Monday, July 31, 2006

Update Tomorrow

I fot really busy. Elias and I have some stuff boiling and I was working and I saw some movies.

Tomorrow I'll return to form with some politics and a review of Monster House and Scoop.


I got really busy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Comic-Con Report: Part Three: Saturday

Before I get into Saturday's coverage, I want to add a report on a film that I glaringly omitted yesterday.

After Neil Gaiman's panel for Stardust but before the Star Wars "Spectacular" there was a panel for Alfonso Cuaron's newest film "Children of Men." Representing the film was Cuaron himself and the questions were moderated by that lovable nerd of a director Guillermo Del Toro. The trailer was the first thing they showed and I had seen it before but I was still interested. I've been interested in this for a while for a couple of reasons: 1) Alfonso Cuaron is an amazing director and, if you ask me, I think his "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was the best Harry Potter film in the series and, from the looks of it, it's going to stay that way. 2) Clive Owen is an amazing actor to watch. He could make a phone book reading interesting and emotional.

The film is set in a "present-day future" where women have become infertile. the very first scene of the film chronicles a news report that explains that the worlds youngest person, an eighteen year-old kid named "Baby Diego" has been killed. London has turned into a war zone and Clive Owen is unwittingly drafted to smuggle what could be the worlds only pregnant woman off the shores of England.

It seems like one of those kick-ass science fiction movies that actually makes you think. Like 2001 or THX-1138.

Anyhow, after the trailer rolled, Cuaron joked that there were more cuts in the trailer than there were in the whole film. The audience laughed. He must have been being silly.

But then, he showed us the opening credits to the film and then the first sequence. He was probably right. Not counting the title cards and such, there were probably five cuts in that first five minutes. And none of them immediately followed the title card. Clive Owen walks into a coffee shop, sees the news about Baby Diego, gets his coffee, leaves the building, sees the news on giant monitors on the buildings outside, stops to put cream and sugar in his coffee and then the coffee shop blows up. It's all in one shot and it looked amazing.

As a filmmaker, I'm always conscious of how long shots are. The longer a shot is, the more anxiety it brings out in me. I'm always thinking to myself, "Jesus Christ how long is this going to go? How long did it take to prep this shot? How many times did it take to shoot before the got it right?" And so on. It causes a dread in me as a filmmaker because I know how hard it is to get a quick shot right, let alone a shot that runs for ten minutes. I think that's why Alfred Hitchock's "Rope" works so well for me. That dread that they shot the film in like 9 setups amazes me.

Anyhow, so the film looked beautiful from there, but then it jumped ahead to a point much, much, much later in the film. Owen already has the girl he's protecting and theyt are in a war zone. There are hundreds of extras, guns going off, explosions, chaos. Clive, a couple of buddies they must have picked up on the way and the girl are ducking here and there, but then they are captured. The guerillas take the pregnant girl, shoot one of Owen's comrades and then all hell breaks loose. Clive Owen finds a way to escape, the camera follows him over a couple of streets, through and alley-way, into what seemed to be an overturned bus. The shot went on and on and on and on and it was awe-inspiring. This went on for about six minutes.

After the footage was over, Cuaron said that, that one shot went on for another five or six minutes. He explained that he was going for that embedded reporter in a war-zone and that is exactly what he got. At one point, blood from a gun-shot wound splashes into the camera lens and it stays there, dripping... It's just really cool.

And the acting in the scene was intense and timed to perfection. You can only do that kind of thing with actors as good as Clive Owen, because normally you're fixing all of the timing and pacing that the actors screwed up in editing. When it's all one shot, you can't do that.

Anyhow, I'm terribly excited for this movie and I would hope that you would be, too.


Moving on to Saturday. There was actually some concern about the first panel on Saturday. Hall H was playing host to the 300 panel, but in room 6A there was a presentation for Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. I know, not a lot of you would even think that there was a choice there, but I am a GIANT Robotech nerd. (My daughters middle name is Miriya, after the notorious Zentradi pilot who defects to the SDF-1 and marries Max Sterling.)

Well, seeing that Robert Rodriguez was on the schedule immediately after 300, I decided that I would go to 300. I sent my little brother, Anthony, to the Robotech panel to give me a report on it while I enjoyed the 300 panel.

Before 300, I'll give the recap of Robotech: The night before the panel, they finally signed a distribution deal and, at this point, it's going to have a limited theatrical release followed by a DVD release. I don't know how many care, but Shadow Chronicles picks up where the series left off. Rick Hunter had left Earth and Scott Bernard had left to find Admiral Hunter. I'm excited about it and on some level I'm disapointed that I missed the footage they showed, but 300 made up for it in spades.


In attendance at the panel were Frank Miller, director Zach Snyder and actors Gerard Butler and David Wenham. They were very charismatic and made the panel quite enjoyable. The trailer they showed was the first footage I've seen outside of the production diaries and Snyder disclaimed it as being unfinished no less than three times. The footage was pulse-pounding and beautiful. It opened with David Wenham giving narration about Spartans and how they are raised. All the business about them being discarded if they were sickly or mis-shapen was all here, and then the accompanying footage of the kids training to "never retreat" was really cool. Of note was the shot where the teenage kid piked a wolf through the mouth. The action in the trailer looked amazing (I'm sorry if I use this word too often) and the characters all looked like dead ringers for Miller's drawings. The backgrounds also look as though they were ripped right out of the Graphic Novel.

I'm fairly certain that the music for the trailer was set to Nine Inch Nails (if I'm remembering what Snyder said correctly.) That statement actually led to a very troubling thought that Snyder verablized. The score will be half score and half rock music.

The film looks amazing. The source material is astounding. The adaptiation looks dead on. The only thing that has me concerned is the idea of a rock music score in such an epic and timeless period piece. I'm really afraid that throwing Nine Inch Nails on the score would somehow date the film.

I don't know. It really has me troubled because everything else I saw and heard looked fantastic.

They showed the footage three times and it rocked just as hard each time you saw it. Gerard Butler and David Wenham hadn't seen the footage before this either. It was quite humorous when they came around from the back of their table and laid out on the floor to see it for themselves every single time it was played.

300 should be good.

Moving on to Grindhouse.

Robert Rodriguez came out on stage and fucked with everyone about Quentin Tarentino wanting to have been there but missed his plane and then he brought him out anyway.

The thing about these two is that to this crowd, they were rockstars. I bet those two can walk around major cities and 75% of people (or more) wouldn't recognize them, but this crowd viewed them as Gods and you could tell by the audience reaction to everything that came out of their mouths.

And this pair couldn't be more different. Rodriguez is this quiet reserved guy, hiding under the brim of his hat and Tarentino is eating up the rock-star part and is cocky about it, too. (Tarentino pulls off a really good cocky and you can't be annoyed by it because he can back up all of his boasting with his movies.)

Grindhouse is their double-feature. Rodriguez is directing (from a 110 page script) a zombie film called "Planet Terror" and Tarentino is directing (from a 130 page script) a slasher picture called "Death Proof." (One announcement was made, and the deal was made the night before: Jack Burton himself, Kurt Russell, is going to play Stuntman Mike, the Slasher in Tarentino's film.) Tarentino also said that this isn't some "little project" they're working on. These are their next films.

Tarentino's film has yet to begin shooting, but they've been on "Planet Terror" for two weeks. In fact, they were shooting that morning and then got on a plane straight for Comic-Con. Everyone looked and sounded as though they were a little short on sleep.

So I'll talk about the footage from Grindhouse and tell you what I thought about it since I'm sure most of you have already read the transcripts of the panel on Ainitcool and stuff.

Anyhow, the footage opened with that awesome "And Now for our Feature Presentation" tag that Quentin Tarentino opened up Kill Bill with and went right into a scene from "Planet Terror." It felt like the opening to the film. Michael Biehn (Hicks from Aliens) is a cop as is the original Mariachi and basically they have to start fighting the "infected people." The footage jumped around to a teaser for a character called "Machete" played by the intrepid character actor Danny Trejo. In some of the footage, he's making out with two hot topless chicks in a river for what seems to be no apparent reason. It was rad. Then there was some action and a zombie turning into a fine bloody spray when it gets hit by a semi.

The last part of the footage dealt with Rose Magowan's character. She's an amputee and her boyfriend is busting her out of the hospital, killing infected people the whole way out. Then he tells her he made something for her. It's an assault rifle that fits onto her stump. They start rolling on a motorcycle and she sits on the back, facing the rear, shooting everything in her path with her stump-gun.

It's campy as all hell but It's going to be a fun as hell double feature.

There was also a shot of Tarentino looking very creepy in the footage. Afterwards it was revealed that he will be playing "Rapist #1."

Very cool.

The other remarkable kick ass thing about the footage was that it was water-damaged and scratched and in terrible condition (even though it was shot digitally.) There were hisses and pops in the sound, frames slightly out of place. I even recall (I could be wrong) reel markers in one place. I hope they add the distant hum of a flickering projecter in the footage (especially for theatres that will be playing it digitally.)

I really like the take on film these guys have. They want to replicate experiences that most of us haven't been able to enjoy. I've never been to a grind house, I'm too young, but I'll have a wonderfully recreated experience at the hands of these two men whom I admire significantly.

They talked alot about filmmaking and what it takes in the business and how they do things and, to be honest, I want to be a part of the next wave of cinema that they are having a hand in creating. I feel like I'm on the path, to be sure.

Kevin Smith was supposed to be there next, but he was stuck on the freeway.

So, I left until later.

I ended up hanging out on the exhibition floor with Ryan Ottley, the artist on Image's Invincible, probably the best superhero comic in the Universe. He mentioned some stuff about a certain TV project, but I don't know if I'm supposed to say anything about it, so I'm not going to.

So, back to Hall H I went, in time for the Disney presentation.

I wasn't terribly interested in going to the Disney presentation, but I'm glad I did. First was an announcement about Prince Caspian. It is being made, they are hard at work in pre-production. They will be making as many of the Narnia films as they can, so long as they keep making money. Unfortunately, they are taking them one at a time instead of shooting them all at once. The original director and cast is all attached. (If it were me, I'd have another director start on A Horse and His Boy right now.)

They also announced the "Special Extended Edition" of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The presentation was very bland. All they showed was a snippet of people talking about C.S. Lewis. The producer didn't know how to work the crowd at all. There was no "extra" or "special" footage beyond talking heads talking about C.S. Lewis.

Next in the Disney Panel was Pirates of the Caribbean. You guys all read my Pirates 2 review. I liked Davey Jones and the Kraken and everything else was either stupid or boring. They showed a three minute tease of the third film and I can guarantee it's going to be more of the same.

Before they showed that though, they brough John Knoll out and had him do a presentation about the effects behind Davy Jones. Now, I like John Knoll. I've been going to his presentations since the first Star Wars Celebration (back in 1999) and I find his FX presentations endlessly fascinating. It's like a classroom sort of setting for him and he always explains how they went about technology. Since Davy Jones was one of the few things I liked about Pirates 2, it would stand to reason that a presentation about how they made him would be interesting.

I was not aware that he was 100% CG.

The funny thing about this presentation was that halfway through it, people started leaving because they were bored with John Knoll. In fact, almost the entire rwo in front of and behind me left during this part and they had been talking the entire time about how much they liked Pirates. Five minutes after they cleared out, John Knoll ran the teaser for Pirates 3.

Poor saps.

Once this presentation finished, it was time for the Sony Presents: Ghost Rider and Spider-Man 3 panel.

I sort of felt cheated that they made me sit through forty-five minutes of Ghost Rider to get to the Spider-Man panel.

I'll admit right off the bat, I think Ghost Rider is going to be a flaming turd. It looks cheesy and stupid and it doesn't look like they even held true to his origins. In the trailer it makes him seem more like a vampire than a spirit of vengance.

Anyhow, they showed a new trailer and it seemed slightly less bad than the first trailer, but cheesy and bad nonetheless. Nick Cage was there and he seemed as high as a kite. He also made it out as though Ghost Rider has always been his favorite character in comics.

Director Mark Steven Johnson also admitted that Daredevil wasn't great (although it wasn't bad, like most people seem to think) and he'd love to have another chance to tell an "early years" of Daredevil story that actually works. It was admirable to see that he realizes it was cool but had a lot of faults. Also, even he dogged on X3. That was cool.

So, nothing new or spectacular out of this half of the panel.

Then, when they left, they brought out Sam Raimi. He, in turn, brought out Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Thomas Hayden Church, Topher Grace and Tobey Maguire.

Again, everyone and their cousin has already described every shot of the footage, so I won't go through that, but it was incredible. Amazing. Spectacular. Any other "marvel" adjective you can think of can describe this material. I was wary of the whole Venom thing. I never really cared for Venom or Eddie Brock, but this take on the story is actually interesting to me and it makes sense. Seeing Topher Grace sitting next to Tobey Maguire, they are very similar in almost every way, physically. And he and Raimi spoke about the idea that you can't give these powers to just anyone and that this film is an exploration into what it would be if someone very similar to Peter, but not Peter, got the powers. Obviously, he turns into Venom and runs amok.

It's going to be fantastic.

Raimi also said, "I couldn't keep Bruce Campbell out of this picture if I wanted to." So, Bruce Campbell gets another cameo. I've heard a lot of speculation that he's Mysterio, but that was never addressed at the panel. So, I don't know about that.

After the panel was over, there was a few minutes of a lull and Kevin Smith came on.

I was going to write up something about what he said but two things made me decide against it: One: This post is already long as hell and, Two: if you rent an Evening With Kevin Smith you will glean all of the same types of knowledge from it.

It's just really cool to see him doing it in person. I highly reccomend it.


That's my comic-con coverage.

Let me know what you thought. If no one liked it, I won't bother to do this for the next time I go to an event like this.

(I'm posting this from a lame dial-up connection, so I'll go through and add links later. Also, I still don't have the pictures from the con, so I'll try to get those up in a separate post tomorrow.)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Comic-Con Report: Day Two: Friday

The first thing we did on Friday was the panel for Hellboy: Sword of Storms. It looked really, really cool. There was about five minutes (give or take a few) shown and it consisted of Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman taking down zombies with little success and Hellboy battling a giant bat demon sort of thing. It seemed like it was either from the climax of the film or a tease for the very beginning. Although the animation wasn't the same as Mignola's signature style (like the Amazing Screw on Head was) but the animation was well done. The voices were all pitch perfect (they employed most of the films cast, so that was a no brainer.)

This film is supposed to be playing on Cartoon Network and then coming out on DVD. Those at the panel also said that they have a number of other Hellboy movies planned.

Also, the floating Japanese demon heads are in this picture. There is also a monster who has a dish of water on his head and he loses his power if he loses the water. They showed designs and they looked good, despite the goofiness of it.

After collecting a free t-shirt from this panel, I went to a number of smaller informative industry panels and networked in the exhibition hall for a while before I headed back to Hall H in time to see the tail end of Neil Gaimans presentation for Stardust. All of that was wrapped up, but he unveiled the logo for Zemeckis' Beowulf.

He also said that Beowulf would be animated with the same process that Polar Express was, only it was waaaaaaay better now.

So, apparently, Zemeckis has gotten into a rut of only animated films.

After this panel was over, the cast of Accepted came out and ran the trailer for the film. The film doesn't look all that interesting to me. Lewis Black had this to say, "Shut the fuck up. If you like this movie, tell people. If not, shut the fuck up. I'm too old to be get more chances so shut the fuck up if you don't like it."

They also announced a free kegger that they organized across the street from the convention center. It was a brilliant marketing strategy. Had I partaken of their free beer I certainly would have felt obligated to see their movie.

They were on the stage for all of five minutes.

Next was the "Star Wars" spectacular. As much as I love Star Wars, there's only so much I can hear about the same five projects on the horizon. Yes, Indiana Jones 4 is still in the script writing stage. Yes, there is a Star Wars CGI cartoon coming. Yes, it's set during the Clone Wars. Yes, there is a live action show coming after that. Yes, it's set between Episodes III and IV. Yes, there are new Star Wars games coming out. Yes, Star Wars made it's premiere at Comic-con 30 years ago.

The only things that I hadn't seen before at the panel were the technology demonstrations for the next-gen Lucasarts games (which looked badass) and the opening crawl text for A New Hope before it said Episode IV: A New Hope.

And there was that same dorky ass-hole who got up and started arguing with Steve Sansweet about how George Lucas wasn't the director on Empire or Jedi and how dare he fuck with them.

Never in my life have I wanted to smash a guy's skull in. Not only is Sansweet the wrong guy to ask, no one, in a million years, could ever argue that the Star Wars movies aren't almost exclusively George's. Even if you hate it, you have to admit, the blame lays squarely with George.

I don't know. That kid was just an ignorant asshole. I bet he's in film school.

The Snakes on a Plane panel was next. I wasn't able to stay, I met up with Neal Shaffer for some beers and some talking about projects, but my little brothers stayed. They showed 10 minutes of the movie and I'm told it looks exactly like the trailer does. This film is not going to be any deeper than Sam Jackson dealing with Snakes. On a Plane. My brothers did say, though, that Sam Jackson was probably one of the coolest cats they'd ever seen.

I'll see if I can get some type of guest post from my little brother about this panel.

As far as One Plus One goes, we're still shopping it around and have come up with an all new blitz for it that we are very excited about.

Today's post was a little shorter than yesterdays and will be waaaaaay shorter than tomorrows. Saturday was when I saw all the shit. (I spent almost two hours learning at the feet of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarentino.)

So, be back for tomorrow for: 300, Grindhouse, Prince Caspian, Pirates of the Carribean 3, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3 and Kevin Smith.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Comic-Con Report: Part One: Thursday

The San Diego Comic-Con is a gathering of tens of thousands of people with very specific mutual interests: Comic Books, Film, Animation, Art and Collectibles. For industry professionals, it’s the perfect networking platform. In addition to networking, it has become a massive marketing tool for every major studio in the system.

My report will be all of the film stuff. No one would care to read about my exploits networking with people.

I’ll go chronologically and provide as many links and pictures as I can.

Warner Brothers Presents a Trio of Animated Features: This presentation was an hour and a half long and the first two thirds of it made me want to bore out the contents of my skull with a power drill. The first part of the presentation was for “The Ant Bully.” I have to say that this film looks terrible. Although based on it’s own, unique source material, there is no question about the fact that it feels like a cut-rate rip-off of both “A Bug’s Life” (which in itself was a fantastic re-imagining of Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”) and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” There were even relevant plot points, it seems, stolen from the more recent film “Over the Hedge.”

I will not be seeing this picture.

Next in their panel was a five minute uber-extended trailer for “Happy Feet.” The previews for this film make “The Ant Bully” look like a masterpiece. You could tell this was masterminded by a studio exec who just walked out of a screening of “March of the Penguins” and said, “I guess penguins are popular. Do a movie. We’ll cast Robin Williams in just about every role.”

The final shooting script couldn’t have been much further than 48 hours after that.

Basically, I had to sit through these to get to “TMNT”.” Director Kevin Munroe was on hand to answer questions and allay any fears that hardcore Ninja Turtles Fans like myself may have had. He spoke with an intense fondness for the Turtles that rivals my own.

In this new, all CGI film (to be released 3/30/2007) is a “sort of distant sequel and set in the same universe as the live-action Ninja Turtles movies.” Primarily, tense sibling relationships will be explored (in the footage shown there seemed to be a knock-down, drag-out brawl between Leo and Raph) and they will advance other character relationship to the next level (April and Casey kiss.)

As for the footage: The trailer looks amazing. The animation is top notch and the tone feels like that of the first Turtles film which is, in my opinion, a perfect 10. You can watch the trailer here.

Another 5 minutes (or so) was shown and I was very impressed with what I heard and saw. The most finished sequence shown was of Michelangelo earning some extra cash by working birthday party’s. (It was almost a bit reminiscent of Ghostbusters II). Mike had a zipper glued to the front of his shell and a giant amusement park character turtle-head over his own. The children at the party proceed to beat him up and kick him in the groin.

It was funny.

There was a montage of footage narrated by the late Mako who voiced Master Splinter. (Other voice announcements could not be made although there are two items in that department to report: Sadly, Corey Feldman is not involved and the other narration in the footage sounded a lot like Clancy Brown. Although that last part is just a guess, it sounded a lot like a mix between the Kurgan and Lex Luthor.) Most of the rest of the footage was a blur: A jungle, A redneck, bits of the turtles, Splinter… Raph apologizing for screwing something up really bad and then footage of Leo and Raph going at it…

A couple of other snippets of info the director dropped: Shredder is not the villain and the film is open-ended so, if it performs well, there is a set direction and jumping off point for the sequels.

Overall, this panel (the Turtles portion anyhow) was utterly breathtaking. I’m excited as all hell. Don’t expect to see me anywhere but the theatre on March 30th of next year.

Moving on: I went into room 6CDEF early so I could wait for the “Pan’s Labyrinth” presentation and found myself at a panel for David Arquettes directorial debut “The Tripper.”

I had less than no interest in seeing this picture, but I might go see it now after the panel, just to support indy film. I didn’t see any footage though. David Arquette lost all of the footage on his way to the panel. An entire Digi-Beta tape. Missing.

The film, I’m told, is a “political slasher” set at a Woodstock type festival where a deranged killer starts killing hippies. Steve Niles (the kick ass writer of “30 Days of Night” which goes in front of cameras in August) is producing and it stars Thomas Jane as the sheriff and Jason Mewes and Paul Ruebens as hippies.

It doesn’t sound too bad.

After sitting through an hour of apologies for losing the tape, the least I can do is see the film. There were a few spoilers that were revealed in the panel but David Arquette literally begged to not let them get out. I kind of think with his level of pleading that leaking them would be sort of a dick thing to do. Also, the film has no distribution as of yet, let alone a release date, so who knows if anyone will ever see the film.

“Pan’s Labyrinth:” This panel had Guillermo Del Toro and Doug Jones on it. They showed the astounding trailer for the film and fielded questions the rest of the time. After a series of jabs from Guillermo about his status as the Silver Surfer, Doug Jones explained that nothing was for sure and he couldn’t speak about it legally. Although he likened it to shopping and you find a shirt you like and you pay for it with your credit card. He said he’s handed them the card and it’s waiting to be approved so he can wear the shirt.

Guillermo said Hellboy 2 is written and everyone wants to do it but Revolution, the studio that produced the first film, has all but collapsed and isn’t producing films. He’s looking for financing and it’s been back and forth. One day it’s a go and he’s clearing his schedule only to find out, come Monday, that it’s fallen through. “It’s all playing politics,” he said. He also mentioned that with new studios he still gets the same shitty questions about the property, “Does he have to be red? Does he have to be called Hellboy? Does Ron Perlman really have to play the lead?”

Guillermo is also working on producing films for first and second time directors because “Hollywood is Bullshit.”

I have to say about Guillermo is that he seems like the most kick-ass, down to earth filmmaker I’ve ever seen at con’s like this. He even issued an open invitation to send him short films. “I’ll watch all the short films you send me. It might be three years from now, but I will watch them all.”

All I have to say about “Pan‘s Labyrinth” is that it looks utterly amazing and I can’t figure out why it’s not coming out until December. I watched “Devils Backbone” again last night and it actually doubled my excitement for this project.

That is the end of Part One. This covers the panels I saw on Thursday. I'll post more pictures up later.

Tomorrow you’ll get info about Hellboy: Animated, Beowulf, Accepted, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Snakes on a Plane and One Plus One.

Coming Saturday is 300, Grindhouse, Prince Caspian, Pirates of the Carribean 3, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3 and Kevin Smith.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I was going to put together a comic-con report last night but I ended up doing something altogether different.

My son, Anakin, busted his head open pretty good and needed stitches.

Just so you know I'm not making up some bullshit excuse about not writing up some con coverage, here's all the gory pictures:

He busted his head open on a couch.
It was a bit traumatic for all involved. When I found him he was literally covered in blood head to toe. All of these pictures were taken after the Hospital staff cleaned him up.

I Imagine it will leave a pretty gnarly scar.

At the end of the procedure, he was seven stitches richer and raring to go.

Monday, July 24, 2006


So. I have a mini-comic over at the Short Story blog.

I wrote it.

Here's the first page.
Click here to see the rest and tell me what you think.


I'm back from San Diego and saw some amazing things and met a lot of cool people.

I'm going to take some time before I write up a detailed report, but trust me, I saw a lot of cool shit and have the pictures to prove it.

It's quite lengthy, so I'll be preparing it for posting tomorrow.

Come back.

In the meantime, read Elias' review of Clerks II.

It's probably the most intelligent thing you'll have read on this blog in a while.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Clerks II, A Long Winded and Rambling Analysis

Great tagline by the way.

In my opinion, Kevin Smith will go down as one of the most memorable, or at least, one of the most noteworthy filmmakers of his generation, more so for his perceived flaws and imperfections than any of his abrasive charms, though they are often one and the same.

Ezra Pound states: “… a good deal of BAD criticism has been written by men who assume that an author (or filmmaker in this case) is trying to do what he is NOT trying to do.” I don’t bring this up to suggest that Kevin Smith writes over the heads of the public at large, but rather askew of them. It’s impossible to review a Kevin Smith film as anything but a Kevin Smith film unless we’re talking about Jersey Girl, in which case it should be reviewed as a Cameron Crowe film. That’s not a good thing by the way. Having said that, I believe that we may finally, after twelve years, know what Kevin Smith is trying to say, or rather, NOT trying to say. I’m not saying the man is brilliant or super human, just generally misunderstood.

Say what you will about Jersey Girl, the film did the impossible; it made another Jay and Silent Bob flick seem like a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the film, just like I didn’t hate Jack Black in King Kong, I’d just rather not spend $8 on misdirected (or cast) execution that is little more than competent. If nothing else, Jersey Girl proved that playing to the center is not becoming of someone with Smith’s sensibilities.

Enough about the filmmaker, lets get to the film. Clerks II, a return to form, a return to Smith’s home and his two best characters, no, not Jay and Silent Bob, but Dante Hicks and Randall Graves.

As one would expect, little has changed for the Clerks on a professional level, same shit, different diaper, Clerks II rather focuses on the personal plight of the characters and the idea or expectation that “maturity” comes with age. The film comes as a refreshing change of pace to the countless number of movies inspiring us to shoot for the stars. Instead, the film really pays tribute to the other 99% of us who, for better or worse simply get by. I can’t help but read some autobiographical sentiments into this area of the plot, as Smith has found himself attached, in on capacity or another, to much more high profile projects, (Superman, Fletch, Green Hornet) yet whether by choice or otherwise, inevitably returns to his independent roots.

But unexpectedly and possibly more importantly than the blue-collar elements of Clerks II, is the love story. I can’t say that the attempt itself was unexpected, but rather the genuine emotional effect it had on me while simultaneously holding it’s own against “Pussy Trolls” and donkey shows. (AKA interspecies erotica)

Yes, the potty humor is as prevalent and as extreme (and in my opinion, as hilarious) as ever, as that singular element is quite possibly Kevin Smith’s greatest strength and weakness and has provided without a doubt one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in years; “Oh, cake.” You’ll laugh your ass off when it’s in context; trust me.

Back to the romance. A good part of the blame for the successful love story rests squarely on the shoulders of Rosario Dawson (Brian O’Halloran’s accidental love interest), who is more natural and genuinely likeable as any female character Smith has ever written. Hers would have been an easy character to fumble had it not been for the expert writing and casting, as the balance of being sexy and feminine while also being “one of the guys” is a juggling act that usually degrades into an idealized and phoney wet dream, (see: There’s Something About Marry, or better yet, don’t)

Another unlikely culprit aiding the development of dramatic subplots is the musical montage, three of them to be exact. Taking queues from filmmakers as varied as George Roy Hill to Stephen Chow, Smith uses this seemingly trite technique to great effect, adding a more subtle element of joy, curiosity and regret into an otherwise blunt and crass film for which he is known.

Along with Jay and Silent Bob being demoted back to wear they shine the most, drug dealing, slam dancing yard gnomes, Clerks II was, in my humble opinion, an unexpected treat. “Unexpected” seems to be the theme of this review, not to say that my expectations were low, per se, I just found an amazing balance to the film that I would have thought impossible considering the “dick and fart” roots of the film, which by no means take a back seat, but rather a sidecar. The perfect bookend to the turbulent ride Smith’s Jersey filmography has afforded us.

I assume and believe I’ve heard that Clerk’s II is Smith’s swan song for this particular group of reoccuring characters, and he is moving on to “bigger and better” things, whatever that means. But if Dante and Randall’s voluntary fate is any indication, Smith will always be the same working class film nerd who sold his comic book collection and changed the way we look at independent film forever, a short twelve years ago.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Well. Today is my Birthday and tomorrow I'm leaving for San Diego to attend the con for a week.

You can email me if you're going to be there in case you want to meet up or something. I don't know if I'll be able to post reports of the cool stuff I see while I'm there, but if not, I'll be back in a week with a giant report about the whole thing.

What I'm getting at is that posting around here might be a tad infrequent unless Steve posts. (Or Elias, but we all know how often that happens.)

In the meantime, you can enjoy this fan film that Elias and I made back five (five!) years ago.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pirate Club in SLC Weekly

Here is a link to an article that the SLC Weekly did about Pirate Club this week.

Elias and I do script assists on this book and each have shorts in the graphic novels.

Check it out.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Letter to the Editor

I was so outraged by what Orrin Hatch had done (and failed to do) in so far as those phone calls last week that I started writing letters to newspapers. Here is the one that the Daily Herald printed:

I have been disappointed with the mainstream media's lack of coverage of the hypocrisy shown in the phone calls Orrin Hatch made on behalf of the record producer Dallas Austin but has failed to mention the lack of phone calls made by either him or his office on behalf of Utahns that truly needed his help.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported in June about a family in Green River, who had been pleading with the senator's office for a phone call on their behalf. They had spent 16 years as legal immigrants and upstanding, business-owning citizens in Utah and faced deportation.

Their lawyers said that a phone call from Hatch would help them stay in the country and his office told this family that the senator only makes phone calls in "life or death" situations. This is disgusting.

Hatch's political opponent, Pete Ashdown, has spoken about it briefly on his campaign blog, I followed suit on the official "This Divided State" blog, and I would hope that the Daily Herald do what it can to help shine a light on this gross example of Hatch's inconsistency and hypocrisy.

Bryan Young,


This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page A10

It would be cool if someone other than me wrote some letters like this during the campaign about the various stupid things Orrin Hatch has been up to.

You never know. People can only be lied to by hucksters like this for so long.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean

Well. Here it is. This is my review of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest. I know I've been dogging it quite a bit in the last few days, but that's mainly because I think it's funny.

I went into this movie expecting nothing and I didn't hate all of it. There were a lot of things I liked in the movie. There were a lot more things I hated but I'm going to go through the things I liked first: (And, according to the Box Office Reports, I'm the last person on Earth to see this film, so I'm going to include spoilers, seeing as how everyone and God has seen this picture.)

The Cinematography was gorgeous. It's no wonder since Dariusz Wolski is behind it and he's DP'd a shitload of great movies (and not so great movies like this one, but they look great nonetheless.) The views were breathtaking and the lighting was spotless.

The music was infectious. I really liked Hans Zimmers score. One compaint: He should have added a noticeable major theme instead of harping on the same old score. (As the Imperial March was new to Empire).

Johnny Depp. He's just generally fun to watch.

Davey Jones and his fish-crew and the Kraken. This was the best part of the movie. Hands down. If the movie were just this, it would have been a perfect ten. I enjoyed the hell out of every shred of film these guys were on screen. Which leads me to the next thing I really liked about this film:

The Special Effects. There's nothing to say about them other than they were awe-inspiring.

And, at the end of the day, I respect that there was genuine swashbuckling in this film. There hasn't been swashbuckling on film like this since Errol Flynn and that aspect of the film was both admirable and enjoyable. Perhaps now, we can see some real swashbucklers on film, now that it's obviously a box-office draw.

Now to the things I hated, hated, hated about this film:

First and foremost? Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. They just don't fit in this movie. And Orlando Bloom' s patented "harsh whisper" voice makes me want to strangle someone. And was it just me or did Keira Knightley have a spray on tan the entire course of the film?

Next: The script was sloppy. They could have fit a better movie in the same amount of time and actually resolved the story. They spent three reels setting up a "plausible" story that doesn't work and then pay it off with a poor-man's Empire Strikes Back ending. It would have taken me ten pages of script to set that story up a lot better and simpler. The first scene of the movie should have been the origin of Davey Jones, someone telling the kid a story, perhaps even Jack Sparrow telling some whore the story or something. And we should see it. Then within a scene, we need to see Davey Jones catch up to Jack and demand the debt. Will's father should have been in a separate story line, looking for redemption of his son, he challenges Davey Jones in that game to bargain to see his son somehow and that's how Will is captive. Bam, you've got the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, and then you can
get into what people actually want to see: Kick ass pirate battles and fish-people busting heads. Make it an actual race to the box instead of a series of time elapse montages getting characters conveniently where they need to be.

Long story short, I don't think I'm being arrogant when I say I feel I could have written a better, tighter script.

Next big problem: The jokes weren't funny. Johnny Depp and the natives? Not Funny.

Next big problem: I can handle a certain degree of suspended disbelief but everything was way too convenient. I don't know what this is, don't worry, some being will pop out of the wall and, in it's only appearance, tell you everything you need to know. I need someone else to explain the story because I'm too afraid to have main characters tell each other exposition, don't worry, we'll write in a crazy black chick. And so on. Also, they tried to cram every character possible into this movie and it wasn't necesary.

Next big problem: Length. They could have fit this story and it's resolution, minus Will and Elizabeth, into it's own 2 1/2 hour movie. It was torture sitting through at least 40% of this picture.

One of my biggest problems? Conflicting tones. Sparrows death, the emotional climax of the film, should not have been a comic moment. We learned in Jaws (which this film stole liberally from (i.e., the plan to wound the Kraken (Sarlacc) is how they killed the Jaws) that funny moments right before dramatic or scary moments make them better. Not both at the same time. It took me out of the moment.

On the other hand, the Trailer for "Night at the Museum" looked good.

I want to say, I had a lot of friends who enjoyed it, and I can't blame them. I would also bet though that they liked the first film, which I did not.

Anyhow, I need to go. I rented Libertine so that I could be reminded that Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor instead of a pirate.

NEWS FLASH: Bush is a fucking moron.

OMFG. I just checked this out at ONEGOODMOVE.ORG. It seriously sounded like some Saturday Night Live script. You know? Where the comedians say random and bizarre things just for shits and giggles? But, this is real. It's all real. George W. Bush is up there being asked about World War Fucking III and he keeps talking about eating ham. LOL. I'm laughing right now as I write this... Jesus Christ. Ham. Via Jon Stewart.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

I was going to go bite the bullet and waste my time with Pirates of the Caribbean last night, but instead I decided to go rent Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. I'd been meaning to see it for quite some time, it was playing up at the Broadway, but I never got a chance to go see it.

Anyhow, it was actually really good. They attempted to film a novel that is, as the movie puts it, essentially unfilmable and they succeeded. The film would not have been succesful at all had Steve Coogan not been as charismatic as he was though. The film was hilarious and felt as unscripted as a Christopher Guest picture.

It's hard to write anything about the movie because it was intentionally a structural jumble to match the chaos of the novel, but suffice to say, it would be worth your time.

It's very funny and it's a very smart sort of funny.

It was certainly a better use of my time than getting dragged to see that Pirate movie.

Bush's Arrogance

I read this column in the Washington Post and I think the tone of it is both hilarious and frightening.

It recounts the administrations response to the Supreme Court decision rejecting their illegal and unethical method of trial for the Guantanamo detainees.

The Bush administration's view was neatly summarized by Steven Bradbury, the Justice Department lawyer serving as lead witness. "The president," Bradbury said, "is always right."

"Surprising and disappointing . . . without historical analogue" was Bradbury's view of the high court's ruling on the Hamdan case.

Rather than regard it as a defeat, Bradbury said it presents Bush with an "opportunity to work together" with Congress.

The ranking Democrat, Patrick Leahy (Vt.), fished for any admission that the administration's legal view had been wrong. Bradbury retorted: "It was completely reasonable."

When Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested a framework for future tribunals, Dell'Orto cut him down. "I have many concerns about taking that approach," he said.

The witnesses were even dismissive of the new Pentagon memo applying the Geneva Conventions to all detainees for the first time. "It doesn't indicate a shift in policy," Dell'Orto said.

This is absolutely hilarious to me. The spokesmen, when presented with perfectly logical suggestions and criticisms were quick to say, "This has never been a problem, we haven't changed, you people are assholes, the president is always right."

The level of arrogance in this Administration is just beyond belief.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

More about Orrin Hatch

I just wanted to help shine some light on this situation. I blogged about it here, but no one seems to have noticed (some of my posts seem to have that problem) . Last month, Pete Ashdown posted this on his blog and has been trying to find out why Orrin Hatch hasn't responded to a situation in which immigrants in Utah that have been going through the legal migration system and are still facing deportation after 16 years.

Here's the article about the Sahs.
I don't know if they've been deported or not yet. (Interesting sidenote to the story: I've actually met them. I spent ten hours waiting for a bus in the lobby of one of their hotels. They were terribly nice and understanding. Our car broke down on the way to Denver and we had to take a bus(this was 1999, for the first Star Wars celebration). They let us hang out in the lobby the entire time.)

These people, who are obviously good and law abiding citizens can be helped immensly by a phone call or two by Orrin Hatch.

What's he so busy doing?

Making phone calls on behalf of coked out record producers.

It's beyond beleif why none of the media outlets have picked up on this very troubling situation.

I just want to shine some more light on it and I hope that maybe some of you who read this will do two things:

1) Call Hatchs office ((202) 224-5251 (D.C.) - (801) 524-4380(SLC) - (801) 375-7881 (Provo)) and ask why the Senator thought it was the right thing to do to intervene on behlaf of a recording producer in the instance of a drug-related charge and not on behalf of the Sahs.


2) Give Pete Ashdown's campaign another look and see if there is anything in your power you can do to help him unseat Orrin Hatch.

Jesus' General

The good General, JC Christian, has been good enough to do a post about the CleanFlix business I posted yesterday.

Check it out here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Well, good news everyone: CleanFlix, the local company that butchers films for people too stupid to understand why that would be wrong, has been dealt a serious blow in the court systems.

According to the article on the front page of Utah County's own Daily Herald:

A federal appeals judge has ruled that sanitizing movies on DVD or VHS tape violates federal copyright laws -- ending a three-year legal battle between several Utah companies and 16 Hollywood directors.

Matsch ordered CleanFlicks of American Fork and others named in the suit, including Play It Clean Video of Ogden and CleanFilms of Provo, to stop "producing, manufacturing, creating" as well as renting edited movies. Those businesses also must turn over their inventory to the movie studios within five days of the ruling.

I've been an opponent of these businesses for a long time. I think they damage films. Having worked on a ton of films, I am disgusted by the idea that some random third party could tell me what is actually required in my movie. Here's a quote from the comments page on the Daily Herald and I find it maddening:
I'm amazed that the Hollywood folks wouldn't compromise in any way. I've been a renter of Clean Flicks for a long time and there are movies that you can't even tell were edited, but after talking to others you realize it was severely edited. However, all the story and artistic crap from the movie were preserved. It's really sad because I loved being able to see movies like The Matrix trilogy, Kill Bill series, and others without worrying that I'd be knocked over by a barrage of foul language, unimportant (to the story) sex scenes, and gore.
Who the hell are these people to decide what's important to the story? I think the story teller and the director and the editor are better judges of that than some kid who wouldn't know a real film from an Adam Sandler comedy.

Here's another great quote from the comments there:

There is a very insidious assumption being made here by the court:

The filmmaker's right to force people to view filth along with their movie is more important than the public's right to view the film without it.

The blame lies squarely in one place: the incredible arrogance and hostility to traditional values of Hollywood "artists."

Ummm.... If you don't want to see that kind of stuff, don't go to the movies. Don't think it's okay to alter a film after the fact to make yourself feel all warm and fuzzy. Think about Kill Bill. How could you cut that? And even if you did cut it, the story is still dependent on murder, ultra-violence and revenge. What would happen to the Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves? How do you get around Buck, who likes to fuck? That's pretty important to the flow of the picture.

I don't have an arrogant hostility to traditional values. I have values and morals that seem more Christian than most of the Christians in this world, particuarly the self-righteous bastards who think it would be all right to watch an edited movie. I've talked about it here, where you can read my analogy to Michaelangelo's David.

I don't know. I feel vindicated.

I'm glad they have to send back their inventory and I hope they go bankrupt because of it. This ranks up there, for me, with all kinds of corporate crime and piracy.

CleanFlix is every bit as offensive to me as the oil companys, Enron and George Bush. They all represent that arrogant version of 'Christian Conservatives" who have turned the bible into a get-rich quick scheme instead of a path to help make other peoples lives better.

Heres the scoop: If you aren't mature enough to watch a movie with violence, swearing or sex in it? Then don't watch it. I happen to like seeing those things at the movie theatre and so do a hell of a lot of other people.

Now that the Federal Appeals court made a good decision I know that there are now some instances where the justice system works.

An Inconvenient Truth

While most of you were wasting your time watching Pirates of the Caribbean, which I have yet to see, I went out and saw an amazing, important film called "An Inconvenient Truth."

I posted one of the trailers for it here.

This movie will floor you. It is an amazing piece of informative work.

It's also non-partisan. It is an objective view (well, as we learned in "This Divided State" there's no such thing as) about the issues and science surrounding global warming and the crisis we face with climate change. It is scary. And I know that when you watch a documentary about a topic as hotly debated as global warming and your narrator is Al Gore, people are going to dismiss it as tripe, but this felt different.

The imagery was amazing. I'm always amazed by documentaries that manage to remain interesting when all they are is basically one guy talking the entire time. Especially a guy that was as boring as I used to imagine Al Gore to be. The filmmakers manage to keep the images moving and well-paced and Al Gore has more personality in this film than I've ever seen from him.

If people saw this Al Gore in 2000, America would be a much different, better place.

After the movie, I actually felt a little bad I didn't vote for him. I also felt even worse about the fact that we drove to Salt Lake to see it and I found out afterwards that it was playing three miles from my house.

Anyhow, go see the movie. YOU HAVE TO GO SEE THE MOVIE.

Here's the films website. Go there.

This film will change your perception about the issue. I went to the film expecting to hear bad things, but nothing could have prepared me for how bad things actually are and how bullshit the excuses people give for it are. Afterwards, you realize there are two types of people: People who understand that Global Warming and Climate change is an incredibly pressing issue, so pressing that it's an emergency and in the other corner are dumb people and oil tycoons. (well, that's sort of an oxymoron, oil tycoons are dumb people.)

Speaking of people in that second category, as soon as we came home, my sister-in-law (you know the one I mean) asked what we saw. We told her An Inconvenient Truth and what it was about and instantly started trying to explain why global warming isn't a pervasive issue. And how her professor said, "it's only gone up point one." That's an exact quote. What does that mean? Fucked if I know. I explained to her, or tried to, that in the film they explain that in 650 thousand years, Carbon Dioxide has never exceeded 300 parts per million. Now, because of our reckless disregard for the environment (courtesy of assholes like George Bush and Ronald Reagan), we are currently double that (or more) and it's supposed to increase exponentially in the next fifty years unless we do something about it. The science is also factual that temperature is tied directly to the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the environment.

Her response? "You're listening to the guy who said he invented the internets. That's just stupid."

I left at that point.

Long story short: Go see the movie.



I think the thing that pisses me off the most is that we have the technology to fix the problem now, but the politicians don't want to do anything about it.

Superman Sells Papers

I picked up a copy of the Deseret Morning News today, because I saw the following headline above the fold: "Heavenly Hero? Utah religious leaders worry about Superman's morals E1."

I read the article and felt that it was one of the most poorly written puff pieces I've ever read. It didn't belong in a newspaper. On the other hand, the headline did get me to buy the paper.

The Headline leads me to believe that there is this giant outpouring of hatred against the movie, and yet the article quotes one religious leader who thought the movie was pretty good anyway. His problems were predictable: Lois is living with a man out of wedlock, Superman and Lois had a child out of wedlock, maybe the Christ analogy was a little much, the promotion of "the world doesn't need a saviour" angle, the lack of Superman standing for the "American Way."

But, since the article can't keep steam up on it's topic (that was clearly handed to a staff reporter by an editor who thought it might make a juicier story than it was) it just starts mentioning websites and their urls that have also written pieces about the correlation between Superman and Christ. That, I think, was the worst part of the article. That they took the precious space in a newspaper to print four urls. Four urls. I can understand spending a sentence at the bottom saying that there are links available in the online version, but a newspaper, in my opinion, shouldn't be printing random-ass urls through the text of an article. It seemed as though the reporter was just picking long urls to take up space because she knew her article sucked and she needed to take up space.

I don't know.

Read the article and tell me if I'm imagining it to be as bad as I think it is.

(also, to answer the worries of the religious leaders: Lois living with a guy? Who cares. It's none of your business. Child out of wedlock? Same answer. Bugged that Superman was Christ? So was E.T. and Budha and a hundred other characters in various films and mythologies. I mean, Christ wasn't even the first. The movie promoted the lack of need for a saviour? Hey dumbasses, that was the crisis in the beginning of the movie. They needed him by the end. They should have said he stood for the American Way? Fuck you. Superman doesn't stand for what the Christian Conservatives have turned it into. Superman doesn't "strike pre-emptively" or consider civilians "collateral damage" or start wars unprovoked. Superman was all about the American way up until Reagan was president. Or maybe even Nixon. It would be insulting to tell Superman he stood for the status quo of the "American Way.")

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Real Pirates

Here's a video we made about some real pirates.

Orrin Hatch is Sketchy

Well, I got more info from Pete Ashdown about how dodgy Orrin Hatch is.

Everyone should spread this around. This guy is so sketchy. I wonder how much play this will get in Utah. I wonder if the voters around here will even care that Orrin Hatch is clearly corrupt.

This is what Pete Ashdown had to say:

Dallas AustinA few weeks ago I told you of the Green River family that is being deported due to snafus in the legal immigration system. If you recall, Senator Hatch's spokesperson stated that having the Senator intercede in a case is reserved for "Life or death situations." Apparently losing the life you've built in Utah for 16 years, legally, doesn't qualify.

Today I received news of another "life or death situation" that apparently does qualify. Apparently if you're a rich music producer with a penchant for cocaine and you're dumb enough to bring it into Dubai, then Utah's senior senator will pull your ass out of the fire.

I'm all for a sensible drug policy in the United States. I think its good to help out Americans in tough international situations. Mr. Austin is a resident of Atlanta and last time I checked, Georgia has two senators as well. Why Mr. Austin deserves multiple phone calls on behalf of Utah's senior senator and the Sah's in Green River do not is the question every Utahn should be asking today.

Senator Hatch believes that Mr. Austin will "learn his lesson" from this experience. One must wonder who campaigned for President in 2000 criticizing President Clinton's failure to be tough on drug use and calling for expanded drug enforcement and funds for additional juvenile jails.

Seniority for Utah or seniority for Hollywood?

Basically, what's going on is that Orrin Hatch won't make phone calls on behalf of good, honest , hard working people in Utah who need his help, but it's no big thing at all for him to make a number of phone calls if it might help a coked out record producer.

What an example of a despicable human being.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pete Ashdown

I got this email from the Ashdown Campaign. Read it and vote:
Right now my campaign is at a financial crossroads between taking money
from Political Action Committees with clear agendas and staying with
individual contributions. Ideally, I would like to stay with individual
contributions, but there are financial obligations which will not be met
if I keep that rule. Many of you have already contributed, some of you
have donated multiple times and I thank you for your belief in me and
winning this race.

Another candidate contest has come forward and it presents an even
higher potential than Mark Warner's. This time it is sponsored by
Senator Barbara Boxer and has the potential to raise $30,000 - $80,000
in individual contributions for the winner. This would help me stay on
track without approaching Political Action Committees for more money.

Please vote here and continue to track my progress over the next two
weeks. I need you to encourage your friends who support this campaign
to do the same thing, forward this letter on!

I continue to need volunteers for events around the state. Please check
the campaign calendar and email or if you can help march, organize, or canvas.

Thursday, July 06, 2006



This week, a news report headlined: US 'flag epidemic' reaches peak on Fourth of July

Basically, it reports on the gigantic orgy of american flags that are ejaculated all over the nation on front lawns, cars, tattoos, nail polish, t-shirts, hats, store fronts, advertising flyers, junk mail, car dealers, porn web sites, country music TV stations, actually anything to do with country music, FOX News, bathing suits, paper plates, picnic cups, napkins, beach towels, and (for really patriotic Republican couples)... flag condoms.

American Flag Condoms. Box of 12; red white and blue. Treat her to the ultimate in patriotic fervor as your "Smart Bomb" penetrates deep into "Osama's Cave".

From the article:
"It's a little strange, this obsession of the flag," French author Bernard-Henri Levy wrote after traveling across the country.

"Everywhere, in every form, flapping in the wind or on stickers, an epidemic of flags that has spread throughout the city," Levy wrote in "American Vertigo" of the riot of banners he saw.
"Global public opinion surveys regularly put Americans at the top of the patriotism index," Galston told AFP. "The US flag is the visible symbol of that strong sentiment... Even our national anthem is about the flag."
Ok, well I know Bryan wrote on the absurdity of this already, but I'd like to add my two cents:

It's basically boils down to a Freudian Analysis (I'm a strong believer in most of Freud's theories) :

America, the symbol, is a gigantic penis that dominates the rest of the world with its money and power. We fuck who we want to fuck and we kill who we want to kill. We take what we want to take and we say what we want to say. It's classic dominant male behavior. And so, those not smart enough to see through this anthropological pheomenon, wish to adorn themselves with the power of the penis. They put the penis symbol on the backs of their overseized diesel trucks and SUVs or they blanket entire communities with it on specific days when the penis is celebrated.

From the article:
Such tactics have sparked controversy in Maplewood, a Bethesda neighborhood, where some 20,000 such flags have been distributed under the so-called "flag project" over the past 15 years.
The same thing is done in Provo, UT every 4th of July. The Boy Scouts wake up early in the morning and are driven around in huge pick up trucks full of american flags. They stop at every house and "erect" a flag with flag pole. This is done in the thousands. And it's annoying as fuck.

Other countries that have huge balls (North Korea, Iran, China, etc) are always seen waving their flags proudly or showing off their gigantic militaries. Pussy countries such as France and Canada aren't so flamboyent when it comes to patriotic overcompensation.

From the article:
Patriotic flag-waving strengthened in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and increased even more with the beginning of the war in Iraq as a testament of support for President George W. Bush.
So, what does this say? George Bush whispered sweet nothings into the ears of stupid, idiot Americans and they responded by creaming themselves uncontrollably.

So my two cents: America kicks ass. It's got the biggest cock and balls in the whole world. And so, the most natural response for a stupid human being would be to celebrate the power and domination of this penis by smearing its cum from sea to shining sea. There, I said it.



A few days ago, I got a couple of anonymous emails (well, not so anonymous, they came from this email address: that were kind of funny. Firstly, I think it's funny that the person who sent them wished to remain so anonymous that she (I'm conjecturing that it's a she, since she accused me of having "misogynistic zeal") would email me instead of leaving a regular anonymous content like some of the people around here.

So, in the effort of full disclosure, I think it would be cool for everyone to read the two emails she sent:
The misogynistic zeal in your posts regarding your sister in law worries me. Did you take your meds? Perhaps the Zoloft isn't working. Go back to your psychiatrist and tell her.
Apparently, my posts regarding my sister-in-law got her a little fired up, so she read the rest of them, too.

Then she was so frustrated, that she looked up my email address again and sent me this email, in defense of my sister-in-law's preposterous idea that the vast majority of Muslims are terrorists.

Since you had to look up information about Islam and you didn't know that the majority of muslims are not arabs, perhaps you should remember that many asian muslims are terrorists. Perhaps the Bali nightclub bombing rings a bell? What about the murders carried out in the Philippines by islamic terrorists? What about pakistan? The last time I checked, pakistan is an asian country - where Osama and his cohorts are hiding out.
I think everyone around here who actually read the blog know that I encourage dissenting comments. It causes a better understanding. But I have to say that I'm just annoyed by the level of anonymous comments with little sense and rabid zeal.

I think the second email is legitimate. I still think it's preposterous to support a person saying that the majority of Muslims are terrorists, but her argument is cogent. But the first email. Well, that's just silly.

So, here was my response that I sent her:
There's no misogynistic zeal in the posts. That would imply that I think all women are stupid. I assure you, it's only this one. What I can't figure out is why you didn't post these messages as comments on the blog? We all read and respond to those.

I really don't hate women. Seriously. Although I do prescribe to Kurt Vonneguts axiom, "Men are jerks and women are psychotic." I believe, as he does, that there are no exceptions to that rule. My problem is that I can only stomach unerring stupidity, like that displayed in my sister-in-law for so long with out snapping. And writing blog posts about it to prove her wrong are much more productive than getting angry.

Also, I don't take meds and I don't go to a psychiatrist. I'm a healthy human being.

Feel free to comment on the blog.

Best Wishes


Let me know what you think, and feel free to email comments to

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

This Fourth of July I've spent quite a bit of time contemplating the issue of Flag Burning. Orrin Hatch seems to feel that this is one of the most pressing issues of the day. I disagree.

I truly believe that flag burning is protected speech, especially as a political statement. Why would those dissatisfied with the way the country is doing things have a valid protest squelched, while cheerleaders for terror are still allowed to subjugate the symbol into clothing and beach chairs and towels and the like?

I think a problem worse than flag burning is people profiting from placing the flag on every bit of kitschy shit and every item of clothing.

Which is honestly more offensive?

This legitimate political protest?

Or this:

A girl using a chain mail flag to cover her genitals?

Or this:A company making work gloves with the flag on them.

Or this:

This is an "America" ashtray. An ashtray...

Which is more offensive? Using the flag for legitimate protests? Or for cheap financial gain from saps who are too dumb to realize how truly stupid it is to wear American flags as gloves or to toss their ashes in an American Flag ash tray?

My vote is that even though it all might be in poor taste, it's not the government's place to say you can't do it. It isn't hurting anyone.

The Supreme Court said that it's protected speech, sensible human beings believe it's protected speech. My vote is let sleeping dogs lie.

Shame on you Senator Hatch.

Happy Fourth everyone else.

Monday, July 03, 2006



America, FUCK YEAH!
Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah,
America, FUCK YEAH!
Freedom is the only way yeah,
Terrorists your game is through cause now you have to answer too:
America, FUCK YEAH!
So lick my butt, and suck on my balls,
America, FUCK YEAH!
What you going to do when we come for you now,
it’s the dream that we all share; it’s the hope for tomorrow


McDonalds, FUCK YEAH!
Wal-Mart, FUCK YEAH!
Baseball, FUCK YEAH!
Rock and roll, FUCK YEAH!
The Internet, FUCK YEAH!
Slavery, FUCK YEAH!


Starbucks, FUCK YEAH!
Disney world, FUCK YEAH!
Valium, FUCK YEAH!
Reeboks, FUCK YEAH!
Fake Tits, FUCK YEAH!
Taco Bell, FUCK YEAH!
Rodeos, FUCK YEAH!
Bed bath and beyond (Fuck yeah, Fuck yeah)

Liberty, FUCK YEAH!
White Slips, FUCK YEAH!
The Alamo, FUCK YEAH!
Band-aids, FUCK YEAH!
Las Vegas, FUCK YEAH!
Christmas, FUCK YEAH!
Immigrants, FUCK YEAH!
Popeye, FUCK YEAH!
Demaocrats, FUCK YEAH!
Republicans (republicans?)
Fuck Yeah?, FUCK YEAH!

Good Writing Advice

I found this piece of good writing advice from Brian K. Vaughn. He writes a lot of kickass comics (Y the Last Man was starting while I still had my store).

Anyway, I don't know how many of you who read this care about writing, but here's a pearl of wisdom that I really liked. (I mean, I write every day and I think it makes sense.)

That's it. Everything else is meaningless. You can take all the classes in the world and read every book on the craft out there, but at the end of the day, writing is sorta like dieting. There are plenty of stupid fads out there and charlatans promising quick fixes, but if you want to lose weight, you have to exercise more and eat less. Period. Every writer has 10,000 pages of shit in them, and the only way your writing is going to be any good at all is to work hard and hit 10,001.

He also said that writers block was another word for video games.

I agree.

Saturday Shorts

I'm not sure if many of you actually visited the old "Saturday Shorts" website. It doesn't matter now since it's been dead for a while.

We've revived it, though, and it lives and breathes on Myspace. So, for those of you out there that read this, please visit us Saturday Shorts guys over at Myspace.

We're putting all of the old shorts on there and we're making new ones too.


Come see us over there.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Digital Projection

I went to see Superman Returns again this evening, this time I took my children and I went to the local Carmike Cinemas. Carmike has switched half of their screens over to digital and I figured the best test would be to see a movie I just watch on film projected digitally. Only then I could truly test the difference.

You've heard me talk about digital projection at Carmikes before.

(By the way, I liked Superman just as much the second time. I was worried my kids wouldn't sit for it, but after a minor amount of restlessness in the middle, they were fine. Elias had some problems with it, but I'll let him tell you about those.)

But, I have to say the projection was gorgeous. There were no dark spots on the screen, no annoying flicker, no streaks where a timing belt might be off, no scratches, no blemishes, no nothing.

It was gorgeous.

My only problem with the digital projection was purely nit-picky:

I missed the reel markers.

Since I've been screenwriting, I pay so much attention to pacing and length it gets to be a habit when you watch a movie. Having been a projectionist for almost ten years, I've been trained to spot reel markers (or "cigarette burns") and I count them. Since I've assembled hundreds of movies, I've become very familiar with the average running time of a reel. So, I was interested to note that Superman doesn't appear in Superman Returns until the fourth reel, which is generally 30-50 minutes into the film.

With the digital projector, there are no reel markers. I've been watching for them for so long to judge pacing and length, it felt like something was missing from the movie.

Like I said, it was nit-picky. That was the only thing wrong with the projection so far as I could tell. And I know what film projection is like. I live at the goddamn movies.

So, head to a Carmike theatre and check it out for yourself.

(On a sidenote, I have the display on my DVD player so I can watch the running time of movies. You can place what page something appeared in the script and it helps the pacing of screenwriting become something more of an instinct. Anyhow, you should watch the DVD of Return of the Jedi with the timer on. I guarantee, that movie bends time and space. It's paced so efficiently, fifteen minute portions of the movie feel like forty-five minutes and forty-five minute portions of the movie feel like fifteen. Seriously, it will mess with you.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Young Lions

I found a copy of a film called "The Young Lions" on sale for $5 and decided I would get it. Well, the cast listed across the top sort of decided that for me. Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin. Maybe I'm an idiot but I'd never heard of this movie before.

It was an amazing motion picture.

It was filmed in 1958 and movies like this are why they made movies.

It almost makes me want to not watch new movies with new actors in them. Marlon Brando was so good as a Nazi officer that I don't think anyone could ever act as well in a movie. I know there are performers out there who do good jobs, but you need to see Brando in this picture.

Montgomery Clift also does a swell job, playing one-hundred percent against type. Dean Martin plays Dean Martin, but I like Dean Martin, so nyeh.

Anyhow, it follows two Americans and a German through the course of the war and none of them want to fight.

In fact, Brando's Nazi officer is pretty much a pacifist. By the end of the movie, you're shocked and teary-eyed to see him go.

I don't know, I've been watching a lot of movies from the forties and fifties and they just seem to beat the pants off of everything that is coming out these days. Maybe it's because I'm at the movies every week and most everything sucks, but when I find something fromt he forties or fifties, someone thought it was good enough to warrant a transfer to DVD. I guess no one wants to blow money on shitty movies.

Anyway, to make a long story short, if you can get a hold of "The Young Lions" do so. The acting is amazing and the story is heartbreaking.