Archive | May, 2013

Summer 2013 Blockbuster predictions

31 May

Now we’re in the full swing of Summer movie season. Memorial Day has ratcheted up the blockbuster factory into full gear. I’ve already fallen behind in seeing the required viewings the Hollywood marketing machine expects me to see. But rather than comment on the couple movies I have seen, I think it will be more fun to share my predictions for some of the movies coming later this summer.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

MAN OF STEEL: The only prediction I have for this movie is even with a mega studio budget Zack Snyder will not even attempt to get more than 5 minutes of original musical scored. Instead opting for rock or pop or weird covers of classic rock music that have all been put to way better use in dozens of other movies. Even when you think you’re hearing a great piece of original music in his movies it is really just original music from another movie’s soundtrack, see Watchmen and Koyaanisqatsi and you’ll know what I mean. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the music you hear is from previous Superman movies mixed with 70’s fossil rock.

300 RISE OF AN EMPIRE: This movie will have even more sweaty, tan, men wearing only loin clothes who are perfectly muscled and have no body hair playing ancient Greeks. They’re always breathing and yelling and exercising in slow motion. Their arch enemy; an 8 foot tall, bald, black man who wears jewelry and makeup is trying to see how many of his Persian men he can get to wrestle with the Spartan men. Like its predecessor this movie will somehow manage to slip under everyone’s gaydar. Joining the ranks of such movies as Watchmen and the Sherlock Holmes movies in the category of gay movies people didn’t even know they saw. By the way I’m not using the word gay as an insult for these movies. It is because they fit within the genre of gay movies. I’ll admit to someone that 300 was a great movie when they admit that it is a huge gay fantasy too (not that there’s anything wrong with that). While we’re on the subject, HBO recently aired a biopic of Liberace titled “BEHIND THE CANDELABRA”. I wondered what if there’s ever a movie made about Siegfried and Roy. Which movie would be gayer? The Liberace movie or the Seigfried and Roy movie?

PACIFIC RIM: Guillermo del Toro’s makes a movie to basically say “Up Yours Michael Bay, I can make better giant robots”. Audiences will agree, even though the giant robots don’t talk and can’t change into any other giant machines and there won’t be a robot peeing on John Tuturo, people will still think Pacific Rim is a great movie. This is because the only giant robot movies of late are the soul numbingly awful Transformer movies. Which just goes to show that South Park had it right when they described Michael Bay’s process as just trying to get as many “Crorsh” sound effects into his movie as possible. And that he doesn’t know the difference between ideas and special effects.

WORLD WAR Z: Zombies are the new Vampires and while I detest any and all vampires and am anxious to see them fade out of popular culture I have mixed feeling about Zombies being the new mainstream fad. I foresee that this movie won’t be anything like the book World War Z. But nobody will care and it will make a ton of money. No matter how good it might look to have millions of fast zombies overrunning major cities around the world it still won’t measure up to the awesomeness of Woody Harrelson shooting zombies from a roller coaster car. Maybe if Bill Murray makes a surprise cameo I’ll reconsider.

AFTER EARTH: The required M. Night Shyamalan twist for this movie is heavily influenced by Will Smith. It goes like this, planet Earth is now empty of the Scientologists who once cleansed alien soul thetans from the living. Their absence once again makes Earth the perfect place for Lord Xenu to dump frozen alien spirits from his overpopulated empire. A volcano full of these deposits is going to explode and spread thetan version 2.0 all over the planet’s surface. Will Smith and his son Mini Me are on a crusade to prevent their homeworld from becoming overrun with animals who are controlled by alien ghosts. Oh and the plants can smell your fear and release a poison that makes humans want to kill themselves so you can’t get scared, hence the tagline “Danger is Real. Fear is a Choice”.

So that’s it for now as the dog days of summer tick off the calendar we’ll see how right these are.

Carl Wells

The False Gods

12 May

After reading a stupid opinion about The New Gods, the concept of pop culture idolatry kept flashing into my brain. However I was experiencing revelations of how unworthy these figures were, how they don’t deserve the worshipping attention and praise bestowed upon them. False gods are everywhere and someone needs to commit blasphemy and speak against these golden calves. Their beholden status is an illusion and like Dorothy pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz, I’m calling bullshit on these deities.

Ricky

Ricky Gervais:

Why he is seen as divine: He gets credit for creating The Office and was funny hosting the Emmys in 2010.

Why he should fall from grace: Ricky Gervais isn’t funny! He is a legitimately mean man who has made a career out of being a total dick while also fooling people to think his shows are funny. Nobody watches his shows because most people don’t get HBO or BBC. As far as The Office goes, nobody in America saw his version and he had nothing to do with the success of Steve Carell’s Office he just receives checks in the mail. His movie The Invention of Lying was one of the most offensive movies I’ve ever seen. That has nothing to do with the point of the entire movie being that all religion is a lie. He made Jennifer Garner an icy bitch and managed to make Louie C.K. boring and dull, what a waste. Ricky is funny in small doses, An Idiot Abroad was hilarious because he was barely in the show at all. Admittedly he should host the Oscars because being an insulting, pompous, asshole to millionaires is comedy.

 George

George R.R. Martin:

Why he is seen as divine: He’s written a sprawling complex epic fantasy that’s been read by millions. HBO’s adaptation is so popular it’s the most pirated show online.

Why he should fall from grace: The first A Song of Ice and Fire book came out in 1996 anyone who read that book or watched Game of Thrones Season 1 knows it has a lot of set up. What are the things the first installment promises that you want to see the most? Winter in Westeros, White Walkers in Westeros, and Dragons in Westeros. After 16 years, 5 books, and 4,228 pages, which of those things have happened…NONE! (Okay there has been 1 day of winter.) We’re all waiting for the next book but with the success of GoT George has been going to red carpet events and getting a cameo as an extra in the show. George you’re an old fat man who’s going to die soon. Sit your shit down and write the last 2 books already. But Noooo, he’s decided to write for the show and do a prequel series called The Tales of Dunk and Egg. His latest tangent is The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister a literary clip show book of Tyrion’s musings. GRRM hasn’t even partnered with a ghost writer to explain how A Song of Ice and Fire ends. So when he dies of being a morbidly obese elderly man the unresolved story is buried with him. GRRM has been elevated to the highest pedestals of success for a living American author. Fans of Game of Thrones put him there. Instead of completing his magnum opus he continues to revel in distractions and ignore what his fans would most appreciate, the rest of the story.

 Joss

Joss Whedon:

Why he’s seen as divine: Firefly has a cult following and The Avengers was the third highest grossing film of all time.

Why he should fall from grace: I know everyone gets a raging geek boner for Joss. Honestly I have never been impressed with anything Whedon has done. I mean Buffy? C’mon, a crap vampire show based on a crap vampire movie, how creative. I didn’t watch Firefly when it aired, after years of goading I borrowed the DVD’s. I liked the concept but thought it fell quite short on the sci-fi, and writing departments. When River is ripping up a bible the priest asks what she’s doing.

“Fixing the Bible”.

“You don’t fix the Bible, the Bible fixes you.”

That’s sappy garbage level writing and that’s what Whedon’s writing style is, he’s had a ton of failed or awful shows to prove it. I despise comic book movies but got dragged to The Avengers it was loud like a bad Hawaiian shirt but that’s what people want now for some reason so it was successful. But it had 5 hugely overhyped, highly anticipated movies preceding it. It’s like saying David Yates deserves all the credit for making Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a success.

Now that the sacred geek idols have been defiled I’d better go.

Carl Wells

Asia is Terrible

6 May

You know, I used to consider myself quite the world traveler.  My first international experience was studying abroad in India when I was 20 years old.  Though it would be a lie to say I enjoyed every minute of my time there, I do remember it quite fondly and consider it one of the more formative experiences of my life to date.  I look back on my bold 20 year-old self deftly navigating bus and train stations, fiercely bartering, braving unspeakable hordes of humans, trying any and all cuisine and I have to wonder what happened to me.  You see, I just got back from another trip around Southeast Asia, and the picture was quite a bit different this time.  I found myself often wandering the streets of Indonesia or Vietnam and thinking to myself, “Let’s all just admit it: Asia is terrible.”

I mean, really, come on.

I mean, really, come on.

I know this probably isn’t the popular opinion, especially on an internet crowded with travel blogs of people’s mind opening experiences abroad.  And I know my younger self would’ve been horrified by this conclusion, but maybe I’m getting old, and maybe I’m jaded or grumpy, but I just did not enjoy a lot of the realities that come with traveling in Asia this time around. It’s not fun to have people following you trying to get you to do things you don’t want to do from the second you step out of your hotel(or even, often from inside the hotel).  My travel buddy and I loved to dream up mean things we could say to taxi or rickshaw drivers trying to hustle up our business.(“You need a taxi?”  “No thanks, sir, we have working legs.” “Where are you going?”  “None of your damn business, shithead.”)  But alas, some of those exchanges would have just been lost in translation.  To face the constant onslaught of people trying to get your money, talk about your tattoo, or tell you what they think of America, I made a playlist to drown out all their noise.  So, I present to you my brief, but effective means of steeling myself for going outdoors in Southeast Asia:

  1. Backseat Freestlye, Kendrick Lamar.  “Respect my mind, or die from lead shower.”
  2. Hands on the Wheel, Schoolboy Q(feat. A$ap Rocky).”If I fucked her once, I can fuck her twice, If I fuck her twice, I might change her life.”  Everybody needs a little confidence.
  3. Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys.  I walked around trying to pretend I was literally on fire, so people wouldn’t want to fuck with me.
  4. Do You…, Miguel.  This one was just to calm me down, take the edge off a little bit.
  5. Werkin’ Girls, Angel Haze.  “You can cut the fake shit, I’m not a motherfuckin’ actor… You bitches bout to be Casper.” She’s one of the meanest out.
  6. Cut You, Cloud Nothings.  “Can he be as mean as me, Can he cut you in your sleep?”  Right?
  7. Works Every Time, El-P.  “It’s like a fresh start on a new world, and I already wanna go home.”
  8. There He Go, Schoolboy Q.  “I’m shinin’ hard, they be like: ‘There he go! No bodyguard, they be like: ‘There he go!” For this one, you may have to change “he” to “she” in your head, dependent on gender.
  9. League of Extraordinary Nobodies, El-P.  “I’ve been noticing that nothing glorious can happen anymore, we’ve run the gamut of our filth.”  Okay, this one’s pretty negative.
Angel Haze: I guarantee no one would fuck with her in Asia

Angel Haze: I guarantee no one would fuck with her in Asia

So, there you go.  Feel free to use it anytime you wanna look too hard to be bothered.  I hope it helps.  Or you know, you could listen to positive happy music, or no music at all, and actually open yourself up to all the many sights, sounds, and people that the world has in store for you.  Nah, right?

Wanna listen for yourself?  Here you go: Asia is Terrible

Caitie Hannan

The Golden Cult of the Dubs

2 May

This is not written in the spirit of bitterness or vengeance or sullen sportsmanship. If anything, the inevitable defeat has opened my eyes to the bigger picture of how the NBA playoffs are just another microcosm for society as a whole.

Here are the facts: The Golden State Warriors lost to the Denver Nuggets in game five at the Pepsi Center. Stephen Curry has been on fire and is now going to be considered a superstar after the first three games of this series. After the game Warriors coach, former Nugget point guard and former TNT analyst  said the Nuggets put out a hit on Curry, the Nuggets were dirty players and that he had a man “inside” the Nuggets locker room. That’s what happened.

This is what it makes me think about. Mark Jackson has been constantly praised by his former co-workers as being as stand-up guy, in the mic’d huddles he makes it a point to tell his players that he loves them, and I remember from his playing days that he would tie his wedding ring to his shoes because he didn’t want to spend a minute of his life without honoring that commitment to his wife. This of course is highly logical because Shaq, Kobe and the 99% of the NBA that cheats on their wives will tell you that the 48 minutes of playing basketball is the time when marital fidelity is most challenged. What I’ve been lead to believe is that Mark Jackson is an all around good, no, scratch that, great guy. He’s the kind of guy that everyone should aspire to be.

Well, the ongoing lesson of my life, and particularly recurring in my following of professional sports, is that if something is too good to be true, we should just go on believing it’s true, until we’re proved horribly wrong. So, while Mark Jackson appears to be the very model of a person whom we should trust when he claims he has “inside information,” he isn’t. It’s lie. A tactic usually reserved for the principal’s offices of middle schools across America has now moved to the realm of professional sports, and I guess it makes sense with all the other lies sports fans swallow to be afforded the luxury of a 24-hour sports news cycle. And if Mark Jackson is willing to cash in his life long reputation on something as trivial as a first-round playoff series, it makes me think the Warriors organization has their hooks deeper in Mr. Jackson than most franchises have in their coaches. Is it possible that the Golden State Warriors are closer to a cult than to a traditionally assumed mismanaged franchise, and the team’s perpetual failure is based more on karma retribution than bad luck and woeful personnel decisions.

Hear me out, usually when people are in the spotlight and are such holier than thou people as Mark Jackson’s friends will have you think, it probably means that they’re carrying on illicit relations with prostitutes, crystal meth and Livestrong bracelets. I don’t doubt that there are people as good as Mark Jackson claims to be, but they just aren’t in the public eye, and they definitely aren’t basketball coaches on the professional level. Being famous for being a boy scout is the kiss of death when it comes to that boy scout reputation. And what can cause people to willingly forsake their scruples? Well, as far as I can tell it’s this call to support the greater good of the group they think is greater than them. In this case, it just happens to be that the greater good is the entire organization of the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs are the Westboro Baptist Church and Heaven’s Gate of the NBA. Let’s look at some evidence:

-The Warrior fans are insanely loud at all times of the game. They have such laser focus to yelling at the top of their lungs at all times, winning, losing, during the national anthem, and that kind of devotion can only be obtained with a healthy dose of brainwashing. And this kind of devotion carries the heavy cost of uniform devotion by everyone involved. Any shred of free thought will be destroyed for the sake of the great good of the Church of the Dubs.

 

Dubs_Uni

 

-As great as the Warriors jerseys are, they weren’t uniform enough for the special group of god’s chosen golden warriors, no they need to have an even crazier jerseys that will really bond the team together when they are mocked for looking so silly. I’m surprised that they didn’t opt to go for the Heaven’s Gate Airs to be their team shoe.

HG_Airs

-And with most religious establishments, cult or otherwise, there’s going to be a huge amount of hypocrisy, which is exactly what Jackson’s comments after game 5 show. This is the same guy who intentionally fouled a team to keep them from breaking the all-time 3 point record and said:

“We’re not going to lie down,” Jackson said. “I was an old-school basketball player. I’m an old-school coach. If you can’t appreciate that, that’s on you.”

Cause, of course, getting blown out by thirty is much more important and prudent use of “dirty” play. And while it may not be on the big stage, “dirty players” more routinely defined by getting ejected from a mid-season blowout for committing flagrant fouls with less than a minute left in the game than setting hard screens.

-Lastly, even the golden child isn’t going to let some stoned fan disrespect the holy crusade that is the Warriors quest to prove the validity of the franchise.

I feel that is it pretty conclusive that the Warriors franchise is really just the most well financed cult this side of Scientology, and if they advance out of the first round that chances the entire city of Oakland will drink the kool-aid and think that this team bound to represent the Western Conference in the Finals.  Color me dubious.

-C. Charles