Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shit Like This Is Why I Don't Have The Patience To Be A Real Writer

So, this one time I submitted an idea for a piece on the new writer's section of the message boards. It was basically me bitching about zombie fanboys again, with the idea that I would do a list of apocalypse scenarios made famous by movies that would be scientifically way more likely to happen than a stupid zombie outbreak, backed up by whatever facts I could find with a ten minute Google search. One of the editors responded, and told me that my idea just looked like a list of apocalypse movies, and that here at they don't do articles that read like "here's 10 great cowboy movies, etc, etc".

 So today's top articles on cracked are:

  • 6 Deleted Backstories That Totally Change Classic Movies
  • 10 Brilliant Comedy Gems Hiding on YouTube
  • 3 Past Box Office Hits That Prove January Movies Suck
  • An Urgent Message to Guys Who Comment on Internet Videos
  • If 'Django' Was 10 Times Shorter and 100 Times More Honest, and
  • The 5 Most Badass Things Ever Done in the Name of Research
Now, I'm no mathematician, but out of today's top articles, 50% are just lists of movies/internet videos that fulfill certain criteria and 33% are commentaries on said movies/internet videos (one of which is a tounge-in-cheek synopsis of an already tounge-in-cheek Tarantino script), leaving only 17% (1) of today's top articles to tackle any subject that isn't about movies or internet videos.

So maybe I was aiming too high. Maybe instead of doing a list of apocalypse movies, I should have proposed a list of apocalypse movie YouTube mashups that would sync well with the Nyan Cat song. Because, you know, the only thing more interesting than watching YouTube mashups is reading serious critical commentary on YouTube mashups.

More Than Just Lists Of Movies... Sometimes.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Movie Review

Its gotten too serious up in here lately, so please enjoy this lighthearted movie review.

I saw The Hobbit. Before I give my opinion, let me put my level of Tolkien fandom in perspective for the casual reader. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, and I have only recently begun reading the actual books. I've finished Fellowship and Two Towers. So just so we're all on the same page, I don't have maps of Middle Earth on my wall and I don't speak Elvish. I also haven't actually read The Hobbit, Return of the King, or The Simillarion yet.

That said, I thought the movie was great! It was a little long in getting started, and there were some obligatory franchise shout-outs (for example, the scene where Elijah Wood suits back up as Frodo just to get the mail and eat an apple), but overall, I thought it was fantastic.

However, liking stuff is boring, so there are two small things about The Hobbit that I hated and am fully prepared to go on a rant about. These in no way impact my overall liking of the movie, but they are very stupid and must be addressed.

First Stupid Thing:

So in one part of the movie, Bilbo and the dwarves are crossing this rainy mountain pass (in a scene that looks identical to one in Fellowship except that the rain was snow). Some rocks start falling down on them, and one of them shouts "The legends are true! Rock Giants!"

And then, holy fucking shit, 75 foot tall monsters made of solid rock are beating the tar out of each other. And I don't mean just crashing into each other like you might expect senseless stone people to do. These guys are throwing jabs and hooks and executing sick bare-knuckle boxing combinations like they just graduated a 12 week fight camp with Manny Paquiano. So needless to say the Dwarves are scared shitless, but manage to barely escape this brutal fracas and get inside the mountain. 

And nobody ever mentions it again.  

In fact, they all just fucking go to sleep. Now, since I haven't read the original book, I don't know if this is explained somewhere, so maybe somebody can help me out. As far as movie making goes, its pretty random. There's no set up whatsoever. One minute, Dwarves are walking across a mountain, and the next minute, what could not possibly be any less than the most fucking powerful creatures in Tolkien's universe are having a title bout across an entire mountain range. Then, thanks to the comfort of a cave within a dwarf's walk of this catastrophic scenario, the danger is suddenly over without so much as anyone saying "Wow. So, how about that rock monster battle? Crazy, am I right?"  

Let's think about this. These things are as tall as mountains, throw boulders the size of Isengard, have the combat dexterity of a young Joe Frasier, and Gandalf and co. are worried about a dragon? Are you kidding me? Forget about this dragon nonsense! We need to deal with these living mountains who are God-like in power and clearly aggressive. Radagast saw a "necromancer" in the old tower? Fuck that shit! What if the rock-man royal rumble spills over into the streets of Minas Tirith? Smashed. In fact, what the hell couldn't three rock monsters who had a bad morning utterly destroy? White city of Gondor? Smash. Rivendell? Smash. Eye of Sauron? Throw a mesa at it. Fangorn forest? Lay down and roll. Sure, the Ents seemed pretty powerful before we learned they are completely outclassed on the next range over. 

Call me crazy, but I feel this situation needs to either be dealt with, or at the very least, explained. Like maybe two fuckin seconds of screen time when Gandalf comes back to save them from the goblins. 

"Yo Gandalf, that goblin shit was scary, but you should have seen this other shit we saw right before that. You would not believe it."

"Oh, you must be referring to the rock monster mash. They always do that, but for a million centuries of man they always stop by six o'clock and never leave the mountain range."

"Oh, ok. Good."

See? Problem solved. But failing that, I feel that it should make parties of both good and evil in Middle Earth somewhat uncomfortable that this kind of thing is going on. Yes, the one ring can corrupt the minds of men, but, you know... smashed. 

Second Stupid Thing:

All subterranean creatures are racially incapable of building railings.   

I would seriously like for someone to do a body count of how many deaths there are in these movies due to lack of railings. I don't remember anything in the books about the dwarves specifically leaving railings off of clearly precipitous bridges and walkways despite the fact that a strong sneeze could send someone tumbling down 4,000 feet into a river of magma, so I'm forced to assume this was an executive decision on the part of Peter Jackson. 

There's a scene in The Hobbit where they're fighting off a million goblins in Goblin Town, and the lack of railings, handholds, and crossbars is so apparent that they simply use the strategy of "just knock them off", to which the goblins were clearly unprepared despite the fact that they fucking live like this. The dwarves are no better. The glory of Erebor? No Railings. The Mines of Moria? Built with no railings. Conquered by orcs, who continue this tradition to their own peril, as we see in Fellowship. Its safe to assume that Orcs, Goblins, and Dwarves never achieved dominance on Middle Earth not because of lack of fighting capability, but because their populations were surely decimated by the gruesome results of dizzy spells, banana peel accidents, and drunken stumbling off of precarious walkways with no railings! 

And you know what? That's why the king is a human. Helm's deep? You have to fucking try to fall out of that thing. There's like a parapet every two feet. The elves are a little better than the dwarves as well, but there still some places where one wrong step means your ass is down a waterfall, like in front of Elrond's magical moon-rune E-reader. Overall, given the glory and/or complexity of these underground dwellings, it would seem like a wise investment in public works to even string some rope handholds across the most dangerous parts of your lair. The Goblin King clearly had time and resources to build a wacky cage trap and some kind of torture machine, so it follows that it wouldn't be too much to ask for a safety net here or there. Just sayin. 

Anyway, the movie was good.