Jun 202011
 

Yup. We're boned.

June 20, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, the American horror movie is dead. Sure, we’ll occasionally get a self-aware gore-fest like Feast or Hatchet, but all in all, it’s like we just stopped caring.

Recently, Mary and I sat down and, in order to tune out of the world for a bit, decided to just watch a bunch of horror movies. It would be mindless fun. We ended up watching, among other films, Dead Snow and Le Horde. Do you know what I learned?

America has mostly lost its nerve when it comes to horror. Both of these films did GREAT things with their respective genres. Both had the same set-up as any zombie movie: motley group is trapped in the middle of a zombie invasion. One had students battling Nazi zombies, and the other had cops grudgingly teaming up with gangsters to fight against the undead.


Zombie Feast by ~AlbertoArribas on deviantART

Le Brains! Le Brains!

Both movies had subtitles. For a lot of people, this is a deal-breaker. Personally, I think it makes movies more interesting. And if you’re too lazy to read subtitles and enjoy a foreign movie, don’t complain when the inevitable American remake sucks.

I don’t know why, but for me, good dialogue is key to a good movie. If the dialogue doesn’t sound right, the movie is going to suffer for it, and it’s very hard to write good lines. Dog Soldiers, what I would argue is one of the best horror movies of the last twenty years, had incredible lines for all its characters. Contrast that with, say, Twilight’s stammered and redundant lines of what I can only assume are a monkey bashing a keyboard until words appear on the screen.

Since I speak neither Norwegian nor French, it would be unfair to judge the movies based on what I read as I watched them. However, the delivery and the emotion in Le Horde made it feel like any number of action films. These were hard-boiled cops and ruthless Nigerian gangsters. These were not a scrappy bunch of survivors. They were packing and they were more than willing to kill each other, and their performances and delivery showed it.


Zombie Nazi’s by ~Nyxx666 on deviantART

Earn Your Level In Badass

There’s nothing worse than a static character. Going back to Twilight, Bella does not change in any way throughout the series (not counting finally turning into a glittering faerie in the last book). In Dead Snow, we get our group of medical students. While several are killed off pretty quickly, those that make it past the initial attacks move on past their jerk attitudes. In one case, a hemophobe (yeah, someone with a blood phobia in medical school) really earns his stripes when he goes from jerk boyfriend to one-man army complete with Evil Dead tribute.

Gore and some spoilers below.

Likewise, it would be hard to see how any of the already-tough-as-nails characters in Le Horde could get any better. They’ve already waged war on each other, teamed up to fight fast-as-frak undead. They’ve turned on each other again. They meet an old man who thinks he’s still in the Pacific War and just happens to have some really big gear for them.

Then, as things go from bad to worse, one of the cops puts on one of the greatest Last Stands I’ve seen in a movie. It’s totally unrealistic, but what makes it awesome is the sheer scale of it. Plus, he looks like a 19th century French pugilist.

Was It Worth It?

Both movies reached their impressive crescendos by the time the credits rolled. Dead Snow was a comedy and made no apologies for it. It took too long to get to the meat of the story, though. The zombies don’t really show up until the halfway mark, though they make a few stealth kills, but once they do, everything moves FAST. Sure, the exposition of what is going on lasts for what seems like an hour of one guy talking about local Norwegian history, but once we get all that nasty back-story out of the way, we get to what we really came to see. It’s Sin City-like in its cartoony violence, but that’s really the only way to approach it. If we hadn’t spent so much time watching these students just hang out, it might have been a much more enjoyable movie, but for what it was, it’s a good way to spend an hour and a half.

Le Horde, on the other hand, didn’t really stop for anything. It starts with an illegal raid, some C4, and guns going off, an execution, everything. It looks to be a gritty, in-your-face crime drama/action film. Then, at the fourteen-minute mark, we get one of the creepiest intros to the undead I recall seeing. Five minutes later, we’re watching Paris burn. No explanation for where the plague came from. Nothing. Okay, next crisis. While there’s something to be said for the slow, Romero-style zombies, Le Horde actually makes the fast variety seem creepy and not just gory.


Horror movie night by ~KINOKO19 on deviantART

There are very few American movies that leave me wanting more. Let the Right One In, Sherlock (miniseries), as well as these two films are leaving me more and more disillusioned in American entertainment. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of shows I enjoy watching, but they include things like No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, shows that show more multiculturalism than our country is generally known for.

Anyone have any movie or television show suggestions?

No links today. I have to clean the remains of a taco-making party in the kitchen, but links for Wednesday!

Sep 202010
 

The revolution started with a single, salty act of oppression...

September 20, 2010

I always keep telling myself Glenn Beck is crazy. He has to be. The amount of cognitive dissonance and wild leaps of logic he claims are science would qualify anyone for a padded cell within a week. He’s slowly building a cult, an actual cult with political and spiritual power, and he can find a conspiracy in everything.

That includes the fight against fat.

That’s right, folks, Glenn “Master of His Own Domain” Beck has now linked the fight against childhood obesity to the growing sociocommunazi movement. And spearheading this insidious plot is none other than Michelle Obama.

If you don’t watch the rest of the video, at least watch the first 20 seconds. Beck says something so mind-bogglingly stupid that I had to rewind the video just to make sure I’d heard it right. He’s said a lot of award-winning dumb things, but this may be the dumbest. Behold!

In case you just skipped the video, Beck claims he will link Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity to the eventual government take-over of our lives. It will end in what Beck calls “fryots.”

French fry riots. Get it? Get it?!

By asking the National Restaurant Association to make healthier choices the default options, the First Lady seeks to make it easier to enjoy healthy foods instead of going straight for the grease. I want to point something out. It’s a REQUEST. It’s not a law. But that’s not enough for Beck. Trying to teach kids to make a healthy choice is sinister. And let me emphasize “KIDS.” I know, I know. I’m getting really close to invoking the innocent children.

The First Lady is talking about teaching kids about making the right choices. It’s still a choice, but she wants to introduce them to healthy foods at a younger age. As an educator, I’ve seen kids who have never even tried vegetables. Not even tried them. At all. Now, if they try and hate them, fine. They tried them.

Let’s keep going with Beck’s crazy train here, because it gets worse.

Beck goes on to explain that Michelle Obama and the progressives think the average American is Homer Simpson. We can’t make our own choices, says Beck, so they’ll make them for us. I don’t know about you, but unless someone had told me at a young age that burgers and pizza were not the healthiest of things, I wouldn’t have believed them if they told me in my later years. They taste so good! Surely the body must crave them for a reason!

Remember how I said that Michelle Obama had made a suggestion? That little fact seems to have flown right past Beck.

A “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy where you believe that Action A will lead to Action B, then C, then D, without any room for error. In other words, the suggestion that restaurants make it harder to order unhealthy food will lead to global government, riots, and totalitarian control. Beck’s argument isn’t a slippery slope so much as it is a KY Jelly Slip-n-Slide.

This suggestion couldn’t, as most sane people think, lead to restaurants making a conscious choice to help children, who really don’t know better, make healthier choices.


Snack Heart Healthy by =roseonthegrey on deviantART

I have a niece who doesn’t like candy. I know this sounds like a tangent, but bear with me. She doesn’t like candy because her mother and father made it a point to not feed it to her when she was younger. She’s only five, but she she’s shied away from foods and drinks that kids her age usually go crazy for and she’s better for it. This pretty much destroys Beck’s point that French fries will always beat out carrots and apples.

That’s right. My 5-year-old niece just disproved Glenn Beck. It’s THAT easy, folks.

Anyway, Beck goes on and on that, if these nudges don’t work, the government will eventually have to arrest people for eating French fries. Since obesity causes higher health costs and the government now runs health care, they need to make sure we stay healthy.

But wait, there’s more!

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the argument, sort of speak.

Beck thinks that people who want regulation to do crazy things like keep lead out of our toys or sewage out of our drinking water think humanity is stupid. That we can’t take care of ourselves. That we’ll end up killing ourselves because we’re dumb and people are greedy and we won’t care.

Uhm, yeah, people are greedy and capitalism has zero incentive to change that.

Lack of regulation led to the BP disaster. The people who should have been in charge of it were paid off and now we have the floor in the Gulf covered in oil. Regulators should have been watching companies like Goldman Sachs, but those regulations were never passed and the economy in one of the largest superpowers in the world was brought down by numbers on a computer screen.

I’m all for free choice. Really, I am. But I’m for an informed choice. Beck seems to think that by making the choice harder, people won’t be able to resist. Seriously. Watch the last video again. If the choice is harder, he believes people won’t make it. He’s basically said that people are stupid and need to be lead. People, he believes, won’t be able to make the leap from “Oh, I want fries,” to “Hey, I need to ask for them.”


It’s… a sheep. by ~Nimrais on deviantART

And here’s the message he won’t outright say.

“Don’t let people tell you what to do. It’s evil. Listen to ME, because I have your best interest at heart. I’m on your side. They’re not.”

French fries and revolutions… Oh dear. Where to start? This can’t possibly be anything else than the common-sense of teachers, parents, and anyone else with a vested interest in a healthy society, can it? Look, I’m not naïve. Government isn’t the answer to our problems. It’s not inherently good, but it’s not evil, either.

By Beck’s logic, the EPA and every regulatory agency, which actually do have the power to fine and make arrests, are much more evil than the First Lady. Let’s take this logic to its inevitable conclusion…

“Handicapped spaces are really just another ploy by this administration to make us walk, get us healthy, and make sure we don’t get fat. Why? Government health care.”

“Did you hear the news? Toys in China were found to contain lead and are being recalled. Why? This is just another attempt to weaken the immune systems in our children. If they aren’t exposed to lead now, how will they develop a tolerance?”

“Now the government is telling these companies they can’t dump their waste into the rivers? Those bastards! They’re stopping economic growth! Do they expect these companies to just up and spend more money to get rid of trash? That will make prices skyrocket!”

So there you have it. Glenn Beck has managed to link preventative steps to fight childhood obesity to a global socialist conspiracy to collapse America.

It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Only stupid.

I’m thinking of using a Beck-O-Meter to measure the amount of stupid coming from that show every week. Thoughts?


Epic Teabaggers by ~joeyvegasICS on deviantART

Link time! I don’t know about you, but I need some random entertainment right now.

  • Any Tolkien fans out there? Christine O’Donnel, AKA Sarah Palin Jr., fancies herself a feminist and Tolkien scholar. Anyone want to refute her “feminist” reading of LOTR before I puke?
  • We have robot snakes. Great. Combine it with that Microsoft AI project, the sentry robots in South Korea, and we have a small robot army to bring on the robot holocaust.