Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bryan's Last Word on Gun Control

We had quite the lengthy debate on Gun Control in the office today (I know, I know, we should have been working) and we drew everyone in and had quite the interesting conversation. I've gotten some emails about the topic, too.

I think the problem with my position, at least here and publicly, is that it seems as though I'm all about outlawing every gun or something. I don't think that. Granted, I think that if I had a world of my own, not only would cats and rabbits wear shoes and pants and trousers, we wouldn't have any guns. I'm idealistic enough to think that a world without guns would be a wonderful utopia, but I'm realistic enough to know that we have guns and we'll always have guns.

I don't specifically have a problem with responsible people owning guns.

But I don't think that we should be able to go to the corner drugstore (or gun show) and just buy one willy-nilly, or even with just a waiting period.

Too many crazies have guns and we all know it. We see it on the news every night. And when I say gun control, I mean that we need to come up with a system to license gun owners. In order to get a license a few things should happen. The first is a psychological evaluation. The second is a gun safety and training class. The third is an actual identifying license. The fourth is a month long waiting period. After that month, each gun would come with a trigger-lock and you'd be forced to prove ownership of a gun-safe.

This would ensure that guns are in the hands of people who are sane, responsible and law-abiding citizens. We should also be able to strip people of their right to bear arms.

So, that's where I stand. If you feel you need a gun in the house for protection, more power to you, but with that power comes great responsibility.

My point is this, essentially, it should be harder to own a gun than to drive a car.

So, hopefully, that lays it out for everyone....
MYTH: Keeping guns in the home increases personal protection.
TRUTH: Obviously, self defense is not a good argument against gun control since those who own firearms are actually more likely to be victims of homicide. Two studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that keeping a gun in the home increases the risk of both suicide and homicide. Keeping a gun in the home makes it 2.7 times more likely that someone will be a victim of homicide in your home (in almost all cases the victim is either related to or intimately acquainted with the murderer) (source) and 4.8 times more likely that someone will commit suicide (source). Guns make it more likely that a suicide attempt will be successful than if other means were used such as sleeping pills.



Ok, enough political mumbo-jumbo. Time now for some piss and shit jokes.

The makers of South Park submitted this clip for use in the documentary "The Aristocrats".

For those of you not familiar with The Aristocrats joke, don't watch.

MYTH: Gun Control Reduces Crime

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A couple of things and Nader's Record

First off, Huffington Post ran my editorial, "Why We Need Nader in the Race".

Secondly, I get the feeling that Steve somehow took my post about Nader as a personal attack against Obama and an endorsement of Ralph Nader. If he'd have read a little more carefully, he'd see that I was saying that the reason we needed Ralph Nader in the race is to pull the election further to the left, not to foil Barack Obama, who hasn't even secured the nomination.

Now don't get me wrong, Barack Obama is great. He's the first candidate whose campaign I've ever donated money to. If he wins the nomination, I'll probably vote for him.

But he hasn't won the nomination yet and the election is still 9 months away.

That's 9 months for him to pull a Gore or a Kerry and start acting like a Republican. Having Ralph Nader in the race will force him to stay focused on being more JFK or FDR than Gore or Kerry were.

But, I have to say, as much as I like Obama, the record of a two-year veteran of the Senate isn't really much of anything compared to Ralph Nader's record.

This is from the encyclopedia of the consumer movement:
The legacy that Nader has achieved over thirty years of advocacy is considerable. It can be seen in entirely new bodies of legislation and case law, dozens of new governmental programs designed to protect the public, industries whose competition is more robust and performance more innovative than previously, and far more plentiful consumer-oriented information. He has also helped bring into being a national network of activists and supporters, whose careers, strategies, and ideals he has strongly influenced. Paradoxically, a large number of Nader's most significant triumphs – for new consumer rights, open government, and more humane business practices – have been so integrated into the culture that they are now taken for granted.
We take food labeling and seat belts and air bags and OSHA and CSPI and and literally hundreds of other everyday safety features that factor into our daily lives for granted and because people are so foolishly blinded by the spectacular failures of the Gore and Kerry campaigns, he's somehow the anti-Christ.

It's a fairly short-sighted view.

(Here's a list of non-profits designed to keep us safe and help us lead better lives that Nader personally started. Just a warning: it's pretty long.)


During the first - 8 - eight years of his elected service he sponsored over 820 bills.

He introduced
233 regarding healthcare reform,
125 on poverty and public assistance,
112 crime fighting bills,
97 economic bills,
60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills,
21 ethics reform bills,
15 gun control,
6 veterans affairs and many others.

His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These inculded
**the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 - became law,
**The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act, - became law,
**The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed the Senate,
**The 2007 Government Ethics Bill, - became law,
**The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill, In committee, and many more.

In all, since entering the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096. An impressive record, for someone who supposedly has no record according to several of you.

He's not just a talker. He's a doer. John Abdo would be proud.

Why We Need Ralph Nader in the Race

A lot of progressives who would ordinarily respect a man of Ralph Nader's accomplishments seem to be filled with venomous hate toward the man for his numerous bids for the highest office in the land.

'It cost us the White House twice," they all seem to echo. Despite the fact that it's not true, it's actually quite surprising coming from a group of intellectuals who pride themselves on seeing the truth, no matter how ugly. I mean, we all know the story of Al Gore's loss. A combination of his stiff political persona (which has since melted away into a form of super-stardom) and his similarities to the Republicans at the time caused one of the closest races in history. It all came down to Florida and the facts tell us that the Supreme Court stopped the recount even though Al Gore had more votes, with or without Nader.

Then, in 2004, John Kerry lost against George Bush. To lose against George Bush at the height of his unpopularity, you'd have to run an exceedingly poor campaign. And he did. And it wasn't just the swiftboaters, his campaign was weak. I think we can all admit that.

But because Ralph Nader was in the race and people voted for him, some believe it's his fault. "If Gore and Kerry could have just gotten those progressive votes from Nader, we wouldn't be where we are!" they all seem to scream.

But Nader stayed in the race because the people who voted for him weren't represented by the two mainstream candidates. It's easy for people to forget that voting for President isn't a popularity contest or voting for one of two choices. It's about voting for the candidate who is going to represent you and your interests and your values best. In 2000 and 2004, a lot of people, myself included, felt that Ralph Nader better represented us and what we felt our country needed.

Why should our presidential candidates take these votes on the far left for granted? They need to earn those votes. Why should we vote for someone we don't believe in?

A candidate should be willing to work hard to earn every vote, not just those in the middle and take those at the base of their party for granted. So, Ralph Nader is running again this year. And instead of plead and complain for him to leave the race, why don't we complain to the eventual Democratic nominee (Obama or Clinton) to fight just as hard for Nader votes as McCain votes?

Truly, the most unpatriotic thing you can say is that someone shouldn't run for president because someone else might lose.

We need a shift left in this country and everyone knows it. Maybe Ralph Nader running will focus the debate even further left, back to the politics of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We need a new Roosevelt now more than ever after the Great Bush Depression and adding Nader to the race increases the chances of that happening.

If Clinton or Obama want to be President, they should work hard to represent everyone, not just the swing votes and I truly think Ralph Nader is the counter-weight that will force them to stay grounded.

Maybe then we can start taking care of our citizens again instead of the corporate elite.

Monday, February 25, 2008


"There's a whole group of numb nuts that would like to dictate where, how, and if I can defend myself. I find that preposterous."

"The 2nd Amendment IS my concealed weapons permit."

"I don't like repeat offenders. I like dead offenders."

Ted Nugent speaks my mind. Check it:

Academy Award Winning Animated Shorts

Someone actually took the time to create a list of Oscar Winning animated shorts.

Almost all of them.

With links where you can watch each of them.

This is "must-watch" sort of film buff internet stuff....

Back From Vegas

I went to Vegas for the weekend. I don't like that place much. Perhaps I'll write something up about the cheap simulated elegance of Vegas that really does nothing but piss me off and make me sad.

On the other hand, the wax museum was fun.... And I couldn't resist this:

I'm going to try to write a meaningful political post in the next day or two.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

James Bond Marathon part 2

I finished watching all the James Bond movies. You can read my recap of the first 11 here.

For Your Eyes Only - The opening to this film is God-awful as are most of the side characters (particularly Bibi Dahl.) This is the first Roger Moore Bond movie that you got the sense that he was getting a bit too old for the part. And then it ended like a really bad knock-off of Guns of Navarone (elite team needs to free-climb a Greek cliff-side to destroy an object in an against all odds action sequence.)

Octopussy - This was actually a really enjoyable Bond picture even though it literally ends with him defusing a bomb in a clown suit and makeup. Pay special attention to the Circus scenes. General Riekkan (Bruce Boa) from Empire Strikes Back plays a US General and Admiral Motti (Richard LeParmentier) plays his aide.

A View To A Kill - This film was a little wonky. I'm glad it was Roger Moore's last. The three best things about this movie, though are the ending fight atop the Golden Gate Bridge, Christopher Walken and Mayday, in that order.

The Living Daylights - This was Timothy Dalton's first Bond picture and was actually pretty solid. I thought he injected a sense of warmth and humor into the character that he'd been lacking for quite some time. The villains were up to a plausible plan, John Rhys-Davies was great and this was, overall, a great addition to the franchise.

License to Kill - Dalton's second (and last) Bond film was a complete disaster. This film had a few fun moments (and one of the best looking Bond girls in the entire series) but it was like the worst of the 80s cop movies.

Goldeneye - Hands down, Goldeneye is in the top three or four Bond movies ever. Pierce Brosnan delivers a more suave, well-rounded Bond since Sean Connery and you can't get a better villain than Sean Beans former MI6 agent Alec Trevalyen. And let's not forget Famke Johnson as Xenia Onnatopp. Jesus she was hot. Over all, this film is great, all the way around.

Tomorrow Never Dies - This is the nadir of the Brosnan installments. Jonathan Pryce never quite managed menacing clutching his keyboard and writing newspaper headlines the whole time. Michelle Yeoh and the stunts in this film were second-to-almost-none though.

The World is Not Enough - This film would be watchable if not for two things: The preposterous length (well over 2 hours) and Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. Those two things alone make this worth skipping. The best scene of the film? Desmond Llwellyns last as Q. It was poignant and bittersweet.

Die Another Day - This was the second best of the Brosnan bunch although it got so far over the top with the car and the solar weapon and everything. The director also used waaaay too much slow motion. And Madonna didn't need a cameo. Overall, this film was ok.

Casino Royale - I liked this movie but I realized watching it this time what it was missing: Moneypenny and Q. Yeah, yeah, this is a reboot and stuff. But seriously, I want Moneypenny and Q. And it pisses me off that they said the next one won't have them either. Without them, is it really James Bond? It could literally be any MI6 agent at that point.

Anyhow, that's my two cents on all the Bond pictures.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Political Junkies...

There's a really great website that breaks down all of the polls and the primary delegate counts and the like from all the major news sources. It also has a roll-over map of the United States with the date of the primary and the poll numbers in the last two or three major polls.

It's a website I've been checking every day for the last few weeks (and every day for three months leading up to the 2004 election).

I just wanted to point all of you into the direction of this site because it's terribly useful and informative if you happen to care at all about the elections....


Gambit in the Wolverine movie

It seems as though Gambit has been cast in the Wolverine movie.

God this makes me sad.

You can read about my excitement when I found out X3 wasn't going to include him here. But not even axing Gambit could save that movie.


Castro resigned today.

Robin Pwns Batman

Big Shiny Robot

It's a new website for movie and comic reviews written by a crew of asshole robots.

Read this, their first article:

How Batman Could be the Greatest Scripted Drama on TV

And then bookmark the page.

I imagine before long we'll actually see robots on the page.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The People Vs. George Lucas

I got a call last week from the director of a new documentary film called "The People Vs. George Lucas".

They want me to send in an interview of myself defending or prosecuting aspects of the special editions and the prequel trilogy.

The film seems like a very good idea.

They're looking for participation from a number of Star Wars nerds... So, you should all look into participating.

Elias thinks I should take it upon myself to be the lone defender of Jar Jar Binks.

That is a very distinct possibility.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

10 HAN SOLO QUOTES that could be used in pornos

10. Thanks for coming after me. I owe you one.

9. No, no, no! This one goes there, that one goes there.

8. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.

7. Oh. I thought they smelled bad... on the outside!

6. Great, kid. Don't get cocky.

5. Besides, I know a few maneuvers.

4. Get in there, you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!

3. Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!

2. Now let's blow this thing and go home.

1. Sorry about the mess!


It's time again for excerpts from Brigham Young University's police beat, as printed in the school's Daily Universe.

Feb 11: A female Wymount resident received a suspicious phone call in her home at 1:30 p.m. The male caller claimed to be from the psychology department and said he could try to help her relax. He got her to turn off the lights and lay down on her bed. The phone call ended when the girl's cell phone battery died. BYU Police told her she should notify her phone company next time she receives a call so that they can trace it.

Feb. 8: A suspicious red vehicle was reported in a parking lot near LaVell Edwards Stadium. Upon being questioned the couple sitting in the car claimed that they were just studying.

Feb. 3: A suspicious male was seen walking on South Temple Drive. An officer questioned him and he replied that nothing was wrong and he was simply clearing his mind.

Feb. 3: A Wymount resident reported disturbing behavior in the parking lot. A male resident was screaming about someone who had parked in his parking stall. The person who had parked in his spot came to move his car and they exchanged words. A BYU police officer spoke to the screaming man and told him to resolve his issues in a better way. The man said he was having a bad day and wanted to get home early and get some sleep. He promised to react more maturely next time.

Feb. 3: A man was reported standing in a BYU parking lot, pointing a toy gun at people at pretending to shoot them. The man was gone when officers arrived.

Jan. 26: A male was reported walking suspiciously on and around University Parkway. Officers responded and found out that the male was just having a difficult day and was simply trying to clear his head.

Jan. 24: A witness reported a suspicious male standing outside the Joseph Smith Building at 10:30 a.m. The male was wearing a black cloak and was singing to himself. He had been there for 45 minutes. Upon being questioned, the male said he was waiting for his class to begin and was happy. He said he was cold and was singing to keep warm.

Short Stories

I'm sure some of you know that I write short stories and post them on my short story blog.

Well, I've got about 200 pages of them and I've decided to self-publish a couple of personal copies, just to have them in a hard copy. You know?

Anyway, I don't exactly expect any of you that read this to want one, but on the off-chance you do, let me know. They're going to run about 20 bucks and I'm placing the order in about a week.

So, let me know if you want in.

The Tramp

Bob Mondello did a great piece about the tramp on All Things Considered the other day.

It was good.

It was fortuitous that I listened to it when I did. It was literally the day after I watched "The Tramp" and a few other Chaplin films, so it was all fresh in my mind.

Give it a listen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spongebob at Ricks Cafe

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

It's the voice-talent from Spongebob Squarepants doing the voices over scenes from Casablance, Singin' in the Rain and The Godfather.

It's pretty funny.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raise Your Fist and Make A Shitty Movie

This is the movie we would have made if we had had 3 times the money and been complete fucking morons.

Also, check this out:

"You see the corporations are all sitting at their big expensive corporation desks and acting all corporationey while doing bad corporation things." -Team America

Watch Bobby Rice's expressions during the interviews. It spans from awkward to bored. Seriously, wtf.

The Second Coming of Christ

I'm on nerd overload this week.

BRYAN ADDS AGAIN: Don't watch it in these shitty windows. Download the giant one here.

STEVEN ADDS: Seeing this trailer also nerded me out. Here's the embedded video:

I watched it and I think I crapped my pants it was so good.

STEVEN ADDS: If Bryan crapped his pants everytime he nerded out, the underwear industry would own a better part of the globe.



It's here.

Small. And bad quality. But it's here.

The newer/better one will be up probably later tonight.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

August 15th....

This is a picture of Anakin and his padawan, Ahsoka.

God, I'm excited.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This will be a day long remembered...

Warner Brothers is releasing a 100-minute theatrical feature version of the first few episodes of the new Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon.

I guess I have a new "most-anticipated theatrical experience of 2008" now...

It's about time, too. Think about it, it's been three years since Star Wars has been on the big screen and those of us who are smart enough to like it as much as I do are starting to go through withdrawals.

So, write August 15th down in your date books.

You all know where I'll be that weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Roy Scheider

"That's not funny. That's not funny at all."
-Chief Brody, Amity PD

Roy Scheider was in one of my favorite movies of all time. Anybody who knows me knows I have a sentimental love for Jaws. (If you don't know why, feel free to ask me in person.)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Woody Allen's gift to the world

I don't care if you dislike Woody Allen.

He's given us a gift for the ages.

Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz get a sex scene with each other in his new movie that's pretty much done now, but won't hit theatres until he's in post production on a third film after this.

(Actually, this film is supposedly a week or two away from mastered and done completely, Woody is shooting a new movie in New York (with Larry David!) in a couple of weeks and Cassandra's Dream just barely hit theatres a couple of weeks ago. The man is a machine.)

The Blood of a Million Iraqi's

The AFP recently reported that war-related violence has claimed the lives of over one million Iraqis.

That's 1,000,000 deaths that could have been prevented if the Bush administration had simply followed the available intelligence instead of it's overwhelming and preposterous desire to start a war.

My question is, how do we get it through the heads of our fellow-countrymen who support the war that this is not okay? How do we convince them that this is a direct result of the actions of the United States? How do we convince them that we're not the good guy here?

I'm mystified by the reaction of people to the war these days. Most of you live in areas that have awakened to these facts, but I live in Utah. I'm surrounded by ardent war supporters and Romney '08 stickers. The most ardent conservatives in this country still believe that there was a purpose to the war and that all the mindless bloodshed is simply collateral damage. But here we have evidence of a million voices ceasing because of our actions and all they can say is, "Go get 'em."

No doubt, George Bush will be venerated as a hero despite the blood of a million Iraqis soiling his hands.

I'm sure that this study will be discounted by those who foolishly believe that the war had some purpose greater than oil, just as the last accurate report on the Iraqi death toll was. Perhaps if we fix the language problem and remind these war supporters that a million of God's creatures have been killed in their name they'll realize the irony of their support.

Or maybe not.

Conservatives love hypocrisy. (Take for instance the founders of Cleanflix in Utah. They made a living editing sex and violence out of films for people and were using that wealth to shoot pornographic films with 14-year-old girls.)

The only thing I do know, though, is that if I were responsible for the deaths of 1,000,000 people and I believed in hell, I'd expect to end up there.

There Will Be Blood

I saw it again last night.

To be honest, I don't feel like you can say that you've seen it, if you've only seen it once.

This film is a masterpiece on at least 12 different levels and the screenplay is so tight and packed together, I don't know if it could have been a single frame shorter. There was no fat whatsoever on this three hour epic.

Each frame is carefully designed to take you on a journey so that the end of the film (and even a good four or five points in the middle) move you beyond reason.

Also, I'm wondering if this is a "guy" movie. You know, like when you'd watch John Wayne movies with your uncle or your grandfather or something, and then all the women would come in and just sort of roll their eyes. I mean, I took Amberley to see it and she liked it and acknowledged that is was good. (Better than good, it made her cry and she NEVER cries during movies). But she insisted she would never watch it again.

Long story short, if you haven't got on this bandwagon yet, you're really missing the boat. How's that for mixing metaphors?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney's Out!

"My arrogance is this big"


If I had a picture of him here, I'd spit on it.

His reason for leaving?

I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

That's right. This tool quit, because if he didn't the terrorists would win.

What a jackass.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Jesus Christ. Literally. Another voting nightmare.

From the Salt Lake Tribune today. (2-6-08)

"When my daughter was attending a Midvale elementary school, she came home with a flyer that said "the students whose parents vote the way the Bishop instructed - would get free lunch for a week!". Now, you tell me the "church" doesn't tell the citizens who to vote for. What I also find amusing is that a great deal of the polling places are at the neighborhood wards (churches). As you are checking in, the nice ladies remind you of what the Bishop "suggested" on Sunday."

Now that just about borders on the obscene.

Another Awesome Voting in Utah Story

The election officials tried turning my mom away.

There was a judge at the front standing at a podium, telling people whether or not they could vote in the primary based on their party affiliations.

When my mom gave her name, they told her she couldn't vote because the Republican primary was closed, unless she wanted to switch her affiliation to Republican.

My mom then had to remind the election official that there was, indeed, also a Democratic primary taking place and she was begrudgingly waved along.

"NO SHIT" and a voting story.

I just checked the Salt Lake Tribune's website and their number one story is currently "Mitt Romney Wins Utah".

HEAVENLY WHITENESS: Utah Romney Supporters explode with relief when it's announced that he won Utah.

Also, I heard from my friend Kristi, who lives in Provo, that she had to wait in line for 2 hours to vote because the city's voting computers "all crashed" and city officials were trying to "turn the computers back on". Kristi said people were getting tired of waiting and just went home. Hours later, when everything finally got worked out, and Kristi got to the voting table, they told her she couldn't vote because "they lost her information".

She had been voting at the same place for 4 years. And they turned her away. Yet another American not able to practice democracy because of a bunch of dumb fucks.

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES by the coward robert ford


It's 3:00am and I just finished watching the nearly 3 hour "Assassination of Jesse James" and I'm wired.

I always get hyped up whenever I watch a film that is completely and utterly enrapturing. Which is amazing since this film had one of the things I usually hate: a very sporadic narrator. But it worked for me. It was like a History Channel movie but with raw human emotions, sudden horrific violence, and soul-ripping performances. The tension that builds for 3 hours culminated to the point that I was sitting on the edge of my seat with my hands clasped and my teeth biting my lip.

And what's funny is that I knew how the story ended. I mean the title kind of gives it away. But when you're presented with the power house performances of Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck (Affleck especially), you see their characters as deeply tortured human beings, and not just historical figures. The director devised a way for the script to flow in sort of non-linear form and at the end I was actually asking myself "What is going to happen? How does this end?"

I have to tell you. Casey Affleck is a sure-fire rival to Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor.


They added the trailer to the database.

Check it out here, and be sure to vote on the trailer.

Popgun Reviewed

The Onion's AV club ran a review of Popgun and specifically mentioned Gamma Rae.

Read it here.

You can order it on amazon, too...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vote Today.

I'm on my way to do so now, before work.

I mean, vote if you're in a Primary-holding state today.

I'm actually dying with anxiety, wondering how things will turn out today. Will it be a stalemate all around? Will we have presumptive candidates from each party? What direction could the country be headed for?

Most, if not all, of these questions will be answered tonight and it's both scary and exciting.


I don't like writing long reviews cuz my mind is usually tired after watching a good film. So...

It was really, really good.

I can totally see why it's nominated for an Academy Award.

It didn't blow my hair back the way "There Will Be Blood" or "No Country For Old Men" did, but it was still a solid motion picture.

It definently brought something new to the "romance war drama" genre. I liked how the entire plot gets rolling through the clumsy mind-set of a 13 year old girl. She makes very naive and stupid decisions that catapult lots of sorrow into her adulthood. Only when she gets older, does she realize her mistakes and what she has done to those around her. How does she make things right? Is such a thing even possible? Everything was executed perfectly. From the screenplay, the acting, the cinematography and the music. And the ending is just one big kick in the balls. I like films that end with an explosion of gray, rather than a clean black and white wrap up.

Cassandra's Dream

The reason posting was so lax over the weekend was that most of us here at ShineBox were down for the count, in bed, sick.

But there was but one thing that got me out of bed, doped up to my ears and it was the fact that Woody Allen's new picture, Cassandra's Dream, opened up in Salt Lake City.

I've been terribly excited for this film for a while, I've turned into quite the Woody Allen nerd in the last few years. (And he's crazy if he doesn't think he influences young filmmakers.)

But this film delivered on all counts. Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell play brothers Ian and Terry, both are in dire need of money. It's actually kind of funny, the level of favors being asked progress from small to large and what's asked in return gets larger and larger. Ian goes to Terry, asking to borrow a car and 300 pounds. Terry replies by explaining that not only can he not do that, he lost 90,000 pounds playing poker and needs to borrow Ian's savings to make payments to the loan sharks so they won't break his legs. The pair of them go to their Uncle who says that he can help them, but he needs them to kill a man so he doesn't go to jail for the rest of his life.

The film broods slowly, forcing you to boil in the indecision of the brothers. Are they going to help their Uncle? Can they live with a murder to solve their problems?

The moral dillemas and choices made by the characters in the film are portrayed in such a realistic fashion it's bizarre. In film, murder is an easy thing, but Woody Allen manages to make you feel the burden of the decision they have to make.

I don't want to give away too much about the movie, and I would bet that you'd all be as split on it as the critics are, but the debates about the film afterwards have been quite fulfilling. Did they have a choice? Was it all fate?

The acting in the film is top-notch, Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell and Tom Wilkinson are a trifecta that simply can't be beat. And with Woody Allen's choice of cinematographer and composer (Vilmos Zsigmond and Phillip Glass, respectively) you know he's simply not screwing around with his craft. I'm continually surprised by how well Woody Allen can ape Hitchcock (from Match Point to Manhattan Murder Mystery) he's able to create a tone of suspense with as much care and skill, but somehow, I don't think people will remember that about him.

I also want to specifically call out Colin Farrell for how bloody good he was in this film. He's so unsure of himself and his choices and his sadness and depression get you in the gut.

Long story short, go see this picture.

I know I'm going to try to go again.

(Also, this actually doubles my excitement for his next film, set in Spain, starring Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Jesus' General

The Good General, J.C. Christian, Patriot, has seen fit to write to the BYU-anti-porn-jihadists.

It's quite funny and he was kind enough to drop a link to our neck of the woods.

Click here to read it.


For all you pussy BYU students scared of nice, plump asses:

Killer At Large Trailer

Here's the youtube version of the Killer At Large trailer.

Embed it wherever you want.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

BYU Thought Police

It seems as though Gold's Gym in Orem and Provo have a fight on their hands.

Personally, as a member of the gym, I would hope the fight would be to keep the doors open on Sunday since that's pretty much the easiest day for me (and I'm sure a lot of people) to get into the gym.

No. The BYU Thought Police are it at.

It seems as though anti-"pornography" crusaders are waging a jihad against the music videos they play on their monitors.

Here's an excerpt:

The Gold's Gym near the BYU campus is one of 19 Gold's Gyms in Utah. A majority of this gym's customers are BYU students. Dallen Johnson says, "I've had to leave, honestly! There have been four times I've run out of the cardio cinema because of racy and inappropriate things being shown, things I personally view as pornography."
Jesus Christ.

Who the hell do these people think they're kidding. Music videos? Pornography? Racy, yes. But pornographic?

I'm not sure if these people actually understand what pornography is. Scantily clad women hopping up and down next to cars in odd-shaped hallways is a a far cry from...say....How to Ass Ejaculate. (Don't worry. It's a link to the IMDb... And maybe that's not even a porno...)

Another gem:
The protesters say Gold's Gym is not the only business they are concerned about. "The things I see the most is people have no idea how it affects people and how widespread it is and how serious of an issue it is," says Nicole Braden.
Which is actually kind of a funny thing to say since there are studies that show the more lax pornography laws are in an area, the lower the rape rate. And we all know Utah has one of the highest rates of rape in the country (and it's getting worse, and these are just reported rapes). So, pornography actually has a positive affect on the community. I would agree this is a serious issue, but I think these students are on the wrong side of the argument.

What Gold's Gym should do is leave their music videos just the way they are, what they should change are their hours. They should stay open on Sundays or lower their rates. I have to pay the same rate for 6 days a week of gym access as everyone else in the country pays for 7 and that's a legitimate gripe.

UPDATE: NO! Gold's Gym caved! If they cave to stuff this stupid, a petition to open on Sunday should be a breeze.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, I'm a week or two late with this story, but it's still infuriating. But that's what I get for hitting the festival....

UPDATE 3: Don't forget to check out the website and trailer for the new movie: KILLER AT LARGE.