Archive for June, 2007

Celebrities & Personal Problems, Does Anyone Really Care?
June 26, 2007

Every once in a while I’ll see a blurb in a magazine about some star’s struggle with her weight, bulimia, self esteem, or other personal issues. Now, opening up to friends and people close to you about these issues is one thing, but opening up to the entire English literate world, that’s another.

While these problems are nothing to scoff at, what makes celebrities think that we are really interested in their private problems? When a beautiful girl like Katherine McPhee looks in the mirror and thinks, “Eww, my body’s just so gross. I need to make my self puke,” Does she really think we are compelled, inspired, or intrigued by hearing about this? And does she feel it’s appropriate to share these problems with the entire world? I know, I know what the typical defense is: “People will relate, and see the courage that I (the celebrity) had in order to get help.” But still, it may just keep their image a little more positive and smart-seeming if they don’t open a vein and bleed for a Cosmo interview.

I’m of the opinion that peoples’ business is peoples’ business, and I think many others agree with this. While I usually find celebrity interviews very intriguing, I also think there’s a point when a line needs to be drawn on the topics they’re going to discuss. I think an interview guideline for them should be: If you wouldn’t discuss it on late night, light hearted shows like Conan O’Brian or David Letterman, then don’t discuss it in magazines, cry about it in the Barbara Walters interview, or whine on Oprah how hard life is for your rich and famous self. The majority of the world would love to have your lifestyle, eating disorders and all. .

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my top favorite movies of the summer and movies that I am looking forward to
June 25, 2007

Today’s blog is about what my favorite movies of the summer are so far and what movies that I am looking forward to.

Top favorite summer movies (note: the order is rated by the movies that I enjoyed the most)
1. Knocked Up
2. Spider Man 3
3. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End
4. Ocean’s 13
5. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Movies that I am looking forward to:
Note: I am especially excited about the top two choices. These movies will both be great, I think and I definitely want to see them both more than once.

1. Transformers (coming July 3rd)
2. Live Free or Die Hard (coming June 27th)
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (coming July 11th)
4. The Simpsons Movie (coming July 27th)
5. The Bourne Ultimatium (coming August 3rd)
6. Rush Hour 3 (coming August 10th)
That is all for now

Uneven Media Standards, Only Getting Worse
June 25, 2007

Last week Robin Williams was on The Late Show with Jay Leno promoting his new movie “License to Wed.” On the show he was talking about his role in the film, a Catholic priest, and joking about them being pedophiles.

A couple days after, a short commentary clip about the incident on MSN.com showed a few men discussing what Williams had to say. The two guests on the show were both Catholic. One was opposed to what Williams had done, saying that he was labeling all priests as child molesters which is far from true, as most of them are great guys. The other Catholic guest wasn’t so much opposed. He was more of the opinion that the Catholic Church had concealed and hidden sex scandals, and that we shouldn’t feel sorry for priests being labeled as child molesters, because it was almost the churches’ fault.

This was one of the few bits of controversy I saw surrounding the incident. This made me think: Someone was making an offensive generalization about a particular group in society. Yet, the media didn’t get heated about this at all. Catholics didn’t get up in arms and demand an apology. Robin Williams wasn’t fired or banned from the movie industry. He wasn’t forced into an insincere “sorry.”

Now remember back a few months ago to the Don Imus incident. An equally public figure made an equally heated comment about a specific group. Remember the media, the Rutgers, and basically all of America’s reaction to that incident? Don Imus indeed lost his job, was basically forced into an apology, and was criticized by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and other black leaders as being a bigot. He was also called a racist conservative by The LA Times (which was done in error, he’s actually a liberal democrat.)

Now being frank, let’s compare the two comments: Don Imus’ “Nappy Headed Hoes” as opposed to Robin Williams stint about “Find the priest, find the pedophile. Oh, you found the pedophile,” (implying the two are often the same thing.) One is criticizing someone’s hair and calling them promiscuous; the other is falsely calling someone a PEDOPHILE! Which seems worse?

While I don’t think there should be any controversy about what Williams said (other than the defense made that all Catholic priests are not pedophiles, which was done rightly by the commentator on the show,) I also don’t believe it should’ve happened with Don Imus. It just amazes me that society has to walk on eggshells in reference to race issues. Imus should not have lost his job over this and the media should not have blown the incident so far out of proportion. It was not that big of a deal. Other celebrities, including black ones, say much worse things about black people. Look at the lyrics to any 50-cent song. Is saying “nigga” over and over, and portraying black girls as “hoes” in his videos any better?

No it’s not. So why aren’t black rappers like this criticized? Why wasn’t the black stripper in the Duke Lacrosse case who lied and called a group of wealthy, white boys rapists, called a racist herself? Why aren’t people targeted and fired when they say offensive things about Catholics, white people, or even President Bush? It happens so often on TV, in music, stand up comedy, etc. But the media isn’t up in arms about it. It seems that negative attention only surrounds people who comment negatively on ethnic minorities, sensitive religions like Muslims, people who have non-traditional sexual orientation, or are sensitive about women’s rights, and so on.

My feeling is that we shouldn’t get so upset about any of it. People have a right to speak their mind, whether it’s for entertainment reasons, political or sports commentary, or what have you. Things like the Federal Communications Commission will control it if it gets out of hand. But until then society, the media, and more specifically oversensitive individuals and groups need to have less faith in the over abundance of politically correct guidelines that society has given us to abide by.

Your a Bum, Rock, Your a Bum
June 25, 2007

This past weekend, the Spike Channel for Men had a all-day-long Rocky marathon.
Being an avid Rocky fan, I decided i would sit down for almost fifteen hours and indulge myself in classic movie presence. After watching the whole marathon, the next day i was at my friends house, and we decided to watch Rocky Balboa, which he had just got on DVD. After watching this movie, i was able to analyze the whole Rocky anthology, and i have made a few notes.

1. The Rocky anthology has some of the best montage scenes i have ever seen in any series of movies I’ve seen. (see Rocky IV for best montage scenes

2. I do not think that Rocky V is as bad as everyone thinks. The scenario of the movie as well as the plot make perfect sense in the overall scheme of things in the anthology. I actually like how the movie ends with a street fight instead of a boxing match. However, some of the acting was a little cheezy, even for the Rocky series.

3. The bad guys in the series I think are far better than any other villains in any other movie series. Think about it, Apollo Creed 1 and 2, Clubber Lang in 3, Ivan Drago in 4, Tommy Gunn in 5 and Mason Dixon in Rocky Balboa. I honestly think that Clubber Lang (Played by Mr. T) and Ivan Drago are to of the greatest movie villains of all time.

4. Rocky Balboa (aka Rocky 6) is a really good movie. I know it got bad reviews, and allot of people thought it was too sappy, and didn’t make any sense, but i loved it. They didn’t make the plot to absurd by making Rocky come back and win the title belt. I like how they made it only an exhibition fight, but cinematically made it feel as though he was fighting Mason Dixon for the heavyweight title belt. The only thing i didn’t like was the lack of montage scenes, something that has made the Rocky movies famous.

5. The music in the Rocky movies is far superior to any other movie music i have seen in a series of movies.

6. Rocky IV may be considered one of the best movies ever created. I think that the hidden element of the Cold War (This underdog US fighter vs. huge, over powerful Soviet fighter) makes the movie more than just a sports movie. It is truly an great movie.

The AFI list came out
June 23, 2007

First of all, here’s the AFI’s 100 years…100 movies list in case you missed it last night. They recapped the top 100 films of all time. You can find it hereng it:http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2007-06-20-AFI-movie-list_N.htm

Now this is basically the only time in 10 years that knowledge of classic film and current events ever mix together, so I better take advantage of that and start writing away. This was such an exciting event for me, because I didn’t even recognize the names of most of those movies the last time around.

So here are some notes:
-I talked to a spokesman for the AFI in an interview and she said the AFI is redoing the top 100 list to account for the last 10 years of film, but she also said that no films from the 400-ballot date later than 2004 because the films do need time to breathe to be properly evaluated and I agree with that. The end result is a little bit low, though. Only 4 films were included: Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Lord of the Rings and The Sixth Sense. The most frustrating thing about this is the incongruity of this is that since only one of these films was in the 2000’s, this could almost, almost pass for a 20th century list right up to the very last year.

-It also has me worried that perhaps since film critics are exposed to so many more Oscar contenders and there is so much internet criticism out there, that maybe we can’t agree on greatness anymore. During the Great Depression, films like It Happened One Night and 42nd Street pulled people together. I don’t know if that’s the case. We can still all get excited over Spiderman, Pirates of the Carribean and X-Men, and Brokeback Mountain, Dreamgirls and Departed do dominate water cooler buzz, but maybe it’s a fracture between the critics and the public. Spiderman, Shrek and Pirates were all on the ballot as were many of the Oscar nominees. At the very least it’s nice to see a few films added:
– Lord of the Rings is an undeniable safe choice because it has been both part of the Blockbuster culture and the Oscar culture which divides film viewing now more than ever.
-I’ve already seen a lot of complaining about the Sixth Sense on message boards, but I say, let’s just try to agree on something, rather than have this decade not represented. Sixth Sense is an interesting offbeat pick from a director who has a gift for originality. Even if he’s currently struggling a little with where to go with it at the moment (Lady in the Water hit a nerve with audiences and it ended the director’s streak of commercial success), let’s honor how he once showed us something new and original.
-Saving Private Ryan was a film that came along when there was nothing left to say about World War II. It’s another war classic and it shows that the tradition of making great war movies has not been forgotten. Flags of Our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima is the recent continuation of this.
-Titanic is such an interesting pick. When the last list came out in 1998, Titanic seemed like the biggest cinematic event to hit the face of the Earth. It broke all box office records and it had the biggest production budget ever and it won a record number of Oscars. Nowadays, box office draw and critical acclaim are two different things entirely. The box office champions of the last few years Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest, Star Wars III, Shrek II, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Spiderman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Mission Impossible II, have virtually no chance at a best picture nomination and seldom appear on critic’s top 10 lists. But back then, Titanic was unstoppable. Even if you wanted to hate it because it was a Goliath of a film and you tend to root for the Davids, the story was so damn moving and emotional, that you couldn’t deny it’s greatness. If Titanic was eligible for that ballot, who knows how high it would have gotten on the list. Some might have voted it #1 due to the fact that box office draw and greatness might have been more correlated. Nearly 10 years later, Titanic is almost forgotten and its entry onto this list is a fairly heavy reminder of the pervasiveness Titanic once held in our culture that one year. I still think it’s relevant because Titanic was the last box office champ to even be nominated for an Oscar and for that might have been the last true blockbuster before our blockbuster culture got saturated. (Sixth Sense cracked the top 10 all time and it was nominated, however)

-One question that’s been asked on a lot of message boards is what’s the biggest mistake: I think the biggest waste of a choice was Night at the Opera because one Marx Brothers film is enough. Honestly, I can’t even remember if I’ve seen a Night at the Opera. I’ve seen about 4 or 5 Marx Brothers Films and i can’t remember them by name. I think they all just blend into each other. Some have Zeppo and some don’t, that’s the only difference.

-Out with the old and in with the new. To make way for some of the new films on the list, a number of films on the list 10 years ago got displaced. I think it is upsetting that films like “A Place in the Sun,” “Stagecoach,” and especially “From Here to Eternity” (my favorite war film) were omitted from the list but i don’t think that necessarily renders them historically irrelevant. The fact that they were on the first top 100 list cements them as classics, and it’s simply that they wanted to mix it up a little. Mostly what the list did was introduce the public to some films that should’ve made the list last time (and probably almost did):
-Do the Right Thing: Spike Lee has combined his filmic ambitions with his desire to infuse the country with racial awareness
-Blade Runner (Ridley Scott): The film didn’t have enough sci-fi the first time, and Blade Runner was aside from being a great and highly praised film, a great influence in the genre. It also introduced Ridley Scott to the list
-Cabaret (Bob Fosse): I saw this film in my film genres class when we studied musicals and in terms of reinventing the conventions of a genre, it’s hard to top this film. In musicals, the songs are used to celebrate life, courtship, community and vitality. In Cabaret, the musical numbers are used to illustrate decadence and foreshadowdeath.
-All The President’s Men (Alan Paluka): This film was basically the 1970’s version of “Good Night and Good Luck,” only it was actually relevant to the times. A strict docudrama that featured Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford running around and looking busy like the casts of Aaron Sorkin shows traditionally like to do, All the President’s Men was as great of a suspsense thriller as it was a history lesson. All the recent buzz about the story with Mark Felt’s identity revealed as deep throat might have contributed to the film making the list this time around
-Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges): I’ve seen two of the three really famous Preston Sturges films: Palm Beach Story and The Lady Eve and wasn’t much of a fun of either of them. The third, Sullivan’s Travels, looks quite appealling now that I’ve seen clips of it and I’m thinking I might watch it. Perhaps, three times a charm. While I am not yet a fan of Preston Sturges, many film historians consider him to be a historically significant film director. Go figure.
-The General (Buster Keaton): The great silent film star who has been considered 2nd best next to Chaplain for the last 40 or 50 years or so. The General was his most epic film and I believe his most expensive to produce. I did see it and personally did not think it was as great as Chaplain or even Harold Lloyd’s films, but it is certainly a different brand of comedy.
-12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet): Along with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (also on the list), there is no film that captures the spirit of American Democracy better than this film. It’s also such an impressive film because its setting is pretty much confined to one single room and there’s nothing but the dramatic tension to keep things moving
-Sophie’s Choice: This is the only film on the list that I know absolutely nothing about (there were other films that I knew close to nothing about). All I knew about this film was that it won Meryl Streep an Oscar and I wasn’t even sure of that. Once again, the AFI list made me feel stupid, but that’s ok.

worst movies of the year so far
June 22, 2007

In today’s blog, I will talk about the worst movies of the year that should be avoided at all costs. One additional thing that I would like to point out is that some of these movies did earn a lot of money in theatres or have likable actors but these movies are not worth seeing in theatres and not on DVD either unless you have nothing better to do.

1. Wild Hogs
2. The Condemned
3. Norbit
4. Epic Movie
5. Delta Farce (only for Blue Collar Comedy fans)
6. Evan Almighty (It really pains me to put this one up because I am big Steve Carell fan and loved the first movie Bruce Almighty but I would only recommend this movie to Steve Carell fans, and Christians who are interested in seeing how the movie tells the Bible passage story of Noah’s Ark)
7. Hannibal Rising
8. Ghost Rider (I liked the movie but this movie does not have the kind of crossover appeal and good story of better comic book movies such as Batman Begins and Spider Man 2)
9. Because I Said So
10. Blood and Chocolate

Well, that is all for now.

Congressional Confusion
June 22, 2007

Listening to the news every morning has made me wonder, why does congress keep trying to create bills that the president is simply going to veto? And why does Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi seemed shocked after every time this happens?

Trying to defund the war and set a timetable simply isn’t in the Bush administration’s plans. Neither is going green with cars and fuel. You can clearly forget about stem cell research and civil unions. The president is clearly not interested, and will veto these types of bills soon after congress has spent hours discussing and creating them. He is a conservative politician and obviously is not interested in their attempts at liberal policies.

So why do they continue to waist their time and taxpayers money on creating these hopeful bills that most likely wont even be considered for compromise? Instead of just putting cooperative ideas out there, congress continues to be wasteful of time and resources. If anyone has an explanation please do comment.

video games to watch for and get for 2007
June 21, 2007

Today’s blog is about the past and future top games to seriously consider buying or at least playing or renting it if not at your home then at a friend’s home.

all of the information and lists of these games can be found on http://www.metacritic.com/games/, and http:// http://www.ign.com for their respective game platforms

Top Games from 2006- Present
Play Station 2

1. God of War 2
2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
3. Final Fantasy 12
4. Guitar Hero 2
5. World Soccer Winning Eleven 9

Playstation 3 from 2006- Present

1. Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
2. Resistance: Fall of Man
3. Virtua Fighter 5
4. MotorStorm
5. Fight Night Round 3

X-Box 360 from 2006- Present

1. Gears of War
2. Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
3. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
4. Burnout Revenge
5. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas

Nintendo Wii from 2006- Present

1. The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
2. Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition
3. Super Paper Mario
4. WarioWare:Smooth Moves
5. Madden NFL 07

Games to look forward to this year: these are predictions, there is no guarantee that they will all be great games but all these games have good strong pre-release buzz.

Future Games to Look forward to getting later this year and early next year. Please note that with the exception of Halo 3, the other games are not listed in terms of anticipation levels.

1. Halo 3 (X-Box 360)
2. Half-Life:The Orange Box (Important Note:includes other games such as Portal and Team Fortress) (X-Box 360)
3. Metal Gear Solid 4 (Play Station 3)
4. Grand Theft Auto 4 (Play Station 3)
5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Nintendo Wii)
6. Resident Evil 5 (Nintendo Wii)

That’s all for now. Enjoy these games that are currently out and keep an eye on those big upcoming games.

Thanks but No Thanks, Rosie
June 21, 2007

After leaving The View last month, Rosie O’Donnell has announced she’s after The Price Is Right host position. Bob Barker’s retirement from the show has left a convenient opening, and big shoes to fill. Not only is he one of the sweetest old guys, but he’s so likeable too. He just seemed like a true old-fashioned gentleman with a lot of class, that people easily fell in love with during the 35 years he did the show.

That being said, would plugging Rosie into the host position really be a smart choice for CBS? First of all, there’s all the controversy that has surrounded this woman lately. She’s been up in arms with the Trump family, who haven’t really ever done anything to her. She was in several heated arguments on The View, some of which were political and pertaining to the war in Iraq. She’s also a lesbian with four kids, all being raised by her and her partner. While this is her choice, it’s a topic that is extremely debated and not in accordance with the beliefs of the majority of Americans, as displayed over and over again by different polls and elections.

So taking a nice old guy like Bob Barker and replacing him with Rosie seems like it may be a little difficult to make jive. Yes, she’s a recognized TV personality, but is she gaining or losing more supporters? My guess is losing support from mainstream audiences, maybe gaining some momentum from the far left. Regardless who’s on her side, she’s earning quite an obnoxious reputation for herself.

Now think about the environment and audience of The Price Is Right. The audience (both in the studio and at home) is an older crowd. I’d say mostly senior citizens. Older people tend to be more conservative and frown on things like homosexuality and, in my experience, annoying loud mouths. Another big issue—The Price Is Right girls. I’m sure you remember what they look like: thin to curvy, pretty, usually wearing something revealing, most are blonde, all are tan. Some have posed for Playboy, others are just models. How awkward will this be for Rosie? Does she agree with women “being objectified” like this? She is so far left and a proud lesbian, she might not approve. And will the girls be comfortable working with Rosie? She has been known to snap and get bossy.

It seems to me that Rosie being the new host may be a little unwanted. Not only will she not mesh with the surroundings, but does the majority of America really want to see her hosting the classic show? It may just mean game show suicide for CBS. At least until they try her out, it fails, and they get a new host.

Best movies of 2007 so far
June 20, 2007

This blog is about what I think are the best movies for 2007 so far. These movies are not ranked in any particular order.

1. Hot Fuzz

2. Knocked Up

3. Grindhouse

4. Zodiac

5. 300