Stuff That Only Pisses Off a Typographer

Nitpicking time.

I’m really looking forward to the new Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti film Shoot ’Em Up. Yes, I know the movie requires a ludicrous suspension of disbelief, but it really hearkens back to the heady days of nonsensical ’80s R-rated action films. Rambo, Commando, and the like. The kind of films where you could really turn your brain off and enjoy the cartoonish action. A genre that 1988’s Die Hard — much as I love it — kind of ushered out the door.

The trailer kicks some serious ass. Makes it perfectly clear what you’re in for — either that’s your thing or it’s not.

But the logo drives me absolutely nuts. Just evidence that we are living in an increasingly computer-reliant society, without any capacity for independent judgment.

Look closely. The logo reads: Shoot ‘Em Up.

Notice anything odd?

The apostrophe — there to indicate the omission of the “th” from the word “them” — is backwards. Put simply, they’ve used an opening single quotation mark instead of an apostrophe.

Why? Because word processors automatically assume that a single quote preceding text must be an opening quotation mark. The typed apostrophe (there being just a single key on a standard keyboard for it) is automatically converted. Despite the fact that it’s the wrong character. And whoever laid out that type is too lazy — or too ignorant — to fix it.

A competent typographer would change it immediately. Hell, I manually change all of my quotation marks (single and double) and apostrophes to the correct characters even here, where I have to manually type in the character codes.

And no, the hypocrisy of my criticizing a minor typographical error in the context of a film of this genre is not lost on me. But I’m still irritated.

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The Future Is Coming Back

Texas Firm Readies to Revive DeLoreans.

This excites me beyond all rational explanation. I wish I could say I’m gonna be one of the first ones in line, but alas, I don’t have that kind of scratch. Especially since you know I’d have to do the full Back to the Future conversion...

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Gosh, Does That Suck!

Okay, so we just got the upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2, and I’m going through the included tutorial DVD. From the look of things, they’re using some kind of Suzuki ad campaign as demo material. Beautiful people, motorcycles riding across salt flats... certainly interesting, and visually compelling. So I look on the disc, and they mention that you can see the full ad campaign at suzukifilms.com.

Hmm... looks like a series of webisodes. Ah, I get it — they must be trying to emulate the success of the BMW Films series, only with one continuing storyline instead of a bunch of individual shorts. Hardly an original idea, but since when is the entertainment business (let alone the advertising business) constrained by originality? But still, let’s see what you’ve been able to do...

Oh. My. God.

Rarely have I seen such an utter lack of... well, anything approaching “entertainment.” This is so obviously the work of some executive whose sole criterion for production was “make the vehicles look good.” And I’ll give ’em that much. Beyond that minimum threshold, every penny was apparently spent on hiring models who can’t act their way out of a paper bag.

Spend a few bucks on a writer? Pshaw! Who needs a script? Just use that briefcase thing from Pulp Fiction. Throw in a twist, make the hot-chick motorcycle gang turn out to be cops. And then everyone chase the cars around. Done! How about hiring a competent director? Waste of funds — we’ve got models! All the director’s got to do is tell them to walk across the screen in slow-motion. How hard can that be? A moment to consider credibility (even by Hollywood standards)? Give me a break — nobody’ll care if it makes sense. I already told you — we’ve got models! So where do I set up the casting couch...?

Comparing this crap to BMW films is like... well, comparing actual crap to a BMW.

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I Tried, I Really Tried

I wanted On the Lot to succeed, to be good. For crying out loud, I’m an independent filmmaker — you’d think I am the target audience for this thing. And if there’s one think Mark Burnett knows, it’s reality TV.

Even once I found out (and you’ll have to trust me on this) that the initial selection process was completely rigged — the show was totally precast — I gave it every benefit of the doubt. I was pissed off at the deception, but I can understand the motivation.

Hell, I stuck with it as long as I could. But last night was the last nail in the coffin.

Initially, the show looked like it had promise. It began as an interesting look at what goes into film production — a behind-the-scenes look, à la The Apprentice — so far, so good. Then out of the blue, they skip an entire episode? Excuse me? They go from teasing a one-page production challenge with 24 contestants one episode to making no mention of that challenge and just 18 contestants the next? Did I miss something here?

Then they change hostesses, drop one judge in favor of a “guest judge” position (maybe I should give Brett Ratner credit for noticing something here), and turn the whole thing into a cheap American Idol knockoff. Burnett, what the hell are you thinking? (Let’s be honest, Spielberg’s just a name on a marquee for this thing. Well, that and money.) The first “results” show was no more than 10 minutes of content stretched out to an hour. Seriously groan-inducing. (Thank god for the “skip forward” function on the DVR.)

And then they sink even further. After having gone through several “challenges,” they decide to throw the idea of actually giving the directors something new to do out the window altogether: They go back to the three-minute shorts the directors did to get into the competition in the first place. And even that they’re dragging out for three weeks.

Sorry, two weeks was all I could stomach on this one. I’m done.

I’m willing to bet that they started with one vision of the show, and then after showing it to test audiences, they radically revamped it, and now they’re just filling time until they can figure out what to do next.

Now, if I were in a position to offer advice, the pragmatist in me would know exactly what to tell the producers — pull the plug. This experiment failed. Give it up and move on. (And I think I can bring up some ratings to back me up on this call.)

But let’s say they insist on going ahead. I don’t think I’m bringing up anything radical in offering some pretty basic solutions, things that they should have thought of beforehand.

  1. Go back to the original format. Seeing how movies are made, how these directors work is the interesting part. Really, that’s all you’re bringing to the table. Having directors sit on stage while you show their films? Tedious and pointless. This is a reality show — we have to care about the contestants.

  2. Come up with new content each week. For crying out loud, you can't go from step D in the competition all the way back to step A and expect it to mean anything. And don’t give me any crap about not being able to make a movie each week. I can show you right now that that’s horseshit.

  3. Figure out something for the judges to actually do. Michael Bay is far from what I’d call a great director (am I the only one on the planet who thinks Transformers is going to suck hard?), but he was the only one in last week’s episode that had anything constructive to say. (If I hear Garry Marshall give one more “I didn’t like this film, but we need more women directors” comment...) And if “America” votes, then really, what’s the point of the judges anyway? Which brings me to...

  4. Drop the whole “America votes” concept. Bad idea to begin with. So far, some of the best directors have been cut, and some of the utter hacks are continuing (and I don't mean the “Getta Rhoom” guy — as offensive as I thought the film was, it was definitely well put together). The whole thing just becomes arbitrary. Survivor had a solid advancement/rejection concept. The Apprentice had a firm (and qualified) judge, not to mention the outsized personality of Donald Trump. American Idol really is a popularity contest, so the voting is fine there. But this totally doesn't work.

  5. Get a real host. Adrianna Costa may be (as Marshall is keen to point out) nice to look at, but she brings nothing to the proceedings. They need someone with industry experience, or at least stage presence. (Okay, so she’s really nice to look at. But still...)
Odd that I have so much to say about a show that I’m not even going to be watching anymore. I suppose it’s just that I had such hopes, and it proved such a grave disappointment.

But the most important thing to remember is that the show sucks. That’s my point here. Let’s not forget that.

Makes me want to try my own stab at television programming...

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Bicoastal Machinations

Hot damn. I’m about to become a festival-screened director (I find it hard to count the Georgetown/Adams Morgan fest, as it basically had zero attendance — and certainly doesn’t qualify for IMDB inclusion). Okay, so I was a festival-screened executive producer already, but it’s not quite the same thing. And on top of that, we’ve also got a screening coming up next weekend right here in DC (well, Arlington anyway).

Okay, some details. First, “Machinations” has just been accepted into the Science Fiction Short Film Festival, taking place February 3 in Seattle, Washington. I’m pretty damned proud of this little accomplishment, and am really excited about the opportunity.

I had actually checked the notification date on the Without A Box website, and was saddened to see that it was past, and that accepted filmmakers had already been notified. Since I hadn’t gotten any such notification, I figured we were out. And then I opened my email — which I hadn’t checked since Friday afternoon — and sitting right there was the acceptance notification. I’ve pretty much been walking on air all day. Hell, I didn’t accomplish squat. I didn’t even shower. Be thankful the Internet doesn’t convey smell.

If anyone wants to fly out — or if any of you West Coasters want to give it a look-see (not to mention giving us the chance to catch up) — let me know and we can get tickets and coordinate schedules!

More locally (well, for our DC-based contingent anyway), the film will be screening at 4:00 p.m. on January 13 at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. This screening will be a showcase of locally-produced films for the National Film Challenge (I actually put together the little “title sequence” for the event), and I’m really happy to have this venue in which to host it (sure beats the hell out of my office’s common room). Tickets are only $5 apiece — and since it’s a restaurant to boot, there’ll be plenty of food and drink available as well. I really want a big turnout for this one — especially since theater revenue (well, once we recover the amount we paid to get the theater in the first place) will be divvied up by which film attendees are there to support (you’ll have a chance to express your preference upon entry). Frankly, it’d be nice to make back some of our expenses for a change... So while I’ll understand if you can’t make it all the way out to Seattle, this one there’s no excuse for missing...

Well, unless you’re a left-coaster, of course.

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In Full-On Promoter Mode

Given the length of time since my last entry, a lot of you have probably figured out that my attentions have largely drifted elsewhere. I actually debated shutting Prometheus Unleashed down altogether (having been at this for four years now), or just going on a more formal “hiaitus,” but I think I’ll just let this be what it is. I may update on occasion, may vent when the mood strikes me... but in all likelihood I won’t be posting here as often as I have been in the past.

But I did have one favor to ask...

I’m trying to promote the hell out of our short films lately, and to that end, we’ve posted our entire catalog on both MySpace and YouTube. While ideally, we’d get people coming to our site to watch, it just seems counterproductive to forgo the larger audience that is out there watching videos via those third-party distributors.

So here’s my request — and it’s a multi-part one. First, go to our film catalogs on those sites and watch our films (our MySpace catalog can be found here, and our YouTube catalog here). Second, tell your friends and neighbors about them (either as a collection or on a specific film-by-film basis). And third, rate and comment on the films; add us as your friend, subscribe to our film channels, add individual films to your favorites lists. Whatever you can do.

This usually will require that you establish accounts at those respective sites. And I know that for a lot of people, that’s more trouble than it’s worth. But I’m hoping that — for at least some of you — my plea will drive you across that threshold.

(Oh, and for at least one of the films, “Quite Contrary,” you can actually rate and comment at the Internet Movie Database as well. Talk about official.)

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No, this isn’t a politically themed post (well, not directly anyway). I just wanted to pass along the news that — along with the recent DC Shorts selection “Quite Contrary” — my short film “Machinations” will be screening at the Georgetown/Adams Morgan Film & Music Festival next week. Which I’m pretty jazzed about. No, the Georgetown fest isn’t quite on the scale of something like DC Shorts, but it’s still a pretty big vote of confidence (though no word as to whether it qualifies the film for inclusion in the Internet Movie Database — I’ll be checking).

For those of you who might be interested, the screenings are at the DC Arts Center Theater in Adams Morgan (2438 18th Street, NW), and tickets and passes are exclusively available at the Idle Time Bookstore (located right across the street). Tickets for a film block are $5 apiece, day passes are $50, and all-access passes are $100. Both films are being screened the afternoon of Friday, November 17th; “Quite Contrary” as part of the 1:30 block, and “Machinations” with the 3:30 block.

It’s funny — I find my feelings about this film swing wildly, and I’m coming to realize that a big part of that is audience reaction. I was really excited about the film once we finished it and showed a few people, all of whom really got into it. Then I showed it to some folks here at the office, and it didn’t get as overt a response; not that they didn’t like it, but they didn’t really show anything one way or another. I was kind of bummed about it after that. Then we had our cast and crew screening — definitely a positive response — and I was back on top again (which is when I submitted it to Georgetown). Another screening for the creative department at my office, and another lackluster reception — a Q&A with no “Q” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Crap.

And now — after sending out the news to the Tohubohu mailing list, I find myself checking my inbox every few minutes to see if anyone’s responded.

You know, for an “artist” who’s supposedly self-driven, who isn’t supposed to care how the audience receives my work, I’m not doing a very good job of staying aloof.

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Still Gotta Keep Living

Okay, so having just completed Tohubohu’s latest NFC entry, I’m in a bit of a movie mood. So here’s the infamous 1001 list, only this time for movies. Let’s see how I’m doing, shall we? Same rules apply — I’ve got to remember enough of it to have it be a legitimate component of my mental catalog.

  1. The Gold Rush (1925)
  2. Metropolis (1927)
  3. Dracula (1931)
  4. City Lights (1931)
  5. King Kong (1933)
  6. Modern Times (1936)
  7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  9. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  10. Gone With the Wind (1939)
  11. Fantasia (1940)
  12. Pinocchio (1940)
  13. Citizen Kane (1941)
  14. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  15. Dumbo (1941)
  16. Casablanca (1942)
  17. Double Indemnity (1944)
  18. The Big Sleep (1946)
  19. Notorious (1946)
  20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  21. Rope (1948)
  22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  23. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  24. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  25. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  26. High Noon (1952)
  27. Rear Window (1954)
  28. The Seven Samurai (1954)
  29. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  30. Giant (1956)
  31. The Wrong Man (1956)
  32. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  33. Touch of Evil (1958)
  34. Vertigo (1958)
  35. North by Northwest (1959)
  36. Psycho (1960)
  37. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  38. The Hustler (1961)
  39. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  40. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  41. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  42. The Birds (1963)
  43. Goldfinger (1964)
  44. Marnie (1964)
  45. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
  46. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  47. The Sound of Music (1965)
  48. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  49. The Graduate (1967)
  50. The Jungle Book (1967)
  51. Planet of the Apes (1968)
  52. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  53. The Producers (1968)
  54. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  55. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  56. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  57. Easy Rider (1969)
  58. M*A*S*H (1970)
  59. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  60. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  61. The French Connection (1971)
  62. Dirty Harry (1971)
  63. Sleuth (1972)
  64. The Godfather (1972)
  65. The Sting (1973)
  66. American Graffiti (1973)
  67. Young Frankenstein (1974)
  68. Chinatown (1974)
  69. Blazing Saddles (1974)
  70. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  71. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  72. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  73. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  74. The Wall (1975)
  75. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  76. Jaws (1975)
  77. Carrie (1976)
  78. All the President’s Men (1976)
  79. Rocky (1976)
  80. Taxi Driver (1976)
  81. Star Wars (1977)
  82. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  83. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  84. Grease (1978)
  85. Up in Smoke (1978)
  86. Halloween (1978)
  87. Alien (1979)
  88. Breaking Away (1979)
  89. Life of Brian (1979)
  90. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  91. The Jerk (1979)
  92. The Muppet Movie (1979)
  93. Manhattan (1979)
  94. Mad Max (1979)
  95. Ordinary People (1980)
  96. The Shining (1980)
  97. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  98. The Elephant Man (1980)
  99. Airplane! (1980)
  100. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  101. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  102. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1981)
  103. E.T. The Extra-Terestrial (1982)
  104. The Thing (1982)
  105. Poltergeist (1982)
  106. Blade Runner (1982)
  107. The Evil Dead (1982)
  108. Tootsie (1982)
  109. Diner (1982)
  110. Gandhi (1982)
  111. A Christmas Story (1983)
  112. Videodrome (1983)
  113. Return of the Jedi (1983)
  114. The Big Chill (1983)
  115. Terms of Endearment (1983)
  116. The King of Comedy (1983)
  117. The Right Stuff (1983)
  118. Scarface (1983)
  119. Amadeus (1984)
  120. The Terminator (1984)
  121. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  122. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
  123. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  124. Ghostbusters (1984)
  125. The Killing Fields (1984)
  126. The Natural (1984)
  127. The Breakfast Club (1985)
  128. Out of Africa (1985)
  129. Back to the Future (1985)
  130. The Color Purple (1985)
  131. Manhunter (1986)
  132. Stand By Me (1986)
  133. Blue Velvet (1986)
  134. The Fly (1986)
  135. Aliens (1986)
  136. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
  137. A Room with a View (1986)
  138. Platoon (1986)
  139. Top Gun (1986)
  140. Raising Arizona (1987)
  141. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  142. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  143. Broadcast News (1987)
  144. The Princess Bride (1987)
  145. The Untouchables (1987)
  146. Fatal Attraction (1987)
  147. Bull Durham (1988)
  148. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
  149. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  150. The Naked Gun (1988)
  151. Big (1988)
  152. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
  153. Die Hard (1988)
  154. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
  155. Rain Man (1988)
  156. The Accidental Tourist (1988)
  157. Batman (1989)
  158. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
  159. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
  160. My Left Foot (1989)
  161. Roger & Me (1989)
  162. Glory (1989)
  163. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
  164. Say Anything (1989)
  165. Reversal of Fortune (1990)
  166. Goodfellas (1990)
  167. Dances with Wolves (1990)
  168. Pretty Woman (1990)
  169. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  170. Total Recall (1990)
  171. Boyz ’n the Hood (1991)
  172. Thelma & Louise (1991)
  173. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  174. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  175. JFK (1991)
  176. The Player (1992)
  177. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  178. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  179. Unforgiven (1992)
  180. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
  181. The Crying Game (1992)
  182. Groundhog Day (1993)
  183. Philadelphia (1993)
  184. Jurassic Park (1993)
  185. The Age of Innocence (1993)
  186. Schindler’s List (1993)
  187. The Piano (1993)
  188. Forrest Gump (1994)
  189. Clerks (1994)
  190. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  191. The Lion King (1994)
  192. The Last Seduction (1994)
  193. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  194. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  195. Babe (1995)
  196. Toy Story (1995)
  197. Strange Days (1995)
  198. Braveheart (1995)
  199. Clueless (1995)
  200. Heat (1995)
  201. Seven (1995)
  202. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  203. Fargo (1996)
  204. Independence Day (1996)
  205. The English Patient (1996)
  206. Scream (1996)
  207. Deconstructing Harry (1997)
  208. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  209. Boogie Nights (1997)
  210. Titanic (1997)
  211. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  212. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
  213. Run Lola Run (1998)
  214. Rushmore (1998)
  215. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
  216. Magnolia (1999)
  217. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  218. Three Kings (1999)
  219. Fight Club (1999)
  220. Being John Malkovich (1999)
  221. American Beauty (1999)
  222. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
  223. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  224. The Matrix (1999)
  225. Gladiator (2000)
  226. Meet the Parents (2000)
  227. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  228. Memento (2000)
  229. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
  230. Moulin Rouge (2001)
  231. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  232. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  233. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  234. The Pianist (2002)
  235. Adaptation (2002)
  236. Chicago (2002)
  237. The Two Towers (2002)
  238. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
  239. The Return Of The King (2003)
  240. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
  241. Collateral (2004)
  242. The Aviator (2004)
  243. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Okay, so 243 is a bit more respectable, but still a lot lower than someone in my position should rightfully score. Not quite a quarter of ’em. I wonder if this’ll be a legitimate excuse to spend a lot more time in front of the screen?

Somehow, I doubt it.

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I Am Hollywood’s Bitch, Part 1

MoviesOkay, another movie list meme. This one courtesy of Tom Bridge. Here, we’re looking at the 100 top-grossing films of all time (domestic grosses, that is). As per meme instructions, I am putting films I’ve seen in italics, films I liked in boldface (an admittedly vague designation), and attaching an asterisk to films I liked on original viewing, but which no longer have quite the same appeal (basically, movies I probably wouldn’t watch again, or at least not repeatedly).

Since the list appeared on Tom’s site, I’ve adjusted the rankings to keep them up-to-date (as of today), and omitted the actual dollar figures (I’m just too lazy to keep typing them in). For an up-to-date (and complete) list, check out the regularly maintained list at Box Office Mojo.

So here we go:

  1. Titanic (1997)
  2. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
  3. Shrek 2 (2004)
  4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  5. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace* (1999)
  6. Spider-Man (2002)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  8. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  9. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
  10. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  11. Jurassic Park (1993)
  12. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  13. Finding Nemo (2003)
  14. Forrest Gump (1994)
  15. The Lion King (1994)
  16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  17. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  18. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
  19. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
  20. Independence Day* (1996)
  21. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  22. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  23. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  24. Home Alone* (1990)
  25. The Matrix Reloaded* (2003)
  26. Meet the Fockers (2004)
  27. Shrek (2001)
  28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  29. The Incredibles (2004)
  30. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  31. Jaws (1975)
  32. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  33. Batman (1989)
  34. Men in Black (1997)
  35. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  36. Toy Story 2 (1999)
  37. Bruce Almighty (2003)
  38. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  39. Twister (1996)
  40. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
  41. Ghostbusters (1984)
  42. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  43. Cast Away (2000)
  44. The Exorcist (1973)
  45. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  46. Signs (2002)
  47. Rush Hour 2 (2001)
  48. Mrs. Doubtfire* (1993)
  49. Ghost* (1990)
  50. Aladdin (1992)
  51. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  52. Mission: Impossible II* (2000)
  53. X2: X-Men United (2003)
  54. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
  55. Back to the Future (1985)
  56. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me* (1999)
  57. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  58. The Mummy Returns (2001)
  59. Armageddon (1998)
  60. Gone with the Wind (1939)
  61. Pearl Harbor (2001)
  62. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  63. Toy Story (1995)
  64. Men in Black II (2002)
  65. Grease (1978)
  66. Gladiator (2000)
  67. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
  68. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  69. Dances With Wolves (1990)
  70. Batman Forever (1995)
  71. The Fugitive (1993)
  72. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  73. What Women Want (2000)
  74. The Perfect Storm (2000)
  75. Liar Liar (1997)
  76. Jurassic Park III (2001)
  77. Mission: Impossible (1996)
  78. Planet of the Apes (2001)
  79. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom* (1984)
  80. Hitch (2005)
  81. Pretty Woman* (1990)
  82. Tootsie (1982)
  83. Top Gun (1986)
  84. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
  85. Ice Age (2002)
  86. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
  87. Crocodile Dundee (1986)
  88. Apollo 13 (1995)
  89. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  90. Elf (2003)
  91. National Treasure (2004)
  92. Air Force One (1997)
  93. Rain Man (1988)
  94. Madagascar (2005)
  95. The Matrix (1999)
  96. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  97. Tarzan (1999)
  98. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  99. Chicago (2002)
  100. Three Men and a Baby* (1987)
So what’s the big lesson? One, I see a lot of movies — 90 out of 100 on this list. Furthermore, I’m easily pleased — 65 out of those 90; add in the ones I liked when I originally saw them and we’re up to 76. And we’re talking about mainstream movies here, prime Hollywood product, so any illusions about my being primarily an indie fan are out the window.

I think I’ll look at it this way: This just goes to show that discriminating taste and mainstream sensibilities are not mutually exclusive.

Now pass me another Budweiser.

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Never Let It Be Said That I’m One to Avoid Controversy

Two topics today. Neither of which is likely to win me a whole lot of friends, so be warned.

First, Mel Gibson’s pet project, The Passion of the Christ, or rather the attendant debate over its historical accuracy, anti-Semitism, and so on. First and foremost, if you haven’t seen the film, shut the hell up. You have nothing to contribute to the argument. Nothing. And no, I haven’t seen it, which is why I’m going to follow my own advice. Will I see it? Probably, though I doubt I’ll go to the theater; I’ll most likely catch it on HBO somewhere down the line. Then, and only then, will I have the right to make comments on its content. However, since I don’t attach any religious significance to the events portrayed, I’ll more likely concern myself with its actual merit as a film. I’ll view its historical accuracy (or lack thereof) in that context. Any period film takes liberties with history; the question is how well those liberties serve the story. (Note to my Christian readership: I don’t mean to imply by my wording that the picture — purported to be the most Biblically accurate rendition yet made — is necessarily historically inaccurate. I do not believe it to be so, but I wasn’t there; one’s interpretation of history depends largely on whom you choose to regard as credible.)

Okay, that’s one down. Now it’s time to really burn some bridges.

ConstitutionI said it before, and I’ll say it again, for the record: Support for an anti-gay marriage amendment is patently un-American. Sorry, I can’t allow any room for compromise on this one. Opposition to gay marriage is one thing. Amending the Constitution is a whole different animal. Duh-bya has now officially decided to throw his hat in with the most virulent bigots on the planet; not because their bigotry — in and of itself — is any worse than the more traditional forms of racial, religious, or gender-based discrimination, but because they want to formally enshrine that bigotry in the very fabric of the nation.

Yes, I know that — according to at least one recent poll — I’m denigrating nearly half of the U.S. population. I don’t give a shit. I also know that ranting against them isn’t going to change their minds. I still don’t give a shit; I’ll leave that battle to someone a little less incensed.

The Dixie Chicks generated a slew of controversy (at least among the room-temperature IQ set) for saying they were ashamed to be from Texas. Well, I’m not ready to say I’m ashamed to be an American — though I have been following news of the Vancouver film industry with curiosity.

But I am ready to say something to little George, along with Glenn Stanton, Matt Daniels, Maggie Gallagher, “Chuck” Colson, James Dobson, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Tony Perkins, Sandy Rios, Paul Weyrich, Donald Wildmon, Representative Marilyn Musgrave, and Senators Wayne Allard, Jeff Sessions, and Sam Brownback.

I’m ashamed that you’re Americans.

You don’t think our Constitution embodies your hatred for others enough? You want to change it to reflect your narrow-minded, bilious world view, so that everyone will be forced to abide by your Neanderthal outlook? Worried about the eternal souls of all good God-fearing Americans (though my personal conception of hell would be any “heaven” shared with you)?

Hey, I’ve got a better idea.

Get the fuck out of my country.

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Nothing Like a “Best Of” List to Show You What You’ve Been Missing

MoviesA movie meme, coming by way of In Apprehension.... To keep it moving along, cut and paste from here (or copy the raw code if you want the links to remain intact) and add boldface to the titles you’ve seen (and if you like, write a comment with your total). The listing itself comes from the Internet Movie Database’s listing of the Top 250 Films (as voted by users). By no means a definitive “top films” list, but its nature allows it to include even newly released pictures (unlike, say, the American Film Institute’s better known — and not quite so skewed to the Ain’t it Cool crowd — 100 Years, 100 Films list).

Incidentally, the ranking has changed slightly since Joseph Finn’s original entry yesterday; I’ve updated the order to its current status. And for the sake of clarity, I’ve listed just the English (American release) titles. Just being thorough, you know.

  1. The Godfather (1972)
  2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  3. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  6. Casablanca (1942)
  7. Schindler’s List (1993)
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  9. Seven Samurai (1954)
  10. Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  11. Citizen Kane (1941)
  12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  13. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
  14. Rear Window (1954)
  15. Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  17. Memento (2000)
  18. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  19. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  20. North by Northwest (1959)
  21. 12 Angry Men (1957)
  22. Amélie (2001)
  23. Psycho (1960)
  24. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  25. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
  26. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  27. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  28. Goodfellas (1990)
  29. American Beauty (1999)
  30. Vertigo (1958)
  31. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  32. The Matrix (1999)
  33. Apocalypse Now (1979)
  34. The Pianist (2002)
  35. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  36. Some Like It Hot (1959)
  37. Taxi Driver (1976)
  38. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
  39. The Third Man (1949)
  40. Paths of Glory (1957)
  41. Fight Club (1999)
  42. Spirited Away (2001)
  43. Das Boot (1981)
  44. Double Indemnity (1944)
  45. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  46. Chinatown (1974)
  47. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  48. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  49. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  50. M (1931)
  51. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  52. All About Eve (1950)
  53. Se7en (1995)
  54. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  55. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  56. Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)
  57. Raging Bull (1980)
  58. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  59. Rashômon (1950)
  60. The Sting (1973)
  61. Alien (1979)
  62. American History X (1998)
  63. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  64. Léon (The Professional) (1994)
  65. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
  66. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  67. Touch of Evil (1958)
  68. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  69. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  70. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
  71. The Great Escape (1963)
  72. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  73. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  74. Amadeus (1984)
  75. Annie Hall (1977)
  76. Ran (1985)
  77. Jaws (1975)
  78. Modern Times (1936)
  79. On the Waterfront (1954)
  80. Braveheart (1995)
  81. High Noon (1952)
  82. The Apartment (1960)
  83. Fargo (1996)
  84. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  85. Aliens (1986)
  86. The Shining (1980)
  87. Strangers on a Train (1951)
  88. Blade Runner (1982)
  89. Metropolis (1927)
  90. Duck Soup (1933)
  91. Donnie Darko (2001)
  92. Finding Nemo (2003)
  93. The General (1927)
  94. The Princess Bride (1987)
  95. Toy Story 2 (1999)
  96. City Lights (1931)
  97. The Great Dictator (1940)
  98. Run Lola Run (1998)
  99. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
  100. Notorious (1946)
So of those 100, I’ve seen 65. I’ve actually seen a few more, but so long ago that I don’t really remember them — I wouldn’t think it right to count them. I’d get credit for one more in Joseph’s original list, in that I’ve seen Full Metal Jacket (1987) (number 98 on the old list); I have not seen The Seventh Seal (1957), though (100 on the old list). Adding the remaining 150 pictures on the IMDB’s list (which I won’t write out here), I score far less respectably, having seen only an additional 67 (a mere 45 percent).

But after going through the exercise, I don’t really worry at not having seen more of them. Some I’ve not been interested in seeing (yet), and others I can just add to the list of movies to see in the future.

Not that I really had any shortage of those.

So what’s your count?

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