Now, keep in mind for just a second that I already knew that Netflix currently offers a service to it’s customers that they can stream movies through their computer. Not all of the movies, but a small selection. Let’s say for example that this covers very old, critically-acclaimed classics, worse then filth comedies (we’re talking none theatrical release American Pie movies), and a group of foreign and indie movies that is all over the place. No seriously, we’re talking about a group that consists of Slingblade and something called Bikini Samurai. Now, you may not know this, but Netflix offers an even smaller selection on the Xbox Live marketplace. So now we have no excuse to ever go wanting in our quest for finding the worst movie ever made. Yeehaw.


This past Sunday was Jack Danger’s birthday, so we were all treated to a Jack Danger movie marathon of sorts this weekend. The dishes were Fido, a 1950’s surbubia boy and his new pet zombie flick, and American Astronaut, basically a post-modern sci-fi shenanigan, any other attempted plot description would probably melt my brain before I could adequately explain it. So zombies and sci-fi, yup, this is my roommate.

But the true gem of the whole affair turned out to be a birthday gift from Red and The Critic, the first nine episodes of Dungeons and Dragons. I hold this DVD box in my hands right now, and I can say that I truly now know what is like to hold a box full of mediocrity. Here is a little back story to this show, Marvel Comics worked with the makers of D&D to produce a cartoon show of the same quality as the work of Hanna-Barbera (that right there, that is a problem coming right out the gate). When it was released in 1984, parents were upset, citing it as one of the most violent children’s shows to ever exist. This is bullshit, by the way, but more on that later. This criticism came most likely because of America’s inherent fear of cults at the time, and many parents believed that players of the game was akin to cult-like behavior. Seriously. Do they have problems like this in other countries? Or is it just us…the most conservative, non-Muslim nation in the world?

Just a little bit of background on this show before I dig into it, Jack Danger had not only heard of this show, but he had always wanted to see it. He actually gave it to his elder brother as a Christmas gift. He’s a big D&D player, so you could call this a match made in heaven. Or whatever the D&D deity immortality pad is called. C’mon, this is the same young man who used to not only watch a television show called Skeleton Warriors (seriously), but still hums the theme tune.

So you are probably wondering, this is my second filth review in the past two weeks, how is an 80s children’s fantasy cartoon filthy? Mostly it’s because of sexual suggestions that truly have no place in the plot. This series follows a group of six kids trying to get back to their home dimension after a roller-coaster ride gone wrong, insert acid joke here. Now in their quest to leave this land of mystery, they share many adventures and five of them share the same personality. Seriously, they have the leader, his kid brother, the rich boy, the geek, the smart minority girl, and the other girl and only rich boy stands. While the other five continue to follow around a balding dwarf who calls himself the “Dungeon Master” (yuck), this kid is a little bitch who complains and whines about everything. He is annoying as all hell and he is somehow the only rounded character, I have found myself rooting for the whiner!

Now getting to the reason this is filth, first off it sucks hard. Each episode follows rather contrived, linear plot lines that do nothing to develop the characters or teach children lessons in basic Judeo-Christian ethics in an effective manner. Did I mention that since arriving in the world of D&D each of the children know walk around looking like cosplayers at a Comic-con. Each kid has a role like archer or cavalier. As you probably guessed, each of the girls get the short-end of that deal. Diana is the acrobat, she carries an extending pole for vaulting and is dressed in a the equivalent of a fur bikini. She’s also black, so you can interpret that as you like. The other girl, Shelia, talks less then any other member of the group. Her item as the thief is a cloak that makes her disappear, you could swear that she’s always wearing it except for the three times that she will deliver a line.

Actually this all isn’t fair, if it weren’t for Shelia the Thief, this article wouldn’t even exist. You see, Shelia’s outfit has a skirt. I didn’t put any thought into this until a scene in the first episode when a village came under attack. This led to a scene where all of the kids jumped onto horseback. Shelia hopped on the horse of Hank, the leader, it was a quick motion. But not quick enough to hide a two second white panty flash. Now keep in mind that this show is not live action, meaning the animators decided it would make more sense to show a brief glimpse of a under-age cartoon girl’s underwear on show targeted to the 7 to 10 demographic rather then just make her skirt longer…or ignore it. What do I do in life that gets me asking these questions?


Cronenberg

14Jan10

Can you truly evaluate the merits of a director by seeing only three of his films? Well, surely that isn’t a fair question as a director like David Cronenberg, who has somewhere in the ballpark of twenty films on his resume. This question would be judging Cronenberg solely on the merit of a small fraction of his work. But when one watches enough movies by a particular director one is able to get enough of a sense of what a director wants and is capable of.

Douglas Kass, one of my current professors, is a huge fan of the work of David Cronenberg. Much of this comes from his respect for the director. Cronenberg is a true product of his country, Kass would point out, it is because he was able to stay separate from Hollywood, stay in Canada, and when he finally made the move to Hollywood, have enough control to do things his way that make Cronenberg such a respectable figure.

His films aren’t blockbusters, but he has a solid understanding of quality shots and even higher quality sequences. And his films do make money, it’s just not as much as say Spielberg or Scorsese, but enough to be profitable and let him keep making films. But unlike say Spielberg, who has always had an eye for good, accessible stories, what makes Cronenberg’s continued success astounding is because of his commitment to “the weird”. While Scorsese wants to make movies about tough-guys, gangsters, and megalomaniacs, what truly seems to interest our Canadian friend is science, technology, and the human body.

So if one goes straight to the bone, they would have to observe how cerebral Cronenberg can get with his higher concepts. But the same time, they need to observe the often strange lengths that he will go to to spark a visual reaction, akin to repulsion, that start to set him apart visually. Take the ideas from “The Brood”, a movie that analyzes alternative psychology methods intended on bringing out a new sort of physical potential. There are most likely scientific circles in genetics and psychology that have toyed with some of the ideas brought up in this movie. But Cronenberg’s ability to show the short-term reactive evolution of the body is truly nauseating. But it is through that repulsion that Cronenberg harks back to one of the classic formulas to the horror genre, consideration of human actions through the worst case scenario, that it how one gets truly horrified. Human curiosity gone too far.


…if you abuse it enough, it might start to work well enough. The washing machine in the APG is currently on the fritz, so Jack Danger has found that usually the best way to get it working again is to hit and abuse it. Those are actually his words, not mine. But the sentiment is echoed by me. Many of the appliances in our apartment haven’t been working over the course of the past ninety days or so. We’ve had incidents with the dishwasher, washing machine, and a certain bathroom appliance. Everything seems to be collapsing around us these days.

This may sound ridiculous, especially since I’m only taking one class this month, but I’m really missing free time. It feels like all I do with my time these days is going to class, going to supplementary class, trying to beat that stupid missile level on Bayonetta, and sleeping. It feels like my life is now structured in a way, where I can’t break out to make stupid choices.

Jack has been having trouble sleeping. Inspiring him to clean his room at 6:00 am this morning while blaring loud music, off of a playlist I gave him. Irony can be my enemy sometimes.


I can be an idiot, I truly can. There have been multiple scenarios this semester that I have attempted to kick myself in the head for signing up for an International Cinema class based around the genre of horror. There are multiple reasons for this, but the most important one is that I cannot stand being frightened. And as one to frighten quite easily this class is a match made in hell. You see I wanted an easier class after a previous semester of movie-making, poetry composing, and wasting time when I was supposed to be working on professional writing. So why not just have a class with movies? No textbook, almost no homework. You just watch and analyze movies, and I believe myself to be quite adapt when it comes to analyzing movies. I would say I could just as easily analyze a movie and be frightened when a door opens in a dark house.

“But Grant,” you say, “All you ever do is yak about movies and how much enjoyment you get out of movies. Isn’t this a great class for you because you get to act like the pompous asshole you are under the pretense of understanding the material?” To that I would say that you either truly cut to the bone or you’re a figment of my imagination. Here’s the thing, most of these movies viewings take place late at night when I could be enjoying a nice dinner at home or water-boarding a scallywag that I caught nosing around the larter.

So why do I complain? It’s because so many of the night movies are actually really good. It is so hard to do this since it’s hard to convince me to dive into things I don’t understand. It frustrates the soul. However, without this class, I would have had no introduction to giallo.


For those of you who have seen the trailers, television commercials, or any image really of Bayonetta, you would never think me to purchase that kind of video game. Long story short, I went halvsies with the Critic on a new copy of this game. So our friendship, as I have kidded with him, has now amounted to something like a divorced couple. No communication, constantly struggling over visiting rights, Bayonetta is the only thing we still share from our past loveless marriage. But what a sparkling child that Bayonetta is.

For those of you who have no idea what I have been talking about, Bayonetta is a brand new action game released by Sega. Think in the same vein as Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, and God of War; big, mean, nasty, bad guys attack you and you have to destroy them with flashy, elaborate combo moves. However there are a handful of key differences between Bayonetta and those other action protagonists, the chief of which being that Bayonetta is a voluptuous babe with an immoral attitude. Bayonetta’s proportions are stylistically out of whack as well, her legs are longer then the top half of her body, giving the impression that Bayonetta is tall enough to play center for the Goldern State Warriors. Her T&A are also a fair bit larger then should be expected on an incredibly tall and slim woman, and it doesn’t help that her natural “waiting around” stance makes her look like a swan. She is dressing from neck to toe in what looks like black leather and wears a severe pair of eyeglasses. The Critic thinks this looks like an oversexed version of Sarah Palin, but then Jack Danger reminded him that she’s already oversexed.

But the combat system, while not truly adding anything revolutionary to the genre, is fun. Really damned fun. Bayonetta starts out the game with four magical pistols, one in each hand and one on each foot. Yes, this woman has guns strapped to her high heels! But thanks to a fast and fluid combat system, this just adds to the fun, as punching and kicking combos may often end with a dash of gun fire. Over the course of the game, you may get weapon upgrades, so you may swap out your pistols for shotguns, a katana, elemental claws, ice skates, you name it. Each weapon sets up their own set of combos, so it is fun to experiment with each set-up.

Bayonetta is quite a sexual being though, the fan service in this game is just ridiculous. First of all, that tight black leather outfit is made of her hair. No really, Bayonetta has some strong attacks which involve her clothes coming off (key areas are always tastefully obscured) and her hair taking the shape of a fist, a boot, a giant eight-eyed raven, you name it. There is also a taunt button, that seems to accomplish no purpose other then having our hero coo, “You want to touch me?” and serves no actual purpose in battle. Then there are the cinematics which feature enough up-close boob and butt shots to make teen sex comedies blush.

Overall, Bayonetta is actually such a fun game. The combat is quite fast-paced and maddening, but quite rewarding if you get the hang of it. The button you’ll be using more then you expect is the dodge button. If you’re curious its worth picking up.


There is nothing quite like a college town without students. Classes begin again on Tuesday, but I decided that it seemed like a good idea to come back on a Sunday night, so as that way to have an extra day to get re-adjusted to sleeping in my school bed. Doesn’t insomnia suck?

But here’s the thing, there is no one freaking here. I at least expected Jack Danger to be here, attempting to smoke a cigarette in his room. But alas, the apartment is empty. However, the dude his computer on. I can tell because his iTunes is available over our shared network. Weird.