Thursday, December 21, 2006

We Can Feel It In Our Fingers, We Can Feel It In Our Toes; The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded Is Here; Featuring Triple H and Shawn Michaels

Readers, we've come a long way. And here we are. Now. In order to better understand the allusion Harrogate is about to make, check out the following clip, which remains in line with the Englishness of our Love Actually Countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded.

Checked out the clip??????? Hmmmm???

Good. Then here we go.


are you ready?

No, Readers!!! Harrogate said

ARE YOU READY??????!!!!!!!!!

Then, for the half dozen or so in attendance, and the millions who would be zealously following this blog if they only knew about it...

(And to Bill Nighy--depicted here--

whose performance as Davey Jones in Pirates of the Carribean II demonstrated once again that you can count on him to absolutely bring it; and who without question stole the talent laden film, Love Actually, with one of the sleeziest, most hilarious, most over the top performances Harrogate can recall; and whose performance here, in The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded is guaranteed to offend and amuse people all at the same time; and also to you, the devoted Readers, who Harrogate wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and will count this entire sequence of posts a success if only one of you has been inspired to include a revisiting, this Holiday Season, of Love Actually, a really wonderful movie by any and all accounts)

Llllettttt's Get Ready for


Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Detroit...Kansas City...Ooowww!

The Rocky Balboa countdown continues in slightly different fashion today. Instead of posting a clip from one of the Rocky sequels, I've decided to post a video of Mr. James Brown performing "Living in America," one of the most memorable moments of Rocky IV.

What is left to say? Except Wooowwww!!!

Just 2 more days left to go. Huh!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Love Actually Countdown Closes in On #1; Wherein Harrogate Poses a Simple Query of Readers

Well, Readers, we have now arrived at the penultimate moment in our Love Actually Countdown to The Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Featured here is Olivia Olson's cover of (and, Harrogate would argue, improvement upon) the Mariah Carey hit, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." There is really no way to extricate Olson's performance of this song from the Rhetorical Situation in which she's performing it; several of the movie's principals are gathered together to celebrate Christmas with the community's children, and the director does a great job of panning across them while still keeping the proper amount of focus on Olson and, of course, the drummer who's painfully, head-over-heels in love with her.
all i want for christmas is you

Last week Harrogate and Southpaw were on their way to see a top 15 college basketball team dismantle their opposition, when Southpaw asked Harrogate what was his favorite Christmas Song? This is a terribly difficult question, there are so many great ones. So now, in dual honoring of Mariah Carey and Olivia Olson (what better dedication could'st there ever be?), Harrogate passes the buck forward to you, his devoted Readers.

As you enjoy this clip, consider what Christmas Song you have found yourself listening to most often over the last couple of weeks. Harrogate has long been an unabashed devotee of John Lennon's "Happy XMAS (War is Over)"; and no matter who's performing it there's something inarguably transcendent about "Noel"-- but for his current favorite he'd have to turn to "Santa Claus is Comin to Town," one of the sexiest and hardest rockin' of the seasonal ditties. And Springsteen's version of it captures it perfectly.

In a couple of days, Readers, you'll be brought face to face, on this very blog no less, with the Greatest Pop Song Ever Recorded. Until then, let's talk Christmas Songs.

A clip posted in honor of my newborn daughter...

who was introduced to Van Halen yesterday and loves 'em. Listening to their '78 debut LP, she especially seemed to enjoy Ice Cream Man. But then again, who wouldn't?! The guitar solo on this song is one of Eddie's best, yet it's never mentioned in any top-100-guitar-solos list.

Here is a live clip of Van Halen performing the song at the US Festival in 1983. Enjoy! All at our house will.

"To all my love slaves out there..."

Today's Countdown to Rocky Balboa features a clip from the third installment in the Rocky sixology. As always, there were many clips from which to choose. Here are the one's considered for today's post: the opening montage revealing that Rocky has acheived celebrity status (or, in the words of his long-time trainer/manager, Mickey, "become civilized"); Clubber Lang challenging Rocky at the unveiling of the infamous Rocky statue at the Philidelphia Museum of Art; Rocky learning that his title defense bouts have been selected to ensure victory; the scene where Mickey passes; Apollo's motivational speech to Rocky, where he tells the champ that he's lost the Eye of the Tiger; Paulie's emotional meltdown; Rocky's admission to Adrian that he's afraid "for the first time in his life"; the training montage; the final bout where Rocky defeats Clubber; and, of course, the charity match between Thunderlips and the Ultimate Meatball.

I chose the charity match for today's countdown--and only because brother Harrogate is a big wrestling fan, as you may have gathered from his Monday Night Raw reviews (temporarily put on hold until he finishes a paper). In this scene, Rocky fights Thunderlips, aka The Ultimate Male, a professional wrestler played by none other than Hulk Hogan. While I always prefer seeing Hulk play a good guy, he does make a good heel.

So without further ado, and in honor of Harrogate, here is today's countdown clip: the charity match between Thunderlips and Rocky that raised $75K for a youth club.

Just 3 days left.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Who "owns" Santa?

As Christmas approaches, Santa is everywhere. This is something to be expected -- there's the mall claus, the parade claus, the holiday party claus, movie claus, tv special claus, etc. All have varying degrees of "realistic" (if a fictional character can be realistic) appearances. Yet, as a recent BBC article attests, who IS the "official" Santa and who LOOKS like Santa can be an issue.

Disney officials recently scolded a man with a natural beard and red shirt for confusing children at the park. Rather than disappoint numerous children who thought he was Santa, the man played along and in doing so made officials mad.
But Disney officials descended, telling him to stop the impersonation or get out
of the park. They said they wanted to preserve the magic of Santa.
Santa at Disney parks is apparently a Disney character and not the Santa of kids' imaginations and popular culture. Which leads me to ask, who is Santa? Who owns Santa? Is Santa soon going to be a copyrighted and trademarked image? Of course, given the commercialization of Christmas, perhaps he already is.

"What are we waitin' fer...?" The Rocky Countdown Continues with a Double Montage from the First Sequal, 1979's Rocky II

As I stated on the first leg of this countdown, I love a good montage. And those which appear in the Rocky movies are among the best and most motivating of any training montages ever put on film. In this clip from ROCKY II, we get two for the price of one.

The two montages here appear within seconds of each other. They are only split by a short scene of Rocky putting his newborn son--aka Kid--to sleep in his crib. I guess Sly couldn't figure out how to bridge the two "montage songs" musically so he had no other choice than to break them up with short clip that further reveals our hero's gentle side.

Let it be known that while I enjoy both of these montages, I think the time span in which they occur in the film is sure to push any audience into motivational overload. Hence Sly's attempt to bring us down with a clip of what I like to call "soft Rock." But, alas!, it doesn't work. It takes a whole lot more than a few seconds and a baby to bring me down from the first montage, one that leaves me--from almost the very beginning--ready to conquer the world. The bell: dong...dong.... And then Mickey: "What are we waitin' fer?" The silhouette of Rocko against the morning sky doing one-armed push-ups. The music....

All I can say is it gets the blood flowing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rocky Countdown Continues (Also Sans Cowbell)...

With less than a week remaining until the theatrical release of Rocky Balboa, countdown efforts must be doubled. Keep an eye out for daily updates.

Today's countdown celebrates one of cinema's most memorable first kisses. Rocky brings Adrian back to his apartment to show her Cuff and Link, his two turtles. In a somewhat creepy move, he immediately locks the door behind them. I understand that he isn't living in the nicest of Philly neighborhoods, but his move here is sure to make any young woman a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, Adrian sticks around and gets a kiss. As a bonus, she even gets to see a picture of the Italian Stallion's parents--both of them!

This clip is my tribute to Adrian. And while I don't want to give away any Rocky VI movie spoilers, I am inclined to say that I will miss her come Friday.