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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Little MAW

Some people... try WAY too hard.

Group photo? Rarely will they NOT be in the middle. Somebody enjoying themselves in a room, and subsequently gaining attention due to it? Best watch your knees, pal, if Little Miss Attention Whore is within earshot.

The Wikipedia definition of Narcissism is as follows:

Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait. Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, "narcissism" usually is used to describe some kind of problem in a person or group's relationships with self and others. In everyday speech, "narcissism" often means egotismvanityconceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others. In psychology, the term is used to describe both normal self-love and unhealthy self-absorption due to a disturbance in the sense of self.

I'd like to abridge that definition, just a tiddly bit:

Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, but usually describes somebody who is magnetically attracted in a creepy, unhealthy manner to the proverbial spotlight and acts out like a worthless bitch-made punk when all eyes are NOT upon them.  

I'm not 100% sure if Wikipedia will accept that description.

The interesting thing about Little Miss Attention Whore is the timing of the action.  She will sit docile and without response UNTIL action is initiated by a second party upon a third party, with the third party being a person, several persons, or a group of people. Once the action is in play, such as an interesting story, sharing something funny, or simply pleasant banter, Little MAW fires up her supercharger and swings into action. Subtlety is a non art in her realm, as she leaps in to the discussion with only one rule in mind: The spotlight must NEVER waver from illuminating her and her only, no matter how loud, intrusive, or annoying she must become.

You cannot battle her head on: She's adorable and irreverent, far more than you, which offers her the eye-test advantage.

You cannot one-up her. It will simply appear you're artificially attempting to best her group-accepted natural tendencies.

You cannot work around her by discussing topics she hasn't a clue about. She'll simply segue your topic into her topic with the simplest of tactics: "I don't wanna talk about Quantum Particle Theory! Let's talk about Glee last night!... OMG!!!"

You cannot confront her. She'll spread stories about you.

You cannot spread stories about her. People will turn against you.

You can ignore her, since the entire point of her existence is "attention", which will in turn agitate her to the point of notching up the volume of her antics to 11.

And, of course, you cannot kill her. For as incessantly selfish as she may be, murder is NEVER the answer.

What you CAN do, however, is create a website where one can hire your very own Little MAW to directly combat the girl. Fight her on even terms, with the same weapons, in the same manner.  Like a hitman... or a hitMAW!!!   For $500, you can select a woman closely resembling your MAW's description, and deliver to her the marching orders. Then, kick back and enjoy the show as your personal "hitmaw" enters the establishment and takes command of the room. She's cuter than Little MAW, as well as funnier, smarter, and faster in her speak, offering little to no space between thoughts to drop a monkeywrech of contention.  Soon, Little MAW is a spectator, standing in the fringes of the audience darkness.  In the span of 30 minutes, her dominance has been broken, and her reign shattered.

The price also includes several follow-up sessions to re-educate your Little MAW by burnishing into her psyche her new place on the pecking order -- which would be 2nd place.  Soon after, if she acts up, merely mention the name of that sexy stranger who strolled in that day to set her off on a free fall of paranoia and uncertainty... like a command to a dog. Hours of fun.

Coming soon --

"A small price to pay for freedom (from attention whores)".


Gotta work on that catchphrase.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Ten Most Unwatchable Films (according to me)

The full 10-up version of my top 5 "Unwatchable Films" segment from The B Side

There’s just some movies I cannot watch twice. It doesn’t matter how well-made they may be, nor how entertaining they may be. I don’t even care if I actually liked it -- I will NEVER watch it again! There’s just something about them that, for the lack of a more proper term,  PISSES me off. Sometimes it’s a major story flaw, or "overly convenient" plot conveniences, or galactically brain-dead gaffes that shoulda coulda woulda been fixed prior to the final cut, but weren’t. Really, 98% of the flick might be awesome... then there’s that 2% I’d like to throw an entire row of theater seats at. 

And for that, I have a list.  It’s not a massive list, but large enough where I’d have to split it up into several sections.  For the purposes of this post, we’ll stick to modern films.

OK. My top ten list of unwatchable films. Remember, these aren’t horrible films, except for one. I just won’t waste two hours of my time watching these pieces of shit.

10 -- Independence Day -- I like Will Smith. I like aliens. I like shoot-em-ups. I even like Jeff Goldblum, who was the only reason OTHER than the special effects to watch Jurassic Park. But if massive spaceships suddenly appeared out of nowhere and one of them hovered over MY city, I’d disown that town in a heartbeat. Sorry, LA. I love ya... just not enough to stick by your side when aliens in a big assed ship are hovering over you with a creepy calm-before-the-storm silence reminiscent of a slasher flick.  Also, the last time I checked, it was HARD to pilot a modern, precision fighter jet like an F-18 Hornet.  But, according to the films final showdown, even a plastered trailer park has-been can use it like it’s a fuckin’ Toyota Camry. Sure, easy. Just hop in, turn the ignition key, remember what the lieutenant told you, and hit the gas pedal, right?  It also doesn’t help that the President of the United States was played by the actor from Spaceballs. I was fully waiting for John Candy to pull a cameo as the VP, dog suit and all.

9 -- X Men 3 -- The first two were good. Those were the Bryan Singer versions. Yes yes, he also made the crapola Superman reset from several years back. But notwithstanding Halle Barry always looking like she misplaced her brain, they were good films.  Then comes number 3 and Brent Ratner. Pretty good director, but the bridge scene killed it for me. I was on a date, and so far we were enjoying the film. Then Magneto and his army decide they’re going to use the Golden Gate Bridge as a hovercraft to make it to the research facility on Alcatraz. Magneto lifts the bridge during what appears to be daytime rush hour, cars and all, and it begins cruising toward the island. I then lean over to the girl and whisper “How are they going to pull off a final battle in daylight?”  True words -- pyrotechnics work far better at night!  Then, as if by magic -- IT’S NIGHT??? How the Hell did THAT happen???  Did it take three hours for Magneto to fly the bridge to Alcatraz?  And if so, why wasn’t he shot down by fighter jets?  Hell, he’s lifting a fucking bridge!!!  Can he multitask at that moment? I dunno. Let’s find out: drop a bomb on him!  We’re led to believe that it only took moments for his army to reach the island. But it’s not dusk. It’s not sunset. It’s pitch black night! Well played, Ratner.  Suspension bridge of disbelief, I call it.

8 -- Armageddon -- OK fine. It’s pure summer entertainment. But I can’t get over this band of misfits being THE GREATEST drillers on planet Earth. Aside from the Bruce Willis-narrated montage where the government tracks them down, one by one, for the mission, we’re never shown exactly WHY they’re so damn good. In addition, I just can’t shake the unmistakable knee-slapping hijinks we’re force fed whilst the Earth is mere days from being fucking pulverized by a scary assed asteroid.  Too many clichĂ©s. Too much bad humor.  Too much Ben Affleck. And a brilliant scientist from NASA who’s the smartest man in the world, according to Billy Bob Thornton and, wait for it... has a British accent.  Spot on, govna!!!

7 -- The Departed -- In a nutshell, a bunch of good actors dealing some really crappy Chowd accents. Does everybody from Boston sound like Jimmy Fallon from SNL, Cliff from Cheers, JFK, or those Dish Network Hopper commercials??  Matt Damon’s done it before in Good Will Hunting, but the rest? It’s painful to watch Alec Baldwin turning into a woman right before my very eyes, and THEN dumping some Beantown “pahk the cah in tha gahrage” dialect upon us. I bet if you own the DVD, there’s an extra featurette on Alec Baldwin spending time in Boston and working hard to get that sound pitch perfect. Really, dude?  Let’s see ya go to the Highlands of Scotland and pull that off. After all, according to the film Team America, you ARE our greatest actor.

6 -- Anything Merchant/Ivory -- Some British films I like. I liked The Queen a lot. I liked Atonement, as well. It’s not that I’m against british films... I’m just against British period piece films with angst-ridden elitists walking along a river on a beautiful day, holding their sun umbrellas, discussing the drama in their lives.... ENDLESSLY!!!!  “Oh. Ruprect positively despises me. And my dress is torn. I can live no more”. Fine, then. The river is right there. Jump into it and end your pseudo-misery. And the men? Just sit around, holding pipes, wearing monocles, speaking intelligently. OK. Now what???  Isn’t that what PBS is for? The films, it seems, have three settings: Interior -- Study,  Exterior -- River walk, and Interior -- Dining Room. Look, if you’re going to write a stage play, then write a stage play. But don’t expect me to dump a Jefferson on parking, popcorn, and ticket for an episode of PBS’s Masterpiece Theater.

We’ll get to the final five a little later, but first a commercial break so I may pretend I’m actually making some cash with these audiocasts.  Hey, you gotta believe, right.

5 -- Into the Wild -- I can’t tell you how much I HATE this film. Five minutes in, I wanted this kid to get what was coming to him... but had to wait over 2 hours to finally gain the satisfaction. Yeah, it’s based on a true story, but the kid has absolutely NO redeeming qualities.  He’s just a spoiled asshole who thinks he knows more than everybody else. On his trek to Alaska, he meets up with so many good souls who’d like to take the boy in and care for him -- and he shits on them all. Why? Because he’s smarter than them. And, now he’s dead -- because he was stupid.  Wow! That’s deep.  You know what else is deep? The two plus hours of my life I’m NEVER getting back. Leave it to Sean Penn to drop this flaming bag of dogshit on our front porch and expect us to call it Chocolate Mousse FlambĂ©.

4 -- Jurassic Park -- Like I said before, Jeff Goldblum and the special effects were the best parts of the film. And that’s it!!!  Look, I’m a fan of Speilberg, but shit dude!  Could you make those punk assed kids ANY MORE ANNOYING AND STUPID??  T Rex threatening your life? Shine a flashlight in it’s face! Yeah... that’ll scare it off.  Then, when the boy is zapped with 100,000,000 volts of electricity and blasted 50 feet -- he survives!  Of course, when they make it back to the compound, they arrive in a room full of prepared food! FOR WHO???  There’s only, like, six of them on the whole damn island!  Then Sam Neil leaves them alone with man-eating dinosaurs are roaming all over the island.  Of course, without the kids, the film would’ve only been maybe 45 minutes long, so i can see the point of having them NOT be devoured half way through. But it would’ve been a lot of fun.

Oh yeah. There’s no power, so Attenborough is eating all the ice cream before it melts. Then Laura Dern joins him. Apparently, both fail to note the ceiling fans are working just fine.   Hmph!

3 -- Jurassic Park 2 -- Sure, all the shit that went down in the original is bad... but not as bad as the gaffe that was actually a minor news story when the film was in theaters.  Julianne Moore is some brilliant expert on dinosaurs -- can’t remember if she was a paleontologist, biologist, criminologist, who knows... and who cares. What you DO know is that she drops a sermon on us about the sensitive olfactory system of the T Rex. That, like a shark, it can smell blood from miles away.  Soon after, they come across an injured baby T Rex, and some of its blood gets on her button down shirt.  Soon after THAT, one of the party notes the blood, whereas she exclaims that “it must have been from the baby T Rex”.  Remember her oration about how the T Rex can smell blood from miles away? Does she lose the top shirt (by the way, they’re in a warm and humid jungle, and she IS wearing a tee shirt underneath)... nope. Not only does she continue wearing it, BUT HANGS THE BAD BOY UP TO DRY INSIDE HER TENT LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT!!!  Which, of course, leads the mama T Rex right to them!  Solution: she tosses the shirt to lose the scent, and some idiot member of the caravan who didn’t hear her speech picks it up and shoves it in his bag. Would’ve been an easy reshoot. Would’ve taken a day, tops! And it would’ve made perfect sense. Hell, it was a nice shirt. But Speilberg didn’t want to go overbudget, so the story goes, and never fixed it. 

2 -- King’s Speech -- The best half hour film ever made. No wait, it was two hours. That means 90 minutes of the movie was garbage? Yep.  Again, a true story, so artistic license is at a minimum, right? In this case, however, it would’ve been a better film if the whole thing took place on Mars, with the Geoffry Rush character being Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck as Prince Albert/King George. The whole point of the story is curing the future king’s speech impediment. A little more than a half hour in, Rush places headphones on the Prince, and has him listen to music whist reciting Shakespeare. How very British, by the way. And it WORKS... which isn’t very british at all!!!! They find that, if the Prince cannot hear his own words, he’s fine. That’s the solution, right? Really, just keep doing that, and each time turn the music down just a little bit until he CAN hear his own words. In essence, rewiring his brain.  But NOPE!!!  We need to see and hear the future king stutter and suffer, and sing expletives.  Wow! That’s some next-level speech therapy, right? In the end, he must deliver a speech to wartime England. Does he stand before a crowded quad, or amongst journalists watching his every move, where the months of pain and suffering finally pay off? No. They place him in a room with no windows, a chair, a table, and a microphone... and that’s it! After 90 minutes of character torture, all he ever needed were those headphones and a little music. Idiotic!!!

And the TRUE King of Unwatchable films is.... A TIE, and they both belong to one man!

1 -- Batman/Beetlejuice -- How DARE you desecrate Tim Burton’s masterpieces, you think. Phfff. After I get done with them, a masterpiece you shall not believe them to be, I assure you.
Let’s start with the junior offender of the two -- Batman. When it came out, I really liked it. It had the TV show camp along with the comic book darkness, sprinkled with a little Tim Burton oddity. But man, it did not get better with age. First, it’s never fully explained -- as it was in the Chris Nolan reboot -- exactly WHY he chose a bat as a symbol. Yes, he does say “They’re great survivors”. Y’know, Panda bears are great survivors, too. Maybe you shoulda named yourself Pandaman! Stupid! Second, a supersecret lair is a supersecret lair because it’s SUPER SECRET. When old man Alfred decided, completely on his own, to bring Vicki Vale straight into the Batcave and surprise Bruce Wayne, Wayne should have responded in kind with a well placed bat ninja star to his butler’s skull. I’m Batman. I wear a mask because I don’t want anybody to know I’m actually billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne -- except at your discretion, Alfie ol’ boy. Bring in anybody you’d like. I’m sure they’ll keep the secret safe. Oh, a news reporter I’m having sex with who’s looking for the big story? Sure. Why not! She won’t say a word.

Then there’s the final showdown, when Batman, with all his hi tech gadgetry, can’t shoot the Joker who’s just standing right there! Yeah yeah, Batman isn’t supposed to kill, but he’d targeted the Joker dead aim, as he did in murdering most of Jokers street thugs a moment before, and missed, then grunted like he was pissed. Yeah, dude, he was looking for the killshot. Then the Joker nonchalantly pulls out a reaaaallllyyy long gun, takes his time to aim, and fires at the Batwing. Bulls-eye. What, did Bats have an epileptic seizure or something? He couldn’t SEE the clown was aiming a gun at him, and veer out of the way?  To paraphrase the old saying: he can build ‘em, but he can’t fly ‘em.

Now, the king of the unwatchables: Beetlejuice. First, this was Alec Baldwin before he was a good actor and before he started looking like Bette Midler with less hair, so it takes some getting used to. But that’s not all. He and Geena Davis say adios to the world, hit up the afterlife, and return to their attic a year later. But by this time, a new family is moving in. OK. Here’s the deal -- their attic, for an entire year, was left untouched! WHY?? The new family is renovating the entire house postmodern artsy fartsy, but never touches the attic. In addition, the company prepping the house prior to the sale, removing little things like  all the dead couples furniture, belongings and personal effects, never touch the attic! Why?? It’s never explained why the entire house is altered EXCEPT the attic! Oh yeah, because it’s locked. Really? You busted most of the house up already, what’s a stupid door lock? Even if the mom is a little afraid of the attic, hell, get your husband to do it. That’s what he’s there for, right? Oh, that’s right... it’s wannabe pedophile Jeffrey Jones. Nuff said, I suppose. Michael Keaton redeems himself here as Beetlejuice, but why he’s named after a star in our Milky Way is, like Batman and his bat, never explained. Like the movie Ghost, Alec and Geena must concentrate to move things. But like the movie Ghost, they can apparently walk their ghostly asses up and down stairs and all over the upper levels of a house without falling straight through the woodwork. Interesting.  But that’s nothing compared to what happens next. The Winona Ryder character is CERTAIN she sees ghosts, and sets out to prove it. Baldwin and Davis drape themselves with linen sheets to look like ghosts. Ryder spots them, then takes a Polaroid picture of them. When it develops, WOW!!! No feet! She exclaims, “You really are ghosts!”, Yeah, baby, as opposed to a couple of psycho adults secretly living in her house. Then, the VERY NEXT MORNING, she shows the picture to her parents --  as an 8x10 reprint!!!! Lo, a question... how the fuck to you make an 8x10 from a Polaroid? There’s no negative!!! And it’s the same pic!  You think even the prop master would note: “Uh, Mr. Burton. I know this is a ghost film, and you’re all about make-believe, but that’s PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE!!!!” I dunno. Maybe they didn’t want to hang a Canon AE1 around Ryder’s neck for fear she might go five fingered discount on it. 

But Burton does this a lot. Like Edward Scissorhands. His dad is dead, and he lives all alone in the mansion. How does he buy food, make food, and feed himself? He’s got blades for hands. He should’ve starved to death a long time ago. I suppose, when watch a Burton film, it’s best to dump a fifth of Scotch down your gullet and hope in your drunken stupor you miss half the shitfest.  Or just don’t watch Tim Burton film.