Uploading all that media to show every major release was an absolute pain. This will be the new way I approach the weekend box office every week. Basically, I offer you, my dear reader, suggestions on what media might be worth spending some time on this weekend.
Opening in Theaters: Extract: If there's one thing I know about Mike Judge films, you will not be bored seeing Extract this weekend. This is the man who created Office Space, Idiocracy, and King of the Hill. He has a voice and it happens to be a strongly satirical one. His films and television work gain appreciation over time because he layers so much into his projects it's difficult to discern what is or is not important in his overall vision. Extract has a strong cast, gives some consistent character actors at least a few moments to shine (judging by the trailer), and is actually opening wide this weekend.
Rent: The Bad Seed: It's back to school time and that can only mean one thing: it's the perfect time to revisit or discover the granddaddy of all evil children films, The Bad Seed. For my fellow employees of the education system, this is the perfect way to realize that, yes, one student smashing another student's head into a vending machine until there's blood everywhere is bad, but few children will ever reach the level of evil exibited by our happy little murderess Rhoda. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards in spite of being a horror/thriller and having an ending neutered by the morality code of Hollywood.
Read: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: I am not the biggest fan of this novel, though many people really appreciate this heartfelt and disturbing look at two boys coming of age in the face of unthinkable evil by way of a carnival. There are some beautiful moments of character development, a nice flow, and a creepy atmosphere that could not be captured in the feature film. It's a quick and easy read, perfect for killing time before your Labor Day excursions. Bonus: it's a transitional book in age and season, capturing the end of summer feeling and the inevitability of change and growing up.
Play: Rock Band Unplugged (PSP): Here's what I know about Rock Band: I love rhythm games. I think pushing the game as a party toy is the smartest marketing decision of any game in recent memory. And I think my wrists are so damaged from years of playing heavy wind instruments that I'm physically incapable of actually using a guitar controller without feeling immense pain. So why the PSP version? Simple. MTV Games stole the play mechanism of forgotten PS2 classic Frequency and used it to make Rock Band work as a fun and challenging solo game. You have four button tracks for vocal, bass, guitar, and drum, and have to build each song up instrument by instrument for maximum points. You then have to keep jumping tracks to keep the groove going. It's addictive, is what it is.