" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Film Review: Tron: Legacy

(Much like 'Revenge Of The Jedi', it should have stayed ----> way.)

I'm not going to tell you Tron: Legacy is a good film, because it's not.

I'm not even going to tell you that if the original hit some personal chord in any sense, you'll enjoy it well enough for what it is...

...because in order to enjoy the sequel to Tron, you had to REALLY Love the original. It HAS to be personal. And I mean a LOT. For me, seeing Tron by myself, in the theatre at ten years old in Davenport while my brother and his then girlfriend now wife saw Officer And A Gentlemen, hit something in me.

It has to touch you in a way that allows the colors, hues, feelings and emotions involved with being allowed to see a movie by yourself for the first time, and simultaneously have that movie touch a place that evokes that first time when you understand the concept of subtext. And have all that intertwine in a way that will never be broken.

Ten years old. By myself for the first time ever from a house populated by three older brothers, a younger sister and, at times, four dogs (fourteen with puppies in the summer) in a crackerbox house, economy in the shitter, dad on strike, government cheese in play for dinner, wearing hand-me-down clothes too short for me, in small town Iowa in 1982. My time. My. Time. For the first time ever. Not to mention various other unmentionables going on at the time.

And I was offered a film with space and vision and visuals that, I'm sorry Star Wars fans, allowed you to be entirely engrossed in a world utterly unseen (by '82, I saw the Star Wars world and it was glorious. Tron was new...maybe because unlike Star Wars, it was mine - nobody else knew nor cared about it).

After reading about the production later in life, I realized the subtext I saw probably wasn't intentional. For me, at the time though, and that time was a time when the local restaurant printed on the back of their menus the Soviet targets like the power plant across the river and the radius of a nuclear bomb impact on that plant, imparting the knowledge in my 10 year-old, Lynard Skynyrd-infused brain that I would be instantly incinerated, Communism vs. the Free World was the order of the day.

I know that's bullshit now. I knew it was bullshit three years after that. But in that time, at that moment, by myself being able to completely form my own conclusions irrespective of ANY other input, influence or other judgment, Tron was mine. Rare thing, that. No older brother to interfere and tell you you're being ridiculous. No conversation about it at all. It was mine to gestate, incubate and fell as I pleased. So much so. It was Possibility.

I'm never going to see the original Tron with a critical eye. Never. Too much involved and nothing will ever take away that initial, very personal experience. I remember the popcorn, I remember the seat I sat in, I remember every minute of waiting for my brother and his girlfriend to finish up their movie, sitting on a ledge, hoping that the time alone would be longer, that it would give me more minutes, more seconds to myself to digest and enjoy this new-found time alone.

It was the first taste of adulthood. So Tron is personal. And I will never apologize for something like that. Heck, I'll even start a blog debating all takers on the merits of the original entirely separate from my personal experience.

The sequel only extends that first experience. As a film by itself, it's a bit cold, a bit playing on the original in merely superficial ways, a bit like seeing a shadow. But. In many ways, not so much. This is the original creator, Steven Lisberger's, baby and he goes all in (boning up on the original helped. Watched my VHS version and bought the soundtrack to the sequel. Can't believe by VCR still worked.).

It's a loud, in your face film amplified by the Daft Punk soundtrack. They're complete Tron nerds but rhythms take over the film in effusive and interfering ways, not allowing the breath and space needed but that's always been the duo's rub. No space to process. Unfortunately, the holes in the screenplay attempt to fill the gaps with music. And like any geek fest, playing above the average movie-goers' intelligence is rewarded by the critics but doesn't pay the mortgage. It feels like the latter may have been a wee bit more focused on than the former for the most part. Feels perfunctory at times while only occasionally engrossing.

The original set the bar for live-action animation. This one sets a different bar. It delivers a visual wonderland while playing in the darker, black-based regions of the eye. It's not Avatar, a movie that uses bright contrasting colors as a crutch. Tron: Legacy went the hard way.

In 3D, it also doesn't overdo the effect, choosing its moments carefully, which is welcome (unlike the GD trailers. Cripes! I get it. It's coming at me. WOW!).

And contrary to many critics bemoaning the de-aging of Jeff Bridges and its supposed "creepiness," it doesn't come off like that at all. It's fine. The mouth to nose ratio is a tad weird and the eyes are too tapered but it's fine and good. Even intriguing.

No recommendation here. I can't see anyone who didn't REALLY love the original getting into the sequel much. It's eye candy and that's it. But if you're 36-44 years old and you saw the original in the theatre, plop down $14 and see it in 3D. I'm sure you've blown $14 on worse things this week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So, It's Basically One Guy Being Suspended

Holy Christ. Really? That's what all the kerfuffle was about? Adam Robinson is a cokehead and Jewel Hampton and his balsa wood knees are transferring? That's it.

Wow. If you got on the Idiot Boards last night either a) Ferentz was retiring b) 23 players were being kicked off the team c) NCAA sanctions were forthcoming, among other things.

Talk about a state that needs a pro team, a mountain range or a giant political scandal to divert attention.

Marcus Coker is the starting running back in the bowl game and next year. There. Done.
Can you people just watch the bowl game, keep an eye on the Iowa basketball team and move on with whatever it is you people do?

Pitchers and catchers less than 2 months. Keep...Breathing....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Can We Get Something In A Color Other Than Heart Attack Brown?

Just got my first exposure to Paula Dean.....

Lard. Lots and lots of lard. Let's take everything in our pantry, throw it on a table, mix it in a bowl, deep fry it and cover it in sugar, butter and hog fat.
Gee, I can't imagine why the South smells like diabetes.
It's godawful. Just...god..awful.

I'm no health food Nazi but watching her made me want to high tail it to Whole Foods for an Organic Colon Cleanser and Vomit Inducer.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let's Talk About Iowa Basketball! Oh...Wait...

If the rumors about the computer pictures are true...

Keeps gettin' better.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Big Bowl Of Meh

At least it's not relegated to the tomb that is the NFL Network on New Year's Eve like it has been the last 3 years or so.
But the Insight Bowl?!
Yeah, I 'll watch but it really doesn't mean anything. Iowa's season will still leave me with a gigantic Diet Chocolate Soda, horseshit aftertaste in my mouth and beating a decent Missouri team won't take it away.

This is why I hate all these made up bowls. Do they really matter? Quick, who won last year's Sun Bowl? Yep. I had to look it up. Oklahoma apparently beat Stanford. How about the Chick-fil-A or Liberty or Music City? You see where I'm going with this. Hell, the only reason I know who won last year's Insight Bowl was because it was Iowa State and you can't go on an Iowa message board without seeing 20 threads devoted to the "Clowns". Get it? See what they did there?

So, I'll be watching but really just sitting back and taking one last deep whiff of disappointment and say goodbye to the 2010 Iowa Football Shitastic Voyage of the Damned.

Thank God.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Can We All Agree?

If the Sox don't get Konerko back, the Adam Dunn signing is a wash.

And it might a slight downgrade with Ozzie inexplicably saying that Dunn could see time at first and left field (slaps forehead).

Great signing by Kenny, no question. Kenny got his Dunn deal done (aren't I clever?).

Dunn certainly qualifies as one of the most, if not the most underrated players in baseball.

But "underrated" doesn't necessarily mean he's one of the game's best players. He's more of a best of the rest type player, just below the "eh, eh, eh...cream of the class" (I miss Hampton talking baseball so I create such things in my head just for funnsies).

Some have said the Sox just signed a younger version of Jim Thome. Kinda. More close statistically, the Sox just signed the last four years of Jason Giambi as a Yankee.

(click to stimulate)

Yeah, I squeezed four years out of Giambi to compare to three years of Dunn. So what, wanna fight about it? But what does it all mean, Christo?

It means first and foremost that we'll see pretty, majestic and plentiful home runs flying out to the right field seats. We'll see Dunn standing on first a lot because he waited for a pitch to hit said majesty and didn't get it. It means that we can thank all that is holy that Mark Kotsay won't be DH'ing and hitting FIFTH anymore (just for that, an argument could be made that the Sox got better). It means there's a good chance that Dunn could be the first Sox player to hit 50 since...well...nobody. That has tremendous value. But they'll still need Konerko to improve the middle of the order and man first compared to last year. Can I get an Amen? No Konerko and no lesser signing like a Carlos Peña to play first and we get the utter joy of watching a Dunn/Viciedo platoon on the far right side of the infield butchering balls all over the God's green Earth.

And the Sox pulled off the impossible! They paid $3.5 million to NOT watch Scott Linebrink pitch. On a similar note, is there someone I can pay to NOT watch NBC's Thursday night lineup? I have a crisp $20 bill just sitting here, doin' nothin'.

Great signing. Great dump. Need more.