Tuesday, December 12

3 Short Specials to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

I love holiday movies. I love Christmas. And I don't always have the time, patience, or inclination to watch my favorite holiday classics. With work being extra busy and draining and precious little free time to be had, sometimes I just want something simpler than a traditional holiday movie.

Here are 3 cartoons (the "Freakazoid!" one is only about 12 minutes long), from my youth that are funny, sweet, Christmas-themed, and can be watched in the amount of time it takes to wrap a couple presents.

(Note: you can click on the video to go the dailymotion website and watch fullscreen and such.)

Freakazoid! - "In Army's Way"
PLOT - Freakazoid must stop the villainous Arms Akimbo from strong-arming (omg, pun not intended) local shop-owners and also find a great Christmas gift for his girlfriend

Pinky & the Brain - "A Pinky and The Brain Christmas"
PLOT - It's Christmas Eve and The Brain wants to take over the world. Pinky just wants to deliver his letter to Santa Claus. Good thing their plans actually line up for once.

Rocko's Modern Life - "Rocko's Modern Christmas"
PLOT - Rocko is feeling short on Christmas cheer, so he decides to have a holiday party. Also, elves have moved in across the street. 

Wednesday, December 6

Blog Posts I Won't Read

So my most recent Sunday Confessions post brought out a fair amount of "OMG, my feed has 8,000,000 unread posts in it and reading all those would be a wormhole into an internet black hole."

Now, I follow a lot of blogs.
But I only truly read a handful.
Some blogs I follow only because they occasionally have a good post.

So here's a list of posts that I immediately mark as read without even looking at them:

How to Make Your Blog ______.:
Skip. I used to read these and then I felt bad that my blog wasn't "visually appealing" enough. Things I see repeated:
- A "good" blog only has two columns, never three.
- A "good" blog is black and white for streamlined reading.
- A "good" blog posts pictures with every post.
- A "good" blog has giveaways, contests, and other things that up follower numbers.
- A "good" blog does not have curse words. (HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA)
- A "good" blog doesn't have too much text. (Because of TLDR.)
And so the list goes on.

Now, make no mistake: several of the blogs I read happen to fall into one or more of these categories. But I think it's because that layout works for them, not to make their blog more visually appealing to the masses.
And obviously some things are common sense: if your font is tiny, pale pink, or a long block of text that is centered, that's going to create reading problems in the most basic, physical sense. But the above stuff I genuinely believe is just another way of telling women to conform and be what popular media says they should be in order to be "successful."
(Seriously, for me, "successful" is the fact that there are about five people who read this blog on regular basis. [Also, these people are the coolest people in the world.])

All The Beer:
Okay, I enjoy a good drink recipe, a good post about a night out or a night in, whatever. If the title is anything like My Drunken Adventures" or "Six Microbrews You Must Try!" or "The Best Five (insert state name here) Brews.
Skip. Don't care. (Exceptions: blogs I already read and follow on a regular basis. Heather, for example, has good shares on liquors that are fun to try.)

I cannot express how much I don't care about your coffee maker. You're probably the coolest person alive, but I do not care about how you make your coffee in the AM.
Also? Keurig's are wicked wasteful and pretty bad for the environment in terms of said waste.

Whole 30:
Oh, fuck no. Whole 30 makes me sad.

Bored GIF

What blog posts do you guys skip?

Thursday, November 30

Go Feck Yourself: A Work Story

OK. There is this dude at work, *Nick, or what I actually call him. (Now, anyway.) And I like him. Not like-like, (because apparently I am currently in 8th grade?) but I just like him. I think he's a cool dude. He reminds me some of my friend *Christopher - quiet, kind of anti/selectively social, doesn't really talk without a purpose to it. Very punk vibe, obviously intelligent. So I am friendly to him. And I stick up for him when people bitch about him and say he's an asshole and a dickhead. Eventually, I friend request him on facebook, because apparently he is much more social behind a screen.
And nothing happens for about a week. Either he denied it or ignored it.
So I send a message that just says "what the fuck?"
Nothing. Maybe he ignored it, maybe he blocked me, I don't know. I don't send him any other messages though, because I'm not a psycho.

So I am like...whatever. I continue being myself, being friendly to him and everyone, just going about my business at work and in life. My friend *Angela and I get together once a week and do something, usually just coffee, but we were like, "We should invite him along, he might have fun? We could all see a movie sometime, or whatever."

A week or so goes by and I have a super shitty day at work. Everything is going wrong and everyone is getting on my nerves. Asshattery is abundant. So I am dropping something off at his station and and I'm like "Dude, what the hell? Is there some particular reason you dislike me so much?" and he's looking at me like I'm a crazy person (which, to be fair, apparently I am), and I go "Well, I'm trying to be friendly, trying to get to know you and maybe be friends, and. . ." (I did leave the sentence hanging.) And he responds with this sort of Ryan Gosling-esque blank stare for a second and then says, flatly:
"We work at the same place, that's it." Pause. "I mean, I don't have any bad feelings about you. . . ."
(LOLS, if he didn't then, probably does now.)

So I just respond like:

So, yeah. 

Wednesday, November 22

Work Story of the Week

Okay, a work story:

The players*: 
  • Sandy, a waitress.
  • Jenny, a hostess.
  • Enid, a hostess.
  • All other employees.

So every day, just before opening, we have a morning meeting. Sometimes we have treats. Sometimes from promotions, sometimes people bring stuff in. 
Most often, someone will bring in donuts. Once in a while, someone will bring in cookies or something else.

Our story begins two weeks ago. Sandy, a server, had brought in a huge sheet cake. One of those from the bakery that has like fifty pieces. Well, she brought it in because she had ordered two from the bakery for her niece's 6th birthday: a yellow with chocolate frosting and a chocolate with chocolate frosting. She wasn't sure which everyone would prefer, so wanted them to have a choice. Well, no one touched the chocolate-chocolate, so she brought this massive sheet cake in that says "Happy Birthday Jenny!" on it for everyone to share. 

Now Enid is a hostess. And she is the sweetest person you could possibly imagine. She works hard, is dependable, thoughtful, kind. A better person than most. She also recently won a silver medal for hockey in our Special Olympics. See, the thing that is important for this story to make sense is that Enid happens to have Down Syndrome. In general, it makes no difference. 

But there was confusion surrounding the birthday cake. She thought the cake was for Jenny, our hostess. So she felt bad about missing someone's birthday and got her a card. (Nothing fancy, but it's the thought that counts.) So she gets this card and is going around the restaurant having all the employees signing a birthday card for Hostess Jenny and reminding everyone to wish her a Happy Birthday. Because she is one of the most thoughtful, considerate people. (Note: she and I happen to have the same birthday, and she brought cupcakes to share on her birthday and they disappeared pretty quickly and when she learned it was my birthday, too, she INSISTED on sharing her own cupcake with me and then went out and got me a card. See? Nicest girl ever.) 

Now, if you're wondering why no one corrected her about the Jenny whose birthday it actually was, it's because sometimes explaining things like that, or when she says "I'll see you tomorrow" and you try to explain you don't work tomorrow, but you'll see her Friday....well, those things are difficult to explain. She is in no way unintelligent, it's just that sometimes she doesn't quite get it when you're explaining certain things. 
So. We all sign this card. And we are all wishing Hostess Jenny a Happy Birthday. And Enid is feeling better and happy and sharing cookies she'd made for Jenny's birthday.
Also? Jenny's birthday? Is in July. 

Image result for um, happy birthday i guess

Saturday, October 21

Sunday Confessions October 22, 2017

I Confess: I HATE the NY Yankees. HATE THEM. The only team I hate more is the White Sox.

I Confess: Fell into reading more Harry Potter fanfiction and ended up accidentally reading HP porn fanfiction. Yup. 

 doctor who confused david tennant uncomfortable anyway GIF

I Confess: It's only 9:15 and I'm super tired. So I am going to bed. And this post is going up tonight so I don't have to bother with scheduling the link up, I can just post it. 

Friday, October 20

Film Friday: Nightmare on Elm Street Films, Ranked

A ranking of the nine major/canon Freddy Krueger films.

9.) Wes Craven's New Nightmare
This movie takes itself seriously but the meta aspect actually makes it less creepy than any of the others and the ending is just dumb. It alternates between unintentionally hilarious and dull.

8.) NoES 2: Freddy's Revenge
While this installment has some super awesome individual scenes, it also suffers from the worst premise in the entire franchise and some of the worst individual scenes in the series. Good scenes: everything with the overly masculine homoerotic coach. Bad scene: pool party.

7.) A Nightmare on Elm Street - 2010 Remake
Jackie Earl Haley is not an actor to sneeze at for the role of the infamous Freddy Krueger. In himself, he does a good job, and there are some interesting aspects to this incarnation that make it ultimately not a total suckfest, but definitely one that is not good enough for me to want to own. Think: "I'll watch it on HBO if it happens to be on." The biggest sin this movie makes is throwing subtlety out the window and opting for producer Michael Bay's approach to story telling which is less "show don't tell" and more "HERE LOOK AT THIS NEON SIGN THAT SAYS THIS THING!!!! LOOK!!! LOOK!!!"

6.)  NoES 5: The Dream Child
I had a hard time ranking Dream Child and Freddy v. Jason. In the end, FvJ  won out because while Dream Child is definitely a superior film, the whole baby thing always got to me, and the dramatic tone is heaviest in this movie. It often feels like less horror-with-dramatic elements and more drama-that-happens-to-be-horror.

5.) Freddy vs. Jason

Again, less quality than Dream Child, but this one is much more fun by far. The characters are silly, the acting is delightfully fun, and the mood is perfect. I just really enjoy watching this silly-fest.

4.) Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare
Widely considered to be one of the worst in the franchise, mainly because plot holes abound and also, it is openly and unabashedly the silliest of the series with Freddy being practically a cartoon, I have a special nostalgic place for this movie in my heart. Not for the scares, but because this is the first Elm Street movie I ever saw, and I always enjoyed the humor and fun Freddy had tormenting the kids in the movie. Also, Carlos and the ear scene have a special place in my heart, my ear situation being what it is.

3.) NoES 4 - The Dream Master
It's just a really good movie. The ending fight isn't my personal favorite, but the movie overall is awesome.

2.) NoES 3: Dream Warriors
Widely acknowledged to be one of the best of the bunch. Good story, good acting, genuine creep factor. There is a lot to love about this installment. It is immensely watchable.

1.) A Nightmare on Elm Street - 1984 Original
Obviously. The newness of the idea, the practical effects, the story, the genuine creepiness of the whole idea, the discovery of who Freddy is, was, and what he is capable of. The subtlety and the shock, so much to love. Nancy Thompson is the epitome of final girl and everything the living Freddy Krueger would've hunted. It remains creepy and delightful to this day.

Monday, October 16

Legend of the Dogman

In Northern Michigan's Lower Peninsula, perhaps the most well known legend is The Legend of the Dogman. 
The legend gained massive popularity in 1987 when some dude named Steve Cook wrote a song about the so-called Dogman sightings for an April Fool's prank, leading more and more people to call in to the radio station and report their own sightings. 
Except that further digging showed his prank actually had a bit of historical context, whether he knew about it or not.
People took super delight and the legend grew as things do when you write songs about them.

The legend is this: there is a creature out there that walks around on two legs and stands tall like a man but looks like a ferocious dog. Hence the name, "Dogman." He is said to come around in a ten year cycle, but can be seen outside of those ten years. Just, on that ten year cycle is when he is supposedly most active.

The Steve Cook Song: 

Some "sightings" have more merit than others. For a while, The Gable Film (it isn't interesting until the 2:25 mark) was considered by some to be proof of the beast's existence. Until it was demonstrated to apparently be a hoax

Evidently there is an entire episode of Monster Quest dedicated to this legend. I didn't know about the episode's existence until watching the video that analyzes and discredits The Gable Film (which I knew existed but never watched before). I didn't watch the Monster Quest episode straight through, I kind of bounced through it, and most of what I saw focuses on Wisconsin and their version of the creature.

As with any legend, reports vary and some are much more...er...believable, for lack of a better word.
Native Americans have stories about a Wendigo that roamed Northern Michigan. It is well documented that some early French explorers saw something in their travels they that referred to as the loup garou. However, I have not myself encountered any video or images that has me turned into Fox Mulder on this. One of the most popular images that is allegedly the Dogman, to me, is obviously a mountain lion. 
(Side note: the Michigan DNR for a l-o-n-g time has been emphatic about "there are no cougars in Michigan!" [think, "I did not have sex with that woman...] however, multiple people have reported seeing mountain lions over the years. The DNR, on their website, explains that yes, cougars used to be indigenous to Michigan, but right around the early 1900's were all hunted down and destroyed. (A win for animals and the environment. Sigh.) 
At any rate, this happened in June of this year, proving that yes, there are at least some mountain lions in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. 

Why am I sharing this story this year? 
Because the one cool thing is that the ten year cycle of the Dogman is said to end on every year ending in 7. As in '17, '37, '67, '87, '97, '07, and of course...2017. 
So if the Dogman is real and is on a ten year cycle of...feeding?...this would be the year he would be out and active. 

Happy Hunting!

Any creepy legends in your area? (Steff, I know you must have some!) 

Sunday, October 15

Sunday Confessions October 15, 2017

I Confess: My apartment complex has a MSHDA (pronounced mish-duh) inspection coming up because half of the complex is normal rate and half is income based and rent controlled. So they're coming later this week to look things over. It's essentially the same as when big wigs from corporate decide to visit at a workplace. So we've all had to be cleaning like crazy people. I mean, I am a pretty clean person anyway, but we're talking scrub your pantry shelves, dust behind the refrigerator level of inspection. Groan. I'll be happy when the whole thing is over.

I Confess: Yeah. . . apparently my uterus thought it would be funny to have my period start eleven days early. So much grrr.

 tv surprise american horror story ahs fx GIF

I Confess: There is this manager at work. And I like all the managers well enough. But there is one, whenever he gives instruction or suggestions, on the surface I'm like: 

 yes thumbs up nun no problem nacho libre GIF

And in my head, I'm like: 

Sorry I didn't get these out earlier today. I'll be better prepared and have the link button up again next week. 

Sunday, October 8

Sunday Confessions: October 7, 2017

I Confess: It is a very good thing the batteries in my scale died. I've been eating a lot less sugar (particularly refined) and I feel less bloated and such, but it's a good thing I cannot weigh myself because I am neurotic.

I Confess: As I type this, my cat keeps tapping my arm so I will stop typing and pet her. LOL Baby.

I Confess: Sometimes I wish I could write about work stuff, but I cannot. Alas. . .

I Confess: In the black hole the internet can sometimes be, I was looking for something Hufflepuff related and one click led to another (as is wont to happen when aimlessness and the internet meet), and I found myself reading Harry Potter fanfiction. I only read a couple little short stories, but still.

Friday, October 6

Film Friday: Little Evil


Brought to you by Eli Morgan, the same man who directed and co-wrote Tucker & Dale V. Evil,
Little Evil is an enjoyable horror comedy than leans a bit more to the comedy side. Not at violent as Tucker & Dale, with less gore, but still with a good "horror" sideline. References to Poltergeist, The Shining, and of course, The Omen are strong, with a handful of others tossed in less obviously. 

The main star is Adam Scott as Gary and Owen Atlas who plays Lucas, the titular "Little Evil." Evangeline Lily is present, definitely not the star of the show, but does shine in all of her scenes. I particularly enjoyed that her character, Samantha, was as far removed from Kate Austen as imaginable, and for that I am thankful, and I believe the difference will only serve to help Lily's career.

Let's take a look at the trailer: 

There is very little gore, (I don't actually remember gore, to be honest), the story is smooth and builds the conflict level-by-level.
It's a funny, enjoyable little movie that I would definitely watch again. The suspense factor is low, so I don't really think people who are non-horror fans or "don't like being scared" would have a problem with tension. As far as being kid-friendly, that's really a decision a parent should make, and would be on a case-by-case basis, pursuant to the sensitivity level of each kid and what they find humorous. (I would've laughed my ass off as a kid watching this. I also know a kid who would be terrified, so...)

It's a Netflix original, so it's available on Netflix, and probably will eventually be available on dvd/blu ray, but I don't think it is just yet.
Is it a fantastic piece of film making that is going to redefine a genre? LOL No. Is it a fun and silly shout-out to horror movies? Yup.

Heads Up: Some language, some violence. Lots of famous actors in small roles.


Wednesday, October 4

Age of Anonymity

So you know how tumblr does "asks" and you can ask anonymously? That's one thing I wish blogger had.
So instead I did this: 

It's all over the internet, so I decided to have some fun and join in. (I'll be sharing it on facebook and instagram so you can use the link).
Now, yes, I checked and yes, the messages are truly anonymous, there is no way to figure out who sends what message. 
I made this available to anyone, whether they are a sarahah user or not. If you have thoughts, comments, or - moreover, a question (like a a tumblr anonymous ask), then be my guest and send it my way. 

* * *

Also, tumblr has those questionnaires that are long lists of things and people tell you which questions they want to know that answer to? 
Yeah, I just decided to pick out a few questions and answer them here, since I have about 2 tumblr followers and truthfully I'm not super active there anyway. (I don't actually find it particularly user friendly.) 
So, here they are. 

Name your 3 favorite pieces of jewelry:
  • I have a necklace with a yellow base and some tiny orange flower in it that I bought for like, six bucks. I've had to replace the chain part two or three different times, but I LOVE it, and when I wear it, I tend to fiddle with it when I'm nervous. 
  • A delicate silver ring with a pink heart on it. My dad had given it to my mom, even though it wasn't 'her', at all. When I was sixteen, I was super defiant my my mom & I were having a huge row. She gave it to me right before she moved out after she filed for divorce and I refused to hug her. To this day, I wear it when I feel like I need a little extra luck. (Silly, I know.) 
  • A small delicate pair of skull & crossbones earrings that I received as a birthday gift from a friend.

What accessories would come with a doll version of you?

     This is such a clever question. It would be: 
  • Burt's Bee's lip balm because I am never without it.
  • A book, obviously.
  • Cat, obviously.

Okay, that's a little piece of me. I am a little less anonymous.

Books I Gave Up On

1.) This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
author site/source

This Charming Man follows the "One Man, Many Women" formula. In this case, it is Paddy de Courcy, a local politician and he is getting engaged. The story follows three or four different women who have known him and through them, we get to know him. (Spoiler alert: he's actually a jackass, but that's not a really real spoiler, because any reader with a half of a half of a half of a brain would know that within the first couple pages.

Each woman does manage to have a distinct voice, which speaks well of the author. However. The first woman we meet, Lola, is no less than obsessed with him. Her voice is a not-at-all-subtle shout-out to Bridget Jones, except that Lola is not funny and doesn't have that kind, warm heart to make up for being so ditzy. In fact, Lola is nothing less than infuriating. She falls for his glib manner, thinks the sleazy, skeezy things he does are "romantic" and turns into a complete mess and nearly destroys her entire career from being so upset when he gets engaged to another woman - in spite of the fact that there was literally zero indication that he wanted her for anything other than sex. 

I normally love Marian Keyes, but this was a rare miss. 

2.) The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
author site/source

One word: 

3.) The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker

Ugh. Groan. I was super intrigued by this book because I had watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (and hated it), but I figured obviously something had been lost in translation, the book would definitely be better and more thorough and - all the things.
And then the book was worse. 
For one thing, the way the book was written was all over the place, flitting around like a drunken butterfly. I knew more about Kim Barker's wardrobe preferences in the first five pages than anyone should EVER know in a book written by a professional journalist that is ostensibly about being on assignment in a war zone. 
All I could think while I read what I did of this book is that this is why people hate Americans. This is why people hate American women, and especially White American Women. It is one thing to tell a story about an experience and have it be filtered through your own view, or to relate a memoir about yourself with the added backdrop of a certain place or time. This book should be called "Kim Barker somehow manages to make everything in the Middle East about herself." 

Have you given up on any books? Any recommendations?

Sunday, October 1

Sunday Confessions October 1, 2017

I Confess: I am about five episodes in on Season 7 of The Walking Dead and I'm just not really feeling it. I will continue watching, but mostly I just spend the time less emotionally invested and more wanting to be in the middle of a Norman Reedus/Andrew Lincoln sandwich.

I Confess: At my cousin's wedding, there was this girl there. I have no idea who she was. But her energy was BOUNDLESS. Dancing, dancing, dancing. Not coked-up/methed-up energy, but just...she had energy to spare because she was naturally energetic. Jealous. 

And that was the moment I decided to change my eating ways. Random, odd, but true.

I Confess: Shawn & I called in sick to work yesterday and today because of a flu-ish thing. So last night when I called in for today, they were like "Are you going to go to the Dr.?" And I was all "No, it's Sunday, the Dr.'s office isn't open." (In a "duh" tone.) And they were like "Well, Urgent Care is open seven days a week."
Because our old GM was pretty decent and understanding (and sometimes yes, some asshats would take advantage of his good nature) about call-ins. Our new GM is like "If you call in, you better have a Dr.'s note.)
Now, I understand where he's coming from . . . to a point. We have a handful of people at our work who show up when they happen to feel like it call in a lot. Like, a lot. And then we have people who don't call in a lot but it does happen. So I'm going back to work tomorrow, haven't seen the boss yet, but in my mind, I'm like:
"I am NOT going to spend half an hour driving across town to Urgent Care to wait for three hours for a doctor to tell me - yup, it's a virus, you should be doing what you've been doing which is resting and drinking lots of fluids and not be up and spreading your germs to everyone here and also at your restaurant where you work with raw food all day."

In FACT, one time a long time ago, I went to a doctor I don't normally see when I had a super bad chest cold and I thought it might be bronchitis. And the Dr. was like "it's a virus. Drink lots of fluids and rest. Take something for the coughing if you need to." And then he said: "If you'd waited a few more days, you'd realize it's going to pass on its own and you don't need to come to the doctor for things like this."
So, yeah. Policy is policy, but asshattery is asshattery.
We shall see how tomorrow goes.

What are you 'fessing up to this week?

Friday, September 29

It, Then and Now

image source

(This review contains some spoilers if you have zero knowledge of the story. You can avoid these by skipping the videos.) 

I'm a little late with my review of It, but I wanted to share it anyway.

First of all, the 2017 film can be taken in itself with no prior experience of the story, and it still holds up well. In general, I feel this is necessary. There should be no "you have to be familiar with the source material" prerequisite in order to enjoy a movie.

However. . .
While a viewer can easily enjoy It 2017 on its own merit, I do believe that having read the book - or, at the very least, having seen the 1990 version - will help engender more enjoyment of the story and how it is presented.

* * * 

- It the book was first released in 1986.
- I first read it when I was about 15.
- The made-for-TV movie mini series when it was aired in 1990, when I was 10. (Scared the living crap out of me and I loved every minute of it.) I watched that several times as I grew up, read the book when I was 15, and enjoyed that quite a bit as well.

* * * 

First, let's look at the 1990 mini-series.

The two most iconic scenes are: 
1.) The introduction to the story when young Georgie Denbrough meets Pennywise: 

This is perhaps the single most well-known moment in the entire It universe, on any media platform.

Now, when Georgie asks "Do they float?" (which is in the book), I have to chuckle because OBVIOUSLY they float, kid. The narrative stickler in me wants to have had Georgie at least maybe be shown with a balloon that was deflated or just dying out and he was bummed, so he'd care if the balloons were floating. But for a kid to just ask "Do they float?" is like if Pennywise said "There's water down here, too." And Georgie being all "Is it wet?" Dur. But, I digress. The line is in the book and it's an otherwise perfect scene and Tim Curry does it brilliantly. 

The second most well known scene that people will refer to, generally when referencing the brilliance of Tim Curry's acting, is when adult Richie Tozier has returned to Derry and is encountering Pennywise again for the first time. 

A lot of people make fun of the 1990 mini series, and surely, there is enough to mock. But it also does a great job at what it does do. I think often people forget that in 1990 the restrictions of what could be aired on TV were a lot tighter - in language, violence, and sex. In fact, back in those days, this was considered pretty mature content. Additionally, they told the entire story one long movie, so a lot of stuff had to be compressed.

All in all, I enjoy the 1990 TV mini series and yes, it still gives me scares at times. I believe that horror movies we watch as a child often have a bit of a hold over us more than those we see as adults.(Not 100%, but as a a general rule.)

* * * 

So how is It in 2017, anyway? 
Well, it's good.
It includes plenty of little easter eggs for fans of the book, and the creep factor is turned up to eleven. The child stars all perform well and are exceptionally believable as kids you could have known in school. 
This movie is a perfect example of where a good story becomes better for the influence of the technical departments, and in my opinion, it is in films like this where they deserve recognition for the role they play in creating the overall effect. 
(Remember when Speed won the Oscar for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing? Yeah, perfect example. I mean, I love Keanu Reeves more than the average person, but that movie would have tanked if it weren't for the brilliance of the sound team.) 
In It, the screenwriting is good, the pacing is excellent, but what really stands out is the lighting, the cinematography, the costumes, set design, make-up effects (and I'm not even talking about Pennywise's make-up, I'm talking about the general stuff.) The effect is full immersion back into the eighties for those of us who grew up as children during that era, and the way Pennywise's eyes, are done, the way he is lit - the lighting in general - is brilliant. 

The  movie isn't perfect, of course. It has a few things that were, I would say. . . overdone. Beverly's bathroom scene is actually done to significantly better effect in the 1990 version. As I was sitting in the theater watching the modern bathroom scene, all I could think was "Did they suddenly decide to bypass subtlety and go into a Quentin Tarantino film?" 
There were two other scenes that were perhaps, too big. Too much. My chief complaint though, was the bathroom scene. It does not, however, ruin the entire film. 

* * * 

The last thing I want to comment on is the differences between the 1990 film and the 2017. The first and main question I tend to get about the new one is - "Is it better than the old one?"
Well, yes and no. 
It is certainly scarier, and has much more production value. It is more violent, and has more gore. But is it BETTER? 
Well, it's hard to quantify. They are two different animals. One is a fairly small-budget made-for-TV movie from a time when the FCC had much more strident regulations than they do now. The second is a large-scale theater release with a much bigger budget and perhaps, more at stake.
In 1990, the story was "kind of" focused on the Losers Club heroes, but with Tim Curry as your villain, of course he's going to become the focal point, and he steals every scene he's in, making the audience clamor for more Pennywise
In the 2017 film, while Bill Skarsgård is amazing, the story is really about The Losers and their lives, and the story is about them.
The differences can be summed up as: 
1990 - Tim Curry has fun terrorizing some small town kids.
2017 -  Small town kids are terrorized by an evil 'clown.'

It's like comparing Heath Ledger's Joker to Jack Nicholson's. Different movies, different stories, different grit, different approach.
So is 2017 better? No. It is scarier, it has more production value, but it's also not really even the same genre of film-making. 

(Info below is for 2017 only.)

Grade: A-

Heads Up: Violence, Gore, Language, Scares, Awesome Nostalgia. 

Sunday, August 13

Sunday Confessions August 13, 2017

I Confess: I'm still not 100% happy with my Sunday Confessions buttons. Some are ok, but I haven't made one that I LOVE and want to use just all the time. *Sigh.* 

I Confess: I've been super-excessively-tired lately, and therefore sleeping a lot more than normal. 

I Confess: I've been having trouble focusing on reading. I start a book and then just lose interest. Maybe I need better reading material? 

I Confess: So I'm going to this meeting for work on Wednesday, and the attire is "business casual." So I had to buy a shirt specifically for this meeting so I could be "business casual." Because jeans and a Star Wars T-shirt somehow doesn't do it. This says something about my wardrobe. 

Friday, August 4

Film Friday: Resident Evil: Retribution


Oh, where to begin? Retribution opens with an admittedly cool slow-mo reverse battle scene to show what happened once Evil Jill Valentine and the Umbrella Commandos reached the Arcadia. (Remember, the "it's a trap" ship from the very end of Afterlife). After this, we get our Alice Intro. which provides a quick recap of the previous four films, but this time steering the wheel toward the Red Queen as being the villain of the whole thing, as opposed to the men who run Umbrella.
(More on this later.) 

And then we get the Milla Jovovich-waking-up-somewhere-strange standard. And wouldn't you know it? This whole thing has been a dream. Alice is actually happily married to Carlos Oliveira, she is the sexiest dressed-down housewife in the history of ever, and together they have a (for some reason deaf) daughter named - lol - Becky - and they all live super happily in the Raccoon City Suburbs. 
Oh, but then zombies attack and, well, shit hits the fan, Becky hides and Alice dies.

But wait!

Cut to: And we are treated to ANOTHER Alice-waking-up-somewhere-strange scene and we see she is now in some sort of Umbrella-owned-location. 
Oh, ok. 
She ultimately escapes and runs down the hall to...
Yes, she's in Tokyo, and an overhead voice is "initiate Tokyo sequence." Suddenly the opening credits scene from Afterlife is on repeat, and an outbreak happens. I actually love the expression on Alice's face here: she's all Are You Fucking Kidding Me

There is an epic fight scene and it's a damn good thing Alice doesn't have any super powers anymore - no super strength, speed, coordination, any of that. (I'm not sure Paul W.S. Anderson knows what "no superpowers" means.) 

Then time for a bit of exposition! Alice runs into Ada Wong and it turns out she and Wesker (duh! of course he wasn't dead!) were the ones who hacked into the Umbrella mainframe and freed Alice (also providing the zombie fighting S&M outfit).  

Turns out, Alice is ACTUALLY in Sealab Russia, deep beneath the ocean. Seems this is actually the really-real Umbrella HQ (as opposed to the HQ from the beginning of Afterlife). This is where they've been doing simulations on the viral outbreaks. (Yeah, they're still studying it, trying to "control" it. [Make no nevermind that we are now approximately six years into the global zombie apocalypse and there are barely any humans left, making the world of The Walking Dead look downright overpopulated. But, I guess they do have to have something to occupy the time.]


Wesker is like "Yeah, I don't work for Umbrella anymore; things have gotten a little out of hand. I want to help you, and let's be honest - you need me if you ever want to see the surface again.
So Ada and Alice team up to make their way through the various simulation environments.

Meanwhile... Wesker has also recruited Luther (who is still magically alive from the previous film), as well as Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton to break in and rendezvous with Alice & Ada to assist them on their way out. 

Alice and Ada make their way through the New York City environment, which is designed as a testing field for The Executioner. (This time there's two!) 
They quickly dispatch those and make their way into the Suburban test environment where they come upon a dead Alice. 
Yup. That whole "dream/not a dream" sequence where Alice is a happy suburban wife and mother? Well, I'll let Ada explain: 

Other "basic models" include: Carlos, Rain, and the Captain Guy from the first movie so you can see them playing both good guy and bad guy roles. 

There's more gun fights and in "Moscow," we get to watch the men battling a horde of Las Plagas Undead, which are basically the 28 Days Later version of undead. Stronger, smarter, faster, able to use tools, etc.

Say what you will, but at least he enjoys his job.

There is more conflict, more monsters, a giant licker. Alice and the boys team up and head toward the exit. Some of our remaining characters die in a gunfight, there is a mini boss battle with the giant licker, and eventually they make it to the surface. 
All is well. Sigh. The End.

Evil Jill Valentine and Evil Rain have caught up to our heroes and they have the final boss battle fight with Jill and Alice fighting and Evil Rain fighting Luther and Leon. 
Eventually, after much fighting, Alice is like "OMG, Jill is being controlled by Umbrella with one of those scarab things on her chest and how the HELL have I not seen this before since it's right out there in the open more obvious than her face?" She pulls off the scarab bug thing and saves Jill, there is another battle between her and Evil Rain. 
Evil Rain lands a punch directly on her breastplate that cracks it and her ribs, the same punch having killed Luther just a moment earlier. But Alice (who is significantly smaller than Luther and still (ostensibly) has no super powers,) manages to survive. Oi. 

Y U No Meme | Y YOU NO USE LOGIC | image tagged in memes,y u no | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Evil Rain is ultimately destroyed, Jill Valentine makes a full recovery in a matter of minutes and our remaining heroes (and Becky), are helicoptered to their next destination - The White House.
Wesker tells Alice that humanity is making its last stand against The Red Queen, who is now determined to wipe out all humanity, not save humanity from the T-Virus as she was trying to do in the first film. 
Um, ok. Sure. At this point....whatever. 
So Super-Wesker injects the virus back into Alice and she becomes Super-Alice again.
And our movie pans out with Alice, Jill, Ada, Leon, and Wesker standing on the top of The White House, looking out at everything and the whole place is under full siege by mega lickers, plagas undead, flying zombie monster creatures, and whatever else. Wesker is all "this is humanity's last stand, the beginning of the end." 
And they are looking out on this and that's where the movie ends.

It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. However, the fight scenes are better, and it's more fun and more evenly paced than Afterlife. All in all, a ridiculous, crappy, fun-if-you-enjoy-zombie-shit kinda movie. Also, Wesker's speech, I swear is getting more enunciated and dramatic with each film. 

Ties to the Game: Ada Wong, Barry Burton, and Leon Kennedy. Also Evil Jill Valentine. 
Unfortunately, movie Leon is nothing compared to game & animated movie Leon. Such a waste of a potentially badass role.


Heads Up: Violence, monsters, limited gore, bizarro land logic and continuity.