Monday, April 26, 2010

A 2.0 Complaint

Hey! DVD makers! Yeah, you! I know none of you read this blog or even know of its existence, but maybe somebody somewhere reads this and has a fifth cousin who works with a man who has an uncle that knows the postman who delivers mail to the neighbor of a sister who knows a person who is in charge of making DVDs.

Can you please do me a favor? It's a small one, and easy to do.

Can you please include a 2.0 option on your audio? It would be so nice of you. Not everyone can afford a blue-ray player, or a hi-def TV, or even more than the two goddamn speakers most televisions come with. So, when watching a film on DVD, it's kinda nice to be able to actually hear the movie, you know? And that's hard to do when your only option is 5.1 or worse.

Typical movie in 5.1, as watched by me:

Turn movie on.
People talk, dialogue exchanged in flick.
Turn TV up. Way up. Can still barely make out dialogue.
An explosion in the movie! Gunfire! Screams! Shouts!
Fumble for remote to turn TV down so as not to blow out small speakers.
People talk. Dialogue not heard. Turn TV back up. Way up. Reverse DVD to hear what was missed.
Explosion! Screams! Gunfire!
Turn TV down.
Apologize to neighbor, banging on the wall of the apartment.
Dialogue. Turn TV back up.

Does that sound like much fun to you? Well, it's not to me.

So please, please, put a 2.0 option on every DVD. Why it's not standard, I don't know. But it would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kick Ass!


I read the comic and loved it and for some reason, there was no scepticism on my part in regards to the movie version, once I found out it was to be R rated. And I have to say, fresh from watching it, this movie truly lives up to its name.

The story is pretty ingenious in its simplicity: what if people decided to really put on costumes and become "super-heroes?" What follows is a sometimes realistic, sometimes fantastic accounting of a teenager who dons a mask and dubs himself "Kick Ass." He runs into trouble and gets his own rear kicked more than he's able to dish out, but he doesn't quit, always pressing forward. On his journey, he meets Big Daddy and Hit Girl, a father/daughter team dedicated to bringing down the resident bad man/mafia chief. The kid also discovers some things about himself and his own heroism, despite the odds and his own doubts and fears. He falls in love and grows up and this is as much a coming of age story as anything else.

Yes, it is ultraviolent, and God Bless it for being so. And its brave, in its own way, for staying true to the ruder elements because it is there that we discover the raw reality of the basic premise, and how utterly insane or naive a person would have to be to put on a costume and fight crime. None display this psychotic tendency more than the characters of Big Daddy and his daughter, Hit Girl. This movie accurately portrays just how crazy you have to become if you want to pursue this kind of vengeance by putting on a costume and training your daughter to not only kill, but to excel at it. It is this very point that has caused some controversy (see below), and some have found the idea of a 12 year old girl murdering people with both guns and foul language offensive. Well, I say it's real. If you had a father that raised you to kill, who shot bullets at your Kevlar-vested torso to teach you how to withstand being shot, and who never used a curse word himself, but was the ultimate milk-and-cookies father (using "gosh" and "goodness" all while killing and surrounded by guns--a nice satire on middle America, perhaps?), you might turn out kind of foul-mouthed and violent, too. The film displays this reality through brilliant set-pieces of stunning violence--all real and painful and bloody--and in the smaller moments of humor and pathos between the characters. It meshes the whole shebang into a nice, tidy ball of great storytelling, from the acting to the special effects. This movie truly does Kick Ass.

Some, like Roger Ebert, have railed against the movie, pretty much calling it morally reprehensible. To these people, I have but one response: It is R Rated. What more do you want? The movie ratings system, no matter where you fall on the scale of the validity of it, was designed by "morally upright" persons to protect children from "morally reprehensible" films that depicted violence and sex and hard language. It was to separate the dirty from the clean, thus the R rating and all the others. The problem is, this is never enough for some; they feel it's their duty to protect the rest of us--you know, people referred to as "adults"--from movies that may corrupt us, too. You guys have your ratings, they are doing what they are intended to, so why don't you leave the rest of us alone and allow us to Make Decisions For Ourselves. I don't need to be coddled or preached to. If I want to watch a 12 year old girl slaughter bad-guy mobsters all while spitting out a vile stream of profanity, well, that's my damn right. So let's make a deal, okay? I leave you alone, you leave me alone, and we'll all get along just fine.

See the movie. You'll love it, as long as you're not squeamish.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


My love for the TV show Supernatural is pretty well known to the 3 people I speak to on a daily basis, but seeing as how they just reached the 100th episode pinnacle, I thought I'd reach out and share a little of that love to whoever reads this.

I first watched Supernatural when it premiered, back on the old WB. I was leery about it, given the previews spotlighted the "hot" actors in the lead. I figured it would be another in a long line of watered-down, pretty-boy/pretty-girl/pretty-vacuous shows that the WB was famous for. But, since it was supposedly horror, I thought I'd give it a try. Imagine my surprise, then, when it was not only decent, but damned good. And, to my even bigger surprise, it featured classic rock, not the emo-crap the WB is famous for. The show, at its most basic level, is about a pair of brothers who hunt down evil supernatural entities and put them away for good. But things, like life, get much more complicated.

So I watched, and as the first season progressed, my affection for the show did, too. And then season 2, and then 3, and on and on until it became one of my favorite shows, even making it to my second highest spot on my DVR priorities list (Lost is #1). And now, in this season, season 5, supposedly the last, the show has reached heights I never imagined possible. I mean, the apocalypse, actually done right? Demons that are bastards and angels that are even worse? God deserting his creation? No hope for humanity, much less the brothers? And then this: when all hope was lost, when one brother was about to give up and give in and damn most of the planet to a fiery hell, he winked. And that smart-assed flicking of the middle finger to authority returned (a big theme in the show, so it quite naturally appeals to me), and a grin crept over my face as I pumped my fist in the air.

Good times!

So, if you get a chance, check it out. You don't need to start at the beginning, but it would be best if you did. You can get them on DVD or they're re-run on TNT every day of the week. If you like horror and rock and roll and sticking your tongue out at the Man, then you'll like it, pretty-boy actors or not.

Oh, and it's coming back for a Season 6, so the fun never ends!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thus...It Begins

Now the world will tremble in fear as I post musings on all things that cross my insane mind. There will be no limits here and no subject too silly or serious to attack. I will post things related to my writing, to my working, to my simple and stupid observations, as well as reviews of books and music and movies and the such.

Hold on. The ride may be bumpy, but hopefully, in the end, it will be worth it!