Questionable survey choices at Carnival

Since I’m getting older, and thus far estranged from the demographic being targeted by most consumer surveys, I like to take them when offered. My goal is to make sure that those in the 18-39 demographic have to put up with the same bullshit I did when I was part of the cash cow group: Make sure they have to listen to music they don’t like, see entertainers they have never heard of, deluge them with ads for investment firms they are still two decades away from caring about, and that kind of thing. When I was taking a recent survey after returning from a cruise though, I found that Carnival takes it a step further than even I would have. Here are the options presented for what kind of music you enjoy:


I don’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of current popular music or culture, but Jesus Christ.

I’m not familiar enough with country to know about the choices there. I think Carrie Underwood might be fairly current? Toby Keith and Brookes & Dunn are probably still shitting out albums that fall just below mediocre, as country acts tend to do that for decades after they had their hit. I guess they may all be current in that way.

But a couple of the other choices are full-on WTF.

I don’t think anyone listed on girls vs. boys bands (and why vs.?) has had a record since like the late 90’s -barring some reunion, quick-cash bullshit. I think Boys 2 Men might still be touring in support of the CooleyHighHarmony album (or the more popular reissue of it, at any rate). Hell, if I had an album that sold 9 million copies in the U.S., I’d milk that shit until the day I died. But is anyone really going to check that box on a survey? Even without listening to this kind of music (as far as you know), I would think that they could have put something more current in the list. Hanson was a thing for a while, and I think they are still touring. The Jonas Brothers were hugely popular for a decade or so before they got a little too old and ugly to make anyone’s heart (or anything else) throb. One Direction is currently bringing me within inches of suicide every time I’m within a hundred yards of a shopping mall… I will give them a pass on the girl bands portion though, because I can’t name any more current.

Of course the biggest issue with the selections is obviously the Rap/Hip Hop. Kris Kross, Doug E. Fresh, and Vanilla Ice all came and went while I was still in high school –twenty-five fucking years ago. I don’t think any of them had even a minor hit after about 1992. Chris “Kriss Kross Daddy Mac Mac Daddy” Kelley died in 2013 and hasn’t yet succeeded in pulling off the release-a-bunch-of-new-albums-posthumously thing that Tupac was so good at (and Tupac would have been a more current act to put on their list of rappers, despite being dead for the last decade). Kriss Kross also loses points for never releasing an album called the Kriss Kross Kollection, which would have been cool as hell.

Doug E. Fresh had his hit in 1985. It was the very definition of a flash in the pan. Since this song was recorded with the much more popular Slick Rick, you can’t even really call Doug E. Fresh a one-hit-wonder. More like a half-a-hit-wonder. But half a hit, thirty years ago, is enough to make it onto Carnival’s list of Rap/Hip Hop acts!

caiFinally, Vanilla Ice. Seriously? He stole his high-top fade from Kid ‘n Play and the hook from his only hit from Queen and David Bowie. Sure, he put a lot of seventh-grade asses on the gymnasium dance floor in 1990, but he was hardly a rap or hip-hop act. Yeah, sure, he put out other albums and has managed to stay in the public eye (as recently as February 2015 when he was arrested for burglary and grand theft). He was also fucking Madonna, back when that was a good thing (prior to Dennis Rodman destroying her for all men in 1994. I’m not talking about size either. Maybe he’s hung like a donkey and totally destroyed her. Who knows? Answer: No one. Would you stick your junk into something Dennis Rodman did?) He also put out one of the shittiest movies of all time. Cool As Ice sat at 0% fresh on for several years before this douchebag gave it a 5/5 with a 20 word review, ending in “Ice Rules!”. I’m not saying Vanilla Ice sucked his dick to get that review, but I’m also not saying that he didn’t (maybe Robert Matthew Van Winkle did). As shitty as the movie was though, I’m glad he made it. It has some of the most memorable one-liners I’ve seen in a movie review. A few examples:

“So bad that it’s borderline fascinating.” -Mike McGranaghan (Aisle Seat)

“Having established that he can’t rap or dance, Vanilla Ice now adds acting to his resume — call it the tri-imperfecta of pop.” -Richard Harrington (Washington Post)

“This one is absolutely pricless in its awfulness.” Scott Weinberg (efilmcritic)

I know some would say, “well, then, where’s your movie, smartass?” The answer to that is that I had the good sense not to make one (I also didn’t have the opportunity, budget, or desire). Something I bet Vanilla Ice wishes he had back in 1991, when Carnival put together the survey question that I had to answer in 2015.

Movie Review: Lucky! (redux)

The (redux) is because out of the dozen or so movie reviews I have bothered to throw up on the site over the years (I assure you the preceding wordplay is totally intentional), there was another movie titled Lucky. It’s not that I seek out movies with that title or anything, I just happened to be intrigued by the cover synopsis on each of them and decided to give them a shot.

This particular Lucky was released in 2011 and has a fairly impressive (depressive?) 23% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes. I didn’t actually know that at the time, but I would have been more eager to watch it if I had simply because I like to watch movies the critics pan and generally enjoy them despite -or possibly because- they are so hated. In the case of this particular movie I can definitely understand that rating; I would probably rate it right around a 1.1 out of 10 if I were into using arbitrary numbering systems to gauge my enjoyment of cinema -which I’m not (although it does make more sense than the one goose head and three rabbit paws out of a possible seven goats and two sheep rating I had in mind).

This movie, with its current soundtrack and editing, is hardly worth watching. It is an interesting enough concept to rope you in, but it is so terribly executed in every way that it is very disappointing to actually watch. Yet I continued to watch, hoping that perhaps things would improve as the story moved along. Things did not improve. I really can’t give any detail without spoiling what little plot they decided to use so, before I move on to the spoilers, my recommendation is to watch it if you’re bored and have some imagination just to marvel at how poorly they executed what could have been a brilliant movie. If, on the other hand, you aren’t into watching shitty movies just to pick them apart for how good they could have been, probably best to stay away.

To the spoilers!

The story is supposed to be this: A serial killer wins the lottery and uses his new found fortune to win over the love of his life. When she discovers his secret, plot ensues. Unfortunately that is not at all what happens. To digress for a moment, movies (tv shows, plays, books, anything fictional really) are absolutely reliant on your ability to suspend disbelief for the duration. My inability to do so really cripples my movie-going experience. Once I have seen an actor in a couple of films I can no longer suspend my disbelief. So, for instance, I know that I won’t be able to see any movie with Nicolas Cage in it as anything other than Nicolas Cage pretending to be the character. I can’t believe any of the situations, can’t sympathize with the character, it’s all just people acting. If I watch the same movie with people I’ve never heard of, I can enjoy the movie and sympathize with the characters because I don’t know them as that punk Charlie Bodell from Peggy Sue Got Married. That is more a reflection of me than of their abilities though, and just used to illustrate the point: If you can’t suspend your disbelief, you won’t enjoy the movie.

In the case of Lucky, I was watching two lead actors that had left so little impression on me that, until I just looked them up, I had no idea this wasn’t their first movie. I was totally prepared to believe, but the movie fucked me out of that possibility within the first two minutes. You see, the serial killer doesn’t buy the lottery ticket, one of his victims does. Now if that person had bought the lottery ticket at a store that didn’t have a camera facing the register (if such a place still exists), I could reasonably assume that he would be able to cash it in without much hassle. Unfortunately, the place she bought the ticket has time-stamped video of every register transaction -and the girl who bought the ticket is dead before the lottery is drawn. Now I don’t claim to know a great deal about state-run lottery systems, but I will guarantee you that before any state goes to paying out 36 million dollar jackpots they are going to verify where the ticket was purchased and do their best to verify who purchased it -and I DO know that the lottery knows exactly what location sold the ticket and the precise time it was sold. And even if the lottery wasn’t verifying this information, certainly the retailer would be for the purposes of advertising that the winning ticket was sold there. The movie tells you straight away that this video exists -hell, it is being used by what can only be a mentally incompetent detective that can’t seem to put the pieces together when it’s a woman buying the ticket but a man cashing it. So really the movie lost me right there. It’s the same type of thing that takes me completely out of all the tv crime dramas, C.S.I. for example, where they find a spot of black powder on the taillight of a 2002 Honda, then parlay that into an airtight case against the pizza delivery guy who made a delivery next door to the owner of that car four days ago. It’s such utter bullshit that I just can’t watch it. But in the case of Lucky, I soldiered on.

That digression aside, this movie really had potential. The main problem is that it doesn’t seem like they were entirely sure if they wanted to make a black comedy or a nail-biting, horror/thriller. The acting was really quite good, especially in the case of the female lead, Lucy St. Marten (ari Graynor). She actually looked quite pretty in the beginning, in kind of a girl-next-door way, and had a slightly too upbeat, mall girl demeanor. By the end of the movie she really looked defeated, with any hint of beauty destroyed, and she was quite believably going a bit crazy. But that progression from mall girl to mental patient was done with a musical score that seemed to completely randomly switch between ominous and outtakes from Killer Clowns from Outer Space. I really think that just a bit of editing (and I mean cutting room stuff that that could be done now) and changing the score to embrace either the ominous or the campy and they could have come up with a good black comedy or a great horror/suspense film. Instead you get a bunch of horrible events (theoretically, since nearly all of the actual killing takes place off screen) taking place that are extremely difficult to take seriously because of the music, but just a bit too terrible to find humor in.

Oh yeah, the movie. So some serial killer dude wins the lottery. When Lucy, his gradeschool crush, finds out about it, she throws herself at him -despite treating him like the scum of the earth for twenty years prior. They say money can’t buy love, but in this case it certainly can buy sex and marriage and that’s practically the same thing. When Lucy first finds out her new husband’s secret (when she witnesses him murdering a maid on their honeymoon), she freaks out only for a few seconds, but then does her wifely duty: she doesn’t tell him about it, but disposes of the body. I will give the movie a bit of credit here for not insulting our intelligence by explaining why (the payout is in annuities, so she has to stay with him to get the checks). She later finds a few more of his victims buried at his house, and takes it upon herself to move the bodies to their new house (no idea why. I thought she was trying to find them less likely to be found. Dumb bitch), but she starts going a little bit crazy from the stress of it all. So when the bodies are discovered at the end of the movie, her DNA is all over them. Of course she is the one that goes to jail for it, while he walks away. He does still come to visit the now apparently schizophrenic woman in jail though. And that’s about it.

This movie was just so disappointing for how poorly they handled everything. Every step of the way I found myself thinking “why the hell did they do that”, but there was never a time when subsequent events justified previous actions. When the credits rolled I really hated myself for sticking through it that long thinking that eventually something had to pay off when I knew that it probably wasn’t going to. I don’t know that I’ve ever used the phrase “Sucked out loud”, but it certainly seems fitting for this film in its current state.

Harold and Maude

Next up in the movies that are way too old to be talking about, yet I am doing so anyway because it’s my damn website, category is Harold and Maude.

This is a movie that came out before I was born, so not something that I had ever really heard of prior to meeting my wife. Her mother, Michelle, made references to this movie fairly frequently, or at least frequently enough that I remember it even though said references were made during that decade of my life when I spent more time drunk than sober. Unfortunately Michelle passed away several years ago, so I couldn’t be certain if this movie held a particular meaning for her or if she just thought it was a good movie. At any rate, once I saw it available through Netflix, I figured I may as well watch it to see what it was all about.

As is the case with pretty much every movie that finds its way into type here, I knew nothing about the movie going in. In this one I knew nothing more than what can be gleaned from viewing the cover to the left. …Which is very little… Harold is played by Bud Cort and Maude is played by Ruth Gordon, both of whom have impressive lists of credits after this movie -although a quick scroll through the list shows that aside from a couple of cameo appearances, I have only seen a few of the tv episodes that they were in -which explains why I didn’t recognize either of them by sight. According to IMDB, this movie was actually nominated for a number of awards when it came out, but again, well before my birth.

The first thing that I have to say about the movie is that I found it difficult to watch for the soundtrack alone. The soundtrack is done by Cat Stevens, and includes about a dozen songs (full listing here). There is nothing bad about the songs, and I don’t dislike them in any way; they are just your typical, early-70s, pop music, but in this movie they are just so loud it is almost unbearable. Perhaps this is just a result of watching it without surround sound? I dunno, but I found myself getting all gameboy with my remote to try to adjust the volume down when the songs were playing and up when the dialogue was happening. A petty bitch to be sure, especially so since if you have been to a movie theater in the last decade you know that you pretty much need to wear ear plugs to get the audio to a reasonable volume.

Now to my spoiler-ridden plot breakdown.

Harold is a well-to-do, 20-ish kid, at least his mother would like him to be, but he doesn’t take the well-to-do lifestyle well. His mother (according to Harold) has never really showed any real emotion towards him. Partly to try to get his mother to show some emotion for him, but also, I think, partly just to irritate her, he likes to stage ever more elaborate suicides. The first such suicide caught me completely by surprise and made me wonder what I was getting myself into. But when he got up and walked away it left me with a big smile on my face wondering why I hadn’t done that when I was a kid. Be it a further attempt to irriatate his mother, or a fascination with death, Harold is using an old hearse as his daily driver at the start of the movie, and he also likes to go to funerals for people he doesn’t know (easy to pull off if you are driving a hearse, I expect).

Harold meets Maude (a woman who must be 79, according to later events) at one such funeral. Maude is the exact opposite of Harold’s mother; she is a free spirit, seemingly unfettered by rules. Harold and Maude start up a friendship that we see grow into a love affair. The movie was released in 1971, and I would be curious to see just how well this relationship was received back then. The late 60s was all about free love, but I’m sure there were still a lot of the parents of those free lovers that were none too happy about a movie depicting such a relationship. There were several times when I started to think that perhaps I had read too much into it and they weren’t having a sexual relationship, but then it showed them in bed together, and not even a fast-talking, cologne-drenched used car salesman can talk his way out of that.

I’ll not go into any more detail about the plot, since I actually intend to recommend that you watch this one if you haven’t already (perhaps a first for me), but I simply must share the image to the right. When Harold’s mother gets rid of his hearse and replaces it with a car that is “more suitable for a man of his stature”. Harold takes the Jaguar into the garage and creates what has got to be in the top 10 of coolest movie cars ever.

All in all this was a really good movie. It is theoretically a comedy (perhaps a cross between a dark comedy and a romantic comedy?), but the characters have a lot of depth to them that you simply don’t see in most comedy films that are released today. The acting is quite good, which is why I was surprised to not recognize either of the primary actors or any of their characters from subsequent films. Aside from the overwhelming loud soundtrack, I don’t really have anything negative to say about it.

As I said going in, I watched this one just because my mother-in-law had mentioned it a few times. Having now seen it, I can say that her sense of humor must have been fairly similar to mine. Which further leads me to think that our parents’ generation is really just us +20 years. The only difference is that now I am the one that makes references to the movie (which no one I know has ever heard of), and every time I do I can’t help but think of her.

Soylent Green

With Netflix making so many movies available to download instantly, I have taken to watching a lot of movies that I wouldn’t rent at a video store. Most of these are older movies, or movies that I remember having heard about but not having had a particular desire to watch. In some cases they are classics, in some cases they are movies that were recommended or talked about by friends or family members. I figured since I am taking the time to watch them, I may as well take the time to write down what I think. The first up on that list is one that I have been hearing about my entire life: Soylent Green.

Soylent Green was made in 1973, and stars Charlton Heston and a bunch of other people that are way out of my generation, but that my mother will probably flay me for not mentioning here. I have been hearing references made to this movie my entire life, and as such decided I had better go ahead and watch it. This one was not available on Netflix when I watched it though; I happened to see it in a 3/$10 bargain movie bin, and I dropped 3 large (and 33 1/3 small) to buy it. I knew literally nothing about the movie going in except that it was often used in references to cannibalism. I didn’t know who was in it or what it was about, but I mistakenly thought that Soylent Green was a chemical similar to the Agent Orange that was put to use during the Vietnam War. Which didn’t turn out to be the case.

For being shot in 1973, I was surprised that the video quality held up as well as it did. Aside from the fact that everyone in the film was dressed in late 60s fashion and all the decorations were also clearly contemporary to that era -which doesn’t make sense when you think about it, since it is supposedly happening in 2022- it wasn’t too painful to watch. The acting, on the other hand, was fairly godawful. This isn’t a criticism of this particular movie though, just the way acting was done back then; it seems fairly clear that prior to around 1980 if you wanted to be in the movie business you had to overact. William Shatner takes a lot of flak for his overacting in the Star Trek series, but if you watch any movies from that era overacting was the status quo. Today we take for granted that a good actor should appear to be actually experiencing the plot as it unfolds, while for actors a few decades ago it seems more that they were trying to convey a more if-this-was-really-happening-and-I-were-to-recount-it-later-in-overly-dramatic-fashion-this-is-what-it-would-look-like approach. Heston delivers that approach with brilliance in this one.

The story in Soylent Green is actually fairly topical, even today, and seems more and more so with every passing day. The basic gist is that in the future over-population and all forms of pollution have led to the few remaining citizens living in a police state where real food is such a luxury that many have never actually tasted “real” food and subsist solely on Soylent food wafers -government provided, dog biscuit like patties, of which the most popular (and theoretically tasty) is the green wafer. This applies to the general populace, of course; the tremendously rich have seemingly bought off the government and police, living in luxury while the average Joe lives in poverty. The dead are collected in an a garbage truck and taken outside the city walls for disposal. This all seems pretty plausible.

The plot, as far as I could tell, was about one of these police trying to solve the murder of someone wealthy and therefore powerful. As his investigation unfolds, he uncovers a huge government conspiracy that ultimately leads to the revelation that Soylent Green is made from … wait for it … wait for it … people!

The part I don’t get about the movie is why that matters. In this future police state no other animals exist, there are only (extremely rare) books with photos of them. But there doesn’t appear to be any farming going on either, since things like trees are in the same books and looked on with the same wonder and astonishment. So, hypothetically, if there aren’t any animals and there isn’t any farming, what are we supposed to be eating?

For me, I think that the reason that this movie is held in such high regard by those who were old enough to watch it when it was released had more to do with that era than with the film itself. With the Vietnam war on everyone’s mind, and the threat of communism -perceived by most at the time as a police state similar to that of the movie- the possibility that the government would herd people up like cattle and force them to live like this probably struck a nerve. They probably saw this, at least subconsciously, as something that might happen not as an eventuality due to lack of agriculture or overpopulation, but what might happen if Communism got a foothold in America. With all that so fresh in their minds, and then with the Arab oil embargo forcing the national consciousness to rethink the overuse of finite resources, it gets a bit easier to understand why this film might have a bit more meaning to my parents than I am able to glean from it.

Plus it makes me think twice before using the term “overacting” to describe any actor’s performance in a modern film.

It’s Bubba Ho-Tep!

Since signing up for Netflix I have been watching a lot more movies than ever before in my life. I probably watch 10 movies a week now, where previously I would watch maybe 2-3 a month. As a result of this, and also having the ability to stream the movies instantly as opposed to having to wait for the mail to both deliver and return them, I have been watching pretty much anything with a flashy cover or catchy title; Mom always told me to always judge movies by the cover…

I have watched some pretty bad movies lately as a direct result.

To be fair I have also found a couple that were pretty good. Interstate 60 for instance was a great movie that I had never heard of and would never have seen were it not for the fact that Netflix recommended it to me. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon was another title that they recommended that I thought was excellent. Occasionally they are bound to hit a bit wide of the mark. Such was the case with Bubba Ho-Tep.

Bubba Ho-Tep was another of the Netflix recommendations. As is generally the case with the recommendations, I don’t like to read anything about the movies they recommend before I watch them. Being totally unaware of where the plot is going keeps me from trying to guess the ending (which I’m sure my wife will tell you is an annoyance that I have trouble shaking). So I went into this movie knowing nothing except what you see in the picture to the right there: It somehow involved Elvis.

I know from spending hours watching the history channel that “Ho-Tep” came at the end of the names of some of the Egyptian Pharaohs. While I wasn’t entirely sure whether that was a name or a title (still don’t know really) I was relatively sure that it was being used in the latter context in the film. When the movie opened up on what appeared to be Elvis in his 60’s in a retirement home, I was a little thrown. I had been expecting this to be some sort of a bio-pic about the life of Elvis or something. Boy was I ever wrong. The reality was far worse.

I’m going to spoil the plot now.

Evidently, according to the film, the real Elvis had traded places with an Elvis impersonator sometime prior to the famous death of the king in 1977. The real Elvis was still living as an Elvis impersonator, but had accidentally burnt up the only proof he had of that on a barbeque grill at his trailer park (seriously). So the real Elvis was now wasting away in a backwater retirement home. Everything in the movie was very anachronistic though, this was supposedly at least a couple decades after Elvis’ death -clearly set in the 1980s or more current- but the lights, beds, radiators, doorknobs, bedpans, and, well just about everything electrical inside the retirement home looked more like what you would expect to see in the 1940s than the 1980s. That’s really beside the point though.

While he is in the retirement home, Elvis happens to meet John F. Kennedy. Kennedy is now a black man. Evidently after the shots rang out from the school book depository that day in Dallas, Kennedy’s brain managed to survive the ordeal (although anyone who has ever seen the Zapruder film could clearly see that a great deal of his brain matter got splattered all over the back of the convertible. In fact Jackie O was said to be trying to scrape it up off of the trunk in the later frames) but for security reasons the secret service had put his brain into a black man… ‘Cause no one would think to look there. No shit, This is really in the movie.

Now that we have both Elvis and JFK on the lam in a retirement home somewhere in Jerkwater, what do they do with the film? Do they tell the stories that led up to them eventually being put into the home? Do they try to quell rumors about the alleged conspiracies that surround both of their untimely deaths? Nope. They fight a Mummy.

Yes, that’s right. A mummy. An Egyptian mummy that at one point actually uses a toilet inside the retirement home and scratches graffiti -in hieroglyph of course- on the walls. The mummy was evidently being transported by bus between a couple of towns when it somehow got lost (in a bus accident I think it was). But for some reason that they never even bothered to try to explain, this mummy was not wrapped up in the typical strips of cloth you have come to expect from mummies, he was dressed up as a cowboy! Because when I think Egyptian mummy, I immediately think of ceremonial silver and gold belt buckles that say “Bubba”, don’t you? As I say, they didn’t even try to explain this part. But they do say that he eats people’s souls…

What becomes of these legendary figures in American history as they battle it out with the boot-scootin’ bad-ass from Beni Suef? Well you’ll just have to watch the movie to find that out, won’t you…

But the odds of you actually watching it are bad enough that I should just go ahead and tell you that JFK dies in the fight, but Elvis manages to kill defeat the mummy. And I just saved you the 90 minutes of your life that you would have wanted back if you had watched it. You’re welcome.

Behind the Mask

Since recently canceling my account with Blockbuster and signing up for Netflix I have been quite pleased the service. Being able to download so many movies instantly, and for no additional charge, has allowed me to watch a lot of movies that I likely wouldn’t watch if I had to go pick them out, or if I was going to be keeping the wife from watching something she wanted to see while she waited for me to return the dreck I had rented. Netflix probably thinks I have some pretty odd -and likely demented- tastes in movies, but really I don’t. I just like a movie that I can immerse myself in and enjoy, which I really can’t seem to do with most of what is coming out of hollywood these days.

I find that for the most part I can really only enjoy comedies that are current. I watch a comedy for the express purpose of laughing at what is happening onscreen, and for that it doesn’t matter who is in the film, or what the circumstances are. That seems to be the problem I have when trying to watch a drama or thriller that is current: I usually can’t enjoy it because of who is in it. For me it is extremely difficult to watch a movie with Nicolas Cage in it and see anything other than Nicolas Cage pretending to be someone acting out events. I have seen him (and all the other actors that seem to be in every damn movie that comes out) play so many roles that I simply can’t watch the movie as a story; I can’t suspend my disbelief, and that takes all the fun out of watching. When I go to Netflix to pick out something to watch, I intentionally try to find movies with people I have never heard of, and stories that I have never heard of, and I find that it makes it much easier for me to enjoy the show.

I find a lot of duds.

Even when I do find duds, I am usually able to watch them, and I don’t think I take any more or less away from them than if I had watched the latest Hollywood blockbuster. But sometimes I do find genuinely good movies… Though not nearly as often as I would like.

Netflix has been keeping track of the movies I have been watching though, and is offering up suggestions. The movie suggestion it had for me this morning was dead on: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

I really enjoyed this one. Thanks in part to knowing absolutely nothing about it going in, partly because I was able to believe the characters -since you haven’t heard of anyone in this film, and the roles were played well- (Robert Englund is in it, but in a role that his Elm Street work actually strengthens the character if you have seen those movies), but mostly because it was quite clever and unique. The basic premise is simple: A documentary crew follows around a young man who has aspirations to become a killer. Not a serial killer, but a killer of legend or folklore: a la Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers. A killer much bigger than life (death?), with a story and reputation that will live on long after he is gone. That seems hard to believe, and as I sit here typing this I remember that I was thinking at the start that there was no way I would be able to believe the premise. Though as the story flowed I found myself not only believing it, but not finding it odd that the documentary crew was with him, and actually rooting for the guy.

That is about as far as you should read before this is going to get spoilery. Be warned.

As the story unfolds Leslie (the would be killer) is showing the crew all of the detail, training, and preparation that goes into making a successful appearance as a legendary killer. He picks a town where there was a tragedy some time before. That tragedy has already spawned some local folklore about the young boy who was pushed off a cliff to his (probably very real) death. Leslie was planning to make his appearance as this dead boy coming back for revenge. But to make sure that everyone knows that he is the resurrected boy, he fabricates news clippings to leave lying around conspicuously. These clippings also have a bogus photo to make the story seem like it personally affects one local girl. It really is genius in its own twisted way.

If you have any experience with these types of horror films parts of this are actually pretty humorous; for instance it shows him cutting through the handles of all the farm tools that could be used against him. Now you know why that damn axe always breaks with the first damn swing! He nails windows shut, has a remote control for the breaker box in the basement, pre-cuts the limbs of the trees near windows so that they will break if used as a means of escape, later he removes the spark plugs from all the cars. All the things that normally leave you wondering “when did he have time to do that” in the horror movies, he shows you.

The first hour of the movie really is just him showing the crew what goes into it. They follow him through the entire setup of the final showdown, filming it all as he starts to terrorize one poor girl. And as expected the crew grows more and more apprehensive with every passing moment. The question that you will be asking yourself the whole time (at least the one I was asking myself) is “are they really going to tape him killing all those kids or is the movie going to end just as he goes into the house?” And the answer does not disappoint.

I’ll not go into much more detail. I liked the movie when I finished watching it, and the more I think about it, the better it gets. The only complaint I have is that the movie would have benefited from being possibly fifteen minutes longer. There are two characters that are left absolutely hanging at the end. If you watch it you will know the two I mean. There is no resolution as far as they are concerned and for the protagonist to have closure we really need to see what becomes of them; it simply is not possible for them and the protagonist to coexist.

My words don’t do this movie justice, and I am terrible at trying to review movies. But take my word for it, watch this one.

Well, I thought it was funny. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

I was text chatting with my Mother the other day (it seems the world has come full circle, we used to exchange letters, then came the telephone, followed by emails, which has now led to real time text chat, which will probably be followed by morse code, odd how that is going, eh?), and we got to talking about movies. I don’t watch many movies, since I am generally disappointed with them. It just seems to me that if they are going to spend 150 million on a movie, it really should be somehow better than the 1 hour shows that are on television every week, yet they rarely ever are.

I find that the movies I enjoy seeing the most are the ones that were released at least five years ago (from today’s date, you know?), and that I have never heard of. Or in some cases, like The Butterfly Effect, it can be of any age, and as long as I never paid any attention to the press about it, I can still enjoy it. By far the biggest part of enjoying the movie, for me at least, is not knowing what is going to happen. I don’t mean that they give to much away in trailers, I mean that if I have seen a trailer at all, I probably already know too much to actually enjoy it (I exclude comedies from this, since my only expectation when watching a comedy is that it will make me laugh. If it accomplishes that -no matter how absurd the plot (if there is one) or the characters- I am satisfied).

A great example of this is the movie Seven. I had absolutely no idea what that movie was about when I sat down to watch it (on video). When it went into the VCR, I was kind of expecting to see a gangster movie about gambling in Vegas (no idea why), and having absolutely no knowledge of the story really made that movie. I have since watched it again and I still find it enjoyable, but there is something about seeing it with absolutely no knowledge or expectations that ups the ante as far as the suspense is concerned. Good stuff.

When I recommend movies to my Mom, I like to recommend the ones that she has probably never heard of either. We have roughly the same taste in movies (imagine that), so I am perfectly comfortable with giving her the titles of some of the dark comedies that I enjoy, yet would not really cop to watching -at least not in person-. Sometimes I manage to recommend movies that she really enjoys, sometimes though she is forced to yank that crap out of the deck ten minutes into it. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

I recommended two movies to her while we were chatting. One is 11:14, and the other one is Lucky.

When I watched Lucky a couple of years ago, I threw up a review typed thing that made complete sense to me when I wrote it, but as I look at it now it is quite convoluted. I remember that when I wrote it, I was just pissed off that everyone that reviewed it had missed one extremely key point, and I wanted to note that. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but I was probably as drunk as old Millard himself when I wrote that, so I suppose it is to be expected. I am not going to try to fix that pseudo-review, so read it at your own risk and don’t expect me to answer any questions about it. Do watch the movie though, well if you happen to really like your dark comedy. Lucky was probably the best dark comedy I had seen in at least ten years, and some might not even classify it as “dark comedy” (which would just further prove my insanity, but who is really doubting that at this point anyway?).

11:14 is another movie that I had never heard of. The cast is a who’s who of people you’ve never heard of (or forgotten all about). Patrick Swayze is in it, but he is far enough removed from his bad-ass-turned-into-wussy-spirit days that his role in this one wasn’t huge, and I almost almost made it all the way through without once thinking of Whoopi Goldberg. Hillary Swank was also in it, but while I have heard the name, a quick look at her film credits (while impressive) shows that I have actually only ever seen her on screen in the movie Insomnia, and I don’t know which character she was playing in either film (at least I don’t recognize her face in either film. I never watch any of the shows or look at any of the magazines that paste the faces of actresses all over them. I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell apart Hillary Swank and Hillary Duff. Unless one of them really is named after the skin mag, in which case I probably had a few or her pictures on my wall at one point -no tape, no glue, no thumbtacks, just stuck right on the wall-).

11:14 is another movie that I went into knowing absolutely nothing about. I had never heard of it, didn’t know who was in it, and only decided to watch it since it was on a free preview channel so I knew it wouldn’t have any commercials. It is another dark comedy, and another one that works pretty well. An event happens at the stated time, actually several events, and you get to see it all through the eyes of five different people. The flow of the movie is similar to that of the older comedy Noises Off, in that there are so many things happening at the same time that you find yourself rooting for a bad person who is doing a bad thing, since there is a worse person who is doing a worse thing, and you just hope that they don’t run into each other. If you find yourself rooting for anyone, you are rooting for someone who, were it to happen in real life, is going to be spending a long time in prison. But you do root for people, ’cause just when you think you hate someone, another guy trumps them in the evil deeds department.

Yeah, I really liked this one. Again, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never heard of it (I wish Ebert had so that I could steal a snippet of his review; mine does it no justice. Alas, Ebert has no such review, so you will just have to take my word for it). It is obviously going to help if you are able to make light of death (deaths), because if that offends you it is going to be a real deal breaker.

Yeah, anyway. So my mom put these movies on her blockbuster on-line order list, and she got one of them in the mail yesterday. She started watching Lucky, and called me a few minutes into it to ask me if she had the right movie. See, when I told her about this movie, I gave her the release date, the actor’s names, and the character names to make sure that she got the right one, as there are a lot of movies that share that title. She was reading the description from the back of the box to me, and she indeed had the right movie. But when she took the dvd out of the player to see if perhaps it was the wrong disc, she found that while the movie was indeed called Lucky, that was only the US title. The one that she had was a foreign release distributed by Eros entertainment. Yup. They put a porn in the box for the movie they sent my mom.

Being the caring and compassionate son that I am, I did what any caring, compassionate son would do in that situation: I laughed so hard that it gave me cramps. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

Cindy Crawford + Alec, Daniel, Stephen, William Baldwin = something…

There really isn’t ever much on television at two in the morning. Last night I wasn’t tired enough to sleep and found myself flipping through channels. Alas, I had already seen all of the infomercials a couple of times (let me tell you, that Oxi Clean: Orange Action stuff isn’t worth nearly the 19.95 I paid for it, but they were giving away so much free stuff with it I would have been a fool not to order it) so I found myself at the high end of my Satellite’s channel list, looking at a free preview for the E! Action channel (at least I assume that is what it was, the channel tag said “eactn”). I had just finished watching The Butterfly Effect on that channel, and it was pretty good, so I figured I would give the next film a go as well. Of course since it was a free preview there was no program information available, so all I knew about it was that it was called Fair Game.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you take a second rate model and a third rate actor, gave them a fourth rate script and 50 million dollars to make an action movie? Me either, but evidently someone wondered that very thing in 1995. And I, being a glutton for punishment, sat through every frame of the movie last night (which is not entirely true; I actually got up at one point to look it up on IMDB to see what year it was released, because I was laughing so hard at what was going on).

I would give you a spoiler warning but, let’s face it, I am the only one that has seen this movie in the last decade, and there is no way in hell you are ever going to watch it –barring some evil mastermind forcing you to. So, let the fun begin.

To believe the plot of the film, you would have to either be mentally challenged, extremely young, or more likely both. There is a rogue group of former KGB elite operatives (sort of like James Bond, only the bad guys) who are out of work with the fall of the Soviet Union. Their retirement package sucked, so they need to make a lot of scratch really fast. Being the experts they are in absolutely everything except marksmanship, they ultimately decide to electronically steal a whole bunch of money from someone’s (and it really doesn’t matter whose) bank account in the Cayman Islands. But the year is only 1995, and evidently technology has only advanced about as far as land based phone lines at this point, so the only way they can complete their mission is to splice into a phone line that is buried under the ocean -note that this is the most believable part of the plot.

Cindy Crawford plays some chick whose greatest contribution to the film was the flashing of her left breast. Thankfully though, she seemed to have had that trademark wart removed, or well hidden at least. She is the requisite damsel in distress in the film, but if you find yourself rooting for her in any way, you obviously had a way bigger crush on her wart than I did back in high school. The script calls for her to play a vapid pretty woman, which she pulls off remarkably well -with a real actress, you might not believe that she could really absolutely forget about her Cuban client (The one that she was discussing not ten minutes earlier), with Crawford, that seems absolutely possible. Which is really a good thing, since about ten minutes into the film you quit taking it seriously and start looking for comedy. Cindy provides. I love this quote from one of the reviews at rotten tomatoes (where the film managed to score an astounding 2/22 fresh rating -with one of the fresh ratings being from a guy who was obviously beating off when he saw naked Cindy skin):

“Cindy Crawford, meet Action Movie. Action Movie, meet Box Office Death.”

— Scott Weinberg, EFILMCRITIC.COM

Well said.

But it was not my intention to rip on Cindy Crawford… Well, I guess it was actually, but that was not my only intention so I have to keep going. I am going to give up entirely on bitching about the acting though, because honestly, if William Baldwin is getting first billing, the film is obviously not going to be winning any “best actor” awards.

The film starts out with Crawford being shot at by some guy for no damn reason. She ends up in a police station where is left in an interrogation room that is fully equipped with telephones, fax machines, computers -hell, if she was the bad guy she could have hacked into the pentagon with all the equipment there. This entire scene was actually all just a setup for the only joke in the movie though -and possibly the worst joke I have ever seen in an action film- so I will give them a bit of leeway on this one. Of course the inept detective forgets to get his victim to sign a statement because the plot requires it.

In the hour or so that Cindy (no, I can’t call her by her character’s name. I honestly don’t know what it was) spent in the police station, the bad guys had been setting up her house with a bomb. Of course they used a bomb because that is the only way that they could absolutely guarantee that they would actually fail in their attempt on her life. This ingenious device was wired to her television, and blew up with such ferocity that it absolutely destroyed a 3-4,000 square foot, two story house. Of course Cindy was not harmed in any way, not a scratch, not a bit of dirt or smoke from the Hiroshima-sized blast, not even scared (though that might have been her lack of ability as an actress more than an unintentional result). Of course Willy is there to save her anyway! He stands flat-footed in the middle of an open driveway shooting his revolver at the van filled with machine-gun-toting baddies, manages to dodge around 3,000 flying bullets with nothing more than his looks, and dives into a swimming pool just in time to make enough noise to wake me back up. Asshole.

It is now clear to our heroes that there might be someone trying to kill Cindy. No one ever takes the first attempt on their life seriously, right? But when someone takes the time to turn your house into a mushroom cloud, you have to start thinking that maybe your dog messed on the neighbor’s lawn or something. So they needed to get away from Cindy’s H.O.A. as soon as possible since she can’t remember if she left her trash can out past dark the day before.

They end up in some hotel somewhere. She is under heavy police surveillance (especially while she is in the shower) at all times. But the cops get hungry, so they order some pizzas for delivery from the local pizza joint. Of course no one has any cash, so they use Cindy’s credit card (it was at this point that I went to IMDB to see what year the film was released, ’cause, I mean, come on. How stupid are we supposed to believe the police really are?). Somehow the bad guys manage to find them! Shocking!

The bad guys are using some pretty advanced thermal imaging technology. They are able to see people through the walls of the hotel in absolute perfect red silhouette. The thermal imaging technology is far from perfect though: It can only sense things that are exactly 98.6 degrees. While one of the heroes is in the shower, he completely disappears to the thermal imaging. So, is he showering in ice or what? Doesn’t the average person shower in water that is between 115 and 130 degrees? Why can’t the thermal imager pick up the hot water? Best not to ask. Slick Willy kills three of the ex-KGB agents with the scent from his Zest-fully clean underarms, and loses a few of his best friends as well, but manages to drag Cindy out just before she gets killed -which is long after I had quit caring, but the next good infomercial was still an hour away.

The heroes stop at a payphone somewhere to call the police station, the phone line of which is already being monitored by the ex-KGB guys even though they don’t know at this point that Willy is a cop, and even if they did know, they don’t know who he is and would have no way of knowing which district he worked for. Willy thinks some of the cops are dirty because the were discovered so quickly at the hotel, it never crosses his mind that using the victim’s credit card might have tipped them off. He wants to get the FBI involved. He has figured out that the phone lines are being monitored and won’t actually say the location where he wants to meet them (the only intelligent thing any of the heroes does throughout the course of the entire film), and refers to it only as “that place that you used to go on Friday’s”. Of course the guys monitoring the call show up at the station posing as FBI agents, even though no one ever actually called the FBI, and all of the cops believe them. So, off to the meeting place.

Slick Willy has hidden Cindy somewhere before the meeting (which I will not credit to him as an intelligent decision because of what he is about to do) and adamantly refuses to turn her over to the protection of the FBI without first seeing their credentials. One of the guys whips out an I.D. -it has a picture and everything- that says “Akshule FBI Agint Identefikashun Not Fak At All” (I am paraphrasing). That’s all Slick Willy needs to see, he frees Cindy from the back seat of his car! Clever hiding place, that. And no one questions it when the Akshule FBI Agints want to split everyone up to get Slick Willy and Cindy alone in a car with one of their operatives. All of a sudden, the Akshule FBI Agints turn! They aren’t really the FBI! They are the bad guys! (written as a five year old, since it was obviously written for a five year old) Slick Willy picks up on the clever ruse after the Akshule FBI Agints manage to take out another half dozen or so of his closest friends. Using nothing more than his flowing hair, Slick Willy kills another three or four of the elite ex-KGB guys to save the girl and make his escape. Which he cleverly makes in his own car. His own car that happens to have Lojack! (no kidding) -I dare you to try to make up a worse way for him to make his escape. Come on, just try. There has to be a worse way.

Anyway, the bad guys manage to stay hot on their trail. Even without the Lojack, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to follow them because, yes, they were still using Cindy’s credit card (I wonder if that was a prop credit card or if it was actually Cindy Crawford’s personal VISA). To the surprise of only anyone who has never seen any movies, read any books, and has not been paying much attention to the first hour of the film, Slick Willy’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere to allow the bad guys to catch up. He doesn’t think to even pop the hood to look at it, just calls a tow truck (with the cell phone that he now has even though he has been using only pay phones for the first half of the movie. Of course the bad guys don’t trace his cell phone for some unknown reason, which makes very little sense since they can trace any call he makes from any random pay phone on the planet, but try not to think about it.). When the tow truck arrives, Slick Willy notices the Lojack under his hood (which is just absolutely unbelievable in every way. The whole success of Lojack is that it is hidden well enough that experienced car thieves can not find and disable it. They don’t just strap that shit to the hood) and simply unplugs it (which is probably why they didn’t use Lojack’s actual name in the movie: Lojack would not want to be associated with that crap. In fact I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if Lojack sends me an email telling me to remove their name from this post or they will sue me for libel).

Where were we? Oh yeah, the bad guys show up with machine guns blazing. Slick Willy jumps into the tow truck, which is now pulling his Suburban, and takes off down the road, but Cindy is at the wheel. The ensuing chase reaches speeds in excess of like 20 miles per hour. The bad guys fire around 1,000 rounds that actually hit the tow truck (more like 6,000 total), not one of which manages to hit any of the tires, although it does somehow catch the suburban on fire. Slick Willy is hanging on the swinging passenger door, shooting single shots with sniper-like accuracy, and managing to kill all but two of his pursuers, all the while dodging hundreds of machine gun rounds using nothing more than his shiny t-shirt. Somehow the bad guys get ahead of them and stop in the middle of the road. They get out of the car and stand there. Because it doesn’t appear to have crossed their minds that firing thousands of rounds into the cab of the tow truck might have given Cindy and Willy the idea that they were trying to kill them. It never crossed their minds that maybe Cindy and Willy wouldn’t stop and would just run over them. Well, their gamble paid off. Cindy and Willy didn’t just hit them and end the film right there, instead they turned at the last minute to avoid killing the guys that they had just spent the last ten minutes trying to kill in a high speed car chase. Why? The boat hadn’t been blown up yet.

By the time they are on the boat, the movie itself even stopped taking itself seriously. They weren’t even trying to make the shoot-outs look real anymore. The actors were pretty much just blatantly aiming at all of the fuel barrels that were being stored in ship’s communications center (for no reason other than to make a bigger explosion. I bet if you were to ask the director of the movie he couldn’t give you a plausible explanation for why they would be there). The bad guys just have to hit one final key on the computer’s keyboard to complete the 700 million dollar transfer when the ship eventually blows up, three times. Not the same explosion from three camera angles, three completely separate explosions -one of which I am fairly certain wasn’t even the same boat. All of the bad guys are dead. In fact, every character in the film except for Willy and Cindy are dead -that is not an exaggeration-. It ends with Willy and Cindy kissing on the beach as they watch the ship burn. A good, solid happy ending. It sure is a good thing they don’t think about the dozens of friends that they lost in the last 24 hours or they might get depressed…

It never really explains why they want to kill the woman so bad other than to say that she knows the guy that owns the boat. That’s great and all, but just knowing who owns the boat doesn’t necessarily mean that she is going to know the ex-KGB guys that are somehow involved with that guy, also in a way that is never explained. Nor does it actually explain why anyone needs to die in the first place. In fact, had the bad guys not set out to kill anyone, they would have completed their diabolical plan at the same time and with a hell of a lot less trouble. I know action movies are just explosions and gunfights strung together with weak plots, but can’t they at least make the premise of the plot somewhat realistic? A four year old could have come up with something more believable.

They say that in order to enjoy a movie you have to be able to suspend your disbelief. There is no chain or cable in existence strong enough to suspend it for the duration of this film. If you have a stout chain, you will need to bind your disbelief, silence it with a ball gag, take it to a darkened basement, and put a couple of rounds through its temple. Then you might might be able to enjoy this one, but I really doubt it. I am actually a bit surprised that it only lost 40 million dollars.

All that being said, I think this is probably William Baldwin‘s best work.

This does make me curious about something though. If this is the kind of crap they show you for free when they are trying to get you to sign up for the E! Action channel, what is the average crap that they show on a daily basis? Could it possibly be worse than this? I am sure not going to sign up and risk finding out.

Finally a lawsuit for The DaVinci Code

When I saw the headline that read Date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial. I just had to click through to read it. I figured it could only be one of two things. The first that Dan Brown had somehow filed suit against himself for plagiarising his first novel Angels and Demons, which didn’t seem likely, the second being that Dan Brown and his publishers had finally gotten around to suing the people who made the movie National Treasure. It turns out it was neither. It is actually Dan Brown and his publisher being sued (it is short so I will quote it all):

LONDON (Reuters) – Two historians are suing the publishers of Dan Brown’s best-selling religious thriller “The Da Vinci Code” in a case which lawyers said Thursday was due to start early next year. Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent are suing Random House for lifting “the whole architecture” of the research that went into their 1982 non-fiction book “The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail.”

Lawyers on both sides of the case met Thursday to thrash out technical details, and said a trial date had been set for February 27.

They would not comment on how the trial might affect sales of the hugely successful novel or the distribution of a major Hollywood adaptation which Sony Pictures plans to release in May next year.

Random House said a “substantial” part of the claim by Baigent and Leigh had been dropped as a result of Thursday’s discussions, and added in a statement:
“Random House is delighted with this result, which reinforces its long-held contention that this is a claim without merit.”

A spokeswoman for Leigh said he still intended to pursue his claim against the publishers of Brown’s book, which has 36 million copies in print worldwide and has upset Catholics for suggesting Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her.

The same theory is put forward in The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail.
Commentators have pointed out that a major character in Dan Brown’s book, Sir Leigh Teabing, has a name that is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. A third author of the 1982 book, Henry Lincoln, has decided to stay out of the action.

Ironically, a special hardback, illustrated version of their book, called Holy Blood, Holy Grail has just been reissued by none other than Random House.

In August, Brown won a court ruling against another writer, Lewis Perdue, who claimed The Da Vinci Code copied elements of two of his novels, “Daughter of God” and “The Da Vinci Legacy.”

Perdue had sought $150 million in damages and asked the court to block distribution of the book and the movie adaptation, which features Tom Hanks alongside French actress Audrey Tautou.

That is hardly how I thought this was all going to come down. Of course the fact that I found it in the Odd News section might be an indicator of just how seriously the allegations are being taken. The allegations are pretty ridiculous when it comes right down to it. I don’t know if Brown ever looked at the particular book that they are suing him for plagiarising, but I am damn sure that Brown did a lot of homework on the book to make sure he had everything else (location, pictures, etc.) covered. I bet he referenced tons of non-fiction while he was researching aspects of the plot of the novel. That is what you do if you want people to take this type of a novel seriously.

Trying to sue someone for researching a subject before writing about it is a bit suspect anyway. That would necessarily mean that every college thesis is basically plagiarism. You have to reference dictionaries and reference books to build a base for the project, not to mention newspapers and magazines, yep, you plagiarised them all. Nevermind the fact that you are only looking for actual facts. Hell, I have been plagiarizing math my entire life: at some point I read that 1+1=2, I have written that very statement many times over the years.

What I really loved about the article, though, was this quote: Commentators have pointed out that a major character in Dan Brown’s book, Sir Leigh Teabing, has a name that is an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. First off, the characters name is Sir Leigh Teabing, which is in no way an anagram of Leigh and Baigent. If you were to leave the “Sir” off of his name you could spell Leigh, you could spell Baigent, but where the hell would you get the and? Second, if you were really plagiarising someone’s work, would you make an anagram of their name that only required moving a letter or two? Personally I would at least mix the letters together rather than using the exact name for the first name then barely mixing up the last. I would never use a name like Mark Waint if I happened to be ripping off Samuel Langhorne Clemens Mark Twain. Tim Warnak is the first name that I can quickly anagram from Mark Twain, and, as an added bonus, it doesn’t seem to make it glaringly obvious that it is an anagram.

The lawsuit seems to be claiming that when those two guys wrote a book in 1982, they were the only ones in the entire world that had ever thought that maybe Jesus had actually married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child or children, which is completely untrue. There are even some religious scholars that admit it is a possibility, since the biblical texts are far from a complete and accurate historical document. However, religious scholars are not Priests (or the pope for that matter), therefore the church refuses to accept any possibility the Jesus ever fornicated with a woman (or man. Had to throw that in just to piss off religious zealots). I can see their logic. The bible doesn’t say that Jesus ever married anyone, sex out of wedlock is a sin, Jesus never sinned, therefore he died a virgin.

Thing is that the bible leaves out a lot of important details. Like why God hid a bunch of huge dinosaur bones under the ground, forced them to fossilize, then let modern man find them. Were you to take the bible literally, you would simply have to believe that Noah loaded two of every dinosaur onto his boat, along with two of every other species on the planet (many of which eat wood, which must have sucked. Imagine trying to save all of the species only to find that on your fifth day, out of forty, the insects have eaten the majority of your boat. Sucks to be Noah). That must have been a damn big boat, and a monumental undertaking. I would probably be more inclined to believe the story had the bible started out, “In the beginning, God created a Huge ass boat, knowing he would need it later. Then he created the Heavens and the Earth, which was easy stuff after that boat. God realized that the boat would not actually fit on the face of the earth so, rather than scrapping the boat (he spent some time on that thing, it was all pimped out), he killed all of his pet dinosaurs and hid them way under the ground. God then used his power to shrink the boat to such a point as it would fit on the earth (sail the earth? not so much, it was still big enough that, stern to bow, it was roughly the diameter of the earth). God then killed off many other large species of animals, in the hopes that he would be able to get his boat small enough to actually be able to move around the earth using its waterways. Once God had destroyed hundreds of thousands of species, he got angry and said God Damn It. God ordered Noah to load onto the boat whatever would fit, which was roughly 300 species. Now God had to atone for the sin of using his own name in vain. It took him millennia to figure it out, but he eventually decided on the “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” scam: Pretend to have a son, make the people crucify him (as his son), boom, instant atonement for his sin.”

Makes more sense than the bible.

This has gone a bit off topic though (can you say understatement?). I am gonna call it a post.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

My wife had a pair of free movie tickets that had to be used by end of September so we went to see a movie today. While we had decided that we were going to watch The Corpse Bride Which is getting far better reviews than I would have expected, it turns out that the free tickets wouldn’t get us into that movie since it is still considered a “limited engagement”. My second choice was the latest Jodie Foster movie, something to do with an airplane, that would have been nixed anyway since “limited engagement” seems to mean that the tickets will only work on films that are not likely to sell out. I think opening weekend of anything would definitely be out of the question for the purposes of the free movie passes.

As we stood at the window wondering what to do next, since I think we both realized that my second choice wouldn’t be available to us either, my wife asked the woman what else was playing around noon. There were lots of films playing, most of which either my wife or myself just absolutely didn’t want to see. I offered to pony up the cash to watch the movie we had gone to see in the first place, but the wife insisted that we use the free tickets. So we saw The 40 Year Old Virgin today. Oddly, I had tried to get her to go see this movie last weekend but she didn’t want to (she also didn’t want to ge see Cry Wolf, which I would like to see), but when free tickets are at stake sacrifices must be made. We had made it to the theatre a half hour before the movie we planned to see started, but since we had to change the movie we were a good forty-five minutes early. That is a boring forty-five minutes.

I hesitate to call anything I write a review so I will simply say that this is what I thought of the film. First off I was pretty grumpy after having to choose a different movie and wait damn near an hour for it to start. I got over that very quickly.

This movie is just so damn funny that you really can’t be in a bad mood while you watch it. The very first scene had everyone in the room laughing out loud, myself included, and it just kept going from there. There was a lot of potty humor, which blended nicely with the more romantic side of it to keep it all flowing. There was a point about an hour into it that it just crapped out for twenty minutes or so (the humor left completely and made it seem like a Harlequin novel), other than that it would be pretty hard to complain about anything in it. There are some of the best one-liners I have ever heard, some of the best situational comedy I have ever seen, the characters all had very distinct personalities and, most importantly, the characters seemed very real, albeit a bit stereotyped. I know people who act like the majority of the primary actors, as most probably do, and that just made it even better.

I went into the theatre expecting to see a movie that was all about the sexual mis-encounters of a guy who happened to be 40. I assumed that it would be a bunch of low brow humor that would not be appreciated by the fairer sex, yet, since most of the women in the audience were laughing just as often as the men (often at different jokes) it went well beyond that assumption. The fact that it had an actual story line, not to mention an actual love story, was simply beyond (my) belief. If I had a rating system I would give this one 5 beer cans (the very best) but subtract half of a beer can for the dull part in the middle. Still 4.5 out of 5 beer cans is pretty good.

Now for a few spoilers

The opening scene shows the main character with an erection when he wakes up in the morning. As he reaches the toilet he has to bend further and further until you finally hear the sound of the pee hitting the water in the bowl. That is something that every man can totally identify with, though it likely isn’t still happening by the time you are in your forties. When I was a teen I used to take my bath towel into the bedroom with me when I went to bed, not so that I could masturbate though. I just wanted to have something to hold in front of me on my trek to the bathroom the next morning, as my penis seemed to think it was playing a game called “point at the chin”.

The condom scene is simply hilarious. The condom is not really a complicated device. In fact I learned how to use one all on my own, because I didn’t want to have to start the learning process while in the presence of a naked, horny woman. I don’t know how he ended up with a condom on his toe, nor why he covered his entire arm with one, or what the hell he was trying to do when he blew one up before trying to put it on, but that was funny stuff. When the teen boy walks into the room, sees the pile of condom packages, sees the guy pull a condom off of his toe, then says, “Teach me.” I nearly split my gut with laughter.

The movie is just damn funny. If you haven’t seen it, and you like comedy, you should rush out to see it. Keep in mind there is a lot of nudity (well not really a lot, but it does show a couple of scenes from actual porn movies, but they are fast forwarded through and you only see boobs).

Good, good stuff.