Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Way to go, team.

Can this please end now?


Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Prove you're still worth a damn";

so sayeth several of the lost souls wandering through the film adaptation of Frank Miller's seminal Sin City. Their words illustrate a common fear of inadequacy, the one thread linking their three separate stories together, and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's watching a bunch of impotent old men overcompensate.

Seriously, Bruce. Turning your head from Jessica Alba? Someone get the Viagra!

I kid, I kid. I have no problem with infirmity. After all, I'll probably be seeing the new Indiana Jones movie. But I think this motif fits the movie pretty well, because Sin City is desperately trying to overcompensate for its graphic novel roots with sheer force of violence and stunning aesthetics.

I mean, seriously. The movie is visual poetry. Why didn't it pick up any special effects Oscar nods? Oh, that's right; overexposure. As gorgeous as Sin City often is (gorgeous being a figurative term, when you consider what's lurking beneath the surface), you kind of get exhausted of the whole noir-on-crack shtick by the end of it. Eventually, the luster completely wore off for me. It's still an amazingly crafted movie - just one that overuses its assets, like the cheap strippers at Centerfolds.

But still...beautiful, beautiful movie. A bunch of mismatched screencaps don't do it justice at all (on a side note, I wish my DVD drive on my computer worked, so I could take some damn caps of my own.)

The same goes for the incredible brutality of the film. In the span of two hours, people get beaten, tortured, stabbed, raped, drugged, shot, devoured, exploded, skewered, castrated, hit by cars, and forced to sleep with Mickey Rourke, and what's it all for? To prove that Sin City is a bad place. Well, duh. To me, the most insidious sorts of violence are the ones that show themselves at the most opportune of times, peeking out their ugly heads only when the time calls. After watching them scurry around Sin City tirelessly and without respite, you grow numbed to the shock of it all. I think the pinnacle of my revulsion with Sin City's graphic deaths was watching Elijah Wood getting eaten alive by his own dog about 40 minutes in. Past that, I started moving through it like some sort of macabre routine. Even the third genital mutilation didn't faze me.

The big problem with this is that Sin City's narrative is constructed around its violence, and the action that delivers it. The movie honestly doesn't give a shit about its plot. It's merely a conduit for more violence; thus, the storyline gets glossed over to an unbelievable extent with internal monologues. Hours and hours of them. There is more voice-over than actual dialogue in the movie, I kid you not. I don't know if your English teachers ever made you learn "show not tell writing", but Robert Rodriguez's sure didn't. Scenes such as Clive Owen explaining to you how he's considering shooting the cop, while you're also seeing him finger the gun as the cop draws nearer to him, are downright insulting to the viewer's intelligence.

I realize that this sort of narration is a staple of film noir, but a) Sin City is not really film noir and b) all the self-pontification you see in movies like Double Indemnity is used to develop the thoughts and personality of the protagonist, not complete the storyline. I make my first argument on the basis that it's really just an action movie with film noir window-dressing. There's no mystery to the happenings of ol' Sin City; just mass violence. And with such a great setting, it's almost a shame that there aren't any secrets to explore.

But anyway, I don't hate on Sin City for having found such great success. It's an innovative if not deeply flawed step in the right direction. I'll probably watch Sin City 2, simply because it'll be an original treatment instead of a graphic novel adaptation, which is where from most of the flaws of this installment arose. As I've speculated before, things that sound cool in comic book land simply aren't when real actors are spitting them out, and that's what makes Sin City seem kind of...cheesy in the end. Cheesy and impotent. Damn you, old men.

(Caps courtesy of www.albafan.net and luckynumberjosh.com.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I know, I know.

Considering this was supposed to be a daily blog, I've done an extraordinarily shitty job. But I've been busy. Blow me.

In other AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME news...guess who's confirmed for Super Smash Brothers Brawl?


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At the behest of Meghan...happiness

Okay, so maybe filling half of my blog's first four posts with unrestrained hate may not have sat well with everyone, or at least my three or four friends who love me enough to actually read this. So I'm sitting here in my underwear, eating snickerdoodles and thinking to myself "how can I be angry at this moment in time?" It's not possible. Here, then, is a digression on something I love very much: music.

I cannot stress enough that my music taste is diverse. To say the least. It's matured considerably - five years ago, I would listen to absolutely nothing but Eurobeat or Japanese techno - but I'm still all over the place. Nothing is too mainstream or too obscure for me. Thus, I've taken myself to task to expose you to whatever I'm feeling at the moment, no matter what it may be. If you don't like it, tough fuckin' titties. It's not like you're paying for it.

Stuck In Your Love
Artist: m-flo loves melody
Album: Cosmicolor

The incontrovertible high point in what can be called a mixed bag of an album, Stuck in Your Love is sweet and forceful - romantic hip-hop at its finest. m-flo is one of the few acts in Japan who truly "gets" hip-hop. For those xenophobes out there, worry not; the song is entirely in English. As such, the lyrics are a little bit simple, but sometimes that's for the best.

Drivin' Me Wild
Artist: Common feat. Lily Allen
Album: Finding Forever

So perhaps I'm on a hip-hop kick right now, but seriously, Common and Lily Allen? That's Drew-bait, right there. Common makes some risky production choices, like playing one of Lily Allen's sonorous howls all through the song - she's not exactly a siren, but it works to surprising effect here.

Going to Georgia
Artist: The Mountain Goats
Album: Zopilote Machine

Yeah, John Darnielle or something, cool. Pitchfork called this the best-written song ever. They've brought a ton of counter-counter-culture hatred against themselves, though, so maybe that isn't a credible thing for me to say. I don't think I've ever been so taken by one man and his guitar before, but this has me singing along Every. Single. Time. Trying to imitate his voice, no less.

Letter ~ From the Lost Days
Artist: Akira Yamaoka feat. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Album: Silent Hill 3 Original Soundtrack

I realize that putting video game music on here makes me an unbelievable nerd, but I don't give a fuck. This song has a strange, ethereal quality to it. It kind of reminds me of Portishead. As far as Playstation vocal songs come, this is about as good as you're ever going to get.

Misery Business
Artist: Paramore
Album: Riot!

My mainstream pick of the day. What Paramore lacks in creativity, they make up for in sheer anger and honesty. This is the kind of music you imagine yourself kicking ass to. The kind of music that you put on as soon as you wake up and you're ready to go. This is probably what God was listening to when he created the world.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"The Eye" - as in, Eye know this is gonna suck eggs

The Eye, a 2002 Hong Kong horror film, was very decent. Fun to watch, mildly scary, and ultimately unambitious. Unfortunately, it is also Asian and successful, which means it was only a matter of time before it was remade.

With Jessica Alba. Or more importantly, her tits.

Now it's time to play a game of "What's Sadder?"

1) They're remaking The Eye
2) They're remaking The Eye with Jessica Alba in it
3) They're remaking The Eye with Jessica Alba in it and they used Blaqk Audio, Davey Havok's God-awful industrial techno project, in the trailer
4) They're remaking The Eye with Jessica Alba in it and they used Blaqk Audio, Davey Havok's God-awful industrial techno project, in the trailer, and I recognized it without having to look it up
5) The fact that all of these aspects have already aligned to seal the movie's fate

Me, I pick "all of the above."

Monday, October 15, 2007

I am an angry person, sort of

As I explained yesterday, there are certain things that I like to talk about and certain things that I don't. But there's also this mysterious middle ground that will probably be visited frequently on this blog: I love to talk about things that I hate.

I mean, with stuff like politics and geology, 99% of the time they constitute of things that are too boring to get my blood boiling. But there are certain subjects out there that inspire such insuppressible rancor in me that I can't help but, for lack of a better word, bitch about them.

Today's topic is Dane Cook. As a preliminary summary, Dane Cook is a tool.

I mean, honestly, I feel a little guilty about writing this because nearly everyone with an IQ of over 90 has been going after Dane Cook with a sledgehammer. In ranting on him, I fear I have become as unoriginal as the man itself. But today, I would like to discuss, in list form, several reasons as to why Cook reaches heights of douchery previously unseen in the ranks of standup (or basically the entire world.)


He has stolen material from no less than three established comedians: Louis C.K., Joe Rogan and, most recently, Demetri Martin. It was obvious that I was going to hit on this point, but really, yanking material from other people is the pinnacle of assholery no matter how you look at it.

In a twisted, sick, roundabout way, I almost have to commend him. Taking jokes from comedians who have had some success in the mainstream is a really gutsy move - thus, his balls far out-measure his intelligence. Louis C.K. isn't the hugest name in standup, but if he could get someone to actually produce Pootie Tang, then he must have some kind of clout. Joe Rogan's no comic titan either, but more people know him. Demetri Martin's star has really been rising lately, however, and with that people started to notice that Cook stole a joke off his 2005 CD.

See this video for proof. While I'm here, can I also bring attention to the delivery? Demetri Martin is rehearsed, savvy, deadpan. I don't understand why people enjoy Dane Cook's comedy because he basically screams at you through the entire joke. It's like Comedy Boot Camp.

Anyway, people have defended the similarities by saying that the joke's been around for a while, but the fact still stands - Dane Cook isn't writing his own material and that sucks. I wonder if he'll ever try to write a book? George Carlin has written several and they're awesome. A Dane Cook book would basically be 32 pages of other people's jokes, only in caps lock.


As I touched upon very briefly in the previous point, Dane Cook's style makes me want to die. Or to kill. It inspires death in many manifestations, I guess you could say.

It would be hypocritical for me to judge Cook for being loud; I am no soft-spoken lily in my own right. I know when to turn on the volume, however, and Cook simply doesn't know how to turn it off. All of his jokes start at a reasonable volume, then hit this interminable crescendo where he yells for the next five minutes. That's the median length of a Dane Cook joke, by the way. Homeboy takes way too fucking long to get to the point.

And then there's the body language. I have no words...only images.

(I'm especially fond of this one. He looks like a diseased chicken. See, even my Print Screen button is funnier than Dane Cook!)

If you're wondering about the quality, I capped these from Youtube videos, but I think you get the gist; his idea of humor is doing really bizarre things with his arms and yelling. He's like the class clown...at Monkey School.


Corporate. Sellout.

Yeah, yeah. It's not fair to decry someone for finding success, be it undeserved or not. But this motherfucker will do ANYTHING to keep people saying his name in really loud, obnoxious voices. His most notable offenses are his movie roles. Let's take a look at his recent resume:

Torque: Perhaps the biggest tip-off on this list. Anything with a 3.3 on IMDB is bound to be a pure, unmitigated disaster. I haven't seen the movie, but his participation warrants some (negative) attention.
Waiting: To be fair, this was a brilliant fucking move. The movie caters to his EXACT demographic. And we'll get to that later.
London, Mr. Brooks: Here's Dane Cook in some non-comedy films, where many would think he is a woeful miscast, but nooooo. I haven't seen London, but Mr. Brooks was bad, and the role was essentially a reprise of his annoying comic persona. Tooltooltooltooltool.
Farce of the Penguins: Enough said.
Employee of the Month, Good Luck Chuck: Two Dane Cook starring vehicles. Two miserable, universally maligned cinematic apocalypses.

Film is not the only media that he's rubbed his slimy tendrils all over, however. I learned recently that Dane Cook actually composed a song!

...Or did he?

"In late 2007, Cook released a single entitled 'Forward' in support of his upcoming movie, Good Luck Chuck. Members of the Ron and Fez Show staff discussed the song on their September 18 edition and noticed it was very similar to a song by the band Chicago. Upon playing the song 'Forward' back-to-back with Chicago's 'Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away', it became apparent that the two were nearly identical, prompting one listener to say 'Dane Cook writes songs the same way he writes jokes — stealing.'"

I'm starting to wonder if Dane Cook is actually functionally illiterate and just copies everything he hears so he can make it look like he has some abilities. Ad hominem attacks are rude, though, so let's take a look at Dane Cook's fanbase!


Dane Cook's fans are fucking dickholes. To spare myself from the gaping black hole that is a generalization, I'm sure that there's a handful of Cook fans out there that have some semblance of brainpower, but seriously, if I were him I'd be ashamed of the people who claim to like me.

I mean, when you make comedy aimed squarely at the 13-year-old white upper-middle class male, you're bound to get such results. As a more in-depth case study, I looked at a Youtube video's comments. Okay, not too in-depth, but it's Dane Cook; next to him I have more depth than a well-worn Thai hooker.

Granted, the original video isn't that funny, but here are some of the things his chivalrous defenders had to say:

"LOL omg i didnt think there was anyone out there who was more "queer" than Chris Crocker but dude u just proved me wrong. . . only "Fudge Packers" dont like Dane"

"yo f you dane cook rules you are a supper fag!"


"UR A FUCKING FAGGOT! Go play in traffic"

"U know man Dane cook is the funniest guy in the world AND IF YOU THINK NOT THEN U R TRULLY GAY AND HAVE NO DICK!"

Wait, guys...are you noticing a pattern here? I sure am.

I must say that after all this exhaustive ranting about Dane Cook, I feel as if I've accomplished absolutely nothing. Not only that, but I've been indirectly informed that I'm trully gay and have no dick. Missing genitalia aside, however, there's a smug satisfaction that comes with knowing the difference between good standup and Dane Cook, and that's something that's worth sacrificing your much-vaunted penis over.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I got me a sense of purpose...

There are many subjects I like to write about. These are not some of them:

- politics (except maybe in the face of blinding, extraordinary idiocy, in which case I might)
- clothing
- dull things, like geology and wine tasting

But past that, the world is fair game to me. Today I would like to briefly discuss my career.

Though most of the people reading this probably already know how I make my daily bread, I'm a substitute teacher's aide in the local school district. I work in special education classes. It's not the easiest job in the world, but it's hella fun and incredibly enriching, not to mention the pay beats the hell out of Taco Bell. I've learned so much about autism and learning disabilities in general - in the year that I've been working in the district, my preconceptions and ideas about the mentally retarded have changed drastically.

But what I love most about my career is that almost every day, I hear or experience something incredibly hilarious. Not (always) in a malicious way; there's just so much unabashed innocence and curiosity that has no restraint in special education.

A site that always puts a smile on my face is tardblog, which is an archived collection of stories written by a special education teacher. It may sound a little mean-spirited, but there's an FAQ on the site that really reflects how I feel about my job.

"This page should be seen in the same light as surgeons or paramedics making jokes about injured people, or psychiatrists making light of their mentally deranged patients. The people in those fields use humor as a way to relieve the daily stress and aggravation of their very difficult jobs. Paramedics and doctors, especially battlefield surgeons, are renowned for making sick jokes about their patients during their off-time. If they don't release the emotional tension through humor, then it has to come out some other way, hence the saying, 'If I don't laugh I'll have to cry.'"

What really gets me about special education is that 7 times out of 10, the parents just don't give a shit about their kids. They dump them in their classes from day to day; it's like a day care service to them while they do whatever shit they want. They view their children as nothing but an inconvenience. A lot of the time, that is the reason why their child is in special ed in the first place. Really, it breaks my heart.

Hopefully, I'll get the chance to share both the happy and the sad - oftentimes I get a lot of both of them in the work I do. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I told myself constantly to start a blog, but I never thought I was actually going to do it. I need some sort of creative outlet.

Anyway, welcome to my new blog, (tentatively) titled Marmalaise. Clever, eh? I am a pretty clever guy. Hopefully I will be able to extend that cleverness into some sort of entertaining daily periodical, but that's wishful thinking.

I have little to say right now, so I'll just leave you with this bit of poetry in motion, as capped by the inimitable Rich of fourfour.

Isn't she beautiful?