Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Movie Reviews 7-26-10

I’ve seen a few movies since last summer, so I figured I would do a quick movie review column. As always, the grades are explained by this post.

Inception: A

This movie did not disappoint. I don’t want to give away too much because the movie is still gaining momentum, but it was great insomuch as it is basically a big puzzle that you have to work to solve, and that is fun as hell to debate with friends after the fact. The group of 6 of us debated the movie for like 2 hours at a bar after our showing, and I think all of us are planning on going back to see it again. Really, it shouldn’t even be an issue—go see this movie.

The Last Airbender: D-

I walked out of the theater and told my buddy Chris, “Wow, looks like M. Night forgot how to direct a movie.” I’ve heard from people that love the animated series that this was based on, but this was a big fat turd. Just too much exposition of stupid shit that didn’t matter, and it was weird how the story didn’t flow at all. Characters do things for seemingly no reason at all, and the whole controlling the elements thing seemed odd. I mean, of course the fire people are going to control everything. Just bad acting, bad dialogue, bad directing, and bad story. Other than that, though, it was okay.

I Love You, Man: B+

You never really can go wrong with Jason Segal. He is a damned good writer, and Paul Rudd settles in nicely as the star of this one. The only real disconnect here is that it feels like the problem of not having enough close friends is generally one that happens more to girls than guys, but Rudd does a good job of selling it. It’s a good flick.

Get Him to the Greek: B

A solid comedy. You have to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall first to fully appreciate it (by the way, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a solid A-), but Russell Brand does well, and Jonah Hill doesn’t get in the way too much. Some of the situations are overly contrived, but I think it does well enough to stand on it own at the end of the day.

Serenity: B

I recently got Netflix, and let me tell you, this streaming thing is pretty sweet. I tore through the sci-fi tv show Firefly in like a week, and this is the movie that ties up the loose ends from the series. I like the Firefly/Serenity universe because it is far more believable than the Star Trek universe, where this democratic Federation rules benevolently, there’s no money, etc. By the way, did you ever think about what would happen if the Federation offered a planet within its borders membership and it refused? I mean, they act like joining the Federation is the greatest fucking thing ever, like their shit doesn’t fucking stink. Well, in the Firefly/Serenity world, the class divide between rich and poor has widened, and a large, imperialistic “Alliance” has made it its mission to bring “peace and prosperity” to planets that would prefer to remain independent. The series is very well-written, and though the movie is a little bit worse, there is still enough there to make it worthwhile. I would recommend watching the series first, but apparently the movie stands up well on its own.

The King of Kong: C+

This is a documentary about Donkey Kong. Is that something that you might be interested in? It is, at its core, about jerky nerds and the extreme lengths that they go to to exclude others from their little club. It’s interesting because on some level, the point is that even though these people may have been excluded during high school or whatever, when they get the chance to exclude others, they are no better than the very people that they loathe. An interesting social commentary. Also, the monkey throws barrels, so that’s funny.

That’s it for now. I’ve got more movies to review, but this taste will have to be enough for now. Until next time…

Questions? Comments? Wondering why I saw a live action movie based on a Nickelodeon cartoon? E-mail the Blogmogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Assorted Musings 7-24-10

Well, that was refreshing. Wow, I am well-rested. Not that anyone reads this anymore, but I am trying to get back in the swing of things with the blog here. Now I may be a little rusty to start—this probably isn’t going to be one of the all-time great columns—but cut me a little slack here, folks. I’ll be goddamned if I don’t at least try. So let’s get started with a little something I like to call “Assorted Musings.”

-I haven’t posted in over a year. What has happened since then, you might ask? Well, for one thing, I am single again, so look out ladies of St. Louis. No, seriously, look out, I mean it. I’ve probably put on some weight since I last posted. I can’t control it—it’s probably glandular or something—so sorry.

-The Cardinals are so fucking frustrating this year. It’s tough because Wainwright has clearly become the staff ace this year, Carpenter is still chugging along, and Jaime Garcia (!) has been a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, Matt “Just Collecting a Paycheck” Holliday walks around the outfield like he’s delivering the mail. Shit, actually I’m sure that there are plenty of mailmen that deliver the mail with more passion than this guy. He has that blank stare on his face that makes Taylor Swift look like Jim Carrey. Fortunately, he has started hitting again, but I won’t trust this guy in a big game until I see it with my own two eyes.

If they can’t get this offense producing consistently, they’re fucked. I don’t know if it’s that they’re too “addicted to video” (meaning that they are so over-reliant on video to determine a pitcher’s tendencies that they go out and guess what the next pitch is going to be), or if new hitting coach Mark McGwire is telling the players his time-honored strategy of “Just hit popups! Just hit the goddamn thing as high in the air as you can! They always left the yard for me, you fucking pussies!”, whatever the problem is has to be solved. Ideally we’d be able to find a shortstop, but apparently no one plays shortstop anymore, so we might be fucked. That said, they still might be the best team in the league.

-The finale of Lost was okay. Not great, but OK. I was planning a big post detailing how they could have tied up most loose ends while satisfying the die-hards out there (hint: most of it centered around getting rid of the alternative universe/purgatory). Hell, I still might, even though nobody cares about it anymore. I thought the on-island stuff was handled well-enough, and the off-island stuff was ok when I first watched it. Still, there’s only so long that the “we wanted to leave it ambiguous” excuse still works. I mean, you wanted to leave the “Walt is special” thing ambiguous? Is it that important that the audience figure it out for themselves? I mean (Inception SPOILER ALERT) this isn’t Inception that we’re talking about here. Shit, now I’m riled up about it again. Allright, allright, I’ll write the column…

-This country seems like it’s going to hell in a fucking handbasket. No, I’m not talking about our, everyone wins, can’t play dodgeball mentality, though that will certainly play into our eventual enslavement by Eastern overlords. My buddy Barry has been doing a…how shall I say…”shitty” job so far. We just announced a $1.47 trillion deficit, folks. This is simply not sustainable. Something needs to change. We collect these taxes and where do they go? I have no fucking clue. Certainly not the space program. But what are we supposed to do? The whole system is fucked. On a fundamental level, it is a problem of education. Nobody knows how to handle money anymore, and all kids these days (“Did he really just use ‘kids these days?’” YES I FUCKING DID, STUPID KIDS, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT, WISE ASSES?) are looking to get everything for nothing. I don’t know, maybe this deserves its own post, but I am getting really sick of these assholes patting themselves on the back for passing legislation that can better be measured in pounds of paper than pages that nobody understands and that really isn’t going to help that many people.

-On a happier note, I really like the Sam Bradford pick for the Rams. G-Gel Unit and I were psyched. Or stoked. At least psyched. He is going to be a great one. All of the scouts love him, and all of the stat guys love him. I mean, there really was never another choice for the Rams—are you going to pay a DT $45 million guaranteed so that he becomes the second-highest paid player in the league at his position? No, that would be stupid.

What was striking was the gap between Bradford and the other QBs in the draft this year. Just watching the difference in the workouts between Bradford and Clausen was striking. Bradford has an effortless motion and pinpoint accuracy. Clausen has an exaggerated, over-the-top motion that looks like David Eckstein throwing a football, and frequently throws behind guys more than twenty yards down the field. Not to mention that, by all accounts, Bradford is very well-liked by his teammates, and a mature leader, while Clausen is a dick that wears stuff like this and is considered immature by pretty much everyone that meets him. I mean, shit, I have (marginally) more confidence in Colt McCoy than I do in Clausen at the NFL level. I am surprised that Carolina took a flyer on Clausen in the second round.

Bradford, though, gives the Rams some hope in an otherwise dismal NFC West. Just look at the quarterbacks. You have to respect the Niners because of Mike Singletary. Unfortunately, they have Alex Smith under center. The Seahawks have some combination of Has-Been Matt Hasselback and Never-Will-Be Charlie Whitehurst, along with no running back and marginal wideouts. The Cardinals have somewhat stupidly entrusted their franchise to this guy, who still acts like a Hilton sister, or at the very least a Kardashian. If everything falls right, and the Rams get a little bit of luck, they might be able to squeak out 8 wins, which could be enough to take the sorry division this year. Think I’m crazy? FUCK YOU! All I know is, we’ll see who’s right this fall. Oh, yes, we’ll see who’s right…

So that’s it for my first effort back in a while. Sure I wasn’t necessarily on my “A” game, but I’ll get back there eventually. Just bear with me while I iron out the wrinkles. You won’t be sorry. It’ll be like that dry cleaners down the street. No, not that one, the good one. Until next time…

Questions? Comments? Wondering what someone could possibly be doing other than blogging for the past year? E-mail the Blogmogger team at blogmogger@yahoo.com.