Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ramblings for the Afternoon (11/13/05)

Two hundred. 2-0-0. Wow. Granted, there are people out there with post numbers in the thousands, but I still feel pretty good about getting to two hundred. It means my brain isn't empty just yet.
So, without further ado: BOOM, BABY!
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Life and Death in Minnesota:
This morning it was reported that a popular wrestler in the
WWE was found dead in his Minneapolis hotel room. Eddie Guerrero was supposed to be part of a show tonight at the Target Center. Now, it has not been said what exactly killed him, but I find it that this is another athlete (you can debate about whether or not wrestling is a sport, but you can't debate these guys do work hard to keep themselves in shape) who has died during "the season."
In Denver you had Thomas Herrion, a rather large football player, die of a heart attack. Jason Collier, the center for the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) died of heart problem. A few years ago Darryl Kile, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals died of (you guessed it) a heart problem.
It makes me wonder if all these guys have pushed themselves too hard, be it with some form of exercise or with performance-enhancing drugs. I will be curious to find out if Guerrero died due to a heart problem, or if he died of an overdose or something of that nature.
This made me think, however, and I admit I put this in for a possible post over at
MNSpeak: Who is the most famous person to die in the state of Minnesota? Sure the popular answer would be Paul Wellstone, but outside of Minnesota, not a ton of people know who he is. Is it Herb Brooks? If so, then this lead to a second question: Who is the most famous NON-Minnesotan to die here in Minnesota? Herb was born here in St. Paul, so you can't use him. Again, you could use Wellstone as he was born in D.C., but he's not super-well known.
On the flip side (of sorts) there are the four people injured over at the Brookdale Mall. When
B5, the boy band created by (of all people) Sean (Diddy) Combs, performed at the mall, young girls apparently began storming the stage and created (I love this term) a "Girl Frenzy." Girls, desperate to just touch one of the boys, pushed toward the stage and were fighting with each other. The best part? This whole event was being staged by Radio Disney and was going to be filmed and possible played on the Disney Channel.
Now, there are a few issues here. First of all, 2,000 people were at this concert, and there were only 10 security guards. 10. That means each guy was covering 200 people. Ok, no problem there. Can we blame the fans at all? Sure. Maybe it's wrong, but these kids also started beating on each other to get closer. Is that really what our parents are teaching our kids? "You want one of those kids to notice you? Get in close. Kill anyone that gets in your way!" The last issue? How long until the lawsuit and who's getting sued? If it's Brookdale, then the mall might as well just shut down. It can barely afford what's there now.
It's just another depressing sign of the times we live in. It's almost as bad as going to the movie theater, sitting in your seat, and then having someone tell you that's their seat when EVERY other seat is available. Speaking of movies:
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An Ironic Movie Review:
So I went and saw
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. What an incredible film. Seriously. Sure, it's an action-comedy in the same vain as Lethal Weapon, but it manages to do something that not alot of action films do: It makes you think, AND, if you are a film and mystery buff, the film rewards you. What do I mean? Let me explain:
This film takes the classic film noir rules and turns them on on their head (a la Scream and the horror film genre). I'll give you examples by comparing them to another film that used the noir rules (but in the future): Blade Runner.
-One character, usually the main character, narrates the film. In Blade Runner, it was Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard just talking about what he did or thought. This is typical for noir and mystery writing (I suggest you read any novel by Raymond Chandler, which is actually a part of the film, but that comes later). In KKBB, the main character narrates, but he's really bad at it. He even acknowledges this to the audience. He jumps around in time, he can't focus on the story, and he makes sarcastic notes about the action the audience is watching.
-In Blade Runner, as in most noir, you have the Femme Fatale, a usually sexually insatiable woman who (usually) is evil. However, she either comes around to become the main character's girl, or she dies. In KKBB, the femme fatale goes back and forth. She seems evil, but she may or may not be. She commits some questionable acts as well. This leads to the next point:
-The main character has a questionable moral outlook. In both films, the main character does things that may or may not be considered "crossing the line." However, in KKBB, we understand why the character does what he does (I don't want to give anything away, so I will remain vague). We may even react that same way.
Other points:
-The four acts of the film are separated by title cards. Each card is the name of a Raymond Chandler book.
-At one point a character talks about how much he hates it in films when a little known character appears to die or disappear and then reappears at the end. This happens in the film.
-Every "Tough Guy" antic that you're used to seeing in films is used, but changed by screenwriter and director Shane Black. There's the typical Russian Roulette scene, the buddies arguing, and more.
If you're a film nerd like I am, then you can even name films and novels that they are cribbing from (I know, that's sad). That's what makes this film so good. If you know the history, then so much more is open to you, but if you don't then you still will find things to enjoy about the film. I highly recommend it.
That being said, it leads me to my final point today (and yes, I'm writing on a Sunday, because I'm not sure how much free time I will have this week):
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What has Happened to Movie Theaters?:
I love going to the movie theater. I even was
quoted in USA Today talking about why I like it. If given the choice of watching at home or watching in a theater, I will choose the theater. There's just something about it. That being said, too many people are treating the movie theater like they are at home. It saddens me. My experience while watching KKBB was not as bad as other times, but it's always annoying when people just start talking to each other. You typical offenders, such as talking to screen ("Don't go in there!"), going across the row to go to the bathroom ("Excuse me, pardon me, sorry."), and late comers ("Is anyone sitting there?") don't bother me so much. No it's the new breed of people who talk to each other through the whole film. "Oh that's so and so. You know...he was on that show...with the girl I think is hot. Wait, what did he just say, I couldn't hear it. Huh, I think I read about how this film ends...etc, etc, etc." I hate these people. You have hours upon hours outside this small black box to talk to each other, and you choose now, when everyone else wants quiet, to talk to each other? There's a special place in Hell for people like you. Right next to the cellphone talkers. How dare you talk on your phone. If you need to talk to someone, leave the theater. Yes, you'll miss some of the movie, but that's your fault for answering the phone. If it's SO pressing that you need to answer, then why are you at the movie theater? Maybe you should be at the hospital for surgery. Wait, it's about dinner tonight? That can wait two hours, you ass! You, too, will be in that special corner of Hell with the talkers and the seat hogs. Oh seat hogs. I really don't like you either. You're the people who save the seats around you as well so no one can sit there. So now, when I enter the theater, even though I'm five minutes early, I have to sit with my nose on the screen, because you don't want someone sharing your armrest. As Corky would say, "You're bastard people. You make me want to go home and bite my pillow."
That being said, the ladies in KKBB with me were not so bad. There were some issues. For example, I laughed a great deal. They never laughed. At one point, I laughed at a joke that was, for intents and purposes, a cheap homosexual joke. It was funny and kind of original. When I laughed, one woman shushed me. That right, she told me to be quiet. Wow. That's pretty harsh.
At the end of the movie, a character apologizes for all the F-bombs dropped throughout the film and one of the woman said, "Thank you." Why did you see this film then?
As we left after credits, one woman stopped me and asked me if I liked the movie.

"Very much so," I told her. "It was brilliant."
"How can you think that. It was a terrible movie. I should have gone to Zathura. Why did you like it?"
I explained it to her, but I gave her the crib notes version or what I said above.
"Oh, they made fun of homosexuals. That's not funny. And all of the swearing? Not needed. Why was that one woman naked? Who needs to see that?"
"Well, it was integral to the plot. And the homosexual humor was being told...by a homosexual."
"You seem like a nice man, but you obviously don't understand what modern audiences want to see. We don't want to see that."
"Well, I disagree with you, but that's you opinion and thus your right."
So, here's my issue with this: What does a 40 year old midwestern woman know about what modern audiences want? Maybe this woman is one of the people who wrote threatening letters to the WB, because 7th Heaven is ending (and I'm still pissed about Arrested Development). It makes me wonder if she's right, however. The modern audience doesn't want to think. They want the laugh track to tell them when to laugh. They want the film to spell out everything for them so they don't have to think (God forbid you know anything about Murrow and McCarthy BEFORE you see the film. Oh well). I'll give you an example: Thirteen Days. If you never knew anything abuot the Cuban Missle Crisis, you might not really enjoy the film. It expects that you know what happened. Most American audiences don't remember or don't want to have to think. No wonder they call it the boob tube. TV means you don't have to think. You ever watch...let's see what was picked up for the whole year...Freddie? Didn't think so. Neither have I. I only know it's on before Lost. Yet the show has been picked up for the whole year despite not great ratings. This is a show where the plots are rehashed from other shows (so I've been told) and the laugh track is so loud that it almost screams, "LAUGH HERE IDIOT!!!!" Apparently that's what people need. If it's smart, then it will probably fail. Need an example? Beyond Arrested Development, look at The Office. There's no laugh track, and the jokes try to make you uncomfortable. Sure, if you've never, ever worked a day in your life, you might not understand the people's feelings, but most people have worked and that's why the show is so funny. Who hasn't worked with someone that's just so odd or incredibly dumb?
It's just sad that no one really wants to think anymore.
Then again, what do I know? I felt that Zoolander was funny. I could be wrong.

6 comments:

Meridita said...

Happy 200, Mr. IT!

Admin Worm said...

Leab, don't EVEN get me started on theaters.

This week's Gazette column was supposed to be my discertation of how movie theaters are a microcosm of society. However, I couldn't make it funny. It was vicious because I have soooo much anger about this.

I blogged a while back about a screening of Capote I attended. Eight people attended, and two enormous people slurping sodas and chomping a seven-gallon pail of popcorn sat in the two seats directly in front of my wife and I. Swear to freaking God, the row/seats directly in front of us, despite 150 empty seats.

They talked the whole way through.

You're right, people don't want to think or be challenged. I grieve with you about Arrested Development.

The worst, as I've said before, is seeing a political film in Uptown. 200 people whose ideology is diametrically opposed to mine practically masturbate over the anti-Bush propaganda on the screen, then they drive their SUV's a block to enjoy $30.00 per gallon coffees complaining about the War for Oil.

Yeah, I know you and I disagree on matters political, but I share with you the frustration over humanity's lemming-like tendencies.

Look at the comics page, that tells you the state we're in.

Leab said...

I don't know if we truly do disagree.
I hate all politics.
No one's out there for us anymore.
I remember that blog. I knew I forgot something. I was going to mention you.
Sorry.

emma said...

there was zero need for that. none. i am fuming right now. GEEZ I AM SO PISSED OFF AT YOU!

Admin Worm said...

Leab, I wasn't looking for a mention, you silly goose.

Emma...uuuuuhhh, who are you talking to? Am I missing something here?

Leab said...

Sigh.
Emma, there's no need to be a drama queen.
You're intentionally being cryptic in the hopes that people ask, "Why Emma, what's wrong?"