Monday, January 29, 2007

Fooling us on the Sly

Don't ask me why, but I am addicted to 80s Sylvester Stallone movies. It all started with casual channel surfing three weeks ago. As I lazied my way from TBS to SciFi, I came across Rambo II on AMC. Instantly enthralled by the explosive action of a bow-wielding Vietnam vet who is busy rescuing American POWs out of Vietnam, I forgot about my 6 o'clock appointment with Stargate Atlantis. I have seen the movie many times, but it's been 10 years or so since my last viewing.

Since then, I have come across a few other Stallone movies on TV. The worst (i.e. best) of the bunch is Cobra. Here Sly plays the laconic Det. Cobretti, a tough and unshaved sort-of man who is willing to act ruthlessly and roughly with the worst of L.A.'s thuggary. Cobra, short for Cobretti, single handedly defeats a militia group who is bent on bringing about a revolution through their own brand of terror tactics, namely a murder spree on the streets of L.A (maybe not what Marx had in mind). But when the militia group's leader is spotted doing murder by a passerby, the anonymity of the entire organization is threatened by this witness's potential testimony to the police. The militia group tries to kill the witness; Cobra defend the witness and defeats the militia. Fini.

There is no surprise that the witness is a supermodel who, like Cobra, happens to be single and to Cobra's delight "a little crazy". The attraction between the two is instantaneous. The surprise in the whole movie is the tightness of Cobra's jeans and how he is able to perform the necessary acrobatics to defend the supermodel and defeat the militia group. The jeans are as tight as a second skin, and despite the absence of room for even an oxygen molecule, Cobra manages to carry his gun tucked in the front of his jeans. Every time Cobra shoots off his pistol, he never worries about an overheated barrel as he "holsters" the weapon in the waist of his pants. He never burns his abdomen, and never complains about the hot zipper effect that you could expect from a hot barrel touching the copper-teeth and pull lever on pants. Heat should go all the way down leaving a long linear burn in the down-there area. No worries for Cobra though.

(According to my friend Snotboy he most likely enjoyed it. After killing bad guys, and making the sweetness with the supermodel, he probably ejected a Klingon growl and put his gun away. Who knows what things people do to remind themselves of being alive)

Some shit is just too unbelievable. What is worse is that I sit and watch it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sun is Shinning... Does it Haunt Me?

Sun is Shinning
The weather is sweet.
Makes me want to move
My dancing feet

To the rescue...
(Bob Marley, Kaya)

For the second time this week I am up before sunrise. My alarm clock? Big Ol' dissertation pressure. The oddest part of this stress train is the confusing dreams my subconscious makes me witness while I sleep. (Some weird stuff)

A waking weirdness, however, is the article about the guy who decided that the best way to keep his burning house from being completely destroyed was to add his own fire to the raging blaze. He went on to tell the newspaper that upon remembering advice from his high school debate team coach, he thought it was best to fight 'fire' with 'fire'. (Some weird stuff)

Some cool weirdness, the Gothic Archies theme song album for the A Series of Unfortunate Events audio books. (Check it [pic above], its some weird stuff)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What an Idiocracy! Another Rambo?

I recently saw Mike Judge's ‘06 movie Idiocracy. I was aware of the movie because of a review on the G4 channel program Attack of the Show (this should reveal what a nerd I am) that told how the movie was distributed in only a few theaters. Supposedly, the movie was too controversial for the production company to own up to, and they decided to let it have a quick and quit death instead.

The movie stars Luke Wilson as a clerk in the US military who participates in a 1 year deep freeze experiment, but, because of military mismanagement, ends up sleeping for 500 years. (The plot loosely follows Futurama) Luke's character wakes up in a future dystopia where humanity has evolved into a species of idiots. The evolutionary thinking behind this plot is that intelligence is an inheritable trait, and that for centuries more intelligent families focused on their professions and personal achievements over having babies. Eventually, human intelligence as a trait is no longer passed on. (Here the plot distantly echos themes and points in Vonnegut’s Galapagos) At this point, Luke’s character arrives on the scene and has to survive in this future world, and eventually rescue it from its own damnation.

The movie turned out to be a disappointment. Somehow, all these classic and campy sci-fi themes did not combine well under Mike Judge’s vision. He had a funny and great cast, his production budget allowed for decent animation and stage sets, and he was tapping into well known and tried true anchors of sci-fi lore. However, the movie plot came off as hackneyed for anyone who has seen Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead; and for those who haven’t, the comedy was essentially dull, and any political and social commentary that may have been embedded in the script was lost between the fart and ass jokes. I can see why the studio might have hesitated to sponsor this movie. I don’t think this is a case of (D. Pugh’s) the Man trying to keep indie art down.

But I still give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for viewing. Here is how I evaluate movies. I like lost causes and I can count at least 3 of these in Idiocracy. Following this line of thinking, I can’t wait (honestly) until ’08 when Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra will be released. As a primer, here is a professional reviewer’s summary of the plot:

"I can only imagine Rambo sneaking into Burma to free Christian missionaries who are being held by militants. And as the invincible one-man army looks into the eyes of the ordinary folks from Oklahoma and South Carolina who are risking their lives for the Gospel, he is swept up by their commitment. Oh, wait. I'm Not Kidding.”

How many lost causes can you find in this plot summary? I count at least 4, that equals at least 4 stars on Que-ni’s movie review scale.