Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hockey

I just had an epiphany that I am the best kind of sports fan.

I realized this during the BIG OLYMPICS HOCKEY SHOWDOWN that just took place. Which I ignored, because I'm not really into hockey, plus everyone's going to forget it in a month anyway, so it really isn't worth watching for the "important moment" feel either.

That's not why I'm the best kind of sports fan. Unless being mildly disinterested in hockey has some sort of hidden sports fan award bonus.

Actually, right after the US apparently tied the game to send it into overtime, I found myself not really caring who won (as in, not-not caring because I wasn't interested in the game... but because I was sort of conflicted. I wrote this about two hours ago and just now realized that writing this part didn't make a whole lot of sense. I could have edited it and replaced with something else, but that'd be too easy or something).

On one hand, I'm living in the US, so it's sort of weird to root against your country. On the other hand, Canada probably cared about the game about 6021503921 times more than the US did, so it'd be better if the victor actually appreciated the spoils, you know?

So in essence, I am super duper selfless and willing to let others have the glory rather than hog it all for me and my teams, and Yankee fans are the worst people in the world.

Also, since I am super duper selfless, I deserve a break at least once.

So God pretty much owes me a Vikings Super Bowl now. That's all there is to it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Troll 2

Sara and I were on the phone the other day. For some reason we decided on watching a movie with each other, while we were both far away from each other and connected only by a small contraption.

It ended up turning out to be pretty fun. We went onto Hulu and browsed through their movies list, not really looking for anything in particular. I saw Troll 2 listed. Of course, I was familiar with Troll 2 because of this scene:



So obviously, that was what we were going to watch. I would say that it exceeded all expectations, that it set the bar for cinematic wretchedness, etc. etc. Unfortunately, the actual movie watching experience was somewhat limited by the fact that I kept trying to make sure Sara and I were somewhat close in viewing time, as well as the fact that... you know, I was talking on the phone and thus my natural inclination is to pay more attention to what's going on to the person talking into my ear. That, and Hulu being slow.

However, even with my limited attention, the movie was terribly fun to watch. I am going to accompany my take on this film with clips, which will hopefully illustrate what I'm trying to say a little bit more clearly.



So according to IMDB, the film crew spoke mostly Italian, and that the director (also Italian) insisted that the lines were read verbatim on screen. I can only presume that the result of that are scenes like the above, where it perhaps it made some sort of sense at some point (a long shot, but still) but got terribly, terribly lost in translation. First off, I'm pretty sure that something that probably reads like "Gal fondles ear of corn, says "what's the matter? Aren't you hungry?" Boy says "actually, I like popcorn" isn't probably going to be written by any native English speaker... unless if they're 8. Or something. But honestly, I can't figure out whether or not this is supposed to be humorous or sincere... I just can't. On one hand, there's no way that a sex scene featuring a seductress carrying around an ear of corn (by the way, WHAT THE F***) is meant to be completely straight. On the other hand, if this was meant to be humorous, then the makers of this film must be some sort of genius ... and assuredly, they cannot possibly be genius, can they?

The next scene comes after the kid receives a message from his dead grandpa that the food his family is about to eat is poisoned with Troll 2 disease, so he decides the only way to solve said crisis is to urinate all over the food.



Again, I am clueless as to how to react. Is this some kind of bizarre brilliance? Cause this is what I'd expect from your normal crappy B-movie "dad punishes son" scene: have the dad say something ridiculous, then go for the belt for a harsh whipping. And end scene. And that's all you really need to make the scene memorable, right? But here? It takes the ridiculousness completely to the next level. He goes for the belt, son worries about what his father is going to do to him... and then the father starts tightening his belt in order to relieve him of hunger pangs? What? He then takes his son's "hunger strike" as a challenge, and then we get some unnecessary exposition about how his family was poor or something. Again, what? It makes absolutely no sense, and yet... I just can't merely toss it off as incompetence. Something that takes an already ridiculous line and then INCREASES the absurdity can't just be some moron in Italy trying to make an American film despite not knowing English, can it?

I keep imagining that some strange genius concocted this script in a bet to intentionally write the worst script possible. And then hired a film crew that didn't speak English in order to give the illusion that the language barrier caused the film to be what it was. And then hired actors who were oblivious to the fact that they had no talent (see above... I'm trying to find more clips with the Dad because something about his earnestness makes his terrible acting all the more enjoyable, but I'm not finding much).

Then hired 9 year old girls as dance choreographers possible for the inevitable "this movie was made in the 80's" scene.



Then to top it off, decided that in the group of "boys" mentioned in the above clip, that this guy would be cast as the "skirt chaser" of the group, and find himself trying to win over the proverbial damsel in distress.



So you have the recipe for a terrible movie, but its fatal flaw is that it's surprisingly watchable. I mean, take Manos: The Hands Of Fate: it's pretty clear here that the film is incompetently made and unwatchable, given by the fact that it's made by some lawn mower salesman (or whatever). Not the case with Troll 2. Sure, the script is terrible, the acting is absolutely horrendous... but it all seems to add up to something ludicrous and bizarre rather than something that's difficult to sit through. And shouldn't that be the definition of "bad"? I mean, I would say that I "like" the Star Wars Holiday Special, but it's more in a masochistic "I'm going to sit through 15 minutes of Wookiees moaning at each other to see if I can handle." By all means, that's a bad movie/TV show/whatever.

So I don't know. I can't call it a bad movie, simply because for all the flaws there's never really a dull moment. And seriously, part of me thinks that someone like Stanley Kubrick got a case of the giggles after watching a particularly bad movie, decided to make a terrible movie himself, only to make it so effectively that no one could really tell the difference. It might have happened, you never know.

OK, so it probably didn't happen, but still.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

GRAAAAAH

I just beat New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Few things:

-It took me about 2 months to do it because I started playing it on my brothers' Wii and got to about level 5 over Christmastime. Then I went back to my place and never put it in my own Wii, so my only chance to play the game was essentially when I visited home for a few days. If that is not a testament to my laziness, then I don't know what is.

-I played 2 player most of the time, which I've determined is a lot more enjoyable due to the fact that I can blame my brother for pretty much everything. And with good reason - I had about 1 continue used throughout the game, and he had about 30. So I was assuming that the heavy lifting for the final boss battle would be left to me and everything, since... you know, I'm better.

BUT THEN. The boss battle evolved into a race against time platformer with fireballs coming at you in every single direction. I died, mainly because I was devoting precious seconds glancing over at my brother's character (Luigi) to make sure he was alive. I assumed that since I died, he would then die shortly thereafter.

HE ENDED UP COMPLETING THE "BATTLE" AND WINNING THE GAME.

It's like if Robert DeNiro and Pauly Shore were in a movie together, and DeNiro carried Shore throughout the entire movie, except for the pivotal scene in which DeNiro drops the ball and Shore inexplicably stealing it from him. It makes no sense.

And I died in the middle of the level, too. And he kept going.

-So I--as Mario--died in the middle of the level, and my brother as Luigi ended up saving Peach. Then of course in the ending scene Mario and Peach are all love-y dove-y, and Luigi brings them a hot air balloon, acting as their friggin' chauffeur. Meanwhile, Luigi was the one to save Peach. Which apparently everyone forgot.

Not that I'm expecting that the ending scene needs to consist of Luigi and Peach having hot Nintendo sex, but if Mario fails in the game and Luigi ends up doing all the work, shouldn't there be a ending scene that reflects that? Like, you don't have to break up Mario and Peach, but you could at least include hints of Peach contemplating infidelity or something, and that Mario's manliness is a bit lacking and such.

-Also, the level challenges where I need to carry Toad to the end are terribly frustrating. Mainly because Toad is a moron. And runs into enemies to kill himself.

Which is stupid, in case you didn't know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So instead of doing anything else the past few weeks (and Lord knows I could have been doing a whole lot with all my free time), I've been watching the TV show "The Wire". Plowed through seasons one through three, and just started season four because I figured I had nothing better to do with my time.

Now, in what was most likely complete ignorance on my part, I've kind of dismissed television as being... you know, mindless. Which I'd say is a reasonable assumption, given the 99% of crap that actually appears on the airwaves. And so I've put off shows that people have told me to watch simply because I assumed the worse about the shows (and in some cases, I was right there too... pretty sure I was recommended to watch Family Guy a few times, only to discover that if television was the skidmark of the 20th century's technological advances, then that show was the skidmark's skidmark).

I ventured over into The Wire because... well, "best show ever" is pretty lofty claims, and that was coming from a lot of people that seemed reasonable enough that I figured I'd give it a shot. As it turns out... they were all pretty much right. Or at least I think they're right, since I really don't know as my TV watching habits are fiercely scarce. I could go on and try out some other critically acclaimed shows, knowing that they might give me the same amount of pleasure that "The Wire" has brought me. But on the flip side, I'm wondering if I inadvertently shot my load too early and just made my viewing experience of anything to come next pale in comparison to this show.

(Not that "The Wire" is perfect. A few plot contrivances here and there, most of the ones I'm thinking coming from season three. Season one and two were amazing, however. Season one because of the tightness and realism of the writing (along with how the cops and criminals mirrored each other before the whole mirroring thing began to feel like somewhat of a cliche), and season two just for the poignancy of the proud union dock workers striving to hold on to their way of life. Season three tried to comment more on how the whole political system is broken, thus not allowing for any progress at all... which is OK, but as a whole it just seemed to be a little too much. Perhaps that's the fault of having way too may storyline strands and characters to concentrate on. Or maybe I just wasn't crazy about it since it seemed reductive to return to the targets of season one after seeming as if they wanted to expand their scope starting with season two. I don't know. I'm liking what I'm seeing from the first two episodes of season four, however.)

Another thing to ponder is that I'm devoting 60 hours of my life to this show (sort of... I'm also reading episode analyses old episode threads on TV forums that haven't had activity in ages... which is kind of weird), and if I'm deciding to tackle a few other shows, well... that's not healthy is it? Again, Lord knows I'm about the world's least productive person, but if I'm devoting time like this to other programs, I'm probably never going to accomplish anything ever again.

Of course, not that worries about productivity is going to stop me. Obviously, I'm going to keep trucking along with this show, be depressed like crazy as I wait for my Netflix disc to arrive tomorrow after finishing the last episode on the disc tonight, move on to something like the Sopranos or whatever... and then maybe you'll hear back from me in around April. That sounds good and all, right?

(Perhaps I'll start trying to be more disciplined and writing more, but that might not keep up for very long. I'll give it the old effort, though.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blogger:

I always have to log in whenever I come in here.

I always have to ask Blogger to remember me whenever I log in. And then slowly but surely, all memories of me evaporates from Blogger's memory.

I think this means that Blogger doesn't really like me anymore.

*sigh*

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm watching the Super Bowl. I'm going to write while watching it.

I'm going to cheer for the Vikings.

5:28: Why are they stiffing Rice in favor of Smith for the coin toss? Rice was easily the best WR to play the game, would probably be in the top five for best players ever, while Smith is... OK. Sure, he's got the rushing yards all time mark, but I don't think anyone would argue he's a top 3 RB.

Also, that LeBron/Howard commercial was lame. They couldn't think of any cool dunks to do, so they just decided to rely on CG crap? Very weak.

5:42: Bud Light commercial: the worst. Snickers commercial with Abe Vigoda: cool. Tim Tebow commercial: stupid. That's my winning analysis of the first commercial break. You're in luck, cause there's more to come!

(It's kind of hard to actually write about something 30 seconds long, cause the brevity of them force you to churn out words as quick as possible, since there's another commercial right there in the wings.)

5:47: I'm sort of sitting here, ambivalent about the game, hoping that one team gives me a reason to cheer for them. It's less ideal than having a clear favorite play for their first Super Bowl in 30 years after losing 4 Super Bowls already... but it's less stressful, at least. I'd probably be crying with every Colts first down.

As it seems so far, I think the Saints are going to need to win this with their defense and force some turnovers. Their offense hasn't really wowed me as much as I feel they should be (throwing it deep on 3rd & 2 3 plays into the game = not a good idea).

5:54: Words cannot express how much I hate Bud Light commercials. It's probably because they always seem to amuse people despite the fact that they're becoming amazingly formulaic (I can't describe the formula to you right now because I'm distracted by football, but I'm assuming you know what I'm talking about). I hate people.

6:02: So... the Colts just scored... and that drive looked pretty impressive and crap.

Now... if the VIKINGS were in this game, that drive might not happen. And then we score... and then go on to win.

I hate life.

6:19: I don't know how I feel about Shutter Island. Don't think it's going to be essential Scorsese (cause... nothing he's made in the last 10 years has really been essential), but it could be decent, right?

6:21: David Letterman's spot for the Late Show = awesome and yet also making Jay Leno seem like a humorous guy for agreeing to appear on the commercial. It doesn't make any sense...

6:37: Colts secondary is looking pretty suspect, which should mean good things for Brees and the Saints. Even if they get in here, though... they have to hate that the Colts are pretty much assured to score in the 2 minute offense.

6:39: Go for it... GO FOR IT.

6:42: WHY DO YOU RUN IT HERE.

6:45: Well, they get the ball back, so they might still be able to do something. Still, you've got Drew Brees beating the crap out of the secondary, and you run the ball?

7:01: OH MAN. THE WHO. THE WORLD IS RIVETED.

And... also, they're not sounding all that good. Daltrey's timing seems all off. But the stage looks cool. People singing along to Baba O'Riley. The middle aged rich folks who bought tickets to this are having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES AS THEY RELIVE THE DAYS OF THEIR YOUTH. HOPE I DIE BEFORE I GET OLD. MEET THE NEW BOSS SAME AS THE OLD BOSS.

7:08: Just need Won't Get Fooled Again to complete the CSI theme trifecta...

And there you go.

To be fair, they're finishing a lot better than they started off. But the audience is enjoying it much more than they should be.

7:15: The problem with the Super Bowl halftime show is that anyone that would conceivably play at it would terribly suck, either by a) being washed up for a agood 20 years, or b) being a "popular" act of today (and thus being terrible). So it's never going to improve... until 30 years from now, when 70 year old Thom Yorke and Radiohead rock our 50 year old socks off.

7:21: HOLY BALLS ONSIDE KICK THIS JUST TURNED INTO A GAME.

OK. SCREW IT. GO SAINTS. BEAT THE S*** OUT OF THE COLTS.

7:27: This is a game now. Beautiful. I admire the balls of Sean Payton.

Take that however you like.

7:37: OK. So now it's just going to be everyone scoring until the team with the ball last wins. It just looks like a slugfest now.

8:09: Well, I was wrong, but the Saints have a chance to take the lead now... I really don't know why the Colts went for a 50 yard field goal, though.

8:14: Score... 2 point conversion fails. Prediction = Colts take 6 plays to score a TD here.

8:19: Nevermind. 2 point conversion good.

OK, so... if the Colts tie the game with like 30 seconds in the game, THEY SHOULD GO FOR TWO. AND THEN I'D BE CHEERING FOR THE COLTS.

8:28: Green Police=winners of the worst commercial. GAAAAAAAAAAAAH. I WISH GLOBAL WARMING WAS A HOAX.

8:29: Well, that's the Peyton Manning I used to know.

8:45: Two things.

1) The whole "Manning as one of the best QBs to ever play the game" can end for now. The first Super Bowl win--OK, but still. Other than that one game against the Patriots during their Super Bowl run, Manning can't win when it comes down to it.

2) Should have been the Vikings there...

*sigh*

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh, whatever

-The Blind Side might get the middle-aged white women to watch the show, I suppose... I don't really know what other benefits the Academy might derive from its presence in the top 10. Still should have gone with Star Trek with that... or Fantastic Mr. Fox.

-Really glad to see that A Serious Man got in, even though in the rankings it's a clear cut 9 out of the 10 nominees in terms of likelihood of winning (Blind Side is 10... even if it made it, I can't see anyone actually arguing it's the best film of the year). A little support is better than no support, I suppose.

-Let's just rank the best picture nominees that I saw.

1/2: A Serious Man/Inglourious Basterds (I probably should rewatch A Serious Man sometime this week, so I might have a definitive answer then).
3: The Hurt Locker
4: District 9
5: Up
6: Up In The Air
7: Avatar

An Education, Precious, and the Blind Side are all unseen. None of them I'm particularly wanting to see (I'm doing well with the whole "keeping mind open" thing, aren't I?), but if they make their way to DVD before the night... I guess I'll give them a look.

-In The Loop getting a Best Adapted Screenplay = good. Fantastic Mr. Fox not getting that slot = kind of sucks, but acceptable considering it got a 2nd nomination in score.

-Aside from Best Picture or Best Director... the category with most intrigue is Best Original Screenplay. Now, with the way things are looking, The Hurt Locker is going to pick up quite a few statues so this might just be one of the ones they sweep up. But I'm really, really gunning for Inglourious Basterds/A Serious Man to take it, since both scripts managed to be balls-out entertaining while still maintaining some rich and complex storytelling. The Hurt Locker was intense, sure... but I've spent more time chewing on the two I'm rooting for, you know?

-Best Actor/Actresses category = *shrugs*. By my count, I've seen about 5 out of the 20 nominated performances, which I'll chalk up to being completely broke. I mean, stuff like Crazy Heart and The Messenger (I'm assuming) is quality stuff, but it isn't exactly making me want to spend money I shouldn't be spending.

Monday, February 1, 2010

So tomorrow's the second biggest day of the year for film. You know, because there's really not a lot of big *days* over the year in film (maybe Christmas Day, but I mean... the biggest movies released this year was Sherlock Holmes and The Squeakquel).

Anyway, tomorrow's when the Oscar nominations come out, and since I sort of obsess over the Oscars come this time of year, it's the only time I willingly get out of bed before 8 AM, just so I can catch the nominees as they're announced. And, I'm not really the world's greatest Oscar prognosticator, but you know... I like to participate. I like to pretend that my opinions are valid, and that my predictions have weight. Plus I'd like to think I'm going out on a limb with some of these.

So let's go through some of them:

BEST PICTURE:

I have the feeling that a lot of films that might not have gotten in otherwise will do so thanks to the preferential balloting system they have going on for the best picture race. Not that I know which movies will be surprising tomorrow morning, but movies like Invictus, A Serious Man are out... just cause there seems to be less support for them. And maybe some other films... I'm just less ballsy to expect them to get snubbed.

Nominees:
Avatar
Crazy Heart
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based On *shoot me in the face*
Star Trek
Up
Up In The Air

BEST ACTOR:

Seems kind of shooed in. Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Renner. EXCEPT that I'm expecting a lot of love for Inglourious Basterds tomorrow... which might extend them to pull a Kate Winslet and include Christoph Waltz in Best Actor. Cause that'd be interesting.

BEST ACTRESS:

Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep are going to be battling it out and I could care less, because Streep is annoying to me (for inexplicable reasons) and The Blind Side looks terrible to me. Either Carey Mulligan or Gaborey Sidibe is going to get snubbed, though. Just another weird feeling. Emily Blunt and Helen Mirren fill it out, I suppose.

BEST DIRECTOR:

Cameron, Bigelow, Tarantino. Daniels gets in because... it seems like the Academy would love to nominate him. Reitman gets snubbed, however, in favor of Blomkamp.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Hurt Locker, Up, A Serious Man, and Inglourious Basterds. The 5th spot goes to (500) Days Of Summer over Avatar, which would please me greatly.

Because, you know... Avatar's script sucked balls.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

*crosses fingers for Fantastic Mr Fox.*

Screw it. I'll put them in anyway. They have to recognize how awesome it was besides getting the consolation prize in best animated feature, right? And Precious, Up In The Air get in. So do An Education and District 9, I suppose.

Just... come on, Fantastic Mr. Fox.