Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thank you, Dad

I actually thought of writing something about my Dad about a week or so ago, but seeing as today is Father's Day, it seems appropriate to get this written up now.

I'm not really sure where to even begin. My Dad is awesome. He's always there for me. And I do mean always. I'm constantly turning to him for his advice, even on the most tedious of issues. And even when I know that he's busy, or he'd rather be doing something else, he always manages to come through for me nonetheless. I value his wisdom, and he's helped set me on the right path several times when I've been wandering around, lost in life.

Of everyone in my family, I'm probably closest with my Dad. I know it's hard for them all to put up with my crap, and it's hard for me, too. But I guess the reason why I'm able to be just a little more comfortable, just a little more myself around him (even if it is just a little), is because more than anyone, he really gets me. There's been more than one occasion growing up where I may have done something stupid, or a little bit controversial, but he didn't blow things out of proportion and make a big deal about it. He knew that I was just being myself. And even though I may be a little bit different, he's accepted me for who I am.

I love my Dad. He's a big man with a big heart, and he goes out of his way to make our family happy. Because at the end of the day, that's what he's always saying, he just wants us to be happy. And I just want the same for him. I honestly couldn't ask for a better Dad. I'm lucky to have him around in my life, and I really don't know what I'd do without him. I don't say it nearly enough, but thank you, Dad. You've been great.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Fantastic Saturday

So yesterday, I was expecting to get together with some friends and watch some fantasy movies. Little did I know that I'd be taking part in a fantastic adventure all my own.

I probably should have known something was up when I approached the door to my friends' house, only to be greeted by some weird old man who wouldn't let me in. I had to take him down with my mad kung fu skills in order to get past him and proceed into the house. But when I got to the door, I could hear screaming inside. So I opened the door, and I was engulfed by green smoke.

I was wondering what was going on, and then I saw. One of my friends, Maggie, was celebrating her birthday. And while lighting the candles on her cake, she had somehow caught her hair on fire. How this resulted in the fire's smoke being green, I'll never know, but there was no time to ponder on that now. I had to get that fire put out.

I was frantically looking around for something, when I saw it. A bottle of Dr. Pepper was sitting between Caroline and Cynthia, who were busy trying to pat the fire out themselves. I grabbed this bottle, hoping to just pour some on the fire and maybe put it out. However, the thing exploded on me, and Dr. Pepper started shooting everywhere.

I did manage to put out the fire, but I also got all of my friends soaked and sticky. And worse yet, I ruined the birthday cake. Daniel came running down at that point with a towel wrapped around his neck. He asked what had happened, and why there was green smoke all over the place. We filled him in, and I told Maggie that it was okay, and that I was going to make things right. And first things first, we were going to go out and get her another cake.

So Caroline, Cynthia, Daniel, and I went out to the store, while we let Maggie stay back and wash up. We ran into Angela at the store, who was bragging about winning a bunch of ice or something, I don't really know. But in any event, she helped us pick out the perfect cake, one that had a bright shiny star on it.

I was holding the cake as we headed back to the car. Once we stepped outside the store, though, something strange happened. The cake, it disappeared. And in it's place, I now found that I was holding a woman in my arms. Wait... what?!

So the cake-woman explained that she had the power to heal anyone who ate her while she was a cake. Why she was no longer a cake right now, again, I'll never know. But we did know was that this cake was even more perfect that we could have hoped, since eating her would mean that Maggie could recover from the Zuko-like burns that she had suffered. But the thing was, we weren't the only ones looking to take advantage of her healing powers. And that's when we got chased by pirates.

Now, I'd love to go on about how much I helped out in our brawl against those pirates, but one of them turned me into a mouse, so I was pretty much helpless for the time being. My friends took care of business, though, arming themselves with newly purchased eggs and taking the pirates out. Once they took down the one who transformed me, I returned back to normal, but by then, I had missed out on all of the action.

Oh well. So we brought the cake-woman back to the house, and when we stepped inside, she transformed back into an actual cake. We skipped out on the candles this time and went right to cutting the cake. Now, knowing that the cake was a person was a little off putting at first as we ate. But the cake was so damn good that we didn't even give it another thought after one bite. And it turned out that the cake was, in fact, not a lie, as Maggie's scars miraculously healed, and all was well again. Or so we thought.

Rachel, who was stuck at work, was posting online about strange happenings. She was being much more productive than usual. You see, every single thing her bosses told her to do, she did so obediently and without question. But it didn't stop there, as everything anyone else asked her to do, she also obeyed. She was worried about what was happening to her, but we didn't think much of it at first. Probably just the stresses of work getting to her, she'd be fine once her shift was done.

But then apparently somebody told her to film herself singing a rendition of Queen and post the video online. Again, nothing too out of the ordinary, until we clicked on the video and saw for ourselves. Her skin had gotten extremely pale, and she had huge shadows around her eyes. Frankly, she looked like a vampire. So at that point we thought that maybe something weird had happened, so decided to pay her a visit and see if we couldn't remedy the situation.

Our friend JP must have had the same idea after seeing the video himself, as he showed up at the house right at that moment, riding atop his giant flying cat. He told us to hurry up and jump aboard, there was no time to lose. We had to get over to Rachel's job and save her.

So we flew on the back of JP's cat and made it to Rachel's workplace within seconds. But when we got there, it was already too late. Everyone was already turned into a vampire, and somebody ordered Rachel to do the same to us. Literally not one to even be able to argue, Rachel obeyed, turned us all into vampires.

This latest development kinda sucked at first, but we decided to make the best of it. So we all formed a band together, and everyone lived happily ever after. Well, except for the living part, since, you know, we're vampires now.

The end.

Super 8

Well I expected Super 8 to be good, but god damn, not that good.

I almost don't want to talk too much about this and risk giving something away, especially after the marketing campaign did such an awesome job keeping things under wraps (other marketing studios could learn a thing or two in this department!). So instead, I'll basically just reiterate what you should already know going in.

A group of kids are making a movie, and while filming one night, a huge train crash takes place before their eyes. Something escapes from that train, so the military steps in to try and keep things under wraps, but everybody in the town knows that something's not quite right. Essentially, this is a coming of age monster movie. The story is gripping, and pays homage to the likes of E.T., Stand By Me, Cloverfield, and The Iron Giant.

Everything just comes together so well here. You never quite know what you're going to get when dealing with kid actors, but everyone does a superb job here. This especially stood out for me with their ability to switch on and off between good acting and "bad acting", as is the case while the kids are filming their in-movie film. And the dialogue in this movie is fantastic. It sounds like the stuff that a bunch of kids would actually say, which really helps ground the movie and give it a more realistic feeling.

There are a number of thrilling scenes, such as the aforementioned train crash, as well as several other emotionally charged sequences throughout. But thrilling as this movie is, it's also packed in with tons of legitimate laughs. The humor in this movie is integrated so naturally with all of the action and everything else going on, and it never feels forced at all.

Honestly, when thinking about this movie, I really can't even think of anything to complain about it. It's a touching movie, and one that definitely shouldn't go missed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Publix Subs

So I was at Publix the other day. Nothing out of the ordinary, I just picked up a few things, and then I was on my way. And that's when it hit me. And by it, I'm of course talking about a ninja.

Yes, a ninja. It came completely out of nowhere and punched me, right in the stomach. So I doubled over, and I dropped all of my newly purchased groceries. I didn't have any time to grieve over my loss, though, before the ninja kneed me in the face, knocking me out cold.

When I woke up several minutes later, I was tied up and blindfolded. I had no idea where I was or what had happened to me. But I could smell something. Something fresh, something fried. Whatever it was, it smelled delicious, and it made my mouth water. I just had to have whatever this was for myself, and so I started gnawing away at my ropes. I chewed and I chewed, until finally, I was free.

I pulled off my blindfold, then I stood up and looked around. This place looked oddly familiar. And then it hit me. No, not a literal hit this time, I mean I figured out where I was. I was in the storeroom of Publix. Why? I don't know, really, and I may never figure that one out. Because as I walked out of the storeroom and into the store, the ninja saw me, and he made his attack.

But this time I wasn't going to let him take me out. After all, I still had to get my hands on that delicious dish, and nothing was gonna stop me now. And so I took in another whiff, and I fought back. His martial arts were no match for my raging appetite. I uppercutted that ninja with my lethal fists of fury, and finished him off with an elbow drop off the top of the aisle.

At that point, I thought I was home free. But I was wrong. As I got up, I saw that the ninja wasn't alone. There was a whole slew of them, and they were ready for battle. Too bad for them, so was I. And so a battle royale ensued.

With every punch and every kick, my hunger grew. My hunger for that food, as well as my hunger for destruction. Lucky for me, I was on the pots and pans aisle, so as the battle raged on, I was able to arm myself and even the odds a little bit. Sure enough, it wasn't too long after that before I was able to work my way through the lot of 'em. Frying pans, who knew?

Finally, with no more ninjas standing in my way, I only had one more objective left to tackle. I followed my nose, and it lead me all the way to the back of the store, to the deli section, where I would find my prize.

It was a Publix chicken tender sub sandwich. It was made perfectly, handled with care by the young miss who put it together. The condiments were placed on the bread before the meat, ensuring that they wouldn't slide off whenever I took a bite. The chicken was diced up and packed on top, not too much so as to make a mess, but not too little so as to leave me unfulfilled. And with just a dash of salt and pepper sprinkled on top, this masterpiece was complete.

And it was good.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

X-Men: First Class

I usually don't bother writing any kind of movie review or write-up unless the words just happen to jump out to me. But it's funny, I feel compelled to write about this movie, despite not really have much of anything coming to mind.

I guess I'll start off by saying to lower your expectations. The movie was certainly good, but it didn't nearly live up to my admittedly ridiculous expectations. It's quite possibly the best of the X-Men franchise thus far, maybe about on par in quality to the first two in the series. But it still didn't feel like everything was quite clicking into place.

This is the origins story for the X-Men franchise as a whole. We see just a little of Charles Xavier's and Mystique's origins, but most of the early focus is on the birth of Magneto. That was one of the biggest selling points for me. After all, the rumored X-Men Origins: Magneto was one of my most anticipated movies, but I guess it wasn't easy trying to put together a superhero based Holocaust movie, so we're getting his origin story here instead. However, the big scene from Erik's childhood comes off as really corny and over-dramatic, which was a bit of a let down.

The stand out performances come from James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and especially Michael Fassbender, who does a tremendous job playing a young Magneto. These two light up the screen every time they appear, which frankly isn't often enough. Yeah, they're in most of the movie, but when the focus shifts to other minor character, the film tends to drag at times.

It's not that the supporting cast is horrible or anything. I think it's just that there's too many other characters, and as a result, we don't really get a chance to see them develop and care all that much about them. So when the focus does shift to these characters, like I said, the movie just becomes a little less interesting. But on a slightly related note, the cameos in this film are fantastic!

It is a good thing that McAvoy and Fassbender share most of the film, though, because these two put on some tremendous performances, and have great chemistry together. I wish we could have seen more of them in scenes together, and possibly seen more of their developing friendship, as it truly is the bond between these two characters that keeps this movie afloat. They have such vastly different ideals, yet there's a sincere respect between the two that never falters, even when their ideals force them to part ways.

One of the things that sort of let me down about this movie was that it just didn't feel all that epic, which was kind of odd considering the world altering stakes that were at hand. The previews made this look to be the biggest epic to come out of Marvel yet, but while the effects were mostly good and the set pieces were decent, I never really got that big sense of scale that I'd expect from the premise.

Now I said the effects were mostly good, but they weren't all winners. Beast especially looked horrible. And considering how good they made him look in X-Men: The Last Stand five years ago, it's just unacceptable to see him look so bad this time out. I also wasn't a big fan of the way his character was portrayed, though it's supposed to be a much younger version of the character, so I can forgive this one.

A funny thing about this film is the continuity issues with the rest of the series. It makes several references to the other four films, yet there's several moments in this movie which contradict certain events that are supposed to take place in those films. This isn't really a knock against the movie so much as just something you might notice. And none of it is anything too major, assuming you're able to just ignore it and not give it much thought.

This film brought its own fresh style to the X-Men franchise, which works for the most part. Overall, while it wasn't what I was expecting, it was still a pretty good, enjoyable film. And hey, look at that, I actually had a lot more to say about this film than I thought!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Word Vomit: Spitting Out My Latest Movie Reviews

Simple enough, I'm not going to go into too much detail, just gonna spew out a few thoughts on some of the latest films I've seen, in order from best to worst:

Kung Fu Panda 2

This movie lived up to my expectations. It's pretty much on par with the first. It's a very beautiful film, much more so than I remember the first being, and I especially loved the switch between 2D and 3D styles at certain times.

I think this movie benefits tremendously by not being saddled down with an origins story like the first, so they're able to jump right into the action. And the Furious Five actually play an active role here, rather than merely existing like they did before. Our villain, played wonderfully by Gary Oldman, is also a real treat, and similar to the Furious Five, we're really able to spend some time with him and learn more about him, whereas last time we were just told about our villain until we finally meet him in the end.

The film definitely brings the humor, and one particular line by Mantis may be the funniest thing I've heard in a movie in years. But, as I discussed with my friend I went to see it with, they sometimes placed their humor in inappropriate spots. It only bugged me a little, but my friend took a much bigger issue with it, so I suppose it just comes down to taste.

Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It's funny, and at times it's heartbreakingly powerful. Dreamworks definitely has a successful franchise on their hands, and I more than look forward to the next installment.


Eh, it was good. It has a few problems, such as the forced romance plot (which is given far more importance than it deserves, considering how rushed it is), and some of the earlier action scenes suffered from shaky cam, which just immediately pisses me off anytime I see it at this point. Seriously, I can't see shit! What's the point of an action scene where I can't see shit?!?!

But those minor complaints really don't drag this movie down in the end. It's a lot of campy fun, and oftentimes hilarious at points. The scenes with Thor readjusting himself in his new role on Earth are definitely the best parts of the movie.

It actually reminded me of the first Iron Man, both in quality, and in its general tone. But after seeing this, I'm now expecting pretty much that same general quality going into the Captain America and Avengers movies. So while I won't expect them to blow me away anymore, I'll expect to at least be entertained by them.


It's really just a dumb action flick, and it blatantly steals from several other franchises, everything from Indiana Jones to Pirates of the Caribbean. But despite its unoriginality, it's so damn fun that you can't help but love it. My friends and I went in fully expecting it to suck, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that it, in fact, wasn't completely horrible!

And after looking it up afterwards, it literally has nothing at all to do with the source material it's based off of. There are no vampires in the original story, whereas this movie is based entirely around them. So we joked that the guy in the trailer who constantly insists that "there is no vampire menace" just happened to have a copy of the graphic novel on hand.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

So I saw the new Pirates movie, and, well, it was okay...ish, I guess. Though I did go in totally expecting it to be horrible, so that may have something to do with why I think that.

It certainly has issues, oh does it have issues. The action scenes overstay their welcome more often than not, there are several very convenient moments, most notably when one of the guards just randomly places down Jack's gun and sword before resuming to give chase.

Also, none of the new character are really all that interesting, and of the returning characters, only Barbosa really continues to impress. Jack just really doesn't feel like Jack anymore, though I will say he's more tolerable here than he was in At World's End. It's sad that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley's characters, who I was originally thrilled to see weren't returning, were actually very much missed, and the new characters introduced completely failed to fill the void they left behind.

I will say this though, bad as the previous two were, at least they had several unforgettable images that will remain in your head long after you left the theater. It may be too early to say, but I just can't see that really being the case here. Not a whole lot interesting really happened.

Overall, it's not really a good movie, but I didn't walk out of the theater pissed off like I did the last one, so it does have that going for it. I guess by this point I'm just not invested at all in the series, so it's utter mediocrity just doesn't even affect me anymore, 'cause at this point, I honestly don't care.


I just don't really get the hype for this one. Maybe, after hearing so many good things about it, I just went in with expecting too much, but this didn't live up to any of it.

It's honestly not all that funny. All of the scenes with the chubby girl are hilarious, but other than that, it's just blah. And other than the heavy girl and the cop character, there's not a single likable person in the entire cast.

After a certain point, I just didn't care about our main characters anymore. And hell, even the movie quit caring, as some characters just randomly disappear halfway into the movie, with no resolution for them at all. Makes you wonder why they were even included in the first place.

I don't really have much else to say about it, but this was probably the biggest disappointment of the year thus far. At least, it was, until...

The Hangover: Part II

Not since The Last Airbender have I seen a movie as ABYSMAL as The Hangover: Part II. My god this movie was bad. This was leaving the theater pissed off levels of bad. Hell, there were several times I considered walking out during the movie, but I stuck around in the false hope that it might possibly turn things around.

Hell, and I thought Bridesmaids wasn't funny, that movie's a god damn riot compared to this shit! There's not a single laugh to be had here. Not one. The movie is flat out not funny at all. Maybe if it actually tried to do something different, something vaguely original, instead of only referencing the first movie every god damn five seconds. The references just become groan inducing.

I literally don't have a single good thing to say about this mind numbing piece of crap. The first one was great, so I at least expected a shred of quality here. But no, nothing. This movie has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.