Me and My Nine Iron

November 29, 2010

Why IMDb is better than Rotten Tomatoes

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 4:20 pm
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When people look up to see how good a movie is, they go to one of two sites: IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. It really irks me when I hear anyone mention what a movie’s “Tomatometer” is, let alone that person deciding whether to see the movie based on the Rotten Tomatoes score. In my terse attempt, here’s why you should stop checking Rotten Tomatoes and go to IMDb.

The fundamental difference lies in the voting system. Rotten Tomatoes only allows the voter to like it or not, whereas IMDb offers the voter to rate the movie based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. It’s a fact that the more choices a voter is given, the more accurate the results will be. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out ten choices allow for a more accurate grade of a movie than two, especially when the two choices are you have to either like it or not. It’s also the reason I bumped my own grading scale from four stars to five because I found even four is too limiting. That alone should sell you but if it doesn’t, read on.

If you’re just looking to see if a movie is universally agreed upon, this argument is moot. Toy Story 3 boasts an 8.8 IMDb or a 99% Tomatometer. Similarly, Tyler Perry‘s For Colored Girls has a 4.1 or 34%. The question is do you want to know how good a movie is or do you just want to know if people liked it. The former is where I find moviegoers uneducated in their choice to go with Rotten Tomatoes for reasons I’ll explain shortly.

It also bothers me that Tomatometers are very polarizing. Given their voting guide, it makes sense that there are a boatload of movies in the 90’s. But again, the problem is people compare movies based on these scores and while you can say a 94% is practically the same as a 93%, this isn’t the difference between some people giving it a 9 instead of a 10, it’s the difference between some people not liking the movie at all. And that’s a little scary.

I was thinking the other day why the best movie of all-time on IMDb only has a 9.2. I can’t stand unrealistic expectations and surely, there has to be at least one movie in history that was flawless for two hours. But, it makes sense. Like the teacher who never hands out ‘A’s, you have to reserve the perfect score to prevent a slippery slope of well, if that movie got a 10, and this movie’s as good if not better than that movie, then so should this one. And that’s exactly what Rotten Tomatoes does; the top 100 of all-time are all 100%. Who knows how many hundreds more stand at 100%?

IMDb only has three notable movies that can claim a 9.0 or better. And for those unfamiliar with it, a 7.0 is a solid movie and anything that starts with an 8 is an absolute must-watch. I’ll list the year’s best movies per IMDb and compare it to its Tomatometer to show some perspective on Rotten Tomatoes’ widely inaccurate ranking.

Inception – 8.9; 87%
Toy Story 3 – 8.7; 99%
How to Train Your Dragon – 8.1; 98%

From these three movies alone, we can already see two clear differences: Rotten Tomatoes’ relatively low satisfaction of Inception, and its near-flawless reception of How to Train Your Dragon, both of which I disagree with. Having seen all three titles, I’m in agreement with the IMDb list of the three movies and wouldn’t have a problem with the first two flip-flopping.

First, Inception. Per Rotten Tomatoes, it’s the 34th best movie of the year! That’s just ridiculous. IMDb has it tied for fifth all-time. You’ve seen it. You tell me what it’s closer to. How to Train Your Dragon, in my opinion, is generously ranked on IMDb as well. It’s on the same level as Despicable Me, which holds a solid 7.6. But Rotten Tomatoes has it as the second-best wide release American movie of the year. Again, if you’ve seen it, you tell me which one you’re leaning towards – a good movie or an Oscar contender for Best Picture.

Those are pretty big differences for just two movies, two of the best, this year. Imagine all the differences from the historic movies, and they’re out there. Maybe, I’ve been making the wrong argument the whole time. That really, what I should’ve been saying is quite simply, that Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t know the difference between Oscar caliber and Tyler Perry-capable, with having too many arguable Tomatometers, something I can’t say with the very consistent IMDb. Try it. Look up any movie you want to. All this, and you’d think I’m getting paid by IMDb.

So make the right choice, and go IMDb. (But if not, tell me why you go to Rotten Tomatoes in the Comments.)

BJ

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November 23, 2010

The Green Hornet trailer

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 2:42 pm
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If Seth Rogen‘s had a quiet 2010, you know he’s working on his next great project. The Green Hornet, which is due out in theaters on January 14, 2011, is adapted from the 1960’s TV series of the same name but I hear has a much different take on the story. In the original, Van Williams played Britt Reid, newspaper publisher by day, and The Green Hornet, masked crime-fighter by night. Bruce Lee played Kato, Reid’s martial artist chauffeur.

Rogen teamed up with his writing buddy, Evan Goldberg, to write their third movie together (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and plays the title character, where they won’t be without a star-studded cast and crew of their own. Taiwanese singer-actor Jay Chou will play Kato, Cameron Diaz will be Reid’s love interest and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) is the crime boss. Michel Gondry, who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, will direct.

From the looks of the just-released theatrical trailer, the action looks pretty awesome; I love real-time fighting. Rogen’s got the comedic banter covered, and it looks like they went all out with their $90 million budget to keep things true, and I respect that. They shot in Los Angeles despite millions in tax breaks they could’ve gotten in other states and kept the ’60s Imperial car, declining product placement deals with major car companies, to name a few.

It’s going to be a great action-comedy. Can’t wait ’til it comes out.

BJ

November 20, 2010

Movie reviews

It’s been a slow month of watching movies and with this latest group, I’ve never disagreed more with the IMDb ratings. It’s usually very reliable and is my only source of referencing movies. Don’t even get me started on Rotten Tomatoes, I’ll make my case for that in another post.

Lately, I’ve thought about how much people would think differently about movies if it were for what I’ll call the “movie placebo effect.” Much like how it’s proven that people will swear that the wine they’ve been told is more expensive is better than the actual fine wine, such is the case with movies, in my opinion. A lot of people go into a movie with expectations, sometimes unrealistically high, and a lot of people will see how a good a movie is before or after watching it, subconsciously having this source make up their mind about it. So forgive me for thinking independently and liking movies that the whole world seems to hate.

Case 39

Easily one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, and the scariest since Paranormal Activity. It was to the point where I wished I hadn’t come alone to the theater. Forget the 6.1 imdB rating, the 22% Rotten Tomatoes rating and the universal panning of this movie among critics, I disagree with everyone who calls the story unoriginal and the concept “really ridiculous and silly.” Clearly, these critics only like scary movies that can actually happen in real life and they’re right, this can’t happen but just like most all scary movies. They should probably not even be giving their opinion on the entire genre. Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper give fine performances in a well-made movie.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Devil

A surprisingly low 6.6 imdB rating and crappy trailer didn’t stop this movie from making almost five times its $10 million production budget. There was actually nothing to dislike about this movie and made you tense every time the lights went out in the elevator to the imminent horror, similar to when it was nighttime in Paranormal Activity. It was scarier than I expected throughout, with a chilling scene at the end that will make you shudder.

The only thing keeping this from the ‘excellent’ rating is that it was only 80 minutes long (including 5 minutes in end credits), which is the bare minimum for a feature length film, and the movie was frankly, quite simple, which is understandable that the short length probably didn’t allow for much substance to be built. It’s not a bad thing, but it wasn’t a standout hit. But it was fast-moving and unrelenting. A decent start to M. Night Shyamalan‘s project, The Night Chronicles.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Expendables

Essentially, your average impossibly-against-all-odds action thriller. To be better than average, you have to show the audience things they haven’t seen before (what comes to mind is Rambo, where I feel Sylvester Stallone popularized the graphic decapitations caused by heavy artillery bullets, which he shows again in this movie as well) and for the most part, this movie gets it done.

Add in a star-studded cast, and you’ve got yourself an enjoyable time. I really have to acknowledge Stallone’s attention to guns running out of bullets, which he maintained very well throughout the entire movie, something no other action movie seems to care for and is an annoying flaw.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Going the Distance

Another confusing 6.4 imdB rating for what I consider to be, wait for it, on the same level of R-rated romantic comedy humor as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, one of my favorite comedies of all time. It’s a lot funnier and raunchier than I expected with Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live) producing the laugh-out loud moments as Justin Long‘s buddies in what I consider to be one of the best non-Judd Apatow produced comedies.

I also loved how real and relatable the long-distance relationship is and played out, which I don’t think critics ever give enough credit for. And I know moviegoers don’t consider it when deciding on how good a movie is, sadly.

Surprisingly, while critics say Long and Drew Barrymore‘s on-screen chemistry was one of the few bright spots of the movie, I don’t even agree with that. Call me mean, but there’s a reason why most all actors are attractive. It’s the reason why I can already say Just Go With It will be good. You want something easy on the eyes, and I cringed at times when Long and Barrymore were together. Easily a sleeper comedy notwithstanding.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Machete

And the Oscar for Biggest Dupe of the Year goes to Robert Rodriguez. What is believed to be a revenge movie about Danny Trejo just being a badass is secondary to the political issue of Mexican illegal immigrants’ rights in the U.S. It was such Hollywood hippie liberal propaganda that was rather off-putting for someone who is not one.

But two things about this movie that I mentioned earlier: 1) An action movie showing something new. Check. You’ll notice almost every action scene is eye-opening, with none topping the use of a certain body part as a rope to leap out of a building with. 2) Attractive appeal. Check. There is an abundance of eye candy scattered throughout the movie, headlined by Jessica Alba. (I forgot how fine she is that 90 minutes of her doing nothing could border a ‘5’. She’s the reason why I have Honey on DVD and why I get paralyzed from changing the channel whenever Dark Angel, Fantastic Four or Into the Blue is on TV.

A few more things of note:

  • Michelle Rodriguez – She plays a tough guy role again and while I find that unattractive and the reason why I never dug her, she changed me in this movie. She has a banging body and charmed me with her sexual side.
  • Lindsay Lohan – As an overprivileged kid doing drugs and being nude, I have to wonder if she was hand-picked to just be herself. Here’s one of many scenes where she’s without clothes. She has a great rack.
  • Steven Seagal – He looks weird and near unrecognizable as an overweight giant.

The style in which it’s shot is also undesirable, as it’s made to look old and cheesy at times, which doesn’t fit for me. That and the propaganda are enough to make this good action movie barely watchable.

Rotten Tomatoes’ general consensus: “Machete is messy, violent, shallow, and tasteless — and that’s precisely the point of one of the summer’s most cartoonishly enjoyable films.” You see why I bitch? About moviegoers, bad movies and Rotten Tomatoes?

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Far East Movement – Free Wired

The studio album debut and follow-up to 2009’s Animal is good but not as good as its predecessor. I can’t hate on an artist for changing their sound as they mature, but I was disappointed to hear that the latter half of this album went from their electronica beats, which I’m familiar with, to pop/R&B. Individually, the tracks are all pretty catchy and I don’t skip a single track, but how there are only nine new tracks and how the sound switches mid-album keeps it from being better.

She Owns the Night sounds like it should be on a Ne-Yo album, Don’t Look Now should be on Keri Hilson‘s album, Fighting For Air is pure rap/R&B and White Flag is pure pop. That leaves just five new tracks of a sound I’m familiar with. Like how my math turns an album into an EP? It really is a compilation of many genres, and I thought FM was done with mixtapes.

Favorite (new) tracks: Like a G6, Rocketeer, 2gether

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

November 16, 2010

Free tacos

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 2:01 pm
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Get your two free tacos at Jack in the Box today!

BJ

November 12, 2010

To all the non-contributing zeros

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:23 pm

Damn, Veterans Day. A day I could’ve very well spent working but no, since some people were off, they assumed I would spend 7.5 tiresome hours helping a “friend” I never once said I’d help move do just that. Of course, we ended up needing my van too. Oh, and thanks for the Brazilian BBQ I wanted. Souplantation’s always a viable substitute for meat lovers like myself. I guess I made do with 12.5 hours of sleep and an amount for breakfast most couldn’t finish for dinner.

It was brought up that I was easy to please, and I won’t disagree with that. After all, the key to life is happiness and with lowered expectations, you can attain it easier than most. That’s not to say that I set the bar low with work performance or the prospect of a significant other, but some people spend their whole lives figuring out what’s important in life while others never do. Whether it be food or movies, traffic or technology, stop bitching and hating everything. It’s bad for your health, and it’s repulsive. Like smoking. I’m reposting this from a friend, and I found it apropos.

BJ

November 10, 2010

Free Clippers tix

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:53 pm
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The Los Angeles Clippers currently hold the NBA’s worst record (1-7) and

Logo.

sometimes, that means giveaways for fans!

Test-drive any new Kia vehicle and get two free lower level tickets to a Clippers game.

But tonight, attend the Fan Viewing Party at Commerce Casino and for $20, receive a food voucher, a Clippers ticket and a gift for the first 50 fans at the door.

Try getting any of that from the Lakers.

BJ

November 8, 2010

Just Go With It trailer

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:33 pm
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As we eagerly await the next good comedy to come out, Just Go With It, which will come out on February 11, 2011, has just released its official trailer. Looks hilarious.

BJ

November 4, 2010

Saw 3D review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 6:32 pm
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The seventh and final Saw in the soon-to-be $800 million franchise delivered the goriest, most trap-filled film in the series. With a record 11 traps in this 90-minute movie, the writers left it all on the table (including the infamous “Garage Trap,” which producers left out of previous Saws because it was “too violent,” “too disgusting” and “just wrong”) to have Jigsaw’s legacy go out with a bang. The film was edited and re-submitted six times to finally obtain an R rating.

After Saw 6 had a relatively modest box office performance ($65 million against its $11 million production budget, though, it was the first Saw to make under $100 million worldwide), Saw 8‘s plot concept was integrated into Saw 3D to bring closure, and there wasn’t without some exciting plot twists for a movie that most would perceive to be about brainless torture.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie had its share of flaws. The story was clearer than the previous Saws, especially with all the flashbacks that can throw off the non-hardcore fans, but some of the traps continued to be lazy, which really goes against what the whole Saw legacy is all about.

Then, there was the issue of the undeserving people dying and the whole madness of the new games, which isn’t what Jigsaw’s about. I know Hoffman is supposed to be this diabolical serial killer, but the games were losing their meaning. The producers probably could’ve continued to pump out movies annually while remaining profitable for the next decade if it was all about the money, but the story was getting weak with Jigsaw’s apprentices.

I’m glad it came to an end, and they managed to keep it smart. It was a highly enjoyable, gut-wrenching Saw movie that was nothing less than what I’ve come to expect.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

November 1, 2010

My Election picks

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 3:58 pm
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To many, tomorrow is Election Day. But to me, it’s the last day I’m forced to hear candidates bash on each other to the point where I don’t want to vote for either candidate. The last day of receiving countless spam mail, voicemails and commercials. That is, if I did vote. But, I don’t vote for several reasons: 1) You don’t truly know what you’re voting for and 2) How much does your vote even count? a) Electoral vote vs. popular vote and b) judges overturning voting results (see Prop. 8).

1) Candidate speeches are like high school student government speeches, “Vote for me because I’ll do x, y and z.” Put up a whole bunch of print and go around campaigning. The content of the speeches is exactly the same too; how can a City Council Member have the same agenda as the President? In reality, you give up as much to luck as an NBA GM drafting players. You see the potential and skills, but you don’t always know if they’re better than the next guy.

A “friend” spammed on my Wall (don’t bother looking, I deleted it), “Vote or don’t complain.” I’m fine with that because I don’t complain. I’ve stopped criticizing and now defend leaders because they can only do so much and truly have the country’s interest at heart (e.g. President Obama, Gov. Schwarzenegger). Maybe, that comment should read, “Vote and don’t complain.” This country allows way too much protesting and is a serious folly to our nation’s progress. You voted and you lost so you should’ve lost the right to protest.

2) The most important vote is the vote for President and unfortunately, the system’s set up so that each state gets an arbitrary number of votes (electoral votes) and there’s no splitting of votes within a state. That means with a historically partisan state like California, the millions of people who voted for the Republican candidate just threw their vote away. It’s almost as if they never had their vote in the first place.

Like driving, voting should be a privilege not a right, and if you’re uninformed about this all, which I’m inclined to believe a lot of damn people in this country are, then voting for the wrong person is worse than not voting at all. Thus, it’s a mistake to get as many people to register to vote so stop forcing the issue. Plus, it’s almost as annoying as Christians spreading the word.

If I were to vote, I can see the Props. as being enjoyable and where your vote means the most – or, at least it should. Got to love California; I’ll never forget the conversation I had with an Indiana native who said, “Oh yeah, you guys vote on everything.” Somehow, I take that as a bad thing. But maybe, I should start just in case I decide to run later in life and don’t have that thrown in my face. Right, Meg?

Without further ado, my select General Election picks for 2010 as a California resident a la Oscars format (if I were to vote):

GovernorMeg Whitman (REP) (Jerry Brown’s the safe pick and until I saw an ad a few days ago, he was the guy I had going for the top state position. In a TV interview after his gubernatorial term, Brown admitted he had no plan in office. Put that together with his ad where he says he’s “not going to give us a phony plan,” and I’m starting to wonder if he even has one – again. I’d like to see a genius businesswoman tackle our fiscal troubles. Even if she has to smack a bitch.)

Attorney GeneralKamala Harris (DEM) (The Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate showed us how one bad remark can ruin your entire campaign, and that’s exactly what Steve Cooley did for me when he shamelessly admitted that he would double dip in his pension because the $150K Attorney General salary “is incredibly low.” Not something financially struggling voters want to hear. As for Harris never using the death penalty, it’s not like we were going to use it anyway. Our state’s caught up in so much legal bullshit that’s not expected to end anytime soon, we haven’t killed anyone in almost five years.)

United States SenatorCarly Fiorina (REP) (I had to look up what the term limit on a senator was; there is none. That clearly should be changed and despite the economic cycle we experience, I’m all for clearing house and rewarding the GOP for going all ex-CEOs. All the smear ads on Carly Fiorina paying herself well and cutting jobs doesn’t make me think any less of her. Every CEO looks to cut costs, and her nice pay tells me that she’ll be financially independent to decline bribes.)

19 – LEGALIZES MARIJUANA UNDER CALIFORNIA BUT NOT FEDERAL LAW No. (The only people that would vote for this Prop. are weed users and sellers. Plus, there are enough people on the road that drive slow. I can’t take any more. But in all seriousness, you can see the flaw in legalizing something just because it can bring in money, right? Don’t worry about the budget, that’s what Meg’s for.)

21- ESTABLISHES $18 ANNUAL VEHICLE LICENSE SURCHARGE TO HELP FUND STATE PARKS AND WILDLIFENo. (Most people, including myself, go to a state park less than once a year. Why would I pay $18 a year for it on top of a pass you would still have to purchase when you do go? I know the parks are hurting, but we all are and I’m not for another surcharge.)

23 – SUSPENDS IMPLEMENTATION OF AIR POLLUTION CONTROL LAW No. (You’ve seen the ads; this Prop. is funded by the two Tex-Mex oil companies. What unemployment rates have to do with clean air laws is beyond me, but 5.5% unemployment rate or higher, say no to dirty air. And if you don’t believe me, drive through L.A. every once in a while so you stay grounded. By the way, our unemployment rate is currently at 12.4% so they’d be abusing our air for years to come.)

BJ

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