Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: The Hangover 2

Hey, so here is a little explanation. We haven't stopped Best Picture Project. We are however, opening up Monday to all things movies; Movie Monday if you will. This way we don't feel so pressed to watch best pictures and we get a chance to talk about all the movies we are going to see this summer. Excited? Don't worry Best Picture Project is still alive and well, we just ran out of time to watch a two and a half hour plus Oscar winner. Also, just so you know and so I don't have to type it down every time, we will include spoilers in these reviews.

Before I begin though, let me stop and talk about Memorial Day. This is the kind of holiday we usually loose sight of after the hot dogs and hamburgers come out. It's not about grilling out and enjoying your family, although there is nothing wrong with celebrating the day in that way. Today is about the men and women who died so you could read this blog and I could write it.

The Hangover 2

May I start by saying that this film had far too much penis in it for my tastes. I mean, the boob to penis ratios is like 1 set of boobs to every 13.5 penis (what's the plural of penis?). If you're wondering about the .5, it was filmed in Asia. I liked the first Hangover. That is to say the first few times I saw it before repetition set in. But I knew this one was simply a Hollywood money grab. There is no good reason to make this movie other than to make more money. But then again that's pretty much why all movies are made in the first place. I guess if movies were only made to be artful, no one would see them and thus there would be no movies. I like movies; so I guess I support this one's existence as well. I am very saddened by the writers lack of inspiration. The first film had a lot of really good one liners through out. This was much more action and situational based. And when a good line did drop, everyone in the audience save my wife and I didn't even laugh. I'm serious, the best line in the whole movie was over everyones heads. What's that say about American movie goers?

All that said, this is still a solid, yet predictable, entry to the franchise. I was worried the trailer gave away the shock value a little. I still think they should have kept the tattoo a secret, but there are plenty more shocks to keep things interesting and disgusting. This is a much darker chapter to the woeful tales of the wolfpack and their misadventures. I guess they are following the Star Wars example. If that is the case then expect the third installment to include ghost Jedi, evil emperors and Ewoks; or what ever the Hangover equivalent of those things happens to be. If you really liked the first one, go see this one you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

E3 2011: A Wii Conversation

Welcome to week two our E3 2011 Preview. Here is a link to last weeks post if you were too lame to catch it then. This week Alex and I have a super serious conversation about the Wii. Prepare yourself for next weeks post when we unleash ourselves for full E3 madness. Okay we are going to talk about anything and everything. If you have any questions or comments please address them at the bottom of this post and we'll see abut getting you some info for next week. Enjoy!

Hobo Dan: So the first draft of this contained about fifteen Wii penis jokes. I cut them all because there were terrible, offensive and tiresome. Plus, I needed to leave something for Alex to talk about. So here we are just as promised to talk about E3 and in particular Nintendo at E3. If you live under communist rule and haven’t heard, the big N is going to officially announce their next console at the conference this year. On June 7 we will know what it’s called, what it does and potentially what games it may launch with. Many years ago I was a huge Nintendo fan. The Wii has turned me sour; that and years of forced labor in the sour patch kids mine. Yes, I have fallen away from Nintendo; but I do hold onto some hope. Hope my friends that Nintendo may just come to their senses and stop this crazy war on core gamers. I don’t use the word “hardcore” because there is a large difference between casual gamers who play Wii Sports and the other motion mini games, core gamers who play pretty much everything in moderation and HARDCORE gamers who are super elitist assholes. I just wanted to make that clear.

Alex: Okay, here are the Wii jokes. I just have to get this out of my system. Because I'm 12. The Wii is going to be backwards compatible with the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The amalgamated name will be the Wenis. It will have a camera on the controller so you can record yourself playing with your Wiinii. One of the Wiinii's launch titles will be Dibblenauts.

Other potential names:
Wii're Sold Out
Wii'll Release it Sometime
Wii Promise this One Wiill Be Better
Wii've Finally Got HD
Frank

Okay. I'm done. In all seriousness, the Wii 2 will not be called the Wiinii. "Ni" is the Japanese word for "two" but they would most likely use the katakana character for "tsu". That is if they even call it the Wii 2. Nintendo's naming process has always been. . . erratically coded. The Gamecube was originally called the Dolphin during production, and the Wii was originally called the Revolution. So for all we know it could be named Frank.

This next console generation could be interesting. With the Wii Nintendo basically printed money by pandering to casual gamers--leaving core and hardcore gamers out in the cold. The question is whether or not those people who shoved money at Nintendo last time will bother with the Wii 2. Most people I know with a Wii (casual, core, and hardcore gamers) say it does nothing but gather dust. There's a lot of areas Nintendo needs to improve on. Of course, this is a video game console so that's what we need--games.

How about 2 Zelda titles in the same console generation? Maybe a GOOD Star Fox or Metroid? MOAR FIRE EMBLEM PLZ! Keep it up with the 2D sidescrollers! New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Kirby's Epic Yarn were great games and great sellers. Make a 2D style Zelda or Metroid. Oh yeah, and encourage 3rd parties to develop games for once.

Hobo Dan: I think you pinned the tail on the Yoshi when you said they have to get third part developers on board. But haven’t we been saying this for years? If this new system is going to be graphically more powerful (or at least on par with) the PS3 and Xbox 360, then there is no reason third parties like EA and Activision can’t port their games to Wii. They already whore themselves out on the other two systems. I also think they need to convince, bribe or blackmail someone into making a Wii 2 exclusive; kind of like what Microsoft has done with Epic, the creators of Gears of War. Microsoft doesn’t own Epic, but they have an exclusive deal with them for Gears and it’s working out okay for both parties.

I am very interested to find out if this rumored six inch touch screen on the controller is factual. According to myth, it will be able to act as a touch control similar to the DS’s bottom screen. I might also be able to stream games from the Wii. So imagine your loving wife wants to watch Glee or some other blood curdling show and you want to play Wii. Well if this works the way I understand, you could play the system off the controller, freeing up the TV for her. Now that would be awesome. Others have suggested you’ll be able to take the controllers and load them up with small games to play while you’re away from the home system. I’m not too big on this idea because isn’t that the point of the DS and 3DS? Oh, don’t worry Wiimote wagglers, the old controllers from the Wii will work with the new system or at least that’s what the small house elves feeding me info say.

The most pressing issue for me is online play. If the new Wii isn’t at least on par with what Xbox has with Xbox Live, I won’t even consider buying it. There is no reason I shouldn’t be able to load up the new Smash Brothers, invite Alex to a chat group and play with him for mindless hours. NO REASON! It’s your ball Nintendo, don't be a dropper.

Alex: I imagine with all of the Big 3 now having some form of motion controls it would behoove more companies to make multi-platform motion games. All they'd have to do is tweak the controls between the three versions, as graphical differences is what kept a lot of games from going on the Wii in the first place. Assuming that Nintendo delivers on the HD promise, of course.

I'm hoping that if there is a screen on the controller it is used like the VMU on the Dreamcast (but they put more effort into it). Mini maps and menus would be great things to have down below to leave more room for visuals on the actual TV screen. As a rabid RPG player, I would LOVE touch screen controls to micromanage every bit of equipment and constantly view my stats.

Online play is a must now. I have some faith that Nintendo will step up on this front. The evolution of the dreaded friend code system (used on the Wii and DS) is becoming less of a hassle. For example, instead of having to type in a long FC, in Pokemon Black/White you can IR link your DSes and never have to type anything. I wouldn't be surprised if they dropped the FC all together and had a more organic user name system like Sony and Microsoft. Though this is Nintendo. . .

Here's what I know about the next console generation. I will buy the PS4. I don't know If I'll buy the Wii 2 or Xbox 720--or at least not at launch. Why? Well I'll want a new console, of course, but with so many games being cross platform now it comes down to exclusives. Nintendo always has the best first party titles, but I can wait to buy it when there's at least half a dozen titles I really want. Or Smash Bros. with actual internet play. Microsoft's first party games are all shooters--so I don't really give a damn. But what else can you expect from the only Western developed console. "Hurr, derr, guns go bang!" That leaves Sony. The Playstation's interface and controller have always felt better to me, so I'll go for what's comfortable. Also I'd much rather play God of War and Uncharted over Gears of War or Halolz any day.

Hobo Dan: Choosing my next gen system is going to be a real pain. I like them all and have pretty good reason for wanting each of them (assuming Nintendo doesn't screw it up, again). However, I see no end in sight to my poorness. I'll have to choose not only based on games but other entertainment features. Our Xbox is one of the most useful objects in our home. It does games, Netflix, Hulu and plays DVDs and washes my car and waxes my back. Nintendo is going to have to work pretty hard to convince me to switch back. I was raised on Nintendo games and systems. I love the characters and franchises. I really do have my fingers crossed for them to get it right.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pack

I have select friends that will laugh very hard when I say “I love my backpack,” that’s an inside joke and you all are on the outside. But I do love it. I love hiking. I’ve got the itch, and not the itch you get after eating at McDonalds. I want to fill up my backpack and travel into the forest. I want to stay there and survive with only what I could fit into the pack. This is not some existential Walden bull. I really want to get away from this right here. The computers, the technology, the essence of our culture these days. Does anyone go outside anymore? Is there even a reason too?

I was looking at some out door apparel this weekend. I showed a shirt I really liked to my wife and she let me know just how ugly she thought it was. But who cares what you look like in the woods? If someone wears white after Labor Day in the forest does it make a sound? It’s not about looks in the wild; another perfect reason to go there. Utility is key to survival. You’re little GPS device is great until it runs out of batteries. I’m not going to go all Man vs Wild by eating bear shit or giving myself a salt water enema; I’m talking about simple hiking and nature. As I write this from my station at work I can’t help but feel out of place. I think this is not where I should be, maybe the woods isn’t either but the least I can do is go find out.

So this is a call to arms. If any of you have any interest in roughing it, contact me. I already have my first expedition mapped out. I’ll be doing the 31.7 mile Kanawha Trace trail from Barboursville, WV to Frazier’s Bottom, WV. It will be a single night trip; fifteen miles one day and fifteen the next. The terrain is pretty difficult. The following is a list of important items:

Necessary items:
Backpack: metal frame is preferred, especially if you are carrying a tent.
Tent: unless you like animals snuggling up to you at night. Note: the easier to put up and break down the better. Also, the more people it sleeps the heavier it will be. Generally there should be one tent for every two people.
Sleeping Bag and Ground mat: the lighter weight the better. If you bring a mattress from a five star hotel no one is going to feel sorry for you when you’re tired after five minutes.
Clothes: these should be light weight and durable. Bring clothes for all weather regardless of season. One pair of underwear and socks for every 2.5 days should do; minimum two pair.
Hat: no not the kind they wore at the royal wedding.
Boots: not necessarily boots, but some very comfortable, durable athletic shoes with good tread. If I ever see flip flops on a backpacking trip I will set them on fire, feet still attached.
Water: Your body needs water, so drink that shit.
Food: unless you plan on catching it yourself.
First Aide Kit: for boo boos.
Map and Compass: like I said GPS is great when it works. Unless you KNOW where you are, bring these items just incase. Also, it’s best to know how to use them.
Fire Starting Materials: depending on the time of year and location there could be fire bans up, but it never hurts to bring this stuff along anyways. Lighters, lint, flint and tender, matches; whatever your preference, just don’t light the whole forest on fire.
Rope and Bag: to put food and other smelly stuff in for night storage (bear bag). Also handy if someone is being super annoying.

Other Equipment: (not everyone needs this stuff on their person. A good long discussion beforehand about who is bringing what can help sort this out)
Plates and Utensils: these are not totally needed unless you plan of cooking hot meals that can’t be held in or eaten by hand. Also, you better have some way to wash them or the animals will come do it for you.
Camera: to record the cannibalism first hand so there is no doubt.
Cash: you never know when you may find a forest wondering Gucci salesperson. Actually, you never know when trouble may hit and you need to buy supplies. This is America remember, you’re never THAT far from something; even if it is rapist hillbillies.
Cell Phone: I know this pretty much goes against in whole getting away from technology idea, but if you keep it off and for emergency use only it’s okay.
Walking Stick: some people like the extra stability these provide.
Fishing Pole: I guess some people enjoy sitting and waiting.
Duct Tape: come on, do I need to explain this?
Sun Screen: I wanted to put this on the do NOT bring list, but global warming and all demands I allow it to come along. You see sun screen is an item that smells and continues to smell long after use. Animals can smell it and are attracted to it. But as long as your final use for the day is four or five hours before you sleep it will be okay, maybe. This also goes for tooth paste!

Do Not Bring:
Bug Spray: yeah no one likes being bitten by bugs, but the last time I checked, being bitten by a bear wasn’t high on too many people’s lists either. Sure 9 out of 10 times it’s a raccoon or other harmless creature that smells it on you while you’re sleeping, but are you willing to chance it the one time it’s not? (Oh and just so you know, if you’re in North America, it may not be a bear, but there is something out there that can smell it and can hurt you. Scout’s honor.) If the bugs are bothering you, just throw some dirt on yourself. Oh I’m serious.
Deodorant: see bug spray.

There are tons of other things I haven't mentioned. If you are genuinely interested contact me, if not then take a hike.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Picture Project 8, Amadeus

So finally getting back on track with the Best Picture Project! Our apologies for the two week hiatus! Half marathons, Thor and life in general has kept us busy. When we had time, we didn't feel like thinking much. Can you blame us?!?!

Amadeus, 1984

Soooooo we resumed BPP reviews with Amadeus, the 1984 Best Picture Winner. Now, I had seen this movie prior to watching it with the husband. However, I saw it in 8th grade choir class and I believe I was only 13 or 14 at the time. I remembered some, but not enough to excuse me from sharing my thoughts on the film!

So Amadeus from my understanding is a very loosely based historical and mainly fictional tale of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I, a former piano student and closeted lover of classical music in general (in fact I am listening to Mozart's "Requiem" as I type this review!) love Mozart. I think his work is probably my favorite. Even if you claim to dislike classical music, I can almost guarantee you that you would recognize some of Mozart's songs. Soooo, my memories from this film were that it was 1. Weird and 2. Entertaining enough that I remember liking it. I was very excited to see how my 26 year-old self thoughts would compare with my 14 year-old memory thoughts of the movie.

While the film does focus on Mozart, it is told from the perspective of Antonio Salieri, an Italian composer. As a 14 year-old, an age where you often see the world in black or white, I remember thinking of Salieri as the evil villain. Upon my recent viewing of Amadeus, I was able to understand Salieri more. The dude is clearly mentally unstable as the film progresses, but his reasons for his hatred of Mozart, I can see. Salieri worked hard and always wanted to be a magnificent composer, so much so that he promised God he would only focus on that and not on relations with women, ect. He wanted it so bad and then in rolls Mozart, a laughing, non-serious clownish character who things seem to naturally come easy to. I can see why Salieri felt so threatened and jealous considering he felt as though he worked hard and would never be great like Mozart. While Salieri was jealous and didn't like Mozart's behavior, it is CLEAR throughout the film that he RESPECTED Mozart's music. So much so that he pretty much tells Mozart he is the best composer he has ever known.

Salieri was probably one of the few of Mozart's time who knew how amazing and talented Mozart actually was. As the film shows, which is historically accurate, when Mozart dies, he is buried like a commoner. His exact grave is still unknown to this day. Salieri got it though...he knew that Mozart's work would be lasting and that he would be appreciated beyond his time because of the brilliance of his music...which I think further fueled Salieri's disgust that he didn't possess the same musical abilities as Mozart. Now of course as the film progresses, Salieri develops a plan to mess with Mozart and God (as he believes God is laughing at him by making Mozart better)...which comes the "villain notion." When all is said and done though, I think Salieri regretted the things he did. He still may be jealous (and of course insane), but I think it is clear that he felt bad for his actions by the film's end.

Above all this film is really great and looks awesome for being made in 1984. I still find it weird and the Mozart character weird, but in a good way, not the creepy way that I did when I was younger. The acting, costumes and makeup for this movie are top notch! Now when you do watch this, it is LONG so be prepared for that. I don't find it boring though...I know some people might, but I do think it tells a great story even though much of it is said to be fiction. So watch Amadeus and enjoy a good movie with of course, fantastic music. Even though I haven't heard of the other movies that were against Amadeus for BP, I would still say this film is certainly deserving of its Oscar win!

-The Wife

Finally we get a little class up in here! What's classier than Oscar winning films about classical composers? I'm rocking some classical music right now for moar braaain powarzzz! I'm going to go off topic for just a moment to say that all musicians today are lazy. They all whine so much about how difficult it is to create their music. Try writing a symphony. Okay I can't even sing but who's counting?

Anyways, I'm totally out of the writing mood tonight, but this has to go in the morning, so here goes. I enjoyed Amadeus very much. For a film as old as I am, it holds up very well. This is due to the fantastic script and  non-reliance on special effects. The movie was filmed in Vienna. Everything looked so good and so correct. I used to love the computer graphics and the green screening; now I simply wish to watch something real, something truthful, not necessarily truthful in historical accuracy, but in humanity. Fact or not Salieri's motives are sound. He worked so hard to be great and this boy comes to town and is better than him without even trying. I can really relate to that. I don't know about the whole plot to murder him, but I can understand working so hard without reward.

So what can I say? The movie very much deserved it's Oscar. It was enjoyable from the first glances of full frontal male nudity after only five minutes to the final crazy blessing of the films main character as he traveled the asylum in his wheel chair. It's sad in a way that he felt so consumed by one facet of his life that he allowed it to destroy him.

-Hobo Dan

Saturday, May 21, 2011

E3 2011 Preview

I like to talk about video games. Do you? Of course you do; now have a drink of kool aide and let’s have a chat. Why the sudden decision to discuss games on this blog? Well I want to and it’s my damned blog, so I will. It also help to know that E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) is just around the corner and is sure to provide a lot of fun topics of discussion. E3 is the game industry’s main trade show. Most of the major developers attend and announce a wide range of games and hardware. It's also just a great way to get your epeen hard. So over the next few Saturdays my friend Alex and I are going to have at some of the most intriguing topics leading into the show held June 7-9.

I know the first thing most of you want to hear about when talking about E3 is the impending Wii 2 announcement. We will get to that next week in a full blow post dedicated just to Nintendo’s little Wii Stream or Wii Nii or Project CafĂ©; what ever they are calling it. I think it is important to note we know nothing about it. Everything we’ve heard is total speculation other than it does exist. I guess next week could be considered more of a wish list? I’ve already said too much. I guess I really will be interested to see what information we really do get at E3 2011. It seems like a lot of developers have been announcing things away from E3 in recent years. Not to mention giant developers like Blizzard have their own shows completely; so they may more efficiently bathe in our money and tears. The big three console makes (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) usually roll out the red carpet though. We pretty much know what Nintendo’s show is going to be about. What about Sony and Microsoft? Maybe Sony’s big announcement will be the rebirth of their online network (if it's still not completely back up by June... should Sony even show up at all)? Microsoft will probably try to convince us how awesome Kinect is, despite having to rearrange your entire living space just to use it.

I am also intrigued by a relatively new comer to E3. Mojang, the minds behind Minecraft, will be there! Okay, everyone roll your eyes now because I’m talking about Minecraft again. It really has been the most creative game of the past year. The idea behind it is so simple. It really lets the user generate the content, and I believe user generated content is going to be a large part of the future of gaming. Not only Minecraft, I’m excited to see what all the independent developers are going to bring to the table. The market is saturated with Call of Duty clones and the like. These young upstart developers can’t rely on flashy graphics and huge advertising budgets to make it. They have to make solid game play that pushes the envelope to get noticed. I think they are going to change gaming the same way their big budget counter parts did fifteen years ago when they were all just getting started. So please everyone, support indy gaming.

On a personal note before I let Alex have the floor, I do hope to hear something about Too Human 2. Recently it was reported that the game is not dead, as most people have thought. I may be in the minority, but it is one of my favorite games this console generation. It is fresh and new for its genre. It is also addictive and I’m still playing it two years post release. That says something about it I think. Or I am just a fanboy; wouldn't be the first time I've been called that.

-Hobo Dan

Hello, all. I am the man known simply as Alex, and I’m here to talk about video games. Why me? Well I own almost every system known to man and have been playing video games since before I could read. I also assume that if you really don’t care about games you’ve already stopped reading, or are already slogging through Hobo Dan’s babble and won’t mind reading mine as well.

E3 is upon us. It seems every year is a toss up as to whether or not E3 has good news to tell the industry and its patrons. Since we’re saving our speculations for a later post, I’ll leave the real info out until then. What I can say is that this: I’m hoping for some new IPs (intellectual properties). The Call of Duty series is becoming a Madden-esque yearly installment and Final Fantasy has hit rock bottom. We need new ideas. What will be the next Devil May Cry, Guitar Hero, or Shadow of the Colossus? Okay, maybe it doesn’t matter for CoD because they could make game with only one new feature and the sheep would flock to the store throwing their money at cashiers. Personally, I’m hoping for bowel voiding upon character death as the newest feature.

For us gamers E3 is pretty much a giant cock tease. We get pictures, trailers, demos, and announcements for upcoming games set to release in the next year or two. The big 3 (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) and various 3rd party developers use this venue to start fervor for their next big blockbuster. What does this year hold? Who knows? Speculation starts next week so tune in!

-Alex

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Damn Pants

I must be fat as hell. How else can you explain the fear my pants have of my giant ass? They run from their seams screaming at the first squatting glance of my impending anus. Granted if I were the seat of my pants I'd be pretty pissed about being constantly scratched and farted in. But that is the job of pants, so get the job done! Boom. But these damned pants I've been hanging out in are cowards. Cowards! Can't handle a few squat lifts? Wuss. I mean all I ask is that I can walk around and do normal work related activities without having to worry about my pants shredding themselves apart at the shear thought of bending over.

Okay, so I guess you may have figured I'm having some pants trouble. Four pairs of pants in three years at my current job have split right up the ass seam. All of them at work. Three of them were small and unnoticeable, the fourth pair (and first) is its own dreadful little story.

You see children, I'd only been at the job for a few months. I was also the only man in the office so, naturally, I got plenty of hazing. So a few people were at lunch one day. It was me and a supervisor manning the place. I squatted down to pick up a rather heavy item. I knew as soon as I heard the rip. Unlike the other three rips, this one was huge. I mean from balls to belt loop. Any other normal man would have went to his supervisor and explained. But as you all know, I'm no mere mortal man. In my panic and frenzy to avoid anyone seeing the incident I carefully stole a stapler and moved to the mens room. In the restroom I pulled down my pants and attempted to staple the pants shut at the inside seam. I pulled myself together and remembered I only had twenty minutes until lunch break. So I walked back to my station, moved a chair to block my rear side and worked.

Twenty infinie minutes later I dashed out to my car and got in. The staples didn't hold when I sat down. They ripped apart, some flew right into my ass. Sure. So I drove to Wal Mart because being new to the job I only had the one pair of pants. As with all my great stories my final embarrassment ended at the Mart where I had to get out of my car and march into the store with my underwear clearly visible to all. I bought new damned pants; that would split in a few short months. Does this shit happen to everyone or is it just me?

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's Up?

Hey everyone. We greatly apologize for the lack of a Best Picture Project post for the second week in a row. Sometimes life catches up with you. I assure you we are hard at work selecting future films for the project and it will make its triumphant return. But because you've been so good, there will be an extra special Saturday post this week to go along with Thursday's. It's a whole post devoted to previewing E3 2011! Excited? Don't know what the hell E3 is? Love Wii jokes? Read on Saturday and all will be answered!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer 2011 Movie Preview

Holy cow it’s going to be some kind of summer movie season. There are so many films coming down the pipe that I’m going to have to change my format a little. You see, if I had money, I’d just go see a ton of them. Unfortunately I don’t poop cash, despite how many ads I run on this site. So, different from how I did things for the Spring Movie Preview, the categories will be: 1: Go see it in theaters if at all possible (Unfortunately for me, some won’t be) 2: wait for Netflix or rental, and of course 3: if given the option of watching this movie or jumping off a bridge into a shallow river of acid spitting piranhas; choose the latter. Obviously there will be the super secret option 4: My wife is making me see it against my will and I am filling a lawsuit claiming cruel and unusual punishment. Huzza!

Hobo with a Shotgun
Okay this isn't really a summer movie but I needed to address this film to address a larger issue I'm seeing develop in the film industry. This looks just terrible. The budget looks even worse. How did this get made? I'll tell you how. The movie world is looking for the next great cult classic. Back in the day, movies became cult classics. Now days movie are made to be cult films. The fans no longer get to choose. I seriously doubt Ed Wood made Plan 9 from Outer Space with the specific intent for it to become a cult classic. This annoys me. It also annoys me that some people seem to be intentionally making bad movies for this purpose. Some of them (Titanic 2) are so bad they have to be on purpose. If the people who make them legitimately believe they are good then I have less faith in humanity then previously thought. I won't be seeing this. If you do and I am completely wrong about it, let me know. May-ish?

X-Men: First Class
Another X-Men movie, really? I thought the first four Wolverine movies earned us a break so we could to go back to the comics and cartoon show and remember how awesome X-Men used to be. You know before Hollywood got their claws on the franchise. But in all seriousness this movie doesn’t look that bad. My wife also pointed out this is about as close as we are going to get to a true Magneto movie. The fact that she is into these kinds of movies enough to have an opinion like that is awesome enough for me. I’m going to throw this into category 2 but with a strong chance of category 4 because apparently my wife is a bigger X-Men fan than me? Hey, it can’t be any worse than Scream 4. Can it? June 3

Super 8
So shaky cam enthusiast J.J. Abrams is making a monster movie tribute to Stephen Spielberg? Insert random Dawson's Creek reference. I kind of wish this was Cloverfield 2, but whatever. Actually, in all honestly, I wish this was J.J.'s next Star Trek movie. Nothing about the previews for this excite me. Child actors as the main characters: meh. I know it's a tribute to Close Encounters and other Spielberg stuff but I'll make this outrageous statement anyways, it feels like its been done before; by Spielberg no less. Stephen probably did it better too; at least he knows how to hold a camera still during filming. Mr. Abrams really should stick to what he does best — producing two or three really good seasons of a TV show before leaving it to die so he can reboot a sacred science fiction franchise, changing it in unnecessary ways. Don't see it unless you poop money. June 10

Green Lantern
I have to admit I don't know much about Green Lantern the comic. Sorry nerds. I will say this doesn't look too bad at all. Ryan Reynolds doesn't really annoy me as much as I think he should. He is funny enough to not want to kill him. Sometimes what these truly outlandish comic movies need is a little humor and people will give them a reality break (Thor, Iron Man). I do find it ironic that Mr. Reynolds, who has professed his desire to halt his career in order to star in fifteen+ Deadpool movies, has found his way to the DC universe, playing a very major character. It really doesn't look terrible, but I'll wait for video or rental or Netflix; damn what the hell do I call it these days? June 17

Transformers 3
They made a second one? That’s my best guess; that or they just can’t count, but come on, most people have at least three free fingers for counting. The first one didn’t thrill me. I didn’t see the second one. I would have to do way too much back logging to be prepared to see this one. Okay, all I’d have to do is see the second one, but that seems like so much work. I view this like I did with G.I. Joe a few years ago. There are some things from our childhood best left there. I don’t care how many robots are in this. I don’t care how many skanky chicks wearing short shorts there are. That damned kid from Even Stevens helped George Lucas and Steven Spielberg rape Indiana Jones and he isn’t even slightly funny. Super awesome special effects don’t carry a movie for me anymore. Not to mention the first one almost gave me a seizure with its shaky camera action scenes where it’s a true struggle just to see what’s going on. Sometimes I’d like to have a clear view of the action, almost like I’m watching a movie! If I wanted to have a blurry, obstructed view of a poorly choreographed fight I’d go to an NHL game. I know most of you will probably like this movie and that’s your right as Americans. I will not be seeing it, nor renting it. Maybe I’ll catch it on TV in five years edited down to two hours with commercial breaks to ease the pain. July 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world, but even I can admit that this is the biggest movie of the summer. Nothing else even comes close. Some of you may argue that Captain America finally coming to the big screen is huge. I will counter with Cap being the first film in its line, this Potter film is the end. After this summer the Potter films are wrapped. It should be a huge emotional, action packed finally. I don’t care if you’ve read the books or only seen the movies; this is the movie everyone should be waiting for this summer. Go see it in theaters because it’s the last time you will be able to do so for this franchise. Well, at least until the reboot emo version surfaces in a few years. July 15

Another Earth
This looks like a thoughtful little blend of science fiction and drama that I would really like to get a chance to see. I've never heard of it before I saw the trailer. I don't know who any of the actors are. The trailer grabbed me and that's what you're looking for from a them right? Netflix when I get the chance. July 22

Captain America
I’ll be seeing this one in theaters despite my concern that I’ve never seen Chris Evans play a character who is not a huge asshole. If you don’t know, Captain America is not an asshole. I do have high hopes for this film. A super hero movie set in World War II should be awesome. Hugo Weaving is the villain, which is never a bad thing. Tommy Lee Jones is also in this, and he makes everything better, except Batman Forever. This is also the final lead in movie for The Avengers coming in 2012. This should give us a great idea just what kind of quality to expect out of that movie. I’m still pretty skeptic about how well the Avengers is going to work. Captain America looks pretty good though. As long as it doesn’t get bogged down while trying to bridge the gap between World War II and the current time line in which the Avenger movie takes place, I think it will be fine. I’m not expecting a movie the quality of the first Iron Man, but still a good film. And maybe I’ll even be pleasantly surprised. July 22

The Devil’s Double
I was just surfing Apple’s movie trailers page one day when I saw the preview for this. Hey, it looks pretty damned good. An action bio-pic about one of Saddam Hussein’s sons recruiting a body double for himself; what’s not to like? Sadly this will be saved for Netflix because I have to go see all the nerdy movies this summer. If you aren’t legally bound to see every comic book/ fantasy/ science fiction film coming out this summer then please go see this and let me know how it was. Netflix will be a long wait. It will have to make its way past all those seasons of Frasier they haven’t put on instant play before getting to my mail box. July 29

Cowboys & Aliens
My wife laughed out loud when we saw the trailer for this at Thor. I didn't turn around to look, but I could feel sweaty nerd hate coming our way. I have to agree with her, this looks kind of stupid. It's like Hollywood ran out of good Western ideas and good Alien ideas, so they decided to mate them and see how that worked. Hey, getting Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford does give it some respectability, but lets not forget how popular Kevin Costner was before he did Waterworld. Big names don't always make good movies. I'll probably rent so I can at least make fun of it without being super hypocritical. July 29

The Smurfs
Do I really need to say any more about this? Don't see it. Don't rent it. Don't support this shameless money grab. Do kids today even know what the Smurfs are? Isn't that a time in world history we'd all like to forget? I have to create a special fifth category for this one. My wife wants to see it. I refuse! So what does happen when the unstoppable force and the immovable object collide? Find out on July 29

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Does anyone else hear nails on a chalk board? Sequels, reboots, broken records oh my! I want something new please. Go on, I'll wait. August 5

Conan the Barbarian
Shall we pander to the shallow 3D crowd some more? Seriously, this trailer is filled with more cheap 3D thrills than the Transformers 3 trailer was filled with explosions. I'm not sure why they decided to reboot this franchise now and hook it with a trend I hopes dies soon. I guess that means I hope Conan dies with it. Bruiting hero goes after evil oppressor. Yeah yeah, I've seen this one before. Oh that's right, I saw it the first time around. Someone please give me a job writing scripts in Hollywood. I have no resume, but I promise not to write a sequel, reboot or base it off a book or other existing material. Why god why? Umm... category 3. August 19

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: Thor

Number one complaint about Thor? I have a job and can’t get to a movie show time at seven or eight so I’m forced to see it in 3D at 9:40! Did you hear me? 3D!!!!!!! And guess what, I hated it even more than I thought I would. 3D sucks and now I’m speaking from experience! It actually made the picture quality of the film worse! How can you people watch this crap? I cannot wait to get this on Blu-ray so I can actually see just how beautiful it is. Oh, and talk about Highway robbery! You have to pay five extra dollars a ticket! I’m lucky I didn’t have to go to the ER after wearing the saw blades they were trying to pass off as glasses for two hours. My poor wife had to wear the horrible things over her glasses. The 3D effect itself is unimpressive and adds ZERO to the film. What a stupid gimmick. The first and last 3D film I will ever be seeing. The next time the only show time available is 3D, I’ll just go home.

The evening started great as we both got home from work and began to bicker over dinner locations and movie times. I failed to stave off the 3D showtime and dealt with it the best way I knew how; bitch about it constantly and become utterly bitter, not only towards the movie, but to everyone one I met as well. That in mind it was great to have dinner next to soulful voiced black guy talking very loudly about his love of the wine he was drinking. The perfect little hillbilly family behind us was awesome too. They kept going on and on about muffin tops and Korea. I was very confused. I also felt trapped in a strange gay love triangle as our male waiter and another across the room kept making eyes at each other. I kept getting caught in between these looks of passion. That was about the moment I stopped eating the bread sticks.

The movie itself was fantastic. It was fun and funny and just a great adventure. I've read some reviews from people complaining that the romance in the movie was rushed. They say it's unrealistic for Thor to foster a real relationship with Jane in basically the weekend he spends on Earth. To them I say: is that relationship less believable than the Norse God of Thunder traveling the cosmos on a rainbow bridge slaying frost giants as he wields a magical hammer so heavy only he can manage to carry it; yet somehow he can throw it at his enemies as if it's a boomerang? Some people are just looking for things to pick at; says the pot. Iron Man 2 was good and this was way better. The Avengers is starting to look better and better. Also remember to stay after the credits for super nerd-gasim fun. My wife even had one!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Flying Pig Weekend!

Good day everyone. Due to my week long celebration of the movie Thor, I have passed the blogging duties to my dear Wife. She will be informing you of the great weekend we just had where she participated in the Flying Pig Half Marathon. Also it is likely I will blog about Thor on Saturday go be sure to check in. Peace.

-Hobo Dan

I know this blog is a long one...but the husband told me to not hold back and to describe the whole experience!

This past weekend was one of excitement, accomplishment, goal-reaching and fun. To quote Charlie Sheen, it was WINNING! I came, saw and conquered "the flying pig!" In other words, I finally ran my first half marathon on Sunday! I have been running since third grade and ran competitively throughout junior high, high school and college. Other than hurdles, I had ran every track event from the 100 to the 10K.

After my post-collegiate running career, I have done a decent job keeping up with my running, but primarily for fitness purposes. I do not run at the intensity that I did in college nor do I have time to do so. Shortly after college graduation I set a goal for myself: run a half marathon. However, it took a few years for me to actually do it and I began to wonder if I had the guts and drive anymore to do so. It was something I wanted to do, but to be blunt, I was scared. A half marathon is stepping out of my comfort zone...BIG TIME! With encouragement from the husband and some of my running club members, I realized that I could do it. I began doing long runs again (something I hadn't really done much of except for days when I just felt like going out and doing more miles), and decided to set my sites on The Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. The race was voted by Runners World magazine as one of the Top 10 most fun marathons in the country or something of that nature. Also, I mean the theme is a flying pig, SO CUTE!

Sooooo as the week of the Flying Pig came, I unfortunately caught a sore throat/head cold. YUCK! I hate being sick! I know what typically comes with a sore throat and I was determined to not let myself get worse so I tried everything. Cough drops, massive amounts of Claritan D, ect. The husband suggested gargling salt water...which I found gross, until Internet research indicated that this was a good idea. So I spent the days leading up to the race gargling massive amounts of salt water. Tasty! While I didn't magically get completely healthy, I know the salt water actually helped and my throat didn't feel nearly as bad! Winning!

Still feeling not 100 percent, I decided I was good enough to go running wise, so we kept our hotel reservation in Cincinnati and headed off to conquer "the pig" Saturday morning. This was the first time since my last race in college that I was actually nervous about running again! My only expectation was to finish the race, but because it was unknown and something I had never done, the nerves kicked in hardcore. I asked the husband one thing: to not go all Daniel and complain and rant about the traffic. He agreed to do so, however, this promise lasted only about 20 minutes as we got stuck in traffic in Gallipolis due to a tractor pulling a van. LOL. Sure. Well after we got our dog checked in at his "doggie camp" for the weekend, we finally got out of traffic and made it to Cincinnati in good time!

We immediately went to the Flying Pig Expo so I could register for the half marathon! Parking of course was an adventure, but everything worked out. I registered and then the reality finally slapped me in the face: "OMG I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO RUN A HALF MARATHON TOMORROW!" The expo provided a great distraction though. It was HUGE and so well organized, like the entire Flying Pig Marathon event. There was basically a store in the expo, so along with my race "swag" I got some other goodies, including a pink Flying Pig t-shirt and hot pink arm warmers. Winning! After all the expo madness and checking into our hotel, As a pre-race tradition that dates back to my high school cross country days, we went to Carrabbas for dinner so I could carbo-load with some pre-race pasta and bread! Yum yum!

Sunday race morning came early. VERY EARLY. The race started at 6:30 a.m., but in order to park at Paul Brown Stadium (which is where the race started) we had to be there no later than 5:30...which meant I got up at 3:50 a.m. I'd wager to say I got about 2 hours of sleep total Saturday night. Between the annoying hotel air conditioner, my head cold crud and my nerves, sleep really was out of the question. I woke up with a familiar nervous feeling that I used to always get before races. For my pre-race meal I forced down a Snickers Marathon Bar (not good but a quick fix and better than those awful chewy PowerBars!) I also did another old pre-race tradition of mine: PEED ABOUT A MILLION TIMES. Why oh why do I always pee soooo much when my nerves are up? Luckily, the Flying Pig was also organized in this department and had a HUGE row of multiple porta-potties near the start. After pacing and semi-stretching, the rain began to fall just in time for the runners to go to their starting corrals or "pig pens" as the Flying Pig called them! I was in Pig Pen B (pig pen/corrals are based on projected finish times). My pig pen was the second fastest one. I had to leave Daniel and head to that area alone. I was surrounded by many runners who had running partners or at least knew each other. However, during the 10 minute wait in our pig pen, I ended up making some friends and chatting with people. That's the beauty of distance runners, who for the most part, (except for the witch with a b who tried to accuse me of line jumping during one of my multiple porta potty trips!) are always very friendly. That was nice and made things more relaxed.

Finally, the race started...as more than 30,000 people were in the race and I was in Pig Pen B it was several seconds later (maybe even a minute) before I actually crossed the start line. This of course did not effect times, as all participants wore a timing chip on their shoe that officially started their time when they crossed the start line. The first two miles were insane... "bumper to bumper" traffic of people! These miles were quite slow as there were so many people and not a lot of room to move. I don't even remember seeing mile 1 or the time because all of a sudden I saw the marker and time for mile 2! These miles (although slow) went by fast. While I didn't exactly have a time goal, I knew I could be going faster and finally "traffic" began to be less tight and I picked up my pace. We ran over three bridges (which I loved!) and were in Kentucky for a short stint of the race. My biggest memory of Kentucky was laughing at the "Big Daddy Liquor" store we ran by lol. Yes, I am so mature! When we crossed the third bridge back into downtown Cincinnati, I knew the supposed difficult section of the race, called "the climb" was coming up. I had taken a virtual course tour thanks the beauty of YouTube...so I braced myself for the hills to come. The climb itself wasn't nearly as bad as what I thought it would be. A lot of the runners who had written course reviews describing "the climb" as brutal have obviously never suffered through Agony Hills repeats in Charleston. However, the hills were by no means easy and were still quite a challenge. You would think a hill would be done but then it would keep going! Finally, I hit mile 8 and knew the bulk of the main hill part was done. That being said, I would describe the whole course as not really flat, but a "rolling course." Much of the hill part took place in the beautiful Eden Park, which also was a nice distraction. I like to have nice things to look at while I run, and it was gorgeous there! I went through mile 9, which had some bit of a downhill. But, I really began to feel fatigued in mile 9...although I made it through the hills quite fine and didn't find them to be as scary as I thought, they really made me tired for the remainder of the run. At mile 10, I hit the dreaded "wall." I knew I only had 3.1 miles left...but I was exhausted at this point. Mile 11, while having a major downhill, was probably my worst one. I know I slowed down and of course blew some sweet snot rockets thanks to my head cold...I am a classy lady! I remember thinking on this mile that I couldn't wait to finish and that maybe I wouldn't do another half after this. Then mile 12 came and I realized... ONE MILE LEFT. JUST ONE! THAT'S IT! I got a breath of energy back and as I neared Great American Ballpark, I knew I was soooo close to crossing "run a half marathon" off my bucket list! In the final 100 meters or so, I unleashed my good ole "track speed" and passed quite a few people with my finishing kick. I clocked in at under two hours, which was good enough for me and my first half marathon effort.

Crossing the finish line was amazing! It was such a rush of adrenaline. Despite nearly puking on one of the volunteers as I leaned over after crossing the line (another oh so wonderful running tradition of mine), I was instantly filled with happiness. As I walked down the finishing area, I was immediately given my finisher's medal. I also decided at that point that even though I was sore, exhausted and drenched (it literally rained the entire race), that I would definitely do another half marathon and would have to do the Pig next year too! I hadn't felt that good about myself in a long time, and it was nice to have that feeling of gratification back again. The adrenaline from finishing was like a drug and now I need more! As I collected snacks in the finishers area and made my way out of the "tunnel" to find the husband post-race (which took an hour by the way lol) I cried. I actually did it. I kept saying that to myself. Running this half marathon was just the emotional boost I needed.

Finally, I found the husband and we walked around downtown as much as I could...but ultimately decided to go to the car. LOL. I was sore, tired and ready to change into dry clothes, meet up with our Cinci friends and get some post-race Skyline Chili!

Overall, the race experience was amazing. The Flying Pig organizers put together one awesome, well-run event! Not to mention the support of the city of Cincinnati and the cities in Kentucky that we ran through. Every single step of the race had spectator support, cheers, bands and entertainment of some kind! It all helped motivate me and the other participants sooo much! They also had gatorade and water offered throughout the whole race! With my sore throat, this was AWESOME and very helpful! I feel like I was probably spoiled doing the Flying Pig for my first half because it was so huge and the crowd support was soooooo awesome! The post race snacks were also amazing. I had the best yogurt I've ever had. It is now my quest to find it. They even had non-conventional post race snacks that many people shockingly seemed to enjoy. I've never seen so many people swig down chocolate milk immediately after racing. Not for me, but to each is his own!

Upon completing the race, I also found that some runners and spectators, including Daniel, got a full view of one runner. A naked runner man that is. Manbearpig?!?! Evidently, according to the news report the next day, the man jumped in the race at some point (he was not a registered participant) and well, ran naked! He actually had to be tazed! I am glad I did not see the naked dude... but have to give him props for being so "ballsy." Hahaha to cheesy jokes!

Anyway, this weekend was awesome and an experience that I will always treasure and never forget. Thanks to all those who supported and encouraged me, especially the husband who is and always has been my "biggest fan!" I still can't believe that the girl who used to complain about having to run the 3200 voluntarily signed up for a half marathon and completed the race...and further more, enjoyed it!



-The Wife

Monday, May 2, 2011

Best Picture Project 7, The King's Speech

Welcome back to the Best Picture Project! Hey guess what? I have no idea what we are going to watch next week! That means it's going to remain a mystery for now. Maybe I'll tweet about it when we figure it out. please enjoy and have a great week.

The King's Speech, 2010

We wanted to see The King’s Speech before our Best Picture Project and even before it won Best Picture. So needless to say, we were very excited when this movie was finally released and we got to watch it! As usual, Blu-ray makes everyone look better and the film was crisp, clear and neat in terms of looks. The movie lived up to my expectations and was emotional and motivating. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were fantastic. The King’s Speech really proved what hard work and determination can do, and was very inspirational.

I also enjoyed seeing actors from some of my favorite films in this movie. Rush (Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean!) Then of course the Harry Potter people — Bellatrix Lestrange, Dumbledore and Peter Pettigrew! Hahaha. I really don’t want to elaborate or be spoilerish about this movie since it was recently released to Blu-ray/DVD. I highly recommend it though if you would like to sit down and watch an inspiring piece with good acting. While it didn’t “wow” me like other Best Picture winners have (Slumdog Millionaire, for example), it was certainly worthy of its Best Picture win. Personally, I found Toy Story 3, which was nominated against The King’s Speech, to be more moving and I believe it is just as worthy of Best Picture as The King’s Speech, but I think we still have a long time before the academy would give an animated film this award (even if the animated film, like Toy Story 3, had depth and meaning).

Who knows though? Anything can happen!

-The Wife

Before I begin I’d like to state for the record that I am very tired of hearing about monarchs from another continent. I don’t care what they are doing; getting married, divorced, sex change, midgets; I don’t care. I’m tired them. Why do people in America care so much about this wedding anyway? I thought part of the deal with the whole “American Revolution” thing was that we didn’t have to give a crap about stupid British traditions anymore. The only Princes I care about are fresh ones.

Can I resist making a stutter joke? Why don’t they make B batteries? That joke is mean and stolen. Sorry. Hey, I really liked this movie though! The King’s Speech is a very well made film about some British Duke with a stammer. He only gets to be the King because his Dad dies and his brother likes to screw divorced American chicks. So now he is King and Hitler is going all Blitzkrieg in Europe (Nazi reference two weeks in a row!) Everyone is scared and he has to give a big speech to calm them all down. His wife hires Captain Barbosa to teach him to speak without choking on his own tongue. I hope I didn’t spoil it too much. It really is a fine film. The acting is absolutely through the roof. The story is good, although somewhat anticlimactic. I hate to be a downer but he gives this great speech and then what? Oh, yeah that’s right, World War Two ensues anyways. I know that is what actually happened. I know his speech lifted up the people of the country, but history remains the same. The personal journey the character goes on is the real triumph of the film.

Totally worthy of Best Picture in every way.

-Hobo Dan