The List

Everyone has a list of favorite tv shows, or at least they should. That list should not be finite, there is always room for ones taste to change, and for better material to be produced effectively adding itself to the list. The following are three additions to my top ten list, and the three shows that got to go.

Add: games of thrones

I cant say enough good shit about this series. I was hesitant at first. All my friends were raving about the show. I thought, yeah…I’m not really into castles and fantasy stuff,  so I’ll be alright skipping this one. But everywhere I went people were loving the series, and then I heard it got like 4 emmy noms so I was like whateves, I’ll watch an episode see what it’s all about. I ended up finishing the series in two nights. I don’t know how people managed to wait a whole week for the next episode when it was on TV, and I’v no f-king clue how I’m supposed to wait an entire year for the next season. I may have to do the unthinkable and crack open a book. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

Remove: Weeds

OMG Weeds get over yourself. I stopped watching after Agrestic burned down. I’ve managed to catch an episode her and there, but I’ve stopped watching because I don’t care for what the show has become. It had a good thing going, I was signed up to watch a series about a mother trying to make ends meat by selling a bit of pot, and I was down with them exploiting the shit out of Mary-Louise Parkers’s body. However I did not sign up for the grandiose adventure they are making it become.

Add: the sopranos

You’ve already heard everything you need to about this show. I always intended to watch this show back in the day, but I didn’t have HBO, and every season on DVD still goes for like 50 bucks. I even tried watching when it got syndicated on A&E, but I figured watching it that way would be a disservice to the makers. I finally got around to netflixing it, and yeah, its good.

Remove: Lost

WAAALLT

I heart the first two seasons, I bore the next three seasons, and I hated the last one. I know everyone has their own opinion on the way Lost concluded, some look past the story arks that went nowhere in-order to buy into the big picture, and I would be willing to do that too, but I genuinely hate the big picture. After watching the series I did the due diligence, I read several fan-explanations, all of which went crazy in depth trying to justify the (shitty) ending. Normally I would say whatever, the series didn’t end with a big pay off, so what? The Sopranos had a pretty shitty ending, but that doesn’t seem to bother me. That’s prolly because, for me, The Sopranos ended too abruptly, and I wanted more, whereas Lost took forever to end, and when it finally did..I wished I’d never watched it at all.

A series has never made me mad. I have never watched a TV show and upon its conclusion been filled with rage, mainly because I’m not a stay-at-home mom. But Lost seriously pissed me off. I had to watch so many episodes after I (and seemingly the writers) had generally given up interest. I sat through countless child birth scenes, asinine plot twists, Jin & Sun’s stupid fucking love stories, and for what? For a “they all lived (died) happily ever after”. Fuck that. Fuck Lost.

Add: the wire

Unlike Game of Thrones, this is a show I was never told about. I’m a little perturbed at the amount of HBO subscribers who wont shut the fuck up about greasy muscle clad Vampires buttfucking each other or whatever they do in Trueblood, but don’t have the common courtesy to tell me about The Wire. I have chosen, of my own accord, not to watch Trueblood. It may be a great series, and I do not have any justifiable reason not to watch. Yet people keep telling me I have to watch it(more last year). But I have never once been told by anyone to watch the wire. Where were all these TB fans, who apparently know what I am going to enjoy (sidebar: wont stfu about it), when The Wire was on? Either they never saw it, or they are nincompoops, prolly both.

Now, it not like I have never heard of The Wire. I had heard little about the show, but at the time I always confused it with a show that was on around the same time called the Shield, which I had the occasion to watch, and did not care for. After my bout of confusion passed, I never gave The Wire a second thought.

After finishing The Sopranos I had some extra time on my hands and I wanted a similar show to fill the void the Sopranos left. I recalled an episode of The Office where The Wire was referenced, and what I got from the reference was that the show delt with drugs, and was too sophisticated for Michael to understand. After a quick check of imdb, I saw that it had a 9.7 rating and figured I could give it a try. Obviously I’m glad I DID. I LOVE THE SHOW AND ALL THE CHARACTERS (that was an accidental caps lock, but I stand by it). This is one of the best television shows ever made, ever.

 Remove: The Office

Does anyone relate to Jim anymore? Now that the Jim-Pam will they won’t they aesthetic is gone they seem like they are kinda dicks. I’m not going to go off on this, but it seems like they have a tendency to be rude and/or showboaty to the other workers, who by now seem more like their friends than just casual co-workers. Generally when everything works out for the protagonists, the stories over.

Here’s my real beef. Post season 2 the show lost its mockumentary balance; its become 80% mock and 20% umentary. With the addition of Ed Helms and the focus being taken off the relationship aspect its just lost its allure to me. All the excess time allotted to supporting characters, allows them to be become more rounded characters, and they all have their own bizarre eccentricities, a little too bizarre in some cases. But, I mean, I like the supporting characters, and all, the show is still funny, but for me it’s lost the special something that made it great.  Now it’s just another sitcom.

Posted in television | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Paranormal Redundancy or Titanic 2: Titanic

I am a tremendous fan of bad movies. I was going to begin by saying that watching the bad films helps you appreciate the good ones but I just don’t believe that and it probably is not true, I watch them strictly for entertainment purposes. For me, they elicit a similar reaction most people receive from horror films. I cannot watch horror films as they bore me to death, but put a terribly poor written and low-budget movie in front of me and I will be on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next awful plot twist (just like their masked mass murdering counterparts, they come out of nowhere). Occasionally, you come across a gem that is so good at being bad that it miraculously becomes good again, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space (Wood Jr, 1959), The Room (Wiseau, 2003) and Ankle Biters (Minarovich, 2002). Unfortunately, neither of the films I will be reviewing today were able to cross back over that line and sadly remain solidly in the bad movie genre. Did I mention I will be reviewing the knockbuster hits Paranormal Entity (Van Dyke, 2009) and Titanic 2 (Van Dyke, 2010)?

Alright, brief synopsis. Paranormal Entity is clearly a knock-off Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2007). I think they are horror films but I can’t really tell as nothing much happens throughout the combined 174 minutes. Watching either film will guarantee you a restless bedtime experience filled with poorly acted nightmares. Both films suck, but they suck equally. They are indiscernibly similar, so if you liked either movie then you are probably a jackass. Those statements feel a bit too harsh and I don’t want any readers out there to mistakenly assume I feel “too” anything about these movies. They are, at best, lukewarm garbage, and not the cool environmental pollutant type garbage that corporations dump maliciously, I am talking about a couple of spare beer cans and an empty bag of Doritos that have been sitting in a puddle of rain water for like a week. That is the most scathingly ambivalent review I can give.

Titanic 2 was something I really thought I could sink my teeth into. 100 years after the tragic sinking of the Titanic (Titanic 1, if you will), a billionaire playboy/engineering genius/actual director/writer/star/actual grandson of Dick Van Dyke decides it would be appropriate to build a ship, christen it Titanic 2, and sail from New York to London (the lanes reversed!). Meanwhile, an iceberg the size of Manhattan or something falls into the Atlantic and sends waves crashing into the ocean liner, I think. Now I kind of forgot what happens because, to be honest, I watched this film over a month ago. I remember one scientist in Greenland is taking ice core samples by scooping up freshly fallen snow with his hand and putting it in a container. I was under the impression it took special drills digging hundreds of meters into the ground under sterile conditions to retrieve ice core samples but I doubt Mr. Van Dyke and his crack team would have over looked such a thing. The story is preposterous, the dialogue is awkward, the acting is stiff, the visual effects are terrible, and best of all they take themselves seriously but the movie still doesn’t manage to make you laugh often enough to make sitting through it worthwhile.

Now let us take a step back and I will tell you a bit about the think tank that puts out these straight-to-DVDs. Aptly dubbed The Asylum (It is insane that these movies turn a profit)(I believe it is a subsidiary of Tantamount Studios), this quality allergic production company has streamlined the way knockbusters are made. They begin by figuring out what is going to be popular 3 to 4 months from now, and they end by putting a hastily thrown together “movie” on the shelves of your local Blockbuster, or in my case Netflix instant queue, to coincide with the actual blockbusters theatrical release. According to Wikipedia, they spend “well under a million dollars” and write each film in anywhere “from an hour to a few weeks.” Now that is what I call talent. Oh, except it is talent in the way that I can touch my tongue to my nose or I can snap my fingers in a strange way are talent. Their apparent success is derived from piggy-backing on the massive marketing campaigns put in place by the high-budget originals. How a commercial for Transformers (Bay, 2007) could cause anyone to rent Transmorphers (L. Scott, 2007) is beyond me, but many folks out there hate them for this deceptive practice. I was inclined to agree, but after some thoughtful reflection, I have concluded that I just really don’t care. Do the people being tricked deserve to be tricked? Well, if you cannot tell the difference when you are renting this film then you most likely cannot tell the difference when you are watching this film. Are they destroying art to make a profit? Absolutely (and also probably not a super great thing to be doing) they are, but so is like almost everyone else. What they are doing is fine in my book as long as they don’t start to develop a non-ironic cult following. The second I find out a large group of people sincerely enjoy their films then I will be sincerely pissed off. So for now I give them:

1.5 out of 5 homophones

I started off discussing how much I enjoy watching bad movies and meant to talk about Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who, in my opinion (and a lot of other peoples), suck it big time. As an example, the five related lists that appear first on Seltzers IMDB page include: Directors Who Somehow Still Get Work, directors trying to destroy the movie business, PLEASE disappear off the face of the planet………please. PART II, The worst directors of all time, and peores directores que jamas hayan existido. According to my three years of Spanish education, that last one translates to something directors what something something exist. According to Google Translate, that last one translates to the worst directors who ever lived. Incidentally, while perusing their IMDB pages, I noticed that I have yet to see their latest release Vampires Suck (Friedberg, Seltzer, 2010) so I will be pushing that to the top of my queue and reviewing it shortly. Did I include too many rhetorical questions in this article?

Posted in movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Armageddon 2: Armageddon¹

Well guys, we made it past the first of the Armageddi, and now it’s onto the sequel, and it’s a real doozie2. That is right people, not long until the Mayan Calendar ends and this time we can’t just get a new one. This time that crappy kiosk in the mall that sells almost exclusively calendars doesn’t have anything for you, unless you need a set of those metal ring puzzle things. Let’s take a look at all the evidence:

The End of Numbers

The Mayan Calendar Ends. This alone should be enough evidence, how could a culture that got trashed by the Spaniards get this wrong. This long count calendar in conjunction with their Calendar Round allowed the Mayans to specify dates for periods longer than 52 years (the length of the calendar round due to their years having 260 days vs. our 365). The whole idea that a calendar coming to an end (which the Mayan Long Count calendar cannot) would signal the end of time is asinine. O, and historians believe that they predicted an age of enlightenment, not the end of the world, at 13.0.0.0.0… an age of enlightened doom.

Well, it's a scary picture

Geomagnetic Reversal.The South Pole will become the North Pole, Dogs will turn into Cats, Boys into Girls, Christians into Atheists… all hell will break loose. But to be clear, they think that a process that has happened many times in the planets history to be something that could cause major extinction, despite our distant ancestors living through the last geomagnetic reversal. But even if it does become an issue, we just need to crack open the earth and pry out all the molten nickel from the core and shoot it into outer space so the magnetic poles won’t have an opportunity to switch on us and that will show them. Or us.

Planet X is going to skullfuck Earth.So what if no one can see this planet and NASA says it doesn’t exist. People have predicted that this will happen because… well just because. It was supposed to be here in 2003, but they recalculated, and will you look at that… 2012. But, if this happens we will just send up a team of sexy astronauts and a British nanny with a nuclear bomb to blow the whole thing up. Which is the exact plot of Armageddon… There was also a bit of Mary Poppins in there.

Green Lantern's Light

Sun’s Solar Flares are going to heat up. It’s going to be near the peak time of the eleven year cycle. The same cycle that peaked in 2002-2003. They are playing pretty fast and loose with their science, but they are playing with science nonetheless. This one actually works in conjunction with the magnetic reversal theory, they think that the loss of our protective magnetic shield will allow solar winds to kill us all. This perfect storm of conditions could cause a few satellites to malfunction.

Nostradamus… FTW! A guy who maybe predicted something about some other random things and got them right might have predicted 2012 as the end of the world. It is a solid argument with some real science behind it.

You're going nowhere

The Rapture. I’m more worried about the Four Horsemeals of the Egg-Porkalypse.

Robot Overlords are going to take over. We have angered them by turning their leader into a disgraced politician and they won’t rest until their circuitry is bathed in the blood of the innocent… This is a theory I can get behind.

I think it’s pretty clear that I think that this is total crap, and hopefully you agree. Somehow things like this get media attention, and I am sure that there are much more important matters3. History is full of people predicting the end, and yet the world goes on. But then again… the world is for sure going to end, for sure. So everyone be sure to live constantly in fear, and invest heavily in gold.

[1] Bad title.
[2] Doesn’t hold a candle to Titanic II (Van Dyke, 2010) 4
[3] I understand the hypocrisy.
[4] Review by DonnyBagg to come!

Posted in comedy, science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Another Sherman’s March Documentary or Heartbreak Colon What Really Happened On Sherman’s March Comma Disastrous Documentary Question Mark

The movie I will be attempting to review is titled Sherman’s March: A Mediation to the Possibility of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation (McElwee, 1986) which, in prefect reflection of the movie itself, is both insane and amazing (and a bit too long). Not sure how much I have to say about it but I couldn’t pass up a great opportunity for an outrageous title and so I may drift off a bit to discuss other recently viewed movies. I am a firm believer that the mood you are in can drastically determine how much you enjoy a film, especially if the mood is tired and the film is Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975). I had already had a long day at work filled with movie watching so I wasn’t particularly keen on sitting through a 157 minute documentary about the civil war and luckily enough that’s not what I had to sit through.

Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, largely considered one of the most influential Generals in ending the Civil War, led a string of campaigns in the south through Georgia and South Carolina that crippled the Confederate Army and ravaged the cities of Savannah, Atlanta, and Columbia. Most notable, in his southern campaign, was his use of the “scorched earth” policy in which his troops foraged off the land and destroyed everything in their path – burned bridges, ruined crops, wreaked railroads, and razed buildings. This tactic had a massively detrimental effect on both the physical and economic antebellum Reconstruction Era. The destruction of urban cities left a great deal of people with no place to go coupled with no way of getting there due to the state of disrepair in which the transportation system was left. For his bravery and leadership along with his close ties to President Grant, General Sherman was later promoted to General of the Army of the United States which in essence is the leader of the entire military. Shortly after deciding to make a film about the lasting effects Sherman’s March to the Sea had on the south, the director Ross McElwee experiences a troubling break up with his girlfriend and subsequently only about five minutes of the film are actually dedicated to the events that take place during Sherman’s March. I thought I would throw in that brief (and possibly inaccurate, I am not sure I just went off memory/Wikipedia) history lesson for those people who did not take AP US History back in High School. So the actual film Sherman’s March follows director McElwee on his tangential path retracing General Sherman’s campaign through the south whilst simultaneously encountering elevatingly eccentric people and falling in love over and over again. In the beginning, it appeared as though this was another documentary in the vein of American Movie (C. Smith, 1999) which follows around a hapless but endearing filmmaker as he aspires to make his first movie, Coven (2000, Borchadt), that is just comically low-budget. As things progress, we find out he is a fairly normal, well educated, semi-talented director who has trouble finding the right woman and absolutely no trouble finding crazy people to put on camera. In each city along his trail, he meets a different woman that piques his interest from a Burt Reynolds obsessed starlet with the worst screenplay premise imaginable to a Rapture assured Christian woman looking to join a paramilitary right-wing anti-governmental commune in the hills to a doctoral student working on her dissertation in linguistics on a secluded island with no electricity. All sorts of crazy every direction he turns and it all makes for one of the most interesting documentaries out there.

I knew I wouldn’t have much to say about this movie. O it won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for best documentary in 1987 (coincidentally the same prize American Movie won in 1999). And it runs a bit long, he definitely could have tightened up a few shots but I think it is fairly watchable especially if the anticipation of finding out what sort of crazy he will encounter next can keep you going. So let’s see if there is anything else to discuss, I saw The Hangover: Part 2 (Phillips, 2011) last weekend, that was pretty hilarious but of course not as funny as the original. I listened to an interview with Bradley Cooper on Fresh Air and that guy is way more intelligent than the characters he plays. The style in which he talks is almost funny, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of people’s names and different places and movies it is quite impressive. Also saw a YouTube video of him doing a French interview for The Hangover: Part 2 and it seems like he speaks French fluently something that is also quite surprising considering the first role many people remember him from was Sack Lodge in Wedding Crashers (Dobkin, 2005). 830 words I am almost finished. Alright, I also saw X-Men: First Class (Vaughn, 2011) which received an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am not a huge X-Men fan although I do enjoy a good superhero summer blockbuster. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both fit into their roles great, and Kevin Bacon makes for a very nice villain but his two henchmen are just lame and off-putting. X-Men: First Class is good, probably even great if you see it in theaters but if you really want to see a great McAvoy, Fassbender, and Bacon film then separately watch Atonement (Wright, 2007), Hunger (McQueen, 2008), and The Woodsmen (Kassell, 2004). I think we can end this now so I give Sherman’s March:

3.5 out of 5 Confederate Cotillions

I feel as though I should go back and talk about Hunger for a second. It is incredibly fucking hard to watch and terribly depressing but one of the best movies I have ever seen. The film stars Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands an IRA member serving a jail sentence and makes The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont, 1994) look like a kids movie. It is a dramatization of an actual hunger strike led by Sands in 1981 and I cannot say enough good things about it. Netflix has it on instant play so if you have 96 minutes to spare and want to be fairly disgusted and super bummed out, I highly recommend Hunger. Also happy to see that IMDB lists the director, Steve McQueen’s new film Shame (2012) stars Fassbender as well, definitely going to look forward to that. Wait, didn’t Steve McQueen die of mesothelioma in the 80’s?

Posted in movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diddy-boppin’

So about a weekish ago, I was at a bar talking to one of the bartenders about music. We were talking about our plans for music this summer, and he said he wasn’t doing much except for going to a show in Minneapolis. Naturally, I asked him what show he was going to and he said Foster the People. Intrigued by this new bit of music, I went home and did a little bit of diggin’ and found three songs by this new gem: Pumped Up Kicks, Houdini, and Helena Beat. I loved ’em, downloaded them and tried to put them on my iPod, but my technology blows (Acer Power, baby) so of course it didn’t work the first try. Even worse about that is the fact that I left my iPod chord at home as I left for the weekend.

Album of the Year?

Album of the Year?

All weekend, I kept trying to listen to more Foster the People to show them to my friends, and well, it happened less often than I would have liked. Also, I forgot to mention that I had no car for the weekend. When yesterday rolled around, I was hitchin’ for a ride back to Brookings, and some friends said they were going to go south for a shopscapade. They were kind enough to let me join them. One of the girls said she needed to get a camera, and that she needed to hit up Best Buy. Whilst there, I was browsing the cd’s and saw Foster the People in the new releases. $9.99? Yes, please.

Since I bought the cd around 8 pm last night, it hasn’t left a nearby cd player. I was so excited about it that I had to get online and read about these newly discovered virtuosos. I guess they’re just some dudes from LA that put out some songs, and they blew up on radio stations and the internet. From that, they must have been signed to Columbia Records. I don’t know that, but that’s the company that is on the label of the cd. So that says a shit load about the power of the internet.

The band exploded on Hype Machine (hypem.com), and it’s not surprising. The lyrics are a little dark and not necessarily sane, but they articulate such a confused rage that it translates beautifully over the synths, horns, and guitars. They remind me a little bit of Radiohead and a little bit like Passion Pit. But truthfully, their sound is surprisingly original and inspiring. For any independent artist, you love to hear success stories like Foster the People’s.

The dude who wrote all of the tracks by himself, with the exception of two which he co-wrote, Mark Foster, originally titled the band Foster and the People. Somehow the name morphed into Foster the People, which truthfully sounds awesome, and Foster adopted it openly. His voice is as distinguishable as Billy Corgan’s, and he is clearly a very smart songwriter. I know it’s really early, but I really believe the album will make Foster the People a strong contender for Best New Artist. They are about to blow the fuck up.

So, I guess this post was about two different things. First, how amazed I am that I actually bought a cd (take what you will from that). Second, how amazed I am that there’s a new artist that is this talented. I’m hoping there will be a lot more to come from Mark Foster, and in the interviews I’ve seen him in, he seems like he’s about the music rather than the money. His lyrics would seem to indicate that too. Regardless, “Torches” is an amazing album, and worth the money to purchase it. I would urge anyone to at least listen to it once through. You’ll thank me.

Posted in music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DBDB Top 250 Finale: Terminator 5 or Untitled Michael Bay Project

I might as well wrap this list up before I start in on another review. For the longest time this film was second on my list to Vanilla Sky (Crowe, 2001) but after further analysis of each film I capriciously came to the decision that this was my favorite movie instead. Despite having been released in 1997, I don’t think I saw it until 2006 and if I did see it before then I certainly didn’t appreciate it enough. This is it, the best movie I can think of.

  1. Good Will Hunting (Van Sant, 1997)

Holy poop, I thought having watched 23 Tom Cruise movies was a bit ridiculous but looking at IMDB, unless my calculations are incorrect, I have watched 35 Matt Damon movies. It seems a bit excessive especially considering that is out of a possible 47. So I guess I should talk about Matt Damon for a bit. Not all of his films are outstanding but I also can’t really say I hated any of them with the notable exception of Gerry (Van Sant, 2002) which my disgust towards has long outlasted my memory of. I recall there is a scene where they are sitting around a camp fire discussing an episode of Wheel of Fortune and that is about it. Also one of them dies at the end of the film but I can’t remember whom. <– Spoiler alert, but what did you expect? Along with Last Days (2005) and Elephant (2003) it forms Van Sants death trilogy. Should that have been another spoiler alert? I don’t think so those films are reminiscent of Cobain and Columbine respectively so obviously they end in suicide and murder, again spoiler alert. I have yet to look it up but I am not exactly sure why those particular films make up Van Sants death trilogy, from what I can remember someone relatively important dies in Milk (2008), Paranoid Park (2007), Psycho (1998), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993), My Own Private Idaho (1991), and Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and I am assuming To Die For (1995) which I have not watched but it has “die” right in the title. Okay this is probably starting to get spoiled let’s stop talking about Matt Damon and move on to Gus Van Sant. Which of his films have I yet to mention? Finding Forrester (2000) is just a reworking of Good Will Hunting and now that I think about it does Sean Connery die in the end? I can’t remember I saw it so long ago but either way I would skip it, and then Mala Noche (1986) which I think is Spanish for “brother” is okay considering it was his first feature length film but overall not that great. He tends to be a very streaky director making films that range from top shelf to bottom of the barrel. Alright now I will attempt to distill wisdom out of this ramble:

Watch – Good Will Hunting, Milk, Paranoid Park, and Drugstore Cowboy

Probably Watch – My Own Private Idaho, Elephant, and Last Days

Skip – Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Finding Forrester, and Mala Noche

Avoid – Psycho, and Gerry

? – To Die For

Look Forward To – Restless (2011)

Alright enough about Gus Van Sant let’s get back to Matt Damon. If Vanilla Sky has the best sound track of all time, Good Will Hunting certainly comes in a close second. I am not a huge fan of Elliott Smith but I do find a number of his songs enjoyable, I listened to Baby Britain in High School quite a bit. Miss Misery was nominated for Best Original Song in the 1998 Academy Awards but lost out to fucking My Heart Will Go On which is complete horseshit. His music compliments this film perfectly but I think my favorite Elliott Smith accompaniment would have to be Needle in the Hay from The Royal Tenenbaums (W. Anderson, 2001). O and he was fatally stabbed or fatally stabbed himself in 2003, quite a bit of death in this article so here is a video to cheer you up.

I was going to wrap things up with a brief summary of the things I like about the film but in all honesty it is everything. There isn’t one single thing I think should be changed in that movie, every scene is exactly how it should be. So I give it:

12 out of 0 Marky, Ricky, Danny, Terry, Mikey, Davie, Timmy, Tommy, Joey, Jonny, Robbie, and Brian’s

In conclusion, here are five films that came close but didn’t make the cut. Arrested Development (Hurwitz, 2012) according to IMDB its current status is Announced/Weirdsies (really? referencing 30 Rock in a sentence about AD, come on!) but that coupled with my previous experience with the television show is already enough to put it right on the cusp of my top 5. It could be Michael Cera and Jason Bateman walking through the desert for 100 minutes talking about Wheel of Fortune until one of them dies and I would still pay to see it twice in theaters. I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004), because Arrested Development doesn’t exist yet, would most likely be my favorite comedy (not sure if that is true or not), Mark Wahlberg is hilarious in this film and any time he teams up with David O. Russell it seems to work out well. Plus if you watch closely you may notice Jonah Hills first on screen performance. GoldenEye (Campbell, 1995) must be included in the honorable mentions section, I have been a fan of James Bond since I was a little kid and TBS aired those 007 Days of Christmas marathons. GoldenEye isn’t even my favorite James Bond film that title goes to The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987) but I use to watch GoldenEye every day after school and played/still play enough of the video game to be the best player I know (has anyone else memorized the order of spawn points in Stack and Temple?). Also speaking of The Living Daylights and GoldenEye, it pisses me off that Joe Don Baker plays different characters in both movies like they really could not find anyone else that fit the bill, I hate when they double up on actors. Primer (Carruth, 2004) is an amazing little indie sci-fi film. I really enjoy the scene where they are working on the machine and talking about NASA making a pen that writes in space. This film also instilled in me my greatest fear of all time – meeting myself. Seriously, I can’t think of one scenario where I would travel back in time to tell myself something good. It would either be to warn me of some impending doom or to murder me and in my imagination it always occurs by breaking into my room in the middle of the night and waking me from my slumber so I would still be groggy uncertain whether I was awake or if this were still a dream and then it would slowly dawn on me that my future self is in the room with me and I would get super freaked out and probably fuck up time. Finally, Closer (Nichols, 2004) has a great story, classic director, and good looking people. It has everything necessary to be a great film just lacking that je ne sais quoi sort of connection with me to allow it a spot on the top 5. Did I just write more about my top 6-10 than I did about my number 1?

Posted in movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Oscar Who Can Recall His Past Life or The Slow Descent Into Autoscopism

As our avid twitter followers (nobody) will already know the factoseintolerant authors have been on a forced hiatus due to #beingbusy. I personally finished my semester the week before last but I couldn’t bring myself to write anything until now because for some reason this is starting to feel a bit like work. I have also decided to take a bit of an unforced hiatus from my top 5 list, or perhaps this is just a sabbatical or repose, it could be a possible furlough although I am not sure if any of those terms connote a specific length of time I promise to finish it up sooner or later. Back in the day, a good film was hard to find on Netflix instant play. I think the first thing I watched after getting my account was Logan’s Run (M. Anderson, 1976) which if you know anything about speaks for itself, but in recent years they have drastically expanded their selection in both quantity and quality. This has worked wonderfully for Netflix; a not so recent New York Times article said something to the effect of Netflix had added as many new subscribers last quarter as it did in the first five years of business. I also can’t help but assume this has contributed to Blockbusters recent bankruptcy and subsequent purchase by DISH Network. All of this is well and good but they forgot to take into consideration the unfortunate ancillary consequence that has now arisen in the form of my unmanageably long instant queue. Sifting through the mess and muddle of my queue for a decent film can now take just as long as watching it. Luckily, my good friend factoseintolerant (not to be confused with the website of the same name, we are legally obligated to make this distinction) developed a revolutionary new software program entitled the Netflix Instant Queue Decision Engine. It begins with the prompt “Hello there DonnyBagg, how many movies are in your Instant Queue?” Then you proceed to enter in the number of films in your instant queue, in my case 257 excluding television series, and it answers “I think you should watch number [x]…bitch.” Unnecessarily offensive but it is effective nonetheless. This particular iteration requested I watch number 8 which is Soudain le Vide [Enter the Void] (Noe, 2009). I have to admit I lucked out and landed on something I assume will be very good, but, as with all games of Russian roulette, it is only a matter of time before I force myself to keep my eyes open during Baby Geniuses (Clark, 1999). Now please excuse me while I go watch this film.

Well that was certainly something different. It felt like an entire feast for my eyeballs. I wasn’t even sure I could even be that visually impressed with a film. Describing the movie would be almost pointless it is just something you sort of have to see to experience but most people should find Enter the Void magnificently stunning to look at. There is some sort of story line but it isn’t tremendously important, most of the film takes place as flashbacks of the main characters life and a drug and bullet induced psychedelic out-of-body experience. I had heard of Gaspar Noe previously and Irreversible (Noe, 2002) had been floating around my queue for quite some time but this is the first of his films I have actually watched. How good a movie will be usually depends on some combination of the directing, acting, and writing abilities among other things. For Enter the Void, 90 percent (or any other arbitrary percentage above 50) of the score can be derived from its director. The acting is almost nonexistent and the writing is nothing to write home about but Noe manages to make some of the most creative and complicated shots I have ever witnessed and I have witnessed quite a few movies in my day. Enter the Void is an outstanding film and fun for the whole family, so long as the whole family is over 18, comfortable with graphic and hardcore sexual images, open to constant drug use and overuse, it wouldn’t hurt to be pro-choice, no history of epileptic seizures or traumatophobia, and I don’t know quite how to put this – just an overall loose standard of morals and ethics. On second thought, perhaps it is best to watch this by yourself or just with friends.

So I enjoyed Enter the Void overall but there are definitely a few drawbacks and downsides. The first problem is its length. The visuals are extremely interesting and unique in the beginning but after 161 minutes most of that luster seems to fade. It can be a struggle to get through in one sitting but I think it generally pays off. If it doesn’t ensnare you within the first 20 minutes, I doubt you will make it to the final 20 minutes. The second problem is its story. As I previously stated, Noe works wonders as the director but they really don’t bring much to the table in terms of acting or writing. Toss in some endearing characters and a few plot twists and this movie would be elevated from terrific to amazing. I just spent two and a half hours watching the movie and I can’t remember any of the characters names. Not a great sign but also not that big of a deal. This isn’t so much a drawback as it is a missed opportunity. The final problem is that you always have to list things in threes and I don’t really have a third problem, wait I might have something. At first, I was concerned that it was all a big rip off of the Prodigy music video for Smack My Bitch Up since it is shot almost exclusively in the first person and shares many similar thematic elements but Noe cited that video as one of his many inspirations for the film so I guess it is alright however this does take away some of the originality. So I give it:

4 out of 5 hits of dimethyltryptamine

On an unrelated note, I recently watched Ajeossi [The Man from Nowhere] (Jeong-beom, 2010) a Korean action/revenge movie (the only type of action movies they make) that was fairly phenomenal. I don’t have time (not true) or enough to say about it (more true) to write a full article but I felt it deserved an honorable mention because good action movies are few and far between. Most of the stuff we produce is aimed towards the large portion of mindless douchebags in our country and since the audience directly reflects the quality of the film e.g. Fast Five (Notgonnalookitup, 2011) it is usually necessary to go overseas to find anything worthwhile. The Man from Nowhere is worthwhile. Am I really the first factoseintolerant author to write something in almost a month?

Posted in movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment