July 25, 2004


     My first real movie review on my new website is i,ROBOT.  A perfect film to review to start a long list of what will hopefully be the first in a many number of upcoming reviews. 
     Although certainly not the most exciting film I've ever seen, I think it was a fun, entertaining  big budget romp through Isaac Asimov's vision of the future.  One term I like to use often to describe this type of film is a popcorn movie.   If you don't enjoy the computer special effects, the cliche action sequences, or you can't suspend your disbelief when a police officer jumps from one 200 ft. high gantry to another while being surrounded by, and shooting at hundreds of attacking robots...just forget this one.
Will Smith plays downtrodden (yet amazing wardrobe and car) Detective Spooner, who has a conspiracy theory, that of course nobody, including his captain, believes.  The theory that robots are planning to take over mankind.  Sound familiar?  Yes, the same storyline encompasses any number of other films; A.I., The Terminator series, 2001, The Matrix & Animatrix, Blade Runner, plus any number of about 1138 other movies.  Taking place in the year 2035, the producers like to showcase lots of thought-provoking and interesting gadgets of the future, and highlight other ideas of what the future may have in store for us; i.e.  inflation ($15.50 for a beer).  If this is your thing, check it out...definitely.
     With just average performances by Smith and the lady interest in the film,
Bridget Moynahan (Coyote Ugly, The Recruit), the acting leaves something to be desired.  Having said that, an average performance by Smith however, is higher on the bell curve than it would be for most action stars.  He is witty, charming, intelligent, and strong.  Basically the same person he is in 90% of his films.  The small stand-out role I enjoyed most in i,ROBOT  was by smaller time actor named Shia LaBeouf (The Battle of Shaker Heights, Holes).  Appearing as the title character on the Disney channel's "Even-Stevens," he will be someone extraordinary to watch for in the coming years...mark my words.
     The final action sequence in the film is hokey, and truly unbelievable, yet there are spurts of refreshingly hip directing styles by
Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow).  Fast paced, cliched, witty, visionary, and most of all fun; I would recommend this film to anyone who isn't interested in seeing an intelligently scripted film, but just wants to escape the daily news for 2 hours and watch very realistic looking robots be chased around by a cool cop with an edge, i,ROBOT is for you.  I hate to assign stars or grades or ranks to a film, but if I had to I would give i,ROBOT a
B- .  I had fun in the theater, and I came out satisfied.  It is everything a summer blockbuster should be.

Something to look for:
     In the scene where Spooner & Dr. Calvin first confront Robertson (the "bad" guy), it appears that Bridget Moynahan has sleep lines on the right side of her face, then they disappear half-way through the scene.  Am I crazy?  Watch for it.

Related links:
Official site
More reviews

July 20, 2004

Political Polarization

     "This country is going straight to hell!"  Those are the words of Col. Frank Fitts, USMC; from the film American Beauty.  I hear these words a lot these days; from liberals and conservatives alike, and I'm starting to agree with them unfortunately.  Another phrase I hear a lot from media members begins like this: "This is what is wrong with our country..." and then they continue to spew propaganda that promotes their ideas and prejudices.  I believe ideas and opinions are a good thing.  I also feel it is a good thing to express your opinions in the right environment (The Oscars is not an appropriate environment for instance). 
      Polarized: to become concentrated on one of two conflicting or contrasting points.  I, and I imagine you also, hold to certain beliefs and ideals.  This is good.  These beliefs and ideals can sometimes help assign to you, a political label; liberal or conservative; democrat or republican.  It is these labels that begin to hamper your ability to objectively look at issues and openly listen to other view points.  Once a person begins to lean left or right, it begins a tumble further and further in that direction.  Someone who is pro-life for example, might begin to read, watch or listen to conservative media, because they agree with some of the same ideals the speaker or writer holds.  Then they become interested in conservative guests on the media shows, and read their book, or watch their special on TV.  Then they begin to develop a mind-set.  Believing the jokes and nonsense that a talk show host unleashes brutally against liberals.  The spewing of more and more deceitful untruths about a rival political "team" (in this case, liberals).  The person is now polarized.  All of a sudden there is absolutely nothing good that could come from the democratic party*.  There are no compromises, no discussions, no listening to alternative ideas; and because of this, there are no solutions, only fighting.
      Here is a good example.  The recent Whoopi Goldberg incident at the John Kerry political rally.  Republicans were outraged that the comedienne used vulgar language to describe our president (something about comparing him to the female genitalia).  Meanwhile, democrats said nothing, other than that it was all in fun, and not to be taken seriously.  Conversely, a couple of days ago Rep. Governor of California Arnold Schwarzengger referred to the California legislature's members as "girlie-men" for not passing his budget bill.  Today, liberals and gay-rights activists were up-in-arms over the comment, while I heard the audio clip on conservative radio being laughed over and loved.  This is what I'm talking about.  Although one might argue that one statement might be "worse" than the other, they are both demoralizing and politically motivated, yet liberals were only worried about one of the statements, while conservatives were only worried about the other.  I think they should both either be overlooked, or examined and punished appropriately.
      Now, this is what's wrong with our country - the lack of a middle ground among the media and political participants and the in-fighting among politicians.  How often do you hear a democrat say to a republican, "hmm, that's a good idea, we should use that idea to our mutual advantage?"  It never happens, because the politicians and media moguls are too worried about getting their way.  Not to mention fear of upsetting special interest groups.  These politicians need to "win."  As if it was a football game.  But guess who ultimately wins.  I'll give you a hint, it's not the poor, the educational system, the elderly, teachers, minorities, the unjustly accused, or any other American citizen with concerns for themselves, their family or their country's well-being.  I think my final answer is...nobody.  None of the "good-guys" anyway.
      Think of any important political issue, and that issue has a gray area.  Everything is not just black and white.  Gay rights, abortion, the war in Iraq, gun-control, religion within the state, the economy, education, NAFTA, the patriot act, etc.  So just open your mind, be aware of what media you are reading, and keep true to your morals and your view of what is right and what is wrong.  Many of the problematic issues plaguing the world today, could be solved or at least improved upon with compromise and listening.  And until that begins to happen, this world will continue to go "straight to hell." 

*This is an EXAMPLE!  This happens just as easily with either political view one  might have.

July 17, 2004

New Stadium Info-mercial

Recently, I had the privledge of seeing the behind-the-scenes area of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.  Through a company promotion, I was able to see the players' locker room (clubhouse), the area where the players mill about, take batting practice, lift weights, and get ready for games.  I also got to walk around on the field.  Although the actual clubhouse was okay, the rest of the inner Metrodome is a dump.  In the above picture you can see the batting cage.  It is basically inside a huge garage.  Most stadiums today have at least 3 cages, while we only have one.  This forces many players to arrive several hours early to take batting practice.  It would be like me arriving to work 6 hours early  just to turn on my computer.
     If you look closely, you can see the weight room behind the batting cage.  It is a small area surrounded by concrete, with a rug on the ground.  The machines are crude, and the space for new ones is non-existant.  Couple all this with the overall surroundings: echoes, hundreds of stacked folding tables (you can see in the picture), maitenance equipment, and large trucks. 
     Though the Twins clubhouse was okay, I now understand why the Vikings choke every year.  Their locker room is tiny.  I can't imagine fitting 30 guys in there, with all their equipment on, plus a coach and others for a chalk-talk.
     While walking through the hallways between the batting cage and the clubhouse, there are large cardboard boxes scattered along the way filled with equipment and supplies; making it nearly impossible to navigate through the hallways.  The cords from the TV cameras, electrical equipment or whatever are strung along the ceiling in the hallway along the ceiling, and are literally duct taped together.
     I really believe that these poor conditions can really affect a player's performance, and attitude.  I'm not about to suggest that poor stadium conditions make or break a player, but they must play a factor.  I'm also sure these conditions would hamper the organization's efforts to sign better and bigger name players.  This would ultimately bring down the entire organization's attempts at a championship.
     I am in favor of a new stadium.  I am in favor of baseball outside.  Walk into a professional sports stadium anywhere else in the country, and you will see superiority in almost every way.  Concessions, restrooms, overall space, seating (view of the field), suites, pressbox, clubhouse, field, and best of all.....no roof!! 

Here I am at home plate...swing & a miss!

July 14, 2004

You've Got to be Joking....

     For those of you that know me, I am known in some circles as "the guy to ask about movies." This is generally true, although I have slowed down in the last couple of years...life just got too busy. However, I still see most of the big movies that come out, and am enjoying discussing and indeed writing about them.
     The following list contains a big secret in my life that no one knows about...until now. These are films that I have never seen, but should have, because everyone else has. I have seen some parts or even large chunks of most of them, but I have never seen the film in its entirety. These fims are on all the time on cable (TNT, TBS), local channels, and are basically seeable anytime, I just never got around to it. You may not believe me in some cases, but I swear...I have never seen any of these (listed in no particular order):

Godfather II
Toy Story
The Sound of Music
The Graduate
It's a Wonderful Life
Animal House
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Space Balls

sshhhhh...don't tell anyone.

UPDATE (3/31/07): I HAVE now seen Godfather II, Toy Story and The Graduate.


July 13, 2004

Top 10 Lists

     One of my favorite things about my website (may she rest in peace), was my top 10 lists page. Since then, top 10 lists have gotten out of control. Every pop-culture media outlet in the world publishes their own top 10 or 20 or 50 or even 100 of this or that. Rolling Stone, Premiere. Hell, even Time released their very own top 25 list. In fact, there's an annually released book on the market entitled the "Top Ten of Everything." An interesting book by the way. Similar to Guiness' book. I am pretty sick of it all, and am actually kind of anti-list. Having said that, I can't seem to help myself, and everytime a see someone's list, I feel compelled to compile my own list. Therefore, a regular feature on this forum will be a new top 10 or 20 or 100 list. These Top lists do not necesarily represent the best of a certain category. They are usually just my personal favorites. And to start....

TOP 25 Movie Villains

25)Stripe - Gremlins
24)Stay-puffed Marshmallow Man - Ghostbusters
23)Alex Forrest - Fatal Attraction
22)Col. Nathan Jessup - A Few Good Men
21)Gordon Gekko - Wall Street
20)Wicked Witch of the West - Wizard of Oz
19)Tommy DeVito - Goodfellas "How am I funny?"
18)The Klopeks - The 'burbs
17)Richard Riddick - Pitch Black
16)Joan Crawford - Mommie Dearest
15)Danny Vermin - Johnny Dangerously
14)The Killer - Dirty Harry
13)Pennywise - It
12)Lestat de Lioncourt - Interview with the Vampire
11)Sherriff Buford T. Justice - Smokey and the Bandit
10)Alex de Large - A Clockwork Orange
9)Cal Hockley - Titanic
8)Dr. Evil - Austin Powers
7)Hans Gruber - Die Hard
6)The Predator - Predator
5)The Alien - Alien, Aliens, Alien III, Alien Res.
4)Hannibal Lector - Silence of the Lambs
3)Joker - Batman
2)Edward Rooney - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

....and my #1 favorite movie villain of all time is...
who else but...

1)Darth Vader - Star Wars

      Well, that's today's post. Check back in the days to come for a list you won't believe!!!

Today is a good day.

     Today is a good day, because I didn't have to eat out of a dumpster. That's from Traffic. And it's also true. I did not have to eat out of a dumpster today. Well, here I am preaching away about nothing. I feel like a politician.
     For those of you who liked the old e-news letter I used to send out, and then were heartbroken when when my old website went away....I'M BACK!! Future Postings will include movie reviews, political rants, new music findings, what I had for breakfast, and anything else I can think of that will bore you to death.
     Check back often to see what I have to say. If you agree or disagree or just want to mess with my head, by all means, comment on the post and let me know about it.