Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Stream of Consciousness

Because I can’t really think of anything else to write about, I’m going to rip off Jamie’s columns and write some assorted musings of mine from the holiday season.

-I got a Wii for Christmas, which is totally sweet. Believe the hype. Super Mario Galaxy is “out of this world!” (Let’s see if that one ends up in a Nintendo commercial. Yes, I’m totally willing to sell out with dumb ass catch phrases if it means getting more site hits. Fuck me? Fuck you!). Even a game like Mario Party that you might be initially apprehensive about is pretty badass.

-One of the best parts about the Wii is that you can download old Nintendo and SNES games for like $5 a pop. I already have both Blades of Steel and Ice Hockey, as well as Contra III. One of the greatest thrills of the past week was playing as the U.S. in Ice Hockey against my friend Anthony, who was playing as the evil, godless Soviets. He went small with his players, while I went with 3 big fat guys and a medium-sizer. Of course, I won 17-8, then watched Miracle and sang “America the Beautiful” while eating apple pie and racking up credit card debt by buying useless shit on the internet. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Of course, there are plenty of other games I still want. Punch Out, Baseball, and Tecmo Bowl are right at the top of the list. I’m sure there are plenty of other awesome games out there, even if Aerobiz isn’t there yet (hopefully it will be soon).

-I don’t really have any plans for New Year’s yet, nor am I terribly concerned. What’s the big deal about New Year’s, anyway? A lot of people use it as an excuse to get inappropriately drunk and do crazy shit. The problem is, I don’t really need an “excuse,” per se, to do that, so it’s far less special than for a lot of others.

-I recently bought the American Pie Trilogy and watched them all. I have to say, though they’re funny, in hindsight all of the guys are huge pussies, except for Stiffler. Even though Stiffler is a bit of an asshole, he’s the only one in the movie with any kind of confidence. Instead, these guys are always giving in and never asserting themselves, yet they somehow fall ass-backwards into getting laid and “self-discovery?” Uh, yeah, that’s how it works in real life…

-Quick movie grades:

Golden Compass: C

Juno: B

American Pie: B

American Pie 2: C+/B-

American Pie 3: C+/C

-Week 17 of the NFL is here. Who even gives a shit? I guess Pats fans do, as well as the 4-5 teams that have a shot at making the playoffs. Other than that, I’m stuck rooting for Kurt Warner and the Cardinals to beat the Rams so that they get the second overall pick in the draft, which they will inevitably squander on some no-talent asshole who will either be chronically injured, inconsistent, or just plain bad. Did I mention our clueless head coach will be coming back for another year of shitty football? What a great time to be a Rams fan!

-These bowl games are getting to be kind of ridiculous, too. How the hell are we supposed to have a pick ‘em pool if half of the goddamned players are academically ineligible, in jail, or found to be on the take from boosters? It’s ridiculous. It almost takes some of the shine off of the premier, after New Year’s match up this bowl season. Of course I’m referring to the GMAC Bowl. I mean, come on! How are we supposed to know which football powerhouse involved in that one is truly the better team? Bonus points to anyone who can name one GMAC Bowl participant without looking (answer at the bottom of this column).

-The hot stove has kind of cooled down in baseball, too. Not that it matters, because the Cardinals are pretty much fucked no matter how you slice it. Although not impossible to obtain a frontline starter and two bats while refusing to give up what few talented prospects you have, and instead trying to exclusively deal above-average relievers, it ain’t easy, either. Damnit…

-Finally, headed to the Blues game tonight. Even though that last sentence probably caused most people to jump to another site already, I still like the Blues to bump back from the 5-0 drubbing they took at the hands of Detroit the other night. Let’s say 5-3 Blues, with two goals for fellow…uh…Big Green? Big Greener? Keggy? At any rate, fellow D ‘05 Lee Stempniak.

Questions? Comments? Forgot what question above “Tulsa” and “Bowling Green” are the answers to? E-mail the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Crystal Ball

I’ve been watching the Back to the Future trilogy a lot recently, partially because it’s on HBO all the time, and partially to dissect every minute of every film to build a stronger argument as to why it would have been better for Doc Brown to let Marty take the sports almanac back to 1985 so that he could win tons of money gambling on sports. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

-First of all, Marty is supposed to be Doc’s friend. If one of my friends wanted to bring a sports almanac back in time with him, I wouldn’t stand in the way. Rather, I’d hope that he would allow me to use it, too, even if he charged for a percentage of the profits. I mean, come on, there’s enough money in Vegas to go around, right? And who better to enjoy it than you and your buddies? The only reason Biff got the almanac in the first place was because Doc so cavalierly threw it in a public trashcan—what an asshole.

-Also, I noticed that in the first movie, Doc Brown mentions something about “seeing who the next fifty World Series winners are.” Gee Doc, why would you want to do that? Looks like someone is pissed off that Marty found a much easier and efficient way to do what he wanted to do. Jealousy is an ugly mistress, sir…

-Let’s take a look at what Doc has brought back in time: a copy of USA today—from thirty years in the future. Last time I checked, they had a “Money” section which contained ALL OF THE STOCK QUOTES ON THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE FOR THAT DAY! Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that almost more useful than a sports almanac? Unlike the casinos, if the NYSE suspects that something is fishy, they don’t send out guys with names like “Moose” and “Rocco” to “have a talk with” and “play shin baseball” with you. Knowing where Microsoft’s stock price would be in 2015 back in 1985 might allow you to make even more money than off of gambling. I mean, it wouldn’t be as fun or sexy, but we’re talking legitimate billions here, aren’t we? Man…

Anyway, the reason why I’m writing this column isn’t to continue to harp on the whole sports almanac debacle. Rather, it’s to lament all of the cool stuff that they show in the future in those movies that we aren’t even close to developing. I mean, look folks—we’re only seven years away here. We should start to see flying cars and hoverboards any minute, right? So I thought that I would go through and try to pin down when I think we’ll get some of these marvelous inventions.

Flying Cars: This is a tough one because they talk about getting “hover conversions” in Back to the Future II, which would imply that the technology is relatively new at that time. That said, all of the U.S. car companies are spiraling around the bowl as we speak, so we might have to rely on the Japanese for this one anyway. For all I know, they have Hello Kitty robots assembling the things in downtown Tokyo, flying them around to be used as commercial billboards. Or they don't. I don't know. Whatever.
ETA: 2020

Hoverboards: I always thought that these would be pretty bad-ass to have. I even remember as a kid that I would even settle for the pink one that Marty stole from the girl, which has less to do with…um…er…let’s just say that it says more about how the hoverboard is cool and leave it at that. Unfortunately, we still don’t know much about gravity, or at least in a practical way that makes cool things like hoverboards and space travel accessible, and right now scientists are more focused on crazy, academic concerns like “global warming” and “alternative fuels” rather than outlandish experimental physics, so this one might be a ways off.
ETA: 2035

Mr. Fusion: Basically, this thing turns trash into energy. Though this would be the most useful invention ever, with the most potential implications for society, it is also probably the furthest off. Not only do we have to figure out how to create a controlled fusion reaction that gives off more energy than it takes in, but we also need to figure out how to fit the equipment required (currently the size of a warehouse) into a stylish, modern-looking food processor that fits on the back of a DeLorean.
ETA: Wednesday. Okay, okay…2065? Maybe?

Holographic ads: Apparently they are the movie trailer of the future. The one in the movie for Jaws 13 would scare the living hell out of me. With 3D technology getting better and better all the time (you laugh now, but wait 3 years until all of your favorite movies are fully 3D at the local multiplex…), I think we’ll see this one sooner rather than later. The movie might have actually nailed this one on the head.
ETA: 2015

The Cubs win the World Series: This, more than the time travel or any of the other crazy gadgets in the movie, is the one thing that really makes it a fantasy. Not only do they rely on the outlandish plot device of throwing in something so improbable that you have to think at the time “man, that IS far in the future if THAT can happen…”, but they also seem to think that somehow this impossible win will come against “Miami.” This little nugget has to be extra-painful for Cubs fans, who may or may not remember that the Marlins thwarted the Cubs’ efforts to make a World Series for the first time in ages in 2003 thanks to the efforts of one Mr. Steve Bartman, whom every St. Louisan is indebted to for all eternity. Oh well, that’s why we have movies like the Neverending Story, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Rookie of the Year, and Back to the Future; they allow perennial losers to dream…
ETA: 5 billion years. No, just kidding—NEVER

Hanging Dot Matrix Printers in Every Closet: They show these when Marty gets fired for stealing from his company. Apparently, not only will the dot matrix style make a comeback, but there will be a need to have a printer in every closet, just in case you need to...well, shit, I can’t even think of a good reason why you would need, or even plausibly want a printer in the closet. Come to think of it, that just seems like something that a guy like Donald Trump would have so that he could brag about having it. “This is the finest dot matrix printer money could buy, completely refurbished, in the greatest and most opulent closet in all of New York.” So what, Marty? You think you’re better than us or something?
ETA: Uh, 1985

Sports Almanac 1950-2000: I know what you’re thinking. Come on? Really? I know, I know, it was obviously made in 2000, so this one doesn’t really count. Also, it would be useless now anyway. I don’t give a damn what Mo Vaughn hit in 1998. I do care about the outcome of every bowl game this year.
ETA: 2000


That’s about it for now. More to come.

Questions? Comments? Worried that I’m more addicted to Back to the Future than I could ever be addicted to gambling (you’re right)? E-mail the BlogMogger team at Blogmogger@yahoo.com.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Site Update

Now that finals are finished and I'm on a fairly normal schedule again, you ungrateful bastards that have been bitching at me are going to get your wish: more columns. I know, I know, like Commodus throwing free bread to the masses, I know how to keep a crowd happy. OK, OK, simmer down...

Just a couple quick housekeeping matters before we fire things up again:

-Jamie, Grant, Billy and I have created a bowl pick 'em pool where we're picking games against the spread, which is provided by the good folks over at sports.com. Of course, this definitely IS NOT for money, because that would be gambling and, thus, illegal. I've posted a running tally on the right side of the page right below the "contributors" box so that everyone can see how much better I am at picking college games than those other three jokers.

-I have a few ideas for upcoming columns, including another couple Vegas TravelMogs, and some additional sports/movie related bullshit. But since I'm going to have a pretty decent amount of time here, if anyone has ideas for additional columns, go ahead and leave them in the comments. If they're funny or interesting enough, expect to see it up on the site in the near future. How's that for being a "man of the people?" Castro has nothing on me...

-Finally, if anyone has any suggestions for the layout of the site or changing the color scheme to make it easier to read or whatnot, please leave those suggestions in the comments, too. We're always looking for ways to make things easier, better, or more accessible for Friends of the Mog.

That's all for now. Expect more columns soon.

DJGel

Questions? Comments? Good! E-mail the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com. Or just leave a comment, you lazy bastard.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Winter Meetings Recap 2007

Baseball’s Winter Meetings have finally come and gone, and despite the pre-meetings hype, they were more “Last Episode of Seinfeld,” and less “Superbad,” with one notable exception. Be that as it may, and because I don’t really have anything else to write about in the lead-up to exams here (unless you want to hear a 10,000 word diatribe on how to succeed at law school exams without even trying), here’s a recap of some of the big events in baseball over the past week.

-Johan Santana is still a Twin. This isn’t all that surprising. Once the Yankees imposed a deadline to make a deal to force the Twins’ hand, this trade was dead. If the Yankees and the Red Sox were the only teams in on Santana from the start, once the Yankees were out and the Twins had no leverage, why not hold on to Santana until the trade deadline, when some team will be truly desperate for starting pitching? I mean, come on, the best pitcher in baseball has to be worth more than a top-shelf pitching prospect (Phil Hughes), a defense-first outfielder (Melky Cabrera), and two more middling prospects. And if the Twins would have even taken a package from the Bosox centered around Jon Lester…ugh. Now the Twins can bide their time and wait for the opportune moment to strike. Well played, guy who’s succeeding Terry Ryan. Well played…

-The big news of the meetings involved the massive, 8-player trade between the Marlins and Tigers that saw the only guys making more than $5.50 an hour on the Fish (Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera) head to Motown for top CF prospect Cameron Maybin, LHP Andrew Miller, and four more mid-level prospects. It’s a huge deal for the Tigers, who now roll somewhere around 9 deep in their lineup, and who have a solid rotation to boot. Their only weakness as far as I can tell is their bullpen, but they have a trade chip in Brandon Inge who could possibly help address that deficiency.

Though it’s a sad development for Marlins fans (I’ll let Jamie address that in a separate column if he wishes), they have no choice but to trust their management, who have guided the franchise through this perilous path to contention once before. Just out of curiosity, though, what would these fans be thinking if they had lost the 2003 World Series? Should one additional championship after a fire sale that, by all accounts, alienated most of the fan base inspire such blind confidence in the “powers that be” in Miami? We shall see…

-Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for low level prospect Chris Carter (no, not the Hall-of-Fame wideout). Great move for the White Sox—getting a former top OF prospect who should go .280-20-100, and who’s ceiling is probably north of .300-30-120. All they waste is a low-level, potential power-hitting 1B who’s absolute ceiling is somewhere around Chris Duncan. Quentin should play everyday in the OF somewhere for the ChiSox, and he’ll have a chance to prove that 2007 was just an aberration.

-Rick Ankiel is vindicated (along with Grant). Not enough evidence to suspend him for hGH use. I’ll chalk that one up in the “W” column. Of course, Troy Glaus also was exonerated, so I’m not entirely sure how “in-depth” this investigation was, but we’ll take it.

-Finally, an extended piece on the Tony-LaRussa-Scott Rolen feud:

One of the first posts on this site concerned the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series victory over the Detroit Tigers. It was a fantastic experience here in Charlottesville, especially since the hometown hadn’t experienced a championship since the Rams’ improbable run in 1999, and a World Series title since this writer was present in utero at Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. I enjoyed the euphoric drinking of the finest Andre and tears that rivaled the thunderstorm outside while my friends kept telling me to "stop being such a pussy." Ah, memories...

However, in that post, I mentioned briefly with regard to Rolen that “I can stomach the rest of your contract as a Cards fan. Congratulations!” In hindsight, I was drunk with either euphoria or three bottles of Andre—you be the judge. After this crybaby routine, which he has already pulled once in Philadelphia, Rolen must go. Here’s an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that made me gain a lot more respect for Tony LaRussa. He’s not going to put up with a prima-donna 3B who hits .220 with 6 HRs before needing shoulder surgery.

If you all need further background on that issue, Rolen injured his shoulder playing in the 2002 playoffs for the Cards. After Cards surgeon George Paletta cleaned it up for him, he somehow ran into Hee Seop Choi and re-injured the same (non-throwing) shoulder. Again, Paletta performed the surgery. After he enjoyed some isolated success at the major league level, Rolen again complained of an injury and decided to have surgery. However, instead of letting Paletta perform the procedure, Rolen wanted Cincinnati Reds’ team doctor Tim Kremchek to perform the procedure, to the point that he threatened legal action against the Cards if they forbade him to do so. This is the same Dr. Kremchek who appeared on Real Sports to decry the practice of giving Tommy John surgery to 15-year-olds, yet who will still perform the procedure once the parents and the patient “know all of the risks.” Apparently, Kremchek screwed this surgery up, but now Rolen went to him again to have it cleaned up. Hmm…so your employer’s allegedly bad doctors aren’t good enough for you, but your own allegedly bad doctor is? Ridiculous…

At any rate, Scott Rolen is a snake. The only time I’ve really seen him perform at a high level for the Cards was after LaRussa benched him in the NLCS in lieu of Scott “I just have the sniffles, officer” Spezio, who was on an absolute tear at the time, and I don’t mean at the Hustler Club in Sauget, Illinois, where a couple of my friends saw him before Game 4 of the NLCS. This benching is the subject of the feud between Rolen and LaRussa, and actually lit a fire under Rolen’s ass, as he was narrowly edged out for World Series MVP by David Eckstein.

I guess my point is, if this guy needs to be benched to find the competitive fire to play through his “shoulder injuries,” and perform at a higher level, why shouldn’t LaRussa question his commitment to the team? I mean, the guy is being paid like an All-Star. Why shouldn’t he play at an All-Star level? If he doesn’t want to, then fuck him. As Col. Nathan Jessup might say, I have neither the time nor the inclination for someone who lives under the blanket of freedom that LaRussa provides, then has the audacity to question the manner in which he provides it.

If Rolen wants to play this A-Rod game with LaRussa, that’s fine. All I’m saying is, you better be ready to be treated like A-Rod. Get Carrie Underwood ready for the Radio Shack commercials where Rolen acts like an effeminate hoosier. Match that purse to those shoes, just like A Rod does! Otherwise, grab a bat and man a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

God I hope they trade his ass…

Until next time…

DJGel

Questions? Comments? Confused by the irrational hatred of Scott Rolen? Watch a Cards game. Or e-mail us at Blogmogger@yahoo.com. Either way, we don’t give a fuck.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The All-New BlogMogger Movie Grading Scale

Here is the new-and-improved movie grading scale, revised to reflect some of the movies that we’ve reviewed over the past year (has it really been that long? Yeesh.) The original scale can be found here, but it’s essentially the same thing with worse writing, more typos, and probably a couple more “fucks” thrown in there for no reason. Oh well…

The BlogMogger movie grading scale is based on a strict “C” curve, meaning that the average movie that comes out should receive a “C.” Grant and I came to this conclusion a couple of summers ago when we were giving seemingly every movie we saw an indifferent “B+.” After one particularly mediocre movie (not sure that I remember what it was. Maybe “Fun with Dick and Jane?”), we decided to get rid of all of the grade inflation and re-center the curve. The result has been a golden age of movie criticism that is simultaneously accurate, entertaining, and informative.

Though it’s not an exact science (even if our grades are so accurate that it can be unnerving, even a little uncomfortable at times), here are some of the criteria that we use to grade films:

Genre Appropriateness: Basically comedies have to be funny, dramas should move you, action movies should be badass. Where do romantic comedies fit into this whole scheme? NOWHERE YOU WEAK BASTARD! FIND A DATE MOVIE THAT HAS SOME FUCKING REDEEMING ENTERTAINMENT VALUE AND WATCH THAT INSTEAD OF THE 287,645th CONSECUTIVE FUCKING MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY-REESE WITHERSPOON MOVIE ABOUT THE SAME FUCKING THING! CHRIST!

Writing: Crucially important. It can turn a run-of-the-mill bank heist film into a damn good flick (Inside Man). It can also single-handedly sink a franchise as storied as the James Bond films (Die Another Day), then resurrect it several years later (Casino Royale). It all starts with the words on the page, no matter how much the director tweaks them.

Directing: I used to downplay the role of a good director in making a great film, but after comparing the performance of Matt Damon in a Scorsese film (The Departed) and in a movie directed by some guy named “Paul Greengrass” (if that’s not a name he picked up directing pornos, I’d be shocked) in the steaming pile of shit that was The Bourne Ultimatum, the director obviously plays a huge part in how good a film is. Remind yourself of this the next time you’re three hours into a Peter Jackson movie in the theater with no end in sight, bored out of your mind, and wondering if there’s any way you can fashion a noose from an empty soda cup, a straw, and a popcorn bucket.

Acting: Again, vital. This is why The Departed keeps going up in my book every time I watch it. There are just too many good performances to isolate any one actor as being above and beyond. You aren’t going to get the same film if you have Keanu Reeves playing Bill Cositgan, Colin Farrell playing Colin Sullivan, and Kathy Bates playing Frank Costello. Not gonna happen…

One-Liners: Some might put this under “writing,” but it’s very possible to write a great script without many one-liners at all. That said, it’s much easier if a movie gives you and your buddies lines to use in day-to-day bullshitting. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but The Departed has so many good lines that you can quote to death in many, many situations. For example, if somebody fucks up, you can give them the “Dump the body IN the maash,” speech. If somebody is working especially hard or has a new girlfriend, you can use the “Oh yeah, it’s working…overtime!” line. Guys need to have a certain level of these chestnuts to fall back upon during lulls in the conversation.

Replay Value: Can you watch the movie about 8 different times in a five day span on HBO and still come back for more? If so, you have a winner. If not, it’s not necessarily a loser, but it’s probably not in that “A” range of great films.

Creativity: Is this a revolutionary new plot/concept/idea/format? Does it actually break new ground in some way that we haven’t seen before?

Expectations: Does the movie exceed your expectations going in? Does it fall short? Though this one is a little subjective, the true greats should surpass even the loftiest of expectations going in.

Basically, we sort of throw all of these things into a mental blender and somehow assign a grade that conveniently corresponds with the grading scale used in elementary schools throughout the country. Here is what each grade means:

A+: An absolute masterpiece of a film. A+’s should only be given to movies that are somewhere in your Top Ten. Upon viewing an A+ movie, you come out of the theater thinking, "Wow, that was fucking incredible!"...and the feeling continues upon subsequent viewings. A movie that never gets old, has amazing acting, and is incredibly enjoyable from start to finish. High innovation abounds—there should be at least a scene or 2 where you find yourself saying "whoever made this is a genius". If someone asks you, "Oh, I haven't seen that movie before--is it good?", you immediately plot your exit from the conversation because that person obviously sucks. There also has to be a little something extra that pushes an A to an A+, though I can’t really put it into words. Like pornography, you’ll know it when you see it.

Examples: A Few Good Men, Dumb and Dumber, True Lies

A: A great film—basically an A+ without the little extra intangible something that pushes it over the edge. It must get very high marks across the board, and be incredibly solid from start to finish. When someone says "Hey, let's pop in __________", there is not only no hesitation on your part, but it also elicits a "Yeeeaaah!" or "Fuck yeah!" Your group of friends can recite multiple lines from the film and know exactly what you’re talking about, other people be damned. Fuck them anyway—if they were cool, they would know what you’re talking about.

Examples: The Departed, Crimson Tide, Back to the Future (I and II), Miracle, American Psycho, 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Kingpin

A-: Still a very, very good movie, but there’s maybe a blemish or two that prevent it from becoming the prom queen that is an A or an A+ movie. There’s maybe an extended stretch where the pacing is off, or a bad acting or directing job at a fairly important part of the movie. Despite these blemishes, the movie survives over time as a source of great entertainment for your group of friends.

Examples: Super Troopers, Made, Office Space, Ace Ventura (I & II), Total Recall, Wedding Crashers

B+: A very good movie that you’re glad you saw in theaters. It also could be a nice gem that you found at the video store that exceeded low expectations. There are maybe a few more problems than in an A-. Maybe one actor really mails it in, the writing isn’t top-drawer, or there’s an extended rough patch that slows the movie down. Still, overall a solid flick.

Examples: Beerfest, Harold & Kumar, Major League II, Private Parts, Bottle Rocket, A Clockwork Orange, Sicko

B: A good film. Not great, but good. Maybe it’s a bit less than what you were expecting based on what you had read/heard. Good acting, dialogue, directing. There are maybe a few too many awkward moments, kind of like a movie version of a Jay Leno interview with an otherwise entertaining star. These are the movies that you can see once in the theater and think "It was good, I’m probably glad I saw it here instead of on DVD." You don't want to see this movie again until it comes out on HBO. That said, when it finally does come out on HBO, you find yourself getting a little excited, thinking, "Oh good, I've been wanting to see that again with my buddies at home so that we can do some commentary on it."

Examples: Dave, The American President, Casino Royale (B/B+), Tango & Cash, Little Big League, The Prestige, Knocked Up

B-: I liken a B- movie to a videogame that you talk yourself into buying at the store because everyone is raving about it, only to come home and realize that the levels are repetitive and the gameplay is dull. Many people like this type of thing because they’ve played it before, but you were hoping that it would be better. Well, that’s a B- movie—often the “but-a-face” offspring of high expectations and a derivative plot, with maybe some bad direction to grease the wheels. Still a decent film, but you’re starting to get into dangerous territory here.

Examples: Bruce Almighty, Ocean’s 13, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (though Jessica Biel gets an A+ for her…err…”performance”), the Third Lord of the Rings Movie

C+: Barely above average. Generally good, formulaic fun that somehow does things a little bit better than the average movie. No stand-out performances, the acting and directing are maybe slightly above average. Still entertaining, though as you're leaving the theater, you wonder if it was worth the $9, or if you would've been better off renting it on DVD. Still a decent effort at a movie, if a bit disappointing. It maybe has some novelty value for re-watching--after a couple of years, and only if you and your buddies are sufficiently hammered to make an outrageous commentary.

Examples: You, Me, and Dupree, Snakes on a Plane (when drunk), Passenger 57, Devil Wears Prada (I know, I know, but it’s surprisingly good to do commentary on due to Vinnie Chase’s role), Stuck on You.

C: The average movie. Average directing, acting, and writing. I guess it can be enjoyable to some people, but if you've seen a lot of movies, it's pretty formulaic and dull. Most romantic comedies fall at this level or below, even though every time a woman sees a new romantic comedy, the “filmmaker” (if you can even call the director of a romantic comedy that) is able to dress up the same old schlock to trick the woman into thinking that she’s never seen it before. A lot of times these end up being "borderline" theater movies--you really don't want to go see it in theaters, but you have nothing else to do, so you see it anyway. Consequently, most of the time you feel ripped-off. Often a tough grade to assign because you want to give the movie either a C+ or C-.

Examples: Along Came Polly, The Terminal, War of the Worlds (because of the shitty, original book ending), The Mask, Kate Hudson's BEST work.

C-: A below-average movie. Something about it is just not good enough to give it a "C". You generally don't even think about going to see these in the theater. However, if you do go to see it in the theater, even with low expectations, you'll end up disappointed. You probably don't want to see this movie again. Like McDonald’s, Cartoon Lunchboxes, and Rene Russo, you like them less and less as time goes by.

Examples: The Simpsons Movie, Contact, Rush Hour 3

D+: A bad movie. You really have to be desperate to watch this in theaters. If you do, when you get up at the end, you wonder if the pain in your ass is that it has fallen asleep, or that the theater-owner has just finished railing $9 out of you. There’s only one bright spot to a D+ movie: if you watch it in theaters, you're guaranteed at least one unintentionally comedic scene where everyone laughs at what is supposed to be a serious or heartfelt moment. However, that doesn't come close to the shame you feel when you casually drop that you've seen the movie in conversation, followed by one of your buddies saying, "Are you serious?", to which you can only muster a weak "...yeah...", before they start giving you shit. Maybe acceptable if it's the only agreeable movie out and you're on an early date (Ed’s note: in hindsight, not true), or if it's showing on an airplane, but otherwise total garbage.

Examples: Panic Room, Many other Jodie Foster movies, Coyote Ugly (the hot chicks save it from being lower), Summer Catch, Superman Returns, Bad Company

D: A movie that you can barely sit through. If you see it in the theaters, by the end you feel like Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange.” You think about getting up and leaving at least 3 times before it's over. Also known as “the baseline where all Peter Jackson movies start,” much like Jackson himself, the D movie is a terrible creature that should be avoided by all.

Examples: Die Another Day, Cheaper by the Dozen, Father of the Bride (I and II), Rat Race, Twister, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana

D-: Unbelievably bad. Even if you see it at home, you think about getting up and leaving at least 3 times before it’s over. It’s often better to watch D- movies in theaters, if only because of the lack of availability of potential suicide implements, and the potential proximity of an arcade to better spend your time. Early signs of physical pain, fatigue, and nausea can actually result from prolonged exposure. Just an utter disaster of a film.

Examples: The Bourne Ultimatum (Nothing happens, people!), Shrek 2, Shrek 3, 16 Blocks

F: An absolute train wreck of a film. No redeeming qualities about it. You stand on a tall ledge for five minutes contemplating whether or not to jump after seeing it. There is no way in hell you could finish the entire movie, even if someone offered you $20 to do so. The DVD's fast forward can't go fast enough to make this movie bearable. No opportunity even for unintentional comedy. You wish you could hit whoever made this movie in the face with a sack of wrenches, then force them to burn every remaining copy of this movie while you put them through the same torture they just put you through. Whenever someone mentions, "Oh, have you seen ________? It's, like, so awesome!", you feel the anger welling up in you and your fists begin to clench. You immediately know that you can never be friends with that person, ever. Just an absolute abomination.

Examples: Stealth, Zardoz, Napoleon Dynamite, The Benchwarmers, Mr. Brooks

Questions? Comments? Enjoy the fact that we’re heavily editing and re-running old columns? E-mail the BlogMogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com.