Raditude, Tommy, APE

Wed 10/14/2009

Holy smokes, I'm leaving tomorrow for the West coast and I still have a lot of stuff I need to get done. In that spirit, I'm going to combine THREE blog posts into ONE!

BLOG THE FIRST! The official release date of Weezer's 7th album, RADITUDE got bumped back to November 3rd, BUT, it is available for pre-order right now on iTunes. If this sounds like awesome news, wait 'till you get a load of THIS. Weezer has also started an "iTunes Pass" for the new album which will give you the entire deluxe version of the album, plus a whole slew of b-sides, covers, and other extra stuff, a few tracks at a time, on a weekly basis from NOW until the album comes out. I just signed up using an iTunes gift certificate my sister got me for my birthday (thanks Courtney!) and got "I'm Your Daddy" (from the album) and Weezer covering "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"(?!) A weekly dose of new Weezer sounds pretty awesome to me!

BLOG THE SECOND! Since Jon and I are currently obsessed with Pinball, it seemed like we should watch Tommy, The Who's rock opera about the Pinball Wizard, RIGHT??? Well, Colleen borrowed a copy of Tommy from the Dartmouth Library (where she works) and she, Jon and I sat down to watch it the other night. Below is one pinball enthusiast's mini-review of this movie (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

The first thing that struck me about this movie is that EVERYONE, the musicians, the actors, the director, the cinematographer, the screenwriters, must have ALL been higher than kites through the entire production of this project (Hello, 1975!) The plot makes almost no sense, the music is all over the place, the camera jolts and spins around at a sickening pace, the actors all seem like they are constantly freaking out, but REALLY, I could let all of that go... None of this wackiness really detracted from the movie. No, the REAL problem with "Tommy" is the COMPLETE LACK OF PINBALL.

So there is this kid Tommy, who witnesses something traumatic as a kid, and it somehow makes him blind, deaf and dumb. (Huh? Just roll with it...) Then, one night he freaks out and ends up in a junkyard, where he finds a pinball machine, which he is really good at playing (ONE ASSUMES, though we don't actually get to see any of his moves, other than his fingers depressing the flipper buttons on the side of the machine).

Next, there is this CRAZY Pinball battle scene, in a packed theatre, with Tommy vs. "The Champ" (Elton John, on 20 foot stilt boots, which might have been the craziest thing in the movie, BESIDES that whole soap/beans/chocolate scene...) These are supposedly the two best pinball players in the whole world, EXCEPT the only time we see any pinballs actually in motion, it is when Elton John stands there like a total CHUMP, singing, while two easy balls drain right down the center in front of him. He didn't even TRY to hit the flippers! No, all we receive as witnesses of this supposedly epic pinball battle are a few shots of the pinball score rolling up higher and higher, and the infamous "look how fast my fingers are hitting the buttons on the side of this machine" shot, over and over again.

To make matters worse, the ending of the movie almost broke my heart (or TILTED it). Tommy somehow amasses a huge cult-like following of people, who are all told to cover their eyes, block their ears and stick a cork in their mouths. They are then each placed in front of a vintage pinball machine. There are HUNDREDS of machines, tucked into the corners of this surreal valley made out of GIANT, oversized pinballs. "This is it!" I thought, "FINALLY, we'll get to see some awesome pinball action in this bizzaro movie!" But no, the disciples revolt, and smash all of the pinball machines into pieces (jumping on the glass, kicking in all of the score boards, ripping out the gears, springs, bumpers, lights and bells) and then they SET ALL OF THE DESTROYED PINBALL MACHINES ON FIRE.

Worst pinball movie ever!

Pinball WIZARD? Pff. Prove it! Any doofus kid can hit the flippers super fast. All it would take is a few shots of some sweet flipper moves, or passes, or saves, or some crazy ramp shots or something to give this movie a little credibility. Next on the list is Tilt, the 1979 film in which a 14-year old Brooke Shields hits the road to hustle people out of their hard-earned pay with her mad pinball skillz.

BLOG THE THIRD! I'm going to be at APE this weekend in San Francisco! If you are in the area, please swing by and say hello. There will be all kinds of amazing minicomics and zines and posters and t-shirts and stuff, so you can load up on some sweet stuff for the holidays. I'll have a big stack of Phase 7 #007s and all my other issues as well. I hope to see some of you there!

2 comments on this entry

Have you seen the Tommy-themed pinball machine? It was the best one at the big giant Seattle pinball expo earlier this year. But then the Ted Nugent one was busted by the time I got there, so that judgment might've, um, tilted the other way had things gone differently.

I'm here in SF for APE too - I'm going to come say hello.

(I was at the second week of CCS camp this summer; you gave me a useful critique and traded zines with me. Hello!)

Breanne Oct17

Breanne - I haven't seen the Tommy-themed pinball machine, though I'm sure it's a good one. There was plenty of visual information to play with from that movie, so it seems like one could turn it into a pretty deluxe pinball machine.

It was good to see you at the show! Thanks for swinging by and saying hello.

Alec Oct19

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