Archive for December, 2011

23
Dec
11

Awesome Christmas Movies

Bloggers like to post their top Christmas movies. The problem is their lists are always the same: A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone etc etc puke. Well, I thought it was time to give you a list of real Christmas movies. The kind that are festive, and really get you into the holiday spirit. These movies can be enjoyed by family and friends, and should be mandatory viewing annually. Let’s make a new Awesomely Shitty tradition. Watch and love these movies every year, or you can’t be my friend anymore.

12.) RED – Bruce Willis loves the holidays. You can really tell. With RED, as well as two Die Hard movies and The Last Boy Scout, he’s a guy that really embodies the Christmas spirit. This movie in particular tells us it’s never too late to get excited for the holidays. Although the main characters are all retired from their work as assassins, they get together for one last hurrah. Even though you may be an old grouchy Scrooge, you can get festive once again. It’s a positive message like that which makes this such a heartwarming film. A group of old friends reunite to kill people and blow shit up one more time. This movie gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

11.) Lethal Weapon – Kind of like Bruce Willis, screenwriter Shane Black must really love Christmas. So many of his movies take place during the holidays. This time around we get to see Mel Gibson playing a suicidal cop, as he battles with the villainous Gary Busey, who seems to be playing himself. There is plenty of mayhem as L.A. is ripped to shreds. It ends with a Christmas celebration. I suppose the entire movie (the murders and shootouts and near suicide attempts) is a metaphor for the insanity of the build up to Christmas. This movie is really deep like that.

Continue reading ‘Awesome Christmas Movies’

16
Dec
11

The Muppets, Alias Season 2, Casshern Sins

The Muppets

Muppet mania

If I was a muppet, I would be Statler and Waldorf, combined.

I am probably going to lose a lot of street cred by writing this, but I enjoyed The Muppets. It works hard to get your nostalgia going, and it largely succeeds. While I didn’t exactly grow up watching the Muppets, I am old enough to remember them, and even I felt nostalgia watching this. It is comical, endearing, and whimsical, all at the same time. It contains all the things Hollywood normally does badly, except in The Muppets they are done right. In fact, they managed to expertly pull off so many of these things, it culminated in a very fun movie, and simultaneously reminded me of how I have no soul. It even gets meta on the audience as the in-movie Muppets try to get their show back together only to face the possibility (and fear) that they aren’t relevant anymore. Of course this holds true for The Muppets as the movie we are watching. The movie’s successes tell me that they are still relevant.

This isn’t a perfect movie, not by a long shot. They adhere to the old tried-and-true formula of telling as many jokes as possible and hoping that some of them stick. Fortunately, most of them do and the movie benefits from it. However, joke after joke after joke makes it apparent that they were trying a little too hard. The plot is somewhat mind-boggling as it doesn’t make sense that Kermit would sell out all of his supposed best friends in order to become “Rich and Famous.” But I suppose I’m thinking about this way too hard. The Muppets is simply meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed.

Verdict: Mahna Mahna (good)

Alias Season 2

Alias season 2 cast

If there’s one thing Alias has going for it, that would be recruiting interesting guest stars. Notice I wrote “interesting” and not “good.” Some of the guests are cool, others are oddities. Nevertheless, they managed to get an eclectic mix of guests to liven up the show. Some of them include Roger Moore, Quentin Tarantino, Vivica Fox, Ethan Hawke, Faye Dunaway, Djimon Honsou, and Ricky Gervais. Season 2 still manages to entertain us in very cool ways. While it isn’t quite as good as the first season, the second season still has strong writing. There are a number of shocking plot twists, and it is easy to stay engaged. Just past the halfway point the SD-6 storyline is wrapped up, and the overarching plot afterwards becomes chaotic, as the writers clearly had no idea where to go next. That problem continues on through the disastrous third season, but fortunately, improves afterwards.

Verdict: Good

Casshern Sins

Casshern moping around as usual.

They should have titled this series Emo Sins instead. Casshern has to be one of the mopiest, blandest, depressing central characters of all time. He walks around feeling sorry for himself throughout the entire series. He can’t even get pumped about the fact that he is an immortal ladies magnet and an unstoppable killing machine (sort of like me). Here’s a breakdown of every single episode

  1. Episode begins with a brief flashback of Casshern killing Luna.
  2. Opening credits.
  3. Casshern wanders around a desolate wasteland and acts emo.
  4. Casshern encounters a small enclave of human-looking robots.
  5. Word gets passed around that if someone kills Casshern they will become immortal.
  6. A group of generic-looking robots attack Casshern/enclave of human-looking robots.
  7. Casshern goes berserk and kills everyone.
  8. Ending credits.

That sums up just about every single episode of this series. So now you have no need to watch it. You can thank me later. On the positive side, the show does boast fantastic animation, and some great fight scenes. Little else is tolerable, however.

Verdict: Average

10
Dec
11

Devil May Cry, Fantastic Children, Canaan

Devil May Cry

Dante from Devil May Cry

What do you get when you take a popular action video game franchise, that is heavy on button mashing and light on plot, and turn it into an anime TV series? Well, you get… this. Devil May Cry features the exploits of demon hunter Dante as he travels through a world with a paper-thin plot, copious amounts of bloodshed, pizza, ice cream sundaes, and shoddy animation. Oh wait, I guess my thoughts on the series bled into the show’s description. But you get the picture, right? Fortunately, for action junkies, this series has tons of shootouts and swordplay. Dante always infuses plenty of charm and style into his fights, and usually doesn’t break a sweat doing it. By the way, why is it that Dante is always broke, despite completing job after job (kind of like the characters in Cowboy Bebop)?

Pros: Cool main character, tons of action, great music.

Cons: Noticeable drops in animation quality during fight sequences, extremely repetitive, too many filler episodes, main character is invincible, at times it is mind numbingly stupid.

You don’t need to have ever played the video games in order to watch this anime. It’s light fare meant to give an adrenaline rush while the main character beats the crap out of demons. If that’s all you’re looking for in an anime, then look no further. This show had a great first episode and then fell into a slump, but fortunately recovered and had a pretty good ending. Overall, Devil May Cry is far from a masterpiece, but it was a fun diversion for a few hours.

Verdict: Average

Fantastic Children

The fantastic children of Fantastic Children.

Fantastic Children was quite, ahem, fantastic. This is certainly a more cerebral show that requires patience and attention. The first half of the series moved slowly, and at times was extremely confusing. The second half made a lot more sense as they started to give us some answers. It’s always nice to have things explained. In most anime they set up an intriguing premise and have a lot of mysterious things going on, then they suddenly get to the end of the series and don’t have time to explain shit. The unexplained shit gets relegated to LOLARTISTIC. Anyway, the pacing in the second half sped up a bit as the answers came and there was a bit more action and backstory. Once all the revelations had been made, I looked back and thought they told a cool story. I had read on a number of websites that this series has the best plot twist EVER. Well, I wouldn’t say the best ever, but it was interesting. If you have the time, don’t mind waiting a while for some answers, and prefer a good plot to moeblob lolis, you should check out this series.

Verdict: Good

Canaan

Canaan's cast of douches.

A typical “girls with guns” anime, with a typical amnesiac protagonist. There was some action, but overall the series was boring. The male characters looked extremely similar to one another and were difficult to tell apart. This show was a waste of time. But the necrophilia at the end was badass.

Verdict: Shitty

02
Dec
11

How to Jump the Shark: The Office Season 8

They should have crossed out the whole picture.

Up until this season, The Office was probably my favorite show of all time (second only to Rock of Love Bus). I quoted it. I had parties to watch the new episodes. I loved it, and since I hate everything, that is saying a lot. The show had weak episodes here and there, but through 7 seasons, it gave me a lot of laughs.

Then came season 8. Why couldn’t The Office have had the grace to quit while they were ahead?

I predict that The Office will be cancelled by the end of the season, if not before. It certainly needs to be put out of its misery. Here’s why:

  1. They lost the show’s main character. Yes, The Office has an ensemble cast, but the world of The Office only works with Michael Scott at the helm. He is an incompetent boss, completely insane, and yet still likable. The show revolved around Michael’s crazy ideas and the rest of the office trying to cope with/react to them. Andy is not nearly incompetent or insane enough, and Robert California might be insane but he’s barely on the show. Without Michael, it’s just an office full of slightly weird/annoying people. Why would I waste my time watching it when I can just go to work?
  2. All of the characters got fat. Ok, not all of them. Just Darryl and Pam. And Pam is pregnant, not so much “fat” per se. Either way, I feel like the cast is just bigger this year, and for some reason I don’t enjoy watching them as much because of it. So sue me.
  3. The characters are not consistent. Pam used to be somewhat meek, shy even. She seemed like a nice person–now she just seems arrogant and entitled. Round-face smug, bossy Pam. She seems more like Angela now. And Angela is nice and happy this season. What the hell? Who decided to switch Angela and Pam? I don’t like either of them now. Andy used to be an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with anger issues. Now he is an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with daddy issues. Ok, so Andy has issues. Why not carry on his previous anger issue? Why make up a new one this season? They used it as a plot device for a single episode, instead of building on past established traits in multiple episodes. It didn’t fit and I didn’t get it.
  4. They tried to continue the series after all of the loose ends were tied up. Last season, Michael Scott finally realized his dream to get engaged to someone equally as insane as him. Pam and Jim already had their happily ever after. Angela was dating a gay politician. Dwight was exactly the same as he was on day 1 of the series. The Office was left with an uncertain future with no replacement boss–what better way to end? What other story is there to tell? (None, if you couldn’t guess.) Leave it open so that each viewer can make up his own ending, if you will.
  5. The gags are over-the-top. I know what you’re thinking. It’s The Office. ALL of the gags are over-the-top. But that’s just it–they’re not. Like when Jim and Pam throw Andy’s phone into the ceiling over his desk. That is totally doable, and I’m sure people tried it after the show aired. Or the time when Michael was going to pretend to commit suicide by jumping off the roof into a bouncy castle. It was crazy, but within Michael’s realm of crazy, so I could buy it. This season? Jim publishing a fake book online about throwing garden parties? Dwight finding it, purchasing it, and using it as a reference to throw a garden party? IMPOSSIBLE. At the very least, IMPLAUSIBLE. Sorry guys, I just don’t believe your jokes anymore.
  6. Not enough of the minor characters. I love Meredith, Creed, and Kelly. They have provided some of the funniest moments this show has ever offered up. Creed selling fake IDs to all the local teenagers. Meredith flashing Michael in his office. Creed’s “blog”.  Meredith trading sex for paper discounts. Creed taking a bite out of a potato. Almost anything that Kelly says. (“I have a question for you Ryan. First of all, how dare you.”) In seasons past, I would lol every time they would come on screen–but this season I haven’t lol’ed once. Are they even in this season, or do they just not have anything even remotely funny to say?
  7. The writing is bad. I think that sums up 3-6. The writers all forgot their craft after Steve Carell left the show. His impact on the entire production was obviously huge, because without him, they just can’t pull it off. Most of the issues I listed could be corrected with better writing–but it won’t happen. If they could write better episodes, they’d be doing it already.

The bottom line is that the show is pointless without Steve Carell. If the people in charge had any insight, they would have realized this and cancelled it already. Instead, they decided to go for one more season–but I guarantee it will be the last.*

Verdict: Shitty

*But if it’s not I’ll still be watching, and complaining about it the entire time.




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