Posts Tagged 'stupid people'

Epic Review for an Epic Fail: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

A Film

Well, that’s the last time I put a Michael Bay movie as my “most anticipated movie of the year.” Lesson finally learned. Movie gods, I surrender! I used to be a Michael Bay defender. No more. The man has no desire to stretch his limits, and despite admitting his mistakes from Revenge of the Fallen, he learns nothing from them in his execution of this film. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a 2 hour, 37 minute hyperventilating mess. I’m actually hesitant to even say that it was better than Revenge of the Fallen. I’m not sure that it is. I am sure of this; Michael Bay is the most immature filmmaker on the planet. I’m sick of his visual “style” (which is simply moving the camera in every single shot and shooting every exterior during magic hour so that white people’s skin is yellowy orange instead of pale). He doesn’t care about making movies that stand the test of time. He cares about making movies that make a lot of money, and that’s it. But hey! He’s immensely successful at doing what he wants to do, so who am I to judge? Unfortunately, that success not only means he gets to continue making big expensive movies the same way over and over again, but it has also made him one of the most arrogant and stubborn filmmakers in Hollywood. Arrogant to the point where now nobody can tell him to his face how stupid some of the shit he’s doing is. He has no financial incentive to change, and that’s precisely what it would take for him to change. Back to the aforementioned question, I’m one of his paying customers, so I get to judge all I fucking want. And today is Judgment Day.

Dark of the Moon has no heart and no soul whatsoever. At least the first Transformers movie had some of both. This one is cold and crude, devoid of any intelligence, and lacking any characters, robot or human, that the audience can embrace.

A bit of a disclaimer here: The reason I’ve been so passionate about Bay and his team getting these movies right (I’ve been very outspoken about it since the day they announced the first Transformers in 2006) is because this is the one geek franchise (that didn’t start as a live-action movie or TV show, like Star Wars/Trek) I can legitimately say I grew up with. I never read comic books as a kid, so when Hollywood screws up something like Green Lantern, I don’t really care, because I was never invested in those characters before seeing the movie. I used to watch the Transformers cartoons every day, and I had more Transformers toys than any other kind of toy (Legos were a close second). In fact, my most prized youthful possession was probably that massive, battery-powered Trypticon toy [PIC]. I worshipped Transformers as a kid, and as such it means a lot to the kid in me to see it brought to life the right way on the big screen. This isn’t me being anal for the sake of being anal or because I have a grudge against Michael Bay. I have a personal history with a lot of these characters, and I think most of them have been handled poorly in these movies. The exceptions (for the most part- none of them have been handled perfectly) would be Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Megatron and Starscream. Long before Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg brought these alien robots into theaters, it was always one of my goals to one day write and direct a live-action Transformers movie myself. And I do mean long before. I was a teenager when I first came up with that idea. Funny enough, I also desperately wanted to remake War of the Worlds, too. So thank you, Mr. Spielberg, for stealing two of my dream projects from me. Just know that when I get heated about this stuff, it’s coming from an honest place. I’m not expecting The Godfather from these movies, but I assure you, Transformers movies infused with heart and soul and humanity are a possibility.


One of these things is not like the other.

There are people like me, who have come out of these last two Transformers movies immensely disappointed, and there are the people who go in and claim to not care that these movies are soulless and utterly incompetent. It’s the old “just show me some giant alien robots fighting each other” defense. These people (and I know several of them) apparently don’t expect that those fights be exciting, or memorable, or well-choreographed, or, I dunno, comprehensible in any way. Sorry, but I can’t turn my brain OFF when I go into a movie I desperately want to be awesome. I’m not gonna excuse shitty storytelling just because there’s a lot of nonsensical action. I also require that the action be good. The next time I hear someone excuse this movie by calling it a “ride”, I’m gonna rip out my armpit hair and feed it to them. If Michael Bay and the studio want to make a Transformers ride at Disneyland, go ahead and do it. Putting 3D glasses on does not turn shitty, mindless action into a “ride”. This is being advertised as a movie, which is what it’s supposed to be. Movies have stories and plot structures that are supposed to make sense. Forgive me for refusing to let go of that expectation.

The good news is, despite the fact that I keep hearing (from sources I trust) that this is the best live-action 3D since Avatar, I don’t have to shell out 12 bucks to go see it again in 3D, because the movie is bad, and I don’t want to see it again, in 3D, 2D or otherwise. I don’t see good movies in 3D, so why would I see this in 3D? My New Year’s resolution of No 3D in 2011 is still intact, and this was the most serious threat to that resolution of any 2011 movie I can think of. Viva 2D!

Not that it’s a big deal, but we will be getting into some minor spoilers during this review. Oh, fuck it…the Autobots win! The Autobots win! Good prevails! And Sam gets to keep his British supermodel girlfriend! There, I ruined it. Now can we proceed?

WHAT I LIKED

-I still find Shia LaBeouf likable in the Sam role, but hopefully this is the last summer action movie he does for a long time. The kid is too talented to be wasting his time with this stuff anymore. It’s time for him and his agent to start making better career choices going forward. For now, Shia can rest comfortably, knowing that no man has ever screamed as often as he does in this movie. No, really, he screams a lot. Girls who get cast in future horror movies should look at this performance for inspiration.

Sam’s big character struggle in this movie is that he’s angry that he can’t find a job where he “matters”. No, I’m not kidding. He can’t find a job, and he’s very upset that he can’t openly brag that he saved the world from the Decepticons twice. THAT is Shakespearean depth, people. That’s literature shit right there. No fear! He doesn’t really have to worry about money, anyway. He’s got a British supermodel girlfriend who’s paying his rent, so he doesn’t have to face the real world, or the economy that most of us in the real world have to deal with every day. Woe is Sam.

-I like that they finally gave Optimus his trailer, and that when it transforms, it becomes his armory. Very cool. As always, they make the first Optimus Prime transformation count. The problem is we only see the trailer in action once, at the beginning of the movie, and only briefly. They really should have done just one scene where Prime transforms, and the trailer mysteriously floats away and vanishes, like it always did in the cartoons.

-I liked that Sam’s parents were only in the movie for a couple of scenes. The mom in particular was so goddamn annoying in the second movie that I never wanted to see her again. They’re both cartoons again here, but they’re only in a couple of scenes, so the effects are mitigated. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these two weren’t anywhere close to this obnoxious in the first movie, right? They were almost normal? Really, it’s not even the dad (played by Kevin Dunn, who I usually like) so much as the mom (Julie White), who can’t utter a single line of normal dialogue. It’s joke after insult after joke after awkward sexual reference after SHUT THE FUCK UP, LADY.

-I like the idea of Leonard Nimoy voicing a Transformer. I did not like the execution of that idea in this movie. Sentinel Prime is a muddled character with unclear motives (so of course he ends up being the main villain), and I didn’t like his character design at all. Unmemorable, to say the least.

-I would love to have been in the room while Michael Bay directed the Bill O’Reilly cameo scene. Wow. Talk about two dominant personalities.

-I like that this is probably the last Transformers movie Michael Bay will ever direct. You’ll not destroy my childhood any further, sir.

-I like the conceit at the beginning of the movie about the secret mission behind the original moon landing, but I don’t think it was executed particularly well. That was like 6 minutes without an explosion, and you could sense Bay’s patience running out as the title card came up. Also, the CG work trying to alter and recreate John F. Kennedy‘s face was pretty bad.

Now that I think of it, doesn’t this re-write the entire history they established in the first movie? In this one, we first came into contact with the Transformers in 1969, but in the original movie, none of them showed up on Earth until they were looking for the Cube. Then, in Revenge of the Fallen, it’s revealed that the Primes were on Earth thousands of years ago. Which is it?! I have to LOL at the whole thing. Seriously, watch the intro to this movie and the intro to the 2007 movie. Dark of the Moon pretty much ignores everything that happened in the first one. Continuity is for pussies!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The script. Need I say more? Well, I’m not going to. The script is terrible. If I talk about it in depth, my own ability to write a screenplay will decrease. Eat shit, Ehren Kruger, you hack. You haven’t done anything worth a damn since you adapted The Ring…9 years ago.

-Despite the fact that dozens of human actors appear in the movie, there are hardly any human characters to be found. Almost every woman you see onscreen is a lingerie model, and every male is a wise-cracking spasmatic. Then you’ve got John Turturro‘s sidekick Dutch, played by Alan Tudyck, who is, I dunno, a flamboyantly gay German ex-intelligence officer? He had to be one of the strangest movie characters of all-time. Bay just can’t help himself. No person or situation can be straightforward. How about that stupid bit with the Latina girl in the office, where she’s wearing a tight half-shirt with her tits hanging out while the super nerdy guy scolds her for her attire. And she’s wearing all white, and all the guys are wearing white shirts in this ultra-modern all-white room? What the fuck? I don’t know what movie that scene belonged in, but it did not belong in this one. If you cut out idiotic scenes like that, you’d trim 5 minutes off the run time, easy.

-The Rosie Huntington-Whitely character, Carly. I mean, COME ON! Aside from men wanting to have intercourse with her, what are audiences supposed to find appealing about her as a person, or as a love interest for Sam? Why can’t Sam have a normal looking girlfriend? Why can’t ANYTHING be normal in a Michael Bay movie? Does he not fucking understand that if Sam had even an above average looking girlfriend, people would like her a lot more? No, it has to be one of the hottest females alive. Women can’t root for a supermodel, and men don’t believe a supermodel would date this character. That’s a big fuckin conundrum. That is…if you’re not Michael Bay, and you take things like logic into consideration. Nobody UPGRADES from Megan Fox to Rosie Huntington-Whitely. That’s absurd even by movie logic. You don’t make that upgrade unless you’re famous or incredibly wealthy, or both. Even then, it’s a stretch.

Put it this way, in REAL LIFE, Brad Pitt went from Jennifer Aniston to Angelina Jolie. But in doing so, Pitt had to take on Jolie’s 43 adopted kids as his own. Justin Timberlake couldn’t pull off what Sam does here, and he was with Britney Spears and Jessica Biel in their primes. Shia LaBeouf’s character in these movies outclasses Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake in real life. That is riotously funny.

I guess if Bay doesn’t have a supermodel on set at all times, he can’t function. Maybe that’s his reasoning. For the record, I didn’t give a shit that they got rid of Fox, because she was mostly an empty character. If, after two movies, your only real character trait is that you’re good with cars, then it’s not gonna be tough for me to miss you when you’re gone. But at least in the first movie, Sam had to chase the hot girl. He had to win her over through deed and circumstance, so it wasn’t totally ridiculous when he finally got her. The scene in this movie where Sam first meets Carly at the goddamn White House is off-the-walls unbelievable. Obviously, in Michael Bay’s White House, every foreign ambassador has a supermodel assistant who is ready to leave her promising career behind and move to D.C. to support an American civilian she just met. I’m sure that happens all the time in the real world.

Given enough movies, I think Sam could give Wilt Chamberlain a run for his money. Really, Sam Witwicky belongs in the Lothario Hall of Fame.

However, all of that said, I thought Rosie H-W did a good enough job with what she was given, considering it was her first acting role. The key words there were “with what she was given.” You can’t tell if someone’s a good actor by watching a Michael Bay movie.


Sure, she’s mildly attractive.

-Like all Bay films, there’s all the usual military porn, but it dawned on me how differently Bay treats certain military characters. He clearly respects soldiers and their commanders, but I guess he doesn’t think much of National Security Advisors (see Revenge of the Fallen) or, in this case, National Intelligence Directors (check out that Wikipedia link to see what this job entails in the real world). I love Frances McDormand, but her character is such a fucking clown here that it’s not even POSSIBLE to take her seriously.

-They wasted Shockwave here like they wasted Devastator in the last movie. Shockwave is supposed to be the Decepticons’ best tactician and second-in-command only to Megatron. Here, he’s…I don’t know how the fuck to describe him. He rides around inside a giant robot…anaconda? So strange. Apparently he drives this giant thing, and of course, it appears anywhere in the world he needs to be at the snap of a finger. We first see it in Chernobyl in Russia, and then when he finally reappears, it’s in Chicago. (I was under the impression that Shockwave was gonna be the primary villain in this movie. Clearly, I was misinformed.) So I guess this giant robosnake dug its way across the globe (and swam across the ocean), showing up in Chicago just in time to fight the Autobots at the end of the flick. Convenient. By the way, I love how it screams, too. It has no discernable face or eyes, but the front “mouth” part of it screeches, even when Shockwave isn’t inside it. Very interesting. And speaking of talking (speaking of talking?), when he first appears in Russia, Shockwave pops out of his driver’s pod/seat/thingie, just to say “Optimus!”, and then he and the snake give up and leave without a fight. That was cute; pop out to say hi real quick, and then leave. How courteous. Wait, no, that was stupid, but what’s more stupid is that anytime you see Shockwave for the rest of the movie, he can no longer speak English. He just grunts and mumbles, walking around the city looking for Autobots like a dunce. Then they kill him off like a bitch, and he barely puts up a fight. I hated it. This is not the Shockwave I know, and though the effects were cool, he was completely wasted as a character and villain. There was no need to call him Shockwave. They should have just called him Slithermumble or some shit like that. Or Serpentor. Wait, that name’s taken.


Sorry, bro.

-I was more than a little peeved by the way they magically reintroduce Soundwave. In the second movie, I thought it was cool and fitting that he was a satellite, intercepting military communications and hacking into U.S. satellites to eavesdrop and gain information. That was one of 3.5 things in that movie that made sense. In this one, for some reason product placement purposes, he’s now a brand new $200,000 Mercedes sports car instead. HUH?! But oh goodie, he retained his Doctor Octopus tentacles! So yeah, I’m pissed off that they fucked up my two favorite individual Decepticons. Unacceptable.

Speaking of conspicuous product placement, Bay has long been the king of it. Did you happen to notice the 39,384 Lenovo LCD computer monitors in the office Sam works at? Did you notice the baffling closeup of a Cisco router? Or Sam’s mom taking a swig of a Bud Light can (immediately after being served a s’more by her husband! Gross!)?

-The Ken Jeong cameo. Sorry, it was just too much, and the Ken Jeong bandwagon is already full, Mr. Bay. Moreover, his shtick as the over-the-top Asian guy is wearing thin. Either way, a Ken Jeong character in a Michael Bay movie is even more insane than you could possibly have imagined. If Jeong’s intensity in the Hangover movies is an 8, they dialed him up to a 10 for this. His character here is so ridiculous that, like almost everyone else, you can barely call him human. He’s more like a crazed chimp. He struts around the office being paranoid and ultra-awkward, mumbling under his breath, and also keeps two pistols under his desk. You know, just in case. Then, he accosts Sam in a bathroom stall and screams conspiracy theories at him. I mean, he seriously may as well have had a tail and been hanging upside down from the ceilings. It wouldn’t have appeared any stranger than this Jerry Wang character already is. Then, for the grand finale, Laserbeak throws him out of his office window, and the movie treats his death like high comedy! Nobody in the office really cares, and John Malkovich‘s boss character (another cartoon character) immediately starts making jokes about it. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried, people. At the midnight show I went to, 90% of the audience was roaring in laughter when he died, but even the annoying 17-year old who was sitting next to me (and chewing gum with his mouth open the entire fucking movie) was intelligent enough to say out loud, “I don’t think that’s supposed to be funny.” Only, apparently it was supposed to be funny. Sigh.

Speaking of Malkovich, have you ever seen a more inconsistent accent? It was like someone had a child sitting on the floor behind the camera, and that child had an on/off button for Malkovich’s goofy New York accent and just kept bashing it repeatedly.


Too. Much.

-What the fuck is this apartment palace that Sam & Carly are living in? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that absurd characters are living in an absurd apartment, but holy shit. This place seemed to be bigger than the entire house the Witwickys lived in in the first movie. The main living area is so expansive in this place that at one point in the movie, Bumblebee is in the room STANDING UP and moving around. I don’t know the Washington D.C. area very well, but I challenge someone that does to find me where this apartment could actually exist. It’s got a massive spiral staircase, a huge chandelier, and a freight elevator. Because people often park their cars inside their apartments in big cities. That’s common, right? We’re made to understand that Carly is paying for the place herself (poor Sam can’t find a job), and maybe I missed where this was explained, but I’m not quite sure how she could afford it by herself.

-It was kinda dumb the way Tyrese re-enters the picture, was it not? The Autobots are about to be shipped off into space via NASA shuttle, and HEY! There’s Tyrese working as…one of the guys who walks behind the giant shuttle platform? Huh? Okay, then when Sam wants to get to Chicago, Tyrese and his boys are only too happy to take him. Then they apparently drive from Houston or Florida (wherever that shuttle was) to Chicago overnight (or instantaneously if you follow the editing), and of course require no rest before they join the battle. What was even funnier was when they finally do get to the outskirts of the city, after all that traveling, Tyrese takes one look at the devastation, and in all seriousness declares, “We’re not goin in there!” WHAT?! You just drove a thousand miles, dude! And now you want to puss out? Ridiculously bad writing.

And now to the action scenes…

-Due to the way Bay’s team designed these characters, when they’re fighting in closeup you can barely tell what’s going on, because so many of these robots have similar colors and/or the same spikey gray features. This makes the one-on-one fight scenes unintelligible and uninteresting.

The overkill on the slow-motion action shots. Basically, every time this happens, it’s pure audience manipulation. It’s Bay telling you, “This is the awesome part! Cheer wildly when it’s over!” He tries to tell me when I should be impressed instead of letting it happen naturally. This is certainly not a new technique, but when you tell me “This is the awesome part!” 20 friggin times, they all get less awesome due to saturation, and it’s hard to top yourself 20 times within one movie, even if that movie is 157 minutes long. Quick, tell me the best slow-mo shot in this movie! You couldn’t do it off the top of your head, because there were so many of them. You have to pick and choose your money shots. More importantly, the last thing Michael Bay’s action scenes need are an infusion of Zack Snyder.

-There was an awful lot of unnecessary spitting and drooling by the Transformers in this movie. It seemed every time one of them got punched or fell to the ground, there was some form of liquid spewing from their mouths. And it was usually in slow motion, like you’d see in a boxing movie. That was probably at least $250,000 in effects shots they could have saved or spent elsewhere.

The whole concept of the space pillars/teleporters. Ehh, just didn’t work for me, especially when Sentinel uses his 5 rods to teleport the Decepticons off the moon and into D.C. Let’s break this down, in case you didn’t notice just how dumb it was. So the Decepticons have had spaceships and extra soldiers chillin’ underground on the moon for several decades, but they needed a teleporter to get them down to Earth? Huh? Umm…WHY NOT JUST STUFF THEM ALL INTO THOSE GIANT SPACESHIPS AND BRING THEM DOWN WHENEVER THE HELL YOU WANTED!?!? Why didn’t Megatron think of this in either of the first two movies? Did he not know he had an army on standby the whole time? I guess these teleporters also act as alarm clocks for the 200 Decepticons who were hibernating on the moon. What happened to the Transformers being launched down to Earth inside those meteors like in the first movie? There I go bringing common sense into the equation again. Sorry.

-I wasn’t impressed by the final 45+ minute battle in Chicago, either. Sorry, just wasn’t. But this is what most of the film’s fans are saying is worth their hard-earned money and time. Raise your standards, people. It wasn’t that impressive. It wasn’t. You have a bunch of random bad guys that we don’t care about (Sentinel and Megatron are just chillin on the top of a tower while everyone else does the dirty work) mostly shooting missiles into buildings. WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!! For what purpose though, we’ll never know. Unless you live in Chicago, you don’t have an emotional investment in seeing your favorite skyscrapers destroyed. Occasionally, they kill some random humans, and the effects are pretty good, but none of the main characters even come close to death. Also, because there’s nothing groundbreaking being done here effects-wise, I was never awed by it. This isn’t like the first time you saw the alien invasion sequence in Independence Day. There were cooler spaceships in Independence Day, and much cooler, scarier alien weapons technology in District 9.

Was I supposed to be blown away by the soldiers jumping out of the planes in chutesuits? It was cool, but they used those in the damn Tomb Raider sequel, and I saw a much cooler feature story on people who base jump with those on 60 Minutes a couple years ago.

And what was with the War of the Worlds weapons the Decepticons were using? They were blasting humans with these lasers that left behind only the humans’ skulls and clothes. Umm, why just the skulls and not the rest of their bones? I digress. In general, I don’t like the Transformers’ guns in this movie. There’s no impact or violence or intensity to them, they just make these cute little popping, “pew pew!” sounds that I can make with my mouth. When they hit something with them, all you see are sparks. There’s no real impact damage. They’re not scary or loud or intimidating at all.

Am I missing anything? What else was there that was so fucking spectacular to some of you?

I have a question for the “I loved it because it’s huge alien robots fighting each other!” set; did you love the hour and 45 minutes the giant alien robots weren’t fighting, too? If not, what were you doing during these parts of the movie? Smiling with glee at the shitty humor and subhuman characters? Did you find the rest of the movie a “ride”, too? Or did you really find these action sequences so exciting that you can dismiss the rest of the movie, which is undeniably awful. Seriously, if you think I’m overreacting, how do you excuse the parts of the movie that didn’t have any action? Because that was most of the movie.

-I won’t even bother bashing the Patrick Dempsey character or the whole thing where certain humans were conspiring with the Decepticons. It wasn’t interesting enough to even mock.

NITPICKS

-It was kinda gross that Megatron walks around the whole movie with the right side of his brain exposed. They can bring all these new Decepticons to Earth between the two movies (how they snuck Shockwave down I have no idea), but Megatron can’t get his head repaired?

-It’s cool that he’s in the movie, but Laserbeak doesn’t talk, dude. And he’s certainly not some maniacal, trash-talking schemer. Aye vai.

-Optimus Prime carries this massive sword on him and various other projectile weapons, right? So why, after killing Shockwave’s anaconda, does he get tangled up in a bunch of construction cables for like an hour? And he has to get cut down by his little “wrecker” Autobot buddies? Lame.

-I’m no astrologist (or geologist or physicist, whatever field of study applies), but wouldn’t suddenly teleporting Cybertron into orbit have significant effects on Earth’s gravity? Or the tides? Or my bowel movements? Just sayin.

Other than that, I fuckin LOVED this movie!

To wrap things up, I’m just glad this will be the last Transformers movie for a good while. Yeah, they’ll probably try to “reboot” it 5-10 years from now with another director and a new cast (the series has made too much money for them to just say OK, it’s over, that was nice while it lasted), but we’ll worry about that in 5-10 years. There’s no indication what Michael Bay’s next movie is going to be, but let’s just assume it’ll come out in June, cost a lot of money, have no real people in it, and feature a lot of explosions. Does it really matter what the title is or what it’s about?

I doubt anyone else will do this, but I wish I had the time to take the DVDs of all 3 Transformers movies, and create a 10-minute montage of all the stupid, random, gratuitous, unnecessary shit, just to show how absurd Michael Bay’s view of the world is (on the off chance I didn’t just make it abundantly clear). And again, I used to be the biggest Michael Bay defender out there. My assumption was that at some point he would mature as a filmmaker. At some point, I thought he would see all these movies being made by better, more competent directors (say, Christopher Nolan for one) and say, “Hey, I’d like to do something like THAT one day.” I’ve waited long enough for that day to come, and it hasn’t. Sadly, it seems as though he doesn’t have that desire, because he’s too obsessed with box office grosses, and making a different kind of movie might mean taking a creative risk that could result in fewer tickets being sold. God forbid. I’ve been defending Bay since Pearl Harbor, for 10 years now, but I’m done. I’m spent. Let him go make $200 million PG-13 summer movies for the rest of his career if that’s all he aspires to. If he doesn’t want more for himself (creatively), why should I? Fuck’m.

In the final equation, the 2007 Transformers is the only one in this series that’s on my love list. Even still, the best Transformers movie ever made came out in 1986, and it was animated. After what we’ve seen these past 4 years, it seems that animated may be the way these characters should stay.

Until next time! I can’t wait to be disappointed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in a couple weeks. Too pessimistic?

FUN READING:
GQ recently published a lengthy compilation of quotes from Michael Bay’s actors, producers, writers, friends and other collaborators, all giving their brief and various opinions of the man and his work. Very amusing/interesting read. [Blow Up: The Oral History of Michael Bay]

Here’s some telling quotes from Bay himself, straight from the article:

On making a different style of film for Pearl Harbor: “I don’t change my style for anybody. Pussies do that.”

On critics: “It’s funny with them. You are making entertainment. People get so angry about it.”

On deciding whether or not to make a third Transformers movie: “I’m not going to sit in my house by myself—what am I going to do? Leading the fat cat life—I don’t want to do that. I’d rather go back in the trenches.”

Still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen: Robot Chicken’s BAYSPLOSIONS trailer:


If this isn’t the quintessential Michael Bay photo,
I don’t know what is.

Fun fact: I wrote “Michael Bay” or “Bay” 35 times in this review.

IN OTHER MOVIE NEWS:

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is nearing a $1 billion global gross. It will be the 8th movie ever to accomplish this. Do you understand how depressing that is? Worldwide, it’s going to outgross The Dark Knight (though TDK still has it crushed by more than 2:1 in U.S. grosses). Note to self: for huge international grosses, have your movie take place outside the United States.

-A couple of highly anticipated trailers finally debuted this week, one for Steven Spielberg‘s new Oscar-bait movie, War Horse, and the other for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I think each is exciting in its own way. Watch em, and I’ve got comments after each. As always, I recommend switching the video quality to at least 720p HD.

Will you look at that photography? Holy shit. At least visually, we know Spielberg has lost nothing off his fast ball as he’s aged. On my Most Anticipated Movies of 2011 list, I put this at #3, so I’m very happy to finally see a trailer for it. Spielberg hasn’t made a great film since Munich in 2005, and actually hasn’t directed anything since that horrid 4th Indiana Jones in ’08. Nothing would please me more than for this to be the best movie of 2011. And let’s face it, this year it won’t take much to be the best movie of the year. If nothing else, it shows that there’s still some hope left for the fall/winter lineup. Like I said on that previous post, I think this story is right in Spielberg’s wheelhouse, and again I have to marvel at Janusz Kaminski‘s cinematography in this trailer. Wow. Strangely, this clip has gotten a lot of ignorant negative feedback on the internet, with people making various unfunny jokes about this’ll be the first time a horse wins Best Actor. The movie isn’t just about the horse, idiots, it’s about this young man trying to find the horse and return it home in the midst of World War I. If it were a fucking dog, I’m betting those same a-holes would find the idea utterly compelling. Would you rather watch an interesting story like this at Christmas, or go watch the 57th comic book movie of this dreadful year instead? Get a clue. This should be a damned fine movie.

I like it, but don’t love it. Yet. What immediately sticks out to me is a seemingly gratuitous use of CG in the stunt sequences. That Kremlin explosion at the beginning looks cringeworthy, but I’ll withhold judgment because I’m sure it’s not a completed effects shot. But really, you couldn’t have done that with a big model? Again we have the struggle these franchises face as they get into movies 4 and beyond, and that’s the desperate desire to up the ante. In this case, they thought blowing up Red Square would be a good idea, and then later in the trailer you’ve got a giant cloud of CG dust chasing Tom Cruise. This makes me kinda nervous. By the way, does anybody sprint in a movie with more intensity than Cruise? I love it. Despite the CG, there’s still a lot of cool hand-to-hand combat and a car chase, and I absolutely can’t wait to see this sequence in Dubai, where they actually had Cruise climbing around on the world’s tallest building. Just seeing that monstrosity on film is pretty awesome. I wonder how far away you’d have to put a camera to get the entire building in frame.

As previously noted, this is of course the live-action debut for director Brad Bird, who did the underrated Iron Giant as well as The Incredibles and Ratatouille for Pixar. If ever there were an animation director ready to take the next step, I’d say Bird would on that shortlist. Allegedly, this will also be the Mission: Impossible film that transitions Cruise out of the lead role, and in a perfect world for Paramount, the franchise will continue with Jeremy “I’ve been cast in everything” Renner. It’ll be interesting to see how that transition occurs. I’m also very happy to see Tom Wilkinson and the beautiful Paula Patton join the cast. Anyway, smart move to use an Eminem song over the trailer. Gotta get those kiddies’ attention.

One more shits and giggles:

I’m posting this review on July 3rd, 2011, which is the 15th anniversary of the release of Independence Day, one of the movies that changed my life as a youngen. It currently sits at #40 on my list of all-time favorite movies.

This teaser trailer first appeared in January of ’96, attached to a now-forgotten sci-fi horror movie called Screamers. After seeing the trailer, I found it difficult to concentrate on the actual movie I came to see, and that was the longest 7 month wait of my life.

We’ve seen about a dozen alien invasion movies and TV shows in the last year (with at least one more coming in Cowboys & Aliens), and I’d say none of them compare to the excitement I experienced watching iD4 that summer. The visual effects still hold up today, and in fact are more impressive than most of this year’s “blockbusters”. Put it this way, almost everything you see being destroyed on the ground is real. It’s either a model, a miniature, or a practical explosion. Now, almost all of it would be created in a computer, which is the completely wrong approach. Hollywood has changed a LOT since 1996. For instance, that summer you had maybe 6 big movies. Nowadays, every single week there’s a new $150-250 million event movie cramming its way into theaters, and as a result, very few stand out anymore. Whereas in 1996, the biggest movies that summer were the first Mission: Impossible, The Rock (back when Michael Bay movies were good), The Nutty ProfessoriD4 and Twister (another of my favorites).

1996 was the first summer that I worked at a movie theater, and I remember this was the first movie I went to an employee screening for, which was quite a new experience at the time. Seeing a huge movie the night before everyone else could! Holy shit! I saw it at least 5 more times after it came out. I also vividly remember sneaking away from the concession stand and watching the alien attack sequence just about every time it was happening (I even had the timing down perfectly- it occurs about 45 minutes into the movie). I’d come back from watching it, and people would be like, “Where did you go!?” I’d always say the bathroom or something like that. Let’s just say I had a lot of 10-minute bathroom breaks. I must have watched that sequence 50 times the first few weeks it was out.

Independence Day grossed $306 million that year, back when $300 million put you among the highest grossers of all-time. Put in perspective, that 306 would be $544 million today. I would really love to watch this movie on the big screen again. Can someone over at Fox get on that? They should have put it out just for this weekend to celebrate the 15th anniversary. I’d have thought of that if I were a studio boss, but I’m not a studio boss, am I?

I don’t have any recommended listening to wrap things up, because I haven’t had time recently to listen to anything new. Feel free to give me some recommendations. If you managed to read all 6,000 words of this review, I applaud you and appreciate you. Good evening.

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Review: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (and more!)



I stab you with this 3D sword!!!

An exercise in creative futility, this Pirates movie, though slightly more cohesive than the bloated At World’s End (which, along with Avatar and Spider-Man 3, is right up there with the most expensive movies ever made), it isn’t any better, which is what everybody was expecting demanding if they insisted on moving forward with this franchise. Almost everyone involved with this series admitted that At World’s End went a bit off the deep end (literally and figuratively, as it turns out!), but they don’t seem to realize that all we wanted was a stronger, more focused story, as existed in the original movie. We didn’t get that, yet the studio wants people to pay even more money than they did for tickets in 2007 to see this one in 3D. That said, I’d rather watch the 2 hour, 50 minute At World’s End than see this again any day, because though it’s long and completely over the top, it isn’t boring. We often say that most sequels don’t need to be made, but this should be held up as the very definition of that thesis.

If it’s possible to mail in a $200 million summer megablockbuster, they’ve managed it here. And by the way, am I the only one who finds it hilarious that they consider $200 million “scaled down”? For almost everyone involved (the studio, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the writers, Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally (who plays Gibbs) and even composer Hans Zimmer and other key crew members carrying over from the first 3 movies), there appears to be no real reason this got made other than to stuff bank accounts. There sure as hell wasn’t a great story waiting to be told. They simply did it under the bullshit guise of “Well, the audience wants more, so we’re just giving them what they want.” Even after just seeing part 4, I can barely recall what it was about, and that doesn’t really bother me. We’re never given any logical reason why ANYONE involved actually wants to find the Fountain of Youth, and the payoff once they do make use of it is completely unsatisfying, despite the fact that every main character (and an army of Spanish dudes) is hunting for it. There is nothing remarkable about this movie at all, yet I will now attempt to make several pertinent remarks about it.


“Which way to the bank?”

WHAT I LIKED

-I liked the really quick Judi Dench cameo. But pay attention. Read these three sentences and that’s how fast it is.

-Though Hans Zimmer mostly used cues from the first 3 movies, one of the cool new things he did do was bring Rodrigo y Gabriela in to do some acoustic work with the new themes and for reprisals of some of the old motifs. Though I got the soundtrack, and they did a lot more work on the soundtrack album than what actually appears in the film. Or I just didn’t notice them as much in the film, because NOTHING really stood out. I’m trying to get into more Spanish guitar/acoustic acts and love when they’re used in movies. I also have a couple Rodrigo y Gabriela albums, so it was cool to see them involved here. Despite using a lot of the same old themes, as always Zimmer does manage to bring something new and unique to the table. In general though, I don’t see why Zimmer felt the need to come back and do this. That will be the running theme of this review: Why did you participate in this?

For today’s Recommended Listening, here’s a sample from the soundtrack that features Rodrigo y Gabriela. The track is called “South of Heaven’s Chanting Mermaids”:  

Penelope Cruz was better than I thought she’d be. I didn’t know if she had the charisma required to play opposite Johnny Depp in a big summer movie, but those doubts were quickly alleviated. I thought she was pretty good, but even though we’re told she and Depp had a romance that ended poorly, we’re never given any of the specific details of where or when that fling took place, or precisely why it ended poorly. Or maybe we did get that information and I’ve already forgotten it because it didn’t make any sense. That’s entirely possible.


O, HAI Penelope.
U iz lookin’ good!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

-I love Ian McShane, and I love the idea of him playing Blackbeard, “the pirate all other pirates fear.” It’s a great setup for a proper villain. Unfortunately, there’s no such payoff in this movie. Here, Blackbeard is all talk and no real villainy. He’s not intimidating, and unless I’m mistaken, he never kills anyone by his own hand. The only time he does anything that’s supposed to be truly terrifying, it ends up being truly stupid. He sets this guy out on a small boat in front of his big ship, then uses the ship’s two massive flamethrowers (obviously) and lights the smaller ship ablaze. And this is supposed to be scary and prove how evil he is. Meanwhile, all I could think of was the fact that all the guy on the smaller boat had to do was JUMP INTO THE WATER to survive, but hey, let’s not nitpick! So yeah, Ian McShane is utterly wasted here, and it’s a damn shame. I’m actually offended, now that I think about it. Does Disney have a viewer complaint line?

-They excluded Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, which is good (and probably saved the production $30 million), but the problem is they replaced them with another young couple, except this time the girl is a mermaid. She’s cute and all, but for the dude, it seems like they purposefully tried to cast someone who looks a bit too much like Bloom. And the carbon copy Sam Claflin is the result of this casting search. Well, bravo Pirates casting directors, you found an Orlando Bloom clone. Unfortunately, you still don’t have a script that allows him to do anything worth a damn. I’m not blaming the actors for being boring. I have no idea from watching this if either of these two are good actors, but the exposure will surely get them other chances to prove their worth, and that’s fine with me.


This is about as interesting as this love subplot gets.
He whispers sweet nothings whilst she’s stuck in a puddle.

-If you were excited about the prospect of zombies in the Pirates franchise, get rid of those expectations. These are the most pointless zombies (there are really only 2 of them) in movie history. Seriously. In fact, almost all of the supernatural and fantasy elements of this movie are handled poorly. The mermaids are okay, but I definitely feel they could’ve been handled better. The big scene where they’re introduced is really goofy. Also, the visual effects shots of the mermaids underwater aren’t that impressive. I did like when the first one (played by a model of course) appears. A group of guys is put into a raft as bait, and they sing songs to try and attract the mermaids, and with one cut, all of a sudden one of them is just THERE, leaning on the back of the boat, innocently staring at them. That was cool. Everything else the mermaids do? Ne jabba no badda.

-The stunts and effects sequences are far below what we’ve seen in the previous movies. Gore Verbinski is a much more capable director than Rob Marshall in this regard. The action set pieces in the first 3 movies are clever, visually interesting and exciting. That is rarely the case here. In fact, it’s never the case. And the producers and writers need realize that these bloodless sword fights are incredibly tedious. There are 2 or 3 sword fight scenes here, and I just wanted a remote so I could fast forward through them. If you’re not gonna be lobbing off limbs or impaling people with swords, the fight choreography better be spectacular. That’s pretty obvious to me, but apparently not to the writers, producers, director and stunt guys on these movies. But what do I know? These guys seem to believe that even though the audience knows nobody’s going to get killed in a sword fight in these movies, we should still be invested in these scenes. That’s fucking ignorant. At least in Dead Man’s Chest, the big swordfight took place on the roof of a house and then on a giant spinning wheel, so it was at least cool to look at.

Of course, Disney (and the now completely creatively bankrupt Jerry Bruckheimer) has said they want more Pirates movies, but hopefully the critical reaction and mediocre fan reaction will dissuade that from happening anytime soon. Even Johnny Depp came out and said that while he still loves playing the character, he wants them to “hold off for a bit” before trying to make a fifth one. Hopefully, by “hold off for a bit” he means about 50 years. Funnily enough, if reports are accurate, a script for a fifth movie has already been turned in. Just file that on the shelf for a few decades, mmkay?

On Stranger Tides is not good enough to recommend, and not bad enough to scream, “Stay away!!!” I am not surprised by this (based on the trailers), and thankfully, I don’t really care, either. You can make up your own mind on seeing it in theaters. As always, all I ask is that you not see it in 3D.

To finish, here’s a recent quote from Mr. Depp:

“Really, ultimately and truly, these films are made for the people that go in and pay their hard-earned money to see these things,” Depp said. “And if the people get tired or something, that’s when it stops.”

Consider me exhausted. Can it stop now?

Check out some other like-minded reviews:

A.O. Scott is more critical, but also more concise. [NY TIMES]

Quint over at Aint It Cool feels pretty much exactly the way I do. [AICN]

Eric D. Snider sums it up nicely and amusingly. [EricDSnider.com]

————–

Basically, this movie isn’t worth 100% of my effort to do an in-depth review, but I simply had to share the following with you, because it doesn’t make sense unless I describe it within the context of seeing this movie.

-I didn’t like 5-10 people in the packed audience I saw it with. To my right was a group of 6 or so 18-22 year olds who had to verbally describe everything we were seeing during the trailers. Hey douchebags, there isn’t a prize for the person who can identify which movie is being advertised first. This ain’t Family Feud. Second, if you’re gonna scream the title out, scream out the right fucking title. It’s not called Cowboys VS. Aliens, dumbass, it’s Cowboys & Aliens. And thank you so much for pointing out for your stupidass friend which one was “the guy from James Bond” and which one was Harrison Ford. And thank you for pointing out that that’s Hugh Jackman in the Real Steel trailer. DER YA THINK SO!!??!! And no, jackass, it does NOT look “good.”

Also, though this theater is usually pretty good about this stuff, there was a projection issue for the second straight time I’ve been there (when I saw Bridesmaids last weekend, I could swear there was no surround sound the whole time). So, thanks to the theater staff for not noticing the two medium-sized blotches on the screen that were constantly out of focus, something that could only have been caused by a smudge or fingerprint on the glass in front of the projector. Projection issues drive me INSANE, but as the trailers progressed, for some dumb reason I hoped once the movie started they’d go away. They didn’t. Unfortunately, the only thing I hate more than projection issues is getting up and leaving the theater during a movie that I’m seeing for the first time. I was able to sit through all 2:17 of Stranger Tides and tolerate it, but I wanted to murder someone on the way out. Maybe I could’ve killed one or both of those two twats who sat in the row in front of me texting without remorse for the first 20 minutes of the movie. By the way, the sheer arrogance of that in today’s day and age is beyond my comprehension. I think we’re getting to the point now where almost everyone understands that you shouldn’t be texting during a movie. I rarely see it happen anymore, and we’re the better for it. That just makes it all the worse when someone does do it. Fuckin twats (I should use the c-word, but I’ll refrain). If it’s so goddamn important and the movie isn’t worthy of your attention, GO THE FUCK INTO THE LOBBY AND TEXT WHAT’S LEFT OF YOUR TINY FUCKING BRAINS OUT! And when you’re done, before you come back into the theater, go into the restroom and FUCK YOURSELF!!!

I’m also appalled that I was apparently the only one in the audience who noticed the focus problems, or cared enough to even consider telling someone.

Before we go, there were a couple of other recent thingamajigs that grabbed my attention. And I need to react to the end of The Event.

-Sony and Marvel just released the first poster and new text logo for 2012’s Spidey reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. I like the font from the other movies better, but this’ll do just fine. I’m liking what I’ve heard about what they’re doing with this new incarnation of Spider-Man. They’ve scaled it down a bit (which is easy when your last movie cost $275 million BEFORE marketing costs were factored in), and from the set photos and descriptions, it sounds like they’re trying to do a lot more of the action this time around without relying on CGI the way Sam Raimi‘s films often did. They’re even doing some of the webslinging stuff for real, which will be really cool to see. I’m not passionate about it, but among all the comic book stories we’ve seen brought to the big screen in the past decade or so, Peter Parker is definitely one of the best characters of the bunch.

But wait! There’s more!

Oh, NOW it’s gonna be rated R? Like it should have been in the first fucking place? And what’s in that extra 18 minutes? More absurd, meaningless, illogical, inconsequential bloodless video game action? Did the writing get any better? No thanks, Zack Snyder.


RAAR! Standard serious-face cast photo.

-More frustration on the TV front. The Event finally wrapped up its first season, and was of course promptly cancelled by NBC after a MASSIVE cliffhanger ending. FUCK. YOU. VERY MUCH. This is now two alien invasion series I’ve followed in one year that have ended with a cliffhanger and been cancelled, the first being ABC’s V. ABC’s V? Giggity. Anyway, The Event was better than V in almost every regard, mostly because it was structured like a season of 24 (one of that show’s longtime writers and producers, Evan Katz, was a big creative force on The Event). What they failed to realize was that one of the best things about 24 was that you knew the main plot of each season would be resolved in the 24th episode. There were characters and through lines that carried over to subsequent seasons, but we knew where we stood after each season. I believe that should have been the case here as well, but as it drew closer to its end, I began to realize there was no way they’d wrap up this increasingly large mythology in one season. And now I’m fucked. Again. This time, there was some encouraging news, as I’ve read that the series may be picked up by a cable network for a second season. I guess NBC would rather create the 258th incarnation of Law & Order instead.

Worse yet, despite there being several big “events” during the course of the season, we’re led to believe in the final episode that the actual capital-E Event is yet to come. In case I’ve lost you, this means The Event was cancelled before we find out what the fucking Event actually is. See why I’m so frustrated? There was nothing great about the show per se, but it was definitely solid all around. A solid B+. It was shot beautifully, the effects were very good by TV standards, and the writing was decent (even if most of the ideas for twists and turns were ripped straight from things we’d seen a dozen times on 24), but it was the cast that really did it for me. I absolutely loved Blair Underwood in particular as President Martinez. It’s time for this guy to get some bigger roles and fast. The show featured a couple of my favorite character actors in prominent roles in Bill Smitrovich (playing Vice President Jarvis) and the always great Zeljko Ivanek as Blake Sterling, the DNI (that’s Director of National Intelligence, noob). I also liked Laura Innes as the alien leader Sofia, even if she was basically a Xerox of almost every 24 villain we’ve seen. Also solid was Ian Anthony Dale as Agent Lee, the superhot Taylor Cole as Vicky Roberts, Lisa Vidal as the First Lady. I was most surprised by Jason Ritter, who was much better than I expected him to be as the series’ protagonist, Sean Walker.

The show featured a lot of the things that made 24 suspenseful, with a lot of X-Files sensibilities mixed in, to make it a cool, genre-bending sci-fi action drama. I would very much like to see it continue, if for no other reason than the fans of the show deserve some fucking closure. I thought this was just gonna be a one-season show originally, but that tells you what I know.

I liked this show a lot, but I don’t know if I can recommend it to people who didn’t give it a chance, because until we find out what its fate is going to end up being, you’re going to wind up disappointed and wanting more at the end. I don’t want anyone else to experience what I did when I watched that finale on Monday. Sigh, at least I know Game of Thrones has already been picked up for a second season and Entourage is definitely entering its final season. Thank you, HBO, for having your shit together.

I leave you with this…

I’m wondering, why do women hate socks and shoes? I’m being serious. I know this is stupid, but when I notice trends (fashion trends especially), I can’t help but openly muse about them. My theory: as soon as winter is over, and for as long as they can tolerate the open air, females prefer exposing their feet whenever they leave the house. Women of all sizes, colors and ages. Ladies, I want to know why you despise socks and shoes so much. By my unscientific measurements, I’d say between the months of April and October, 8 in 10 women (that’s 80% for you math noobs) wear some form of flip flops or sandals when out in public. It seems to me the only time women wear anything else during moderate-to-warm weather is when they’re going to work, going to the gym, or going out at night, but even then, most women wear open-toed shoes or other, fancier forms of flip flops and sandals. Just from random daily observation, I’d say the rate of men who follow the same pattern is probably half that. Guys seem to prefer socks and sneakers, even in warm weather. This has to be a psychological thing. Can SOMEONE, male or female (preferably female), explain this to me? Check this out in your own travels. Women hate socks. I’m telling you. And again, I realize it’s stupid, but one doesn’t control the things that preoccupy the mind.

Written in the Dark: The Facebook Rant

UPDATED: 9/7/12, 4:45am

Oh yes, I’m going there. It’s time for some insightful social commentary a rant about all the annoying things you see on
.

First things first before we get started, I love Facebook as the tool it should be. It is quite simply the best way possible to keep in touch with your friends and family, whether they live near or far. For someone in my situation (for whom most of my friends and family are FAR away), it’s an essential resource to maintain contact and keep tabs on what everyone I care about is up to. Having said that, we all know that this beast sometimes brings out the worst in all of us. We all get irritated by some of the things our friends choose to reveal about themselves, whether it be via what they say, what they link to, or the pictures they choose to share. Sometimes what we reveal is intentional, sometimes it is not (most times not in the case of the things I’ll be talking about). I will of course focus on the things that make us all look stupid, selfish, immature and despicable. Obviously. WINNING.

Disclaimer: These are my reactions to general trends that I find disturbing or annoying. I’m not referring at any point to any one occurrence, so don’t try and read between the lines. These are not attacks on specific people, and I’ll be criticizing myself along the way as well. Again, I do not have any one person in mind for any of these gripes. There is no malice intended. Fo reals, yo. Everything I’ll mention I’ve seen done by several people. I’m commenting here about my own friends’ Facebook behavior, but clearly anyone who’s been on the site for an extended period of time has seen these same tropes acted out by their friends, too. I know with 100% certainty I’m not alone in feeling the way I do about some of this stuff. Also, these do not represent the totality of the things that annoy me on Facebook, but they are the ones that have stuck out the most in the 3 years I’ve had an account there.

I’m sorry I have to say all this tedious crap in advance, but we all know how sensitive some people can get when any criticism is thrown their way, especially on Facebook. So if you see something here that you do on a frequent basis, don’t take it personally. Just stop fucking doing it 🙂

Listen to this while you continue reading (cool people will get the reference);

This post began as a late night impulse. I had to go to bed early Thursday night in order to be up at 5:45am Friday to be at work by 7:00. I’m usually up pretty late, so when I try to go to bed around 11:30-12:00, I end up laying there in the dark with my mind racing, unable to sleep. Well, that night, fully formed rants about Facebook started appearing in my head. I don’t know why, but I know I couldn’t stop it. I thought it was pretty good stuff, and I knew if I didn’t start writing it down, I’d forget all of it by morning. Without so much as turning the light on near my bed, I fumbled around for the notebook I knew was on the floor nearby. I found it, grabbed a pen (I’m a writer…there’s always a pen around) and started furiously purging the thoughts from my head and onto paper.

I have literally never written anything by hand this fast. My hand was writing almost as fast as I could think, as if my subconscious had been outlining this whole thing for weeks. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. I felt like I’d taken the drug Bradley Cooper was on in Limitless. It was a case of the mind taking over the body. My fingers and palm hurt like hell when I was done, and I only got 4 hours of sleep as a result, but it was worth it. And I wrote it all lying in bed in the pitch black, between about 12:15 and 1:00. It seemed like I could see everything I was writing, as if the ink itself was glowing in dark. I didn’t want to turn the light on, because I was trying to get to sleep, but I knew if I got all this stuff out of my head I’d get tired faster. It worked. When I finally stopped writing, I was probably asleep 15 minutes later. When I woke up Friday morning and saw the notebook, I was shocked that almost all of it was legible, and shocked even more by the fact that I’d filled 4 pages, front and back. At the time, it felt like I’d written half that.

I dunno, I just think that’s a pretty cool example of the many ways and random times that writers get inspiration, and the lengths we’ll go to capture that inspiration on the all too rare occasion it comes to us with such intensity. And now those 8 handwritten pages have evolved into 5,600 typed words. I love that. I don’t think it’s my best writing – not even close, but it’s among the most satisfying things I’ve ever written, and other than the couple of scripts I’ve finished, perhaps the longest as well. I’m pretty sure it’s the longest blog post I’ve ever done (and I’ve been blogging on and off since 2002 when I started my Livejournal page using the old AOL dial-up connection), but I promise you’ll be entertained throughout, because if you spend a good amount of time on Facebook, you’ll recognize a lot of what I’m saying. If I’ve done my job well, you may also feel a certain release in having someone else say the things you’ve been thinking.


Fairly neat considering the conditions under which it was written.


A look at my process.

Without further ado, here’s everything I see on Facebook that drives me up the fuckin wall, separated into 5 separate categories, covering everything from the things we say on the site to the manner and conditions in which we access it in the real world.

THE STUFF YOU SAY

-Here it is right off the bat. The thing EVERYONE finds annoying. Basic status updates telling us what you’re currently doing. This is where a lot of people run right off the rails of relevance and into the ocean of the inane. The rule here is simple enough; the more mundane the activity, the more clever or funny you have to be when telling us about it. Specify, you say? But of course.

If you’re gonna post something as utterly boring as “Long day. Tired, going to bed”, you have to at least provide some context. Is there an interesting, unusual reason you’re so tired? If not, why are you sharing this? (<- a question that should be asked of yourself EVERY time you post something, in my opinion) Every one of your friends gets tired and goes to bed, but we don’t all need to say it, do we? Do I write, “In with the oxygen, out with the CO2” every time I fucking draw a breath? Because hearing about how tired you are is just as boring as me telling you my lungs still function. Here’s a suggestion: if you’re doing something that every other human being does every day, it’s probably not worth sharing. I mean, what reaction are you going for by posting something like that? You want someone to reply, “Ohhh, you’re going to bed tonight?! That’s awesome! I’m gonna do that, too!” Truth is, no one responds to boring crap like that, do they? No, because it isn’t interesting IN THE SLIGHTEST.

I for one don’t care if you’re going to bed. I don’t care if you’re staying up all night. I don’t care if you’re going to work, or what your hours are that day. I don’t care if you’re going to school, or what classes you have. I don’t care that you’re playing your PS3 or XBOX. And I imagine nobody else does either. In fact, if I listed all the things people DON’T care that you’re doing, we’d be here all day. Again, if you must tell us about an everyday activity, you have to spice it up. Even if it’s not an exceptional event, you have to make it SOUND exceptional in some way. Instead of saying, “I’m at Wal-Mart. They’re out of mac & cheese!”, tell us about one of the rednecks you saw while you were in there. That’s always good for a laugh. The more mundane the activity, the more clever or funny you have to be when telling us about it. Burn that into your head.

P.S. I don’t care where you are at the moment, either. Especially if I’m not going to be there with you. I’m not keeping records of my friends’ whereabouts, so just be where you are and do whatever is you went there to do. If I wanted to know where you were at all times, I’d attach a GPS locator to your fuckin ankle.

Posting songs via YouTube. We’ve all done it. But again, restraint and exceptional become the key words. I don’t need to see the video to every song you’ve listened to the whole damn day. Also, the more popular and mainstream the song, I guarantee you the less likely it is anybody clicks on it. If you show no restraint and post 3 songs every day, people will just start ignoring you. That’s simple psychology. As a result, when the time comes that you finally post a song that reflects an exceptional moment, like if you’d forgotten the correct order of the days of the week and finally discovered Rebecca Black‘s “Friday”, nobody will notice, and your sense of accomplishment will be lost. This is why you save those songs for when they matter.

-Speaking of music, if more than half of your status updates are song lyrics, it’s time to give independent thought the old college try. If you focus hard enough, close your eyes and clench your butt cheeks, you’ll find that your brain is capable of coming up with its own ideas! BRAAAHM!

Spelling & Grammar. Ugh. Here’s another area I could spend a week on, so I’ll just use a few random examples that I see on a daily basis. Americans’ general state of idiocy is evident nowhere better than when we attempt to write in the language we’re supposedly fluent in. And nowhere is that moronitude (I just made that word up) more glaringly displayed than on Facebook. Umm, first up, WHY DON’T 100% OF US KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘YOUR’ and ‘YOU’RE’ AND ‘THEY’RE’, ‘THEIR’ and ‘THERE’?!?! This is entirely unacceptable. It’s so fucking easy, guys. If I had it my way, nobody would pass the third grade until they understood this. If you don’t understand it at age 18 or above, that’s a felony offense warranting prison time…and torture; you’ll be waterboarded until you get it right. Oh yeah, there are only 2 versions of your, and “ur” is not one of em. A monkey who juggles his own feces isn’t that stupid. Actually, a monkey who juggles his own shit would be pretty clever, wouldn’t he? Smelly, but clever.

Second, if you want to indicate a pause between two thoughts (that’s called an ellipsis by the way), it’s THREE DOTS (…), NOT SEVEN, EIGHT, FOURTEEN, etc. You don’t increase dramatic effect by adding additional dots. You just look dumb. [Insert Napoleon Dynamite “GOSH!” here]

Finally, some of the words I see misspelled on Facebook make me literally want to weep. I just want you to know how sad you make me. Then there are the people who INTENTIONALLY misspell words because it’s trendy. A perfect example of this is people who write “prolly” instead of probably. I mean, that’s fuckin retarded! There’s no easier way to describe it. If you write “prolly” on a consistent basis, you have brain damage. That’s indisputable. I shan’t comprehend that kind of Neanderthal behavior, because I refuse to appear stupid on purpose. I may seem stupid, but it’s by accident, I assure you. I’m convinced that people who abuse the English language online lose the ability to write properly when they need to in school or in a professional setting. I can show you lots of emails from work that prove this theory. If I read 10 emails at work in a day, 7 of them will have several serious spelling or grammar errors. It’s not a priority for people to appear intelligent when they write, and that’s…depressing.

-Have you seen this thing where people use “lol” as a period? You know what I mean. Someone will do this; “Washing the dishes lol” First off, why is that funny? Second, why are you using an acronymn as punctuation? Mindboggling lol

-That stupid little black heart (which appears if you type “<3”) has got to go, unless you’re a teenage girl, at which point immature shit like that is to be expected. When I see posts like this, “Dinner with the girls <3”, I want to blowtorch my eyes out.

Intentionally vague statements. This drives me nuts. If no one but you can understand the meaning of something you post, really, what’s the fucking point? You don’t come across as mysterious, you come across as someone who can’t express yourself or finish a thought. There’s nothing interesting or appealing about that. “That’s the last time!” Oh, is it? Good to know, dipshit.

-If all you do is copy/paste inspirational quotes that you yourself refuse to live by, just know that most of your friends are keenly aware of hypocritical diarrhea when they see it spewing off their computer screen.

-A little modesty would do people good when it comes to celebrating your own birthday. I have seen some of the most self-absorbed bullshit ever written on Facebook from people who can never get enough attention, who think their birthday is the most important day on the Gregorian calendar. In case you’ve forgotten, your birthday is for OTHER people to celebrate you, not for you to celebrate yourself. I’m picturing some of these people sitting at home, baking themselves a cake, blowing up balloons and putting them all around the apartment, and then anonymously setting up a surprise party for themselves.

-Stop saying “FML” (that’s ‘fuck my life’ to you noobs). Just stop it. This falls under one of two broader traits I can’t tolerate on Facebook: narcissism and self-pity. You’ll find almost all of these gripes fall under one of those two categories (a third would be plain old stupidity, a fourth would be frivolity). FML falls snugly in the self-pity column. I hate to say something as trite as “Grow up”, but please, when it comes to your self-pity on Facebook, grow up. There are literally billions of people in this world who have it worse off, who have much more serious issues to deal with than you. Nobody feels bad for you because you stepped in a puddle on your way to work, or because you have FOUR classes tomorrow and you won’t get much sleep tonight. I mean that. Literally nobody feels bad for you. That’s when you know your problem is insignificant in the larger scheme of things. This all goes back to not posting things that no one else will find relevant. Ya know what I say to your FML? F U.

-I’m updating this post during election season 2012, and I’m noticing a lot of people getting incredibly anal about what they do and don’t want their friends saying about politics on Facebook. And there are two types of people in this regard. The first is the person that doesn’t want to read other people’s political views because they perceive their friends to be ignorant or stupid when it comes to what’s actually going on in the world. I can sort of understand this, and I too get annoyed by ignorant political chatter, but you know what I do? I IGNORE it. That’s all it takes. Let that person be an ignorant boob. What difference does it make to you? On the last night of the Democratic convention, I saw someone essentially say, “If you want to post your views, you may as well unfriend me.” Really? Cuz it’s ALLLLL about you. If I want to post my political views, I should first consider, how will *insert name here* feel about me posting this? Grow up, dude.

The second type of person who wants you to “unfriend” them if you dare have something to say is the  guy or gal who simply will not tolerate dissenting opinions on their precious page. You’ve probably seen this at least once; “Before you comment on this post, if you want to disagree with me, you may as well unfriend me instead.” Are you serious? Are we that fucking sensitive that you’d rather someone not be your friend over have your political views challenged?

Political talk is often a touchy subject on any internet forum, but people seem to get especially self-righteous on Facebook. Here’s a hint, Mr. or Mrs. Neverwrong, if you have a strong opinion, but don’t want to actually discuss it in a public forum with people who are supposedly your friends, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! I for one am willing to discuss and debate anything I post on my page, political or not. If I post a political view, it’s because I want to hear what my friends think. What kind of stupid logic is it to post something and then say, “If you also have a strong opinion on this, I have no desire to be your friend anymore.” Give me a fucking break.

So ends the political sub-rant. Stop being so damned sensitive, people. (and pretty please don’t unfriend me for saying this stuff)

I use a simple barometer when it comes to judging the relevancy of my own posts. If not a single person Likes or comments on the post (be it a picture, link, status, or video), than it wasn’t worth sharing. Whether I originally thought it was or not. If not a single person found it interesting enough to react to, I wasted my time posting it. And it’s happened to me many times, but it’s rare. That’s not being cocky, I simply put some thought into what I share. It’s not complicated. The only exception to this rule is if I post a movie review, or a link to one of my own blog posts here, in which case I’m just asking you to follow the link, not react to it on Facebook.

THE THINGS YOU HAVE

-If you want to boast about making a lot of money or making a significant purchase, please consider how you’re going to come across before proceeding. Here’s a good rule of thumb; the more expensive and superficial it is, the more it comes across as bragging. Even if you truly aren’t trying to brag or show anyone up, perception is reality. I don’t know anyone who likes arrogant people. And no, posting a picture of a bunch of hundred dollar bills strewn across your bed (which I HAVE seen! MULTIPLE TIMES!) cannot be perceived as anything other than masturbatory self-congratulating. And since you’re gonna waste all that money on crap you don’t need anyway, I’m not impressed. Or jealous, which was probably your goal.

Ladies, if you got some new earrings or new shoes or a new dress that you think looks good and you want to share, that’s fine. It’s cool. I’ll throw a Like your way on that (if it actually does look good on you). However, girls or guys, I do not care to see a picture of your new 55″ plasma, because really, if I can’t come over and watch it whenever I want, what the fuck do I care that you have a new TV? Seriously, name one reason anyone but you or the people that live with you should care about that. Getting a cool new TV or other expensive item isn’t good enough, you have to let everyone else know in the hopes that they’ll tell you how awesome you are for having it. Well, that’s admirable. Congratulations.

Oh, and congrats on that new car. Do I get the spare set of keys? No? Then enjoy your new vehicle with some humility, will you please? Cocksucker.

-I wonder about people who have more than, say, 500 friends on Facebook. I think 300 or less sounds right for most people. Am I wrong? If you have 1,000 friends on Facebook, you should probably create a Public Figure page for yourself, so people can be fans instead of friends. At that point, aren’t you a local celebrity instead of just another person? Can you honestly say you know 700 people? 1,200 people? Or do you just find it too hard to say no to friend requests? I don’t get it. These are the same people who had 12,000 friends on MySpace. I guess some people like the popularity contest portion of social networking. If you were one of the cool kids in high school, you’re damn well gonna be a cool kid on the internet, too.

If you saw any one of these people on the street tomorrow, you’d recognize them? Would you know their name? Would you even know how and where you met them? There’s another good Facebook barometer. If you wouldn’t know who someone is if they were standing 3 feet in front of you, they probably aren’t your friend, in real life or on the internets.

For me, my friends list is for people I’m good friends with now, have been good friends with in the past, people I’d like to be good friends with, or people I’ve known for a very long time. Everybody on my friends list falls into one of those categories. If I met you at a club 4 years ago through mutual friends, and you remember me but I’ve forgotten you, and there’s suddenly a random friend request in my box one day, I’m gonna consider that a bit strange. I don’t need to “friend” every single person I’ve ever tangentially met. Nor would I want to. And for the love of god, just because we work together now doesn’t mean we’re friends. It’s called a friends list, not a “people I know” list. Hell, I’ve denied friend requests on Facebook from people I knew in high school precisely because I don’t want those people back in my life.

Here’s another rule of thumb for your friends list. If you wouldn’t give that person your cellphone number, they aren’t your friend.

THE WAY YOU ACT

-If you purposefully keep people on your friends list that you don’t like, you probably deserve to be miserable. Don’t say you’re sick of “all the drama” when you actively pursue it on a daily basis. Just man up (or woman up) and admit it – you’re a scandalous motherfucker who can’t function unless someone’s mad at you or you’re mad at someone else. Some people are like that! Don’t lie to yourself. Maybe if you own up to your soap opera lifestyle, you can actually start doing something to change it. We all wish you would.

-If you delete your Facebook account because you can’t handle all the drama anymore, remember it’s probably at least 50% your fault that the drama existed in the first place. But then, I suppose immaturity in real life is only amplified when you get online. And I especially love when those same people reactivate their account days later, because they can’t go on without that internet drama. Life is too boring for these people when nobody is gossiping about them or they aren’t gossiping about others. So sad.

-If, in real life, you spend more time talking about what’s happening on Facebook than what’s happening in the real world we all live in, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. Facebook should not be the primary fuel for your conversations. Life provides plenty of ammo for that, if you’d look away from your computer screen or your stupid iPhone long enough to notice.

Similarly, if, in real life, you spend more time checking Facebook on your phone than you do interacting with the people around you (remember, those profiles you’re looking at are representations of ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS), it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. You can’t be this kind of an inconsiderate jerk with subtlety. People do notice when you pay more attention to your phone than you do to actual people. Stop posting on the walls of the people sitting right in front of you. Some of us retained the manners our parents taught us, some of us did not. The ones who did not need to be called out.

PICTURES

Pictures get their own section, even though different kinds of pictures could fall under any of the previous categories. Facebook photos are where narcissism thrives. The kinds of pictures you post reveal a lot about the size and nature of your ego. Aside from that, the truth is that probably 90% of all Facebook photos are an insult to photography.

-If the majority of your photos are you sticking your arm out and taking a picture of yourself, it’s time to find something else to take pictures of. Your camera is sick of looking at you. And I’m sick of looking at your BATHROOM via your damn mirror shots. Put it this way, the more the ratio of “self-portraits” to “pictures of you taken by others” favors the latter, the less egotistical you’ll come across. After all, it’s not your fault if other people want to take pictures of you, but it is your fault if you love nothing more than recording your own image. Some people post pictures of themselves every time they comb their hair a different way (the caption always being “New hair!”). Jesus Christmas. I don’t need to know what you look like every single goddamn day. The only people who should see what you look like every day are the people who live with you.

-If you’re an attractive woman, and you take a lot of pictures of yourself in various states of undress, I’m certainly not gonna complain. Just know that it makes you appear very shallow. Most people don’t need that kind of attention. And by the way, girls who post pictures like that have no right to ever whine about being objectified by men. You reap what you sow.

The same goes for guys who work out a lot and post pictures of themselves holding up their shirts to show off their abs. Go fuck yourself, brah. Thankfully, I don’t have a single person on my friends list who does that shit. Why? Because I don’t hang out with superficial bags of douche.

-And girls, STOP IT WITH THE DUCK FACE!!!

Baby pictures. Oh boy. One word, my lovely parent friends: moderation.

-Why does everyone think we wanna see how much snow they got? If it’s winter time, I’m not surprised that you got snow. I lived in Massachusetts for 25 years, I’ve seen snow! I know what a lot of snow looks like. I know what a medium amount of snow looks like. I know what a little snow looks like. I know what it looks like when snow covers your car. I know what it’s like when there’s snow up to your waist. I’ve LIVED it. I lived through some one of the worst blizzards and Nor’easters in New England history.

Unless you live in Arizona, we can all picture in our minds what snow looks like. Even if you live in Arizona, I can picture what snow-covered desert looks like. Flat and white. So we should probably just forgo any pictures of snow whatsoever. Agreed? Unless you used all that snow to build X-rated snowmen (seriously, click on that, that’s some funny shit), what’s so special about it?

Instagram. I won’t bore you with a tirade about not posting pictures of every friggin meal you eat, but suffice to say…the people who do bitch about it are right. If you’re gonna be an asshole and post something every time you eat (no, it doesn’t look any tastier because you added the “Hudson” filter), you have to then take your asshole-ishness to the next level and post a pic of every shit you take. Because we’re all so desperate to know how it turned out!

-Lastly, tone it down with the pictures of you and your pals partying and drinking. If you like going out several times a week, that’s your business, but again, if you don’t strike a balance in the type of pictures you post, people will only see you one way. I don’t need to see proof that you go out a lot. Goodie for you. Get drunk, get high, do irresponsible things, and then do us all a favor and keep it to yourself. I go to the movies a lot, but I don’t take pictures of myself sitting in the theater binging on my cherry icey, do I? Being an alcoholic is nothing to be proud of. It’s actually a serious problem. If the only way you can be happy is to numb yourself with drugs and alcohol, you may need professional help, not friends who encourage you to “have another.” I’ve seen friends battle this addiction, and I’d prefer not to see any others have to in the future.

THE SITE ITSELF

-There’s been a lot of media hype over the past year about people being confused by the new privacy settings. Honestly? Are you that easily vexed? This stuff couldn’t be more self-explanatory. You click on what you want to control, and then you click one of 4 simple options to determine who you want to see that part of your profile. Holy shit! Where’s the owner’s manual, Zuckerberg?

-Many people want a Dislike button in addition to the Like button. What good can come of that? You just wanna be a snarky asshole? If you don’t like something, either SAY SO if you’re that passionate about it, or shut your mouth and don’t respond at all. I don’t see why you’d potentially start an unnecessary internet flame war over some trivial item with someone who’s allegedly your friend. Come to think of it, this whole post is one giant Dislike button for me. But for the record, I don’t want a Dislike button on the site.

IN CONCLUSION

In the end, of course, you can say or post or share anything you want. I’m not gonna begrudge anyone I consider a friend for anything (well, almost anything) they post online, because my relationship with 95% of them is or has been more than just an internet correspondence. I wish more people would keep that in mind before taking things too seriously or taking offense to jokes or little jabs. I guess my thesis is that people should more carefully consider what image of themselves they want to project on Facebook (or anywhere online), and before you do any of the things I’ve listed above, think about how it’ll make you look. After all, these are your friends and family you’re sharing this stuff with. I wish people would THINK more in general. Being impulsive is not always a good trait. If all your impulsive decisions end up being bad ones in hindsight, perhaps it’s time to reconsider just how spontaneous you want to be going forward.

I’m willing to bet more than one of you finds my constant yammering about movies more than a little exasperating. But that’s what I’m passionate about, and I think passion for anything is inherently interesting, and worthy of sharing. I want to know what my friends are passionate about, and I want to know their opinions about those subjects. For example -and I know he won’t mind that I call him out- my buddy Travis (who I first met playing Call of Duty on XBOX of all places) is a self-proclaimed socialist. That, in and of itself, makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Almost all of his posts are political views that I vehemently disagree with. And despite that, I always read his opinions, if for no other reason than intellectual curiosity. I argue with him on Facebook and sometimes even while we’re playing Call of Duty together. For one, I appreciate that he actually writes in proper English (even if he doesn’t speak it very well while we’re playing XBOX), and I can comprehend what he’s trying to say. As I’ve demonstrated, that’s not always the case, is it? I want to know if and when he’ll say something I agree with (which has happened), or come up with an idea or solution to an issue that I hadn’t considered. It’s because he’s so passionate about that stuff that I continue to find it interesting. He’s never gonna convert me into a far left-winger, but I admire the fact that at least he’s honest enough to come out and say why he believes what he believes. That’s more than I can say about most Democrats, including (arguably) the President of the United States. But I would never know this stuff about my buddy if I weren’t friends with him on Facebook, so again, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. I’d much rather read him saying that taxes should go up than someone else proclaiming, “Just reheated some Chinese food! Yum! <3”

I like opinions, the more informed and fervent the better. Opinions about anything. Even if I disagree, it’s always good to know what people are thinking about. What concerns you enough that you feel all your friends should be made aware of it, too? I like knowing what you’re passionate about, because it always reveals something about you, consciously or not. I may not like people as a whole, but I remain fascinated by them. What does that say about me?

I wanna know what my friends think, much more so than what they’re doing. Unless what you’re doing is exciting or stimulating in some way, at which point, tell me all about it, show me some pictures of it, whatever. That’s cool. I don’t need to know what you’re eating for dinner, or what time you’re going to bed, or that you’ve got a test in the morning. Why? Because those events are only noteworthy to the people living them with you.

In My Own Defense

Before some simpleton finishes reading this, and then gives me the obligatory “stop whining” or “you complain too much” or “Why does everything piss you off?” routine (there’s always someone saying something like that every time I do a rant), let me spell a couple of things out. Of course, I shouldn’t have to defend myself, but I want to clear up any confusion for the ignorant. (And I’m only gonna do this once.) I often get the feeling, based on some of the reactions I get to my more, let’s call them “strongly worded” posts, that I’m being badly misunderstood, that some people think I’m too mean-spirited or I complain too much. I mean, come on. If you’ve spent any time with me in person, I would hope you know better. I have an online persona that is often very different than my actual personality. More importantly, not everything I say on here is meant to be taken seriously. Furthermore, not once have I held some stupid thing a friend has said or posted online against them in real life.

Most of the time, I try to be at least a little funny while I’m doing my bitching. Of course, whether or not I’m successful is up to the reader. I think it’s abundantly clear when I’m being dead serious (i.e. when I talk about gas prices) and when I’m simply poking fun. If you don’t like or appreciate comedians like George Carlin (my favorite stand-up comic ever, and a big influence on my humor and writing style), I’m sure I do come across as a miserable a-hole. Oh well. I won’t be changing the way I write because some people don’t get it. I have confidence in my friends, most of whom are very intelligent.

I’m willing to bet that anyone who’s known me for more than two days would testify under oath that regardless of how much turmoil may exist in my personal life, I don’t portray that when I step out of the house. I assure you, none of what I complain and joke about on here keeps me up at night. No, my nightmares occur during the day, as I bear witness to the general stupidity of mankind. Then I report that stupidity back to you in a hopefully articulate, somewhat humorous manner. It’s a wonderful cycle. It’s what Carlin did so brilliantly for decades, and it’s what I try to do in my own way. Enjoy. Or don’t. Just don’t tell me to stop complaining. Tell your fellow man to stop being dumb, inconsiderate, lazy and arrogant.

If you made it to the end, bravo and thank you. Your patronage is much appreciated. Feel free to comment and let me know some Facebook fads that drive you batty that I neglected to mention. Or tell me I complain too much, after which I’ll hire a 6’7″, 400-pound thug to come and end you.

Fun fact: the word Facebook appears 27 times in this post.

For our Recommended Listening, here’s my favorite track off of The Strokes‘ solid new album, Angles. It’s called “Taken For a Fool”:  

Things I Find Disturbing

This one is simple enough. Just a random, bullet point list of, you guessed it, things I find disturbing. Many of these things truly do piss me off, but this isn’t a list of things that piss me off. Anger is temporary. The things I’m talking about here have become issues over time, and many of them are only getting worse. If you feel the same way about any of these things, seeing someone else bitch about them in a reasonably humorous, intelligent manner may help you cope. I’m here to help. Like George Carlin, I think I’m at my best when I’m complaining. On top of my love for writing and a desire to keep those tools sharp, it helps my general mental state to get things off my chest in this kind of forum. I’ve thought on and off about many of the following things for months, sometimes years. Don’t take this stuff too seriously, but I am serious.

I find it disturbing that people use lyrics from rap songs as noteworthy quotes on their Facebook pages, instead of quotations from people, living or dead, who are/were actually intelligent and thought-provoking. Here’s a news flash; those lyrics are just as shallow as the ignorant morons who uttered them in their music, and you look just as ignorant by extension. This is no knock on talented musicians. There are many great lyrics in many great rap songs performed by many at least 4 or 5 great hip hop artists. I just wonder what’s going through a 20-something white girl’s mind when she writes something like, “Gettin this money, nigga. Ain’t nobody stopping me.” No, you’re just going to work, and nobody’s even trying to stop you. Let it be said that looking for insightful quotes on relationships from rappers is equally absurd, yet I’m seeing it done all the time.

In general, let’s stop holding up people like Lil’ Wayne as heroes. Aside from his accomplishments inside a recording studio, Dwayne Carter Jr. has done little that anyone should be looking up to.

-Speaking of white people and rappers, I find it disturbing how a lot of white teenagers are now casually calling each other “nigga”, like black kids in urban areas have been doing for years. I’m talking about middle class, suburban white kids, too, not white kids who happened to grow up around black kids who used the word a lot. This is ironic, because the majority of white kids who grow up with black kids wouldn’t dare use that word around them (hear Eminem use it much?). I see it happen on Facebook sometimes, and I’m hearing it a lot while playing with some of these kids on XBOX. I’m sorry, but the n-word (in any form) should not be in casual use amongst white people. Blame the absentee parents, blame subpar schooling, blame pop culture and stupid reality TV stars, blame whatever, but this kind of blatant ignorance is a gaping wound in our society. I grew up in an area where a lot of black kids called each other nigga casually. I’m half black, and I remember the one time in my life where I called another kid ‘nigga’, and I instantly regretted it and never did it again. I knew that it wasn’t part of my personality to talk like that, and I knew it wasn’t who I wanted to be. Even as a teenager, that word meant something to me, even if it didn’t to them, and actually saying it in context made me feel awful. By the way, it shouldn’t be used amongst young black kids, either, but for obvious reasons it would be a lot harder to eliminate its usage from black culture than white.

I find it disturbing the degree to which cell phones and the internet have degraded people’s ability (and apparently their desire) to use the English language. It’s bad enough that most Americans know only one language, but when they willingly abuse and abandon that one language, we all look dumber. On my own end, I’ve made a concerted effort in recent years to speak better, and I always write in proper English online (or at least acceptable English), whether it be in an email, text message or just a status update on Facebook. Is society in that big of a rush that we can’t take LESS THAN A SECOND to add an apostrophe or the extra letter or two it would take to spell a word correctly? It’s fucking ridiculous. When I speak in public amongst friends or co-workers, people will often look at me funny, which in turn makes me look at them funny. It’s now strange to many people to hear the language being spoken properly, with words containing more than one syllable. I find that disturbing, and sad.

When I write things like “LOLZ”, “O HAI”, “ZOMG” et al online, I’m doing it on purpose- to accentuate a point, not because I’m being lazy. I try to avoid lazy internet abbreviations as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong with writing casually online (to a point), but it seems to me that many people now would be incapable of writing the right way if they needed to. I’d hate to see what some people’s college papers look like. You’ll never see me write “prolly” when I mean probably, “ppl” when I mean people, “dnt” when I mean don’t, etc. And I know this is a pipe dream, but I would literally sacrifice a year of my life if it meant everybody would properly use you’re/your and there/their/they’re. I also use proper punctuation as often as I’m able. One more goddamn thing friends…when you want to use an ellipses (…), it’s only THREE (3) dots, not 2, not 5, not 7, not 14. Adding extra periods does not create suspense.

I saw someone a couple nights ago write, “Whut up?” as their status. What’s wrong with the letter “a” there? Why spell a word wrong using the same amount of letters? That is so illogical I just broke my neck from my head spinning. Is one of your cool, hip buddies gonna think less of you if you wrote, “What up?” Is anyone really gonna think to themselves, “Yo, this cat lame yo, spellin 2 wurds straight da right way. I can’t be seen wit dat dude no mo’.”

I will again ask any female reader why in the blue bombastic FUCKTARD you guys unnecessarily add letters to the end of words. You’ve all seen it. For example, “Hungry. Having some snackssssss” What the fuck do the extra s’s indicate? The number of snacks you’re having? You’re having 6 snacks? 6 bites of a snack? What? “I’m boreddddd” Well, with 5 d’s, you must be REALLY fuckin bored. You don’t see me writing, “Off to see a movieeeeee”, “Got some extra cheeseeee on that pizza”, “Heading out to the clubbbbb”, do you? Extra letters at the end of a word can serve no practical purpose. It just looks like your finger got stuck on the last letter and you were too lazy to hit backspace a few times. Stop being dumb on purpose! It’s NOT a good thing!

Please, please, please stop butchering English. It’s a beautiful, complex language. The best in the world, if I say so myself. Use it! It’ll make you smarter! You may not realize this if you spend a lot of time on the internet, but smart is better than dumb!

I am completely unapologetic about this stuff. It offends me that people CHOOSE to present themselves as stupid online. If you think me too mean or anal or self-important about this issue, a) you’re missing the point, and b) I truly don’t care. Be thankful I didn’t address the people who spell letters using num83rs.

I find it disturbing how rude people have become in everyday conversation. I can’t tell you how often I’m talking to someone at work, and someone in the vicinity who’s been listening takes it upon themselves to interrupt me (without saying ‘excuse me’ or otherwise indicating they’d like to cut in). And what makes it worse is when they try to interrupt and I keep speaking (which is my way of saying, “Wait your fucking turn”), and they just talk LOUDER over me until I can no longer be heard without yelling. This person will not be silenced, and they certainly will not wait their turn to speak. They are taking over this conversation with THEIR point, whether you like it or not. I mean, fuck you, interrupter. One, mind your own goddamn business. Two, if you have something to contribute to a conversation between two other people, simply wait until there’s a break in the conversation and THEN indicate you have something to add. Or wait until the conversation is over and then add something. We were all raised by human parents, yes? This is common courtesy. Or so I thought.

In some of these situations, it would be less rude to shut me up by kicking me in the nuts. Simply drowning me out with your own voice is not only rude, it fucking pisses me off. It’s the arrogance of it. YOU have something more important or more funny to add than whatever I’m saying, so you’re gonna outright stop me from talking to get your better, more important point heard RIGHT NOW. I guess this is a secondary example of the “now” culture we live in. We want stuff faster. We want stuff now. Information. Services. Results. Our need for immediate satisfaction has expanded from the realm of technology and seeped into our personal connections. And we’re not going to wait, even if waiting is prudent, or in this case, simply polite. You can’t offend your computer by yelling at it because it’s not giving you what you want fast enough, but you ought to realize you can offend people with a similar demand. And this is saying something coming from a misanthrope like me. If you can get me to empathize with humanity, you’ve really fucked up. When I see this happen to someone else, I get just as angry as if it were being done to me. I think I just created a new tagline in the midst of this rant. I’m creating stickers that say, “Fuck you, interrupter.”

I find it disturbing how uncreative Hollywood is at naming their movies lately. Do I really have to go to a ticket window next month to see the new Liam Neeson movie and say, “Can I have one for Unknown?” Honestly.


“Mr. Neeson, what’s your new movie called?”

“Unknown.”

“You don’t know?”

“No, it’s called Unknown.”

“Ohhhhhkay.”

I find it disturbing that Tom Brady‘s hair is still being compared to Justin Bieber‘s by some people. Maybe you idiots haven’t noticed, but Brady’s hair doesn’t look like it was glued to his fucking face in a swirly pattern. Bieber’s hair looks like the hair you put on a Lego person. It looks like it’s one piece that pops on and off. He’s probably got a buzz cut underneath and just pops the vortex hairpiece on when he goes out in public.


These two look similar how?

Tom Brady does NOT look like this:


This is an example of people blindly picking up on pop culture references. Friends, if you hear someone say something, and upon review it doesn’t make any sense, you don’t have to say it anymore. K?

I find it disturbing that fans can’t enter a “Be An NFL Ref For A Day” contest. I want to throw yellow flags as hard as I can, make goofy hand signals and dramatic announcements about “illegal hands to the face” in front of 65,000 people. That looks like fun.

I find it disturbing that within hours of the Tucson shootings last weekend, vile left-wing a-holes like Michael Moore, Paul Krugman and pretty much everybody on MSNBC had the audacity to claim that supposedly heated political rhetoric from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party this past election created the atmosphere for the shootings to take place. Ignored was the fact that the shooter appeared to have left political leanings, and that regardless of his political views, he’s a fucking lunatic, who wasn’t inspired to violence by Sarah frickin Palin or anyone else. Kudos to President Obama for not jumping on that bandwagon when he made his first remarks about the shootings. And shame on the liberals who jumped to conclusions, claiming it was hate coming from the right that induces violence like this. Thankfully, within days, ALL of these people looked like complete fucking morons and disgusting hypocrites, when Michelle Malkin posted THIS on her website, a play-by-play on virtually every act of violence and political hate speech displayed by the left over the past 10 years. You could not find a more brilliant, slap-in-the-face rebuttal to the ignorant, baseless finger pointing by dishonest people like Moore. And I’m not normally a big Malkin fan. She’s much farther right than I am, but everything in her piece is sourced and factual. I thank her and her staff for doing that research so fast, and I can only imagine it was done because she was as angry as I was that people would try to play politics with such a tragedy.

I thought Bill O’Reilly was brilliant in his analysis, and you can watch that video HERE (couldn’t get the embed to work).

I find it disturbing that Arnold Schwarzenegger just came out and claimed that his tenure as California governor cost him $200 million in lost income and personal expenses. Meanwhile, during this time, California went how many billions more into debt? Not the wisest thing to say in public, Ahnuld. Oh woe is not you.

-Lastly, I find it disturbing that I have to wait until 2012 to see all the amazing movies that are coming out in 2012. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

“Life’s a bitch, naw betta yet a dumb broad/ I bet I could fuck the world and make it cum hard” – Lil’ Weezy!, from his seminal song “Gonorrhea” (Ladies, next time you wanna use an inspirational Lil’ Wayne quote, keep in mind what he really thinks of women)

A Christmas Quickie

Merry Christmas all. Hope everyone has had a great day so far with families and loved ones. On my end, I’ll thank my mom for an awesome breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese with some cinnamon rolls. My tastes are simple, but I do insist on quality.

This post is really just a bunch of random stuff that’s been on my mind this week that I wanted to purge, so apologies for the lack of a consistent theme or a structured format.

To get in the spirit of things, here are a few funny winter-themed pics I came across this week;


Snow Jabba is pretty much the coolest thing ever.


I took this myself while on a delivery last week. One word: overkill. Or 4 words: Your neighbors hate you.

It’s Time for a Bitchfest

You know what’s been grinding my gears for a long time? Some of the queer names parents are giving their children these days.

I’m hereby sending out a memo. Attention: world. Stop naming your girls Nevaeh (that’s Heaven backwards if you’re not hip). First of all, that’s an awful lot for a child to live up to, is it not? What, expectations aren’t high enough already? Life isn’t challenging enough? Second, she probably isn’t all that heavenly, is she? If we’re being honest. More likely, she’s actually destined to be an attention-whoring diva now thanks to that stupid, pretentious name you gave her. Third, stripper names should stay in the strip club. Most strippers have real names in the real world, so too should your child. If you name your daughter Nevaeh, what would you name your son? Lightattheendofthetunnel? Perfection? Mecca? Wait, nevermind, you already named him Jesus, didn’t you?

Immature kids names are a trend I’ve been slamming for years, but it seems to be getting worse instead of better. I can only say that I’m incredibly happy I’ll be dead when there are 70-year olds named Cody, Dakota, Tyler, Ryder, Hayley, Braden and Makayla walking the earth. In general, I’m happy I’ll be dead once technology has literally taken over human life. But with regards to the names, it’s yet more evidence that we have far too many unfit parents in our society. People, it’s real fuckin simple…give your kids names that they can still USE when they’re adults! Don’t give kids baby names. Babies grow up, you idiots. A person should be able to use their birth name through their entire life. It’s not, “Oh, well we’ll call him Taylor until he gets to high school, and then once he graduates, from that point on he’s Steven.” Other adults will have to say your child’s name with a straight face in order for him or her to get ahead in the world. Baby names are for your Chihuahua. You don’t name a human being CHASE. Or DESTINY. Are we on the same page here?

-Ya know what I respect? Girls who own normal-sized dogs. I think once you can fit a dog into your purse, it ceases being a dog. Right? That’s all I need to say about that. [Note: I could have gone much meaner here, but I have several female friends with tiny dogs, and you never know who’s reading.]

-While watching the Celtics-Magic game today, I kept getting annoyed every time I saw an interview with Dwight Howard. This guy is such a fraud it’s not even funny. He literally stole every single thing he does from Shaq. He calls himself Superman, which Shaq was doing 10-15 years ago. He tries to be funny and outgoing, and comes across very unnatural when doing so. Meanwhile, Shaq actually IS funny and doesn’t have to try in order to have a personality. Even Howard’s game is similar. He’s best known for his big dunks and for being a bad free throw shooter. Does that sound familiar? The only part of his game that I enjoy is his shot blocking, because I love great defensive basketball play. Other than that, Dwight Howard, you’re lame. Go away.

And here are a few links I’ve been wanting to share this week;

-WEEI’s Alex Speier estimates the Sox’s payroll in 2011 will be close to $180 million given how MLB structures payroll figures. I just had to swallow that vomit I was about to spew everywhere. I’m sorry, but if they don’t suffer any major injuries and don’t at least GET to the World Series, this is going to be a massively disappointing season. I hope every other Sox fan has their expectations bar set just as high.  [WEEI]

-ESPN’s Jayson Stark did his annual collection of strange and random factoids from this past baseball season. Always an entertaining read. [ESPN]

-The Douche Lord strikes again. LeBron James sold sponsorships to his upcoming 26th birthday party, and someone got hold of the PowerPoint presentation. I couldn’t even fathom being that self-centered, and if I had friends around me like he does who encourage him to do shit like this, I’d kill them. And I don’t mean “kill” in jest, like I’d be really, really mad. No, I’d MURDER them. But not LeBron. He can never have enough yes men. If you’re a musician, athlete, model, “affluent leader” or “savvy trendsetter”, go on down to Miami on December 30th and kiss LeBron and his friends’ asses.  Hell, even if you’re not in Miami, celebrate his royal Doucheness’ birthday anyway. It’s more important than New Year’s. [Business Insider]

Cool movie compilation video time! This is a countdown from 100 to 1 using clips from various movies.

I kinda like the new trailer for this Anthony Hopkins exorcism movie The Rite. However, I’m retaining a healthy level of skepticism. Haven’t there been far too many exorcism movies in the last 5 years? And will another one ever come close to The Exorcist? Probably not. But this one does look kinda interesting. I just worry that it won’t have anything new to offer, and it’ll rely solely on jump scares and possessed people doing freaky things, which we’ve seen before. Hopefully there’s a story and characters here to go along with the cool visuals. Also, it opens in January, which is  a month mostly reserved as the spot where studios dump their bad movies, or movies they couldn’t find any other place for on the release schedule. It’s right up there with September. If you’re a filmmaker, you do NOT want your movie opening in either of those months. Translation; I’ll probably wait for it on Netflix, but I will see it.

All I want for Christmas…is Katy Perry in a latex candy cane bodysuit!

Again, Merry Christmas everybody, and if you’re done with your family or you’re just plain bored, Christmas is one of the best days of the year to go out and see a movie. And there’s plenty of great stuff to see right now.


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