Guardians of the Awesome.
First off let me apologize for not writing anything in the last month. The lead up to San Diego Comic Con followed immediately by the Las Vegas Star Trek convention really took it out of me and I have been scrambling to get caught up since getting back. While on the road I was a couple films and tried to write them up but tended to fall asleep at my keyboard. Thus I have the first paragraph of my Planet of the Apes and Earth to Echo reviews sitting in my drafts folder (amazing and cute but meh respectively). The worst part about being so absent is the last review I did was for Tammy and anyone coming to my blog for the first time has to deal with that broken sump pump.
So rather than go back and finish the two I have on deck I thought I would jump in with something epic, Guardians of the Galaxy. I will be honest. I had my doubts going in. I am a big Chris Pratt fan but never really saw him as an action guy (OK, sure Zero Dark Thirty and he was an awesome action guy in the Lego Movie, but still all I see is his goofy character in Parks and Rec) and the use of bad 70’s music seemed to imply that the studio was accidentally remaking Ice Pirates without realizing it. However, had I had the mental werewithal to do some actual research beforehand (hahahahaha yeah like that’s going to happen even when I’m well rested) I would have realized it was directed by Peter Gunn. Sure he did do Movie 43 and the Scooby Doo live action film (also Lollypop Chainsaw, the video game confluence of hot chicks in skimpy Catholic school uniforms and zombies. Actually when I write that sentence out it the game sounds a lot less lame than it did in my head) but one movie he did that really stands out and has relevance in this genre is Super. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. It is not the movie you expect and you will not feel a lot better after seeing it but it is awesome nevertheless.
(actually Peter Gunn also wrote the screenplay for Tromeo and Juliet, putting him on another level of amazing IMO)
The point is I think Peter is good enough to execute a great comic book movie and here he proves it. It seems like the directors I like the best in mainstream film all started off doing lo budget garbage. The guys who cut their teeth working for the big studios all seem to suck (cough cough Bay cough cough).
So this movie is in all ways pretty amazing. What I loved most about it wasn’t the great action or special effects but rather the characters. Joss Whedon has had a very positive influence on Marvel studios and honestly this cast of characters and the ship has a very strong Firefly vibe to it (also Nathan Fillian made a cameo in it. See if you can spot him. Mal image courtesy of the Firefly T Shirt category). When asked which of the character I love the best I’m like a five year old. “Star Lord? He’s my favorite. Drax? Oh yeah, HE’S my favorite. Groot? Well, really he’s my favorite. Although maybe it’s Rocket.” Each one had a depth and interest that is lacking in a lot of so called character movies. They all work well together and you get a great feel of cohesion from the cast.
It’s interesting to me that Marvel (or Disney, if you want to get technical) has managed to figure out that when they go deep, deep into the source material and actually produce films based on the comic books they get much better movies than those that are merely “inspired” by their sources. Source material generally has great stories and characters that have been beloved and developed for years, not invented by a couple of coked up college dropouts with a word processor over a weekend. I guess this is a benefit of working for the biggest, most authoritarian entertainment production company in the universe. If there is one thing Disney understands it’s how to protect a franchise. Would that other franchises that may or may not rhyme with Tar Strek, Miderspan, or Franstormers learned that lesson. I doubt there is room for crappy creative ego or character re-imagining when you are under the thumb of the Mouse, and I’m sure any producer or director who said something like “You know what we should do? Instead of having Groot be a walking plant let’s make him a walking pipe cleaner man! The kids will love it!” got a size 16 white rodent boot broken off in his or her ass faster than HR could print out a pink slip. It’s odd that after all my years of railing against Disney I now find myself loving them.
So the story is great, but if you are not familiar with the Infinity Gauntlet and the events leading up to it you might miss a lot. Fortunately the core story holds up very well and the amazing characters will keep you fully engaged. It starts off with young Peter Quill on Earth being brought into the hospital bed to watch his mother die of cancer (I assume). She gives him a gift and tells him one day his father will find him. Peter runs outside and immediately abducted by aliens.
Skip forward 26 years and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt-the Lego Movie, Delivery Man, Parks and Rec) is now Star Lord, an outlaw with a slew of cool equipment including a fold out helmet I would give a lot to have. He is on a desolate planet looking for a weird orb while listening to his 26 year old tape Walkman playing hits of the 70’s. He gets the orb but almost gets pinched by some bad guys working for a guy named Ronan (Lee Pace-the Hobbit, Breaking Dawn Part 2, Lincoln) but gets away on his ship.
Turns out he is stealing the object and ripping off his sociopathic former partner Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker-the Walking Dead, Jumper, Cliffhanger). He takes the orb to his buyer but the buyer backs out when he learns that Ronan is involved. On his way out he is attacked by a raccoon named Rocket (Bradly Cooper-the Hangover, Limitless, American Hustle) and Rockets giant plant friend Groot (Vin Diesel-Saving Private Ryan, Fast Five, Riddick), who are after the bounty put out by Yondo, and Gamora (Zoe Saldana-Star Trek Into Darkness, Colombiana, Avatar) the adopted daughter of Thanos (if you don’t know who Thanos is don’t worry about it) working for Ronin. They get into a scuffle and are all arrested by the Nova Corps led by Dey (John C. Reilly-Wreck It Ralph, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers).
They get tossed into prison and meet up with Drax (Dave Bautista-Riddick, WWE Smackdown, the Man with the Iron Fists). Drax hates Ronan and wants to kill Gamora but Peter convinces him to wait for Ronan to come kill her. The group teams up when Gamora tells them she has a buyer for the orb that will pay them enough to be rich forever. They all break out and get to the Collector (Benicio Del Toro-the Usual Suspect, Traffic, Savages) who opens up the orb and shows them it is one of the dreaded Infinity Gems.
Things go haywire and Peter is convinced he needs to turn the gem over to the Nova Corps. Ronan wants the gem in order to destroy his enemies. Things get blown up, guys get their asses beat down, and the movie progresses with an amazingly refreshing pace.
Great story that is extremely coherent (something of a singularity these days). Two stars. I loved every one of the characters and as jaded and beaten down as I am it’s rare that I love even one in a movie. Three stars. Comic book movie. One star. Great effects and CGI. One star. The soundtrack worked brilliantly. One star. Pacing was unbelievable. 121 minutes that felt like an hour. One star. I really enjoyed Michael Rooker in this even if he was just playing his usual character. I guess I really enjoy that character. One star. About 100,000,000 Easter Eggs, which made it a lot of fun. One star. I love films that stick to the source material and don’t “Hollywood” it up. One star. In general a super fun and exciting film. Three stars. Total: 15 stars (??!?!!).
The black holes:
If you aren’t up to speed on the Infinity Gauntlet story a lot of this might slip through your fingers. This could prove frustrating if you want to follow the story but if so go read some trades you lazy sod. I am sick of films over-explaining things to the non-fans. Nevertheless it rates one black hole. I was a little disappointed in how little Thanos was used. I thought he could have made another appearance or two and even thought I saw a big one coming towards the end. One black hole. Total: two black holes.
Wow. 13 stars. I can’t tell you to go see this film with more emphasis. It truly rocks. See it on the biggest IMAX 3D you can find. Date movie? Who cares? This film is so great your date could be a supermodel in a bikini two sizes too small for her and you wouldn’t even notice. Odds are you are better off going with your bros but if you do bring a date and she doesn’t love it the fact is the relationship was never meant to be. Better that you find out now. Bathroom break? Hell no. It is worth risking severe damage to your bladder or wear an adult diaper to not miss a minute of this film.
So thanks for your patience and for reading. I will try to get caught up soon and will be seeing a lot of films over the next two weeks. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Please post your comments here or email me with off topic questions or suggestions. Looks like I am going to have to see the new TMNT film (ugh) tonight so look for that review tomorrow. Talk to you soon.
the Infamous Dave Inmam
BTW the IMAX I went to for this film had assigned seating and the bastard sitting next to me had B.O. that could kill 1,000 elves. I suffered through it (once the movie got rolling I could have been on fire and not noticed) but if you happen to be that bastard burn your stupid hat, shave off your hipster beard, stop smoking, and Google deodorant. You just may learn something about personal hygiene that will have people hating you less.
Sea of Suck.
One of the may lies I tell myself frequently (along with I am not a self delusional megalomaniac and the only reason I am still single is I haven’t met the right girl yet) is that I am actually impartial in these reviews and allow each film to stand on it’s own merits regardless of how much it’s predecessor, director, or source material may or may not suck.
Like most of my comfort lies this is sort of true but sort of not. I do try to stay impartial, but when handed a film by Lucas, McG, or anything with sparkly vampires I tend to show up at the theater with my canines sharpened, salivating at the smell of fresh blood in the air. At this point I when I start off a review with something like this I usually say something like “But this one surprised me and made me ashamed of my natural predilection” but honestly, my instinct was pretty spot on. There was blood in the water and when I followed the trail I found a fat, badly wounded sea lion to chomp on.
My predispostion stems from making the mistake of watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. That movie also suckled at the suck teat, but honestly it was a more solid effort than this garbage. At least all the actors made an effort and tried to look like they cared. In this film the actors all looked like they had been rejected by a Thunderbirds casting call. I honestly can’t imagine any director going with the performances delivered. The whole thing had a very Ed Wood style to it. “Act scared! More scared. Too much scared! Now act sad. Cut! That’s a wrap! Next scene!”
So this movie is left with all the crap that clogged down the last film (the story equivalent of getting kicked in the head by a horse, a base premise that suspends your disbelief so high it needs oxygen masks, and a desperation to be the next Harry Potter so tangible you can almost hear the director demanding that the prop guy design some Greek flying brooms) without any of the parts that made the first movie not quite a grilled cheese and razor blade sandwich. Normally to get a shift in acting talent this severe you have to go with a new cast, but it looks like the crew took one look at the script and opted to do the whole movie on dog tranquilizers.
Speaking of Harry Potter (and attempting to recreate that magic) they cast a new guy as Percy’s brother who looks like his real brother was Ron Weasley. Honestly, that’s just pandering. They kind of missed the point of Harry Potter and the humor level in those films when they opted to add in slapstick humor with metronome-like regularity. I also had a nice reminder of the difference in movie ratings. It’s often you will find me railing at a PG-13 when the action pretty clearly called for R, but this movie had me yearning for the good old days of PG-13. I’ve seen more violent and dangerous pillow fights.
I do feel like a bit of an ass bitching about too much deus ex machina in a movie about gods, but it looks like the writer learned about deus ex machina but was never told that it is a lazy writers tool to move the story along and therefore bad. It’s like if you house trained your dog by giving him a treat every time he craps on the carpet. The crew needs to find a mysterious island and has no way of finding it? Let’s have three blind witches give them literal map coordinates. Scooby Doo would be embarrassed by that. They need to get from a dock to a ship out at sea? They pray to Poseidon and he sends a giant water horse to carry them. I have never seen it so blatant before. In the great words of Gunnery Sergent Hartman from Full Metal Jacket “If God would have wanted you up there he would have miracled your ass up there by now, wouldn’t he?” In this case the god did want them out to the ship.
Sigh. I could go on, so I will. The special effects ranged from halfway decent CGI to mediocre CGI all the way down to a corpse puppet that looked suspiciously like the Cryptkeepers wife (I’m not kidding). At some point they ran wanted to spice up the scenery so when they got to the mythic island where the cyclops guarding the Golden Fleece (which, by the way, is actually a fleece, not a gold threaded baby blanket) they find…an abandoned amusement park (again, no joke). The writers must have hit a “Buy one cliche, get 49 more free” sale and spent their life savings (including the inevitable trope of having the black guy dress up in drag). The villains plan was so painfully stupid you pitied him more for his learning disability than hated him for being evil. The CGI characters who spoke must have had the voices done by whatever jackass was hanging around the studio that morning. I think subconsciously the director understood what he was creating because at one point he had the main characters get sucked down in what can only be described as a giant toilet.
I really don’t want to do the story recap so I will buzz through. Percy is living at Camp Half Breed (isn’t the term Half Breed racist? I thought it referred negatively to a half Native American) with the other demigods, being annoyed by some new chick who is the daughter of Mars. The magic tree that protects the camp gets poisoned and a mechanical bull (looking extremely like one of my beloved Juggernauts from Warhammer) breaks in. Turns out they need the Golden Fleece to save the tree or be killed by something (apparently everyone in the universe that isn’t a part of their super guy camp hates them (including me)). The Mars chick is sent out but Percy, the blond girl from the last one, the black Satre, and Percy’s Ron Weasley looking Cyclops half brother (apparently if a god has sex with a nymph you end up with a cyclops. Does that mean that all cyclops’s are demigods?) go after it themselves. The Satre gets kidnapped by the bad guy from the last film leaving Percy, Ron, and the chick to complete the task (why does that party mix sound so familiar Harry?).
The bad guy’s plan is to use the Golden Fleece to resurrect Chronos, the original Titan known for eating all his children and have the guy destroy all the gods of Olympus and the world too (I guess the dude thought Chronos would stop at his grand children. See what I mean about a stupid plan?). They travel the world (where they apparently have friends in every city in the universe) and eventually end up on the amusement park island where they play keep away with Fleece from a cyclops who speaks like an Oxford don. Eventually Chronos is raised, only to be killed like 30 seconds later by Percy (why were they all afraid of this guy again?).
Really there is only one, and that is Nathan Fillion as Hermes. I’m not sure what the hell he was doing in this film but seeing him was like a breath of fresh air after spending all day trapped in a rancid sewer (Nathan image courtesy of the Firefly T Shirt category). One star. Total: one star.
The black holes.
Being slapped across the face over and over again by the hand of god. One black hole. Acting like everyone was sleep deprived. One black hole. A plot that can be called a story only because we don’t have a word stupid enough to accurately describe it. Two black holes. Harry Potter rip off. One black hole. All those little things I listed four paragraphs ago. I count five items, with a bonus for the amusement park. Six stars. All the horrible comedy bits, especially the three blind sister taxi drivers. One black hole. I especially hated the new cyclops guy and wanted to see him die. One star. I didn’t talk about it much, but this film is kind of a step backwards in terms of racial equality as well as loving yourself for who you are (the cyclops seems really concerned with hiding his one eye instead of ever embracing it). One black hole. Total: fourteen black holes.
So a grand total of thirteen black holes. Not an auspicious number. Is there anything worth seeing? No, not really. I can’t even comment on the hotness of the girls in this film as a draw. I’ve seen nuns show more skin. This film is tanking at the box office and it’s easy to see why. I’d say give it a pass. Date movie? If your date is or has the mentality of an eleven year old girl maybe, although please go to jail. Bathroom break? There is not a single second of this film that is not an excellent time to run out and take a dump, so if you have the trots this might be the perfect film for you.
Thanks for reading. Headed to Vegas tomorrow so nothing going on blog wise until Thursday when the new Simon Pegg film comes out. Looks good. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu, like me on Facebook, and if you have a comment for this film or my review post it here. Feel free to email me with any off topic questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.
Like a gigantic guy doing a cannonball into a kiddie pool, a big movie release like Iron Man 3 tends to tsunami all the other movie releases out of the way. For those of us destined to watch several movies per week this can sometimes lead to a dearth of options. However, I appreciate it as these weekends are often a good chance to get caught up on independent films that would otherwise slip my net.
Thus we come to Mud, a Stand by Me-esque coming of age story with snakes and bounty hunters. Independent films I try to treat differently from movies with an actual budget, yet ironically they often come out better than multi million dollar fiascoes like the Last Stand. When the credits are rolling you come to realize that all the star power and slick special effects mean nothing if the writing sucks, and a good story with good acting will shine through all the budget limitations in the world.
That’s not to say this movie has bad production or lacks star power. I was kind of surprised at the cast, including Matthew McConaughey and Reece Witherspoon. The acting, direction, and camera work had the same production values as any number of bigger Hollywood films. On the other hand I’m not going to say the story and writing were flawless. It was good, and a fun, interesting story but there were a number of sub plots that did little but add to the considerable 130 minute run time and secondary characters that were either worthlessly emphasized or not emphasized enough. I will say however that most movies tend to fall back into the wailing mass that is my movie memory in short order and this one has caused me to reflect on it quite a bit. Take that for what you will.
The story is of two young boys Ellis (Tye Sheridan-the Tree of Life) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland-first movie credit) living on the Mississippi delta. They sneak out on a small boat to check out a boat wreck stuck up in a tree on a small island. While there they meet Mud (Matthew McConaughey-Magic Mike, the Lincoln Lawyer, a Time to Kill), a drifter living in the boat. Mud offers them the boat when he leaves if they bring him so food. Ellis is intrigued by Mud.
Back home Ellis goes to work with his father (Ray McKinnon-the Blind Side, O Brother Where Art Thou, Apollo 13) delivering fish. His father is not going to win any father of the year awards and is having trouble with his wife (Sarah Paulson-Serenity, Down with Love, What Women Want (she was the doctor in the hologram from Serentity. Firefly image courtesy of the Firefly T Shirt category)). She wants to move to town but if she does they will lose the houseboat they live on and his livelihood. Ellis does not want to leave. He goes back to the island with some canned food for Mud.
Turns out Mud is wanted for killing a man. Mud tells Ellis a story about how this man hurt his girlfriend Juniper (Reece Witherspoon-Walk the Line, This Means War, Legally Blond) and he shot him. He is back in town to meet up with her. Meanwhile he decides he needs the boat to make his escape and works a deal for the repair supplies he needs in exchange for his pistol. Neckbone wants the gun but Ellis is more into the story of romance. It is established that he wants to believe in love as his parents are splitting up.
Bounty hunters hired by the dead man’s father (Joe Don Baker-if you want to laugh your ass of find the MST3K cover of Mitchel. Golden Eye, Cape Fear, Tomorrow Never Dies) and brother (Paul Sparks-Edge of Darkness, Trust Me, Boardwalk Empire) are all over the town. Juniper shows up and hangs out at a hotel. At that point the kids go on a Easter Egg hunt, more or less stealing the supplies Mud needs to get the boat out of the tree and in the water without sinking. He asks his old father figure Tom (Sam Shepard-the Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down, Safe House) for help but is refused. Meanwhile Ellis is dealing with his family breaking up and a tertiary romance with a girl in his town (Bonnie Sturdivant-Ol’ Daddy, the Great Mistake). Neckbone’s uncle (Michael Shannon-Bad Boys II, Vanilla Sky, Pearl Harbor) shows up to dispense some Delta wisdom and show what a good guy he is. At that point the plot thread frays into a bunch of sub plots until it all comes to a head.
Matthew McConaughey kind of kicked ass acting-wise. One star. The entire cast actually did a great job, especially the two kids. Two stars. The story was not your typical Hollywood crap, which I appreciate. Two stars. I kind of have a secret love of Southern culture and it was well displayed here. One star. I like movies that show kids doing stuff like we used to do as a kid, which is run around unsupervised and getting into trouble (in the perfect world in my head anyone who utters the phrase “play date” in a non disparaging manner will simply be sterilized for the good of humanity). One black hole. Overall a good movie, and one that has stuck with me. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
Not a lot really. I will give one for the numerous and unnecessary sub plots and minor characters, and for all the secondary characters who should have had more development time (Ellis’s parents, for example). One black hole. Somehow the last ten minutes shifted gears from a cool character story into an action film. One black hole. I could give one for this movie seemingly padded out and running long, but I suspect the director was purposely using that as a tool to show the slower life style of Southern river culture. Also the characters kept me from feeling it too much so I will forgo. Total: two black holes.
A grand total of seven stars. An excellent movie overall. It’s not going to blow up like Argo did but it is kind of in the same indy camp. If you can see it please do. Nothing here requires a big screen but see it in a theater if you can, if only to help encourage more good indy films. Date movie? Absolutely. This movie will warm her heart, and since the best looking guy in the film is a smelly homeless man you should far pretty will in comparison. Just be careful if she is a big Magic Mike fan. Bathroom break? The May Pearl romance is the most worthless and undeveloped of the sub plots so any of the scenes involving her and Ellis can be missed with no real problem.
Thanks for reading. More coming out this weekend, including the Great Gatsby and Peeples. I will see them both and get you a review ASAP. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. If you have comments on this film or my review feel free to leave it here. Off topic questions and suggestions can be emailed to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.
Just continuing with my thoughts on genres and specific movies with regards to how they will work for movie night.
Horror-it is something of an urban myth that all women react to horror movies with a need to be held and an increase in libido. This can be true of some women, but a lot of others might be so creeped out that they just want to lock all the doors and sleep with the lights on, especially if the movie in question featured a young couple making love while the monster sneaks up to impale them both on a sharpened lacrosse stick. If she suggests a horror film than odds are good that she is in the former camp, but if she doesn’t you should not be the one to do it. Also, be aware of the gore factor. I can’t imagine any woman wanting to do anything remotely physical or intimate after watching Dead Alive.
Artsy foreign films-regardless of who suggests these, your date and your future relationship have just been smeared with the pungent oil of pretentiousness. If she suggests it and you like foreign films than by all means go with it. Just plan on being the couple all your friends secretly hate. If she suggest them and you don’t like them, do a quick mental calculation of how horny you are for her versus how much inane artsy film school prattle you can stomach in an evening. If you suggest it and she doesn’t like them know that she is doing the same exact calculation, only odds are she is a lot less horny. Also, subtitled films tend to require more attention from the two of you, giving you less opportunity to pay attention to each other. Furthermore, be aware that you can never really predict what a foreign art film is about from the title. Man Bites Dog really isn’t about dogs, and has a grim violence level that will most likely put her off. City of Lost Children really isn’t about children, and the surrealness of it does not make for great date material. Do your research.
Artsy domestic films-a weird phenomenon is when trying to think of movies to suggest, your brain will tend to fall back onto the artsier films in some kind of attempt to impress her with your depth, rather than just pulling out something you will both enjoy. The fact is most artsy films do not make a lot of money for a reason. I won’t say that reason rhymes with “muck”, but you really have to be of the right mindset and mood to appreciate movies made for the art of it. Don’t get me wrong. I love artsy independent films. I just would not suggest one of them for a first time hanging out with a girl.
Firefly-believe it or not, Firefly episodes make for a great date, as well as an awesome coolness test for your date. Even if she has never seen it before, it is hard not to love it. If she sees it and loves it you will have a great date and will have helped to create a new fan. If she sees it and doesn’t like it then kick her ass out of your newly cleaned apartment for being a soulless, evil robot probably bent on extracting your life essence in a painful and protracted process. You are better off without her. If she is the one to suggest this then when you finally screw things up be sure to send her phone number to me (Jayne image courtesy of the Firefly t shirt category).
Actually, any decent Joss Whedan will work.
That’s it for tonight. More tomorrow.
OK, last night at bad movie night we saw Unbreakable, which I actually like a lot, so I don’t feel the need to bitch about it. Back to the dating stuff.
You have filtered through a large number (I hope) of postings and used my advice to interpret some of the info and photos posted. You have selected one who seems interesting, attractive, and real (by that I mean she is likely an actual human being, not some Easter European scam artist or someone offering you money from a Nigerian prince. Use your brain. Why would a woman who looks like a super model need to find guys on a web site?). Time to send that critical first email. What to include in this magical missive?
The fact is, most women who are even remotely attractive will have their email inbox blow up like a 300lb guy stuffed into a size 6 wetsuit. The bottom line is you have to really stand out in some way, and do it within the first three lines of the email as if you have not she will stop reading. The easiest way to catch her interest is with a hot photo of yourself, but unless you have some major speech or personality disorder bordering on dysfunctional yet still look stunning I would be willing to bet you don’t have any of those based on the fact that you are reading this blog for dating advice and not working as an underwear model. However, know that a photo or lack thereof is the first filter most women use to separate the wheat from the chaff, so if you don’t send a picture you can more or less guarantee not hearing back from her.
Honestly, this is just another version of the pick up lines I talked about several months ago and you can readily apply most of those rules to this situation. I have found my best bet is to go with observational humor. Since you aren’t experiencing a common situation to observe you can only make a joke about the one thing you have any information on: her. Examine her listing and look for something unusual or odd that she has an interest in. Make a joke about it that is funny but not too mean. If you can crowbar in a depreciating comment about yourself that works too. This is a great move in that it shows her how funny you are and more importantly that you actually read her post and aren’t just spamming every human with two X chromosomes you can find. Here are a few examples (not necessarily good ones, but you can get the idea).
She says she likes water polo. You say “I tried water polo once but my horse died”
She loves dancing. “I love dancing, but I have to warn you I dance like a big white guy” This really only works if you are actually a big white guy.
She loves to cook. “I don’t cook much. The best thing I can make is a good reservation.” This works because if she really likes to cook she will want to cook for you. Never pass up on a free meal, especially at her place.
The last trip she took was to France. “Rumor has it there is a place in France where the ladies wear no pants. Would you care to comment?”
She says she loves cats. “I like cats quite a bit myself, but as a rule don’t date anyone who owns more than two.”
Anyway, you should get the idea. Even if she is kind of offended a little she will be intrigued by the bad boy who makes fun of her interests and want to meet you. Either that she will just delete your email in a huff and you are spared the pain of dating a humorless uptight prig.
Also be sure to say something about yourself, but not a lot. Remember that whole “Familiarity breeds contempt” rule I listed under opening conversations. That rule holds even more true here, as she will be making gross generalized assumptions about you based on minimal actual evidence. Here is an example of what I would consider a decent opening email.
“Hi (her name here). I saw your listing on (whatever dating site) and found it intriguing (<–this is a good word to use. Everyone likes to think they are intriguing). I noticed you are into (whatever hobby she listed here that you actually have tried or at least know a little about). I love (that hobby) as well. I also noticed that you like (whatever weird thing you are going to bag on). I once tried it but (insert witty joke here).
I am (insert marital status, orientation, race, age, and gender here, preferably in letter form such as SWM) and am into (whatever hobby doesn’t make you look like a weird introverted geek). I think it would be cool to chat and get to know you a little more. I have included a photo of me at (whatever event you took the photo of. I would say a relatives wedding usually works really well. Not a Star Trek convention). I am the one on the (side) wearing the (specific clothing). Let me know if you are interested. I can be reached by (email or IM service. No phone number or she will think you are a potential stalker). Talk to you soon.
(Your name here)
P.S. (Additional innocuous joke of some kind)”
That pretty much is the formula. Of course vary it a bit. Mix it up. Then, once you have sent that, go back to your dating service and send out about 20 more every day until you get a girlfriend, as odds are very high that you will never hear from her. However, if you send out 10,000 emails and get one girlfriend you are ahead of the game. Also, wrap this up by about 8pm and try to go out and meet a girl in person. Don’t get all (or more) introverted and agoraphobic.
That’s it for today. More on online dating tomorrow, unless I find something else to talk about.
Yesterday’s question, Jayne Cobb versus John McClane, has kind of thrown me for a loop as I happen to love both characters. Also I think they are really evenly matched. However, I believe Vera has both the range and the hitting power to outshoot the MP5 McClane had in Die Hard, so I am going to have to bet on Jayne in a close match. (Jayne image courtesy of the Firefly t shirts)
For today let’s get historical. As any fan of Fight Club knows, given any historical figure to fight Tyler Durden would chose to Abraham Lincoln. Who would win?
So like I said (threatened) yesterday I went to a late night showing the latest opus from Nicholas Cage, Drive Angry. Given the last Cage movie I saw and lambasted, Season of the Witch, I did not expect a lot and for the most this film met with my expectations. I got home, thought about writing it, and decided to sleep on it to see if the movie looked any better in the daylight.
Sadly, it did not. Don’t get me wrong. I love grindhouse. However, this movie feels less like true grindhouse and more like some Hollywood guys trying to either do a high budget tribute or parody of grindhouse. In either case it feels plastic and fake, like brown hair extensions on a redhead.
Also, remember when Nicholas Cage would act and actually deliver some level of emotion with his lines? Like in Raising Arizona, the Rock, Kiss of Death, 8MM, Valley Girl, or prelude-to-a-suicide Leaving Las Vegas? Right before doing Ghost Rider I think he was kidnapped and replaced with a robot who can simulate life but not quite deliver emotions. The lines “Coffee, black, with sugar”, “Ever heard of a place called Sweet Water?”,” and “I am going to kill you” are all delivered with the same monotone deadpan delivery that would work well for a sidekick or secondary character (especially if the sidekick was the computer voice from War Games) but which makes me think I could do a better job filming the movie using World of Warcraft toons as actors. For a movie called “Drive Angry” there doesn’t seem to be a lot of anger or any other emotion from the main character. (Murloco’s Taco’s image courtesy of the World of Warcraft t shirts)
That being said, there are elements I liked. Just not the story, acting, action, dialogue, or all but two of the characters.
Honestly, I think the synopsis will be the hardest part of this review for me to write as I spent the first 45 minutes of the films saying “What the hell is going on?” I appreciated a film that doesn’t reveal everything to us like we are ten year old short bus riders, but at some point you have to make an effort to give us a clue of what was going on. If I hadn’t read a blurb before the movie I would have been totally confused.
Anyway, Nicholas Cage plays John Milton who escapes from Hell in a hot car with a stolen gun called the God Killer a few years after being killed in some ill defined crime spree and is somehow unkillable. He is trying to save his infant grand daughter from being sacrificed by a Satanic cult leader (Billy Burke, one of the two characters I liked). He somehow convinces Zombieland hottie Amber Heard (playing the kick ass waitress Piper. Come to think of it, she actually has a lot of anger in her roll. Maybe she is supposed to balance out Mechano-Man Cage) to help him in her boyfriend’s stolen Charger. They are pursued by the other only character I liked, William Fichtner, who plays Hell’s repo man sent to collect Cage and bring him back (it is later revealed that he is actually a former Egyptian god who I will not name but you have seen on Stargate SG1). There is also a cool looking and sounding police captain who seemed to get a lot of character buildup and development and then fell off the screen like a lead seagull. They travel through Louisiana mixing it up with white trash kooks and local color. Car driving hijinx ensue, and there is a final battle scene not so much lifted as taken frame by frame from the car destroying the undead army scene in Army of Darkness.
OK, the stars. The opening and closing scenes with Cage driving to and from Hell are pretty cool. One star. There are four amazing muscle cars, including a 69 Charger and a beautiful Chevelle. Two stars. I will give a star for every totally gratuitous grindhouse style nude girl, so like two and a half stars. The Accountant from Hell (literally) was kind of cool. One star. The driving action, while over the top, was actually pretty cool and well filmed. One star. While headache inducing, the film was actually shot with 3D in mind and has some fairly cool things flying out of screen. I actually found myself jumping a couple times. One star. Total: 8.5 stars.
Now the black holes. Nicholas Cage acts like a Tweekie dealing with irritable bowl syndrome. Two black holes. The story kind of blows. On black hole. The dialogue blows. One black hole. As good as the driving sequences were (which was only moderately good) the fight scenes were horrible (at one point Cage kills about 20 guys while in coitus with a trampy waitress and doesn’t pull out until they are all dead. On the other hand, this is one of the nude scenes that netted them a star). I know grindhouse is supposed to be over the top, but this is just dumb. Hire a fight choreographer. Two black holes. For no explained reason whatsoever Cage’s character is not only unkillable but somehow heals himself from a gunshot wound in the eye. One black hole. For the life of me I cannot figure out where Pipers motivation to do anything but run screaming into the night comes from. One black hole. Total: 8 black holes.
So we end up with a net of 0.5 stars, which is very slightly higher than the review I gave for Cage’s last movie, Season of the Witch (where he also portrayed a character with less emotion than the suit of armor he was wearing). However, remember 2.5 stars come from my appreciation of rated R style nudity and 2 more from a love of American muscle cars. If you do not share these interests then it swings heavily towards the black hole end. Definitely not a date movie. Honestly, if you love driving action then I would say see it on a screen. On TV I don’t think it will really have the impact the big screen would have. If you miss it wait until you see it in the $4 bin at Best Buy (or the #2 bin at Walmart).
For yesterdays who-would-win question, Jayne Cobb versus Snake Plisskin, I think it is kind of situational. If Jayne had Vera and all the hardware he carried on a typical day of Firefly and Snake just had the gear he had in Escape from New York, I would have to bet on Jayne. On the other hand if Snake had his choice of weapons (or was armed like he was in Escape from LA) then I would bet on him. You can’t beat him in a gunfight, Bangkok style.
For today I will again go with Jayne, as I am in a Firefly mood. Who would win, Jayne Cobb (with Vera again) versus John McClane from Die Hard?
OK, this is the last one I am doing on this nuance of online dating. Not because I have run out of items to describe but more because it is starting to get kind of repetitive and honestly, by this time you should be able to figure these out yourself.
Girl surrounded by a huge pile of stuffed animals. Take whatever age she is and subtract 15 from it. This is OK if she is 40 but kind of problematic if she is 25. Also, I guarantee that she has a very protective daddy who is probably willing and capable of putting out a hit on you. I’d give this girl a 7.5 on the pain-o-meter to date.
Big coke bottle glasses. For both guy and girl, this actually translates into pretty cool to date. In both cases it usually means someone who is cool with their nerd lifestyle and doesn’t care enough to take pains for their appearance. Often times they are super nerdy, which in my mind translates into pretty cool. Also, girls who wear coke bottle glasses in photos in my experience are rarely fat. I don’t know what the deal is, but overweight women seem really inclined to take off their glasses for photos.
Doing something improbable and potentially dangerous. Skydiving, dirt bike riding, rock climbing, hang gliding, or other “extreme” sports. This is almost always a guy. Unless his title for his profile is something like “Live to rock climb” then he is trying to show the world what kind of a macho man he is. Odds are you can take however often he claims to do these things and divide it by about 20 to get the actual frequency (“I skate 3-4 times a week” = 182 times per year/20 = 9 times last year). Guys who actually do “extreme” sports on a regular basis rarely have to go online to meet women, as there are any number of hot low self esteem women willing to be treated like a doormat to be encountered all the time in their daily lives. If by some fluke you do meet a semi-pro skateboarder and feel dumb enough to date him you can look forward to having his shoes wiped on your back.
Lots of tattoos and/or piercings. If a guy this man has a serious F-you attitude towards life and people in general. Either he is serious and will likely end up (back) in prison or he is a poser and feels a lot of personal frustration that no one understands what kind of a rock star he secretly is. The best you can hope for is that this guy owns his own lame clothing company (something I know too much about) but odds are he works in an auto shop or something even more blue collar. If this is a girl than she has serious daddy issues and this is likely her revenge on her parents. The funny thing is they never seem to get enough and will keep getting revenge long after her parents pass. If she is pretty hot than there is a good chance she has been a stripper or should have been. If, however, you can get past all that they tend to be a lot of fun to hang out with and are fairly uninhibited, so given the opportunity I would date her. Just be ready for the inevitable drama. Also, in both cases you can glean some insight into their personality and intellectual ability by judging the subject matter, originality, cleverness, and spelling of the tattoos shown. As a general rule, if you see a misspelled word run away screaming.
Lots of guns. Again, mostly guys. This person is probably trying to make up for something, if you know what I mean, so if you have issues with larger junk than this would be the guy for you. Also, these guys tend to be weird conspiracy nuts, so you can look forward to hearing how the Rand Corporation really runs the country and how the second Kennedy gunman was actually an alien who traveled back in time to prevent him from nationalizing the phone companies. These guys tend to get turned on by shooting more or less harmless and inoffensive animals, so if you have any love of animals odds are you should steer clear. A real man would fight a bear with a knife, in my opinion (or just try to stay away from one).
That’s pretty much it for today, and more or less for this matter. Next time I do more dating I will talk about what to send on your first email to a girl online. However, today is Tuesday which means cheap movie night at my local theater. I’m afraid (literally) that I am going to have to see a late showing of the new Nicholas Cage film Drive Angry. It looks truly awful and I look forward to writing a burning review of it tomorrow, although I anticipate a long evening of pain for myself.
As for yesterdays question, the nerds from Revenge of the Nerds versus the nerds from Scooby Doo, I think this question is very situational. If the Revenge guys were trying to haunt an old amusement park so they could smuggle diamonds out of the state then I would have to bet on Scooby Doo. In almost every other situation I would have to bet on the Revenge guys, if only because they seem less unwilling to mix it up. (Adams Atoms shirt from Revenge of the Nerds shirt courtesy of the nerd t shirts category)
Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but if you are going to hand me a straight line like that you have to expect me to jump on it with all my fourth grade humor powers. Before I get into the movie, I would like to apologize for missing a full week of blogging. The thing is, I was at that gaming show selling t-shirts and at night I was either passed out or watching Firefly episodes with the most amazing girl on the planet. I’m sure you understand the order of my priorities. (Fruity Oaty Bar image courtesy of the sci fi t shirt category)
Last week I also saw Black Swan and was going to review it, but honestly I thought about it and couldn’t come up with a single black hole. It was truly exceptional and amazing. Unfortunately a movie with no black holes usually turns into a pretty boring review, so unless I did the whole thing on my creepy obsession with Natalie Portman dating back to the Professional it would have been pretty dull. Therefore I will say I highly recommend you see it and move on to something lamer.
Let’s get into I am Number Four. Ultimately it is Twilight with aliens instead of vampires. Same pretty teenagers who are supposed to be in high school but who really look like they are serving drinks at a bar on Santa Monica Boulevard. Even the supposed nerd is shockingly fit and good looking. The main guy is John Smith, an exiled Lorien alien living on Earth while the evil Mogadorians hunt him and his eight fellow ex-patriots down. For some unexplained reason (the term unexplained could be applied to a lot of this movie) the Mogadorians can only kill them in order, so John is at the plate after number three gets killed in some jungle. The movie starts with John living a teenage dream in South Florida with hot bikini girls, beach fires, and a complete and utter disregard for PWC safety. He senses Three being killed by having a brand in the shape of a bad Tribal tattoo burn itself into his leg along with the brands from the One and Two. His protector Henri pulls him out and they relocate to Paradise, Ohio.
There he disregards all advice from his experienced protector and enrolls himself into the local high school (with shocking ease. Aren’t you supposed to have some kind of records or something? At least a note from your old school?) where he meets the love of his life. He gets into it with an extremely cliche bully and his crew, befriends the local nerd outcast (who by happy coincidence is a hard core believer in aliens), finds super cute beagle who turns out to have followed him from Lorien (also the name of a forest in Lord of the Rings) and can transform into a two ton killing machine, and has number Six, who is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like combat chick, show up to save his ass (by the way, it is painfully obvious that the casting director has a serious liking of thin faced blond girls, as the only women with a speaking role look like sisters). Alien battle hijinx ensue. John develops super powers that seem to have something to do with flashlights embedded in his palms. The Loriens embody all that is good and wholesome, being stunningly attractive, Caucasian, fit, with great hair and no speech impediments while the Mogodorians are all that is evil, being bald with bad teeth, tribal tattoos all over their heads, extra breathing slits on their faces, slurring speech and/or accents, and a complete disdain for Earthling (i.e. American) culture.
The stars. The Mogodorians are actually pretty cool, with a good leather trench coat look very similar to the Strangers from Dark City. I also like their attitude. One star. They also have some pretty cool guns and some big alien pets they use to more or less destroy most of the scenery. One star. The killer dog and big alien CGI was decent. One star. Um, that’s it. Three stars.
Now the black holes. The story made little to no sense. I should give a black hole for every time I found myself saying “Duh” but those would add up pretty quick. I’ll restrict myself to two. John Smith jumps in at the beginning and end with a Fourth Wall (haw! Four) breaking monologue trying to make the writers lives easier by explaining what is going on and pretty much failing at it. One black hole. The main character obviously was cast to appeal to 13 year old girls and fails to appeal to any other demographic alive or dead. One black hole. His acting and those of pretty much everyone not a Mogodorian was flat and lifeless. One black hole. Anyone killed in the movie crumbles into dust (along with their clothes and accouterments) in an obvious bid to maintain that critical PG-13 rating. One black hole. While the Mogorians had cool guns and stuff the Loriens had blue glowing knives for the most part and some kind of lame prop box that had something to do with number Fours legacy but was never examined or opened. One black hole. The special effects were amateurish at best, mostly comprised of breaking open glow sticks and rubbing the glow juice on number Four’s palms (no joke). One black hole. The explosives special effects were over the top to the point of stupid (since when does a gas stove explosion cause wooden blinds to spontaneously explode?) One black hole. The fight scenes were a terrible jumble of cut sequences that looks like they were supposed to add excitement but really just illustrated the need for a movie to hire a decent fight choreographer. One black hole. Overall, the movie was pretty dull, with no reason to even favor the Lorien cause over the Mogodorian (note to the director; just because you have shown one side to be evil in all ways does not automatically make us like their opposition. Give me a reason to care, dammit). One black hole. 100% of the speaking characters are white. One black hole for racial insensitivity. Total: twelve black holes.
A net of nine black holes. I guess it was worse than I originally thought, although if I were really trying to make a point it would be funny to have it end up with Four black holes. I guess I have too much integrity. If you have a daughter or girlfriend who loves Twilight this movie will work for you as a date or family outing, but try to see it in 3D so you can fall comfortably asleep without her noticing.
Last post I failed to do my who-would-win question, so I will revert to the post before. The question was who would win in a fight between a single Red Shirt with a phaser against Tweekie with Dr. Theopolis. Honestly, this is a tough one. Tweekie is literally combat ineffective, but Red Shirts are infinitely resourceful in their ability to find ways to die. I suspect in this case the Red Shirt would destroy Tweekie and Dr. Theopolis both before having his phaser explode or falling off a cliff to a painful death. I think this is a case where neither side would actually win.
Today let’s try some video game cross over. Who would win, Mario versus Link (no power ups for either).
OK, I admit this is not the first movie I would have chosen to see. Also, I know that this movie came out months ago, but here’s the deal. The girl I am currently seeing more or less strong armed me into watching this opus, and given that I have picked pretty much everything else we have seen together I owed her one.
To be fair, this is a movie series I should at least be familiar with. It has vampires and werewolves, two areas that until this series more or less was hijacked by the teeniebopper sub (sub) culture was exclusively goth nerd fare. It is a pop culture phenomenon and if I want to keep my title as self proclaimed aficionado I need to at least watch one of them. She originally planned to show me the first Twilight, but picked it up from a Red Box and accidentally got Eclipse. I had nothing to do with it as I told her I would passively watch it while making snarky comments but would not personally contribute to that franchises cash flow.
First of all, it wasn’t completely painful. I liken it more to an extended teeth cleaning by an overly enthusiastic dental technician as than the full on root canal by a marginally trained orangutan that I expected. We’ll have to see how the stars (star?) and black holes play out, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. My friend said that the first Twilight was far worse and therefore funnier, but such as it is, this thing wasn’t actually physically painful.
First, the plot. Bella (Kristen Stewart), the sort-of hot but painfully bland (both in looks, personality, and acting) is about to graduate from high school and as a graduation gift wants Edward (Robert Pattinson), her vampire boyfriend, to turn her into one one of the living dead. Edward, who somehow manages to maintain a facial expression that makes him look like he is dealing with a painful bowel obstruction for the entirety of the movie no matter what he is doing, wants her to “live” a little in spite of the fact that she is still a virgin (a fact painfully and forcefully delivered in the most awkward father/daughter scene ever filmed) and seems dead on the inside. He lives with a bunch of other vampires in some kind of club or something where they all feel the need to bleach their hair blond while maintaining massive caterpillar-like black eyebrows. He and his buddies apparently don’t drink human blood (?), and the way you can tell is their eyes are yellow, while human blood drinkers eyes are red. Apparently human blood comes with red colored contact lenses. Meanwhile, Jacob, one of several hundred muscular, shirtless teenage boys who are some kind of werewolves (or maybe Native American shapeshifters. The story seems a little vague on this) that all have matching bad fake tattoos that look they were drawn on with a Sharpie is somehow her other love interest. From what I hear, Edward dumped Bella at some point and left her in the woods. Jacob came through as a true friend and bailed her out. Then, when Edward resurfaced later she gave him a classic “let’s be friend’s speech” and jumped back on board with Count Eyebrows.
For a really weak script and two dimensional story, this recount already makes it seem terribly complicated. Anyway, Bella manages to prove herself the cruelest bitch I have ever seen by dragging both Edward and Jacobs hearts through the mud. Some other red headed vampire chick shows up who hates Edward and Bella. Vampire and werewolf battle hijinx ensue. Werewolves team up with good vampires to fight bad vampires, who are for the most part innocent kids pulled into the evil vampires plot and generally slaughtered. There are a couple scenes where the father of one of the kids shows up looking for the son that is destined to get butchered by Edward later on in the movie. Somehow, in spite of the other vampires being stronger than the good ones not a single good vampire or werewolf manages to get killed. In fact, the worst injury appears to be a bad bruise. The movie ends with final resolution of any given episode of a soap opera.
OK, the stars. The werewolves were pretty cool, in spite of mediocre CGI. One star. There were a couple origin story flashback that were kind of cool and broke up the brain damaged Bella/Edward/Jacob love triangle story. One star. The fight choreography was decent. One star. Hmm. Honestly, that’s all I can think of. Three stars total.
Now the black holes. The story. One black hole. The acting. Two black holes. I should give it one black hole for each time they managed to find an excuse to show Jacob or his many buddies without a shirt on, but will hold myself to one black hole. The werewolves have apparently bioengineered a strain of tree in the Pacific Northwest that grows cargo shorts that dissolve into thin air every time they transform. One black hole. Bella is possibly the most ineffective female lead I have ever seen in any movie ever. She is entirely helpless and her only single act during the entirety of the movie is to cut her own arm to distract a vampire with her blood (did I mention that Bella apparently has the blood equivalent of Captain Crunch to vampires?). She does more to damage woman’s advocacy and rights than the guy who invented the chastity belt. Two black holes. One black hole for each of the guys in the movie who lets her treat them like crap and totally disregard and disrespect their feelings and never calls her to account for it, so two black holes for both the sackless Edward and Jacob. The fight scenes were shockingly hard to follow as the wardrobe director decided the thing both good and bad vampires needed to wear was black hoodies. One black hole. Vampires sparkling in daylight instead of burning up. One black hole. A movie about vampires that features less actual blood shown than a typical episode of the Bachelor (did I also mention that vampires, when injured, actually have no blood and shatter like quartz? No joke. Tear off a vampires head and he looks like you just dropped a ceramic vampire cookie jar). Two black holes. Holes in the plot that strained my suspension of disbelief like a size 2 girdle on a 400 pound man (at one point the evil vampire army goes on a killing spree through Seattle that somehow doesn’t result in 100,000 FBI agents showing up. Things like this). One black hole. The wolves, while huge and cool, were completely crap CGI. One black hole. Total: 15 black holes.
So with that we get a total of 12 black holes. A miserable score, but I don’t really feel like my time was TOTALLY wasted. There is something that makes you want to watch it (kind of like slowing down to see a traffic accident). I would probably been more generous if I were in high school and a girl. I could understand seeing this to appease a girl you are dating and, since that is how I saw it, I still feel somewhat manly. I also made her watch a few episodes of Firefly afterward in order to recapture some machismo.
For the who would win, aquatic wimp Aquaman versus moronic macho man Beef Supreme from Idiocracy, I think as long as it was done on dry land I would have to go with the Beefer. Monster truck + flamethrower = win. In water obviously Aquaman would have the advantage. (Brawndo image courtesy of the funny t shirts category)
For today I ask a simple question: who would win, Slimer from Ghostbusters versus Casper the Friendly Ghost. Bye for now.
Tuesday night is cheap movie tickets and I figured seeing a movie by myself in a theater is marginally more social than sitting around my office writing t–shirt descriptions. Plus it gives me something to write about for this blog, so win-win.
I chose Unstoppable in hopes it would suck so I could write some scathing review that would be really funny. I tend to be better, I think, when I am bitching about something. The trailers made it look like a bad Speed remake, and the fact that Chris Pine was one of the stars was going to give me a window to express my issues with the last Star Trek movie in a humorous manner.
In truth, I was disappointed. Not in the movie sucking, but rather in the fact that it was actually really, really entertaining. I have always been a fan of Denzel Washington, and I guess I should have had more faith in his ability to distinguish between a good script and Battlefield Earth. Kudos, Denzel!
The story is pretty basic. Some white trash moron sends a train loaded with explosive toxic chemicals down the a track with no one at the controls and the deadman switch (one of the coolest phrases of all time) disconnected. Denzel plays a grizzled train engineer veteran and Chris Pine the newbie conductor (they obviously live in the parallel universe where amazingly hot guys get blue collar jobs). There is some sub plots involving Chris’s estranged wife and Denzel’s stunningly hot Hooters waitress daughters, but most of the entirety of the movie involved figuring out how to stop the train before it blows up most of Pennsylvania.
That’s pretty much it, but about 40 minutes into the movie something really strange started to happen. “What is this weird, new sensation I am experiencing?” I asked. I pondered for a minute and suddenly figured it out. It was excitement. Yes, for the first time in years of movies I was excited by the action of the film, and honestly concerned for the well being of the characters. It was like seeing my first ever movie all over again. It was about 100 times more exciting than anything from Tron Legacy that I saw last week.
Let’s let the stars speak for themselves. The story is based on real events. One star. It involves trains. One star. The sub plots did not dominate the story or annoy me. One star. Both Denzel and Chris played their characters extremely well. One star. The writers did not break any of the laws of physics or thermodynamics in order to make the movie more exciting. One star. The action was both exciting and believable. One star. All the women were hot. One star. They did not force one of the main characters to be a chick for sex appeal (cough cough Sandra Bullock Speed cough cough). One star. Nobody did something blatantly stupid, and all the character motivations were clear and believable. One star. The camera work really immersed you in the movie, making it seem like you were in the action. One star. Net result: 10 stars.
Now the black holes, as there are very few movies without them. They managed to write in a train full of 150 grade school kids on a train safety field trip (??? What school has money to burn on something like that? For god’s sake it’s insulting) in danger of running headlong into the train early on in a pathetic attempt to either draw out sympathy or make it seem somehow more “real”. Two black holes. The guy from the government sent down to lecture said children on train safety (how much time does it take to say “Keep your head and arms inside the train at all times”?) was by amazing coincidence an expert on all things train related, including the nature of the toxic cargo carried by the train (molten phenol). One black hole. They managed to crowbar in a scene where the police SWAT teams shoot at the train with assault rifles in an attempt to hit some kind of stop switch that can be activated with bullets. One black hole. That’s it. Four black holes total.
Net result is a whopping six stars, my highest score to date. Honestly, this is a really fun movie. It is not a movie about anyone coming to grips with feelings or anything, so if you want to see something like that wait for Love and Other Drugs. It is also, with the exception of the aforementioned attempt to stop the train with bullets, not a shoot-em-up or action film in the classic sense. However, I think most people will enjoy it and have a pleasant evening, especially if you can see it for $5.
In answer to yesterdays who-would-win question, it is my opinion that Frank Castle’s training, experience, and more versatile equipment (including his body armor) would give the Punisher the ability to beat Jayne Cobb, in spite of Jayne’s superior attitude. Sad but true. (Punisher image courtesy of the Punisher t shirts).
For today, let’s consider what would happen if Maxwell Smart had to fight Austin Powers. Who would win?