Fuel Bands and Depressing Movies

Yesterday I saw Amour, a movie so depressing that it made me want to watch Requiem For a Dream or Dancer in the Dark to cheer up. Brilliant filmmaking…but a bummmmmmmer to watch.

Last week, my wife got me a Nike Fuel Band, which tells you how many steps you take each day, how many calories you burn, and how many “fuel” points you receive. You set your daily goal, and if you make it you get colorful animations, and if you make it three days in a row it’s a “streak” and you get…well, I wouldn’t know because I left it at home all day. Do you know how much it frickin’ SUCKS to have this thing tabulating your daily exercise and then you’re suddenly NOT GETTING CREDIT FOR TAKING THE STAIRS INSTEAD OF THE ELEVATOR AND WALKING ALL THE WAY TO SUBWAY?!? MY NIKE BAND THOUGHT I WAS A TOTAL LOSER YESTERDAY AND I DIDN’T GET MY STREAK AND NOW IT’S MESSED UP MY DAILY AVERAGE!!!!! ARGH! ARGH! ARGH! ARGH!

Made my goal today, though. 


Die Limp

As you’ve probably heard, or, if your life took an unfortunate turn, seen for yourself, A Good Day To Die Hard is a complete piece of crap. I’m not one of those people who says “Die Hard was great, but then the series got too preposterous!” I love all four of the prior installments, including Live Free or Die Hard. I don’t care how ridiculous the action sequences get. I don’t care if John McClane has become an invincible superhero. I loved each and every one of these movies…….until now.

I really don’t get the point of filming action sequences in Incoherent Shaky Cam. There’s a stunt-laden early car chase that, as far as I could tell, involved practical stunts instead of CGI. That means that actual human beings put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of this motion picture, and the filmmakers rewarded their willingness to perish in a horrific car crash by filming/editing it so badly that you can barely tell what’s going on.

The movie is so bad that I hit a point where I didn’t even want it to get better, because it became fascinating in its incompetence. I especially liked how Bruce Willis kept saying “I’m supposed to be on vacation!” (his version of Dante’s “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” chant in Clerks) even though it was clearly established that he went to Russia to get his son out of trouble. 

The best part is after the end credits, where we are informed that the film created 14,000 jobs. “Yes, we know it’s terrible…but it kept people employed in a bad economy, so that counts for something, right? Right?” 

The one bright spot: Bruce Willis does not actually say “Yippie Ki Yay, Mother Russia” in the film. If that had happened, there would have been no choice but to tear down the screen.

HOWEVER…I was impressed by the marketing of a new Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy movie. There was a big warning on the screen saying that this sample scene was for theatre exhibitors only and NOT to be shown to the general public. The scene itself had timecodes at the top and looked like it was from a workprint. I’m pretty sure this was all bulls**t, but it still gave the scene (which was extremely funny) a level of “Ooooh, we’re not supposed to be seeing this! How naughty!” 


Zoom! Zoom!

So I recently watched the movie Unstoppable, where Denzel Washington has to stop an out-of-control train. It’s a very good movie, but I was distracted by all of these quick little zooms. Not dramatic zooms into Denzel’s face as he says “Unstoppable? I don’t think so!” [Not actual movie quote] but constant quick little zooms in and out, as if the cameraman didn’t quite have the shot he wanted. 

It happened so often, and for no conceivable artistic reason, that I thought maybe my TV was trying to auto-correct the aspect ratio or something. I kept messing with the settings, and, nope, constant tiny zooms. Weird. 

After that I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home. Same frickin’ thing! Constant distracting mini-zooms. A charming little movie, but watching it reminded me of the annoyance level of a VHS tape where you could never quite get the tracking perfect. Clearly, I was going to have to figure out a way to fix this, or get a new TV.

Then I read reviews of both movies…which criticize the filmmakers for the constant mini-zooms. Roger Ebert’s review of Jeff, Who Lives at Home says:

“One stylistic note: In nearly every scene, the Duplass brothers use quick little zooms in and out….They’re good directors. They’ll outgrow this.” 

The moral of the story? If you watch Unstoppable and Jeff, Who Lives at Home back-to-back, you might think your TV is broken. 

Stalking You Now

Okay, so remember when I did that whole post about February 28th being SYN day? My bad. Stalking You Now is already available for your Kindle or Kindle app (other digital formats to follow). Please buy a copy for yourself and anybody you’re currently stalking.

Actually, don’t do that. That would be creepy. Only purchase Stalking You Now for approved friends and family members. Thank you. 

Get your copy right HERE


February 26th is SYN Day!!!

…and your Kindle/Nook/iPad/whatever will never be the same!!!


Bye-Bye, Iron

Yes, Monopoly will be replacing the iron with…a cat! I know that you probably don’t believe much of what I post here, so here’s a link to CNN:


Of course, this makes part of my short story “The Car” (upcoming in the anthology High Stakes) outdated. But that’s okay, because the story is still a cutting-edge, ripped-from-the-headlines glimpse into the world of fighting over which Monopoly piece you get to be.

In fact, I may be psychic. Check out this excerpt:

“What about the iron?”

“Do you know anybody who has ever wanted to play as the iron?”

“Certainly somebody wants to be the iron, or they would have discontinued it.”

Suck it, George Orwell!!!

Snow Shaaaaaaaaark!!!

The latest episode of Dread Media (#284) (Whoa! 284 episodes!) is now live, with me making a return visit as a guest reviewer. This time, host Desmond Reddick and I review Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast. This film was produced by our mutual friend Gregory Lamberson, but that doesn’t mean we don’t make fun of it. 

You can subscribe to Dread Media on iTunes (it’s absolutely free, of course), or listen at http://www.dreadmedia.net. And you can get your very own copy of Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast right HERE


Groundhog Day

Jeez, Groundhog Day is much less fun now that Punxsutawney Phil just emerges from his burrow and delivers a stern lecture about global warming. 

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