No alarms and no surprises, please.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Goodbye BSG

Tonight's the last episode. It transcends geeky goodness and is one of the greatest dramas I've ever seen. It's hard to believe that it's gonna really be over. I'm sad.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Fridge watches the Watchmen

Ok, I've obsessively cyber-stalked this movie for over a year. I love the book and wanted to love the movie. I wanted to come home in a post-coital-nerd-movie-glow like I did from the first Spiderman flicks, Iron Man, The Matrix, etc...

It didn't happen.

For me, the movie was a roller-coaster. There were moments where I was riding high in love with what I was seeing and moments that just didn't work at all and I wanted to hit fast-forward. Some of the problems stem simply from the nature of doing an adaptation. When it's done well, it works. Otherwise, not so much. Some of them are the known casting problems. And some of the problems are, frankly, bits brought to the material by Zack Snyder.

When it works, it's wonderful. There were times I was sitting in the theater with a smile on my face thinking, "Holy Crap, it's Watchmen!" There were also times when I thought, "Ugh, what the fuck was that?"

In the end, it was a bit of a disappointment for me. And much of my frustration is from mistakes that were completely avoidable. My prediction is that some internet geek will do some of the fixing with a macbook re-edit, as the Star Wars geeks did when they removed Jar Jar Binks. But that won't erase the missteps that are burned in my brain. And that makes me a bit bummed. I had bought into the hype and it didn't live up to it.

Specifics and spoilers below. Stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled.

Here, specifically is what worked for me.
* Rorschach - Easily the best thing in the movie is Jackie Earl Haley. Fantastic. The movie was always good when he was on the screen.
* The uber violence of the scene where Rorshach and the psychiatrist and also in the prison in general. It's meaningful to Rorshach as a character, because that's what separates himself from his partners. He's crazy. I was riveted in that scene.
* Dr. Manhattan - glowing blue schlong aside, that's about as good as Manhattan could have been done, I think. And I expected a bit of a spacey voice, but Crudup's voice was very low key and very human. I ended up really liking it that way.
* The sequence with Dr. Manhattan's origin and the photo on mars. That was cool.
* The opening sequence was cool.
* The opening voice over. I was geeking out over the dialog.

Here's what didn't
* Malin Ackerman - What the fuck! Seriously, what the fuck! Argh! She even kinda looked weird naked.
* The uber violence everywhere else - This, apparently, is a Snyder signature. It didn't bother me in 300, because that's what that movie is about. That is not what the Watchmen is about. It was gratuitous. I wasn't horrified by it, but it just doesn't fit, so it's like dissonant notes in a song. You're cruising along and then all of a sudden Malin "I can't Act"erman is breaking some dude's elbow in slowmo with a bloody crunch and sticking a knife in his neck. Or Dr Manhattan is killing some dudes and spraying blood all over people's faces. And piled up over the entire film and it just became annoying. The exception is the Rorshach violence mentioned above. It was necessary there, just not anywhere else.
* The fire splooge in the sky scene - Tart was all over this, as well as the violence, and she's right. I'm all for humping but, this was weird. In the book, it was more classic Hollywood style love making, silhouettes, etc., and the owlship spewing mist plus fire fits that. With this, I almost was expecting a money shot.
* The sound track is fucked up - Again, Tart is all over that. This is a trick that should have ended with Forrest Gump - using songs to put the viewer in the frame of mind for a period. Thing is, that's absolutely the wrong choice for this movie. This is an alternate reality. Trying to use music place us in a time where Richard Nixon is in the middle of his 5th term as president is messed up. It didn't work at all. I seriously hope some nerd is gonna edit that shit out or there's a bad music soundtrack-free audio track on the DVD. That shit was jarring at times. It just needed a score. The 300 score was great. WTF, Snyder?
* I seriously don't remember Nixon and Kissinger having that much of a role in the book. If they did, I forgot it. But, those performances in the movie were weird and I hated it.
* I ended up missing the squid. I had long ago read about the change of the ending and had talked myself into the fact that it would be ok. I understood that by changing the end, they'd be able to skip a bunch of exposition regarding the origin of the squid. But, as the ending arrived I realized I was wrong. I did not like the change of the end and frankly the earth uniting against fake aliens makes more sense than uniting against Dr. Manhattan's possible return. Here's an idea, cut out the pelvic thrusts and blood spatters to free up time for the squid. And the floaty huggy crap? Ugh.
* The epilogue - That shit was terrible. The "I love you Mom" scene? And then including a random appearance of the New Frontiersman that was not set up at all. On the cutting room floor, I guess. Maybe a 4 hr director's cut will fix that?
* Ozymanidas - I probably didn't hate this casting choice as much as some, but Matthew goode was believable in the fight scenes and ably delivered the lines. There was just a lack of command emanating from his Ozy. Ozy has to be a big authoritarian figure. He wasn't. It hurt the movie.

It may seem like I hated the movie because I have more gripes than raves. That's not true. However it is far closer to the truth than I had hoped. And that will be hard to get over.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Does Lou Dobbs have a show on Nickelodeon?

One that I'm not aware of, maybe? Because last night we went to pick up some chinese food and the proprietor of New Great Wall started barking out orders to the cooks. My five year old son made a disapproving face and said:

What the heck? Why are those guys talking spanish? This isn't Japan! They should talk like Connecticut!

This showed about as nuanced a grasp of immigration as Mr. Dobbs himself.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Open Letter to the old dude at the italian deli

Obama Chia Pet

Dear Old Dude,

The following is not a funny joke:

So, I was at walgreen's the other day and I saw the Obama Chia Pet. Be the first one in your hood to get one!

It's not funny. That's mostly why I didn't laugh. That's mostly why the two other people you told that joke to while I was waiting for my Chicken Santore sub didn't laugh either. It made us uncomfortable. You made us uncomfortable. That shit was not cool.

Now, in your defense, it wasn't you that had the idea "hey, black president! Let's make a Chia Pet!" Someone else did that and, frankly, I think it's kinda fucked up. But as I drove back to my office, I remember thinking about your joke (which adds the "first in your hood" reference) and wondering why you thought it was funny?

Here's one idea I came up with.

Perhaps you feel that the world has passed you by (it has). Maybe you think that the things you hold dear (racial segregation) are going the way of the rotary phone (it is). You probably think that this has made our country less than it was in the good ol' days (it hasn't) and you feel isolated in your dismay at a world that's, in your eyes, going down the tubes. So, you construct a crappy, unfunny joke and it's a litmus test. Whether it's funny or not is not the point. You can go around and tell this joke to folks and try and find people that feel the same way as you. You can almost immediately see in their eyes if they're thinking to themselves "move along you unfunny fuck" or "Yes! Someone gets it! Black people shouldn't be president!" And when you find that person you can cling to each other like two castaways in a raging sea of racial equality. Perhaps then you can use a terribly unfunny bit of gallows humor to share your bitterness over a loss of status and reminisce about the days when black people didn't raise our taxes, they parked our cars at restaurants and carried our luggage at the airport.

Is that it? If so, I almost feel a little bad that you didn't find any other members of the oppressed majority to commiserate with at my favorite italian deli. Even the guy behind the counter who owns the place (I think) and is about the same age as you didn't sign on. After you walked away, he and I shared a raised-eyebrow "what the fuck was that" look. We were both very happy you stopped talking to us. While I can't agree with your feelings over Obama, I get the loneliness and fear, old dude.

I kind of hope that's what it is. Because the only other idea I could come up with is that you're an unfunny racist asshole.