Friday, December 19, 2008

It's amazing how neglected your blog becomes after you get a girlfriend

That about sums it up, really.

Oh, and I've given up looking for awesome band names. The winner, hands down, was 'Face Daggers' (special thanks to Garret).

Now I'm looking for horrible band names. It's not merely enough to be gross, inappropriate or obscene. No, in the music industry that can be a plus. I mean names that could actually be possibly used at some point, and not bad enough to be ironic, like:

Grey Matter

Helen & Hubby

Business Casual

The Tampa Bay Tabbies

My Name is Love

Aren't those atrocious? Hey! That's another good one:


God, you can barely say it without getting a bad taste in your mouth.

All that aside, I've come up with something, and I don't care if none of it ever gets used, I'm having too much fun working on it.

What could be more intense and dangerous than exploring ancient ruins, facing evil necromancers, and slaying vicious dragons?

Being in high school, pretending to explore ancient ruins, face necromancers, and slay vicious dragons.

It started as a joke on Fark, under the 'rejected RPGs' topic, but I'm running with it....


I'm also considering the title 'Victims and Virgins' (the original Fark title), but that might be a little cruel.

Basically, you play one of a group of nerds, geeks, rejects and losers at a local high school, with the overall goals of gaining the best geek loot, becoming the 'Alpha' of the herd, maintaining a relatively high level of popularity (possibly even as high as 'sorta liked'), all while desperately reaching for the ultimate goal...going on an actual date.

There are no hit points, as even the highest level geek can pretty much be dropped by a single punch from a normal person, but death is never a way out. No, you'll be forced to live through every indignity with nothing besides your geek stats and Thaco score to help you.

The six basic geek stats, which you roll 4d6 (dropping the lowest) are: SPAZ, FANTASY SPORTS, LINUX, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT, ROLE PLAYING, and LEET SKILLZ.

In all honesty, none of these skills have any real impact on much of anything, besides 'geek duels' where you compete with your fellow geeks. In many cases, having a low score can be a good thing if you're trying to be 'popular'.

Geeks can't actually fight, but if they could, it would be with the SPAZ stat. Slap boxing, jumping up and down, flailing your arms about, and threatening to throw a friend's 1st edition Mox Ruby down the garbage disposal are all covered by this stat.

FANTASY SPORTS is the measure of the geek's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. They might have no clue how to actually play them, but they sure as hell know who they want in their fantasy team. This stat can also act as a 'diplomacy' of sorts with jocks and normal people, as against all odds, they did watch the game last night...on the internet.

LINUX is the geek's computer knowledge, and also how well they use the internet. It doesn't cover Linux exclusively, but that's what separates the small puny boys from the small puny boys who aren't slaves to Micro$oft.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT is a geek's measure of pop culture trivia, and a good indication of how well they'd do in 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' (right up until they're asked about anything pertaining to the real world). Like FANTASY SPORTS, it can be used as a diplomatic skill of sorts, with the more preppy, gossipy crowd.

ROLE PLAYING isn't just about how well they roll the dice and fudge saving throws, but also how well they can perform, understand others and bluff fellow classmates. Of course, it only seems to work well when the situation is somehow to Monty Python.

LEET SKILLZ reflects your ability to pwn nwbs, get head shots, scream into a tiny microphone, and pay $15 a month to get your ass kicked by a South Korean kid. It also covers a geek's general skill at physical activity...that doesn't involve much running.

Honestly, they won't come up much in the real world, not unless the geeks want to try using them (which usually isn't a great idea). There are only five basic skills that really have a meaningful impact on life, on a regular basis: SCRAMBLE, TALK TO GIRLS (BOYS if the player is a girl), PIRATE, and NINJA.

SCRAMBLE is the ability to run away and escape, or at least not be the 'slowest' of the herd.

TALK TO GIRLS/BOYS is self explanatory. It's not just what you say, but also how you say it, how much you stare at their breasts, and if you pass out or not.

PIRATE is the act of breaking the rules/law. It covers getting away with activities such as jimmying open lockers, picking pockets, pirating music, smuggling contraband, grabbing the last cookie, lying to authority figures, sneaking a 5th lightning bolt into your deck, and smoking with the 'bad kids' out back.

NINJA is the act of sneaking, hiding, and disguising yourself. Depending on the situation, it might also include major feats of agility by geeks tandards, like jumping a three foot gap.

The last stat is THACO, or To Hit Anything 'Cept Zilch. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Geeks actually have a change of hitting people in a fight. It starts at 20, and goes down verrrrrrrrrrry slowly. This is what you have to roll to hit anything that isn't a fellow geek or an office toy. This is no guarantee that the hit will do any damage, or that the geek has any chance of winning the fight, but stranger things have happened. Two things, exactly. Of course, geeks can always improve their odds by fighting really dirty.

You play one of the following classes. I'm working on the rules (as I said, it's just for fun), so I'm just listing the basic concepts, strengths and weaknesses. The 11 basic character classes are:

Goody 2 Shoes

Good at fantasy sports, but bad at Leet Skillz. Covers yearbook editors, over achievers, members of the honor society, and anyone who reads during lunch. They're undeniably good at getting out of trouble and getting others into it. Popular with the teachers, but no one else. Examples include Lisa Simpson and Hermione Granger.

Scaredy Cat

Slightly less geeky than his fellow companions, these timid geeks are masters of avoiding bullies, dangers, life experiences, and anything fun. Examples include Screech, and Woody Allen.

Red Headed Step Child

Even geeks have the equivalent of 'black sheep' and social pariahs. These geeks tend to be good with computers, but bad at convincing the other geeks that they're anything besides a loser. Of course, this often makes them more sympathetic in some eyes. Examples include Dilbert and Charlie Brown.

Drama Queen/Butch

I'm not saying that these geeks are gay. In fact, they're often incredibly straight. In any case, these geeks are either guys who sing showtunes and collect Barbie dolls, or gals who like flannel, working with their hands, and cutting their hair really short. They tend to be great at role playing, but poor at Linux (regardless of gender). They may have no real chance of landing a date (for obvious reasons), but their empathy with the opposite sex is incredible. Examples include Milhouse and Peppermint Patty.


Be it a comic book, anime, movie or 80's cartoon, this geek has seen it, rated it on his blog, and written a fanfiction about it. They're great at Arts & Entertainment, but poor at fantasy sports. A bit more shameless than the other geeks, but many normal people find them funny. Examples include the Comic Store Guy from the Simpsons, and Fanboy from Freakazoid.


Of all the types of geeks, the Freaks are the most likely to win a fight. Of course, the method they used (textbook, #2 pencil, and class pet) will probably get them suspended for a week or two. These are the kids later described as being 'such a quiet kid'. They're great at spazzing out, but not so good at roleplaying, or actingb human for that matter. Examples include Ralph Wiggum, Cartman, and Dennis (do not sit next to Dennis).


Gamers have the best Leet Skillz, the worst connection to the real world (measured by Arts & Entertainment), and are the most likely to try something crazy, as long as they saw it done in GTA4 (please don't let the media know they're right). They try to offset their incredibly poor athletic ability with ridiculous amounts of competitiveness, coupled with a powerful caffeine habit. Examples include Gabe & Tycho, Yahtzee, and anyone that knows who any of those people are.


There are geeks, and then there are GEEKS. You don't have to be Japanese to be Otaku (although for some reason it helps). Any nationality can be well versed in every geek stat, at the expense of having absolutely no ability to socialize, and possessing a stench that will ultimately get the authorities involved. Examples include Travis Touchdown, and Otakon from Metal Gear Solid.

Pathetic Follower

Some people are born to lead and others are born to obsess over the people who lead. Less geeky than most of the other geeks, or at least nowhere as geeky as they wish they were. Still, they're more likely to have a good career and girlfriend later, at the expense of all their individuality. Don't worry, it's not like they were using it. Examples include Meg Griffin and Kyle Broflovsky.


Not every geek necessarily deserves to be one. Every once in a while someone's pants accidentally fall down, or they get a boner when standing in front of the class, or a dog runs up to them and pees all over their leg. At that point their social life is more or less over. Until they go to a new school, there's nothing left to do but hang out with the geeks. They aren't particularly good at any of the geek skills, but they're pretty good at most of the regular skills. In other words, they're more or less normal. Pity the poor fools. Examples include Dante from Clerks, and Wil Wheaton.

As for the 11th type of geek...well you tell me. What have I missed? What archetype isn't covered here?

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go finish some of the rules and roll up a 1st level Teacher's pet. ^_^

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Also, there was a baby alligator. That really sums things up. I'm afraid I'm a little burned out, so a full retelling of the trip is out of the question, but everything was nice, and involved long quiet days in the hotel, free top shelf liquor, my taxi getting lost, my coat getting stolen, a wonderful train ride down...and a not so wonderful train ride back.

Still, the train ride back inspired me to indeed write my R-rated choose your own adventure book: 'Max's Magical Train Ride'. I make no apologies for it, as thinking this through was the only thing that kept me sane during the trip back.



1. Ah, there's nothing like a wonderful long ride on a train. You're Max Freeman, a young, over-imaginative computer geek, and you're coasting along without a care in the world. As the train rides along, you almost feel as if you're flying. Without a doubt, it's the most wonderful way to trav...

"Yeah, I'm on the train! I'm going to break up with my girlfriend when I get there. I like her and everything, but my buddy said you should be single during your first year of college, or you won't have fun. I hope my parent's take me out for ribs when I get there! They might want steak, but I'm tired of steak..."

Okay, so there's a whiny nineteen year old douchebag loudly complaining about his all but perfect life into a cell phone behind you, but regardless, it's still the most wonderful way to trav...


Directly behind you is a woman sleeping face down on the folding tray connected to the back of your seat. Every few seconds she nudges the back of your seat unconsciously. Every few seconds....*nudge*. Pretty soon you'll be trying to sleep, and once a minute you'll feel that...*nudge*.

Regardless! Riding in a train is still the nicest way to trav...

Two teenage girls sitting in front of you switch on their portable DVD player, and start watching 'Ella Enchanted'. They both want to watch, so they don't bother with headphones. It's loud...too loud to escape. You'll be listening to that movie from start to finish. Every bone grinding second....

Who cares?! You're on a train and...

"Why hello there, young fella."


"You're tall!"

Okay, a drunk woman in her mid sixties is constantly hitting on you every time she passes, but that's no reason not to...

"Hi! I'll be sitting next to you!"

An old guy who smells really weird and dresses like Mr. Rogers sits down next to you and starts plugging numerous electronic devices into the wall.

"Aren't they amazing! I've got an electric toothbrush and mini-blender, which I'll be using to blend all my protein shakes when I'm not reciting passages to you from my various books! Say, do you know that there's a place online where you can find out how to make a suitcase bomb?"

You need to switch seats really fast! Luckily, that won't be a prob...

"I'm sorry sir, all seats are assigned."

You protest, and the conductor throws a mini-pillow at your face.

"All seats are assigned sir! You only paid for one ticket! No moving around!"

Only 23 hours and forty minutes left of the trip...

That's it. You can't take it anymore.

You've decided to kill as many of your surrounding passengers as possible.

But who are you going after first?

The college kid who won't stop complaining into his cell phone? (go to 2)

The old, smelly criminally insane guy with all the electronic gadgets? (go to 3)

The teenage girls watching DVDs without headphones? (go to 4)

The sleeping woman who keeps nudging the back of your seat? (go to 5)

The drunk, elderly woman who keeps hitting on you? (go to 6)

The conductor, who won't let you switch seats? (go to 7)

2. Yes, that whiny overprivileged jerk must go! But how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 8)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 9)

Agatha Christie style (go to 10)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 11)

Ironically (go to 12)

With whatever's lying around (go to 13)

3. Yes, that homicidal lunatic must be dispatched, but how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 14)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 15)

Agatha Christie style (go to 16)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 17)

Ironically (go to 18)

With whatever's lying around (go to 19)

4. Yes, before they put on 'Ice Age'! But how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 20)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 21)

Agatha Christie style (go to 22)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 23)

Ironically (go to 24)

With whatever's lying around (go to 25)

5. You almost feel bad...but you can't take it anymore! But how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 26)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 27)

Agatha Christie style (go to 28)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 29)

Ironically (go to 30)

With whatever's lying around (go to 31)

6. God yes, before she gets another 'Sam Adams' from the dining cart. But how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 32)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 33)

Agatha Christie style (go to 34)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 35)

Ironically (go to 36)

With whatever's lying around (go to 37)

7. The true source of your pain...he must die. But how?

Open the emergency window and shove him out (go to 38)

Bludgeon them to death with your oversized suitcase (go to 39)

Agatha Christie style (go to 40)

Smother them with your miniature pillow (go to 41)

Ironically (go to 42)

With whatever's lying around (go to 43)

8. "Yeah, the train ride is long, I can barely stand it. My classes are alright, but I'm not going to study or anything...sorry, some guy is doing something with my window, I'm not really paying attention. Damn, the wind is cold. It's not cold like that skiing trip in Norway I went on last year, but yeah, it's kind of cold. Could you speak up? I seem to be flying through the air towards a tree, and everything's really loud, like that Nine Inch Nails concert last summer, where..."

*SPLAT!* (go to 44)

9. You aim the end of your luggage towards his long, emo hair, and your aim is true. You smash, crush and squish with reckless abandon, but unfortunately, draw a lot of attention. One way or the other, your trip is over. Oh well, at least you had fun. THE END

10. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"I'm afraid this is not an accident, as Mr. Freeman would suggest. No. No, he himself slowly strangled the young man to death, after convincing every other passenger in the train that the world will be a better place afterward. Convincing them was easy...but fooling me proved impossible."

Damn Belgian. THE END

11. A few thousand miles away, an identical jack-off is talking into his phone:

"What's that man? How's the train trip? Huh? I can't hear you man! You sound like you're being suffocated with a small pillow or something! Listen, we'll just meet here, break up with our girlfriends, and then go out for ribs? How's that sound man? What? I'll take that silence for a yes...oh, and how was your trip to Norway?! Hello?!" (go to 44)

12. "Hold on man, I've got another call...hello?"

"Do not hang up the phone. You must do everythign I say, or a sniper will shoot you in the head..."

"Wow, it's just like that movie!"

"Uh...yeah, it's just like that movie. Now, you have to do everything I..."

"How can you have a sniper in a train?"

"I...guess you can't. I really didn't think this one through."

"That's cool. Want to hear about my trip to Norway?" THE END

13. You take the toothbrush out of your suitcase and slowly begin sharpening it into a shiv.

"I'm so bummed man, none of the girls in my classes are hot. I've been hanging around the computer lounge and started talking with this chick though..."

You sharpen faster. What comes next won't be subtle in the least, and you'll probably have to run for it afterward...but who cares?

"Dude, a guy's coming towards me with a toothbrush. Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's gay."

Stabby time! THE END

14. Damn! The old psychotic Mr. Rogers is spry, and sees your attack coming. He manages to fend you off with his various electronic devices until the authorities come for you. That's what you get for underestimating a lunatic. THE END

15. You flop your giant, heavy suitcase upon him, and squish the tiny guy like a bug. The soft hum of the half-crushed electronic devices is oddly satisfying. You enjoy a few moments of peaceful silence before continuing. (go to 44)

16. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"Yes, this poor man did indeed poison himself...but not willingly! I'm sure you all might recall his obsession with health food? Both organic and raw? No? Well Poroit did not forget, mon ami, and I now know for a fact that Mr. Freeman convinced the victim to enjoy his Tapioca RAW instead of cooked, as that would be healthier. Indeed, it would be the healthier choice, were it not...poison!"

Damn Belgian. THE END

17. Your neighbor is very unhappy doesn't have an outlet for his portable nosehair groomer. 'No problem' you inform him. You simply take your miniature pillow, slam it over his head, and start solving the problem.

Solving the problem...

Solving the problem...


And the problem's solved! (go to 44)

18. Some problems take a very well thought out and carefully executed plan. Other problems are solved simply by inserting a man's necktie into his portable blender, and turning it on. Do we live in a world where the latter is the case? I like to think so. (go to 44)

19. You unfortunately have to interrupt his hundredth reading from his book on 'how imagination, not science, controls reality' with a special reading from the train safety manual. You just have to roll it up nice and tight to properly read it...and then casually shove it down the maniac's throat. The other passengers are too relieved from the silence to question what happened. (go to 44)

20. Oh no! You've 'accidentally' tripped and opened the emergency window. Oh good golly! The teenage girls have 'accidentally' fallen through said window, and are now hanging on by their fingertips. Quickly, grab onto their hands to pull them in.

Oh bother! You simply can't hold on tightly enough...and they fly off into the distance while the train's going 90 miles per hour. What a shame. (go to 44)

21. "Sir, as the assistant-conductor, I must inform you that you can't have your giant, heavy case lying across two seats like that. Furthermore, you can't lie on top of said case the way, you don't remember two teenage girls sitting here? No? Oh well, have a good day sir!" (go to 44)

22. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"One might assume that the two young women simply killed each other, as Hastings would believe...but Hercule Poroit does not! No, there simply is no motive! They were just two extremely stupid kids, as their movie selection makes crystal clear! More importantly, neither of the pair has nearly enough knowledge about rare Australian poisons to have dispatched each other so easily...but you, Mr. Freeman do."

Damn Belgian. THE END

23. Yes! You immediately begin to smother one of the the other one stares at you, horrified. You switch over to her, but the one you just freed starts screaming. The assistant conductor comes over and you...uh...switch to them? You smother the DVD player? Damn it, that didn't work at all. THE END

24. You already knew very well that you could garrote someone with a DVD charger, but you had no idea you could actually 'curb stomp' someone with the DVD player itself. It's true! Unfortunately, it's not very subtle, and everyone sees you do it, but damn! It works! THE END

25. Aw...aren't they cute like that, sitting side by side, as a brainless teenage actress screams about her hair in the movie they're watching? No, I don't think so either. Luckily, it makes dropping your belt over the seat and strangling the pair both at the same time very easy indeed. (go to 44)

26. You sing her a lullaby, to sooth her as she nudges away in slumber. 'Go to sleep, go to I open the your eyes, say goodbye, as you fling through the air. Crack your skull on the pavement...I can probably stop singing... (go to 44)

27. OH MY GOD! Those fold out trays can sustain a lot of weight! Dear God, you smooshed her head like a grape! That went far beyond the limits of good taste. That was enough to take all the fun out of killing. One way or the other, you're not trying that again! I mean, EWWWWWWW...THE END

28. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"A suicide? No. No, if you look closely at the skin around the bullet hole, you can clearly see scorch marks, indicating that the hat she's wearing, with the words 'I'm committing suicide' on it was put on AFTER she was shot. Also, it is not physically possible to shoot yourself in the back of the head."

Damn Belgian. THE END

29. Wow that was...disappointingly easy. I mean, she was already asleep. That was hardly difficult at all. Feeling unfulfilled, you decide to smother the guy next to her as well. He was probably a jerk. (go to 44)

30. This is going to be great! First, you put whipped cream in her right hand. Wonderful! Then, you put her left hand in a bowl of warm water. Priceless! Then, to make things even funnier, you chop away with an axe! HILARIOUS! (go to 44)

31. Okay, we just need to look around for something to use to...DEAR GOD! That woman over on the other side of the train car is UNBELIEVABLY hot! Wow! She's tall, curvy, wearing a low cut dress and really tight pants! Good lord, just look at the way she moves...wait, what were we doing? Something about the woman nudging your seat...ah, you forget. You go get a snack from the dining car instead. THE END

32. You offer to buy her a drink if she directly faces the emergency window you just opened.

"Sure honey! So, where you going? Florida? I have a nephew in Florida who's..."

*SHOVE* (go to 44)

33. "Wow, you're a strong fella! You look really muscular when you lift that large case over your head, with your face transfixed into an expression of pure hatred. You remind me of a man I once knew in..."

*SLAM* (go to 44)

34. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"Ah yes, as my dear friend Hastings assumes, the hydrochloric acid was indeed drunken willingly...but only after Mr. Freeman challenged her to a drinking contest, and handed her the acid!"

You then cheerfully inform him,

"Yes, but only after clearly explaining to her that it was hydrochloric acid, and that if she drunk it, she'd die."

"Really? And she drunk it anyway?"


"Well...then I guess nothing illegal has occurred at all."

"Groovy." (go to 44)

35. Damn it! Her face is so 'jowly' and smothered in makeup that you slide right off every time you try. It's like trying to wrestle a greased up pig, and you merely convince her that you're hitting on her. Bummer. THE END

36. You gladly return her drunken advances, and it isn't hard to convince her to follow you into the restroom for some 'S&M' play. Upon entering, you begin donning a spiked glove and let her know the safety word (to tell you to stop) is 'disestablishmentarianism'. (go to 44)

37. "So, do you have a girlfriend?"

Okay, what do we have lying around? Ah, we have a copy of the latest Harry Potter...and a copy of the latest Stephen King 'Gunslinger' novel. With about 2500 pages combined between the two, you swing both books towards her head, one in each hand. The resulting collision is reminiscent of a watermelon at a Gallagher show.

It's not exactly subtle, the authorities will get involved, and you owe a couple of people some new books, but you're pretty sure it was worth it. THE END

38. "Sir, you can't open the window, sir. Sir, you can't remove the protective panel and open the window up. Sir, you can't shove me in the direction of the open window. You're not allowed to push me, and you have to go back to your assigned seat. Sir, nobody gets your 12 oz mouse references, sir..."

*SHOVE* (go to 44)

39. Alright, you begin to pull down your baggage to use as a weapon...and the conductor helps you get it down. You try lifting it back over your head while facing them...and they help you put it back in the luggage rack. NO! You...ah forget it. THE END

40. Everything's going great until Hercule Poroit shows up, and twirls his immaculately groomed mustache.

"No! This was not an accident! Poroit cannot accept that! Yes, as a train conductor, it's possible for them to have fallen out onto the tracks during a station stop...but it's not possible for them to have tied themselves up with a very large amount of rope first! There really wasn't even a reason to use such a comically large amount of rope, wrapping him up like a sleeping bag, but Mr. Freeman has a strong need for 'schtick', and that proved his undoing!"

Damn Belgian. THE END

41. Yes! You get them in the dining car, where they're literally wedged into their seat, like creme in a canoli! There's no possible way for them to dislodge themselves without at least three other conductors helping, so dispatching them is no trouble at all. (go to 44)

42. Unfortunately, nobody believes that the conductor used his ticket puncher to 'punch' himself to death. They don't even need Poroit to help them with this one. Darn it. THE END

43. You manage to subtly get the conductors attention.

"Excuse me, something seems to be wrong with my electrical socket."

"No problem! Let me just see what's wrong...well, it appears you've got several pieces of silverware wedged in there."

"Oh no, they're just plastic."

"Well, then there's no harm with me pulling it right out for..."


"My, you really were the...conductor! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!" (go to 44)

44. Nice work! You got away with it perfectly! Now all you have to do is move on to someone else!

The college kid who won't stop complaining into his cell phone? (go to 2)

The old, smelly criminally insane guy with all the electronic gadgets? (go to 3)

The teenage girls watching DVDs without headphones? (go to 4)

The sleeping woman who keeps nudging the back of your seat? (go to 5)

The drunk, elderly woman who keeps hitting on you? (go to 6)

The conductor, who won't let you switch seats? (go to 7)

Everyone's dead! (go to 45)

45. Hooray! Now you can enjoy the rest of your train ride in peace! Oh sure, some might say that offing your fellow passengers, or even pretending to off them in your imagination is wrong, but to them I say:

"Stop nudging my seat or I'll hurl you out the window."

Ah, violence. Is there any problem it can't solve?

Over the PA system one of the surviving conductors announces,

"Next stop, North Carolina...and we'll be picking up a special celebrity for the trip...Alan Rickman!"


You ready your trusty toenail clipper, and prepare for round 2.


Saturday, October 04, 2008


Well, I'm getting ready for an extended trip all the way to...what?

Oh right! I almost forgot.

Beauty and the Geeks

Well, I'm afraid I don't have the all important 'true resolution' to Mary and the Geeks yet, as she hasn't been around the last week or so, but I can give her immediate reactions to the geeks, and inform you of the 'winner'...



That's right! It's geek #3! Despite not being the most attractive of the competitors, he actually treated her like a person instead of an alien species, and charmed his way into her heart!

Who knows if it will last, but merely getting this far makes him a Herculean hero by geek standards. My friend...I salute you.

As for the rest, here's her reaction to their intentions, and then their reactions to her choice:

GEEK 1 (Mr. Creepy): He came on strong and professed his undying love to a woman he hardly knew.

Her reaction:

She runs off and gets a ride home from someone else.

His reaction:

Doesn't come back for a week and a half. Tries to pretend it never happened.

GEEK 2 (The Flake): Just took it for granted that she'd choose him.

Her reaction:

Blew him off, and went for someone who actually paid attention to her.

His reaction:

Jaw struck the floor with a resounding force, but soon collected himself and moved on. It isn't like he can't get another girl.

GEEK 4 (The Robot): Stayed supportive and friendly.

Her reaction:

Appreciated it, but immediately sorted him into the 'just friends' category so fast his head spun.

His reaction:

His head spun.

GEEK 5 (Jerry Springer Guest): Casually hit on her, as he does with all women.

Her reaction:

More or less ignored it.

His reaction:

Shrugged and moved on.

GEEK 6 (That guy): Hid in corner.

Her reaction:

"Who? I don't think I've ever met that person."

His reaction:

Waits until she's gone and then goes back to playing games.

So what have we learned? Hell if I know. Obviously, being creepy is always a bad idea, and you actually have to talk to her at some poing. All those that believe 'looks' are all that matter may be surprised by the failure of the more attractive guys. Apparently, women also want to be paid attention to.

The most interesting thing to study from this is why Poindexter succeeded and the Robot failed. Of all the competitors, they're probably the most similar. The only real differences I can see is that 'Poindexter' was wackier and paid more direct attention to her, and that seems to be enough to make the difference. The only reason it might seem odd is because Poindexter was also a bid weirder and creepier.

So, the lesson for all geeks out there is as follows: PAY ATTENTION TO WOMEN!

Get interested in what they have to say. Never ignore them. Be prepared to drop everything at a moment's notice, should they suddenly be in need of attention or company.

Call it desperate or sad if you wish, but face it, it works.

I'll give updates as they come. Anyway, where was I...


Next week I'm going to be going on a long trip to...FLORIDA! Yowza!

Anyway, it's for a friend's wedding, and I'm doing something I've always wanted to do. I'm taking a long train ride right down the entire East Coast. I absolutely love long train rides, and this one should be a lot of fun.

Of course, that gives me a lot of time on the train, enough time to write my MAGNUM OPUS!

No, I'm not shooting penguins! I'm getting ready to write my 'manifesto'.

A collection of my thoughts and political ideologies!

Something to document 'my struggle'!


Nah, just kidding. Seriously though, I have no idea what to write. My political views are summed up as: 'Do what makes sense given the situation'. How am I going to stretch that into 500 pages?

I know! I'll stay up real late and come up with good ideas!


Okay...I drank a lot of coffee and stayed up late writing, but I'm having trouble remembering what I was thinking while writing any of this, and I'm not sure if any of it makes sense.

Idea #1: How to End a Conversation

My first idea for a manifesto is a complete and thorough guide to what you should say right before leaving the room. I remember Amber saying...

"Since you're going to a wedding, that'd probably be useful to have. You'll probably be entering and leaving rooms a lot."

Yeah! In video games and movies people always say something along the lines of 'I'm pregnant' or 'he's my father' right before leaving the room, and I remember always thinking: what a horrible way to end a conversation! That's not the ending of a conversation, it's the beginning!

You wouldn't end a conversation by saying: "We should talk about our plans for next weekend." You wouldn't walk right out of the room with that, would you?

Here are a few things you can say to end conversations:

"I'm hungry."

"Excuse me, I have to go use the restroom."

"We'll talk about this later."

"Alright, let's go."

"I hate you and everything you stand for. Rot in hell, you stuck up bitch."

See? All perfect ways to end conversations!

Worthy of a 500 page manifesto? Uh...yes?

No, probably not.

The rest of the notes are even stranger:

Idea #2: Adorably Deformed

I remember looking at Amber's adorable yet horribly proportioned Spore creature and going:

MAX: "Awww...he's so adorably deformed!"


MAX: "You know, like those cats and dogs online. Here, I'll look up a picture."

AMBER: "No, that's okay."

Idea #3: Solve the Meaning of Existence Without Math

Uh...I really wish I knew math. All I have are the words 'wave', 'particle', seven question marks, and four dollar signs.

Damn my BA in Business! Damn it straight to hell!

Idea #4: Acronyms?

The next one is just about twenty seven least I think they are. Apparently, I should:


and afterwards I should


unfortunately, this should lead to


but at least I'll be able to look myself in the mirror every morning and say I


and they can't take that away from me.

Idea #5: Make a 'Silent Hill' choose your own adventure book.

Uh...actually, I don't see anything wrong with that idea. Kids love graphic decapitations!

Wait, let me take a look at idea #6 before deciding.

Idea #6: Write a book...THAT YOU CAN EAT!

Yeah, I think the R-rated children's book wins. Damn, what the hell was I even thinking last night? It's not even like I can blame it on booze...

Any other ideas for my epic manifesto?

Let me know! See you all later!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Here I am! Sorry, I got wrapped with work. Nevertheless, I've returned to...damn it, I don't want to do anything political!

The problem is, nothing else is happening. News, media, culture and even the people around me won't talk about anything else...well, at least that and sex. There's always sex.

Oh don't worry, we're not getting into details. We try to keep the blog PG-13 around here (or at worst, a Kevin Smith R/NC-17, where there's no sex or violence, but fat guys hang out at the mall and talk about oral sex).

What we are getting into, is what happens when geeks are exposed directly to a young, attractive woman who doesn't think they're disgusting.

The effects are nothing short of disastrously hilarious.

Let's take this young attractive girl. She's a blond in her early 20's, wears boots, jeans and loose t-shirts, and she's definitely pretty, but not so pretty that she isn't accessible. She has a good sense of humor, but little to no impulse control, causing her to act without thinking very hard. To protect her identity we'll call her 'Mary', an anagram of her real name...

Okay, her name IS Mary. It's not like she reads this blog or anything.

Now imagine a small horde of young male geeks. Yes...imagine them now. No, don't back away, I compel you to imagine the ocean of acne, glasses and pop culture references! Does that one have a 'theme to Star Trek' ring tone on his cell? You bet he does!

Now introduce Mary into the scenario.

Ever see a car crash in slow motion?

Alright, things start off slowly, with Mary being friendly with the geeks, and doing something which hasn't happened to most of them in years: she physically touches them.

Yes, even I was not completely immune, as she casually stepped over and slipped an arm around me. It wasn't a come-on, she's just a 'huggy' kind of girl in general.

Regardless of my geeky nature, I kept things platonic and friendly. Why? Because I knew what was going to happen next. Specifically, geeky intrigue that borders on Shakespearean. Allow me to introduce geeks 1 through 6.

GEEK 1 (Mr. Creepy): Mr. Creepy is married with a kid, but he still spends most of his free time at the game store. Despite being married, and acting normal when around the guys, he gives off a creepy 'stalker' vibe when in the presence of attractive women. Mary often asks him to give her a ride to the store, and ironically, most of the movies he watches begins with a similar scenario. (Cue the bow-chicka-wow-wow)

GEEK 2 (The Flake): The Flake is easily the most physically attractive of the guy gamers, but he's often wrapped up in his own world, and misses out on most of the conversation. He nods politely at whatever you say, and has no actual personality of his own. He's already taken that Mary and him will get together as an inevitability.

GEEK 3 (Poindexter): Poindexter is nice, but bewilderingly over analytical. He's chubby, wears glasses, and more or less what people imagine when they imagine 'a geek', but he's too cheerful and friendly to come off as creepy. He's impossible to anger, but often causes confusion by doing things such as wearing surgical masks when he's sick. Is he bizarre or just trying to be funny? A little from column A, a little from column B...

GEEK 4 (The Robot): The Robot is basically just an older, mellower version of 'Poindexter'. He has a real job, and doesn't freak out in Mary's presence, which is more than can be said for most of the geeks. Then again, nothing seems to freak him out. Could a meteor swarm get him running? We're not sure. He quickly becomes overly concerned with Mary's problems, in a 'big brother' sort of way. It's initially uncertain if he's just being nice, or if he's trying a more passive, gentler approach to getting in her pants. Not since Ben Stein have we seen more passion from a human being.

GEEK 5 (The Jerry Springer Guest, or JSG for short): JSG has absolutely no impulse control, so he gets along with Mary fairly well. Besides the Flake, he's probably the next most attractive of the guys, but keeps saying racist things without reason or provocation, which makes him a little unsettling. He has a pregnant girlfriend, but no immediate plan to marry, a history of infidelity, and was voted 'most likely to die before age 35' by the group...well okay, just by me. But everyone's thinking it.

GEEK 6 (That Guy): 'That guy' is terrified of women, and avoids all eye contact with Mary, but nevertheless gravitates towards her. He speaks at a mile per minute, rarely looks up from the games he's playing, and openly shares the fact he's heavily medicated.

Let's set up the situation. Mary's having relationship problems with her boyfriend...

'Mr. Creepy': Convinces her to talk to him in his car, where he madly professes his love for her, despite the fact he barely knows her.

'The Flake': All but outright tells her that she should leave her boyfriend and date him. He sees nothing wrong with this strategy.

'Poindexter': Remains nice and friendly, but makes an awkward attempt to romance her, in-between turns of Warhammer 40k.

'The Robot': Consoles her and like Geek 2, tries to convince her to break up with her jerk boyfriend. To his friends he'd claim he was 'playing it slow', but glaciers move faster than this man's romantic strategy.

'JSG': Casually hits on her, as he does for virtually every female within a quarter mile radius.

'That Guy': Hides in the corner, avoids eye contact.

Tensions rise. Geeks begin staring daggers at each other. What will happen? Do any of these geeks stand a chance? Will they come to blows over this?

Of course not! They're geeks! They'll just get pissy. Still, despite what you might think, Mary actually goes out with one of these 6 guys in response to their 'advances' (or in the case of That Guy, his 'retreat') and believe it or not, willingly kisses them on the lips.

Which one was it? Will geeks tear each other apart over the fair Mary...okay that's a stretch, but will they throw 12 sided dice at each other?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

I don't have too much time today, so just a short one:


Stop the execution! There's been a call from the governor!

Specifically, from Governor Schwarzenegger (believe it or not, my initial spelling was only one letter off). The call is from all the way back in 1998...with the movie 'Batman and Robin'.

This is the worst action movie ever made. Pound for pound (taking the budget into consideration) it's THE worst movie ever made. I'm not even sure who they targeted this movie towards. As rifftrax suggested: 'sex crazed seven year olds?'

It starts with molded plastic asses, and moves on to a ridiculous fight in a museum between ice skaters and our heroes, with Arnold delivering mind-shatteringly bad pun after pun. You think he's finished, but oh no, there's about 5 billion ice/snow/cold related puns to get through before he's done.

Let's compare the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight' against 'Batman and Robin'.


Christian Bale is subtle, talented, and makes Batman human. One downside: when he talks as Batman, he sounds like Assey McGee.


George Clooney, bobbing his head up and down, delivering every line with blank, smug superiority. When he talks like Batman, he sounds exactly like Bruce Wayne, which makes you wonder why his fiends haven't made the connection yet. By comparison, Adam West's performance in the 60's seems 'nuanced'.


Joker: "You ever notice that nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plan is horrible? If I say that tomorrow a gang banger is going to be shot...or that a truck load of soldiers is going to be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all going according to plan. But if I say that one little mayor is going to die...EVERYONE GOES HYSTERICAL!"

Ask nicely, and he might even show you a neat magic trick.


MR. Freeze: "Let's kick some ice!"

Poison ivy: "I am mother nature!"

Bane: "BANE!"

Yeah, that's about it.


Infiltrate the mob, and use its resources to drive the city into pure, absolute chaos. Then, drive the city's greatest hero insane, turning him into a wretched abomination, to reflect Gotham's true twisted heart. Then burn it all, while laughing.


Steal giant diamonds to power your giant freeze ray, and then use it to freeze Gotham. Threaten to freeze other cities with your giant immovable ice gun that can't reach any other city besides Gotham...uh...and step 3 is profit.


Commissioner Gordan, played by Gary Oldman, a brilliant character actor. Gordan's cool, effective, and above all completely believable.


Robin, played by Chris O'Donnel, whose whining and angsting reach Anakin level proportions. Want to know what's really sad? He more or less carries the movie. His performance is simply the least horrible.


Rachael unfortunately pulled a 'Trinity', and apparently aged 14 years between the first and second movie. Still, she's very believable, and it's easy to see why men fall in love with her. It isn't about glamor or a huge amount of cleavage, she's just a wonderful and strong person, who honestly cares about people.


If you discount the 2 scenes with Bruce's girlfriend's cleavage (I forget the name, but I remember the cleavage, which I'm pretty sure was the point), that leaves Bat girl and Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thermon...

If I ever meet Quentin Tarantino, I'm going to ask him how he gets such great performances out of Uma. If you separate Uma's good performances from her absolutely horrible ones, you'll find all the good ones in Tanantino movies (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) and all the other ones worthy of the bottom shelf of the bargain bin.

Uma's absolutely horrible in this, with every scene more hammed up and ridiculous than the last. I will say that the costumes/director did make her look really good...but then she starts talking. Yikes.

Batgirl's played by Alicia Silverstone and her wandering lower lip. Seriously, if you met her in real life, you'd swear she was having a stroke. I was going to comment on her very nice rear end, but then Amber had to be a kill joy and remind me it was molded plastic. Dang it.


BOOM! BLAMMO! Big rigs overturning! Rocket launchers! Crashes! Explosions! Bat cycle! AWESOME!!!


They're getting away! Quick, let's use the Batmobile (TM) and the Batcycle (TM)! Oh no, there's ice everywhere, and Mr. Freeze is driving his Ice Tank (TM)! What will we do?

I know! I'll drive the Batmobile with snowy weather modifications (TM) while you drive the Bad Hovercraft (TM, and I'm not kidding). I sure hope Batgirl shows up on her own special Batcycle (TA...I mean, TM).


Batman saves lives, fights the police, and has two great final encounters, one with Joker and one with 2 face.


About 10 minutes in, Batman and Robin surf the metal doors of a space shuttle down towards Mr. Freeze as he's flying over the city, and you walk out of the theater.


The greatest superhero movie ever made, and the second highest grossing film of all time.


Kills the franchise and about three careers.

Why is this movie so bad? Why didn't they pull the plug and fire everyone involved, one week into shooting? Because they assumed their target audience were idiots. They thought they could sell ridiculous tripe and make a fortune. This was the result.

Dark Knight, by comparison, is a brilliant and subtle movie, with the added bonus that if you don't want to think too much, you don't have to. You can follow the movie and have a great time even if you don't concentrate too much on the characters or underlying message. You can have it anyway you like it.

I'm going to have to disagree with nostalgic people. The past sucks.

Onward to the future! ^_^

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Well, at least for a while. ^_^

We're down to the final category: Circus Peanuts!

Ever have a circus peanut? If not, imagine a super dense marsh-mellow, so thick it's almost the consistency of meat.

Now, make it banana flavored.

Now shape it like a peanut. Why a peanut? No one knows.

Now imagine yourself eating this 'candy', and I use the term candy very loosely here. It's bizarre, strange, and you might even feel a little sick.

Then you eat more. Whenever it's offered, you take it. Several companies actually COMPETE to be the one that provides this 'candy' to consumers.

You'll eat it, simultaneously hate and love it, and you'll always be ready for more, but for the life of me, I can't explain why.

That's the embodiment of this category, which can also be described by this rant:

"Oh my god! What the hell was that? I can't believe I actually sat through that movie...I give it an A-."

Going by genre, it's the movie you're glad you saw, would encourage others to see, but always watch with equal parts pain and joy. I'm not talking about movies 'so bad they're funny'. I'm talking about movies that almost make it on BOTH the 'best' and 'worst' list. Perhaps they're great movies with severe problems. Perhaps they're bad or mediocre movies that are so unique and revolutionary that watching them is almost life changing.

They're just circus peanuts.


You'll never find a more realistic, powerful and depressing Vietnam movie than Platoon. It makes 'Full Metal Jacket' look like Police Academy. Charlie Sheen actually plays it straight as the protagonist, a low level soldier in Vietnam dealing with combat, murder, fragging, suicide bombers, rape, the destruction of entire defenseless villages, stupid/homicidal teammates, and everything else that never seems to make it into mainstream war movies.

You'll never find a war movie that presents war as ugly as it truly is. The closest you probably can come is the first and last 10 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Imagine if the middle hour and a half of Saving Private Ryan was as dark as the beginning and end. You'd have Platoon.


What the hell is with this movie? I can't shake the feeling that the writer and director like home appliances a little TOO much.

I don't even know where to begin. A TV show where people are tortured in S&M fashion. A man trying to investigate that show. A romantic encounter with a television set. I wish I was kidding!

VCR slots in humans! Assassinations! Dismemberment! Suicide! Down with Video Drome! ALL HAIL THE NEW FLESH!

This movie should come with free therapy. Regardless, the last twenty minutes is unbelievable. Seriously, you won't believe they put that in a movie. I'm still not sure if that's good or bad.


I actually walked out of this movie in the theaters, and loudly heckled it while I was there. You wouldn't believe how slow the movie is to start. Here's my favorite scene:

COP: "Let's see the bedroom."

HERO: "Alright it's this way."

(They slowly walk into the bedroom)

COP: "So this is the bedroom."


David Lynch, of Twin Peaks fame, does not understand the concept of pacing. It's a shame I left, because I watched it again and found out that the second after I left is where the movie picks up. The pale creepy guy character is great, people transform into other people, and although it's odd and surreal, I can't say it isn't consistent. The last fight is great, although I'm not sure if it's supposed to be as funny as I thought it was. I mean, I laughed. Should I have? Who can say?


This is a more low key sports movie, focused far more on character development than success or 'giving it all you got'. The fact it's about running, and not about teams helps this. Sure, running isn't very exciting...rather boring really, but I liked it. If only the ending wasn't so depressing.

There's no way of not picking up the box and knowing what happens, so needless to say, the movie gets to the point where our hero has overcome his failure, risen himself back into the highest heights, and just as he's ready to get back into the Olympics, he dies in a random car crash.

It's sad, thoughtful, and surprisingly existential. It's about your personal best. Of course, his journey ends with his own random it might fall a little short of 'inspirational'.

This movie also proves my theory wrong about there being only two sports movies: the one where they win and the one where they lose. There's also the one where they die before the big competition. It's a powerful movie, but horribly anti-climactic.


I have to admit, this movie is definitely TRYING to be the strangest horror movie ever made, and it indeed succeeds. It starts with a standard Japanese zombie movie plot, with the guy, girl, evil criminals, secret government agents and such, but then Guitar Wolf shows up.

Guitar Wolf is the self proclaimed 'loudest rock band in the world', and dress like greasers. They immediately show up, casually grab guns, and start effortlessly killing their way through the zombie hordes, not only with guns, but with glowing thrown guitar picks and the power of rock and roll. There's even a scene where the main singer fights a giant flying saucer with a katana...and cuts it in half.

Zombies, explosions and rock and roll. If Elvis were alive, this would've been one of his favorite movies...had there not been the romantic sub plot.

The main girl turns out to be a guy. Really. They're not kidding, the character is played by a guy, the main hero understandably freaks out, but in the end realized he loves him/her/it, so a little thing like gender shouldn't matter, even though he's straight. The movie ends with them kissing, for real, right on camera, and then driving off into the sunset.

What the fuck is with this movie?


Another great movie hampered by it's own mind blowing level of depression. Being based on King Lear, a Shakespeare play, this is probably to be expected, but the movie includes more tragedy and depression than Shakespeare ever dared to achieve.

It's still a Kurisawa movie (7 Samurai, Yojimbo), so everything is top notch, but you'll be horribly depressed, and the 'funny' and 'inspirational' moments will just leave you confused. What's with the random shot of Buddha at the end? Once again, who can say?


Yes, this movie already received and honorable mention in one of the 'best' categories, but it also deserves an honorable mention as one of the most dysfunctional romance movies ever made. It isn't even intended to be romantic, and that's the heart of it.

The movie revolves around an assassin with a mild mental disability (they never go completely into it) who adopts a preteen girl after her drug dealing family is killed by a crooked cop, including her innocent little brother. She wants revenge and the assassin is helping her learn how to be an assassin, because it's the only thing he knows how to teach.

It's a touching, father-daughter relationship, right? Well, he certainly thinks so, but she falls madly in love with him. The movie includes him giving one of the world's greatest spit takes, after she tells him how she feels. He obviously never intended it, but he does love her as the daughter/sister he never had, and that's what's so disturbing about the movie. It revolves around two people, both deeply in love with each other, but each with a COMPLETELY different view of their relationship. She even goes as far to claim to a stranger that he's her lover, getting them kicked out of a hotel.

The movie ends with tragedy, of course, but before getting her to safety, they kiss (it's European so he did it in a 'family' way), but you can tell she meant it romantically. To make it worse, the actress playing her makes it believable enough...that you wonder if their own true feelings are a mirror of their character's. The older man as the fatherly protector, and the young girl as the romantic lover.

It's disturbingly sad, but it isn't too bad, considering nothing sexual ever happens. In fact, by the end, both characters truly prove their love for each other, showing that although their relationship is dysfunctional, it's no less powerful than the love shared by characters in any other romantic movie. What's that tell us about love? What does that mean for you and me?

It's a great movie about love, but you'll have to live with how screwed up our emotions can be.


Richard Mulligan plays a great sleazy down and out director, trying to make a kid's movie, with his ex-wife as the star. It never works, until he decides to turn it into a soft core porno at the last minute, just by throwing in a half hour of footage, including a topless scene of his wife, who is famous only for family movies.

The clincher: the actress playing his ex-wife is Julie Andrews. Yes, the Julie Andrews from Mary Poppins and Sound of Music, and yes, she has a topless scene in this movie...

AND IT IS AWESOME. The pictures don't really do the scene (or her) justice. I'd check out a video of this one.

Unfortunately, they decided to throw a little too much seriousness and tragedy into this movie, making you wonder what they were really trying to do. This movie seems like a compromise, with a few aspects thrown in that don't make sense. In fact, it's a perfect mirror of the movie they're making in the movie. It's a movie about itself.

It's a great concept, but it's too downbeat to really work well. It really seems like they were trying to please too many people...but dude, Julie Andrews is topless. How can you pass that up?


A movie can't only be about its ending. The ending is legendary, but the movie leading up to it is confusing, and keeps vaulting you back and forth between dark and 'kiddie'. Standard kids cartoon characters are shot dead by machine gun fire. Preachy 'hippie' values are mixed in with martyrdom, with a wacky wizard thrown in the mix.

It's a great movie, but the values are really confusing, and by the end I'm not even sure what their point is supposed to be. I think I need to be stoned to really appreciate this one.


It's almost a 'difficult to define' movie, but it's mainly just a really weird drama. What really makes it stand out, besides the honestly surprising ending, and convoluted plot twists, is how perfectly the movie portrays teenage alienation. Is the main character alone by choice, or is he trapped? The movie could mean many things, but the main theme revolves around cycles. The main character is stuck in a cycle he can't break, because facing the truth and growing up is too he keeps going around in circles, trapped in his own mind.

Unfortunately, this is all hampered by a silly plot twists that belong in a pre-teen spy movie, not a thoughtful drama. Still, the ending is nice, but I wish they kept the movie realistic.


This movie is loooooooong and sloooooooooooooooow. Yes, there's parts you like. There are parts we all love, and some great characters...along with never ending, pointless scenes and songs you keep praying will end. Remember the spelling bee? Me neither.

Just watch how long this dang movie takes to even get started! A whiny pre-teen phone conversation, another eternity to open the box, and how many times does he go back and forth, to check out the difference between his normal and cartoon self?


One of the great ironies of this movie is the most entertaining parts are the villains, and 'wrong thinking people'. By comparison, the 'good' people, who follow rhyme and reason, are all incredibly boring. That's the punchline, during the big transformation sequence at the end, we watch everything interesting about the cartoon world disappear, replaced by pointless and featureless 'good guys'. When the characters lost their flaws, they lost everything that really defined them. Hell, the night sky wasn't worth watching until the kid started to mess with it.

Following rhyme and reason just makes you boring. The best part of being a kid is being a kid. There's a simple rule for watching this movie: every time one of the 'good' characters starts talking with each other, go do something else. When a 'bad' person shows up, start watching again.

Space Balls was wrong, good is not dumb. Phantom Tollbooth proves it's just dull.


What is it with Asian movies? This movie makes Wild Zero look normal. In one scene, the actor bites into a live octopus...FOR REAL! The actor actually began munching on a live small octopus with his hands and teeth!

The movie doesn't get any more normal after that. A man is kept prisoner for something like 15 years, constantly drugged, fed only fried dumplings, and urged to keep punching the wall.

His journey to discover 'why' is painful to watch, but filled with action and a dysfunctional romance that would have been more disturbing if it were more believable. The rest of the movie is disturbingly realistic, including a fight scene between the main character and dozen people, that plays out rather well, in realistic fashion, rather than action movie fashion.

The ending involves more dismemberment, incest and murder/suicide than I like to see in movies, and my friend Brian put it best after we all watched it 'I really didn't want to see that...but I'm glad I saw it'. Old Boy represents the Circus Peanut genre better than any other movie ever could.

You'll feel worse after seeing it, but you'll be glad you saw it.

Well, that's about it, so we finally have time to talk about my Shelley Duvall crush.


She is HOT!

Go check her out in the Shining again. Check out her corset in Mother Goose's Rockin Rhyme. Check out her see through t-shirt in Annie Hall. Don't watch Popeye (it's not worth it).

Look at this picture: HOT

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go propose.

Friday, August 01, 2008


It's true enough. I forgot to include three movies in my previous lists. Two are 'almost made it' movies, and the third deserves a spot as a movie that 'almost made the worst list'.

The first movie I forgot to mention was Double Indemnity. It's a standard affair/murder plot back from the days of film noir, with great acting and suspenseful twists. As an added twist, the main character, that delves into both crime and murder is...Fred MacMurray? You might remember him as the father on the old show 'My Three Sons'. He's obviously playing against type here, and he does it spookily well. Joining him as his good natured boss is...Edward G. Robinson?! You probably remember him as the big lipped gangster that from the old crime movies. He's the gangster they make fun of in all the Bugs Bunny cartoons (Yah see...yah). Seeing them essentially 'switch roles' is amazing, and very entertaining.

The third is 'A Shock to the System', starring Michael Caine. It's a suspenseful, 'root for the bad guy' type of movie that wouldn't have been nearly as good if Michael Caine wasn't the star. He steals the show, keeps it, and then puts it on his mantle. He earned it.

The movie that almost won a dishonorable mention is 'Battlefield Earth'. It didn't quite get worst because it's so laughably bad that it's mildly entertaining. The writing is some of the dumbest I've ever seen in sci-fi, and putting it all on the big screen doesn't make any of it any less idiotic. John Travolta steals the show...which is kind of like a three legged dog beating a one legged dog in a race. Still, he's funny. I'm pretty sure he wasn't really supposed to be though, and that's what's sad.


After the first post on my favorite/least favorite movies, I realized that there's quite a few movies out there that I love, but aren't really easy to define. Comedies? Dramas? Romances? Quite a few musicals find their way here as well, because what kind of drama has the actors sing and dance halfway through? Anyway, here's the best and worst of the mutts.

Honorable Mention: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This movie deserves a bonus as being the most faithful book to movie adaptation in history. Of course, this wasn't really a book that was ever meant to become a movie.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas follows the memoirs (and I have no doubt that this is all true, it's Hunter S. Thompson after all) of a drugged up, insane journalist and his side-kick/lawyer, Dr. Gonzo, who's even crazier than he is. Johnny Depp plays the role perfectly, and Terry Gilliam's direction is amazingly psychotic, just what the movie really needed.

What really fuels the movie is the friendship between Hunter and Dr. Gonzo, because while Hunter is more or less the same level of 'crazy' at all times, Dr. Gonzo goes from perfectly normal (when not on drugs) to dangerously psychotic. Not only does Dr. Gonzo play with guns, threaten people with knives, try to electrocute himself for no apparent reason, and bring home ridiculously underage girlfriends, but Hunter has to be the one that cleans things up...which has questionable results, obviously.

My favorite line, which sums it all up, comes near the end:

"Our only hope was that our crimes were so ridiculous, so unbelievable, that no one with the power to bring the hammer down upon us would every believe it happened."

At no point do they actually hurt anyone...but they manage to break virtually every other law on the books during the course of the movie, all in hilariously disastrous fashion.

BEST ??? MOVIE: Boondock Saints

Suspense? Comedy? Crime drama? Cop/detective movie? Action/buddy movie? Whatever it is, Boondock Saints is just as hilarious as it is action packed, and it keeps switching between two, almost completely different movies. You have the action/comedy hero vigilante movie, and then you'll switch to the police end of things, only instead of police officers trying to close in on the bad guys, they're closing in on the good guys! It's a fantastic film with strong performances from everyone involved, especially Wilum Dafoe, as the highly amusing macho, gay super-cop. I also recommend watching the deleted and extended scenes. They're all very funny, especially the scene with their mother.

The only bad thing I can say about this movie is that it skims the line separating it from a 'psychopathic snob' movie. In one scene, they kill two guys just because they're at the same place the other bad guys are (basically a sex show) and look like bad guys. I hate to break it to them, but they had more convincing evidence at the Salem Witch trials. Sure, a live sex show isn't exactly a classy place, and they were probably fairly scummy, but they could have easily killed perfectly innocent 'creepy guys'. Still, it's only one scene, and it's easy to ignore it.

As an added note, I'd like to take a moment to mention that the 'psychopathic snob' genre does not include movies like American Psycho or Silence of the Lambs. I'm not saying that all movies that have a likable villain fall into this category. What makes the movies 'psycho snobs' movies is how they're portrayed. Is their actions shown as 'good'. Does the director believe these actions are good, and should be emulated? Obviously no one expects you to act like Hannibal Lecter, Jason, Freddy or the Joker. They're bad people doing bad things. It's alright for them to be entertaining, as long as it's made very clear that the actions are not good ones.

Almost Made the List:

There's a lot of them. In fact, there's so many, the last genre will have to wait for next week.

MASH (Not much like the TV series based on it, but its gritty realism and brilliantly dark comedy makes it a great movie. All the characters are believable, and they don't tell jokes as much as they just act really silly, which comes across really well. As an added bonus, 'Radar' in the movie is played by the same actor that plays him in the show.)

Dr. Strangelove (This came really close to beating Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but just like Michael Caine, it's a very good movie that's only made legendary because of an actor, specifically, Peter Sellers. Peter plays three different parts in the movie, and they'll all leave you rolling in the aisles, especially the ex-Nazi scientist, who keeps accidentally lapsing into his old ways. A must see, but just a tad too slow to win the day.)

Shaun of the Dead (A great movie, although the balance between comedy and horror dips a little too close to horror sometimes, but it's still a brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable movie. As a side note, I'm not a fan of the 'one bite and you're a zombie' movies. It takes some of the suspense out of it. If they're bitten, you know they're dead. There's no longer any question about it.)

Project A-KO (What a delightfully bizarre anime, which like many great movies, keeps escalating as the movie progresses. It starts with teenage girls, madcap comedy and typical anime property damage, but things surprisingly escalate, with giant robots, an alien invasion, and three young girls who are way too wrapped up in their own petty fights to realize most of it is happening. Watch for the clue to A-KO's origin near the end, in the scene with her parents. The sequels weren't quite as good, but they rarely are.)

An American Werewolf in London (The balance between comedy and horror is done a bit better here, with a dash of romance thrown in. I really liked it.)

Donnie Darko (You've probably heard me rant, but this film is great. You have to watch the director's cut to really understand everything though, especially the fact that since Donnie has read the book, he already knows what's going to happen at the end. A wonderfully subtle movie.)

Sleepy Hollow (Dark and bloody, silly and scary. Like Shaun, it's a little too dark to really capture our hearts, but it doesn't detract anything from the movie itself, which is great. It takes a lot of courage to make a movie much darker than the viewers would like it to be. You always feel a little uncomfortable, and that's what makes the movie work.)

Being John Malkovich (Some movies go out of their way to be really strange, and either it works or it doesn't. In this case, it definitely works. John Malkovich plays himself, and finds out he's the center of a small universe. At no point is he glorified, as his only obvious merit is the fact he's famous. That's the point of the movie. Everyone's obsessed with him, simply because he's famous. If he wasn't famous, no one would have cared. It's a movie about our obsession with celebrities, and how far we're willing to go to become one ourselves...if only for fifteen minutes at a time.)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Very entertaining, and wonderfully confusing. It doesn't seem fair that 'Time Bandits' gets so much more attention than this movie. I think the problem was Time Bandits was an unexpected hit, which made everyone expect a lot from Baron Munchausen, and although I loved it, the general public didn't. Watch for cameos galore, and unforgettable fun. Of course, none of it will make much sense, or clearly fit any genre, but you'll have a good time.)

Secret of Nimh (The family/kids movie that isn't for kids, and Tim Burton had nothing to do with it. Dark, shocking and powerful, even today.)

Rocky Horror Picture Show (Perhaps the hardest to define of all. Filled with great songs, a ridiculous plot, and fantastic characters. In a sense, it's the most perfect 'Frankenstein'-like movie ever made. The movie itself is the monster. ^_^ Be sure to watch the special features, to hear all the great trashy details about its creation.)

The People Versus Larry Flynt (A painfully honest memoir, with all the highs and lows you can imagine. Woody Harrelson plays Larry Flynt, the lovable creep, to perfection. Yes, he's a sick, twisted old pervert, and yes, he has every legal right to be one. You can't help but cheer him on.)

Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee's first big movie, and definitely his best. Racial tension in a predominantly black neighborhood. It's not only about conflicting people or conflicting cultures, but conflicting mindsets. The characters from different races/backgrounds literally do not think the same way, and that's the true cause of the tension. It all comes out wonderfully, and in the end, no one is really the 'bad guy'. Shit just happens. The only question is if we choose to repeat it.)

Crybaby (Roger Water's best movie, which is kind of like saying...ah, I played that joke out. Listen, Roger Waters has made some weird movies, most of which include a 350 pound transvestite, usually as the femme fatale. His movies are strange and ugly, and this musical satire is a glorious celebration of both the weird and sensational. 'Hair' did the same thing, but I think Crybaby was better...damn there's a lot of Johnny Depp movies in here. What can I say? The man's a great actor.)

Fight Club (This movie was so much better than I expected, I would have hit the floor the first time I saw it...had I not already been on the floor. Drinking was involved. Anyway, the movie is often gross and always violent, but it manages to tell a great story, without ever dipping into the 'psycho snob' territory. None of this is portrayed as a good thing. If anything, it's a cautionary tale. Stay for the credits, and discover what the protagonist's real name is.)

Groundhog's Day (almost a straight comedy, but it dips far enough into romance and fantasy to make the cut. It would have been great in any case, but Bill Murray really carries the movie to impressive heights. A must see for any Bill Murray fan. It came close to winning, but it gets a little...repetitive. Ironic, huh?)

Groundhog's Day (almost a straight comedy, but it dips far enough...just kidding)

Rocky (Sports movie? Drama? Action? All these things and more. The first Rocky movie is incredibly solid, with a remarkable performance from Stallone. The inevitable match itself is movie history, and Stallone makes it believable, every step of the way.)

WHEW! That's a lot of hard to define movies! Hmm...I wonder if hard to define movies are my favorite genre? It's definitely possible.


Dishonorable Mention: Manos, the Hand of Fate

You knew it was coming, right? If you haven't seen this movie, you'll never see anything else like it, until you do. Filmed on a home video camera, with two people dubbing in all the voices later, a family, a building, ridiculous costumes, brides of Satan, a Satyr named Torgo, and theme music for the Satyr named Torgo.

No words can possibly describe how hilariously bad this movie is.

You know...I think it could have worked.

Hear me out, I think with the right crew, a better script, some better equipment, and a little more focus on Torgo, this movie could have actually been something...okay, it wouldn't have been great, but I can see how someone could start with the idea for this movie on paper (he was a fertilizer salesman actually) and go on to create this. What he didn't account for, was his complete inability to make a coherent movie. It isn't even consistent enough to be horror. If you mix the Exorcist with The Hills Have Eyes, throw in a dash of Zardos, and edit down to a PG rating, you'd get this movie. Why you'd ever want to is beyond me.

WORST 'WTF' MOVIE: Anything by Michael Moore

It's hard to hate Michael Moore movies without it sounding political. The truth is, I don't like Anne Coulter any better, but at least she has the decency not to make movies, and if she did, there would be genuine anger involved, and at least a little less ego.

I'm prepared to leave the politics aside. Forget whether he's right or wrong. Forget about the political issues altogether. Just imagine what would happen if he made a movie on...I don't know...puppies.

Let's review his likely steps:

1. Dress like an unpopular college Freshman. Perfect.

2. Grab a camera guy, and ambush pet store employees, interrupting them as they work. Ask all the tough questions, like 'what type of puppy is your favorite', and make sure you capture yourself in every shot. There's no reason to have the person you're interviewing more than half the screen. Edit the footage to make them look corrupt and irrational.

3. After filming yourself for a few months, add a few shots of actual puppies. Make sure you're the one holding the puppies in the scene.

4. Include a short animated film where the president stomps on puppies.

5. Run up to random politicians while they're walking through the street with their families. Demand answers as to what 'Washington' is doing for puppies. Claim the moral high ground. Have at least one shot of someone walking away, ignoring you.

6. Get thrown out by security at least once.

7. Edit the footage down to 187 minutes.

8. Make the DVD. Put a picture of yourself on the cover, wearing a giant puppy outfit. Consider putting actual puppies on the cover as well. Decide against it.

9. Win 20 awards.

10. Die. Just...die.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Down to the Nitty Gritty

We've only got a few genres left for the best/worst movies list, so let's make them count!

Oh, and I forgot to include 'First Blood' in the list of action movies that almost won. It's the first Rambo movie, and it's fantastic, mostly because it really isn't a Rambo movie. It's about post-Vietnam America, and its hostility towards the veterans after they came home. How that transformed into a series that inspired that scene in UHF, I'm not sure.

I also forgot to include 'Pirates of Penzance' in the list of comedies that almost won. If 'musicals' had their own genre in this list (I didn't include it because it crosses too many different types of movies) this would have won.


Horror is a weird genre. It can mean many things to different people. Hell, horror is close to 'suspense' in many ways, except instead of a tense courtroom scene, Jason breaks a teenager in half.

Okay, it's not exactly subtle, but it's a genre that's always been with us and always will be with us, as long as the censors allow it. Of course, it isn't so much because they're great movies, but because they're cheap to make, and always draw crowds. Here's the best of them.

Honorable Mention: Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2 can really be seen as the 'upgraded' version of Evil Dead 1, and in either case, they were moldbreaking movies. They combined horror and comedy, along with exciting cinematography and special effects. Of course, the real reason the movie is so great is because it's almost a superhero movie as well. Instead of following a villain, the movie follows a larger than life hero, Ash. Of course, this hero is far from invincible, but he never backs down from the forces of evil, and you sympathize and cheer him on during every step of the adventure.

Yes, Army of Darkness was also really good in exactly the same way, but Evil Dead 2 seems to do more with less, and unlike Army of Darkness, never really betrays its genre by falling into ridiculous madcap comedy. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but Evil Dead 2 is a better horror movie, in the pure sense. If you can really consider a horror movie 'pure'.

Best Horror Movie: The Birds

Better than Psycho and Vertigo combined, 'The Birds' is one of the most unique horror movies ever made. On paper, it sounds ridiculous, worthy of only a midnight silly movie marathon, but Hitchcock pulls it off with style. It's beautiful, suspenseful, and despite all logic, successfully makes birds seem scary.

It's admittedly a little slow at the beginning, but all Hitchcock movies are. It's his way of building suspense, until it escalates into a horrifyingly violent and gruesome finish.

Of course, what really makes 'The Birds' work so well isn't just that it makes birds scary, but that it exposes our own vulnerability. We think we're perfectly safe, living our peaceful lives in the middle of suburbia, but all it would take was a single attack, even by something as seemingly innocent as birds, and we'd be torn to pieces.

We've grown soft. Not only as a race, but as a culture, and Hitchcock exposes this vulnerability in masterful fashion.

Almost Made the List:

Darkman (an underrated horror/thriller with a hero that rivals Ash, merely out of pure rage. I'd still like to know how he pronounces words so well without lips though. Look for Bruce Campbell's cameo at the end.)

Deathrace 2000 (Roger Corman's best, which is kind of like saying 'Newark's best tourist attraction', but he does a really good job here, mostly in thanks to David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. You know what you are? A BAKED POTATO!)

Army of Darkness (a gloriously immature film, with all the action and comedy you could ever want, with a completely believable and sympathetic hero that embodies the perfect 'macho guy' persona. There's a completely unnecessary rape scene though, which really spoils the zany, fun atmosphere. I'm not sure what that was about.)

The Shining (the closest of all the 'almost won' movies to winning, in any category. It fell short simply because it's more 'visually stunning' and 'brilliantly performed' than actually horrifying or scary. At most, it's just startling and confusing. It's still a fantastic movie though, and no matter what anyone says, it's better than the book.)

Child's Play (before Chucky was driving Britney Spears off cliffs, he actually starred in a wonderful movie. A good deal of the suspense is lost now that everyone knows 'Chucky' is alive. In the first movie, it seems at first that the kid who owns him is killing everyone...until the brilliantly startling scene where Chucky comes alive.)

Wicker Man (almost a suspense movie, but it manages to cross over into horror. Ignore the Nicholas Cage remake, we're talking about the original here, starring Christopher Lee. It's the only good horror movie I know that's about human sacrifice, and not fantasy sacrifice either, but the way it actually used to be.)

Halloween 1 & 2 (1 is better than 2, but the movies work great as a double feature. It's far more realistic and subtle than the other 'unkillable' maniac movies, which is why I really like them. The musical score is legendary, and the opening scene is thoroughly disturbing in every possible way.)

Freddy Versus Jason (It's better than any other Freddy or Jason movie, although it's more 'silly' than 'scary'. Freddy steals the show, but Jason works well as his foil.)


Dishonorable Mention: Q

It'd be the worst if it weren't so laughably horrible. David Carradine acts as if he's performing at gunpoint, ready to run out the door at any moment, in a desperate move to remove himself from the movie.

Okay, the movie is about a 2 bit hood who is easily the least likeable character in all movie history (although for some reason I get the feeling he was supposed to be a 'funny' character) who finds the nest of a giant killer bird, that a killer cult is sacrificing people to. That's about it really. There really isn't much else to say. The special effects are hilariously bad, with stop motion special a 1982 movie. If it were only a little funnier, it'd be a parody. As it stands, it's merely an incredibly feeble attept at a horror movie.

Worst Horror Movie: Anything with Psychopathic Snobs

My least favorite genre of all time, which includes Natural Born Killers, the Devil's Rejects, The Doom Generation, and virtually anything by Rob Zombie.

The Psychopathic Snob genre is built on the idea that serial killers are really neat people that we should all emulate. The movies don't stop at glorifying violence, but portray the serial killers as renegade folk heroes, who can hardly be blamed for the occassional moral lapse, such as beheading a hooker.

How could they possibly justify this opinion? The core of the Psychopathic snob genre is built around this idea: "It's alright for me to murder people, because 'blank'."

Blank could be a disfunctional youth (which ignores all the people with childhood problems who didn't grow up to be cannibals), but that's not nearly as disturbing as the almost common excuse that it's okay to be a psychopathic killer, because other people are worse.

The 'worse' people are guilty of crimes including, but not limited to: being rude, demanding payment for goods and services rendered, being poor, having sex out of wedlock, taking drugs, having innapropriate relationships with farm animals, taking bribes, being mean, and having different political opinions than the director.

The essence of the psychopathic snob genre is the same as a superhero movie. The director sees people he doesn't like and thrashes out at them with pitiless murderous thugs, represented as nothing less than princes among men, which only goes to show how warped and disturbed the minds of the creators really are. It humanizes the maniacs by dragging everyone else down to their level, until good and evil are meaningless, and all that matters is who looks the coolest while disembowling innocent civilians.

If you think any past or childhood trauma can justify mass murder, you should not be allowed to make movies. Yes, that includes you, Oliver Stone. I'm telling your mother.

Best Samurai/Western Movie

It's really the same genre. Cowboy movies are an essential piece of American cinema, but the style and stories were lifted directly from the older black and white Samurai movies of Japan. Dark, mysterious heroes, troubled by haunted pasts and besieged by wicked men.

I prefer Samurai movies, overall, mostly because Cowboy movies often seem just a tiny bit cowardly. The heroes are nothing short of pillars of moral and physcial perfection, and the bad guys are so ridiculously bad, that the audience isn't allowed to even consider sympathizing with them. It wouldn't be any worse than action movies if they didn't dwell on it, but Cowboy movies are willing to spend half the movie showing how 'bad' the bad guy is. That's drifting a little too close to the 'psychopathic snob' genre for my taste. Tell a story, show me why the hero is good. Merely killing 'bad guys' is not enough to enoble them.

Anyway, here's the best of both sides of the world:

Honorable Mention: Yojimbo

Very very close to being the best of the genre, but the competition is pretty tough. Yojimbo started the 'wandering' hero movie genre, and has been remade more times than I can even count (although I didn't care for Fist Full of Dollars). Our hero isn't clearly a hero at first, but it unfolds slowly as the movie progresses, as he slowly tears apart two rival crime families, from the inside out.

The hero, Sanjuro, is just as vulnerable and human as he is powerful, making him one of the best heroes of cinema history. Unlike the Clint Eastwood remakes, you can tell that Sanjuro is truly making a sacrifice by choosing to fight, when most other people would run...especially when one of the villains shows up with a revolver. Great movie.

Best Samurai/Western: High Noon

This movie blew me away the first time I saw it. Instead of a young, renegade hero, our Sheriff is just a normal man who stood up to evil...only to see the villain freed by a loophole in the court system. No problem right? Sure, the bad guy is coming back for revenge along with three of the meanest men of the west, but the town will stand along side him and help him bring them down again...right?

Painful truths overcome traditional cinema idealism, as the town in which he saved slowly, one by one, begins to abandon him. Everyone encourages him to run, because no one wants to stand and fight, not when he's the target of the danger, instead of the town itself. Gary Cooper gives the performance of a lifetime, as the heroic Sheriff who discovers that the town he saved...isn't willing to save him in return, not when they seemingly don't need to.

Without giving too much away, our hero spends the movie trying to gather support of the town and his new bride, only to find them distant, and his wife (who is a pacifist Quaker) not understanding why he doesn't run. One of the best lines of the movie is from the main character's ex-girlfriend, to his new bride, after the bride asks why he's fighting, when he could just easily run. In response, the ex says,

"If you don't understand, then I can't explain it to you."

In a genre that's all about smashing the hero's nobility right into your face, it's wonderful to see a movie where his heroism is subtle, and Gary Cooper plays the part with masterful ability. The main song 'Do Not Forsake Me' is synonymous with the genre thanks to this film, and the last twenty minutes are arguably the best final act in movie history. Your jaw will not leave the floor until the ending credits.

Almost Made the List

Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood's best, with some of the most flawed and believable characters in the genre. If it were only a little faster paced, it might have won.)

Sanjuro (the sequel to Yojimbo, and almost as good. The ending scene is nothing short of spectacular, although the rest of the movie is slightly forgettable.)

Seven Samurai (destined to make the list, but a little too depressing and downbeat to make it one of the best. Still, Kurisawa's directing is some of the best in cinema history.)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (a very good movie, although I'm not convinced that Clint's character is as good as the movie suggest, and the 'bad' character is a little tacked on. Eli Wallach's character, 'the ugly' really steals the show, as we see he's bad, although not quite evil, and the movie thoroughly shows how he got that way. I'd go as far to argue that he's the real main character of the movie.)


Dishonorable Mention: The Magnificent Seven


Nope, I'm standing by that assessment. It's a bad movie. It's shallow and cowardly in all the ways I hate the Western genre for. What really makes it stand out as a poor movie is how inferior it is to Seven Samurai, the movie it was based on. In all honesty, this is really what drags the movie down. Watching the director and actors attempt to recreate a masterpiece into an American cowboy movie is heartbreaking. It's like watching someone try to 'fix' the world's largest house of cards while wearing mittens. Only it drags out over several hours.

Unlike Seven Samurai, the movie doesn't stay long enough with any one character for their personalities to really shine through. Most of them are summed up in short, shticky scenes, where they're personified by a personal trait, rather than their personality.

The bad guy is not only completely unbelievable, but idiotic as well. He degrades down to a Saturday morning cartoon style villain, where the story has to include 'excuses' for him to keep sparing the heroes, to keep him from easily winning.

I didn't enjoy a single moment of this movie, and I can't see how anyone really can.

Worst Samurai/Western: The Gunslinger

Roger Corman at his worst. Yes, Roger Corman decided he could make a western. It's so bad, it's almost laughable, if it weren't so boring.

You'll call every plot twist long before they happen, you'll cheer when the supposedly 'sympathetic' characters get gunned down, you'll laugh at the horribly disastrous continuity and direction errors, and finally, you'll wonder who's still alive in town at the end. Isn't everyone dead? Is the new Sheriff the Sheriff of himself now?

Yeah, that's an MST3K joke, but it's the only way to watch the movie. If only they MSTied the Magnificent Seven...


Murder, mayhem and Muppets. What better genre to round out the list?

Honorable Mention: Spirited Away

A brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable masterpiece, filled with fantasy, childlike wonder, and a believable main character that isn't an idiot, despite being a child. The violence almost keeps it from being a family movie in the traditional sense, but it's not like 'Alice in Wonderland' is much better. Uplifting and entertaining, with very well defined characters and brilliant imagry. As a bonus, despite being a Japanese import, the voice acting in the dubbed version of the movie is some of the best I've ever seen. It's a must see for the whole family.

Best Family Movie: The Incredibles

Pixar never fails to disappoint, and the incredibles is their best movie of all. I can't think of a movie that's just as entertaining for kids, parents and teenagers all at the same time. It's the closest thing I've seen to the 'perfect' movie, in the sense that it has something for absolutely everyone.

Honestly, it's really hard to find anything wrong with the movie. Some of its plot hooks are a little silly (legally, you can't hold it against someone for saving your life...although you might be able to argue that they weren't legally qualified to attempt), what's with all the really short characters, and...Gazer beam? Who thought that name was a good idea?

Really I'm just nitpicking. It's hilarious, action packed, exciting, and includes the best villain in Disney history. The Incredibles also goes a step further, and actually succeeds in being poignant, and brave enough to suggest that it's alright for people to excel, and be better at things than other people.

"Everyone's special, Dash."

"That's the same thing as saying no one is."

Oooo...and that line was from a kid. Priceless.

Almost Made the List:

Most of the Muppet Movies (They're all great, but not quite as great as the original Muppet Show or Sesame Street.)

All the Wallace and Grommit movies and shorts (they haven't made a bad one yet. If you haven't seen 'Curse of the Were-rabbit', I'd go check it out now. Right now. Go to netflix. I'll wait.)

Aladdin (most of the newer Disney films are really good, but Aladdin's the best of them. It's hysterical and fun for the whole family. Beauty and the Beast is also really good, and Hunchback of Notre Dame was much better than expected.)

Nightmare Before Christmas (a difficult movie to define, but overall the most pleasantly disturbing family movie ever made, to boot. Everything about this movie is great...if only it weren't so over-hyped, it might have rated better.)

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (they're both great, although the newer version is barely a family movie. Gene Wilder manages to outperform Johnny Depp, although the second movie was more thoughtful, and loyal to the original book. If we were looking for a movie where the remake was just as enjoyable as the original, this would probably have won, right alongside...)

The Christmas Carol/Scrooge (I prefer the musical, but they're both very well made, and enjoyable for the entire family. My only complaint with the original is that the 'poor' Bob Cratchett appears to be living in a mansion, and my only complaint with the musical remake is that I now pray nightly for Tiny Tim's death.)

Wizard of Oz (just a silly family movie, all things considered, but a great one)

The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (a little ridiculous, racist, preachy and slow to start, but the movie really succeeds in showing us now only how/why the people are bad, but also how they can change, not only for the good of the town, but for their own good as well. Yeah, it's preachy, but they actually have something worth preaching.)


*dons protective gear*

Dishonorable Mention: Princess Mononoke

I hate this movie.

The main characters aren't believable, the strong and independent princess is quite weak and in need of a man to save her, just like in most anime. Japan wouldn't know a strong female character if it hit them in the face...okay, Chihiro in Spirited Away was good, but that's it.

The worst part of the movie is it constantly beats you over the head that nature is magical and wonderful, and that humans are horrible monsters for destroying it.

Listen: nature is a brutal and heartless place, and giving animals noble personalities doesn't change the fact that there isn't a single pig on earth that wouldn'd eliminate an entire species in exchange for a mouthful of food.

Animals aren't noble. Only people have the ability to be noble, and the movie misses that point even worse than 'Ferngully'. Plants and animals don't have thoughts, beliefs or morals, and giving the 'nature spirts' deep meaningful personalities and tragic deaths merely belittles humanity.

Sigh...I don't want to go too much on a rant here (we don't need another political blog), but Princess Mononoke focuses on how bad we are to the animals...and you know what? I don't care. Fuck that giant wild boar. What's he ever done for us? The real issue is how destroying the environment hurts ourselves, and our fellow human beings. This movie couldn't missed the mark more if it tried. I could have forgiven it if it were actually entertaining...but it isn't.


*bricks thrown by fanboys fly over head*

Alright, it's now time to alienate the rest of my readers.

Worst Family Movie: Miracle on 34th Street (original or remake, doesn't matter)

There is no Santa Claus. There just isn't. I'm not anti-Christmas, but this movie is based solely around lying to children. What about those ones who've almost stopped believing? Those are the ones the movie rushes in for, to ensure that they'll keep believing no matter what...

Sick. Sick. SICK!

There's something seriously wrong with this movie. Oh sure, there's many Santa Claus movies, and 'Polar Express' wasn't much better in many regards, but this movie insults me on a moral and spiritual level.

The worst is the big final speech, where the lawyer states to everyone, in the middle of court:

"Isn't a small, wonderful lie better than a hard, painful truth?"






I wish I could've been in that courtroom. How dare he suggest, in a court of law, that lies can replace the truth. That horrible ugly truths are inferior to the shiny, wonderful tripe that he's selling. That convictions and deeply held beliefs are just 'too hard' to deal with, and explaining every difficult situation with a colorful 'magical' answer is so much better.

This movie sickens me, especially since it's targeted at kids. For an antedote, read or watch Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. That book also explains why it's important to have Santa Claus and believe in him, but it also explains why. It isn't just an easy little lie to tell kids, simply because telling the truth is more difficult.

That's really the essence of the movie: Santa Clause is great because it's easy. Not easy for kids, but easy for adults. It's easier than convincing kids to be good without reward or punishment. It's easier than accepting the fact that most bad deeds go unpunished. It's easier than accepting the world for what it really is.

That's just sick.

Well that about wraps things up! All that's left for next week are...TWO BONUS GENRES YOU WOULDN'T EVEN THINK OF! DUN DUN DUN! ^_^