Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A delicious mess

I know I rag on Yahoo Answers a lot, but sometimes I'll find answers that briefly redeem the site's users and remind me why I bother to keep going. I enjoyed this exchange, for example:

Q - "Is licking another woman's feet cheating? ...I walked in on my husband licking my niece's feet. As I walked in he was licking the bottom of her foot and I could see he had been sucking her toes because they were all wet. I told them both off but didn't really class it as cheating. He hates talking about it now, but would you class it as cheating?"

A - "Maybe there was ice cream on her foot..."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Perfect as cats

Since my last two posts were long and ranty, and because it's Monday... Some new cat videos (courtesy of Videogum):

Monday, March 16, 2009

Desperately Seeking Watchers for Watchmen

I saw Watchmen on opening weekend. I wasn't going to bother going into it, because the web is already cluttered enough as it is with reviews, previews, cartoons, and everything else you can imagine about the film. But then, an open letter came along from David Hayter, the movie's co-writer, essentially begging fans to go see it again. If you hadn't heard, the movie isn't doing so well in its second week. It was expensive and risky to make, so naturally the people behind it want it to do well. But this letter... it reeks of desperation and fails to give me a convincing argument for why I should see it again.

I'd read Watchmen twice before I saw the movie. Frankly, I'm on the side of the fence that says you're better off sticking with the graphic novel in terms of which offers a richer experience. In a nutshell, I thought the movie was entertaining and that it had its share of great moments, but that the whole was just above average. Not the kind of movie I would go see a second time, surely (which is, itself, admittedly rare).

Hayter writes:
You have to understand, everyone is watching to see how the film will do in its second week. If you care about movies that have a brain, or balls, (and this film's got both, literally), or true adaptations -- And if you're thinking of seeing it again anyway, please go back this weekend, Friday or Saturday night. Demonstrate the power of the fans, because it'll help let the people who pay for these movies know what we'd like to see. Because if it drops off the radar after the first weekend, they will never allow a film like this to be made again.
I have a hard time imagining this to be true. As a comics fan, I can attest to the fact that it was a revelatory breakthrough to see a work as dense, mature, and well-respected as Watchmen make its way to the screen, but I'm not convinced a studio suit would see it the same way.

For one, the film gave me the impression that although the filmmakers wanted to create a faithful adaptation of a much loved graphic novel (yes, I believe Hayter in that respect), they were equally, if not moreso, concerned with simply making an extreme action movie with lots of cool fights, violence, and boobies. Not necessarily ingredients that herald a thought-provoking examination of the superhero psyche. Of the "balls" and "brains" Hayter mentioned, I saw more "balls" and less "brains" in the adaptation.

One of my beefs with the movie was its seemingly gleeful obsession with representing the violence of the story. I understand that Watchmen takes place in a violent world, but the treatment of these scenes gave the impression that they were included for the the sheer "fun" of gore and not so much for the purpose of making a point. Would Rorschach's deep fryer attack have been less emotionally effective if the shot of his swinging arm (basket in hand) had been followed by an off-camera scream? Or did we need to see 5 full seconds of the victim's eyes boiling in his face? But as Hayter said, the movie has lots of brains and balls... literally. And apparently that was what they set out to do.

I guess that when Hayter ominously asserts "they will never allow a film like this to be made again," I have to wonder what kind of film he thinks he's made. I was delighted to see so many visuals from the beloved graphic novel lovingly recreated on screen, but throughout the 2 hour 40 minute experience, I couldn't shake the feeling that it felt remarkably shallow compared to the source material. Director Zack Snyder's previous films include 300 and Dawn of the Dead (2004 remake). Meanwhile, Hayter's past writing credits include two X-Men movies and The Scorpion King. I'm not sure how to make this sound like I'm not being a dick, but I'm not really crazy about any of those movies and unfortunately, Watchmen felt like only a slight improvement for either creative contributor -- although, of course, the better-than-average source material probably helped.

Hayter writes:
I'm saying [this] for people like me. I'm saying it for people who love smart, dark entertainment, on a grand, operatic scale. I'm talking to the Snake fans, the Rorschach fans, the people of the Dark Knight.
Oddly, Hayter seems to be aware that his film is not as unique as a film would have to be to warrant this special request. So, will a movie "like this" be made again? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it will. In fact, many have already been made that were more successful than Watchmen. Hayter already mentioned The Dark Knight (aka Warner's license to print money), for example. Sin City was also bleak, stylish, action-packed, faithful to the source material, and certainly also had both brains and balls.

It's not known to many, but David Cronenberg's History of Violence (one of my favourite films of recent years) was also based on a graphic novel. It wasn't faithful to the comic at all, but in the end I think it was a better film for it. I hope they make more movies like that.

Hayter writes:
All this time, you’ve been waiting for a director who was going to hit you in the face with this story. To just crack you in the jaw, and then bend you over the pool table with this story. With its utterly raw view of the darkest sides of human nature, expressed through its masks of action and beauty and twisted good intentions. Like a fry-basket full of hot grease in the face. Like the Comedian on the Grassy Knoll. I know, I know...
And there it is. Even in his description of the Watchmen experience, Hayter manages to capture very few of the things that intrigued me about the graphic novel. To him, Watchmen is an excuse to make a movie featuring violent rape, hot grease attacks, and blood spraying out of head wounds and do it all under the name of the comic world's most revered piece of literature. And if you call him out on it, he can even say, "Well, it was in the book and we wanted to be as faithful as possible." And he'd be right, except that for all its panel-to-panel accuracy, the faithfulness of the adaptation was only skin-deep. Watchmen the film sure did look like Watchmen the comic, but it didn't feel like it and, if my experience is any indication, it suffered because of it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fuck you, VitaminWater

Slashfood reports:
Vitamin Water has been in the news lately with some contretempts over the caloric content of their brightly colored, somewhat nutritious beverages. So it's fortuitous timing that they're coming out with 10-calorie versions of several flavors. Up for the dietetic treatment are Energy (tropical citrus/yellow), XXX (acai-blueberry-pomegranate/magenta), Multi-V (lemonade/white) and Essential (orange/orange).
More like BullshitWater... I've watched this disturbing trend of "flavoured water" and "health beverages" grow rapidly over the last decade or so. And I still see it as nothing more than a big, sugary heap of crap. First, don't call it water, please. Water is clear, tastes refreshing, and doesn't require you to brush your teeth afterwards to get the taste (and colour) out of your mouth.

Hey, you know what else is flavoured water? Kool-Aid. And Tang. And Coffee. And Tea. And probably many other water-based beverages. Why isn't 50 Cent promoting those? Fact is, once you add a bunch of other shit to water, it's not really water anymore. But I suppose calling it VitaminSugarArtificalFlavourNeonPinkSubstance doesn't have quite the same healthy ring to it. But at least it would be more honest.

So, what dumbass is out there complaining about the calorie content of VitaminWater when they already have perfectly good water available to them for free? Water that doesn't taste like shit and look like it was peed in by Care Bear, I might add. Do they really need the vitamins that badly?

Hey, you know what else contains vitamins? Bananas. They're delicious! So do tomatoes and spinach and carrots and... Actually, most food contains vitamins and/or other useful nutrients. You probably eat some every day! So, again, why the Care Bear piss? It tastes gross, looks gross, it's unnecessary, and in spite of any claims it may make, any usefulness it may have can be made obsolete by simply eating normal meals and having a glass of (real) water.

Fuck you, VitaminWater.