Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dueling Crayons

A couple days ago I was about to clock in to work at the theater when I noticed that my friend Max had left me a little note:



Obviously I had to respond in kind. That's just good etiquette. But it turns out that I'm not particularly good at making "kid drawings".



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book List 2012: Part 3

* = rewatched
[CB] = Children's Book
[GN] = Graphic Novel

26. [CB]
Mirror Mirror:
A Book of Reversible Verse
by. Marilyn Singer
illustrations by. Josée Masse

A book of verses about fairy tales that can be read both forwards and backwards.

a fairy tale?

A fairy tale
-inside flap

I love both fairy tales and wordplay so this was obviously something I had to check out. It wasn't as good as I was hoping, but I had pretty high hopes. Some of the verses were quite fun and others were just so-so. Overall though, while I don't think it's worth running out and buying, I do think it would be a fun book to check out at the library and read to your kid. It'd be a fun demonstration of how words are something you can play with. As well as how changing the order of words or changing the punctuation of a passage can drastically change its meaning.

In my hood.
skipping through the wood,
carrying a basket,
picking berries to eat—
juicy and sweet
what a treat!
But a girl
mustn't dawdle.
After all, Grandma's waiting.

After all, Grandma's waiting,
mustn't dawdle...
But a girl!
What a treat—
juicy and sweet,
picking berries to eat,
carrying a basket,
skipping through the wood
in my 'hood.

-pg 9-10

The Elephant Vanishes
by. Haruki Murakami

A collection of surreal short stories.

Have you ever had a dream that was more or less reality? It didn't take place in a space ship or a castle or anything like that. It was just a normal everyday place. But something was...off about it. Something just didn't seem in-line with reality. Reading a short story by Haruki Murakami is a lot like that. It is like sitting in on someone else's dream.

A lot of people don't care for Murakami's work and I don't necessarily blame them. It's not for everyone, but personally I find it oddly fascinating. I really don't know what to say. It isn't like most stuff out there and because of that you might either love it or hate it.

“I want ten minutes of your time,” comes a woman’s voice out of the blue.

“Excuse me?” I blurt back in surprise. “How’s that again?

“I said, just ten minutes of your time, that’s all I want,” the woman repeats.

I have absolutely no recollection of ever hearing this woman’s voice before. And I pride myself on a near-perfect ear for voices, so I’m sure there’s no mistake. This is the voice of a woman I don’t know. A soft, low, nondescript voice.

“Pardon me, but what number might you have been calling?” I put on my most polite language.

“What difference does that make? All I want is ten minutes of your time. Ten minutes to come to an understanding.” She cinches the matter quick and neat.

“Come to an understanding?”

“Of our feelings,” says the woman succinctly.

pg. 4-5

Hot Six
by. Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is back and this time...its personal. Kind of. Ranger is wanted for murder and it's up to Stephanie to clear his name. Unfortunately for her other people want to find him as well and won't leave her alone. Not to mention there's a crazy wife-beating FTA who keeps trying to set her on fire, a grandma who decides she's moving in, and where on Earth did this dog come from!?

The mystery in this book really wasn't very interesting. But the humor more than made up for that. It was definitely one of the funniest books in the series so far. My goodness. I was cracking up left and right. A couple parts had be laughing so hard I had to put the book down

The dog suddenly stopped walking and hunched over, and Lula and Bob and I took off across the grass. I had Bob on the leash, and Lula was waving the chicken bucket and paper bag, and we were running full tilt when the woman looked and saw us. The color drained from her face, and she staggered backward.

I'm old,” she said. “I haven't got any money. Go away. Don't hurt me.”

We don't want your money,” Lula said. “We want your poop.”

The woman choked up on the dog's leash. “
You can't have the poop. I have to take the poop home. It's the law.”

The law don't say you gotta take it home," Lula said. “It's just somebody gotta do it. And we're volunteering.”


I don't know if that's right,” the woman said. “I never heard of that. I think I'm supposed to take the poop home."

Okay," said Lula, “we'll pay you for the poop.”...


I won't take any less than five dollars,” the woman said.

Turns out we don't have any money on us,” Lula said.

Then it's my poop,” the woman said.

The heck it is,” Lula said, muscling the old woman out of the way and scooping the poop up in the chicken bucket. “We need this poop.”

Help!" the woman yelled. “They're taking my poop! Stop! Thief!”

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
by. Aimee Bender

A collection of short stories that walk between the borders of reality and fantasy.

Aimee Bender's book of short stories Willfull Creatures was one of my favorites of 2010. The stories had that quality I look for in a short story: memorability. I probably went into this one with too high of hopes, but this book was disappointing. I can barely remember any of the stories in it.

There were two mutant girls in the town: one had a hand made of fire and the other had a hand made of ice. Everyone else's hands were normal. The girls first met in elementary school and were friends for about three weeks. Their parents were delighted; the mothers in particular spent hours on the phone describing over and over the shock of delivery day.

I remember one afternoon, on the playground, the fire girl grabbed hold of the ice girl's hand and—Poof—just like that, each equalized the other. Their hands dissolved into regular flesh—exit mutant, enter normal. The fire girl panicked and let go, finding that her fire reblazed right away, while the ice spun back fast around the other girl's fingers like a cold glass turban.


American Vampire, vol. 2
by. Scott Snyder
art by. Rafael Albuquerque & Mateus Santolouco

It's the 1930s and things are heating up in Las Vegas. As if dealing with the ever increasing rise of trouble in Sin City wasn't enough, police chief Cash McCogan finds himself investigating a string of gruesome murders. The case leads McCogan to some suspicious federal agents, an increasingly supernatural trail of clues, and, of course, a sinister entrepreneur named Skinner Sweet.

I'm really enjoying this series. Not only are the monster elements enjoyable, but the historical details are awesome too. This comic got me to go read a book about the history of Las Vegas afterwards. That's how interesting it made it all seem. Teach your child about how interesting history canbe by giving them comic books about vampires. That's a win-win situation right there.

When I was a boy, I used to have nightmares about monsters hiding in the shadows of my bedroom.

I used to wake up screaming and still see them everywhere, in ever dark corner.

I wouldn't go back to sleep until my father lit the lamps and proved the corners and closets were all

I'm a man now. I recently laid my father to rest and when I can't sleep, I go walking.

Looking around, I'm struck by how
bright the damn night's become. I makes me wonder...

What happens to those childhood monsters when there are no more
shadows to hide in? Do they leave? Do they move on?

Or do they simply learn how to live in the

pg 7

Seven Up
by. Janet Evanovich

It's up to top-notch bail enforcement agent Stephanie Plum to take in an old man. No problem, right? Hey, give her a break...he's wily. And she's got a lot on her plate. She's gotten wrapped up in an ever-escalating lie about marrying her boyfriend, her normally perfect sister's life is going down the tubes and has moved back to town, everyone seems to be trying to kill her stoner friend Mooner, and people will not stop breaking into her apartment!

Really, sometimes I'm just not sure I really need to tell you about these books. It isn't like you're going to start reading them starting with #7 or anything. So instead I will mention that my friend Sarah decided to read part of this one without having read 2-6 and then she went on to tell me that Stephanie and Morrelli were getting married in it. But that doesn't happen at all! That's what you get when you listen to people who haven't actually read the entire book. And she was so cocky about it too! "Oh yeah, I saw that coming from a mile away." Did you Sarah? Did you really?

There was some fumbling at the door, the door swung open, and Mooner ambled in. Mooner was wearing a head-to-toe purple spandex bodysuit with a big silver M sewn onto the chest.

“Hey dude,” Mooner said. “I tried calling you, but you were never home. I wanted to show you my new Super Mooner Suit.”

“Cripes,” Benny said, “he looks like a flaming fruit.”

“I'm a superhero, dude,” the Mooner said.

fruitcake is more like it. You walk around in this suit all day?”

“No way, dude. This is my secret suit. Ordinarily I only wear this when I'm doing super deeds, but I wanted the dudette here to get the full impact, so I changed in the hall.”

“Can you fly like Superman?” Benny asked Mooner.

“No, but I can fly in my mind, dude. Like, I can soar.”

“Oh boy,” Benny said.


35.* [CB]
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
by. Betty MacDonald

A strange old lady, and friend to all the neighboorhood's children, helps exasperated parents with their children's bad habits.

I read this book because I remembered hearing some of these stories when I was a kid, but I couldn't remember what they were about. I probably should have taken that as a sign. They aren't bad per se, but I still wouldn't recommend this to anyone. It's just terribly dated. I mean it is pretty darn obvious it was written over 50 years ago. Plus I cannot begin to imagine why a child would want to hear a collection of stories about parents tricking their kids out of behaving badly.

The most remarkable thing about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is her house, which is upside down. It is a little brown house, and sitting there in its tangly garden it looks like a small brown puppy lying on its back with its feet in the air. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle says that when she was a little girl she used to lie in bed and gaze up at the ceiling and wonder and wonder what it would be like if the house were upside down. And so when she grew up and built her own house she had it built upside down, just to see. The bathroom, the kitchen and the staircase are right side up—they are more convenient that way. You can easily see that you could not cook on an upside-down stove or wash dishes in an upside-down sink or walk up upside-down stairs.

In the living room of her house is a large chandelier and instead of being on the the ceiling it is on the floor. Of course it is really on the ceiling, but the ceiling is the floor and so it is on the floor and the children turn on the lights and then squat around it pretending it is a campfire. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle says that her chandelier is the only one in town which is put to any real use.


Ready Player One
by. Ernest Cline

Mild mannered Wade Watts finds himself in a mess of attention when he becomes the first person to crack the first clue in a virtual reality treasure hunt. However, the hunt's prize is riches beyond imagining and people will do anything to get there first. Will Wade's abundant knowledge of 80's trivia be enough to save him? Wait...what?

This book, in a word, is Ridiculous. It is a Master's Class in Wish Fulfillment. Now bear with me (or skip ahead), because I'm about to get my rant on.

Imagine with me for a moment, a nerd trying to come up with his perfect world:

  • What if being really good at video games and knowing a lot of 80's trivia was cool?
  • What if you could have a job that made use of those skills?
  • What if those skills could make you Rich, Famous, AND POPULAR!
  • And what if they had full immersion virtual reality systems where you could be playing the game, but it'd be just like you were actually there!

  • And what if all the running you did in the game counted as real-life exercise so you could stay in shape from playing video games?
  • What if you could go to school using those virtual reality systems and that way if a bully made fun of you you could just best him with your intelligent wit and since the school program wouldn't allow fighting there'd be nothing he could do about it!
  • What if there was this girl and she was just as good at video games and 80's trivia as you are? And she was like really popular, and you had a crush on her, but she didn't know you existed. But then in a feat of 80's trivia/video game prowess you impress her and then you start hanging out?

  • Oh! And what if you could go with her to the big dance, but since you don't actually know how to dance you could just run a computer program to dance for you?
  • And since most girls are apparently looking for more in a guy than sweet 80's trivia skillz (those crazy girls and their standards, amiright?), and you've got truly horrible social skills from spending all your time playing video games and memorizing 80's trivia, this girl of your dreams still might not go for you...So what if that girl had some self esteem problems!? Like if she had really bad self-image problems (but only because of like a birth mark or a scar or maybe she was a little chubby or something...you know, nothing TOO bad). And then she wouldn't think she was pretty and so when you tell her that she's beautiful she'll fall right for you, because she won't know that she can do better!

...I mean...Holy Shit! This book grants every single one of those wishes and more. It's like a fairy godmother turned a nerd's wetdream into a novel. You know, I'm pretty sure that some iteration of all of those questions have crossed my mind at one time or another, but they were promptly followed by the thought, "No wait...that's really fucking stupid." (Actually that's what follows most of my thoughts in general.) And if you think about it for any amount of time they are all really stupid wishes. Don't believe me? Here's why, in order:

  • What if being really good at video games and knowing a lot of 80's trivia was cool?

    Hang out with the right kind of people and it will. But you're saying you want EVERYONE to think you're cool because of your skills? Well grow the fuck up.

  • What if you could have a job that made use of those skills?

    There are jobs that make use of those skills. Video game reviewers, article writers and bloggers for certain websites, the writers of Family Guy, etc.

  • What if those skills could make you Rich, Famous, AND POPULAR!

    Yeah, but you can wish that about anything you're good at. Personally I think you'd be better off shooting for: financially secure, respected, well liked, and HAPPY!

  • And what if they had full immersion virtual reality systems where you could be playing the game, but it'd be just like you were actually there!

    Well, that might be a sign that you're way too interested in escaping reality, but sure. That would have the potential to be pretty fun.

  • And what if all the running you did in the game counted as real-life exercise so you could stay in shape from playing video games?

    Maybe you should just get outside and exercise?

  • What if you could go to school using those virtual reality systems and that way if a bully made fun of you you could just best him with your intelligent wit and since the school program wouldn't allow fighting there'd be nothing he could do about it!

    I guess I can understand not wanting to be bullied, but if your dream is to be able to bully the bullies with your intellect then you're really no different than they are.

  • What if there was this girl and she was just as good at video games and 80's trivia as you are? And she was like really popular, and you had a crush on her, but she didn't know you existed. But then in a feat of 80's trivia/video game prowess you impress her and then you start hanging out?

    Or you could just...talk to her? Invite her to the arcade or to some showing of an 80's movie or something. That would probably be a lot easier and much more likely to actually work.

  • Oh! And what if you could go with her to the big dance, but since you don't actually know how to dance you could just run a computer program to dance for you?

    Personally, I cannot dance so I can understand the embarrassment that comes along when dancing situations arise. But really, if you wish you could dance go LEARN HOW TO DANCE! There's probably a million classes out there that can teach you how to dance. Or if you're like me and never go to places that require dancing skills, then you're just gonna have to try to have fun while you look ridiculous on the dance floor from time to time.

  • ...So what if that girl had some self esteem problems!? Like if she had really bad self-image problems (but only because of like a birth mark or a scar or maybe she was a little chubby or something...you know, nothing TOO bad). And then she wouldn't think she was pretty and so when you tell her that she's beautiful she'll fall right for you, because she won't know that she can do better!

    This one is the craziest of them all. I can say from personal experience that it comes from a place of having a very, very low opinion of yourself and believing that they only way a woman would ever be interested in you is if she was "damaged" somehow. But really, think about that for a little while. On one hand you could fantasize about meeting a strong, confident, beautiful girl who likes you for who you are. OR you could fantasize about meeting a girl who relies solely on you to feel good about herself and has decided to just settle for you. I'm not gonna tell you how to live your fantasy life, but the choice is pretty obvious.

Okay, I'm done ranting. I'll go back to reviewing.

Admittedly it was fun to see all the references to different nerdy stuff. But really that's all this book has to offer. And because of that I can't imagine anyone who didn't know a lot of nerdy shit would enjoy this book. Actually I'm really not all that sure that nerds would really like the book all the book either (nerds not into wish fulfilment fantasies that is). Why not? Well, because I'm fairly nerdy and I thought it was pretty stupid, for one.

But mostly I'd say that because a lot of this book isn't showing anyone a fascinating new world, it's just referencing famous world's we're already familiar with. Nerds already spend a lot of time discussing their favorite stories and entertaining What-If scenarios, we don't need to read transcripts of other people doing the same thing. I mean, there is honestly over 2 pages in which two nerds debate the merits of the 80's movie Ladyhawke. 2 pages...devoted to a discussion that is in no way relevant to the plot.

How many times have you seen that sapfest? I know you've made me sit through it at least twice. He was baiting me now. He knew Ladyhawke was one of my guilty pleasures, and that I'd seen it over two dozen times.

I was doing you a favor by making you watch it, noob,” I said. I shoved a new cartridge into the Intellivision console and started up a single-player game of Astrosmash. You'll thank me one day. Wait and see. Ladyhawke is canon.”


Surely, you must be joking,” Aech said.

No, I am not joking. And don't call me Shirley.”

He lowered the magazine and leaned forward. “
There is no way Halliday was a fan of Ladyhawke. I guarantee it.”


Then please explain to me why he owned Ladyhawke on both VHS and LaserDisc?” A list of all the films in Halliday's collection at the time of his death was included in the appendices of Anorak's Almanac. We both had the list memorized.

The guy was a billionaire! He owned millions of movies, most of which he probably never even watched! He had DVDs of Howard the Duck and Krull, too. That doesn't mean he liked them, asshat. And it sure as hell doesn't make them canon.”

It's not up for debate, Homer,” I said. “Ladyhawke is an eighties classic.”

It's fucking lame, is what it is! The swords look like they were made out of tinfoil. And that soundtrack is epically lame. Full of synthesizers and shit. By the motherfucking Alan Parsons Project! Lame-o-rama! Beyond lame. Highlander II lame.”

Hey!” I feigned hurling my Intellivision controller at him. “Now you're just being insulting! Ladyhawke's cast alone makes the film canon! Roy Batty! Ferris Bueller! And the dude who player Professor Falken in WarGames!” I searched my memory for the actor's name. “John Wood! Reunited with Matthew Broderick!”

A real low point in both of their careers,” he said, laughing. He loved arguing old movies, even more than I did.”


Hard Eight
by. Janet Evanovich

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum might have finally have gotten herself in over her head. While investigating a child custody bond she gets herself mixed into a situation with a very dangerous man named Eddie Abruzzi. Both her mentor Ranger, and her sometimes boyfriend police officer Joe Morelli have warned her that he is not the kind of person you want to mess with. And she's starting to learn that lesson first hand when a man in a rabbit suit starts trying to murder her.

None of the mysteries in these books recently have really been up to snuff. But you know what? As long as there's a decent bad guy, and I'm still having fun while reading it and getting some solid laughs, then I don't care. This one had those elements and thus I quite enjoyed it.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time rolling on the ground with men who think a stiffy represents personal growth. The rolling has nothing to do with my sex life. The rolling around is what happens when a bust goes crapola and there's a last ditch effort to hog-tie a big, dumb bad guy possessing a congenitally defective frontal lobe.

pg. 1

41. [GN]
by. Warren Ellis
art by. Colleen Doran

When a manned space shuttle mysteriously disappears it causes manned-space flight programs to be scrapped entirely. However, years later the unthinkable happens: the shuttle returns. the shuttle's captain is the only one of the crew left alive, but his mental state is unstable at best, but he's the only one who can explain what happened all those years ago.

This is an odd book. Odd in the sense that when I first finished it I thought it was amazing for some reason. But not long afterward I started thinking about it and pulled a complete 180. It wasn't amazing at all. In fact it was kind of ridiculous. The art really isn't my cup of tea (personally I feel that it doesn't convey emotions very well at all). The story is clunky and filled with plot holes. And the ending seems not only forced but also rushed.

The story has a number of interesting elements to it, but it doesn't use them well enough. I think if they took a lot more time and told a longer story it could have gotten somewhere. But it didn't. So if you want to read a great story about an astronaut coming back from a mission where everyone died but them and a psychiatrist is trying to find out what happened to them: go read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel. Because that book was amazing. Seriously. Just go read that instead.

The space shuttle Venture is the reason why the manned space program collapsed.

It is also the greatest mystery in the history of manned spaceflight.

For it disappeared from Earth orbit ten years ago taking a crew of seven with it.

This final NASA disaster committed the Earth to programs of robotic discovery only.

No human has been in space for a decade.

The Venture has come back to Earth, ten years late.

pg. 10

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Soapbox Speeches: Back to the Future

Have you ever heard a crazy idea? You probably just dismissed it as being crazy, right? But then have you ever heard that same crazy idea again? And this time coming from a different source?

It's easy to dismiss a crazy idea the first time, but after you keep hearing it again and again, it starts to seem like that crazy idea is catching on.

The crazy idea that I've come here to rant against today is the insane theory that the movie Back to the Future is racist because it takes the invention of Rock & Roll away from the legendary Chuck Berry and gives it to a white kid instead. They say that it rewrites history to give a white man credit for a black man's creation.

I shouldn't have to say it, but that theory is ridiculous. It's an absolutely ridiculous thing to say for a variety of reasons. While any normal person would just write it off as the thoughts of insane individuals, I feel that I must dust off my nerd helm and explain WHY it is an illegitimate claim. So if you ever find yourself face-to-face with some dillweed who's spewing this nonsense in an attempt to sound intelligent, you can quickly point out that they are, in fact, an idiot.

Let's get started, shall we?

In the realm of Sci-Fi, time travel stories generally operate under one of two different theories of Time: I'll refer to these as Line Theory and Ball Theory.

Line Theory says that Time is a linear progression of events. Which is to say that A causes B, B then causes C, and so on.

For example, let's say you've just built a time machine! Impressive. Your first order of business is to go back in time and see a dinosaur! A worthy goal. But OH NO! When you're returning to your machine after seeing that dinosaur you accidentally step on a bug! Well, no matter. I mean, what difference could a bug make? Well, you're wrong! It makes a world of difference! And when you return to your home time you find everything is different! Everyone is now Amish and they ride giant ducks instead of horses or some shit!

That's Line Theory. It says that if you go back and edit A then you end up editing every point that comes afterward. Editing A means ending up with a slightly different B, which then creates a variant of C, and so on. The differences snowball over time until things have changed completely. Examples of stories that use this method: "A Sound of Thunder", The Butterfly Effect, Primer, and Back to the Future.

Ball Theory on the other hand says that Time isn't a linear chain of events. It says that A, B, and C are a single mass of Time. As if you condensed every moment in time into a single ball. And the reason we think it's actually a linear line is just because that line is the route we are moving through the ball of time. Obviously this theory is a little bit harder to wrap your brain around.

Here, let's let infamous time traveler Doctor Who explain it:

So under this theory, if you build that time machine of yours again, go back in time to see a dinosaur, step on that bug, and then return to your home time...nothing will be different. Nothing will be different, because everything has already happened/ is happening / will happen. Each moment exists on its own and in that particular moment...you are stepping on that bug. The point in Time you currently find yourself in is irrelevant. You have/You will always be stepping on that bug at that point in Time.

In a story it usually works like this: I live in time C, I go back to time A, I dink around, I then realize how my actions in A will eventually lead to the world I'm used to in C. Examples of stories that use this method include: The Time Traveler's Wife, Terminator, Doctor Who (usually), and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

As I said earlier, Back to the Future operates under Line Theory. How can we be sure of this? We can be sure of this because throughout the films we continue to see Marty McFly's actions in the past creating huge changes to his present. Thus, under the rules of Line Theory, the Rock & Roll chain would go like this:

Chuck Berry invents Rock&Roll
--> Marty McFly is inspired by Berry's creation
----> Marty goes back in time and plays Chuck's music
------> Young Chuck Berry hears Marty's cover song
--------> and Young Chuck gets the idea to invent Rock & Roll

The insane racism idea is claiming that this means Marty is the creator of Rock&Roll. When in reality the actual chain of events is this: Chuck -> Marty -> Chuck.

Thus Chuck Prime is the creator, because it is he who influenced an agent to influence Chuck 2.0.

The only way these people's crackpot theory holds water is if the movie had been working under Ball Theory. Because under Ball Theory the chain would have been: Marty -> Chuck -> Marty.

But that isn't possible, because under Ball Theory the movie's entire plot would fall apart! Under Ball Theory Marty would never have had to worry about erasing his own existence, because he never would have been able to change his Mom & Dad's first meeting.


So there you go. Suck on that logic, dillweeds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Movie List 2012: February

* = rewatched


The Muppets

A pair of brothers journey to LA and try to reunite The Muppet gang and save their studio from being demolished by an evil oil baron.

Genre: Comedy/Partial Musical

You know what this movie could have really used? More muppets! For a movie about the muppets there was way, way too much of a focus on the humans and that dumb human muppet. That little Walter human-muppet guy was HORRIBLE. The muppets were great as always, Bret McKenzie's songs were enjoyable, and there were some really well done emotional scenes. But that horrid little muppet man tainted everything. Also there were way too many 4th wall jokes. Once or twice it can be funny, but when you keep tearing down the 4th wall it's just dumb.

So yeah. It was an okay movie, but it doesn't even come close to holding a candle to the older muppet movies.


You Are (Not) Alone

For some reason the world's most whiny kid is the only one who can pilot the giant robot that's needed to fight the huge Gushers-powered monsters that keep attacking.

Genre: Giant Robot Sci-Fi Anime

Fun Fact: If your friend Rusty tells you that you should come over and watch The Exorcist, don't do it. Because he will make you watch this movie instead.

I hated this movie for so many reasons: I didn't understand a single thing that was going on, the voice acting was terrible, the main character always sounded like he was about to start crying and was constantly whining about everything, the designs weren't anything special, and so much more. But instead of pulling a Shinji and complaining about it all I'm going to tell you about the movie's best scene. A scene so good I laughed so very, very hard. It was the best laugh I've had in a long time. The scene wasn't supposed to be funny, but that is besides the point.

So, there's this kid named Shinji. He is constantly in one of these states: about to cry, crying, complaining, feeling sorry for himself. Anyways, he's just been shown a truly enormous robot and told that he's going to be the pilot.

"What?," says Shinji, "I don't know anything about piloting giant robots."

"Don't worry," they tell him. "You'll be fine. We'll walk you through it."

"I don't want to," says Shinji. "My father doesn't love me! WAAAHHH"

"Yeah, good luck with that. Suck it up. They world's apparently a devastated hellscape for some reason so we've all got issues. Plus if you don't do it we're going to put this battered young girl in it instead and it'll probably kill her."

"Jesus Christ, why would you do that?"


Anyways, a giant monster is about to attack the city and after much whining and crying Shinji agrees to pilot it. I'll set the scene:

It's a dark city. Tall futuristic buildings are ominously in the background. A huge monster approaches the city. Panels in the streets open up and a badass robot arises from it.

"Okay, so how do I drive this crazy thing," Shinji asks.

"Alright, first things first, just concentrate on taking a step."

"Okay...oh, wow...I'm doing it! I'm really doing it!"

The hulking robot begins to walk toward the monster.

"He's doing it!" The people in charge say. "He just might be able to pull this off!"

It is at this point that the giant robot trips over its own feet and falls to the ground. The monster immediately pounces on it, breaks the robot's arm, and then punches it in its robot face. It continues to punch it in face over and over again with increasing vigor until finally throwing aside the now battered and broken robot and going back to destroying the city.

I honestly thought that they were going to have the untrained loser pilot who had never been in this thing before defeat the monster. Never in a million years would I have guessed that they'd actually go with the obvious result of him getting his ass handed to him. It was in a word: brilliant.

However, immediately after this bit Shinji goes berserk and for some reason that gives him the knowledge needed to not suck at life and he does defeat the monster. And with that the faint glimmer of hope I had that this movie might not be so bad after all was crushed.


Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

A documentary following Conan O'Brien from shortly after he left The Tonight Show up until the end of his live tour.

Genre: Documentary

For once I was actually really excited to see a movie and I wasn't disappointed. I watched it and then I promptly watched it again with the commentary on. In the commentary there was a really interesting comment about what the film was about: Addiction. About how Conan really just can't stop. He can't stop trying to seek out the spotlight, he can't stop trying to please everyone, even when doing these things are taking a serious toll on him. There's a number of memorable scenes where Conan will be complaining about how it's all too much and then refuses to let anyone help him and goes and does it all anyway. It's because of this angle that I think that someone who wasn't a big Conan fan might still find this documentary quite interesting.

While it is overall quite funny, you do get to see Conan stressed out, depressed, and lashing out at people. I really would recommend giving the commentary a try because it was done after Conan had gotten his new show and is in a better place. As such he is able to look back on these events from a higher ground and shed light on a bunch of stuff. Definitely one of the more interesting commentary tracks I've heard.


Hot Coffee

A look at how our judicial branch is being exploited and the effect this has on actual people.

Genre: Documentary

I'm on a good documentary roll here. I had seen the interview with this filmmaker on The Colbert Report and that's what made me curious about this film. It is a fascinating movie. Before seeing the interview and before seeing the movie, I would have never believed that a movie about Judicial matters and torte reform would be so interesting. But there you have it.

As I was watching this movie it became more and more clear that I've been duped by corporations. I hate that feeling, don't you? That realization that they got you. We're always thinking how smart we are for seeing past propaganda. For not being dumb enough to fall prey to the people who say things like "global warming is fake" and whatnot. And then you get shown some of things you haven't been so smart about. I didn't even know what a torte was. Turns out it is actually something that is really very important and everyone should probably bother learning about.

I mean, the whole thing with the lady who sued McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on herself? I remember hearing about that. I remember thinking it was ridiculous. And that there were too many frivolous law suits. But I really just had no idea. Who knew that when these settlements are made the victims have to sign a gag order. Then the corporations are free to talk about it and spin the story as they see fit and the victim can't say a thing. Thus we never hear the real story.

I'd recommend checking out that interview and if you're even the littlest bit intrigued I'd highly recommend you give the film a watch.



A cautionary tale about the dangers of owning rare and exotic pets. A young man's Christmas present ends up unleashing a plague of murderous gremlins onto an unsuspecting small town.

Genre: Horror-Comedy

You know, after I saw this movie as a kid I was scared me for years. Whenever I was home alone I'd be afraid that Gremlins would pop out of the cabinet or from under of my bed, or from any number of other such places. Over the years I've come to think that it was rather silly of me and that the movie was really more goofy than anything, but that is just not the case. I was perfectly right as a child to be horrified by this movie. It's not all that horrifying to an adult, but damn. For a kid? Perfectly understandable. There's some freaky stuff going on in this movie.

That being said, the movie is a lot of fun. There are a lot of goofy jokes and whatnot. I also really like all the characters. They're all quite likeable so you actually care about them. But the really impressive thing about this movie is the effects. No CGI. Just old-fashioned amazing physical effects. And damn it looks so much creepier because of it.


Gremlins 2

A gremlin horde is unleashed against an unsuspecting populace once again, except this time instead of terrorising a small town they're terrorising a state-of-the-art shopping mall and business complex.

Genre: Comedy-Horror

This movie is the reason I looked back on the first movie and thought it was silly of me to have been so scared of it. This movie has a lot less scares and gross-out moments and a lot more laughs. The writers must have had a lot of fun coming up with some of the stuff for this movie. There's some crazy gadgets, there's kooky characters, there's mad-scientist labs, it's got everything. It's a lot of fun.

Fun Fact: I watched these two movies at my friend Rusty's house after work one night. I probably would have enjoyed this one more if I hadn't been fighting off a wicked need to use the bathroom. You see Rusty lives in his parents basement and his dad isn't completely all there and can be found wandering about at night. As such he creeps me out and I refuse go to the bathroom while I'm there in fear of coming across him. So after the movies, as I was walking home, I ended up going behind a snow bank because my bladder couldn't wait any longer. Good times.


The Burbs

Neighbors in a suburb community become obsessed with the goings-on of the strange new family that's moved in.

Genre: Comedy

You know, Rusty seems to think that this movie is a hilarious classic. I'm not as convinced. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of funny parts too it, and it has a pretty great cast, but I definitely wouldn't call it a must-see film by any means. I'd say that if some friends are watching it or if you stumble on it on TV, go ahead a give it a watch. But I wouldn't bother seeking it out.


Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith find out that there marriage wasn't legal and now Mrs Smith isn't so sure she wants to rectify that.

Genre: Old Alfred Hitchcock Comedy

I don't know. The movie is pretty fun, but overall I'm not sure I really cared for it. You spend most of the movie thinking that Mr. Smith is a total jerk and that his "wife" is completely right to want to be done with him. Then it's only at the very end that they show you that she's a little crazy as well and that's why the couple actually works.



After her mentally handicapped son is accused of murder, an elderly mother has to try and investigate the situation herself to try and clear her son's name.

Genre: Korean Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

As I've said before, Korean movies are fascinating. They are fascinating because they never play by the same rulebook we're used to seeing. I honestly don't know what to say about this movie. It's fascinating, but unlike anything I've seen before. It was beautiful, sad, horrifying, and tense, but always in ways I wasn't expecting. It takes a good hard look at the things we would do for the people we love and the lengths we would go to. It brings up the subject of unconditional love and questions whether or not it is really such a purely Good emotion. After all, if an emotion, even love, can lead someone to do unspeakable acts, can it really be Good?


The Secret World of Arietty

A Studio Ghibli adaptation of The Borrowers.
A race of tiny people exist in the walls of houses, surviving by secretly borrowing the things that they need from the humans. However, when a young borrower named Arietty is spotted by a young human it triggers a series of events that changes her world forever.

Genre: Fantasy

Studio Ghibli movies are always a challenge to describe, because there is always some intrinsic quality to them that goes beyond what you see in most movies. The more action oriented ones like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are easier to describe, because they have more epic plots. However, it is much more challenging to tell your friends about movies like Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro because the plots more or less don't matter; they're movies of mood. They deal in characters and places and images more so than events. And the mood movies of Studio Ghibli are actually my favorites. Because being less centered on story, allows them to be more timeless.

I'm getting away from myself a little bit here, but I bring all this up because I feel that The Secret World of Arietty falls into that category of Ghibli mood movies. As such, I think that if I tried to explain why I loved it, I would just ramble on and on. I will, however, say that it might just have been my 3rd favorite Ghibli movie (I'd have to see it again and in Japanese to be sure).


The Exorcist

A young girl becomes possessed by the devil and her mother tries desperately to save her.

Genre: Classic Horror

I finally got around to seeing this. Technically I should mention that I saw the extended cut, and since Rusty was telling me what scenes weren't in the original, I'm going to go ahead and say that I like the extended cut better.

The movie definitely isn't the kind of thing you see a lot of nowadays. I feel that if it was done today there would be a bigger focus on the Scares and less of a focus on the Scary. The way this movie chose its emphases surprised me quite a bit, because when you hear about this movie you always hear about the Scares: the crab-walk down the stairs, the spinning head, the vomiting, etc. But those aren't the parts that are the scariest. The parts that are effectively the most chilling are the ones that illustrate the mental state of the mother.

Here is this woman whose daughter is suffering from an affliction that no one can seem to cure her of. The girl is sick and is hurting herself and others and this mother is at her wits end. Her world is falling apart and she doesn't know what to do anymore. And that's when the church comes into play. Because when things are hopeless what else can you do but to say a prayer and hope that God knows what He's doing. The idea that something can hit a family, any family, out of nowhere and destroy the lives of those in it is really the part of this film that I found truly fascinating.


The Adventures of Tintin

Based on the famous comic series by Hergé.
When a reporter buys an old model ship at a flea market he accidentally stumbles into a mystery. A mystery that could either make an amazing story, or wind up getting him killed.

Genre: Adventure

I remember reading the Tintin comics at my friend Jack's house as a kid so I was pretty excited to hear that they were making a movie. However, then I heard that it was done using motion capture computer graphics. Frankly that process tends to give me the creeps. But Jack said that a lot of his friends had seen it and said that it was really good, so I figured I'd give it a chance. And you know what? The CGI motion capture thing didn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. Although there definitely were a number of times it made things looks really goofy, over all it was used to a much greater effect than I've seen elsewhere.

As for the story I think it was a very good adaptation that remained very faithful to the comics. I believe that because Jack is a pretty big Tintin fan and he enjoyed it. I also believe it because the things I liked about the movie were all things I liked about the comics, and the things I didn't like about the comics, were also things I didn't like about the movie. So, I guess if you liked the comics you should check it out. If you have no prior exposure to Tintin at all, I'm a traditionalist, so I'd recommend you go read the comics first and see what you think.



Disney's take on the Repunzel fairy tale.
A witch kidnaps a baby girl, locks her in a tower, names her Repunzel, and raises her as her own in order to have access to the girl's magical hair. However, when Repunzel grows up she dreams of experiencing the outside world. She finally gets her chance when a thief stumbles upon the tower and gets press-ganged into being Repunzel's escort to the outside world.

Genre: Fairy tale Comedy/Musical

I really like this movie, but I also find it very disappointing. I find it very disappointing because it comes so, so very close to being a movie I'd Love. Its biggest problem is that it's a Musical...but not really. There are a couple of musical numbers, but they all seem ever-so forced. Not only that, but the songs are completely forgettable. I honestly can't remember the tune to a single one of them, let alone the lyrics. So as a musical it is a complete flop. But as a fun fantasy comedy? It's amazing. It's funny, it's fun, the characters are endearing, the animation is absolutely gorgeous, and probably some other pros that are just slipping my mind.

In conclusion: Definitely worth seeing, probably worth owning, but it has a few major faults.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Late Night Photographic Expedition

In case you didn't know, I bike to work. I bike to work because I'm too poor to be able to afford a car, my job is 9 miles from my house, and the buses aren't running when I get off work. Unfortunately, I recently learned that my bike is in need of some repairs and thus I didn't want to ride it to work last night, because I didn't want to aggravate its problems. So I took the bus to work.

But that leaves a conundrum: how do I get back home? The answer is, of course, to simply call someone and ask for a favor. However, I hate asking for favors. I'm also too cheap to call a cab. Thus, the only thing left to do is to walk.

To make things more interesting I decided that I would take some photographs along the way. I was going to take pictures the whole way home, but I was fighting with memory card space the entire trip and I just didn't really have enough to document everything. Not to mention that stopping to take all these pictures had made the journey take MUCH longer than it would have normally and by that time it was getting light out and I was ready to just be home.

Please be warned that I own a pretty cheap camera and no sort of tripod. As such, I'm not really set up for night time photography. But I did my best. So here are the pictures that miraculously turned out mostly okay, presented in chronological order. As usual, please excuse the quality.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movie List 2012: January

Because apparently I'm a glutton for punishment I've decided that in addition to recording all the books I read this year I'm also going to record all the movies I watch. I figure I'll put them out at the end of every month. As you can tell I've got some catching up to do. Anyways, let's get started.

* = rewatched



Get Smart

Maxwell Smart is an analyst at a top-secret government intelligence agency who dreams of being an agent. But when an attack compromises the secrecy of the agency's agents, Max is the only one who can get to the bottom of it. Based on the old TV show of the same name.

Genre: Action-Comedy

You know what? I like this movie. It makes me laugh. Maybe it isn't the most intelligent comedy around, but who cares. I like it. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway are a surprisingly good comedy team. There's a fair amount of references to the old show, so if you're not familiar with it you might miss out on a fair amount of references. I am familiar with the old show so I understood and loved the references. Thanks, Grandma!


Lemony Snicket's
A Series of Unfortunate Events

Based on the book series by the same name, it tells the story of the Bouldelaire children who become orphans and are sent to live with their mysterious Count Olaf. However, it turns out that he's out to get their sizeable inheritance and he's willing to go to any lengths to get it.

Genre: Family friendly comedic adventure.

I adore this movie. I also feel that, because it's a movie for a younger audience and because it's based on a children's book series, it is highly underrated. As a fan of children's books I can tell you that this movie is one of the greatest film adaptations of a book that I have ever seen.

The book series is quirky to say the least, and creates a fantastical world that is like our own but seen through the eyes of a child. Things are bigger, more menacing, more wondrous. The film actually manages to capture the feeling of the book. The costumes, the sets, the performances! They all work at creating this storybook world that is completely consistent with the source material. And it does what I feel that most adaptations are afraid to do: make cuts. The movie condenses the first three books of the series into one story, and it is done rather brilliantly.

I've already said too much, but I have to mention that the performances are amazing. There are a number of big name actors and they all do an outstanding job. I mean, jeez, look at the actors they have: Jim Carry, Jude Law, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, Catherine O'Hara, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, and more! Jim Carrey, however, deserves special praise. He delivers his lines in such a uniquely brilliant manner that I can't ever seem to quote them right. In fact, in my opinion, this is one of his best roles. Having him play the role of Count Olaf is one of the greatest casting matches ever.


Deep Blue Sea

In order to discover a way to revive dead neurons and cure Alzheimer's Disease, a group of scientists on an underwater base are using sharks as test subjects. But when their test inadvertently make the sharks super intelligent they're suddenly going to have to fight for their lives.

Genre: We're being attacked by animals! EXPLOSION!

It's hard to describe why this movie is so great. In so many ways it is just the epitome of the dumb giant-animals-are-attacking-us genre. "Oh, no! We turned these sharks into super intelligent killers and now they want us dead! Watch our adventures in a world where the laws of physics are flexible and the science is highly questionable." And yet it seems to know that about itself. It realizes the kind of movie it is and just decides to embrace it and have some fun. It's hard to not enjoy something like that. Plus while it does follow a fair number of stereotypes of the genre, it also is constantly defying others. So you never quite know what to expect.

Did I mention that LL Cool J is in the movie and does a rap about sharks? Because he is. And he does.


Lilo & Stitch

The story of a biological weapon who no longer has a purpose, and of a broken family that is trying desperately to stay together.

Genre: Amazing.

Not only is this my favorite Disney movie, this is also one of my favorite movies period. I love how the animation style is different from normal Disney movies, I love how deep the characters are, I love bizarre and darkly quirky the jokes are, I love it all. There isn't anything about it that I don't love. It makes me laugh so very hard. And, yes, there are a couple parts that never fail to get me to tear up as well.



After an outbreak of zombies swept across the world, only a few people remain alive. But can a motley crew of survivors retain their ability to live, love, and have fun while always on the run from zombies?

Genre: Zombie Comedy.

When I first saw trailers for this movie I thought it was just going to be a lame Shaun of the Dead ripoff. Maybe it is ripping off the idea of a zombie comedy, but even so, it is extremely well done. While Shaun made a statement about how zombie-like life can be sometimes, it also had a hopeful attitude. Zombieland, on the other hand, makes a statement about how unzombie-like life is, and had a slightly less hopeful attitude. It makes it pretty clear that eventually everyone is going to die. But that's life. Through the course of the movie we learn that you can't just survive, but you've also gotta live. You gotta enjoy the little things. Thus it manages to paint a unique vision of the zombie story.

Not to mention, of course, that the movie is just a lot of fun. The cast is outstanding. The movie's style is really creative. And it features one of the best cameos I've ever seen.


The Wedding Date

A romantic comedy about a woman who hires a male escort to go with her to her sister's wedding.

Genre: It's a Romantic Comedy...try to keep up.

You know what? It just wasn't for me. I thought the whole thing could have been plotted a lot better and the motivations behind the characters better developed. But you know what? That's just my opinion. I can see the elements of the movie that people would enjoy. I think I should see more stuff with Debra Messing in it. She's pretty fun. But I hate when Amy Adams plays mean characters. It just doesn't work. She's just too good at playing nice people. And it creeps me out when movies make her blonde.


National Lampoon's
Christmas Vacation

Clark Griswald wants to have the perfect family Christmas. However, nothing is going to be perfect when family is involved.

Genre: Christmas comedy classic

I watch this movie every year. I've seen it so many times and I still find it hilarious. Not to mention that despite the hyperbolic situations, it really does portray family interactions in a very true-to-life way that few films ever do.

Fun Fact: So far every movie on this list is one I made my friend Sarah watch! That poor, poor girl...



In the future robots have started a war and are out to kill all of humanity. The human resistance is led by a man named John Conners. In order to destroy the humans once and for all the robots have sent a killing machine into the past to destroy Conners' mother before she can give birth to John.

Genre: We're being attacked by a gun-toting robot! EXPLOSION!

I really do like Terminator, but I can't see it without it reminding me about how much I prefer Terminator 2 and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. I just like how in those ones Sarah Conner is a badass and in this one she's still just a scared lady. The movie, however, is still a classic.


Napoleon Dynamite

Bizarrely awkward teenagers try to get by.

Genre: Extremely quirky comedy

If someone were to ask me why I like this movie so much, I wouldn't be able to explain it. It is just so bizarre that it's quite endearing.



A murderer goes on a killing spree in a quiet town.

Genre: Slasher

I had never seen this movie until now. Surprisingly it was a lot better than I was expecting. A lot of it is quite ridiculous, but it's ridiculous in a fun way. My biggest problem with it is that the main girl's boyfriend is the world's most douchey guy ever and she doesn't seem to notice. I mean, if your mother was raped and brutally murdered and your boyfriend tells you that you need to get over it because it happened almost an entire year ago? You need to break up with him. You need to slap him in the face and then break up with him. A knee to the groin would be perfectly acceptable as well. What you shouldn't do is get mad, go off in a huff, then later apologize for overreacting, and then lose your virginity to him. Because, holy shit. Are you all on the drugs!? Kids these days, amiright? Anyways, I've totally lost my train of thought. It's a fun movie, despite the many parts that are completely ridiculous.


Whisper of the Heart

A young girl meets a boy with a dream and is inspired to try and reach for her dream as well.

Genre: Lazy Sunday family movie.

I always remember this movie being better than it is. Not to say that it's bad, it's just to say that some parts of it are much better than others. There's a number of scenes that are truly cheesy and overly sentimental. And yet the majority of the film is really good. It's a Studio Ghibli film, but it is completely different from all the other ones. It's very realistic, has a very slow pace, and has a look to it that always makes me think it must've been one of the first Ghibli movies. As it turns out it was the 9th Ghibli movie, and the first one to be directed by someone other than the two main Ghibli guys (Miyazaki and Takahata). Not the greatest Ghibli film ever made by any means, but it definitely isn't the worst one either. It's got a subtle charm that I rather enjoy.


While You Were Sleeping

When the man she has a crush on falls onto the train tracks, Lucy Moderatz jumps to his rescue and saves his life. Not a bad way to introduce yourself, huh? Well, too bad he's in a coma now. Also too bad that due to some misunderstandings his family thinks that she's his fiancee.

Genre: Romantic comedy

I don't know. It's not the greatest romantic comedy out there, but it does have a number of things going for it. There's a number of actors in it that I quite like and don't get to see very often. It's got the feel of the 90s to it. The premise is pretty fun. But I guess the thing I really like about it is just how awkward it all is. I mean here's this girl and she's accidentally getting everything she's ever wanted, but is doing it all under false pretenses. And while she wants to set things right she can't quite figure out how to fix the situation. What can I say? I like the humor that arises from awkward situations.


Hot Rod

Rod Kimble wants to be a stunt man. Too bad he's not very good at it. Also too bad that his dad just got sick and doesn't have the money for the operation he needs. But Rod's not about to give up on him and decides he's gonna do whatever he can to raise the money.

Genre: Ever-so-Silly Comedy

You know, I would understand if someone told me they didn't like this movie. It is, after all, pretty ridiculous. However, I love it. It is like it was tailor made for me. It's goofy and off the wall and is just so much fun. I laugh the whole way through and a couple parts have made me laugh so hard that it hurts and my eyes tear up.


Scream 2

A copycat murderer is going after the people who survived the events of the first movie.

Genre: Slasher Sequel

Once again this woman has a ridiculous boyfriend! Is that her type? But to his credit he never tells her to get over her murdered mom, so I guess he's a step up from the last one.

Anyways, that's not really a crucial part of the plot or anything. Ummm...the movie isn't as good as the first one, but it's alright. It's pretty much impossible to predict the killer in these movies because their rationale is always pretty forced and ridiculous, so the reveals aren't always that much fun. "It's you! But why did you do it? You just felt like it? Fair enough." But there are some good moments, and there are some scenes that were kind of scary. There's also a lot of scenes where you just want to throttle the people in them and yell, "What is the matter with you! Do you have no common sense! AGGHHH!".



Scream 3

Once again someone is copying the original murderer and going after the people involved.

Genre: A Let's-make-some-more-money Sequel-to-a-sequel.

Fun Fact: I watched Hot Rod, Scream 2, and Scream 3 in a marathon session at my friend Rusty's house.

This series just keeps getting worse. There are still a number of elements that make it fun to watch, but I've gotta admit they just get dumber and dumber. I mean, a machine that can perfectly replicate anyone's voice? That is ridiculous. That is utter Science Fiction. And yet that is a substantial plot element of this movie. Once again they make some stuff up to give the killer a motive, but it's never really about that. I must concede though that the movies are fun because they do have things popping up, and people are getting stabbed, and you're all like, "Get the fuck out of the house! That dude's gonna stab you!". If you're watching them for any other reason than that, then you're gonna be disappointed.


Wedding Crashers

Two best friends love crashing weddings. However, when they decide to crash the biggest wedding of the year...well, let's just say that things get a little out of hand.

Genre: Buddy comedy

Another movie I always seem to remember being better than it is. Sure the set-up is rushed and ridiculous. And yes the ending is horribly forced. And yeah, I'll admit that all the romance bits are so very dumb and cliche. But you know what? It still has some hilarious scenes and some interesting characters. And those are the things I inevitably remember. In fact, I would argue that those scenes make it all worth it.


A True Underdog Story

In order to save their local gym from being destroyed, a group of lovable losers have to enter a dodgeball tournament to raise the money they need.

Genre: Wacky comedy

I don't really care for the last 3rd of this movie. However, I really like the rest of it. Pretty much everything up until they get to Las Vegas is gold. There are just so many big names in this movie and they're all playing such funny and ridiculous roles. Plus the scene wear Rip Thorn is throwing wrenches at everyone has me on the floor laughing every time.


Scream 4

Jeez, do I really have to write this again? I do? Fine.

A copycat killer is once again murdering people related to the people related to the original killings.

Genre: I'm-out-of-ideas-let's-revive-an-old-franchise Slasher

Remember what I said about these movies getting dumber? Anyways, the things I said about the other ones generally hold true for this one as well. At the very least it didn't have any stupid Science Fiction gadgets, so it had that going for it. Plus one of those Culkin kids was in it. How many of those kids are in the movie business anyways?


Paranormal Activity 2

A demonic presence is haunting a family's house.

Genre: Found-footage styled haunted-house Horror.

You know what? I've never seen the first one. Also I thought this movie would suck, because it looked like another Blair Witch Project and I didn't care for that movie at all. However, I quite enjoyed this one. The only thing I didn't like was the dad's character because he was a total asshole and no one ever told him to cut it out. For instance he chews out his daughter for getting locked out of the house while she was supposed to be babysitting her baby brother. Even though the security cameras clearly show her going to the door and having the door slam shut, as if caused by some unseen force. "It was the wind" says the dad. The wind? Really, dad? The wind blew the door shut? Did the wind blow the door locked as well? What? That isn't actually possible? Oh, well then maybe you should go apologize.



You know, for some of these movies you really don't need me to describe their plots. It's kind of self explanatory.

It's about a poltergeist.

Oh, and it kidnaps a little girl.

Genre: Classic haunted-house Horror

Fun Fact: Scream 4, Paranormal Activity 2, and Poltergeist were all watched on the same night. Once again part of a marathon of movies at Rusty's house. I don't often see horror movies, so there are some pretty big gaps in my knowledge of the classics of the genre. Rusty's decided to try and rectify that.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Poltergeist. I dunno, I liked it because it explains a lot of stuff. Parts of certain Simpson's episodes, bits of other horror movies, all sorts of stuff. They've all been making references to this movie and I didn't even know it. The movie itself isn't really my kind of thing, but I'm glad I saw it.

Oh, and the effects were pretty great. I love great pre-CGI effects.


One For the Money

Stephanie Plum is out of money and looking for work. So when she sees an opportunity to make a bundle by becoming a bounty hunter and bringing in her love-hate adversary, Joe Morelli, how can she say no? But it turns out this bounty hunting thing ain't as easy as she thought.

Genre: Comedy that thinks it's more Actiony than it really is.

Going to see a movie that's based on a book you love, and seeing it with high expectations is a recipe for disaster. I don't recommend seeing anything in that state. Needless to say, I was disappointed. But I wasn't disappointed because it was bad, I was disappointed because it could have been amazing.

Overall the casting was great and they did a great job. But the whole thing lacked edge. The thing I loved about the book was that sure it had a lot of great laughs and humor, but it was also pretty scary. You really begin to see that Stephanie is out of her depth and in very real danger. She's in danger of being beaten, she's in danger of being raped, and she's in danger of being killed. All of it linked to the mystery she's got to solve. But she can't quit because she needs the money and she needs to do it for herself. Her life is going crazy and she just needs to prove to herself that she can do it.

The humor works as a device to humanize the characters so that you really do care about them, which then makes the mystery and the action all the more exciting. The movie contains all the big bits of humor, but completely glosses over and rushes the mystery and the danger. Thus the film has the seasonings right, but is missing the real meat.

I also wasn't a big fan of the narrating device used in the film that tried to mimic the inner dialogue you got with the books. In most of the scenes the actors are doing a great job conveying things and you really don't need to have anyone say it all out loud.


I Saw the Devil

A special agent's fiancee is killed in a gruesome fashion. He manages to track down the killer and decides to make it his mission to make that man's life a living hell. But trying to keep a dangerous murderer on a leash is a very dangerous game.

Genre: Korean Slasher

I find Korean movies to be really interesting. They always go at things in a way I wouldn't have expected. I'm not sure how I feel about this movie. It's dark and gritty and at the end you're left feeling a little sad. Definitely an interesting movie though. I feel that most movies would have gone at this plot in a completely different way. Instead of developing the characters or humanizing them, the movie just stands a grim portrayal of the consequences of abandoning your humanity.

There are some pretty gory scenes too, so watch out for that.

Fun Fact: This movie is an example of how much gore I can handle. So if you watch it you can find out how much that is. I can't handle anything more than this. Actually, that's a lie. To be honest, 2 scenes in this one briefly went just over the border of things I can handle before dipping back down again. But generally this is a good example of my limits.