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Tuesday, December 6th, 2005
12:05 am - Cold
My life has started flying along at a pace that I'm really not comfortable with.. and I haven't even had time to process some of the things that I've gone through recently.

The biggest thing, one of my best friends from high school passed away. Bill was killed in Iraq, and his funeral was Saturday. I wasn't even sure that I'd be able to go thanks to the shithole I work in, but I offered to do a bunch of extra time and they let me go say goodbye to my friend.

Being there for that was intense, and very emotional. Bill was probably the nicest guy I've ever known in my life. He had absolutely no problem with anyone, and was not ashamed to be seen with or talk to anyone, which is something that was incredibly rare in Kingwood High. He always made me laugh, and always had something nice to say. We both took crappy dates to prom together, drove to graduation together... grew up together.

Seeing Garrett and Julio, Matt and Curtis... not the way I wanted to be reunited with old friends I hadn't talked to in ages.

I've prayed for Bill in my own way, but I would like to scan some pictures when I can find them. He will always be remembered and loved.

Just as quickly as I was slammed in the face by that tragedy, it was back to the firepits. I won't get another day off until Thursday (which is the day I officially become old) and the next 2 days are both 12-14 hour workdays.

Maybe when I get a day or two to breathe, the full realization of all of this will hit me. And I'm sure it will hit me square in the face.

current mood: sad

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Tuesday, November 1st, 2005
11:21 pm - lol
I feel like such a fraud coming on here after like... uhh how long. Well 3 and a half months isn't that bad I guess. I think I've done longer breaks.

Oh yeah, the post under that is 5 months before that. Well then, yeah I'm a fraud.

Then 6 months under that. Jesus what in the hell?

Well, I got laid off from my last job back in April. I spent like 2 months in a daze, sleeping until 3pm and staying up till sunrise. Then I ran out of money and had to get a job. I applied at like 300 places, and finally got hired as a retail manager. That's right boys and girls, I've been working in a damn mall. At first I thought it'd be OK... same paycheck as before, same benefits... plenty of weirdos to look at. I turned the ignorant eye to the truths deep down I knew existed. Retail is the ABSOLUTE WORST CAREER TO BE IN. I would rather be cleaning shit out of tipped over port'o'potties than work one more day in retail. But alas, the shit cleaners aren't hiring.

I hate hate hate hatE haTE hATE HATE HATE HATE HATE my job. I started on 9/5, and I already want to see the company go down in absolute shambles and be forced to give all managers and employees hefty severance packages.

In retail, pretty much everyone at the store manager level and below is ok. The store managers who get trapped in retail for most of their lives are some of the saddest people I've ever seen, but they at least try to act cool cause they've accepted their fates. And the employees, once you weed out the real wackjobs, are just students or challenged people trying to make a buck, and move up the chain to a better job.

Then you get the corporate presence. Are they ever there in person? No. But can they push the button and have you fire half your staff cause they're only making $50 for every $1 spent on payroll instead of $75 for every $1? Yep. Which they've done several times. The DM is an absolute clownshoes, and everyone else I've talked to from corporate is an ignorant assbag. Everyone signs an "at-will" employment disclaimer, thinking its just standard procedure. But this company LOVES making everyone feel like the axe is hanging right above your head.

I work in Almeda Mall also, which doesn't help squat. I applied for West Oaks mall, which is 10-15 minutes from my apartment. Naturally they say no, and offer me a job all the way across town, so I'm spending about $70 weekly in gas to drive back and forth to the mall. Throw in the fact that I'm the only white person there, and the mall itself is really really lame and small, and you don't have a very happy Johnboy. The food court consists of Taco Bell, a chinese place, the pizza place, a burger place, a smoothie place, and the cookie place. At least at Deerbrook they had that gross looking sandwich place so I could have at least pretended to eat healthy every once in awhile.

My last point of bitching about retail... the holidays are coming up. Now, during regular months, my job REQUIRES 52 hour weeks. Which when you throw in drive time translates into 62 hour weeks. Starting the middle of this month, we are REQUIRED to work 60 hour weeks! 6 days a week! Even if it is slow, they want two managers always there just in case! And get this, my Thanksgiving break involves... Thanksgiving day! And what about Christmas, you ask? Christmas day! Christmas Eve I will be selling $8 sweatshirts to the lazy worthless douchebags who wait until Christmas Eve to buy Christmas gifts for the wives they beat and the kids they hate. Day after Christmas? I'll be there for them to return it.

Even 60 hour weeks sound like heaven compared to what I was working the first two weeks. You see, our store is brand new, the first in Texas. So they hired us, and we hired the 60 kids, to build the store! On 10/3, we went in and there were only walls and a floor. We had 9 days to build the entire store. Nine. During that first week, I put in 96 hours. Overall, I put in 130 hours in 9 days. Then! Just three days after opening, they told us to cut the staff from 60 to 30, even though they told us to tell the kids this was NOT just temp work! So 30 people slaved for 9 days, only to be let go with about 150 bucks and a yellow T-shirt. I was so angry when they told us to do that. Having to do that again for the holidays makes me want to both scream and puke.

That is of course, if I'm still there. I've thrown all my chips in with the hope of getting hired on by my dad's company, TIAA-CREF. That would involve me learning all the financial crap and committing to a career path there, and also moving. I would go to either Denver, or Charlotte. I'm praying for Charlotte, both for Christina and because I don't want to wear pants.

Speaking of Christina, we're doing well. We're about to hit 10 months, which is knocking on the year door. Which is something I haven't done in a long long time and it's kind of exciting. I just have to think of something super special for the year mark and right now I'm drawing blanks. She's been really the only thing keeping me from imploding from work stress; Brian has decided to mirror his life after Howard Hughes and I never have time any more to hit the movies with Chris. We're having our own Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks and that should be nice. There have been a couple of speedbumps, which is good because too long of no conflict at all would scare me. But the fact that we handled them together and were open and honest made me really confident. We're committed to reaching our goals, and I really have never been more happy than I am with her.

I think I've run out of steam already.

Fatigue and melancholy are my new best friends, and they just showed up to have a little party before bedtime. I haven't played a computer game in two months, haven't sat down to chat on AIM for more than 5 minutes in almost two months, and have seen my family three times in the last 2 months.

All of that is just... not... right.

Here's hoping my string of successive posts which find me in a new job continues.

DONT WORK RETAIL.

current mood: cranky

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Saturday, July 16th, 2005
5:25 pm - Yeah, just checking in
I'm about to leave to Kingwood, then tomorrow I fly to Tulsa. Then we're driving from Tulsa to Norfolk, VA. I should be really excited, since I'm going through St. Louis then Washington DC (both for the first time), but for some reason I just kinda feel like crap. Probably just nervous.

Anyway I've been unemployed since April 29th, I was laid off and am still extremely bitter about it. Since then I haven't done anything except apply to about 12094384 jobs and read a lot of books.

I got Harry Potter 6 last night, so exciting. I loaded all of them into my luggage and gonna read them all again. Kinda silly I guess.

Anyway just checking in, need to get goin. Hopefully I'll have some neat pics when I get back and some inspiration to post more instead of staying awake till 6am doing practically nothing.

See everyone next Tuesday.

current mood: nervous

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5:22 pm - Survey
SurveyCollapse )

current mood: bored

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Friday, February 25th, 2005
7:02 pm - Friday Quick Notes
Don't want to write another novel, but I wanted to update anyway.

My dad accepted a job. Finally. But like I think I mentioned... it's in San Antonio. So, he is moving to San Antonio sometime in the next 2 weeks. My mom plans on following, but not for at least 9 months or so. So the exit strategy to gtfo of Kingwood is in full swing. Why is it that it kind of makes me a tiny bit sad when we are finally getting out of the place I've wanted to leave for ages? This gets them out of there, and opens the door for me to leave Houston with no regrets.

I've decided I want to live in Austin again, but that won't happen for at least 2 years. I want to head east. I want snow in the winter, to see the coast. Let's hope it happens. Byebye Kingwood and that's the most important thing.

My Valentine's went really well. My presents went over well and I got away from meeting her parents with my genitals still intact. Let's just hope they stay intact once the parents find out we're taking a week long vacation in two weeks. As each day passes I think the chances of them being pissed about the news gets bigger and bigger, but she knows her parents best. I'm just lucky mine aren't super cynical about my choice in companions.

Speaking of Valentine's, I still have two really big hickeys on either side of my neck. They're fading and I've kinda forgotten about them a little, but today I went to lunch at Casa Ole and after sitting down and ordering my drink, the waitress just busted out laughing and started poking my neck. It hurt a bit but after I realized my fly wasn't down and she was laughing at my battle scars, I couldn't stop laughing myself. She couldn't speak a word of english beyond "more coke" or "ok" but she made my day anyway. All this week I was praying some corporate assclown would frown at my neck and try to tell me that was immature and unprofessional. I've really had an itch to tell someone to shove it straight up their ass and try to remember what it's like to enjoy life. Punk.

So yeah, I will fess up to watching American Idol again this season. Last season was a travesty but I have faith the lesser of the evils will win this time. As for me, I like the David Brown guy. I think he's genuinely a good guy with a good voice. I also like the other dreadlock guy but he's just a bit too feminine I think to go all the way. As for the ladies, the Oklahoma hick has a really good voice and she lives pretty close to where Christina is. So that's kinda cool. She likes the youngest wild girl, but I dunno. Still sitting on the fence on that one.

And I'm sorry, but the rocker guys? No. I think both of them were planted by the network just to make things different, and see how completely they can control the minds of young Americans. Honestly.

I went to a Rockets game on Tuesday. It was originally going to be with my mom and my dad, but we sold the Idaho house and he was driving back all the stuff from there in a big truck all week. So I invited Chris, but he flaked. So it was just me and mom. We had a fun time, but it kind of made me feel like a tard to realize how many people I actually know in Houston. I have close close friends in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, California, Ohio, Dallas and Austin. But Houston? One. One.

Lastly, I'll be at the rodeo next weekend. ... to see Hilary Duff. My 2 month anniversary gift to her. I'm not ashamed. Bite me. It'll be fun. See some cow roping then some bubble gum pop. Peanut butter and jelly I say.

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Wednesday, February 9th, 2005
11:24 am - Six months in the life of the Duddits
So it's been six months since I last wrote anything. All that post said was that I was back in Kingwood and it sucked. I guess much more than that really went without saying for people familiar with the town.

So is the right question why post now? Or why the break? I mean, my life over the last 6 months has been actually very eventful. During most of my streaks of heavy posting I was doing practically shit. Weird how that works when you have the most desire to write when you have nothing to write about.

So why now... well, besides being really bored at work, I just wanted to write out some of things that've happened to me before the details all start to get muddled.

I did move back home in mid August, and went through 4 of the longest months of my life seemingly. I didn't absolutely hate every minute, but I did hate the feeling of being trapped and helpless back in Kingwood. I had finished college, got a (well paying even if terrible) job soon after and was living in a nice apartment in a town I love(d) with my best friends close by. I then lose said job, blow my money on a new computer and fail to find any sort of new job. I even applied at an adult novelty store in hopes they'd be overjoyed to pay a college graduate to deal with sleaze. I guess I was wrong and they were content to keep their employee pool full of hobos.

Anyhow I came home and basically felt like a giant failure. I tried finding some of my high school friends who were still in Kingwood, but that was a stupid idea which didn't pan out into anything. Only thanks to Chris and Amanda did I ever get out at all, and that was rare.

My first couple of months I didn't even look for a job, I basically did nothing at all. Finally I agreed to start coming to work with my dad, and I'm still trying to figure out if that was a giant mistake or not. He was in a management position (director of financial planning) at a life insurance company. I started to come here and study for a big exam to follow in his footsteps as I started to compromise my hopes and dreams for the primal desires of cash. My dad paid me cash like 100 a week or something for that first month or so, just to sit around and study and help him type word docs and stuff.

Well I should try to make this less winded, but after a short time I was offered to take over as the IT person here. The current one was a 40 year old part time mom who wouldnt work full time and her dad used to run the place but was ousted in favor of this early 30 something asshole no one likes. Anyway I accepted. I took over as IT on like October 1st, and they finally started cutting me a paycheck.

Normally you'd think a full time IT job would be tough and have to be run by this computer whiz with a bunch of certifications and things like that. Well I am far from a whiz, and this job is in all honesty kind of a joke. I despise insurance salesman (which is everyone here with the exception of 5 staff ladies) and their computer needs are rarely anything outside of spyware.

I thought my time at Dell was full of idiotic people causing idiotic drama. Well Dell has nothing on this place. Since my first day in here it has been nothing but head scratching idiocy and stomach turning dramatic soap opera fun and games. How these people justify paying themselves 6 figure salaries baffles me.

I guess the only real pertinent story to share involves my dad. He was brought on to build a financial planning department. That's a wholllleee lot different than selling insurance, which is what this place does. Financial planning looks at wealthy individuals, their investments and needs, etc, and helps them protect and distribute that money to turn like 5 million at age 35 to 15 million protected at retirement. Anyway trying to perform a service like that in an environment like this was never ever fun or easy. Which helped my father and the big boss man of this agency to never get along. The boss is an incompetent frat boy clown shoes douchebag that no one likes, but my father was very vocal about it.

Cut to about a month ago, I get pulled into a small room by said clown shoes telling me he has fired my father. Over the telephone no less. With no warning or anything. He then proceeded to make up all sorts of lies and horrible stories to try and justify his actions. He went so far as to say my father was drunk on the job and things to that nature. I came so close to hitting him in the face I caused some small blood vessel to pop in my left hand.

And yet I am still here a month later. Why? Well my dad was very insistent that I continue to get paid, and fuck the boss over when I have something lined up, leave on my terms and really tell him what I think of his establishment. I simply can't afford to be without a job for any amount of time, and neither can my dad. So both of us becoming suddenly jobless and the Lee household would asplode along with our heads. We're already having to sell the Idaho house (we would still keep 100 acres surrounding it, but the house is most likely gone) and to be honest I'm not sure what all else they're having to do to stay afloat but it is incredibly high stress and irritating.

He's still looking for a job, I mean I know how hard it was for me to find a job that paid over $10 an hour, imagine how much it would blow having to find one that paid 80-100 thousand a year... I mean ugh.

So every day I come in here and sit at my desk, try to mind my own business until I'm forced to interact (usually to run Ad-aware or clean up an outlook mailbox) and count the hours until 5:30 comes every day. Now they're trying to dump all sorts of duties on me which could cause me to snap depending on how much they suck, but we'll see. I had to learn publisher and put out a 12 page newsletter, one of my great monthly chores. I actually did a good job, but I really want to start making it a very hidden slap in the face to them. Anti-corporate cartoons, articles, something. Something they'd find humourous even though it blasts them completely.

Wow... I sure wrote a bunch about work. On the home front there are big changes there as well. Family tension really boiled over in late November and early December... hadn't been that ugly since sophomore year high school. Once they started paying me, I decided to move out. I moved down to the galleria area on December 18th. It's an incredibly expensive apartment I really shouldn't be living in, but I did it anyway and I love it. Things quickly mended homefront once I was no longer there and I guess moreso when we united in our hatred of our (now just my) boss.

Our house in Idaho was actually broken into in like October, and I got to go up there twice during Oct and Nov. Anyway point is we got some insurance breaks cause of the stuff they stole (big screen TV, dvd player, kitchen and bed stuff... it was really weird what all they took like towels and sheets). The catch was we had to buy replacement stuff for them to reimburse for the depreciated value. Sooo... I now own my own big screen TV. Was actually delivered on New Years Eve from the home theater store. It's a 55" Sony LCD and I'm in love with it. I got HDTV from Time Warner and watching even American Idol in hi-def is amazing.

But even the TV and the apartment couldn't make me happy while all this shit was going on in my work and home life. Frankly for awhile there I was absolutely miserable. There was only one thing that kept me hanging on throughout all of that until finally I was practically forced to be happy again and am now left with a sense of permanent contentment at my lowest, and the most pure sense of happiness I've ever had at my highest. I guess it's pretty obvious what I'm talking about. Her name is Christina.

I've known her for coming up on 3 years. I've actually written about her before in here somewhere, although I never really got into detail or anything because up until recently everything was just so undefined, confusing and I was just so unsure about it all. You see, it's long distance. She lives in Tulsa, well at least for now, she's getting ready to relocate to Virginia. For the first year and a half after we met (through a friend of mine) we just became really really close. I honestly think it's impossible to get to know someone as deeply as you do when you're forced to interact like this, from a distance. We started getting feelings even though we were both fighting it, but it all came crashing down like a lot of things in my life... I guess that was back in September 03. She met someone, and our undefined relationship was gone before it ever got a chance to really begin.

I'd get the occasional IM, but it wasn't until she finally realized she was dating a retard in July that she waltzed back into my life. It was completely unexpected, but I guess it was unsurprising how easily we got back into each others minds and before long, hearts.

We started talking on the phone pretty heavily and often, and finally finally started making serious plans to meet. And it happened. January 7th is a day I'll always remember. Now I can say, proudly, for the first time in years, that I have a girlfriend who I love, and who loves me. I've been to Tulsa twice now, including this last weekend, going back in a week and a half, and she'll be down here for a couple of weeks in March. Getting to see her often, talking every day, everything feels right. Everything feels good. And none of it really feels new either. I mean, I've known her so well for so long, these recent developments just feel like the natural steps in a 3 year long chain. Like it was coming for so long even with a 8 month detour. All the idiotic bimbos I dated and the idiotic douchebag she dated in the downtime just affirmed that we actually make a hell of a pair. She's right for me. And I love her.

What happens next, how people knock down the walls of distance permanently... I don't know. The comforting thing is that I'm willing to wait and see, and excited to find out.

Also really helps me that Brian is in like, the same exact position. His woman is farther away... West Virginia near Terry, but being in similar situations at the same time... I dunno it just figures. And we get to talk about it like girlies and all sorts of fun stuff.

I went to lunch before that last paragraph, and realized I have run out of steam. Maybe I'll try to add some pics to spice it up we'll see.

For now, here's some links of stuff, I wish I had some pics of my chica and I but we haven't gotten a chance to do that yet.

My shitty job: http://www.brockfinancialgroup.com Take notice of how anal retentive the boss looks.
My TV: http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000666C00.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

current mood: happy

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Thursday, August 19th, 2004
3:44 pm - Yeah...
So I'm home.

I would've written something sooner, but our internet just got back up after 48 hours of being down. Cebridge REALLY sucks. The guy just swapped my modem after the connection fixed itself somehow in the middle of the night. He looked at my router and was like "what's this thing do?" And you're the internet tech for cebridge? Cool.

I've been spending the last few days trying to get things moved in. I had to empty an entire room and am almost done redoing it. Only things I've really done since being back here is go see The Notebook (B-) with Chris, and after that he took me to Shamrocks Pub or something, by the bingo hall. Apparently this is the new hangout for ex-Kingwood grads? That's disturbing.

I'm getting pretty close to being settled, then hopefully I can get out, see some old friends, and have a good time. I'm still not jazzed to be back here, but so far it's been ok.

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Wednesday, July 7th, 2004
7:09 pm - SME '04 - MST3K
MST3K


As a reminder, I decided to start writing about Mystery Science Theater 3000 because I really think everyone would find something to enjoy about this show. It was on the air for 15 years, starting on cable access in Minnesota on Thanksgiving 1988 and ending on the Sci-Fi channel in January 2004.

Joel and the botsMike and the bots


I heavily encourage my friends, and whoever else stumbles onto this, to do yourself a favor and find out why the show was on the air that long.

For everything you could possibly want to know about the show, please visit Satellite News, now the official home of MST3K on the web.

http://www.mst3kinfo.com

On with the episodes...




Time ChasersTime ChasersTime Chasers


The Episode: 821 - Time Chasers
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145529/
Episode Thoughts: Man, I should have written this post about a week ago. I've been up in my room the last few days blazing through the Harry Potter books for the second time, just finished Goblet of Fire a couple of minutes ago. I absolutely can't WAIT for that movie, although I'm sort of afraid what they're going to cut if they don't take the 4 hour approach. Two hours isn't enough to fit in all that stuff about Barty Crouch, Bagman, the world cup, Harry and Ron, Cho Chang, the Ball, etc. They better do it right.

So that's what has been distracting me since we saw Spider-Man. Saw a couple of movies since then, nothing I'm real excited to write about really but there should be a few coming up so I better get back into the groove. I watched these episodes during my father's day trip home and the week after that, that feels like forever ago.

To get down to it, Time Chasers is another home-run episode. They actually did release this one on DVD along with Touch of Satan and some other newer ones, so I can actually get my hands on some non VHS ones once I have some money.

Everything about this movie sucks, hard. In one of the pics above you see our hero, Captain Mullet. In reality, his mullet is nothing short of amazing, but he's an incredibly dorky scientist guy who invents time travel by flying around in a cropduster with an Atari hooked up to it. Instead of doing anything useful with it, he turns right around and sells it to an evil corporation, headed by the guy in my Dell post a couple of months ago, along with his fat lackey, pictured above. Of course, they take a page out of Biff Tannen's book and turn Hill Valley into Hell, and Mullet Man is pissed. He flies around with his bimbo truck stop waitress, and the 4 or 5 clones of himself he creates, and tries to set things right. Worst part is, he ends up in the middle of the revolutionary war, where you can see that George Washington wore Adidas and Paul Revere smoked Malboro Reds.

He sets things right in the end, after he kills himself like twice and kills the bimbo at least 3 or 4 times. One cool thing is that the studio that made this piece of shit really encouraged the MST guys to do the episode. At least they realized their movie was horrid crap. But knowing that someone, somewhere can recognize when they make a bad movie, and not get all huffy about it like Joe Don Baker, makes me sleep better at night.

The host skits are awesome, and everything about the episode rules.

The film: F
MST3K'd: A+




The Deadly BeesThe Deadly BeesThe Deadly Bees


The Episode: 905 - The Deadly Bees
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061557/
Episode Thoughts: Here we skip ahead into season 9, and The Deadly Bees. I wrote the grades for this down after I watched it, and thinking back now I have no idea why I gave it a D+.

The movie is about a 1960's Britney Spears, who has some sort of nervous breakdown. They even open with her doing a musical number, which is funny but doesn't even come close to the one in Pop People. So instead of any sort of normal treatment, they ship her off to an island full of weirdos who have bee farms. Turns out she has to stay with a bee farmer who hates his wife, the town, and pretty much everything about his life. Soon as she gets there, people start dying. She suspects her host, but it turns out its this other bee farmer who was trying to get into her knickers since she got there.

Thinking about it, this movie is really funny, but not on purpose. British people back then were just really goofy and said the dumbest shit. The MST guys really wouldn't let it go when the old lady started talking about the dog's meat. And that was just one of many things that made me want to rewind just to see if I had heard it right.

This episode is full of bathroom break host skits which kind of sucks. Two of them are musical numbers, one of which has absoutely nothing to do with The Deadly Bees and kind of made me sleepy.

I almost forgot, but the movie and the episode have one of the funniest endings I've ever seen. This movie just ends, with some guy in a bowler hat who had NOTHING to do with the film, just walking towards the camera. This happy goofy music plays and the guy just strolls up to us. Of course, they bring the guy, and the music into the ending of the episode, and it's hilarious. I'd recommend the episode just for that 45 seconds or so.

The film: D+
MST3K'd: A-




Prince of SpacePrince of SpacePrince of Space


The Episode: 816 - Prince of Space
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053464/
Episode Thoughts: Prince of Space is another of those black and white episodes that I've come to appreciate so much more this time around. I clearly remember liking it the first time around, but this would have easily been a classic episode, had I not screwed it up again. Just like Touch of Satan, I missed a commercial break and ending up chopping out God knows how much of the episode. Unfortunately, unlike Touch of Satan, they haven't released this one on DVD yet. I seem to remember wanting to go back and re-record it, but I haven't found the tape yet if I did.

About what I was able to see, Prince of Space is awesome. It's from Japan with Americans dubbing voices over, and it's so stupid bad. Pretty similar to The Phantom Planet, but at least that one had some cute girls in it. America gets held hostage by a guy named Crank Whore (seriously) and to our rescue comes Prince of Space. Prince of Space is really a boot black, whatever that is, who hangs out with a couple of sassy Japanese boys. They get kidnapped, then the heads of Japan get kidnapped, then I got confused, then I got confused again, then Prince of Space saved the day.

It really pissed me off that I could be so careless to screw up recording episodes back in 1998 or whenever, then I found out a few days ago I haven't changed much. I was watching Riding with Death before I decided to dive into the Harry Potter books, and one night when I was getting ready to go out or something, I sat on the remote and taped over the last 20 minutes or so of the episode. I felt like an absolute retard when I went to finish the episode later that night and ending up watching 20 minutes of a Yankees game.

So, if someone ever screws up and tapes over something of yours... cut them a break. It happens.

From what I did see, the episode was hilarious and the host skits was actually funny. It was the first time in a long time most of the host skits had nothing to do with the show and I really enjoyed them. In the storyline of the show, the SOL got pulled into a wormhole that messes with reality. So, most of the host skits just try to be as weird as possible and they're really funny. They even turn Mike into a robot, although I missed most of this host skit because of my uhh.. forgiveable mess up 6 years ago.

Here's hoping they put it out on DVD cause before long I'm not gonna have many episodes left to watch.

The film: F
MST3K'd: A-

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Thursday, July 1st, 2004
2:21 pm - SME '04 - At the theater
The movie: Spider-Man 2
At a glance: Spider-Man 2
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316654/
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Alfred Molina
Quick outline: Picking up two years after the end of the first Spider-Man (at least I think so) we see the life of Spider-Man taking its toll on the life of Peter Parker. Everything starts to suck, so Peter has to make a choice. All the while, a scientist is working on an experiment which turns him into an octopus.
Comparable to: I've struggled to think of something witty to write here, so you get nothing.

Comments: I debated pretty heavily whether we should see this midnight opening night or later opening day. We decided on the 10:20pm show last night, due to the fact that I really didn't want to sit next to a guy in a Spider-Man costume and get home at 3 in the morning covered in the silly string he kept up his sleeves.

I liked the first Spider-Man quite a bit when it came out. Bought the DVD, watched it a few times on HBO. It was good, but as time went on my opinion of it kind of got more and more impartial. To the point that when I first saw the teaser trailer for Spider-Man 2 I just said "eh." Maybe it had something to do with the fact the only thing they showed was that slow-mo scene of him spinning backwards which looked sort of stupid. It wasn't until the official full trailer that I got back into Spider-Man mode, so much that I was really excited to see this. Here's hoping that it doesn't suffer the same fate in the long run as the first, but after my initial viewing, I very much enjoyed Spider-Man 2.

My growing problems with the first film were mainly due to the somewhat laughable dialogue. I had a long debate with Brandon about just how silly the movie is, he went so far as to say he liked The Hulk better. When I saw The Hulk I became physically ill, and I don't blame that entirely on the fact that I was on a terrible date at the time. Sure, Spider-Man was cheesy in parts, but to me it was mostly intentional. The only one who bordered on taking it too far was Willem Dafoe. Other than that, I liked the look, the story, and the actors.

Spider-Man 2 keeps everything I liked about the first one, and tones down the cheese enough to where it's acceptable, and adds to the lightheartedness and fun of the film as a whole. There was still some cheese, but come on, it's a comic book movie. People expecting Saving Private Ryan should go buy themselves a clue. The fact that it's not afraid to make fun of itself is pretty cool in my opinion. And the comic book dialogue is what it is, providing a comic book feel in a comic book movie.

One of the best parts of the film are the fight scenes. Complete CGI, but fast paced and entertaining. Seeing Spider-Man move around at all is just cool to watch. I also really liked the story, dealing with our choices in life and all of that. Staying away from spoilers makes for short reviews, but oh well. The Peter/MJ line was done well, and the Peter/Harry line was set up well for the next film.

Scenes to look out for: the fight on the train, the formation of Dr. Octopus, Bruce Campbell, the Evil Dead spoof, and the old chinese lady singing her song. Those 5 scenes make the movie worth seeing, and the rest doesn't disappoint either.

In closing, I'll ask if anyone who has seen it was equally as pissed off at Mary Jane as I was. She was a huge bitch almost the entire movie. I don't know yet what to think of the ending, but thank goodness they didn't leave any doubt at all to the inevitability of a third movie. /sarcasm

Go see it. As far as big budget summer movies go, this was the best I remember since... well, the last one.
Who would like it: I think it has mass appeal. It's not just a kids movie, but kids like it. Being not a lame kids movie, parents can too. Although if you are going to the movies with your family, I'd see The Terminal first.
Who wouldn't: It's fun, funny, pokes fun at itself, and has lots of action, so if all that you're used to screens at River Oaks, I'd probably stay at home.
My grade: A-




The movie: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
At a glance: Dodgeball
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364725/
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn
Quick outline: Ben Stiller is the head of GloboGym, located right across the street from Vince Vaughn's gym, Average Joes. Vince is broke and owes $50,000, so Ben buys up the debt. Vince has 30 days to get the money or their gym is totalled. So what do they do? What else, they go play dodgeball.
Comparable to: It is nowhere near the funny of Old School, but it wants to be. And to compare it to Major League is almost worth a kick in the pants, but it has to be done.

Comments: Our movie night Sunday ended with the 10:00 showing of Dodgeball. If there was anything at all else in the theater, we probably would have, definitely should have seen that instead. Vince Vaughn is one of my favorites, and he does a pretty good job, but this movie just kinda sucks.

I generally like movies like these, if you want to call it a guilty pleasure that's fine. I own all 3 American Pies, Road Trip, Old School, and Eurotrip so I'm definitely not biased against the genre. Something about this movie just isn't that funny. It's probably the uninteresting cast. Besides Vaugh and the overacting Ben Stiller, there's really no one worth watching. Christine Taylor will always be the bitchy one on Hey Dude to me, and she looks like she's been starving herself ever since. For some reason, the redhead dude from A Knight's Tale acts like a pirate, and the rest of the Average Joes are stock dorks they picked right out of a Star Trek convention.

Another annoying thing is the overdose of cameos. One or two I can handle, sometimes they're even somewhat funny. But the last like 20 minutes of Dodgeball alone has I think 4 of those "oh my God look who it is!" cameo scenes which eventually make me want to puke. I won't spoil who they are in case anyone does give a shit, but it would have taken Fred Savage, Mr. T, Mike Nelson, and Daniel Radcliffe in his Harry Potter outfit for me to stomach those idiotic neverending cameo scenes.

Sad thing is, besides the cameos there is only one joke I even remember. And it's in the first 5 minutes, and relies on disgusting grossness to get a laugh. It works, but it's the only thing I actually remember about the film besides them playing dodgeball. That's really all this film is, a promotional tool for the growing sport of dodgeball. It really made me want to play, and it's spawned leagues around the country and even a TV show on the game show network. So I guess it achieved something, but it's too bad that something wasn't being a funny movie.
Who would like it: I probably would have loved it back in high school. I don't see the appeal to any other audience at all.
Who wouldn't: Any.. other.. audience. At all. Being free softened the blow. So sneak into it.
My grade: C-




The movie: The Terminal
At a glance: The Terminal
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362227/
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci
Quick outline: Tom Hanks lands in New York City knowing about 4 words of english, and not knowing his country is having a revolution. So he's technically not a citizen anywhere, and not fit to enter the US. So, his home is now, surprisingly enough, the terminal.
Comparable to: It's quiet, simple, and not full of itself. Kind of like Mumford in that respect.

Comments: On Sunday we finally headed out to the movies for our first movie day in a long time. Some of you might think theater hopping is bad form, but as much money as I pump into Hollywood I think I deserve a break once in awhile. Our first movie was a 4:00 showing of Fahrenheit 9/11, but I really have no desire to talk about politics at all, and talking about a piece like that is nothing but political crap which has no place in an online journal devoted to film. So after that ended, we watched another 45 minutes or so of Harry Potter, and then casually strolled over to the 7:30 showing of The Terminal.

You probably haven't heard much about The Terminal, I don't remember seeing any commercials for it or anything. A lot of people don't know it's the latest film from Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks. However, it's not on the same blockbuster level as a Forrest Gump type film, this one is much closer to the equally enjoyable Catch Me if You Can. If you go to the theater and Spider-Man and Fahrenheit are sold out or something, you definitely have a nice alternative.

To me the movie started out kind of slow. Tom Hanks speaks zero english, and the airport people continue to lecture into his ear while he sits there with a stupid smile on his face. Once he gets out of the security office and out into the terminal, things start to come together pretty quick. As he learns more english and more storylines start to be introduced, this turns into a really good film.

One big question mark I had was Catherine Zeta-Jones. I don't like her as a person, and I haven't liked her as an actress since The Mask of Zorro. Granted I didn't see Chicago, but I'm just not fond of her. So her being the "love interest" had all the makings of pissing me off. And, sure enough, her character was an idiot who I didn't like at all. For most of the film I wondered why Spielberg made her character like that, and was expecting an irritating, typical wrapup to their relationship. However, what Spielberg did instead was perfect, and while it doesn't entirely justify her characterization in the first place, it definitely works in the end.

The story is a good one, very funny and also touching. It took two films for Spielberg to apologize to me for A.I., but he finally did it. I hope this slowly gains attention, it really has the makings for a nice sleeper hit when everything else out there is already so media saturated.
Who would like it: It's a good date movie, and a good one to see with your parents. Like I said, a safe fallback when the other stuff is sold out.
Who wouldn't: It's not a movie you want to see on guys night out or anything. Wander yourself back into Dodgeball if you don't want to use your brain for a couple of hours.
My grade: A-

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Tuesday, June 29th, 2004
3:14 pm - SME '04 - Some more MST
MST3K


As a reminder, I decided to start writing about Mystery Science Theater 3000 because I really think everyone would find something to enjoy about this show. It was on the air for 15 years, starting on cable access in Minnesota on Thanksgiving 1988 and ending on the Sci-Fi channel in January 2004.

Joel and the botsMike and the bots


I heavily encourage my friends, and whoever else stumbles onto this, to do yourself a favor and find out why the show was on the air that long.

For everything you could possibly want to know about the show, please visit Satellite News, now the official home of MST3K on the web.

http://www.mst3kinfo.com

On with the episodes...




Leech WomanLeech WomanLeech Woman


The Episode: 802 - The Leech Woman
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054020/
Episode Thoughts: I took these episodes home to Houston for Father's Day, kind of cool to watch them on the same VCR in the same room they were recorded 5 or so years ago. And the tapes are in good shape too so I was again able to go to bed in a good mood while I was there. Anywho my next episode was the second of season 8, The Leech Woman.

You know, this movie wasn't all that terrible. It was bad, sure, super cheesy, but you know it wouldn't have been torture to watch it even by itself. And for a black and white movie, I guess that shows how much I've grown up over the years. Or lost my marbles and am regressing into an idiot. Regardless, this was a really good episode.

One thing to point out is that, since I did tape this in reruns, it was way out of sequence with what I was watching before (the start of season 9). And that doesn't matter at all. Like I said somewhere down there in the post about Deadwood, MST3K is the one show you don't have to watch in any sort of order. The funniest host skits are the ones that tie into the movie anyway, so you can use the ones that revolve around Pearl and Bobo and Brain Guy that don't make much sense to go to the bathroom or get a drink. The first few segments had to really focus on things outside the movie, because it was only their second show on Sci-Fi and they needed to ground themselves on a new network with a new audience. So the host skits aren't that great, but it's obvious they're really trying because they wanted to succeed once the show was given a second life.

The rest of the episode is hilarious, I was actually enjoying the movie somewhat so the riffs just made it better. Oh, the plot. This movie is about this asshole doctor guy who finds the fountain of youth, in the form of an 800 year old African lady. She tells him she'll show him the secret if he pays for her ticket back to her people. He does, and follows after her with his older wife. So they trek across the magical land of stock footage, and finally arrive at the campgrounds they were shooting at. Turns out the secret to youth is the death of males, so naturally the wife decides her idiot husband should be the key to her renewed beauty. Problem is, it only lasts for a few days, so she turns into a serial killer to keep her good looks.

Good episode, funny movie.

The film: D+
MST3K'd: A




HobgoblinsHobgoblinsHobgoblins


The Episode: 907 - Hobgoblins
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089280/
Episode Thoughts: Finally, Hobgoblins. Just by the name you just know you're in for something big. And it doesn't disappoint. Hobgoblins is AWFUL, and they turn it into one of the funniest episodes ever. I didn't think it could get worse than Puma Man, but I was very very wrong.

If you've seen Gremlins, you have a general idea of what Hobgoblins wants to be. A movie about funny little green puppets who haunt Phoebe Cates. Well, Hobgoblins kind of gives up on itself after they made the puppets. For some reason, this old security guard is housing the hobgoblins in an abandoned movie studio, in a vault that isn't even locked. We open with his new assistant disobeying his warnings, and waltzing into the open vault, where he promptly dies. The new guard is equally stupid, and eventually lets the goblins out, where they ride around in golf carts like you see in the picture above.

For some reason the movie makes the hero this idiot assistant security guard, and they follow him around in his pathetic life. His friends are Wang Chung groupies, and his girlfriend hates him. The first glimpse of his home life is witnessed in the other scene pictured above, a grueling duel involving garden tools with one of his best friends. Yep. So anyway the whole gang gets involved in the chase for the hobgoblins. Hooray.

The secret of the hobgoblins is that they can read your mind, and make your wildest dreams come true, which ends up killing you. So the army guy goes to war, the megadork gets a hot chick, and the nerdy hateful girlfriend turns into a stripper. So we follow the gang into the strip bar, which in no way resembles the bowling alley they filmed in.

The hobgoblins eventually are chased back into the vault.. somehow.. and the old guy blows them up. We are all left wondering what stopped him from doing so years ago, and the credits roll.

I put this episode on the night before I came back to Austin, and left it on to see what my dad and sister thought of it. Kind of a test to see what new people thought of the show. They were both laughing their asses off the whole time we had it on, and that was gratifying. I love getting the word out about things I'm passionate about, especially when people enjoy it.

The jokes are excellent, and the host skits were excellent. So, it is my honor to award Hobgoblins my first below failing grade for a movie. I didn't think it was possible, but they pulled it off.

The film: F-
MST3K'd: A+




Touch of SatanTouch of SatanTouch of Satan


The Episode: 908 - The Touch of Satan
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066476/
Episode Thoughts: Well, this episode ended up pissing me off, and it was entirely my fault. I'd usually tape these way back when on Saturday mornings right after I woke up, and I'd eat breakfast and do homework and watch my show. Well, most of the time I also tried to edit out the commercials to make it easier to watch. Usually it worked out fine and there were no problems. Well, if I could travel back in time I'd kick myself in the ass whatever day I recorded this, cause I fell asleep at the wheel.

The episode starts out great, it's the first movie I remember that totally reeks of the 70s and it's pretty hilarious. Then halfway through, I cut out a commercial, but the problem is I don't start the tape back up. I only missed 1 segment of the show, which is like 10-15 minutes, but it totally pulled me out of the show. I had no idea what was happening in the already hard to follow "plot," and it just pissed me off. So if you end up getting some episodes from me, make sure you wait till I get a revised copy of Touch of Satan. Same thing happened on Prince of Space too, but I'm pretty sure I went back and made it a point to re-record that one. So I'm the one that loses points, cause as horrid as these movies are, you still want to see the whole thing.

The rest of the episode really is very very good. The host skits were funny, and the movie reminded me a lot of Squirm. This hippie guy (from Austin I believe, he certainly looked like a drag rat) Jody wanders across the country until he comes to a walnut farm somewhere in Alabama. He decides to have himself a picnic, and he meets this decent looking 70s bimbo. Of course they fall in love in about 3 seconds, and she begs him to stay. To grow walnuts forever and live in peace, Jody thinks. Turns out the bimbo is a 200 year old witch, who is protecting her sister or something, pictured above. It was about at this point I got really confused, and that was even before my goofup with the tape.

Turns out she needs Jody to believe in witches so she can be free of her curse, and eventually somehow she's freed after they do it, and he wakes up next to this 400 year old grossness. He ends up selling his soul to Satan to save her, and thus everyones screwed and the movie ends. If only I had the full episode, it was shaping up to be excellent. Instead, I give myself a B+ and end this post.

The film: F
MST3K'd: B+

If you're afraid of jumping into episodes, go out and rent MST3K: The Movie. All stores should have it in the comedy section. I'm interested to hear what you think.

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1:20 am - SME '04 - In the theater... mostly, anyway
The movie: Thirteen
At a glance: Thirteen
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328538/
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed, Holly Hunter
Quick outline: A thirteen year old girl decides to become a thirteen year old skank whore to be popular. Her alcoholic mother and the rest of her broken home try to cope with it and her new best friend who should be shot, not killed, then deported.
Comparable to: Thirteen tries very very hard to be a female Larry Clark film. In my eyes, it falls on its face.

Comments: I watched this film last night actually, after we got home from our day at the movies, which I'll post about in a day or three. I decided to go out and see everything that looked somewhat interesting in the theater, and rent a bunch of stuff that I thought looked really interesting when it was in the theater. I'm not exactly sure why I really wanted to see Thirteen but I've been wanting to for awhile. It got glowing reviews and won a bunch of awards, nominated for an Oscar and all that. Well at 2 in the morning I went up to watch MST3K disappointed and once again more annoyed at society than anything else. I said this really tries to be a lot like Kids or Bully because it really wants to show us what "really" happens to teenagers these days. The problem with all three films is that these are absolute worst case scenarios everywhere except places like NYC and LA. When I spent time in Malibu I met kids pulled straight out of Bully and Thirteen, in high numbers. Outside of areas like that they do exist, but not to the same degree. I appreciate movies like Welcome to the Dollhouse more than Thirteen because Dollhouse tells it pretty close to how it is for the majority of people in a humorous way, not the extreme horrors of how it can be for some people. It's supposed to be a wakeup call to parents and kids alike, but in my opinion only helps create (more often than not) unnecessary paranoia. Teens are probably gonna smoke weed, teens are most likely gonna drink. Sooner or later they're gonna play doctor. I haven't lost all faith and think that the majority of kids these days progress to snorting shit and getting tattoos/piercings and flirt with pregnancy by the age of 13.

What saves this movie from utter failure is the acting. I liked the main girl ever since I saw Simone and Holly Hunter probably deserved her Oscar nom. The new girl who plays the stupid whore does a pretty good job acting the part, which doesn't surprise me as she also wrote the film based on her life experiences. The fact that it was written in 6 days by a little girl is only evident at certain points, because gangsta talk sounds ridiculous no matter what they say, and most of the scenes were full of yelling, and confrontational scenes are always improvised to some degree. The supporting cast, including "that chick" from 24 and "that scary dude" from Six Feet Under is alright most of the time, but looks uninterested at points.
Who would like it: The main girl said in the extras she hopes moms take their children to see it. I'd really, really think twice before doing something like that. The director is this yucky feminine weirdo who confuses her own messages and ends up with a well acted movie about two idiots in a broken home.
Who wouldn't: It's not a happy film at all. I really don't know who would like it or not cause it's the type of film that means different things to different people. I related to bits and pieces, but I didn't take a whole lot of anything out of it.
My grade: C+




The movie: Super Size Me
At a glance: Super Size Me
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390521/
Starring: Morgan Spurlock
Quick outline: Morgan decides to do a documentary about fast food empires and their effect on people after seeing those two idiots sue McD's for making them fat. He decides to eat nothing but fast food for 30 days while doing his research.
Comparable to: Documentaries have always been my weakest area of knowledge, but seeing ones like this make me want to see a lot more.

Comments: We saw this Saturday night I think it was, in the only theater besides Dobie that screens arthouse-type films. Dobie theater absolutely blows, if you're ever in the Austin area my advice is STAY AWAY. Screens are tiny, seats suck and it's overpriced. Back when I lived there they didn't even have student prices, and the place is across the street from campus. Makes sense. I've been wanting to see this for awhile now, but had no idea I would be impacted as much as I was.

This is a film about obesity. A film about America turning into the land of one giant collective huge ass. I don't know what I was expecting, but this is something I needed to see, and something I think a lot of people would benefit in seeing. The sad thing is that Texas has 5 or 6 of the 10 fattest cities in America, and that's not something I'm particularly proud to know. The film isn't just about Morgan cramming #4 value meals down his throat. That's really a secondary story element that proves something we all already know (fast food = bad) while he travels around and really looks at why in the hell we are getting so fat. His McDiet does have amazing results even if they are expected. In 30 days, he gains just under 30 pounds, and his liver goes into shock. He starts to suffer from headaches, depression, and decrease in sex drive. Seeing him fuck himself over is a huge mental slap in the face that I should stop eating fast food, but there is so much more in the film that affects me on a personal level.

Back in 1998, when I was coming back from Malibu I gained a lot of weight. Not a giant amount, but enough to piss me off. I quit swim team that year, had a bunch of other problems, and boom on comes the weight. Ever since I've wanted to lose it, but have I taken the proper steps? Of course not. I drink more Coke than the rest of my family combined, and probably have eaten fast food on average once a week since I started college. Seeing the facts about what I was eating and drinking, seeing what they do to people... it shook me pretty hard. I've stopped drinking coke, and am trying to even stop drinking diet soda. There's no way in hell I'm going to McDonald's again, NO way. So I'm gonna fix my diet, exercise, and get on the road to feeling better about my body.

This movie deserves thanks for being a really good wakeup call, plus a VERY good view into how our society thinks about food in general, specifically school systems. His research there is incredibly interesting. The only thing that makes it lose points is a scene in which he talks to a guy having his stomach stapled or whatever they do, and actually showing the operation with those tiny cameras was gross and not needed at all.
Who would like it: Like it or not, I think everyone should see it. For motivation, information, whatever the case. It's eye opening.
Who wouldn't: Who cares. See it anyway.
My grade: A-




The movie: Saved!
At a glance: Saved!
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332375/
Starring: Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Patrick Fugit
Quick outline: A Christian girl at a Christian school decides to give up her viriginity to save her boyfriend, who thinks he's gay. He isn't cured, but she gets preggers. Her ex-best friend decides to ruin her life because she starts questioning God, among other things.
Comparable to: A lot of religious commentary similar to Dangerous Lives. I think I read somewhere that it's to religion what Election is to politics. Almost anyway, this director is not on the same level as Alexander Payne.

Comments: I saw this movie by myself on err.. Thursday night I believe. I was in a terrible mood, mostly because Cheddars made me incredibly sick. Tip of the day: stay away from the cajun chicken tender platter. I spent the 40 minutes before the film bouncing between Dodgeball and vomiting in the bathroom. So I went into the 9:50 showing with a frown on my face and my arms crossed.

I really wanted to see this film, mostly because of Jena Malone and because imdb promoted the hell out of it. It was good, I enjoyed it a lot. The more I think about it, the better I think of it. Jena Malone is awesome, I've said that before and will continue to say it. She deserves a lot of praise for this movie, and definitely redeems herself from the weirdness of Dangerous Lives.

Actually the whole cast does a really good job, even Macaulay Culkin of all people. Patrick Fugit is the kid from Almost Famous who has grown up into a pretty good actor. Susan Sarandon's daughter is funny, and actually pretty attractive. Mary Louise Parker is excellent as Jena's mom. And yeah, send me away to Film Prison but I like Mandy Moore. Shut up.

The film is funny, highly enjoyable, but like I said it's no Election. They poke fun at hardcore Christians, but they portray them somewhat unfairly as complete morons who can only say "believe in Jesus!" like they're stuck in a loop. It wouldn't have hurt to give them a little more depth, to make the big climax of the movie at the prom a little more impactful. Jena's speech was good, but felt a little rushed and felt a tad out of place.

I saw this the last day they were showing it at my favorite Tinsletown, they had to make way for Fahrenheit I guess. But I know it is still playing at several theaters, and if anyone is planning a movie day (like we did Sunday) I'd definitely include this on your list.
Who would like it: Fans of young comedies. The same people who liked Election probably. And Jena fans, I know we're out there in droves.
Who wouldn't: I can understand how this would irritate heavily religious people. Fortunately, I am not one. And people who still think Macaulay is still an 8 year old foiling the plots of 2 bumbling crooks, its a little shocking to see what he has become.
My grade: B+

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Monday, June 28th, 2004
6:38 pm - SME '04 - The Return of MST3K
Just under two weeks ago, I was upstairs in my bedroom at around three in the morning, still wide awake and on my fourth viewing of the night's Sportscenter. Afraid of watching my 5th dose of WNBA highlights, I went digging through an old box of videotapes in my closet. Unfortuantely for all your pervs, I gave away my Night Eyes collection years ago. What I stumbled upon was a bunch of MST3K episodes.

MST3K


My first memory of MST3K was sometime in 1998, when I was driving from Texas to Montana with my father to look for land. One Saturday morning we were in some shithole Days Inn or La Quinta that shelled out the money for basic cable, and I flipped by the Sci-Fi channel. I want to say the episode was Quest of the Delta Knights but the time doesn't fit. From that morning I was hooked, and now six years later I'm rehooked.

Sometimes I kick myself for never once turning on Comedy Central during the seven years it was on there, or Sci-Fi a season and a half sooner than I did. I was probably too young or immature or something and would have written it off. I am glad that I did manage to get so many episodes on tape, both from Sci-Fi reruns and the Rhino videos that continue to be released. Doing some quick math, out of the 179 episodes they did plus the theatrical movie, Rhino has released 25 of them, and at most I have 48 Sci-Fi era episodes taped. So even though I only have access right now to just over a third of the episodes they made, it's by far my favorite show of all time and in my opinion one of the most important in television history.

I kind of debated whether or not to cover the show in the SME, seeing as how it went off the air 5 months ago, and so few of the episodes are easily available to people. But I decided that I owed it to the show to try to get the word out, since there is no other way really for people to discover it now. And people are still trading tapes, so once I have money I plan on buying some of the 106 episodes I've never seen before. As drastic as that sounds, think about this: even though I only have 73 episodes max right now, that still adds up to right around 130 hours of entertainment. Wow.

So every night for the last two weeks, I've gone to bed watching a bit of MST3K. It makes me laugh, it makes me happy, and that's how I want to go to bed at night; with a clear mind and a good mood. So I've decided to spread the word and tell you a bit about what I've been watching.

The Projected Man The Projected Man The Projected Man


The Episode: 901 - The Projected Man
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062159/
Episode Thoughts: This was the first episode I put on two weeks ago, and it was just the right one I needed to see to remind me why I loved the show so much in the first place. I was pretty down in the dumps two weeks ago, and the last thing I wanted to do was go to sleep feeling like ass. That usually leads to bad dreams and that hungover feeling when you finally wake up at 2pm. Thanks to The Projected Man I slept well that night and have relatively ever since.

The color episodes I've always enjoyed a lot more, especially when I first discovered the show. It wasn't until my junior year of college that I really started enjoying black and white films period, up until then they bored me to death regardless of the content. Same thing happened with MST3K episodes of black and white films. Mike/Joel and the bots weren't any less hilarious with their comments, but I was preventing myself from fully enjoying the shows just because they weren't in color. So to come back on a color episode really eased me back into my enjoyment of the show.

The movie is awful. It's about some British scientist guy who figures out how to teleport himself across a room. He brings in this old British bimbo who falls for his girly assistant, and that pisses him off. All the while his experiment is being sabotaged for no reason by the people who are funding it. So Scientist guy tries to prove himself by teleporting himself from his lab to this guy Lembach's house, and everything goes fubar. As you can see from the pics, The Projected Man is a cross between the Toxic Avenger and the Phantom of the Opera or something with Ron Weasley hair.

While they're in the theater, they rip this movie to shreds. I was laughing my ass off every second they were in the theater. Very rarely are they ever not spot on while riffing the film. The only times for me the laughing ever varies are the host skits, which look something like the middle pic.

Some people wonder why they did host skits at all. Well it actually was necessary to pull out of the films every once in awhile, both to save everyone's sanity, as well as clue viewers in to what the hell they had stumbled onto. They also provide what passes as continuity throughout the series, so it's not just a guy and two weird looking robots making fun of people and that's it.

Quite often, the skits are hilarious. One of the funniest memories I have was an MST3K night I had about 3 years ago with Kellen and Curtis and some other people when we watched Cave Dwellers. The host skit where they make fun of the opening credits had us seriously rolling around laughing. However, towards the end of the show, after they realized the end was coming, just wondering when, the host skits became very hit or miss with me personally. When they revolve around the film, I usually laugh my ass off. But in some of the episodes coming up, it just feels sort of like a newer SNL skit, not unfunny but something you don't laugh at. It just is what it is. Out of the 5 host segments, The Projected Man has 3 bathroom breaks. The other two plus the film make this episode a good opener for season 9, and a great watch.

The film: F
MST3K'd: A-




Phantom Planet Phantom Planet Phantom Planet


The Episode: 902 - Phantom Planet
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055294/
Episode Thoughts: Thanks to this episode I was completely rehooked and found a new appreciation for the show. This was the first black and white episode I'd seen since graduating from film school, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I even somehwat liked the movie. That's scary.

Phantom Planet was made when we were making about a dozen cheap sci-fi flicks a week, after the success of actual good films like The Day the Earth Stood Still. This one involves an astronaut who is put in charge of finding a planet that is making other astronauts disappear. He finds it and crash lands, where he immediately shrinks to about the size of Wayne Szalinski's kids. He uncovers a race of tiny people on their tiny planet, and a bunch of tiny hot ladies.

Of course they consider him a spy or something and sentence him to death, but he proves himself so they make him Prince, or something. I got kind of confused. Anyway he has his choice of the ladies, so naturally he chooses the one who is mute. They kill the bad guys, and the chick ends up talking to him, so he promptly leaves the tiny planet, returning to Earth at his natural size. Black and white 50s fun!

As usual, the riffs during the movie are hilarious, and I was very happy with myself that I could stomach a black and white film so much better than in the past.

The host skits were much better than the season 9 opener, but still not to the same caliber that I expect out of my show. I'd have to wait another episode for a host skit that reminded me of season 5, but the water glass music skit was pretty damn funny.

The film: C-
MST3K'd: A




Puma Man Puma Man Puma Man


The Episode: 903 - Puma Man
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081693/
Episode Thoughts: Ok, this is seriously one of the worst movies I've ever seen. And as usual, that translates into one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen. Right off the bat, if the picture on the right isn't moving, please hit your browser's refresh button and scroll back down really quick. I'll wait.

That should give you somewhat of an idea about how OMFG horrible this movie is. Yes, that's our hero, the Puma Man, "flying." Like a puma would... i guess. This movie is about some guy named Tony who is a giant dork who does nothing (that I could figure out anyway). That is until this Aztec He-Man looking guy (hairdo and all) shows up and tells Tony he is the Puma Man. He does this after throwing Tony out of a window. Really. The rest of the movie involves He-Man telling Tony not to be a little bitch, and they end up fighting these alien guys who want to rule the world.

One cool thing is that the head of the alien guys is Donald Pleasence, who you guys should know from Halloween. The bad news is he spends the movie in a dress, and plans to dominate the world by making paper mache models of peoples heads and talking to them.

One thing that was particularly disgusting was that Puma Man of course had sex, with a moderately attractive early 80s British or Italian chick. Near the end he even had sex in his Puma clothes, in mid air. Not only is that disgusting, but also frightening and depressing. "Filmmakers" even back then should know enough to NOT show this fellow having sexual relations with anyone or anything for the sake of their children. For this serious goofup they were penalized their careers and we all attempted to live happily ever after.

The host skits finally delivered, making Puma Man the first homerun episode since my return. The one about Mike's hair was a little too goofy for me, but Coatimundi man and the Roger Whitaker head tied the episode together perfectly and I've been quoting some of the funnier riffs ever since, without even thinking about it. PUMA MAN. I'd show this to newbies of the show as a really good introduction. It's not as good as Cave Dwellers or Pod People but it's a great introduction to the show. I was going to say it was my favorite of season 9, but Hobgoblins is currently sitting in that spot, and I still haven't found my tape of The Final Sacrifice or Quest of the Delta Knights.

The film: F
MST3K'd: A+


As a reminder, I decided to start writing about Mystery Science Theater 3000 because I really think everyone would find something to enjoy about this show. It was on the air for 15 years, starting on cable access in Minnesota on Thanksgiving 1988 and ending on the Sci-Fi channel in January 2004.

Joel and the botsMike and the bots


I heavily encourage my friends, and whoever else stumbles onto this, to do yourself a favor and find out why the show was on the air that long.

For everything you could possibly want to know about the show, please visit Satellite News, now the official home of MST3K on the web.

http://www.mst3kinfo.com

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Saturday, June 26th, 2004
3:11 pm - SME '04 - Test format for TV
The show: Sex and the City: Season Two
At a glance: SATC
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159206/
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall
Quick outline: Four women get new boyfriends what seems like every four minutes, and complain about pretty much everything. The main season arc again revolves around Carrie and Mr. Big, the rich playboy Carrie dumped at the end of season one (18 episodes).
Comparable to: One of the 3 sitcoms I've ever liked ever. Plus no commercials and they talk about sex for 23 minutes straight.

Comments: I took way too long between seasons one and two, and the way things are going it's going to be the same thing before I get around to season 3. This season of the show improved dramatically in terms of the presentation of the show. Every technical problem I had with the format, namely the direct address, was resolved. She only did that direct address shit once, and I squinted my eyes in annoyance and that was the end of it. This season my problem with the show was simply the women. Please don't get me wrong and turn me into some sexist typical male, if the show was about men I'd have the exact same response. These women are SO STUPID, I found myself grimacing multiple times as the seasons progressed. The way I watched these was an entire disc in one sitting, but the three discs were spaced about a week apart. So I'd get all pissed at them, then kinda forget about it, then get pissed at them all over again. Over half of that annoyance/anger belongs all to Carrie, she was so screwed in the head throughout the season it was amazing. The way she handled her newfound relationship with Mr. Big was depressing and at times I had to restrain myself from screaming at her. Why get all worked up about it? Because of how horribly they overcomplicate the simple, and it's THAT kind of thinking that makes things so screwed up in the world. It's why I can't seem to find dates. They even devoted an entire episode to the "rules of the game" of dating which was funny/depressing at the same time. And it's not only Carrie that pisses me off. Samantha I guess I've come to accept, she doesn't really screw with anyones heads at all, she just has meaningless sex and thats that. Miranda is the one this season that gets second prize in the Idiot contest. I can't say for sure whether it was this season or last where she breaks down crying about dying alone, I believe it was last, but in both of the surrounding episodes she throws away guys who love her for the most asinine reasons I've ever heard. The relationship with Steve was pretty wasted but I know he comes back, I'm curious to see what happens there. Seeing Skipper come back was also kind of blah, especially seeing Miranda's reaction to seeing him. Idiot. It probably sounds like I hate the show, but actually it's the opposite. It keeps me entertained, it makes me think and question life and society, and it is pretty damn funny. Season two fixes all the problems of season one, and only loses points because of how much they irritated me... well, more like frustrated me.
Look out for: Jon Bon Jovi has a pretty funny cameo role. So does Rachel Miner from Bully. The coolest cameo for me was seeing Dean Winters from Oz even if it was only for an episode.
Favorite Episode: "The Freak Show" - episode 3 was really funny, especially seeing Carrie freak out at the end. I'm evil, but I laughed at her. The one about 20 something women was also really funny.
Least Favorite Episode: Hard to point at one specific episode, but rather pieces of several of them really made me... I dunno, unhappy. If I had to name an episode it would probably be both "The Cheating Curve" and "Games People Play" and the episode titles pretty much say why.
My grade: B+




The show: Deadwood: Season One
At a glance: Deadwood
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348914/
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Quick outline: Based on actual events in the actual town of Deadwood, we mainly follow several people living in the brutal gold town: a corrupt saloon owner, an ex-lawman turned retail salesman, a rich widow from New York looking for her fortune, and Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane (12 episodes).
Comparable to: This is unlike any western I've ever seen. After the first episode I remember saying something like "this sure as hell ain't Lonesome Dove." So for people who have seen Lonesome Dove imagine if it was remade by Quentin Tarantino and David Chase.

Comments: HBO was in somewhat of a crisis about a year ago. Oz was over, Sex and the City was on its way out, and Six Feet Under was entering a full year of reruns. I never watched Carnivale, but I know it wasn't the huge new hit HBO wanted it to be. Ratings were good but not great, and it didn't appeal to me anywhere near as much as any of the other HBO original shows (besides the obvious Arli$$ which I will never watch ever... ugh). So anyhow, enter Deadwood. Maybe because of the mediocrity of Carnivale, I wasn't too jazzed about another new, unproven show. Back in May I watched the pilot episode in Houston when Brian came home with me to go to the Astros game, but I never followed up on it. Didn't pay much attention to it actually, I think I was playing ping pong or something. I do remember a hell of a lot of cursing. So we waited until earlier this month, as the season was ending, to give it a chance on the miracle that is HBO on Demand. We watched the entire season in a couple of nights, 3-4 episodes a night. I was expecting a decent show I'd follow but not really care if I occasionally missed, and what I got was a new must see show that I will not hesitate to shell out $65 dollars for when it's released on DVD. Deadwood is awesome. The character development is incredible, and not just for the protagonist/"antagonist," but EVERYONE. While Wild Bill is around he commands just about every scene he's in, but once he leaves Ian McShane does what I think is an award deserving job. I have no complaints about any of the actors, and was especially surprised by Timothy Olyphant, who I thought sucked in Dreamcatcher. I guess it does need to be said that this is a pretty masculine show, and from what I've heard from the females I know this show doesn't appeal to them very much. Except for my mother, which is kind of strange. Knowing her favorite character was Calamity Jane, who spent every episode drunk and calling men cocksuckers every three seconds, is kind of humorously disturbing. Westerns for whatever reason are a genre universally passed over by females, and however unique this is still a western show. I'd actually like to find a woman who enjoys shows like this, or even more traditional westerns. That would be very cool in my book. And this doesn't really take a negative stance towards them or anything. Besides the obvious fact that the majority of them are uhh.. "service providers," Molly Parker is one of the most powerful characters in the show. It doesn't have to be Bad Girls to show women in positions of power, thank God. My advice, as always in regards to any television show that isn't named MST3K: if you're gonna give it a shot, watch it from the beginning. Even if the beginning isn't very good (a la Buffy) it's just something I think you have to do.
Look out for: The megafat Jeffrey Jones as the town newspaper guy. He really really ballooned since Howard the Duck, that's for sure. But he's still hilarious. Also, the doctor you might recognize as Wormtongue from The Two Towers (he's also the voice of Chucky).
Favorite Episode: My favorite was "Sold Under Sin," the season finale. Everything about that episode was just cool. I won't say anything about it in fear of spoilers, but the payoff is worth the trip.
Least Favorite Episode: I didn't have a least favorite, honestly.
My grade: A+




The show: The Critic: The Complete Series
At a glance: The Critic
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108734/
Starring: Jon Lovitz
Quick outline: New York film critic Jay Sherman does his thing in NYC. Hard to summarize a show like this, honest (23 episodes).
Comparable to: It's a film geek version of The Simpsons although I won't be as idiotic to say Jay is anything but a poor mans Homer J.

Comments: Kinda like Freaks and Geeks this was me finally getting around to watching a DVD box set I spent a lot of money on. And just like Freaks and Geeks I think it was worth every penny. I really don't remember if I watched The Critic when it originally aired on ABC/Fox in 94-95, besides Saved by the Bell and Astros games I can't tell you squat about what I watched regularly. Fortunatley, Comedy Central aired the show practically every week for years, although it seemed like they played the same 6 or 7 episodes in a loop. As soon as I saw the DVD set was out, I bought it. Because this show is absolutely hilarious. From the opening credits to the end credits they pack in film references and pop culture stuff that makes the film dork inside me giggle in delight. In that way it's a lot like the Family Guy of the early 90s. And since I started this summer's binge watching, I've seen some films that are referenced that I had no clue what they were talking about before. So that's always cool. They make several Elephant Man and Citizen Kane references, and even have a whole episode that spoofs Lawrence of Arabia. But that doesn't mean all the show does is reference film. It makes hilarious cracks at people like Roseanne, Bill Clinton, Arnold, whoever. I think I typed myself out in the other two because I'm struggling to say anything, which sucks because this is a great show that I hope people watch if they have the chance. It really does suck that there are only 23 episodes, but getting older and "getting" more of the references is pretty cool even if it makes me start to feel like an old man. You can get all these shows on netflix, well not Deadwood yet, so if you have some time, take a chance on 1 of the discs and see if you like it. And if you don't do Netflix, hit up Kazaa. If you can download episodes of Beavis and Butthead on there (which you can) they're bound to have The Critic.
Look out for: The numerous Simpsons references, including Jay dressing up as Homer, and Homer showing up in there somewhere. They get a lot of celebs to do voices, so keep your ears open for Billy Crystal, Roger Ebert, Queen Latifah, and Vincent Price to name a couple.
Favorite Episode: I think my favorite episode is "Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice" where Siskel and Ebert do their own voices. That episode is hilarious the entire way through. "Miserable," the Misery spoof, is also incredible.
Least Favorite Episode: I guess I'd have to say the very last episode, "I Can't Believe It's a Clip Show," and just like SatC, the title says it all.
My grade: A+

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Friday, June 25th, 2004
11:20 pm - SME '04 - Back at it
The movie: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
At a glance: Dangerous Lives
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238924/
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Kieran Culkin, Jena Malone
Quick outline: The story focuses on two 14 year old Catholic schoolboy best friends who are growing up and apart from each other. One's maturing and finding out about life and love, the other is on a path of destruction. The one thing still keeping them together is their comic strip they make.
Comparable to: I think I read somewhere we were supposed to think Stand by Me meets Ghost World. I love both of those movies, but their lovechild is not nearly on the same level.

Comments: Well I finally got around to watching this, on a Friday night at 2 in the morning. I had actually heard quite a lot about it so expectations were pretty high, although I had almost no idea what it was about. I'm not gonna say it was a disappointment, but I can't say I found this spectacular movie that everyone should run out and rent pronto. I watched the whole film straight through, plus the hour or so of extras on the DVD, so I can say for people who want something different this is a good alternative to the normal string of crap out there. One thing the cast and crew kept saying in the extras was that Dangerous Lives is one of the most "real" coming-of-age stories they've ever worked on. I probably heard that line 40 times in about 20 minutes. Now my question is, although I do agree it's a coming-of-age tale and a pretty good one, why in the hell do they call it real? For one thing, I never went to Catholic school and I'm not saying the students don't rebel against the strict lifestyle, but I think I'm probably pretty accurate when I say they don't rebel in such a way with such drastic results. I wish I could hammer my point home but I'm gonna try to stay away from spoilers. I mean even for 14-15 year olds they are STUPID. I like what they showed with Emile's character but how they handled Kieran was just bizarre. And speaking of bizarre, what in the hell is anywhere near "real" with Jena Malone's character? She is incredible and I think beautiful and an awesome actress, and what in the hell was her role about, seriously. Calling her character "troubled" doesn't touch the tip of the iceberg. And the thing that rubbed me wrong the worst was that there was practically no resolution to her character, and no explanation anywhere in the extras why they made her what they made her. Even just to say she was written like she was in the book would have been something. Instead I'm left wondering if life in Florida in the 70's was one long bad trip. I do love Jena Malone, but wonder what her fascination is with films with such heavy doses of religion in them. Saved!, which I just saw on Thursday but probably won't be able to write about until next week, and even Donnie Darko have some sort of very vocal stance on God and religion in them. I dunno if it's coincidence or she's just a very pretty weirdo. She is probably my favorite young actor now and both of the other leads do well also. As for the rest of the movie, a good 20-30 minutes of the movie is Spawn style animation, which is used to portray the inner emotions of the main character Francis as we go along in the story. All those scenes take place in his head, and in that regard it's a lot like Dancer in the Dark, which is real cool. A very original and entertaining way to avoid voiceover narration, which I was taught is almost always a big no no. Oh, Jodie Foster and Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket are also in this, but both seem to kind of phone in their performances. Foster also produced so she was probably preoccupied.
Who would like it: Like I said, fans of the offbeat. Kieran is a lot more talented than Macaulay I know that much, so anyone who liked Igby Goes Down would probably like this too.
Who wouldn't: If you always find yourself skipping over Sundance Channel and the Independent Film Channel without even looking, you'll probably skip right over this too. Your loss I suppose.
My grade: B+




The movie: Shattered Glass
At a glance: Shattered Glass
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0323944/
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloe Sevigny
Quick outline: This is based on the real story of Stephen Glass, a story a lot of us have no memory of because we were seniors in high school, and the last thing I gave a shit about was current affairs. Anyway, Glass faked a whole bunch of news stories for a political magazine.
Comparable to: To me a bunch of the movies that are based on recent events feel a lot alike, regardless of content. For example, watching this made me want to get out Searching for Bobby Fischer and Boys Don't Cry which are nothing like Shattered Glass in terms of story.

Comments: Watching this film was the main reason for the posting delay. I wanted the third movie of the set to be kind of different like Memento and one that not a lot of people have seen. So I waited for Dangerous Lives, which I still haven't watched yet. Gonna watch it tonight and finally finish this post. Anyway, I watched this by myself one night after Brian left, from 330-530 in the morning. If you're asking yourself what the hell I was doing watching shit at that time of day, well, so was I. I am really glad I decided to rent it because I enjoyed it quite a bit. The one thing I'm afraid to get into too deeply though is the Hayden debate. I could seriously go on for pages and pages about how conflicted and disturbed I am with the new Star Wars movies, and my biggest problems with Attack of the Clones being the stupid dialogue and Hayden. Just thinking about that scene in the Tatooine garage place where Hayden bitches and moans, and they do a closeup on him and he makes this idiotic pouty face makes me want to puke. His delivery was poorly timed and mostly wooden, which makes the fact that the actual words he was saying were so terrible even worse. He reminded me of a soap star, and I remember having a conversation with someone a couple of years ago about how he belongs on Destinos and far, far away from my franchise. Uhhh so anyway I decided to give him another shot and see if most of the AotC blame should go to Lucas. I read a lot of good reviews for Hayden for Life as a House which is in my Netflix queue somewhere. I went for this one first because it was new and did well on the festival circuit. Plus it has Chloe who I really like, and Peter Sarsgaard who really is a great great actor who doesn't get enough respect. He was in Boys Don't Cry with Chloe and they brought both movies to better places. To bring it back around to Hayden, he was made for this movie. Stephen Glass is an absolutely pathetic dork, and Hayden has already proven he can do a really good absolutely pathetic dork. So I'm still sitting on the fence with him, because he pulled this role off incredibly well only thanks to the fact that the real Stephen Glass is as much a whiney bitch as Anakin Skywalker turned out to be. The movie is entertaining and very well acted. I even listened to about 45 minutes of the commentary cause the whole thing is pretty interesting.
Who would like it: Anyone who actually remembers when this happened and was interested in it, or the more recent scandals involving this same thing. Or people like me who think being based on something real usually makes a pretty cool movie.
Who wouldn't: I know some people want to see Hayden travelling across the River Styx so if you're not one of them, go check it out.
My grade: B+




The movie: Memento
At a glance: Memento
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209144/
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Quick outline: We walk forward in time and backwards in time watching Guy Pearce ... blah blah blah I think everyone's seen this movie already.
Comparable to: This is hailed as one of the most unique films of the last decade. I guess out of all the movies I've talked about so far Blue Velvet is the closest. Kind of a twisted Fugitive too, I guess.

Comments: It feels like I watched this movie like a month ago, but in reality it couldn't have been even two weeks. I think I watched this right before we finished Freaks and Geeks and then went into a posting standstill. I was on a pretty good pace though so I guess I deserved somewhat of a break. Bad news for me is I didn't take any sort of a break on watching new material and I have 21 films/tv shows on my plate. So to get started we begin with my second viewing of Memento. This is a good film that most everyone has seen or at least heard a lot about, so I don't think it needs much of an introduction or anything. It's pretty surprising that this is sitting in the 19th spot on the imdb list. Not to say this is a bad movie, I think everyone should see this once. And that also is my problem with the film. It suffers from the same thing Schindler's List does. How many times do I see myself sitting around after a long day of work (or in my case a long day of jack squat) and saying "Gee, let's put on Memento" ? That's why I don't own this movie or consider it great. To me to be great you have to have the replay factor. Well, most times anyway. Schindler's List is great because of the content and the fact I actually think about it and remember quite a lot of it. Memento is something I spent 2 hours watching, then promptly forgot about, twice. Joey Pants does a great job though, he is one of my top 5 favorite actors easy. And it is pretty cool to see a movie that's really about man vs himself, and one in which the "bad guy" wins, but despite that Memento really leaves me cold. Like I said, everyone should see it once for the original approach to storytelling and some good acting by Pants, but on repeat viewings your mileage may vary.
Who would like it: I know a lot of my female friends seem to have this "thing" for Guy Pearce. It makes a lot more sense than Orlando "Nancy" Bloom, I'll tell you that much.
Who wouldn't: The VDA on the outside would say something to the effect of "hells yeah that shits RULES" but deep down they would hate it, and themselves, because of how involved and confusing it is. People wanting mindless action or uninvolved drama should go rent Torque.
My grade: B+

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Sunday, June 13th, 2004
3:02 pm - SME '04 - Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks

The show: Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0193676/
Starring: Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

The Experience: Several weeks ago TV Guide published an article on the top 25 cult TV shows of all time. Half the list I'd never heard of, with shows like Doctor Who, Dark Shadows, The Prisoner, and H.R. Pufnstuf (I've heard the name but thought it was a joke, a candy, or a porno). The shows I did recognize were the ones I expected to see, like MST3K, Family Guy, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Monty Python, Quantum Leap, and of course Buffy. But at spot #25, the most surprising, and therefore the most gratifying, was Freaks and Geeks. F&G was a show that didn't even last an entire season, airing from late 99 through summer 2000.

Several months ago, in April actually, Freaks and Geeks was released on DVD, 4 years after cancellation. I immediately bought it. For quite awhile when I'd see it, unwatched on my DVD wall I'd ask myself why I bought it. I watched probably half the episodes when they originally aired, and enjoyed them a lot, but it wasn't an obsession like MST3K was and still is. It wasn't until I realized that Christine had stolen it and taken it home to Kingwood, and that she and my dad had watched every episode and liked it a whole lot, that I finally said to myself that it was time to actually sit down and find out why I had shelled out $50 dollars for the box set. Brian happened to come over when I was in the middle of episode 2, and he was immediately hooked. Over the last week, we watched all 18 episodes, and I've officially fallen in love with Freaks and Geeks. As soon as I saw this title screen, I remembered what attracted me to the show in the first place, and every single episode was entirely enjoyable and extremely well written and acted.

F&G


Freaks and Geeks focuses on two of the least focused on high school social groups, the stoners and the dorks. It takes place in 1980, so they're still trying to deal with the death of disco, the rise of Star Wars, and parents hating "their" music like Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Black Sabbath. Tying the groups together are Lindsay and Sam Weir. The show centers around her transformation from "mathlete" super dork to freak, as she tries to find her place in life. All the while, her brother is dealing with freshman life, and the unfortunate social disease of being a dork. The supporting cast on both sides is nothing short of brilliant. The freaks have James Franco, who most everyone knows from Spider-Man, playing Daniel, the biggest "lost cause" in the school. They also have Jason Segel (from SLC Punk and Dead Man on Campus), Seth Rogen (he was also on the loved but cancelled show Undeclared), and Busy Phillips (who some will recognize from the last years of Dawson's Creek). The only geek who did anything really known was in Not Another Teen Movie, but the acting of the geeks blows the freaks completely away. Neil, Sam, and especially Bill take this show from good to amazing with what they bring to the table.

LindsayDanielKimNick

KenBillNealSam


Freaks and Geeks addresses pretty much everything you would expect in its 18 hours, from pot to sex to the first kiss, from parties to break-ups to cheating, but what sets it apart from anything done of these topics before is how they are presented and how real they feel. This isn't some typical cotton candy version of how it is in high school, where everything is tied to a Just Say No mentality. The creators went out of their way to make a show about how it was for them to go to school in 1980, and it's amazing how little anything at all has changed. You won't see Jesse Spanno getting hooked on no-doze pills, blowing the dance audition and breaking down in Zack's arms screaming that she's so excited. What you might see are things you yourself went through whenever you went to high school, and how you felt about them and how you dealt with them. Shows like that deserve respect if nothing else, for being honest and not trying to tell people that things are supposed to be something that they're not.

The problem with how we watched these episodes is that we ran out of them, quickly, and it's hard to reflect on certain things because you have so much other information piled on top of everything. A couple of times I had to pause for a few minutes and sit back and just think about how I felt about a certain episode before starting the next one. I guess that's my advice to anyone who reads this and goes to rent the show. You will be tempted to fly through them like we did, because they never get dull and you keep wanting more. But pause every so often to process what you've seen, and what you think of it. It sounds kind of strange I know, but Freaks and Geeks isn't simply an 18 hour comedy. Granted, it's hilarious at least once every episode, but it isn't afraid of drama, and it isn't fake or Hollywood-ized in any way.

To me the most important episode of the series is episode 12, "The Garage Door." Sam discovers Neal's dad is cheating on his wife, and how it handles the emotions Neal feels, to how his friends try to deal with it is superb. The freak storyline that runs parallel to Neal's is a perfect companion which explores new relationships and the pure innocence and ignorance of young love. It's got the needed amount of laughter, and tackles a subject (not necessarily infidelity but perhaps being lied to and misled as well) that a very very high percentage of kids are experiencing. The finale of the episode, and the fadeout to "Freebird" is incredibly emotional and I had to call a dinner break after the episode.

On the flipside, it also has incredibly funny episodes as well. One of the funniest hours I've ever seen is episode 9, "We've Got Spirit." While the freaks scoff at the whole school spirit thing, Sam decides to become the new school mascot to impress Cindy, the cheerleader he has a huge crush on. Their mascot is a giant Norseman head, and is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. Brian and I were laughing every second that thing was on the screen. And watching the freaks transform into the biggest cheerleaders of all after Lincoln High (literally) kicks their asses ties the episode together to not only be hilarious visually but also thematically. I really can't think of any other show where I can say it has one of the funniest episodes I've ever seen of a show ever, as well as one of the most emotional and touching. That says a lot about Freaks and Geeks.

Sam GroovinGeekA night of D&D


I won't say the show suffers towards the end because of the swift cancellation, but it is painfully obvious that the ending is rushed so that they can give a fitting end to the fans while they still have a chance. To those who care, Freaks and Geeks was officially cancelled after episode 12 (the pot episode) aired. The way television works, the scripts for episodes 13-15 were either already completed and in production (13 and 14) or in the final stages of rewrites (15 and probably 16). The final three episodes were also written, either in outline form, where storyboarding was taking place, or simply the main points of each episode written as part of the seasonal arc. When they found out they were yanked, the creators had to completely change aspects of every remaining episode to try to lead to the finale, so the ending doesn't jump up and hit you in the face out of nowhere. It's depressing, but what they do in the timespan they had shows me how much they cared about the fans, and makes me appreciate the show more. Brian wasn't a giant fan of the final episode (it wasn't my favorite either), but the more I think about it, it served its purpose. It was a nice bookend to the series, thought-provoking and not overly dramatic. No one died or anything.

After the finale ended, I was pretty sad the rest of that night. I had that empty feeling in my stomach and didn't want to talk much or do anything. Was I out of it because it was the end of one of the most honest, interesting, and entertaining shows I've seen? Was it because the show made me think of my own high school days and the things I went through doing those years? Or was it because of how unfair it is that shows like this don't get a fair chance, while we are currently on season 27 of Charmed and a new reality series debuts every week? It was actually a combination of all three things. What am I thankful for is that I now have the DVDs to watch any time I please, so I can remember what good television was like.

Besides the creators of the show, the people who deserve the biggest props are the fans. While doing my research for writing this, I found a whole legion of Freaks and Geeks fans, who made it possible for this show to be released on video, four years after the fact. And I'm grateful they did, because it gives me the chance to introduce it people, and so far already it's created 3 new fans.

The freaks and geeks


By the way, keep an eye out for MST3K creator Joel Hodgson, the original Crow T. Robot Trace Beaulieu, Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman, and Biff from Back to the Future, Tom Wilson. The MST3K guys were on the show because the original Tom Servo (before Kevin Murphy) J. Elvis Weinstein was a writer/producer of the show. I thought that was really cool.

To close it all out, when Brian and I were at Wings n' More after we watched the finale, we were trying to do lists of our favorite actresses, movies, or whatever. I didn't bring up TV, because I wasn't sure what to say. But now after having some time to process the 18 hour Freaks and Geeks experience, I think I have an idea. I understand why some of the episodes were so vivid in my memory 4-5 years after I saw them, and why this was on my DVD wall in the first place. So anyway, here are my Top 10 Television Shows of All Time.

1: Mystery Science Theater 3000
2: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
3: The Sopranos
4: Angel
5: Freaks and Geeks
6: Family Guy
7: Quantum Leap
8: Oz
9: Married with Children
10: The Critic

F&G

My grade: A+

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Saturday, June 12th, 2004
2:01 am - Weekend? I didn't notice.
Every single day is the same now, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not. I'm leaning towards the not.

Anyway I haven't written in awhile, and I'm not slacking or anything. I like to update in threes... and the three right now is 18 hours long.

I'm not sure if I want to do a whole post on it or not.

Anyway it's Freaks and Geeks, and I guess I'll get the word out right away to watch it. It's found a place in my top 10 shows ever. And it only lasted a season.

Gonna finish it tomorrow night and get to work writin.

Have a good weekend all.

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2004
3:25 pm - SME '04 - Back to the 80's
The movie: Little Monsters
At a glance: Little Monsters
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097758/
Starring: Fred Savage, Howie Mandell
Quick outline: Fred moves into a new house, which his little brother (Ben Savage) thinks is haunted by monsters. It ends up being true and Fred makes his first friend in Maurice, the cocaine addict monster. All is fun and games until the lead monster kidnaps little Ben.
Comparable to: I saw a comparison to 3 Ninjas somewhere, and depressingly enough it is sort of accurate. Although this movie has The Fred which puts it way ahead of Tum Tum and Colt.

Comments: I watched all three of these movies Sunday night after the season finale of The Sopranos (which rocked). Needed a pick me up, I've been dragging my ass for the last week. It sort of worked until I stayed up till 630am last night for NO REASON and feel like total trash today. Anyway I've written about all three of these movies somewhere at some point, but I figured they deserved another mention cause all three were so big to me when I was a kid. Two of them still are great, the other is so horrible compared to my memory it's almost great anyway. Little Monsters is great, 100% because of Fred Savage. He's the best child actor ever, period. This isn't his best movie, cause Howie Mandell is FAR from Judge Reinhold, but it still holds up as a really enjoyable way to spend 100 minutes. Another big reason I'm posting about these three movies is because of all the hate they seem to get. Little Monsters has a 4.6 rating, where Phone Booth has over a 7. A fucking 7. HES IN A PHONE BOOTH. And yes, Brian and I watched Phone Booth. It blew. Back to my braindead point, watch this movie because of Fred, and Boy Meets World fans will enjoy seeing Ben Savage so tiny. Plus the ending is the best of The Fred movies, makes me teary and then busts into Road to Nowhere, my favorite Talking Heads song.
Who would like it: Savage fans, 80s fans. People who would like this have already seen it or know they would probably like it.
Who wouldn't: It's a family film. People expecting the wrong thing won't like it. Know what to expect, be in the right mood, and enjoy yourself.
My grade: A




The movie: Flight of the Navigator
At a glance: Flight of the Navigator
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091059/
Starring: Joey Cramer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pee-Wee Herman
Quick outline: David Freeman is just a typical 12 year old, until he falls in a ditch on the way home and wakes up 8 years later, exactly the same. NASA takes him to headquarters, cause they found a UFO with the voice of Pee Wee Herman. David wants the hell out of there.
Comparable to: Kind of a reverse Big that exploits the 80s fascination with space and UFOs.

Comments: I posted about this a long time ago, but it deserves another mention because the DVD came out a week ago. Of course when I saw it on amazon I ordered it RIGHT away. As far as the special features go, this DVD blows, but it's worth it anyway. This was one of my favorites for years along with movies like Return to Oz. Not a lot of people know about them, so theyre special to me and I think they totally rule. It's a fun, goofy, lighthearted 80s family movie thats gonna be good for our kids too. Besides shit like Shrek and of course Harry Potter, the number of family films worth a crap to come out in the last decade you can count on one hand. You want your kids to grow up on Full House reruns? I don't. Most memorable parts of Flight are Davey cruising around the atmosphere singing to the Beach Boys, and Sarah Jessica Parker looking almost exactly the same except with pink hair and a Cyndi Lauper outfit. And her reference to Twisted Sister is pretty funny. Great film, finally out on DVD so it's worth a rent if nothing else.
Who would like it: Same with Little Monsters, one look at the box and you'll know if it's your type of movie.
Who wouldn't: I think this is a better movie than Little Monsters, so while I could understand Howie making some 80s fans cringe, there aren't any flaws here at all.
My grade: A+




The movie: Just One of the Guys
At a glance: Just One of the Guys
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089393/
Starring: Joyce Hyser, William Zabka (Karate Kid)
Quick outline: Terry is a wanna be journalist, and when her teacher rejects her story, she thinks it's because she's a girl. So she cuts her hair, puts a sock in her pants and goes to another high school, where she falls in love with a guy, and a girl falls for her. Hilarity ensues.
Comparable to: A more raunchy wanna be Tootsie.

Comments: Like the others, this was a big favorite of mine when I was like 12. It came on HBO every single day, and I'd watch it every single day. Unfortunately, unlike Flight and anything from The Fred, it doesn't carry over exactly well. The DVD came out about a month ago, and like Flight I bought it right away and was happy. I don't regret owning it, but it's just not the movie it was to a lazy 12 year old in 1992. The funniest part of it then and now is her brother Buddy, the sex freak who was in Parker Lewis and absolutely nothing else. He's funny as hell. Other than him, the best thing is seeing more William Zabka playing the bad guy. He was made for nothing else in this life and he is as good here as he was in The Karate Kid, European Vacation, and Back to School. Unlike the other two movies, this isn't one to watch where any kids, she ends up showing her breasts to wake people up at the end and there's a lot of cussing. I'd only rent it if you remember it from forever ago and want a pretty decent trip down memory lane.
Who would like it: People who think movies like Summer School were the best ever made. This is probably at the top of my 80's B-list comedies. It tries real hard but just misses.
Who wouldn't: It's way too raunchy to appeal to the FPP crowd, and not enough boobies for the VDA. It's very decent, but far from great. Go watch Revenge of the Nerds if you want greatness.
My grade: B-

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Sunday, June 6th, 2004
2:06 am - SME '04 - Back to normal, for now
The movie: Lawrence of Arabia
At a glance: Lawrence of Arabia
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/
Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Claude Rains (Casablanca)
Quick outline: A quick outline to a just under 4 hour movie? Lawrence runs around Arabia during World War I, uniting the Arab tribes against the Turks. Based on a real story. I rule.
Comparable to: A few times I found myself thinking of Apocalypse Now. More epic, safer though. Just some of the themes and psychology.

Comments: We finished this movie less than an hour ago. It's 2:30 in the morning. The weird thing? We started it at 9:30pm. Seriously. At a runtime of 3 hours and 47 minutes, this was the second movie in a row we watched over the 3 hour mark. Watching movies like these are like running a marathon. You really need to pace yourself, you have to be in the right frame of mind, or you're going to fall right on your face. This was my first viewing all the way through, Brian's first in years, and the only way I know I made it was that we took 5-10 minutes breaks every hour. Stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, get a drink, and go back at it. Films like Lawrence are movies everyone interested in film should see at least once in your life, there's a reason it's #23 on the IMDb list. But that doesn't mean you have to force yourself to sit still for almost 4 hours. It's not a fast moving film, it doesn't have a whole lot of intense action and suspense. But it is a beautiful film and an important one, so as long as you stay awake through it, watch it however works for you. This made Peter O'Toole a star, and he is amazing. And I know a lot of people have never seen Obi-Wan Kenobi in anything besides Star Wars, and he is an amazing actor. Like 12 Angry Men below and Citizen Kane below that, watching Lawrence is, if nothing else, an important educational experience.
Who would like it: This is pretty much required viewing at least once in your lifetime. Find a way to deal with the length like we did, and you'll enjoy it.
Who wouldn't: If you're not in a VERY patient mood, it won't hold you. The VDA would pass out at the half hour mark. Where the boobies? ZZzzz
My grade: A-




The movie: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
At a glance: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060196/
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef
Quick outline: Clint is "the Good," who travels around with "the Ugly" collecting warrant money, until they hear of $200,000 worth of gold buried somewhere in the middle of the Civil War. Gold that "the Bad" is also chasing after.
Comparable to: This is THE quintessential "spaghetti Western." Influenced countless filmmakers in countless genres since 1966. Also the third of the "Man with No Name" trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More.

Comments: This DVD came out a week or two ago and I pre-ordered it, even though I've only seen it once all the way through. We finally got around to watching it yesterday and enjoyed it a hell of a lot. Only thing I had totally forgotten was that the runtime is 3 hours. We didn't start until just after midnight, so it was kind of a long night for us. This is the second Sergio Leone movie we've watched recently, he also did Once Upon a Time in the West. His style is amazing, and he remains one of the most original filmmakers in film history. Every frame is crafted with precise detail to look a certain way, and his films are beautiful to look at. Guess that's really needed, because there's zero dialogue for the first 15 minutes or so. Unlike Lawrence of Arabia you really don't have to worry about falling asleep here, although both films are very long and go a ton of places. Only a few scenes felt a tad out of place to me, most notably the scene where Clint and Tuco enlist in the Union Army and end up blowing up the bridge that both sides want intact but neither will concede to the other. I suppose I see it's Leone commenting on war, but considering it was almost 3am, Brian and I were both ready to be at the final showdown. The last 25 minutes or so of this film are absolutely the most memorable and amazing, but the rest of the journey is equally entertaining.
Who would like it: It's a guy movie, a fun movie, has humor, plenty of action. Only people who absolutely loathe Westerns wouldn't enjoy this. Like I point out with some of these other films, its voted #21 of all time on IMDb for a reason.
Who wouldn't: I didn't appreciate Westerns besides Lonesome Dove until I was 21. So all those haters, I have faith you'll come around.
My grade: A




The movie: 12 Angry Men
At a glance: 12 Angry Men
IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/
Starring: Henry Fonda
Quick outline: A jury of 12 men deliberate on a murder case where a young man supposedly murdered his father. Henry Fonda is the only person wanting to talk about the case, and they eventually come to realize some things.
Comparable to: I was gonna say John Grisham, but it's really not. Then A Few Good Men seemed kinda close, but not quite. So... I got nothin.

Comments: For the longest time I thought that Bogie starred in this movie, it really looks like him on that box cover with my horrible ass eyes. So after taking too much time away from the IMDb list, this was next for us after Citizen Kane. Brian had watched part of it back in high school for class, but like most of us, used in class screenings as nap time. He dozed for a few minutes this time around too, but even so we both liked it a lot. Like I mentioned earlier, this is another of the movies you watch for educational purposes. It's very old (1957) and very dated, but incredibly well acted and interesting. Henry Fonda really was a great actor, and all 11 of the other old dudes I can't name were great actors. They weren't box office superstars on the covers of cereal boxes and in shoe commercials, they just acted. This was like watching a play for me. I guess mostly because it took place almost entirely in one room (only about 3 minutes worth elsewhere). But the film only lasts 96 minutes (much needed when I consider the tests we were in for after this) so it doesn't get dull or boring. My only other comment is about the strange lack of women through all three of these films we've watched this weekend. Lawrence has ZERO, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has I think two lines of female dialogue, and if this film had any, I missed them and they would have had to have been in the first 45 seconds of the film. I'm gonna make it a point to find something almost fully female (and not fully stupid like Josie and the Pussycats or something) to watch tomorrow.
Who would like it: People wanting some more film history.
Who wouldn't: Again, it's old and black and white, and that puts some people automatically to sleep.
My grade: A-

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Friday, June 4th, 2004
1:43 pm - SME '04 - The Harry Potter Experience
Harry Potter

The movies: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
IMDb page SoS: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241527/
IMDb page CoS: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0295297/
IMDb page PoA: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0304141/
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

The Marathon: I was waiting a year and a half for Prisoner of Azkaban. Patiently. Sometimes impatiently. Actually more often than not impatiently. Since I first saw the first preview for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone sometime in the summer of 2001 I knew I was going to become hooked. Since the premiere of the first one in late 2001 I absolutely flew through all of the books, most recently the amazing Order of the Phoenix and they couldn't put these things out fast enough for me.

So finally, after what felt like forever, today is the premiere of the third Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. After finishing my Mighty Ducks marathon and enjoying it so much, it felt almost necessary to do the same for the three Potter movies. By the way, I'm sorry for the quality of some of these pictures, it was pretty tough finding them and getting them to work.

Harry Potter


I feel like everyone in the world has probably seen the first two Potter movies, so I'm a little reluctant to spend too much time talking about them. It's like people who say they haven't seen the original Star Wars, I wonder if you're straight up lying or just really weird. I wrote in the past how I thought of Harry Potter to be this generation's Star Wars and that theory becomes more solid as the novels and movies continue to come out. Since the new Star Wars are too busy being torn apart by the nerds and people who can't let go of the old ones and accept the new ones for the sugar coating they've put on, Harry Potter offers both young viewers and old the absolute pure goodness of cinema and storytelling with extremely beautiful visuals.

Sorcerer's Stone was all about introductions. Just as Harry was introduced into the world of magic after Hagrid burst through his cabin door, we the viewers were also taken to new places, and we had to spend time becoming comfortable with our surroundings. The way Ron and Hermione were brought in was done perfectly right, where in some movies we are just shown new important characters and expected to accept and like them, we are casually introduced to Harry's friends just as Harry is, and spend time watching the relationships build into ones we can trust just as Harry can.

Chamber of Secrets didn't have to spend time introducing anything, and we were immediately able to hop right into a complex story we characters we already knew and loved. I think CoS is more about trust than anything. Harry and crew are entering the years just before the teen years, when things stop being purely black and white, and you have to rely on your instincts and the things you trust. This is most evident to me in the scenes where Harry starts talking like a snake, and the only people in the school on his side are his friends. Things like that are evident all through the movie. Teaching kids important things about life without preaching into their faces. I got both of these DVDs the day they came out, and have watched them both countless times.

So after my 17 month wait, last night at 11:59pm, we finally got to see The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Kids lookin oldBadass HermioneBeautiful


We arrived at the theater around 11:15, expecting it to be pretty crowded but not absurdly so. Well, it was absurdly so. They were doing a midnight screening in the four biggest theaters, and ALL 4 were sold out. They were doing these in 5 or 6 theaters in the Austin area, and this wasn't even close to the nicest theater in the town. That's why I picked it, I thought it might be the least zoo-like of the bunch. I was wrong. Even 45 minutes early, we were sitting on the second row. Not the second row of the main seating area, we were on those two rows they sit apart from all the other rows, cause they absolutely suck and no one wants to sit in them. To see from one side of the screen to the other it wasn't a simple eye movement, but a quite uncomfortable head movement, as we were already having to stare up almost 90 degrees, but also turn our heads 3-4 inches to the left or right.

Once the movie started it really didn't bother me too much, cause I was sitting there with a goofy ass smile on my faces for the entire 2+ hours. No joke. Before seeing it, I had read a bunch of Potter purists in the UK bitching about what they left out, blah blah, the new director, blah blah, and all of them are clueless loons.

First off, what they chose to leave out due entirely to time constraints, were the pieces I would have left out as well. People need to remember, these are ADAPTATIONS of incredible novels. That means that the screenwriter, producer, and director interpret the novel, take out what THEY feel is most important, and try to make the absolute best film for the audience they can. In my opinion, it's a very good thing they can't make direct word for word translations of the novels into the movies. Why? Because that makes the books all the more important, and all the more special. Everyone can see these movies, and get lost in the wonderful world that the films provide. When you go back and read the books, you're in your own version of the world, seeing the things only YOUR imagination sees. The parts that get left out are brought to life in your head, and you get to be creative. You don't have to be told what all the things in the novels look like, sound like or act like. Some things are left for you, making the entire reading experience new, and more importantly personal.

About the director, I thought he did an absolutely amazing job. The entire time I was in awe of how beautiful practically every shot looked. The way he composed the frame was continuously pleasing to the eye and always interesting. I tried to use some examples in these little picture bars, like the one where Snape is standing in front of the kids, Hedwig is flying over Harry's shoulder, and Hermione is threatening Malfoy with her wand. He does things Chris Columbus wouldn't have dared too. Not to say Columbus did a poor job in the slightest, I've liked practically all of his films since Adventures in Babysitting. But Alfonso Cuarón does something very important. He matures the style of the film, makes it more adult and advanced, which goes hand in hand with exactly where our main characters are in life.

I wish these pictures were better quality, cause you can see in one of them how much more grown up everyone is looking. Who amazed me the most were Hermione, Harry and Neville. Emma Watson is the best actor in this entire series, they better do absolutely everything in their power to hold on to her for the duration of the films, there's no way I could see anyone else as Hermione. How tall both she and Harry look in this film are amazing, and Neville is barely recognizable.

I wont spoil anything to do with the story, but one of the only things I could see complained about, although minor, is the climax of the movie. Every first viewing I've had with all three films, the climax seemed .. lacking something somewhat. Not as... spectacular as one might expect. Over time and extra viewings, I've come to accept and somewhat appreciate that fact about the first two films, and I'm sure of the same with PoA. The fact that the confrontation with Sirius Black was somewhat sudden and brief works well in the long run, as the rest of the third act really is tremendous and interesting.

Only other thing is the new Dumbledore. I read somewhere someone asking the question, if you were Voldemort, would you be afraid of the new Dumbledore? Dumbledore is supposed to be the ONLY person, besides Harry, to strike fear into Voldemort. They need to do something in The Goblet of Fire to show what he's capable of, cause compared to Richard Harris, the new Albus looks like somewhat of a clown.

Regardless of Dumbledore, The Prisoner of Azkaban has taken over as my favorite film of 2004, and is as good, as pure, and as wonderful as the other two Harry Potter films to date. I absolutely can't wait until the (hopefully 4 hour) Goblet of Fire comes out.

Shot from PoAMore PoAThe Knight Bus


So yesterday was a pretty great movie day. I told a friend yesterday what I was doing, and he said Potter must feel pretty damn good after spending an entire day watching The Mighty Ducks. I thought about it and said it was like drinking a fine wine after warm beer. Which I think is true. When he questioned why I gave the first 2 Ducks an A-, well, sometimes even a warm beer tastes pretty good. I don't drink beer, but I think it gets the point across. If you have the time, or might have the time, MAKE the time to watch all three Harry Potter movies in a day, and your imagination with cheer you, as will all of Gryffindor.

We salute you


I apologize for how long this has turned out to be, but as you can tell, Harry Potter has cemented itself at the top of my all time favorites list, and along with The Lord of the Rings, the best series of films in the last 25 years, and probably ever. I know what my kids are gonna watch growing up. Marathons of The Goonies, Ferris Bueller, The Wizard, Flight of the Navigator, Vice Versa, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

SSCoSPoA

My grade SoS: A+
My grade CoS: A+
My grade PoA: A+

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2:53 am - Harry Potter
I just got home from PoA, and I had to get on here right away and tell EVERYONE to go see it ASAP. As in get up and get out.

I'm gonna write about it tomorrow, but the sooner the word gets out, the better.

Seriously, amazing.

Goodnight.

current mood: pleased

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