Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So anyway, they say things come in three’s: deaths, events – both good and bad, etc. Well as luck would have it – we at the Shehan household are two for three. On Monday, we found out our home loan was going through – so the little lady and I it seems have our first house. Yay! Took fucking long enough! I've already made my spiel about the terrors of securing a home loan, so I won’t go into that again. Let’s just say a giant frakkin’ weight, the size of oh I dunno, say…ME…has been lifted off our chests. And good riddance too…can’t have anything damaging such a lovely thing as my chest (you thought I was going to say something to disgust you, you know, T.M.I about my wife’s T.I.T.’s, didn't you? Didn't YOU?! Admit it…CONFESS I SAY!!!“There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in the world, t’would be a pity to lose a pair such as yours!”).

My wife’s boss is a snotty bitch. No really, she’s temperamental, and crabby, and unsociable in the worst way. She’s always chastising my wife for this, that and the other, and for no damned good reason. She’s rude, hateful, condescending, and seems to go through life with something terribly uncomfortable permanently lodged up her ass. In short, she has no business being in charge of grass, let alone other people. My wife’s a fucking hard worker. She busts her petite little butt – she’s a perfectionist (at work, don’t get me started about home), and she won’t settle for anything less than the best. She has OCD, so that plays into it, but in the end it works out for her. And try as she may, she just can’t please this cunt. Yes…I used the C-word (“Did you just say the F-Word?” “What…Jew?!”). Today is Sam’s first day back at work from maternity leave (awww…), and wouldn't you know it – she just found out the bitch is quitting a week from Friday [cue elating music]. Seems poor miss thing just doesn't like city life and is resigning to the quiet charms of…Springfield?! Wait…what?!?! Lady, what the fuck are you thinking?! Oh, well considering the source, I’d say she isn't. I told you she was weird – okay so I didn't use the word weird, but whatever, you get the gist.

So, I’m thinking I've got one more bit of good luck coming my way. What do you fine folks think. I’m wondering if I should start a poll or something. You know…vote for what would be the ideal bit of good news. I’m voting for threesome (with another fucking woman of course – another dude is just 31 flavors of wrong, and besides, two dudes and a girl is a gang-bang, not a threesome – if you really want to know why, I’ll explain it in a comment). Hey, threesome…three, that’s poetic somehow! Yeah, I know…in my dreams, but what the fuck right…as long as I’m dreaming? I suppose for the moment I’ll just settle for a free CD or something. A guy can always use new, free shit!

Seriously, what do you think…pushing my luck?

BTW...this is my third post in less than a week. Coincidence? We may never know...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Best of the Best of the Best...Mam! See How I Changed That Just A Little And Called It Original?! See How I Did That?!

So anyway, I've taken on the task of answering the James Horner portion of Reed’s question posed on Brad’s facebook page the other day. If you need a refresher (and after Brad’s ginormous fucking post on Jerry Goldsmith, you really shouldn't you no-short-term-memory-bastard), the question was:

“A question for those concerned: what, in your opinion, is Goldsmith’s best Fantasy score? What is his best sci-fi score? What is his best score not in those two genres? Same question for James Horner? Same question for one film composer of your choosing.”

Before I begin, I think some clear definitions are in order. A problem arises with how we all define the genres of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. This was touched on in Brad’s post, and I’d like to expand upon it here. I divide Fantasy into pure fantasy, and quasi-real fantasy. For me, a broad definition of pure fantasy is a story contained in its own world, during its own undefined time, where our understanding of both the laws of physics, nature, and general reality don’t necessarily apply. In film, this would include the likes of Krull, Willow, Dragonslayer, and most especially The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. A common element amongst all of these films is the use of magic. I exclude films like the Harry Potter films because, while they include magic, they exist in our world, specifically, in 21st Century England. Harry Potter I feel falls into the quasi-real fantasy category. I realize that you may not share these ideas, but my blog, my rules [gives reader raspberries].

And then a new problem arises. Limiting the discussion to the realm of pure fantasy inhibits the discussion. Why? Because you can take every A-list composer since the beginning of cinema, and count on one hand the number of films they scored that fall into pure fantasy. I think to be fair you have to include both categories. But then…where do you draw the line. Because it takes place in the real world, but bends our conceptions of physics and nature, does a film like The Rocketeer fall into the category of quasi-real fantasy? Or is it Science Fiction? I’m not even going to try to define Sci-Fi. I’d have better luck getting Katy Perry and Megan Fox to take turns going Ass-to-Mouth with my cock then I would coming up with an all-encompassing definition of Sci-Fi. Let’s just say that I consider The Rocketeer Sci-Fi because of how its story centers on an improbable, but not impossible piece of technology. That, I think, will be my foundation for Sci-Fi in this context.

I should also note that a somewhat humorous discussion came up with Brad’s post. He originally included the film Capricorn One as a stand-out example of Goldsmith’s sci-fi composing until I pointed out that Capricorn One isn't a sci-fi film. Why not? Because it’s a conspiracy thriller. A conspiracy thriller with an ever so slight Sci-Fi bent, but a conspiracy thriller nonetheless. For those that don’t know, Capricorn One is about a faked Mars landing (building itself around all the fake moon landing conspiracies since the Apollo missions) and what happens when the government tries to cover up the project and eliminate everyone involved. So for future reference, films like Capricorn Onenot Sci-Fi! That’s why it’s not in his post anymore!

…and with all that out of the way – on with the show…

Discussing the best of James Horner is considerably simpler than Jerry Goldsmith if for no other reason than because his career has been half as long. It’s not necessary to divide Horner’s career into time periods because he’s really only had two, the 80’s…and everything after. For the purposes of this post, I’ll do my best to avoid digging into a lot of the negativity surrounding his infamous proclivities in his writing style. Those are matters of personal taste and not really germane to this post. If you’re one to hold those things against him – you probably shouldn't be reading this anyway.

Finding Horner’s best Fantasy score is actually quite simple; you literally can count on one hand how many Fantasy films he’s composed for. There are five. Just five. Of those, two are pure fantasy, three qualify as quasi-real fantasy. And the obvious choice is, well…obvious. Krull. Talk about a classic case of blowing your creative load early! It could be argued that Basil Poledouris had the same problem with Conan the Barbarian. It’s a fair argument that Krull is not only Horner’s best Fantasy score, but perhaps one of the (if not the) greatest achievements of his career. If you’re wondering, the other pure fantasy score was Willow. The other three would be Field of Dreams, Jumanji, and Casper. These latter three, all good scores in their own right, I think certainly qualify as quasi-real fantasy – you've got: The ghosts of the Chicago eight showing up in an Iowa corn farmers field to play baseball, and find redemption; A board game that brings the wilds of its surreal jungle to life as you play; and a love story between a young girl and a ghost who lives in the house that her father has just inherited. All of them taking place in the modern world with fantastical elements. One could make an argument in favor of Willow’s superiority over Krull I suppose. You can certainly hear the maturity in writing that developed in the five short years between it and Krull. But you can also hear the obvious beginnings of Horner’s penchant for self-plagiary.

His contributions to Sci-Fi film music are a little bit harder to sift through – but not much. For those who are interested, here’s a list of Horner’s complete Sci-Fi output, in chronological order (beginning with his first “larger budget” feature):

Battle Beyond the Stars, Star Trek II, Brainstorm, Star Trek III, Cocoon, Aliens, *Batteries Not Included, Cocoon II, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, Deep Impact, and Avatar.

Not a bad resume of Sci-Fi really. I was really surprised how few there actually were. As I researched his filmography, it struck me how many dramas, action films, and epics (modern and historical) he’s done. Of the twelve scores on that list, I realized I have eleven. I never picked up Deep Impact, it was a little too Horner-y (read: lazy) for me. If I were to pick a favorite from that list, it would have to come down to either one of the Star Trek films or Aliens. Don’t ask me to pick just one; I don’t think I could do it. The score for Star Trek II has been argued as being the best of the entire film series – and for good reason. Aside from brilliant writing, it single-handedly changed the tone of the entire Star Trek musical universe going forward. I've always had a soft spot for III, why I don’t know – there’s just something about it that always stood out for me. Aliens is notable not only for its brilliant combination of atmospheric horror and kinetic action scoring, but also the speed in which such an inspired score was produced. There’s an interesting divergence that happens with The Rocketeer. The Rocketeer was 1991, after which, Horner (with the two listed exceptions) completely stayed away from Science Fiction. Brad also made a fascinating observation to me the other day that The Rocketeer was also the last time Horner wrote a truly large, orchestral, original, non-gimmicky, non-ethnic, non-epic score. Maybe that’s why it’s one of my favorites of his – regardless of genre.

If you want to know a lot about James Horner the composer, you’d do well to concentrate on his 1980’s output. Beginning with Battle Beyond the Stars going all the way to The Rocketeer, the 80’s represents a truly masterful period of Horner’s compositional and creative output. That’s not to say that anything he did post 1991 wasn't good, even damned good – hell, brilliant even. But there’s something so…new and fresh about 1980’s James Horner. The scores to Apollo 13, Braveheart, Titanic, Avatar, Legends of the Fall, the Zorro films – are all excellent, and highly entertaining. They’re true highlights of his output in the last 20 years and deserving of whatever accolades one sees fit to apply to them. But I think they lack that certain something, that spark that came with the best of what Horner gave us in the 80’s. Amongst the films I've already listed, we also have Glory, The Land Before Time, An American Tale, Red Heat, Commando, 48 hrs., Where the River Runs Black, The Journey of Natty Gann, Uncommon Valor, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and In the Name of the Rose. Of course in between those, you also have films like Streets of Fire, Gorky Park, Wolfen, and even a little “gem” called Barbarian Queen (good luck finding that one).

Maybe I’m just waxing nostalgically because I grew up with so many of these films – they’re important to me. Maybe I’m just struggling because I haven’t written “fuck” since the beginning of this post. I’m having “fuck” withdrawal – it starts with the shakes, followed by profuse sweating, and then paranoia. Eventually sufferers de-evolve into a primitive state, flinging their poo at people and masturbating uncontrollably. So...par for the course for me. Who knows?! At any rate, I hope this helps, sorry if it dragged on a paragraph or twelve too long!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pikey-o, Pikey-o...Where Fuck You Been Pikey-o?!

So anyway, did I mention I had another kid? I didn't? Really?! Wow…I must’ve really spaced out there. Damn, what was I thinking? I don’t know how I could’ve forgotten that, what with the crying, and screaming, and feeding, and sleepless nights, and hundreds upon hundreds of rotten, awful, filthy, shitty diapers. And that was just me – don’t even get me started on the baby (wocka, wocka). OK, well…here he is, EvilMonkey2.0:

Weird how much he looks like EvilMonkey1.0. And yet not. I realized the other day that he has a striking resemblance to my grandmother. I don’t think my mom liked that idea so much…eh, what’re you gonna do? The kid has one mood – hungry. If he’s awake, he’s hungry. And if he’s hungry, and we’re not feeding him – BABY SMASH!!! Brad had the brilliant idea that we nickname him Ike, so the brothers can be Mike and Ike. Didn't go over so well with Mommy or Grandma. I liked it. But what do I know?

So when were we here in Pikey-verse last? April. Huh…imagine that. Well, to my loyal readers (all three of you)…sorry. I offer my most humble and sincere apologies. I have no excuse except to say…I been fuckin’ busy, yo! Let’s see…covered the whole “baby” thing, right. Then what else, um…oh, I’m buying a house. Yeah…that’s, uhh…that’s been fun. I know Reed’s been down this road, but for those that haven’t – caveat fucking emptor my friends. If the urge ever strikes you to enter the realm of property ownership, my first piece of advice would be…don’t! Don’t do it. It’s so not worth it. But since “it is inevitabur”, my second bit of advice is this: have every…single…solitary…FUCKING piece of information about you, regardless of how trivial or insignificant it may seem, ready and at hand to give to your lender. Fuck it, get blood samples, saliva swabs, stool, urine, semen (or Pap Smears for the ladies?), hell…have your entire fucking genetic code charted out ahead of time. Just on the off chance that your lender comes back and says, “Hey…could we get this from you?!” And they will…oh yes, they will. They aren't loan officers, THEY. ARE. THE. DEVIL!!!

I've come to the conclusion that a significant portion of the American populace is stark fucking mad! You’d have to be to want to subject yourself to this! And there are a lot of fucking home owners out there. So, by that logic – lots and lots of crazy people. Hey, I should fit right in then!

The soundtrack labels really need to lay off the new fucking releases already. Seriously folks – I’m trying to buy a goddamned house here…I don’t need the extra debt. Seriously, I haven’t fucked my wife in about four months (give or take a few weeks) – now I know that technically that has nothing to do with film music. I only bring it up because if I ever have any hope of doing it ever again – you fucking soundtrack labels need to quit putting out shit I want to buy!!! Ahem…anyway, where were we? I hope any of you that missed Varese’s release of Predator a few years ago jumped on the Intrada re-release. If not, tough shit – that thing was apparently gone (all 3000 of ‘em) in less than 21 hours! Same thing just happened with SpaceCamp. I already had that actually. It was released as a limited 1000 edition pressing in Japan about 20 years ago. I picked one up on Ebay about six or seven years ago for oh, I don’t remember - around $175 I think. Don’t look at me like that…I needed it. It was important. Funny part is, I haven’t even opened it. It was still sealed up in its original plastic wrap. So now that I’ve got the Intrada release from Monday, I can finally listen to it!!! Only took a few years – I’m patient.

Don’t get me started on that Spartacus monstrosity of a thing from Varese. I want that one with a passion – but I’m not that crazy. I did pick up Batman, I’ll throw a comment onto Brad’s post about that here eventually. I’m really hoping to get Krull before they’re gone. I have the SuperCollector 2-Disc from the 90’s (and despite what SoundtrackCollector.com says, it’s not a bootleg) – the LaLaLand set is basically the same thing – only it sounds crazy better! Perseverance is currently doing a digital restoration on the extended LP of Ennio Morricone’s Red Sonja. When it does finally come out – I can’t recommend it enough – there are some truly great moments in there. It’s an excellent companion to Conan the Barbarian (much better than Conan the Destroyer, blasphemous as that sounds). If you don’t have Conan…shame on you.

Tadlow produced a complete re-recording of Maurice Jarre’s Lawrence of Arabia. If you’re at all serious about film music, regardless of your thoughts on Jarre (“I like the French, but they can be a little French”), you really need to get this set. It not only has the complete score re-recorded, but a second disc full of suites and cues from a shit load of scores of his that have never been released, like Firefox and Enemy Mine just to name a few. Good Stuff.

I know there’s a lot of shit going on in the world right now that could use some classic Pikey commentary. Frankly, I don’t have the time or energy right now. I've got a giant shitburger of my own to deal with at the moment to get too fired up about oil spills; and illegal immigrants; and repealing constitutional amendments about said immigrants; and the constitutionality of gay marriage in Kahlifohrnja; and where one should and shouldn’t build Mosques that aren’t actually going to be Mosques; and psychotic, right-wing, racist, über-bitches going nuts and revealing their true nature on the airwaves. OK – well I will say it’s about time that freaky bitch was pulled off the radio…it’s only 29 years too late. Now if someone would only do something about that Ann Coulter cunt. Ooh, did I just say that?

Yes…yes I think I did.