- Spider-Man 3 blew, just like word-of-mouth was letting on. 28 Weeks Later was pretty fun, exactly like the whispers intimated. Georgia Rule was phenomenal, which was - nah, just kidding. I didn't see Georgia Rule. The rumor mill has absolutely failed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, though. The film remains under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I think I saw it more out of perceived obligation than any real desire. And whaddaya know, I had a great time. It was an absolutely quick 2 1/2 hours, a marked improvement over Dead Man's Chest, and had more than a few fun scenes (the stone crabs showed the exact kind of creativity big Hollywood films are supposed to lack.) I'm just not getting the hate. And best of all, the filmmakers ignored whiny pretty boy Orlando Bloom for the majority of the film, and figured out a clever way to leave him out of further sequels (and I promise that's not a spoiler.) Plus, any movie that opens with the a child's hanging is solid in my book.
- There are apparently too many damn SUVs on Neptune.
- A few nights ago, at about 2 a.m., I heard a piercing wail coming from outside my bedroom window. The Girl woke up and agreed that it sounded a little like a woman's scream, but somehow dissolved into a bird-like shriek by the end. And it scared the hell out of us. I finally worked up some nerve, opened the door, turned the corner toward the back yard - and the thing screamed again, from no more than 20 feet in front of me. Needless to say, I turned the fuck around and went right back in. This has happened on multiple occasions since then; the inhuman screams, all in the middle of the night. Well, we finally have discovered our culprit thanks to my sister's eagle eyes from her eagle's perch on the top floor. We have a fox. On our property. And thanks to the Internet and a surprising amount of fox-related websites, now you all can hear exactly what we did. Here's the sound. Now imagine having that wake you up from a deep sleep, from just outside your open window. I'm honestly surprised I didn't piss myself.
(If the fox sound link isn't working, cut-and-paste this: http://www.angelfire.com/ar2/thefoxden/call.wav).
- Last week, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez - an avowed socialist - shut down one of his country's television stations because it had been critical of him in the past. This morning, Al Gore - an avowed Democrat - went on CBS's "Early Show" and threw his support behind the Fairness Doctrine, which the government would use to stifle free expression by making sure the Republican's biggest stronghold - radio - give equal time to its opposition. Chavez says he is "democratizing" the airwaves. Gore says "the first concerns among defenders of democracy arose with radio." I'm failing to see huge differences in these two philosophies. Given the American left's love of Chavez, am I wrong to be fearful of that type of government if a Democrat is elected?
- Reggie Willits is a rookie leftfielder for the Los Angeles Angels. Reggie Willits. Close your eyes and picture how you imagine Reggie Willits looking. Reggie. Willits. Is this what you envisioned?
- I really, really want to see Transformers. I know I shouldn't. I'm ashamed of it. But I can't help it. Anybody else out there with me? Please?
- Oh hell yes.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal. (Emphasis mine.)
Well, the obvious guess would be "chickenshit," right? We can't leave "cock" out of the debate, though, or any of its partners-in-crime: "cocksucker," "cocknose," "cockbrain," etc. I'm actually hoping McCain called him a "chicken cock," but I doubt Mr. POW has that much creativity.
Friday, May 18, 2007
A quote often attributed to Scottish historian Alexander Fraser Tytler says, "The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years." Looks like we're running on borrowed time, folks. I think most of us can agree, at least, that our government personnel are in major need of an overhaul - and I wouldn't mind it being complete as far as elected officials go. Nobody in Washington has balls anymore.
And please don't misinterpret or spin this as an anti-Hispanic bias. Many of you know I work every day in a class of mostly Hispanic children, some of them here illegally through no fault of their own. I get it, I really do. When I accepted this job, I knew exactly what I was getting into, and did it willingly. However, I also see first-hand every day the tax dollars poured into this growing problem, and honestly, I'm just not a fan of just letting criminals - the adults - slide (and if you think that word is too harsh, explain to me why it's wrong.) There are millions of people trying to get into this country legally, and we're rewarding the ones that had no respect for our laws. And the lip service paid to tightening up the border is just that - lip service. The flood of illegals will continue, perhaps actually increasing because of this legislation.
Hey, though, I found a perfect video for the occasion. What a difference 20 years makes, too: in 1987, this received major play on MTV. Even better, I absolutely love the circa-'87 intro this video gets. I could have found a version without it, but where's the fun in that?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
If only he were a tad more flexible...
Sure, the movie is 10 days old, but if this post can save one person from the soul-deflating, mind-evaporating turd that is Spider-Man 3, I've done my job.
So as the title says, here are 10 reasons Spider-Man 3 sucked (edited down from about 700):
1) It's Smokey and the Bandit Part III. Or Porky's 2. Or Superman III. Or Jaws 3-D. Or Grease 2. Sequels are a dicey proposition today, but they're infinitely better than some of the crap foisted upon us in the early '80s. A movie would be a hit, and the studio would almost audibly say, "Screw it. Get a cheap script, a cheaper director, and only bring back the cast if they'll work for back-end profits (which don't exist anyway)." Somewhere along the line, though, the studios started making a good amount of sequels that at least appeared to give a shit - including Spider-Man 2, which made the first film look like one of my old home movies. With the latest installment, though, the dollar sign-glint in everybody's eyes is almost blindingly obvious. I mean, I know money is the reason for most sequels, but nobody here even tries to fake it.
2) The plot is built upon a series of billion-to-one coincidences. By sheer chance, black goo falls from space, only to attach itself to the one guy on the planet with superpowers (Tobey Maguire)? In completely unrelated events, the same guy who murdered Peter Parker's uncle just happens to fall into a science experiment in the middle of a freaking field, becoming the only other person on the planet with superpowers? The one guy who wants Parker dead (Topher Grace) is conveniently in a church while Spidey is ripping off his black suit, only to get a bit of it on him so he can turn into a third guy on the planet with superpowers? Parker's science lab partner (Bryce Dallas Howard) falls off a building, only to be saved by Spider-Man, only to fall for Parker later without actually knowing his alter-ego? And really, Peter Parker hasn't graduated yet?
3) Venom is Darth Maul. The amount of ink (or computer pixels) that has been dedicated to Venom is amazing. For the past year, people have been obsessing about this legendary villain's appearance in the third film - and then he shows up for like 10 minutes at the end, and is seemingly gone with the clang of a bell.
4) Harry is Wolverine. That fucker heals fast. In one scene, he hits his head on a metal pipe going 80 miles-per-hour, proceeding to fall 10 stories onto concrete. And on what appears to be the very next day, he's walking in the park wearing a Band-Aid after a brief hospital stay. Closer to the end, he's damn near hit in the face with a kind-of grenade, only to have a scarred-over, but completely healed face not 48 hours later. Of course, I was expecting to forgive this at the end when it was revealed Harry had powers of his own - but no, he doesn't.
5) The camerawork makes The Bourne Supremacy look like a still-shot. There's a time and place for frenetic, jump-cut camerawork. Director Sam Raimi's definition of "time and place," however, appears to be "whenever we want to mask the fact that nothing is going on." I actually had to look away from the screen a couple times to avoid nausea. Of course, nausea still came, because I heard multiple scenes of ...
6) Kirsten Dunst singing. She can't do it. Seriously, she can't. If she auditioned for "American Idol," she'd get on the show - but only to be one of those people we're meant to laugh at in the first episode. However, in the universe of Spider-Man 3, we're meant to accept that she plays the lead in a Broadway musical. True, she's fired for bad reviews, but how the hell is she there in the first place? (And seriously, the directors must have heard her performance in auditions and practice, and they fire her after a single night? Has this ever happened?)
7) That jazz club scene. You have to see it to believe it. It's amazing, though. A screenwriter wrote it, the director OK'd it, the cast shot it - and nobody seemed to have thought twice.
8) The bad guys have no real motive. In one of the film's stupidest scenes (and that's saying a lot), the two bad guys seem to randomly meet and team up to kill Spider-Man. And I still can't figure out why Sandman wanted Spider-Man out of the picture. Sure, they threw some punches earlier on, but this single-minded hatred seemed to exist only so there could be a cool, effects-driven finale. And, come to think of it, Venom only hated Spidey because of his own bad Photoshop job.
9) Aunt May didn't die. Sorry, I guess that's a minor spoiler - but it's just an utterly disappointing non-plot twist. That means we have to listen to her drone on-and-fucking-on about absolutely nothing at least one more time.
10) Amnesia drives part of the plot. Except for possibly the "dramatic courtroom scene," amnesia is the lamest crutch a screenwriter can use. I don't care if it was taken directly from the comic book or not; it's retarded.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Happy Mother's Day, ma. Thanks for taking me to Toys R Us in 1985 to meet the star of the following classic.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Check Bruce's comments out here (I've linked directly to his first one). They're pretty entertaining, especially since nobody really believed it was Bruce for a long while - including some of the folks who work for the site. After his identity was verified, they put all his comments (under the alias "Walter B") in a black box.
The fact that his friends call him "John MaFuckin'Clane" makes him even cooler in my eyes. And I didn't think that could happen.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Except as otherwise provided in the present Treaty, the Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers, other claims of the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of any actions taken by Japan and its nationals in the course of the prosecution of the war, and claims of the Allied Powers for direct military costs of occupation.
Basically, the point was that Japan should pay reparations, but its economy was in no shape to do so. Had Japan been forced to pay all of the claims against it, it would have gone bankrupt and its millions of residents would suffer.
Sounds reasonable, right? No reason to kick the Land of the Rising Sun while she's down.
The trouble is, though, there was no mention of how long this would continue, if Japan's economy should happen to improve. (And no, this isn't the first time a well-meaning program has existed far past its original intent.)
Well, here we are, 62 years after the war and 56 years after the treaty. Japan is, in fact, doing a tad bit better. And now survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam are seeking - you guessed it - reparations. Japan, though, isn't being held financially responsible for this, even though it was its forces that invaded Guam in December 1941 and held it captive until July 1944 (thanks, Wikipedia!).
According to The New York Times:
The Guam compensation program would cost about $135 million: $12,000 to each of the roughly 9,000 survivors of the occupation, and lump sums of $25,000 to children of about 1,000 Guam residents killed by Japanese occupation forces.
Want to take a stab at who is expected to foot that bill? Let me give you a hint: I wouldn't be writing this if it were, say, Germany paying for Japan's past transgressions.
Thanks, President Truman. 'Preciate it.
(Apologies to The Girl, by the way. I only hold her half responsible, as she's only half-Japanese.)
Friday, May 04, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
It's Friday, and as of this afternoon, there are exactly 13 days left in my teaching career. Have you ever been around a bunch of 5th graders, by the way, who know they only have 13 days left of elementary school? As excited and unfocused as they are, I think I got 'em beat. Plus, tomorrow is Derby Day, and I'm taking The Girl for her first time. Life is sweet. Or at least it will be once I shoehorn these kids onto their buses.
- In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, Bruce Willis reveals 20th Century Fox is considering cutting Live Free or Die Hard so it receives a PG-13 rating. Ok, Fox - let's go through this slowly. I took it pretty well when you hired the director of fucking Underworld to helm this sequel to my favorite film. I did my best not to flinch when John McClane's new partner was revealed to be the fucking Mac guy (who I liked in Accepted, but still.) Even though my eyes started bleeding, I didn't even comment on that absurd fucking Kevin Smith cameo in the trailer. And dammit, I buried my negative feelings that the John McClane of the Live Free trailer looks just like any other generic fucking action hero, and bears little-to-no resemblance of the guy in the 1988 original. And let's not even mention that dumb fucking title. I did all that. I did all that, because it's Die Hard, and if anything is worth my patience and good thoughts, it's fucking Die Hard. Fuck you, though, if you fuck with the fucking R-rating, which should be a fucking given because it's a fucking Die Hard movie! The fucking trailer already reveals that McClane does indeed say "Yippie-ki-yay." If he ends that fucking sentence with anything other than "motherfucker," I can fucking promise you the audiences will be pissed, and word-of-mouth will be terrible. Fucking pissed, and fucking terrible.
- In searching for a Justin Long link just now, I found something even better - the Japanese Mac guy. The Girl will be so proud.
- I've never worn a jersey or T-shirt bearing the logo of a non-Georgia team, but something tells me I need a Ryan Langerhans jersey from his Oakland A's days. It would go perfect with some vintage Mike Piazza/Florida Marlins garb.
- Potential Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson - who may get my vote simply because he was in a Die Hard movie (sorry, a "fucking" Die Hard movie) - takes on the myth of "free" Cuban health care, a topic sure to be revisited when Michael Moore's health care-focused "documentary" is released later this year.
- One of my all-time favorite movie posters is now available on eBay (the movie is average, yes, but I just love that poster.) I mean, if you're looking for a Christmas present ...
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
In my 2006 mock draft, I nailed only five picks out of a possible 32.
Creating a perfect mock draft, of course, is an impossible task: one wrong guess at the top sends the dominoes plummeting, and a few draft-day trades throws it even more out of whack. Still, five out of 32 was a little humbling.
After one year of lessons learned, my 2007 incarnation would have to be more successful, no?
My correct predictions
Pick #1: Oakland Raiders, QB JaMarcus Russell
Pick #7: Minnesota Vikings, RB Adrian Peterson
Pick #28: Baltimore Ravens, OG Ben Grubbs
And that's all she (he) wrote. I nailed only three out of 32. Next year I'm shooting for one.
Now, to be fair, I did make some sorta-correct calls. I said WR Calvin Johnson would go #2 to whatever team was in that slot; it's just that Detroit kept it instead of trading it to Tampa Bay. Brady Quinn is in fact going to the Cleveland Browns, only 19 picks after I thought he would. And the Jaguars did take Reggie Nelson, and the Broncos did take Jarvis Moss - only they swapped picks to take the players I thought they'd land with their original selection.
Will this little experience put me off of making a 2008 mock draft? Sheeeyit, I've already written an outline of 2009 in pencil. FYI: With the first pick, QB Matthew Stafford goes to the New England Patriots (they finish dead last in 2008 when Tom Brady dies of a lethal mix of cancer, diabetes, malaria, shingles and AIDS. At least I hope.)