Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Golden Taunt

I was watching Monday Night Football this week instead of the World Series. There were a few reasons for this. First, I probably wouldn't care if the two teams in the World Series both came down with horrible bouts of diarrhea, the likes of which the world has never seen, and the whole thing had to be called off for fear of starting the next Black Plague. Nothing against St. Louis or Boston, I’m sure they are fine cities, but haven’t they won enough already?

Second, rarely do you get to see so many WVU players on Prime time NFL football at the same time. Third, the Rams gave out free hot dogs to anyone willing to come see them lose instead of the Cardinals. Not that I could receive a free hot dog from a thousand miles away, but I appreciate the gesture. So I’m watching the game when Golden Tate, the Notre Dame product, not only saves a would-be interception, but manages to make the catch and score a touchdown. Great play. Too bad he spent the next thirty yards it took him to reach the end-zone taunting the other team.

What happened to sportsmanship? Congratulations Tate, you caught a ball with your hands and ran across a line of paint. Give this guy a noble prize (I shouldn't say that too loud, they’ll give them to anyone these days). I don’t poo poo all celebrations in sport. There are real, legitimate reasons for celebrating. For instance, when the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched a post-season berth for the first time since 1992 (along with their first winning season since 1992) they had a good reason to celebrate. But they chose to do so in a reasonable fashion; in their locker room as a team celebrating a great win. Not by pointing at the Cubs players and taunting them for another losing season and for having by far the worst stadium in MLB (how the hell old Yankee Stadium was torn down but Wrigley is still standing baffles).

I am picking on Tate. To be fair, in every professional sport (and college, and High School and little league and fantasy league and squash matches) you see this kind of behavior and it’s just sad. But we just let them go on doing it. We let them act this way by buying tickets and T-shirts and spending our precious time watching them run around on grass fields instead of going out and running around on grass fields. Are our lives so sad and meaningless that we must not only attach ourselves to these teams, live and die by their wins and losses, but look the other way when they act like spoiled children? I am aware he was chastised by his coach and the fans gave it to him on Twitter. But mark my words, when he catches his next touchdown, everyone will forget that he is a giant bag of dicks while they celebrate and watch him do the Triple Lindy as a touchdown dance.

You shake the hand of the person you defeated and thank them for their effort. You act as if you have been there before. You take time to realize just how lucky you are to be in the NFL, making millions to play a game.

It makes me question why I watch at all. Am I contributing to the problem just by tuning in?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Carrie

Hobo Dan: The Wife had to convince me to see this. I generally do not go out of my way to see horror films. It’s not that I dislike horror films, but the general mindless hacking and slashing that takes place is lost upon me. The very fact that there are “rules” to horror films makes them so totally predictable. Have sex? You’re going to die. Born a minority? You’re going to die. Scoff at the notion of bad things happening in the dark/old house/woods? You’re going to die.

I've never see the original Carrie or any of the multitudes of remakes. I know the story though, just like people who've never seen Star Wars already know who Luke’s father is. Pop culture has a way of being soiled. So what can I say about the story? I mean its Carrie, what are you really looking for here? High school kids are dicks. High school kids need to learn to test for telekinetic powers before ridiculing other kids. Side Note: in the last several months I have seen TV shows and movies involving high school gym classes. They all have pools where they hold class on occasion. Where do these people go to school? Even Hogwarts doesn't have a pool.

The acting in Carrie is superb. On a casting note, I truly appreciate when Hollywood casts actors to play high school kids that look like they are actually in high school. Not that I want to piss of Grease fans, but that group of actors couldn't pass if it was about the ten year reunion. Anyways, Chloe Moretz was just fantastic as the sheltered title character. Now that I think of it, I don’t believe I've ever seen her not being great. Julianne Moore was convincingly demented as the Mother. The supporting cast was completely competent at what they were asked to do and again, looked the part of high school kids/teachers.

If you've seen the old Carrie’s, there isn't going to be much new for you here. If you've never seen Carrie, but like myself you know all about it, there isn't much new for you either. If those two sentences don’t cover you, then did you just get the internet and why did you choose to come here first?

The Wife: Having seen the old Carrie numerous times, I've come to appreciate the cheese and dated nature of the late 70’s film. Normally I’m not real big into re-makes, but once it was announced that Chloe Grace Moretz would be portraying Carrie in the new film, I was intrigued. I love her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and was excited to see how she would handle the iconic role of troubled, telekinetic Carrie.

Hobo Dan shockingly has never seen the original Carrie or previous remake, but as most non-hermit humans would, he already knows the story of the prom night gone horribly wrong. With the Halloween season here, I convinced him that Carrie would be an appropriate movie to see. He usually isn't big on horror films, but of course Carrie isn't the typical slasher/gory flick you get from your run of the mill scary movies like the Saw franchise.

As a child the character of Carrie never frightened me but her mother sure as heck did. At age 28, I found this to still be true. Julianne Moore played Carrie’s strict and let’s face it down right cray cray mom perfectly. I didn't think she could freak me out like the original actress, but Moore really lived up to the role! Moretz was fantastic as Carrie and it was nice to see her expand her range outside the likes of Hit Girl and the foil to Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. She made me feel even more sympathy for Carrie than Sissy Spacek did in the original film. Both actresses were great, but each delivered a unique performance to the role.

I could really tell I was watching a well-done re-make when I found myself wishing and hoping that Carrie would have her dream prom night rather than the nightmare that I KNEW was going to happen. I credit that to Moretz. Overall this is a good movie. Not award worthy or anything, but a solid film.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Gravity

So I am a space nerd. I mean I read daily and weekly am surfing Wikipedia for explanations about physics concepts I have no business reading. I owned and watched the documentary Moon Shot over thirty times as an eleven year old. I shed tears when Alan Shepard died. Star Trek is a thing for me (don't mention Into Darkness). I want nothing more than for the US Government to hand NASA the keys to the Treasury so we can go to Mars, like, tomorrow. Why has no one built a real Millennium Falcon? What are we doing with our lives? If I was given the chance to go to space, I would take it. So obviously I should like Gravity, right? Not so fast.

First, and I'll keep this as spoiler free as possible,  if this movie is real life, Sandra Bullock is dead after the first exciting incident. Period. Then things only get crazier. I'm sorry, and I know it's a movie, but if you're going to promote your film for its scientific accuracy, then I can be all hands aboard the neck-beard ship. Don't get me wrong, the action makes for compelling drama and absolutely amazing visuals, but it could not happen.

But those visuals. Here they got it right. I have never been to space. I also generally hate floaty/shaky cameras, but in Gravity, they are used to make you feel like you're floating along side the actors and it works perfectly. The Wife commented several times how much she needed to vomit. Sidebar, when I go to space, she plans to stay home. And as much as it pains me to say, the 3D effects were also some of the best I have seen, despite the headache I suffered after. But the center piece to all this was the earth. Always there, always visible, always gorgeous. I could not tell if/when they used CGI versus real photography from satellites and that is about the biggest complement I can give.

The acting is meh. It's Sandra Bullock and George Clooney doing their thing. Par, passable, believable, not stunning or Oscar worthy. Also, under those spacesuits they wear a Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment, not a tank top and tight bun-huggers. Sorry, did I nerd out again? Anyways, the story is thoughtful and packs some decent impact and character development (even if very compressed). But honestly the analogy at the end is overtly obvious and once again screws with the science aspect of the film (I'll comment below on what this is, so not to spoil it here).

Gravity is a good film, not a great one. It's kind of like a supermodel who passed two years of college before dropping out; she has some brains, but it's still probably best if she leans on her looks to get through life.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Black Hole

Wait, is it October?

I feel like I just came out of a coma. A coma I was perfectly conscious for. I am fully aware of how completely I ignored everything and one since April. Not that I don’t have a damned good excuse, but I do apologize. It’s called the Black Hole. It’s caused by work. I’m not saying I have cleared the event horizon, but I am working at full engine capacity to warp out of this funk.

It came to me this past weekend. The Wife and I went to Morgantown, West Virginia with friends and family for the WVU game against Texas Tech. We tailgated and cheered and booed and witnessed a fight (more on that below) and I realized how disconnected I have become since being promoted in April. I haven’t written, or socialized or anything; it’s been stressful. So I’d like to apologize for being stressed out and mean and elusive and for letting Dump the Blog decay. I can’t promise I won’t still be that way from time to time, but I will try hard not to.

Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you about Morgantown. Not Morgantown, West Virginia; Morgantown the person. Morgantown is the daughter of some random dude sitting in the row ahead of me at the WVU game this weekend. He named his daughter Morgantown! I guess she got off lucky; he could be an Oregon fan. This gentleman had copious amount of enthusiasm (alcohol) for the home team. Unfortunately, he believed everyone else that didn’t have as much passion (meth addiction) as he was actively rooting for the other team. This lead to verbal insults and finally, some very choice sign language directed at the rows behind us.

Now I have seen a lot of creative ways to flip people off. I mean a lot! But I have never seen someone tattoo the image of a hand giving the middle finger on their right calf muscle. It seems like a really awkward spot. Once he had exhausted his actual hands in the exercise of vulgarity, he turned, bent over and lifted his pant leg to reveal the tattoo (all while using his wife’s head to balance himself on the bleacher). This was the final insult, apparently, that sparked the target of these attacks and Morgantown’s father to start rolling down the bleachers of section 220. The fight didn’t last long; rolling quickly down five rows of metal bench seats is the number one cause of short fights. We laughed, took pictures and flipped one another calf birds the rest of the afternoon. It was lovely.

So Dump is back, kind of. I want to know what you want me to write about. Comments please. Also, I’d like to thank a certain cousin-in-law-in-law(?) for harassing me about the blog and making me feel super guilty about all this time off.