Saturday, May 24, 2008


I just saw INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, and was disappointed.

Lotsa spoilers follow:

The film lost points with me from the start by having the opening be part of the main plot. I preferred the openings of the first three films, which other than introducing new characters, were unconnected to the rest of the plot. It felt like there were two Indiana Jones adventures that way. By jumping right into the main plot right from the beginning, I felt like I'd been shorted.

It bothered me that Indy was knocking out the Russians with single punches, when one considers how much trouble he had when he was twenty years younger. And it was weird seeing a CGI Harrison Ford in fights.

I really felt like Lucas and Speilberg didn't bother filling in the details. In TEMPLE, Indy often survived through unbelievable luck; in SKULL, he just survived.

Taking an amphibious vehicle over three progressively massive waterfalls seems like it would be an ideal Indiana Jones action set piece, and yet Spielberg and Lucas didn't add any texture or suspense. Boat tumbles over, characters survive to go over the next waterfall. Repeat.

It wasn't suspension of disbelief that was at issue -- I wanted to see Indiana Jones and company improbably survive a hundred foot drop onto the rocks below. But I wanted the way they survived to be fun and surprising, and instead, the scene showed them fall hundreds of feet, and then get up and walk away. Lazy.

Compare to the opening of TEMPLE OF DOOM, where Indy and friends (and the audience) were treated to a rollercoaster ride on the way down, with all sorts of improbable terrain, improbably saving their lives. If TEMPLE had used the approach SKULL did, they would have rolled all the way down the mountain, then brushed themselves off and walked away unmarked.

How many movies now have used the improbably structure-shifting Mayan pyramid now? Is that a real thing, or have we reached the point where George Lucas is cribbing ideas from ALIEN VS. PPREDATOR?

And I can't believe Shia Lebouf had an entire action sequence to himself. That was insubordinate. A sidekick should know his place.

I did like some of it -- some great stuff resided side by side with the lame, even within scenes. Speilberg and Lucas can craft some great excitement. It was fun to see Indian Jones in a scifi adventure; it's a natural genre for the character. Was I imagining a reference to ANIMAL HOUSE? I thought the final destruction off the city was nicely understated and elegiac. I want to applaud the Wilhelm Scream in this movie, though. Very inventive. I also liked who the Russians weren't out for world domination -- Cate Blanchett's character was genuinely interested in the skull. And the film conclusively demonstrated that if there's a nuclear war, the only survivors will be cockroaches, Keith Richards, and Indiana Jones.

I wonder how successful it'll be? I saw a 9:30 am matinée, at the Cinerama here in Seattle, which is a destination theatre for a movie like this, and it was less than half-full. I remember seeing THE PHANTOM MENACE there in 1999, and the crowd was like Woodstock. Lucas has really damaged his brand.

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Hold on a minute. Is

Hold on a minute. Is this really Memorial Day weekend? Wow.

This looks like a skull, right? Or am I just seeing thins?

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John McCain would be wise to never make this face again.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This patch of concrete bears the likeness of the Virgin Mary

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Friday, May 16, 2008



One wonders why Chris Matthews would have such a buffoon on his show, but it's pretty amusing to watch a right-ringer rant for five minutes while not actually knowing anything.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Will Elder has passed away. He was one of the first artists of MAD.

It amazes me that a bunch of people who went to high school together -- Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, John Severin -- were able to come back fifteen years later and create a culturally-transforming magazine like MAD. I'm not even in touch with as many people from my high school, let alone anyone with such talent.

My only contact with Elder came about a decade ago, when I wrote him asking for his thoughts if I were to create a bootleg reprint of his supressed story "Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy." I received a stern letter that advised me that intellectual theft was no way to start a career. God bless Will Elder and all his works.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008



What kind of world are we living in where Karl Rove admits racism exists? Crazy world. that's where.

This is where I work. God help me.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

PRESIDENT DICHKEAD PART 108 OR SO

IRAQ WAR TAKES TOLL ON PRESIDENT BUSH

For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families.

“I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Bush said he made that decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. official in Iraq and the organization’s high commissioner for human rights.

“I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life,” he said. “I was playing golf — I think I was in central Texas — and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, ‘It's just not worth it anymore to do.’"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

HILLARY CLINTON CAN GO FUCK HERSELF


One of the mistakes the touchy-feely Obama supporters have made is their reassurances, even insistence, that no matter what happens in the primaries, that the important thing was defeating the Republican candidate in November, and of course we would vote for Hillary Clinton should it come down to it. Now that I look back, I realize it was Clinton supporters making that argument, and the Obamites nodding in agreement. Now Clinton is invoking that politeness as another reason to deny Obama the nomination: 40% of her supporters have said they will not vote for Obama under any circumstances. (Bear in mind that 24% of her supporters are cross-over votes from epublicans who will vote McCain in the fall)

Well, fuck that. In a Clinton versus McCain contest, I'm voting for McCain.

A Republican president is going to have to work with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress no matter what. With McCain's reputation for compromise, and to be fair, his recordas well, the fact is that any Republican legislation that passes is going to be gutted by the proverbial liberal boning knife. We won't be enjoying eight years of the socialist worker's utopia that Obama is promising, but the result will still be less conservative than the continental concentration camp that the Right has been assembling in its collective mind, one that Clinton will do her best to implement.

Clinton will do what her husband did in 1996, and what she's done as a Senator. Triangulation: President Clinton will an end-run around the Republicans by co-opting their positions. And a Dem president will not face opposition, so her bills will go through largely only amended by the Republican minority. Result: kinda like a how "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ended up with more discharges from the military than before.

So there it is. I think it's a bad idea to return the Republicans to the White House. I think the party deserves to be punished for its willful incompetence, and another term will send the wrong message. But a Clinton presidency will take the country further right, and that is something we need even less than a dynastic restoration.

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