Thursday, September 4, 2008

Knight Rider - The Movie

Wow, I can't believe that writing about this wasn't at the top of my list. Rated 9, 9, once again 9!
It's been a long time since I've actively booed and hurled things at the screen, but seriously... monkeys throwing feces on a wall until the poo dripped into the shape of words could have come up with better dialogue, especially for the 29-year-old accomplished female professor... whose father still considers her less to keep track of her life than the stoner neighbor he hasn't seen in 10 years. Comparatively, "Battlefield Earth" is the gem L. Ron Hubbard claims it to be. oohhh, my head hurts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bullshit: Season 5

I enjoy watching this show, but it's almost always just a little bit libertarian-off for me to *actually* enjoy it. I mean, the writing is quite funny, but Penn averts his perspective and redirects it to anomaly, while also acknowledging scientific method, as if he is using it. (And you can find a scientist to support just about any talking point.)

e.g., "Hating Walmart is Bullshit". He "acknowledges" that *some* folks have a bone to pick, b/c 150,000 employees proved in court that they were treated illegally. The very next statistic is "but that's no big deal, b/c there are over 1 million Walmart employees!" Seriously? Over 10% of a company's workforce is able to prove in a very pro-business court system that the company mishandles them, and you don't think this might be a systemic problem that warrants criticism?

Nah... b/c there are some Trekkie-types who are printing unfunny anti-Walmart t-shirts! He 'hits his point home' by bringing forward a poor girl who believes that she would be unemployed if the anti-Walmart lobby had had their way. Seriously? If Walmart hadn't come to your neighborhood, there would be no better job in Chicago? Seriously?

The guy even boggles b/c the residents of his semi-depressed hometown don't want tear down the empty historic buildings downtown to build a Walmart, which would help folks not have to drive 20 miles to the 3 other nearby Walmarts. Yeah, I'd much rather have an abandoned Walmart warehouse in 5 years (too massive to repopulate), built with taxpayer incentives, than leave some empty pretty buildings where they are. I'd also like to chop down the rainforests to build a McDonalds.

Not to single out the episode I most clearly found to be Bullshit, but nearly every episode has some bit of double-standard reporting reminiscent of right-wing anger tactics. It's still funny, and I appreciate that at least there is some propaganda out there that's not from the crazy right-wing (certainly not as hateful as, say, Michael Savage), but it's still propaganda... hence not quite good. Rated 5.

Harold & Kumar: Guantanamo Bay

OMG, I almost PEED myself with laughter...
I mean, I liked "H&K: White Castle" just fine, but when I read that this one was not as good, it didn't remain at the top of my list of things to see.
Why would I be so enamored of a stoner movie? Probably b/c Kal Penn is not a stoner. Anything involving Seth Rogen? Looks pathetic. "Jay & Silent Bob"? Whatever. "Dazed & Confused"? Man, i hated that thing. (I did, however, totally dig "Dude, Where's My Car" - which I think of as more as "dumb kid" a la "Bill & Ted" than "stoner".)
This movie swam brilliantly through all of the stereotypes of "otherness". I haven't laughed this hard since... I don't remember when... (Last time I remember laughing like this was "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy", which wasn't as overall good.) Rated 3+.

Baby Mama

Despite the presence of the Greg Kinnear (the cinematic equivalent of Kenny G), I enjoyed this film immensely. I worried that it might be too ya-ya-sisterhoody... but no. Solidly funny and sidestepping all the potholes that make "chickflicks" so pussy. I should have more faith in you, Tina Fey. I can't decide whose talent/ career I envy more: Tina Fey or Samantha Bee... (If I had idols...) My gut feeling is to say SB, because her political commentaries consistently rock my world. And she has the Canadian thing going for her... but it may just be b/c I've seen more of SB. (Thank you, TF is certainly doing a lot to generally increase the tolerance/ acceptance of "female content" into the heart of mainstream comedy, while also significantly smartening it up. Thank you, ladies.
But I digress... "Baby Mama" is no "Citizen Kane", but it's certainly one of the better disposable comedies I've seen in recent memory. I laughed and laughed (and don't remember a real cringe). Rated 3-.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


This movie, however, I found to be *complete* crap.
I hated how it looked (brown video game), how it sounded (LOUD!), and couldn't have cared less about the plot (so I walked out).
I especially hate when ultra-testosterone movies try to wedge in a totally out-of-place female character. The SPARTAN mother is going to get all weepy when her son is taken to train for battle? Really? A SPARTAN mother? Yeah, that wispy chick whose presence is accompanied by Enya music. *That* SPARTAN mother.
I've heard that back in that time in history a woman was three times more likely to die in childbirth than a guy was to be killed in battle. In SPARTA, this should mean for one badass lady. Not some lame Arwen wannabe. (But you gotta appease the chicks who who heart their "i"s, who were dragged to watch this turd on a date...)
I also hated the battle scenes, which digitally throw on the battlefield the entire population of Greece. Believable. Yeah.
...but at least it was LOUD!
All this to make our soldiers feel manlier and more just? (When I couldn't help but to think that the Persians had the cooler work ethic.)
Rated 9. Sorry, folks.

Transformers: The New Movie

...because I couldn't even make it through the first half hour of that animated fiasco!
This movie has all of the elements that I hate in big movies: Corny dialog, racial caricature and stereotype, a super-reliance on special effects, a female lead whose *sole* purpose in the film is to witness the greatness of the otherwise-lame male lead, a 24-year-old high-level FBI hot-female scientist as *the* other female presence (besides mom), and even the Magic Negro. (Oh - and why did they even try to say that they were in "Las Vegas" while featuring the obvious features of the LA skyline?)
... despite this, I didn't really hate the movie. The actor playing the male lead was quite sympathetic, even. (I hear that he tried to channel George McFly, so that definitely worked for him.) I wasn't so disgusted that I couldn't at least acknowledge that I would *totally* be into this movie if I were a 13-year-old rich white boy.
Not to say that the movie wasn't crap, but you could do worse than to earn my near-neutrality: Rated 6.

ST:TNG "The Outcast"

When I was a senior in HS, I visited OSU to compete for some sort of presidential scholarship. One part of the competition was to write an essay about what you felt to be the most important show on television and why. *Every* person I spoke with after the fact had answered "Star Trek: The Next Generation". (I did not.) And they "why" was b/c it addressed all sorts of social issues in such a thorough manner. While the season that we have been watching (yeah, I won't get to that through the backlog) came out after that time, I had been coming to understand what all these OSU-bound Trekkies were trying to say.
This episode, however, left me cold (on a topic I would otherwise be really hot about). (Androgyny is HOT!) This is an analogy that simply does not work in reverse. Seriously... if your species is physically androgynous, why would it be such a horrific sin to have feelings toward manliness or femininity? As long as you pair up with the proper counterpart, there wouldn't be any way for society to know about how you function behind closed doors. You'd still both have the same parts, so it's not as though you'd apply for a marriage license and be turned away for lack of proper gender.
And, in the end, it really made it as though the "solution" was *really* simple. The Janai'i being seemed pleased with the therapy, and I'm not feeling the tragedy for Ryker. (He'll find another species to love next week.)
Rated 5-.