The Silver Lining… Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Aliens

I’ve come to Michael Bay’s defense once before.  I’m not going to do it again.

But I might have to find The Silver Lining in his decision to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as aliens.

These are not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

What good might I find in the seemingly asinine idea to change the beloved oozy origin of our pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling crime fighters?  Midi-chlorians, anyone?

These are not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Sometimes such changes work.  In the Sam Raimi Spider-Man series, didn’t a genetically altered spider make a lot more sense than a radioactive one?  (Maybe not enough.  Part 3 did suck, and the new film is abandoning that concept.)

This might be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

I think the best part is that we might finally get to see this guy: Krang.

Okay, he's technically from Dimension X, but isn't that alien enough?

Four movies in, and the best baddies we’ve seen are these two?

Tokka and Rahzar. Why not Bebop and Rocksteady?

That’s at least my hope.  I can’t take any more Shredder nonsense…

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In Defense Of… Michael Bay

This might be the hardest one yet.  (Why do I have a feeling that will always be the feeling?)

I’m about speak In Defense Of

Michael. Fucking. Bay.

"I get bold, italics, underlining, periods, and fucking? Boom goes the dynamite... and everything else!"

I didn’t think I’d get here so soon, but it’s befitting since Transformers: Dark of the Moon is finally here.  I haven’t seen it yet, but moron more on that soon.

Where can I begin my defense?

  • He’s certainly has a knack for creating great visual spectacles. 

But that argument can be countered by pointing out how shaky the fight scenes were in the first two Transformers films, or how explosions stand in for plot progression.  Another issue is his childish – nay – infantile sense of humor that leaks through into his films (peeing robots and robots with balls, for example).

  • People really like his movies.

Do they?  Do they really?  Or is it the spectacle as mentioned above. Let’s run through his catalog real quick, accompanied by Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregated ratings:

  1. Bad Boys (43%)
  2. The Rock (67%)
  3. Armageddon (40%)
  4. Pearl Harbor (25%)
  5. Bad Boys II (23%)
  6. The Island (40%)
  7. Transformers (57%)
  8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (20%)
  9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (37%)

How many are technically great movies?  The Rock?  How much of that was due to Nick Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris, though?

And don’t get me started with his production company, Platinum Dunes.  They’re responsible for most of the crappy horror film remakes that have come out in the last eight years.  So no… it’s not that people really like his movies.

  • People really like going to his movies.

He’s the eighth highest domestic grossing director up to 2009 for a reason.   Hell, I have to admit I’ve seen every single one of those movies above at the theater except the latest one, and I can’t wait to see it this weekend!  It looks like the special effects are really cleaned up, and I’ll be able to tell what the Transformers are doing!  I’m probably even going to pay extra to see 3D, and I typically hate 3D!

I know I’ve talked shit about him many times before, and I probably will in the future, but my biggest defense for him is that he gets people to the theaters.  That’s his job and he does it well.  Once we’re there, well, that’s a different story about story and content.  But I’m usually content.  I don’t hate his films with the same ferocity I unleash on Brett Ratner’s greasy prints or  M. Night Shyamalan’s twit-twisters (I avoid their films like the plague).

  • Above all else, Michael Bay is a skilled, technical filmmaker.

Being a flawed storyteller doesn’t make him bad.  If that was the case, I’d bitch about Tim Burton more often.

(SIDENOTE: If I can’t get convince you with any of the above, then you should know this.  When he was a kid, he donated all his Bar Mitzvah money to a local animal shelter.  That’s something.)

Unofficial Trilogy… That Future Looks A Lot Like Our Present Edition

Call me a sucker for good sci-fi.  Good thing I’m not that big a sucker, though, because good sci-fi is rare.  Rarer still is sci-fi that takes place in the future, yet looks like our present (or near present).  Here’s a nice slideshow of the films in this Unofficial Trilogy:

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This already feels like I’m entering film school snob territory.  This is a French sci-fi noir film starring an ex-patriot American as a secret agent that carries around an Instamatic camera.  Yeah.  The thing like the app.  Back when it was brand new and seemed futuristic.  Anykodak, I remember this film being really cool… so cool it was even referenced in an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

I can tell I’ve lost you, so I won’t bring up that Alphaville’s Forever Young was my graduating class song, and I was pissed about that because I never heard of the group or the song, and then when I saw this film in college, it reminded me of how much I hated that song, and then The O.C. re-popularized it with a remake, and the rage returned, and…

When I first viewed this film, I had no expectations.  So my expectations weren’t blown away – my mind was.  I still maintain that this is the Citizen Kane of our time… an under-appreciated classic in every sense that will one day get its due.  It’s a film directed by a Mexican based on a book by a Brit about America now.  At least that’s what I thought when I watched it years ago.  Considering it’s about a world where no one can have children anymore, and Clive Owen has to protect a pregnant woman while wearing flip-flops, I don’t know why I thought that.  I really need to watch this film again.

Ever see Parts: The Clonus Horror The Island?  Well, this isn’t that movie.  But it’s similar, at least in its premise if not its time period.  The idea is simple – there’s a clone race of people who exist solely to provide organs for their original.  Where the similarities end is in the bittersweet acceptance of those fates.  Since The Island was directed by Michael Bay and Never Let Me Go is a British film, guess which one is about the clones fighting for their right to be free individuals and which one is a simple love story between people resigned to dying young?

(SIDENOTE: I just realized this are all technically foreign flicks.  Go figure.)

JusWondering… How Does This Even Qualify As A Cartoon?

Is this just a pog for the digital age? Really, I’m seriously asking…

I watch more cartoons than I should.  In fact, depending on the time of the year, my DVR may be 33% full of animated hijinks.

But this show… this show makes me feel like a parent (which I’m not).  Of all the swill shilling shit programming out there, this one… this one… you just need to see:

If the opening of BeyWheelz: Powered by BeyBlade is too unbearable to sit through, allow me to present a sample battle scene from this show:

Yes.  You saw exactly what you saw.  Two wheels riding into each other.  Not animals popping out of balls or cards.  Wheels.  Or pardon me, Wheelz.

These Wheelz.  Or pardon me, BeyWheelz.

I wonder if each set is based on a different episode.

Hasbro has gotten sloppy, power-hungry, or durrr since the success of the brain-dead-on-arrival Transformer films.  Even the cinematic floater called Battleship made them money in the worldwide market.  Perhaps their just setting their sights on dumb-proofing children so that one day a live-action BeyWheelz will be another future summer blockbuster.

Wait a second… BeyWheelz… Michael Bay… it might already be too late… 

Awesome Battle… Good Will Hunting Vs. Swinging Mike Peters

It's like Matt and Ben are the hood of the car.

Swingers and Good Will Hunting hold a sort of distinction in film history as being the “ones that dun it“… meaning, despite their best previous efforts, until the comedy and drama became success stories, nobody knew:

  • Jon Favreau
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Matt Damon
  • Ben Affleck

But which film is the better Bar Mitzvah Quinceañera Sweet Sixteen coming out party?  Let’s wage an Awesome Battle!

BOX OFFICE

Swingers was put together for $200,000, and it went on to make $4.5 million.  Good Will Hunting was produced for $10 million and it netted almost $226 million.  That’s pretty close ratios, so let’s get specific:

$4,555,020 gross / $200,000 investment = 22.7751 (Swingers)

$225,933,435 gross / $10,000,000 investment = 22.5933435 (Good Will Hunting)

So Swingers earned just over 2277% of its budget, whereas Good Will Hunting earned just over 2259% of its budget.

  • WINNER: Swingers
  • APPROPRIATE QUOTE: “You’re so money and you don’t even know it!”

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

We can take two aspects into consideration here: reviews and awards.

Swingers received 87% Fresh from critics (45 positive reviews and 7 negative)

Good Will Hunting received 97% Fresh from critics (68 positive reviews and 2 negative)

89% of the audience liked Swingers; 92% liked Good Will Hunting.

As for awards, Good Will Hunting won Best Supporting Actor for Robin Williams and Oscars for Best Original Screenplay went to Damon and Affleck.  So that’s three for the drama; zero for the comedy.

  • WINNER: Good Will Hunting
  • APPROPRIATE QUOTE: “How do ya like them tomatoes apples?”

INCREASE IN STAR POWER

So let’s take a quick rundown of everyone’s successes following these films?

Jon Favreau has directed these films which together grossed about $1.6 billion:

  • Elf
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Cowboys & Aliens

Vince Vaughn has starred in these films which together grossed about $744 million:

  • Old School
  • Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  • Wedding Crashers
  • The Break-Up

Matt Damon has starred in these two trilogies which together grossed about $2.1 billion:

  • Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen
  • The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum

Ben Affleck has starred in and/or written/directed these critically acclaimed films which together grossed about $477 million + Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor which made another $449 million:

  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Gone Baby Gone
  • The Town

(Plus Ben Affleck was getting plenty of J. Lo when the getting was good.)

  • WINNER: Their agents
  • APPROPRIATE QUOTE: “You move, you die.” – Jason Bourne, in The Bourne Identity, which was directed by Swingers’ director, Doug Liman (full circle)

SO THE OVERALL WINNER IS…

Us… I guess?  Nope, nope.  It’s their agents.

Awful Battle… Douchey Wool-Pullers

I would like to bring up a new branch of douchebags, as the post title suggests.  This group can be used as a warning signal, something we look to in order to insure it never happens again.  These are the douchebags that pulled the wool over our eyes, and tricked us into thinking they were as cool as they thought they were.

So here lies the ultimate Awful Battle… of the Douchey Wool-Pullers:

DOUCHY WOOL-PULLER RATING

Dane Cook

Done Cooked, more like it.

I would say Cook seemed to explode on the comedy scene, but he would only spin it into some jizz joke.  Who knows how long he worked on his material?  (That doesn’t sound right either.)  Who knows why he caught on so fast?  I’ll even admit to enjoying him at the get go, and with an upcoming movie career, I believe I even hailed him as the next Steve Martin (compliment or not).  But when all the shit came out about his liberal borrowing of other comics’ bits, bits of me died for thinking Dane Cook was once cool, when really, he was a douchebag.

DOUCHEY WOOL-PULLER RATING

Scott Stapp of Creed

Scott Stop, more like it.

Really, this one is more our collective fault than anything else.  Though his level of douchebaggery may be high, his level of trickery/wool-pulling is not so.  We caught him early, mostly because he claimed to be Christian rock and wore leather pants and left his wife after having a kid and had that alleged sex tape with Kid Rock (and girl groupies) and need I go on?  I really did like Higher, My Own Prison, and With Arms Wide Open, though… what’s wrong with me?

DOUCHY WOOL-PULLER RATING

Fred Durst

Fred Duh, more like it.

Like Stapp and Cook, he appeared out of thin air that was apparently quite chilly, since he often appeared in his puffy jacket and backwards hat.  He was quite popular from the word nookie, and was in the pop music backlash crowd that included Eminem and the Wu Tang Clan.  But soon after, his song Break Stuff became like his anthem, and he was pissing people off at Woodstock ’99 (allegedly instigating the riot which lead to some rapes), Eminem and D12, Slipknot, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears.  I also remember hearing that Durst got pissy because Aaron Lewis of Staind never thanked him for putting them on the map.  Oh yeah… he had a sex tape, too.  Gross.  It’s a shame I picked his remake of George Michael’s Faith as the greatest rock remake of an 80’s song.

DOUCHEY WOOL-PULLER RATING

Kanye West

Kanye Messed, more like it.

I still maintain that West’s The College Dropout album is one of the best I’ve ever listened to, but we all know how fool full of  himself he is.  And how much he loves his Louis Vuittons and all other fashion whatevers… gah!  That stuff bores me.  Rap about important things (Jesus Walks, All Falls Down)!  Or even fun things (Slow Jamz)!  Not designer clothes!

DOUCHEY PULL-OVER RATING

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Not (!) Shyamalan, more like it.

How can someone make two incredibly cool films (The Sixth Sense and yes, Unbreakable), and not only get to keep making more films, but worse and worse films!  And then… AND THEN!  He has the audacity to say we, the audience, just don’t get it!  It takes something to rank pretty high on my Scale of Fury.  He’s at Rage Level 8 (out of 10).

_________________________________________________________________________

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • LeBron James and George Lucas

Though they may not be as cool as we once thought, they have not gone full douchebag.  They’ve come close, though.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:

  • Michael Bay and Brett Ratner

They never pulled any wool over anyone’s eyes.

Musical Musings… It’s All Open To Interpretation

I always like to imagine how different directors would make well-known movies different.

For example, imagine if Steven Spielberg directed Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver.

Or if Quentin Tarantino directed Michael Bay’s Transformers.

Or if Tim Burton directed Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins… wait, never mind.

Here’s comedian Matt Mulholland’s very sorta serious take on Rebecca Black’s Friday:

What a difference tonal, um, differences make…

There’s more Matt Mulholland after the jump. Read More

Coinkydink Or Coinkydonk? Orko And The Scooby-Doo Brood

A wise man once said:

Do as I say, and as I BOOM!Michael Bay

Basically, what that translates into is if you’re lucky to find something that pleases the masses, give ’em more!

This Hollywood trick is also known as The Scooby-Doo Brood.  Almost as soon as the crime-solving canine entered the animated scene, he was a hit amongst his fans, so Hanna-Barbera thought, give ’em more!  And over the course of many, many years, Scooby was brought back and re-purposed in the forms of other family members.

He-Man and the Master of the Universe would later go on to do the same thing with kid-friendly favorite, Orko, and introduce his Trollan Scooby-Doo Brood.

Orko and Scooby-Doo

Orko is the original, just like Scooby-Doo.

Dree-Elle and Scooby-Dee

Dree-Elle is Orko’s love interest, while Scooby-Dee is… SD’s cousin?

Uncle Montork and Yabba-Doo

Well, Orko’s Uncle Montork is obviously his uncle; so Yabba-Doo is… SD’s brother?

Yuckers and Scrappy-Doo

Yuckers is Dree-Elle’s little brother, and Scrappy-Doo is SD’s nephew.  Hrm.

Snoob and Scooby-Dum

Snoob is a misguided Trollan wizard, and Scooby-Dum is just dumb.  I’m not seeing a pattern here at all…

Prankster (Wakrapanike) and Dooby-Doo

Prankster (his real name is Wakrapanike) is the only Trollan to reveal his face, and Dooby-Doo is a rare cousin of SD that has hair.  Aargh!  That’s not even close…

Doctor Zoog and Whoopsy-Doo

How about Doctor Zoog is an evil scientist, and Whoopsy-Doo is a clown…  Grrr!

Okay, well at least this counts:

The website Totally Looks Like states that Orko looks like the Black Mage from the Final Fantasy game series, but in all actuality, the Black Mage (created in 1987) looks like Orko (created in 1983)… BOOM!

And how’s this for a real-life Scrappy-Doo… DOUBLE BOOM!

(Trollan pics via Frank’s He-Man Page, everything else is from Google)

Happy Find… Taco Bellz Can Haz Breakfastz?!? (Did I Do That Right?)

You may be surprised to learn my favorite cereal is regular Cheerios.

I could not be happier to learn that Taco Bell is planning on starting a Breakfast Menu.

Sure, it won’t be available until some time between Michael Bay’s third Transformer film and Christopher Nolan’s third Batman, and my reaction to the a.m. delights could be as varied as my opinions on each of those trilogies, but still…

This would mean no strange looks when I order soft tacos at nine in the morning for breakfast.

Even though I just ordered soft tacos at four in the morning for fourth meal.

Happy Finds… Confusion Abounds

Sometimes I find too many websites that make me happy.  Today, I found four.

1) WTF Comcast – Who writes these summaries?  Who cares?  They’re hilarious and strange, and collected on this website.

Damn interns.

2) Boozecats – Here’s the math behind this website:

party photo – booze + cats = win

"Chug! Chug! Chug!" they all chanted. Because Chug was the cat's name, you see.

3) Sexy People – This picture says it all.  But if you need to hear more (if this portrait didn’t, in fact, “say it all”), check out this website.

I think I used to have the same wallpaper...

4) 100 Things I Learned – Films have a lot to teach us.  For example, here are some things people learned from watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

#1 – Don’t let your mom eat environmentally friendly brownies served by white kids in dreadlocks.

#6 – Michael Bay will always stress that when teleporting from America to Egypt, it will still be the middle of the afternoon.

#13 – If a Transformer saves your life from an incredibly dangerous situation, instead of thanking him, tell him you’re completely safe now and that you don’t need him anymore.