Saturday, November 22, 2008


I will be taking a break for the holidays, but expect many new entries on the following:

* David Lee Roth, Madonna and music video virginity
* Myths that most older people believe
* The Who
* Michael Jackson
* Quake/Counter-Strike/EverQuest/World of Warcraft
* Gene Simmons
* Australia
* The dangers of classical music

Also, stay alert for the 2008 review in music, film, music video and gaming (around New Year's). And, there is a wikiproject you can jump in on if you're bored.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Making fun of terrible movies is like shooting fish in a barrel: it's easy, fun and there are lots of barrels of fish to kill. But, when you remove sci-fi and fantasy from the equation of flops and bombs, it gets a little tougher. When you add the horror genre, it's slim pickings. Just then you remember all the movies you saw as a kid--about sports, war and comedies with Ernest. Wait, Ernest was and is somewhat cool. Here is a short list of those bad non-sci fi, non-horror movies.

Ground Rules:

a) movie cannot be hinged upon science fiction/futuristic/horror concepts
b) movie must be released in 1980 or later
c) movie must have some star power and a decent budget

Rocky V
This one is pretty easy to berate, so I will get it out of the way. Firstly, this film should not have been made. A book or a TV miniseries would have been better for god's sake. Basically, the story is about the downfall of Rocky's career and family (which I never wanted to see), only to have new life shot into Balboa's life by Tommy "the Machine" Gunn (get it?). I bet you can guess the rest of the story. Although it is riddled with flashback scenes from the previous sequels, not once does Rocky put on boxing gloves. Even worse, Stallone himself later said that this film deserves a 0 out of 10.
Bottom line: No film franchise is immune to the sequel kiss-of-death.

Hamburger Hill
War films can be terrific. Sometimes, they are just rip-offs of a movie that came out less than a year before. Now I know that Hamburger Hill is a "true story", but I can't get past Courtney B. Vance's fake glasses (there are tons of films that use fake plastic lenses instead of real prescriptions, but those horn-rimmed frames make the reflection worse!) This movie is an absolute cliche-fest. Mad black people, new recruits "learning the hard way", sobbing platoon leaders. And historically, this picture boils down to two things: cashing in on the Vietnam craze, and have some developing talents act (yell) with each other. Thank god Nicolas Cage wasn't in it...
Bottom line: There are only a few classic war movies post-1979.


Oh, but I spoke too soon. WWII isn't safe from the (plasticized) face of The Cage. There are lots of untold stories in wartime, and Hollywood decided the Navajo needed a nod. Unfortunately, this movie slaps the Native Americans in the face because it focuses on Cage's character most of the time. I feel sorry for the people that saw this in the theaters, expecting a war drama and then watching Cage's character apeshit and samurai-style on hundreds of dimwitted Japanese soldiers.
Bottom line: There are only a few classic war movies post-1979.

I had no idea what the amateur boxing match was about at the beginning until I read the Wikipedia synopsis. What is the point of this movie? Even Vince Vaughn (let alone P. Diddy) can save this soporific script. What am I supposed to do with this? Is this a buddy movie? Is this a road trip movie?
Bottom line: Don't ever try to be a quasi-sequel to Swingers.

Drillbit Taylor
The story goes something like this: a hobo (the cool-in-real-life Owen Wilson) is hired to beat up some super-bullies for some geeks. It's a real drag. Unfortunately, Wilson has no Vince Vaughn-esque sidekick to feed off, and therefore this comedy becomes one of those weird romantic, be-yourself yawn fests that you see in the bargain bin.
Bottom line: Owen Wilson without a sidekick is like Jesus without disciples--no buddies to hang out with.

Never Say Never Again
Bond films may be sci-fi, but most people ignore that fact, so I will too. Amazingly, 1983's Never Say Never Again is a remake of Thunderball (and it came out the same year as Roger Moore's Octopussy). Like Thunderball, it featured a (now aging) Sean Connery, whose former Bond film was 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. So what the hell... why did he come back? Personally, I don't want to see 007 with Great Looking Gray in his hair. Kim Basinger and a semi-video game are also featured, but neither the woman or the medium would reach their prime until 1989.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama: a future Lame Duck prospect

Before everyone starts talking about President George W. Bush as a scary lame duck, I want to explore what Barack Obama might do with his almost unlimited power, in four (or probably eight) years.

Brief note: Bill Clinton did a few things during his last few weeks in office. For one, he fully pardoned 141 criminals (including his brother). He also setup a marine protected area around most of the Hawaiian Islands, to the dismay of the government and fishing barons. This was a big deal, but almost forgotten by the press now. They call him Slick Willy.

Obama being a Democrat, might follow Clinton's suit and bail out a few people in American jails. I don't think Michael Vick will have a chance, but OJ might (pending his verdict). Wesley Snipes will be out of prison by then (for tax evasion), but some of those "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay, who really shouldn't be there, might be freed. I would also say that Roman Polanski has a good chance of coming back from exile, and finally accepting some awards in-person.

Obama in 2008 will be quite different from Obama after a few years. Knowing this, I can reasonably say that he will be a) more conservative (if something disastrous happens), or b) more liberal (if all goes well). If all goes well, we Americans may see something about marriage and gays, which might bury that question forever. Maybe the PATRIOT Act will be eliminated! Or, No Child Left Behind!

I can't see Pres. Obama doing anything about the (foolhardy) drug war or illegal immigration during his term, so I doubt anything will come of it until the next president. But, I think Obama will want to have a legacy, and maybe with a stellar career he will coast those last months, and just ride it out. If that legacy (which seems inevitable) persists, Americans won't care if he frees some small-time crooks anyway...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Movies watched in 2020

Here's my annual list. I beat 2019 by about 60 . I stopped tracking TV series, too. The only films I saw in theaters were: Star Wars IX,...