Monday, July 11, 2005

Chicken... Gave me a bad coupon...

1) So the Resident Female and I threw a "moving in" party this weekend in conjunction with a send-off party for our former neighbor as she prepares to move back to Little Rhody. Part of the plan was to rent out my new building's party room and watch the Sox-Os game during the day. Unfortunately, because the entire Orioles organization sucks donkey-balls, the game was blacked out. Thus, we had several guests who planned to come specifically for the game (like they would actually come for my company), which we were unable to provide. The only saving grace of the whole thing was that nobody anywhere in DC was able to watch the game either, even though my correspondent in New York assured me he was in fact watching the game on television. Regardless, my irrational vitriol for the Os has continued to increase, and I can only hope that they all die terrible, terrible deaths as they are ripped apart by rabid dogs.

2) I finally went to the movies for the first time in a long time, trying out the theatre in the new neighborhood. The Resident Female and I attended a showing of War of the Worlds, and the reviews were a bit mixed. While I liked the special effects of the death ray, I was a little disappointed in how the story ended. Essentially, this was another case of the writers saying, "oops, we hit the 2-hour mark! Uh, the movie is over. Seriously. Go home. Oh, and thanks for the ten dollars." Also, as the Resident Female was not familiar with the original story (or, more to the point, the mechanism that defeated the aliens in the first one), the ending didn't make any sense to her because they just glossed over it. Also, the Spielberg's littering of random critiques on the senselessness of war and thinly veiled references to the US's current foreign policy snafus were very distracting and kind of got stuck in my craw, as they were over the top. Regardless, this felt like a movie that could have been done a lot better, and I will file it away as an official "Blue Ball" movie in the McGuffin Disappointing Movie Index.

3) Now is as good a time as any to chronicle a few entries in the McGuffin Disappointing Movie Index (MDMI). There are several recurring traps that I've noticed seem to take down movies. Here are some of the main categories that confound Hollywood, with more to come in later posts:

The "Blue Ball" - A movie is cruising along, seems to be firing on all cylinders, you're entertained and enjoying it, then WHAM!, the ending sucks ass. The resolution (or usually lack there of) is trite, sappy, forced, or just plain stupid. The movie worked so hard to keep you enthralled that they end up mailing in the ending, with a seemingly random assortment of events or character reactions. Perhaps the most frustrating of all the MDMI categories, this seems to be the modus operandi for comedies, in that most are funny until they are saddled with a plot. Examples of Blue Ball movies: War of the Worlds (2005), Collateral, DreamCatcher (though the ending started 30 minutes into the movie), Final Destination, The Forgotten, Dawn of the Dead (2004).

The "Mwa-ha-ha" - The lesbian cousin of the Blue Ball, the Mwa-ha-ha is when they try too hard to put on a spectacular ending. Essentially, this is the "hey, let's try and do something like the Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense". Here we have a movie that is good, going along well, then all the sudden the filmmakers pulls the "ha ha, fooled you" move and we are supposed to be pleased. Also includes the movies were they defy expectations just for the sake of defying them ("everyone expects a happy/sappy ending, so let's just do the opposite for no apparent reason!"). Take a story that is moving along well, add an overly complicated/ridiculous/far-fetched ending, and you have a Mwa-ha-ha. Examples: Vanilla Sky, Hannibal, Puppet Masters, Dreamcatcher (one of the few movies to double up), Scream.

The "Oh man, I have to go to the bathroom! Why did I have all that beer and coffee and watermelon?" - Basically, this is a good movie that would have been better if it had been a lot shorter. There is so much extraneous stuff (usually artsy) that is thrown in that doesn't add anything to the plotline, the characters, or the action. This comes in a few forms, such as the "we have special effects and aren't afraid to use 'em", the "wait, we finished the movie but only have 35 minutes of film... how about we add a few more chase scenes and a dozen fight scene!", and the "gosh darn it, I want to win an oscar. We need more retarded homosexual slaves coming to grips with issues." Examples: Magnolia, the Aviator, Any Given Sunday, Return of the King (though still a great movie), House of the Dead (okay, this one just sucked).

The "Lucased" - see here. Examples: the Matrix sequels, the new Star Wars movies, everything Quentin Tarantino has done since the second half of Pulp Fiction.

4) As mentioned in the prior post's comment section, I had trouble signing into my account over the weekend, as the computer I was using refused to accept cookies. I apologize for leaving you all devoid of my wisdom, and can only hope that my heart-felt apology can ease the sting of rejection I'm sure you all felt when I abandoned you.


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