Sunday, July 06, 2008

It's been brought to my attention...

...That I'm slacking more than usually in the blogging department. And that's true. And there are several good excuses for why. And I shall break them all down for you.

1) Procrastination

Alright, that's really all I got. Well, I probably have a few more reasons if I sit down and really think about it, but I have other things I need to be doing. Well, even that's not true, because I'm also procrastinating on those things as well. It's a vicious circle, no beginning, no end. It's the root of all things not done, or at the very least half done. (In some cases, only a third done, but it's a powerful first third).

Yes indeed, spring fever has lapsed into summer influenza, which when added to extreme heats combines to concoct a heady summer's brew of laze. That and some other factors. One comes to mind:


Yes, indeed, I have been suckered into the fine world of videogaming. Submitting to the whims of hype, my roommates and I purchased this game and have not been able stop playing it for about the past two months.

(There have been some less successful forays into "RockBand", but I get sick of the songs and always insist on playing the drums, where I tend to screw up the final note of each song. This upsets Dan, who seems to be under the impression that our band is actually real, and that my poor performance is approaching Weiland-levels or neglect towards "our fans". Times like this remind why I stopped being in real bands in the first place).

So Grand Theft Auto IV. It's truly remarkable as a piece of gaming history, as you can interact with pretty much anything in the obscenely photorealiistic world. As far as game play goes, it's pretty much more of the same as the other games, so nothing new there. You can still pick up hookers and kill them for the money you just paid them to dry hump you in a back alley. You still have absolutely zero remorse for other's personal safety as you steal their cars and hit them on the head to make sure they understand the lesson you've just taught.

But they've gone and done something remarkable this time around. They've made the game more like real life, as you now have to maintain relationships. Via email, texting, phone calls, dates, trips to bars and pool halls, bowling, mini golf, helicopter tours... There's just too damn much to do in this game. If I want to go on a date with a girl (of which there are several to choose from between friends trying to set you up and internet dating... yes, internet dating. In the game) I have to call her up, pick her up at a reasonable time, change my clothes (after going to a variety of different stores to shop for said clothes), and hope that what I do can impress her. Then, if I did impress her, I can push my luck and try to get sex. Sounds like (gulp)... reality! Sadly, my pixellated avatar Niko has much better luck than I could possible imagine to.

(Christmas time...)

The reality parallels don't stop there for me, I'm sad to say. In the game, you drive around from place to place, delivering various elements in an order to keep your bosses happy. Free time is spent driving around back to my home, or to aforementioned activities. Take away the machine guns, and this game is my life to a T. Again, except for the luck part.

So, I realize the Alanis-esque irony involved in playing a videogame that is essentially my reality in my hours when I'm trying to escape said reality. Not exactly the healthiest of psyches, but then again, I haven't always been the brightest crayon in the box.

Since I've spent so much time playing this game, I've lost track of almost all the other things in my life. I'm amazed I've come this far, to be honest with you. But it did eat up into my movie going schedule, and for awhile I hadn't seen anything since Indiana Jones. (Except for a week I spent watching old movies in a theater. I had a lovely Escape From New York/L.A double feature, with a John Carpenter Q&A. (And I had a big laugh at the end, when Snake shuts down the world in L.A., the movie print was old and Paramount Static-y, so it naturally shut down the movie. I pointed it out at the right moment, providing one of the bigger laughs of the evening. not Simon Pegg-laugh worthy, but I take what I can get). This was followed a few days later with a Big Trouble in Little China/Assault on Precinct 13 double bill that just rocked my world silly.

Anyway, here's a quick recap of the flicks out now that I did manage to catch, in reverse order of when I saw them.

Hancock - Completely serviceable for the first 2/3, much like I Am Legend, Will Smith's latest flick. Hancock succeeds primarily because of Will Smith's charm. But it falls apart big time at the end, most likely as a result of studio tinkering. And while Hancock is fine and enjoyable, it's movie cotton candy that evaporates from your mind the second it's over. However, I was left with the notion that there is a much darker, much more hilarious and misanthropic version of Hancock that Billy Bob Thornton should have played in full on Bad Santa mode.

Wall-E - Unbelievably good, like all Pixar films. I can't believe this movie worked as well as it does. Wall-E is a fantastic character, and his journey is a bold one. This movie is for the whole family, but everything you read about how adults can enjoy the film just as much is more than true. The themes, and social satire on display will go over a lot of kids heads, but it should send messages to those able to comprehend them. And aside from that, it's really fun to watch a robot as a main character. While he might not knock down R2D2 as my favorite robot of all time, Wall-E does damn fine. It's also quite possibly the best looking movie I've seen this year, and it makes me upset that I probably won't live long enough to travel through space.

Get Smart
- Full disclosure, I had a little bit to drink when I saw this movie, which would explain how hard I laughed at the trailer for The Rocker before the movie began. (Upon watching that one sober, I realized there isn't much to be laughed at). Regardless, Get Smart is a lot better than it has any right to be. It's carried by the effortless charm of Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and of course, The Rock. The plot is not exactly the strongest, and it devolves into the tendency to end every movie, no matter what genre, with a large explosion, but the leads keep it fresh and fun, and there's one joke in the movie that should be the lamest joke conceived, but they pull it off so well, I was laughing for far too long, embarrassing the person next to me. Again, there was liquor involved, but it's still much more worthy of your time than you might think.

The Happening - Oh my, this movie is awful. 10,000 B.C. awful. There's so much wrong with this movie that it's worth watching for the unintentional comedic value alone. Only a filmmaker like Shyamalan could pull this movie off. Apparently, it's about trees that get mad at humans so they emit a gas that turns bad actors into bad performance artists. Seriously, the first scene alone should tell you what you're in for. Hell, even the company logos before the film are long and drawn out. The movie opens with a two minute title sequence over clouds. CLOUDS! Mark Wahlberg, in the worst performance of his career, stares vacantly, as he and Zooey Deschanel both seem to not believe that they are actually in this motion picture. Seriously. Just look at them in this picture.

They try to outrun the wind, and somehow manage to do just fine. Meanwhile, the wind manages to hit quite a few cities in it's attempts to scare humanity into taking better care of the trees. This leads to elaborate set pieces that involve people stopping, then killing themselves. It would have been a bit more frightening if the people had turned on each other, a subject that was handled with far more skill and finesse in The Signal. (Consequently, they made Signal for what was probably Wahlberg's Fruit Roll-Up budget on Happening). Anyway, this movie's pretty terrible, but definitely worth checking out. Sadly, I liked it better than both The Village AND Lady in the Water. Shows to go ya...

The Incredible Hulk
- Hulk smash. Hulk nowhere near as boring as previous Hulk! Hulk also missing heart, but Hulk become Hulk-Ultimatum! Hulk also no get boner or turn into Hulk! Hulk's life suck! Tim Roth good actor! Hulk loud and sometimes blend into background! But Hulk still fun loud movie!

Alright, that's about all I got now. But rest assured, I'll have a few more posts in the upcoming weeks, including an award winning short essay about porn.

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