Archive for January, 2009

What our favorite fast food joints looked like back in the day Part I

Posted in advertising, Americana, fast food, food, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, pop culture with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by Paxton

Vintage Burger ChefFast food franchises have been around for years. Some of the first ones were started back in the ’50s as malt shops or diners. Since then, there have been many different variations of the fast food franchise; burgers, chicken, ice cream, seafood, family-style, etc. As the type and menu changed, so have the styles, image and logo of the establishment. Many of the most popular fast food franchises of today have been around since the ’60s and if you were to travel back in time to see your favorite restaurant as it stood back in the day, you may not even recognize it.

I was perusing some of the photostreams in Flickr as well as some of my favorite fast food groups and you can see plenty of awesome pictures of fast food franchises and how they used to look back in the day.  I even remember some of them!  So let’s take a look at a few of the more popular franchises and how their “look and feel” has changed from ’60s until now.

You can click any of the below pictures to see them BIGGER.

McDonald’s

'60s McDonalds
McDonald’s began in 1940 with a restaurant in San Bernandino, CA opened by (surprise, surprise) the McDonald brothers. They developed their “SpeeDee” delivery system in this restaurant that has become the basis for all modern fast food franchises.   Ray Kroc, a salesman providing milkshake machines to the brothers, convinced them to let him franchise their operation in 1955.  Kroc bought out the brothers and took McDonald’s to the lofty heights you see today.  Due to its long history, McD’s architecture has had more face lifts than Joan Rivers.  There are so many different styles of McDonald’s restaurants that it’s almost impossible to nail down different eras of buildings.  Don’t even get me started on the different styles for the “golden arches” signs as there are too many to even begin a listing here.  I could probably do an entire article on McDonald’s architecture and store design (*note to self).  Moving along, the picture above is one of the earliest building incarnations from a McDonald’s in the ’50s – ’60s.  Many McDonald’s restaurants today are being built in this “retro” styling.  Check out the huge, modern, 2-floor McDonald’s in Chicago that was built in this style.

'70s McDonalds
This is probably one of the more familiar versions of the McDonald’s restaurant.  It’s brown roof with white striping has become iconic for McDonald’s lovers as it’s visage was used throughout the ’80s in commercials.  This style started, I believe, in the ’70s or ’80s.  There was also a version of this building with yellow striping on the roof.

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2008 Oscar Nominations announced today + my reactions

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2009 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, the inauguration is over, people are coming down off of that historic event. Now it’s time to gear up for the Oscars (at least for me it is). The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is) today announced the nominees for this year’s Oscars.  They also released the 80th anniversary Best Pictures poster.

If you click the poster you can go to the Oscar website to see all of the nominees for 2009.  It’s perfect timing that they announced the nominees today because I just told you guys what I think the best and worst movies of 2008 were.  You didn’t see that?  Shame on you.

Check out my favorite movies of 2008 here

Check out my worst movies of 2008 here

You can see where I discuss last year’s nominations here

For the last two years or so, when the Academy announces the nominees, I take a look at the biggest categories (you know, the ones we actually care about) and see how I think the academy did with its choices.  It’s only my opinion mind you, but I like to see how my own sensibilities compare to the Academy (FYI…we aren’t even close).  Each year when I look at the nominees, I notice that either I didn’t see enough movies (4+ a month isn’t enough?) or I just don’t like the same movies as the Academy because they pick things I’ve never seen a trailer or ad for.  I mean, a movie that opens in October for 2 weeks in 4 cities seems like an odd choice to go up for Best Picture of the Year because most of the nation will not see it.  It seems these movies are mostly seen by critics.  I guess that’s what the People’s Choice Awards are for, to give us a say.  But then, the People’s Choice Awards are looked at with the same respect as the Nickelodeon awards shows.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  It’s time to check out this year’s Oscar nominees.

So let’s start with

Leading Actor:
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor – Here we go. A movie I’ve never even heard of. Yahoo! Movies says it’s about 62 year old Walter Vale. He’s sleepwalking through life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical pian—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Frost/Nixon
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon – Ahhh, nice. This is a good choice. Langella was phenomenal in this.
Sean Penn – Milk – I know it’s the guy’s name, but Milk seems like such an odd name for the movie. Milk. M-m-m-m-i-i-i-l-l-k. See, weird. If you can’t tell, I haven’t seen it.
Brad Pitt – Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Looks weird. Heard it’s good from a few people, but I’m cautiously pessimistic about it.
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler – I’m intrigued. It looks dirty, grungy and harsh. I’ll probably watch it at some point.

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The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 13, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okely, dokely.  Last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2008.  Now it’s time to talk about the 5 worst movies I saw last year.  If you would like, you can take a look at my five worst movies from 2007 right here.

Looking over the list this year, I noticed that the worst movies, for me, tend to be ones I was super-psyched to go see, but they, for whatever reason, turn out to suck.  HARD.  Just being bad is one thing, but promising massive coolness and then dumping in my lap nothing but a steaming pile of monkey dung is a major faux pas.  I am still one of the few that really wants to see movies on the big screen.  Yes, the other people that go to movies are neanderthals.  They leave their candy and trash all around their seat because “they have people to pick that up” (how hard is it to carry your cup and popcorn bag to the f’n trash, you are going that way anyway).  They answer cell phones in the middle of the movie (Why pay 10 bucks to talk on your cell phone?!).  They talk to their friends during the movie, or make fun of the movie while it’s playing.  So yes, there are plenty of reasons to avoid the “unwashed masses” and watch all your movies at home.  I, however, enjoy the large screen and fantastic sound.  I want to see movies like Iron Man, Dark Knight, Hulk, Indiana Jones and others on the big screen.  That’s how it’s meant to be done.  Now, I’ll usually avoid the evening shows and Steph and I will hit the Saturday matinees where it’s cheaper and less crowded, but we are getting out there.  Seeing the movie in the theater.  So, naturally, after all this, if a movie is uninteresting or just bad, I’ll be pissed that I wasted my energy.

So, as a public service announcement, here are the five movies I believe to be the five worst movies I saw in 2008.  I recommend not watching any one of these stink bombs.

Here they are in no particular order:


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull– That’s right.  I’m saying it.  This was one of the worst movies of 2008.  More to the point, it was one of the most disappointing movies of 2008.  It was not remotely the same Indy we saw in The Last Crusade.  Despite everyone saying that Ford looked great, he looked older.  A lot older.  They could cast Indiana Jones in the next Mummy movie.  Also, Spielberg seemed to be on cruise control.  How flat and uninteresting did this movie look?  Too much CGI, not enough practical.  And the alien aspect was more X-Files and less Indy.  The whole thing felt odd when I saw it.  I wanted to watch it again in theaters to give it another chance but couldn’t bring myself to pay to watch it again.  Maybe I’ll rent the Blu-Ray and give it one more chance.  But I’m sure it won’t be good enough to move off this list.  If they make more of these, I’ll see them, but it will be in a robotic, soulless way, not with any enthusiasm or excitement (in much the same way they made this movie).

X-Files I Want to Believe
X-Files: I Want To Believe– This is right up there with Indiana Jones.  Actually, I found this more disappointing than Indiana Jones.  I wanted to believe (ha! pun) that this movie was gonna rock.  I was exactly who this movie was made for.  I watched X-Files.  I saw the last movie in the theater.  My wife and I watched the first season of X-Files on DVD a month or so before the movie came out.  I was so pumped.  Then, after seeing the movie, I came out of the theater feeling like this movie raped my wife and punched my mother in face.  WTF was that?!  The nostalgia of seeing Mulder and Scully on the big screen again almost brain washed me into thinking the movie was good.  ALMOST.  Alas, it was not good.  At all.  It was like a bad episode of CSI, much less a bad episode of X-Files.  WTF happened?  It’s like Chris Carter crapped in a bucket and that bucket wrote the script for this movie.  I want to cry thinking about it.  If you have fond memories of X-Files, do not see this movie.  EVER.

Disaster Movie
Disaster Movie– Why do they keep making these spoof movies?  Are they making money at this point?  What started out as a very clever idea with Not Another Teen Movie and Scary Movie has devolved into a carousel of comedy abortions.  I thought Epic Movie last year would have bottomed out the genre but this movie hits the bottom, gets out an industrial-sized drill, and starts digging.  It is AWFUL.  This might be the only movie on this list I didn’t have high hopes for and it STILL managed to come in under those expectations.  I was actually embarrassed for the actors in the movie.  There is a HORRIBLE send-up of a High School Musical song that literally had me cringing and looking for the door.  I can’t recommend watching this under any circumstances.  Seriously.  Even hammered with 12 of your best friends, the movie isn’t funny.  You’ve been warned.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 6, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2008 is over and the 2009 movie season looms over us like a petulant child, demanding our attention and constantly wanting to be fed and changed. These new movie seasons sure are screaming, poop machines, aren’t they?

Anywho, the Academy is deciding on the 2008 Oscar nominees as we speak (this year’s Oscars are supposed to air on February 22). When the nominees are finally announced (Jan 22), I’ll be sure to let you know what movies made it and also give a little review of how I think the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations.

So, on to the movies I saw in 2008. The Movie Board, just to give a small history, was started by me in Dec 2006. I use it to keep track of all the movies I watched that were released on DVD or in theaters during the calendar year. This way I can easily look back at my list at the end of the year and see, at a glance, what my favorite movies were.  Here’s the list for 2007 to refresh your memory.

So, without further ado, here is my 2008 Movie Board with all the movies I saw this year (click the image for a bigger view).

2008 Movie Board

According to its all-knowing dry erase-ness, I saw 49 movies last year.    Just over 4 a month or about a movie a week.  Last year, I was up over 50 movies.  Of course, this doesn’t include older movies not released in 2008 that Steph and I watched from Blockbuster and/or Netflix.  Nor does it take into account multiple viewings because I saw Iron Man, Hulk, Hancock, Jumper, Tropic Thunder and several others at least twice last year (some in the theater and some on DVD).

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Whoops! I guess I took the last two weeks off

Posted in blogging, life, movies, The Godfather with tags , , on January 2, 2009 by Paxton

Well, as with most everyone else, things got busy as crap these last few holiday weeks. I had this past week off work and I planned on writing something but, as it happens, life got in the way.

I had a great Xmas with my family and drank copious amounts of alcohol. Then we drank again on New Years Day. Really, Steph and I need to go into rehab after this holiday. We’ll also probably have wine tonight and tomorrow because we are having Italian Night. Italian Night (aka Gangster Night) is when Steph cooks lasagna, we drink Chianti (or another Italian wine like Sangiovese) and watch gangster movies. Some of the past flicks we’ve watched are Godfather Pt I and II, Casino and Good Fellas. For Xmas, I got Steph the Blu-Ray DVD of the Godfather trilogy. So those will be screening for this edition of Italian Night. But, back to the drinking, it’s out of control, seriously.

Anyway, I won’t let my personal vices like drinking, eating, watching bad movies or gambling on women’s golf keep me from my stated duties; entertaining the tens of people that read this blog. Never fear, I’ll be putting up a proper article next week.

Hope everyone else had a great holiday. Back to reality in a few days, including the L-O-O-O-O-O-N-G stretch to my next holiday Memorial Day. 5 months. Ugh.

Maybe I’ll even take down the Christmas decorations.   Now that it’s January 02, 2009, the green, red and falling snow is tap-dancing on my last nerve.

Peace out.