Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

this entry brought to you by nine inch nails, "1,000,000"


Transformers It's funny; Michael Bay is my enemy. Yet somehow he's made two movies in a row that I enjoyed. The Island was a good movie-- the first half was much better than the second half, and the action sequences were retarded, but I liked the core of what the movie presented--- and now we have Transformers, which, surprise! I liked. It's obvious when you're going into a movie that's based on a cartoon from the 80's that's based on a children's toy line that you're not going to get a thinking movie, so you should set your expectations to "dumb fun". This is a turn-your-brain off popcorn movie through and through, and even then there are going to be a couple moments where things don't quite make sense (most notably, why Megatron can speak full English even though he's been stuck in ice for over 150 years, and the movie establishes the robots learned to speak from the Internet; also, why do all these 11th graders appear to be 27 years old, save for Shia LaBeouf?), but these are minor annoyances, and you kind of expect some minor annoyances in a movie this gargantuan of a budget. But what's surprising is that it's not the most ridiculous action movie you've ever seen. Armageddon was fucking ridiculous. Independence Day was one of the most ridiculous movies ever conceived. And despite strongly sharing themes with both of those-- IE, weird patriotism that gets increasingly heavy-handed-- giant robots beating one up one another aside, Transformers is barely ridiculous at all. Well, certainly not anywhere near as ridiculous as you think it's going to be. The CGI is utterly convincing, and the director doesn't use the "CGI looks better in rain and/or in the dark" trick you expect to be overused, and Shia LaBeouf is genuinely charming-- I'm honestly now that much more excited about Indiana Jones, knowing that he's going to be in it. The plot involving his grandfather's glasses being the map to save the human race is a little flimsy, and when you analyze the film, there are other elements that don't hold up. There are characters that seem to be around for a good reason that's going to pay off in the end but ultimately serve no real purpose-- the soldiers do nothing but shoot ineffectively, the British girl and her hacker pal didn't really need to be there for anything other than to reveal minor plot points, and, sadly, Optimus Prime seems so dead-set about sacrificing himself that, although he keeps saying "if it comes to that", you start to wonder if he actually wants to die. It would've been nice if there were real characters in this movie, and it would've been nice if the robots themselves aside from Prime were interesting, and it would've been nice if the climax went in a direction the audience wasn't expecting. To be sure, there was in fact a better way to do Transformers. Nevertheless, Michael Bay did a fine job with what he was given, and I had fun with it. The action was visceral, and honestly, watching explosions is fine and all, but it is enhanced dramatically when those explosions are coming from giant robots beating up one another.

UmJammer Lammy My mom thought it would be a good idea to expose my five year old daughter to Parappa the Rapper, and sure enough, she caught on immediately. I sold off the majority of my Playstation titles years ago-- I used to have about 90 PS1 titles, and about a year into the PS2's life, I got rid of most of them, keeping just a handful, Parappa and its sequel, UmJammer Lammy being two treasures there was no way I could get rid of. Parappa, of course, holds up very well, because it's so damn charming and the songs are damn good. But its got a couple wrinkles that are more exposed by time. While the songs are great, the translations for the cinemas is a little awkward. The songs don't actually sound anything like rap songs when they're done, which wouldn't be a problem if Umjammer Lammy never existed. I put Lammy in, and holy Christ, it's every bit as awesome as I remember it. I always, always loved UmJammer more, because for one, I thought the songs were better-- the lyrics were way more surreal, and because they would sing and you would play guitar afterward, it sounded more like an actual song, whereas nothing in Parappa sounded like anything you'd actually want to hear. But Lammy is beyond adorable, the characters are all fantastically bizarre, and the plot is... The plot in Parappa was just surreal, but still grounded enough that it didn't freak you out. It was about a puppy trying to impress a girl. Lammy's adventure through space and time trying to get to her show is like a fucking fever dream. Trying to recall the plot, it's as if this game couldn't have ever existed. "I had this weird dream I was this lamb who played guitar, and there was this vomiting caterpillar, and a fax machine that could transport you to another dimension..." I love, love, love playing this game again, it's as awesome as I remember it and quite a gem, even if it's so fucking hard.

Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair First of all, I wanted to say that just a few weeks ago I was going to mention little Miley/Hannah Montana in a Polarity as "the bad", because I thought she was weird looking. And it's true, the Disney-fied version of her just looks so uninteresting and boring, I can see why I disliked looking at her face. It's not that I think she should look dangerous, but I couldn't see what was the big deal, why everybody thought this little girl was so pretty. Then I saw the Vanity Fair pictures, and with her hair dyed black and without all that glossy make-up, I thought, wow, that really is a pretty girl, and she's going to be a beautiful woman. I also want to mention the controversy of the Vanity Fair shoot. Listen, anyone that thinks these pictures are "disgusting" I think needs some professional help. They're slightly provocative, in that they make me stop and say, hey, she's a beautiful girl and I never noticed it before, but "disgusting"? I've seen Myspace profiles of teenaged girls that I would consider "disgusting". This doesn't even come close. She looks fragile and beautiful-- about as far away from what I could consider exploitive. Especially considering her parents were on the set of the shoot and had no problem with it!!

Nine Inch Nails suddenly releasing a new album, The Slip This shit is unprecedented. Two months ago we got 36 new tracks, a few weeks ago we up and got a new single, and now there's another new album, this time absolutely for free (whereas Ghosts cost 5 bucks). We've gotten so much new NIN shit lately that I turn to my mom and wife, who are both really, really into NIN, and I tell them there's a new record out, and they react with nonchalance, like, oh, that's cool. Whereas when I told them about Ghosts, they flipped. That's how much shit Trent Reznor has been pouring at us. It's incredible. Good time to be a fan of music, good time to be a fan of NIN in particular.

Care Bears on Fire, "Everybody Else" The problem with performers that aren't of legal age, specifically if they're not even in high school yet, is that the listener tends to be so filled with the preciousness of it, the novelty of some kid actually being able to perform a little, that they confuse "cute" with "good". Any talent show where some kid enters, they always do much better than they ought to, just because they're young-- and sometimes they legitimately suck. I was listening to Care Bears on Fire, and I thought, you know what? I legitimately like this. I honestly think this song is good, and I absolutely would love to hear more from them. Unfortunately their Myspace page froze my page three times, so I'll get around to hearing more from them eventually.


Prince of Egypt There was something missing with Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks' first animated feature, if I'm correct. It's a beautiful movie; extremely beautiful. And the songs are pretty good, particularly the song where the Pharoah's sorcerer's show that Moses' God is weaker than their's. But I couldn't escape the feeling that we were just going through the motions. Perhaps it's because it's a tale most people are very familiar with already. Perhaps because the story needed to be truncated into a neat hour and a half, and therefore rushes past things, making way too many montages set to music, that it all seems to be bright colors flying by without anything sticking. It neither has enough fun nor humor to keep kids happy in my opinion, nor was it deep enough to keep my interests. It's very pretty, but it adds nothing to the story of Moses, and it adds nothing to family films in general.

Missing Coachella one more frigging time I don't know why I took the disappointment of not going to this Coachella as easily as I have. If you don't know the story, I had been pissing myself with anticipation because Portishead were playing (something I called on this very page two years ago), and had been checking the website daily to see if tickets had been sold out. The day we got our tax returns, I sat down to buy the tickets, and they had sold out-- despite no warnings on the front page saying so. And I was devastated. Yet I think I accepted it a little better because despite that we had the money and everything seemed fine, something inside me told me we weren't going. Portishead playing was just too good to be true. Anyway. The worst part about this year has been me listening to podcasts, and hearing several podcast hosts (I'm looking at you, Shane Bettenhausen of the 1up Show) talking about how awesome it was. Sigh.

Radiohead not offering In Rainbows free off their website anymore I mentioned the NIN/Radiohead rivalry couple weeks ago, and it mentioned that Trent Reznor described what Radiohead did was "bait and switch", giving us a free, Mypsace-quality download of the album, and then getting us to pay for the actual, higher quality version down the road. You know, he's got a point. Radiohead did it "first" (or rather, were the first significant band to do it), but that doesn't necessarily mean they did it right. Shortly afterward, they signed on to a major label, they released the physical CD, and they pulled the album off their website. Granted, pretty much everyone who wants it already has it, but in light of them removing the free version off the site, the whole thing seems like a very consumer-friendly marketing experiment than the revolution it seemed at the time. Which isn't to say it wasn't revolutionary, because it was. But there's a lot of room for somebody to do it right, which, currently, Nine Inch Nails absolutely is.

Underage Festival Before my browser froze when I was looking at Care Bears on Fire's Myspace page, I saw that they were playing a festival in England called Underage Festival. Now, I'm assuming this is a translation err from across the pond-- they say tomahto, we say tomayto, after all-- but over here we would probably call it "All Ages Festival". "Underage Festival" either sounds like heaven for a bunch of pedophiles, or hell for a bunch of kids.

The Chronicles of Narnia movie that's coming out this summer I forgot to mention this in my write-up the other day, but why the hell are they releasing a Chronicles of Narnia this summer? The first one came out during Christmas time and its only competition was King Kong, and it absolutely did fantastically well. But basically, there was no competition, whereas this time around, it's coming out one week before Indiana Jones. Why did this need to be a summer movie? Why couldn't they have waited until Christmas time, like the last one? Why not make this series a Christmas tradition?

on this day last year it's a short joke about what hell might be. amusing, but not great.

with love from CRS @ 6:21 AM 


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