Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Would You Do The Right Thing?

This is a very thought provoking and powerful video clip from a TV Show from ABC called What Would You Do? I got a huge range of emotions watching this video from being absolutely mortified to renewed hope in mankind to outright fear. Because when it comes down to it, I really hope I would have been one of the 13 (especially that very brave gentlemen with the war veteran son) but I am scared I may end up being one of the 22.

I also want to make it clear to my Canadian readers, this scenario is not a specifically American problem. It can and definitely happen here too. So, the big question is, what do you think you would do?

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Expendables: Is It Worth The Spendables?

I've read on a few forums, blogs and sites that it is a travesty that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was trounced in the box office by The Expendables. The argument has been that the former is a cutting edge and innovative film that provides some fresh air to the stagnant Hollywood scene while the latter is an example of Hollywood retreading tiresome film tropes. I haven't seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (but I really want to), but I can safely say there is probably a reason why it didn't fare well against The Expendables. It is the same reason why I went out to see The Expendables with my father rather than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The Expendables was a giant, explosion fueled, blood letting, love letter to 80s action films. Many males (and some females too) hovering around my age or older look back fondly upon the cliche ridden and senselessly violent action films of the 80s. This is who The Expendables marketed their film to, and this is exactly who they ended up getting to cram themselves into cinemas across the continent.

It is obvious that The Expendables was successful in marketing, and getting aging males to part with their sacred cash. The biggest question is, should the person on the fence about the movie take the time and spend the money to see this film?

As I've already clearly established, The Expendables is beyond a shadow of doubt an homage to countless of 80s actions films that I'm sure several of you were raised on in your vital growing years (and what better way to be raised then with Sly and Arnie's bulging biceps and constantly blasting machine guns? It just made the world so much safer). It never tries to deny the fact that it is an 80s action film with 2010's special effects. Though at times, it may be in denial that it's an action film with largely 80s stars with 2010 bodies and age. Then again, despite saying that, this is not a film that ever takes itself too seriously and you get the impression most of the stars are just having fun being in the spotlight with this type of setting again (and budget, in the case of those previously delegated to straight to DVD hell).

The audience ends up having a lot of fun too, especially if they have a large collection of 80 action film DVDs. The plot, setting, dialogue, characters, pacing and almost everything else, is directly transplanted from the 80s. Tell me if you heard this one before. A bunch of heroes for hire need to stop a ruthless dictator, of a (fictional) South American island, who's strings are being pulled by a vile but rich American rogue agent. If you didn't know the plot of The Expendables, you may have spouted off countless of other action films that likely were made in the 80s, and probably chock full with blood and things that go boom. This is further proof that the movie being made was clearly an 80s film with gussied up effects. This isn't a bad thing because nostalgia can be nice, especially when the piece recognizes it is nostalgia (rather than trying to pass it off as a reimagining or fresh).

Before we get any further, it is true this film is littered with iconic action stars. Actually, it is only missing a few that defined the genre such as Norris, Seagal, Van Damme, and Darkwing Duck (though I'd argue it does have all the big stars that were a part of the true blockbuster action films from the decade). It even contains some more modern stars like Jason Statham, Randy Couture (UFC stars) and Steve Austin (former WWE icon). But despite the all star cast, this really is a Sylvester Stallone action film. This is made very clear if you read the opening credits which reveal him as the star, co-writer, and director. As someone who loves the Rocky series, the Rambo series, and Cobra, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Though you must be aware that Stallone has a very distinctive style, and it is in abundance here. If you know a Stallone film, then you will undoubtedly be leaving the theatre shaking your head with the knowledge you've seen a production smothered with his 'charm' and 'style'.

Stallone likes his action films to have a 'message'. I put message in quotations because I really think the man believes his films are deeper and more impactful than they ever can be. I am sure this is a side effect of the original Rocky being a legitimate box office mega hit that attracted droves of males (and their kicking and screaming wives), but also being a film that strutted away with the Best Picture in 1976. Ever since, it appears Stallone has tried to make a guy pleasing action flick that also provides profound meaning and life lesson. He wants his films to be deeper than your typical action film. What this usually means is you have a film jammed with awesome action, but then takes about a 5 minute intermission in the film where the main star gives some speech about the law protecting criminals instead of the innocent or how society looks down on a soldier who protected them or how it's awful his wife always yells at him for leaving the toilet seat up (which I believe will be the message for his 2011 mega hit Tough Guys Who Shoot Stuff While Being Ridiculously Cool). The message is always terribly tacked on, but I'd be incredibly devastated if Stallone ever felt it needed to be left out. It is his calling card, and it is very cheesy (and will never earn him another Oscar), but I love it just the same (just like the neighbourhood loon who feels he is fending off the aliens by running around in his undies at 3 in the morning). The Expendables does not disappoint the Stallone film legacy.

Actually, to really define this film properly, it is essentially Rambo again, except with more than just an army of one. It is still a mercenary (and his buddies) going down to an exotic local to bloody up some foreigners and save some peasants along the way. Of course, these are mercenaries who have lost their hope and soul along the way, but this one act is their true chance at redemption. So yeah, it is basically Rambo and several other films from the 80s, but its unoriginality is also the biggest part of its charm. It is like the film equivalent of comfort food. This is something you're familiar with, and you are pretty sure what is going to happy before (and your almost always right), but there is also something very pleasing about that.

There are two things in this film that don't measure up with my memories of 80s action and hurt it partly because of it. The first, is that this film unfortunately is filmed just like almost every other action film that is on the market right now -- or have been on the market ever since movies like Matrix and Bourne Identity became huge. During action scenes, there is the annoying habit of the camera to fly all over the place, and cause half the audience to get nauseous while watching. You know that the two guys are fighting, but you only know this, because you see arms and legs flail all over the place, rather than actually see people fighting. It is a trend that has been going strong for almost 10 years now. I know that Hollywood believes it makes their action films seem super cool and stylistic, but I think it just makes them annoying as hell. I'd really have loved this 80s homage film to do their action scenes closer to the 80s style. You know, where you see the guys actually fighting face to face. This film also has a habit of using their special effects too much, which means when a guy does a charge he is now flying through the air, or men get attacked by cartoon flames. Things like this really took away from the 80s nostalgia vibe, and reminded me, I was watching a film in 2010 (with really old action stars).

The second annoyance was the lack of chemistry between the cast. Now, this isn't with the entire cast, but it was very prevalent between the main good guys. Actions films are at its best when you've got your witty one liners and the interplay between the main good guys (for example, Lethal Weapon's appeal is largely how Gibson and Glover played off each other). Unfortunately, you didn't sense the same type of connection between Stallone and Stathem (the two top billed stars of the film), and you felt it even less with the other guys on the good guys team. There was a lot of one liners that really bombed when I was in the theatre, as you could hear a pin drop while jokes were apparently being cracked on the screen. The buddying around between the stars almost seemed forced rather than natural, which is pretty important when you're trying to make a buddy style action film.

The Expendables
is far from perfect, and definitely has flaws that drag it down by a bit. At the same time, it is probably the most fun I've had with an action film in a long time. It was great being able to see icons like Stallone, Li, Ludgren, and Rourke share the screen. Eric Roberts was a genius decision as the vile, rich, American turncoat, and played the perfect sleazy villain we all remember in 80s films. I think, Austin did a fantastic job as the muscle for the evil Roberts. Without a doubt, one of my favourite scenes in a long time was the interplay between Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger (and any action fan had to appreciate the cameo by Willis and the Governator). In the end, there was way more positives in this film than negatives. I enjoyed my bloody and explosive trip down memory lane. Though, I definitely got my 80s retro fix, which means there would need to be something pretty special for me to be interested in the sequel (which is inevitable considering the cash it raked in)

I definitely encourage all fans of the action filled 80s to give it a peak, and I promise it will be a fun ride. As long as you promise to leave your brain at the door, but as an 80s action fan, obviously you knew that already.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday's Question To Ponder

Has anyone who has ever uttered the statement 'I'm not racist but. . . ' been able to then walk away not looking like a complete bigoted assclown?

What got me to ask such a question? Let's just say the news seems to be showcasing a lot of narrow minded, venom filled jerks. And yes, a rant will be coming very soon. And no, it won't be today. No, today is a day where I have a delightful going away party for a even more delightful sister-in-law. So, the rest of the day will be happy thoughts.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Look What I Didn't Do



Because I was shacked up inside trying to get work done for clients, because apparently, they have this thing where they don't pay unless they have a finished product. Maybe I need new clients?

Despite my lack of being outside, this beautiful pathway magically appeared outside my house. When I say 'magically', I obviously mean my beautiful and hard working wife and our equally hard working friend spent the day creating it.

The lesson for today? It's good to have a handy wife.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's Comment That May Get My Citizenship Revoked

As you may have gathered from the assortment of posts since and during my trip to Chicago, I had an amazing time in that city. I really fell in love with it, and I desperately want to go back in the future. One thing that really stood out to me, was that the people there were genuinely friendly. It had a very warm atmosphere, and most people always seemed willing to help or chat. From my experience, this is very rare for a big city.

Or at least, it isn't something that I am used to when I am in Toronto. Don't get me wrong, I love visiting Toronto for its shows and events and attractions. But I don't so much go there for the politeness and kindness of the people.

So, now I am going to make it official. I, Christopher Spicer, believe the people of Chicago are are far friendlier and nicer than the people of Toronto.

I am sure such a comment will cause mass outrage. Well. . . it would, if it wasn't for the fact that no one Canada actually like Torontonians. Except for Torontonians, of course.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Woah, Thursday Where Did You Come From?

Seriously, you totally sneaked up on me there. While we are speaking of sneaking, Summer don't think I haven't caught you creeping towards the exit. Seriously guys, what is with the week trying to get to the end so quickly, and the season trying to change shifts already. I had goals that I wanted meet this summer, and deadlines that loom closer the more weeks progress. You guys really aren't helping me here by being so fast and prompt.

Sigh.

There is always next week and this Fall, I guess.

And now, just because, it is time for Golden Earring's Radar Love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wes Anderson Is Rebooting Spider Man!

Okay, he isn't.

But I love Spider Man, and I adore Wes Anderson. So, how can it not be the awesome.

Actually, this trailer shows exactly why. Though, it still looks better than Spider Man 3.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Plus Side Of My Job. . .

It is entirely flexible and I can do things like bugger off to the CNE. I did such buggering today. I caught me some shows, gobbled up a bacon poutine, and hung out with the cutest 4 month old known to mankind (or at least by me). Now, I'd show pictures of all this fantasticness but I forgot my camera.

So, I'll resort to Chicago again, where I didn't forget my camera. Here I am hanging out with some of my best buds, who just happened to be birthed the same year as me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Isn't Something To Laugh About. . . No Wait, Yes It Is

I have blogged about gay rights before, like right here. And I have a inkling another nice blog of rage ranting goodness is right around the corner. But today, this video will accurately display a lot of my opinions, and also add some sweet touches of this thing called humour. Something that the hate peddling bigots tend to leave out in their demonstrations and protests.

Though, before I leave you with this video, I do want to say one thing in regards to this whole issue of gay marriage. How is the love of two committed people a threat to an 'institution' that supposedly demands that very thing? Shouldn't we be more fearful of spouses who bail out at the first sign of trouble, or celebrities that have a revolving door of partners, or the drunken husband that constantly forgets his wife isn't a punching bag? Those are the things that seem to be opposed to marriage, to me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All The Ingredients For A Romantic Evening




Well, if you consider staring at a cute cat by candle light to be romantic, that is.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy "Play A Video By A Band I Adored In My Teens" Day

And a band that a lot of my readers may have never heard of. But I heard of them, and I liked what they were saying. Er, singing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hey, You Haven't Had A Long Post In Weeks!!!

You're right. It's been a combination of weddings, vacationing, working, complaining, headaching, and explodinating. Also known as living life. I'm sensing things may start to calm down a bit within a few days or so (I hope).

But to make up for limited blog presence, here is a picture of Crosby lying in Summit's cage. Because if you're going to lie somewhere, why not in the 'den' of your tormentor. Makes sense.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And Now I Turn To Mr. Sandman

Because I need sleep, and that is what he does.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Picture of My Conqueror

So delicious, yet oh so unmerciful.



This is a picture from Chicago, because you can't take touristy pictures without at least one food shot. And this food would be the much heralded about Chicago Deep Dish pizza. It was stuffed with oodles of powerful deliciousness, but after dinner, I don't know if I ever felt so defeated in my life. But a good kind of defeated. Like if I had been attacked by pink fuzzy bunnies wielding cotton candy swords. Yes, I was thrashed, but I was still willing to thank it after and leave my number.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, There Clearly Are Perks To Being A Sci-Fi Writer

Okay, I am not going to embed this video here because it isn't safe for work and will likely offend some of you greatly (and I try to limit the amount of wrath thrown upon me per day). So yeah, this is lewd, but completely hilarious if: a) your humour sometimes wanders over to the crude side, b) your me, c) you know who Ray Bradbury is, and d) are fairly familiar with his works.

Having 'a' is fairly helpful in not going into a moral rage, and 'b' isn't too necessary but still it's cool (though it also means I may have some multiple personality issues going on here). But 'c' and 'd' are pretty much a must if you are going to get any of the jokes and have any chance of laughing like I did while watching it the first time.

Enjoy. And remember, I totally warned you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Now, That's A Dog Who Knows How To Wear A Hat




Or proof that his 'daddy' has become one of those vile humans who dresses up defenseless animals.

Either way, it's kind of cute, right?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today's 'When Pigs Can Fly' Moment

This a historic moment that many will not forget for a long, long time (like at least until Wednesday). It is a clip from Fox News where they aren't spouting the rhetoric of the far right, or needlessly taking a moment to slander Obama, but rather actually using those things most call brains. I decided to show this clip, because not only does it make perfect sense and is something I agree with, but it's actually coming from a network that rarely spouts thing that are logical or well said.

Though one must wonder who Sarah Palin will turn to now, for her misguided hate agenda.



This is an issue I want to blog about more in-depth, but will have to be a day where I'm not already awake way past my bedtime.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hey Christopher, How Is Your New Washer?

Well, actually, it's a little invisible at the moment

What?!?

Even though today was supposed to be 'Glorious Washer Has Finally Arrived After Waiting Since May 1st' day, it seems like the appliance gods had other ideas. Or maybe the problem was that the name of the day was far too long to fit on any calendars thus no one actually knew about it. So instead of getting the promised brand new washer and dryer, we got a floor model that was missing hoses and had a fresh exacto knife scratch. Since that wasn't what was specified on our bill, we asked they return it so we can get. . . you know, what we're actually paying for.

So, the almost 4 month long headache known as 'Dealing With TA Appliances' continues, and my dirty laundry mountain continues to grow while slowly taking control of the bedroom.

I'll either have a washer soon, or be consumed by a collection of sweaty but fashionable shorts.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Confession AKA Prepare To Be Mind Rocked

Two days ago I crafted a short post about my struggle with trying to balance financial security with achieving a long held dream. Of course, to illustrate my dream I inserted a magnificent masterpiece depicting RoboCop gracefully riding a unicorn. I'm sure you all had a good chuckle and shook your head at my never ending silliness. Because we all know my biggest dream is to become a full time paid writer, or if we're going to follow the path of big dreams, then more specifically become a novelist.

Here is the thing, what if that picture wasn't a big giant joke, but rather my own subconscious slip where I revealed my true feelings and desires. Even though I wasn't quite ready to confess this, it appears the picture has opened the door and I misplaced to lock in order to successfully shut it back up.

All this time, my talk of writing has been code words. Code words that I was far from ready to reveal their true meaning. Every time I stated that I wanted to become a full time paid free lance writer, what I was really saying was that I wanted to dress up in RoboCop armour. When I talked about wanting to get a novel published, what I really was saying was that I wanted to frolic in the woods (with my armour on) until I encountered a unicorn. And any time you read the words indicating my dream of writing a bestselling novel, this was actually code for gracefully riding through the meadows on my faithful stead the unicorn.

Now, I am not fully prepared to admit to this true dream on a day to day basis. Even though the secret is out, I am still more comfortable working with the code words. But now when I talk about writing or discuss my dream, then you know what I really mean.

Thank you RoboCop, may you encounter many unicorns upon your paroling of the Detroit streets. Er... I mean, happy writing, everyone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off Enjoying The Company Of A Friend. . .


You should do the same. Have a lovely evening.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Internal Struggle. . .


The need for financial security

VS.


Realizing my dreams.

Now, I'm not saying that my vision of financial security is wearing a suit while firing off a thumbs up. And I am definitely not claiming my biggest dream is to be RoboCop while riding a unicorn. But. . . you know what, I am pretty sure I lost you with that picture of RoboCop riding a unicorn. We'll have to try this again some other day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

What Rhymes With Orange?

Nothing.

Unless of course, you completely mispronounce either orange or range. Or you can follow the route I took as a kid, and just start making up words like Forange or Blorange or Gorange or well, you probably get the point. Or at least, as much as one can get the point of such a silly little post.

Day was long. I know I owe you folks a nice and long post with rantings and ravings, but that will not be today. No, now I lay my head on a soft and comfortable pillow, and await my alarm's musical offerings at 5 in the morning.

Oh how delightful. Almost as delightful as a nice slice of Khorange.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

I'm Home!!!

Did you miss me?

Where did I go, you ask? Well, I am sure the pictures that have popped up this week to replace the rather absent words will provide the necessary clues. If that doesn't work, then my last Facebook status and Twitter tweet were a little more blatant. But I can say it was awfully fun, but it is rather nice being back in my house with my delightful 'boys'. Apparently, Summit missed me too, and played the role of homsesick puppy for the last week. He is now promptly out like a light, because I get the impression he worked himself up to a tizzy.

What exactly is a tizzy? Well, I'd ask Summit, but he's too busy blocking the air from the vent at the moment. Plus he isn't that great at offering explanation when he is paying attention to me anyway (unless drool and chewing are great forms of explanation that I was never properly taught).

Instead of proper tizzy explaining, I'll leave you with the knowledge that I am safely home. Because I know you were all so worried. Because you're good like that.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I Am Typing This On An iPad

Jealous? Though I have to admit it isn't mine. No, I am only playing, but is it ever the fun toy. I am quickly realizing the Apple Store is the tech geek's playground. Though I am a pitiful tech geek since I don't even own a cell phone. But I do like to play, and if I didn't have silly things like a mortgage and a wife, then I'd probably consider myself the owner of a rather fun new shiny plaything.

Alas, play time will only be a short time. But I'll see you again my shiny, flat friend.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Meet My Friend Sue



I warned her that a carb free diet wouldn't be good for her. As for myself, I have no such problems.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Guess What City I Am In





Of course, this game would be a lot harder if I didn't reveal where I was vacationing on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Powerful Piece About Race Not Written By Me

I've always liked Roger Ebert. I felt as a film critic, he was able to save himself from being pretentious and snobby. Two things that I feel some of the 'elite' critics risk sounding like in their reviews. Ebert always just came off as a guy who like movies, and was able to admit when a action movie or a silly comedy was actually kind of fun thus worth watching.

It wasn't until recently when I stumbled upon his Twitter account that I discovered that he is more than just a really good film critic. The man is highly intelligent, which isn't something I ever doubted, but he has well articulated opinions and views on numerous topics that are unrelated to film. The best part is, he is a really good writer, thus his views are articulated in a powerful and beautiful way.

One piece he recently wrote that instantly left an impact on me was "How do they get to be that way?" It is a reflection upon the massive race issues that are occurring in Arizona, but he also addresses how such issues can be prevalent throughout. He looks at how institutional racism is something that is still very embedded in our culture; being able to destroy it is a matter of constant education and focused effort on creating lasting change. The elimination of racism is still something decades away, if it will ever truly leave, but serious steps can be taken where a community of understanding and compassion can be created.

Of course, this is topic I can blog about for weeks and weeks. There is so many deep issues that revolve from historical atrocities and deep seeded resentment. But I really do think Ebert's article is one of the best I've ever read on the topic, especially in regards to the Arizona problem. I want to encourage you all to give it a read. You'll learn, like I did, Ebert is more than a guy really good at moving the direction of his thumbs.

Monday, August 02, 2010

A Question That Has Been Asked Before But Needs To Be Asked Again

Here is the thing, groups like Cobra, GI Joe, the A Team, the Stormtroopers, and the Foot Soldiers are supposed to be these elite soldiers/warriors/mercenaries. You ask any character within their universe, and they will tell you they are precise shooters and war machines. Which now leads me to my question. Were these guys specifically trained to miss all their targets? Is it some type of elaborate military strategy that an outsider like myself will never understand? Did they just like to fire a lot of warning shots?

Or did the fictional universes they reside in, just have really low standards for what a precision shot is?

Speaking of imprecise, this was a lot more than the one question promised in the subject header. What can you do?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

You Should Shave Because. . .

The neighbourhood kids are sharpening sticks to defeat the Sasquatch.

Small birds are beginning to call your chin home.

It tickles when you kiss me. Also, please stop kissing strangers.

It is a better way to spend your five minutes than pretending you're trapped in an invisible box.

You're not Samson.

Do I even know you?

Carpenters are starting to use your face for sandpaper.

'It's Alive! It's Alive' grows old real fast.

You must be getting annoyed having quarters thrown into your coffee.

It is sort of tiring being known as the person who lives with 'the creepy, hairy guy.'

It just winked at me.

It is sort of tiring being known as the person who lives with 'the creepy, hairy girl.'

I can't tell which one is the dog.

Even a small thing can make this world a better place. And that thing ain't small.

Tommy is wondering where you were last Christmas. Plus you should cut out the 5 Twinkies a day diet.

The circus isn't hiring and you're also not a lady.

Old Man Wilkins told me he's stocking up on silver bullets for the next full moon.

'It manages itself' does not apply here