Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Treasured Trash

The Internet is filled with disturbing trends. It is the Internet, after all; when you get all these different people together and give them ability to say and make anything they want, some disturbing things inevitably pop up. Some disturbing trends are far more hidden, however, and may have leaked into the outside world, where it causes even more damage.

To get to know this trend, we must look at it's roots. These roots go back even farther, but the thing that really started almost twenty years. It's name? Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

MST3K is a classic cult Television show. It took the ancient art of talking during a movie, combined it with great writing and lovable characters, and put them over films that really, honestly deserved to be mocked relentlessly. I would think it would be incredibly hard to dislike it.

The show had a large, large following. People who idolized it and it's ways. And what happens when you idolize someone? You try to emulate them.

And so they did. Soon, fans were looking out for the lamest films they can see filling space of the nearest Blockbuster. They wanted to find something 'so-bad-its-good', or more accurately, a movie they can mock just like their robot heroes.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it is fun just to make fun of a bad movie. The problem is that one should be making fun of a bad movie as a defense mechanism, not as a goal, more often than not. It's basically making the best of a situation where you lost money on something far from entertaining. This was the point of MST3K that many people missed.

But even those intentionally seeking out bad movies are really not that disturbing a phenomena, on their own. Like I said, there really isn't anything wrong with it every once in a while. It's when it ISN'T just every once in a while. It's all the time. It's when people grow to enjoy these movie over all others, and thus lose all the irony that you started with.

There seems to be a mentality among Internerds who aren't that hardcore into cinema, but still look at movies in a more 'objective' way than most people. Like most geeks, they consider their taste to be superior to those of the mainstream, who give money to moronic comedies. But then these very same people will go bonkers over something like Snakes on a Plane.

Now, let's get one thing straight: I didn't see Snakes. I had never had any intention to. I, like many, laughed at the concept, at the fact that they decided to keep the so-simple-its-hilarious title, and that they got Samuel Jackson to play the same character he's played in almost every single movie he's ever been in. But I had no interest in actually seeing the movie - all the elements I mentioned above, while funny, were not conductive to a worthwhile time at the movies at all.

But somewhere along the ways, the people who laughed at the concept lost all their irony, and honestly thought the movie looked GOOD. If my friends (who belonged to this group) were any indication, most of these people were fans of Pulp Fiction who just thought SLJ saying 'muthafuckin' is the greatest thing ever. So there was a mania that swept the Internet, where people honestly wanted to see an obviously bad movie without any sense of irony, and that, to me, just seems parallel to the mainstream audiences who give the newest Eddie Murphy disaster money. Are the tastes of these geeks really superior, then?

It can be, even if you did give money to Snakes on a Plane. It would seem odd, but I think liking SoaP as well as, say, The Wild Bunch or Rashamon would be good enough for me (I will confess, though, that I haven't seen either of those movies either. I'm baaaad at this.) This at the very least balanced. The problem is that most people haven't seen the true classics. They are just more interested in trash than treasure. And then they complain that there are no good movies coming out anymore. Hey, why don't you just look for something different.

This fall has an great line-up of films made by some of the most talented people in the business. Cronenberg has a new movie, but this one doesn't have the benefit of being a stylistic, violent thriller, so I'm not sure how many people will be talking about like they did A History of Violence. I hope I will be able to see it, because I really want to expand my horizons, plus I'll have access to it via the university theatre.

Additionally, there are many films that some would consider 'trashy' that don't fall under the kind I was talking about before. Don't feel guilty about liking Evil Dead, it's actually a good movie, unlike...say...Puppet Master III. Still, a balance is still needed.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It is not a significant bullet

A callback to a much earlier post:

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Old News and Basketball Shoes

Last week was E3. E3 was boring. There was hardly any new stuff announced. I mean, a new Trauma Centre is fine and dandy, but I kinda want a substantial amount of new stuff, you know? I guess these announcements will be spread across the year now. Sigh.

Still, I have been told the dates in which I must forget all my responsibilities. The fall looks pretty good, yeah. Who knows, I may not need any game other than Smash Bros. Brawl from now on.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 13, 2007

Let's make fun of people!

Bland people offended by bland band's use of bland swearing at a bland concert.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Adventures in Blarghargh

I'm on a design kick for some reason. I want to create games. Like, card games. This is what summer does to man!

Speaking of creating, I hope the Irish don't find my future comic strip project to be offensive.

Oh yeah, belated best story ever.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 08, 2007

North Dakotan Vacation

For two days worth of time over the course of three days this week, I was in Minot, North Dakota. It has been a long while since I went to the US, so some things came as a bit of a shock to me. Actually, shock is too strong. When the following things came up, I said "Huh" and thought nothing more of it:

*Doritoes bags are much less interesting, but still look kinda slick in a minimalist way.
*God, those chocolate bars are tiny. How can you eat a Kit Kat of that size? It's not worth the money.
*TV Guide is the a channel in itself, but it's also the place that shows what's on! I wish my TV guide channel was more than just a stream of local ads.
*KFC & A&W? Ridiculous. KFC goes with Taco Bell.

(Note: Not all of these apply only to the US. They could very be in Canada, just in interesting places that are nowhere near where I live...)

These quirks are what made what is essentially the US counterpart of where I live a good place to vacation. Our hotel was connected right to the mall, so I could go there any time I wanted to so I could browse crap. The mall was one of three places worth going to me for me, the other two being the Wal-Mart castle and the aforementioned KFC & A&W.

Those that have endured my past ramblings may rememberthis, where I go on about Minot's larger cousin, Bismarck, and the Alien Bar & Grill that it had. Well, I guess Minot had one too. It was right across from the hotel/mall. I did not go again to see if it is still how I remember it.

Instead, we went to an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Yes, it really was. Good food, plus I got to make my own ice cream cone. And in the end, isn't that what America is all about?

This week was adventure week, for sure.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In Concert

Yesterday, I went to a White Stripes concert with friends. I hadn't been a big listener of the group, but I liked what I heard of them and felt this was something I had to do at least once (nope, never been to a concert before). Besides, I hadn't been to Winnipeg in two years, and despite the fact that the city apparently blows, it was good to get outside the town.

So off we went. As soon as we got into the city, we made sure to point out every store on the way. Even though most of them are in this town, there is something magical about seeing them in a bigger city. I bet I'd have a wonderment aneurysm if I ever went to a place like New York.

When at the colossal (at least compared to anything I've ever seen) MTS Centre, I bought a nice penguin shirt (which is red!) and some overpriced buttons. All good, at least I'll have more than just memories, which aren't nearly as reliable as you'd think. Then we remembered that we were there for music, not buttons.

The opening act, who's name I do not know and I do not feel the need to look up, were rather dull. Generic rock about life. I thought the opening act was going to be rockabilly, but I guess destiny was not to be.

Then the Stripes came on, and the crazy crowd went insane. Jack White strutted around with his instruments, as one would expect of a rocker, while the suited underlings came and went at the speed of light whenever trouble was afoot. When Meg White came to the microphone to sing, I noticed that she was quite short. I would be the type to notice this, as I am shallow.

Overall, I'd say it was a good time. Just seeing the sea of humanity within that stadium was a first for me. And now I know, buttons are incredibly expensive.

Labels: ,

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cartoons by Surfer Lingo

The great thing about the Internet is that you can find something entertaining by accident at an alarming rate. Others may find psychopathic diaries, odd porn, or seizure-inducing fan fiction. I find Italian animation studio web sites.

Mondo TV is big on kids. They seem to be one of those groups responsible for filling discount video bins with their animated tales of magic and mystery. They also have several cartoons about historical figures and Jesus. Don't ask me why, but the button for the Mother Theresa movie page made me laugh.

Reading several of the profiles, it really seems like they try to interject important facts of life in everything they distribute. Science, philosophy, respect, and many boring things are found within these walls, even if it makes very little sense. That's dedication. I bet it would take a lot of dedication to make movies about Karol Wojtyla, who is probably an incredibly famous figure in Italy, but I have no idea who he is so I'm free to consider him obscure and worthy of ridicule.

What I want to focus on now, though, is Simba Jungle King. Look at the title. You're starting to get a good idea of where this is heading.

The story follows a lion cub named Simba (1), who's father is killed by poachers (2), and he must deal with Sher Khan the tiger (3). Okay, so we have three knock-offs already within a bare bones synopsis, there can't be anymore, right? Nope. The other main character in the show is a deer named Bimbo (chuckawucka), who's parents are also killed by poachers. The two are bonded together by destiny and the ability to shoot magic out of their chests via magic emblems. Hey, they had to get some original ideas in there somewhere.

Okay, I can kinda sorta see where the Jungle Book characters (which includes not only the tiger, but pretty much everyone else aside from Mowgli) come from. This show was made by the same people who did an adaption of Rudyard's opus, and if you care enough look at the description, it actually makes reference to this show being further down in the time line from that show. Doesn't excuse the obvious Disney/Kimba copyright infringing/idea theft, though. Nor does it explain how animals from three different continents can suddenly all live together.

Another major character is a little dog named Winner. Winner is the John Munch of Mondo, appearing in other series as well. There is a continuity to all this as well. A nonsensical continuity, but a continuity nonetheless.

The best part of that whole site, however, is this out-of-context bit from one of the episode synopsis:

"The lion cub is stunned by this revelation, and initially alarmed, he is soon so enchanted that he can’t find the right words to tell his friends about it. Bimbo and the others, afraid that Simba might have been at the ‘grass’ again, quickly summon the Red Cross squirrel and the wise old owl"

What kind of friends always suspect you've been at 'the grass'? Real friends either know you're not at 'the grass', or they are at 'the grass' with you. This is then followed by the Feast of A Thousand Doritoes Bowls.

Italy should be proud. Not only has one of their own studios produced continuity with a poodle, but they also produced animated movies based on Genghis Khan and Mother Theresa that you can put side-by-side. You meatballs are alright.

Labels: , ,