Sunday, May 30, 2004

The NAY After Tomorrow (*** SPOILERS ***)

I hate Roland Emmerich.

He is the writer/producer/director of some of the biggest, dumbest blockbusters spewing out of Hollywood these days. He did Independence Day (I know, you loved it, but it was Dumb with a capital W.) He also did Godzilla, (dumb) and now The Day After Tomorrow. What makes me so angry about him and his movies is that I naively assume that if someone is handed over one hundred million dollars to make a movie, they might at least attempt to make something with a shred of common sense in it. I truly believe Roland is a moron.

Little Donnie Darko Boy tells his dad he's safe in the library, and now Daddy is going to rescue him. Manhattan. Library. That's like saying "I'm in Seattle, come meet me at Starbucks." To be fair, there is one famous Public Library (the one with the marble lions out front.) It's about 10 blocks north of the Empire State Building and not on the lower east side where Roland seems to have put it, but that's a minor quibble.

Our main characters are trapped in a library. They have shelter, fire, and all the fresh water they could possibly want. Their only real threat is that they absolutely MUST keep the fire going for about 30 minutes while the eye of the storm passes over them, bringing ultra-cold air down freezing everything instantly. Contestants on Survivor wish they had it that easy. There's no food in the library, yet they don't think to walk across the street to another building to look for food?

Don't burn books, burn the bookSHELVES. The wood will burn much longer and hotter.

I've seen snack carts on airplanes; two highly experienced flight attendants can't navigate a cart down the aisle without smashing my knee. Yet in the film when the plane is in freefall the cart can slide the entire length of the plane as if Tiger Woods were making a putt.

A group of refugees decide to set out on foot to leave Manhattan. They make it to Brooklyn, but as the storm gets worse, they ask if they should head back. Instead of going back to the library, how about just going inside one of the over 500 high-rise buildings right in Brooklyn?!

After the storm passes, our heroes leave Manhattan and start walking out across the frozen ocean towards the Statue of Liberty. Only Roland knows why the hell anybody would do this.

One of the defining moments of the film is when a huge tidal wave smashes against the eastern seaboard of Manhattan. There's only one problem with this: Manhattan doesn't have a coastline. It's an island formed by RIVERS, not oceans. In the movie, we see the waves crashing over the Statue of Liberty on their way towards midtown. Unfortunately, the statue is just off the southwest tip of Manhattan in a well-protected bay, not in the middle of the open ocean. As near as I can tell, the movie is suggesting that this tidal wave originated in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Look at the map; you tell me, where exactly is this ocean-front property in Manhattan?

I admit I don't know a lot about ocean dynamics, so I'm not sure how a 200-foot ocean swell would travel. Maybe the film just assumes that all of Brooklyn and Queens was already underwater? All I know is that something, somewhere, doesn't make sense.

Yes, you think I'm nit-picking. And if this were some sort of tongue-in-cheek James Bond fantasy I'd just let everything go. But time and time again, Roland is told "um, you know that this could like, never happen, right?" and he just says "I dunno. Doesn't matter."

For one hundred million dollars, I think it SHOULD matter.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

This time he means it. No, he really, REALLY means it

You are going to be attacked!
Oh no! When?
Can I do anything to save myself?!
Be alert.

Thanks John. If I see a guy pointing a missile launcher at my car I'll be sure to contact the appropriate law enforcement agencies.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Everybody Should Love Raymond

A typical sitcom is written for an MTV attention span. Scenes are maybe 4-5 minutes, with multiple characters wandering around the house and people going in and out of doors non-stop. You have to keep the viewers' eyeballs constantly moving, right? On last night's Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray and his brother Robert sat in a parked car and argued about who would have to care for their mother. I went back and checked the TiVo timer; it was a 13-minute scene. 13 minutes of two guys sitting in a parked car, and it was hysterical.

A sitcom is a SITuation COMedy. Television would be a whole lot better if we had more charcoms. CHARacter COMedies. If you have well-written characters, you don't need to rely on short, fast-paced scenes to be funny. You can spend 13 minutes in a parked car.


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Sunday, May 23, 2004

AMC is running a movie marathon: Sixteen Candles, Princess Bride, Breakfast Club. Forget Star Wars, The Godfather, or Lord of the Rings... Is there a better movie trifecta for a Sunday afternoon? I think not.


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Friday, May 21, 2004

I saw the Nicholas Berg beheading video. I do NOT recommend viewing it. Ironically, I also just saw the two versions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I believe the real-life brutality of the Iraqi tape is on par with that of the movie. It's very disturbing to think that some of the most grusome torture Hollywood can imagine is actually real.


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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Big Fish

Rented a good movie this weekend: Big Fish. In some ways it's kind of a small, simple film with a bit of surrealism sprinkled in (OK, maybe it's swimming in surrealism) and the further I got into it, the more I liked it. I am a Tim Burton fan, and Big Fish has that Burton skew to it only this time without his typical darkness. It's not for everyone, but while watching it I was thinking of one specific person who should really enjoy it: Judi of Mom On The Alert (visit her now). It has an uplifting message about having faith which I think she'll appreciate. Judi, if you don't like this movie, I'll refund your rental fee.


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Friday, May 07, 2004

My Bracelet Buddy

About 7 years ago, I went to a taping of "Friends". I saw the one where Joey gives Chandler an ugly engraved "Best Bud" bracelet. Chandler offends Joey, then loses the bracelet, buys a new one to replace it and then finds the original one. This episode was voted the #1 best Friends episode in the NBC countdown earlier this year, most likely because of my superior laugh track skills

After the taping, I went to "Expressions" in the mall and looked for the cheapest, tackiest bracelet I could find. I had it engraved "Best Buds". The day the episode aired, I gave the bracelet in a sealed box to my friend "Jack" and told him not to open it until he saw Friends that night. He watched the episode, opened the box, and had his very own Best Bud Bracelet.

It is one of my proudest gags ever.

Bracelet clips from Friends (2MB, QuickTime)


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Thursday, May 06, 2004

If you're sick of the hype surrounding the Friends finale, don't write magazine and newspaper articles about it. Don't do news reports of how "the rest of the media" has gone overboard. Don't publish reports complaining that Friends is getting too much attention. Can you say "ironic"? Or should that be "moronic"?

Just shut up already.


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Sunday, May 02, 2004

It was SOOO hot in California this week...
How hot was it?
It was so hot, Governor Schwarzenegger stopped groping secretaries and started groping blank.

In other temperature news, my TiVo almost died. I could only watch TV for about an hour at a time, then it would overheat and crash on me. I was all excited to go out and buy a new, bigger TiVo to replace it, until somebody told me "oh, same thing happened to mine. Just slide the cover back about an inch to let it vent out the top. It will be fine." So now I don't get to spend $300 on a shiny new TiVo.

Stupid somebody.

P.S. Charles Nelson Reilley's answer would be "Linda Tripp." Yes, we were looking for "Linda Tripp."


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