Me and My Nine Iron

September 30, 2011

Movie reviews

It’s been another long two and a half months, but I blame that more on my two-dollar theater (yes, inflation has raised ticket prices a whopping 200%) not having much to show before the summer wave of movies.

Did I just watch three 5-star movies in a row? I don’t even know how I rate my movies, but they were good, I tell you.

Bridesmaids

I usually won’t give a 5-star rating if I didn’t like one thing about the movie, but there’s no way I could put this in the same territory as Your Highness so I’ll overlook that opening scene, which was awkward and unfunny. The female version of The Hangover was a winner on all levels, grossing $278 million – the highest Judd Apatow production to date, easily surpassing Knocked Up‘s $219 million. Jeff Bayer called it “the best female-driven, R-rated comedy of all time.” I don’t even know what would be on that list so I won’t disagree with it.

It surprises on so many levels, it’s laugh-out-loud funny throughout, Kristen Wiig owns the spotlight and Melissa McCarthy steals the show. It’s funny that this movie took so many years to make, went through development hell as Wiig and Annie Mumolo had never written a screenplay before, went about 20 minutes longer than a comedy should and ended up with a solid storyline. Easily the best comedy of the year.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

I don’t know why this Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise doesn’t rate well on IMDb (6.1 for the first one, 6.0 for this), but everyone who’s watched it–young and old–enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s family fun, and it takes you back to middle school, where life is all about fitting in and looking cool. Plus, who doesn’t want to watch a 12-year-old Chris Farley in appearance and manner? Looking forward to Robert Capron and the gang in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days next August.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within (Brazil)

Imagine how much hysteria there would be in a crime-riddled country over a film that will exploit all of the corruption going on at the top. That (and a great movie) made this Portuguese film the highest-grossing movie of all-time in Brazil with $62 million US. Wagner Moura reprises the lead role with another captivating performance, and he’s so convincing I was hoping this guy would one day get the chance to appear in the States. Sure enough, he’ll have a bit in Elysium starring Matt Damon coming out in 2013.

While the ending leaves open the possibility of another exciting sequel, writer-director Jose Padilha has stated this will be his third and final film on the social scenario in Rio de Janeiro. It’s currently a Top 250 film on IMDb. Definitely worth checking out, and an awesome action crime movie in its own right.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Horrible Bosses

What a rollercoaster of my emotions this movie put me through – before I even watched it. The commercials looked unfunny, but everyone was saying it was an extremely funny movie, backed by a ridiculous IMDb rating at the time. Let’s just say I had really high expectations and was thoroughly disappointed at the comedy.

How this movie has a higher IMDb rating (7.3) than Bridesmaids (7.2) is a travesty of the (once) reputable site. USA Today should be shot with its praise that it’s a “surprising comedy that rivals Bridesmaids as the funniest film of the summer, if not the year.” This can’t hold a candle to Bridesmaids. Salon put it best with the review that it’s a “lot funnier in theory than in practice, but it won’t ruin your Saturday night”.

It was the highest-grossing black comedy of all-time, cashing in at $206 million, and like Bridesmaids, talks of a sequel are making its rounds. The only explanation for this box office success is that there are that many people that want their bosses dead.

Note: To all the liberal douches who are so sensitive, you should not be critiquing an R-rated comedy. To call this a homophobic (for the use of the word “fag” one time), racist and misogynistic (for having all-white, male protagonists and playing to stereotypes) movie makes you worse than USA Today.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg produced this sci-fi movie, which Abrams wrote and directed, most assuredly to have fun filmmaking than to fulfill any other objective. Their biggest names were Dakota Fanning‘s 13-year-old younger sister and Aly Michalka‘s 20-year-old younger sister, and it grossed $253 million. The power of two legends.

Much to Elle Fanning‘s credit, however, it was an enjoyable movie with an epic train crash scene and a predictable but satisfying ending. Abrams will next tackle the Star Trek sequel to be released next year while Spielberg directed two movies set to come out in the last two weeks of the year, The Adventures of Tintin (an animation) and War Horse.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

BJ

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September 27, 2011

3D movie re-releases

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 12:18 am
Tags: , , ,

As if the box office wasn’t already stuffed with gimmicky 3D movies and unoriginal ideas, the next wave of movies will be a combination of the two – 3D re-releases. With the recent success of The Lion King (in 3D), topping the box office two straight weekends while grossing more than $61 million during its limited re-release, three movies are lined up to be converted and re-released as well.

The L.A. Times had on Sunday’s front page the three classics we can expect to be re-released on the big screen in the not-too-distant-future: Titanic, Star Wars and Top Gun. While The Lion King took $10 million to convert the third dimension in all its glory, James Cameron has stated Titanic will cost $18 million and over a year to get his epic film ready to go.

Of the four titles, Titanic seems the least appealing in 3D, but the second-highest grossing movie of all-time–and all the others–should have no trouble making back its investment tenfold due to its extensive fanbase. And the people going to see these movies are the same people who are irate that there are hardly any original films anymore. Why make them when they don’t make as much money? The top two original movies this weekend, Abduction and Killer Elite, combined got beat out by The Lion King (in 3D).

The only question is what will be the next titles confirmed to be re-released in 3D.

BJ

September 26, 2011

Creature is new box office flop

As exciting as box office records are, the news shouldn’t only be reserved for those of the positive kind. Just two months after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 had the highest-grossing opening weekend, Creature had the worst premiere for a movie opening in at least 1,500 theaters. It grossed $331,000 two weekends ago and averaged $220 per theater – or about 22 people per location for three days.

Check out the trailer, as you’ll see how predictable this epic failure was.

BJ

September 21, 2011

Case updates

In the fatal officer-involved beating in Fullerton, charges were handed down on Tuesday, resulting in one count each of murder and involuntary manslaughter for Officer Manuel Ramos and one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force for Officer Jay Cicinelli. It was a mixed finding for the obvious beating of homeless man Kelly Thomas, as murder charges are hard to come by even in obvious officer-involved excessive force cases, and a better start than the infamous BART officer who got away with an involuntary manslaughter charge and two years for the fatal shooting of a subdued man in 2009. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you “feel fantastic,” as Thomas’ father did.

Two things bothered me about this case, however. As I watched Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas release the findings at the news conference, he made this interesting statement but didn’t further elaborate, “Police officers have a right to use reasonable force in the performance of a lawful duty but citizens have a right to self-defense, even against the police.”

What could we possibly do to defend ourselves? Is he implying that we trade blows with an armed cop? Whichever avenue you decide to take, the result would seemingly be the same if up against a determined officer as Officer Ramos was – beaten to death.

The other part I question is whether Officer Cicinelli should’ve even been on the force. In 1996, he lost an eye from being shot on duty. First of all, I didn’t know you could serve in law enforcement without an eye. I know the guidelines aren’t as stringent as the military’s, but losing an eye is a pretty big deal. You don’t think he was waiting for a moment to unload on someone? I’m sure he was mentally fucked in the head to want to exact revenge on anyone.

Hopefully, these two get the maximum sentence, which is 15 to life and 4 years, respectively.

I’m all for the death penalty, if it wasn’t so prolonged and expensive. How in the world is killing someone more expensive than life in prison? Give the man a quick trial, and put the poison in him in less than a year. But capital punishment should also be reserved for cases where there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the killer did it, like a public mass shooting. They also need to eliminate automatic death for police killers. Especially with the story above, they don’t need to be held in the highest regard as far as the penalty phase goes.

In the case of Troy Davis, there are so many conflicting accounts that to kill the man with so much doubt would be downright stupid. Yes, he could’ve done it, and after my review of the case, he’s likely one of two people who did do it. But you know the police fudged the investigation, willing to take down anyone even if it’s the wrong person, to avenge one of their own. In my mind, it very easily could’ve been Sylvester Coles, who was the owner of the .38 pistol and was at the scene of the crime, but he wasn’t even questioned.

Again, a scary thing to hear the appeals court say was that Davis had not provided a “substantive claim” of innocence and that the recantations were unpersuasive. Yeah, he was already proven guilty in the original trial, but so much for “innocent until proven guilty” and shitty lawyers.

I can’t wait for new evidence to come up years from now that has everyone involved in this man’s death say, “Oh, fuck.”

In response to President Obama‘s proposed “Buffett Rule,” Rep. John Fleming went on the air and proved the disconnect that these rich politicians have with the regular, working class. He complained he only made $600,000 last year, and by the time he feeds his family, he’s only left with $400,000.

If he truly spends $200,000 a year on food, that might be as awesome of a statement as the rest of his nonsense. You can check out his interview here.

BJ

September 20, 2011

Dutch woman calls ex-boyfriend 65,000 times

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 12:40 am

I didn’t want to change that headline. That’s just so ridiculous it can’t possibly be true. Although maybe, they should’ve put “ex-boyfriend” just like that – in quotations. The 42-year-old woman claims she had a relationship with the 62-year-old man, and the number of calls she placed to him wasn’t excessive while the man denied they had a relationship, which means one of two things if they had a likely one-night stand. He’s either super rich or there was a major clinger alert like the freakier Cleary daughter in Wedding Crashers. But trying to argue that 65,000 isn’t excessive makes you fucking crazy whichever way you look at it.

On a bad day, I’ll get 10 telemarketing calls, which is a number where I want to get all the addresses of the people who called me, go to their houses and shoot them in their faces dead. This guy received 178 calls a day, every day for an entire year. Did it really take him until the 65,000th time for him to say, “Fuck, I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to the police.” If it was a celebrity, I’m sure she would’ve changed her number after the tenth call, but this guy’s like, “64,989. I’m giving her 11 more calls, and that’s it.” What a jackoff.

BJ

September 19, 2011

Asians in the week

Two weeks ago, Sonya Thomas beat her previous world record of 181 wings set last year by downing 183 chicken wings in 12 minutes in this year’s National Buffalo Wings Festival. The 100-pound Korean better known as the Black Widow held true to her name, beating hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut, who finished in second place with 174 wings – all for a measly $1,500 and $750, respectively.

The proud moment for Koreans aside from women’s golf or the Virginia Tech shooter was quickly overshadowed three days later, when Fox Sports canceled a show that aired the video, “The College Experiment,” where a “comedian” selectively interviewed Asians he knew had English as their second language on the USC campus, mocking their accents. The video has since been removed from the internet.

I might have said it before, but if you’re going to make fun of someone, be smart about it. Be a smart racist, please. Unless your name is Russell Peters, making fun of accents (not to be confused with impersonations) is not going to be funny.

The craziest thing though is my good friend had an unfortunate run-in the same night as this news. Some immature Mexican kid went up to my friend at the gym and said, “Ching chong, ching chong.” Kid, that might have worked 15 years ago. Maybe. But it’s 2011, and you should probably stop visiting your racist, loser older brother in the pen, who’s serving 25 to life for his third strike.

You like what I did there? But seriously, we all know that it’s since been modified to Ching chong, ling long, ting tong. Duh.

BJ

September 12, 2011

Why Warren Buffet is right

For those that follow my blog, you know that I spew my personal beliefs, opinions and values freely. I love talking about religion, politics and those damn Yankees, and sadly, my friends don’t share in my love for discussing intellectual topics. Save for the midterm elections, the last current event that I had a stance on was the war. A year or two ago, I conceded that the war was a lost cause and that we should pull out immediately. But enough about old news.

A current hot topic is taxes and our country’s bizarre decision to adopt progressive tax rates with the most complex tax system in this planet. Even though I’m not rich, I hope I can be viewed as unbiased when I say I don’t see a problem with the rich being taxed at a higher rate. And if my not being rich makes me biased, Warren Buffett can back me on that because it really comes down to government revenues and how the government stiffs itself with all these tax breaks for the rich in their current fiscal straits. Oh yeah, and fairness to the lower and middle classes.

Either close the loopholes or adopt a flat tax rate across the board, but no way in hell should the rich be paying less in taxes than the lower classes. I’m not just talking about percentages either. I’m talking about what Buffett illustrated in his New York Times article last month, how millionaires can pay a lesser amount than a lower or middle class person based on technicalities.

More a Republican than a Democrat–if I were to be a registered voter–I defended President Bush through all the decisions that he made and all the mocking he received, except on one thing – when he gave tax breaks to the upper class. I don’t buy the theory that the money saved on taxes will be pumped back into the job market to create new jobs, and I couldn’t agree more with probably the most essential paragraph of Buffett’s article.

“I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”

Two days later, Jeffrey Miron, wrote his opinion titled, “Why Warren Buffett is wrong.” Buffett’s a smart guy so as with any persuasive piece, he knew to address the weaknesses or arguable points. Miron’s musing is nothing Buffett didn’t already counter-argue, and it’s clear this Harvard director is what all the politicians opposing this tax change are – a rich asshole.

To all those who say President Obama is just like the rest of them or that he lied by failing to deliver what he promised, his head’s in the right place. He only realized after he took office that he can’t single-handedly change what is an unfixable and fucked bureaucracy. All he can do is what he did in this case – voice his stance in backing Buffett. Hopefully, people are smart enough to know that there are 100 other people who actually run the country, and that they’re determined not to agree on anything for the sake of fighting with the other side.

BJ

September 11, 2011

Fullerton cops beat homeless man to death

Two months ago, six Fullerton police officers beat a schizophrenic, homeless man to death, creating a local uproar made convenient from cell phone footage of the excessive force used. The news made national headlines for the second time in as many months and was just the latest in a string of police abuse in the city. In May, a Fullerton police officer stole an iPad at Miami International Airport and essentially claimed finders, keepers. This site records all of the abuse from the city police and shows that it’s the sixth case in nine months dating back to October 2010. (My favorite is the officer who farted on the unconscious woman’s face and said, “This ought to wake her up.”) Before that, there were no incidents in over five years.

So what to make of all this? The people are calling for the City Mayor to step down, the City Council’s in chaos and the Police Chief is taking heat. The only problem is these three “defendants” are all on the same side with an incentive to defend each other.

But above all that, it’s easy to point the finger at the leader, something we all seem to do so easily with our President. Instead, at a time where police departments have frozen new hires, I say clean house of all the officers with incidents; after talking with friends in the city, we all know and agree from our limited run-ins with the cops that certain officers are dicks with major power trips – the guys that ruin it for the honest, earnest officers.

They still haven’t released the names of the six police officers involved in the brutal hogtie, tasing and beating of Kelly Thomas, but from the video captured, it’s shocking that they haven’t been yet thrown off the force and an absolute calamity that they were only placed on administrative leave after the victim’s dad met with the Police Chief and Captain. After, the city offered $900,000 to be relieved of all liability for his son’s death. The CNN story here.

Thomas spent five days in the hospital before he was taken off life support. Here is a gruesome photo of his beaten, unrecognizable face in the hospital (WARNING: GRAPHIC). With an extended internal investigation, perhaps, the city’s waiting for the storm to pass over. But if those officers are allowed back on the force, here’s to hoping for some peaceful rioting.

BJ

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