TRANSFORMERS – Repost

Greetings

This is a cut-and-paste of part of a post from 2007. The original post had a lot of unrelated things before this. I have isolated just the Transformers part.

Yesterday I read that the 30 year anniversary edition is coming out in September. I’m a sucker, so I bought it. It reminded me of our quest to watch the 20th Anniversary edition 9 years ago.

The uncharacteristic religious references are a carry-over from the previous section of the post which covered the baptism of my nephew Dylan.

Transformers

Jonathon (my 10 year old nephew) and I left the party at about 8pm. We closed the joint. We were lost at 8:02. I drove blindly on the theory that every road leads to somewhere and I eventually made it back to known territory. I didn’t know the quickest way back from said known territory, but at least I knew where we were. I attempted to engage Johnathon in conversation about the current difficulties we face in Iraq, Afghanistan, and yes, the middle east in general. I think we were making some real progress in solving said problems, but the conversation eventually turned to the Transformers. After a few moments of discussing the finer points of autobots and decepticons, I learned that Jonathon, my own flesh and blood (by relation) had not seen the 1986 animated movie. In fact, he didn’t know it existed.

So began what shall be known to all those that follow me, “The Trek”. 8pm Sunday night is not the best time to set out on this type of adventure, but we did anyway. A great injustice had become known, and it was my responsibility as uncle, a transformers fan, and, gosh darn it, a good human being, to set things straight. We immediately proceeded to a conveniently located Super Target. I explained the situation to the salesman, and he was as shocked and disgusted as I was. He immediately went to the computer, found the location of the movie, and proceeded to the designated shelf space. It was empty. The salesman offered to assemble a team of people to fan out across the state and find a copy for me, but I promised him that wouldn’t be necessary. I had heard the calling. Could it be coincidence on the very day that one nephew gets welcomed into the kingdom of god, that I learn another nephew has been denied access to Tranformers the Movie? Hardly. Today was to be a day of days.

We proceeded to Walmart. It was closed. We had been smited. If the possibility of a Walmart being closed had crossed my mind while we were at Target, I would’ve pruchased a crowbar and a ski mask so that I could infiltrate Walmart. This was a holy mission. Any such travestys would be forgiven.

The next attempt was at a location that we will for the purposes of identification call Blockbuster, but for the puposes of significance will forevermore be known as Mecca. From a distance, it looked like it was closed, so I stood on the brake for several seconds while revving the engine. At last, I released, and we launched forward with the intention of busting through the display window and, in particular, the Hannibal Rising poster. The 99 Chrysler Concorde launched forward as if a holy arrow that cannot miss. At the last second, I noticed that the establishment’s lights were on, there were people walking in and out, there were a lot of cars, and other symptoms that suggested it was open. I was able to decellerate without incident thus sparing the establishment (and Hannibal Rising) the impact of the holy arrow.

We entered the facility with full confidence that we were about to take possession. “Transformers the Movie” would elude us no more. That confidence proved justified when, at last, we found the movie in the family section. But our trials were not over, for only the most earnest and reverent are destined to watch this movie. My Florida membership card could not be used in Massachussetts, so I would have to register for a new card. My preference was to by the movie which would symbolically and lawfully cement our commitment to the film. The clerk (whom we will call Judas) determined that there were 2 new copies available, so purchase was a viable option and, more importantly, eliminated the need for paperwork. Finding the two copies proved to be a challenge. They weren’t where they belonged, which I found hard to believe. How could an business full of mimimum wage 16 year olds possibly be disorganized? We searched viligantly in all the right places, but could not find the 2 retail copies. At last we concurred that we’d have to do it the hard way; create a new membership. Just as we committed to the unthinkable, the ceiling split in two and heavenly rays burst through to illuminate the two mssing copies; the angels beckoned, and Jonathon heard the call, for it was he who on this 24th day of the 6 month of the two thousand and seventh year of our lord reached out and grasped our holy grail; he held it high and proud and reverently, and declared from the mountain top for all to hear, “Found it”.

How was it that he, a child, was able to find the movie when I could not? Is it the product of the innocence of youth, or does God just like him better? Dare I suggest the possibility that he just happened to look at the “Varsity Blues” section and it just happened to be there? While I spent my time looking under “T” and “Family”, and the clerk wasted his time looking where the computer said it would be? Should the clerk and I both been insightful enough to start looking in the “crappy MTV movies” section? We may never know why the events played out the way they did, but our faith does not require us to understand; it only requires us to disregard science. It is through faith and only faith that we finally obtained that which we sought.
We returned to the abode and fired up the movie. We earned it. It was fun watching the movie through Jonathon’s eyes. First of all, its 20 years old. It looks and sounds like its 20 years old, which isn’t a bad thing, but its certainly different than what kids now expect fom cartoons. Jonathon is very familiar with the Transfomers of his generation, but not those of mine. When autobots started dying, he was suitably shocked, When Unicron ate a planet, he was surprised. When Optimus prime died, he didn’t care. He simply stated “he’s obviously going to come back to life.” I corrected him: Optimus Prime is dead and he’s going to stay dead. That produced the wide eyes of disbelieve that should’ve been there to begin with. When one of the dinobots shot a burst of flames at a Decepticon, he declared something along the lines of “Awesome, dude!”. when Unicron rebuilt the battered decepticons, he was excited. When Galvatron destroyed Star Scream, Jonathon now understood that dead means dead, and he appreciated it at face value. I believe the term used was “sweet”. When the autobot space ship broke up in battle, he gasped aloud. When Hot Rod and Kup crashed onto the sharkicon planet, he recognized she Sharkicons. I warned him about that earlier because he sharkicons are the lowpoint of the film. His expectations were duly set. When the rest of the gang crashed into the planet of junk, he fell asleep. It was a long day for all of us, and that was enough for one night.

I think he genuinely enjoyed as much as we’ve watched so far, and I loved watching it with him. I was older than he is when I first saw it. I don’t think I had the wide-eyed amazment that he has. To me, there was only group of transformers (gobots don’t count, so get that dirty thought out of your head). To him, there are tons of transformers. The franchise has been reinvented more than once. The toys are different, the cartoons are different, and so are a lot of the characters. The original generation is new to him. The new generations are foreign to me. At one point he asked, “Since when does megatron have a sword?” and I responded “Since 1986”. He got my meaning and I sense at that point he came to appreciate what I’ve been attempting to describe; everything he knew about this facet of our culture was based on 20 year old stories the he didn’t know anything about. This is the origin that occurred years before he was born, and this is his first exposure to it. We’ve begun to bridge the gap.

Jonathon watched the rest of the movie on his own early the following morning. I was still out cold after a long night of typing most of what you just read. He said he liked the movie a lot, and had a few comments about Rodimus. I would’ve liked to watch it with him, though, to get his genuine reactions.

Interstellar – The Second Viewing. Matt Damon is a Real Jerk

At an unknown altitude, at an unknown speed, over an unknown part of the country, I stopped dozing long enough to think that maybe I should watch a movie. I was only a couple hours into a 6 hour flight to San Francisco, so I had time.

Jet Blue is awesome. They provide wifi access to Amazon for free, so I jumped in to see what Amazon Prime had to offer for motion picture entertainment. The first thing to pop up was interstellar, and my reaction was one of joy. I was happy that I wouldn’t have to page through tons of crap looking for something that I’d like to see. Interstellar would be a welcome distraction.

I remembered my previous review of Interstellar, and as I watched the movie for the second time, I paid attention to the things I remembered picking on to see if I had missed something or just been too hard on it. I just now reread the review prior to writing this. My review, despite being really poorly written, was spot-on.

https://jayallard.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/interstellar/

One thing that irked me both times, which I failed to mention previously, was the documentary snippets at the beginning. In the end, we learn what they are, but I just don’t like that kind of stuff in movies. I never like it when movie shows news clips, or newspaper headlines, or documentary-like clips in order to get us up to speed and provide a lot of information quickly without really doing any work. It annoys me.

Prior to rereading the old review, I knew that I was going to call Matt Damon a jerk in the title of this one. Then I found that I said the same thing in the old review. So that proves that I am incapable of thought evolution. 2016 Jay is in complete agreement with 2014 Jay, and has failed to even develop new jokes.

Otherwise, nothing else needs to be said. The other review covers it. But, I will choose to say: I hate you Interstellar Robot. I respect your sense of humor, but I choose to judge this book by it’s cover. You look very awkward and impractical and, thankfully, you are a robot so I’m not concerned about hurting your feelings.

I have more problems with the stupid rectangle robot than the fragility of interstellar face masks, and how fast Matt Damon can cross great distances on foot. Some day, in the distant future, man may finally devise the perfect functional form of a robot, and I have no doubt that it will look just like Christopher Nolan’s stupid rectangle robot. The future people will look back in awe and extend great Kudos to Chris for his amazing foresight. Statues will be erected. History will become legend (or maybe the other way around).  The world will enter a new era of peace, harmony, and stupid looking rectangular robots. And if I’m there to see it (due to my recent experiments with immortality), then I will hate it with unbridled passion. Curse you, stupid rectangular robot. I’m happy that the jerk Matt Damon disabled at least one of them.

Shame on you Chris. Shame. Next time, don’t take your inspiration from a tissue box.

 

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It’s been 2.5 months since our first viewing of THE FORCE AWAKENS. I thought it would be one of those things that I would want to blog about immediately, but I didn’t. In fact, even now, I am doing so more from a sense of personal obligation than any real desire.

The fact it that I just don’t have anything insightful to say about it. Every combination of things has already been said. But, here we go anyway.

I have recapped my feelings on Star Wars, in general, more than once. Let’s do it again.

I don’t believe that George Lucas ever had much of a master plan of a multiple movie saga, beyond maybe some rough idea. The inconsistency from movie to movie, never-mind trilogy to trilogy, is not evidence of .a well made plan.

Of the millions of things that could be pointed out, I always come back to a few: Every time someone talks about THE CLONE WARS, or THOUSANDS OF GENERATIONS OF JEDI, or SAME CRAZY RELIGION CALLED THE FORCE, we’re given the impression that these things were many, many years ago. But really, there was only about 30 years between SITH and STAR WARS… how does anyone not remember the JEDI especially after thousands of generations? They don’t have internet access? No one had a digital camera or a smart phone? Things fall apart quickly. The second thing is use of the word DARTH, which isn’t really a huge thing compared to all of the others I suppose, but it always jumps out at me. Through Star Wars, Ben speaks to Darth Vader calling him Darth like it’s his name. He never says it like it’s a title, he’s saying it like “You suck, Bob”. But then somewhere along the way it became a title for a Sith, or an honorary name. Then they dropped it in The Force Awakens. Being annoyed by these sorts of things, I bought the domain name StarWarsQuestions.com several years ago, and then didn’t do anything with it.

Star Wars is a really great movie. The Empire Strikes back is better. Return of the Jedi sucks. Yes, I said it. It’s a crappy movie. It, not the Phantom Menace, was the beginning of the down fall. When I was but a boy, I used to see movies at the Revere Showcase Cinemas. They used to have pamphlets at the box office that had information about upcoming movies. I often think about the time that I picked up the one that had information about Return of the Jedi. As a lad of 10 or 11, I read the description and one phrase became forever burned in my cerebrum: “A new death star that makes the old one look like a go-cart!” And I thought… wow, that sounds dumb. If I were to modify that today, I would call it lazy.

And then I watched the movie, with a friend and his mother, and found myself really bored at the beginning. Ultimately, it picked up, and isn’t the worst movie that was ever made, but EMPIRE it was not. We recently watched it again with the kids (twice, because that’s how kids work), and I was simply disgusted with it. Sure, it has it’s moments, but they are few in number and low in quality.

I don’t have anything new to say about the prequels. My reaction to the first trailer for THE PHANTOM MENACE was cautiously optimistic, but I raised a huge red flag about the Gungans coming through the fog. It just looked too CGI, and I became hesitantly concerned despite my excitement. That actually resulted in a bad dream for me. I dreamed that 1/2 of the movie was an actual cartoon, and that Jar Jar was a lead character (That is a true story, to be clear)

After seeing the movie (weeks before most people, i might add), I wrote a review for it. The review is a blemish on my non-writing career, because I tried to convince myself that I liked it. And while, I suppose, I liked some of it, it did not deserve my efforts. I really tried to spin it in order to fool myself. A few years ago, they released the 3D edition in the theaters. About a third of the way through, I decided that I could get up and walk out and not care. I didn’t, but I could’ve.

While episodes 2 and 3 did not redeem anyone, each was better than the last. I actually like REVENGE OF THE SITH more than JEDI. Attack of the Clones is ok too, but to enjoy them, you really have to selectively ignore a bunch of things, usually acting and CGI related.

Then finally, all of the hub-bub about THE FORCE AWAKENS started. I was just as excited as anyone else. My expectations were not at all tainted by the last 4 Star Wars movies. The first trailer rocked it. I did not have Phantom Menace-like premonitions of despair. The scene with the Millenium Falcon is one of the greatest things put to film… a moment of silence and then black, and then the Millenium Falcon hits the screen with all it’s modern glory while the music bellows awesomeness. It’s was the scene that I didn’t know that I had been waiting for 30 years, and all was good in the galaxy.

I did have some slight reservations about some small bits in subsequent trailers, but nothing of consequence. The light saber didn’t bother me, nor did a non-clone storm trooper. It’s been 60 years since the clone wars, people. They have to replenish the ranks eventually.

After waiting for decades, we finally went to see the movie on the Sunday following the opening. It was important to me to bring the kids to the first viewing. I fasted them for hours and did not allow for snacks in the theater. We were not going to be interrupted.

To be short about it, I liked it. It did not knock me out of my seat like THE MATRIX, or SERENITY, but it was a really cool movie. A really cool movie with more problems than I can shake a light saber at, but for the most part, it works anyway. So let’s dive in.

In no particular order:

The Names

  • Kylo Ren – eh… not a great name, but acceptable. The obnoxious part of the movie was Han and Leia refusing to say his name, saving it for the climatic scene where we finally learn that it’s Ben. Avoidance of the name was very unnatural. They should have just bleeped it out like in Kill Bill.
  • Rey – i like it.
  • Finn – same here
  • Poe Dameron – they should have just called him Dameron. Dameron is cool. Poe negates it.
  • Maz Kanata – sounds like a salad dressing, but I like salad dressing.
  • Supreme Leader Snoke – terrible. Bad name. Bad.
  • General Hux – ok
  • Captain Phasma – stupid name, and really not worth the effort since the name, and the character, weren’t very prominent.
  • BB8 – fine with me

CGI

There was so much emphasis on the practical effects that I expected to see Tie Fighters hanging from shoe laces. I understand that there was a lot of CGI in this movie, and most of it is very well done to the point that you don’t even know it’s there. But all of these movies continue to screw up the same way: with creatures: SNOKE, MAZ and the giant creatures that Han and Chewie were smuggling.

It’s just bad CGI. I don’t understand how it can be so bad with so much effort towards preventing it. They could have used actual people for MAZ and SNOKE.

It’s an eye sore.

MAGICAL LIGHT SABER

The light saber scene annoyed me both times that I saw the movie. Rey touches Luke’s light saber, and all of a sudden she’s in a Harry Potter movie holding a magic wand. Light Sabers are not magical, and in no previous movie did it exhibit this sort of behavior with any other jedi. I have since read that those things happen elsewhere in the Star Wars universe, but it doesn’t work in the movie. I find it lazy, actually. It’s like the alien in Independence Day conveniently filling Bill Pullman’s brain with what he needs to know. Poor form.

CHARACTER INTERACTION

There are characters of interest in this one, which is refreshing. The fact that the actors are talking to other actors rather than tennis balls may contribute to it’s success. Also, having something closer to dialog rather than EP1-3 simply stated sentences helps too.

After Finn and Rey escape in the Millenium Falcon, they spend some time excitedly complimenting each other. It doesn’t work very well. They should’ve done a few more takes. Other than that, though, no complaints. I like how Dameron and Finn bond, and how Rey immediately hits it off with Han. I like Kylo’s “conversations” with Dameron and Rey. It succeeds on the character interaction front quite well.

Kylo Ren

I’m going to give him his own section. I recently watched GIRLS, starring ADAM driver, who plays Kylo Ren. As I watched the opening episodes, I wondered what thought process lead someone to think “Hey, there’s our Kylo Ren!!!” As more time went on, though, it became obvious. The guy is a good actor. By the time season 1 ended, he was stealing the show.

Kylo Ren is what Anakin should have been. He is very powerful, but immature. I like to think he has a lot of natural abilities, but they are not yet well toned. The fact that he’s able to stop a laster blast in mid-air could be argues, but let’s just over look that.

He has daddy issues. Perhaps, more so, granddaddy issues. And he has great control over the force. I have a bad feeling about that combination.

He has temper tantrums and he behaves irrationally, but he doesn’t pout and whine and throw things (i’m looking at you, anakin). He’s naturally gifted with the force, but that’s only going to take him so far without learning how to properly harness it.

I really like that he wears the mask by choice, not for life support reasons. He wears it in honor of his grandfather. It’s a great scene when he takes it off, like it’s not the big deal that we may have expected.

Kylo Ren is a top-notch character played by a great actor. Win.

LIGHT SABER BATTLES

Logically, it doesn’t make sense that either Finn or Rey should be any sort of challenge for Kylo Ren. Logically. Despite that, it works for me. Kylo is a kid with a toy called the force that he doesn’t really know how to use (again, overlooking the laser blast thing). He’s not going all in with these fights. He assumes he’s going to win and he’s casual about it. He’s a man child underestimating his opponents, and not really trying that hard. Finn held out longer than I would have guessed, and Rey, against all odds, convinced me that she’s a player.

Sure, she only heard of the force 20 minutes earlier, and she hardly knows what it is never mind how to use it. But the title of the movie is The Force Awakens, and it is for her. She too is a natural, and she knows enough to take advantage of it without Ben Kenobi telling her to search here feelings. It really came down to just taking a moment to center herself, get her head in the game, and survive. Had Kylo been able done the same, or if the fight wasn’t interrupted by a giant earthquake, it wouldn’t have ended as it did.

I like how the fights were simpler; back to the basics. No one was jumping 70 feet and doing triple CGI back flips.

THE DEATH OF HAN SOLO

Wow… I didn’t see that coming, but maybe I should have. It was really a great scene all around. I was the sucker that thought it was going to be a cheesy redemption, and I’m glad that it wasn’t. Sure, I’m sorry to see Han go, but he did so for the betterment of the saga.

The death of Han Solo was not properly acknowledged, though. Chewie groaned about it, and Leia took a deep breath. The kids he just met reacted much more strongly. The movie dropped the ball on that one; it should have been addressed more directly and dramatically.

Star Killer Base

Yea… “makes the first death star look like a go-cart” all over again! I remember the moment in the, I think, second trailer when I finally realized that there was another super weapon. A piece of my soul died that day.

30 years. 200 million dollars. Who came up with this idea? Aside from all of the science-fiction challenges it creates, it’s just plain dumb and lazy. Shame on you. Yes, in the end, it sort of works, but you didn’t bring anything new to the table. You just made a SUPER DUPER death star. Stop. Really, just stop. You have brought shame to your family for generations. Apparently everything can be destroyed by tie fighters, no matter how big it is. Stupid.

How does an itty-bitty planet store all of the energy of a sun? I know it’s science fiction, but there should be some reasonable effort at the “science” part of it. Charge your batteries from the sun. That’s cool. You don’t have to drain the sun. What kind of metal are they using that can compress and store billions of years worth of energy?

No Luke

That’s ok. Mark Hamill has been very funny on twitter: #StillNoDialog, #RianHasMoreLinesThanMe, etc.

They set the stage for Luke’s triumphant return. Let’s hope that he loses about 30 more pounds (which isn’t meant to be disrespectful, but really, he lacks the physique of what you would expect of even an older jedi), and gets the grand stage that he deserves. It is an original-cast movie without it’s most important member. Bold, and successful, but don’t let us down.

Jakku and other Rehashes

Go ahead and try to convince met that wasn’t “Tatooine” for 99% of the production. Then, finally, at the last minute someone said “Hey, it’s too late to have an original thought, but we can at least change the name of it. That will fool them”.

As much as I did enjoy the movie, it is mostly a lazy rehash. We could hope that it’s just a setup movie and things are going to be different in 8 and 9, but that doesn’t accomplish anything. They had 6 other movies and 30 years to set things up. Episode 7 ripped off its own predecessors. And there’s no need to.

My Fears for Episodes 8 and 9

Kylo Ren is Han and Leia’s son. Please Gods of Star Wars… do not let Rey be Luke’s daughter, or the spawn of midiclorians, or the daughter of any other character. There has to be more than a handful of significant people in that galaxy. Let her be her own thing. Every sign is that she is Luke’s daughter… let that be misleading. Please, fool me. Let me be wrong.

And also, dear gods of star wars, don’t let Kylo come back to the light side. Darth Vader couldn’t kill his son, but Kylo Ren could kill his own father. You’ve established him as an evil jerk, so keep him that way. Step it up. Make him worse. There can be no redemption. Luke will have to put him down, because he will want to spare Rey that burden. (On one hand, I can see that Luke doesn’t make it through the trilogy. I think it’s the natural course of things. But, on the other hand, he is a hero for the ages… maybe he will live on.)

And finally all ye who listen, stop with the gosh-dang super weapons. They don’t work. You had 30 years and 200 million dollars… have an original thought. You’re really starting to irk me.

Conclusion 2/27/2016

As the release date drew closer, I went into a bit of a self defense mode, and I thought about what it would be like if the movie were to suck. Afterall, only 2 of the previous 6 were actually really good movies. I decided, pretty quickly, that it didn’t matter. The fun was the ride leading to the release date. Star Wars was something to talk about for 2 years, and it resulted in the Millenium Falcon sequence in the first trailer that was simply stunning. If 7 sucked, then I would get excited for 8.

Fortunately, 7 did not suck. It is in fact really good. But, it wasn’t a home run. Laziness hurt it. If I were to conclude with one word, that would be it: Lazy.

I watched a 45 miute YOU TUBE video that points out a lot of detail and easter eggs in the movie. On that front, they were not lazy at all. I was amazed at the level of detail that went into every aspect of the movie… except for the plot. While it’s cool that the board game on the millenium falcon picked up right where C3PO and Chewbaccas gamed ended 30 years ago, I would prefer that they put that effort into the story instead.

More thoughts may follow…

 

 

2014 Best Picture Nominees

Warning: Poorly written blog post, just doing a quick brain dump.

 

Last night I watched Birdman, which won Best Picture.

All nominees:

  • Birdman
  • Whiplash
  • American Sniper
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Boyhood

I’m almost completely disinterested in the Academy Awards. I typically don’t care who wins. I like some of the bits. It is hugely pretentious and obnoxious, and I have a harder time sitting through it every year.

I do, sometimes, have stronger opinions about what movies are better than others. I’m sure there are many examples, but the only one that immediately comes to mind is Black Swan. As I watched movies that year, I had an internal debate about which was the better movie… then I saw Black Swan, and it won hands down.

Last year…. 2014… eh.

There are 3 types of movies on the list:

* Those that I think could be best picture

* Those that I don’t think should be

* Those that I didn’t see

Could be: Birdman, American Sniper (some hesitation here), Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood

Shouldn’t be: The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything

Didn’t see: Whiplash, Selma – I will consult my netflix queue to ascertain the status of said films.

I liked The Imitation Game and, to a lesser extent, The Theory of Everything. They’re good movies. Better than most. But they didn’t do much for me. The Theory of Everything disappointed me by being too much on the outside. You only see Stephen Hawking from everyone else’s point of view. Obviously he had to go through a lot mentally and emotionally, and that isn’t captured. He mopes a couple times, and there’s one good scene when he fantasizes about picking up a pencil.

Birdman is, through the glory of special effects, a single shot film. Michael Keaton and Edward Norton both get to aggressively act as both their characters and their characters acting as other characters. It’s a bit weird. The music is cool. I was glad to see it won a cinematography award.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also weird, in a good way. I watched it twice… it’s a great character movie, and also has interesting visuals.

American Sniper is well acted and has a great story (whether true or not isn’t my concern).

Boyhood is really good. It’s cool that it took 12 years to shoot. It’s also cool, and somewhat frustrating, that they keep on focusing on the boy even though you wonder what happened to the other characters as they move on in their own fictional lives.

Of those, the ones that jump out at me are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman. They bring something new to the table. Of those nominated, I would have voted for these 2. I’m glad that one of them won.

Super Troopers 2

Why I’m excited for Super Troopers 2:

  • Super Troopers 1

Why I’m afraid that Super Troopers 2 will be awful:

  • The Slammin’ Slamon
  • Beerfest
  • The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Club Dread

This is pretty much the same as Dumb and Dumber: While I look forward to the movie and hope it is great, there is no reason to think that it will be.

UPDATE:

Ha.. funny. Apparently I already posted something about this on 1/13/2009. My opinion hasn’t changed.

https://jayallard.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/super-troopers-2-oh-no/

 

Rage Ignited!

Earlier this day, someone mentioned SERENITY on Facebook, a science fiction movie for which I have much fondness. The very mention of it’s name sparked a flame of desire deep within, and my continued thoughts of it fanned the flame until it exploded into wanton desire. I rapidly came to the conclusion that tonight I must watch Serenity.

I continued about my day fulfilling my duties, Serenity never far from my frontal lobe. When at last the day was complete, I sought the prominently displayed COLLECTOR’S EDITION from atop my desk’s hutch. I opened it up to marvel over the discs, and to gently caress them physically and emotionally. The first disc was the DVD version of the movie. How Quaint. The second disc was the DVD version of the bonus features. Adorable. The fact that the bonus features were on DVD briefly raised a red flag of concern, buy my remarkable powers of denial quickly forced the flag back to whence it came.

Then I went to disc 3, sure that it would be the blu-ray. It had to be. But, it wasn’t. In fact, there wasn’t a disc 3. Panicked, I closed the case and reopened it hoping that the power of science-fiction would intervene and correct that which is so clearly wrong in the universe. The experiment failed. I closed it again, harshly, then cautiously read the binding. Where I had hoped and expected to see the glorious Blu-Ray Logo, I saw only that of DVD.

I took a moment to collect myself. I didn’t want to overreact. I resisted the urge to open and close the case a few more times giving The Force some opportunities to restore balance. Despite my extremely high midicholorian count, I knew the effort would be for naught. (Although deep inside, the lingering essence of 12 year old Jay still believed in the possibility). I just sat there and tried to calm myself, focusing on my inner chi. I took several deep breaths… in with the good, out with the evil. Overtime, it succeeded. Destructive urges set to bay, I proceeded to thumb through the hundreds of blu-rays lined up on my bookshelf. I didn’t let the fact that the discs are in alphabetical order dissuade me from checking every one. SERENITY was nowhere to be found.

Unable to observe the laws of science, logic, and common sense any longer, I went back to the DVD collector’s edition. It was still DVD. I tried crossing my eyes and squinting a little so that I could see they tiny slivers of dark space between our normal space, hoping that in a nearby alternate dimension it would be a blu-ray. Contact achieved via a mentally generated wormhole, my disappointment became trans-dimensional as I found that the alternate version existed, but was of HD-DVD format. The universe taunts me.

At last, I had to accept that clearly was this was the worst thing to happen to any person on planet earth in, at least, the last 3 years. I am not one to dwell on my own misfortune regardless of how deep it digs it claws into me. I do not seek your sympathy. It was time to pick myself up and move on.

I wanted to watch it on blu-ray. Some movies demand blu-ray (Avengers), others do not (anything with Hugh Grant). Serenity is clearly one of the former. But, having been deprived of that opportunity, I considered the other option which was to watch it online. Streaming services offer most movies in HD, and surely Serenity would be one such. My mind made up, I set upon my trusty keyboard, the keys immediately conforming to the well known contours of my finger tips as if to say “welcome back fingers, we missed you”. And I missed them as well, although I wouldn’t satisfy their desperate cries for attention by admitting it.

I browsed to Netflix.com. Despite giant surges in it’s stock price over the last few days (no doubt at least partially attributed to my well advertised collection of over 30 empty red envelopes), it did not offer the feature in instant video. It did, however, show me a picture of the movie and flaunted the fact that it could deliver it to me on BluRay by Monday. Not cool, Netflix. Not cool. I will respond in an appropriate manner at a time of my choosing.

The next logical choice was Prime Video on Amazon, one of 3 sites that I spend 50% of my time on. It, too, was vindictive enough to flaunt the movie, but it would not let me watch it without a prerequisite transfer of currency from my person to theirs. Amazon, and capitalism, have chosen a bad day to antagonize me. You will hear from me again, Amazon. Prepare yourself.

My last desperate recourse was to succumb to Comcast, the evil empire with a bafflingly poor online presence. I navigated their web site like a bull navigating a china shop, and eventually found the movie deep within it’s bowels. Glory be to brown-coats, at last the movie had been found!

I took pause to reflect on the prior several minutes and realized, to my embarrassment, that perhaps I had overreacted. Maybe the need to watch the movie wasn’t the most important thing going on at the moment. Maybe, if I didn’t find the movie physically or digitally, that somehow everything would be ok and the earth would continue it’s solar revolution unhindered. I achieved a sense of clarity that was only possible because I had found the movie, which allowed my other emotions to go back to their hiding places. After all, there are lots of other movies… If I am to be completely honest with myself, do I REALLY need to see Serenity right here, right now?

Well yes, of course I do. That should be obvious, but at the time I thought disaster had been adverted so it was ok to foolishly lament about the feigned insignificance of something that is so clearly significant. It’s easy to call a problem trivial when the problem is not yours.

I gazed upon the screen, the play button beckoning me to left-click it, calling to me as if a TCP transported muse, it’s melodic chants haunting me. The button, nor the muse, need not wait long. I put the movie into full screen as fast as possible as not to be nauseated by the Comcast page surrounding the video frame, then clicked the play button, simultaneously sighing contentedly. At long last, I settled down for one hundred and twenty minutes of sci-fi goodness.

The Universal logo graced the screen. Then it stuttered. The Universal Logo rolled away, and camera zoomed in on the planet earth as the narration began. Then it stuttered again. I waited patiently for the video to buffer and for it to work through it’s handshake protocols, unwittingly gritting my teeth harder in sync with each stutter. After tens of seconds of patience and tooth-grinding trauma, I had to at last conclude that Comcast had failed me for not the first time this year.

The truth became unavoidable, and hit me like a big thing that hits people: Serenity would not be viewed this evening.

The rage was overwhelming, but even the greatest of storms eventually dies. It was gradually replaced by disappointment. Then disappointment devolved to sadness. At last, the sadness has become reluctant acceptance. I am ok now, but I am empty inside.

DVD. Netflix. Amazon. Comcast. The Force. They have all failed me, and I am left to wonder why. Is it really possible that all of this is a coincidence? That the one life goal I established for today would be unfulfilled due to this absurd chain of events? Yes, I admit, it is possible. But in return, even the most conservative of you must admit that is extremely unlikely.

More realistically, as I originally feared, these failures are not my own doing, but were carefully orchestrated by all of the aforementioned parties, non-fictional and otherwise. I do not understand why they would conspire against me like this, but I don’t need to. Promises of vengeance have been made, and they will be honored.

Perhaps anti-climatically, that brings us to the end of this tale. I suppose I could have gone to Best Buy to purchase the blu-ray. Or I could have worked at 7-11 for 3 hours to raise the $4 that amazon wants me to pay them to watch it online. There are solutions to this problem, albeit barbaric. Instead, I have chosen to not succumb to such nonsense. I have chosen to document the travesty. I am trying to consider this a life lesson, and I hope you will too.

I had another paragraph here in which I attempted to explain to you that why, despite all evidence to the contrary, this experience doesn’t make me a hero, a role model, or one of the most influential people on that his ever lived. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to convince myself of any of these things, thus any effort to convince you (a more committed admirer) would not have succeeded. So I will bear the burden of the accolades that I have cast upon myself on your behalf, and will do what I can to honor them. If you are ever victim to such a trauma, I hope recollection of this post will help you deal with it, even though it doesn’t offer any advice.

For earlier adventures in movie quests, please see the following:

https://jayallard.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/holy-baptism-batman-and-the-transformers/

(there’s another one for DEEP IMPACT that I can’t find.)

The Catch

I just posted this on facebook, and put more time into it than initially intended. I’m reposting it here incase WordPress survives longer than Facebook in post-apocalyptic society next year.

 

This morning, I reached for a bottle of medicine for Ellie’s earring area. In doing so, I knocked something else off of the bureau, then caught it with my other hand before it hit the floor. "Great catch, daddy!" Ellie exclaimed, quite sweetly. It’s always nice to see the wide eyed-wonder in a child at what we consider to be normal events. What is simple to us is amazing to them. As they get older, that wonder will wane into acceptance and the joy will seep away, so it’s important to embrace these moments for the brief time that they last.

But this was not such an event! Oh no, this truly was a spectacular catch and was not done justice by the simple proclamation of "Great catch, daddy!", even with the eyes full of wonder. If she wasn’t four, we would have to have a very difficult conversation about underappreciation. It was the kind of catch that should have had her jumping up and down in excitement, and learning how to use a phone to call all her friends and tell them all about it. I estimate that it was probably the third greatest catch since the year 1011 AD (2 of which I now take credit for). Some of you may argue that the Eleanor of Normandy made a great catch in 1015 AD, and I agree.. the facts are indisputable. However, it was by no means a Top 3 and I will be personally insulted if you push that insinuation any further.

Damn CNN for not being there. Damn them. As a fellow passenger on spaceship Earth, I am sorry for all of you that missed it. It is a shame for not only the Allard family, but for humanity as a whole, that this historic event has gone unrecorded and is only witnessed by a 4 year old wearing Elf on the Shelf pajamas. Yes, she is cute, but she does not appreciate the magnitude of the event, and would lack the vocabulary to express it even if she did.

Some of you will ask me to try to recreate it. I don’t blame you for trying, but much like the big bang, it was spontaneous and not easily reproduced. I will not insult the catch by potentially making an inadvertent mockery of it in an effort to recreate it. We are better than that.

It’s a dark day people. A very dark day.

Carry on.

P.S.

Since it came up, I will mention that I have some things to day about Elf on a Shelf, but at the risk of detracting from the significance of the mega-catch, I will refrain for now.