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this is what happens when we wait too long to refill our prescriptions - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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December 31st, 2007


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01:35 pm - this is what happens when we wait too long to refill our prescriptions
I've found myself actively talking back to screens lately. I don't mean to; it just starts happening. Carolyn and I saw Sweeney Todd on Christmas and we had to endure a ton of really boring pre-movie content, including a KICKASS MUSIC VIDEO which promises that BEING IN THE MILITARY ROCKS and that the Minutemen TOTALLY KICKED ASS in the Battles of Lexington and Concord while Three Doors Down gave them a kickin soundtrack or something. They weren't fighting for anything but THE ROCK.

Then we saw this trailer for The Ruins, one of those Beautiful People Get Killed horror movies. I have no more sympathy for people in these movies. The Beautiful People decide to go have their awesome spring break bash in some abandoned ruins in the middle of the jungle even though the stereotypical native guy they meet in the trailer tells them "No go there. Bad juju. Place of Sacrifice. Stay here, white devils. Trinkets half price today." And what do you know, no sooner have they set their tents up right on top of an ancient ziggurat when they start getting attacked by MYSTERIOUSLY LOUD MYSTERY THINGS and dying and one girl has CGI worms crawling under her skin and oh no more deaths and I'm supposed to be concerned for these people and root for their survival? Like hell I will. In fact, this is when I noticed myself talking back to the screen, because as the title ominously loomed in front of us I suddenly found the voice to say "Well, that's what you get when you camp out on ancient ruins, YOU STUPID TOURISTS." I will quietly mention the fact that I found the voice to say this just as the film soundtrack went quiet (in between the OMINOUSLY LOOMING TITLE and then the quick 5-second shriek-flash that all good horror thriller trailers have nowadays to keep you REALLY ON YOUR SEAT!!1)

But seriously, if I found myself watching this movie, I'd root for the evil forces instead of the stupid tourists. Presumably it's the townie in me, but it's true.

I also found myself actively talking back to the television last night but my god, it was largely justified. I kept myself limited to such bon mots as "SUCK IT, ROMNEY" and "HOW THE HELL DO YOU FEED YOURSELVES?" Despite the obvious logical bridge, the two were not related, by the way; the second was actually said in response to an ad which featured this dialogue or reasonable facsimile thereof:
IDIOT WOMAN: We love our outdoor patio, but sometimes the sun is so bright it makes our furniture too hot to sit on!
IDIOT MAN: But then we discovered awnings and now we can sit outside any time!
IDIOT ANNOUNCER: Your home is your investment. Protect them with an awning. Awnings not only protect your patio from the sun but from rain, too. Call today to get your free booklet on Awning Ideas.
I can't believe there'd be enough people in this day and age who'd be Seriously Surprised to learn about this amazingly secret government technology that allows you to cover your damn self and your property from the elements... or that someone thought this would be a great way to sell AWNINGS, of all things.

I mean, a booklet on Awning Ideas? AWNING IDEAS?! What ideas would you NOT be able to come up with on your own regarding awnings? IT'S MATERIAL YOU PLACE ABOVE SOMETHING TO KEEP IT SHELTERED FROM THE ELEMENTS. If you need someone to tell you what to do with it, brother, you've lost the battle. Even so, perhaps you do need some help, so...

HEY KIDS! Here's some groovy ideas on what you might want to put under your awning:
  • Patio furniture
  • Expensive electronic equipment
  • Pets and loved ones
  • The Wicked Witch of the West
  • Grandpa Jim's priceless collection of exotic dirt
  • Refugees
  • Vinyl records
  • Booklets on Awning Ideas
  • Turkeys, because if it's raining turkeys will stare up at the sky, slack-jawed, and drown
  • Definitely not you, because if you need a booklet on Awning Ideas, maybe you should stand outside while it's raining and stare up at the sky, slack-jawed, and drown.
Yes, I'm feeling a bit grumpy. It's the end of the year and after watching copious amounts of broadcast television ("Coming up on the 11:00 News At 10, 3D Internet Shopping Online! Browse shelves of actual stores in your own home! Plus we have a heartbreaking interview with the parents whose two children died in a house fire two days ago.") I have come to the conclusion that 2008 is the Year We Officially Become Creatively Bankrupt.

It doesn't help that the teevee is also continually flogging the upcoming premiere Meet The Spartans, one of those wacky zany films which really wants to be known as "parody" when all it's doing is mashing together celebrity impersonators and pop culture references and firing off one useless joke after another. It's as if People Magazine decided to make a bad parody movie. Oh, look! It's Leonidas from 300 kicking people into the Pit of Death! Ha ha! He just kicked Britney Spears in along with her baby! Now he kicked Sanjaya from American Idol in and Sanjaya's parting words are "I'm not gaaaaaaay!" Oh that's hilarious! Now people in historical Persian getup are dancing... to hip-hop! I never expected them to do that! That's FUNNY!

The real surprise here is that the film wasn't written by a bunch of 8th graders on a Mountain Dew binge in between rounds of Halo, but by actual paid screenwriters on behalf of Mountain Dew-addled 8th graders everywhere. This explains why "I'm not gaaaaaay!" is considered a punchline, as well as Donald Trump losing his toupee to Spider-Man after spouting his catchphrase "You're fired!" (welcome to 2004, folks! Here's your topical humor!)

I know the film is targeted to the moron demographic, but I find it highly ironic that FOX deliberately destroyed every print of Mike Judge's Idiocracy, a black comedy about America in the future which has de-evolved into a nation of mouthbreathers whose favorite film shows nothing but a farting ass onscreen, while at the same time endeavors to accomplish this very goal.

But... but... but what happens if I need to shelter a farting ass from the sun's hot rays while camped out on top of an ancient sacrifical altar? WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE, FOLKS?!

(25 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:k_sui
Date:December 31st, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
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From:surrealestate
Date:December 31st, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
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Did you happen to see the ad for the Pancake Puff Pan? We just sat there staring at the screen waiting for the punch line. It was hypnotic.
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From:derspatchel
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)
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You don't know how long I'd sat at home, before this marvelous invention came along, pining over the fact that I've been unable to make perfect pancake puffs just like my own dear sweet sainted grandma used to make. (Before they took her away, I mean. But the cops did think it was kinda suspect for her to be totin' a syringe and bamboo skewers around, and who could blame them?)
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From:surrealestate
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
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How can you say no to a YEAR'S SUPPLY OF FLIPPING STICKS????
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From:hyperina
Date:January 1st, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)

this kid didn't have to sit at home for very long before getting his

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From:giantfightbot
Date:December 31st, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Can anything top the magic that is the FLAVOR EXPRESS?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTJn7d33H3I

(My favorite commercial of all time, but sadly it's not on in my area this year.)
[User Picture]
From:coconuthead
Date:December 31st, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
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I have heard rumors of the pancake puffs, but hadn't bothered to look it up until just now. I guess Americans are too stupid to say aebleskiver. On the other hand, I don't want anyone offering me a plate full of pepperoni aebleskiver, so maybe I should be glad about this. Maybe once I work through the rage.
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From:del_the_psycho
Date:December 31st, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
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I saw a movie poster for Meet the Spartans while walking into the theater for Sweeney Todd. And my initial thought was, "It must be a nice job, the guys who keep pumping out these movies in the vein of Scary Movie and Epic Movie. You don't write shit; you just sit around and watch all the movies that come out in a given year, then write a slapstick mash-up of all the blockbusters. Zero thinking required!"

So yeah. I hate them too.
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From:derspatchel
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
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They're indeed the same guys, and they've done such wonderful jobs that now even the Wayans brothers are disavowing any participation.
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From:jadasc
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
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And what do you know, no sooner have they set their tents up right on top of an ancient ziggurat when they start getting attacked by MYSTERIOUSLY LOUD MYSTERY THINGS and dying and one girl has CGI worms crawling under her skin and oh no more deaths and I'm supposed to be concerned for these people and root for their survival?

Proving once again that ziggurats will stunt your growth and are bad for your health.
From:argentla
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
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They weren't fighting for anything but THE ROCK.

Now I'm picturing a Revolutionary War movie starring Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Kind of like Bill & Ted, only fatter and, well, with more ROCK.
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From:derspatchel
Date:December 31st, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
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THE ROCK HEARD ROUND THE WORLD.


I smell winner.
(Deleted comment)
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From:gwynethfar
Date:December 31st, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I had to sit through the same pro-military music video... but it was the trailer for Stop-Loss.

The movie theatre I was at yesterday ran a PowerPoint slide that said "Celebration Cinema is proud to remain commercial free!" Right after they showed no less than six commercials for Verizon, Pepsi, A&E's Paranormal Nights, the US Army, etc.

Okay, and you know your rage at the awnings? I get that rage every time I see the commercial for Jitterbug, the cell phone for the elderly. I don't mind that they exist. I'm sure when I'm 90, new technology will be scary and I won't want any part of it, too. But the people in the commercial aren't 90. They're like, 50. Guess what? If you can't figure out how to use a cell phone at age 50, because your mind is so atrophied or you're just so damned lazy you can't stand to try and learn something new, KILL YOURSELF.

"When I was your age, we didn't have cell phones, and even we did I wouldn't have used 'em!" Jitterbug!
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From:modpixie
Date:January 1st, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
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to be fair about stop-loss...judging by the director's previous work and what i know of this one, i have a feeling it's a lot less jingoistic/patriotic than the trailer would have you believe. when "bodies" came on, i started cringing, and then i realized what it was.
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From:ruthling
Date:December 31st, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
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I am guessing from your description that you saw Sweeney Todd at the AMC in Hahvahd (our fair city) Square. I also was subjected to that National Guard music video, the previews for some frighteningly toxic movies, and a slew of ads for things that if I recall them, I will pledge never to buy. Ugh. I hope I never accidentally go back to that theater.
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From:derspatchel
Date:December 31st, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
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AMC Boston Common, but I figure the pre-show package is the same across the chain.

I like going to the Harvard (OFC) Square theater because if you see a film in one of the upper auditoriums, you often see it with furry rodent friends who like to run along the bottom of the screen at exciting moments.

Around 2003 or so I wrote a little story about two movie theater rats who decided to try their hand at filmmaking. Got a bit into it, it was fun and stuff, but I can't do much with it nowadays tho since Ratatouille was released.
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From:arielblue
Date:December 31st, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
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Sports newscaster chick: "So what's it going to take to win the Insight Bowl?"
IU football coach: "Well, I think we're gonna have to score some points."

...Right there with you on the talking back to the TV thing. D'ya think a football team would fit underneath an awning?

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From:cursethedark
Date:December 31st, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
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I lent a friend my copy of Idiocracy. He called it "the scariest documentary ever made."
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From:susskins
Date:January 2nd, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Batin'!
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From:fancycwabs
Date:December 31st, 2007 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Having read The Ruins, I can say that would be improved by Crystal, Ronette, and Chiffon acting as chorus. If you know what I mean.
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From:littlegirltoast
Date:December 31st, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
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I share your contempt for the pretty people getting killed movies, but I have a different take. I don't suspect for one second that the audience is intended to feel pathos for the ostensible protagonists - horror films have devolved at this point into misanthropic violence porn. They actually ARE the big screen versions of People Magazine and US Weekly. They wave some people around like AREN'T THEY ODIOUS!? and then they throw them to the lions for your entertainment.

Don't root for the evil - that's what they're hoping for. Root for the preservation of cinema as a viable art form and stay the hell home. Or go and see Lars and the Real Girl, which could be the year's best movie by a long shot.
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From:fancycwabs
Date:January 1st, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
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Having not seen the trailer for The Ruins, but having read the book, I can say that it's got a fairly low misanthropic violence porn threshold, at least in comparison to the OMG dirty bathroom genre of filmmaking that are all the bastard stepchildren of Se7en. That said, I can't think of a horror movie that doesn't have some sort of misanthropic violent porn streak, from Psycho onward; the authors of such things take a certain amount of delight in having bad things happen to their characters.

The book ultimately gets stupid and needlessly gross (and the film will, too, I'm sure), but for the conventions of the horror genre it was more entertaining than any other horror novel I've read in the last ten years, or more precisely, the one other horror novel I've read in the past ten years (that would be Stephen King's Cell).
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From:littlegirltoast
Date:January 2nd, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
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I've just never had the guts for that sort of thing, although I do recognize the realm of horror storytelling as a set of conventions within which good and bad ends can be pursued. I guess I'm cowing to the critical party line when I suggest that horror has a proud past which is not adequately represented by many of the current stock, having as little personal experience with it as I do, but I figure it's best left to the experts. I just basically shudder at all of it, because I am either an exceptionally sensitive and empathic lover of my fellow person or a total wimp or both.
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