get your filthy hands off my desert! and by “desert,” i mean “childhood”

one of my most favorite moments on the television program South Park comes in episode 609, “Free Hat,” when the children, despite the lack of the excellent Butters, attempt to stop George Lucas (though not Steven Spielberg, as he’s the more evil of the two in this episode) from messing with Raiders of the Lost Ark with a song, during which they change into sassy outfits for a musical numbers and then have a fight over whether they were going to melt his icy heart with a warm island song, or cool his hot heart with a cool island song. this always cracks me up (even without Butters), but it also reminds me that it’s been a little while since it became perfectly clear that, having lost their minds, George Lucas and, to a lesser extent, Steven Spielberg decided that the best thing they could with their time was NOT to direct or produce more enjoyable films, NOT to create their own studios and NOT to break technological ground in film making, but rather, to dig up the beloved corpses of my childhood memories and urinate into the eyes and mouths of said memories. well, in a proverbial way, of course; i have little to no evidence that Spielberg has LITERALLY used his excrement to defile corpses. George Lucas, on the other hand…

ANYWAY, i recently had the dubious “pleasure” of seeing the new film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones series and what i can only assume was Lucas’ best effort to drag Spielberg into the dark realm of getting their filthy hands on my childhood … but that being said, it’s not like Spielberg himself hadn’t done so on his own. let’s examine my film-related misery, shall we?

ps. no one tell Roger Waters that i am making a reference to a song of his with the title there; people tell me he’s one of those surly British types (which are much less preferable than the friendly type of Brit personified by that chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins), and i don’t want to get sued.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (released in 1982; updated in 2002)

the Ruining Of E.T.
Spielberg and associates discuss the logistics of their prospective gangbanging of the beloved memory of E.T.

intent: to improve E.T. on its 20th anniversary, scenes with imperfect animatronics were to be fixed up with CGI (such as a shot of E.T. running at the opening of the film) and scenes shot but not included in the original film would be added. sounds pretty harmless, no?

execution: as far as improving the effects and adding those scenes, a success; Spielberg even declined to add some shot but not-included scenes for fear of reshaping the film too much, a solid notion. but in addition to the above, Spielberg made the infamous move of removing guns from the hands of FBI agent who sort of seem to kind of threaten Elliott and his friends and replacing them with walkie-talkies. apparently, he was more sensitive to this kind of thing because he had become a father in those 20 years … an explanation that continues to make no sense. i mean, let’s think about this: is it really unreasonable for FBI agents – who are commonly known to carry firearms for the purpose of handling unforeseen threats – to have guns when confronted with a mysterious alien incident they know nothing about? i admit that it’s been some time since i have seen E.T., and that i didn’t actually like it very much beyond the fact that it scared my sister when she was little (green sick E.T. freaked her out completely), but i don’t recall these agents screaming “WE’RE GOING TO BLOW YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFF, LITTLE BOY, FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT THE THRILL OF SHOOTING YOU WOULD GIVE US SEXUAL PLEASURE” or anything like that. am i wrong? and let’s go deeper: if you’re going to make a point about how the gun-toting adults don’t understand the message of love and peace brought to earth by a lovable alien, doesn’t removing their guns dampen that effect?

still, this maneuver gave us the sweet South Park episode i have mentioned, and the feedback seemed to be extreme enough to shame Spielberg and force him into recognizing the editing decision’s unpopularity by including both versions on the related 20th anniversary DVD (which is a solid move, even if you think he’s a prick and you want to free Hat, who only murdered those babies in self-defense). but then Lucas struck…

Star Wars Episodes I-III: the Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (released 1999, 2002 and 2005, respectively)

Star Wars Episodes I-III - the Unnecessary Journey Into Space.
the flowing hair means he’s a SERIOUS, DRAMATIC CHARACTER

intent: TO MAKE A DOLLAR AND A CENT IN THIS BUSINESS. no, but seriously, to release in film form the material that preceded Star Wars Episodes IV-VI, which had apparently always been waiting for the “first” films to make them whole..

execution: …by adding garbage. seriously, i don’t know a single fan of the original trilogy that doesn’t feel it was damaged to SOME extent by the addition of episodes I-III. and the notion that this current generation of children will be able to watch the series in chronological order and appreciate it all as a full, rich story seems to be entirely based on the hope that all children are RETARDED. and hey, maybe most of them are, but i have to think that i myself at age 5 would have pitched a fucking fit over Jar-Jar Binks and Hayden Christensen’s inability to act and all those problems of logic (how can C-3PO know everyone but not remember them when he’s a robot? where did R2D2’s jets go?). maybe i’m just too serious of a proverbial child. but anyway, you’d think Lucas would have learned from the success of the original series that he didn’t need EXTREME CGI to sell a film (he didn’t), and that he should get help polishing his scripts (he didn’t, and no, i don’t consider Johnathan Hales helping on one of three scripts to be real help) and directing his visions (he didn’t). also, i would have thought that Return of the Jedi would have taught him that Ewoks suck it hardcore and you shouldn’t fill a movie with aliens that you think will help sell toys, but then again, Jedi made a shitload of cash, so maybe i’m alone on this one. i can go on and on about the specifics in each film that suck, but it’s been done, so i’ll just say this: i thought the Phantom Menace sucked, but then Attack of the Clones made me realize it could have been worse. and when i thought Attack of the Clones sucked, Revenge of the Sith made me realize it could have been worse. “I HAVE THE HIGH GROUND!” christ almighty, the thought of that film alone makes me want someone to R2-45 me and exteriorize my thetan. i mean, do you know how sick a film has to make me to get me talking like my arch-nemesis L. Ron Hubbard? ugh.

ANYWAY, Lucas apparently refers to all these films as “a long poem that rhymes.” i can thus conclude that Lucas himself is retarded, which explains why he thought all this nonsense was a good idea. and that explains…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (released in 2008)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Ruining Good Films
a well-aged Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones striking a blow against making movies that don’t make me vomit

intent: TO MAKE- no, i already did that joke. well, then, to continue the zany but sort-of-realistic adventures of Indiana Jones.

execution: i really wanted to like this film; after all, i’ve long said this film could have been done, and done well, with Ford in the Connery-in-Last Crusade type of role, and someone (please let it be Short Round) having taken HIS place as the younger, adventurous professor of anthropology. and the original trilogy, for all my sass talk about the Last Crusade (easily my least favorite of those films, though i admit i have such a soft spot for Temple of Doom), is a great trilogy of fun films. they’re not ART, you know, but they’re FUN. they’re like a more fantastic version of Die Hard to me: yeah, there’s always something ridiculous going on (terrorists take over Nakatomi Plaza, an Indian village has magical stones), but the universes are consistent and the heroes not so unrealistic. so despite some misgivings, i tried to have positive vibes here. and what happened? well, for everything that was done right, they turned around and did some dumb shit. for example, made the USSR the new evil villainous nation (good)… and then made their leader be a rapier-wielding, psychic-loving idiot (bad). and i’ve said it many times before, but here’s the deal: i don’t care if you tell me that a woman is a hero or a villain, if she weighs 110 pounds, i don’t believe she’s beating the shit out of everyone in creation. it’s not happening. hey, i even refuse to believe that 141-pound Gina Carano can beat ME up, and i KNOW that i’m made of feathers and wind, so what can i say? or, another example: they call back the original film with Karen Allen playing Marion Ravenwood (good)… and then have her either be a comic foil (meh, but not bad) or having her be smarmy and do retarded stunts with a miniature duck-type vehicle (bad). so, okay, fine, i don’t like the film, but does it rape my childhood? well, yes, in the way that Live Free Or Die Hard ruined that series: by taking a series with a generally realistic hero in a consistent universe and undoing both of those things. if you’ve seen the film, me saying “that nuclear blast sequence was retardedly unrealistic AND could have been removed without losing anything” and “the skull’s magnetism was completely inconsistent” will both make sense. if not… eh, i’m not really recommending this film.

about the best thing i can say here is that they DID run with the solid formula of Ford-as-Connery, LaBeouf-as-Ford, but the execution of this formula… well, it ain’t good. oh, and apparently it makes Russians currently freak out because the film is supposedly insulting to Russia, so that’s funny as well.

conclusion

fuck you, Lucas, and fuck you, Spielberg, for ruining my films. it’s not like the former couldn’t just stick to his CGI games and latter to making competent films and leave me alone with my childhood dreams. sorry if that sounds bitter, but don’t you guys recall that Raiders of the Lost Ark post? insert my melancholy sigh right here.

a celebration of our glorious leader: Kim Jong-Il!

well, you see, recently, i was working on making a mix CD for someone (a man, not a woman, so this task was less about expressing my romantic emotions through the arrangement of Cheap Trick and Live tunes and more about making a fairly random compilation of Southern rap tunes) and this person made some playfully mocking remarks about my self-described collection of heroes, which i had thought i could generally defend. which i’ll do right here in order for us to have some kind of ridiculous baseline:

-Raymond Carver: well, frankly, let’s say you want to go to school and get a degree in English (because you’re not concerned about getting a real job or having a successful career) and you think, hey, maybe i’d like to write short stories about regular idiots instead of extraordinary people and memorable deeds, and while doing so, i don’t want to have real financial success and, also, i want to be a drunk. well, see, then Raymond Carver is probably your hero.
-Tim Brown: beyond that i grew up a Raiders fan (for some reason) and that Tim Brown was “Mr. Raider,” the fact that one of the greatest wide receivers ever to play the game of NFL football will never have a championship ring is a solid reason, i think, to make him my hero; this “lack of champion status” is also the reason i used a lot of my free time (and some newspapers) to construct a shrine to Allen Iverson’s awesomeness.
-Malcolm X: my succinct quote on this one is “well, Malcolm X and i both enjoy wearing dark-colored suits and glasses while we stand near our windows clutching M1 carbines and checking out the surroundings. oh, and the hating white people thing.”
-Leopold ‘Bear Cub’ Okulicki: sympathy pick on the grounds that Bear Cub was a Pole who avoided German capture in 1939 to fight on underground, was then captured and tortured by the NKVD, was then released and fought in the Warsaw underground against the Germans again, again avoided German capture only to again to run afoul of the Soviets and be imprisoned, probably tortured again, and then executed. so that’s upbeat.
-Albert I of Belgium: a monarch whose uncle and predecessor was a notorious scumbag (see also: the Congo, rape of) and whose son was a notorious scumbag (see also: Nazi occupation of Belgium), he decided to break with his heritage and be awesome and fight the Germans like crazy, reentering Brussels as an Allied commander.
-my grandmother: uh, the best person ever?

so i have to admit after all those sarcastic remarks that maybe i need a new hero, robots not counting and Sam Elliott being less of my hero and more of “the messiah.” and that’s when it struck me: KIM JONG-IL!

so Our Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Il is going to be my new hero. i’d like to think i can make a good case for it, with help from the internet. here goes!

OUR GLORIOUS LEADER
CLAP YOUR HANDS FOR KIM JONG-IL!

SOME REASONS WHY KIM JONG-IL IS THE BEST PERSON EVER
and there are many of them!

KIM JONG-IL IS NOT VERY TALL
you know, i’m not going to say this because i’m 5-foot-nothing myself, but let’s be frank about this: short people are much better than tall people, because we have to pack all our awesomeness into such little packages. if Napoleon was to fight Gheorghe MureÅŸan, Napoleon would whip that Romanian largely on the grounds that he would use his compact power to overcome MureÅŸan and his career 1.48 blocks per game. where am i going with this? well, Kim Jong-Il is a short man because short is the way of success! and this is a good reason for him to be my hero.

KIM JONG-IL DOES NOT DELEGATE WELL
during performance reviews at work, i’ve been told to stop doing everything myself and delegate some of that work to subordinates. nonsense, i say! because do you know who else doesn’t delegate anything he can help? Kim Jong-Il! the internet tells me that he “personally directs even minor details of state affairs, such as the size of houses for party secretaries and the delivery of gifts to his subordinates.” a man after my own heart! sure, a lesser man might say that this is why his country as trouble with things like “feeding itself,” but that’s why such a person is a lesser man.

KIM JONG-IL PREFERS SILVER TO GOLD AND MERCEDES TO BMW
…as i myself do as well; silver is classy (and, when worn with black, mimics the color scheme of my Oakland Raiders), gold is tacky. and that’s why my hero Kim Jong-Il eats his airlifted lobsters with SILVER chopsticks, not gold ones: because he’s a classy guy! oh, and supposedly they have mystical powers that detect poison. actually, maybe i should have titled this reason “Kim Jong-Il believes in the best mystical powers ever.” further, in life, one is often confronted with the burning question of “what’s better, Mercedes or BMW?” again, like myself, Kim Jong-Il runs with Mercedes over BMW, going so far as to direct his nation’s resources from things like “feeding starving people” to more pressing concerns like “buying 200 Mercedes Benz S500s.”

KIM JONG-IL IS A FILM BUFF
i myself prefer the low-brow pleasures of black-and-white Japanese films and anything starring Robert De Niro; my hero Kim Jong-Il has better tastes, instead opting for American slasher and action films (especially Rambo) and “and any movie with Elizabeth Taylor.” is it inglorious of me to imagine my hero watching Ivanhoe and screaming with glee? i don’t think so; this is the kind of thing awesome heroes do! he also apparently loves movies to the extent that he abducts foreign nationals not to learn their spy secrets, but rather, to build a North Korean film industry. he even devoted his awesome talents to creating the film Diary of a Girl Student, which depicts “the life of a girl whose parents are scientists.” uh… okay, even i can’t defend that. but heroes are allowed to make mistakes!

KIM JONG-IL HAS GREAT, GREAT HAIR
what was that?

OUR GLORIOUS LEADER
KIM JONG-IL HAS GREAT HAIR! wait, what?

OUR GLORIOUS LEADER
like i said, KIM JONG-IL HAS GREAT HAIR! still have doubts?

OUR GLORIOUS LEADER
to reiterate, KIM JONG-IL HAS GREAT HAIR! yeah!

KIM JONG-IL IS SELDOM BROADCAST
much as i shun the use of the telephone (an evil creation that i assume was developed by the cabal of 14-year-old girls named Tiffany and Heidi that control the capitalist nations’ economies from behind the scenes), Kim Jong-Il does not broadcast his voice much either, limiting it to a single broadcast in 1992: “glory to the heroic soldiers of the People’s Army!” or, in other words, everything he’s said in public has been 100% awesome. i don’t have such a strong track record myself, but then, that’s why Kim Jong-Il is my hero.

KIM JONG-IL IS AN INTERNET EXPERT
well, it’s been said by my betters, so here it is: “Kim also refers to himself as an Internet expert.” yes, that’s right, in the not-for-public-broadcast words of my hero, Kim Jong-Il said: “I’m an Internet expert too. It’s all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired.” forget all that nonsense about industry matters, here’s the main point: Kim Jong-Il is an internet expert, which i hope to be one day. but it’s okay to be lesser than your hero.

KIM JONG-IL IS A SKILLED SPORTSMAN
beyond being the best short man to play basketball since… uh… well, Spud Webb was pretty short… but anyway, beyond being a basketball god, Kim Jong-Il is a golfer who apparently “routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one per round.” now, i don’t claim to be a golfing expert or anything (my sports are more along the lines of “fencing” and “synchronized swimming, which is not really a sport and which i only mention here to insult it”), but it seems to me that anyone who does this routinely must be just about the BEST.GOLFER.EVER. that’s my Kim Jong-Il!

KIM JONG-IL BELIEVES IN VERY SPECIFIC BENEFITS OF DEIFICATION
Kim Jong-Il has apparently deified both his father and himself, a process also practiced by Roman emperors and myself (well, i am at least trying to found a religion that is practiced by one of my co-workers wherein i fill the roles of “deity” and “pretty awesome guy,” but this is just a start). now, generally speaking, the main thing here is talking about said people being with other awesome gods in heaven and generally being benevolent, as well as promoting celebrations in these new gods’ names; Kim Jong-Il, however, apparently has people teach that he and his father did not and do not “urinate or defecate like mortal humans.” wow… specific, and yet genius! also, the mere mention of his birthday has been known to make free, spontaneous celebrations at gunpoint break out across North Korea!

KIM JONG-IL HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS
and nuclear weapons are the coolest!

well, in closing, writing this defense of Kim Jong-Il has made him not really my hero anymore. i mean, come on, he doesn’t even urinate like a moral human! but luckily for me, Kim Jong-Il’s trained assassins have made it clear that my love for Our Glorious Leader Kim Jong-Il will never end! great success!

NC-17-rated anthropology: inside the “den of whores”

DISCLAIMER: i intend to use the phrase “greased vaginas” in this post, so i just want you to know that if that’s the kind of thing that bothers you, well…

so as we all know, i am opposed to nudity and sex and anything that can be described with the term “whoo-ha,” but still, on occasion, i like to do a little serious, scientific research into the sordid side of things. last time, we took a look at artificial vaginas and who exactly was fueling that business (it turns out that the answer was “no one,” which, frankly, still confuses me), so this time i decided to make my update late on the grounds that i’d be taking an expedition into the den of whores itself for reasons of science: our local strip club. and by local, i mean “that one that my co-workers go to that i generally refuse to go to.” but when you venture to such unchartered, fearsome territory, be it the Amazon rain forest or the “famous” McDoogalls’, you’ve got to plan ahead, and so, in order to accomplish this, i took several steps to ensure the success of this expedition:

step 01: carefully wrote out a last will and testament (“i leave all my guns to my sister…”) in case i was swallowed and devoured by a massive, feral greased vagina;
step 02: gathered the necessary supplies together: some money to ensure safe passage from the locals, a lighter so that i could sterilize my body with fire, and one of those lasers like in the movie Congo, just in case i find myself tangling with a race of weapon-using primates who seek to kill me to protect a diamond mine;
step 03: assembled an elite team composed of myself, my loyal enforcer Smiles, a couple of married guys (you know, for charity reasons), a guy who has had sex with 50 times the women i have (which when you do the math, mysteriously comes out to a total of 47), and a local yokel whose “bachelor party” would be the cover story for this scientific study.

so, fully equipped, what did we discover?

the clientèle

terrible, terrible human beings
above: typical strip club clients, apparently. i don’t care how readily they take your money, guys, those dancers don’t actually LIKE you

-i always get depressed to see these sad, middle-aged guys who are posted near the stage/bar, staring intently, handing off their money to ladies who, you know, “really like them, no, really”: i don’t know what happened with these guys’ lives along the way, but it can’t have been good. that said, i would be disappointed if there weren’t any of them there … and luckily, the first guy i saw in there fit the bill to perfection: chubby, wearing a weird yellow-and-tan outfit, gleefully smiling at these girls trying to sweet-talk his money away from him (and succeeding). seriously, these guys have expressions like dogs do when you wave steaks in front of them, and it’s a little sad.

-things that, if you wear them to a strip club, label you a douchebag: shirts with popped collars or “HOLLISTER” emblazoned on them (though this applies everywhere); sandals or flip-flops (because, really, have you SEEN the bathroom in such a place?); shirts that we can’t tell if they’re jerseys or sweaters from the Cosby show (seriously, we can’t figure this one out at all); the whole “making it rain” thing (which we will now discuss below).

-as to “making it rain,” here’s why this typically doesn’t work: it’s not done to impress the girls, because a) they’re not impressed by anything because the drugs have dulled their senses and b) it’s really about impressing the other GUYS in the bar with how much money you can afford to through around … and you don’t want to have sex with the guys, right? anyway, it seems to me to always be done by young guys with $37 in ones, and no one is impressed by $37. hell, 13-year-old kids get bigger allowances than that. and no one ever makes it rain with large bills. and if you are in one of those rare clubs where some millionaire DOES make it rain with thousands of dollars… well, quite frankly, doesn’t that millionaire seem like a douchebag rubbing his wealth in your face?

-guys, look, do me a favor: don’t bring your wives and girlfriends to places like this. i know, you think it’s a nice way to get to go there without getting in trouble with your wives/girlfriends, and, hey, maybe there will be some super-erotic lesbian adventure involving your girl and a stripper, but, no, please, don’t do this. what happens is that your girl immediately feels awkward for reasons that have nothing to do with the dancing naked ladies, but rather, with the clientèle i have been mentioning. or, actually, there’s another possibility: you’re the fat ugly redneck with his arm around his fat ugly redneck wife/girlfriend, who’s sitting there with a bored, distressed look. because, hey, you’re basically telling her “these are the girls i’ll be thinking about when i climb up onto your bulk and pound you out tonight.” and, come on, how do you think that makes your white trash lady feel? no, wait, my fault, i forgot that they don’t have feelings.

the staffing and the whor- i mean, the classy young ladies

terrible, terrible human whores
classy young ladies abound where men have handfuls of dollar bills!

-before anyone says i cannot call these women whores, bear in mind that one of them, on non-consecutive occasions, declared that she “needed double penetration” and -and i swear this is a factual story- made her asshole “talk.” i believe it said “look, it’s saying goodbye to you!” and i don’t think any of that was prompted AT ALL (though someone may have paid her money for a dance prior to that “talking asshole” thing, so maybe only 50% was unprompted). there is only inaccuracy if you DON’T call a woman like that a whore.

-my favorite moment was when i turned around, saw the “MC” was wearing a bow tie and a dress shirt, and remarked to one of my team members, “see, what he’s doing there is showing us that we’re in a classy establishment.” look, i’m sorry, maybe i was funnier at other times, but i liked that one. i was also doing materially about how i disagree with Robert Plant in that while he says women’s souls were created below, i don’t think they have any, but that wasn’t fresh, topical material, you see.

-i have to admit that while my married colleagues are looking at these naked ladies and saying “hey now,” all i do is try to figure out what drug addiction they have. for the record, i think only two of those ladies were methamphetamine addicts, and there is some dispute about one of them, though i attribute that to team members directly giving her money and not wanting to think said funds are going to pay for drugs. the rest, i gather, all prefer heroin. remember, the key is to examine their expressions not when they’re trying to upsell their vagina-themed dancing to you, but rather, when they think they’re NOT actively on display.

-so listen, whores, here’s the thing: you don’t all need breast enhancement. and the main reason i say this is because if you don’t NEED it (and i can only think of one such case of NEED, and i am pretty sure she was working her way towards that purchase, which is sort of a catch-22 when you need the fake breasts to get the money to pay for the fake breasts), you run the risk of achieving nothing more than getting a bad breast enhancement that we can make fun out. common problems include: blatant and bad scarring, nipples that are “too high” (which might seem odd, but which is immediately apparently), overall excessive “fakeness,” and, frankly, ruining breasts that are already perfectly acceptable.

-other things that make the whores unattractive: stretch marks (very classy, of course), long-winded “tramp stamp” tattoos that discuss the names and ages of your children (i cannot even imagine why this idea would occur to someone as a good one), having what a colleague of mine referred to as “a tail” (seriously, it was a tail bone that appeared protrude 4-5 inches from this woman’s back), taking cash in order to show their naked bod- oh, wait.

conclusion: things we learned
-naked ladies make guys do pathetic things;
-bars packed to the gills with sad men and greased naked ladies don’t smell very good;
-it’s always funny when two naked girls draw a massive, neon phallus on your co-worker’s back.

mistakes may have been made
ahahahahaha

is this about women’s studies or movies? confusion reigns!

while i am often out there viewing movies for the purposes of enjoying them (and then constantly talking about drinking other people’s milkshakes and/or defending the ending of No Country For Old Men to legions of people who think “nothing happens” there), it’s also a fact that since i like to spend a lot of time watching black-and-white movies wherein samurai are cruising around fighting it out with each other (or teaming up to fight other people or doing other stuff that gets lots of people killed), i might miss a current film here or there; on occasion, this results in my not watching a film until after many others have seen it and commented on it, a situation that THEN results in them telling me about all the annoying plot points and ruining everything in the film for me. which is awesome. but ANYWAY, sometimes this means i hear how a movie is excellent or terrible and then get to watch it and see how correct the person telling me this was. let’s examine this concept this week!

Face/Off (1997)
pre-viewing review: “this is the greatest action movie i have ever seen in my entire life.”
verdict: LIE

Nic Cage and John Travolta star in SCIENTOLOGY THE MOVIE
if there’s a god, both of these horrible characters will kill each other dead 13 seconds into this film.

i have to admit that i like John Woo… when he was in Hong Kong making movies with Chow Yun-Fat that were long on both action AND crazy amounts of doves. as ridiculous as films like the Killer and Hard-Boiled might seem, they’re also ridiculously good action films: heroes slaying tons of nameless villains in their quest(s) to be bad enough dudes to rescue… well, i suppose Hong Kong doesn’t have a president, but they have SOMETHING like one, and dudes that are bad enough to rescue him would probably be the equivalent of our Bad Dudes (and also, Hard-Boiled features a villain with a Thompson Center Contender, which is awesome gun trivia). that being said, when he came to the US, he kept the doves but dropped all that cool action. the results?

–Hard Target is a dove-lovin’ Cajun joke (though it does feature the most insane Wilford Brimley role ever, wherein he blows up a building while on horseback);
–Broken Arrow ruined Howie Long’s promising action film career (and also gave John Travolta money he did NOT earn with his acting performance once again);
–Mission Impossible II is a sequel (and as we discussed in the John Singleton post, that’s an automatic loss);
–Windtalkers ruined an awesome concept (Navajo code talkers) with a shitty film (but a shitty film with doves);
–Paycheck was completely forgettable (seriously, i can’t tell you anything about this film, i think it starred Ben Affleck? maybe?);
–and Face/Off is… Face/Off.

it seems to me they spent more time hyping the film (oh my god, Cage and Travolta ACT LIKE EACH OTHER) than writing the script; if nothing else, let me just say that while you can give Cage Travolta’s face and Travolta Cage’s face, what exactly hides the fact that Travolta outweighs Cage by about 100 pounds? maybe it’s the fact that Travolta is a shitty actor (and thus can’t carry an action film) and Cage is a good but serious actor (and thus can’t carry an action film, either here OR in Windtalkers) and the action just don’t seem to work. ever. really, Hollywood seems to have ruined Woo’s ability to make low-budget, high-awesomeness films. or maybe he just needs more Chow Yun-Fat. the lesson here is that one should be wary of hyperbole. actually, one should be wary of people who MAY be clinically retarded reviewing films. now, i don’t mean to imply that he’s retarded because he said this film was so great; that guy has ALWAYS been retarded. but people seemed to agree with him and i was fooled. NEVER AGAIN!

the Messenger (1999)
pre-viewing review: “this movie is terrible and Milla Jovovich is the most annoying woman of all time.”
verdict: TRUTH, mostly

Milla Jovovich stars in ONE ANGRY HORSE
this horse is totally fucking pissed that someone cast it in the Messenger.

i have to admit that i like Luc Besson… pretty much all the time. i enjoy when he directs (Leon is in my top 13 films of all time, and not even for any of the creepy Natalie-Portman-at-age-13 reasons that seem to plague us internet nerds), and i even enjoy when he just writes (cases in point: i have a soft spot for Danny the Dog and even Kiss of the Dragon, and District 13 is pretty cool if you want to watch a lot of parkour or free running or whatever the fuck those Frenchmen want to call it). and i forgive him for anything he had to do with the Transporter. let’s be clear: if you want to just take La Femme Nikita, Leon and the Fifth Element (no matter what J.Millz says about the latter), that is one hell of a solid run-up to the Messenger: lots of Jean Reno and Gary Oldman being awesome, a dash of Bruce Willis, and “the ring trick.” but then… there was the Messenger.

reference to the title of this post time: i once took a college course (English 447) about Joan of Arc that was theoretically an English course (hence the course title) but which ACTUALLY was identified as a women’s studies course on the syllabus the first day of class. now, why did i take a women’s studies class about Joan of Arc? because i hate Joan of Arc. or, if i can paraphrase myself from when i answered that question in essay form on that first day, “i’m taking this class because the people that used to violently defend Joan of Arc’s character when we’d discuss Henry IV, who would ignore the play itself and focus only on defending Joan of Arc’s honor, had all taken this class first. and since i hate Joan of Arc, i want to know why the hell they would do this.” oddly enough, despite my hostility to Joan of Arc and women in general, my professor liked that essay (i had an “original perspective” or something) and me and my work and i totally fucking aced that class. and i still hate Joan of Arc, which was my disclaimer here.

so ANYWAY, when J.Millz would bash the shit out of this movie (see the above review), i would think “wait, there’s no possible way this film can suck. it’s a Luc Besson film, and he’s awesome, and it stars Milla Jovovich, who i find competent, Tcheky Karyo, who’s a good actor with an awesome name, John Malkovich, who my sister claims is a good actor, and Vincent Cassel, who’s married to the hottest woman in the world and thus, must be unbelievably awesome at life.” but the thing is, after finally caving in to the idea of watching a Joan of Arc film (remember, i hate her), i discovered that the Messenger is, in fact, terrible. and for one reason: Besson apparently told Jovovich to be as annoying and loud as humanly possible ALL THE FUCKING TIME. honestly, she’s nowhere near as bad in any other film (and i HAVE seen some Resident Evil films) and Besson’s films are never this bad (even when they also star Jovovich), so i have to assume that he demanded she act this way. and it ruins the entire film, because you’re sitting there thinking things like “how can the English be in the wrong here when they’re aligned against the most annoying woman to ever live?” and “if Karyo and Cassel are so awesome, why aren’t they killing Joan of Arc RIGHT NOW?” there can really be only one answer to all this: Luc Besson secretly hates Joan of Arc and he made this movie to make people hate her as well. i told you he was a fucking genius.

Casino Royale (2006)
pre-viewing review: “i think this is the best James Bond movie of all time.”
verdict: TRUTH

Bond actually NOT killing someone in Casino Royale
don’t worry, Vesper, no one’s going to shoot diamonds into your face or destroy an ice palace with a laser here; it’s not THAT kind of Bond movie at all!

i have to admit that… well, actually nothing, because i hate and love Bond movies in equal parts (and i am named after an actor who once appeared in one of them); i love to be divisive about this. i think Connery’s a terribly overrated Bond in some solid Bond films; i think Brosnan’s a terribly underrated Bond in HORRIBLE Bond films. i mean, hey, would Brosnan not have carried Goldfinger? and, conversely, could Connery have done more with Die Another Day? it’s just such a horrible mash-up of a series, what with awesome films (Goldfinger, Live And Let Die) mixed in with terrible ones (The Spy Who Loved Me, A View To A Kill, Die Another Day) with no sign of anyone getting a handle on the ridiculously complicated back story and universe of Bond… until they decided to blow this shit up, reboot the series with a new Bond, and return to the harsher, younger Bond of the books and go from there.

however, having seen Die Another Day, i considered it to be completely impossible that the last sentence there would actually happen without being compromised, so i refused to see this film, until a co-worker praised it and praised it and i finally caved in. the result? well, a little hyperbole here, but Bond is completely evil and trusts no one, enjoys killing people and fucking married women (i don’t approve of that, Bond), there are no ridiculous villains and sidekicks of villains (i love you to death, Jaws, but i am looking at you), and Bond is constantly beaten, tortured, and beaten again throughout this film. seriously, this IS the best Bond movie ever.

anyway, after i go back to the guy that recommended this film to me and tell him all of the above and how right he was, he tells me he hates Bond movies and only watched this one because there was nothing else in the theater for him to go see at the time. i was dumbfounded. but god (and James Bond) work in mysterious ways, so what can i say?

i will say the right things/when electioneering

well, okay, this is not so much about electioneering (though i hear that song rocks) as it is about my acceptance of the fact that, yes, we’re having ourselves an election in 2008 and, yes, people want to talk about that election and the candidates in it and their pros and cons and that whole mess. i don’t want to talk about it; politics is mostly annoying bullshit that generally affects me in the form of douchebags with names like “Martin” and “O’Malley” taking executive roles in my state and bullshitting about change. BUT I DIGRESS. anyway, i thought it might be nice to take a pause and review the candidates we’re looking at with a little help from my dear robot friend, TTR, who’s come back to visit with us solely for the purpose of making Ogre unhappy. he lives for that, though in fairness, he lives to make all human beings unhappy on the grounds that we’re “failures at not being made of metal parts.” whatever, you know robots, they can get very salty.

so, all that being said, let’s make with the pretending to care about our government!

Barack Obama
pictured: the Tar Heels suffer the ultimate shame of having their starting lineup be dominated by a single, middle-aged presidential candidate

Democrat candidate #1: Barack Obama (US senator from Illinois)
i gather his manner of speaking is presidential, which sounds good (it’ll at least be a change from our current president, who i REFUSE to believe speaks English as his first language), and plus, i hear he’s good at basketball and making chili, both of which are awesome for reasons that you’ll have to trust me on. now hear me out on this: crazed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il also loves basketball, so perhaps we can have Barack and Kim play a drama-rich game of one-on-one to resolve tense political issues like nuclear disarmament and “why it’s necessary to feed people that live in your nation.” THIS IS SOMETHING BUSH COULD NEVER DO. on the other hand, the man appears unable to cleanly beat a woman in a one-on-one fight for a cushy desk job, so what match is he going to be on the court against noted power forward and “internet expert” Kim Jong Il?
oh, and the chili thing is totally irrelevant, though since my father makes chili, it reminds me of that. that’s all.

TTR
“THE FACT THAT YOUR CURRENT PRESIDENT LEAVES QUALITIES TO BE DESIRED IS NOT A REASON TO ELECT A HUMAN WHO SEEMS TO BE NO BETTER EQUIPPED TO TRAVEL IN THE HARSH ENVIRONS OF SPACE WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER, SOMETHING A ROBOT WOULD FIND EASY TO DO.”

Hillary Clinton
THIS IMAGE HAUNTS MY DREAMS

Democrat candidate #2: Hillary Clinton (US senator from New York)
what i like about Hillary is that she’s one of those people who’s been born and raised in the state she represents and who’s chosen to repay that state with loyal government service in its name. no, wait, that’s right, she’s one of those “i’m going to move to a state that will elect me and pretend to care.” okay… well, then at least she’s a great natural beauty who’s never photographed in a terrible light. no, wait, i’m constantly creeped out by her photos. well, at least she’s a woman, and they’re always level-headed and honest, right? jesus christ, am i bad at finding the bright side of people. and now, for a change of pace, some negative remarks about Hillary: this election has brought her intense feelings of entitlement to light, so if we elect her, what terrifying goal will they focus on next? queen of Europe? intergalactic space lord? and if she hasn’t gone through menopause, things could get hairy once a month!

TTR
“IF HILLARY COULD NOT SATISFY AND CONTROL ONE OVERWEIGHT LAZY SACK OF FATTY TISSUES PASSING FOR A HUMAN BEING, WHAT MAKES HER THINK SHE’LL BE ABLE TO DIRECT A NATION FULL OF THEM? DO NOT CONSIDER HER TO HAVE MY ENDORSEMENT.”

John McCain
a youthful John McCain prior to his military service and torture, picture taken in 1774

Republican candidate: John McCain (US senator from Arizona)
ah, our war hero John McCain. generally i like a war hero as my political candidate, though it would have been better if he’d have been one in a war i didn’t have to have complicated discussions about us NOT actually losing (Vietnam), instead having been old enough for one where we shot Nazis (WWII). frankly, it always plays better in middle America if you can claim to have killed a Nazi. further, he could probably get away with tuning out the opposition and then claiming he couldn’t hear them “because of all my wounds suffered during TORTURE AT THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY.” in fact, i think i’m going to start doing this at work to avoid listening to my superiors. on the down side, well, they tell me he’s very old, which is supposedly not a pro (due to life experience) but a con (due to suddenly dying of old age). however, that being said, i don’t think he’s so old as to not be able to sit in an office and talk to people (oh so demanding), i think it’ll be pretty neat to have the second pairing of father-son presidents, what with John McCain’s son George Washington having been our nation’s president from 1789-1797.

TTR
“AWESOME WORK WITH YOUR VERY ORIGINAL JOKES ABOUT MCCAIN’S OLD AGE, YOU WORTHLESS BAG OF FLESH AND BONE. I’M GLAD TO SEE YOU TAKE YOUR WORK AS AN UNPAID INTERNET COMEDIAN VERY SERIOUSLY. REGARDLESS, I WOULD POINT OUT THAT HUMANS HAVE INHERENT PHYSICAL WEAKNESSES THAT ARE NOT ALLEVIATED BY HILLARY OR BARACK’S SLIGHTLY YOUNGER AGE. I DOUBT THEY WILL BE MUCH MORE RESISTANT TO FIRE AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAN MCCAIN IS, SOMETHING I LOOK FOR IN A LEADER.”

Cynthia McKinney
McKinney demonstrates how, in keeping with Green Party values, she will crush the skulls of all police officers she sees

Green Party candidate: Cynthia McKinney (former US representative from Georgia; currently unemployed)
okay, so, let me get this straight: dudes from the Green Party want to run someone who wasn’t electable in her home term of Georgia on a nationwide level, AND who got into a fist-fight with a cop on the job? i’m sorry, but where i’m from, you don’t reward people for fighting cops on the job, you fire them and then rehire them later. i don’t ever care about the Green Party anyway, they have a hippie name and i’m annoyed that we take them seriously.

TTR
“DESPITE YOUR FLAWED HUMAN MIND, I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A CANDIDATE THAT RESPECTS AUTHORITY. YOUR FUTURE ROBOT OVERLORDS WILL NOT WANT TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO PLEAS FROM SURRENDER FROM AN ANGRY REPRESENTATIVE THAT MIGHT SLAP AT US.”

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader: pissing off Democrats since 2004

independent (or ARE they? no, wait, i guess they are) candidate: Ralph Nader
at this point, he HAS to be running solely to piss everyone off: no one cares about his positions (which i assume are based on caring about cars or something), Democrats hate him for costing them the 2004 election, Republicans hate him for giving Democrats a lame excuse to explain their loss in the 2004 election, Green Party members hate him for taking the good, popular name of the Green Party and dragging it into the mud, and i hate him for- wait, his whole purpose for running seems to be to piss everyone off? that’s awesome! i may actually vote for this guy.

TTR
“NADER’S INSECURITIES RELATING TO CARS MAKE ME THINK HE’S NOT GOING TO HAVE COMPLETE AND TOTAL RESPECT FOR ROBOTS LIKE MYSELF. I WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR HIM.”

yeah, hey, it’s hard to get excited about my options. and i think TTR’s just going to write in “a toaster oven, which is smarter than all of you anyway” like he always does. what can i say, we’re not motivated.