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Showing posts from September, 2013

Karma

I read more Facebook statuses about karma than almost any other topic not related to one's kids and pets.  Karma is the most overused and most incorrectly used term out there today.  Just could you drove your daughter's friends to the movies and had to sit through two hours of One Direction, doesn't mean you are in for a life of pedicures and back rubs. That's not the way it works.  Karma is one of over twenty aspects of the Buddhist belief as to why your life is the way it is and very little of it has to do with this specific life. You may have been a wonderful being in past lives or you may have been a tyrant.  One thing that should be known is that if you really read into it, bad promotes bad and the cycle continues.  It's Buddhists way of explaining the inequality in the world.  Much like other religions use faith and the afterlife as a tool.  In Buddhism there is rebirth, so karma when used by a Christian, Jew or Muslim is about as silly as it gets.

Here is th…

Review - The ABC's of Death

Every once in a while a movie comes along and the premise is brilliant.  That doesn't always spell success, but usually when you have an idea like the one posed to directors in this movie, you'd think it would be at least a minimal success. Well minimal is the key word. 

The ABC's of Death is a collection of 26 vignettes directed by some up and coming names in the horror business.  Each one was given a different letter of the alphabet and told to make a movie.  In case you want to see the movies, I don't want to give away the titles, because that is part of the allure of the movie.  The secret words, while in alphabetical order, aren't revealed until after the short is finished. This is actually quite effective, because it makes the viewer think about the word a bit while watching.

For brevity's sake, I'll break down the scores and the number of films that received that score.

1- 11, 2- 3, 3- 2, 4- 5, 5- 1, 6- 2, 7- 0, 8- 0, 9- 1, 10- 1
As you can see the l…

Quickie Review - La Jetee

I will give nothing away about this movie, so do not worry about a spoiler other than a reference to the movie it inspired.

I have taken a film class, worked with a director, spent vast hours studying film and yet this eluded me until Friday evening.  A friend mentioned this to me a while back and I was skeptical, being I had not even heard of it and I'm not a real fan of the Sci-Fi genre. I'm blown away.  Despite not liking 12 Monkeys (for which this film was the inspiration), I will now have to see it again, because of this film.

What amazes me the most about this film is that I knew exactly what the ending was going to be within the first few seconds of the film and none of it mattered. The film is almost entirely still images, which did a magical thing; It allowed us to make our own movie within the pauses, the fades, the darkness.  The narration leads us, but it is us who creates the full picture.  It is us who is taking the journey.  Aside from the one full motion shot,…

Worst Movie Ever Candidate - Rubber

So the writer/director spends a half a million dollars to prove that the average movie audience is stupid?  He could have saved time and money by just filming an audience watching any of the recent superhero movies or the top rated televisions shows. Yes, I got it, so please don't think condescending thoughts about how the movie was to clever for me.

What truly bothers me is that this could have been a borderline brilliant movie had it actually had some direction.  Had the people not been poisoned by died of starvation waiting for something to happen.  Had the silliness of the mass killings not occurred. Had some of the actors stepped out and some remained.  The bottom line is that the Duplex wanted to offend the viewer's lack of intelligence, but his lack of vision and skill did nothing but offend our senses.  An utter waste of time and energy.

Free Writing - Take 29

This will be a short one because it's almost 4am and this is the latest I've been awake in a long time. I had gotten myself to a pretty good schedule, but with one terrible flaw.  I've been napping at the same time I'll soon be teaching.  Three meals alone again and I forgot how much I hate it.  Dinner was awful.  Rushed, ill-conceived and added flavors that didn't meld together.  I look forward to breakfast or brunch tomorrow. Today made me realize some things about Facebook. There are some truly shattered souls out there. Smiling pics, quotes from the heavens and little jokes to mask the pain.  What about those that don't mask it. The one's who put each and every one of life's obstacles on for everyone to see?  I worry about them, hope that it's all for attention and not a cry for help.  I feel like the Internet has become a hotline that nobody answers.  I find it even funnier, although appreciated, that people don't get what I'm doing.  I…

Free Writing - Take 28

It's later than I've been staying up since the last few nights. At least it feels like today has been longer.  The first day spent almost entirely alone and in over a month and it made me realize how lonely I've been lately.  Sure I have friends and I appreciate them, but I don't have anyone to say goodnight to, so wish my sweet dreams or to wake up and converse with each morning.  It's a lonely existence living alone.  Sure the quiet and the lack of restrictions is nice at times, but there is something about being able to chat over a meal that I miss a lot.  Today marks a somewhat painful anniversary of sorts.  Not really an anniversary, but an epiphany that was forgotten and never really recognized.  Nothing has changed in two years and I'm a lesser person because of it.  This isn't a pity cry or anything like that, no, it is merely a realization. I have cut ties with many and ironically one of those ties said hello recently.  Too late, too tired and a dy…

Movie Remakes We Need To See

I normally hate remakes and if it's from something I love, there are times when I refuse to watch the remake, no matter who is in it.  Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is a perfect example of this.  I also don't like when I see remakes that aren't credited as remakes, because the writer/director completely stole the idea.  Take Hunger Games for example.  Anyone who watched it knew immediately it was an expensive rip off of the brilliant Battle Royale.  Then there are the remakes which actually work, like The Jason Statham version of The Mechanic, which stays true to the grit and violence of the original.  So this got me thinking about movies that either failed the first time or could benefit from some modernization.  They could also be made simply by pure inspiration from the original, but lacking any real ties.

The first movie that came to mind was the mid-80's horror comedy, Night of the Comet.  It starred up and comer Catherine Mary Stewart, who never really made it big, but …

The Texas Hold'Em Craze

Like most people I watched some nobody named Chris Moneymaker win the World Series of Poker.  Unlike most people, I had been watching the World Series of Poker since it's days at Binions when guys like Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Stu Unger and a young Johnny Chan were in their heyday.  Edward Norton in Rounders was not my introduction into the "sport."  That being said, I had never been in a tournament, but when I got my first invite, I jumped at the opportunity.

My first tournament was a fundraiser. A five table shootout. Eight men started at each table and played until there was one winner who would get their $100 back. Then the five single table winners would play until there was one winner and the winner would receive $1000.  I dominated my single table and actually was the player who knocked out all seven of my opponents.  We sat down at the final table and within about twenty hands it was down to three of us.  I was second in chips and laid back while the chi lea…

A Comment About Every Post On Facebook Over The Last Four Hours

I'm bored and I need some writing practice.  Instead of my free writing, I'm scrolling back to 8PM and I'm not going to write what the comment was, just a one or two sentence comment on the status updates, links and memes.  I'll leave off the ads the generator posts by pages I follow and keep it to people.  And no, this isn't going to be all negative, haha.  If you actually looked at Facebook a lot this evening, this is about how exciting it got....

Beautiful letter from one beautiful sister to another.
A weather status. Shocking.
Another weather status, but this one was funny.
Soccer, I have no idea who that is.
Hope your dinner was excellent.
Someone thinking Assad is controlling Obama?  What?
My friend's weekend plans.
Seaside heights fire. Sad.
Bunch of girls taking pics during dinner.
Someone's family watching a game.
Hey I posted that earlier.
One word status that makes no sense.
Hilarious new car woes.
Weird picture.
Advertising a business.
Hyping a …

9/12 - A New America

Well, yesterday was one of the more painful days on social media. Everyone telling everyone else how they are doing patriotism wrong and how they bleed red white and blue. It was about as patriotic as a cross burning if you ask me.  First I woke up to about 30 pictures of the towers, reminding me about a day that I really hate thinking about.  Do we dig dead people up and parade them around once a year to seem more noble?  No, we remember them, shed a tear and we do it in our own way, privately.

I got into a twitter war with some ass hat who kept telling me about the 800,000 bikers in Washington who were shoving it up the Muslim's ass and representing the United States of Fucking America!  Then the person told me to suck some dicks because I laughed at what I thought was a man (the name was Dan).  After cursing at me, calling me gay and some other stupid shit, she told me she was a mother.  I bid her good day and told her that I hoped her kid didn't end up to be a dumb twat li…

The Obsessive Reader Who Never Reads

There is no question I fear more from intellectual types than the dreaded literary question, "What are you reading?"  Among certain people, it is always assumed that you spend your evenings, curled up on a couch, a snifter of brandy by your side, with thin-rimmed glasses set atop the edge of your nose, completely immersed in some classic novel.   Sadly, I haven't sat down with a book in many years.  It is, among others, one of my biggest regrets.

Despite have a plethora of spare time, I just can't keep fixated on one subject.  I make excuses constantly, claiming bad lighting, no comfortable seating or an acute case of adult ADD.  Two of these three claims can be easily proven, the other is probably something I have had since birth, but luckily was born in a time where it wasn't stigmatized.  I've always had problems with reading.  Not the actual act, but the act of sitting still long enough to actually read something.  I claim also to be a slow reader, but ma…

Best First Day of School Ever

With all the pictures being posted on Facebook of friend's children going to their first day of this grade and that, it is making me slightly nostalgic.  The first day of school is an interesting one, because depending on the situation, there can be various emotions battling each other.  For most, there is a thin line between excitement and fear, something that most people try to recapture as adults, but never quite grasp that feeling of the adolescent butterflies that we fear and welcome all at once.

My best first day of school was fourth grade.  I was entering a new school and a revered school.  I had finished second grade in June of 1978 and had taken a test to get into a prestigious private school called St. Ann's.  Despite its moniker, it as not a religiously affiliated school.  At the time, it was the best school in NY and in many eyes, the best in the country.  It was far from a normal school and I looked forward to fitting into the school where not everyone had to fit …

My Ten Favorite Sporting Events - You Might Be Surprised

OK, this list isn't individual events I have been to or I'd have to include my brother getting his very first hit in little league as one.  Nope, this is the ten yearly (or close) events that I look forward to.  In reverse order.

10. Opening Day of Baseball - there is something about that five month wait that makes that first pitch extra special.

9. The Super Bowl - Despite the hype, the game is rarely as exciting as it is advertised.  Obviously, if my team is in it, this jumps up.

8. The Kentucky Derby - Name one thing you can lose money, get drunk and the best part is over in two minutes?  Scratch that.

7. Sunday at the Masters - Usually this is the best day in golf and has had some truly surprising results over the years.

6. The NHL Playoffs - doesn't matter what game, it's all the same to me. Amazing intensity for every second of the game.  Too bad the regular season sucks.

5. Any Game 7 in a World Series (Or Divisional Series) - Two best teams. Usually two great p…

Building Intensity: The Shining's Unsung Scene

Despite Stephen King's claims that he doesn't like Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of his novel, the film version of The Shining is arguably one of the greatest horror films of all-time.  What separates The Shining from most other movies is it's ability to inject the horror slowly.  Unlike Jaws, which notifies us with music or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which fills us with dreaded thoughts, The Shining scares us with the Jack Torrance's slow decent into madness.  Scenes are carefully constructed to bring us to the incredible finale, but it is one scene in particular that completes the movie for me and it's not what you think.

The entire film demonstrates how desolation both physically and mentally takes it's toll on the main character.  As he withdraws from his wife and son, he allows the demons inside himself and the hotel to overtake him.  When he finally goes after his wife and son he is completely insane. In the most memorable scene, Jack goes after his wife…

Stop Trying So Hard People

School is a time for kids to not only learn, but to find their niche.  To find out who they are.  Usually they find a group of similar people and they find their comfort zone.  As adults, they stay with that path and it defines not only them, but who they end up with and how their children turn out.  This is pretty much the way it's always been.  Sure there are some who change religions, jobs, social setting and locations, but for the most of us, the trip isn't that exciting.  For most, it's somewhat defined by our surroundings.  I'm guilty as charged, so I'm not judging.  Not happy, but not judging.

Here's the problem.  Facebook!  Facebook has turned people who have always been one way into uncontrollable animals.  With the advent of Facebook, people who were completely happy in their own lives, now crave the unknown.  Everyone is jealous of everyone elses job, marriage, house, vacation spot, hobbies and social life.  It's an absolute clusterfuck of emotio…

2013 NFL Predictions

Before you go shaking your head about my predictions and saying "what does he know that I don't know?" Let me tell you one thing.  I picked six of eight division winners last year and literally one game in the AFC and one in the NFC was the difference between me having seven of ten playoff teams and having nine.  Every year I use the same process to make my regular season predictions, but this year, I'm using the Las Vegas over/under wins in predictions process.  This is my way of separating the 7-9, 8-8 and 9-7 teams.  Due to using this added information, I don't have any teams going worse than 5-11 and none better than 12-4, which is most likely not going to be the case, due to the inevitable injury bug.  For instance, Minnesota was 10-6 last year, but they are a 4-12 team without AP and I don't think he's making it through this season unscathed.  Same as Washington with RGIII.  On the other hand, I'm giving Murray on the Cowboys the benefit of the …

Cinephile or Movie Snob?

I have been called a movie snob, a food snob and an elitist.  Is it wrong to be bothered by the acceptance of mediocre and calling it greatness?  If I go to dinner, I don't want the $24 steak I can make better at home for $9. I want the 45 day dry aged porterhouse for $90. If I sit down to be entertained, I don't want two hours of bad acting, CGI effects and a plot twist I saw coming a mile away.  I want to get up from my chair (or bed) sweating, panting, mind racing a mile a minute. I want horror to send me dashing into the shower, scrubbing the stench of death from my body.  I want psychological thrillers to send me walking aimlessly at 2am looking for an answer. I want my belly to hurt, not from copious amounts of popcorn and soda, but from side splitting humor.  I want to walk away from the screen questioning life, not just the movie I've just seen.

Recently, I've come across a ton of movie buffs on Twitter.  I've enjoyed hearing their views and I'm glad to…