Lazy Day Movies

These are the perfect movies to watch on those lazy days where I don’t feel like greeting the world.  To me, these films are ideal for those lazy days, rainy days, snowed-in days & those spent hung-over.  Dim the lights, get comfortable in bed, press play and enjoy that powerful escapism only a good movie can provide.  You just might fall asleep, but that’s fine…

The Shining

From the pacing to the setting and back to the weirdness, The Shining is one of those movies best watched under a blanket with the lights turned off.  I’ve spent many a hang-over watching this film, and I do admit, it’s easy to fall asleep to.  That’s not a bad thing.  I’m not saying it’s a boring movie – but let’s face it – it’s kind of slow, and that pace makes it easy to follow along and watch while drifting in and out of consciousness.  And besides, Jack Torrance’s yells will wake you up for the good parts.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2

Hell yeah.  Watch them back to back.  It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.  With Kill Bill, you’ll never be bored, as Tarantino crosses genres and homages, it’s easy to get lost in.  It might not be the best for a hang-over, but if you feel generally lazy or you’re snowed in, give both volumes a try (intermission between 1 & 2 for food & smoke).

Apocalypse Now

It’s a long one, but isn’t that the point of wasting a day away?  I’m pretty sure every time I’ve watched Apocalypse Now, it was on a Sunday afternoon.  Like those mentioned above, it’s easy to get lost in and if you’re hung over, you’ve got the explosions to wake you up.  Some may say it’s blasphemy to suggest falling asleep to Apocalypse Now, but I’m here to tell you, no it’s not.  Well, no it’s not, if you’ve seen it before.  If it’s a first viewing, you better pay attention.  If not, pop it in and see where the day takes you (it won’t be far).

The Godfather/The Godfather: Part 2

Like The Shining, The Godfather films are good hangover movies.  They’re long, they’re slow-paced and mostly dialogue.  This is perfect for a hangover.  (Also for hangovers, see classic comedies)  It’s also a good choice for wasting the afternoon/evening by watching both movies back to back and afterwards, thinking you’re actually in the mafia, and possibly getting shot by a real-life mobster while ordering cannolis at the local Italian bakery.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

OK, so The Wild Bunch maybe my favorite film of all time, and if not, my favorite Western, hands down.  It’s an acceptable movie to watch during a lazy afternoon, but for my money, it’s a Friday night/Saturday night movie that you show to a friend who has never seen it.  I’d say the same about Rio Bravo.  But The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…well, you want to waste a good 3 hours, pop that bad boy in and get ready to have a mouthful of dust & sand & rock & Eastwood.  You have to admire the cinematography and the score by Ennio Morricone.  Feel like being lazy?  Watch this.

Edward Scissorhands

I don’t think this is as long as any of my earlier selections, but just as effective.  The sleep factor is high on this one – and once again, I’m not calling it boring or uninteresting, it’s just with the circumstances I’ve mentioned, this is definite fall asleep material.  Not that falling asleep to is its only purpose – next time you’re snowed in, stick Edward… in and you’ll for sure forget about the snow piled up in the driveway, that your car doors are frozen shut, the roads are icy death traps and an icicle is stuck in your head, penetrating your brain, and if you move just one more inch, you’ll be dead…no…you’ll enjoy the movie while you don’t move.

The Lord of the Rings

Eh…just pick 1…any 1…and be journeyed away to the land of Middle Earth blah blah blah….seriously, these are kickass films and sometimes, when being lazy, you just want some epic kickassness.  The LOTR films will do the trick.  However, I prefer LOTR on or around the holidays….either while I’m waiting on the food to get done on Thanksgiving or while on Christmas, I sneak away from the family and watch the film in snippets while I “patiently” wait to open presents.  You can’t go wrong with these films, or hell even the original Star Wars trilogy….or another kickass epic movie to laze around with is Braveheart.  Hm…

Original Star Wars Trilogy or Braveheart

Or how about Willow or wait for it…Raiders of the Lost Ark….

And if you’re hung over…Ghostbusters or What About Bob? Or Where the Buffalo Roam or Groundhog Day or shit…any Bill Murray movie except that awful Lost in Translation.

I’m going to wrap this blog up now before I think of more movies and then I just won’t quit.  I think I’ve given you some good options for the next time you want to veg out.  But remember, don’t do this everyday.  Don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy and brush your teeth and occasionally go outside.  You don’t want to end up looking like Sloth, which reminds me of another great lazy day movie…

Concert Etiquette?

 

There are a whole lot of unwritten rules and “code” for what might make one seem like a “tool” while attending a concert, or better yet, a rock show.  There are a few who know, or think they know “the rules”, and others who blatantly ignore them, either out of genuinely not being “in the know”, or just plan douchery.  I’m going to name some of my annoyances with concert-goers, as well as some I maybe guilty of myself.  Hell, some of these don’t even bother me…it’s just…unwritten, people!  Learn it.  Know It.  Live It.   

  
Wearing A Band T-Shirt Of the Same Band You’re Seeing
 
This is one of the ultimate concert fouls.  Why?  There are probably multiple reasons.  One I can think of is that it makes you look like an overeager goof.  It brings out the “fanboy” in a person.  In society, we have to remain calm, keep our composure, not get worked up to the point where you make an ass out of yourself.  Yes, we’re all fans of the band, that’s why we’re here, but you…you had to do more, didn’t you?  You had to wear that shirt and just stick our noses in the fact that you’re a fan!  We get it! Or something like that, I don’t know.  It makes you look desperate, like a stalker.  You wear a band t-shirt at the show, and that same said band probably has a restraining order on you.  Of course, this probably isn’t true.  Someone could think, “Oh, I’m going to see Ween…I’ll wear my Boognish t-shirt!  Yeah!”  They didn’t know about this unwritten rule.  I mean, how could they?  Maybe even someone thinks it’s normal, or even popular to wear the band’s shirt.  Regardless of the fact, there will always be “hipsters”, pretentious assholes, or people like me (hopefully not one of those last two) making a fuss, and calling “party foul” (probably to themselves under their breath, or possibly in their own mind) and scowling and sticking up noses to the sky.  So, I do not practice the act of wearing a band t-shirt of the same band I’m seeing live.  Now, wearing another band’s t-shirt?  I think that’s acceptable… 

  

Wearing a Tool t-shirt to a Tool show makes you double the tool.

Getting Wasted @ the Rock Show!   

I don’t drink.  Well, okay, occasionally, maybe on a beach or special occasion, I’ll have a few.  Regularly, no.  Hardly ever.  At a concert?  Sure…depending on the act, venue or general mood.  I’ve gotten a little tipsy once or twice; when I saw Wilco @ Slugger Field in Louisville or Three Dog Night @ Florence Freedom Park in Florence, KY.  These were both outdoor events in baseball parks.  There were seating assignments.  Both happened on cool, breezy summer nights.  The perfect setting.  But, in a hot indoor event, at a small venue like Bogart’s in Cincinnati or Coyote’s in Louisville, I do not drink.  Well, what I do drink is water.  There are a few reasons for this.  One is to stay hydrated in this dry, sweaty setting.  Another is not to lose the spot.  The majority of the time, I’m in the first row (Uh…I get there early).  I can’t give up that spot.  Even if I had someone in my party like K. to watch it, there’s no guarantee my spot will be there when I get back.  I just enjoy the show without drinking, and I still enjoy them immensely.   

Like this...only with a crowd of people around. And human...

Getting wasted at a rock show is a whole other thing.  Most people are there to have a few beers, hear some live music, have a good time.  There’s no problem with that.  It’s those people who chug down a whole bottle of booze in the parking lot and then come in, screaming and bouncing around the room, making a general feeling of discomfort wherever they may go.  These people are obnoxious!  The slurred-screaming has to stop!  Sometimes, the screaming takes place right in your ear.  Always a drunk dude or drunk chick screaming at the top of their lungs the band name or hollering at a friend, “WE’RE OVER HERE!!!!”, when suddenly your spot is even more crowded than it already was, and you’re shoulder to shoulder with everyone around you.  There’s even someone breathing down your neck.  FUCK.  This even happens when drunk people aren’t involved.  This is in fact, a whole other complaint…   

If They Ain’t With Ya, They Can’t Join Ya   

Now, I’m talking small venues here.  Hell, even the big ones, when there’s “festival seating” on the floor.  (SIDEBAR:  I’m from Cincinnati – the home of killer festival seating).  And look, I understand saving a spot for one person, a person who was already in your party.  They went to get a beer, had to go the rest room, fine, fine, they were already there.  They have dibs on their part of the floor.  It’s when groups of 3 or more start showing up around you because their ONE FRIEND  got there early and saved them a spot up front.  NO.  It doesn’t work like that.  It shouldn’t work like that.  It happens, though, as mentioned above.  It’s one of the worst “crowd experiences” you could have.  If you have claustrophobia, expect to pass out from anxiety.  Drunk, fat, ugly, annoying, sweaty people on you.  You can’t even move.  The bands not even on yet!  The fucking opening band isn’t even on yet!  This is going to be a fun night…   

Getting Wasted @ The Rock Show! Cont.   

Wasted people generally annoy wherever they are, so a rock show still stands.  Getting a little buzzed, a little tipsy is fine and works wonders for enthusiasm (well, for me anyhow).    It’s the loud people who start fights that need to go.  The ones who can’t handle their liquor, get all macho and start pushing girls around.  These dickless fucks need to be beaten with hammers and then forced into a mosh pit with horned-demons for all eternity.  Speaking of people who deserve to be put inside an eternal mosh pit with horned-demons…   

MOSH PIT!!!   

Fuck you, okay?  Just…fuck you.  Fuck you!  Mosh pit.  Really?  Kids these days…   

 Ok, but really?  You’re going to mosh to Queens of the Stone Age?  Really?  Why don’t you just eat some mushrooms (OK, this could be a problem for some) and enjoy Josh Homme’s guitar work you fucking prick?  Why don’t you dance?  Or maybe just not do anything at all? Just don’t fucking mosh!  Modest Mouse!!!  Seriously?  That’s what we’re doing now?  Moshing to Modest Mouse?  It’s hopeless.  Fuck you Wayne Newton!  (Didn’t he popularize the mosh pit?)   

Looks mighty fun, doesn't it?

Talking While the Music’s Playing   

What could possibly be so important?  Is your life that interesting that you need to talk (TALK) while the concert is going on????  What is there to say at this point?  The band is playing…..you’re supposed to listen to what they have to say now.  That’s why you came to the show, right?  To listen to some music…maybe dance a little?  No, because you love the sound of your own voice, and it’s way better than that singer guy’s!  He’s only a professional singer.  You’re a professional asshole.  Fuck off, and die you fascist pigs.  Why did you come to the concert?  Did someone give you the ticket, and so you decided this would be the best place to meet some friend and catch up on old times!?!   

 K. and I saw Steely Dan once.  Well, sort of.  There was reserved seating, and we had some pretty good seats near the stage, but the whole row in front of us talked 90% of the time.  It was these rich-looking yuppie assholes who only shut their mouths and danced when Steely Dan played popular songs like “Josie” or “Hey Nineteen”.  I know assholes listen to Steely Dan, but shit….we’re not all assholes.  This is unacceptable…   

So, if you’re at a concert, and the band is playing (even if it’s the opening band), SHUT THE FUCK UP.  It’s a simple concept.  Wait to talk about your exciting and meaningful life after the concert.  I’m sure your story about backpacking across Europe or winning big in Vegas can wait two and a half hours.  If not, maybe you should become a rock and roll singer and write songs about your amazing life.  Then, I’ll come to your show and talk the entire time.   

The Crowd Surfer   

Stop crowd surfing, you’re kicking me in the fucking head!  You’re just a total nuisance.  Just…stop….that’s all I can say. And for female crowd surfers:  I’m pretty sure guys are grabbing you, in, uh, you know, inappropriate places…   

STOP!

The Stand Still   

Ah, the stand still…that person who just kind of stands there while the funky music plays, just stares at the stage and watches the band, slowly taking it all in.  He’s observational, this guy.  Look around, checks out the crowd, sees how things are going, what kind of people will be attending tonight.  The concert starts, he nods his head.  After each song, he’ll clap, maybe, but he won’t sing along, he won’t dance; he just stands there.   

 I might be guilty of this.  It’s just, I’m a shy person, or rather, not too confident in large crowds, and I think I look stupid “dancing”.  I don’t think other people do, in fact I find it normal, but for me, myself, no dancing.  Sometimes I’ll move, though.  I’ll nod, or sway, or very silently sing along with the lyrics.  I’m still having a good time, folks.  I don’t need to be screaming in your ear to show I’m having fun.  I’m just, you know, observing…soaking it all up…taking it all in…giving it time to process….Oh, that’s Nick Cave towering above me belting out “The Mercy Seat”….this is kick-ass!   

Being Tall    

Getting stuck behind a tall person can really ruin your concert experience.  Luckily, I’m tall.  So, to whoever is behind me (especially for festival seating on floor), I’m the tool in this situation.  I’ve even been called “Lurch” once.   

 There’s taller people than me, though, and we’ve run into them at rock shows.  Just ask K.  She’s been stuck behind more qualified Lurch’s than me.   

fml

Well, that’s going to wrap up my look at concert etiquette, for now.  Looking over, I see I’m only guilty of breaking two of the “unwritten rules”:  being a shy pansy & being tall.  At least I don’t wear the band’s shirt, or yell in your ear, followed by vomit, or mosh, or save my douche bag friends a spot or talk throughout the whole show or crowd surf.  I think I’m pretty good.  As for the rest of you assholes, show some respect, be courteous and remember:  you’re not the only person who exists in this universe.  There are other people here.  Just try to remember this.  Thank you…   

 Stay posted where next I will explore movie theater etiquette or quite possibly grocery store etiquette.   

Brain Fried in ’09

2009 was kind of a bummer.  I bounced between jobs, had my first taste of unemployment, and ended up right back at the job I tried to get away from.  There were family problems which split sibling relations (more than one).  There was financial burden.  There was the loss of friends.

Through it all, however, I had my stuff.  Well, more than stuff, I had my great girlfriend K., and we had our stuff.   Movies, TV shows, video games, etc.  Through all of the depression and despair, these few things kept me sane.  The kind of things that “rot your brain”.  I believe we take comfort in any form we find, and some of us find that through escapism or fantasy.  Certain media outlets help us fulfill those fantasies.  These are some examples of what made 2009 an entertaining year, and helped me keep my sanity.

Dollhouse Season 2 - I was a fan from the get-go, but Season 2 has been bigger, badder and certainly more intense.  With new characters from actors like Ray Wise, Keith Carradine, Summer Glau and Alexis Denisof, and an overall grand approach to the “arc”, which is looking like it’s headed into Epitaph 1 territory.  There’s also Echo’s development, which is being executed in a very exciting way.  There’s only 3 episodes left, for the whole series unfortunately, but it’s been a sometimes bumpy, but always wild and intriguing ride.

Bored to Death Season 1 – An amusing premise and three excellent actors (Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson) playing interesting characters makes Bored to Death easily one of HBO’s best new shows.

Eastbound and Down Season 1 – Another one of HBO’s best new shows is Eastbound and Down, a project nestled in the hands of many talents like Will Ferrell, Jody Hill, Ben Best, David Gordon Green and star of the show Danny McBride, whose Kenny Powers is one of the most memorable, quotable comedic characters in a long time.  He’s basically an asshole, but toward the end of the season, the show pulls its punches on Powers, and we sort of  feel sorry for the prick.  That’s a feat in itself.  The show also has a cast of colorful supporting characters, all who make the show that much more watchable.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 7 – Mostly the episodes having to do with the Seinfeld reunion.  The rest of the season was average-Curb, but the Seinfield episodes were excellent.  Larry trying to act as George was a standout.  Also, LD’s warped take on the Michael Richards fiasco.

Dexter Season 4 – Finally, a season of Dexter just as good as the first one!  From Lithgow’s early moments to the Earth-shattering ending, Dexter Season 4 was great TV.  Season 2 was decent, especially with Lundy’s first appearance and Doakes vs. Dexter, but the Lila storyline got old quick.  Season 3 was watchable, but the whole Miguel storyline, like the one with Lila, grew tired.  With the Trinity Killer, Dexter was given a worthy foe, much like Season 1’s Ice Truck Killer.  There were also some world-changing events this season, all which upset the status quo of the show.  That is why it’s great television.  Dexter will never be the same after this.

The Guild Season 3/”(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar” – 2009 saw the return of Felicia Day’s hilarious web-series The Guild along with the internet sensation song/music video, “(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar”.  It’s an infectious pop song that does what the show does best:  satirize “gaming/geek culture”.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas – Season 5 was good, of course, but I actually missed a chunk of episodes, so I’m still trying to catch up.  There are a few other shows I’m still trying to catch up with this season like The Office, Castle and Big Love.  Anyway, A Very Sunny Christmas is everything you want in an It’s Always Sunny… Christmas special.  It’s full of depraved holiday cheer, from Mac and Charlie’s past Christmas revelations to Frank’s “fake outs”.  There’s a glimmer of hope at the end, where Frank’s heart is shown, but it’s all taken away from the gang by a con man faking to be a religiously devout man.  You just have to watch it.  It’s certainly going to be a new tradition here on out to watch this every December.

The Office - Jim and Pam’s WeddingNiagara is the last episode I’ve seen from the new season of The Office.  I’m trying to find the time, between watching all of these other shows, movies and oh yeah, having a life.  But back to the point, Jim and Pam’s wedding was an amazing hour of television, finding that perfect blend of comedy and heart.  The wedding could have sucked.  Lucky for us, it didn’t.

Inglourious BasterdsQuentin Tarantino proves he can’t make a bad film with his latest feature; his WWII meet Spaghetti-Western Inglourious Basterds.  And, it was glorious fun from start to finish, full of QT’s trademark dialogue, characters and suspense.  It also had an amazing cast of international actors, all whom push the movie’s authenticity (despite certain historical liberties – come on…it’s a fantasy!) up a notch.  Tarantino’s masterpiece?  It could very well be…

Observe and ReportFunny People was good, but Observe and Report was better.  A truly dark comedy that acted as the anti-Paul Blart (or anti-other shitty comedies of the year).

Star Trek – This was a fun adventure film that was sleek, stylish and hard to look away from.  J.J. Abrams and Co. managed to pull of a good “reboot”, all while tossing various nods at the Star Trek franchise for the fans.  Some say they even managed to give Star Trek some “balls”, whatever that means.

Watchmen Anticipation – Fanboys around the globe waited in anticipation for the release of the Watchmen movie, ready to prod at it with their disapproving rods.  I guess you could say I was one of them.  Well, not so much the disapproval; rather I went back and reread the book, which is always a treat.  Some of the promos for the movie were cool, like tha faux documentaries and the old-school arcade style online game.  I was there on opening day, though, and well, it was “okay”.  It was exciting to see all of the character, and some of the story, come to life on the big screen.  But, the actual waiting for it, that was more.

Bill Murray’s Scene in Zombieland – Zombieland was a fun, entertaining zombie-romp, but it wasn’t much more.  It was the scene that featured Bill Murray as himself, that was sort of a satire on the death of Hollywood, which made Zombieland better than what it could have been.

Flight of the Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky – Nothing will ever match the FOTC’s legendary “live performance”, but they can still try.  I Told You I Was Freaky is knee-deep in electric groove, but also their trademark hilarious lyrics and genre bending sensibilities.  If you didn’t watch Season 2 of their HBO series, you might be lost, but why the hell are you listening to this in the first place?  Go watch the series!

Wilco – Wilco (The Album) – Wilco (the album) is certainly a Wilco album, and while they don’t travel far from their comfort zone, they still manage to give us an interesting, catchy album.  There is some filler here, but the really good songs (“One Wing”, “Bull Black Nova”, “You Never Know”, “I’ll Fight”, “Sonny Feeling”) are classic Wilco.  And that is something worth listening to.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game –  This was a genuinely fun video game, from start to finish.  It was also kind of a landmark since it brought together all of the Ghostbusters in their previous roles (well, their voices, anyway).  The story was also decent, and the whole experiences makes me long for a third Ghostbusters film.

Well, those are some examples of what made 2009 an entertaining year.  Some other mentions would be Batman: Arkham Asylum, Buffy Season 8: Vol 5: Predator and Prey (mostly for the Buffy-Andrew buddy cop story), Funny People, and so far, Big Love Season 3 (I’m about halfway through, and so far…just…wow.)

New Year Resolutions for Hollywood Part II: Return of the Golden Kingdom With a Vengeance

What’s a Hollywood rant without a sequel?  Skipping a proper introduction or explanation, I will dive right into the action of New Year Resolutions for Hollywood Part II

Return of the Golden Kingdom With a Vengeance

For years now, sequels have been cash cows for Hollywood.  General audiences flock to see them, and I think one of the reasons is that there’s no big back-story or character introductions.  Most sequels just dive head first into the action, comedy, horror, etc.  Some filmmakers believe that since the first movie set it up, the second can go ahead and ignore common aspects like plot or development, and instead blow things up.  An example I can think of are the Transformers movies.  I’m hesitant to admit it, but I enjoyed the first Transformers movie in a summer popcorn flick sort of way.  It had the ideal amount of back-story, action and comedy.  I’m not claiming Transformers had fully developed characters or even an engaging plot, but it still gave us some development of the main character.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, however, ignores this notion, and as stated before, blows things up.

Sometimes, there are good sequels, or even great sequels like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens, The Dark Knight, The Empire Strikes Back, etc.  These movies work with what the first film laid out, and often surpass it, in terms of story, character, or execution.  These sequels are fine, and welcomed.  In most cases, if the same director or creator who worked on the first film is working on the second, it’s going to be acceptable.  There are the contradictions to this, however, like Michael Bay on the aforementioned Transformers franchise, or even George Lucas with his underwhelming Star Wars prequels (the prequel, which is another section altogether).  Although filmmakers like James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and John Lasseter (Toy Story, Toy Story 2) prove that if the person responsible for the first sees through the second, the sequel will be just as good, or better.

Another give-in with some sequels is to make a third film and turn the series into a trilogy.  This is something perhaps Star Wars could be blamed for, since the trilogy was one of the most successful of all time.  The modern equivalent would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  So, nowadays, when a sequel comes out, fans will wonder when the third one will be released, as to make it a trilogy (like with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films).  I don’t necessarily think a “trilogy” is for every movie; only if the story warrants it.  And now, they’re going over 3 – with The Final Destination and Saw series and obviously the Harry Potter films, since there are more than 3 books.  But, as I’ve said, does every saga need to come in threes?  Sometimes, we just need to leave the movies alone.  The Terminator series should have stopped with the second film (although the tv series The Sarah Connor Chronicles doesn’t seem half-bad), but instead we were subjected to the below-average third film (A Trilogy!!!) and just recently the abysmal Terminator: Salvation.  Hollywood, leave these movies alone!  There didn’t need to be an Alien 3 or Alien Resurrection.  Speaking on two-part movies, there was no need for a Speed 2The Matrix did not to be a trilogy!  LEAVE THEM ALONE!  LET THEM BE!!!  If the creator doesn’t want to return to the story he or she made in the first place, then just forget the project.  Put the money to better use.  Did we really need Lost Boys: The Tribe?  FUCK NO.

And with that, it seems the 12-year-old has returned to its proper home – somewhere deep inside the caverns of my brain.  He got bored with the priest (well, because you know, priests are boring), and so he has “come back home”.  I think I can control him, but it may seem like I have turrets.  This should be interesting…

Now For Some Last Requests

-  Stop giving Tyler Perry money

-  Enough of the Japanese horror remakes

-  Make better movie trailers.  Some don’t show enough information, so one may have a hard time just figuring out what the hell the movie is about.  Some reveal way too much.  Find the middle ground.

-  Support more independent filmmakers.  These creators make touching, charming and worthy pictures, mostly, and they deserve to “play” with a big budget, too.  They are the better filmmakers, because they have proven they can work well with whatever budget they have.  That, to me, is true filmmaking.  Give someone like Michael Bay $10,000 or even $30,000 (or hell even in the small million range) and see what he comes up with.  It will no doubt be rubbish.

-  And of course, as mentioned before, QUIT WITH THE PREQUELS!  They’re worthless wastes of celluloid that are so obviously made for profit, it’s sickening.  Look, I know that studios need to make money, but I believe there are better films to be made that will make as much money as the modern moneymakers.  Give us something with interesting characters, intriguing plots and beautiful cinematography.  Give us something genuinely epic.  Not a prequel, by any means.

Well, that’s it for my gripes right now.  If I think of some more proposed resolutions for Hollywood 2010, I will post a new blog, thus turning my New Year Resolutions for Hollywood into a trilogy!

Oh, and Hollywood, QUIT FUCKING AROUND!  GIVE US SOME GODDAMN MOVIES WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION!!!  IT COSTS NEARLY 20 FUCKING DOLLARS JUST TO GO TO THE CINEMA AND THE MOVIE IS SHIT 90 % OF THE TIME!  GIVE US SOMETHING GOOD!  NO, FUCK THAT, GIVE US SOMETHING AMAZING!  SOMETHING MIND-BLOWING! 

That may or may not have been the 12-year-old.

New Year Resolutions for Hollywood

I wish Hollywood would change.  Seriously, these past few years seem like repeats of the last, pushing the same mindless, recycled clichés on us.  Every now and then, a great film will slip through the Hollywood cracks, big budget and all, but the good ones, the really good ones are mostly independent.  And that’s fine.  Big budget or no budget makes no difference to me, as long as the story is there.  However, a part of me misses the Hollywood of yore; a Hollywood that was there probably before I was born.  The kind of Hollywood you read about.  Maybe the 1940’s-1970’s Hollywood was the real deal, or maybe it only looks that way from my perspective.  Maybe those brainless, factory-line films were there, but over the years have become classics by new audiences.  Will 2012 be considered a classic 50 years from now?  I’m talking about movies like Superman (1978); movies that have stood the test of time.  Thinking about big-budget Hollywood machines now, titles like X-Men:  The Last Stand, Terminator:  Salvation, the Transformers films, etc come to mind.  Avatar as well, but that is one I’m actually wanting to see, based on the creator (mostly his past work).  So, basically all I’m saying is, “come the fuck on, Hollywood!”  There’s a lot of money to be spent, and we all know it could go to something better.  This isn’t just about “record breaking” budgets either.  It’s about those studio films spoon-fed to eager audiences eating their overpriced popcorn, not concerned with things like plot or character, but rather action or laughs.  And I’m all for the action and laughs.  There just needs to be some substance with it.  I like to eat popcorn, too.  All I’m asking for are more big-budget flicks (action/fantasy/sci-fi) that are relevent; that are great.  More The Dark Knight or Inglourious Basterds and less G.I. Joe or X-Men Origins:  Wolverine.

Stop With the Spoofs

Everyone loves a good spoof, right?  Wrong.  Well, not anymore.  Yesterday’s excellent spoof films like Airplane, The Naked Gun, or Young Frankenstein are today’s Date Movie, Dance Movie, Epic Movie, etc.  It appears as if we have gone lazy.  No use trying to come up with a decent, catchy title; we’ll just use whatever genre or subgenre we decide to spoof and put the word movie behind it.  It’s that ridiculous!  What’s the last good spoof to have come out?  What was Mel Brooks’ last film?  Dracula:  Dead and Loving It?  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good, but better than the drivel we’ve got now.  Maybe Mel should do a spoof that spoofs all these modern spoofs.  Call it Spoof Movie?  No.  How about we just kill the genre altogether?  There’s little entertainment value to be found in the modern spoof, but somehow they keep coming, which indicates they’re making money.  That also tells me audiences will see anything, so Hollywood, how about you stop putting money into these so-called satires and into something with more significance.  If you show some action, or a comedic scene, or a hot chick in the trailer, they will come.  It seems every movie has at least one of those in it.  So, show that and wait for the money to come rolling in.  Simple solution.

The Action Movie Called…It Wants Its Dignity Back

Way back when, it seemed there were quite a few solid action films that were not all explosions and gore, but had a good story, or convincing characters.  The Terminator, Aliens, Escape From New York, First Blood, and Conan the Barbarian come to mind.  Today, we’ve got G.I. Joe, Terminator: Salvation, X-Men Origins:  Wolverine, Transformers 2:  Revenge of the Fallen, and that’s just this year.  There are plenty more where that came from.  What are some good action films of this past decade to have not only explosive action sequences, but also a theme, or interesting characters?  I’ve already mentioned two above in The Dark Knight and Inglourious Basterds.  What else?  Casino Royale was engaging in that it featured a new kind of Bond.  Quantum of Solace was decent enough, but it didn’t really do anything new with the groundwork Casino Royale had laid out for it.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an obvious choice, and they are brilliant, but for every masterpiece trilogy, there’s a clone trying to cash in on the success.  I’m thinking of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, or The Chronicles of Narnia, which actually maybe worth watching, but still seems like a cash-in.  I want some originality.  So, I’m not saying remake The Wild Bunch.  I’m saying make a new The Wild Bunch; a movie that can be compared to The Wild Bunch, or is worthy to sit next to the The Wild Bunch in a hypothetical movie hall-of-fame.

Another question pertaining to modern action is, what the hell happened to the action hero?  What happened to guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, or to a lesser extent, Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme?  Well, aside from being in The Expendables.  Who do we have on the marquee today?  Jason Statham, the WWE’s meathead John Cena, Channing Tatum and why am I still going?  What have these “actors” given us, exactly?  We can all live without The Transporter, or The Marine or G.I. Joe.  Could I live without the original Terminator? Technically, yes.  Cinematically, no.  So, who else?  Don’t say Christian Bale because it’s just not true.  He’s a fine actor, but not necessarily in an action movie.  See the new Terminator to know what I mean.  But, who else?  Is Shia Lebouf the new action hero?  Is this where we’ve come?  Is he the next Indiana Jones?  The next James Bond or the next Rambo?

I’m not asking for Oscar-worthy (or what one would refer to as “Oscar-worthy) performances here, but at least have some meat (the written kind) on the characters.  Arnold’s Terminator (from T2), a robot, or “cyborg” to be exact, develops emotion after spending time with John Connor.  Even John Rambo had his complexities.  They need to be more than muscles with one-liners.  SO, bring back the action hero, the kind of hero you want to watch or root for, and bring back the story, simple or complex, just make it interesting!

RE:  Remakes, Reboots, Reimgainings, Retellings are Retarded

Sorry for the uncool use of that “R-word” up there, but let’s just say it’s a quote from a 12-year-old boy.  OK, that 12-year-old boy is me.  OK, OK, I’m 24, but there’s still a 12-year-old boy inside me (YOU have a gutter mind) screaming Rage Against the Machine-style-rants filled with immature expletives.  The psychiatrist says, “I’m speaking to the person inside the 24-year-old Daniel now.  If you are there, you too are hypnotized and must answer all my questions.  Come forward and answer me now.  Are you the 12-year-old inside of Daniel?  Who are you?  AHHHHHHHHHH!”

Fuck remakes.  Fuck ‘em in the motherfucking ass.  They suck!  Why?  Well, because some movies are so good, they leave behind legacy, and remakes have a tendency to FUCK UP THAT LEGACY!  Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a cinematic slice of heaven, whereas the remake, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  is a one-way ticket to Hell.  The kind of Hell where your mother sucks cock.  You faithless slime…

In addition to remakes sucking, they also fucking blow.  They make filmmakers look like lazy sacks of shit who ride on the coattails of the better source material they use.  Sometimes, they have no goddamn respect for the source material!  Did you see Rob Zombie’s Halloween?  It was like Zombie took a dump on John Carpenter’s face and legacy of the film he created, and then smeared it onto film and called it a movie.  Fuck you; Rob Zombie!

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”

Huh?  What the fuck?

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”

Hey, fuck you with a razor sharp crucifix!

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

OK, the 12-year-old me has left my body.  He’s now occupying the meat-suit of a priest.  Currently, he’s playing Mortal Kombat on Super Nintendo and shouting obscenities.  At least he’s not at the computer…

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, remakes!  Yes, remakes.  Let’s look an easy-to-read list:

The Good: The Thing (1982), Cape Fear (1991), The Departed (2006), Batman Begins (2005), Star Trek (2009), The Fly (1986), Scarface (1983), Twelve Monkeys (1995)

I consider these examples of remakes or reboots “the good” because they either expand on the central theme or certain elements of their counterparts or because they bring fresh life to a dying franchise.

The Bad: Halloween (2007), Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Last House on the Left (2009), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Day of the Dead (2008), Friday the 13th (2009), Prom Night (2008), When a Stranger Calls (2006), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Planet of the Apes (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

All of these films either showed a disrespect (intended or not) or lack of knowledge to their respective originals or just plain lost sight of what made the originals so good in the first place.  Hell, some of the originals on the list weren’t great films, but the remakes still managed to fail where those films so modestly succeeded.  In other words, these films weren’t needed.  Did we really need another The Last House on the Left?  Wes Craven’s original was a twisted exploitation film, but also had some comedic relief , and could be considered entertaining in a shocking sort of way.  So, why a remake?  Was it necessary?  Really?  Maybe a remake of I Spit On Your Grave is next.  Audiences are just dying to sit through some even more brutal rape scenes.

*Also, just realized Craven’s The Last House on the Left is a remake/retelling of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (1960).

The Mediocre: Dawn of the Dead (2004), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), um…I knew I had another one in mind, but I lost it.

These movies were…well…just average.  Nothing special here.  The original Dawn of the Dead is just a romp of a film that is fun, as well as equally intense, and the remake has that same feel; it’s just not executed as well.  Ashamed to admit, I have not seen the original version of 3:10 to Yuma, and all I can say about the remake is that it was “fine”.  It was good enough, but nothing I’d feel the need to watch again.

In summary, STOP THE REMAKES!  STOP THE FUCKING REMAKES!  They’re cash-ins!  It’s obvious.  Why do people flock to these movies?  People say, “I’m going to go see the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake in theaters.”  I say, “I’ll just watch it right fucking now because I fucking own it!  The movie already exists!  And I have a copy!  Fuck you!  I win!”  If you’re going to do a remake, make sure someone reliable is behind it like Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan, not Jerry Bruckheimer!  Or Michael Bay!  Stop the fucking remakes!  That is not my 12-year-old self yelling, but I, the 24-year-old.  Am I a fanboy?  No.  I’d like to think not.  I’d like to think I give every movie (hey, I watched Twilight, damn it!) a fair chance, excited or not.  I know that just because Avatar is James Cameron’s latest movie doesn’t automatically tell me it’s going to be as satisfying as his previous efforts.  I will give it a fair trial.  Someone lent me Orphan recently.  I have little desire to see it, yet I will give it a shot.  I’d like to think these factors prove I’m no fanboy.  But, am I passionate about movies?  You could say that.  I’m passionate about the things that make me happy, and some movies can do that.  Some say, “well, just don’t watch it.”  True.  I won’t.  I still wish we lived in a society where the masses would dismiss remakes as plagiarism and all those guilty of creating atrocious remakes would be burned at the stake!

Give These People More to Do

Here’s a simple list of names (you’ll notice many nest or nested in the Whedon world) that Hollywood should use more often:  Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, Enver Gjokaj, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz (OK – the whole cast of Dollhouse since soon it will cease to exsist), Zach Galifianakis (who seems to be on his way to larger success), Mélanie Laurent, and Morena Baccarin.  On a sidenote, I’d like to see better female characters in movies.  Do they always have to be the wife/girlfriend or the center of a romcom?  They don’t necessarily have to kick ass either (ala Buffy or Sarah Connor) to be a solid female character.  There are some, of course, but still…there could be more.  Just saying…

New Name, New Stuffs

Forget the “Cirrostratusblog” (how pretentious of a name was that?); here’s Mark Twain’s Brains – where I will rant, rave, blog and generally ramble about all things media.  Also, there will be no lists.  No top 20 or top 10 or top 134 or anything involving numbers as rankings.  From here on out, expect a flowing stream-of-consciousness geared toward like-minded people.  Hopefully, I can find some…