Monthly Archives: January 2009

"Science."

You know those “science” people that are all like, “there are tiny particles a billionth the diameter of a human hair,” or “you can fit a million earths in the sun”? Do you ever get the sense that they’re exaggerating just a bit?

Yeah, atoms are small, and Jupiter’s big, but please, a billionth? That’s a really small fraction. I bet the atom’s really only about a fifth of the size of a human hair. I almost saw one when I squinted really hard.

And a million earths? Okay, I made the number up, but a million is pretty big. I bet it’s more like… 20. And when you finally get to Jupiter, you don’t even notice the difference. You’re like, “this is kind of like earth. Oh, there’s a couple more ice bergs.”

“Science.”

ZOMG it’s Taylor Swift!

its country pop starr taylor swift!!!!

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ZOMG

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taylor at the country music awwards

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taylor wihtout ne makeup!

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taylor on TRL omg

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taylor in front of a brown car

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taylor breathes and sleeps on music lol 

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taylor again!

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more taylor!

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shoes are for losers.

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hello!

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This blog post was written while listening to Taylor Swift’s songs “Tell Me Why,” “Breathe,” and the first minute and eighteen seconds of “You’re Not Sorry.” The author is a 23 year old software engineer that enjoys weight lifting and mixed martial arts.

Gad Elmaleh can do NO wrong!

200px-TheValet I watched La Doublure (English Title: The Valet) yesterday, and it’s wonderfully written French comedy starring Gad Elmaleh. Once again, Elmaleh plays a poor man with a crappy job (as he did in Hors de prix). Typecast alert?

Maybe. But it’s hard to say. Looking at IMDB, he’s in 31 films, and I’ve only see 2 of them. However, I can say that it’s the shape of his head and the characteristics of his face that say, “nice, charming, poor.” I’m guessing that Gad Elmaleh will continue to play this roll in the near future and continue doing it wonderfully!

Also great in the film was Alice Taglioni. Do you believe in love at first sight? Repeatedly? With the same person? It’s hard not to fall in love with her and continually re-fall in love with her in every scene in she’s in.

So that’s that. Stay tuned for some Cut to the Chase. I have Vantage Point queued up, and the bar is high for all William Hurt films after A History of Violence as any film that he does not steal will be a disappointment to me.

Katie Stam crowned Miss America

Today, Miss Indiana Katie Stam was crowned Miss America. And you know what?

I CALLED IT!

 

And I don’t mean, “I saw all of the contestants at the beginning of the show and predicted that Miss Indiana would win.” No. I called this WEEKS AGO. Really. Anyone that follows the Miss America competition would have seen that Katie Stam was the far stronger contestant.

Wah-ttlestar Ga-wah-ctica

Today, instead of showing the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica, the Sci Fi network just decided to show the HD version of the music video for REM’s “Everybody Hurts.”

Cut to the Chase – True Beauty, 24, and The City (Reconsidered)

This is the exciting beginning of a new season of television shows. Three that I have been following are “True Beauty,” “24,” and “The City.”

Let’s start with “True Beauty.” This show is a reality TV competition in which 3 judges deceive a group of people into believing they are in a beauty competition even though they are really being judged based on an arbitrary definition of inner beauty.

Moving on: “24.” Jack Bauer returns for another season of fighting terrorists and other stuff. I do like this show a lot, and I am definitely hooked. My one complaint: I’m really tired of these visions of the future where computer user interfaces are really nice but are built with HUGE FLAWS. For example, in this season of 24, the United States is protected by a firewall that protects a system that somehow controls air traffic control around the entire country, water treatment, and other important entities. This firewall can also be undermined if the designer of the firewall is given a soldering iron and a bunch of fancy looking circuits. And the firewall can be rebuilt in 6 days (but that’s not soon enough!)

So my questions are:

  • Who decided to link all of these systems together so that if the firewall were compromised, terrorists would have controls to… everything?
  • Who decided that it was okay to have a single “firewall” that could be undermined by a single person?
  • Who decided to network the mechanism that would release toxic water into the nation’s water supply so that it could be controlled remotely?
  • Who decided to implement a mechanism that would release toxic water into the nation’s water supply at the water treatment plant?

And this isn’t just in 24. Every other episode of Star Treks “The Next Generation” and “Voyager” are about the computer being compromised somehow and the ship being put in lots of risk.

Oh yeah, and Brannon Braga, producer of Star Trek TNG and Voyager, is ALSO executive producer of this season of 24. HMMMMMM.

Finally, let’s revisit “The City.” Last time, I talked about how I was happy that there’s finally a show that speaks to the issues faced by wealthy, attractive people. Well, while I still like the show, I’ve just got one problem with it: everyone in the show seems to be spending way more money than they could possibly afford. That’s right. I guess a bunch of them are rich, which is fine (good for them!), but it just bothers me that they have these seemingly low paying jobs but keep going to these chic New York restaurants where entrees cost at least $20. Okay, so maybe $20 doesn’t sound so high, but you KNOW they’re ordering appetizers and wine. And when they go out, you KNOW they’re getting the $10 drinks.

HRMPH.

Cut to the Chase – Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior

200px-Ong-bak5 Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior is an action film starring Tony Jaa, who is supposed to be the next big martial arts movie star. Tony Jaa typically stars in movies about a warrior trying to get something back. In The Protector, it was an elephant. In Ong Bak, it is a Budda head.

Jaa’s character Ting is from a rural village in Thailand that is training to become a monk. In the beginning, his Muay Thai instructor says to him, “Ting, now that I have taught you the ancient secrets of Muay Thai, I ask you never to use it.” Ting agrees, and the rest of the movie is about Ting using the secrets of Muay Thai when Don, a drug dealer from Bangkok, steals the village’s Buddha head.

Notable in the film is Ting’s tournament in a Bangkok fight club. There, Ting fights three guys in order of decreasing skill.

  1. First, he fights Big Bear. Big Bear is a very large Australian fighter who is shown beating everybody up. Ting defeats him in one move.
  2. Then, he fights Toshiro. Toshiro is a Japanese fighter and looks like an idiot and moves his feet very fast. Presumably he is very good at DDR.
  3. Finally, he fights Mad Dog. Mad Dog doesn’t seem to have any skill, but he does have tattoos and a bandana. Throughout the duration of the fight, he just seems to go around throwing stuff at Ting. This includes a chair, table, bottle, refrigerator, and a live electrical cable. Ting eventually beats him.

Also in the movie:

  • There’s a big low speed “car chase” with underpowered, motorized rickshaws.
  • Ting fights a Burmese fighter that injects himself with steroids before the fight. Presumably, the Burmese fighter also lifts weights and then supplements his diet with protein during his recovery period (otherwise, the steroids wouldn’t do anything), but this is not shown in the movie
  • In one of the final scenes, the bad guy threatens to smash the Buddha head with a sledge hammer. Ting’s friend George sacrifices his body and jumps on top of the Buddha head. I’m not sure why he decided to jump on the Buddha head when he was equidistant to both the Buddha head and the guy swinging the sledge hammer, but he does, and he later dies as an even bigger Buddha head falls on both him and the bad guy.

In the end, Ting returns to his village with the Buddha head, George is dead, lots and lots of people are very badly injured, and the villagers are happy because their symbol of peace is back. The end.

Coming up on my Netflix instant stream queue, I’ve got The Other Boleyn Girl. It’s the story of Jan Boleyn and how jealous she is of her sister Marsha.

Pan’s Labyrinth 2: The Streets

Due to the feedback given by Mike Lynch, who hates Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro will be releasing a sequel to the modernized fairy tale set in war torn Spain. Tentatively titled Pan’s Labyrinth 2: The Streets will differ from Pan’s Labyrinth in that:

  1. It will be less visually stunning. If viewers do admire this film, they will not be able to describe it as “visually stunning” and will have to find merits in its actual story.
  2. The challenges will be more difficult. In Pan’s Labyrinth, Ofelia got away with really easy challenges. In the sequel, Ofelia will be back, and her strength, endurance, and resolve will be tested when she finds herself at the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, tackling the famous “crucible.”
  3. Because of Lynch’s appreciation for Music and Lyrics, del Toro has chosen Drew Barrymore to play Ofelia and Hugh Grant to play her drill instructor. Together, they will work on a new lyrics for Reveille.

“I’m really tired of appealing to wide audiences,” del Toro said. “My only real goal for this film is to please Michael Lynch. That would please me.” Filming for Pan’s Labyrinth 2: The Streets is set to begin some time in mid 2009.

Cut to the Chase – Girls that can play soccer just as well as the boys can

Gracie and Viola are two girls with similar problems. They want to beat their school’s rival boys’ soccer team, and they both have vaginas. To overcome this obstacle, the two have very different strategies.

Gracie’s strategy starts with asking her father to train her. Then, she and her father petition the school board to allow girls to try out for the boys team. When she tries out, she makes junior varsity. Then some how, she gets put into the varsity game where she helps her school defeat their rival team. And thus you have Gracie (2007), starring Carly Shroeder, Dermot Mulroney, and Elizabeth Shue.

Viola, on the other hand, is not one for bureaucracy. She dresses up as her brother, goes to boarding school in his stead while he is in London to secretly enter a contest with his band. Viola ends up living with Duke, the captain of the boys soccer team, and she trades love-help for soccer help. Eventually, Viola makes varsity, wins the game against the rival high school, reveals to the world that she is a girl, and seduces Duke. And thus you have, She’s the Man (2006), starring Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, and Laura Ramsey.

Note to movie directors: If you’re trying to make girls look like they are good at soccer, please first teach them how not to run like girls.

CTTC THREEFER TWO – You Got Served, Step Up 2, and Never Back Down

yougotserved Remember back in the day when “tough” generally described the people that could physically hurt you? Generally, this would be the bully that was bigger or the big group of kids that you feared because they had less to lose than you. The movie You Got Served doesn’t follow this pattern.

You Got Served is a about a bunch of people that exist in a world where dancing is equivalent to a weapon of violence, and dance crews battled in an ambiguously illegal dance warehouse led by Steve Harvey’s character. David and Elgin (played by Omarion and Marques Houston, respectively) are the leaders of a dance crew with a winning track record at their local street dancing competitions when Wade and his crew of rich kids from Ocean County challenge them. Elgin accepts the challenge, only to find out (just before the beginning of the competition) that a member of his crew has joined Wade’s crew and given away all of their moves. After losing, Elgin and David confront Wade, where Wade replies with the movie’s title line, “You’re just mad ’cause tonight, you suckas got served!”

This bothers me because:

  1. I think it wasn’t that they were served but that you stole a member of their team, learned all of their moves, took $5,000 from them, and then acted as though you were better dancers.
  2. Wade and his crew are talented dancers that act tough, but in reality, they were not threatening. I don’t know how no one threw a punch.

In the rest of the movie, a bunch of irrelevant bull shit happens (there’s another storyline that has something to do with drug dealing), a kid gets shot, Elgin and David fight, and they eventually battle Wade’s crew again and win.

stepuptwo Step Up 2: The Streets, on the other hand, seems to get it right. It’s also kind of the opposite of You Got Served. Instead of a bunch of impoverished minorities trying to gain respect by competing against a group of tough, rich white kids, it’s a bunch of un-tough kids at a fancy school trying to gain respect by competing against a group of tough, impoverished minorities. Andie (played by Briana Evigan) is really hot and fun to watch for an hour and a half. She goes through a bunch of crap, enrolls at a fancy school (Maryland School of Arts), gets kicked out of her street dance crew called 410, and starts her own with kids from MSA. They then spend the rest of the movie trying to gain respect and compete against her old dance crew. At one point, a bunch of guys from 410 assault one of the kids from MSA. Why is this good? Because 410 is perceived as tough because of the physical threat they pose and not their dance ability!

neverbackdown So how does this tie into Never Back Down? Simply, Never Back Down and Step Up 2: The Streets, are the SAME MOVIE. Here are their plots.

(Andie/Jake) is a very talented (dancer/fighter) who has been transferred to a new school due to (her/his) delinquent past. (She/he) often thinks about (her/his) deceased (mother/father) who got (her/him) into (dancing/fighting). At this new school, (Andie/Jake) end up competing in a big illegal (dance/fighting) competition that is so illegal that its location/date information is only distributed by text message just before the competition begins. Once the competition begins, something goes awry, so (Andy/Jake) does not end up competing for the title. So instead, they take the competition outside where they battle it out on their own. To accommodate this, members of the audience turn on their headlights and make space. (Andy/Jake) then wins. And despite doing lots of crazy shit on asphalt, nobody seems to be hurt.

Okay, so the two movies are somewhat similar, and Step Up 2 has several moments where its plot just doesn’t make sense or they dubiously recycle characters to move the plot along, but I actually really enjoyed both Never Back Down and Step Up 2 and may have to purchase them on BluRay now that I’m getting a BluRay player.

…on second thought, I don’t think I’ll be doing that. But I did really enjoy them.