Sunday, September 26, 2004


bruce campell, move over

Way back in 1991, my college rooomate was this guy named Josh Greenberg. Two things: first, without a doubt, one of the funniest dudes I ever met. He had a humor column in the Daily Californian for a spell and was one of the early writers for the Heuristic Squelch (Berkeley's long-running humor magazine). Second, he was a film junkie incarnate - many an evening was spent with the t.v. on and both of us laughing our asses off to movies both good and bad. He actually won a laser disc player (remember those? Like DVDs just 10 times bigger) halfway through the year - it was like an omen. He always, always wanted to be in Hollywood and after Cal, went on to USC Film School where he won several student film prizes, including, as it were, one of those Coke commercial reels that used to run in front of movies about five years back.

Like most in the movie industry though, Josh's been on the long road to success but recently, he had his first big break: his screeplay for Delware McChoad, an Indiana Jones-spoof, was picked up by Universal and is currently being produced by the same guys who did The Mummy (good!), The Scorpion King (bad!), and Van Helsing (the really, really ugly). Expect to see the adventures of McChoad hitting your local cineplex sometime around 2006.

He's not the only Greenberg in the mix: his older brother Drew is also a screenwriter and was blessed out the gate, having written for Buffy in its last two seasons and is now penning for The O.C.. Josh says his younger sister, who has a journalism degree from NYU, is thinking of making a move into the industry too since, in Josh's words, "there just aren't enough Jews in Hollywood." See - I told you dude was funny.

Anyways, whenever Josh and I get to yapping, inevitably the convo turns to movies and what's worth watching. This past week, he declared, in no uncertain terms, that the best film he's seen all year was Shaun of the Dead, a British zombie comedy that opened this weekend. Pop Life, of course, rushed to see it, dragging along Sharon for the fun and here's the verdict:

It's good. Actually, really good. Maybe even great. Not, however, the best film we've seen all year but a solid piece of entertainment that's funnier than your average American, Scary Movie-type spoof (i.e. it's a lot less punchlines and more just well-written scenes). And let's face it: it's been a great few years for zombies who've made a Hollywood comeback of John Travolta/Pulp Fiction proportions Or something like that.

And let's face it: the British are just plain funnier than Americans are, especially with those accents which probably sound perfectly drab to the subjects of Her Majesty's empire but over here, practically any word spoken in an Cockney accent comes off like the funniest thing you've ever heard.

  • Also at the movies: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Seriously: kick ass movie. A little pretentious in how it crams its philosophical angle at you but not all that bad and the graphics are incredible. Don't take my word for it, read Ms. Mizota's take.

  • Also, I know this movie is eight years old, but Pop Life had never caught Executive Decision before and we must say: solid thriller but one of the strangest action castings we've ever seen. Kurt Russell, Halle Berry and Steven Segal made sense but Oliver Platt? Joe Morton? John Leguizamo? B.D. friggin' Wong? Don't get us wrong - we liked the film but talk about your motley crew.

  • New blogs: 1) Going Out With Marian: Marian Liu is a music journalist down at the San Jose Mercury News and, as it were, was a former student of mine. The fact that former undergraduates (here's another one) are now my colleagues while I'm still at graduate school is a surefire sign that I've been at graduate school too long. I'm well aware of this as is, oh, everyone around me. I'm working on it. Swear to gawd.

    2) Les la L.A. Diaries: Piotr Orlove is another fellow music journalist, though as far as I know, was not a former Cal student of mine. He is also the purveyor of many good articles of interest, thus earning Pop Life's additional gratitude.