Wednesday, April 27, 2011

There Won't Be a Number Five

For a girl I would say I'm kind of an action junkie. I love the Fast and Furious movies not because of the plot (because there isn't one), or because of Vin Diesel (why does anyone like him?), but because of the super cool (if unrealistic) car chases. The A-Team is awesome because even if all the stunts they pull are impossible there are enough explosions and gun fights to keep me happy. But, there comes a point when all the fist fights and car chases can't compensate for the gaping plot holes. If you can suspend your sense of reality for two hours you have a good time, but once you leave the theater your sense of logic kicks in and you realize what was missing in the movie. I am Number Four is one of those movies.

The movie is about a super attractive guy (named John) who is the fourth in line of nine aliens who escaped from their planet but are being hunted by another race from their planet. So, picture this, there's this kid named John, who's really an alien. He can flip a jet ski, has bright blue eyes, knows film photography, would be the perfect boyfriend and is shirtless half the movie. Did I mention he has super speed and strength and his hands possess various magical qualities? How could any girl resist that? So with these things alone you have a promising premise. To draw the boys in there are mild car chases, fist fights, an adorable girlfriend, aliens, awesome technology, and monsters. Oh, and there's a really hot girl who has mad magic skills, kills aliens like it's no big deal, and she has an Australian accent. With these alone you would think you're set up for a pretty great movie. Too bad it couldn't last.

The first part of the movie had a good flow, didn't have too many inconsistencies, and was setting the movie up for a great finale. But then, like it happens in so many movies, it started to fall apart in the second half once everything started concluding and coming together.

All of a sudden the aliens were there and John was a suspected terrorist, and he was in love with this girl who he had known for three days, and the aliens can speak English. Not to mention they try to ease the tension by making the aliens kind of funny/creepy and it doesn't really work, and then all of a sudden the aliens find John and every person in town ends up in the same place and everything is exploding and people are dying. And then there's this part where a waxing machine is still running, spreading around the blood of the now dead janitor. So they take this tunnel to escape, but the aliens somehow end up at the end of it and there's this crazy fight and the hot Australian girl kicks everyone's butt, and then the two humans miraculously don't end up dead. So once all the aliens are killed John probably has a warrant out for his arrest because he basically blew up the school, so now he's leaving with the Australian girl and leaves his true love behind but for some reason takes the nerdy kid with him, and the guy who tried to beat him up in the beginning and steal his girlfriend is suddenly on his side.

Confused at all? How you felt reading that paragraph is how I felt watching the movie. All of a sudden some conclusion would be drawn, or a conflict would come up in a way that was anything but logical. 

At the end of the movie I decided that I enjoyed myself. I love laser guns, and super powers, and of course I'm a sucker for a cute love story--what else does a movie need, really? There was enough action for it to be fun, and just enough plot for everything to stick together (barely). All in all it was a nice way to spend a Tuesday night.  but at the end of the day I'm really glad I only paid $1 for the movie.

The conclusion of the movie was set up perfectly for a sequel, and it could easily be made into a trilogy, or maybe even a saga, but to be honest, it probably won't be. Sorry number five, your story never gets told.

Friday, April 15, 2011

YouTube Part 2

So I love YouTube more than anyone I know. Everyone knows this. Considering that it's finals week at BYU and all of my friends are super focused boring I've been spending a lot of time watching videos. I figured that since everyone is trying to focus on school the least I could do was provide them with something distracting. So, these are my favorite videos that I've seen in the past few months.

This guy is hilarious. He does a ton of random pranks like this. I just chose one of my favorites.

In general the commercials are the only reason to watch the Superbowl. Considering that this year the commercials weren't as good as those in years past the only reason to watch was for the Doritos commercials. This one is probably my favorite.

Blooper reels are my favorite kind of videos. This one is pretty great.

This was the first YouTube video I ever saw. My friend showed it to me in the 8th grade and it's been in my top five favorite videos ever since.

This isn't funny or anything. It's just awesome. Go Cougars.

This video is super painful, but really funny and totally worth your time.

So, I hope these made your day as much as they always make mine. Good luck on finals everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, take your pick.

I am a sucker for animated Disney movies. Let me specify, the good Disney movies. A Goofy Movie, Mulan 2, Cinderella 2 (basically any sequel), and Brother Bear are not included in the list of movies I love. At some point in my life I started to worry that when I was married with kids I wouldn't be able to buy the classic movies to show them that there used to be good kids movies (G-force and Spy Kids are a pathetic excuse for a child or family film).

I had no need to worry about the availability of my favorite childhood films. These days several classic Disney movies come out of the "vault" every year. There's a trend that's going on with this that's a little concerning. The movie will be re-released, a few years later it'll come out again, and then again in a few more years. With each re-release they add a new gem (I know for a fact there have been at least a gold, platinum, and diamond edition of Snow White), form of disc, and more special features. For example, Bambi--it came out originally in 1942. I don't know for sure how many times they've come out with a new edition of the movie, but judging by the fact that the most current version, which came to stores last month, is called "Bambi 2-disc Diamond Edition Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack" I'd say this movie has been around the block a few times. Granted, there have been a lot of improvements since it was first released on VHS, and upgrading from DVD to Blu-Ray is probably a big deal as well, but every single re-release of every movie goes through an extravagant process than isn't really needed.

A big deal is made about the new special features, and the new directors commentary probably is something special (I wouldn't know, I never watch it), but is it really necessary to add another $10+ just because they tripled the length of the title? At the rate things are going, when I'm 30 years old and want to buy a Disney movie (I would probably skip Bambi, I've never really been a fan) I'll have to pay $60 for a five disc collectors edition, with a title including a gem they discovered between now and then. There'll be a widescreen, and fullscreen version of the movie, three different commentaries, two special features discs, a digital copy, and one or two more things that haven't been invented yet. Technology will probably change before I'm 30 so there might be something different than discs, but you get the idea.

So all in all, I don't have to worry, my children won't have to go without real entertainment, but at what cost?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Countdown to shutdown

Let's be honest, I'm not as informed as I could be about the happenings in the country. I read the newspaper every so often, and I glance over the top news on the Yahoo homepage pretty often, but other than that I kinda keep out of the loop. I also could care less about politics. I feel like the whole process is just a bunch of people pushing personal agendas, fighting rather than finding solutions, and a whole lot of unnecessary bother. Yes, that's an over generalization, but to a large extent it's true. Considering my civic involvement--or lack thereof--it should come as no surprise that I heard about the government shutdown the day before it was going to happen. I was surprised that congress has gotten to the point that they would rather shut down everything, other than essential government functions, rather than come to a compromise. No matter which political affiliation you have, this is just ridiculous.

In case you're wondering, a government shutdown doesn't mean everything gets shut down, which is reassuring, but still, shutting down the SBA, passport operations, national parks, the Federal Housing Association, not to mention postponing the payment of all the soldiers is still a big deal. If the government were to shut down 800,000 federal employees would be affected. They would go without pay for however long the shutdown lasted. Some, but not all would be eligible for unemployment benefits, and unless congress approved it, those employees wouldn't receive back pay for the time they weren't working. Ridiculous? I think so.

The shutdown was a result of the fact that congress can't come up with a plan to cut federal spending and lower the national debt. Both parties obviously agree that we need to stop spending so much, but they disagreed on which programs to cut. Republican's wanted to cut back on social welfare programs, and Democrats wanted to limit tax breaks and cut back on some programs for businesses. I don't know much about congress and I definitely don't know much about what it must be like to be a congressman. Who knows, it's probably stressful to have a large amount of people relying on your decisions. But regardless of all that, is a shutdown the most sensible solution for a failure to compromise? Has our two party system divided us so badly that 800,000 people's livelihoods would be compromised for an indefinite amount of time?

Luckily no shutdown was necessary. Late Friday night, just a few hours before the deadline, congress came to an agreement. In 2011 there will be 38 billion dollars worth of cuts made. Had they not made a compromise we would have experienced the first shutdown in fifteen years. Crisis averted, for now. In 2012 they're going to discuss whether or not they'll raise the debt ceiling and then we'll get to go through this all over again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fancy feast...or is it?

Pets, we all love them. Unless you're a cat person, in which case you should rethink your life. Just kidding. But seriously. Anyway, we all obviously want the best for our pets and we'd like to give them the best life we can. However, whenever I watch a pet food commercial I feel like the food that's advertised is vastly overrated. Take, for example, this commercial. "Succulent gravy drizzled over filet mignon mixed with vegetables and fortified with vitamins and minerals." or "Rich beef flavor with the delicious taste of corn, carrots, and chicken as well as flax seed to promote heart health." First of all, I made both of those up. But, that's what they all sound like so I'm not making any apologies. Secondly, does giving my dog a gourmet can of dog food really make that big of a difference in his nutrition? Most, if not all, food these days is fortified with vitamins and minerals already, so chances are all those extra things that get added in won't do much. Thirdly, my dog ate anything, besides carrots and Cheetos, so had I given him some classy dog food would he have even noticed? Probably not. And the last point I'd like to make is probably the most important. The commercials make those cans of food look appetizing, especially when they're shown in a crystal bowl being eaten daintily by a pristine looking dog or cat. But at the end of the day that super fancy can of dog food will plop out of the can in the same gross, slimy, smelly way as the normal can that doesn't pretend to be all high and mighty.

We all love our pets, but let's show them we love them by letting them know that their owner is intelligent enough to not fall for a marketing campaign.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Drip drip drop little April showers

If I had my way I would live in a place with three seasons. Late spring, summer, and early fall. Late spring is warm, but not too warm. The trees have adorable blossoms which are great because they're way cuter than leaves and they smell amazing. Summer is great for obvious reasons--it's warm all the time, you get to wear shorts and swim suits and t-shirts all the time, and there's no school. Early fall is awesome because it's just like summer, but not as hot.

Then comes late fall, winter, and early spring, the three seasons I hate. Winter I don't have as big of a problem with because at least it's consistent. It's cold, miserable, it might snow, and it might not, but either way, when you look out the window you're guaranteed to see some shade of gray. So, while winter is the worst, it's never been anything but honest. On the other hand, late fall and early spring just aren't fair and everyone knows it.

The transition seasons are the most tantalizing times of year especially early spring. It's been a long winter, I'm sick of the cold and every day I come closer and closer to packing my things and moving to California. Sure, it's true that I know no one there, the economy is terrible, the state will be filing for bankruptcy any day now, and everyone says it's gonna fall into the ocean one of these days. But, on the plus side there's a beach, it has Disneyland, Six Flags, and Knotts Berry Farm, AND it's sunny. Almost all the time!

Here in Utah it's a whole other story. One day it'll be be a typical winter-y Utah day, the next it'll be a balmy--maybe even warm, sunny, blue sky, no clouds kind of day. If it's warm you pull out your shorts and you're ready to go jump into the recently opened pool at your apartment, and then the next day it snows again! So you put away your shorts and pull out the cold weather clothes again. Guess what happens the next morning. Need I go on? All I know is it's really frustrating for me to have to deal with this. Will whoever is in charge please make up their mind! I'm gonna go crazy.

At the end of the day, I'm glad it's spring. Even if the weather is the epitome of bipolar, it's better than just being depressed all the time. I'd rather have the potential for warm weather than to be destined for freezing temperatures all the time, so I'll count my blessings and keep my hopes up. One of these days it'll be warm for more than three days at a time. Until then, happy spring everyone.