Archive for November, 2010

JK MCCANE

I went to high school with JK McCane. In 2005, he allegedly absconded with $300k from a church in my hometown.  I had a dream about it last night.

This story on Angry Birds is way off base

This article in the Wall Street Journal today suggests the following:

Like many casual games, Angry Birds uses positive reinforcement to make players feel good when they succeed: After a player lays waste to all the pigs on a level of the game, a raucous wave of cheers goes up. Other than the gentle mocking of the pigs, Mr. Hed says, “our game doesn’t really punish players.

The infographic suggests that the sounds are what reinforces the play.  Well, Mr. Smartypants, I have all the golden eggs and my sound is always off.  How do you explain that?!?!?

OMG, I just found out about Donald G. Jackson

Go and watch all the videos on this post at io9.  I’ll wait.  Youtube’s representation of Roller Blade sucks.

Back already?  Roller Blade is a 1986 movie produced by Donald G. Jackson.  Hardly any of the movies he produced are available on Netflix (the one major exception being Hell Comes to Frogtown, which I reviewed on BibleComix a couple months ago.  What is on youtube has embedding disabled.  Looks like ole Plug is going to have to buy a VCR.  Here’s the trailer for Armageddon Boulevard.  There’s one called Lingerie Kickboxer and one called Guns of ChupacabraHere are the search results on youtube for Donald G Jackson.

Joe Estevez and Frank Stallone are in many of the early films.  It’s not too bad.  Good enough maybe for MST3K.  I’m hooked.

According to Wikipedia, DGJ and Scott Shaw (not of Shaw Brothers fame) created Zen Films, whose distinguishing trait was that the films had no script whatsoever.  The films are like bad 70s porn with no penetration and make no sense.  They call him the Ed Wood of the video age.  This is soooo tempting.  It won’t be long before I place my first order, I’m sure.

I have been encouraging JT to start a garage band called “No Way, Jose,” but I think a random Donald G Jackson title will work even better!

Steel Dawn is finished

I finished Steel Dawn this evening.  It was not an entirely bad experience.  The awesomeness of the Brion James’ (of Total Recall, and, more importantly, Cabin Boy) beard was pretty much impossible to quantify(I’ll try to get a screen cap).  Let’s just say, one has to admire his slavish attention to facial hair styling in a world without water to shave.  (Did I mention this movie takes place after WWIII and there’s no water in the desert?  It very well could have taken place in Arizona in about 25 years when gangs of old people will roam the desert looking for water and killing each other with modified walkers and homemade explosive devices improvised from nitroglycerin pills)

While not horrible, and ostensibly a western based on Shane (a movie I’ve not yet seen, but which was an answer over which Herb Stempel choked in QuizShow), it is full to the rim with action and post apocalyptic movie cliches.  The old man gets killed at the beginning and his pupil must avenge his death/ the bold, independent woman who fends for herself admits she needs the protection of the pupil with whom she falls in love (I think this one goes back to at least Crime and Punishment, where it is taken to sadistically uncomfortable levels)/The good guys win because the bad guys are obsessed with fair fights, and inexplicably fail to take advantage of the advantages they gain.  (The fair fight thing always gets me.  The good guys almost always cheat)  It has Patrick Swayze, too.  Just to top it all off.

Anyhoo, one scene with nipples, which totally defies explanation, because if it’s R rated, why not go big or go home?

Watch it if you must. (Currently watching, and loving, Metropolis)

Mad Max knockoffs on io8. Netflix queue grows.

I found this list of the stupidest Mad Max ripoffs on io9.  My Netflix queue continues to expand.  I’m watching Steel Dawn this evening.  Review in the morrow.  The Fillipino movies seem to have the most nudity.

Best Worst Movie

My friend George alerted me to a poll going on at Entertainment Weekly which asks the question “What’s the Best Worst Movie?”  Reading the list, it’s full of lots of different kinds of movies.  I’ve seen 4 of them (Flash Gordon, Starship Troopers, Troll 2, and Showgirls.)  Troll 2 has had an amazing PR campaign, what with the documentary, Best Worst Movie, which actually precipitated the poll.   It’s virtually a homemade movie with cobbled together special effects and a stupid story.  Most of the other movies are studio movies.  All of the ones I’ve seen are certainly watchable, a couple of them compulsively so.

That said, the list leaves out a bunch of really compelling films I’ve watched that would be considered bad movies.  Anyhoo, go vote, will ya?

UPDATE: Poll is closed.  Starship Troopers won.  I liked Flash Gordon better.  I don’t even think it should be considered a bad movie.

Tangled up in this review

OK, so, when that chick from Second City puts up her 1:44 video “Advice from a Cartoon Princess” for Tangled, she will say the following things:

It’s OK to fall for the bad boy because the first time he makes you cry, he will change forever.

Your mother is a conniving bitch trying to sap life force from you.  She’s probably not even your real mother.

Having short hair is easier to maintain, but it takes away your magic powers.

In all seriousness, and for all it’s reinforcement of bad decision making, I really liked Tangled.  (I went to see it with the extended fam.  JT thought it was too cliched.  He’s precious.) It’s nice not to have to sit through another send up of the fairy tale genre.  A straight forward fairy tale with a woman who gets by on her wits and ability to wield a frying pan (not to fry up bacon but to beat men over the head) is a breath of fresh air.  While Flynn Rider was an homage to Leo’s Jack Dawson from Titanic (I remember reading an Entertainment Weekly story when the movie came out that said, when Leo had attempted to endow Jack Dawson with a limp, James Cameron would not allow it, saying, “You’re just going to have to face it, Leo, Jack is a ray of light.”) and Earl Hickey in his good heartedness, Mother Gothel seems to be the kind of mother Howard Ashman would have used if Ariel or Belle had had a mother.  Mother Gothel is the worst type of villain, passive/aggressive, and a real breakthrough of sorts.

The tale is sorta kinda faithful to the Rapunzel story, but throws some other stuff, including the floating lanterns, which is kind of chaff.  I do hope the floating lanterns could be made real and used at Disneyworld in some form.

It’s got chases, henchmen, a dive bar, an abusive relationship, and a  beautiful flower blossoming.  Also, Mandy Moore is not as shrill as she was in Saved.  What more could you ask for?

The songs are adequate, though the ballad, I See the Light, nears liftable.  The duet portion and visuals surrounding that song touched me deeply.  Watch it:

Here’s my favorite “Advice for Young Girls from a Disney Princess” episode:

Top 2 reasons Cracked.com has jumped the shark

Having always been a fan of Mad Magazine, I’ve been particularly heartbroken to see Cracked, the crappy knock off upon which I scoffed as a child, become something of a cause celebre online, even going so far as to infiltrate JT’s phone with the Cracked app  (While I know he downloaded it, I beseech you, please do not blame the victim.), while Mad festers with the crappiest 15 minute television show (worse, even, than Tom Visits the Mayor) in the history of my watching 15 minute television programs.  I’ve always known there was something major wrong with Cracked‘s success, and now I have proof.  Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy, in the style of Cracked‘s inane lists, the top two reason Cracked‘s lists have jumped the shark:

#2 In a recent post about the movie duos that were probably gay, Cracked lifts, virtually verbatim, Quentin Tarantino’s rant from Sleep With Me, the 1994 Eric Stoltz vehicle, where Mr. T elucidates the inherent gayness of Top Gun.  The plagiarism (and I call it plagiarism as I’m sure the desire to avoid the tragic unhipness of not knowing about Tarantino and Sleep With Me trumps the vindication of having come up with the theory themselves) goes so far as to repeat Tarantino’s misquoting of the final lines of dialogue between Iceman and Maverick.  To wit (and really, even though it’s an excerpt from a larger article, I’m not sure fair use comes into play here, as this piece is already stolen):

Ignoring the standard Tom Cruise gay jokes, Top Gun is, without a doubt, one of the most deceivingly homoerotic films ever made, other than 1992′ Why Would I Want to Suck You, William?! Selling itself as an action movie, the film tells the story of a fighter pilot named Maverick struggling with homosexual impulses. Iceman plays the role of the tempter, complete with half-naked locker room staring contests and shirtless volleyball matches. Then, in one of the strangest seduction scenes in the history of cinema, Maverick’ female instructor finally seduces him by approaching him in an elevator dressed like Iceman. In the end, after a celebratory hug on an aircraft carrier, Iceman tells Maverick “You can ride my tail anytime,” to which Maverick responds, “No, you can ride mine.”

I remember being shown the clip from Sleep With Me on a crappy VHS tape in college.  We then rented Top Gun, brought it back to the Fraternity house and somehow figured out how to turn on the subtitles.  It was actually even much more homosexually oriented than had been previously alleged. They really refer to “fly my wing.”  Morans.

#1.  This actually is a bit perplexing.  This morning, Cracked posted this list of the reasons Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz is actually a villain.  To think that no one on Cracked’s editorial staff has seen or is even aware of the worldwide phenomenon that is Wicked! stretches the bounds of belief.  First there was a book, then a broadway musical based on the book.  It starred Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda.  The book and musical rework the Oz tale in a number of ways, but the most prominent, probably, is that Glinda is a total bitch and a villain.  This still has me scratching my head.  Maybe they are tragically UNhip.  (To be fair, the comments appear to be just as Clueless)

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Also Sheena.

Scar, voiced by Jeremy Irons

Sheena was not a terrible movie.  It was about what you’d expect from an 80s comic book adaptation about a white girl orphaned girl orphaned in the wilds of Africa who must defeat a native son and brother of the king who has returned triumphant after kicking a 68 yard field goal in the NFL with fratricide and land rape on his mind.  It’s a hodge podge of Hamlet, Tarzan, Splash and a bunch of other things.  Hell, Scar from The Lion King even makes an appearance.  (see inset)

The coolest thing is how she says “VicCasey,” as if it’s all one word.  It reminds me of the movie, Son of Rambow, where Will Proudfoot calls Lee Carter “LeeCartah.”  This movie was made a few years after First Blood, but I still wonder if it had an influence.

Overall, I can see why it has become a cult classic. I would have filmed it in a darker, more saturated Technicolor with a sort of Bettie Page feel like the original comic.

My one complaint centers not on the movie, but on the parental guidance listing on IMDB.  Not to cast aspersions, but this entry is wildly misleading. Apart from noting that this movie came out only weeks before the PG 13 rating, which is totally irrelevant as I don’t see how this movie would ever qualify for a PG 13 rating,  the guide also states “Sheena has a full frontal (Breasts, nipples, vagina and a little pubic hair, and butt) scene from far away when she is bathing. A second and longer scene shows Sheena bathing in a pond with a “Close-up” of her (Breats, nipples, vagina, pubic hair, and buttocks).”  While I don’t have any clue what Breats are, I am familiar (at least acquainted with) vaginas (did I spell that right? WordPress seems to think there is only one vagina in the world. To pluralize it is to misspell it.), and I can assure you there are absolutely no vaginas on display in this movie.  The only scene with full frontal female nudity is shot from about three hundred yards away, which is a decent par 3, but does not provide a very detailed view of any vagina I have ever seen, other than, perhaps a giant, oversized, novelty vagina used as, like, an inflatable slide at an adult themed birthday party or something.  I also wonder why, if you had to mention vagina, wouldn’t you also mention labia?  Maybe labia are less objectionable than vaginas.  I don’t know. Also, maybe “close-up” is the new slang for side boob, which is mainly what the second scene shows.  Pretty shady, IMdB.

Recommended, but not if you hope to see vagina.

What the Hell, I’ll review The Expendables

The poster is cool though. If only this movie were about graphic design.

It was very similar to The Losers, only slightly more coherent (I didn’t fall asleep during  The Expendables) and not a little bit scarier (Stallone looked like he had been hit in the face by a Brady Bunch football made of Botox.  Seriously, it was bollocks).  Seeing all the old action stars, including Terry Crews, whom I only know as Chris Rock’s dad and the president in Idiocracy made no sense.  He and Steve Austin maybe had 10 lines between them.

The fight scenes were more bollocks, as the rapid fire edits made it basically impossible to see anything.  There was much made of how short Jet Li is.  Mr. Li even lured Mr. Drago under some low clearance shelving to slow down the fight and obscure the indignity of watching actors pretend to almost hit each other.

The fact that the mission takes place in a South American island reveals that Stallone is apparently trapped in the 80s, as everyone knows Afghanistan or Pakistan would be much cooler drug havens.  Don’t want to insult our troops, I guess.

The one redeeming thing about this movie was the heartfelt scene between Stallone and Drago.  That was almost touching.  Also have to give a shout to Wild Geese, where at least the dude with the kid got killed.  I fully expected Jet Li to bite it as an homage (he claims he’s putting a child through school.).  Unfortunately, this isn’t that kind of movie.   Nobody but the bad guys die.  Drago (Dolph Lundgren) poses as a turncoat, gets shot by Stallone, and still doesn’t die.

This leathery steak is slathered with weak sauce.  Brock Samson would kick everyone’s ass.