Got home tonight after an appointment thinking I'd be able to get a couple hours of dorkdom in while Mrs. SFC B was at class. I was wrong. Turns out their new expansion is launching today and I have a six hour download for software I'm not going to be able to use, but require. Damnit.
Anyway, with the evening now free of orc killing I figured I'd blather unintelligently for a while. I apologize in advance for the horrors of randomness that are sure to follow.
This past weekend Cinemax ran all the Star Wars movies back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. For the entire weekend. I almost OD'd on geek. I'd forgotten how entertaining the original Star Wars and Empire were. They are easily my two favorites of the franchise, with Empire winning out simply because I like the scene where Han and Leia meet Darth Vader in Cloud City. I'd put Revenge of the Sith as my third favorite. The movie isn't really all that great when compare to non Star Wars movies, but it's better than the rest of the franchise. Attack of the Clones would be fourth simply because there is no other place to put it since I think that Return of the Jedi sucks Ewok testes, and Phantom Menace sucks Ewok testes on toast with a helping of Jar-Jar jam.
Seeing the Phantom Menace again just reminded me of the visceral hatred I had for that movie. It's not so much a hatred of the movie itself, which isn't very good, but the decision to have Jar-Jar Binks in it. George Lucas must have inhaled half the primary export of Columbia to have thought that Jar Jar was a good idea. How many psychophantic yes men did he have to have on his staff to keep telling him that Jar Jar was a good idea? How much did the other actors have to be paid to shut their pie holes and say that the dialogue of their computer generated co-star was a good idea? Ahmed Best, who was Jar Jar's voice, must have had to cry himself to sleep every night after doing the voice work. The animators at ILM who created Jar Jar should be taken out back and shot, their heads set on spikes outside movie studios the world over as a warning to others. Meesa no likey Jar Jar.
I feel dirty for typing that.
While there were no Star Wars movies on the TV tonight, there was another movie starring Ewan McGregor on which I did enjoy. Stay is a movie which I had no interest in seeing when it was first in theatres. Something about Ryan Gosling makes me want to punch him (I'm suffering from caffine and sugar withdrawl so please forgive the occasional violent outbursts). But the movie has been on one of the three dozen movie channels lately and I've watched it a couple times now. There's something about having movies come into my room cheap-as-free that makes me tolerate watching them. Stay is a movie I do like. It's got a very different premise and plot, and its cinematography makes me go "ooh" sometimes. Plus it has the song "Angel" by Massive Attack playing while in a strip club. I'm not usually into that house-techno-electronic thing, but "Angel" is, to me at least, an ungodly sexy song. It's music to ____ by, and that has value. Although the video makes no sense to me.
Part of the reason I like Stay is that its plot is something I've always thought would make for an interesting story. I don't know if any of my seven readers were planning on seeing the movie, but if you were be warned.
The plot of the movie is that McGregor plays a psycharist trying to prevent a patient from killing himself at a specific place and time three days from the start of the movie. As MacGregor talks to the patient, Gosling's character, it seems that McGregor is slowing losing his own grip on reality. Seeing people who are dead, experiencing deja vu, and so on and so forth. All the while Gosling's charcter moves on towards his demise. Throughout the movie there are clips and flashbacks of the people in the background of the movie. The "plot twist" is telegraphed well before curtain is drawn back, but it's still well done and it ends the movie on a weird note. Basically the twist was that the entire movie was a dream of Gosling as he lays dying from a car accident.
I'd first thought about writing a story based on the life of a person after an accident when I was back in high school, it might have been late in my freshman year. But basically after going through a bit of this person's life the end of the story would be that the entire story was simply in his mind and that the person didn't survive the accident.
I know, it wasn't a good idea and hence why it simply got lost on a 3.5" floppy over a decade ago. Some things are best left forgotten.
Timmer, over at my occasional stomping ground, sent me over to Hot Air where excerpts from a recent Simpsons were shown. While I hold a warm spot in my heart for The Simpsons, they haven't been a part of my Sunday TV watchin' since early 2002. I'll occasionally watch them a couple Sundays in a row, but inevitably I cease because, well, they jumped the shark when Principal Skinner was revealed to be a fraud, and I find Futuarama, Robot Chicken, South Park, and some of the other Adult Swim offerings to just be more entertaining. The Simpsons has passed into the realm of entertainment where Saturday Night Live exists. It's not really all that good anymore, but people have fond enough memories of the show that they mistake death throes as signs of life. SNL has been in that state for about 20 years now, and The Simpsons joined them a couple years ago.
That being said, and my personal biases towards the Army and recruiting aside, I'll admit that I found a couple things at least worth a chortle. Rainer Wolfcastle's reaction to his future was funny, I guess. And the crack about the redneck woman and a naked pyramid might have been funny as well.
My issue with it though is that they took the easy way. It takes no creativity to take an overly simple sterotype and make fun of it. Recruiters preying on the young and stupid, making everyone into an infantryman, or a fat guy coming home early because he's a big target is going for the low hanging fruit. It wouldn't have taken a lot of work to come up with something funnier, and a bit more realistic, but it seems that the creativity necessary to do so just isn't present at the writer's table there. Sad really.
Bill Whittle once said something about actors being an empty shell, that it's writers who actually give them the presence we see on screen. I was going to try and find the actual quote, but Mr. Whittle is ungodly longwinded (in a good way) and without some idea as to which post of his I'm thinking I have neither the time nor patience to track it down. Anyway, when I read that it struck me as brilliant and it's something that kind of applies to the bit about The Simpsons. The show has been around for over 18 years. It's older than the people it's making fun of when it talks about recruits. The writers who were there that made it funny and into a cultural phenomenon have moved on several times since then. Where it was once an intelligent show which focused on a family with its share of problems, but still a family, it's now a vehicle to launch the next gag. The voice actors are the same, but the people feeding them their lines has changed and changed again.
I can't help but feel that some of my dislike for the episode is based on the fact they're making fun of something which I hold dear. Oh well. It's late, I'm tired.