Beatbox Giant Productions

The producers of Kinzai Ninjas, a new animated web series.

Friday, September 30, 2005

James Dean

It's good to die young and beautiful.

James Dean made four films before he died on this day 50 years ago.

Last night I rented East of Eden one of the two roles he was
posthumously nominated for the Academy Awards.

Earlier this year I saw trailer for this movie and I thought his
performance was way over the top. But watching the film it fits and is
in context.

It's still an odd film. There's an overture at the top of the movie,
it's literally about bean farming and borrows heavily from the bible.

Four movies. And now he's an icon. Before last night I hadn't seen
anything of him other than in Hopper Paintings and Tarantino movies.

Goodbye James. Your candle burned out long before your legend ever

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Open Water, Point Break, and Saved!

Open Water
First and foremost, god bless them. When you can achieve the fame and noteriety off of a film that was shot by two people, about two people, in which the obvious happens, more power to you.

Made for $130,000, Sold to Lion's Gate for $2.5 Million and grossed over $30 million in the US. I salute you.

It looked pretty good for being shot on DV. The acting by the two principals was pretty good, the local acting was horrible, and the plot was non-existant.

I'm a sucker for story, and there really wasn't one. The first 15 minutes do a pretty good job of showing how bad this relationship is -- no sex on a caribbean vacay when you're both naked is a bad thing.

15 minutes in they jump in the water. We know there are sharks. And then every 7 minutes we see one.

That's pretty much the whole movie. But you could figure that out from the ad campaign.

Point Break

Fresh off of watching Riding Giants, I decided to revisit Point Break. I vaguely remembered something about Swayze surfing a 50 year swell and I thought it would be fun.

The bigggest thing going back into this movie was "100% Pure Adreniline". I loved that quote when the film first came out.

This film has got everything Swayze towards the end of his popularity, Keanu just finding his, and a post motor cycle crash Gary Busey. Oh and John C. McGinley before he landed Scrubs.

There are several times in the film where Busey and Keanu just scream incoherently at each other and that passes off as dialogue.


There's surfing, there's weird plot inconsistencies (Keanu is supposed to be undercover, but he's an All American QB that get's recognized immediately by the bad guys), there's early 90s thong bikinis.

This is really a 70s movie in disguise. Because this is before CSI and DNA and Cell Phones. The walkie talkies they use are bigger than bricks.

A fun romp that was Xtreme Sports before it existed.


I've heard a lot of good things about this flick going into it.


It just hit too close to home. I wasn't a pregnant girl going to a Christian High School, but I did go to this all-white very protestant Church where I was viewed as a dork.

So this was familiar territory for me. And I guess that's why I couldn't get into it. I kept thinking about Alicia and Jalaine and the other girls who ruled the youth group and their football playing boyfriends.

I thought the story needed a little more help. Eva Amurri, Susan Saradon's daughter, was the best of the kid actors.

It was okay, but just not for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kent Audio Blog 9-28-05

this is an audio post - click to play

I talk about meeting with Doug and give a titillating review of Riding Giants.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Watts Towers

So I got it in my head to visit the Watts Towers.

I had heard about these things when growing up and I think I saw Huell Howser visit them on one of his creepy, but infectious shows.


The sculptures' armatures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar. The main supports are embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass. They are decorated with found objects: bed frames, bottles, ceramic tile, scrap metal and sea shells. Rodia called the towers "Nuestro Pueblo," meaning "our town." Rodia built them with no special equipment or a design, working alone with hand tools and window-washer's equipment. Neighborhood children brought pieces of broken glass and pottery to Rodia in hopes they would be added to the project, but the majority of Rodia's material consisted of damaged pieces from the Malibu Pottery, where he worked for many years. Green glass includes recognizable soft drink bottles, some still bearing the logos of 7 Up, Squirt, Bubble-Up, and Canada Dry; blue glass appears to be from milk of magnesia bottles.

Watts is in what is known now as South LA, and formerly called South Central. I actually had to drive on S. Central to get the towers.

It's a rough neighborhood. A lot of beat up cars and ramshackle A-Team vans for sale on the side of the road. The train tracks are a stone's throw and there are no automatic gates to warn cars. Just an almost constant train horn.

In the distance I heard an Ice Cream truck.

The towers themselves are pretty funky. Reaching skyward, caged for their protection against the city that houses it. It's odd to walk around one of the few folk art projects listed on the National Register of Historic Places and not be allowed to interact with it.

Paraphrasing Tom Leher, "The problem with folk art is that it's for the people."

There was another group looking at the towers when I arrived. They looked German and disappointed. I want to talk to them, but they seemed scared of being shook down and I didn't know quite what to say to them.

There were some cool murals around there, especially the anti-smoking one (it's where the skulls are from).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I was sitting in a cafe today trying to get some work done.

When this lady -- maybe a mother, but perhaps a grandmother (in LA it's hard to tell because women have children later here) was sitting with a very small child.

They were discussing the finer points of Rochambeau.

First she reminded him of what tools were available to him, rock, paper, and scissors. And then she told him to choose one.

He told her what he chose.

She said that wasn't how it worked.

They counted to three and tried again, this time he waited for her to show what she chose and then picked the tool that beat her.

Again, not how it works.

They played a few rounds, or not -- I started to refocus on the task at hand.

It made me think about the time when I didn't know the rules -- when I would tell what I was going to choose, or wait for an advantage.

My mother is a kindergarten teacher. She is really society's first line of defense. She teaches the kids that how to get along in society. Be quiet. Sit still. Don't eat the paste.

Before she gets to them, they are all individuals. Without the touch of a central authority figure.

Sure they have their family and their parents. And some go to church. But my mother introduces them to standardized testing, and lunch lines, and coloring between the lines.

She lays the groundwork. Without her we would drive on every side of the road, and steal, and not raise our hands in class.

This kid seemed pretty sharp. Maybe we'll see him at the Rock, Paper, Scissors World Championships.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rudy (1993) & Babe (1995)

Fucking Rudy.

Made me cry like a little bitch. Seriously.

And last night and this morning I ended up watching Babe. I misted up there to.

Now I'm not some weepy douche that gets worked up over most films, but something about these two -- and they are basically the same film. Runts who get no respect, the establishment laughs at them and says there's no way in hell.

But they do it. They over come, they triumph, they herd the sheep and run through the tunnel.

I would say Babe is a better film overall. The cinematography, the story mechanics, the performances all top notch.

I cried bigger tears at the end of Rudy, but I feel it's more of a contrived film. Too slick and engineered for the man tears.

Saturday 9-24-05 Update

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, September 23, 2005

Kinzai Ninjas Update

Doug just dropped off all of the scripts.

Now I'm going to dig in and work on them with a red pen for the next few

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Road House

Continuing on my tour of influential movies of my childhood.

Road House. Thank god for Road House.

Patrick Swayze and his glamour mullet invade small town America in this 1989 classic.

This was made when R movies were industrial strength -- tits everywhere, fighting, and lines like, "I fucked guys like you in prison." (Which I had to rewind to make sure Swayze didn't say himself).

Basically, a solid story about a man cleaning up a bar with his inhuman ability to rip out a dude's larynx. This is referenced early in the film as sort of a tall tale about his character Dalton, but later in the film -- after the guy with the frizzy mullet and vest utters the classy prison line, Dalton does in fact kill him by ripping out his throat.

Kick Ass.

This film is also special for me in the fact it defined standing up against a wall copulation as "Road Housing". As in, "Dude, at the party we started making out and I totally Road Housed her."

That scene did not disappoint.

Going into this revisit, I had vague recollections about a struggle outside the bar with another bar owner something.

This turned out to be what the whole film is really about. Jackie Treehorn basically plays the same role in this film, but meaner and much more ruthless. He has his own mulleted army and doesn't like that someone is in town to clean things up. He struggles with Dalton through out, but eventually meets a very, very bloody and graphic end that almost makes you not like Dalton at all anymore.

Dalton basically murders the entire mulleted army and then reaches back to pull out Treehorn's throat, but stops. The rest of the town, tired of being oppressed by Jackie, has a round robin shoot out aimed at Jackie's chest.

The bar goes on to thrive and Dalton goes skinny dipping at the crick with his tall blond doctor friend.

Check it out, if only for Sam Elliot, who calls everyone Mijo, Bigfoot the truck, and the requisite car stomping, and the Testarosa cameo in the first shot.

Oh and of course, the mullets.

Karate Kid

This was a huge movie of my childhood.

I wanted to do the crane technique. I wanted to wax on, wax off. I wanted to balance on a row boat.

Watching it now all I see is a movie about class.

The scrappy LaRussos moving to California from New Jersey.

The wealthy WASP Cobra Kais dressed in their homoerotic skeleton costumes.

Miniture golf as the common ground.

The movie touches on the Japanese internment, the insensitivity of the rich, and the painstaking work of killing flies using only chopsticks.

It's nice when a childhood gem holds up to adult scrutiny. I still want to learn karate after watching it. I still want a girl like Elizabeth Shue. I want a master like Mr. Miyagi.

And let me just say that Pat Morita had great comic chops. So many well delivered lines.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Live Blogging The JetBlue Crisis

Read on about this JutBLue Flight circling.

5:24 PM
So Colleen Williams and Paul Moyers are the old pros at this sort of vamping. Veterans of Earthquakes, car chases, and the Olympic bombing (NBC National switched to them because of their improvisational prowess).

They turn no information to their advantage.

Right now they've got Colleen's husband on the phone -- he's an airline pilot and is providing great conjecture and analysis.

5:31 PM
Paul Moyers has made the first overt reference comparing this situation to a movie.

5:33 PM
They don't foam the runways anymore! I was totally counting on that. WTF. It doesn't seem fair.

5:35 PM
NBC4 confirms that LAX will be handling the crash landing. There's a bit of disappointment from Paul and Colleen, they were pulling for Edwards AFB. I guess they said LAX has better fire crew.

5:38 PM
Ted Chen at Long Beach Airport. He's smiling but you can tell he's going to scream at his field producer for sending him to the wrong fucking airport. There's no way he's going to get bumped up to the big show when shit like this happens. He's talking to a fireguy from LBC. He's got his helmet on. And he's ready. For an airplane that won't land in his city.

5:42 PM
Blah, blah, blah. Ted and johnny fireplug throw it back to Paul and Coll. Paul asks about the buildings aroung the LBC airport. He wants to know if there will be any awesome things to crash into.

5:44 PM
Colleen announces that the plane will be down at 6PM. You can hear Paul's sphincter tingle. Paul used the term "Negative" when dismissing Ted "Wrong Airport" Chen.

5:46 PM
They are debating whether the pilot should turn off the satellite tv so they could watch the coverage of the crash or not. Colleen argues it's the opiate of the masses and will calm the sheep, whereas everyone else says it's insanity and will panick everyone.

5:49 PM
Fritz Coleman, the prince of weather chimes in -- the wind is from the west in going 13 MPH.

5:50 PM
Paul just asked if the pilot would be the one to be in control during the landing.

5:51 PM
I think Paul is a pilot. He's loving throwing out lingo and acronyms with little or no definitions. You can tell the expert pilots or sorta humoring him.

5:53 PM
The News Chopper 4 Pilot reassures the viewers (and his boss) that he'll be in position to get a great shot.

5:54 PM
I was right. Paul just admitted he's an instrument rated pilot and made an attempt to explain an instrument.

5:56 PM
Paul get's a little flustered when he hears children playing in the background of one their phone experts.

6:00 PM
Colleen Williams kids are still uppidity in the background. Paul is peeved that the plane isn't down yet. They said 6! 6!

6:02 PM
They brought in Dr. Bruce -- the smarmy TV doctor that reports on health issues. He's talking about the local hospitals, and about stress. He just said the biggest danger is a fiery death. Thanks doc.

6:05 PM
Okay, this is just sad. The 6 o'clock anchors are trying to squeeze into the broadcast. Chuck Henry and his cohort were reduced to holding up a xeroxed map and then the woman -- who wasn't supposed to talk at all began flying a huge not to scale model of an airbus in front of the map. Paul shut them up and moved onto Patrick Heally on the phone at LAX.

6:08 PM
Patrick doesn't have a camera, but you can hear a certain smugness in his voice -- take that Ted Chen.

6:09 PM
Cut to Laurel Erikson. She's describing the anxiety and nerves of the neighbor of LAX. The camera pans and show happy kids and moms smiling and waving at the camera.

6:11 PM
Chopper pilot says the plane is on approach and ten minutes out. Paul says LA Mayor Villaragosa has been at the airport since 5:30 PM.

6:15 PM
The Chopper pilot said that he didn't know if he'd be in place. Paul yelled at him. Paul is checking in with the other crews to see if they have shots. The seem to.

6:22 PM
It's down and safe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

First Audio Blog

I review Corpse Bride, Ice Princess, and talk about smuggling fast food into a movie theater.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Cycle

Over at two of my friends, Dark Fae and Pixie Squared had serious accidents. Dark a fatal car accident, she died this morning. And Pixie got injured during the recovery effort in NOLA. She's an EMT and the just placed her in a medically induced coma.

Both young, talented and beautiful.

In this modern age of medicine where we can cure things that were beyond hope 50 years ago, it seems unfair for anyone to die so young.

I came back from a pleasant weekend to that sad news.

But on that weekend my baby cousin was born.

I held this 7lbs. of new life in my gigantic man paws and I just stared at it.

I looked at his eye boogers, and odd pattern of pores on his nose. I wondered if they made Bioré nose strips that small.

He smiled at me as he slept with his head engulfed in my palm.

It was the first time I had held a newborn. His grandmother says he's a ringer for Winston Churchill, I agree.

There is always new life coming into this world. It doesn't replace what was lost, but it's enough to give us hope.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Went to Wavecrest in Encinitas.

There had to be 400 wooden cars, and one wooden fire truck.

My mission was to understand the mind of the woodie enthusiast, so that
I might understand my father's fascination with these behemouths of
metal and wood.

The whole mythos is powerful. These were the disused workhorses of the
forties and fifties, co-opted by the surf bums and romanticised by the

But now the woodie is the symbol of baby boomer opulence, a talisman to
ward off aging and death.

The average nice woodie is worth $60k. A crappy one that needs major
work is $10-$20k. And the high end is well over $100k.

So I asked if by buying a woodie it would become a rolling black hole of
money and wood. Sucking my father irrevocably into its dark nostalgic

Peggy and her son (pictured), owners of a fixer upper agreed. Said once
you go woodie you can never get it out of your blood.

Rick who had a sweet 26 Model T (the devil air filter screw), was
divorced but said the woodie had nothing to do with it.

I didn't believe him.

He drove down 1500 miles from Vancouver in the car. No trailer.

Overall Wavecrest was very cool. But at some point I was woodied out.
They all started to blend together. My favorite was the Buick Eight's
grill. That and the sweet irony of a wooden firetruck.

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas


Here are a few funky panaramas I took.

And a Photoshop from my friend Sanagy at

Sleepless in San Diego

Drove down to the family's apartment in San Diego tonight.

Good to get away from family and work and stress.

I've fallen into the sweet embrace of digital cable and the loving arms
of Family Guy and Celebrity Poker Showdown.

On the drive down someone wanted to fight me. I was pulling out of the
local burger chain's parking lot and someone was pulling in. It was a
narrow driveway, but big enough for two cars.

The silver korean econo coupe had to slow down and as we passed he
stopped, and gave me the eye and the let's start this shit right now

I kept driving, because why fight about going in opposite directions.
About an accident that never happened. About imagined slights.

Tomorrow I'm going to Wavefront, or something. It's supposed to be the
largest gathering of Woodies -- you know the big surfer station wagons
-- in the world. Pix and moblogging.

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Friday, September 16, 2005



So I just woke up. Reading the usual blogs to get my mind going and I come across this article.

A dude from my high school is dating Paula Abdul. She likes em young.

And I guess I'm jealous. Jealous because I'm not the sort of beautiful man that gets celebrity tail like Dante. Jealous because I'm not a model for International Male.

Sure, I'm smart and deep and terminally hip. Great.
My first encounter with post-HS Dante was when I bought the discount htree pack of Playboy's Wet and Wild DVDs. Pretty crappy overall, lots of bad implants and unenthusiastic women faking how they're enjoying disrobing and trying on lingerie while a fire hose blasts them.

One of the scenes featured Dante.

There is no better erection killer than watching semi-porn featuring a dude that you know. I've never seen a chick that I know strip or do porn (other than a private showing of course), and that might be creepy and it might be hott. But when I recognized Dante, I had to skip ahead and take a moment.

The most ironic part of this, is Dante doesn't sing. Or at least he didn't in HS. I guess he didn't star in softcore either.

You never can tell.

The point of this is that I'm officially declaring I want to sleep with a celebrity. Anne Hathaway (NSFW) are you listening?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Untouchables

Well worth the revisit.

A couple of impressions. This is Sean Connery's world and we just live in it. Holy Shit does that guy know how to be charming and deliver some pithy lines. And when it's Mamet writing those lines, all the better. It's great to just see his performance (for which he won the Academy Award).

DePalma is at his long tracking shot best. He just loves those big crane shots and hott steadycam action. Cool beans.

The movie did feel like it had a few false endings. Eh, whatev. The stolen Odessa Steps sequence is fun -- having a gun fight in slow motion while a baby carriage falls down a staircase is always good cinema.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Shoot Them

I hate people who their cellphones in public places. I don't give a
flip about your life and your erectile disfunction problems.

The most vile sub genre of cell phone user is the nextel dick. Shouting
into little cb radio with the drunken swagger of a 70s movie refugee.
Stop it. You're not cool.

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Brigadoon (1954)

Okay. Hanging with old people isn't any fun.

But I did watch Field of Dreams, Stand By Me, and now Brigadoon.

Now Brigadoon is a musical about a mythical scottish town that
disappears for 100 years at a stretch. Gene Kelly stars.

Let me just say this -- movies from the 50s are weird. Everything is
shot on a sound stage. Everything. Its crazy. Today there'd be a
whole production in Scotland, or at least somewhere that looked like
Scotland. But back then cameras were much less portable, and it was
just how they did things.

They built huge hillsides and had a heard of sheep standing on a fake
looking heather. And this is supposed to be reality.

You look at Field of Dreams. Both films have magical themes, but FoD is
so throughly modern in its approach to cinematography and location
production methodology. They built the goddamn field in the cornfield.
In the 50s they just create it on a stage.

On FoD they waited to shoot at magic hour, in the 50s they'd just flip a

That's why those old movies look so much more theatrical.

Blah, blah, blah.

The other thing I'm interested in is the way the dance numbers are
shot. Practically all medium wide to capture the performance. I heard
Gene Kelly's last widow speak. She said that was the secret to shooting
dancers. Medium wide.

Today we get really caught up with tight shots and inserts. Dunno if
it's better, but the wide really shows it off if someone is a great
dancer (which Kelly certainly was).

Movie I need to Revisit: The Untouchables. I remember watching
this when I was a kid. There were ads for it on AMC, and it got me into
mood to see it again with fresh eyes.

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Father/Son Bonding

A big part of my life experience has been going to my dad and doing
projects with him.

Pinewood derbies, model catapults, solar-powered electric cars, Mission
Santa Barbara. All built by my dad and me.

Dad is has a touch of ADD (like father like son) and is great for
calling in things that need to be done right away.

A few years ago I needed to build a fake love seat so a penis puppet
could pop up through it (I'll post the short sometime).

Well today was a bit nostalgic. My little box's back bumper's ground
effects got sheared off due to my poor parking skillz. I hacked a fixit
job a few weeks ago.

On the drive down to San Diego it came loose. So Dad and I go to fixing
it. These are the pix.

What do you do with your dad?

Kent Nichols
Kinzai Ninjas

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gus Is In A Pickle

Looks Like Gus Has Been Working Out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Unfinished Life

Went to a screening of this movie last night. It's not out yet, JLo is a beaten wife, Redford is a gruff but loveable rancher, and Morgan Freeman wrestles bears. Literally. It's one of those movies where everyone has a secret. And that secret has to come out.

Whatever, it was somewhat likeable, but heavey handed at times.

Yesterday I also got a call from an old friend, I picked up after seeing the caller id, and she didn't want to talk to me. She wanted to leave a message. Does that ever happen to you? I know I didn't let her off the hook, I forced her to talk to me for a bit and then there was the awkward goobdbye.

Getting a new refridgerator this morning. My old one couldn't keep ice cream frozen and the fridge section was barely cold. Hopefully the new one will be better. But the Brita Filter I had been keeping in the freezer to keep it chilly, I just pulled it out and it was frozen solid. lol. but there was another thing of water elsewhere in there and it wasn't frozen. I also feel guilty because there is this maple syrup that has crusted on the door, and I went to try and clean it up, but it has crystalized in place. So I gave up.

bah! The Fridge is dead! Long live the Fridge!

The old, crappy fridge.

The Maple Stain up close and personal.

Goodbye Aunt Jemima. Goodbye Store Brand Teryaki. Goodbye Skunked Coronas. I loved you all.


New Fridge is in!