Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I'm gonna get mushy on you guys for a minute, I hope that's okay.

I love you all, everyone who comes and reads this website (even- no, especially- if you just came here looking for shirtless pictures of Ian Somerhalder, because I feel ya). Those of you I know on Twitter and Tumblr have been awesome- I think every single one of you has held my hand in the metaphorical, digital sense over the last few months.

It's been a harrowing year for me. I was in a pretty bad downward spiral of depression sometime early this year, and I can honestly say the worst week of my life happened this year. If I had any power over the Way of Things I would use it to ensure nobody ever had to go through that amount of physical pain or be so helpless with food ever again. But it's gotten easier, and I'm to the point where I've felt better than I have since I moved to Oklahoma, and that move occurred in 2000 when I was 16. (I got pleurisy my junior year, for fuck's sake.)

I am so grateful that my in-laws loaned us the cash we needed to get this done. I am so grateful that my father signed up for a loan in his name, to get this done. I am so grateful to the dentist and his staff who were both incredibly professional and incredibly compassionate. I am grateful to my husband, who worked hard to make sure I had everything I needed those first weeks, when I was so helpless (either from pain or drugs). I really do think that dentures have saved my life, in more than one sense, and I'm so glad I was able to get them with the help of my family.

I'm also grateful to every single one of you who told me it was going to be okay, who made morbid jokes with me, who checked in on me, who tried to cheer me up (whether it was with pictures of hot guys, adorable kittens, or both), who celebrated with me when I reached a milestone in food, who didn't tell me to shut the fuck up every time I started yammering on how awesome chewing is (oh god it's so awesome), and who told me I looked good with my new teeth. It's been a bit of an adjustment, and it would have been so much harder without your support.

I'll be gone most of today, off the grid, and while I whinge about how full my day gets, I really am lucky to have so many people who want to see me on Thanksgiving.

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing today, I just want you to know that if you're reading this, you have made my life better, and I love you forever for that.

From the bottom of my heart, I truly wish you a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Thoughts on Elementary So Far

I have watched the first six episodes and I'm really enjoying it, so far. I'm not going to do any kind of in depth reviewing because I just don't have the energy for it right now, but when the season's over I may do a kind of retrospective so I can pick out favorite moments/episodes and talk about the season's arc. (Votes yay/nay?)

Edit: I do speculate as to what they're doing with the season, it might be considered mildly spoilery by some so if that bothers you: FLEE!

I like what they're doing with Sherlock and Joan as characters, especially with how they interact. The character bits are all wrapped around a fairly middle-of-the-road procedural, which is fine by me as I like procedurals in general- and the cases have gotten better, more interesting and more complex as the season goes on. I think they were easing into it.

I like this take on Holmes. He's approachable, he's capable of warmth and humanity and even (bad) practical jokes. To make the natural comparison: I can't see Cumberbatch's Holmes hiring someone to trick Watson for lolz. The Holmes from BBC's Sherlock is accused of being a machine, you could never make the same accusation for Elementary's Holmes.

I love Joan Watson. I like how she's so willing to work with him when he needs it, and how unflappable she can be when she's sorting through methods of working with him. She will also totally call him out for bullshit- she is being paid not to put up with certain things, so that makes a lot of sense. She's incredibly competent and it's clear that she's very smart and is already picking up on his deductive tendencies. I love how they interact, I love that there is something of a patient/doctor relationship right now, and I love Lucy Liu in this role. (I love Joan Watson and want to marry her.)

I also have what one might describe as a 'headcanon' for this particular take on Sherlock Holmes (although really it's more of an educated guess). We see, in the first episode, that Sherlock keeps bees. He's working on writing a book about bees. We know that, according to the canon, Holmes retires to the country with Watson and raises bees, and he writes the book that Elementary!Holmes cites as working on in the pilot episode. Episode six ended with Joan asking Sherlock about Irene, so we know that Holmes has already met Irene Adler.

What am I getting at? I believe that this series is taking place AFTER canon, essentially. Because Elementary!Holmes did not have a Watson in London, he was muddling along on his own, and things clearly Did Not Go Well as a result. What happened is going to be revealed (and is liable to be a good chunk of the story arc for the season) but I suspect that, without the companionship that Watson provides, when things started going bad for Holmes they went REALLY badly because he had nobody to steady him. I believe it to be possible that he's had a run-in with Moriarty as well, though I doubt Moriarty is dead as yet (and it's possible that Sherlock's wicked drug bender got him out of London before he could start really pursuing Moriarty).

I think it's a really interesting choice that could yield some great fodder for character development while still staying away from Sherlock territory. This show HAS to stay away from Sherlock territory, since they failed at getting the rights to adapt Sherlock the BBC are keeping a close eye on the show to make sure it isn't swiping. I feel like Elementary has put enough of their own stamp on these characters that it's clear that they aren't swiping.

I could be wrong about my interpretation of what is going on, we're only six episodes in and that's just not a lot to go on, but I'm really enjoying it either way.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coulson Lives - My Thoughts

So, I am aware that (by this point) this is actually old news. It broke on twitter a few days ago, so everybody knows by now that Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, is going to reprise his role on the SHIELD tv show that is going to be helmed by Joss Whedon.

While most of the fan reaction has been positive, I have seen a few people who were upset about it. Not because they had anything against Clark Gregg or the character of Agent Coulson, but because (they argue) this really destroys that moment in the Avengers where they all rally up and it's because of Coulson's death. Another person on twitter (I'm so sorry, I don't remember who) made the point that this is something that's wrong with comics all the time, people who die significant deaths don't stay dead. That this sort of thing 'cheats' his death of the dignity it had, and his badassery in his final moments. These are actually valid points, and should be given some consideration.

I... maybe I'm biased because I love the character so much (and the more I follow Clark Gregg the more I love him, too) but I don't think it's quite at 'cheating' levels. The medics move in and Fury tells the team he's gone, but Fury is the kind of bastard who would lie about this sort of thing. I think that is, largely, what spurred such a large segment of the fandom to declare that Coulson was, in fact, alive. (Even the Marvel Short that came with the Avengers DVD mentions him, and says something like "We all miss him," but he could still potentially be in recovery and not dead. An evil icepick to the heart is nothing to trifle with. Basically, we're dealing with a situation where a bunch of denial is entirely plausible.)

Really I think the judgement should be reserved until we know how Coulson is 'brought back', as it were. I personally think it will be fine- Whedon is nothing if not experienced with this.  Not just bringing back beloved characters from the dead, but dealing with the repercussions of such a thing. Can SHIELD, as an organization, survive such a horrible lie? Or such a foundation-shaking resurrection?

There is also the somewhat disappointing but utterly realistic idea that the show will start at some point in the timeline before Coulson dies (or "dies"). I see this as entirely possible for more than one reason- they may want to save the real Coulson Lives moment for one of the movies. They may want to maintain that suspense a little while longer. They may want the character to actually die. We won't know until the date draws nearer how they're going to handle this.

It's easy to see this sort of thing as a victory or a loss for the continued Marvel film (and now TV) franchise, but Coulson so quickly became the heart of what brought the Marvel movies together that it would be a shame to permanently lose him as a character.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Denture Adventure

I meant to update the other post more often, but I got distracted by nerves and twitter. Mostly nerves, I was shaking so hard when I went into the dentist they wrapped me in a blanket.

All my teeth were pulled about three weeks ago. It happened in two stages, because the dentist had trouble finding the right nerves in the lower half of my jaw so he could numb them. Apparently mine were hiding, or perhaps they moved at some point out of protest. In between the stages of removal, I was very sick for about a day.

The first two weeks were really quite miserable, which I'm sure you know because most of you follow me on twitter.

I've finally hit the point where everything seems to be okay. A little over a week ago was when I started finally feeling like a human being again (as opposed to a lump of painy flesh). The general illness-blarg-crap that I've had off and on since a few years ago cleared up permanently, and the dizzy spells that were getting worryingly common have completely vanished, as have my near-constant headaches. I also can generally breathe through my nose, now, and that all sorted itself out more or less immediately, though honestly I was too stoned on painkillers or in too much pain to really notice for a few weeks.

I can pretty much eat everything I could before, provided I cut or tear it up (I can't tell you how weird it feels to cut up chicken nuggets or pizza) and as soon as my jaw heals I'll be able to take on harder things. In theory at some point I'll also be able to bite into things instead of cutting them up, but that may not work until I get my permanent dentures.

I'm able to talk mostly fine now, sometimes I don't sound quite right and sometimes my esses get away from me, or hit the wrong part of my palate, or something. But I've got it in general and I think in a few more weeks nobody will be the wiser.

I'd like to go back to work soon but the place I will be working is currently full (they'll need people soon-ish, but not as soon as I'd hoped) so I'm kinda stuck right now. I'm slowly working on editing the last podcast that Angie and I recorded (I've developed a damned inconvenient ringing in one of my ears which is hampering things, but I hope to be finished by Monday anyway) and my sleep schedule is fucked all to hell, but that's pretty normal for me when I'm not employed (or working from home).

I do actually have some things planned, and as soon as I can find a gorram camera cord (I'm convinced my husband ate it, I've looked everywhere else) you'll have a picture of me with my new teeth, which look quite nice in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teeth and Dentures: Update 1

So I have explained a little about my teeth, but mostly it was in the context of how it was affecting my blog. I forgot that I haven't really made it clear what's going on with my teeth. I'm going to be pretty detailed (no pictures though) so if teeth and mouth stuff freaks you out, uh, flee?

They're falling apart. I mean that quite literally, they're incredibly soft and chip apart pretty much every time I chew. I can bite into most things reasonably well (except hard fruit and veg like apples and carrots, or really chewy-hard things like bagels and whatnot) , but I can't really chew much of anything. While my front teeth are largely broken or missing, they are still functional. Most of my chewing teeth are broken and chewing just about anything hurts.

I try to stick to things that are easier to chew, some of which is surprising (I can eat normal potato chips, but not ruffled ones, because I can break the normal thin ones up with my tongue) and none of which is particularly healthy. I could probably drink Ensure or something constantly but that is both very expensive and, quite frankly, not something I find incredibly palatable as a long-term solution. Mostly I eat stuff that's relatively soft, and whatever I can't chew or get tired of trying to chew, I swallow. (It also takes me forever to eat, and then I have to clean my mouth because there are lots of pockets where stuff likes to collect).

I've always had dental problems, I had my two root canals when I was 6. I had a bunch of fillings to absolutely no effect between the ages of 16-19 (some of which should have been root canals) and no dental care in between. My teeth have been sensitive for a long time, and when I turned 18 I started on the birth control shot and was on it for a few years. I found out later that it makes you leech calcium, and while I cannot be sure, it's likely partially to do with how quickly my teeth have fallen apart. I currently have maybe 4 or 5 teeth that aren't cracked or broken somehow, and that can change at any point due to how soft my teeth are.

I don't have a lot of energy. Partially because I can't eat very well and partially because I get sick a lot. Not very sick, but I tend to have some kind of low grade cold or cough or something more or less constantly. I assume it has to do with the constant threat of infection in my mouth- my body's resources are all spread really thin. I can only assume this, I may be constantly sick due to my diet, or some unrelated cause, but I was generally pretty hardy up until the damage to my teeth started being more than merely cosmetic.

Most of my teeth are still 'alive' when we're talking about the nerves, and that means that my back molars which are cracked and exposed are basically big nerves that anything in my mouth can poke at any time. (I start thanking the Elder Gods when one of the nerves finally dies a death, because that means blessed relief.) Holding my mouth wrong can create enough pressure to cause pain, and so I'm pretty much constantly in mouth pain if I'm not medicated. (I'm not often medicated.)

It's been getting worse over time, and I'm reaching the point where I'm not actually capable of doing any physical work due to my health. (Also, pretty much nobody would hire me anyway because nobody sees anything but my teeth when they look at me.) I'm also reaching the point where I simply can no longer deal with it.

Through a lot of work, no few tears, and the incredible generosity of my father it's looking very much like I'll be able to fix this soon. "Fixing this" means that I will have all my teeth removed, and go to using dentures. While this is not exactly the ideal fix, it is certainly the most affordable, and quite frankly it's the only one I can actually stomach. Patching up my teeth isn't going to solve the basic problem, anyway, because my teeth are still inherently flawed and weak. And, honest to god, if I thought sitting down with a pair of pliers and yanking them out would actually work I'd have attempted that at this point.

So, dentures. In another week and a half (approximately) I'll be going in to have an impression of my mouth done, and that will be sent off to the lab so they can whip up a set of dentures for me. Two weeks after that, when the dentures are done, they'll yank whatever is still in my mouth at the time. Hopefully without incident, but I know for a fact some of my teeth are going to have to be cut out because they are broken down the gum. Of all the dental procedures I've had done, having teeth pulled is certainly the freakiest for me, so I'm a little freaked out all while looking forward to it (because after I heal I will be in NO PAIN y'all).

I don't know how long I'm going to be down and out after I have my teeth pulled. I'd like to go back to delivering pizza as soon as possible, transitioning away from the online work (with tips, I make more as a driver), but I don't know how fast that will be. It took me a couple of days to get my bearings after I had the last one pulled, possibly because that one was an abscess and my body was sorting out the infection part of that while I sat on the couch stoned on pain pills. Could be a couple of days, could be a couple of weeks. I can almost guarantee stoned tweeting so expect that.

I have several blog articles in the works but I think I'm just going to consider myself on hiatus until I get my teeth sorted. I just can't seem to get them written. There will be a Strangers from the Internet still, so expect that.

I've debated about this, but I am going to put up a PayPal donate button. Dad is paying for the thing but I'm going to be losing time during which I can work and, due to my nephew's birth, was not able to get as many hours in on the online job as I wanted to. It's not the end of the world, but if you have a little extra and would like to send it our way, it'd be much appreciated.

(edited to remove defunct pay pal link: 7-4-2018)

I will continue to update this article as I know more, like exact dates and such. If you came here from tumblr and don't follow me on twitter, that's generally where I hang out and it's the best way to contact me, in all honesty. Asks sent via tumblr and any comments made here go directly to my primary email, so I'll get them for sure, it just won't be quite as fast because I generally only check my email once or twice a day.

TL;DR version: Gonna have all my teeth pulled in about a month. It will, on the whole, be better for me than my current health situation. Check this space for more updates.

Update 07/06- I had my impressions done today (well, technically, yesterday, Thursday the fifth). It was weird feeling but not too painful, overall. I was worried one of my teeth would break or something, since they're so fragile, but everything came out fine. My appointment to have my teeth pulled is scheduled for the 19th, so barring any complications, that's when things will go down.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blade and Nostalgia

Just as a note: While Blade is somewhat based on a comic book character, from what I understand the Blade from the comic is very different from the Blade in the movie (I have read a grand total of one Blade comic, I have no clue what year it's from) and so I am treating them as largely different continuities. If there's any similarities you'd like to point out, let me know in the comments! I'm always interested to hear this kind of stuff.

Let's be clear: I love Blade. I mean, I fuckin' loved that movie from the blood rave scene at the beginning.

I also love the music in this scene.
I first saw it when it hit VHS/DVD back when movies still came out on both regularly, although I don't recall which we used at the time, probably VHS. We rented it around the time we moved to Norman during a particularly rough time in my life, and it was one of the few things my brother and I agreed about at the time. We both loved the movie, and I can't recall how many times we watched it when we first rented it.

One of my favorite things about it is that the movie explores vampire culture. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like it, although I'm sure it's probably been addressed in other media before Blade. When I had seen vampires in movies before Blade (and after, often) they were generally depicted as alone, or parts of small groups. There's no real sense of a vampire society in most vampire films- they live on the edges of human society, apart but leeching from.

Some of them were also a bit foppish.
This movie reveals hints of the culture behind a race of beings who live for centuries. We see their body of government (at least for this region of vampires) and we see that they have advanced technology. We see that they are part of the system, above and beyond it, and they exist among us while having their own distinct segment of society. Udo Kier is, apparently, in charge.

Gotta admire this guy's dedication to being a vampire as often as humanly possible.
The world creates a universe where someone like Blade makes sense and, furthermore, seems necessary. Blade has a lot of atmosphere. It feels right, which is a claim the sequels can't make.

Blade's part of the world is dirty, industrial, low-rent. His lifestyle is nomadic and his digs are slapped together. The vampires have large and well-appointed rooms. Expensive suits and advanced technology. Pure bloods talking about offshore accounts. When Whistler is explaining things to Karen, you can see how grim their world is. The vampires own the police. The human politicians are in league with the vampires. There's no higher recourse.

Occasionally cops barge into your house and try to shoot you. Even more occasionally, Blade stops it.
It's my favorite Wesley Snipes movie (with Demolition Man running a close second). I like watching him kick people and I love him as Blade. He has great chemistry with Kris Kristofferson, who plays Blade's friend Whistler. Whistler is a bad ass, he knows how to make an entrance and is pretty spry for an old fella. Whistler has one of the best lines in the movie, btw.
Catch you fuckers at a bad time?
I think part of it is that Wesley Snipes does a lot of his own fighting (he also did some of the fighting choreography, mostly Blade's). Wesley is very aware of how he looks when he's moving/fighting, and that shows.

Steven Dorff plays one of my favorite Big Bads. His motives are clear and understandable. Deacon Frost resents the vampiric 'old guard', the pure blood vampires who were born that way (Lady Gaga reference in a Blade post, I get points) and who run things. Frost thinks that vampires should just be able to eat when they want, where they want, and not worry about secrecy or any of that. His motivations aren't necessarily complicated, but they are more than just I'M EEEVIL and Deacon Frost was possibly the first bad guy character I saw who I could say that about.

Also, he's kinda hot.
While Blade is out for revenge, the fight with the big bad is about more than just that. The stakes are high, and the boss fight is a difficult one. Which is good, because I get the feeling that the only reason Deacon Frost hadn't been killed already was that he was really good at getting out of Blade's way and had been educated in the Proper Use of Minions (and hostages). Without Deacon turning into the Blood God, Blade would probably have wiped the floor with him.
I also love this movie for Karen. Karen is practical and smart. She's a scientist, she's tough, and she's willing to do what needs done even if that's scary, gross, or life-threatening.

She volunteers to give Blade her blood even though she's scared and knows it could end badly. (The actress, N'Bushe Wright, does a fantastic job with that scene, by the way.) Then, woozy from missing quite a bit of blood, she racks up a couple of vampire kills while Blade is busy fighting a Blood God. She finds a cure for one type of vampirism and saves herself from turning into one with Science. If it hadn't been for her work with Blade and Whistler, Blade would not have defeated the Blood God.

There are places where the movie feels a bit too cinematic- where someone says something and it's clear that they're saying it just to be a bad ass or for the movie audience, as opposed to the people in the film. There are rough spots. But I still love this movie.

Next, I'm going to take on Blade 2. It only goes downhill from here, folks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Movie Review: Grave Encounters

This review has taken me most of a week to put together because I have many feels about the subject. This one's a bit of  long one, so bear with me.

I always kind of hope that I'll be watching one of those ghost hunting shows (Ghost Adventures would be the best) and crazy shit would start happening. Like, dark figures climbing out of the wall, whatever. Because that would be awesomely creepy as fuck. It would probably send me climbing a wall if it ever happened, but I would also be screaming BEST SHOW EVER whilst clinging to the ceiling like a cartoon cat. Grave Encounters is, basically, that episode.

This film actually had me incredibly spooked when I finished it, and I was jumpy enough that I had to watch something inane and silly to clear my mind so I could sleep. However, I find ghost hunting shows to be naturally creepy. I get creeped out watching Ghost Adventures, and that's with all the "Bro! Dude! Bro!" going on in that show. I find the genre creepy, it's part of why I love it so much. So if you don't find this genre creepy, I don't know how creepy the movie will be for you. Probably not very.

Grave Encounters is a found footage film, so there's some shaky cam and running with cameras and whatnot. I think it justifies the found footage concept a lot better than most found footage films, but that's my personal opinion. If it sounds like your cup of tea and you want to watch the movie, go away and watch it. It's on Netflix and I think you can get it through iTunes and whatnot. Then come back and we'll dish in the comments.

As an aside: seriously, how has no ghost tv show ever used the name Grave Encounters? Because it is kind of perfect. Maybe my love of pun is interfering, but seriously. Grave Awakenings? Gravely Searching? Someone can do something with this, come on!

This film is set in an abandoned asylum called Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital (I forgot the name almost immediately), which is kind of awesome, because they're creepy without any help. They almost all have a bad history, mental asylums were awful and didn't really treat patients so much as kept them out of the way. (Here is the story from the official website for the movie.) Notably, this asylum was also known for some of the inmates breaking out and killing the doctor who was overly fond of lobotomies.

It's a brialliantly simple setup. Five people are staying overnight in Collingwood in order to see if anything ghostly happens in it.

We have Lance Preston, who is the host of the ghost hunting show, and looks kind of douchey. He's also incredibly cynical about what he's doing, and is just out to make the show and have some good scares, without really caring about whether there's an authentic ghost or not.

Lance and his faux-hawk
There's a young woman who is behind the camera a lot, her name is Sasha. She is the show's "occult expert", and she wears a black rosary, although I think that's partially for show. She is the target of some nasty stuff as paranormal shit heats up, and she's probably the only true believer in ghosts at the start of the film.

Also, she's kind of... goth light?
We have the tech dude who sets all the cameras up, that'd be Matt. He seems neat but his characterization was, uh, thin. He's a smoker? That's about it, a techie smoker.

He explains the equipment and then disappears, just about.
We have Houston, the "medium" who looks like some unholy mix of Steve Tyler and Mick Jagger. I assume he's an actor, he doesn't seem to be very much part of the group, and he gets told to shut up half the time, even when he's trying to do his faux-medium job.

I have nothing worthwhile to add.
Last but certainly not least, we have TC. He is the show's assigned cameraman, and while he does appear on camera several times, it's not as much as I would have liked. He is the only one we have family on or anything- he gets a call from his wife and talks to his little girl at one point. This is just a job for him, and he has a pretty good sense of humor until things go to shit, and then his ability to handle this bullshit gets maxed out quickly. I don't blame him, I can guarantee he wasn't making enough money to make that job worth it.

Sadly, getting even a half-way decent picture of him was really hard. It makes me sad, he was my favorite.
When they showed the introduction for the show Grave Encounters, I couldn't help laughing. The people who made this movie (it was directed by The Vicious Brothers, about whom I know little and my google-fu turned up no more) have clearly watched a lot of ghost hunting shows, they nailed the tone of those shows perfectly. People who are taking themselves way too seriously, know that they are taking themselves way too seriously, and are absurdly proud of it. All in a graveyard. There's also this amusing undertone of entirely fake "we know it's dangerous and we're doing it anyway". The job is scary, but not particularly dangerous, and they know it, so the attitude is a kind of falsified bravado. (Okay, it's dangerous THIS time, and I suppose occasionally there's the danger of a house collapsing on them and stuff like that, but other than that.)

Cemetery shot!
The movie takes on a standard ghost hunting TV reality show beginning. They get to the location, they intro the location, they talk to several people about the location and any ghost stories the available locals are willing to share (or can be bribed into giving). They then tour the location, and when evening falls (accompanied by a time lapse shot of the location as night falls) they set up cameras and get after it. In this case, they decided to be locked into the location, so they wouldn't be able to leave without breaking out of the hospital.

Matt gives a speech about ghost hunting equipment which I tuned out. This speech occurs in every episode of every ghost hunting show fucking ever, and it goes something like this: "Here's a EMF detector, it detects electromagnetic fields and we think ghosts use those fields to make their presence known, so a spike indicates their presence. Here's an audio recorder, we use these to record EVPs, which are Electronic Voice Phenomenon and it occurs when ghosts are trying to communicate with us. Here is some device that reads the ambient temperature of the room (sometimes this is a thermal camera, sometimes this is an infrared thermometer, sometimes it's both). When we see cold spots, that's when a ghost would be present. We take still photos to reveal mist shapes or orbs that might be the manifesting of ghosts."

The crew gets down to it and, for the first portion of their stay in the asylum, not a damn thing happens. They get bored, and wind up in a bathroom using a uv light on the wall, claiming that it is ectoplasm. This made me snort IRL. Strange fluid that lights up under UV light in a bathroom in an abandoned asylum, my first thought is not going to be ectoplasm.

Pick a bodily fluid, any bodily fluid!
The first actually paranormal occurrence is a shadow in front of the camera, followed by a window opening due to static.

I thought this thing was gonna be the low burn kind of found footage film (alliteration!) with mostly shadows and noises and jumps, and the only real effects shots at the end.

The following 10 minutes or so seemed to confirm this belief. A wheelchair moves when nobody (but the camera) is looking at it. Half the wheelchair was in near-total darkness, and could have been moved by a person. A door slammed shut as the camera was turning to face it. While they were all in one room arguing, a hospital gurney in another room got shoved over with an incredibly loud noise (I nearly peed myself). At one point, they are starting to think this might actually be real phenomena, and so they have their faux-medium try to contact the other side.

Every time I see this picture I crack up. Poster child for "Does not want to be here"
After a relatively unsuccessful session that devolves into an argument (there's a lot of shouting) they decide to leave, but before they do Lance takes three photos in rapid succession. These aren't developed until later, and this only hints at how fucked they are. The first one is pretty tame, as it contains orbs.

Orbz. Also, the wall on the left is drippy, which is creepy but normal.
Orbs are supposed to be the visual manifestation of spirit energy. In my experience with photography, it's generally floating dust particles refracting light. For fun and entertainment, go around your house and shake one thing that might have dust on it out, then take a picture of it with your flash on. Like as not, you'll get orbs too. If you ever search for ghost pictures on the web, the most common type contain orbs. I assumed the next picture would be something similarly common, and I wasn't disappointed.

Creepy mist!
This is another fairly common picture type, as mist is sort of easy to accidentally capture on film and it's super creepy. I personally think about 80% of mist photos are cigarette smoke. You'll see these a lot, although not as often as orbs (or several other varieties, which I won't go over here because then I won't shut up about it). I assumed the next photo would be roughly as innocuous, maybe a vortex or something. Nope.

Blurry person. Holy fuckballs!
This was the moment where I realized that the movie was going to take me the ghost thing much further than I expected. This is what one would consider, if IRL, a full body apparition. This is basically the holy grail of ghost hunters, this is what they are looking for. This occurs not quite 40 minutes into the film, which means that the ghost shit is just warming up.

After getting lost on the way back to their command center (and discovering that the walkies are unreliable), they start packing shit up so they can go home. They're just waiting for the dude to come at six am to let them out. While packing the cameras, Matt goes missing. They try to go find him, and then more weird shit happens, like TC getting pushed down half a flight of stairs by absolutely nothing.

The hour when they were supposed to be let out comes and goes. After discovering that the cell phones ain't workin' either, TC decides to bust down the door. I find this incredibly reasonable, if I were them I'd be trying to chip my way out with my face at this point. After more arguments (Lance tells TC this is coming out of his rates, and TC is so beyond caring it's not even funny) they use the gurney to break the front door open... into another hallway of the hospital. They find another door that says "Exit" above it, and it also leads back into the hospital. They try to batter their way out of a window. They try to go up to the roof, only to find the top of the stairs completely bricked off. Like it'd never been a stairwell. The hour sunrise should have occurred comes and goes.

The hospital is fucking with them. It knows they are there and it won't let them leave. It is glorious. A film that I expected to take place over period of 8 hours for the bulk of it was stretched into a time span of days. Things get worse. They run into full body apparitions, things with human bodies and horribly stretched faces, that shriek and bellow with inhuman noises. They wake up wearing hospital bracelets. One by one, the crew is knocked off (sometimes killed and sometimes just vanished), until it's Lance wandering in the dark corridors under the hospital, all alone.

Well, there are the rats.

I won't spoil the ending, mostly because I don't think I could adequately explain it without giving a much more thorough once over of the movie and this thing is already a million miles long. But it both surprised me and made perfect sense at the same time.

Grave Encounters used the expectations of the genre it comes from to its advantage. I didn't expect the activity to get so... active, I didn't expect things to get so fucked, I didn't expect for TC to disappear/die as late as he did (I was very concerned we were dealing with Black Guy Dies First, but it's not even clear he dies. He could have suffered Lance's fate), and I didn't expect the ending. It took a concept I have been hoping someone would put to film and did a great job with it, and I'm still pretty thrilled with it. I don't think this will be everyone's cup of tea, but I haven't been able to shut up about it since I watched it. Take that as you will.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Month Later

This is the AUGH LIFE GOT IN THE WAY post. Augh. Life got in the way.

One of the issues I've been facing for years now is the slow degradation of my teeth. My teeth are, for lack of a better way to put it, crumbling out of my head (coincidentally, this is why none of my photos are ever of me actually smiling. Trust me, you don't want to see it). I battle constant infections and pain, and recently had a huge abscess that required a tooth being pulled. One of my front teeth. This is awkward, because it makes it even more difficult for me to bite things than it was.

Due to more or less constant infections and mouth pain, I get sick very easily, and combine that with the spring allergies and general bleh I have been very unmotivated to do, uh, anything. Also, it's kind of depressing as FUCK.

In theory, programming will resume shortly, but I honestly am probably gonna be kinda up and down on this whole thing until a more permanent tooth solution can be afforded. I'm looking at having to pay 7000 dollars to get this mess taken care of, so, um, might be a while.

This has been a kinda depressing post, so here's a picture of Bats and Jack:

Yes, he sometimes cuddles his toys. It is awesome.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nostalgic Indulgence: The Frog Prince (1986)

I watched this movie a lot when I was a kid. We had it on VHS, recorded on an old tape that died before DVDs really became a thing. I saw it on Netflix when I was bouncing around the other day, and decided to see how well it held up. I probably hadn't seen this movie since I was 12 or so, back in 96.

The plot is pretty basic. Zora, a lonely might-be-Princess (played by Aileen Quinn, who was also Annie) loses her golden ball in the pond behind the palace, and a frog-looking dude agrees to retrieve it for her if she will be his friend. She agrees, and he tries to teach her the kinds of Princessy things she might need to know if she is chosen as the true Princess. See, she and her sister Henrietta (played by Helen Hunt, of all people) are both nieces to the King, but only one of them is truly the Princess, so a Baron with a ridiculous name is supposed to choose one of them and crown her as Princess.

She's singing about how today is gonna be her lucky day. Spoilers: It's not.

Henrietta doesn't think Zora has a chance, but when she sees the giant frog dancing with her sister in the ballroom, she decides to ensure things by hiding Ribbit (what Zora calls the princely frog) in a hole in the woods, which may actually be called the Dark Heart woods. If Zora doesn't make it back to the ball by sundown, Henrietta will be declared the princess without argument, but she has to save her friend, who will die without water. Obviously, she makes it in time, because this is a fairy tale movie, and she turns Ribbit into the Prince of... Feedly? Freedly? Something, and everyone lives happily ever after.

This still cracks me up. No, she doesn't sing.
Does it hold up? Well... no. It is supposed to be for kids, and it shows. It was also supposed to be a musical, but there aren't many songs, and they're all pretty bland and forgettable. It's unfortunate because Aileen Quinn and John Paragon (who plays Ribbit) are talented and could have both pulled off stronger music.  The plot is also, unfortunately, an idiot plot. (Idiot plot: a plot that only works when everyone involved is an idiot.) It just doesn't hold up in any way, shape, or form.

For some reason only one of these two girls is the "true" princess, and their mother didn't reveal which one so their uncle the King would love them both equally.



If only one of them is the true princess, then they both have two different fathers. And they are clearly like ten years apart. We don't really need a genetics test.

Unless the implication is that she cheated on her husband or something, and that means one of these girls is a bastard. Or possibly adopted? I don't know, and it's really not a well-explained dilemma. On what authority does Baron Von What's-his-nuts declare a girl a princess? Why does the King have no authority on this at all? Why not claim them BOTH to be Princesses? Even if only one is his official heir, at least he could assure wealth and happiness to both girls.

The most useless King ever?

Further: when Henrietta traps Ribbit in the forest, she literally pushes him into a hole in the ground and lays a wooden woven cover over it. She stakes it into the ground. I've known toddlers who could escape such confinement in about half an hour. I know it's implied that Ribbit is weak from lack of water but it's ridiculous to have your "hero" trapped in something that a dog of average intelligence and sufficient motivation could escape. (Edited to add: props for having the princess save him, though.)

Furthermore, it looks like it's made out of pretzels.
Of course, Henrietta "captures" him by kinda throwing a net on him, ish. Both of these things bothered me when I was younger. When an 8 year old is going "That's stupid, I could escape from that," you need to step up your game.

It's hard to see, but the net basically just covers his head, and he could pull it off easily.

When Zora runs off to save Ribbit, her uncle sees her go. 1: He knows she's going to save her friend. 2: He's a King. 3: He knows that Henrietta is responsible. 4: He does precisely zilch for Zora. "Take my fastest horse," or "Here, have some men to protect you," would both have been perfectly acceptable.

Yes, I appreciate that there are some things you must do on your own, but Zora is 12. Two horses and a liveried servant would have been more than sufficient for her needs, and she'd have been back in time to have dinner and a bath before she was presented to the Baron von Whatever.

Henrietta's friend Darcy could have spoken up, admitting that she helped Henrietta trap the Frog Prince and that it was done specifically so Henrietta would have no competition for the crown. Whether or not Henrietta would have been arrested (and rightfully so, had Darcy not marked the location on a map, Prince Ribbit would have most certainly died) she definitely would have been out of the running for Princess, and it's likely the Baron would have been willing to postpone the ceremony in honor of the ongoing rescue mission.

So, basically, I have spent far more thought on the film than the writers ever did.

Also, Zora is 12. The man playing the Prince is 17 years older than Aileen, who might have been as old as 15 when this was filmed. While their relationship is presented as platonically as possible, there are several moments where the age difference is both apparent and incredibly creepy. Especially when Ribbit is in Zora's bedroom, trying to convince her of how beautiful she is. I may be reading too much into it, because when I was younger I just assumed that Zora marries Ribbit, but I don't think I am.

Just a little creepy.

This movie was really fun for me to rewatch because I watched it so often when I was a kid. I may or may not still know the lyrics to some of the songs. But this isn't what I would consider a classic, not even a cult classic. It suffers from many setbacks, and if I hadn't been so interested in seeing how well it held up from my childhood I never would have watched it all the way through. I'm half-tempted to re-write the story of this film into a much better plot. There are some interesting threads, here, but overall it's just kind of poorly done. If you have a nostalgic reason to watch this film, go on ahead, but I don't think there's much here for anybody else.

(Edited on 5/15/13 for some errors.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rubber: A Review

Okay, so, I heard about this movie on Twitter a while back, and from the description alone I wanted to watch it. Killer tire fucks with people sounds exactly like my type of movie, you know? Anyway, reading the Netflix description did not dissuade me.

"Quentin Dupieux directs this inventive twist on low-rent revenge flicks, which follows a car tire named Robert that rolls through the desert Southwest using its strange psychic powers to blow up birds, bunnies, human beings and more. But when Robert spies a gorgeous woman motoring down the highway, he decides to follow her and take a chance on love. This gleefully over-the-top black comedy stars Stephen Spinella and Roxanne Mesquida."

I think it goes without saying that I was really looking forward to watching this.

I was staggeringly disappointed.

Look, I know, it's a film about a tire that kills people, so it's not like I expected it to be high art or something. But the thing is, this film doesn't start for 9 minutes. Nine. In a film that is only 82 minutes long, that's pretty unforgiveable.

Oh sure, there's stuff going on, but it's not the film. There's some desert scenery shots- that's not too bad as the film is set in the desert. Then there's a car driving down this road. A dude is standing there, holding a million binoculars, and there are chairs randomly set up in the road. The car hits every chair, a cop gets out of the trunk, and gives a good long speech. The speech in and of itself is unimportant, because the point of the speech is to address the in-film audience (and me) that the shit happening in this film happens for no reason, and to just go with it.

I am voluntarily watching a TIRE REVENGE FILM. This is not a concept I have trouble grasping.

Then the in-film audience starts 'watching the film' through the binoculars, and we get to the problem with the film that poisoned the whole well for me. They comment on the film as it's happening, pointing out the problems with it. "It's kinda slow." "Well, it's just the beginning." This happens all over the place. They'll cut back to this in-film audience so they can break down the scene for you. And then some of the other people in the in film audience would be like "SHUT UP" (because it's funny because that's what you want!) and then after far too long spent with this mindless bullshit that's supposed to be clever, we get back to the tire.

We have established that I like meta humor. I have done a podcast on this, so this is not me hating on meta humor at all. But there are types of meta humor. There is what one might call the 'straight' meta humor, where the discussion of tropes as they exist is treated as a reality of that film. This is what happens in Behind the Mask, horror tropes are met head on as if they were something that was possible and existed, and how you would go about actually achieving them. This is more common in comedies that feature meta, but the theory is the same.

Then there is meta humor that occurs when one discusses other films. In the Scream universe, obviously most horror films exist that exist in real life, and they discuss those tropes as tropes while said tropes actually take place. When Sidney's character remarks about women who run upstairs when they should be running outside, and then she can't get the chain off the door and so has to run upstairs, we know why she does and that she knows better.

The meta humor in this film is some of my least favorite ever. It comments on the movie as it happens, largely to point out the flaws as the film goes along, or to provide exposition. In small doses, I find this acceptable, though not particularly clever. In Rubber, it's abusively stupid. "Hee hee hee it's funny because we know it's bad and we're going to tell you it's bad and then have another character tell us to shut up because we know you want us to shut up and then some of you can relate to someone in our in film audience" is aggressively annoying to me, and it just grated on my nerves the whole movie. I couldn't get past it enough to truly like the parts of the film that I actually enjoyed, which was basically everything starring the tire.

Yes, the tire is more entertaining than nearly every human in this movie. For those of you going "Well, that's the point! You see, it's funny, because you relate to the tire! And a character points that out! It's funny because half of this film annoys you! That's the point!" I'm just gonna stop you here. I don't watch films to be annoyed by them. (Well, okay, sometimes I do because I watch films to criticize them but most people watch films for enjoyment.) But if I sat next to you and poked you with a sharp stick over and over for twenty minutes shouting SEE IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE I'M ANNOYING YOU AND I KNOW IT then you would have every right to punch me in the face for being an asshole.

Basically, half of this film is the director being an asshole to the audience, and although I enjoyed some other parts of the film, I didn't enjoy them enough to get over the director ramming his elbow in my ribs going GET IT GET IT THIS SHIT IS FUNNY!

I am well aware that other people find this type of humor funny, and I'm sure if you do then you would enjoy this film immensely.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lucy Liu and Fandom Freakouts: A Retraction

Apparently the news that Lucy Liu had been cast in CBS's Elementary broke yesterday. And then a fandom war broke out, like, instantly.

I wasn't actually aware of it until after I posted my knee-jerk reaction on Tumblr.

My knee-jerk reaction:

I really do think that casting a woman as Watson was to keep the homoerotic subtext fairy away, and also so that Watson and Holmes could have a romance instead of just subtext. If I could side-eye it any harder my eyes would pop out of my head
One of the problems with social media is how easily you can say something that you later regret. I have thought about it (having had time to digest it) and I can't see it as anything worse than BBC Sherlock's "No, we're definitely not gay!" standpoint. And I love the show, but it is seriously problematic in its treatment of women and POC (Start with Sally Donovan and slut-shaming and move on from there). I'm not sure how accurate the Game of Shadows movie was in regards to Romani culture, either, and I've gone on record about how much I hated what happened to both Irene Adler and Mrs. Watson in that movie. (Augh!)

And it's not like the subtext was anything more than subtext in any of those, ever. So we're losing subtext buried under casual homophobia at best, and we don't know what we're gaining out of it yet, other than a WOC in a lead role on TV.

So I formally retract my earlier statements. Having read the concept of the show, it looks like they're trying to do something new and different with it, which I support. Whether it will be awful or not, I don't know. But normally I'm much more reserved about shit like this, and I apologize. I want to judge the thing on it's own merits when it airs- and rest assured, I WILL be watching.

Ending on three notes. 1: CBS is also responsible for HIMYM which I kinda love. 2: Lucy Liu is awesome. 3: Elementary will not end with Holmes in a hot air balloon chasing his brother in a flying metal dragon over London, and that's terrible.

Seriously, you have to watch this movie.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vincent Price Appreciation Post

I had no internet this weekend due to financial fiasco going on, so I watched some of my Vincent Price collection. I don't have nearly enough of his movies in my possession, but that will change, precious. Oh yes. Because he is my favorite.

Part of my fondness is nostalgic. I watched several Vincent Price movies when I was a teenager, and I've been hooked since. I think the first I watched was House on Haunted Hill, but I swear to nothing. Oh, and Edgar Allen Poe-based movies. I went through this Edgar Allen Poe phase as a kid where I couldn't stop reading and re-reading his stories- stories like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "Cask of Amontillado", which is my favorite. Vincent Price starred in something like a jillion (approximately) Poe-based movies, and that plays into why I am so fond of him.

I have not, by any means, seen all of his films. I tend towards movies where he's killing people through hilariously improbable means, like "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" or "Theatre of Blood" (how much fun is he having with that Shakespeare?)

I love how many things he's narrated through the years, and it's always fantastic to start watching something and suddenly Vincent Price. If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is go back in time and meet Vincent Price.

Because of reasons.
The movie I wanted specifically to talk about is Madhouse, which stars Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. We missed the ultimate horror trifecta by not having somehow cast Christopher Lee as well, but what can you do?

I really like Madhouse because it's kinda... well, meta. Vincent Price plays an actor named Paul Toombs who's known for doing horror films. I know, what a stretch, right? Well, he was famous for a character known as Dr. Death. But there's a scandal- his fiancee dies after they quarrel under suspicious circumstances. By which I mean someone dressed as Dr. Death cuts her head the fuck off, and then leaves it on her neck, so when Paul Toombs goes to make up with her, her decapitated head falls off, scarring Paul life. Then he spends a few years in a mental institution.

That's the first, like, fifteen minutes of the movie. Paul Toombs eventually gets back into film, reprising his role as the infamous Dr. Death, and more mysterious murders happen. It's set up so that Paul could possibly be Dr. Death, though he doesn't believe he is (there's an indication early on that someone might be hypnotizing him or something).

I love this film because A: they try to pretend Peter Cushing and Vincent Price are of a similar enough build to be mistaken for each other (ha!) and B: because it has both gory and inexplicable deaths and an air of actual mystery to the perpetrator. Also, Vincent Price, but that pretty much goes without saying. If you like Price and you've somehow missed this one, give it a once over.

I couldn't resist this one.
Edit: I have more things to say.

I call "Madhouse" meta and never really delve into why, because I'm easily distracted by shiny things.

The film references many of Price's earlier films, "Tales of Terror" and "Pit and the Pendulum" most notably, and serves partially as a commentary on how fucked up the movie business is. It also feels like the prologue to every Vincent Price film ever. Like, if there had been a follow-up film called "Toombs' revenge" or "Back from the Toombs" (I crack myself up) where Paul Toombs was killing people for trying to fuck with Dr. Death or something, it would not have surprised anybody in the slightest.

It makes sense to me that Price would do a picture like this, because he preferred playing bad guys who have a compelling reason to act as they do. He likes characters who, while they may have lost their grip on sanity or reality, have a clear motivation. Not just IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE or BECAUSE EVIL, but often out of revenge and grief, motivators that most people can sympathize with.

I can never completely hate the characters he plays, just because they all have a core to them that is just a wounded and broken man who can't make sense of anything. The worlds rules have ceased to mean anything to him and he responds in kind. He also tends to have fun with all of his roles, which makes him very watchable.

...okay, I think now I'm done talking about him. For now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: George of the Jungle

George of the Jungle started as a cartoon in the late sixties. It ran on some network all the time, and I watched it religiously. It was produced by the same people who did the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, and it's on the list of "Shit I'm Nostalgic for Even Though it Aired Before I was Born", alongside the Mission Impossible and Columbo TV shows. I'll have to make a list of these things one day.

That, however, is not the George of the Jungle I'm talking about. I'm talking about this one:

And now, for a moment, my southwest upbringing will become very apparent.

Oh my god, y'all, I don't even know how to tell you how into this movie I was when I first saw it. This movie came out the year I turned 13, and I destroyed the VHS I watched it so much. To be clear on what I mean by this: we had a tape of the Princess Bride from the year it came out on VHS that Nick and I watched ALL THE TIME and it survived until we moved onto DVDs, but this one didn't. I had every line memorized, including the Swahili bits.

You see, this movie was the first time where I actually started to understand, well, sex. I mean, I understood it on an intellectual level to a very small extent (tab A, slot B, baby) and that people who love each other in romantic ways have sex. I had romantic feelings about boys from time to time, and I assumed that meant having sex with them at some point long down the road, but I had never really connected the "pure" romantic feelings I'd had with sex.

I think I had, until that point, bought into the 'good girls don't actually LIKE sex' idea. I don't know, but I'd never had that moment where I looked at a guy and went "Oh, yeah, break me off a piece of that," until George of the Jungle. Not even joking.

I can tell you the exact SCENE that happened in the movie, too. And it may surprise you that he wasn't naked OR shirtless during it (although his shirtlessness was the reason I watched the movie over and over and over...) Towards the middle of the movie, he's in San Fransisco with Ursula and she leaves him in her apartment while she goes and does... something. He leaves and starts exploring. Then he ends up playing bongos in a dance studio and that is the exact moment I discovered how hot he was.

Look, I don't know. He spent most of the movie largely naked, and a tiny portion of it actually naked. Maybe it was the first genuine moment in the film (or the only)- the rest of the movie, Fraser is mugging and generally acting like an idiot. Which is in character for George, but this is a scene where it looks like the actor is genuinely having fun with the character while being the character. It doesn't matter, really. It was just the precise moment where I fell in lust with Brendan Fraser.

One of the subplots of the movie is about George discovering his sexuality and how to deal with it. That subplot is about as deep as a kiddie pool (and doesn't really go anywhere because she was falling for him anyway) but it was the thing I related to most in the movie: George awkwardly using gorilla pick-up moves on Ursula.

Look, I know the movie is bad. It's a mess of 'trying too hard' and not-very-good meta humor, with lots of breaking the fourth wall because they could. Fraser's ridiculous mugging and random monkey noises is really... well, it gets annoying. The material it's adapted from is not substantial to begin with, and the movie doesn't have anything new to bring to the table, nor does it update the concept in the slightest.

The movie hasn't aged well and feels very dated. George doesn't actually learn or grow in any way. He doesn't end the movie any smarter, or more sure of himself. There's a minute where they try to convince you that he doubts his worth, but it's not expanded upon and ends up going nowhere. Ursula has one moment where you think she might turn into a badass because she swings in on a vine and saves George. Then Lyle kidnaps her and she ends up hollering for George throughout the climax even though Ursula could clearly snap Lyle in half. The story of the movie is that they fall in love and, after some minor conveniences, get married. At one point, a character gets into an argument with the narrator of the story, and the whole movie stops while they bicker. The movie is full of pointless padding (the above scene with the bongos included) and the concept is stretched so thin you could read newsprint through it.

None of that matters. If it's on TV I stop everything and watch in anyway. I started watching for this so I could do some screen captures and I can't turn it off. I CANNOT STOP WATCHING THIS MOVIE. And I enjoy it and laugh at the jokes and look I don't know, stop judging me. I know it's bad. I don't love it because it's bad, this is not 'so bad it's good' for me. I really just have no excuses.

I do wonder if this wasn't meant to pander to the moms who would be watching this film with their kids. I mean, on top of all the mostly-nude, later in the film there's a scene where Brendan Fraser chases a horse with his shirt unbuttoned, and it's like the cover of a romance novel in motion.

No joke.
There was a glut of Brendan Fraser movies to follow this one, including a cringeworthy adaptation of Dudley Do-Right, which I didn't even enjoy a little. I watched a lot of them. Blast from the Past, Bedazzled, and of course the Mummy movies, which will get their own post in the near future. Without a doubt, The Mummy was the best, and have no doubt that I love it. George of the Jungle was first and, therefore, will always have a piece of my heart. It's as embarrassing as it is true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grief and Star Trek

Warning: This post is more serious than what I normally do, and is kind of a bummer. I don't have much of a point, I'm just bummed and felt like blogging about it.

The 2009 Star Trek ends with the classic Star Trek narration. You know. "Space: the final frontier." and so on. Nimoy narrates it. I thought, "Man, I'll bet Mike recites that narration every time-" and stopped.


Mike is dead. He has been for nearly three years.

So that's how I wound up sobbing to the end credits of Star Trek.

Mike and my mother went to high school together, and he knew my brother and myself from the day we were born. We considered him an uncle, blood or not.

My brother came home on leave a week or so before Mike died, and we decided we'd round Mike up and all go for food and to see Star Trek. I called and left a message and we went by, but he wasn't home. That wasn't so odd, he had other friends and went out, he didn't have a cell phone so if he wasn't home he wasn't home. We made other plans. I knew Mike would call me back, because he always did.

This time, he didn't.

It's why I associate Star Trek with him, just a little. Not all the time either. Every once in a while my brain catches me off guard, and suckerpunches me right in the feelings.

I'm absolutely certain he would have loved the movie, though.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: xXx

xXx was released in theaters in August of 2002, which was the beginning of my senior year in high school. I watched in the local dollar theater with my family and some friends, if memory serves, and I sorta fell in love right away. It's not particularly good, and it's PG-13 which means it's not really violent or dirty enough to be as violent and dirty as it pretends to be.

The movie has a pretty thin premise, and so it hands out action scenes like candy at Halloween. It's actually my favorite thing about the film- it knows it's not good so it makes sure there are plenty of explosions. The action scenes are deliberately gratuitous, as are most of the scenes featuring any woman who isn't Asia Argento.

She shows surprisingly little flesh, actually.

It's a film that features style over substance, and if you don't dig the style then it's just not going to be a film for you. It was a perfect storm for me, I'd discovered Rammstein before the film, and thought it an awesome coincidence that they showed up at the beginning. I later learned that I probably wouldn't have heard of Rammstein if Feuer Frei! hadn't been released as a single due to being on the xXx soundtrack, but it seemed coincidental at the time. It's just kinda dumb and fun for me, something I enjoy because all it's trying to do is be dumb and have fun.

I really like almost all of the music in the movie.

According to IMDB as well as other things I've read around the net, there will be a xXx sequel that once again stars Vin Diesel, which I am looking forward to. I liked Vin Diesel in this one and I've liked him in a couple of other things. I avoided (wisely, I'm told) the Pacifier, but I like watching him blow shit up and kill people.

Among other things.

It's not something I'll argue has a whole lot of merit, and I admit it's not for everyone. I know plenty of people who don't like it, but it's a film I sit down and watch every few months, just because. There's an unrated director's cut that I don't believe I've seen, but it is my intention to own it at some point.


If you have any guilty pleasure movies, tell me about them in the comments. It's the sort of thing I love discussing, and I'm always out to find new ones.