get real

i think people who live their lives as caricatures are goofy idiots who are inadvertently painting a stupid, unrealistic picture of their whole culture.

for example: 10 years ago, my pal lindsay had a good friend who was a gay man. he was doing online dating on plentyoffish.com at the time. i was also dating on POF (women though, mind you) so lindsay suggested i look up his profile. i said, “yeah, neat. maybe i’ll see hi to your pal.” i switched my POF search parameters to ‘men seeking men,’ and was absolutely shocked by what i saw — all the gay men were not flamboyant, fabulous, limp-wristed queens. 

on the contrary, they were all just normal-looking guys. they looked like any guy i see walking down any street, in any place, at any time. i realized then that gay men are just normal guys too, and that it was asinine that i previously believed i could pick a gay man out of a lineup.

not that i don’t see the stereotypical gay man every now and then too. they certainly exist. but are they being themselves? maybe a few are, but i think the vast majority are just playing a ridiculous role, and i’m not sure why. probably because that’s how gay men are portrayed in films and tv, and some insecure people want to belong to whatever club they can, even if it’s childish and lame. so they start copying the classic hollywood gay man tropes. that’s my bet.

but this concept of people moulding themselves after an image isn’t limited to gay men, of course. it applies to every person who lacks confidence and a sense of personal identity. i mean, military people don’t need to be strict, harsh pricks outside of work. artists don’t need to be gentle, overly sensitive pussycats. jocks don’t need to be beer-swilling boneheads. you get the idea: no one needs to be any stereotype.

but that isn’t what bothers me the most about this topic. what bothers me the most is that by buying into stereotypes and playing those roles, these people are perpetuating myths and misconceptions about whatever group they are associated with. they feed the commonly held belief that a person can be defined by a single aspect, that those people are crude, one-dimensional characters. that’s a real disservice to not only themselves but everyone else who shares that particular aspect with them. it’s a fucking shame that they think they’re being “loud and proud” when they’re really just selling themselves and a lot of other people short.

maxresdefault

get multidimensional, man

Advertisements

how to win an oscar, aka why i didn’t like ’12 years a slave’

jenn and i just watched 12 years a slave the other day. i know i’m 3 years late to the party but that’s beside the point. what i want to say is that it’s a crazy, nightmarish story and it’s hard to believe that such atrocities were ever widely accepted here. it’s eye-opening stuff.

but i think the film itself sucked. not because some of the acting was garbage, and not because i got really tired of the overuse of super long, largely static, ‘this is going to disturb you’ shots, but because the film took an extremely serious, weighty story and turned it into a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story.

how does one make a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story?

  1. establish main character as strong, faultless, morally sound, devout family man/woman in a simple but pleasant living situation.
  2. inflict cruel injustices upon main character, eg kill their family, separate them from their family, convict them of a crime they didn’t commit, enslave them, etc.
  3. tempt main character to break their strong moral code but have them rise above the temptation and continue on with their dignity and values still intact, head held high.
  4. allow main character some kind of quiet or proud redemption.

ta daaaa, that’s it. now flesh it out with some details and sit back and rake in the phony awards for your mantelpiece.

tumblr_inline_o1wghflrm11t6wivs_1280

you know you’ve made a tawdry piece of shit when a bunch of professional critics are falling over themselves to suck your dick.

12 years a slave hits on all those things i just listed. so does gladiator. so does braveheart. and guess what, they won a bunch of academy awards too. so it’s no surprise that soulless film makers keep coming back to a formula that is proven to illicit tears and make people proclaim it “the best movie of the year.” why make something original when you can make something successful?

needless to say, that formula is hollywood cookie cutter shit, fairy tale shit. real people aren’t flawless heroes or perversely evil villains. real people are somewhere between those extremes. but if you want an old-fashioned hollywood tearjerker you need to simplify characters into good/evil, right/wrong terms so that it’s really easy to root for one person to win, and the other to lose — no shades of grey, nothing that might confuse the bovine audience.

for example, 12 years a slave implied that northup was steadfastly devout to his wife the whole time he was enslaved. i think that’s absurd. even if he personally maintained it was the truth, i wouldn’t believe him. i think that in 12 years, trapped in a world where sex would be one of the very few pleasures you could attain, i would bet my balls that 99.9% of even the most morally sound people would end up fucking a few other people. suggesting northup was some kind of moral superman who never even considered something like that was just plain dumb to me. but that’s what the dummies want to see — the perfect man.

the other characters were similarly bone simple. edwin epps was cruel and evil without a good bone in his body. samuel bass (the little we saw of him anyway) was confident and virtuous. well, that certainly makes it easy to tell who to cheer for.

fuck off. disney-style villains and heroes in a story based on real, horrific events. that’s insulting. it carefully, intentionally turns a true travesty into a marketable product that fits the tried and true formula. i don’t like that.

but shit, thinking about it now, that sums up an awful lot of big, ‘loosely based on historical event’ films.

oh well. i don’t like them either.

stephen king fucked up: the 1997 remake of the shining is a piece of shit and everyone who says otherwise is a delusional idiot

dana and i just finished watching stephen king’s 1997 remake of the shining. i say with absolutely no irony or exaggeration that it was a foul fucking piece of shit in every way possible.

what were we thinking? we were curious, mainly. we knew it would probably be pretty bad, like most film adaptations of king’s books, but we wanted to see exactly what king had envisioned, what he wanted to do differently from kubrick and his classic 1980 version film, what king thought he could do better.

nothing was better. everything was worse. it was so laughably cheap and terrible, from the start to the finish…4 and 1/2 hours later. yep, king’s piece of crap is an epic piece of crap.

here’s what was so fucking awful i had to blog about it.

280full

that mouth. yuck.

  • all the actors sucked. the guy from wings, the kid with the gross and horribly distracting weirdly-shaped mouth, the black guy, the hotel ghosts…all d-grade performances. rebecca de mornay was the only decent one.
  • weird, super bright colours. everything in the film had this strange look, like it was fake, because all the colours were so bright. sort of like when you could turn the contrast up so far on old tv’s that the colours would start to bleed into each other and distort. they were almost that bright, and it looked stupid.
  • CHEAP special effects. the CGI was god awful but what was even worse was the non-CGI stuff, like when jack is being stalked by the hedge animals. it just goes back and forth between shots of jack panicking and still-shots of hedge animals with some bear and lion growls added in. no joke. my pal rid saw this on tv when he was like 10 and said he thought it was stupid even back then.
a

yikes!

  • the evil ghosts are inept. at the end of the movie, both jack AND the ghosts have forgotten to release the pressure on the boiler. give me a break. oh no, that means the ghost’s precious home is about to be blown up! so the ghosts get upset and start squabbling and try to open the pressure relief valve themselves, but they can’t! because they’re ghosts and their hands go right through the valve handle!! what a fucking joke. bumbling ghosts aren’t scary.
  • a croquet mallet instead of an axe? jack’s weapon of choice throughout the movie is a croquet mallet, not an axe like in the kubrick film. i haven’t read the book (i tried years ago but quit because it came off like it was written for 12-yr old kids) but the croquet mallet is certainly a lot less menacing. it’s even comical, stupid-looking.
  • “pup.” again, i don’t know if this was in the book or if it was changed for the sake of making a PG tv miniseries but it doesn’t really matter because no matter what, when the ‘wings’ guy is supposed to be really fired up and angry at his son and shouts half-heartedly that he’s a “young pup,” it just sounds stupid. furious men don’t shout ‘pup.’
  • shitty ‘scary’ lighting. everything that is supposed to be scary in this piece of crap automatically gets a green light bulb placed over it. it reminds me of shitty haunted houses where they make you put your hand in bowls of spaghetti noodles and peeled grapes and say, “these are brains, and these are eyeballs.” fuck off. only 5-yr olds might think green lights are creepy. you can see an example of the scary green light in the pic above.
  • super, super corny happy ending. i hate super happy endings, especially in movies that are scary or disturbing since it totally ruins the bad feelings you’ve been building up for the last hour and a half, but it’s sort of fitting here — the childishly scary show gets a childishly happy ending. and the whole “kissin’, kissin’, that’s what i’ve been missin'” recurring line is fucking gross and annoying. what a perfectly dreadful way to end a perfectly dreadful 4.5 hr slog of a film.

for those reasons, i think the miniseries version of the shining is straight up garbage. but what makes all of this even worse is that stephen king not only likes it, but thinks it’s infinitely superior to kubrick’s version.

e15db96c98c23cefe3a3d362165d7eee

king is an idiot.

king doesn’t think kubrick focused enough on jack’s alcoholism and the disintegration of the family’s relationship. he thinks shelley duvall “just screamed and acted stupid” in kubrick’s version. he thinks kubrick downplayed the supernatural elements of the story and played up the psychological ones. he thinks that because kubrick himself was an atheist, he couldn’t make a film about about ghosts that was scary or believable.

Coloring book with flower theme 3

king’s preferred version of the shining

that’s all asinine horseshit. i think kubrick did a fantastic job of balancing jack’s alcoholism, the disintegration of the family, and both the psychological and supernatural elements in the film. king’s problem is that he’s a ham-fisted dunce who likes his films to be like kids’ colouring books with really thick, clear lines so that even fucking dummies can understand exactly what king intended. he wants to beat you over the head with each theme. he has no understanding of subtlety, tastefulness, balance, etc.

as for duvall’s performance, i guess it was very different from what king had written in his book (if rebecca de mornay’s version of wendy is any indication) but i certainly don’t think she portrays wendy as simply a screaming, stupid woman. i think her character is complex and believable — she’s a loving mother and partner, submissive, terribly nervous of rocking jack’s boat (and rightfully so considering his history of alcoholism and physical abuse), but ultimately unable to allow him to destroy her and danny. i think that’s probably pretty accurate for a lot of people who are partners with abusive alcoholics. in fact, i find that more believable than du mornay’s version of wendy, letting jack act like a psycho and toss her around without ever telling him, “you’re a violent freak, danny and i are leaving.” that response would be much more consistent with du mornay’s strong, reasonable character. but king is a dummy so he missed that inconsistency.

king’s criticism that kubrick couldn’t make a scary supernatural film because he didn’t believe in scary supernatural stuff is an interesting one. it’s a neat idea and somewhat intellectual, but it’s still complete bullshit. there is TONS of scary — legitimately scary, not ‘green lightbulb’ scary — supernatural stuff in kubrick’s version of the shining: the elevators releasing torrents of blood, the weird ghost twins, the woman in room 237, the unexplained men in the bedroom (one in an animal costume)…once again, king seems discontent with kubrick’s version of scary and would prefer more goofy shit like people wearing sheets jumping out and shouting BOO. king wants stupid simple scares, and plenty of em, and loathes anything remotely cerebral or legitimately scary.

ture-film-freudiantrip-shining-bloodyelevators-620

anyone who claims this scene wasn’t scary is a liar

you know, maybe the reason king claims kubrick’s version stinks and isn’t scary is actually because king finds it terrifying. maybe his pride can’t bear to admit that kubrick made something infinitely darker and more sinister than king could have, and rather than say “well done sir, you took my crappy book and made it into a fantastic film. i owe you a beer,” he prefers to act too cool and say, “nah it’s not scary. it’s not true to my original vision. he totally changed stuff. mine was better.” i honestly can’t see any other way that someone could claim the tv miniseries version is better than kubrick’s. it’s that ridiculous to me.

FURTHERMORE, some of the positive reviews for the miniseries version are absolutely jam-packed full of shit. entertainment weekly said

“There’s a deep, rich creepiness suffusing Stephen King’s The Shining that makes this miniseries the most frightening TV movie ever made.”

and variety said

“At six hours, its slowness is carefully calculated; the edge-of-your-seat creepiness unfolds with a languid believability that will rope in viewers early and hold them. This mini earns its massive length, using every minute to paint a picture of surprising emotional complexity and depth.”

FUCK YOUUUUUUUUU

these dick-sucking, uber positive reviews of something that is clearly garbage only further my belief that many professional critics are actually just writers being paid by the companies behind the film to pump it up. there is no way that anyone on earth actually feels like that about such a wretched diarrhea shit of a tv miniseries.

oh, and it got a bunch of awards too, for best makeup, best miniseries, blah blah blah. but i’ve already bitched about how awards shows are the same kind of dick-sucking industry blowhard bullshit as the above reviews.

go fuck yourself, hollywood. and stephen king. you’re all disastrous lunatics. the miniseries version of the shining eats my shit, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

the-shining-1997-poster

i sacrificed 4.5 hrs of my life so that others wouldn’t have to.

vulnerable

there is an old technique to aid in public speaking where you picture your audience in their underwear or something like that so that you feel more comfortable in front of them. i think it’s a fine technique but i don’t need it for public speaking. i actually like doing it all the time, to remind me that even the most snooty, lofty, clean cut, arrogant motherfuckers are as base and vile as the rest of us.

morgan_carey-pickup-real_estate_webmasters-670_x_447

this man is just as gross as you and me and everyone else

i don’t just like to picture them wiping their ass after having a brutal liquid bowel movement, or popping huge zits on their back, or having stubborn staph infections. i like to picture them at their lowest moments of humanity, doing shit they regret or at least wish no one else knew about. like snorting cocaine at a party while their kids sleep at home. cheating on their spouses. going through messy divorces that involve screaming phone calls. having the police called to their homes for domestic violence. lying to themselves that they really are happy with their family and career. the shame they feel each time they remember they will have herpes for the rest of their life. seeing a therapist to help deal with their depression and suicidal thoughts. looking in the mirror and hating how their body has aged. hating themselves each time they fail at quitting smoking or sticking to a diet. saying horrible things to their friends and loved ones that they wish they could take back.

sometimes when i see people i don’t like, i like to imagine looking them in the eyes and telling them that i know they do all these things. that i know they’re a horrible, disgusting piece of shit behind their thin veneer of cold professionalism, or overly loud phony confidence. i want to tell them that i know what they look like utterly naked, and they are every bit as pathetic and wretched as the poorest, sickest child dying in the dirt in some third world desert. because we all are, regardless of facades. we’re all weak, susceptible, flawed. we’re all human.

i prefer it when people can admit it.

god, this one felt good.

fuck ‘moving forward’ and all other professional buzzwords

i’m sick of hearing professional types saying stuff like ‘going forward’ and ‘moving forward.’ here’s an example of what i’m talking about.

“We’ve made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward,” said UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in a statement.

last year, old fertitta would have said “…regarding his future conduct” or “…regarding his conduct in the future.” but oh boy, it’s 2015 and everyone is using this ‘forward’ thing, like it’s a way to inject some positivity into whatever is being said, so ‘forward’ it is. well fuck it, i don’t like it.

another one that greg was recently bitching about is people using ‘fundamentally’ all the time, and particularly at really strange times. i agree with him. i think some folks believe it automatically adds weight to whatever stupid bullshit they’re saying. like “this facebook app is fundamentally flawed,” or “these pears are fundamentally the best around.” remove fundamentally from either of those statements and they’d be fine, but as they are, they’re fundamentally full of shit.

this isn’t a new thing. several years ago, i remember ‘proactive’ was the buzzword that every phony jerk was throwing around. you don’t hear it as often these days, and i think that in itself is evidence of the disposable ‘more up to date on the latest business trends than thou’ mentality that i’m railing against here. i actually think the simpsons said it best:

Excuse me, but “proactive” and “paradigm”? Aren’t these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important?

amen.

millennial-business-owner

going forward, be aware that hipster business douchebags are fundamentally stupid.

irreconcilable differences

i keep reading about movie and music stars and their dramatic, troubled love lives. i find it all really disheartening. it seems like every star has been married at least 3 times, engaged another 3 separate times, and has multiple kids with multiple partners.

nuff said. and yuck, btw

when i say it like that, i imagine white trash living in trailer parks. it’s crazy that i’m actually talking about some of the most revered, wealthy, and recognized people in the world. rich white trash, indeed.

maybe that’s why the poor trash live like that. maybe they’re emulating the rich and famous people they see on tv. i think more than likely though, no one is emulating anyone else. they’re all probably just equally emotionally fucked up.

i understand that a lot of hollywood marriages are supposedly pure facade, just career moves to keep their names in the public spotlight so their music and films sell better, but i believe most of them are legit. i think most of them are people really trying to find love and a life partner, and they are actually failing miserably at it. there are a few reasons i believe this.

  1. a fair amount of the marriages and engagements i’m reading about are to nobodies, and marrying a nobody doesn’t help a career out.
  2. i think most stars are totally out of touch with reality due to being coddled by everyone around them. if all of your friends and family were sucking your dick 24-7 in the hopes of borrowing some money from you or making it into your will or being invited on vacation with you, you would certainly be emotionally stunted by it. i think it’s rare that people can live in that world and not be affected by it, and even more rare that stars are able to control their personal lives so tightly as to not allow any leech scum into their sphere.
  3. i don’t believe people are so dishonest as to have multiple sham weddings and relationships. i should believe it. i mean, i think a lot of non-stars relationships are shams too. couples that lie to and cheat on each other have sham relationships, it’s just a different shade of sham. but the idea of talking with managers about who is hot right now, who could really help catapult my name to the cover of US and people again, of spending years with a person that i don’t really care about, of having kids with that same person i don’t care about…someone would have to be a right fucked sociopath to wear that mask for so long. and as much as i hate people and believe the worst about many of us, i just don’t think many people have the diligence or work ethic to keep that up and pull it off. so i don’t think many would sign up for it in the first place. or maybe they sign up for it, realize it sucks, and that’s why they divorce so quickly? maybe the line between manufactured relationships and real life emotions gets blurred, maybe it’s only contrived as far as stars can handle it, and then reality boils to the surface and the whole thing falls to shit.
hqdefault

hollywood relationships are a lot like pro wrestling, actually.

whatever. regardless of why it happens, i think it’s fucked up and don’t like it. i like real life and real people.

another review of a movie i hate

jenn downloaded some movies onto her laptop and brought it on our roadtrip so we could watch flicks on shitty rainy nights. one of the movies she got was beasts of the southern wild. i think it was a smelly, awful piece of shit. i hated it so much, i made a mental note to blog about it. and here i am, back at home, bored and ready to bitch.

“perfect for phony hipster loser audiences everywhere! 5/5!”

the soundtrack was the first thing to piss me off, and it did so on multiple levels. first, it’s all typical hipster folk instrumentation: toy piano, fiddle, banjo, some ‘ass shaker’ percussion…pathetic. this whole beards/cardigans/vests/wool caps/’old world style’ music movement is for fucking posers. it’s 100% imitation, and brings nothing new to the table. it’s the same shit we’ve already heard rehashed for the last 5 years. it sucked when it started and it still sucks now.

second musical complaint: typical ‘touching’ chord progressions. if i hear another 1-5-6-4 progression (or 1-6-3-7 in a minor key, they’re the same thing), i’m going to hop onstage at a mumford and sons concert and blow my fucking brains out.

i don’t need to get into why i hate this chord progression so much. it’s been well documented how overused it is by every saccharine pop musical hack (and some decent musicians too). see the following popular comic video that illustrates the point.

enough said on that. my third complaint about the music in beasts of the southern wild: TOO MUCH OF IT. it never shuts up. something touching happens, bam, queue the touching hipster folk bullshit music. something else happens, BAM more touching hipster folk trash music. i think that relying on crappy predictable music to build the emotional peaks and valleys of your film is weak. it’s like saying “i know this piece of shit lacks its own substance so i’m relying on familiar-sounding ’emotional’ music to connect with viewers.” grow up. make a real film that doesn’t rely on cheap techniques to elicit reactions.

ok, that’s it for the music. now for the film itself.

round two, pussies

whoever made this piece of crap made some feeble attempts to shock the audience with lots of shots of ‘gross’ stuff. like the people inhabiting ‘the bathtub,’ their living conditions, the kid’s father spearing chicken carcasses in a cooler and tossing them on the bbq, a close up of the cat food and vegetable oil the kid cooks for herself, blah blah blah. EEWWWW, SO GROSS, OH MY GOD. the only prisses who would be shocked by any of this stuff would be folks who’ve never had diarrhea, or had a pet die, or walked through a large city, or taken the garbage out before. folks who’ve never encountered anything unpleasant in their daily lives. i just feel like this director was trying to tag along on the the trashy gross-out vibe of gummo but 15 years too late, and watered down to boot. and i think gummo sucked too so that’s a pretty lousy jumping off point.

my other big complaint about the film is how heavily it relies on the star saying what i imagine are supposed to be beautiful, simple, child-like truths, like “sometimes you just gotta let things go and see what happens to ’em,” or something generic like that. they did this at just about every other scene change. i can see why. everyone loves cute nice kids, and everyone loves cute nice kids pulling through adversity with the grace that adults are incapable of. i’m sure everyone sees those scenes and thinks, “she’s so adorable and helpless, i hope she makes it through ok, she’s so wise and strong for a child.” well, not me. i got angry. it’s just another cheap technique to tug heartstrings, like the crappy typical music that makes every wistful jerk want to cry.

so fuck beasts of the southern wild. that kid did a great job in it and under more sincere, thoughtful directing, i’m sure it could have been good but the people in charge made it a tawdry attempt at a tearjerker. 0/5 stars. stay away. download it just so you can delete it immediately without watching. and all those ‘critics’ calling it a masterpiece and a triumph can suck my dick and die. critics are fucking losers to start with, and critics that laud this piece of shit are either super high or corporate shills. kill em all.

critics suck