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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Terminator Salvation

Terminator SalvationIt took me forever to get around to this movie, but after Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, can you really blame me?  Before I get into Terminator Salvation, I’ll give you some context on how I feel about the Terminator franchise.

The Terminator is regarded as a classic sci-fi movie, but the more I think about it, the more I tend to drop it into a slasher/horror movie category…  Arnold Schwarzenegger just chases people around the whole movie and kills them… yeah, he pretty much kills everybody accept Sarah ConnorTerminator 2: Judgment Day is, in my mind, the best possible version of The Terminator (minus Lina Hamilton half naked), but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same movie (but flipped on it’s head), but with more character development, better lighting, effects and overall production value.  Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines… this movie just didn’t hold my attention.  The improvements they made from T1 to T2 justified another movie, but T3 is the exact same movie as T2, just crappier with improved effects.  When I heard they were making yet another Terminator movie, I wasn’t exactly turning cartwheels… that is, until I heard Christian Bale was in it in the starring role of John Connor.  Bale has been my boy since Equilibrium (2002 – I know he’d been making movies since he was 14, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the movies he made before 2002), so suddenly, things were looking up.

Ever since I saw T2 as a kid and I got a glimpse of the war between men and machines, Salvation was the movie I wanted to see – this is probably why I was so unhappy with T3… or because the movie sucks.  Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Salvation, although apparently no one else did.  Roger Ebert said, “After scrutinizing the film, I offer you my summary of the story: Guy dies, finds himself resurrected, meets others, fights. That lasts for almost two hours.”  Not only is that almost the exact same review he gave for T3, but that’s also the most simplistic summary ever… in fact, it barely passes for a summary, because he’s leaving a ton of shiz out.  Here is an actual summary:

Salvation has a lot more to offer than the other Terminator movies; it’s not just people chasing each other, there are interesting characters there.  Unlike T2 and T3, you don’t wait the entire movie to see the Terminators fight each other.  There are characters that actually evolve in this movie… I don’t understand why everyone hated it so much.  I’ve read that people were disappointed it wasn’t rated R like the other movies, but that seems like a stupid reason to dislike a movie – to get the movie down from an R to a PG-13, they removed a guy getting stabbed with a screwdriver and a topless woman.  That’s it.  It’s not like they yanked the core out of the movie or something.  And the movie rewards your patience:  you get this scene at the end.  NICE.

If you’re a casual Terminator fan (I’ve never watched the TV show or anything like that), I think you’ll enjoy Salvation.  If you read the expanded universe fiction, I’m sure there is plenty in here to piss you off.  But people seem to hate this movie, and I’m not sure why.  It doesn’t have the previous movie’s silliness, and it has plenty of action; it’s gritty, the pace moves well and the story rounds out nicely.  People act like the first two were Shakespeare… I just don’t get it.  I don’t know what people wanted, but I liked this movie…  I might be the only one.

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Pumpkin beer rankings

Harvest Moon - Blue Moon

Much to the chagrin of my waste line, I like beer, and I like trying new beer even more.  Seasonal beers really do it for me, and October is one of my favorite months.  Sure,  Oktoberfest is all well and good, but for my money, it’s all about the Pumpkin Beers.  When it comes to a pumpkin beer, I don’t want some tiny little hint of pumpkin (I’m looking at you, Blue Moon), I want to be annihilated by pumpkin and, preferably by alcohol content.  Here’s a list of five pumpkin beers I’ve tried, ranked from least to greatest.

Pumpkin Ale - Smuttynose

5. Harvest Moon – Blue Moon

Like Smuttynose, I can barely taste the pumpkin, but unlike Smuttynose, the alcohol content is pretty mediocre.

4. Pumpkin Ale – Smuttynose

I can vaguely tell I’m drinking a pumpkin beer when I’m drinking Smuttynose, but i can certainly tell I’m drinking a beverage with alcohol in it.  This stuff gets it done, one way or another.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale - Brooklyn Brewery

3. Post Road Pumpkin Ale –

Brooklyn Brewery

Good flavor and readily available (at least in my area), so it’s a nice option.

Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale - Anheuser-Busch

2. Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale –

Anheuser-Busch

I would say Jack’s has a bit more pumpkin flavor than Post Road, and while the privately owned liquor stores don’t seem to carry it, the grocery stores that carry booze seem to have it in abundance.

Imperial Pumpking Ale - Southern Tier

The King of Pumpkin Beers!

1. Imperial Pumpking Ale – Southern Tier

Imperial Pumpking Ale is my favorite, by far.  It’s got a rich, sweet pumpkin flavor with a 8.8% abv, its got plenty of alcohol.  I’m having a hard time finding it this year, but I highly recommend it.  Long live the king.

Titanic 3D coming in 2012

titanic“Ice burg right ahead!”  – I shiz you not.

James Cameron is re-releasing Titanic in 2012 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking… of the Titanic.

After all, nothing says loving tribute to those that lost their lives in that tragic accident like JamesCameron collecting another ten bucks off my mom and her friends on movie night.

Oh wait, there is a way to make the tribute even better:

HE’S CONVERTING THE MOVIE TO 3D.

james cameron

"Suck on THAT, George Lucas!"

So if you liked Titanic before, surely you will love 3D Leonardo DiCaprio.  When reached for comment, Mr. DiCaprio said, “This is exactly what my career needs right now.”

In an effort to one up Mr. Cameron, I’d like to announce that I’ll be debuting Lusitania for Christmas of 2011.  The special effects will combine CG elements and plastic models filmed in my bath tub – in the third act, my golden retriever bites the Lusitania in half.  And of course, the movie will be in 3D.  And it’s going to be a musical, featuring music by Bono and The Edge.

I readily admit:  I’ve never actually sat down and watched Titanic from beginning to end.  I saw the trailer and thought, “That looks shizzy,” and didn’t see it in theaters.  Remember when it was on cable all the time for a while there?  I tried, but I had to turn that bad boy off.  I stand by the decision. Remember the scene when that one character remarked, “Psh, Picasso, he’ll never go anywhere.”  Yeah, I turned it off right there.  However, I did turn it back on in time to watch the boat sink, and I’ve seen a few scenes here and there over the years, so I think I got the jist:  the movie blows.  But then, check out James Cameron’s resume:  does anyone seriously enjoy these movies on any level?  As for me, I’m patiently waiting for the sequel to Piranha Part Two: The Spawning.

futuramaAnyway, I did see the Futurama parody of Titanic – that’s probably good enough.

I thought the idea of a Titanic movie was in bad taste before, when I was a teenager. Re-releasing it just affirms my deeply spiritual belief that James Cameron is the devil and he shouldn’t set this hell hound upon us again.  Besides, he owes me one:  I sat through all of Avatar and I didn’t interrupt that flaming pile of shiz once to complained about how bad the movie sucked (besides being crappy, it’s also the most predictable movie of all time), how heavy the 3D glasses were, how sick I was of the fact that everything on Pandora glows after the first walk through the jungle, that the element they wanted to mine was called unobtanium and that it equally unnecessary for Cameron to scale the aliens that much bigger than the humans as it was to show the main guy get into his avatar control coffin every single damn time he was going to control his avatar.  He has to get in the damn coffin thingy – I get it!

Back to Titanic:  making money off tragedy is evil, but not illegal, so I don’t begrudge him much for this – if it wasn’t Cameron, it’d be somebody else.  But to do it twice with the same movie is downright… I don’t know what to call it.  I guess it makes you Hitler.  There, I said it – its just basic math:

let p be profiting off tragedy, so p * 2 = you’re Hitler

I was mad about how shitty Avatar was, but re-releasing Titanic is going to far, and I’m super angry about it, and it’s an anger I can never let go…  never let go.

titanic

"You just said you'd never let go... don't forget and leave me in a watery grave forever..."

Disney World Vacation Photos

Sorry it’s been a while in between posts, but I was on vacation for a while – yeah, VACATION!  And it was awesome, mind you – TOTALLY AWESOME!  I’m working on a monster post about my trip to Disney World that will probably be available next week.  If you need some prose in the style of the J-Dogg (yeah, I seriously refer to myself as the J-Dogg; well, not seriously) to tide you over until  then, head over to BomberBanter.com, where I rip the Yankees for playing like unmitigated ASS against the Texas Rangers. Read the rest of this entry

The Golden Compass movie review

Have you ever had an experience where you see a trailer for a movie and formed an assumption about said film and then when you actually saw it, it’s nothing like you expected?  That’s  exactly what happened to me when I saw The Golden Compass.

The trailer I kept seeing for The Golden Compass is perhaps once of the worst cut trailers I’ve ever seen.  Being a fan of film editing (I edited the scenes in Pulp Fiction into chronological order for fun), this is something I look closely at.  The very concept of editing a movie into just a few seconds is daunting and I understand it’s not the same thing of taking hours of footage and assembling it into a film.  There has to be a ton of voices for a trailer editor to listen to:  the director, the producers, other studio execs and marketing people who all want things accomplished with this commercial for their movie.  But when it comes to the The Golden Compass, they blew it.  Badly.

So you watch the trailer and think, “OK, this movie is about a little girl who has a golden compass and hangs out with polar bears.  And Nicole Kidman wants the golden compass for some nefarious purpose… probably.  There sure seem to be a lot of polar bears in this movie!  Guess I’ll have to see it to figure out what all these damn polar bears in clothes have to do with that golden compass/little girl/ Nicole Kidman problem.”

That’s barely what this movie about.

I’m not familiar with Northern Lights (or the title it was released under here in America, The Golden Compass), the novel the film is based on, by which I mean I didn’t know it existed until I saw the trailer for the movie.  So all I had to go on was the trailer, and that trailer did not entice me to see this movie.  (I saw it anyway, but that’s besides the point – I also saw City of Ember, and like the trailer, that movie was kinda crappy.)  Against all odds, I watched it.  Why not, after all?  I like animals, and polar bears kinda look like big white dogs to me, and dogs are, as the kids say, ‘da bomb.’  What could possible go wrong?

the golden compassNothing much.  It’s a pretty good movie… only it doesn’t have much to do with polar bears and some weird animal war like I thought.  I guess I was expecting some weird Narnia knockoff, but what I got was more crazy shiz than I can shake a dæmon at.  (That’s pronounced demon, by the way.)  Yeah, dæmon.  The movie starts with a voice over that explains what a dæmon is; wikipeida does as good a job with one sentence:

The film is set in a world where a person’s soul resides outside their body in an animal-like form called a “dæmon“.

Got that?  Oh, and they talk, too.  And they’re independently sentient, meaning they have a mind of their own and don’t have any sort of telepathic connection to their human.  Oh and the childrens’ dæmons are shape shifters, but once you reach adult hood, they pick a constant shape.  Because… yeah, not sure why.

After the voice over, I figured we’d be surrounded by snow, but nope.  Looks like England – well to me, at least.  So these kids hang out with their dæmons and the Magisterium is kidnapping kids to try and separate them from their dæmons because Lord Asriel has learned that particles called “Dust,” which originates in a parallel universe and enters a person’s body via their dæmon, and the Magisterium believes the Dust will influence them and they want to inoculate themselves from said influence by separating themselves from their dæmons…

And there are a bunch of other plot threads moving through the movie, like the polar bears, the witches, who are Lyra Belacqua‘s parents, what will the bad guys do if they get their hands on the alethiometer (technical name for the Golden Compass) and… oh  yeah, the fate of the kidnapped kids and all this other crazy stuff!

I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.  If you like fantasy, you’ll enjoy this movie.  The characters are interesting and complex, and the story movies along well.  The effects aren’t perfect, but the acting is.  The bad news is the movie ends abruptly, leaving the door open for a sequel (two sequels, actually) that it sounds like New Line Cinema has no intention of bringing to the big screen.

So if The Golden Compass sounds interesting to you, I guess you’re better off reading the books.  I plan to – after all, the movie was good.

Everything you ever wanted to know and were afraid to ask about Glen Beck

glen beckNew York Times Magazine has a dissertation (the online version is 10 “pages” long) out on Glen Beck.  If that sounds daunting, don’t worry – I’ll hook you up.  Let’s quote:

“I think what the country is going through right now is, in a way, what I went through with my alcoholism,” he told me. “You can either live or die. You have a choice.”

Am I the only person on earth who didn’t know Glen Beck was a recovering alcoholic?  That makes it even more interesting to me when people refer to him as the new Rush Limbaugh, as Mr. Limbaugh is in recovery for abusing… I forget what, pills, maybe?  And ‘live or die,’ huh?  I guess Glen Beck saw the end of Karate Kid Part 2.

It was a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of September, and Beck had just returned from a week’s vacation in the Grand Tetons followed by a quick hop to Anchorage, where he and Sarah Palin appeared at an event on Sept. 11.

Read the rest of this entry

A Pledge to America or Look, mom! I wrote an essay!

Before I get into “A Pledge to America,” a document not on par in writing skills with most junior high school history texts, I’ll take a brief moment to explain my political affiliations.

Uhm, I don’t really have any.  I don’t belong to any particular party, and, at least on the local level, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents over the decade plus I’ve been of voter age.  In terms of where I stand on issues, I’ll give you what I think is the best example of my duality:  I believe abortion is wrong, but I don’t believe Roe v Wade should be appealed; I’ve made the choice (or rather, we’ve made the choice; kind of hard for a guy to make the choice on his own!), but I don’t want to make the choice for anyone else.  So, like Chris Rock:  ” I’ve got some shit I’m conservative about, I’ve got some shit I’m liberal about. Crime, I’m conservative. Prostitution, I’m liberal!”  Word.

http://pledge.gop.gov/ I guess this is the foreward (the document itself also has a foreward), but   don’t waste your time – it’s sort of a mission statement for why we wrote a mission statement.  If you’re in a rush, you can take a gander at the Pledge Pocket Card, and presumably print it out and carry it around in your pocket so you can dispense talking points (that don’t really say anything) at will.   You’ll sound like a genius when you say, “The Republicans are

 going to reign in the red tape factory in Washington DC!”  If somebody asks you specifically what red tape and how, just hand them the card and tell them you have to go to the bathroom.  Once you get in your SUV and start the engine, you’re home free!

If you’re ready to do battle, here’s the full document; I know, Adobe’s PDF reader is telling you it’s 48 pages, but don’t get nervous, its really not that many pages of actual reading.  Observe:

  • Page 1 is the cover
  • Page 2 is a picture of the Statue of Liberty.  Seriously.  It’s a good one, too!
  • Page 3 is an interior cover, because obviously, page 1 is an exterior cover, and one cover page will simply not do.  Not for a document of this magnitude.
  • Page 6 simply says ‘Forward.’  The party that’s going to reign in the red tape factory in Washington used an entire page for one word.  Very efficient.  Putting ‘Forward’ on the top of page 7 (and thus making page 7 page 6) would be entirely too efficient and is a perfect metaphor for this entire document.  I’ll refer to these as title pages from here on out.
  • Page 10 is a picture of Mount Rushmore.  I feel very inspired by this.  It’s also thoughtful of them, because I’ve never seen a photograph of Mount Rushmore.  If the Republicans didn’t put it in here, how else would I know what is looks like?
  • Page 11 is a picture of the interior of a butcher shop.  Taped to their counter is a picture of some grazing turkeys…  I think.  Look how the Republicans are supporting small businesses by including this photo in their pledge!  Everybody likes meat, right?  Well, not everybody.
  • Page 12 includes 3 photos: 
    • top:  somebody who I assume is a Republican Congressman at one of those town hall meetings
    • bottom left:  another guy who I assume is a Republican Congressman at one of those town hall meetings, but he’s gesturing to a pie chart (ooo fancy!)
    • bottom right:  some people at a factory or a warehouse that are too well dressed to work there.  Maybe she’s a Congresswoman and she’s listening to a small business owner?  The Republicans care!
  • Page 13 is a table of contents.  Obviously.  Where else were you expecting the table of contents to be?  On page two, after the cover?  Or maybe they could have composited it on top of the Statue of Liberty photo…  no, that would be disrespectful.  But yes, table of contents is on page 13.  That’s just brilliant.
  • Page 14:  you guessed it, more pictures! 
    • Top left:  back of some guy’s head at a lectern
    • top center:  two guys in suits on horses
    • top right:  a guy being filmed as seen on a video camera’s instant preview screen
    • center:  people sitting and standing around a table, kind of invoctes The Last Supper (I like!)
    • bottom:  people waiting to eat and listening at an event called ‘speaking out’ while one guy talks.
  • Page 15:  another title page
  • Page 17:  30% or so of this page is taken up by a graph that says the Stimulus Bill was ineffective at staving off unemployment.  A graph?  Really?   Above the graph is the one sentence you would need to make this point without using a graph, but why not do both?  Some people like to read information, other people like to see the information!  Let’s cover our bases!  Not everybody can read, after all.
  • Page 19 is a photo of a guy on a horse swinging a lasso.  Speaking of a lasso, I’d like to find the folks that approved this monstrosity and have Wonder Woman tie them up and make them tell the truth about why their pledge document sucks so hard.
  • Page 20:  more pictures; 8 in total.  I’m not describing them all, I’m too pissed.  I assume the people that worked on this also work for members of congress, so that means we pay them, too, right?  Damn it!
  • Page 21:  another effing title page
  • Page 25 is a graph illustrating what percentage we spend on federal assistance programs and states that these programs are crowding out private enterprises.  I’m having a hard time telling the difference between the colors for Department of Homeland Security (really, you guys don’t like this one anymore?  wasn’t this the Republican’s idea?) and the color for the Department of the Interior.  And there aren’t any dollar amounts on here, not even estimates.
  • Page 26:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 27:  another effing title page
  • Page 30 is half blank.  Very efficient.  This would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
  • health care chart boehner
    Obama is also black!

    Page 31 is a chart illustrating the 160 governing bodies of the ‘new health care law.’  Enough with the charts, guys.  I can’t make heads or tales of this, but I guess that’s the point.  I’d like to hear why all of this is bad, but instead, you just gave me a big useless picture that might as well just say, “the new health care law is bad” on it.  That opinion is fine, I just need to know why it’s bad.  Telling us that there are 160 boards, bureaus and commissions is probably a good starting place for your argument, but since that’s the only piece you’re giving me, it doesn’t help much.

  • Page 33:  another effing title page.  Restore trust?  I doubt you guys could auto-restore word docs on my computer after Windows crashes.
  • Page 36 is half blank.  Very efficient.  Again, this would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
  • Page 37:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 38:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 39:  another effing title page
  • Page 41 is 25% blank. Again, this would have been a good spot for your useless pictures.
  • Page 42:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 43:  another effing title page
  • Page 44:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 46:  MORE.  EFFING.  PICTURES.
  • Page 47:  This page encourages you to speak out.  This page is about 75% blank – you know, like the pledge itself.
  • Page 48:  back cover

SO that’s…  31 pages with little or no content in a 48 page document.  11 pages alone for covers, titles and table of contents.  13 pages with nothing but pictures. 

Take a closer look at the table of contents.  The page itself is labeled as page 11, but it’s actually the 13th page.  Yep, they expect you to print out this bastard son of an actual, coherent document and read it.  Hence, all the page numbers in the table of contents are effed if you read it via adobe PDF viewer.  According to the page numbering, there are only 45 pages, not 48.  OK, so they’re not counting the two covers and… uhm, one other random page.

After all that, I know you must be highly motivated to read this piece of crap.  I’m already exhausted and not willing to recap this flaming pile of nothing; as far as I can tell, the Republicans pledge to America is to cut taxes while reducing spending and reducing the national deficit.  Exactly what they plan to reduce spending on and by how much – well, I wasn’t able to pick that up from the document, but probably health care; they were clear they didn’t like that.  If there was a section on how you reduce debt while also reducing revenue (taxes), I must not have read that page, either.  If anybody finds the answers to these questions, let me know.  I’m also wondering who the cowboy is on page 19… I mean 17.  Whatever.  Maybe it’s W!

As for me, I’m going to vote for the Democrats this fall.  What choice do I have?  The Republicans are CRAZY.  As of this writing, there is a huge picture of Sarah Palin on the GOP website.  We all know she’s not currently holding an office, but I didn’t realize she was even a Republican anymore, or at least, not really.  Isn’t she all about tea bagging these days?  (The First Dude is a HUGE tea bagger.)

My reading comprehension skills tell me that the Republicans have a pledge, all right:  lower taxes and everything the Democrats have done or will propose is wrong.  That’s not a platform.  It’s a quagmire.

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