Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What? Who's talking?

Er, I'm feeling obliged to post something this week before heading out to Chicago on Friday.

So, er, the World Cup's going on, for people who're into the whole "watching the athleticism of others". I don't follow football (no, not that football, I mean futbol) so all I know is Ghana beat the everlovin' snot out of team USA. Probably because in the rest of the world, they take futbol seriously ("murder the referee" seriously), unlike in the US, where minivans and SUVs cart kids home from games where they didn't even keep score, because "everyone's a winner in this game!" Yep, totally can't see why the USA doesn't have that killer instinct in the world's most ubiquitous game. And I don't even like soccer.

Um, that wasn't as long as I planned. Here's some pellet reviews of an arbitrary nature:
Wedding Crashers: Fun movie, felt a little long in places, Vince Vaughan is The Man, and Isla Fischer is gorgeous. Opposable thumb up.
Punisher: Pretty much what I expected, Rebecca Romijin-nolongerStamos is gorgeous, John Travolta didn't irritate me nearly as much as I feared, plus he died a horrible grisly death. Opposable thumb up.
Serenity: Knocked my socks off. Good effects, acting was superior to the Star Wars prequels, the plot didn't bog down too much, makes me want to track down Firefly and actually tune into the sci-fi channel for the first time in years. Two Opposable thumbs up!

Fine, you wanna have a rant?? Here's a rant. You know, Sesame Street's been pissing me off for years now. Forcing the Cookie Monster to cut back on cookies is just...inhumane! That pissed me off, yes, but an even more simmering anger lies beneath my surface. Where the hell is Grover??? All I ever see now is Big Bird & that soul-less freak Elmo. Who in Jim Henson's name is supposed to teach the kids of today the difference between "near" and "far?" Who is going to remind me, at great personal expense and risk, that there is a monster at the end of that book?! Who has a heroic alter-ego?? Certainly not that crimson idiot they're marketing everywhere. If they one day announce "Super Elmo" I will likely throw something through a TV.

And for that matter, whatever happened to whatshisface, Sully, the boring one? Honestly, he was so dull I can't even be sure that was his name. But damnit, he's got a right to have face time too! Ah, let's face it, he probably went and became clinically depressed and slouched off the set one day and was found dead in a hotel room in Yuma City with a bottle of Jack Daniels' Green Label whiskey on his nightstand.

But that two-headed guy who didn't make a lick of sense? He was awesome.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kung Fu Hustle (And Flow)

Nope. Didn’t see Hustle & Flow, just Kung Fu Hustle, but I couldn’t resist mashing the two titles together. Kung Fu Hustle is a very, very interesting movie. The little advertising tagline on the dvd cover said something like “think Kill Bill meets Loony Tunes,” and, in a way that is true. It’s a very action-oriented movie with a lot of cartoony slapstick thrown in, and a lot of times its funny, but at others, its really kind of disturbing watching those situations using real people. Its hard to be cartoony when the characters bleed and get killed. Anyway, it’s a lot more serious than the cover would have you believe. Where the movie impresses the Hell out of me is in its whole concept and realization. Stephen Chow (the brains and main character behind this flick) has got one hell of an imagination. Kung Fu Hustle combines Chinese & Buddhist culture with 1920s American fashion and style. Its really quite interesting seeing nothing but Chinese actors walking around on retro sets using Tommy Guns. Also, the CG effects were quite good. Not “teh best evar!” but still really impressive (and better than Shaolin Soccer’s). So, final verdict: I dug Kung Fu Hustle, but liked Shaolin Soccer better. Both films are from Stephen Chow, and I’m sold on whatever he’s going to do next. I don’t care what it is, I’ll seek it out.

Also, watching a lightning storm from my rooftop makes me feel badass. That is all.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

But its just fiction!

Ok, I thought I had said enough about the bloody DaVinci Code, but something’s just rankling me about the franchise. Ok yes, religious groups have called for a boycott of the movie. Sure, why not, they can do that, no big deal. The response to that has been a loud cry of “but its just fiction, why are you getting all uptight about it? You silly religious people!” That makes me rub my temples for a little bit and sigh. Ok, yes, it is “just fiction.” I think we can all agree on that. However, it is a fictitious novel that bases its claims and information on “facts” that are suspect at best and outright disproved by historical evidence at worst. A non-fiction book, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” is given a lot of publicity and credibility by the characters of the book. Characters toss off lines of questionable historical authenticity as though they were common knowledge. So yes, the book is fiction because it revolves around characters that don’t exist (ie. Fictional) in events that didn’t happen (the curator of the Lourve hasn’t been murdered by a crazed albino). Just because a book is fiction, doesn’t mean it can go around contradicting historical facts. Tom Clancy fills his fictional characters with constant realistic touches about military equipment and doctrine. He does his homework meticulously. He doesn’t go around saying that Igor Sikorsky was not the first man to get a helicopter flying reliably.

Let’s get hypothetical. Say I want to write a fiction thriller. Completely fictional characters and plot. Let’s see, some schmuck gets murdered and its up to a, oh, I don’t know, political scientist to solve the crime. Now let’s say that this political scientist, our hero, says in a completely offhand manner, like it was absolutely true, that the Holocaust never happened. And he repeats this several times. No publisher would touch that book. There would be no summer “blockbuster” directed by Ron Howard. How can you possibly defend that kind of writing by saying “But its just fiction”? There is no such thing as “just fiction” and there never was.