Friday, February 5, 2010

A New Level of Irresponsibility

Apparently Indianapolis is starting school two hours later on Monday in anticipation of school related employees (everyone from bus drivers to super intendants) being hung over and needing time in the morning to recover. Furthermore there are whispers of moving the Super Bowl to Saturdays so that this will not be a problem in the future.


It seems people everywhere are living up to the defiant cries made to their parents about how they're going to be different when they grow up. Instead of sucking it up and being responsible the plan is to get ridiculously shit faced even though you have to work in the morning and just make it so you can go into work later.

A few months ago Dethklok was playing here in Milwaukee on a Sunday night. The next Monday I knew well in advance that I was going to have to be in early for meetings that would be helping to lead. So I skipped Dethklok because I'm responsible like that.

So suck it up world. A little responsibility won't be the end, tomorrow will always come.

Monday, January 18, 2010


When I first saw the trailer for 9 I was excited. Having read Hellboy for years I am familiar with the idea of the rebirth of mankind so I immediately pieced together that as a major plot point of the movie. However everything else I was able to piece together on my own just from the trailer is about all we were given.

Visually 9 is a treat. The character designs and animation are absolutely wonderful, both the doll creatures as well as the mechanical monsters. The drab, muted colors of the post apocalyptic world somehow manage to pop and create a wonderful landscape for the story to take place in.

And that story is where the problems lie. A main flaw is that it is almost entirely action with very few slow downs which makes it feel like the chapter of one story instead of one story broken into three chapters, though the ending is clearly the ending (though of course there’s a possibility of a sequel).

Another flaw is that when things do slow down, no one seems to ask the very obvious question: Where did these creatures (the dolls) come from? It is revealed that they all remember everything about their lives from the moment they awoke, but that’s it. They know plenty of the world and how it came to be the way it is, but none of them even seem remotely curious about where they came from, why they were created, and in the end they find out by sheer coincidence. And coincidentally this fact is a primary key to their survival and future. Plus it wasn’t even difficult for them to learn as they more or less stumble across it while looking for something else.

It’s not a bad story, but it’s not gripping either. However I have no doubt that especially with the addition of Tim Burton as a producer, teenagers will love this movie until they get old enough to realize that it is a very flat story with cool visuals and nothing else. Heck even I’ll admit that I would’ve loved this as a teenager. The problem is that in the grand scheme of things, depending on the simple mindedness of teenagers to like a movie is no excuse to tell a poorly executed story with a lot of potential.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You?

So my first post in months is a little cliche. Oh well, we'll all get by.

Eight years ago, where were you?

I was sitting in psychology 201 waiting for my professor to show up when a girl came into class saying something about a plane flying into a building in New York being on the news. Completely understating the situation, leaving the impression that perhaps a biplane hit a random sky scraper. And it didn't help that she just came in and sat down.

Ten minutes of sitting there a few of us ventured out to see if we could find out anything about our professor, when walking past the cafeteria was saw a large group of students gathered around the televisions and upon further inspection I discovered what was actually going on. And in case you're curious, my professor has a brother who worked at the Pentagon so she was out because she couldn't get a hold of him to find out whether or not he was alive, which he was, so happy ending there.

So there, just wanted to get that out there. No ironic self evaluation (ironic because I was in a psychology class, and yes I'm using the word ironic properly), just wanted to say where I was.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

In case you haven’t noticed I’m a huge fan of movies. Love’em. And I’m not one of those elitists who thinks I’m special for knowing about a good movie that no one else does. In fact when I know about a relatively unknown movie that I think someone will love, I pimp the hell out of it. Well it recently occurred to me that a few of my favorite under appreciated comedies have been getting a lot of air play on cable channels recently, so for no particular reason I figured I’d do some brief promotions for them. NOTE: These are turn off your brain, guilty pleasure comedies so don’t read on with high expectations.

Out Cold
Main man Rick falls in love with a French girl, she vanishes, his heart’s broken, years later she shows up in his bar where she tells him that she left because she was already involved with someone all those years ago. No I am not just describing Casablanca, this is indeed the main plot for Out Cold, a snowboarding movie filled with references to my all time favorite film, Casablanca. Except instead of Nazis the bad guy is the Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors. It’s just a fun movie about a group of friends who found a life that makes them happy and then suddenly that life gets interrupted. If you haven’t seen Casablanca, watch that first then enjoy just how clever Out Cold despite being formulaic.

Great Line - Rick: Pig Pen, when I want advice about a good Planet of the Apes film or maybe how to get the resin out of my bong I'll come to you, ok? But I am not gonna take romantic advice from somebody who cannot spell “romantic” or “advice”... or “bong”.

Grandma’s Boy
I was sitting around with about two hours to kill before work one day, and I had two movies to choose from: Munich with a running time of approx. 160 minutes, and Grandma’s Boy with a running time of approx. 80 minutes. Grandma’s Boy wins.

Whoever promoted this movie should be banned from ever working in the movie business on any level ever again. No I take that back, this person should be forced to be Andy Dick’s personal assistant for the rest of his/her life. All of the commercials just make it look like it’s about a guy who lives with his grandmother and throws a big party. In reality it’s about video game programmers (though the main character does live with his grandmother due to being evicted from his apartment because his roommate likes the whores) having fun. This is shut off your brain comedy at its best and it’s about freakin’ video game programmers. While not a huge market demographic it’s certainly untapped. Again, Andy Dick’s personal assistant.

Great Line - Dante: I’m way too baked to drive to the devil’s house.

Undercover Brother
I believe the main thing that held this back from being bigger than it should be is that at first glance people probably think, “Oh, another movie by black people making fun of white people.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact I would say they make fun of black stereotypes but it’s done in a way that says, “we have to stop taking ourselves so seriously.” Sort of like friends just riffing on each other. Highlights include: Dave Chapelle as Conspiracy Brother, a stoner who comes up with outrageous conspiracy theories, Neil Patrick Harris as the only white guy working for The Brotherhood due to Affirmative Action, Billy Dee Williams somehow not laughing as Chris Kattan dances like an idiot in front of him, and of course my favorite, a very, very Funk heavy sound track. And every time I watch the seen where Denise Richards is introduced as Black Man’s Kryptonite, I laugh harder because when watching this with some friends, one of them who is black said, “Hey,” then stopped himself, hung his head and finished with, “ok, yeah, they’re right.”

Great Line - Conspiracy Brother: Jesus Christ; black man. Babe Ruth; black man. Madonna;... slept with black men.

Josie and the Pussycats
I’ll give you a moment to recover from the confusion over my recomending Josie and the Pussycats. All better? Good.

Easily the most under rated comedy on my list, JatP while another very formulaic movie, is also quite clever. Poking fun at the pop music industry while at the same time not being preachy, not taking itself seriously, and having a ridiculous amount of fun. Even Tara Reid is tolerable, possibly because she plays an idiot but I try not to read into that too much. And on top of that it has a pretty solid soundtrack, and I’m not a fan of pop rock, of course that may be helped because of vocals provided by Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo, and she has a great voice. Seriously though, some of the lyric structures are ridiculously good. And if nothing else the DVD should be rented by all to watch the Du Jour video. Du Jour being a boy band composed of Seth Green, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, and Alex Martin (don't worry, I don’t know who he is either).

Great Line - Josie McCoy: Puppies grow into dogs that get old and DIE!

Grizzly Man
You read that right. This is the most unintentionally funny movie I’ve ever seen. A documentary about a completely delusional ex-actor (read: failed actor) who moved up to Alaska to protect its bear population. And the area he’s protecting? Well it’s already a nature preserve for the bears. And what does he know about bears? They’re big and furry. Seriously, I know more about bears than this guy. I can not put into words how crazy the man (Timothy Treadwell) is, you really must see it for yourself. Now it is possible that Werner Herzog (the director who completed the project) actually put this documentary together to show just how far a man can fall psychologically but just billed it as a documentary the highlight Timothy’s life. If so, kudos to him for pulling it off.

Great Line - Sam Egli: That bear, I think, that day, decided that he had either had enough of Tim Treadwell or that something clicked in that bear's head that he thought 'Hey, you know, he might be good to eat.'

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just an observation

At the grocery store that I frequent on the way to work for food stuffs, I noticed that the condoms are placed beside Thank You cards and baby diapers/food/etc. Just found it funny.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book Review: Tigerheart by Peter David

If you read comics through the 90’s you undoubtedly read something written by Peter David. For me I had been reading him for years before I realized it, going back to find that my favorite titles and stories were penned by him. He has the ability to make even the most far fetched worlds and characters relatable like no other. On top of that he is the Bart Star of the comic world in that no matter how good of a person you think you are, every time you hear a story about him, you feel like a jerk.

So one night as I was killing time in a book store (as the wife was shopping for clothes and mercifully left me off of my leash) I saw his name on the dust jacket above a beautiful illustration of a pirate ship sailing in the night. I grabbed it without hesitation, since to this day I have never been disappointed in anything Mr. David has written.

Tigerheart is my favorite form of story telling; pure. It is filled with a charming innocence that is needed every now and then these days where most stories have a cynical or dark edge. That’s not to say those kind of stories can’t be enjoyable, that’d just be silly coming from a man who’s favorite author is Richard Matheson. But no, Tigerheart is fun, full of humor, adventure, and most of all, adventure.

The story follows the adventure of Paul Dear, a young boy who’s father raised him with tales of the Boy, or as we know him, Peter Pan. But what everyone doesn’t know is that Paul has met the Boy several times and because of the Boy, Paul knows how to talk to animals and fairies, and play all the best games of the Anyplace (Neverneverland). See Paul’s mother is incredibly sad so he heads off to the Anyplace to find what his mother needs to smile again (I’m being purposefully vague there to not spoil anything).

The book is full of slight changes to names, Captain Hack instead of Captain Hook, Gwenny instead of Wendy, Vagabonds instead of the Lost Boys, all of which is explained at the end of the book along with a notation that all proceeds from the book were being donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the same children’s hospital that was given the copyright for Peter Pan from J.M. Barrie. Note: Peter Pan is in many ways free of copyright laws so technically Mr. David had no legal obligation to do this. And just typing that made me feel like a jerk.

The only cautionary note I can place with this is that twice I had to stop reading because I started to choke up. And at the same time that is praise for the book’s ability to pull you in and make you feel for the characters. There were also several moments where I caught myself taking a gasp in shock only to realize how silly that must seem to any observing me. But the greatest praise I have for this book is that it may possibly now be my favorite book, replacing The Princess Bride which anyone who knows me has undoubtedly heard me go on at length over how amazing it is.

If you love pure story telling, read this. If you love being taken on an adventure, read this. If you love stories that make the child that still takes flight to the Anyplace as you sleep dance in excitement, then you should definitely read Peter David’s, Tigerheart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Music Review: All That Remains - Overcome

One of the worst things that can happen to a band is to put out multiple albums that get progressively better (I can listen to their last album, The Fall of Ideals, non-stop) only to drop a fourth that take ten steps back.

What All That Remains has going for them is that where this album falls short isn’t the lyrics or the music, but the production (note: they had a new producer for this album). I am a huge fan of metal with actual vocals mixed with great screaming like In Flames, Killswitch Engage, and Nothingface (who also suffered on their fourth release), but the clean vocals on the entire album are just too clean. While it’s clearly still Phil screaming, the clean portions sound generic and more suitable for modern pop-rock radio music, and while voice layering is nothing new here it’s over used and very distracting. Additionally there are many, many places where it’s obvious that instead of just letting Phil sing the entire song, he instead often recorded individual lines that were then laced together (as opposed to past albums where you can often hear him taking a breath which adds to the vocal passion).

But while the vocals are the most distracting disappointment the music suffers as well. From the beginning, even before I heard the first scream from Before the Damned I couldn’t help but notice that the drums sounded like they were synthesized, and once everything kicked in fully it felt like it was all synthesized. To make things worse the levels of all the instruments feel like they’re all being pushed to the limits all the time instead of balancing them out so it actually sounds like a band instead of a computer.

You can still tell that their music and song writing abilities are still there making this album all the more tragic. I’m sure that all of these songs will actually sound better live, but as of now the album sounds more like a band trying to sound like All That Remains. And if this indeed were a new band and this their first album I would have written them off before the end of the second track.

Added Note: I posted this review over on Amazon just for the hell of it. It's funny how almost all of the reviews are from people who claim to be metal fans but then go on to admit that the vocals are radio friendly and that's what they like about it. Well guess what people, you're not metal fans, you're hard rock fans.