Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dark Knight - Aftermath

I recently read an article that claimed that The Dark Knight “has become one of the most mistake-ridden films of the year so far” with movie-goers catching 16 mistakes in it. Granted, some of these film flubs are minor, such as hair being out of place from one shot to the next. Some, such as an extra S.W.A.T. truck appearing during a chase scene, are more major. All that said, the cold showers I took after seeing the movie are kicking in. I still love the movie, but I’m starting to view it in another light.

Essentially, after all is said and done, I still prefer TDK over Batman Begins. However, that is for one major reason – The Joker. Had The Joker not been so devilishly fun to watch, had Heath Ledger not been so completely immersed in the character, I am not sure I would have enjoyed the film as much as the one that preceded it. The biggest difference to me between the films is that, in Begins, I felt as though Christopher Nolan was really targeting a few key themes, which were explored in depth. In Dark Knight, there was so much going on that a lot of potentially interesting themes were lost or superficially explored at best. For example, when Bruce Wayne says that he’s “seen the man [he] would have to become” to defeat the Joker, I recall thinking that I’d not seen it. Had that line been absent, I’m not sure I would have come away with a feeling of Batman’s internal struggle. Sure, he was torn by what ramifications Batman’s existence has had on Gotham (criminals, copy cat vigilantes), but the darkness he felt growing inside him eluded me.

Another point that snagged me *SPOILER ALERT* was the Gordon “death”. There’s really little way that Gordon, the police, Batman, or The Joker could have planned that incident. More so than anything in Begins, this beat seemed something thrown in purely for the audience, something that did not further the plot in any particular (or plausible) way. *END SPOLIER*

What I’m getting at – and it’s odd, because Onyx, who can barley name a bat-gadget to save his life – was defending the film against me – the Dark Knight of Queens, NY – is that, overall, I think the movie had more poorly explained plot gimmicks and superficial thematic explorations than Batman Begins did. However, Joker reigned supreme in The Dark Knight, and, due in no small part to Heath Ledger’s performance, the movie was much more exhilarating and entertaining than Begins. Of course, I’ll still see it again in theatres and buy it as soon as it comes out (not to mention the poster and t-shirt I’ll probably pick out online this weekend). I’m just being a knit-picky fan (and former film student).

But *FINAL SPOLIER* how the hell was Eric Roberts standing in the hospital scene, when his character was dropped four stories just nights before?

Wonderful Life

I've realized recently that since graduation, my days can be divided into three types:

A) In which I write nothing. I don't even pretend I'm thinking about my script. These days I cook, I clean, I go running, I hang out with friends, I watch TV, I go to the library or read in the park, I remember to eat fruits and vegetables, I consider getting a pot of lavender or a cat. I am a normal, functioning human who is generally happy.

B) In which I write. Or at least I say I'm going to write. In reality I usually only accomplish one or two pages, five if it's a super good day. Most of the time is actually spent in self hatred, pretending to write, getting distracted by TV or the internet, and punishing myself by doing dishes.

C) In which I WRITE. These are the days I really. Fucking. Write. I don't eat, I don't drink, I hardly go to the bathroom, I don't pick up my phone, cups of half-drank tea or water surround me. Usually with consecutive days like these, I can pound out a script from anywhere between a month to a week. During this time I don't sleep: I pass out, and dream unsettling dreams.

The past few days have been C), and I finally finished my rewrite, as according to my angry vow that I will complete it within a month. I mainly sustain off of left overs during this time. On Tuesday, it wasn't until I got up to get another cup of water, did the warning signs finally reach my brain, and I realize that the food has gone sour. By then I finished half the bowl without noticing. Scenes after scenes are bulldozed through. Chunks of script are ripped out and new characters/scenes put in place. And around 11:30, I finished the script (which, might be total crap filled with spelling mistakes, but I refuse to think about it right now). By then my brain has been rendered into a lump of tofu. Electrically charged, but with no higher function than bean curd. My apartment is a mess. The dishes are piling out of the sink. I haven't ran for a while and adrenaline is at an all time low (although in the past I've been able to get adrenaline rushes from writing). I needed to vacuum. I REALLY needed to do my laundry. I can smell my trash rotting in the kitchen. I realized that I didn't pick up my grandmother's calls three times in a row.

It's funny, but I never thought I had to choose between living healthily like a normal person, or writing and feeling like there's meaning to my life. During days which I don't write, it never ceases to amaze me how much time I have to do so many things. Is that what normal people feel like? To have HOURS after work doing whatever they please? At times I feel that somehow I can REALLY WRITE and carve out an hour or two to make sure my living standards have not gone subhuman, but so far no luck. It seems that I either go all the way or not at all.

Perhaps, in a few years time, I'd be able to achieve a balance.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trailer Trash IV: The Van

"Bobby couldn't make it... til he went Fun-Truckin' in a Van!"

Show of hands, based on what you just saw, how many of you need to see this movie?

The trailer gives the impression that the movie is short on plot, but REALLY delivers on van accessories.

IMDB offers up the following (god-awful) logline: "Bobby is a shy Los Angeles teenager who buys a sleek chevy van for himself to impress, pick up, and seduce various teenage girls to spruce up his dull life while trying to get money by drag racing other vans to finance operating it."

Hey, Cake-Man - Lose your "pizzazz"? Not "making it with the chicks"? Then it's time to buy a van. And then drag race it. The Chicks love that!

"It's Van-tastic!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Writing Week part 30

The big re-read!

It’s strange, as I was sitting at my computer reading through the post-Apocalyptic spec in its third incarnation, I had the most fleeting sensation of hating the words before me, not because they are dull or unmoving, but because they might still not be the final words in the final draft. The feeling passed nearly as quickly as it came, but the sense of being ready to be done with this project and the uncertainty of whether that will be the case this go around.

I like the project a lot. I think it’s something that can certainly appear on screens across the country (and, dare I say, world). Even in its first draft stage, I felt that way – but that’s mostly due to the universally low quality of a lot of movies out there. (Mine wouldn’t have been that low, I’d hope, but it would have been flawed.) With this draft, though, after so many late-night pow-wows and extended discussions over pints throughout the city, I’m not sure anymore. I doubt whether the script is working, but that’s because I’ve restructured it, which I didn’t really do in any previous re-writes. I’ve simplified some things, streamlined others (both of which I needed to do), but I worry they might have lost something vital to them in earlier drafts. I tried to play up the themes more, but in doing so, I wonder if I made them either too blatant or too separate.

All those questions, alas, are why I’m doing the big re-read. Well those, and the fact that I jumbled things around and changed this and that so much that I need to make sure nothing appears twice or lacks consistency, because I thought I’d added a scene that never made it in. This is certainly the slowest read through I’ve done. That’s probably because I’m looking at every scene, every line, every single word for things I can cut. I’m a street sweeper, and I have no idea whether the road ahead is paved or mud. Somehow, I’ve got to drive to the other end and make it spic and span. The League might just have to get out and push if I sink into a pothole.

Back from sunny San Diego...

My final costume count was 36 Jokers at Comic Con International - a whopping 27 based on the Heath Ledger Joker, and only nine of the classic look.

On the screenwriting front, Ken Levine has posted a great article on his blog about finding a perfect screenwriting partner.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Death Neglected I: There Can Only Be One

For many, middle school was the worst time of their lives. Sexual tension, cat fights, pretense of friendship, bullying. Secrets, shame, awkwardness. It's all there. It is, however, also the first time people start to take control of their lives, and not just stand up for themselves, but also for the things they find important to them. In addition, it is when most have their first real crush. And there's something about first loves that, despite how ridiculous and fragile they often are, makes it real and lasting in one's mind.

And now, take this nostalgic moment to remember all those young, savage yet innocent friends and foes from in middle school. Give them each a weapon (don't forget one for yourself), and start killing. Because there can only be one.

Nope, not that movie.

Battle Royale, the cult classic Japanese film, is not actually legally banned in the US, but no distribution company want to touch it. And understandably so. When the next Columbine happens, no one wants to take the blame. Plot: Forty-two normal 15 year olds going on their middle school graduation trip, are sent instead to an island and made to kill each other within three days' time. If more than one is alive at the end of 3 days, the exploding collar on their necks will, well, explode.

Good times.

One can still get the bootleg version of the film in the US though, so skip down to your local chinatown and grab this fun-for-the-whole-family!

Here's a fan trailer that I think introduces the movie better than the official one:

After the movie, one does think about (well, at least I thought about) if you can kill your best friend. What if he/she is coming at you with an ax? What if he/she is coming at you with an ax, and your girlfriend stands behind you? And, even if you are able to answer yes or no with certainly, if the situation does happen, would you actually be the person you always thought you were?

The thing that I truly enjoy about Battle Royale, is that hardly any of the students are "nameless meat". You're introduced to near everyone, with flashbacks or individual goals and dreams, before they need to make the decision to kill or to be killed. Some characters you only get a line or two from them, but those lines, and the action that follows it, go a long way of revealing who they are. In general, I'm actually quite impressed with it.

The two actors that American audiences have the highest chance of recognizing are Chiaki Kuriyama, who was Gogo in Kill Bill, and Tatsuya Fujiwara, who played Light Yagami in the two giant Death Note movies. The first 30 seconds of the film is the hardest part to swallow. The prologue, or, the reason why Battle Royale is happening, makes little to no sense. But if you can chill out, sit back, and say, yeah why not, this is Japan we're talking about after all, you'll have a wonderful bloody time with this movie. Especially if you're watching it with classmates.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trailer Trash III: Hercules in New York

While we're on an Arnie kick, here's a classic one. I only wish it was the original theatrical trailer and not the post-Terminator VHS release...

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? Definitely. Onyx would agree.

At 0:50 - do we really need to see that? REALLY?
At 1:10 - Can anyone translate this for me?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Writing Week part 29

Another week down. Like recent weeks, though, this one has been pretty stellar. Besides the still lingering high of The Dark Knight, I've been making some progress in my post-Apocalyptic spec.

Before I go any further, I have to take a quick detour to talk about... PAGE NUMBERS!!! I don't know about the rest of you out there, but those of us in the League wind up doing a lot of talking about page numbers, as in, "I'm aiming for 105 pages" or "You should really cut about 7 pages" etc. etc. I don't know why that's become such a frequent topic of discussion, but it has. Kind of like asking a fellow fan about sports stats, we'll ask one another how many pages we're at, what we're aiming for, how many we've cut. The reason for the tangent is, I'm about to do that now.

Onyx and Zombie suggested to me that my 112 page script would be an incredibly tight, solid 105 pager. So, among other things this week, I've shaved off 7 pages. I don't miss anything that's gone, so I guess that's a good sign.

I'm pretty sure I posted before about a late night discussion Zombie and I had where we worked out a lot of the kinks in my draft. Springing off of that, I was able to consolidate a few scenes, and make those that remain flow into one another much more naturally. Overall, I think that the pacing is much more effective, and I'm desperately hoping that the themes are much clearer now. There were a couple of things I had wanted to convey in the script that simply weren't coming across yet, in part because I wasn't exactly sure how to make them work, and therefore, wasn't really trying to. I think they're there now. At least in spirit.

I still have a ways to go with this. That much I know. But I think I can see the horizon. Once I do a read through to make sure everything that should be in there is - at this point, I know the world and the ideas behind the script so well that I could very well just not even be seeing the holes in it anymore - it'll be time to send this latest draft out to the League again. I just have to make sure it's different, yet effective enough to make it worth their time again.

Vacation coming to a close...

I'm leaving the big apple for the next week on a stint of (fun) work-related travel. July has been the busiest time of the year for me at my day job, and it's just been taking it all out of me. I've been getting home and having the hardest time putting words to the page and it's been very frustrating.

I finished a first draft of a new screenplay in late June and have only really been picking at it with a fork since then. I have a good feeling that after this little hiatus I'll be starting something new rather than going straight into the full-blown rewrite.

I'm hoping that after a week in sunny San Diego, when things start to slow down at work, I'll be refreshed enough to get back into the game. It's probably good just to take it easy for a couple weeks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why So Serious?

I saw The Dark Knight on Friday. I'd have posted my review earlier, but I had to spend the past two days taking a cold shower to calm myself down. The movie competes - along with air, water, Mom's cooking, and love - for the title of "best anything ever."

Ok, before I go on, I should say that I'm perhaps a little bit biased. I probably have one of the largest Batman trade and graphic novel collections in New York City. (That's not a challenge, internet dwellers, simply background.) So, it's fair to say that I'll watch just about anything Batman (and I have). I thought Batman Begins was great. When I emerged from the theater after seeing that 3 years ago, I didn't know how a Batman movie could be better. Now I do.

Like so many other people, I went into the screening having heard that the film was incredible, that Heath Ledger was a great, a definitive Joker, and that the movie was one of the best of the year, if not the best. About half an hour in, I reminded myself of all these things, and thought, "I'm liking it, but I don't know if I'd say any of those things yet." Almost immediately after, the movie really hit its stride, and I was mesmerized. The film was incredible; it was thoroughly entertaining and much darker than I had imagined. Heath Ledger was the Joker; I wasn't watching him play the Joker, I was just watching Joker. And, there is no way, in my opinion that DC Comics can publish any other Joker from here on out. Joker will never again be able to poison Gotham's fish. He's no longer that character. He will forever be the Joker from The Dark Knight.

I cannot articulate concisely enough my appreciation for this movie. I loved it 100%. Aside from an annoying SWAT team member who must have been owed a favor and thus was given lines, I had very few problems at all with the film. It not only lived up to its hype, but it surpassed it. My only real issue with it is that, now, I don't know how I can watch Batman Begins again. It made that movie look like child's play. It wass so much darker, so much more chaotic, and Joker is by far the most riveting character to watch in the franchise.

Now off to see it again!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trailer Trash II: Troll 2

Troll 2 is a special little doozy of a film. Rated near the bottom of IMDB's Worst 100 Movies, the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the first (awful) Troll movie. So little, in fact, that the movie doesn't even have trolls in it. The midgets in halloween costumes you'll see in the trailer are GOBLINS, and goblins are the stars of the movie Troll 2.

So, to explain things... a happy family takes a vacation to the town of Nilbog, which definitely isn't "goblin" spelled backwards. That magical floating head you see is the deceased grandfather, who sometimes shows up to give advice. The goblins eat people, but only if they turn them into plants first. To turn into a plant, you must... ugh. I'm not even going to bother explaining any further. If the trailer looks awful to you, I assure you the movie is actually worse.

Golden moments:

At 1:00 - "They're eating her! And they're going to eat me!"

And because I can't go a week without linking to an Onion AVClub story, they pit Troll 2 against the even worse Manos: Hands of Fate, with clip goodness. Manos is deserving of its own post here soon...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

23 and Counting

Here we go, my first post as a 23 year old. Not a bad number 23, although some would say it was a bad movie. (Ba Da Chh!) I’ve actually never seen The Number 23, but I should have gone to support Jim Carey. I always liked him, especially when he dabbled with more dramatic, less zany rolls. Some of my fellow league members may disagree with me here, to the point where I have a knife in my back, but I think that if Jim Carey was never in Batman Forever and decided to show his darker more dramatic side in a role, the new Joker could have been a good fit. (Ducking as Cake Man’s empty whiskey bottle flies over my head)

Anyway, this post was never supposed to be about Jim Carey really. It’s supposed to be about my goals for another year on the planet. Shortly after I turned 22 I posted that I wanted to move back to the artistic hotbed that is New York, get a job, and place in a screenplay competition. Most people tell me I did all three. It depends on what your definition of “place” is. I was envisioning top three scripts. I made top sixteen. Some days I say I accomplished all the goals, other days I don’t, but they’re old goals. Time for new ones. My Grandma always says write down your goals. I think this counts.

Goal #1- Place in a screenplay competition. By that I mean...I’ll just say better than top 16.

Goal #2- Have six screenplays polished to the point where I wouldn’t mind dropping any of them on a producer’s table. Right now I have one in such condition, and a few others that aren’t too far away.

Goal #3- Have conversations with three people I’ve never met before who are currently working in relevant corners of the entertainment industry.

There they are, my screenwriting related goals for 23. Come 24, if the world hasn’t ended yet, I’ll come back to this post and measure my progress. In any event, 23 will be a better year than 22. The other day I just realized I spent nine months of 22 with my brother’s old leather couch as my primary bed. Now I sleep on a queen size bed of my own and in my own apartment. In the end I think that might be the real progress.

Trailer Trash: Commando

The trailer for (the cinematic masterpiece) Commando does just about everything right to sum up the movie in two minutes: it offers up bite-size portions of all of the movie's most essential elements. You get gunfire and explosions, cheesy catchphrases, and tough-guy mugging from Arnie.

I think more bullets are fired in this trailer alone than in all of Saving Private Ryan.

Sequence that hurt my eyes the most: the rapid-fire cutting at 0:30 while Arnie is putting on his badass dress. Did that almost give anyone else a seizure?

"Let's party."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Writing Week part 28

This has been another week of re-writes. Some major, others not. But re-writes, nonetheless. And, I'll tell you, it feels good. Knock on wood, but I think this round of re-writes is going well. I'm feeling very good about them. I think I'm making some solid, strong changes, without compromising the strengths of the script so far.

It's a bit of a strange feeling for me, actually. Normally, I hate re-writes, as I'm sure you've gathered. But this time, I'm actually very excited about them. I think I've just gotten myself to the point where I can recognize the problems within my script (this is the post-Apocalyptic spec), and am eager to iron them out. For the most part, I think that's what I've been doing. Frankly, I've never been so excited about re-writes, so it's actually quite refreshing. I feel that I can see the script improving before me as I work on it. Though I know we tend to focus on page numbers a lot on this blog, they do matter (to a degree), and I've also been seeing those drop off. Onyx and Zombie have both told me that my script is a solid 105 page adventure. As it stands, though, it was at 112 before I began reworking it. Now, it's down to 107 - shedding weight like a beauty queen.

All told, though, I am very pleased with the direction it's taking. The content itself is really not changing a whole lot, which goes back to something I believe I posted here, and something I know I've talked with the other Leaguers about; the quality of our first drafts has improved dramatically. When we were still in school, even seniors in college, our first drafts were barely competent, could hardly stand on their own. Now, though, everyone in the League is turning out very strong, solidly built first drafts. I think this is a combination of both experience writing, but also of the level of feedback we've been giving one another. Without other writers prodding us on, forcing us to ask the major questions about our work, I don't think we'd be quite where we are now.

Anyway, I hope to have the re-write done soon. Yes, we hope to get good responses from the competitions in the next month or so. Beyond that, though, I'm just also excited to have this "done." It's finally fun again, and I'm enjoying working on it again, and I can only hope that it leads to continued interest in other scripts, either re-writes, too, or new.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In Soviet Russia...

I know this is a music video, but somebody really needs to ink a deal right away to turn this thing into a movie. Into TEN movies. Holy crap this rules.


Via Kid Sis in Hollywood.

I tried to think of a cold war joke to put here, but it's still too early and I've barely cracked my coffee...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Onyx!

From, The League...

(We'll let you drink this one...)

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Writing Week part 27

I started a play this week. It’s actually the feature length version of a one-act I wrote back in my freshman year of college (and, surprisingly, one of the pieces from college that other Leaguers who had class with me remember most). It’s tough going, very slow going. I’m not sure that I like it so far, and I’m writing at a snail’s pace, compared to what I usually do. I’m getting somewhere in the neighborhood of a page a day with this thing, which could be for any number of reasons (currently, the character I’m working on speaks only in rhyme, so that is slowing things up a bit).

Not so far back in my mind, I know that writing a play at this point in time is not necessarily the “smartest” thing to do. We’re hoping for some good competition results next month, and, either way, are all doing what we can to have a few more polished scripts each by the end of the summer. So clearly, starting a new stageplay works against that goal. Yet, on the other hand, the protagonist in this play is very much a character I identify with (though our situations in life are incredibly different). I’m at a point where, due to various happenings, desires, feelings, and an ever increasing sense of restlessness, I need to write a character I identify with now. A character I can see as myself. Isn’t that one of the supreme purposes of writing, anyway?

I do want to get back to my screenplays, and after another round of feedback and another look at my post-Apocalyptic spec, I’ll attack it soon. I want to get it ready by the end of August, and hope to have it done sooner than that. But I am not the protagonist in that script. I don’t do what he does, I don’t act as he does or talk like him. He’s fun, and I enjoy writing him, but he can’t help me express what I need to right now. He’s great at making it cross country after Armageddon hits Earth, but he can’t iron out all that I’m thinking about now.

Hell, I barely can.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

swordplay and acid trip

Thanks to the NYAFF, I’ve been bingeing on Asian films, and am again reminded how Director Lee Myung-Se is greatly underappreciated.

One reason is because you can’t really find his films in the states. To be honest, I’ve only seen two of his films, but he blew me away. The first film I saw was Duelist. I went to see it almost exactly a year ago with MWS. The premise seemed interesting. Korean historical martial arts detective vs. assassin film. I can dig that. 111 mins later, MWS and I walked out the theater in a complete daze.

After a long discussion, MWS and I figured this is what happened: 3 days into Duelist’s shoot, aliens planning on destroying earth by screwing with people’s minds steal every single copy of the script. The cast and crew had to choose between continue to film, or be publicly beheaded with swords made by the tears of their children and shame of their ancestors. So everyone went into improv over-drive. Occasionally, someone would shout, “Wait! I...I think I remember a scene from the script!” and they’d shoot that. And so a movie filled with “wait, what??” scenes was born.

And yet the first thing I said coming out of the movie was “I got to own that fucking thing”. It is by far the most beautiful martial art movie I’ve seen, easily topping Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Hero, etc. Of the protagonists, one comes off a bit nuts and the other autistic. But when they fight, they are beautiful together. It’s as if a veil has been lifted, and they can fully express themselves clearly. They’re completely in love with each other, and they want to kill one another. At one point, a character describe seeing a battle: “Don’t know whether I was possessed by the moonlight or the snow.... a man and a woman were fighting like crazy with some sharp swords. But they also looked like they were dancing. It was like they were making love under the moonlight as well.” When a writer writes lines like that, he can only pray that that scene look kinda sorta that good. But the fight in Duelist looked exactly like that. So rarely is a movie simultaneously serious, cheesy, beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, and incredibly sexy. It made so little sense, but you can’t look away.

M, despite not having its script taken by extraterrestrials, is a psychedelic movie that a NYAFF rep described as an acid trip. It’s about 3 characters: A novelist battling writer’s block finds himself haunted by nightmares, unable to recall parts of his days and feeling someone is following him. A girl follows her favorite novelist around with both a sweet first-crush shyness and a creepy stalkerish undertone, but soon she finds herself being chased by a shadow in the dark herself. A rich businessman’s daughter finds her boyfriend drifting away from her, but is what’s come between them another woman, his mysterious new novel, madness, or a ghost?

While Duelist has great color and light/shadow play, in M there is all that and smoke and glass and mirrors, ghosts and insanity, dripping water and phones that don’t stop ringing. So rarely does a director take so much care in every shot. Each scene drifts into one other. Not only can you not tell if you’re looking at a dream or memory or reality, sometimes you don’t even know whose is it. The next moment has equal chance being sweet or creepy, and it kept my attention the whole film.

(This is a music video, but I find it depicts the movie better than the trailers I've found.)

There are a lot of criticism against both movies, and I can see exactly why. But even with those flaws, I am personally extremely impressed by Lee Myung-Se’s craftsmanship, and wish that more people can see his movies.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

War Drums

It’s The League versus 3,860 other writers. We’re like the 300 Spartans, only in real time and not quite as ripped.

The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards ( has posted a “Map Of Submissions” –or something to that effect—on its website, a world map complete with a little flag planted in every country that a submission came from this year. Onyx and DOA have been the two who most explored the competition circuits in the past, and the last one Onyx entered saw something like 976 submissions. According to PAGE, that’s how many came from California alone this time.

I did the math (because I'm a nerd), and we comprise roughly .136% of the applicants. This is it. One month from now, we’ll get the first round of results. From there, it’s another two months of waiting for the final winners list. The line is drawn. Five versus 3,860.

Who will be left standing?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wanted - Ridiculous Doesn't Do It Justice

Onyx and I saw Wanted last night (free screening a friend let me know about). For what it was – a mindless, suspend your disbelief at the door action flick – it was fun. It was fun in a way that made me laugh out loud at just how ridiculous some of it was. Don’t get me wrong, I love a “good” ridiculous movie every now and then (I will argue to praise for Shoot ‘Em Up any day of the week; when the first death in the movie is death by carrot, how can you not get on board?). Unlike Die Hard 4, Shoot ‘Em Up and Wanted didn’t seem to want to be anything more than an over the top action movie. (Bruce Willis could have played John McClane with a bit more camp this last time; it would have suited the over the top film better – though I know that’s not the McClane we all love.)

Going in knowing that Wanted was going to be full of impossible shots, head splitting action (literally), and a plot most likely held together with Elmer’s glue, I still couldn’t help but take issue with the movie at times. My biggest problem, actually, was the setting. I could have sworn the movie was taking place in New York, and after the screening, Onyx said the same thing. But the cops were definitely not NYPD – they looked European. Then, we were in a different city all together. The movie was taking place in the same city, but it certainly didn’t look like it was shot in the same place we’d been spending time. It got to the point where I was devoting as much time to trying to place the action as I was to watching it. This just goes to show something that Zombie usually brings up first—place your movie, ground us somewhere, even if the “where” is not integral to the plot. It just plain helps.

There were a couple of inconsistencies in the picture, too, which I learned to get past, but stuck with me after the screening nonetheless. At one point, a character runs at above normal speed through an office hallway and jumps across a wide city street, crashing through the opposite building’s window. In the meantime, he shoots three assassins. (This was a laugh at the ridiculousness moment.) Though a feat such as that was explained by a heightened adrenaline rush, no one else really did anything comparable throughout the entire film. If one man is superman, shouldn’t others be, too, if they’re all equals?

I guess I have to stop dissecting it now, though, or I’ll go nuts. One thing I can say the movie did well was to establish its rule: there are no rules. No physics. No pain. No impossible shot. Cars can just about fly. As can people. And bullets can be trained to fly like model airplanes, over, around, and under anything in their way. Will this movie become a classic to air on AMC twenty years from now? I doubt it. But, at least I wanted to watch it the through to the end.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Vote for Billy!

Let’s forget about Obama and McCain for a second and talk about a man that we need to rise in our government. Sonny Landham, better known to me as Billy from the 1987 action flick Predator, is making a bid for the Kentucky senate. You can read more about it at the CNN link below.

Tough guy actor eyes Senate seat

So why should anybody vote for Billy? And believe me, it is Billy you’re voting for. I’ll go ahead and give you four reasons.

Reason #1- Great laugh. If you haven’t seen Predator yet, check it out. He’s got (or at least had in 1987) a great booming chuckle that says “I’m a jovial giant, but if you cross me I’ll tear your heart out.”

Reason #2- Billy is the only known American commando to face a predator with a knife while having the option of a gun. The video would suggest that this decision didn’t go so well for him, but I’d like to think he made a scratch or two.

Reason #3- He’s Native American, and as we know from Hollywood, all Native Americans have a sixth sense when it comes to danger. The terrorists lose their element of surprise.

Reason #4- If Billy wins a seat in the senate that would mean that three members of the 1987 commando team will have gone on to notable political posts. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch) is the governor of California, and Jessie Ventura (Blain) is a former governor of Minnesota. How awesome is that?

Come on people, we have to make this happen. So get a hold of all your Kentuckinite buddies and let them know about Billy if they don’t already. Joe! If you cast one vote this year, you know what to do with it.

Alfred Hitchcock presents...

... the Hitchcock Barbie doll, new from Mattel.

Cake Man has his on pre-order already.