Thursday, May 26, 2005

Yub Yub, bitches.

You'd think that after the lengthy nitpicking I did on H²G² I would have reams of stuff to say about Star Wars. Yeah, I will soon... but not today.

Honestly, there's quite a lot I could gush about it, both positive and negative, but I want to get in at least a second viewing before I go down that road. There is one thing I can unequivocally say about it right now though... and I'd get the vast majority of the fan community to agree with me, I wager.

This movie is not for kids. Don't take your kindergartner to see it.

Seriously. I saw at least half a dozen 6 year-olds in the theater with me when I went. Now, I'm not saying this movie will scar the little tykes for life and ensure you massive therapy bills in 10 years... but use your fucking heads, people. It's PG-13 for a reason here.
What part of "a man's descent into a living hell and the forfeiture of his soul to evil wherein he is party to hunting down and killing truckloads of people" makes this sound like a movie for kids to be seeing? Seriously, just because R2D2 acts up a couple times doesn't make this harmless Buster Keaton or Three Stooges type violence. Even the casual dork knows the story behind Darth Vader, and that it certainly isn't a happy one.

On wednesday and thurdsay before the movie opened there was a good deal of press (mostly just duplicated coverage of the same associated press article) about George Lucas possibily editorializing on the Bush administration. Given that I was disappointed with possible Bush-bashing in H²G² vis a vis Zaphod, it's entirely likely that I'm going to go apeshit crazy about this... especially with it happening just a few weeks later. Well it's possible I will, but again, I'm going to defer until I get a second viewing under my belt.

Moving on... It's often been said that if you really want to succed as a writer, you should keep a notepad with you throughout the day, so you can jot down any cool ideas you have, rather than forget them and have the world lose them forever... and not get paid for them either. So yeah, I really should have started doing that a week ago because I've thought of at least 10 annoying things semi-related to theaters that would go so well in this post. As it stands though, I'm just a guy with smelly food for a name that's bitching about little kids in graphic movies.

Ah well...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The rivulet, delighting in its strength, ran with a young man's speed.

Hey again there, kids. It's your old pal Stew here, smelling April Fresh... and man does that piss me the hell off. Why, you ask... well, lemme 'splain.

You see, without exception I loathe the fragrances that New Jersey laboratories have forced consumers to reek of for so many long years. It's not out of any allergy or sensitivity either; I just think they just stink. When clothing is laundered, by definition dirt and odors that don't belong on those garments are washed away and removed. If clothes were intended to smell like "Ocean Breeze," "Mountain Summer," or "Sunday Afternoon Masturbation Session" then they would be shipped that way directly from the factory. So, if anything, clothes are supposed to smell like industrial textile dye.
Personally, I want my shirts to be shirt-scented. No more, no less.

There's got to be some sort of racket behind all of this... because really, we are talking about Jersey here. Otherwise, why the hell do all the "fragrance-free" versions of soaps cost more? Other then the pseudo-environmental shade of green that's on the label, what can possibly justify jacking up the price to take something out of the production process? Can you imagine if they tried this at your local Subway?

"I'd like a BMT on wheat please. Double cheese, with lettuce, pickles, and olives."
"Here you go sir. Enjoy."
"Hey thanks man... wait. Why are there cucumbers on my sandwich? I didn't order them."
"I apologize about the cucumbers sir, but the management has decided to add fragrant vegetables to all our sandwiches so that valued customers like you will feel more positive and healthy about eating at Subway."
"Despite your staggering level of candor, that's absolutely insane. I don't want cucumbers on my sandwich, they make me sick. Take them off, Jared."
"As you wish sir, that'll be 75 cents."
"You're fucking shitting me, right?"

Longtime readers can well imagine the parade of obscenities that logically follow. Believe me, it's not a pretty picture... I once spent the better part of an hour berating some hapless outsourced Indian customer service guy when an extra $1 charge showed up on my ISP bill. I'd damn sure go to fucking war on someone that tried to hijack my lunch.

What we're talking about in the average size bottle of laundry detergent isn't even as substantial as a couple of cucumber slices. (a vegetable that revolts me, but pleases many a thirty-something housewife) Because product fragrances are so intensely concentrated, individual packages of anything hold only a fraction of a drop. Even the Sam's Club size items.
Think about that. The average consumer (outside of chemistry majors) can't even measure how little fragrance is being taken out of their soap, yet we're stuck with a surcharge for not wanting to purchase it.

That's if you can even find a scent-free variety for sale. With luck, you'll find the tiny airplane liquor bottle sized soap stuck in the back of the top shelf. We all know that's a sucker's game, though. Even worse is going to the Whole-Earth HappyTofu Hippie Lovebead Co-Op. Price per ounce on the stuff those burnouts sell rivals the GDP of most South American nations, and The Stew's not made of money here... so for now, I'll have to be "Arctic Chill"-in and just resent it.

Hey, if you happen to manage a Costco or something: seriously dude, get someone on the phone and let's fix this shit. Or at least convince Proctor & Gamble to make a "cotton" scented Tide.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hey you evil motivator sucking on the Now & Later

For all the unwashed fanboy meatsacks that just can't wait to get their Jedi on, a little something to tide you over... at least until someone finances my long-desired wish to see a feature-length presentation of Jar-Jar being raped in prison.

Anyway, this is fucking hilarious. Click you will... I have forseen it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

There is nobody else in the world that I could do just absolutely nothing with

A thoroughly uneventful week. What can I say?

About the only noteworthy occurence is that I watched a LOT of "Chico & the Man" I taped off of Nick @ Nite... don't ask why, because I can't explain it. Suffice to say it seemed like a pretty good idea at the time.
Anyway, throughout the whole ordeal I kept waiting for someone to burst into the garage and yell "Gran'pa Joe, come quick! Charlie just found a golden ticket!"

Maybe I'm suffering from a Prinze overdose. I should be back to normal (relatively speaking) in a few days, I think.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I will come to your door, I will be sure to smile and be polite

This one's for you, Mom... I hope you're sportin some of that broadband love. You know, the kind where the zeroes in your monthly bill have spinners in them.

So without further ado... ladies and gentlemen: Clubber Lang.

I'm sure that drinking your milk and staying in school were also mentioned in the song, but got edited out by those bastards that tore down the Teen Center...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

When the night is cold and dark, you can see you can see light.

Never Forget. Never Again.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Deck the halls with advertising, 'tis the time for merchandising!

OK, so the last post wasn't very offensive at all. I aim to make up for that today. In spades.

Thanks to Bernie Hou, I now have knowledge of a website that sells various body fluids that originate from celebrities. In particular, urine. Why anyone would want to buy this, I'm not exactly sure... but there are several celebs listed, and a number of them are noted as having products that are "out of stock." Naturally, that implies that someone is making purchases. I'm sure eBay will be following suit soon enough...

But wait, as Ron Popeil taught us, there's more!

Urine is the most obvious of their products. They also sell skin cells, which is wierd but easier to obtain, I'm sure. (Look ma, it's Gary Busey's hand! Far out!) What sealed the deal for me though, was the A-Number-One product in their line:

Fecal Matter.

Those of you in public school know it as "shit." Yes, for the bargain basement price of $33 you can buy Burt Reynolds's shit. On the other hand, while they claim to be fresh out of Tom Green's shit, I found it on Amazon for ten bucks. Haha, I'm the most frugal poo-buyer there is!

So yes, people sell each other's shit on the internet... just thought you should all know. Enjoy your dinners.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Oh won't somebody stop and help a guy

I've had a couple days to chew it over and digest the coordinated images and sounds my cerebellum soaked up friday night, so it's time I shared them with your lucky selves.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was good. DAMN good. Naturally, there were ups and downs, but overall I was quite fucking impressed... must've been because I had my towel with me.
Yep, you read that right. While I normally don't get all dressed in costume for a movie, I am a dork at heart. (and bringing along a towel to the theater is a pretty hard costume to fuck up...) It actually came in pretty handy in that cold theater. It was no moon of Jaglan Beta, but still...

So yes, good and bad points. I'll start with my complaints, seeing as I'm pretty good at that. There are some medium-sized spoilers here, so if you're not looking for that, wait a couple days until I make fun of Hasselhoff or catch an athlete fucking ponies or something.

Right. Now for the rest of you (or the ones who are finally coming back to read this after seeing the film) read on and have your thoughts provoked... or simply be provoked, I'm cool with either one. Also, please note that because I sat through about 2 hours of dialogue done in English accents, I'll be speaking and typing in a similar manner for the rest of the week. It's just something that happens to me... deal with it.

While I understand that Mr. Adams himself wrote a good part of the script for the film, and that the story underwent various changes in each of its incarnations... there was a little too much "Hollywood" in it for me. I'll be polite to those of you that haven't seen it, and leave out the details of the Hollywood ending, suffice to say that it exists.

Another thing that really irked me, and frankly took me out of the film at a couple points was the depiction of Zaphod. Granted, he's described as a flaky ex-hippie self-promoter, and I think Sam Rockwell is a great actor... (see Confessions of a Dangerous Mind if you doubt me) But does the above sentence necessitate a bad George Bush impression simply to have a scene where everyone calls the President of the Galaxy stupid? Thanks Hollywood! Why not add a character named "Halliburton McStealallourmoneyandkilleveryoneforoil" while you're at it...
Perhaps I'm overreacting, but I'm simply stating that while it made for good comedy in some scenes, that scene in particular grated on me. It made me remember I was watching the whole thing in a theater with a bunch of strangers, rather than having a good time with a clever story... which is pretty much the antithesis of what a good movie should do.
According to the above-referenced description of Mr. Beeblebrox the Nothingth, can you name a different presidential impression that would be more fitting? Yeah, I can too... but that would offend the political sensibilities of a couple studio executives, so that's right out the window I'm sure.

Towels. There was at least one cool towel-related item that I was pleasantly surprised with. I absolutely loved the swordfight sound effects that were played when Ford brandished his towel as a weapon. Made me laugh every time.
Unfortunately, it only serves to highlight what was lacking in the towel department of the film. While any hoopy frood who knows where their towel is should be someone to be reckoned with, the absence of the Guide's entry on towels made Ford come off as an otherwise decent guy with a crazy-assed towel fetish. Not cool. Especially when you're watching the movie with an orange plaid towel around your neck. (and by a strange coincidence, I was.) I hope the towel entry is in the DVD... which ties in nicely to -

The overall length of the film. To start with such a huge trove of source material and end up with less than two hours of movie is fucking pathetic. Seriously. I think Lord of the Rings proved that audiences will check their goldfish-sized attention spans at the door if they're shown a GOOD film. Even another 10 or 15 minutes would have allowed a lot of great little things into the film that a lot of fans were hoping to see.
My short list would include:
  • The bit about the bypassplans being "on display" in a basement with no stairs in a locked file cabinet bearing a sign that said "beware the leopard." Seriously, leopard jokes have 15% more humor than regular ones.
  • More interaction with the guard on the Vogon Constructor Ship. I liked that he got to say "resistance is useless" but he didn't shout it, dammit.
  • Any of the multiple mentions of Eccentria Gallumbits (though I can understand leaving the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon 6 out of a family-friendly movie)
  • Last and certainly not least - Vroomfondel and Majikthise. While everyone likes Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod (I'm a Ford guy myself) I miss all the bit characters that get tied up in the search for the ultimate question. In fact, I DEMAND that my absolute favorite character in the ill-named trilogy may or may not be Vroomfondel!

Damn, that's a lot more nit-picking than I intended. I should emphasize that I really liked the movie, and will probably see it again. If not twice, depending on availability (and how often I see Star Wars) Furthermore, the things I liked far outweigh the ones I didn't, but it takes much less text to say "this was good." than it does to launch into a diatribe about why something wasn't exactly as I pictured it from a book written 26 years ago.

What roxxored my soxxors:

The Guide entries themselves were spot-on. The BBC TV show entires always seemed a bit cluttered to me, so the simple animations worked for me. Combine this with the outstanding voice work of Steven Fry, who once again provides the Voice of the Guide in the entries and narration of the film. This more than anything allowed me to really enjoy the film (and brought me back when Zaphod W. Bush took me out) Interestingly enough, Mr. Fry claims to hold the UK record for saying "fuck" the most times on a live broadcast... no wonder I respect him so.

The casting director. Fuck, but this was a perfectly cast movie. Rivaling the Cohen Brothers, even.
  • Initially, I was nervous about Mos Def playing a major role, (I thought he sucked in The Italian Job) but he made me completely reconsider his acting chops. Word to Mos's mother.
  • Arthur was pulled directly from the pages of the novel. Martin Freeman is great as a typical Englishman (who knows how to queue) once again. He was also in Shaun of the Dead, which I enjoyed... in a brain-eating way.
  • Zaphod, I've pretty much discussed above. While I don't like some parts of the performance, that's more of a directorial decision rather than a casting one. Sam Rockwell was the barmb.
  • Alan Rickman... fuck if I've even got a superlative for how good he was. He was Marvin - if that doesn't say it, nothing will.

Et Cetera, Et Cetera. Go see it already, instead of reading a fucking blog about it.