Monday, January 5, 2009

How on earth did I fall prey to the Worst movies of 2008

I like to think of myself as someone who seeks art in all of its form. Whether its an entertaining novel, like jPod, or a novel that requires a dictionary, a thesaurus, and an English professor like say, Infinite Jest. (Which I still haven't finished).

So when it comes to movies, I have great resources here in town to catch a deep, well layered foreign film, or just some full on popcorn thriller. Unfortunately I encountered two movies this past year that gives me pause on my movie selection process.

My first encounter was with the movie The Happening. It was by far one of thee worst movies of 2008. I was really looking forward to do this, I really like "end of the world" scenario movies. Usually a bad movie is bad because of a couple faults that lie in the script, the acting, the editing, music selection, or the premise. But The Happening failed on every level. 
  • The Script - M. Night Shyamalan put this together based on a couple of movies from the 70's. He claimed this was his "B-movie". This felt more like a D though Z movie.
  • The Acting - A cast featuring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo should at best be considered a decent acting base. They have all performed well in various other movies. But their performances, both collective AND individual, were an abomination upon the very craft they are paid to do.  
  • The editing - This was a total hack job. Scene transitions were abrupt and awkward. But they fit with Shyamalan's "B-movie" theme.
  • Music selection - There was no music that would have helped create the mood and atmosphere. They may have been better off with no sound all together.
  • The Premise - (SPOILER ALERT) okay so the idea of something causing people to kill themselves is interesting enough. But when you find out its because of (SPOILER) the plants, well the whole movie is finished for you half way through it.
I really wanted this movie to be good, BUT it did the exact opposite for me. The only reason I stayed was because I had already invested the $6.50 and the fact that I wanted to see how it ended.

Though if you were one of the few who did see it, a Columbia, MO-based group did a fantastic re-enactment called "The Crappening". Well see for yourself:

Now I wish someone would do a spoof for my second worst movie of 2008, The Spirit. This would be in the category of "Holy-Shit-This-is-so-fucking-bad-my-future-children-are-mad!" Visually speaking fine, especially if you enjoyed 300 or Sin City. But Frank Miller dropped a big ol' egg with this one. Sometimes you can tell where the effort is going in a movie. Obviously it was the visuals. But what destroyed this movie was the acting and the storyboard. In fact it looked like the just cut in live shots of the storyboard, complete with the frames.

Look I know this is based on the graphic novel, BUT I'm sure there is more to the story than what was put on the silver screen. And to have it portrayed by loud and stale performances by Samuel L. Jackson AND Scarlett Johanssen. There is even a performance by Dan Lauria, who we all know as "Kevin's dad" from The Wonder Years. But that guy is just fucked no matter what. I don't care if he plays Queen Elizabeth on some BBC special presentation, he will ALWAYS be Kevin Arnold's dad. ALWAYS. Sorry Dan Lauria.

I attended this movie with my pal, Justin, and forty five minutes into the movie, he and I just looked at each other as if to say "What the fuck are we watching?" We talked about leaving for another half hour, and we decided to stick it out and see how this ridiculous trainwreck of a cinema was going to end. And you guessed, they left room for a sequel. God forbid you should see this movie in the first place let alone its sequel.

For now I'm going to keep a distance from the theater. Unless anybody has any better choices, and they want to take me out... I ain't payin' for awhile.

From last year to this...

So I have found my original intent in blogging was too discuss matters near and dear to my heart. Whether it be love, music, movies, politics, etc. But what happens when some of those things are way too involved, way too complicated, way too personal? Do you write about it in such a personal forum?

I chose to shut down instead. But maintained a proactive soul search outside of the interwebs. Lots of transitions, lots of love gained, some lost, some lingers... 

So I shall return to this blogging, but direct the energies a little differently. Its true you don't need to poor you inner most secrets, but you should keep a bit of yourself in this. So I will try my best to do this.

My friend Zac told me to just keep writing everyday. I will take this advice and try to make this part of my routine. 

No promises...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Four Days left...

I am going to bypass the whole "Where the hell I have been" part of this blog, seeing that my last post was April 30, 2008. So let me just dig in here...

Last night I experienced an Obama Speech. I use the term "experienced" because his rally and speech have the weight of a huge event. Not a spectacle, like a Flaming Lips show, but something that is more of a movement.

I attended the speech with my friends, Justin Nardy and Justin McCrady. We started our journey in downtown area of Columbia. McCrady met this guy Marquis, while walking up tenth street. Marquis joined us for the speech. McCrady had never met him before, but to give you a bit of a description here, Marquis had bandages on both arms from either selling plasma or getting some intense medical testing done. He was a friendly enough fella, but it was just odd to have someone join the crew from literally out of nowhere.

We got in the Obama line on University Ave. And followed this nearly mile long line all the way to the center of campus. Our highlight was watching the Obama motorcade drive by. I of course was too busy trying to get a picture that I missed Mr. Obama waving as he rode by. By this point we lost Marquis.

As you can see the iPhone + Me + fast moving motorcade = that stellar looking pic. So after an hour and half in line Justin, Justin, and I made it to the check in point, just as Mr. Obama spoke. We stood in the very darkened back of the quad 50 feet behind this huge sign that said "Missouri for Change" watching his speech on a huge video screen. Again this wasn't about getting the best seat in the house, it was really about being present for a once in a generation type of event.
Now the speech he gave is the same one he has been giving, so I was already familiar with some of his talking points, "Socialist? because I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in kindergarten" and "McCain was riding shotgun with Bush on the economy" etc. But again to be present for it, minus the pundits, minus the news logo on the bottom right screen, minus the ticker, was actually inspiring. And I am not using that word in an over dramatic fashion. They are estimating that 40,000 people were there to see him speak. And not to sound too much like a Sensitive New Age Guy, but there was a positive energy surrounding this rally. I just hope that these people show up to the polls and vote.

As we get closer to the day of the election, my anxiety is on high. So I am going to do my best to stay away from television news, website news, news news, etc. Just put my head down and run full speed to Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And knowing is half the battle...

This past summer we received the first in what I predict will be many 80's-based cartoons turned movies. Transformers came to us thanks to Steven Spielberg (producer) and Michael Bay (god awful director/producer). This movie satisfied the eight year old in me, but as a 30 year old I left with a lot of thoughts:

- I don't remember that much product placement in the cartoon.
- bumblebee is a mustang?
- was the storyline always this bad?
- I don't know about you, but if i am making out with my girlfriend it certainly won't be on top of a car that I would deem "alive", nor would we be out in plain view of four curious robots.

The other night I received an email from my friend Zac with a short message that read: I know you are into this... He provided a link to a website that had pictures for what I will now refer to as the movie of the year in 2009:

Ladies and Gentleman I present to you the cast of characters for this live action cinematic spectatcular:

Dennis Quaid as General Hawk. I would have liked to have seen a bearded George Clooney, but this will work for me. I loved Innerspace, and the Rookie makes me cry everytime when i watch the scene where Quaid's character calls his wife to bring his blue suit to the ballpark. That gets me every fucking time.

Channing Tatum as Duke. Thought maybe Owen Wilson might be a good fit for this, but then you have to try to deal with the fact that you are watching Owen Wilson pretend to be Duke, and I just want to be absorbed into the character.

Rachel Nichols as Scarlett. Yes this works. I know there are ten other actresses, but again these characters should be the characters, not Jessica Alba playing a character.

Marlon Wayans as Ripcord... Um... really? i mean... really? for some reason i am not sure about this casting...

Byung Hun-Lee - Storm Shadow and Sienna Miller as The Baroness. Works for both. Yes!

I was unable to find a picture of Cobra Commander but he will be played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Again I am making plans already to camp outside of what ever movie theater I will be near. Now if someone could please get going on Voltron my childhood will be restored, which of course was robbed by the Kansas City Royals and Don Denkinger in the 1985 World Series...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Thanks to some heavy handed touring, meaning we toured with my minivan dragging a 3' X 5' trailer around the Eastern half of the United States, i have a day to day vehicle that is relegated to local-only travel. So in my haste in trying to find adequate transport to and from chicago, i looked at all of the deals possible:
- Southwest Airlines (STL) - $230 + driving - $50 = $280
- Southwest Airlines (KC) - $219 + driving - $50 = $269
- SW Express Amtrak Train (La Plata) - $168 + driving - $40 = $208
- SW Express Amtrak Train (Jeff City) - $140 + driving - $35 = $175
- Megabus (Columbia) - $90

so being the financial whiz kid that i am, i chose the Megabus.
this transport is ridiculously convenient, i walked from my house to the Wabash Bus Station and boarded a double decker bus lined with airline style seating. the bus made two stops, one in st. louis and one in normal, il. all told i spent 8 and a half hours on the bus. 
on the way there they showed the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" (yes with the "y") featuring Will Smith and his son. honestly not a bad movie to watch on the Megabus. 
the trick to the Megabus is getting your tickets early. supposedly you can get can get tickets for as low as $3 roundtrip, but you have to book it WAY WAY far in advance.

they have routes that are expanding across the midwest, and have additional routes on the east and west coast. so if you can handle the long rides, you can make it to any of these places in a pretty affordable fashion... 
i have made my second booking for chicago for $45 roundtrip. now if they can figure out how to get me to the west coast, with all of my band equipment and my band members that would be great...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chicago: Pancreatitis/The Marrying Kind/Gordon Matta-Clark

I spent the weekend in Columbia North also referred to as Chicago. I visited a friend who was battling pancreatitis, stayed with some friends i will be marrying in august, and had my perspective on art destroyed by one Gordon Matta-Clark...


Not familiar with this? I will give you a brief description: Its an inflammation of the Pancreas. Man, I should have been a doctor, look at me pullin' out them five cent words! On the serious, this is very very painful. The person dealing with this cannot digest anything. Fluids are given through an IV, and the pain medication dries your mouth. so you have to use a sponge to keep your mouth from drying out. Again pancreatitis is very difficult to get through.
My friend, was released from the hospital and was looking really good for a week long hospital stay, in fact i had seen her go through this several times. i stayed with her in the hospital the first time she had a bout with this. (This most recent fight was number four) But it amazes me what the body can endure and still progress. She has to make some big diet restrictions, but all in all, she is rebounding very nicely.

The Marrying Kind

So I am ordained. And I will performing my first wedding ceremony (most likely my last) for two of my friends in August. I stayed with them on this trip, and I have to say that I am a bit nervous about this ceremony. Not because of the bride and groom, but because of the sheer magnitude of this event. 200 people, Chicago, etc. etc. I want this to go as smoothly as possible.  So i sat down with the bride-and-groom-to-be about how they wanted the ceremony to go.

Bottom line: short and sweet. so i won't be able to employ my signature four-hour mass that accompanies the nuptials. If anybody would like that version of my wedding ceremony let me know. But I have come a long way since my original stance of marriage being a forced component of society. But over the years i have matured (sort of) and came to understand that marriage doesn't have to be a state or religious sanctioned requirement. in the most basic of contexts it is two people publicly declaring their lifelong partnership with their loved ones. my friends in this case know they don't HAVE to be married, they want to, and i am honored that they would have me as their officiant.

not bad for a pathetically single thirtysomething.

Gordon Matta-Clark

I did manage to get a couple of hours in at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on Saturday. My original intention was to go around and take in a number of different installations as the MCA has a very well put together building and history. After making my way into the first installation, i was locked in. i spent the next two hours in the works of Gordon Matta-Clark

I am the first to admit that I know very little when it comes to the art world, but i don't let that lack of knowledge keep me from discovering artists. i don't have the background to walk in and go, "oh i see they are influenced by this, this, and this." however i know what peeks my interest. and Matta-Clark did in a big way.

In the 70's he was known for his series of "building cuts" where he challenged the modernist architectural approach. he would cut up houses and buildings and provide new perspective on space and light. some of you may already be familiar with his work, but i never took an art or architecture class, so i found all of this fascinating. 

i picked up a book at the museum and have read through his history as an artist. now of course i want to dig through the rest of his work and his influences. I found his perspective and approach to be mindblowing, and honestly it is making me look differently at how i perceive and create my own art.

unfortunately matta-clark died in 1978 from pancreatic cancer, so we will never know the where the extent of his work could have reached, but we know that the work he did leave us has influenced many artists and architects over the years. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's-go Base-ball! (clap,clap, clap-clap-clap)

i don't mix words when it comes for my love of baseball.

i'm a total nerd about

"your honor, the prosecution would like to enter State's evidence A and B:"

- State's Evidence exhibit A: one fantasy baseball team at
- State's Evidence exhibit B: one fantasy baseball team at

"if the defense has no objections i will allow"

now just because i have these two fantasy baseball teams doesn't mean i'm up to par with every stat of every second or third year player in the league, but i am getting myself back into the mode of watching a nine-inning game on television. tough stuff to do when my mind is overanalyzing every part of my life. here are some examples of my thoughts during my participation of a televised baseball game:

- man i really love this Grillers Prime veggie burger. i might like it more than Boca burgers.
- i wish i could find two socks that match, not that there isn't a charm to having one grey sock and one beige sock, but c'mon i should keep at least one thing in my life consistent.
- do you think she like-likes me or just likes me? man i hope its that first one, because i am tired of that second one, not that i mind being just friends, but man can i get something to fall my way a bit?! oh i'm such a loser...
- where did the remote go?
- when is heroes going to start up again? i felt cheated last season, but my love for the show is unconditional.
- i miss apple fruit rollups
- i really hate purse dogs

so again, when given the opportunity my mind will wander around in some of the farthest regions of my head. (yes that does make sense)

this year my team, the st. louis cardinals have exceeded expectations. honestly this year is still considered to be a building year, but the team that is taking the field has gelled nicely. rick ankiel continues to make one of the greatest comebacks in major league history, pujols is continuing to look like his elbow is healthy, and the starting pitching is performing well.

the problems are in the late inning action. the middle relief staff is struggling and it is making the games a little more exciting than they need to be. additionally they don't have a whole lot of depth on the bench. the cardinals need some more consistency to protect leads late in the game.

as you can see i have some idea of what is going on in baseball. and this has been a constant in my life. when i was eight i used to tape myself doing play by play of the cardinals broadcasts. i would turn down the volume on the television set and do the entire play-by-play. i realized later that my voice never changed its pitch after age nine. so instead, i sing and get mistaken for a woman when i order food at the drive through... go figure.

so as april wraps up i look forward to torturing myself with the up and down season the cardinals will provide for me for the rest of the summer.

anybody want to play catch!?