Monthly Archives: October 2008

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

It’s coming. And it’s going to eat your family.


5 Things We Love About Movies With Guns – The Bourne Identity

Hark! The return of this thing! Let’s get down and dirty with…

1. Who am I?

I know. It sucks. You can tie all sorts of crazy knots and speak twenty different languages, then you have these really weird dreams where you get shot and fall off a yacht into the ocean. You wonder, what does it all mean? The better question; who cares? You look like that Matt Damon guy and you’re on a fishing boat headed for Italy. You’ve already won.

2. Clive Owen.

“Look at this. Look at what they make you give. Uuuggh.” Dead.

3. Cut their hair. Have sex.

The cops are looking for you, so you and the girl you’ve brought into this nightmare hole up in some dirty motel. They know your names, they know what you look like, so what do you do? You, of course, do nothing, besides stop off at a Walgreen’s – or Aldi, if you’re in Europe – and buy a cheap hair-coloring kit. You take a dirty pair of scissors and, in one stroke, chop off all your girl’s hair. It looks AWESOME. Then you spend an hour checking out your bullet wounds in the mirror while she colors her hair in the bathtub. When she comes out, you stumble around awkwardly until you’re both on the bed doing it. Then you wait a couple of years and do it all again with Julia Stiles.

4. Nykwana Wombosi/Mr. Eko.

“My enemies in Afreeka ah too strong, so my drug deela frens’ and I will dress up as fake prees’ and fly to Australia, before crashing on a mizzterious eye-land an’ bein’ killed by my crazy gos’ brudda.”

5. Dude, look!

Not only is he shooting a gun, he’s shooting a gun while flying down a six-story stairwell on the back of a dead guy. So not only does he get to do all this acrobatic stuff with guns and dead people, but he does it all while looking like Matt Damon. Then he waits a couple of years and does it all again with Julie Stiles.

Will there be another column next week? No promises! Send suggestions to

Kids on TV

About a week before the new season of Heroes started, I spent an excruciating two days catching up on season two. After 11 episodes of Maya crying while black s**t spilled out of her eyes and Peter training for his fight against Apollo Creed at the Philadelphia Spectrum, I found I also had black s**t spilling out of my eyes, except it was red, and it was blood… anyway…

Heroes fans know that after moving to Costa Verde, Claire was major bummed because her dad was all like, “Hey Claire-Bear, go to school and don’t talk to anyone or join the cheerleading squad and, like, live in a box or something.” Then he sat there looking all weird in his glasses while cleaning another pair of glasses. Claire was having none of it, and joined the squad anyway. That is, she wanted to join, until she met Debbie, who, like most cheerleaders we knew in high school, walks around with a 40 in her hand bossing around all the other cheerleaders.

This got me thinking, why is it that television writers are totally unable to write believable teenage dialogue, or put their characters in believable situations? Join me, won’t you?

1. The actors playing the parts.

I think a lot of it stems from the fact that everybody on TV playing a high school kid is, in fact, 25+. So, when you see the big, black guy say, “Hey man! You don’t want to get a detention, do ‘ya?”, then scratch his five o’clock shadow, you don’t believe it.

2. What they’re doing, i.e., cheerleaders and 40s.

“HA! Get it? 137? Now go draw on HER forehead, and pee on her, skank.”


“I don’t have TIME for this, Claire. Can’t you see how high I am?”

I couldn’t settle on a picture, so I used both. Look, cheerleaders don’t wear their uniforms to school everyday, or go out after dark. Football jocks don’t walk around tossing footballs in the air and talking about their letter-jackets all day. Wiggers don’t wear goggles or look like Seth Green. Real kids sit around talking about how their parents don’t understand them and smoking crystal meth.

3. Porn.

No matter how bad things get on TV or in movies, they’re a million times worse in porn, where any pretense of realism is thrown completely out the window. Take a scene from the movie, Island of Lesbos, where a Greek foreign exchange student gets stuck in detention, alone, with a teacher who can’t stop rubbing her thighs for some reason.

Teacher: What is it about you that the girls love so much?

Adonis: It must be my, “Mount Olympus,” tee-shar.

Teacher: Oooh. (more thigh rubbing) Let’s see it.

Adonis: Oh no, tee-shar. I don’t wan’ to “call down the thunder.” I’ll get in trouble.

Why does he have a Spanish accent? Anyway, it goes from there. To be fair, porn is never held to the same standard as mainstream movies and television for one very obvious reason: foreign exchange student usually get away with a lot more than American kids. Are we going to see an end to this anytime soon? Probably not, unless they bring back My So-Called Life, or Clarissa Explains It All. I DID spend a lot of time as a kid designing video games where I put my brother in a chair tied to balloons so he’d float away.

“Yeah, everybody could shoot.”

The first time I saw HBO’s Deadwood, I was swept away by it’s horrible language and graphic violence, and haven’t looked back since. Because HBO canceled Deadwood a season early – thereby guaranteeing themselves a place in Hell – I’m always on the lookout for Westerns that can live up to it, or at least try.

Appaloosa is based off the 2005 novel by Robert B. Parker, about two lawmen-for-hire who come to defend a small western town from badman Randall Bragg. They spend their days talking tough and pistol-whipping bad guys until seductive temptress Renee Zellweger (who should probably stop doing movies) comes to town and tests their friendship in ways they never thought possible.

The biggest thing this movie has going for it is the charisma between Ed Harris’ Virgil Cole and Viggo Mortensen’s Everett Hitch. They’ve come together and created two psychologically good friends. That is, they can spend most of their time together not feeling like they have to talk to each other. Their idiosyncrasies are so internalized that they can deal with each other without having to think about it. It’s this relationship that saves the movie from the moment Renne Zellweger steps off that train with her Bridget Jones accent and weird, bunched-up face.

I will give Ms. Zellweger one thing (even though she sucks), her character was much more rounded-out than the run of the mill damsel in distress you normally see in Western movies. The same is true of Harris and Mortensen. This is why Deadwood was such a great show; these movies are so much more when they focus on the characters, rather than the cattle rustler who gets called out by the sheriff… or, you know, whatever.

There are too many screenwriters out there who read a book, and when they try adapting it for the screen, don’t know what to cut, so they try and cram everything in. You see this in movies like Battlefield: Earth and Battlefield: Earth, and the atrocious Battlefield: Earth. You can’t stick 500 pages of book into two hours of movie. I felt like Appaloosa took a different approach. They filmed a movie that followed the book almost page for page, and then cut out chunks of it to meet a two-hour runtime.

There were parts of the movie where the narrative would take this big leap forward and really throw me off. When Renee Zellweger is introduced to Ed Harris (SPOILER ALERT), it’s like, “Hi Mr. Harris, my name’s Renee.” “Well howdy, ma’am.” “Did you hear, Mr. Mortensen? Mr. Harris and I are moving in together.” Oh yeah, they’re moving in to-bwaaaahhhh? How did this happen? They’ve known each other two hours. The last time I moved in with a woman I had known for only two hours I woke up the next morning in a bathtub full of ice.

This isn’t the only example. You’ll see it toward the end, as Harris, Mortensen and Irons enter their showdown. In the end, I felt like there were chunks of the movie that I was missing. And while the two leads, joined by the good-in-everything-he-does-even-Alien-vs-Predator-and-that’s-saying-something Lance Henriksen, put in great performances, the zig-zagging plot was a little too distracting. I give this one a B-. Rent it on your fancy-shmancy AT&T U-Verse machine, but don’t fret if you miss it’s run in theaters.