Category Archives: Movies (Reviews, etc.)

Review of 2017’s “It”

Saw the movie “It” yesterday. I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as the first miniseries, so I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed. It was a CGI shitfest. Hollywood keeps churning them out because people keep buying the tickets. I guess most people enjoy the ugly patchwork of CGI “action” (or, at the very least, are willing enough to put up with it to buy a ticket for a story that they want to see). But the way CGI is used today produces within me a mental fatigue.

CGI can be a good compliment, but it was heavily overdone. I’ve heard this a lot from people who are more avid movie watchers than I. I’ve heard, for several years, the complaint that “There’s too much CGI in movies nowadays.” I understand their complaints. If you can’t make it look right practically, then use CGI. But at least make an effort. Yeah, I know it’s cheaper to use CGI. And that’s the problem. It’s cheaper and easier, so we get shittier products (as far as I’m concerned). Once again, I don’t watch a lot of movies. But I’m disappointed that CGI has become a crutch that is broken itself. One reason that I don’t watch a lot of movies is I find the CGI in the movies that I do watch too mentally fatiguing. My suspension of disbelief disappears so often when I see obvious CGI mixed in with “real life”. It can be done right, such as with creating aliens. (Whatever CGI in “The Dark Knight” is perfect). But so much CGI in movies that I’ve seen is just ugly. I’d have to give some examples of what I’m talking about at another time.

The “action” sequences in “It” involving CGI were very bad. Maybe it was just bad CGI. Maybe it could’ve been replaced with CGI that was actually GOOD. But I hated it. I’ve become numb to CGI, and I don’t enjoy movies that heavily rely on it. For the most part.

I was also disappointed with Pennywise. His look was fine. It’s hard not to compare him to Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Nothing can top that masterful performance. But my main problem with the clown was how he was used. There were way too many shitty jumpscares, in my opinion. He just rushes at the camera, from side-to-side. Such shit. Jumpscares are like CGI: I’m not completely against them, but don’t make the whole movie jumpscares. The original “It” was so creepy. It was very slow. There was a fantastic build-up. And Tim Curry could scare the shit out of you when he snapped: talking normally, and then the last word of a sentence, he sharply YELLS. Amazing. This movie did not have that creepy mood to it to me. It was a little too over-the-top. Too obvious. Georgie’s “You’ll float too, you’ll float too, YOU’LL FLOAT TOO!” pained me to watch. Some people in the audience seemed to enjoy it, but I hated it. It wasn’t creepy. It was just annoying. Like a shitty horror video game. That’s what it felt like: that they tried too hard, and made it too obvious. Not enough suspense to warrant the excessive loud noises and jumps at the camera. They basically substituted Pennywise’s personality for jumpscares. That really hurts. The personality Pennywise did have wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t feel enough of why we should be scared of him. Obvious CGI isn’t a reason.

I did enjoy some of the non-Pennywise CGI, however. The zombie or mummy, whatever it was, without a nose was nice and creepy. The painting that came to life was very creepy (it should’ve had more screen time somehow).

I didn’t like the teeth of Pennywise, for some reason. Yeah, there were rows and rows of sharp teeth, like there should’ve been. But I didn’t like the look of it. That’s the time you should use a jumpscare: when he BITES. But they instead decided to keep everything well-lit, and then, his mouthful of teeth come out so you can see them all. It wasn’t scary enough. It was more like “Oh, look at those teeth.”

One of the very first scenes, Georgie running into that caution barricade, completely took me out of the mood (when I saw that in the trailer, I was hoping to God that it was only in the trailer). It was nice and eerie up to that point. And that one moment of slapstick took me out of the mood. “Is it going to be a slapstick comedy? Or creepy?” I was very disappointed with that decision. It occurred too early in the movie. They didn’t take enough time to develop the mood (the audience’s expectation, considering how popular the story is, isn’t enough of a “mood” setter). The mood of “It” shouldn’t be slapstick. It should be fucking CREEPY.

I thought most of the characters were well done. Bill as a kid is always a hard character to do. It’s hard for a kid to stutter right. I wasn’t a fan of Bill in the original, and I wasn’t a fan of him, here. Mike’s character was great. Bev’s was fantastic. Ben’s was very good. Stan was forgettable. And Eddie and Richie were both very good. Aside from that initial stupid barricade moment, Richie and Eddie were the “funny”. Richie, as a character, is supposed to be “comic relief”. And he was good at it. The other characters had a seriousness to them that didn’t try to overpower Richie’s humor with humor of their own, so his one-liners actually worked very well: especially for a kid his age. Eddie’s “unintentional” humor was also very good. The parents of the children were fantastic. You could really see why Eddie was as nervous as he was. Bev’s dad was very creepy, and the moment she cut off her hair after her father touched it was very powerful. I found Bill’s father to be forgettable. I didn’t really like his character. Mike’s grandfather was a good character: very no-nonsense, straightforward. Actually giving wisdom, and killing the animal in front of Mike because they needed to sell the meat. The bullies were great. Especially Henry Bowers. His performance was very good. Very believable. Much like with Bev and Eddie, you could really feel how Henry was raised. Not much time needed to be spent with Henry’s backstory at all, but you just knew how his home life was (I think that’s mainly due to King’s storytelling ability, but the movie portrayed that well). That one moment where Henry’s father, a cop, shoots three shots from his pistol into the ground right in front of his son to scare him told you all that you needed to know. Fantastic scene.

The scenes where the kids are around the clown are weird. I realize the actors are children, but they weren’t scared enough of the clown for my taste. Even when you’re fighting the clown, you need to be able to show some fear. How could you not? Fighting a clown in a sewer? Felt like just basic fight choreography.

The blood looked fake as hell when they were cleaning it from Bev’s bathroom.

The decision for them to be kids in the 80s was a good one. Keep it more relevant for the audience. A nice update. I personally wish they would’ve been a little more obvious with it. You could tell when the music played that it was supposed to take place in the 80s, but there wasn’t much else that I noticed that made it feel like the 80s. Granted, the mood shouldn’t be something like “Saved By the Bell” (it’s “It”, afterall), but just a little more would have satisfied me. Maybe one perm, or something. There was an ’80s car, and Henry had a mullet. But I wanted just a little more. Maybe some pink and teal somewhere.

The nicer horror scenes (the ones that weren’t shitty CGI) were funny, as good horror scenes should be.

The movie definitely felt like they were just trying to hurry up and release it “27 years” after the original. Like they didn’t even start planning the damn thing until 2 years ago: “Holy shit. We have to make a new ‘It’ movie for 2017! Fuck! What do we do?!” I found it very bland. Not the way a movie like “It” should be. A below-average-to-average horror film. Not worthy of being associated with Stephen King.

The most entertaining thing about the whole experience was my best friend’s navigational skills on the way to the movie theatre. His sense of direction doesn’t involve looking at road signs. VERY funny.

(Disclaimer: currently a little over halfway through with the book. Slow reader, so I can’t compare the movies to the book. I was heartbroken when I saw the tower of kids in the sewer, as I haven’t reached that part in the book yet.

Also, every time I start watching the original “It”, I get tired of it because the thing is so damned long. Pennywise is entertaining, and I remember seeing the spider CGI when I was a kid (because my dad called me in cause he knows I’m afraid of spiders. Honestly, I think I’d prefer that shit CGI over what was done here). But I’ll try to remember to review the book when I’m done with it in a few years, and I’ll eventually go back and try to watch the original “It” miniseries and write a review of it (haha) as well).

Review of the book.

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Saturation vs. Stimulation (In Movies, Particularly)

When I ignore what I’m told, and “nerd out”, I’m much happier, and my work is better. I hope I can retain this confidence to “choose my words carefully”, and be “overly descriptive”, because it actually makes me happy. With that being said, here’s the topic that I wish to discuss using said hope.

I can’t stand action movies because of their improbability, especially considering the sheer number of action movies out there.

I get that art is a “heightened” sense of reality, but come on now…

The “explosions” are so saturated in film that I am uninterested in them. “Oh, would you look at that. Yet another explosion. How original.” I suppose I’m an idiot, because I’m superficially talking about explosions in movies instead of stories in movies. But I’m not much of a “movie” person (I guess because of all of the EXPLOSIONS).

It’s the same thing with shootings in movies. Most of the bullets miss. I already know this “going in”. I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to care about the “inherent danger” of those in the bullets’ path.

I feel the same way (most of the time) with “good guys” and “bad guys”. I expect the good guys to win. I can’t believe that the bad guy is any real danger because I’m certain he’s going to lose. I prefer the “bad guy” to win at the end because it is an unexpected suckerpunch. It’s kind of like watching a sporting event where the “underdog” loses. Most people want to see the underdog “win”. But in movies, the “underdog” is the villain. I can’t believe that a hero in a movie is an “underdog” (even if the script tries to describe him as such) because I’m sure that he’s going to win. The villain is the underdog in movies, in my mind. I usually want the villain to win. I want the unexpected, and I want to be excited and a little depressed at the end. I don’t want the telegraphed “happy ending”. There’s exceptions to this rule (usually when the movie is about a historical war), but this is generally the case for me. Movies (particularly “action” movies) are mundane to me. I need some twists that I can’t see coming. I want very little predictability (unless it makes me laugh). I think I should do some in-depth movie reviews to try to illustrate what I like and dislike about specific films I have seen to make this easier.

I’ve always been one to care more about why and how movies were made than “enjoying” movies in the typical way most people do. There, of course, have been many exceptions to this. But generally, I have always been more interested in why there was so much money involved in movies, and why and how the movies were made, as I have already said.

Almost every time I watch a movie, I try to predict what will happen. Sitting there, “waiting” for it to unfold when I already know what is going to happen is so excruciatingly boring. Why would I watch it if I know what is going to happen? It’s like a scientific experiment that has been done forever: sure, when you first have a theory, you need to test it experimentally. But expecting me to “shut up” and “just watch it” is expecting way too fucking much from me. The formula is played out, even if the details vary. I need to experience something else. I recall being younger, watching a movie in school (I forget which one), and I said “Such and such is going to happen.” I was bored to tears, and I kept doing this. Someone finally said “I know, but shut up.” This person was intently watching. Why watch if you know exactly what is going to happen? I never understood it: especially something “serious”. Romance is disgusting (of course). Action movies are boring. Comedies are good, historical movies are good. Drama is a mixed bag. Most of the time, it falls flat on its face to me. A movie like “Jack” starring Robin Williams is an example of a drama done really fucking well. I cried when I first saw it as a teenager. It wasn’t cliché (it seemed very original to me, but I’m no expert). It was incredibly moving. So many dramas seem to be of the romantic variety, so perhaps that’s why I have such a problem with them. It is also just so fucking easy to become melodramatic. It is hard to create a compelling drama. And it is hard to get me to suspend my disbelief (especially with drama).

But I do enjoy the “horror” genre of movies. The more extreme, the better. Why do I get tired of explosions, but not blood? I don’t know the exact statistics, but is murder less “probabilistic” than explosions “in the real world”? Why do I care more for blood than explosions?

I should specify that I’m still not an avid “movie watcher”. I don’t gorge myself with horror films. I’m not really a “movie guy”. But when I do watch a movie, I want it to either be a comedy or a horror film. (Or a Batman film. I’ll have to leave him for another piece).

So why do I love blood in movies so much more than explosions?

I guess it’s because I enjoy purposeful, evil darkness more so than accidental explosions (even if the explosions are purposeful. I want to see some fake blood where the tone is more “dark” than “exciting”. To me, “dark” is “exciting”. “Exciting” is “boring”. It has become cliché).

Couldn’t it be said that murder is also cliché and boring? How many stabs and slashes can you watch? Once again, I repeat, I’m not a big “movie guy”, but murder films are more refreshing to me (believe it or not) than “The good guys always win and the horror doesn’t even look that bad” films. A guy robbed a bank. Who cares? Why should I be invested? Does he have a hostage? How bad does he treat the hostage? A “bad guy” is selling drugs. Who cares? I want his reason for being bad to be almost incomprehensible. Why does he kill? He just does. Or something traumatizing happened to him. I don’t want it to make any sense. Money makes too much sense to me. If a villain is going to be a villain because of money, he needs to be a really fucking brutal villain for me to care. (Color is also a big deal to me. I want everything to look dark and dirty: not bright and flashy).

If people are racing in a movie, and there’s an explosion (or a chase scene leading to the same thing), the “accident” doesn’t feel real to me because I know it was scripted. There’s just a certain tone that movies have to have for me to like them. A guy walking away from an explosion in slow-motion while rock music plays makes me want to blow my brains out. It is possible that I found the character compelling before that moment, in which case, his previous circumstances may make his “badassery” interesting. But I hate explosions for their own sake. I just, more often than not, can’t find explosions compelling. It depends on the characters and the tone of the film, but most of the time, it feels like explosions are the reasons why movies are created. “People are gonna pay to watch shit blow up. Nothing else matters, but let’s have some really fucking fast cars in there as well. We need to have something to happen in between the explosions, and people expect to see a movie that’s at least an hour and a half, so let’s make it happen!” I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I get the sense that so many movies revolve around explosions, and I find that quite lazy. Once again, I’m probably wrong, because I don’t watch a lot of movies, but that’s just my impression of them. There probably needs to be some parody involved if I’m going to care about explosions. Or, ironically enough, some drama surrounding them. Not action. I’m fucking tired of “action”.

When I first saw the movie “Atomic Twister” as a young teen, I was hooked. The idea of a tornado hitting a nuclear power plant was fucking terrifying to me. That was, really, all I needed: the fact that it could be real, and be really devastating. And it was original: sure, there’s the movie “Twister”. But this was “Atomic Twister” (lol). Yes, I was younger, and I know this affected my perception of the movie. But it wasn’t “Cars drive real fast – anti-hero – drugs are involved – bang-bang shoot ’em up” movie. Most of those make me want to fucking vomit.

However, when you have a very sadistic killer, I feel like the writer of the script is trying to understand these killers on the deepest level possible (besides going out and killing someone in real life), and that attempt to connect humanely with something so inhumane is appealing to me. “Why does he kill?” “No one knows.” That is a compelling story to me.

When you can move past the fear (at least the nearly-religious fear of being so afraid of it that you ignore it and try to get away from it as much as possible, including not attempting to empathize with it in any way to humanize it), it becomes a deep, heartfelt, gut-wrenching journey between trying to relate to those so despicable. It is, in my opinion, one of the most humane things one can do. If you can try to understand a serial killer, even if you are trying to empathize with someone who has no empathy (which may or may not be possible: topic for another time), to me, that’s as empathetic as you can get. It may or may not be possible, and I certainly wouldn’t say that you should go out and kill people to know what it feels like, but all the same, I think that, at least for me, and through art, connecting to that type of human is exciting. Conflict is extremely important when it comes to art and storytelling, and there is no greater conflict (in my opinion) than extreme life and death; peace and suffering; humanity and complete evil in human form (which, it could be argued, isn’t even human AT ALL. A very interesting discussion).

All I can think of, when real tragedies happen, is sadness. And I try to move on from them quickly, and I don’t try to waste my time trying to understand it, because I don’t think that I could.

But through art, I believe that one can empathize, ponder, and try to relate to these (as they are called) “monsters” in that way that is less angry at their actions (which is understandable), and turn that into tragedy, in trying to understand why they did it, and, perhaps, forgive them for it. It’s a great philosophical topic to think about: empathizing with the unempathetic. It’s too complicated for me to analyze it here, but there’s a deep part of me that wishes to understand human-created horror (I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else in that regard), and I think that the type of art that I create is my way of doing that. I don’t know for a fact if this is correct, but it certainly feels that way…

Also, I think another reason (a potentially BIG reason) that I am “obsessed” with “offensive“, “violent” art has to do with the fear of being one myself, which, no doubt, was greatly influenced by religious preachings of wariness, lest we sin every possible sin, and become a murdering, incestuous, raping, homosexual thief…

I, also, feel the same way about choreographed fighting as I do explosions. I get that to people that enjoy these types of movies, they are some of the more “exciting” parts of these movies. But choreographed fighting (usually) bores me. No one takes a good, solid hit for the first five minutes of fighting (both sides block every blow, or the strikes just completely whiff), and then either the good guy or bad guy gets hurt. They stop, look at their wound. If it’s the bad guy, he gets more angry than he was before, and the good guy can barely defend himself from it. If it is the good guy, the movie makes you think he’s going to lose. But, by some miracle (either from a compromised structure due to earlier in the film, or another character, or whatever), the good guy wins. I know it sounds like I’m always against good guys winning. (Most of the time, I am). But I want the good guy to be compelling to me. Most of the time, this just isn’t the case. I’m rarely invested in the story, because I’m not a “movie” guy. “Dur, then why are you writing about movies, huh?”

I also want to bring up one more aspect of acting in general: dialogue. Maybe I’m being overly-critical here, but the way dialogue is delivered today drives me mad. Cop shows on television are fucking terrible for it. Detective walks in, almost power-walking, throws a folder down on the counter of the “main guy in charge” talking in this low “serious” voice. A question is asked. The dialogue is delivered in the same monotone voice. Guy asks another question. Detective asks a question back in a higher tone. Lead guy answers with a “Well blah blah blah blah.” I can’t fucking take it. I can’t fucking sit through that shit. (The only exception to this was “House”. It was a “detective” show, but it wasn’t a “cop” show. House was a very interesting character. The formula worked for that show. It was like they combined a detective show with a hospital show. It was quite original, and very well done). I have problems with dialogue in action movies, too. They just don’t sell me. I’m not buying into them. Once again, admittedly, I’m not a “movie” guy. But it’s not like a movie or a show can’t capture me. Most of them just don’t, though. The formula is played out. The tones of dialogue are so predictable (as is almost everything else about the movies) that I can’t bring myself to watch them. But, they sell well.

I enjoy movies that are a little weird. A movie like “Teeth”, for instance. A vagina with teeth. Fucking beautiful. Hilarious. Now that is original. It’s got comedy and horror: two of my favorite things.

“Rubber”. A fucking tire that blows shit up. It’s so dumb, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s so “absurd”: “out there”. I find that refreshing. I don’t need to find it believable, or emotional. Give me dumb, but give me original. I think that’s what I enjoy the most about movies.

“Human Centipede”. Need I say more? A fucking hilarious horror movie. My only problem with the movie was the main villain, believe it or not. I enjoyed what he did, but I didn’t enjoy his personality. He came across as a little cheesy to me. I guess I wanted him to come across a little more like Jason, or Jigsaw.

One of my favorite movies of all time (and I’m not joking): “The Descent”. I know that is going to sound weird to pretty much everyone. “I can tell you really haven’t seen a lot of movies, Cody.” The whole setting in that movie was wonderful to me. There’s a real terror involved: what if you do get fucking lost in this cave? What if you can’t get out? I found it very compelling. The bullshit at the end was funny and cheesy, but I was emotionally invested before that.

I want my movies to be a little bit weird. A little bit “off-kilter”. Once again, I’d like to write some movie and show reviews. Some reviews of movies I watched a long time ago. Same with television shows. I’d like to even do the same thing with some books, eventually.

I’m not going to claim that any of my reviews are “objective” in any way, and, of course, you have the right to disagree with everything I say about any review. I’m not claiming that “I’m right and you’re wrong”: I’m just writing my opinions.

If the process of growing up has taught me anything, it is that individuals must live their own lives, with their own feelings, and experience the world in their own ways, make their own mistakes, and pursue their own passions.

Movie Freespace.

Insightful.

Writing.

Articles.

Reviews (etc.) of movies and T.V. shows.

Fake.

Fiction.

Braveheart – William Wallace speech

Now that I’m older, I truly understand why “Braveheart” and “The Patriot” were two of my dad’s favorite movies.

This gave me goosebumps.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

Anarch.

Murray Rothbard.

Creepy FBI encounter.

Discussion of “Happy Happy Joy Joy”

(I may update this if there are any other interesting developments. I love how freedom finds a way to be productive. And the elites will have you believe that (relatively) free speech on the internet is a bad thing. I can’t wait to observe them in Hell from Heaven).

Youtube commentor “samthepoor“: “This is a metaphor for the obsession with happiness and optimism that overtook the west in the 70s and 80s (and alive now more than ever). People today are convinced that if they’re not happy, they’ve failed, which is one of the most important conditions for the vicious cycle of depression that many are stuck in today.

Ren and Stimpy was right on the money. The methodical, mathematical dancing alludes to the way in which we’re all made to conform to that standard. The part about the shooting in the song is about the psychosis that can occur when someone is stuck in the contradiction of today’s ‘happiness standards’. The painful sight of seeing Ren smash himself with a hammer is an example of the self-destructive tendencies that result from the contradiction.

These motherfuckers were smart. There’s a lot of examples from old Disney cartoons containing deep cultural commentary.

‘Mankind does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does that.’ – Nietzsche”

Youtube commentor “Shogun Melon“: “You might be overthinking a ‘kids cartoon.'”

Youtube commentor “ZizzTheCREATOR“: “While I don’t like Neitzsche, I basically agree with your analysis…however I’m pretty sure there is no deliberate message with this cartoon since John K admitted on his blog that he’s pretty much a crass entertainer who isn’t fond of social commentary or preaching this or that through his work. Case in point, his beloved George Liquor character, a no-nonsense Bible-thumping ‘conservative’-type, isn’t made out to be a straight mockery but has a certain sympathetic quality.”

Me: “I don’t think it’s so much about being happy or striving for happiness as it is what should make one happy that is the problem. It’s the idea that regardless of what the situation is that we should be happy that is the problem. Of course, it is perfectly healthy to experience sadness, anger, and the litany of other human emotions (I would argue that experiencing those emotions are simply attempts to take unfortunate circumstances and become happy (sadness as an admittance of pain, which one must accept before one can move on and truly be happy instead of delusionally believing that there isn’t a problem at all, which only makes the matter worse internally; believing suicide to be a ‘relief’ from the pain, and an attempt to be ‘happy for once’, etc. etc.)). But happiness as an end goal isn’t the problem: indeed, I think that’s what, ultimately, motivates all human action.

But the obsession with moralistic cliches like ‘Money can’t buy happiness’, for example, makes you wonder why you hate your own poverty, and then you suffer an existential crisis: ‘If I’m not supposed to care about money, then why do I hate being poor?’ (Or you’re told what should make you happy (such as having a family, devoting yourself to God, etc. etc.), and then, when those things actually don’t make you happy, you feel flawed. That’s the problem).

And, of course, you can adapt. You can go after something which you think will make you happy, and find out that it doesn’t. That’s very common. But, in my opinion, the belief that pursuing happiness is the problem is false. I think that’s what motivates all human action, past and present. Of course, that poses problems, such as those who seem to be devoid of emotion, like serial killers (perhaps they are so lost that they genuinely can’t experience happiness, but will try anything in a desperate attempt to achieve it, like murdering someone. I don’t know. Or, of course, perhaps a murderer is genuinely happy when he or she murders). But, in my opinion, the pursuit of happiness is simply ‘human nature’, even though ‘absolute happiness’ is impossible to achieve. I personally think that’s our ‘purpose‘, but that’s a much harder belief for me to attempt to ‘prove’.

The idea that we can achieve ‘absolute happiness’ (that’s, essentially, what the culture problem we’re talking about amounts to) if only we ‘adapt our expectations’, ‘our desires‘, etc. is the problem. ‘Moralism’ is the problem: strict adherence to ‘moral’ ideas that are contrary to one’s own nature and impossible to perfectly abide by (‘stop complaining and just be thankful’, ‘look on the bright side’ (stated as a divine edict), etc. etc.). It’s the attitude of taking advice that can be sound in certain circumstances, and expecting to abide by that advice, at all times, or else you are failing (pretty much the basis for the attitudes of, specifically, much Christian theology) that is the problem.

The idea that just because a ‘work of art’ is sold as a ‘kid’s cartoon’ somehow means that its creators didn’t have intrinsic motivations separate from the ‘selling point’ of the cartoon is ludicrous, Shogun.

You gotta love Youtube, where you can have a philosophical conversation about Ren and Stimpy.”

Phictional fone calls.

Phone calls in movies (or even television shows) are so unrealistic because they usually occur after someone finishes a sentence.

Or, when it “interrupts”, the pause between the sentence and the ring is too long because they don’t want you to miss the last word in the sentence.

Crime melodrama is the worst for this “interruption” mechanic; not necessarily with phone calls, but with conversation.

Finishing people’s sentences to solve a problem.

Please…

Give me a fucking break…(Dr. House).

The woman from the Law and Order: SVU is the worst for this.

But then again, that is like a woman

Touched for the very FIRST time!