I guess it was too much to expect the NRA to actually respond to a national tragedy with any modicum of sense.

As I said on Facebook, here’s what he names as causing this kind of violence:

  • Mortal Kombat, a game series that hasn’t been relevant in well over a decade. And also, is about hand-to-hand fighting, not gun violence.
  • Splatterhouse, an old video game franchise that got a revival game in 2010 which I don’t think anybody played. And is also a combat-oriented game, which doesn’t appear to have guns.
  • Bulletstorm, a game that is a silly sci-fi comedy. (If anybody is seriously affected by a game where you get bonus points for shooting enemies in their genitalia, they’d lost touch with reality a long time ago.)
  • Grand Theft Auto, a game that is ALWAYS blamed for violence by people who have never played it. Incidentally, if you think the ability to shoot random people in the game encourages people to do so in reality, you must not have seen how the police come after you for doing so.

He also blamed two movies by name: “American Psycho,” which is 12 years old, and “Natural Born Killers,” which is 18 years old. (Both of which, it should be mentioned, were meant to be satires. They may have failed at that, but that’s what they were intended to be.) Apparently, more recent movies like “The Expendables” do not encourage gun violence.*

At no point are guns mentioned as a bad influence. To paraphrase “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” guns are blameless, holy creatures!

And to cap it all off, he explains what will prevent school shootings: Armed guards at schools! Because bringing MORE guns into school is a good idea! And it’s sure to be affordable to hire guards for every school in America (seriously, he said that) when we can barely be bothered to pay our teachers, and it’s not like we have a recession or anything happening! And surely anybody who thinks of shooting a school will not do so because of armed guards on campus, and most certainly wouldn’t shoot them first!

* Truth be told, I had a hard time coming up with a recent, popular movie that featured extensive gun violence. I’m not sure whether that reflects how Hollywood movies are getting away from it, or just the fact that superhero movies are now more common than carbon.

Just saw “Argo.” Liked it a lot, but was disappointed to find that the movie that inspires the plot was “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” not “Giant Spider Invasion” as shown in the trailer.
I am an incredibly picky person.

Just saw “Argo.” Liked it a lot, but was disappointed to find that the movie that inspires the plot was “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” not “Giant Spider Invasion” as shown in the trailer.

I am an incredibly picky person.

Cloud Atlas GIFs


Paul Thomas Anderson on how to break through writer’s block

The best way for me to start writing a story is to get two characters talking to each other. And if you got questions from one, you’re gonna have to get answers from the other, and you can start to find out who is coming out of you when you’re writing,

Best listen up, your father is talking.


Paul Thomas Anderson on how to break through writer’s block

The best way for me to start writing a story is to get two characters talking to each other. And if you got questions from one, you’re gonna have to get answers from the other, and you can start to find out who is coming out of you when you’re writing,

Best listen up, your father is talking.

Was recently moved to look up who directed the original “Planet of the Apes.” Upon seeing his name, and the fact that he had also directed “Patton,” I was like, “Wow! How is this guy not a more well-known, respected director?” Then I looked further down, saw that he had also directed “Yes, Giorgio” (AKA Pavarotti’s only starring role in a film), and went, “Oh, that’s why.”

I then realized why I never have a date.

Six of the movies I’m most looking forward to this fall/winter.

My fake Criterion Collection cover for “Face Punch,” from the “Twilight” movies. (And before you ask, the only reason I know about that is because of the RiffTrax.)

I decided for whatever reason that a movie like “Face Punch” would totally be in 3D, and as such, it would require Criterion’s first-ever holographic 3D cover. You know, those lenticular ones where you move them and they kind of move, and if you look at it just right it looks 3D?

This meant that I had to get a 3D picture of my fist using my Nintendo 3DS. Easier said than done, given I had to face away from the screen to get it. I should’ve done a timer capture in retrospect.

Then I had to Photoshop both “sides” to make the cover. This was even harder, given I was doing two separate Photoshop files simultaneously; getting the fist picture to the right look required me to put both of them in another file, then merge and do the color changing. In retrospect, it probably would’ve been easier to do it in one Photoshop file while hiding layers.

Finally, I had to figure out how to make it work on Tumblr. It seems that Tumblr is confused by MPO files, so I couldn’t do that. Because the blue titles are shifted in each image, an red-and-blue/cyan anaglyph wouldn’t work, and you probably don’t want to make yellow-blue or red-green glasses (besides which, it would throw off the colors). In the end, I made three versions: a double image, which requires you to cross your eyes; a GIF, which simulates 3D version by flicking back and forth; and, if you don’t want care for 3D and just want to see the 2D version, the simple JPG.

Why I refuse to watch “UNRATED” editions of movies

Ah, the unrated cut. Who knows how often people have bought their favorite teenage sex comedy or superviolent action film in an UNRATED version, eager about the promise of more sex/violence than could possibly be allowed by the MPAA, only to be let down by a few extra seconds here and there?

But that’s not why I don’t watch them.

In case you somehow missed the title of this post, I refuse to watch “UNRATED” cuts of movies. The same goes for a Director’s Cut that is released around the same time as the theatrical version on DVD. (Looking at you, “Watchmen.”)

I think we can all agree on a few things about these DVDs. First, they’re nothing more than marketing gimmicks, a way to get people interested in the movie they’ve already seen and (in cases where the versions aren’t on the same disk) maybe pay for the same movie on DVD twice. Second, more often than not, the additional content is hardly worth paying more for. And third, despite it all, people still seem to buy these versions, because they’re still being made.

So why do I refuse to watch them?

It comes down to wanting to have the same experience as most everyone else. Maybe what was released into theaters wasn’t the director’s preferred cut. Maybe subplots got cut, maybe jokes were left out, whatever. But nonetheless, that’s what people paid $7 or more to see in theaters.

I don’t want to watch a version of a movie that other people haven’t seen. If a movie got a negative reception because of its theatrical cut, that’s what I want to experience. If a movie was highly praised for the theatrical cut, that’s what I want to see. I don’t care if the new footage makes the movie better or worse (from what I hear, it barely has any effect at all most of the time), I don’t want to base my opinion off something that most people who see the movie didn’t experience.

Sure, I’ll watch a director’s cut if it’s really truly a case of the director’s actual wishes being overruled for the theatrical cut. (And, in the case of “Beowulf,” I’ll watch the unrated director’s cut since that’s what Rifftrax requires.) But for better or for worse, I want to see what the studio thought I’d like.

Not sweating the small stuff, or: Why fans shouldn’t worry about what James Bond drinks

Recently, it was announced that in the upcoming James Bond movie “Skyfall,” there will be a scene in which Bond drinks a Heineken. This is understandable, considering that a great deal of the budget is being provided by product placement, and it’s just not logical to make the entire movie a Sony commercial; they need other sponsors. But the fans are almost certainly angry. How dare they suggest that James Bond drink Heineken! He ALWAYS drinks a dry martini, or the Vesper!

This is the latest evidence as to why die-hard fans are the last people you should trust when you work on a major franchise.

First of all, it’s still pretty early to say how the scene will play out. We don’t know if he’s going undercover, or if he’s in a high-class bar, or if he’s drinking it for his own enjoyment. The scene could play in so many different ways that getting angry about it now is pointless unless we know the specific context.

But really, let’s consider what makes James Bond so popular. He’s a cool spy who gets the girls, always has a quip ready (unless they’ve decided to make the movie Grim and Serious) and gets out of every situation a bad guy can think up. Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes James Bond solely because he drinks a lot.

The problem with working on a big franchise that has lots of fans is that a lot of fans get it in their heads that they know more about it than anyone else, including the people who work on it. They feel that they know the characters so personally that you have to wonder if they realize they’re dealing with fiction. Any change to the source material is treated like they’re desecrating a corpse. Never mind any reason why you change it (logistics, convenience or a desire to shake things up), if you’re not doing it the way they want it, you’re doing it wrong.

This is one of the things that mystifies me about comic book movies. Whenever I hear something like how Skrulls aren’t going to be in the “Avengers” movie, I just go, “What the heck is a Skrull and why should I care?” Franchises, especially long-running multi-decade franchises, tend to build mythology up so much that it’s next to impossible for newcomers to jump on board. (Case in point: How many of you actually read comic books nowadays?) Sometimes, it’s just so much easier to annoy a few fans and change something to make it more accessible to the general public. After all, the fans may be the first ones to buy the ticket, but they’re only going to make up a small section of your potential audience.

Let’s face it, the reason this is happening is most likely that Heineken offered to pay the most money among alcohol distributors. They almost certainly offered to pay more than Lillet or Gordon’s Gin, if those companies were even asked. Now you can decry product placement all you want, but in this case, it’s funding a significant portion of the film. And really, wouldn’t you want a better-produced Bond movie where he drinks some silly beer in one scene than one where he drinks the Right and Accurate Drinks, but they’ve had to trim back special effects and stunts?

Biopics you’d want to see

So earlier I was browsing about on iTunes and eventually came upon some works by John Cage. And before you ask: Yes, they had 4’33” on sale as a single. iTunes is literally selling four minutes and thirty-three seconds of a silent MP3 for ninety-nine cents.

Wait, the question you were going to ask me was “Who the heck is John Cage?” Well, he was a rather experimental composer, whose most well-known work is the previously mentioned 4’33”, where the typical performance is an orchestra not playing their instruments for four and a half minutes. He also has a work currently being played in Germany appropriately entitled As Slow As Possible, which is scheduled to end in the year 2640. And yes, I’m serious about all of that. (Sure, he actually wrote real music, too, but I’m much less knowledgeable about those works, and besides, it’s more fun to talk about the insane-sounding stuff.)

So after a little listening to his very odd music, I went to Wikipedia to try and read about him. Naturally, since I’m currently trying to write a blog that’s primarily about movies, my thoughts turned to what kind of a biopic he would get. Based on my barely-there knowledge of his work, I thought he’d require a multi-part, heavily experimental biography.

Just for fun, who do you think should play him based off this picture from Wikipedia?

John Cage, laughing.

Because I’d vote for Jeff Bridges.

But all of this is my long-winded way of getting around to my big question: What biopics do you think would be great if someone actually made them? I have a few answers from back when I posted this on another forum (and it’s worth noting that that particular thread was inspired by this article):

Read More

Oh yes.

Oh, oh, oh YES.

Oliver Stone, I’m still not entirely sure you’ll get it right, but you’re dang close.

First off, if you haven’t read “Savages” by Don Winslow, then you absolutely should. Like, now. Get to a bookstore if you can find one, go to your library, get on your Kindle or Nook or whatever e-book service you have, find “Savages,” buy/borrow it and read it. (Note: If you’re offended by violence, sex, language or drugs, then ignore the recommendation.)

"Savages" is an awesome book. I have no interest in actually doing drugs, but this book makes me feel like I could pass as knowledgeable about it. And it’s just perfectly suited to be a hardcore action film. Which is why it was worrying that, of all the people to direct it, Oliver Stone was the one who got the job. Sure, he seems passionate about the project (he reportedly put up some of his own money to get it started), but he just seemed like an off choice.

Stone is not well-known for being an action director. Nowadays, he’s best known as the guy who keeps making stupid political statements that he probably hasn’t thought through as much as he should (go look up what he said about Russian deaths vs. Jewish deaths in WWII, and cringe). But even looking at his movies, you kind of wonder if he could pull this movie off nowadays. Back in the days of “Natural Born Killers” (a movie I still don’t know if I like or not, to be honest) or “JFK,” when he was doing wild stuff with multiple film stocks and hyper-editing, he could probably pull it off, but given that he’s been directing stuff like “World Trade Center,” “Alexander” and “Wall Street 2” lately, it was hard to see him making a face-punching movie like this.

Wonder no more.

If these 15 seconds are anything to go by, Oliver Stone has nailed it. It’s kinetic, it’s fast, and although the necessities of making a general-audiences-friendly clip mean I can’t say it for certain, it looks like it’ll be just as brutal and twisted as the book. And that is not a bad thing, at all. It may not be the Neveldine/Taylor (of “Crank” fame) movie I was picturing in my head, but it’s going to get close.

"They’re communists, the father’s a mortician… Does the mother run a leper colony?"


"You will NEVER understand women!" "That’s been proven."

The oddly under-recognized plague of late sequels

"Tron." "Wall Street." "Indiana Jones." And now, "Dumb and Dumber." All of these movies have sequels that came at least 15 years after the original or the last sequel*. And for some reason, people just refuse to learn.

Admittedly, part of it is the fault of fans who don’t know when to leave well enough alone. People were demanding sequels to “Tron” or “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” for at least a decade before they got released. And, in an interview published today, Martha Plimpton has admitted that people always ask her about a “Goonies” sequel.

But let’s face it, after a certain point past a movie’s release date, the idea of making a sequel becomes less “We need to see what happened to the characters after the original” and more “How can we make money without risking it on a new concept?”

To be honest, that’s the big reason it keeps happening. Making a sequel to a successful movie, even one that hasn’t been relevant in years, looks like a guaranteed hit on paper. And while it’s not always guaranteed, it makes more sense to people in Hollywood to regurgitate an old success than to take risks on new ideas. After all, do you really think George Lucas would be rereleasing the prequels (and, eventually, the original trilogy for the second time) if he thought that a new movie would be a hit?

But just because you understand why something happens doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Seriously, did anyone really think that “Live Free or Die Hard” lived up to the potential of the original movie[s]? Even in its “UNRATED” edition? (Oh, unrated editions. That’s a rant for another day.)

The big problem, I think, is that fans refuse to realize why belated sequels constantly let down their expectations. When you watch something great like “Die Hard” and think, “What happened to John McClane after this?” the best answer is the one that you, personally, come up with. Any sequel is going to be a letdown to most people because most people come up with different answers to these questions. Even if they got everyone from the original “Goonies” involved in a new project (well, everyone that’s alive and would make sense to bring back), it will fail to live up to what people want, because people want something specific that they can’t really articulate until they finally see the finished result and say that it disappointed them.

I’m not going to say that all belated sequels are bad. I enjoyed “2010: The Year We Make Contact” for what it was, and I’m sure that “Saraband” is a good sequel to “Scenes from a Marriage.” (Also, do you like that I somehow chose the two most pretentious answers to that question?) But trying to milk a cow that’s been dead for several years just won’t work out.

* In the process of writing this, I remembered that “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” came out nine years after the original. But let’s face it, if I can barely remember an even worse prequel to an already pretty dumb movie, and pretty much nobody involved in the original worked on it, especially when the major talent from the original is coming back for a proper sequel, then I’m not going to count it.

Usually, I have a rule that if I see a vandalism on Wikipedia, I’ll clean it up. But in this case, and a few others, I refuse to based on the fact that the vandalism is true.

Usually, I have a rule that if I see a vandalism on Wikipedia, I’ll clean it up. But in this case, and a few others, I refuse to based on the fact that the vandalism is true.