Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlas Shrugged being made into a movie

When I first started this blog last summer, I made a list of all the topics I could choose from. In no time at all I created a large list (most I brainstormed when I was bored at work). As I started writing this blog, many of those ideas got pushed aside as more timely topics emerged. One topic I was particularly excited about was my Ayn Rand post. Written on my scrap of paper, it reads, "Atlas Shrugged will never be made into a movie." Now when I wrote that I felt I had all the time in the world to wait. Now, I find that not only is the movie in development, but it's set to be released in April. Imagine my surprise. But now the question is, should it be made into a movie?

Such a lame poster.

There was always talk of it being made, but 40 years of development hell ensured that any rumors about it being made were nothing but rumors. Last I heard, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were suppose to be making the movie. Every Rand fan now sighs in relief that Brangelina are not involved in it. But who is involved? Like the Left Behind series, the popular yet hard to market book has been adapted by unknowns.

The only name I recognize is Jon Polito.

Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism and Rand herself have always been controversial. Her philosophy may empower some people, but it also has the capability of enabling total dickheads in their dickhead ways. Some see it as a breath of fresh air, others see it as nothing but an excuse for selfishness and greed. Whenever met with opposition, real Rand fans argue that those who never read Atlas Shrugged cannot judge it. The thing of it is, Atlas Shrugged is more than a thousand pages with size eight font. Being such a mammoth undertaking, it is completely impenetrable to anyone not already fanatical about the lady.

It's not a novel it's a 1,300 page straw-man argument.

Such impenetrability makes it hard to debate the book. That's what makes a movie so important to the Objectivist's cause. Now, through the power of cinema, even those who never open the tome can use buzz words like "moochers" and "looters" and ask that stupid freaking question, "Who is John Galt?" A question that is being found more and more at Tea Party rallies, like some kind of retarded war cry. It's a nonsensical catchphrase for the Fox News watcher who drapes themselves with the Gadsden Flag and talks to you about anchor-babies.

I want to punch whoever left the apostrophe out of that damn flag.

I admit, I never really had any respect for Rand. I thought of her as a childish windbag. Growing up in Russia, her family's fortune was destroyed by the revolution. Now I can understand why she wouldn't be a fan of communism after all of that. But to go and invent a whole philosophy that stands for everything communism is against is almost laughable. She doesn't like a world where everyone shares, so she creates the most selfish thought process around. I call it "Family Ties Syndrome," although Rand could never be as likable as Michael J. Fox.

I would not want to hang out with her.

Here's why I have no respect for the new Atlas Shrugged movie. The fact of the matter is, it's trying to hard. Just look at the poster, cluttered with ham-fisted imagery but never really amounting to anything. Even the release date, April 15, is trying too hard. April 15 is, of course, Tax Day and both Rand's novel and every ass that calls themselves an Objectivist are anti-income tax. The production company, Strike Productions, is also lacking subtlety, being named after Atlas Shrugged's working title. I don't respect this film because it isn't even a film. It's a statement. The only reason it is being made is so they can say they finally made an Atlas Shrugged movie.

But the question still remains whether the movie should be made in the first place. Even spread across a whole trilogy, there is no way to fit that dense piece of wood pulp onto the screen. The real Rand fans will only be insulted by what's been left out. The fact that the movie is probably not going to be widely released will only add to the fans and pundits venom. They want to be able to say that "This is the movie Hollywood doesn't want you to see." The truth is the movie nobody should see. Any justice done to Rand cannot be achieved by director Paul Johansson, who is mostly known for acting in One Tree Hill.

He was also in a Highlander television series.

From 1995-2007, authors Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote the massively popular Left Behind series, made up of 16 books about rapture and the people left behind to battle the Anti-Christ. While it may have been a popular book series, no studio really wanted to commit themselves to a religious story that enormous. That didn't really stop Kirk Cameron and Cloud Ten Productions, a Christian movie studio in Canada. Cameron, Growing Pains star turned devote Christian, starred in the main role. The books were condensed into a trilogy. A video game was even made.

This movie poster screams badass.

At this point I'd normally recognize the true Rand fans and cry for their favorite book being boiled down to a manipulative, partisan catchphrase. But Rand's words have always been used for people's own selfish desires, that's why they were written by the wind-bag in the first place. I also mention the Left Behind series because, like the Left Behind series, Atlas Shrugged will be turned into a direct-to-DVD quality, astroturfed roadshow. The completion of the trilogy won't nearly get the press that the first installment is, because people don't care about the story. They just like the idea of the story.

I found John Galt, you can stop asking about him now.

And even though I don't respect Rand, I don't think her magnum opus deserves to be mistreated in such a way. Is this really the perfect time to unleash Rand's ideas on the world? Maybe the tropes are as outdated as the trains that the book depend on. The whole production is just so very shallow that it can in no way to do the book justice, which is a crime to real fans of the work. It is just being made to validate "Who is John Galt" signs. And while some fans hope that the movie will get people to read the book, I don't see it. Atlas Shrugged is famous, if you have no desire to read it yet then a movie won't change your mind. You'll just be able to watch the movie instead.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Akira adaptation getting whitewashed

Adapting previously existing works to a different medium is always difficult. It's a tightrope walk between pleasing the fans of the original work and new fans you want to attract. And in the transfer from one medium to another, changes are allowed to be made (History of Violence is one example of beneficial change). Some fans get too self-righteous when it comes to movie versions of their favorite things. Changes can be made, sometimes for the better. Sticking to the spirit, not the word, is what counts. However, sometimes neither happens and all you have left is a shallow, pointless, unnecessary, big screen version of your favorite book, video game, rock opera, play, comic book, interpretive dance, television show or previously existing movie. That's when fanboys have every right to be mad.

Prepare to get mad Akira fans.

Akira was originally an epic length manga series, clocking in at a gargantuan 2,182 pages (according to my lifelong source Wikipedia). The very idea of cramming that much story into a film is insane. In 1988 a landmark anime film was made that even Roger "Jawless" Ebert loved (note: this was before he was jawless). It wasn't exactly like the manga but it still carried on the spirit, and that's what counts. That is why it is still considered, to use a trite expression, the Citizen Kane of Japanese, animated film. Then again, it doesn't hurt that the director was also the creator behind the Akira comics.

Pictured: not Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira.

Hollywood has no respect for artistic quality. You can't make a Saturday morning cartoon out of artistic quality (1998's Godzilla had an animated series for Christ's sake). And you especially can't put artistic quality on the front of a cereal box. Conforming with a trend in Hollywood, the world of Akira is getting whitewashed with American actors. The Neo-Tokyo world of Akira is being transplanted, and nobody should think this is a good idea. Set to be directed by the Hughes Brothers (famous for having the second best hood movie of the 90s), 2011's Akira is still being casted. The potential cast, however, are as Asian as Mickey Rooney.

Rooney is as Asian-sensitive as Eric Cartman.

It's all a part of Hollywood's obsession with turning everything into WB style dramas. By WB style dramas, I mean by sticking pretty white people in everything and letting them pout for 90 minutes. It's all an attempt to turn every intellectual property into One Tree Hill. Yes WB is now CW, but the spirit is still alive.

Fairy tales aren't even safe.

Now, what about this whitewashing? It couldn't possibly of happened too much. But what if I told you that it not only happened once but three times in recent cinematic history. As Ian Fleming said, "Once is happenstance. twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action." Just last year, M. Night Shyamalan released The Last Airbender. An adaptation of the Nickelodeon, Asian influenced television show, Avatar: The Last Airbender. The movie took Asian themed characters and whitewashing them. In 2009, two movies were released that took pre-existing, predominately Asian works and inserted white people. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li took a simple fighting game story and completely obliterate it with poor casting choices and crappy writing. The movie made the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick look downright respectable. Also in 2009 was Dragonball Evolution, where they took Son Goku and casted Tom Cruise's bratty son from War of the Worlds.


Now I'll admit, I have never been a manga/anime fan. I didn't grow up with Dragonball Z and I never trusted books that I had to read backwards. I may love comic books, but I hated manga. I respect those that are fans of it though, and am even warming up to the art. Akira is one of the most important products of the genre, and to eviscerate it for American audiences is just uncalled for. If they want to make an Akira like movie than go ahead, but to still use the Akira name is counter-productive. Fans of the original work will be turned off by the artistic choices and casual audiences will be alienated by the style. Again, Akira is barely in development stages, but at the very least I hope they learned from Speed Racer. By trying to appeal to both camps they are going to make the product unappealing to everyone. Whitewashing isn't racism, it's just stupidity.

A movie made that doesn't appeal to anyone.

When one mentions Japanese film it's impossible not to mention Akira Kurosawa. The man is the John Ford of Japan, minus the cool eye patch. Influenced by Western culture, Kurosawa enjoyed himself some Dashiell Hammet. Hammet's stories such as The Glass Key and Red Harvest were inspirations for Kurosawa's classic samurai tale, Yojimbo. Kurosawa took an already existing story, transplanted it, and made it his own. Yojimbo/The Glass Key would later return to the West. This time being remade as Sergio Leone's A Fistfull of Dollars. The badass Toshiro Mifune's part being played by the equally badass Clint Eastwood, and the Japanese village being changed out for a Mexican boarder town. Another Westernization of a Kurosawa film, The Seven Samurai, was remade as The Magnificent Seven. Both Seven Samurai and Magnificent Seven were masterpieces of their respective genres.

Such a cute little cinematic genius.

That is the proper way to honor/steal from a source. By trying to be different, those films were the embodiment of its originals. By keeping the story but changing the characters and setting, the films were paying the ultimate respect. Dragonball Evolution, Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and Last Airbender did the opposite. Because of this, they became the hollow, critically panned shells that they are. Akira hasn't been made yet, but with talks of Robert Pattinson having a part, the outlook does not look good.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tom Waits inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Recognition may not equal greatness, but it sure as hell helps. On March 14, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love and Tom Waits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. If it's one thing I learned from The Drew Carey Show, it's that Cleveland rocks. Anyway, while "Sweet Caroline," has always held a special place in my heart, the only person I was excited about was Waits. Excitement doesn't really do it justice though. Tom Waits is my fourth favorite musician of all time. And while that may not sound like much, he isn't any higher because I don't feel like I earned the right to call him one of my top three.

He is such the man.

Let me first put a disclaimer in, I don't care if you like Tom Waits. In fact, I hate people who say they like Waits, because they like him for all the wrong reasons. You may have a Kerouac book on your shelf and Rain Dogs on vinyl, but if you don't truly appreciate the music than you suck. Liking Waits equals more than having something for small talk at your local coffee shop in order to impress the new barista. It's hard to get into Waits too, his style is so esoteric that it's difficult for some people to get him. He's all stages of rock and roll put through a Jack LaLanne juicer. Sometimes he is equal parts blues, industrial, vaudeville and any other kind of mayhem he can throw into one song. Other times he is a ballad singing raconteur, singing for all the poor souls lost in this great American experiment. He's in a league all his own.

Nick Cave happens to be in that league too.

My own personal Waits introduction came in 2006. For my high school we had magazine sales. An indentured servitude where we had to sell a certain amount of publication subscriptions. My mom use to renew her People Magazine subscription whenever the time came around. I had my choice of whatever magazine I wanted. Problem was that none of the magazines interested me in the slightest. As a last resort I picked Rolling Stone. It seemed like the best deal in the whole order booklet. And in my high school naivety, I thought it was cool. I realized eventually that the girl who brings the new issue of Rolling Stone to English class is probably not the coolest girl.

Now if that girl brought Spin to class, it would be a different story.

In 2006 I saw reviews for Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards. The review caught my eye, for some reason. The way they explained Waits style grabbed my attention. I couldn't get the promise of a voice "soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car" out of my mind. So I dragged my brother to the mall to find Orphans at FYE. Soon after, I acquired further Tom Waits and fell in love with the weird bastard. I was self conscious about my fan-hood though. I had no problem playing the CDs to people and perplexing anyone that stopped by the produce room in Acme, hearing Waits come out of the radio as I made fruit bowls. No I was worried about real Waits fans knowing how new I was to his genius. Orphans, while good, was basically a greatest hits edition of songs that weren't hits. I needed more.

Great album nonetheless.

It's great seeing Waits, someone that has always seemed fringe no matter how successfully he is, get acknowledgment from the Hall of Fame. I was still a little depressed reading the Hall of Fame briefs in the newspapers though. Waits would get nothing more than a sentence, while Neil Diamond had paragraphs dedicated to him. I was on vacation so I read a different paper each day, none of them talked about Waits past a mention. I doubt he minds. Whether the world appreciated him or not is irrelevant. Even if nobody listened to his music he would still probably make it. That's how cool he is.

A song of his was even used as a theme song on The Wire. How awesome is that?

It's not just his schizophrenic melodies or his detailed lyrics that make him cool. It's him on any talk show couch he's ever been on. It's the concerts that he does. He's even an established actor. Making movies and music like it's no big deal. He's worked with directors Jim Jarmusch, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola and Terry Gilliam in roles ranging from small cameos to principle players. He even played the devil himself in Gilliam's last film, Imagunarium of Doctor Parnassus. I personally enjoyed his role in "Wristcutters: A Love Story" as a camp leader in a purgatory that's reserved for suicides. It's a movie as weird and charming as he is, so you can see the fun he has throughout it.

It's like Everything is Illuminated mixed with Dead Like Me.

Am I a snob with my Waits love? Maybe. And I doubt Waits himself would like my snobbery. I just wish that people knew him more than writing songs that would later be sung by other artists (Bruce Springsteen with Jersey Girl and Rod Stewart with Downtown Train. Waits songs are also covered by Queens of the Stone Age, The Ramones and even Scarlett Johansson). He's a weird character but he's also a brilliant musician and a poet. He is the current avatar for music creativity and he doesn't have a care in the world. And it is this musical maverick that I respect so much that I can't even call him one of my favorite artist. My whimpy appreciation cannot do him justice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Requiem for a spring break

I have always used the term adventure loosely. To me, adventure could entail a trip to the laundromat and I'd be happy. When faced with honest-to-god adventure though, I admit I am apprehensive. I don't like the term coward, I prefer conscientious. Spring break is a time to forgo all previous hesitation and dive face first into, what could possibly be, a very bad idea.

This year's bad idea was South Carolina.

The past two years my friends and I have gone to a cabin in Tennessee. Aside from a kick ass jerky shop and a lack of guardrails on mountains, there wasn't really much to do. It was fun though, because I got to spend time with my friends. The friends I've kept all through growing up and high school. I am proud to say that they are some of my best friends. With that being said, after spending a week with them you can't help but tell them to "shut the hell up" every time they open their mouths.

Yup, we were up in the Smoky Mountains.

This year we went to South Carolina. We traded our mountain view for a beach front property and, I don't use this term lightly, it was gorgeous. South Carolina, where the only thing more numerous than firework stores is churches. South Carolina, where golf carts take up the road and block traffic on your way to Myrtle Beach. South Carolina, where even the squirrels are friendly.


Half the fun of road trips is the drive itself. But even that fun could be a little much during a ten hour car ride. Now, I've always enjoyed riding around. As a kid I would jump into the van any chance my parents had to run an errand. But riding to South Carolina with two cans of energy drink and a weak bladder is no small feat. Scrounging for toll money is all a part of the adventure though. It's that and jorts.


Spring break trips are special. On these trips we are creating the memories that we will one day tell our kids. Spring break is about knowing the proper level of inebriation for you to wear a cowboy vest. It's about wrecking your lodgings and then scrambling to fix it the last day so you can keep your security deposit. It's about looking at a steakhouse menu in bewilderment, unable to afford anything yet spending your last twenty on filet mignon because you don't care anymore. But most importantly, it's about losing your voice singing Taking Back Sunday songs all night long.

I got the mic and you got the mosh pit.

Sometimes I just want to kick them in the face, but I love my friends. And I can't think of a better group of people to spend a week in a house with. And I'll tell my kids about the time we shot fireworks at each other and got second place in beer-lympics, at the same time laughing and warning them about doing such dangerous things. I'll pass the stories along because, in a Stand By Me kind of way, when the friends go at least you have the stories to tell. Not going in a dying way of course, but more like a life happening kind of way.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Being a sports spectator in Atlantic City

As previously stated, I was never a big sports fan. Growing up, my trophy shelf had more esoteric awards. Instead of golden baseball players on pedestals I had fishing and pinewood derby trophies. One thing I did enjoy was going to sporting events and spectating. What kid could resist going to a baseball game with their dad? Here's the thing though. My family never went to the major league games. No, instead we contented ourselves with minor league baseball and hockey in Atlantic City.

2001 - 2005

Growing up, Atlantic City always seemed special to me. As a kid, I saw running errands with my dad in Atlantic City as a treat. Driving around it and hearing stories of my dad growing up in the Ducktown neighborhood added a mystique to the city that few got. Plus, we only lived ten minutes away so it was no large feat to stop by. Being the casino town it is however, there was never really anything for families or kids to do. Now, I don't want to get into the politics of AC or the casinos, I just want to talk about how much fun it was when the Surf came to Sandcastle Stadium in 1998.

1998 - 2008

I never went to Phillies game growing up. I didn't come from a Phillies family, so we had no real desire to drive all the way to Philadelphia to watch them lose. Having a minor league team in AC allowed me and my family to enjoy baseball, or at least the baseball atmosphere, without dealing with Philly fans. I myself blame a stroller-stealing incident at my local mall involving an over-enthusiastic Phillie Phanatic in the squelching of my fandom. I won't lie though, before the Surf I was jealous of Philly fans. I saw them as spoiled kids with red jerseys. Now I see them as annoying drunk girls who are more concerned with playing beer pong in the parking lot than cheering on the home team. Either way, I was content with watching the Surf play.

What are you?!

I enjoyed the breeze the bay gave off when you sat in the stands. I liked the allure of peanut shells crunching under your feet as you yelled at people to run faster or throw better. Between innings I would explore the stadium, which always ended with me going to the arcade. I admit, as a non-sports fan I spent a little too much time in the arcade with the other nerds. But it's hard to fight the allure of a pinball machine. Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball and begged my parents for quarters. But, pinball distractions aside, I stayed in my seat and watched the game. Mostly, it was because of my grandfather and uncle. It was like watching the game with the two old Muppet men. Hearing them heckle the game was almost better than watching the game.

Pictured: My uncle and poppy.

The Bullies were even better. My brother always considered himself hockey's unsung hero, so when we first heard about them coming to Boardwalk Hall we were excited. I still have my ticket stub for the first Bullies game. We were there for the first game, for every home game during the second season playoffs (including their Kelly Cup win) and for the last game. Every part of going to the hockey game was part of a tradition. Even being jerks on the elevator was part of the fun that going to a Bullies game encompassed. Atlantic City couldn't keep them though, and both sports eventually left the casino town.

I mention all of this because I just got back from an ECAC Hockey game at Boardwalk Hall. Watching hockey again brought back memories. While buying my first beer at a sporting event was a surreal event, I now know why people sneak them in their jackets. The overpriced food and conversations found in the bathroom about refs haven't changed though. I still miss the mascot Bully though. That and the Bullies booster club calling themselves the Dog Pound. I miss you Bully, where ever you are.

He roams the land like a lost mascot samurai.

Boardwalk Hall having hockey back is only a fluke though. And until recently, Sandcastle Stadium has been in disrepair. Left to the whim on nature and homeless people, the city didn't take any steps to make it nice until Dave Matthews decided to hold a concert there. It shouldn't take a concert to make the stadium relevant again, AC should of had plans for the area before that. Instead they just let it be a memorial to a baseball franchise that the city gave up on long before they stopped playing. Besides, Dave Matthews Band sucks anyway.

That's right I said it. I hate you Dave Matthews Band.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

While I'm away...

For the next few days I will be in South Carolina for spring break. While I'm away, if you're bored, here are some things to keep you occupied.

My top five underrated posts of mine:
1. Dorky glasses get chicks
2. Katy Perry cleavage
3. Four Loko and the Beatles
4. Sucking at sports
5. Louis C.K. is awesome, Eric Schaeffer sucks

EDIT: This may actually be my favorite post of mine, about the McRib

Here are the top five most clicked on blogs of mine:
1. Discover Health
2. Taco Bell
3. Saw series
4. Cathy comic strip
5. Eric Balfour sucks

For your pop culture fix, here is my friend's music blog that's pretty damn good.

And if you want a good laugh here is my other friend's pretentious poetry blog.

So I hope you all enjoy your spring break, I'll try and enjoy mine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

High Definition is ruining entertainment

Movie making has always been an illusion. We sit in our seats and watch the lives of people that don't exist, played by people that we know are faking it and doing things that nobody is stupid enough to do (i.e. go into a dark room when a killer is on the loose). The line between this immersion and reality has always been blurry. We realize that there is no such thing as Star Wars, but we still go along for the ride. That line is being destroyed though. That blurry line is now in focus, thanks to new higher definition pictures, and it's taking the magic out of entertainment.

I'm sorry, I meant illusion.

I figured I'd take the easy route for this argument and talk about the silver screen days of Hollywood. Those movies weren't polished, they were lucky if they had color. They were still some of the greatest movies of all time though. The people that complained about the picture quality were just shallow. One could make the argument that HD is just a new wave of innovation, similar to sound and color. However, while sound allowed for an extension in story telling ability, HD adds nothing of merit. It was about the production, not the camera. Charlie Chaplin's movies are fading away on film but they are just as funny now as when they were first made.


And all those good movies made during the 70s? The auteur didn't worry so much about the film quality as much as they cared about what would be seen on screen. I support remastering restoration as much as the next person in order to make the picture clearer on old films, but the length some go to make the picture look real is counterproductive. To use a lame example: records are not nearly as clear as compact discs yet many audiophobes and snobs prefer them over cds.

It's a very shallow person who cares more about the picture quality than what's in the picture. All these new HD channels and DVDs seem like nothing more than gimmicks to make you spend more money. Watching these cleaned up pictures is odd though. The picture is so good that you can tell it's fake. With the image so clear it's not so much that the camera is an eye for the false world being credited, so much as it's an eye of a person on set watching the production. You no longer believe that the castaways on Lost are really on an island, all you can think about is how island like their set is.

I already forget the ending. Did they turn out to be on an island at all?

Watching TNT in HD, even a movie with such high production values as The Dark Knight looks fake with the high end visuals. It just completely ruins the immersion and I can't get past it. Maybe some people made the same gripes when DVD liberated viewers from VCR tracking lines but I doubt the tracking lines were as distracting as a distractingly clear picture. HD isn't making the production seem realer, all it's doing is showing the man behind the curtain.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

I'm no pop culture Luddite. I understand the importance of progress and invention. HD does have a place, but only for real life products. Sports in HD allows you to have that courtside seat without having to sit next to Jack Nicholson. Watching Food Network in HD allows you to watch Iron Chef with greater appreciate of the gourmet. I have never been one to care about the red carpet, but all those E! fans can watch pimply movie stars the red carpet in HD and feel better about themselves.

I never want to share a room with Mario Batali and his matching ginger Crocs.

There is one experience I can thank HD for. Plant Earth, the BBC/Discovery Channel miniseries has to be one of the greatest things ever played on my friends television. I rarely use this word, but it really is beautiful and having it in HD only makes a person appreciate the majesty more. For every cute animal you become attached to and for every alligator that will later eat that cute animal, you can now watch it in glorious HD while David Attenborough narrates it with his heavenly voice. So I am thankful for the technology. I just wish that they used it right instead of abusing it. I am not against the technology, just against some of its implementation.

Watching Plant Earth on Blu-ray saves a real trip to Victoria Falls.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen: Wild and crazy guy

When a citizen has a nervous breakdown, it's tragic. It's tragic or people just ignore it until said citizen either writers a book or does something drastic. When actors have their nervous breakdowns, as they tend to do, it becomes spectacle. We as a society are so engrossed in being entertained by these stars that even their private lives are ripe for entertainment. Some people are making the case that Charlie Sheen's recent spectacle is not something to be watched and joked about. These people are being too sensitive however. It would be one thing if Sheen was walling himself up like Howard Hughes, it's a complete other thing when he is airing his craziness out on national television and twitter.

The Carlos Estevez story.

Sheen is in no way shape or form trying to block himself from the spotlight. If anything, he is diving face first into it. In his interviews he is rattling fried-gold quotes off like it's nothing. He is rebuilding himself. He is no longer Martin Sheen's successful son. He is now a warlock with tigerblood. He is creating his own cult of craziness. Whether he is intentionally putting on the crazy act or not, I can only pray for his publicist. He must have his work cut out for him. Before all of this, Charlie Sheen was a fringe member of 80s movies. He was in Red Dawn, Lucas and Ferris Bueller's Day off, but he was never as well known as his brother, Mr. Mighty-Duck himself, Emilio Estevez.


In the late 80s, Sheen went back-to-back, with two starring roles in two of Oliver Stone's best movies, Platoon and Wall Street. They are, arguably, Stone's best two movies. Born on the Fourth of July seemed like a Vietnam retreat, The Doors was saved only by Val Kilmer, JFK was weighted down by Kevin Costner, and Natural Born Killers was too much of a mess to really have any meaning. Yes it was entertaining but that was mainly thanks to the overacting of Robert Downey, Jr. and Tommy Lee Jones. Everything else in that movie fell flat. The only other Stone movie I respect, Talk Radio, was more of a product of Eric Bogosian than anyone else. So I don't count that. Everything else Stone has done is largely forgettable. So, now that I have illustrated my point, I repeat again that Sheen was in the only two Stone movies that were any good.

This film really is underrated though.

Platoon was amazing, rivalry Sheen's father's film Apocalypse Now as the best Vietnam story told on film. Sheen was lost in a sea of strong supporting characters though. He was more the audience surrogate than anything else. With his character's soul being battled for between Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger, did Sheen ever have a chance? Wall Street was a movie of the decade, complete with some Talking Heads music in the background. Sheen was overshadowed again however, by the colossal character Gordon Gekko. The character was so large and played so well by Michael Douglas, that to this day, he is all everyone talks about when Wall Street is mentioned. The sequel even centered around the Gekko character, with Sheen having nothing more than a cameo.
Shia LaBeouf needs to stop being in bad sequels to classic movies.

Sheen starred in a lot of decent flicks in the 90s. With the Major League, Hot Shots! and All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 under his belt. He was always popular, and in the double-0's he took on television. First, by replacing the irreplaceable Michael J. Fox on Spin City and then his own show. The show, Two and a Half Men, would become on of the most popular shows on CBS and television. I don't really know that many people that actually watch the show, but then again CBS never really targets my demographic. Thanks to Sheen's recent troubles, Two and a Half Men is effectively over. But don't worry Men fans, you can still watch the reruns on FX.

Cable reruns: the purgatory of television.

So, in essence, Sheen destroyed Two and a Half Men before the kid's growing up could of. It shouldn't be a surprise how crazy Sheen is. Sheen had a large history of self-destruction. We heard before from his ex-wife, the chick from Starship Troopers and Wild Things, how crazy and abusive he can be. Even though Denise Richards once played a nuclear physicist, nobody took her that seriously. Maybe it's because of her crazy eyes.

Crazy eyes...

Sheen has a long history of substance abuse. He even has a family history of addiction with his father once battling alcoholism. Sheen won't quit though and even though he's hit rock bottom he is still digging himself deeper. Whether there is an end game to all of this remains to be seen but for right now he is just enjoying his own crazy act, probably more than anyone else is enjoying it. He was even nice enough to plug his television show to the paparazzi cameras once. Does he have class? No. But he is in a class all his own. Who else has the balls to quote Allen Iverson's "practice" rant on the Today Show? And he reached one million twitter followers faster than anyone else has. He is loving the attention. So nobody should feel sorry for him. If he is bi-polar than hopefully someone close to him will put an end to his public display of craziness. Until then he will find any outlet he can to unleash his mind.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

83rd Academy Awards wrap up

(Note from the Editor: I wrote this while trying to stay awake on Nyquil, so I apologize.)

Post-Academy Award scrutiny usually has to do with people's dresses or how good the skits were between awards. All people care about is outrageous fashion and who made a full of themselves. I personally don't care an oompa loompa about all that stuff (apologizes to every English teacher I ever had for using the word stuff). All I care about is the movies.

The one in the right-hand corner looks so sad..

I admit, a lot of my picks were off. But that doesn't make me wrong. No, that makes the Academy wrong. The night started out well enough, with me correctly guessing Melissa Leo as Best Supporting Actress. That one was easy though, and I proceeded to fail on both writing Oscars. Toy Story 3 won Best Animated but there was no suprise there. Now if Toy Story 3 won Best Picture it would be surpising. The thing of it is, I never got why they expanded the category to 10 nominees. You just know that some of those films don't belong on the list. In the end only one can win, so what's the point of sticking 10 movies in there? All it does is make Steven Spielberg read more names when he announces the winners.

Hurry up and make the Hook sequel already.

I figured that Social Network wouldn't win Best Adapted Screenplay, with the debated verocity of the original book, but that and Aaron Sorkin's overwritten dribble didn't stop it from winning. King's Speech won Best Original Screenplay, which set the stage for a night of King's Speech loving. Alice in Wonderland won best Art Direction, which does nothing but further validate the Tim Burton fanclub that eat up every swirly piece of vomit he unleashes onto cinema.

RIP Burton's credibility, 1985-2003.

Inception was awarded the consolidary technical awards. It's like losing the race but still getting the trophy in the end. Inception only getting technical awards is like the Academy saying, "Yeah, you were pretty cool but you're still not sitting at our lunch table." I was also wrong about Christian Bale and the Best Supporting Actor award. I swore he wouldn't get it because he is too crazy. I figured, the fact that he goes all out in every role that this particular character would get lost with all the others. I was wrong though. I guess Bale being a supporting actor helped though. The fact that he wasn't the focal point of the movie allowed him to shine more. I feel bad for Geoffery Rush though.

Then again he already has a Best Actor award.

Natalie Portman won her award, which was no surprise at all. And I was right about Colin Firth winning his. Yes, the British dude your mom likes now has a statue and I'm happy for him. Best Director ticked me off. They awarded it to someone who made a glorified made-for-television movie while there were so many visionary directors on the list. Why award mediocrity when actual genius was a choice. And King's Speech winning Best Picture just settles it.

They could of picked any other nominated movie and find a winner. But no, the Academy ended up picking the cliche Oscar-bait film. Instead of picking any of the films that showed actual innovation, they awarded it to a movie that was completely by the numbers. I'm not saying that it sucked, I'm just saying that the Academy could of done so much more by picking another movie. By picking any other movie they would be rewarding the progress of the art of cinema and not reiterating the continuous award-winning sterotype.

This whole rushed post is brought to you by Nyquil.

Overall it wasn't a bad year,. Even Bob Hope's ghost came out to party. I just wish that they did more though. Instead they played it safe. We'll see how next year turns out. As for my blog, tune in next time when I talk about how crazy Charlie Sheen is. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some snood to play.