Sunday, April 26, 2009

Movie Reviews

I had the great misfortune of watching 10,000 BC the other day. Let me just suggest that I am now dumber for having watched such a travesty. It's almost like the writer/director got drunk with Mel Gibson one day and then engaged in a little Hollywood style wagering about who could make the worst and most historically inaccurate movie about "civilizations" long lost. Mel went the Central American route, Roland Emmerich went the "location unknown but close enough to walk to an Egyptian civilization that didn't exist" route.

Ah, the travesty. I must say I was totally startled when, after clearly establishing that the story was set in 10,000 BC (the title kind of gave it away, just a little), that there was a sudden appearence of men on horseback (domestication of horses, 4,000 BC) with swords and iron (3500 BC) and things of that nature. Alas, our poor primitive english speaking natives had nothing but spears and gaunt faces with which to fight back. So the race begins. Our hero, who manages to express himself with at least two distinct accents throughout the film, races after these civilized enslaving barbarians only to find that they have giant ass boats (1100 BC) that take them to Egypt (3150 BC) where they are using slaves and wooly mammoths to build the pyramids (3000 BC). Oh, did I mention that on the way they ran into something that looked very much like a velociraptor (85-80 milllion BC)?

I'll stop there. It's apparantly blasé to point out the historical inaccuracies of this film. The producers did issue a blanket cover of "it's not supposed to be historically accurate" so that apparently gets them out of the "god this movie is crap" jail. It doesn't cover up the fact the story is laughably bad, the acting is a joke, and the plot twists are more arduous and droll than interesting. Here's a little suggestion to any future director. When casting a role, don't hire one of the guys that took Ferris Bueller's porsche for a joy ride to play a major part. Also, if your lead actor can't decide on an accent, just tell him to drop all attempts at any accent. Oh, and if you have $75 million to burn, I'm always here.

My Score: 0 out of 50 million stars

Rotten Tomatos: 9%

American Gangster

Apparently, this movie is based on a true story. I had no idea until the very end. That being said Ridley Scott just didn't do a great job with this one. I think it's because he hired two famous and great actors and felt he had to give them equal screen time. The movie should have struck a balance like Catch Me If You Can because it had aspersions of being that type of movie. Unfortunately, the cops' personal life (Russell Crowe) detracts from the plot, is rather dull, and extends the movie into unpleasant length (157 minutes).

Denzel, of course, turns in his usual tour de force, but then, Denzel almost never has a bad performance. I just wish there had been more Denzel and less Crowe. That being said, it's a violent gangster movie that relates a truish tale about heroin and New York City from the late 60s to early 70s. If you're into that sort of thing, you'll probably like it. Just make sure you have a good 2.5 hours to kill.

My grade: 7 of 10

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%


Did IQs suddenly drop while I was away?

Texas can secede? Create four new states and alter the balance of power in the Senate?

Lordy, I had no idea that our execution happy redneck cousins had such power. Too bad for us it's not true. I'd almost be happy if Texas no longer was a part of the Union. Then maybe Puerto Rico could get in and we wouldn't have to be an odd number of states union.

Key graph:

"Although the provisions of the Texas Annexation document allowing for the creation of four additional states are popularly regarded as a unique curiosity today, they were largely superfluous. Article IV, Section 3 of the US Constitution already specifically provided for the formation of new states through the junction or division of existing states:

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without consent of the legislature of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

Another Texas-related legend holds that the Texans negotiated an annexation treaty which reserved to them the right to secede from the Union without the consent of the US Congress, but the terms of Texas’ annexation contain no such provision." (Italics mine)

Anyway, while we're on the subject of Texan inspired stupidity, here's a lovely little thought one would expect from a toddler, not a Representative to the Congress (unless he's a Texan Republican and then all bets are off since stupidity is the price of admission).


Friday, April 03, 2009


This is what happens when adults occupy the Oval Office. The key graphs:

"China tends to have a problem endorsing the documents of organizations like the OECD that they're not a party to," the senior administration official said.

But Mr. Obama, according to this account, stepped between the two men, urging them to try to find consensus, and giving them a "pep talk" about the importance of working together.
The senior adminstration official said that Mr. Obama pulled Mr. Sarkozy aside, took him to a corner, "and discussed possible alternatives," the senior official said.

Once they arrived at one, President Obama "sent a message to the Chinese" that a counter-offer was on the table. The Chinese spent some time considering the offer. But they took a few minutes.

So Mr. Obama, with the assistance of translators, suggested that he and Mr. Hu have a conversation as well. They, too went to the corner to talk. After a few minutes, Mr. Obama called upon Mr. Sarkozy to join them.

"Translators and sherpas in tow, they reached an agreement," the official said. "There was a multiple shaking of hands."


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