Frequency

As a follow-up to my rant on reviewers I would just like to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the reviews for the movie Frequency. I thoroughly enjoyed that movie when I first saw it and have a tendency to leave it on when I flip by on cable. It’s a touching story about a man who is “reunited” with his dead father through an old ham radio set (with some help from the Northern Lights). There’s a whole crime/thriller plot that takes place, which I think really helps to bring together the whole storyline and keeps you interested long after the initial introductions take place 🙂

It’s nice to see a film like that receive some honest praise. Flipping thru the comments I found very few (maybe 1 out of 20) that had anything bad to say. Out of over 200 comments on Amazon.com only 10 gave 1 or 2 stars. And actually only 16 more gave it 3! This is by no means a top 5 film. It doesn’t deserve an Oscar or anything like that. But it is certainly enjoyable, and very well-made. I definitely recommend it.

The ineptitude of reviewers

I like to review things. All sorts of things. I talk to people about movies, music, books, whatever. It’s a nice way to express your views on various topics from art and theater to their socio-political and philosophical implications. Reviews also give us the chance to recommend activities to friends and strangers alike. Most importantly, they allow the reviewer to hear himself/herself talk.

I often read reviews on IMDb for movies I’ve seen and plan to see. I’ve only ever written one review myself. I registered simply so I could write a bad review for Perfect Blue after reading so many good ones about such a crappy movie. Not to brag, but I think my brief comments accurately portray my opinion of that waste of a movie without being overly wordy or giving away any important information. Granted, I haven’t written a lost Shakespeare play or the Magna Carta (which apparently I find to be the greatest works of literature?!?!), but my few short paragraphs have fulfulled their purpose in this world… dare I say… admirably.

Of course this is about to go into a rant – so here I go. There are so many people in this world who would be better off not giving out their opinions, nevertheless due so thanks to the Internet. I have seen so many reviews by people who think that they are now professionals at this and start using some of the more standard techniques. You know, they spell people’s names in all caps and refence other movies they’ve been in. As if we will be fooled and think “What is this professional movie critic doing writing on IMDb?” They look something like this:

ROAD TO PERDITION stars TOM HANKS (Bossom Buddies, Joe Versus the Volcano) and PAUL NEWMAN (The Back of Salad Dressing Bottles). ROAD follows the struggles of gangster Michael Sullivan (HANKS) who falls out of favor with the son of his boss John Rooney (NEWMAN).

That’s not a good description of the movie, but you get the idea. YOU”RE JUST SOME GUY GIVING HIS OPINION!!! (I was screaming so loudly that my apostrophes turned into double quotes!) I’m also sick of people who see movies and think they’re smarter than other people who didn’t like them:

If you like mainstream crap that only mindless droones would ever watch more than 13 minutes of, than this movie is not for you. This movie is inteligent, smart, and for real thinkurs. Anyone who doesnt like it must be stupid and have less than a 130 IQ. For the rest od us smartiepants, it’s a very enjoyable…

I swear I’ve read reviews like that – complete with the bad spelling and grammar. This isn’t the best example, but I happened to read it last night and I just love how cocky the reviewer comes off in such a simplistic paragraph. I especially like the line about “”weird” and/or intelligent films”.

Anywho, I came to this rambling sentiment courtesy of a particular user at IMDb I stumbled upon this morning. t.a.e.nichols from England. I have never seen anybody come off as so pretentious and so vapid at the same time as in his(her?) review of M:I-2. Yes, you read that correctly, it was a review for Mission:Impossible 2 entitled “A unique work of art”. I won’t go into why I was on that page – what matters is how absolutely horrific M:I-2 was (yes, even taken as simply an action flick) and how pompous this review is, basically calling critics backwards for not appreciating this “culmination of the action epic.” He uses the word culmination twice, and continues with phrases like “The Western intelligentsia”, “man’s struggle to overcome fire and earth”, “the tender mating ritual of the car chase”, and “the central paradoxes of creation”. In a review of a third rate action film, this guy managed to bring up both the Bible and Freud. I still have to explore the rest of his reviews, but I did notice one is entitled “The paradoxical ideology of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.

With all of that said, I do plan to start writing some reviews here myself. I just hope I don’t come off like a pompous jackass 🙂

“B-5” “You sank my scrabble ship!” – Bart and Homer, The Simpsons

Why do people sell anything

My tire is flat. Let me rephrase that. My tire is flat again. I have a slow leak in my back right tire on my new (to me) car. That means that for a week everything will be fine, and then I’ll park on a somewhat different angle and my tire takes a nap. But that’s all irrelevant. I generally just swing by the local Hess station and fill ‘er up when she’s feeling a little down. After two weeks of snow and sickness kept me holed up in my apartment my tire resembled …well… a flat tire. Too flat to take to drive on more than a couple feet – which makes it rather useless. I rarely drive less than 100 feet at a time. So I decide it’s time for me to pick up some sort of portable air compressor thingy that will solve my dilemma. In just a couple more sentences I will have gotten to my point …I think.

I go to NAPA. NAPA, in case you don’t know, is an auto-parts store. In Hoboken, NAPA is in a relatively small storefront – minus the garage and storage room it’s about the size of my apartment (the downstairs that is). I look around at the sparse crap they have and finally ask the guy if they carry any air compressors. He shakes his head no. I clarify that it’s for my tire, just in case he thought I wanted to compress air for some other reason – like I wanted to keep some extra in bottles for fear of running out. He continues to shake his head no. Before I trek all the way over to the Pep Boys in Jersey City, I decide to check the Ace hardware store on Washington St (the main street in Hoboken). Sure enough, they have one. So I make my purchase and merrily head home. After a few minutes, the compressor – generating enough noise to drown out 2 jackhammers – gets my tire inflated enough to satisfy my current needs. And as if this story wasn’t long enough, I still haven’t come to a point!

I went to that same NAPA store a few months ago to get jumper cables. They only had one kind. Now, that may not seem like a big deal to you, but you’ve probably never had to jump a car. The standard jumper cables that most people have are approximately as long as the car is wide. That means that it takes twenty minutes maneuvering the live car around the dead one to get the batteries close enough to reach. Those are the cables I am now stuck with. At the hardware store, they not only had 3 different air compressors to choose from, but 5 or 6 different sets of jumper cables. Why does the auto store not carry this selection? Why does the hardware store have more of a selection? Why does Rite Aid carry casserole dishes but no cooling racks? My roommate and I went to the non-Ace hardware store in town and the guy seemed shocked that we were looking for metric bolts! That’s like saying, “Well I only build with screws, so we don’t carry nails.” OK, maybe that’s not the best analogy, but it’s all I got.

I still remember years ago when I went to Radio Shack to get an audio cable for my CD-ROM drive. Of course, they didn’t have any. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but the sales clerk decided to defend this position – “Well, they normally come with the drive.” I really wanted to comment on the fact that my VCR came with all of the necessary resistors yet you morons still sell them to people separately at ridiculous prices. Instead I just left, very frustrated. What do people sell, and why do they sell it? It seems completely random to me, and I never expect to find what I want or need anymore. It’s probably why I have way more pairs of pants than I ever wear.

I’ve been writing this damn post off and on for about 2 hours now, so I will simply conclude with this quote:

“Actually I look like a can of smashed assholes” – Charlie Sheen, The Arrival

You’re a vegetable! (A Vegetable!)

My throat is sore. I should be looking for a job or getting my car fixed. Instead I’m playing Vice City. I just ran over a cop – 1 star. Then I ran over a prostitute – 2 stars. Not sure I like where this is going in the world. And that was one of the most unspectacular jumps in the world. I used to race all around Liberty City getting cops and feds to chase me leading to the ultimate moment – getting them to do a unique jump with you. There’s nothing quite like seeing a slow motion video of you flying over a bridge and two Police cruisers following in some lampooned version of a chase. Bonus points for keeping your door open – 200 feet in the air and the unnamed gunmen takes the time to close the driver’s side door!

Not that Vice City is any less breathtaking in the …what’s the word… retardation of police chases. I simply don’t get as many slow-mo-I-wish-I-was-taping-this-shit moments. Of course, watching yourself hit a curb and slam into a wall while your PCJ 600 skids 30 yards up the road sure is worth $50. I’ll put up some pics soon…