Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Brief Bit About Why Movies Are Awesome

August 2, 2009

A friend of mine gave me a book called “Epic” by John Eldredge. Now I don’t exactly fall into the religious crowd, per se, and this is a very religious book. I also enjoy it quite a bit. I may not agree with everything, but at it’s core it has some profound wisdom (something I might also say about The Bible). The author uses many examples from pop-culture, particularly movies. The basic premise of the book is, in the absolute most basic sense, is: The Bible is The Story about life, Life itself is a Story, and humanity’s stories are microcosms for the larger Story (emphasis on the capitalization). Now, I’m not going to write about religion here (the first part of that summary), but I would really like to share with you a bit from the prologue in the book, something that I feel really gets to the heart of why movies (and good stories in general) captivate us so strongly.

“We can discover the Story. Maybe not with perfect clarity, maybe not in the detail that you would like, but in greater clarity than most of us now have, and that would be worth the price of admission. I mean, to have some clarity would be gold right now, wouldn’t it?

“Start with the movies you love. Think about your favorite movies. Notice that every good story has the same ingredients. Love. Adventure. Danger. Heroism. Romance. Sacrifice. The Battle of Good and Evil. Unlikely heroes. Insurmountable odds. And a little fellowship that in hope beyond hope pulls you through in the end.

“Am I right? Think again about your favorite movies. Sense and Sensibility. Don Juan DeMarco. Titanic. The Sound of Music. Sleepless in Seattle. Gone With The Wind. Braveheart. Gladiator. Rocky. Top Gun. Apollo 13. The Matrix. The Lord of the Rings. The films you love are telling you something very important, something essential about your heart.

“Most of us haven’t stopped to ask ourselves, Now why that heart? Why those longings and desire? Might we have been given our longings for love and adventure, for romance and sacrifice as a kind of clue, a treasure map to the meaning of Life itself?

“Next I want you to notice that all the great stories pretty much follow the same story line. Things were once good, then something awful happened, and now a great battle must be fought or a journey taken. At just the right moment (which feels like the last possible moment), a hero comes and sets things right, and life is found again.

“It’s true of every fairy tale, every myth, every Western, every epic- just about every story you can think of, one way or another. Braveheart, Titanic, the Star Wars series, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They all pretty much follow the same story line.

Have you ever wondered why?

“Every story, great and small, shares the same essential structure because every story we tell borrows its power from a larger Story, a Story woven into the fabric of our being- what pioneer psychologist Cart Jung tried to explain as an archtype, or what his more recent popularizer Joseph Campbell called myth.

“All of these stories borrow from the Story. From Reality. We hear echoes of it throughout our lives. Some secret written on our hearts. A great battle to fight, and someone to fight for us. An adventure, something that requires everything we have, something to be shared with those we love and need.

“There is a Story that we just can’t seem to escape. There is a story written on the human heart.

As Ecclesiastes has it: He has planted eternity in the human heart.”
-John Eldredge, Epic

There’s no telling how many copyright laws I just broke. If the author of the book somehow stumbles here, please forgive me, and I will take it down immediately if it’s a problem.

But I think it’s a great little statement about stories. You can be religious or not, but I think you’d agree there’s something in us, something yearning to get out. And I think we reflect ourselves in the stories we tell. Our dreams, our values, our sense of humor, whatever it is that makes us human, are isolated and expounded in our cinema; in the stories we tell.


Hilarity: Vannessa Hudgens In "Whore House Musical"

July 14, 2009

So that’s not ACTUALLY the title, but the starlet has accepted a role to play a whore in the upcoming film Sucker Punch, a new Zak Snyder movie that is at the very least R-rated (this story says it’s rated X. We’ll see). But what is clear is that, as Hudgens says, “It’s set in a brothel, so there’s not a lot of clothes.”

Awesome. Evidently this is her way of one-upping all those people who saw her naked on the internet from a picture taken on a cell phone. (How Zak Efron didn’t get blamed for this is beyond me…) She’ll be showing all sorts of skin, it seems, in order to ‘shed that wholesome Disney image’ and ‘be a mature actress.’ Why, WHY, do young stars think the only way to be a mature actress is to get naked? She’s a little to anxious to lose the clothes, methinks. I predict another Disney Star downward spiral. We’ve got Britney, Lindsay, and coming soon: Vanessa. Followed closely by: Miley.

Bruno Ich Number Vun At Ze Box Office

July 14, 2009

That’s right, ladies and gentleman. A movie with a talking penis just topped the box-office charts with 30.6 million. If you haven’t seen it, you should. You’ll either laugh a lot or walk out. And if you walk out you need a sense-of-humor injection.

Coming in second is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Which means Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen lies in third place, but it’s still making way too much money. We can have the ‘dumb entertainment’ argument all you want, but now it’s clear people are seeing this fucking film more than once.

Fizzling at number 7 is I Love You, Beth Cooper, with a paltry 4.9 million. I had predicted boosted numbers, due to teens and tweens using these tickets to sneak into the sultry comedy with the gay fashionista. Evidently this didn’t happen all that much. We can only hope that’s why Transformers is still up top.

A Summary Of Some More Spectacularly Bad Ideas

July 8, 2009

Mortal Kombat 3

One of the very first posts I wrote for this site was this, a look at some video games that might spawn movies that aren’t complete wastes of neural processes. You know what wasn’t on that list? A continuation of the Mortal Kombat series. How they thought they could make a successful franchise off of a largely plot-less fighting game is beyond me. The second movie, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is largely regarded to be one of the worst films ever made.

Right now, slashfilm is reporting that Chris Casamessa is geared up to reprise his role of Scorpian in the first two films, and that filming starts this September. Take this quote, add the fact that a lawsuit involving the intellectual property of the franchise was settled recently, and we have the suspicion that it just might get underway.

Excuse me if I’m not jumping for joy, I’m too busy writhing in agony at the prospect of this getting a green light.

View-Master: The Movie

It just never ends. Stretch Armstrong, Monopoly, Candyland, and many other toys and games are rumored to have films based on them in the predevelopmental stage. And now, coming soon, View-Master: The Movie. I think those behind the scenes believe Transformers worked, a movie based on toys, therefore, ALL TOYS EVER MADE CAN BE MADE INTO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MOVIES!!!! Quick! Get me a script for Lincoln Logs!

I don’t know exactly what they expect to do with this movie. Supposedly it’s about the creation of the View-Master, first as a tool for the poor to see 3D images of other places, and then as a toy. Sounds like an exciting, popcorn film to me.

Expect it to be shot in 3D, otherwise, what’s the fucking point?

Major League 4: Charlie Won’t Be In This One, Either

This image used without the expressed or written consent of Major League Baseball

The first two Major League movies are classical, hysterical, sports comedies. Major League 3: Back to the Minors is as bad as the title implies. Now they’re making a fourth, which smells like a direct-to-DVD release to me.

Baywatch: The Movie

I say this is a bad idea, but once I realized what it would be, I think I’m going to have to switch this into the ‘genius’ category. For starters, there’s rumors it’s going to be a comedy rather than a completely poorly acted melodrama. So Beach Comedy + Beautiful People In Bathing Suits + Familiar Characters + David Hasselhoff Cameo = Great Movie. It’s simple math.

Sci-Fi Channel Changes It’s Name

What is it now? SyFy. Evidently they thought Sci-fi was too geeky and was pushing away audiences. I don’t know what they were expecting by making it geeky AND feminine.

In Other News: We Hit 100,000

July 6, 2009

So I wanted to be there the moment it happened, but unfortunately require sleep (occasionally). There must have have been a surge of hits in the last few days as well. We’re getting readers at an escalating rate.

And during this escalating rate, we had our 100,000th hit! That’s 10% of a million, folks, which is big ass number.

So thank you for reading, and helping us get this milestone.

In Other News

June 25, 2009

The Video-game movie Hitman has a sequel under works, meaning there will be a sequel to a movie that was not received well by critics or fans, or box office revenues, before I see another Superman movie. Verily, the world is not fair.

Answers To Movie Trivia

June 23, 2009

1. Which early 80s PG blockbuster lead the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, so as to have a level between PG and R?

Most people got this, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. People thought it was too dark for a PG rating (maybe it was, Indiana Jones smacks Short Round, but shit that kid was annoying, I’d have done it too), but decided it couldn’t be R. So Pg-13 was created. I also got a few answers that said Gremlins was one, which I had never heard before now. But I think it is correct.

2. What is the only sequel to win an Academy Award for Best Picture?
The Godfather part II. Most people got this as well.

3. What is the only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture?
Beauty and the Beast. It lost to Silence of the Lambs.

4. What film does Steven Spielberg revere so much that he sits in a dark room and watches it before he works on a new movie?
Lawrence of Arabia. This is the only one nobody knew the answer to. So I guess this taught you one piece of useless trivia.

5. What movie is regarded to be the first talking picture?
The Jazz Singer. It’s an oldie, for sure, released in 1927.

Bullock Takes The Box Office

June 22, 2009

The weekend numbers are in, and The Hangover was finally knocked out of the number one spot by newcomer romantic comedy The Proposal starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. The film pulled in a cool 34 million, Sandra Bullocks largest opening weekend ever. This surprised me, considering Speed was such a big hit (turns out it only had a 14 million opening, but went on to collect 121 million in the U.S. and almost 300 million worldwide). But apparently audiences wanted the formulaic romantic comedy to appease their need for neat, tidy love affairs.

The Hangover and Up still fought to stay in the top three, respectively earning 26.9 and 21.3 million. Leaving the other ‘big’ movie opening this weekend, Year One starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, to fizzle in fourth place with 20.2 million. It has a ways to go to reach it’s budget of approximately 60 million, and reviews have been poor and I doubt word-of-mouth is any better. I will reserve my judgment until I see it, but it was a movie I knew would sink or soar. Apparently it sinks, with too many juvenile poop jokes and standard Jack Black humor (I like poop jokes, but only intelligent poop jokes).

The Taking of Pelham 123 took fifth at 11.3 million in its second week, and the joke that is Imagine That had a paltry 3.1 million. Sad faces for Eddie Murphy.

Expect a much higher number next week, when Michael Bay (who decided he wants to stop filming action movies) gives us robots blowing shit up and Megan Fox… well, doing what she does best. Looking hot.

Funny fact: Sandra Bullock’s best reviewed film? Speed. Her worst? Speed 2. I’m choking on irony.

Funny Question: How many of you were going to fault me for putting up a poster for the wrong ‘Propsal’ movie? Be honest, now.

Reed’s Meditations: On The Movie Audience, Its Importance

June 17, 2009

I left The Hangover and I realized something of great importance: I love a good audience. I saw the movie in a full theater that seats hundreds. We had nestled into our gigantic comfy seats, bought our large popcorn and drink for 13 bucks, and grew silent as the lights dimmed, all in anticipation of the film to come. We were there for a common purpose; we wanted to see a movie that we hoped would make us laugh. And laugh we did. For those two hours the hundreds of us shared a common bond through a common experience. There were some jokes that left us silent, and ones that brought out only light chuckles, but in general we enjoyed ourselves immensely, as a whole. I walked out of the theater thinking about that brief instance of oneness, and complimented them all in my thoughts as they dispersed.

Flashback a year to the midnight premier of The Dark Knight. It was receiving fantastic early reviews, and was one of the most hotly anticipated movies of the summer. We could hardly wait to see what the hype over the Heath Ledger’s Joker was all about. I was in a full Joker outfit, actually, with make-up, a green wig, and plastic scars included. My best friend was in a completely legit Batman suit. He even ordered gloves and a cowl, the latter which was highly important. The Batman masks that come with the costumes are always cheap paper thin floppy eared pieces of garbage. But this was a latex work of art, suitable of the Caped Crusader himself. And we weren’t the only ones. There was a handful of us at the theater, and nobody mocked us for looking ridiculous. I stood in line alone for fifteen minutes, dressed like a psychopathic clown, and chatted up a regular clothed fan about our excitement of the movie. He complimented the costume, asked about how I made it. It didn’t matter that I was a twenty-year old going gaga over a comic-book movie, because he was too. The whole crowd was. We were there, once again, for the common purpose.

In the theater, the film turned to black and then the blue smoke started swirling, completely soundless. I could literally feel the crowd edge up in their seat, in absolute silent reverence. The quiet from the film and from the audience permeated the room. Nobody breathed, nobody moved, the popcorn crunches had been put to a pause. I realized it then, perhaps for the first time. The magic of the movie-going audience. We were silent and scared when the tension was high, wide-eyed at the action scenes, and sad at Rachel’s surprising death. We were one.

I contrast this with the second time I saw the movie. It was an afternoon, as I recall, and I walked out with a completely different impression. The audience in that theater was disrespectful to the art; they chatted and texted throughout the film, but worse, they completely ruined the tone. When the Joker laughed, or when he enjoyed himself making up a story about how he got those scars, the audience laughed with him, finding humor in something that’s supposed to be funny only to him. To everyone else, it’s a horrifying lunacy. But they must have missed that. They laughed when he cut a face open, they laughed when he shot the bus driver, they took me out of the movie and sucked the atmosphere out the theater.

When I saw The Curious Case of Benjamen Button, once more in a jam packed gigantitron of a theater, a baby in the front row began to cry. I looked down, distracted, and searched for the person who was getting up and excusing his or herself so as to calm the child. No such person moved. For minutes it went on, as the entire theater, in unison, started to shift and groan. Finally, somebody yelled, “Take the baby outside!” Suddenly a woman in the first row stood up, turned around and yelled, “Fuck off!” before being escorted out by the usher that me and my comrade-in-movie-going fetched minutes before. An entire section of a movie was ruined for an entire audience because the woman didn’t leave.

It’s an intangible I can’t quite realize, but there’s something great about being in a good audience. And believe me, it makes a huge difference. Emotions are contagious. If an audience laughs, it grows exponentially, and every individual laughs harder; thus making the experience all the more worthwhile. I did a few musicals in high school, and it was interesting what you could gauge from an audience, and how it affected the performance. The same is true for movie viewership.

I thought for a while that the advent of the internet would spawn a craze that allowed you to, on the day the film was released, pay to digitally download the movie (legally) and watch it on your computer. I now realize that this day won’t come. Why is it that millions of people pay for tickets to the theater? It’s certainly not the overpriced snacks. It’s the atmosphere of the movie theater, the combination of watching it on a big screen with loud sound and surrounded by hundreds of other viewers.

So here’s to you, internet reader. Let us hope that someday we cross paths in a movie theater somewhere, sit together and enjoy our company as a cohesive whole, and leave the theater grateful for having been there.

Riddle Me This: A Bit Of Movie Trivia

June 13, 2009

No confusion here guys. The winner gets the pride of knowing how incredibly bad ass he or she is. S/he also retains the right to hit one random person and have the guarantee of zero consequences, provided they don’t get caught and/or are morally shameless.

1. Which early 80s PG blockbuster lead the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, so as to have a level between PG and R?
2. What is the only sequel to win an Academy Award for Best Picture?
3. What is the only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture?
4. What film does Steven Spielberg revere so much that he sits in a dark room and watches it before he works on a new movie?
5. What movie is regarded to be the first talking picture?