Thursday, May 04, 2017

The REAL Suicide Squad

A far more complete answer, and more interesting one, is what order do they all die in?

Let's take a classic story, done many times, where literally every character in it dies.  I'm thinking Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'.  

Okay, to get to a full 10 cast, let's expand it to:

1 Kenny

1 Sean Bean

1 Mrs. Seagal

2 Red Shirts (need more women in the cast, so they'll be two female red shirts: Ensign Vicks & Ensign Wedge)

2 Black Guys (Both played by Mykelti Williamson, as both Bubba from Forrest Gump, and Baby-O from Con Air, voted most likely to be near-death in a white protagonist's arms 1994-1997)

3 Orcs (named Shemp, Shemp, & Shemp)

Okay!  Let's get this rolling!

10 people invited to strange mansion on an island, no one sees anything weird or suspicious about it, blah, blah, blah.

Host is absent, but dinner is prepared.  They sit down to eat when a mysterious voice echoes from a record player, accusing each person guilty of causing a death.

Then, someone dies from drinking poison!  Sounds like a red shirt death to me.

"One choked his little self and then there were nine"

So that answers the original question from the start.  A red shirt is most likely to die before we even find out anything significant about them.  We'll say it's Ens. Vicks.

The boat's gone, and there's no way to escape!  Oh well, let's all just individually go to bed in our rooms.  I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.

"One overslept himself and then there were eight."

Poisoned while asleep, and discovered dead in bed?  Sounds like a Mrs. Steven Segal death to me.  He discovers the body, vows revenge and...visits a modern dictator or something, I don't know.  I don't watch those movies.

The cast continues to be strangely unconcerned with all of this, and just sort of mill about the mansion getting picked off, not even bothering to stay in groups.  Sounds like orcs to me.

"Only two murders, so nothing to worry about.  Do da do..."

So three in a row:

"One said he'd stay there and then there were seven."

Heavy blow to the head...doesn't exactly match the rhyme, but whatever.

"One chopped himself in halves and then there were six."

Died while chopping wood.  Okay, a bit more on topic.

"A bumblebee stung one and then there were five."

Poison needle.  I'll accept it.

So the foolish wandering Orcs are all dispatched, and now FINALLY, the survivors think to lock up the dangerous weapons.  One person's gun is missing, because when you're trapped on murder island, you LEAVE YOUR GUN LAYING AROUND.

This may not be as good a book as people remember.  This is 'Friday the 13th camp counselor' level survival skills.

Let's hide behind the chainsaws!

Okay, then a person's found shot in the head and pronounced dead...that's a little more gruesome than the others.  I'm gonna assume that one's Kenny.

"One got in chancery (was summoned to court) and then there were four."

That leaves Sean Bean, Bubba, Baby-O, and Miss Wedge.

They then split up again...seriously?  I guess so.  If the Walking Dead is any indication, modern movies/shows are going to start killing minorities off when they reach about 50% of the total remaining cast, so we'll say Bubba mysteriously disappears.  Could he be the murderer...?

Poisoning with shrimp, stabbing with shrimp, shooting...

Shortly afterwards, another person wanders off for no reason, which sounds like a 'red shirt' move to me, so there goes Miss Wedge, crushed by a giant bear-shaped clock.

"A big bear hugged one and then there were two."

Wait, two?!  That's right, it turned out Bubba was killed earlier, and then found drowned!

"A red herring swallowed one and then there were three."

I'm going to assume he lives for a few more seconds, just to die in Sean Bean's arms.

This makes Sean Bean the aforementioned white protagonist, who knows he's not the killer, so he shoots Baby-O.

"One got frizzled up and then there was one."

Nic Cage isn't here to protect you now!

And then Sean Bean, overcome with guilt and grief, walks into the house and hangs himself, with the noose suspiciously prepared for him.

"He went out and hanged himself and then there were none."

So who was the true killer?


You bastard!

Yes, he faked dying, which means the doctor character REALLY sucked at telling if someone was alive or dead.  All he'd have to do was inspect the bullet wound a little bit, or check extra carefully for a pulse, and the plan wouldn't have worked.  

Regardless, he then commits suicide for real after writing down his deeds in a journal, and then there was truly none.

Honestly, looking back, "And Then There Were None" was pretty convoluted.

Or, going by the original title of the book:

NOTE: Stop reading if you want to keep thinking of Agatha Christie in a nice way.

Wait, what?!  

Seriously!  I went to the wiki, expecting '10 Little Indians' to be the original title, but apparently even THAT was a cleaned up, more PC version of it.

Agatha Christie: "I don't know, it just doesn't have the same ring to it..."

What the hell is wrong with you, Agatha/England?!

I'm just going to assume that Agatha got drunk on box wine, and sent the original title in as a joke, but the publishers had to all look at it and say:

"Yes, that is a title a reasonable human being would give to a mystery novel.  I certainly don't need to have some deep introspection over this decision."

In fact, that gives me an idea for a reboot!

England, 1939

The 10 member of the Collins Crime Club publishing company all sat down for dinner, when the lights went out, and a mysterious voice began to speak from a record player...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy "Worst Universe" Soundtrack Challenge

(You can listen to the entire playlist on youtube right here: click if you dare)

Can't wait for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?  Congratulations! You've been successfully Voight Kamff'd.

Want to watch Baby Groot do something cute?  No?  (Deckard shoots them)

One of the best things I remember about the first Guardians of the Galaxy is how it mixed its classic 60's-70's soundtrack through it, adding a great retro-feel to the movie, while still presenting an exciting modern space adventure story.  It hit all the right buttons, and worked perfectly.  

Long story short: everyone loved it, and we now all own some sort of baby Groot toy.

Or several.

In a couple weeks, they will release the official soundtrack list for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and while we wait, a thought came to me:

What's the worst possible scenario?  

To make things interesting, let's stick with the same years of the songs in first soundtrack, use songs that were also popular in America at the time, and keep the same track order.  

In short, in some other poor alternate timeline, the following soundtrack will accompany Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Imagine this:

You turn the soundtrack on, and instead of starting with "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Suede (which more than any other song in the album, would become synonymous with Guardians of the Galaxy), instead you're treated to:

Everyone, let's sing together!

"Oh, I don't know if I can take it!  Cause it took so long to bake it!  And I'll never have that recipe again!  Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Interesting trivia: Richard Harris was the original Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies, until he tragically died, publicly executed for singing MacArthur Park.

Okay, you're woozy from the seven and a half minute song about bakery mishaps, but don't worry, you've made it to track 2:

Oh it's too late to back out now.  MUCH too late.

Put together, this 16 MINUTE long 1-2 punch combo is enough alone to drive listeners mad, but those that maintain their sanity will live to see track 3:

Many younger people may not know this one.  If so, you're missing out on some "grade C" preachy, whiny 60's folk rock, from a band that never accomplished anything ever again.

Afterwards, you're confused and dismayed, but the song's mercifully short, so perhaps you're slightly optimistic when you're hit by the Osmonds.

Yeah drink that in.

Then it's off to see K.C. and the Sunshine Band's, for "Shake Your Booty".

Yeah, I didn't know the lead singer was white, either.  Click the above link to check out a VERY awkward Soul Train episode.

The funky disco beat's very 'bottom of the barrel' continues with:

My personal theory is the lead singer actually knows how to sing, but as a form of protest, he adamantly refuses to.

Now halfway through the soundtrack, we've hit a lot of dance/disco, so let's slow down the mood a little with:

Now I'M beginning to feel nauseous, and I'm merely writing this.  

But wait!  It gets worse...

Okay, I have mixed feelings at first, because Carly Simon was GORGEOUS back then.  Surely nothing could change...







By now anyone with any sense or reason left within them have physically smashed their ipod to escape, but for those not so lucky we have:

Sadly we don't have time for parts 1 AND 2.  You'll have to settle for just chapter 1 of this epic tale.

The good news you've made it all the way to track 10, and instead of Escape (The Pina Colada song) by Rupert Holmes, you have to suffer through:

Just kidding. No escape.

The one misstep of the first Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is they accidentally included one of the worst songs of the 1970's.  I know many will disagree, but I scoured the hits of 1979, and trust me, there isn't one worse.

No time to argue!  Something's wrong with those birds.  Are they coming closer...

Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?  Honestly, this sounds more like a gypsy curse than a love song.

(Side note: The Carpenters would have made it into this list twice, also with "Please Mr. Postman" but I decided to keep it to one track per band, instead giving "Why Can't We Be Friends" their other spot.)

I wish this carnival of nightmares ended on something a bit more horrifying than the merely tepid and annoying:

Is it me, or does it sound like she's trying to pick up homeless drifters, and take them back to her place?

Is there any way that won't end with SOMEONE murdered?

Well, there you have it.  Somewhere, in another time, place, and/or dimension, some Marvel fan's listening to this playlist, in quiet anticipation for Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2.

Somewhere, they're enveloped in horror, with one thought echoing through the hollow recesses of what used to be their mind:

Well, at least it's better than Netflix's "Iron Fist".

Friday, June 10, 2016

J.K. Rowling is Better than Shakespeare

Where the Red Fern Grows (cover)Tell me if you’ve ever read these stories before:

– A young male sociopath disapproves of everyone and everything around him, including any of his romantic interests. He changes nothing, learns nothing, and leaves.

– It’s the olden days, and terrible things are happening to good people. Terrible things continue to happen for 200 – 400 pages. Despite all this tragedy, there is little to no story, and no character development. Everyone is either 100% good or 100% bad, from start to finish. In the end, things either get marginally better, or they don’t.

– Wow, what a great dog! Whoops, he’s dead. (Or every character besides the dog is dead.)

– A metaphor commits a metaphor to another metaphor. Everyone is sad.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If you went to high school in America, I bet the answer is a big yes. In fact, I bet these few plots encompass around 90% of everything you and I were both forced to read in English class while growing up.

The Great Gatsby (cover) 

I loved reading, but I merely tolerated the classics. What I really loved were fantasy and sci-fi stories.  Not just the newer variety either. I remember reading Beowulf before I was in my teens, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld completely took over my life during my early to mid-20s. I won’t lie, fantasy and sci-fi is definitely hit or miss, just like any genre. However, even in the worst cases, I almost always loved the characters. They grew, they learned, and they had…well, character.

This really matters to me, because I just re-read The Great Gatsby, which I remember slightly enjoying during my teens. Know what I found? Some admittedly good writing, coupled with ridiculously ham-fisted symbolism (really? the huge pair of eyes on the billboard represent God looking at us? are you sure that’s SUBTLE enough?!), and absolutely NO character depth or growth whatsoever. Not even from our main character, who remains morally indignant from start to finish.

“I constantly disapprove of everything you people stand for, but I’ll still hang out with you all, eat your food, drink your booze, generally mooch off you in every way, and date within the group!”

Just repeat the above until Gatsby’s dead.

Listen, I’m all for supporting good literature, but it’s not the wordiness or length of these “classics” that put people off. It’s their DULL, unlikeable characters. Wordiness and length didn’t keep kids from reading Harry Potter, did it?

The Fellowship of the Ring (cover) 

We really need to expand our horizons and incorporate some more fantasy and sci-fi into our kids’ reading. Not only does it expand their imaginations, and introduce memorable characters and journeys, but so many of them are well written too. Here are some humble suggestions:

– Instead of The Great Gatsby or Of Mice and Men, why not The Lord of the Rings for your tale of corruption, greed, and pride?

– Instead of Charles Dickens, why not try Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett for your incredibly entertaining and well written English authors?

– Political satire that’s no longer relevant, because the government they’re making fun of no longer exists? How about Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series instead? I recently re-read it, and it still blows me away. Forget lampooning specific countries, this series suggests that ALL governments inevitably collapse (or completely transform) every hundred years or so. Top that, Orwell!

– A young person grows up during the 1800s-early 1900s? Unless they wind up in Oz, Narnia, or Wonderland, I really don’t care.

Old Man in the Sea? Give that sailor a Nautilus!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (cover)

Lord of the Flies? Instead, why not read…actually, I liked that one. I remember reading it in high school and thinking: Yup, that’s how it’d go down. “Hello, my name is Max, and I have the Conch…” THUD! SPLAT!
And finally, yes, J. K. Rowling is better than Shakespeare. Sure, the bard had a hell of a way with words, but he had no idea how to develop characters. Unless they go insane or die prematurely, you can be sure every character in his plays are going to stay exactly the same from start to finish, with nothing all that unexpected in the middle.

The only Bard I want to read about, uses a bow and arrow to kill a dragon.

(See the article here, on article)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

We Don't Care that "Die Hard" is Your Favorite Christmas Movie

We Don't Care that Die Hard is Your Favorite Christmas Movie

Sorry geeks, the joke's gotten old.  Yes, Gremlins and Lethal Weapon take place on Christmas too, and we don't care.


Not 'Sorry as Santa should be for ostracizing Rudolph', but sorry nonetheless

What we need are a new group of anti-holiday movies.  Not ones that seek to destroy the holiday spirit, mind you, as it is my favorite holiday...

That song now in your head?

Anyway, we need movies tangentially connected to the holidays in some way, but are nonetheless NOT holiday movies at all. 

I was watching the Home Alone series with my niece when a couple thoughts came to me:

1. Kevin McCallister is a stone cold sociopath.

Just look at Kevin's expression.  His dead-eyed euphoria....

2. I wondered: "What else was playing at the theaters when this came out?"

Although the second Home Alone didn't do much besides move to New York City and double the torture, the first is a holiday staple, and the number 1 movie of the year. 

So what went up against it?  Of all those movies, which of them is the 'least' in the spirit of the holidays, but one that you can proudly claim as a 'holiday movie', having come out in the season, the same year as this holiday classic?  In the case of Home Alone 1, the answer is....

It's the far future (I'm going to assume it's also Christmas), and war has been replaced with giant robot fights between opposing nations.

There is NOTHING in that last sentence that doesn't make me aroused.

And then you discover the special effects are TERRIBLE.  It's not that they cheaped out or anything, as the movie cost $10 million, and that's 1990 dollars, but good lord is the action goofy...

Did I mention they were serious?  That's right, this isn't a dumb kids movie or brainless action flick, no this movie tackles heavy issues like geopolitics, treason, the dangers of a nuclear arms race, and illiteracy.

Yes, you read that last word right.

What makes this U.S. vs Soviet superpower plot even more awkward, as some of you history conscious readers out there probably noticed, is that this movie came out the year after the Berlin Wall fell, meaning they made it with the intention of hooking onto the 'Rocky 4' spirit, when suddenly the real life villain disappeared, and the movie suddenly feels more like an AU story.

Still, it ends on a positive note, with our hero and opponent reaching a peaceful ending, giving us Science Fiction's first recorded fist-bump.

So how does this stand up as holiday movie?  Well, definitely more peacefully than Kevin McCallister's reign of terror.

On one hand we have 'the importance of home and family', and on the other hand we have 'WE ARE ROBOT JOX! WE CAN LIVE!'.

Yeah, gonna call this one a tie.


Now, Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my all time favorite holiday movies, and possibly my favorite versions of the Christmas Carol overall.

What of it, Alastair?  What you gonna do about it?

I've ranted on it before, but Gonzo/Rizzo together is comedy gold.

And adorable together, if you ask me.

This, coupled with Muppet insanity and a surprisingly serious (and amazing) performance from Michael Caine.  Overall, it's one of my favorite movies.

WATCH THE EXTENDED EDITION.  Theatrical edition cuts out this song (and thus has no soul)

But if you're not in the mood for the Muppets, you could instead take your family to see the holiday season classic that played in theaters at the same time....

Okay, now things get a little awkward.  

In all seriousness, I don't have too much to say, because it is a very good movie.  Granted, the plot's a little thin, but the performances are amazing!

It's just that people tend to remember only it's 'secret'...

SPOILER: "That frog's f*cked."

...and not that 2/3 of it is actually about the IRA, the kidnapping of an English soldier, and our hero been forced into an assassination plot of a judge.

And a cautionary tale regarding the dangers of picking up Hitch-hikers.

Still, not 'exactly' a holiday film.  So how does it measure up as a holiday movie?

Gotta go with Muppets on this one.

They're the cuter couple.

Besides, I can't help but choose the Muppets movie.  Want to know why?

I'm a frog.  It's just in my nature.


(More anti-holiday movies to come!)