Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Jumper

February 17th, 2008

Last Saturday, I went to see Jumper at AMC Saratoga 14 with a few friends. This isn’t a review of Jumper… well, Jumper sucked and blew, and it was dumb. There, I reviewed it. But this entry’s primary purpose isn’t to review Jumper, it’s to showcase a little game I made up awhile back. When you go out to see a movie, pay close attention to the trailers. Add one to the count for every:

-Remake (a newer version of a previously released movie) (Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job)
-Sequel (slash prequel slash interquel slash etc.; a movie taking place within the chronology of a previously released movie) (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Land of the Dead)
-Adaptation (a movie based on a previous non-movie work, like a book, play, real life event, what have you) (I Am Legend, Iron Man)

Count each trailer that meets one of these conditions (movies that match multiple criteria still count as one, though they make interesting case studies and should be noted for posterity), and compare it to the total number of trailers, and you have a percentage that represents how many upcoming films are “unoriginal”. Of course, plenty of movies that don’t fall under these criteria are unoriginal in a multitude of other ways (entries in well-defined genres, ripoffs of other movies, some guy getting kicked in the crotch, and so on), but I’ll go out on a limb and say that my definition of an unoriginal film is a far less forgivable instance. How many times do we need to see The Incredible Hulk on the big screen (at least two, apparently)? I’d much rather see another Michel Gondry movie with whimsically low-budget special effects than another James Bond crapfest. With this game, we get a general idea about how the coming months will play out in terms of originality in Hollywood. If we sample enough movies, we might even be able to glean some useful data and (God willing) throw together some Excel spreadsheet charts!

On with the trailers!

The Happening
I’m very excited about this one. We haven’t had an M. Night Shammalammadingdong movie for a few years now, and I’m eager to see if he can top Lady in the Water, arguably the shittiest film of all time. The presence of Mark Wahlberg and a seemingly pointless reference to Colony Collapse Disorder in the trailer are icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. While the Wikipedia mentions that this script started as a live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender (man, that would have been a really stupid idea), it no longer carries this distinction, and is therefore ORIGINAL.

Street Kings
Keanu Reeves is at the top of his game when portraying a renegade cop who doesn’t play by the rules, so this will probably be good watchin’. I’m always sad to see more capable actors like Forest Whitaker get dragged down though. And looking at these credits, I see at least two rapper names (“Common” and “The Game”). Oh yeah, this’ll be good shit. But a cursory scan of the credits also doesn’t reveal the phrase “based on a short story by” or anything of that kind, so we’ve got another ORIGINAL on our hands.

Noble assassins that curve bullets around corners! It’s clear that these trailers were made just for me. What could have potentially been a freakish long streak of originality is blissfully broken by this ADAPTATION of a comic book miniseries.

Pixar can do no wrong, and like every other film they’ve made, this one is 100% ORIGINAL. Though the robot’s resemblance to R.O.B. and Johnny Five is intriguing, I won’t hold it against them if the movie is up to their usual standards of excellence.

10,000 BC
This film slides by on a technicality. Though it, as historical fiction, is loosely based on real life, it is not based on any specific real event, and therefore is ORIGINAL. The CGI blows though. So that’s something.

The Bank Job
My brain didn’t retain any knowledge of this trailer after the film, so I’m glad I wrote it down so as to look up the video later. Wait, maybe “glad” isn’t the word I was looking for. There’s like sex and bank robberies and a bumbling ensemble cast and and other cliché bullshit, but the trailer proudly proclaims to be based on a true story, so it gets the dishonorable ADAPTATION stamp of disapproval. Oh yeah, and it sullies The Clash by playing London Calling at the end. Boo.

Total: 33.3% (2/6)

So as of a February 16th screening of Jumper at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was slated to be 33.3% unoriginal. Honestly, this is one of the best scores I’ve ever seen in my thus-far limited tallying, but now we’ve got hard data! Give this game a try the next time you go to the movies, and I’ll post your results (include date and location of viewing; the more random data, the better the pie charts!).

On a sidenote, “Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio” makes a great acronym to describe these dumb movies. Go me.


Cinematic Titanic's The Oozing Skull! TODAY!

January 15th, 2008

After several weeks of feverishly rifling through all those pesky credit card offers and no-doubt meaningless “bills”, my copy of Cinematic Titanic‘s “The Oozing Skull” arrived in the mailbox today. I absolutely loved it, but I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the rather lackluster packaging, because minutiae is cool.

The disc came sealed in a paper CD sleeve covered in mailing information that I had to damage to open, and the media was all smudged up! A quick rub of the ol’ iPhone chamois made it good as new, but if EZTakes wants people to use their patented movie delivery system, they gotta work on the presentation. In their defense, they primarily appear to do video downloads with the ability to burn to DVD and print cover art from their nifty-looking client application (I thank whatever deity is listening that they had the wherewithal to make a Mac version of their app; I’m waiting, RiffTrax Player!), but this is of little consolation as I can’t figure out any way to access The Oozing Skull’s artwork. Frustrating, but I will try to keep it all in perspective, as Joel and Friends probably have little control over the distribution schema. Once they secure the rights to sell their movies as downloads, I’ll be a much happier little human (plus I’ll save $2.99, enough to buy a two-man RiffTrax!).

But yes, the movie! The Oozing Skull, originally titled “Brain of Blood” (I sure must seem precocious the way I repackage press releases so it looks like I know a lot about obscure 70s Z-movies; I’m probably just being an asshole or something), was a sight to behold. Stilted line delivery, midgetsploitation, and gobs and gobs of red paint blood. These are the elements of a great MST3K episode, so it stood to reason that it would make for equally great riffing fare for a bunch of the guys that were involved in that puppet show. And it did! Even if only in silhouette form (or perhaps because of it), I couldn’t have been happier to see Joel, Trace, Frank, J. “Elvis” (as I can only assume he is known to his friends) and Mary Jo again (though I at least got to hear her voice and read her amusing iWeb blog in recent memory), talking while the movie is playing. Don’t they realize they might miss the good stuff? (I kid, I kid) I loved the paused movie sketches, Trace’s visual gags, Josh’s theme song (which I simply must make into a fashionable ringtone soon), and Frank dropping references far over my uncultured simpleton of a head.

Though I’ve been quite happy with my RiffTraxes and my The Film Crewseses, there’s just something extra-special about seeing the folks doing the heckling. Unfortunately, Jim Mallon and Best Brains, Inc. own the trademark on people sitting down and watching a movie in a theater setting, so I was quite excited to see Joel’s clever workaround of people sitting down in office chairs and watching a movie in a non-theater setting! Obzoive!

“Come along with us, to the glorious, annual Ugly Mug Ball!” That… wasn’t from the movie, I made it up. The actual stuff is much funnier, I just love a good Summer Magic reference.

This has seriously been my one single complaint with Mike Nelson’s otherwise stellar riffing projects, so needless to say, I’m pumped about the prospect of seeing more outlines of people to go with all the talky-talking. I’m not gonna try to get in a Mike vs. Joel fight with anyone here, they’re like my Midwestern older-than-me children. I publicly claim to love them equally! And really, more making fun of movies we shouldn’t be dredging up in the first place can only be a good thing for us fans in the end.

So march onward, Cinematic Titanic guys and girl! Continue to deliver quality content, possibly with the downloads the kids are talking about these days! And maybe do more crossover work with Mike and Kevin and Bill, they’re nice guys!! We like it very much.

And yes, Josh Elvis, I do remember you.

"How come you almost never see a smart person's belly?"

December 21st, 2007


What do you do when you have a secret that you really want to blog about, but feel like you probably shouldn’t divulge too much out of turn? I guess in my case I drop hints. Please visit the following website in about 5 minutes:

( – on )




+ ( – t )

Yeah, that should keep you guessing for the time being. Seriously, this is glorious stuff impending.

Helena Bonham Carter is made of clay

September 29th, 2005

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride was thoroughly awesome. I will give mad props to the first person who throws together a convincing Emily costume, complete with skeletal limbs. And don’t cheat by wearing some kind of full-body costume, I’m talking blue paint and fake holes in your skin all over the place!

So who wants some mad props? I’m waaaaaaaaitiiiiiiiiing…

"Catgut" is made out of cat! It’s CAT!!!

August 30th, 2005

A kitten died in The Brothers Grimm! It got chopped to pieces by a spinning blade and then a French guy ate a piece of kitten guts!

Please think of the kittens. Don’t see The Brothers Grimm.

Just looked it up, it’s not actually made from cat.It’s sheep! And HORSE!!!!!

Oh yeah, that other thing

May 2nd, 2005

The Hitchhiker’s Guide movie sucked hard. So sad.

"What do you get when you multiply 9 by 6?"

April 28th, 2005

My friends and I invented a little game we play whenever we go to the movie theater. During the movie trailers that precede the feature presentation (did you know the trailers used to be shown after the movie? That’s where they got their name! The More You Know!â„¢), we count how many unoriginal movies are premiered compared to originals. Now, an ambiguous term like “unoriginal” may seem a bit silly to use concerning Hollywood productions these days, but for our purposes this is broken down into three subcategories:

•remakes (movies based directly off of older movies, or foreign films; War of the Worlds, The Amityville Horror, The Ring 1+2)
•sequels (and prequels; Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Be Cool, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Batman Begins)
•adaptations (movies based off of other non-movie works, such as books, short stories, and TV shows; Fantastic Four, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Sin City, Bewitched)

The purpose of this little game is to determine just how little creativity is left in the Hollywood scene. Of course, this doesn’t take into account films that use formulaic plots (like romantic comedies or teen movies of the sexy romp nature), or are just plain bad, but it gives us a useful figure we can work with. Sometimes I see a movie with about 50% unoriginal trailers (this should be considered a good figure in this day and age); other times, it gets as high as 80% (this is a pretty common figure in my experience).

So the next time you go to the movies, see how things add up. Note that results may vary depending on what sort of movie you’re seeing, or what type of theater you’re in (local indie theaters will have much lower figures). If you are welcomed with an Unoriginal Ratio of <30%, you should consider yourself very lucky, but don't count on it. Movies suck hard nowadays. This game isn't intended to be fun, it's intended to make you feel sad about how movies suck so hard nowadays. And on that note, I'm gonna go see the Hitchhiker's Guide movie (adaptation) on opening night. Hopefully it won't suck hard!

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