads By Google" -- ON GMAIL -- How come gmail can target me with ads based on the content of my emails in my inbox? That seems a) illegal and b) insane. I tell my friend that the Red Sox are sucking and all of a sudden gmail wants to sell me batting gloves-- thanks for the moral boost gmail, but I don't think I'll make the squad-- or is that some kind of automated sarcasm as if to say, "Oh, they're so bad, why don't you try and do better you BBQ-ing, soccer-playing, google chatting at work migraine recipient!" And that's another thing-- Google knows that I had a BBQ but also that I didn't invite Gmail to it. What if gmail gets jealous and starts deleting things that I apparently have no need to ever delete what with my unholy amount of gmail account space? Will I come back to my account one day to find all my emails filed under a new "Asshole's Emails" tag? If I type, "war bad" am I going to end up on a list in DC and getting a Go Army DVD in the mail? I don't like it.

Roboraptor -- Do I honestly even need to explain this one? Let's see, I have fought vehemently (with words) against all things robot so that the human race is not destroyed in about 30 years, but to no avail. Now I walk into a Best Buy and see the RoboRaptor-- a fucking 4 ft. long robotic raptor ready to kill. Holy fuck people, not only did we not take away a moral from movies like Terminator, I, Robot, and RoboCop, we also apparently didn't quite get Jurassic Park! Ya see, in Jurassic Park, there are dinosaurs that FUCKING KILL ALL THE PEOPLE!!! THE RAPTORS ARE THE SCARIEST ONES! "What should we sell to the kids? Oh I know, how about robotic love robots...and dinosaurs...and those movies in which the two kill ALL OF US." FUCKING MATEL. If I die by a RoboRaptor I am going to be ripshit. One morning I'll wake up, yawn, start calling to my Robo Dog who won't answer me with it's hollow lifeless electronic bark. Then I'll look over the side of my bed and see it dead on the floor. "But!" I'll start to say, and that's when it'll happen-- from the sides, not the front where you'd expect (clever girl). Two RoboRaptors will pounce on me and rip my flesh from my bones while I'm still alive and all I'll be able to think is, "Man, The Lost World sucked."

Refrigerator TV -- Welp, I saw it-- goddamn tv in the goddamn refrigerator. That's handy. Goddamn thing was in the goddamn door, flatscreen, better picture than my big one at home. And honestly, fine-- if that's what we've come to, than fire away, jam one in there, I don't care. But here's my problem: THE TV WAS ON THE REFRIGERATOR DOOR-- EVERYTIME someone opens the door, the tv goes away. Why not put it on the freezer door? nobody opens the freezer more than twice a meal (ice and waffles). The Fridge has everything! Dips, cheese, veggies, sauces, you gonna watch your Deal or No Deal with all those interruptions? Or maybe you have another tv built into your oven...or your microwave...or your kitchen table! That would be great, just stare down at your food and your little tv right beside it. Get that ish in HD and you have the best Prison Break viewing experience ever. Goddamn tv in the refrigerator. My heavens.

X-Men: Revolutions DVD -- Here's my problem with the DVD coming out for X-Men: Revolutions: THEY BOAST 3 ALTERNATE ENDINGS! Now, I liked the movie, not as much as the other two, but enough to want to see it again and not feel bad about paying to see it once. But I have to question the director's vision when a dvd has 3 readily available endings. It's not like there was a huge trick they had to hide from everyone-- "In this one they battle on the Susan B. Anthony Bridge!" Was there an ending which Bryan Singer directs? That I'd pay money to see. Brett "Rat's ass" Ratner probably filmed another ending with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan and thought, "I just think this will work" before Hugh Jackman refused to come out of his trailer if he didn't change his mind. Here's a sidenote: I stayed through the credits to see the added ending scene in the theater and it was worth it-- but a lot of people waited for like 10 minutes and then LEFT before the credits ended...who waits past "Key Grip Stand-In" and then DOESN'T wait all the way until the hidden scene which EVERYONE knew about?

So, those are some things I pick and don't pick for this week-- more pickz on the horizon though as I try all new toothpaste, coin combinations, and Trader Joe's Wheat Wafers (marketed as tasting like Triscuits, but actually tasting like wheaty filth)!