Tag Archives: movies

Post-Yeshiva Movie List

24 May

This crap movie has a 7.8 rating on imdb. It is still crap.

I’ve wanted to do this one for a long time, but I keep putting it off. I think I don’t have the patience to do a full list. Basically, the idea is to list movies and TV shows to catch up on when you leave Yeshiva and stop caring about keeping your neshama so spic and span. (Hey, God gave it to you for a reason. If he wanted it to stay plain white, he would have kept it upstairs. He wants you to put some color on it before he locks it up in his soul-collection box. Don’t worry, he’ll thank you.)

Anyhow, when you leave Yeshiva and have nothing to do and not enough guilt built up yet to go open a sefer, you start looking for movies and shows. Well, at least that’s what I did. The first shows I tried were ones that I’d heard of in Yeshiva but could never really see, like Friends. The problem is the further you go from 10th grade, the deeper the watchability of Friends tanks.

I started looking online, but you can’t really tell by ratings because you get a bunch of cult favorites with high marks because of groupies (this includes the Oscar winner list- a real minefield). Or trailers that are cut to make the movie seem good (The Constant Gardener, )And you, not knowing any better, end up wasting your time on crap. Precious time that could have been spent watching Donnie Brasco, or Boiler Room, or even Whats Eating Gilbert Grape.

Some things you’ve heard of but think you’ve kind of seen already and didn’t like it. That can be a mistake too, because certain movies get better as you get older (Fight Club), and others you dismissed but never really watched because you were too busy fast forwarding to the jerk off points (The Sopranos). Now that you’re able to appreciate these shows because you’re more mature, and there’s much better porn free online, you need someone to guide you through the crapfield.

Unfortunately that’s not going to be me, as I think I mentioned before. Oh, but make sure you watch Blood Diamond. And The Pursuit of Happyness. And sci-fi Will Smith is always a safe bet. And the Batmans aren’t nearly as good as people say they are. And Airplane, Animal House, Monty Python, and The Godfather are basically the only good movies from the 70’s. Here’s a decent list, but still like 35% crap. Someone else help me out here please….

Ip Man, and Other Chinese Propaganda Movies

7 Feb

I don’t like hearing or talking about politics that much. Reflexively, I don’t trust a word anyone gunning for a position of power says. If I had my way, this guy would be in office:

But sometimes, bullshit starts pouring in from weird places, and it feels like I’m the only one who recognizes the odor. So, not that it makes a big difference to say it on this blog, but China is clearly trying to gain enough public sympathy to cover up it’s arms building.

For those of you who’ve just fazed out, I totally understand. But for anyone still interested, there’s no reason for China to have an cold war-sized army other than to bully other countries around. Their economy is killing. Everyone wants to give them money. They have no enemies. The only reason they think they need to arm themselves is because they are run by a government of insecure, tyrannical dictators. They are the villain in this movie. And I think they know it.

That’s why we’re getting a whole slew- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5– of emotional, cool, violent movies about things Japan did to them. (Sorry, but some are cool. Check this clip out: Ip Man Fight Scene ) It’s a PR move to become the victim so that any future violence becomes justified. Just like the Palestinians. The problem they should have is that, unlike the Palestinians, there are no Israelis there. It’s impossible for them to show any footage of the other side’s Zionist capitalist aggression.

Surprise! Some smart PR guy in China realized that it’s not necessary. Just keep making movies about the noble Chinese standing up to the Japanese invaders, and the issue becomes real. Never mind that Japan lost, made reparations, and is no longer a threat. It’s enough to build a case for victim-hood. Because facts change with the delivery system.

I think that there’s a very important point here. What Japan did is unforgivable, no matter how much they pay or say they’re sorry. But people aren’t their parents, and certainly not their grandparents. There has been no violence for 65 years. The people who did it are dead, as is their way of life. China is the aggressor here for reanimating this issue that should be dead or dying.

This is a clip interviewing the 84 year old Ip Chun, son of martial arts hero Ip Man, a little after the release of the movie about his famous father: (Jump to 2:02)

And that guy lived through the war. If people like that ran for President, I might not write in “Vermin Supreme” at election time.

(If someone said all this already, I apologize. The only news I get is whatever seeps into imdb, frumsatire, or the comments on youtube.)

Random Thoughts #7: Slogans

6 Sep

-I want to make a Viagra commercial. “Viagra. Because on your salary, cheating’s not even an option.”

-Movies need to stop using the phrase “A Timeless Classic!”. That’s a contradiction in terms. How about: “Still Watchable At Very Late Hours!”

-I have a great idea for a Presidential campaign slogan: “My ends, your means.”

-And how about this State motto: “New Jersey. Family owned for over 80 years.”

-I want to put out one of those sentimental books that go viral, like Tuesdays with Mory, or Chicken Soup for the soul. The only problem is I’m not that upbeat. I couldn’t squeeze out a “5 people you meet in heaven” no matter how much you paid me. Maybe “5 people you meet in hell”. Look, there’s your father. And there’s your fifth grade teacher who used to hit you. I think it would be popular.

Tough Guy Phrases

18 Aug

A lot of times when I need to enter a tough situation, I plan out in my head beforehand how it’s gonna go down. Unfortunately, I usually factor in that I’m a SEAL, so when I get there and remember I have no balls, I’m left clueless. Afterwards, I’m really confused. Wait, when he said, “We don’t take take used returns on Tuesdays”, I said “Oh I didn’t realize.” That sounds a little off. When was I supposed to say, “Die Motherfucker Die”?

Anyhow, I was thinking it over and I’ve come up with a few tough phrases I’ve always wanted to say in conversation, but never had the guts to do so:

“I was balls to the walls.”

“Let’s talk turkey, my friend…”

“My friend…”

“Hell on wheels.”

“That’s my final offer.”

“You want a piece of me?”

“Let’s do this.”

“Please stop hitting me.”

Harsh Times For Movie Fans

30 May

Here’s why you should never trust movie critics against your own gut feeling. I just watched Thor, a comic book-based movie, which was great, and Harsh Times, a gritty street movie with Christian Bale and a social message, which sucked.

Some things just work. Kick butt special effects, great fighting, old guys with British accents in armor. You’ll probably enjoy a movie with these things in them. On the other hand, a movie trying to shock you with it’s ‘realness’ has to be original and done very well for you to get anything out of it.

Harsh Times just wasn’t. 20 minutes into the movie, I was already waiting for the troubled white hero to be killed and make his socially conscious point. That pretty much kills any shock value that’s supposed to come across. (Listen up, 127 hours. You can learn something here too.)

I blame Crash for this. Ever since Crash executed this script well, every idiot with a message is trying to follow it and enlighten us. So we got Harry Brown, Training Day, Street Kings, Brooklyn’s Finest, and the newest one, Biutiful. All these fail to a greater or lesser extent, for the same reason. In the attempt to show us how ‘real’ they are, they go over the line and actually become unrealistic. The trailer for Biutiful just leaves you thinking, That is so fucked up. What kind of hell-hole planet do these people live on? Do they have souls there?

The main problem with these uber-gritty message movies is that the director has a psychological message he’s trying to enlighten us with, but is afraid to place it in a middle-class scenario he’s comfortable with because that would make him seem whiny and weak. So instead of the other kids calling him a homo for having feelings, he takes the most brutal setting he can imagine, and fits his message in there.

Of course, he does his research on these neighborhoods and puts in the most gritty stories he can pick up from the locals so the critics are forced to rave about it. They don’t want to be seen as being too lowbrow to not ‘get’ the artistic value of the film. But, like Quentin Tarantino movies, the more something is divorced from reality, the less emotional impact it has. The best it can hope for is to deliver a voyeuristic thrill with the few scenes that replay the most realistic stories the director has gathered. (These are actually very good in Harsh Times. Much more poignant and realistic than in Training Day and other clones, in my opinion.) As a full, continuous movie, though, it fails to keep the audience’s interest.

This last point, contrary to those who drone on and on about artistic value, is what a full length movie brings to the table. If I want to see cool clips, I’ll go to youtube. The only time I pay $9 and sit down to watch something for two hours is when I want to be drawn in by a great story acted out on screen. And of course when I have nothing else to do.