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… 

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…

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.)

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.

Hibbidy-Wah?! Did That Alien Just Urinate Smoke?!

What do you call a rip-off that doesn’t even try?

Or how about Turkey’s E.T. rip-off called Badi.  You can tell the film’s called Badi because Badi keeps saying “Badi” just like how E.T. used to keep saying “E.T.” 

Am I right or am I right or am I right?

JusWondering… Are Orci And Kurtzman Running A Pyramid Scheme?

Devastatoring

Great Pyramid? How about Mediocre instead...

There’s been plenty of chatter on the TripleDoubleU regarding the new Travesty Transformers movie.  I’ve not only made a slight mention here on this site, but I’ve voiced my opinion on Topless Robot’s threads as well.  The big debacle over the films many weaknesses boils down to this question:

Who’s fault is it?

As I’ve detailed above, depending upon the director, crap can transform into dysentary (see: pic above) or crap can screen flair (see: Star Trek).  In Hollywood, screenwriters have little to do with the final film, if anything with the process at all.  Haven’t you ever heard the blonde joke about the wannabe starlet sleeping with the writer?  Steve Martin even made light of this fact in his underrated Bowfinger.

Go-to-writers-du-jour Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are a lot like this candy-dispensing product:

Have a cow... pie, man!
Have a cow… pie, man!

Together, they’ve written the following films:

  • The Island
  • The Legend of Zorro
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • Transformers
  • Star Trek
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

And like that candy dispenser, each one is a jellybean that in retrospect reminds us of bovine dung.

Here’s the breakdown of each attempt at writing:

The Island was a rip-off of three 70’s sci-fi films (Logan’s Run, Parts: The Clonus Horror, and THX-1138), and it was directed by Michael Bay.  It was partly filmed in Detroit, and you can see a painted portrait of Steve Yzerman in the background at one point (plus Scarlett Johanssonthroughout), so to not be a complete hater – this flick is tolerable.  But only for those reasons.  Seriously, catch the older (schlocky) trio of sci-fi “classics” then watch The IslandBay and the Boys borrowed quickly and liberally.

Does anybody remember the Zorro sequel?  *crickets*crickets*

Mission: Impossible IIIwas competent (I still like the first one best).  Although he was kind of douchey when he directed the episode of Jimmy Kimmel he was on, JJ Abrams handled this film well enough.  I still believe the sequence where Tom Cruise chased the “Rabbit’s Foot” through the streets of Shanghai could have been longer, and Philip Seymour Hoffman could have been given more scenes to chew on (plus more Maggie Q).  Mission: Decently Distracted.

Transformers was the second re-teaming of the screenwriters and Bay.  It’s been said that producer Steven Spielberg placed emphasis on the fact that the film was ultimately about a boy and his alien (car).  And after five hours of CGI robot action, the first hour of the first film is still best.  Although, I do like seeing the Detroit landmarks in the final battle, so this film was also okay in my book, despite the lack of common sense and clearly defined action scenes.  Moral of the story: if Bay films in the Motor City, my criticism dwindles.  Moral of another story: Spielberg’s kind of losing his touch, eh?

Star Trek, also directed by JJ, was solid, but not perfect.  The origin story introduced some neat twists and surprises, but Kirk with puffy hands?!  Scotty going through water pipes?!  A tad amateurish (and the fault of the writers, I’d suspect).

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Third Turd of Bay and the Boys, was rushed to production.  They didn’t get anytime for a rewrite, and it sadly shows.  Sure, Bay might have made a lot of poor decisions (robot crying, robot humping, robot minstrels, robot balls), but the script’s plot made little sense.  (Why would the Prime’s have to sacrifice to hide the Matrix of Leadership instead of killing the Fallen?  Why would they hide it on Earth?  See the Topless Robot link above.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if JJ Abrams made Transformers, imagine how “cool” it would be.  Then imagine if Michael Bay made Star Trek…  (It’s like that ending speech in A Time to Kill…)

Perhaps Orci and Kurtzman aren’t the worst screenwriters on the planet, but they need to branch out a bit more to tell for sure. 

(FINAL NOTE: JJ worked on the script for Bay’s Armageddon.  It was a fun ride that went on too long and pulled way too hard at the heart strings.  Srsly, how many things could possibly go wrong in trying to get off a space rock?  Apparently, everything.  More importantly: how was Armageddon a film in the Criterion Collection?!)

Coast-To-Coast Snug Job A No-Go

How’s that for a headline?  Can’t you just hear the newsies singing screaming that one?  As it turns out, two weekends ago I went to NYC for a Snuggie Pub Crawl (and also met a friend).  This weekend, I went to Seattle to visit a friend… and almost went on a Snuggie Pub Crawl! 

snugpubnogo1

"Pub Crawl or Bust!" - soon to be printed on the front of my Snuggie

Alas, my travelling compadres on this latest sojourn weren’t too keen on picking up some “Slankets” (as they were referred to on last week’s 30 Rock), and we opted for traditional bar hopping, which was just as well.  Albeit Seattle was a tad cooler than New York the week prior (making “blankets with sleeves” more comfy), which is ironic, because NYC is simply ‘cooler.’  No offense, Seattle, but no other city can compete.

SIDENOTE: Whenever I use the word ironic, I’m always afraid I’ll pull an Alanis.  Am I alone in regard to this ‘worry?’

BONUS SIDENOTE: I’d say the biggest difference between the East and West Coasts (or at least New York and Seattle) is what follows the prefix hip-… Do you prefer –sters or –pies?

Anywashington, the trip was a great time.  To conserve my energy, which is a euphemism for I’m feeling lazy today, here are some pics I took with explanatory captions.

InASense, Lost… Toys Are Not For Wii Ones

My sister, Tammie, had a good chortle guffaw chuckle when she heard me ask this one time:

Hey Chris, what does it mean when my Wii’s glowing blue?

She lost it, and upon thinking how ridiculous it sounded out of context, others joined her giggles, myself included.  As it turns out, she may slowly be turning into my foil.

Let me further explain.

Last night, one of my friends stopped by with his two sons.  They’re cute enough, nice enough kids, but where my friend made the mistake was to inform his children that I had toys.

What I have are not toys.  They’re collectibles.  Two totally different things.

Upon arriving, and not expecting them to stay long as I had mentioned plans to head to trivia, the boys whipped off their scarves and knit caps and bundled coats and proclaimed, “Where’s the toys?”

I begrudgingly lead the trio back to my DVD room (yes, they have their own room… they kinda require a room when they reach 1200+).  In there, I have Indiana Jones figures, Lego playsets, Transformers, and Matt Trakker of M.A.S.K. re-released as a G.I. Joe, all in their packages.  Of course, the first thing to reached for is Trakker.

“I know how to put this together,” the oldest proclaimed.

“So do I,” was my response as I put it back.

On one of the cabinets, I have some open figures on display which include mini Ninja Turtles, mini Transformers, a mini Grimlock cartoon figure that does not move, and both versions of Bumblebee from the Michael Bay movie.

They moved onto these collectibles, and within minutes, Grimlock was in pieces (I don’t think he’s supposed to come that much apart, if even at all), the rubberbands holding the weapons in the Turtles’ hands were snapped, and the ’77 Camaro Bumblebee was being stabbed by his own laser sword.

I have learned patience through all the years of working with computers, but when it comes to children—

My friend kept talking to me and I kept thinking, doesn’t he see what they’re doing?  The youngest had to go #2 and took Raphael with him.  Raphael!  RAPHAEL?!

When they were finally getting packed up to ship out, I told my friend he could visit with them again in about 10 years.

Now back to Tammie.  As I recounted the situation to her, she just laughed at me again.  The definition of a foil according to Answers.com:

One that by contrast underscores or enhances the distinctive characteristics of another: “I am resolved my husband shall not be a rival, but a foil to me” (Charlotte Brontë).

She said, “You do realize you’re complaining about children playing with your toys.”

I still can’t find Grimlock’s lower jaw.

A Pep Talk For TV Producer Bryan Fuller

Even though the TripleDoubleU’s a-rumbling over “Pushing Daisies” (some hint that the title may become eponymous with its fate), I say, sally forth, Bryan Fuller.  Your imagination, and our societal lack thereof, needs it.

From your beginnings, as a fan who got to write for his favorite franchise, “Star Trek,” through your development of the wonderful “Wonderfalls” and “Dead Like Me,” and the best part of the crap that “Heroes” has become (FYI… he wrote the first season’s incredible “Company Man”), I don’t feel like you’ve received your just desserts just yet.

It appears ABC’s gamble last Wednseday was good one (and funny, since the episode was about gambling).  I hope that “Pushing Daisies” can find the audience it needs to keep the Brass ordering more seasons.

And fear not if all does not go as planned (crossing fingers for new “Star Trek” show).  Look how long it took Judd Apatow to click with the mainstream.  There was “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Freaks and Geeks,” and “Undeclared” way before there was “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”

We need people like you in Hollywood (and Charlie Kaufman, and maaaaybe Zack Snyder), since the Lucas and Spielberg wells have all dried up.  Who else will do battle with the Michael Bays, Stephen SommersBrett Ratners, and (vomit) Friedberg/Seltzers of the world?