Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 10 Movies of 2008 Pt. 4

Part 4 of my Top Movies of 2008 series is written by Ashlea Breneman. Ashlea works at WJTL and is host of PDR (Purple Door Radio), among a variety of other things. Ashlea has been a great friend to Sarah and me and is one of the most generous people you'll ever meet. And hey...If you happen to be a member of the band "House of Heroes," drop me a line. I'll hook you up.

alright... here's my list. You might want to put a disclaimer or something at the top... I only saw 13 the whole year :) So this is my top 5.
5. Twilight

A fast moving train wreck that you had to enjoy. First movie I've ever been loud and obnoxious the whole way through (sorry all you twelve year olds who had to share the theater with me) Oh, and Edward you got nothing on my shimmering lotion.

4. Vantage Point
I honestly forgot about this movie but then looking back over the list realized how much I had actually enjoyed it. I thought it was a creative take, and I heart Forest Whitaker.

3. Dark Knight
I never really was into all the Batman movies or Superhero movies for that matter. After this, I might be a believer... only if I see them imax style though. And do you want to see a magic trick?

2. Changeling
Even though she's a home-wrecker, Angelina was amazing in this movie. I cried a lot. Very inspiring.

1. Penelope
Yes, I picked a chick flick for my number one. James McAvoy is AMAZING, and I will see every movie he's in. They took a fairy-tale and totally pulled it off on the big screen. Plus you learn a few good lessons like: It's Always the Mother's Fault.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Year in Review (2008)

'Tis the season for my annual look back at the previous year, a way for me to keep you informed on what I've been doing whether you asked for it or not. A lot happened in 2008 so let's get right to it (in some cases I have written a blog about the events mentioned below and will direct you to the link rather than force you to re-live it all over again here. I'm thoughtful like that).

A Timeline by Ed Placencia

As the year began Sarah and I were living in downtown Lancaster, PA. I had been working at WJTL since June of 2007 where I was working as the station's production guy. My main task is shooting and editing video for the station's ever-expanding YouTube page. Sarah was working part-time at the local YMCA.

  • January 1 We ring in the new year celebrating at a gathering at Linford & Trish Burkholder's. The evening is spent playing games, and I introduce the Susquehannah Valley to the wonder of the card game, "The Great Dalmuti."


  • February 24 Sarah and I attend the annual Oscar Party at John & Lisa Blowers's house. Dressing as a character from a movie is mandatory. Sarah comes dressed as Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and I attend as Kevin Kline from A Fish Called Wanda.


  • March 14 I interview American Idol finalist Chris Sligh. The video is posted on the station's website. After the interview he informs me he is in talks with writer/director/producer Judd Apatow to appear in a movie poking fun at "World of Warcraft." I find myself jealous of a guy who looks like Hurley from "Lost."

  • March 22 Sarah and I respond to a Craig's List posting for a free cat. Mai (pronounced "my") is a long-haired calico who comes home with us and promptly begins shedding everywhere.


  • April 4-6 Sarah and I join a group of friends for a weekend in a cabin deep in the Pennsylvania woodlands. Not only do we learn how to play golf hockey (or something like that), we also learn "The Johnny Appleseed Prayer Song."

  • April 25 I decide to film a movie in the middle of the night and I wake up Sarah to be part. She plays along and The Shadow Man is a mega-hit.


  • May 1-3 Sarah's best friend from back in Indiana, Hillary, stays with us for a few days.

  • May 5 I attend the awards banquet for the Pennsylvania Assosiation of Broadcasters. I win for "Best Radio Station Website" for our video content. Not only that, Sarah and I also get a free meal at the banquet, which is really what the day is all about.

  • May 17 I perform 30 minutes of stand-up comedy at the Sertoma Chicken Barbecue, AKA The World's Largest Chicken Barbecue. Four people are highly entertained.

  • May 22 Sarah and I cut out of work in the middle of the afternoon to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Turns out monkeys aren't always cool in movies.

  • May 29-June 2 Sarah and I leave for San Diego to attend Will and Courtney's wedding. Sarah falls in love with the West Coast and finally understands why I love it so much.


  • June 7 Sarah and I travel to Atlantic City for the weekend. Sarah spends her time in class getting her certification to be a personal trainer. I spend my time making fun of the casino-goers.


  • July 6 Our friends John & Lisa Blowers invite us to the lake for a day of tubing, eating, more tubing, and more eating.

  • July 12 Sarah and I attend a Phillies game with a group of friends from church. Sarah and I make it onto the "Kiss Cam" on the JumboTron screen and I inappropriately jump Sarah, much to the delight of the cheering stadium.

  • July 17-20 We travel back home to Indiana for a few days to attend family reunions and catch up with friends.


  • August 22 Sarah and I attend a performance by comedian Brian Regan at the Hershey Theatre. We laugh our silly heads off.


  • September 21 Sarah and I become members of the Willow Street Mennonite Church and Sarah is baptized in a pool with a waterfall in it. That's just how we roll.


  • October 4 A gang of us from WJTL attends the "Art Music Justice" concert at Messiah College. It feels good to be at a concert and not have to work.

  • October 11 We attend Brian & Kate's wedding with the WJTL gang. A bunch of people from the local Top 40 radio station are also in attendance. Unfortunately there is no knife-fight.

  • October 17 My short film "The Blanket" debuts.

  • October 24-November 1 Sarah's dad sends us to Jamaica as a wedding/anniversary gift. We are spoiled for the week and Sarah is crowned the Limbo Queen of Jamaica.


  • November 27 Sarah and I spend Thanksgiving with our friends Chris & Melody Strayer and Stacey Gagne.


  • December 2 We attend the annual WJTL Christmas Banquet. In the white elephant gift portion of the evening we walk away with a wooden nutcracker and a How To Bellydance Kit. Insert joke here.

  • December 7 Sarah and I release our annual Christmas video. People around the globe are highly entertained.

  • December 8 I ate 2 pounds of soup in one sitting. I'm not proud of it.

  • December 12 The band Reilly comes in to the station to play live on the air. I am blown the heck away.  As it turns out, not only can they pull off an amazing acoustic set, they're also really cool people.

  • December 25 Sarah and I celebrate a quiet Christmas together. It's the best Christmas ever.

  • December 26 While playing Wii with friends Ashlea, Alyssa, and Ryan, a 3.3 earthquake hits Lancaster. After looking out the front window to make sure nothing is on fire, we resume playing.

  • December 27 Sarah's sister Stacy and her husband Nathan bring their kids to Lancaster for a holiday visit. Game playing commences.

I can't lie. 2008 was a good year and I've been blessed way beyond what I deserve. I'm looking forward to 2009. I have a feeling a lot of good things are coming up…one of them being a trip to Ireland in March. If you don't want to wait until next year to find out how things are going, stop by my blog or even my YouTube page. Pictures are posted on a regular basis on my Facebook page and, really, if you don't have Facebook yet, then turn off your 8-track player and put away your Gitano jeans and get with it.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you to find out how you're doing.

Keep in touch!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 10 Movies of 2008 Pt. 3

Part 3 of my Top Movies of 2008 series is written by Brad Moist. Brad lives in Nashville where he works at Gotee Records in A&R. As big a fan of movies as he is, he's probably an even bigger music fan, and releases a great music top 10 list each year.
The Brad Moist Dot Com Top 10

1. The Dark Knight

2. Quantum Of Solace

3. Iron Man

4. The Incredible Hulk

5. Wall-E

6. Cloverfield

7. The Bank Job

8. 21

9. Wanted

10. Vantage Point

The Let Downs

- The Happening

- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I have to say that this is my list as of now but I do plan to catch up on some films over the next month. So I want to reserve the right to update this last later on at here's

10 Films That Might Have Made the List That I Still Want to See

- Forgetting Sarah Marshall

- Appaloosa

- Traitor

- Seven Pounds

- Punisher: War Zone

- The Day The Earth Stood Still

- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

- Gran Torino

- Valkyrie

- The Spirit

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top 10 Movies of 2008 Pt 2

Part 2 of my Top 10 of 08 series is written by John Allen. John and his family live in Louisville KY. By day john works as a field salesman for EMI/CMG. By night John is an awesome husband, dad, and movie fiend.
My list (not much to be excited about-down year @ the theater for the Allens)

Top Ten Films

1. The Dark Knight
All that hype and it actually delivered.

2. Fireproof
Call it cheesy and definitely bad acting; but this movie was HUGE to my marriage this year: Thanks Mike Seaver.

3. Madagascar 2

Went for the kids and laughed my butt off.

4. 4 Christmases

Mr. Vaughan has a long rope with me and this one reminded me a bit of my own family at the holidays.

5. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

6. Expelled

Excellent way of addressing the issue without coming off cocky.

7. Vantage Point
I like politico/action flicks and I liked the way they told the story.

8. Be Kind Rewind

9. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The trick to these films is you have to see them through the eyes of your 12 year old self.

10. Henry Poole is Here
Nice little film.

Honorable Mention:

Quantum of Solace
Pretty good for what it was

Chaos Theory
This indie is technically a 2007 film, but we didn't get to see it until this year; Ryan Reynolds plays somebody other than Van Wilder. Very well done!

Top Films I Still Want to see but haven't cause I have kids and we don't get too much time at the movies:

1. Body of Lies

2. Seven Pounds

3. Appaloosa

4. Rock N Rolla

5. Caspian

Films that make me want exact my homicidal revenge on the respective studio execs:
Mamma Mia
If you are going to translate a rock musical to the stage might want to hire singers instead of actors and actually show some of the choreography...and yes the most homosexual thing I did all year was to request Kara and I see this before we saw Dark Knight

Tropic Thunder

The MTV Movie Awards piece was worth the rental. Other than that, Stiller I am through with you. At least Ferrell (Semi-Pro) and Vaughan (4 Christmases) have the decency to play the same character in every film.

Top 10 Movies of 2008 Pt. I

It's that time of year to reflect on what Hollywood had to offer us in the past 12 months and give a little bit of feedback. Who am I to say what was good and what wasn't? What qualifications do I have? Well, none, actually. I'm just some guy in Pennsylvania with a blog.

But that hasn't stopped me yet. Nor has it stopped me from asking my esteemed panel of friends to give their feedback as well. This year, though, instead of including everyone's top ten in one long blog, I will be breaking them up into easier-to-digest episodes. This year I've asked a number of different people from across the nation and in a variety of industries to rank their tops (and their flops).

Feel free to leave your comments and let us know where we went right...or wrong.

I suppose I'll get this party started.


10. Get Smart
I know, I know. I didn't expect it to make my top 10, either. But when I looked back on the year I realized there weren't a ton of movies that jumped out at me. And as I began listing the movies that I responded to, it was a surprisingly short list. Granted, I tend to lean toward comedies more than any other genre (as you'll see), and if you get me to laugh out loud then I'm hooked. The #10 slot was a toss-up between Get Smart and Indiana Jones IV but at the end of the day, this one had less weird aliens and monkeys on vines.

9. Tropic Thunder
Seriously, how did these guys get away with everything they did? My buddy and co-reviewer John Allen disagrees with me on this one (see the next entry in this series) but I guess you'll have that. I thought this movie was a brilliant snipe at the Hollywood Machine and those involved. Ben Stiller always manages to capture the essence of naive know-it-all-ness and the rest of the cast brought their A-game. I thought Tom Cruise's performance was hyped up a little too much. I'm not quite sure why everyone thought it was the Second Coming of the Scientology God. So he put on a wig and jumped around like an idiot. Big deal, good for Tom. He did the same thing on Oprah.

8. The Dark Knight
What can I say about this you don't already know and/or hasn't already been said? Not much probably. Heath Ledger rocked. Christian Bale's raspy voice was hilarious. Two-Face came and went really quickly.

7. Vantage Point
I didn't hear much about this film after it came out but I thought it was pretty darn nifty. I loved how they centered around one event and, as they showed each person's point-of-view, it revealed a different piece of a much larger puzzle. When I added it to my Top 10 Chase Scenes of all time and hailed the return of Dennis Quaid, it garnered a profane response from a genius named Chris who informed me Dennis Quaid wasn't in Vantage Point. Even though he was the star. So that was funny.

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Seriously. How do I get in with Judd Apatow? Someone give me an email or a phone number or something. He's got one of the tightest, funniest circle of go-to friends working today and they never fail to disappoint. So hook me up, OK?

Wow. This movie is just beautiful to watch. Those guys are artists in every sense of the word.

4. Ghost Town
Maybe I'm prejudiced because I'm a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, but this movie should have done much better than it did. It may have come across as just another dead-guy-needs-help romantic comedy, but this movie proved that romantic comedies are allowed to be more comedy than romantic. Put this one in your Netflix queue and shame on you for not seeing it the first time around.

3. Kung Fu Panda
And this is how you make an animated film about a bear doing martial arts. Of course it helps that you've got the likes of Jack Black and David Cross making smarmy remarks the whole time, not to mention a team of animators that accentuates the action with cool slo-mo shots. Nicely done indeed.

2. Step Brothers
Part of me feels a little guilty and juvenile for putting this movie at #2, but I'm sorry. I laughed like an idiot the entire time. Director Adam McKay said his favorite part of working with Will Ferrell and John C Reilly on Talladega Nights were the moments where they just talked (i.e. the dinner table scene) and he wanted to make a movie that was just that: No car racing, just Will and John acting like morons, riffing and improvising at their hilarious best. The result is Step Brothers, and mission accomplished.

1. Cloverfield
Because this one came out at the beginning of the year, I almost forgot it came out in '08. But good night, this is how you make a thrill ride of a movie. If you saw it, you probably know what I'm talking about. I love movies that bring me in, shake me up, and don't let go. I'm still shaking from the subway scene.

Regretfully, 2008 also came with its share of stinkers. Like these 5 WORST FILMS OF 2008

Fool's Gold
Will someone please dig a hole that Matthew McConaughey can fall into?

Meet Dave
Sorry, Eddie. You're done being funny. Step aside.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Yikes. Just....yikes.

I don't care what you and your co-7th graders think. This was a train wreck. And now bring on the hate mail.

Mamma Mia!
If you enjoy seeing good actors acting badly, then this is for you. And if you enjoy seeing good actors singing even worse, then this is definitely for you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Greetings from Nakatomi Plaza

I've been busy at work this week cranking out holiday greetings from the staff of WJTL. It's been a lot of fun. I had the gang talk about one of their favorite Christmas memories while I filmed them in front of the green screen. Then, add a little music and a cozy fireplace in the background, and it turns out really nicely.

But if you know me, you know things can't stay nice for long. I had everyone record two versions. One of them, as I mentioned, a look back on holidays past. The other, however, is a look back on a Christmas film or TV special, as if it happened to them. For instance, "Hey this is Ed, one of my favorite Christmas memories is the year I lived in a cave up on a mountain and on Christmas Eve I snuck into everyone's houses and stole the presents but the next morning, Christmas still came and my heart grew 3 sizes that day."

You know, that kind of thing.

So, if you want to see a sincere holiday greeting, you might enjoy something like this:

Or, if you prefer your Christmas wishes with references to a Bruce Willis movie, then there's this one:

To see all of the Christmas greetings, you can visit the WJTL YouTube page.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Recipe for a Hillbilly Shirt

Yesterday while driving Sarah and I passed a man walking a dog (it was either a husky or an Alaskan Malamute). "Wow, that's a cool dog," I said.

"Yea," Sarah agreed, "It looks like a wolf."

And then it hit me. "Wolves are cool, unless they're on a t-shirt."

In fact there are a lot of things that, by themselves, are beautiful. A soaring eagle. The American flag, flapping in the wind. A snow-covered mountain.

As majestic as those thing may be individually, if you put them on a t-shirt in any combination (especially a black t-shirt), you're probably a chain-smoking Nascar fan from a trailer park in rural Indiana.

Am I wrong?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ed: Porn Star?

When I first discovered the wonder of Craig's List, I was living in Nashville. After that, it was Chicago and then New York City. Because they were pretty big cities, I was used to seeing ridiculous postings. But now that I live in Lancaster, PA (Weird Al's very own Amish Paradise), the postings are fewer, and the ri-DONK-ulous ones tend to stand out. Like this one:

looking for volunteer porn acters (located in philly)


in reply note yourself as male or female

Wow. I honestly don't know where to start with this one. I guess I should start off by saying it sounds totally legit. Not at all fishy.

Let's break it down, shall we?

looking for volunteer porn acters (located in philly)

Also looking for someone who knows how to spell tricky words like "actors."

LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO IS WILLING TO VOLUNTEER UNTIL BUSINESS TAKES OFF. volunteer? And you're waiting for what business to take off? Your promising leap into the porn industry where you is confused by tenses? Or your paper route? I'm confused.

Look, if I'm going to rock the house with my awesome porn skillz, I'm definitely going to need to show my face so I can get the credit. I'm not some anonymous super hero here. I need my credits, dude. Also, since it's a theme site, can the theme be DESPERATE LONELY GUYS IN PHILLY?

Am I seriously supposed to believe you can edit out tattoos when you can't even grasp spelling the word? I know, I know, it is a tricky word. And apparently, so is "off."

Oops. I guess I missed that part.

in reply note yourself as male or female
That way I don't mistakenly reply to a dude. Or not. Whatever. It's the weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Dreams

For the last two nights I've had some pretty incredible dreams, like none I've ever had before.

First off, I wasn't in them. I know some people have had that experience before, but it's a first for me. It was like watching a movie. It's quite nice to be able to sit back and just enjoy them. That's right. I'm so lazy, I don't even like to dream about doin' stuff.

Secondly, they have literally been like watching a movie. There have been plots, detailed story, twists, surprise revelations, and even flashbacks (and one flash forward). Two nights ago it was the courageous struggle of a girl who was caught in the middle of World War I (I guess it could have been the second World War, I'm not sure....actually, now that I think about it, it was both. Hence the flash forward I referred to). I don't know how long the dream actually lasted, but it was an epic production.

Last night was the harrowing story of a Travel Channel-type crew filming at sea. Their boat was overturned and we follow the filming crew as they make their way back to shore, swimming through the ocean in the dark of night (introducing me to "night spiders," automobile-sized formations of coral and seaweed that look like spiders and, naturally, only appear on the ocean floor at night).

After the first cool dream, my thought upon waking was, "That'd make a great movie!" But then I realized I wasn't kidding anyone. An epic of such proportions would take a lot of research and I know myself well enough to know it'd never happen. I mean come on, I still have the incredible true tale of my dad's Vietnam still taking up space on my hard drive, I'm not about to start on another tome I know I'll never finish.

So, in the meantime, I'll just continue to enjoy the movies of my dreams and, who knows, I may actually come across something that will get me writing. Pass the popcorn.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2 Pounds of Soup

Someone once told me that you crave what your body needs. Like if you're craving bananas, your body is telling you you need more potassium. If you're craving candy, you might need sugar. And if you crave Katy Perry music, you're an idiot.

Anyhow, I don't know how much truth there is to that whole thing but last night my body needed whatever is in Progresso clam chowder soup. In about a half hour, I had eaten two cans. By the end of my second helping, though, I kind of regretted my gluttony. I was way too full.

I grabbed one of the cans to see how much I had ingested. One can is 1 pound, 2.5 ounces. Yikes. I kind of got sick when I realized I had just shoved two-and-a-half pounds of soup into my system.

Apparently last night my body needed some modified corn starch. Or maybe it was the sodium phosphates. Whatever it was, I hope it's happy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmastime is Here...

...And you know what that means. That's right. 'Tis the season for another holiday video starring my wife and me.