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Monthly Archives: March 2008

why you shouldn’t link to images on other peoples’ sites without permission

Not only is it rude (I don’t pay much for my hosting, but I do have to pay), but if the target site belongs to some kind of computer-oriented smartass, they might do something like this.





Yes, yes, I know: she probably doesn’t know any better and I’m a terrible, terrible person. But before you judge me too harshly, just consider the images I could have planted. Plus, while I love Buffalo ’66 dearly, wouldn’t it have been just the tiniest little bit better with a sarcastic, cat-eating Melmacian in the mix?

Garfield Minus Garfield


It’s been a long time since I sent out a random link that you’ve probably already seen (but hey, even if you have, it’s new to me). Garfield Minus Garfield is… well, I’ll just let the site speak for itself:

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.

The really frightening thing is just how much I identify with this Jon Arbuckle.

Transformers (2007)

A polished turd of a film, designed to appeal to Gen Y nostalgia for a show designed to sell overpriced crap to them as kids. Actually, that’s not really all that much of an offence these days: what really bugs me is that these are not transformers. The original transformers couldn’t just turn into anything they wanted, and could often be distinguished from each other during the battle scenes. Also, I don’t remember the cartoons spending two-thirds of the time with a story about Shia LaBeouf trying to get laid. I also don’t remember quite so much time spent on offensive ethnic stereotypes and pee jokes. To everybody out there who ever said “just shut off your brain and enjoy” about a film like this: this is all your fault. You suck. And you make other things suck.

And, since I watched this with my roommates, several slugs of Maker’s Mark, and the really quite amusing RiffTrax commentary, and kind of dug the whole experience, I clearly suck, too. I guess that’s why I haven’t yet been put in charge of our culture.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Remember in Spider-Man 2, when Spider-Man has to stop the runaway train during his fight with Doctor Octopus, and even though you know he’s going to be able to pull it off, you’re thinking “how the hell is he going to pull it off?” and you’re on the edge of your seat and Spidey’s strain and panic is palpable, but he does it and he saves the day and it’s cool. And his mask is destroyed and all the New Yorkers he saved see his face, but they all vow to keep his secret safe and it’s totally cheesy and totally awesome and totally comic-book? Remember that? Well, I’m convinced that all the people involved in making that scene come to life were sacked and replaced with robots between the making of Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3.

The first two Spider-Man movies may have been big-budget, crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbusters, but they had heart and an affection for the source material, and you felt that the people involved really wanted to make some cool movies and bring you along for the ride. I didn’t love them, as they say, but I did like them. Spider-Man 3 is a big-budget, crowd-pleasing Hollywood blockbuster with dollar-signs in its eyes. Nobody wanted to make this movie, it’s just product. Even the special effects are strictly perfunctory: I couldn’t stop wondering how they could look simultaneously so expensive and so bad. There’s a scene near the beginning with Spider-Man fighting in the world’s longest, least-convincing CGI alley that looks so fake I was honestly expecting the camera to pull back and reveal it was actually Tobey Maguire on his Xbox. Actually, I think that watching Tobey play videogames would be preferable to his abysmal performance here. When he has to play “bad”, it’s just embarrassing. Like, Star Wars Kid embarrassing. I’m not even kidding:

The only bright spot in the movie is a subplot involving Thomas Hayden Church’s Sandman, which, for a few all-too-brief moments, has the pathos of the first two films. It’s like he saw everybody else phoning it in and decided “fuck these losers, I’m actually going to work for my undoubtedly obscene paycheck”.

And so, in conclusion, I give Spider-Man 3 four cringe-inducing Tobey Maguire acting montages out of ten.

In Bruges (2008)

Entertaining little Brit-flick with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen ordered to cool out and wait instructions in the touristy Belgian town of Bruges. The problem is, In Bruges is not content with being funny and entertaining: it wants to say something about morality and violence, too. And having rewatched No Country for Old Men yet again a few days ago really makes the In Bruges approach look anemic. The characters in In Bruges spend a lot of time talking about violence, morality and consequences, but No Country is about those subjects — and it doesn’t take its cues from other movies, like this one does. (Though the violence is extreme enough that the “Colin Farrell is soooo hot!” crowd was audibly shocked.)

And, to be honest, No Country is funnier, too. It just takes a couple of viewings to get in on the joke.

And so, in conclusion, Eric (hearts) No Country for Old Men. I give In Bruges a solid seven bloody corpses out of ten.