Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Free Form Comments

Say whatever you want to in the comments to this post -- random, off topic thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, recommendations, criticisms (which can be anonymous), surveys, introductions if you have never commented before, personal news, self-promotion, requests to be added to the blog roll and so on. If I forget, remind me. Remember these comments can be directed at all the readers, not just me.

ALSO. You can use this space to re-ask me questions you asked me before that I failed to answer because I was too busy.

AND you can use this space to comment on posts that are old enough that no one is reading the comments threads anymore.

You do not have to have a blogger account or gmail account to post a comment -- you can write a comment, write your name at the bottom of your comment like an e mail, and then post using the "anonymous" option.

WRITING FOR THIS BLOG. If I see a big free form comment that deserves more attention, I will pull it and make it its own post, with a label on the post and on the sidebar that will always link to all the posts you write for this blog. I am always looking for reviews of games, tv, movies, music and books.

13 comments:

finsof72 said...

One of my guilty pleasures is watching those made-for-tv cheap monster movies on the sci-fi channel, like 'megasnake' and 'dinocroc' with the crappy actors and CGI that most public access shows don't envy. One of the things I noticed about many of them, though, is that in horrible attempts to induce shock value, they seem to have no trouble killing kids.

For example, in the above two mentioned, a 12-year-old is visibly and brutally decapitated and then two boys, about 8 and 9, are eaten (bloodily) by a giant snake.

This isn't an isolated incident. This has happened in many, many of these cheap movies but is rarer in the mainstream (in Slither, two 7-year-old girls get their brains drilled into by slugs). It angers me. I don't know why, but even though I can appreciate directors claiming they're trying to make movies more 'realistic,' I don't believe it for a second and think they only include these brutal death scenes for shock value or to justify an R-rating. It may take away from the realism, but I don't like watching kids get killed and I think I'm willing to sacrifice a slight bit of suspension of disbelief for it.

Christian said...

I'm not arguing that that isn't purely intended as shock-value, but the mainstream Hollywood movies insisting that children are always smarter than adults and nothing bad ever happens to them really bugs me.

It's not that it's unrealistic, it's that it's so safe, that any sort of interest in the kids is swept away and I start resenting them for even being in the movie.


On the other hand "foreign" (to you guys I mean) film have no problem with this and I think they're all the better for it.


Children should be treated as equal characters in movies, and as long as they're safe from harm, they're not.

hcduvall said...

I'm more lenient to the Sci-fi channel stuff now that they've moved on from killer foam mosquito movies. I know they have their charms, but still. I do miss them trying to make their own shows though...

Speaking of the children in movies though, I suppose you can have them and harm them if it serves the point (City of God comes to mind), but for some folks it may cross a line that harms not necessarily the strength of the narrative as its dramatized, but as a movie if it knocks out a viewer like finsof72. And there's expectations built into certain genres, like say cheapie B monster crap. If the bugs in Tremors had eaten kids in a school, I'd probably have been too put off to watch the movie, even if I know a school set there would be delicious pickings for the worm things.

Anyone see Let the Right One In?

Christian said...

I really want to see it, but have yet to.

"I suppose you can have them and harm them if it serves the point (City of God comes to mind), but for some folks it may cross a line that harms not necessarily the strength of the narrative as its dramatized, but as a movie if it knocks out a viewer like finsof72."

Couldn't the same be said for all characters, not just children?

Brian said...

I love how the quality of Battlestar Galactica is so high and for some reason it's ok for everything else on the Sci-fi channel to be complete and utter crap.

The main benefit is that almost everything has a so bad it's good quality, and I mean really good. You can't go wrong with a movie titled Pterodactyl and starring Coolio, which involves endless shots of Coolio shooting at pterodactyls while double fisting Uzis.

Megalodon was also an incredibly bad Sci-fi channel original. They kept showing the same stock footage of a regular shark coming out of the water and then having different aquatic vehicles just flying into it's mouth. At the end of the film, the two main characters have successfully blown up the prehistoric creature when one to turns to the other and says, "Megalo-who?" after which they both break into hearty laughter, absolutely genius.

Honestly, who's putting money towards this stuff? To pitch an original movie at the Sci-fi channel I think you literally just have to say a dinosaur name or add mega or ice onto a regular animals name and you're good to go.

hcduvall said...

I imagine that the movies are just that much cheaper than shows. I thought their Invisible Man from a few years back was pretty good, but any ongoing show costs more than a one off movie or "people in a warehouse with bad lighting" reality show.

Christian: Yeah, absolutely, but I think the variable part is what kind of story the narrative is, what the experience is the movie trying to create. Something like Mansquito isn't actually about the horrors of bioengineering as much as dumb/gross costumes. When viewer expectations don't match up with the movie, it can mar the experience. Why use kids at all in, say, those horror movies? I expect that the Saw and so on influence on every movie in the genre has lost some viewers, popular as it is.

finsof72 said...

Megladon was another one I was going to mention. In fact I think that's actually the third in a trilogy; 'shark attack III: Megladon.'

I haven't seen the movie because I turned it off, but there's a scene in 'Aliens v. Predator: Requiem' where, after countless slaughterings, an alien walks into a nursery and starts salivating over a few dozen newborn babies.

That's when I turned it off. I didn't know if the alien killed the babies or not, but if it did that would pretty much cross my line.

scott91777 said...

The best part of Pterodactyl was when that dude gets torn in half at the beginning... I fell in the floor doubled over in laughter the first time I saw it. Not only was it sudden, pointless, random violence... but it was a pretty terrible special effect.

As per killing children...

I think in the case of the Sci-fi channel moives, they simply aren't GOOD enough to pull it off. In other words, whenever they do it it just seems like they're doing it for shock value (or shits and giggles) rather than some sort of conscious attempt at deconstructing the conventions of the genre.

scott91777 said...

Fins,

What about Anakin taking out the kiddy Jedis in RotS?

I mean, we don't actually SEE that but I was actually quite proud of Lucas for putting that scene in there... he could have just left it 'implied'

finsof72 said...

I think the difference is that it wasn't random. And adheres more to the point you made above about movies not being 'good' enough, though I think 'good' can also imply 'big budget' enough. I didn't care for Revenge of the Sith because I feel like Anakin's transition from good guy to jerk was way too flippant without enough development, kind of like the opposite of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, and honestly I think that showing him killing younglings (it's amazing I remember that since I only saw the movie once) was more of a 'cop out' move on the end of Lucas that I don't think really needed to be there considering that despite Vader's evilness there was always that vague sense of something 'else' was hidden beneath that, something empathetic. In other words, I think Lucas overdid with killing the kids, and in turn I honestly didn't find it too disturbing. It was like he was standing behind you saying, "See, he's bad now! Don't you see?! Don't you!?"

But considering RotS got a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it I'm probably wrong.

finsof72 said...

I think the difference is that it wasn't random. And adheres more to the point you made above about movies not being 'good' enough, though I think 'good' can also imply 'big budget' enough. I didn't care for Revenge of the Sith because I feel like Anakin's transition from good guy to jerk was way too flippant without enough development, kind of like the opposite of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, and honestly I think that showing him killing younglings (it's amazing I remember that since I only saw the movie once) was more of a 'cop out' move on the end of Lucas that I don't think really needed to be there considering that despite Vader's evilness there was always that vague sense of something 'else' was hidden beneath that, something empathetic. In other words, I think Lucas overdid with killing the kids, and in turn I honestly didn't find it too disturbing. It was like he was standing behind you saying, "See, he's bad now! Don't you see?! Don't you!?"

But considering RotS got a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it I'm probably wrong.

finsof72 said...

I think the difference is that it wasn't random. And adheres more to the point you made above about movies not being 'good' enough, though I think 'good' can also imply 'big budget' enough. I didn't care for Revenge of the Sith because I feel like Anakin's transition from good guy to jerk was way too flippant without enough development, kind of like the opposite of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, and honestly I think that showing him killing younglings (it's amazing I remember that since I only saw the movie once) was more of a 'cop out' move on the end of Lucas that I don't think really needed to be there considering that despite Vader's evilness there was always that vague sense of something 'else' was hidden beneath that, something empathetic. In other words, I think Lucas overdid with killing the kids, and in turn I honestly didn't find it too disturbing. It was like he was standing behind you saying, "See, he's bad now! Don't you see?! Don't you!?"

But considering RotS got a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it I'm probably wrong.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Oh, man, I just watched Monster Ark and part of Cyclops on Sci-Fi the other day. Why? I'm still not sure. The former was a pretty terrible Raiders of the Lost Ark ripoff about some archaeologists discovering "Noah's first ark", which contained a monster that somehow endangered all life on earth, even though it didn't do much more than hop around the desert attacking nomad villages. Tiny Lister played a military leader who constantly yelled horrible one-liners.

And Cyclops had Eric Roberts as a Roman Emperor that was overthrown by an uprising that was spurred by a gladiating cyclops. Also bad, but with lots of gratuitous gore. It was produced by Roger Corman, amazingly.