Jun 30, 2009

The Informant! Trailer

1988 Inside Edition Piece on Nintendo

A. Ma. Zing. I had no idea that people still remained this clueless about Nintendo's vast empire well into 1988 (even though, seriously, to this day, my dad calls it In-ten-do), but it is fun to relive the sort of wide-eyed wonder displayed on the part of the American public at this newfangled thing called video games. The guy reporting couldn't have sounded less interested in and/or bothered with the implications of the topic. Probably thought it would be a fad, like the Pet Rock or Slap Bands. Oh, the things we take for granted today.

The one thing which did end up becoming a fad were the call centers for video games. I remember calling the hotline for an issue with Mega Man once, I think, but I don't remember anybody else really taking advantage of it.

The dude @ 3:20 in the video is priceless.

Also, you can notice the dapper young version of O'Reilly at the beginning.

Jun 28, 2009

'The Invention of Lying' - Trailer

As long as Ricky Gervais is going to try and carve out a niche playing a curmudgeonly British guy, I'm going to keep watching. 'Ghost Town' was good - a little light, but hey - and 'The Invention of Lying' seems to be its long lost fraternal twin. Not identical, but containing enough features so as to be recognizable. Also, Louis CK. Sweet.

Ron Paul Doesn't Believe in Evolution


Jun 26, 2009

Richard Kelly's 'The Box' Trailer

I won't pretend that I ever saw 'Southland Tales'. It didn't quite look unwatchable, but it wasn't something that interested me. I probably will sit down and watch it someday, but I also intend on reading 'Moby Dick' someday, too, and I hate Herman Melville...but anyway.

Here is the trailer for 'The Box', which, besides looking entirely mainstream, also looks maybe a bit...suspect. Maybe it looks too mainstream, and I know what you're thinking, that it's a bullshit charge to say that this might be too mainstream, but hear me out. After the jump.

'The Box' looks pretty good, don't get me wrong. But it's adapted from a Richard Matheson short story. Remember what problems 'I Am Legend' had, and it was adapted from a full-length novel (albeit a shorter one)? Can 'The Box' be extrapolated out into an entire movie? Well, I mean, the evidence is there that it has? But will it be good?

To me, and this is just my first impression, but to me it looks sort of like 'The Game' - Woot, David Fincher - but too drawn out. Still, I look forward to seeing it, because I like Richard Kelly and I think seeing him do something mainstream will be interesting, like watching a bear do a handstand, but I had to put my reservations right up front, because otherwise I didn't really have anything to write about!

Jun 22, 2009

Megan Fox on Food

"If you eat Chinese food, your farts come out like Chinese food. If you eat Mexican food, your farts come out like Mexican food. And milk, it’s like—you can smell the warmth in the fart. My wardrobe on Transformers always smells like farts, and I have no idea why." -GQ, October 2008

Jun 21, 2009

WoW Flip-Out of the Century

I don't know if this reaction is fake or not, but even if it is, it's one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen. This kid's parents cancelled his World of Warcraft account, and he's not too happy about it. Poor little guy. God, why do bad things happen to suburban white kids?

And here is a video about a kid so obsessed with MySpace that makes me not want to have children of my own. Ever.

Park Chan-Wook's "Thirst" - Trailer

Park Chan-Wook, the director of Oldboy, has a movie coming out about VAMPIRES! I'm going to guess it's not going to be about a teenage girl and her glittery, mysterious, blood-sucking boyfriend.

'Thirst' was released in S. Korea on April 30 and will hit the US (in LA and NY) on July 31 and move on to a wider release weeks after that. Screen Rant has a pretty in-depth article about the movie.

Jun 19, 2009

Pictures of the Georgia Theater Fire

These are pictures I took in downtown Athens the morning of the Georgia Theater fire. This was about ten in the morning, after they had gotten it pretty much under control.

Jun 17, 2009

FAITH NO MORE - Back Again!

Apparently, FNM are back (for a reunion?). They performed last weekend at the 2009 Download Festival in Donington Park, UK. This is their version of Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face'. Who knew it could be done as an abstract rock tune?

Jun 16, 2009

Indy 5?

Over at Den of Geek they're reporting that "work" is being done on Indiana Jones 5. No word yet as to whether or not it will take place in an assisted living community. Maybe they could do a 'Bubba-Ho-Tep' kind of thing. Anyway, go read the article.

Jun 13, 2009

The Debt Road Trip

I found the following video a pretty impressive analogy for debt spending in our country over the last century or so. It's well-constructed, but it seems somewhat misleading, and yet I don't have the breadth of knowledge on the subject of governmental spending to be able to talk about it, so I was wondering if anyone out there did have the vocabulary to challenge the video, or else to agree with it. I'm all ears.

Edit: One upside to the economy is that, according to Hale "Bonddad" Stewart of the Huffington Post, "On several fronts this week we saw the news continue to signal that the worst of the recession is probably behind us."

That, at least, is a minor indicator that something good may be going on with our bank- and car-jacked economy, which has been hobbling along for well over nine months now.

G.I. Joe-Blo

Several months ago, Bam Kapow blogged about some early released footage from the upcoming Stephen Sommers-helmed G.I. Joe movie, and said that it looked less than thrilling. It made me a bit skeptical of the potential for the movie, but then I thought, "You know. It was probably a fan boy, so his perspective is probably a little skewed, so whatever."

But then I saw a preview for myself, and it was much different from some of the others I've seen since. It had a more generic sci-fi action movie sort of feel, and the "accelerator suits" or whatever were prominently on display. And. It. Just. Did. Not. Look. Good. The lines came off as jokey and uninspired, and the Baroness was not Russian - which makes no sense, given her name - and, again, the accelerator suits. Gha!

Some of the more recent trailers, though, softened my take on it. The one where Hawk says, "When all else fails, we don't," I've got to admit, I got a little pumped. Then, it seemed to possess a more Michael Bay-ish tone than I'd expected, which offered a vast improvement on my original impression.

But even that, too, seemed premature. Because an article reported Thursday that Stephen Sommers has been locked out of the editing room for a redux of the movie.

And I quote:

After a test screening wherein the film tested the lowest score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount, the executive who pushed for the movie, Brad Weston, had Stephen Sommers, the super hack director of the film fired. Removed. Locked out of the editing room.

Stuart Baird, a renowned "fixer" editor was brought it to try to see if it could be made releasable.

Even if some of this isn't true, something went horribly wrong with the G.I. Joe movie. Let's hope that it's not as bad as everyone says it is - it certainly can't be any worse than people are saying - but it's not looking good.

Jun 12, 2009

How Did I Miss This?

Now Bret Michaels knows what all those girls' faces on Rock of Love must feel like when he's done with them.

Obama's Minority Report - Rachel Maddow

Deadline - A Stop-Motion Video

I was really impressed with this video. The use of stop-motion is excellent here, and the director goes to SCAD, so that's also pretty cool. Enjoy.

Jun 10, 2009

Mickey Rourke As Whiplash

Here is the first documented footage of Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in the new Iron Man flick. Personally, I prefer Metallica's version of Whiplash. Ba-dum-chsss.

A Political-Educational Rant

Dear Readers:
Here is a response I wrote for a grad school class to an article we read. I sort of jumped the couch a little on it - I felt like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire - but since I hadn't blogged in a while, I thought I would show you what I've been up to. Enjoy. Or not.

What Dr. Marshall has highlighted for me in this article is how inexorably political the standards movement truly is. A Nation at Risk reads like a political tract, a public relations manifesto or something. I mean, who compares any educational system to an act of war but a politician? You can declare war on anything. Doesn't do anything. Just makes a political point. And that's one of the biggest problems. Widespread, governmental public relations campaigns have made it a point to use business tactics to sell the American people a news-snippet ideas, things that sound earnest in sound bytes but don't work when teased out to their logical conclusions. "Rhetorical grandeur" is a much more eloquent phrase than "hyperbole", which is what I would call it.

Moreover, it follows that our educational system as a whole is in the hands of politicians, not educators. I can only be skeptical of any system now, due to how highly politicized they in time come to be. Even if we were to eliminate NCLB and all of its subpar proponents and substituted a wonderful, teacher-friendly program in its place, how long would it last in its best and most beneficial form? How long before it would become bastardized and ripped apart, like a precariously hung bureaucratic pinata, to see what kind of money lay inside?

Okay, let me scale back a bit. It sounds overtly cynical and pessimistic, and to a certain degree it is. I can only blame my obsession with Lewis Black and George Carlin for that. I'm not that angry. But I am concerned. I know that we can work the system to our kids' benefits - and isn't that what matters - but the area we've been relegated to is getting awfully claustrophobic, and it's about time the pendulum swing the other way. Since I've been in the program, there has been scant discussion of the symbiotic relationship between political capital and educational policy, and Dr. Marshall has done a wonderful job of outlining the rhetoric that has people fooled. What is being done is unfair to people like Dr. Marshall, who have attempted in earnest to do something positive, so I don't want this to come off as an attack on responsible professionals, whose efforts and intentions often are in the right place.

I am especially enthralled by how he explains A Nation at Risk: "To interrogate those policies, to marshal research evidence questioning their assumptions or their procedures, would be to stand somehow against educational excellence, against even our national stature in the world." I am in exact agreement. All that it creates, though, is fear - fear that our school systems are falling apart, fear that our kids will be illiterate and allow the collapse of our economy - and when people are afraid, they are easily manipulated, and that is the function of such contrived, bellicose language. And I am not decrying the politicization of education. Sadly, it was bound to happen. Everything has become an issue of political tug-of-war today, and education cannot be exempt. In fact, I'd be terrified if it somehow weren't involved in some brand of ideology war. But I think it's going to take a certain amount of de-politicization, if that can be achieved, to reach a higher level of nationwide educational stability.

And, ultimately, I'm not against standards. Or standardized tests, even. I want to make that clear. I do think standards can be beneficial. I am in favor of helpful, well-designed universal guidelines for teaching. I also recognize how they have been hijacked to punish teachers and even administrators, and not even consciously. It's just that, when there needs to be a neck on the chopping block, who better to place there than the teacher?

However, my rage seemed to be misplaced on reading discussions of how the standards are devised, since they were not and are not brokered by stogie-smoking snake-oil salesmen in the back rooms of governmental buildings, but by principled women and men, and the politicians are who need to be reprimanded for conflating education with war and nuclear proliferation and so on and using their influence to make shortsighted political decisions, rather than long-term educational ones. Shame on them.

What we have seen - and I don't believe this is generally acknowledged - is that the purported need for a "back to basics" assessment system is a conservative one, a backlash against the supposed "liberal agenda" that has been demonized as having misled the country. Sophistication of thought and complicated ideas are often portrayed as hippie-dippy liberalism, so this is an important and often understated distinction between what we're seeing and what we perhaps need to see. When we, as teachers, talk about the need for professional development and mutual accountability across the spectrum, it can look a bit, er, dislocated. It seems too complicated and erratic and not simple enough to digest in a commercial-length spot. Simplicity, not religion, is the opiate of the masses.

The difference is that some of what's going on is not complicated or sophisticated, but muddled. Teachers should be accountable for what happens in their classrooms, but not in the Frankensteinian, villagers-at-the-door-with-pitchforks sort of way that seems to be today's norm. There needs to be support for gradual improvement, instead of a, forgive my idiom, "cut and run" policy.

Jun 8, 2009

Big Rock Candy Mountain

I've always enjoyed Harry McClintock's 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' (even Darius Rucker's Burger King commercial variation on it), so seeing an animated video to go alongside the song really was a treat. Enjoy it.

A little-known fact about Harry McClintock (who himself is little-known): In addition to being a country singer and occasional hobo, he was a labor organizer and member of the Industrial Workers of the World.