Thursday, May 29, 2008

Everything in it's Wrong Place

So I happened to see that there is a "Best of Radiohead" compilation coming out next week. I won't be purchasing it. Mainly because I already have all of those songs on their respective albums, but I'll probably buy the DVD video compilation, since most of those aren't available elsewhere and because watching videos on YouTube isn't particularly fulfilling.

That and I hate to throw too much support at EMI, since they are hosting this party without inviting the guests of honor. That's right, Radiohead have no say in this compilation, which is why it only contains songs for which EMI controls the publishing rights. Which is not to say that they won't get paid for it, but you understand where I'm coming from.

But I clicked on over to Amazon anyway to look at prices and track listings and, lo and behold, CD's are overpriced. The DVD release is $15. The CD special edition (with 30 tracks) is $20. The single-disc hits-only CD is $19.

???

Why is an audio-only format that features fewer songs more expensive than the audio-plus-video format? It's less obvious with the special edition, in which case you're getting 9 additional songs, but I still don't get it. First off, since there's no additional material (unless you count "Talk Show Host", only available on the special edition, and which most fans will already have on the Street Spirit single or the Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack), there's no incentive for a fan to buy it. It's not like this is a band whose catalog is driven by singles or whose albums are high-priced (all hover in the $4-5 dollar range on Amazon Marketplace).

I swear I'm not bitching. I'm just confused. In the end, it suits me just fine, since I'm only buying the DVD, which is the cheapest option. But has no one learned anything about pricing?

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The Doctor Will See You Now

Ah, Dr. Mario. On a scale of 1 to Tetris, it's a good 8, 8-1/2. And it was released today on WiiWare for a whopping price of 1000 points (that's $10, American).

I'm DM fan, so I've been looking forward to this one. And when I fire it up... it's Dr. Mario. It is exactly what it is. Dr. Mario. Yeah.

I suppose it's not fair to be disappointed in a game that is exactly what it advertises to be--a modern day port of a classic 8-bit puzzler. And, actually, once I looked through and turned off a few of the bells and whistles (notably the pill ghost, ugh), I was much happier. It's the same game I've played a thousand times before, but at the same time, it's the same game...

Thankfully the online support for this one is a bit stronger than, say, MarioKart (nothing against it, but I spend an awful lot of time sitting around waiting for matches to start. The Virus-Buster addition is nothing to shout about, basically the same game with a few twists. Actually, Flash Mode is the most exciting new development for me, a bit different strategy and a bit more competition-based.

The music is nothing new, and actually it's a bit shrill. I could go for something a bit more atmospherice. But it was $10, so I won't complain too loudly.

K

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Review: Indiana Jones 4

After seeing the trailer with Iron Man, I posited that Steven Spielberg was a good enough director to overcome any shortcomings George Lucas might have as a story writer. I seem to have been too generous with that, however. Okay, here's the short, spoiler-free version:

Don't waste your time on it. This film should have never been made.

SPOILERS AHEAD! LIKE, REALLY SOON!

So there I was, good seats in a semi-crowded movie theater. It's 12:20am and I've endured a quarter-hour of previews and Coke commercials, and the movie is starting. I've got a Cherry soda, a flask of Bacardi with which to sweeten it, and high expectations. We're treated to the Old-School Paramount logo which fades into a mound of dirt and out pops a digital mole.

Yes, this is the beginning of the movie. Making a mole-hill out of a mountain. This is followed by a credit sequence that seems horribly out of place with the rest of the film. And then fifteen minutes in and the big secret comes out. Aliens. And I called it. I fucking called it.

And here we have the inherent problem with letting George Lucas make movies anymore. No longer constrained by technology, by budget, or by executive producers, George can make whatever movie he wants. But what he wants is to make the cheesy matinée serials that he enjoyed as a child. This fixation has colored his opinion (and by "colored his opinion" I really mean "poked holes in his brain") with regards to what constitutes quality cinema, compelling plot or effective storytelling.

And I'm usually pretty forgiving. We just watched Raiders of the Lost Ark to psych ourselves up for Indy 4, and as it drew near the end I began to ask stupid questions. How, for example, did Indy get inside the submarine after swimming over to it? How does the monkey talk to people? If they've tried to kill Indy three times already, and he's killed countless men and threatened to blow up the Ark of the Covenant, why tie him to a pole? Why not just execute him? Perfectly valid questions. But I'm willing to let them slide because you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief.

But Crystal Skull takes things rather far, starting with some fairly loose interpretation of how magnetism works and progressing through the loose accounts of Indy's activities for the past twenty years. Apparently he took some time out of being a tenured professor of archeology and globe-trotting relic hunter to fight in World War II, becoming a highly-decorated colonel and also a double-agent in Berlin (something all colonel's do, I'm sure), as well as become an expert on the nuances of East Ukrainian accents and learn half a dozen obscure South American dialects.

And it doesn't stop there, and I can't help but blame the technology. Imagine if twenty years ago, Lucas had said "let's have this one character Mutt get into an elaborate sword fight while standing on two moving vehicles and getting whapped in the nuts with foliage as they speed through the jungle--then we can end it with him grabbing a vine and doing a Tarzan swing onto the back of a car!" There would have been someone with a clipboard to say "Wow, George, what a great idea, but it's not really in budget--so how about we just do an elaborate sword fight on the back of one moving vehicle?" But now, in the digital age it's "Sure, we can animate that".

But I think the most atrocious crime is that Indiana Jones has fallen into the X-Files trap of fantasy dilettante-ism. Rather than establish a mythology and play with it, the series has jumped around with whatever happened to be interesting, no matter how incongruous it may be against the other parts of the series. First it was the Ark of the Covenant, then glowing stones, voodoo, and a cult to a Hindu Avatar (for those of you who've blocked out Temple of Doom), and then back to Western tradition for the Holy Grail.

And now aliens. I get that after the Ark and Grail the Judeo-Christian tradition is a bit picked clean for relics, but who the hell has ever heard of a Crystal Skull? At least people have heard of Kali (which almost excuses Temple of Doom... but not really). Would it have been too much to suggest the Shroud of Turin? Or maybe something from the Buddhist or Muslim traditions? Or something else that doesn't ignore the diametric opposition between fervent believers in God and fervent believers in aliens.

And it's me, so I have to bitch about the sound design. Magnets don't make noise. They really don't. Giant ants don't rattle. And why go into a diatribe about the difference between a dry sand pit and wet quicksand if you're going to have the dry sand pit make burbling noises? At least the music was okay. And the fight sequences were fun, if you can ignore the fact that it's a 60-year-old beating up young, fit, red army men. But stock jokes were contrived, the dramatic moments were underwhelming, and the ending was unforgivably glurge-y. And whoever was Cate Blanchett's dialect coach forgot to teach her how to pronounce "Dr. Jones".

And to add insult to injury, it turns out students of archeology loathe crackpot theories that involve aliens teaching humans how to build the pyramids--the same group that flocked to the science inspired by Dr. Jones in the first place has to hate a film like this on principle alone. Ah, cruel irony.

They should have re-cast Jones, kept it in the 30's, and acknowledged the difference between historical fantasy and science fiction. And I should have put more rum into my Cherry Coke.

Gads.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who You Gonna Casting Call?

So not even a full eight hours after my Radiohead rant, someone calls me on the carpet to point out that you could get close up tickets through pre-sale on the band's website. Not unlike I'm planning to do vis a vis Nine Inch Nails tickets later this month.

*humbly hangs head*

On the plus side, it turns out someone actually reads this garbage I post (myself not being sophisticated enough to monitor my web traffic... or is it just "too lazy"?)

*wonders if "vis a vis" was used correctly above*

Digression.

Abby and I watched Ghostbusters last night, which I hadn't seen in a while. That film was a staple of my childhood, along with it's mediocre sequel. 'Tis a classic movie. When Walter Peck came in (the EPA villain) Abby suggested that if the movie were made today, his part would be played by Philip Seymor Hoffman. And we got onto awhole thing about who would be in it if it were re-made. Abby proposed that it would be a Wes Anderson film with Owen Wilson as Peter Venkman, Natalie Portman as Dana Barret, Adrian Brody as Egon, Jason Schwartzman as Ray. She suggested Mos Def as Winston (although she was torn between him, Samuel L. Jackson, and Chewitel Ejiofor) and I suggested Michael Cera to play Louis Tulley.

We both agreed that Bill Murray should cameo as the mayor of New York.

I was thinking of casting slightly older. Maybe Robert Downey, Jr. as Venkman, Ioan Gruffod (a.k.a. "Mr. Fantastic") as Egon, and Orlando Jones as Winston. I have literally no ideas for Ray, but it would inevitably end up being Jack Black--and I'm not thrilled about that. Who else can play frenetic-nerd as well as Dan Akroyd? Any ideas? Sound off below.

And if you haven't seen the red-band trailer for "Tropic Thunder" yet, check it out (I don't have the link close by, just Google-search it). I'm starting to get excited about that one, especially now that the negative reviews are rolling in for Indy 4.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Sorry, We're All Out of Rainbows

The opening band sucked. They played forty-five minutes of unintelligible pretentious art-rock anthems while the lead singer gyrated behind the microphone. And if you were just about to make a comment about me just describing Radiohead, let me say that you are a tool.

And then the headliner started. Perhaps my favorite band ever, whom I have seen twice now.

The set opened with "All I Need", one of the moodier tracks off the weird-guitar-heavy "In Rainbows". They actually played every single song off "In Rainbows". They even played "Bangers + Mash", the notable B-side associated with "In Rainbows". For a band with seven albums out, it's a bit unusual to play every single track off the latest disc, but whatever. I like "In Rainbows", but I like most of their other albums more. I adore "Reckoner" and "Faust Arp". I can do without "House of Cards". Mostly, I didn't like that so many of my favorites had been culled from the herd since they toured supporting "Hail to the Thief". That album and "OK Computer" were the hardest hit, I'd say. Gone were "2+2=5" and "Climbing Up the Walls". Oh well.

The quotation marks are starting to grate, so I'm dropping them forthwith.

From Kid A: Everything in it's Right Place, Kid A, Optimistic, and a pretty sad rendition of Idiotheque.

From Hail to the Theif: There There, Myxomatisos, and The Gloaming, which is one of my favorite songs and one that they've fucked up both times I've seen them.

From Amnesiac: Pyramid Song and You and Whose Army. That's it. So many great cuts from that album, and they played just those two. Tragic.

From OK Computer: Exit Music (For a Film), Airbag, and their show-closer, Paranoid Android. Which, I will admit, rocked.

From The Bends: a schizophrenically tempo'd rendition of My Iron Lung and the obligatory run through Fake Plastic Trees. Gag a maggot.

Nothing, of course, from Pablo Honey.

I'm not complaining. At this point, I'm cataloging, but that's just the thing, I don't have a profound opinion of the show. I know, it's not really constructive writing and certainly wouldn't constitute a "review" (dammit, me with the quotes again), but it's my blog and if you don't want to read it, click back over to lolcats. It's just that I went to see a juggernaut band that I esteem greatly and I just feel a little let down at the end of it (they didn't play Let Down either, now that I think about it... or Just). It was two-hours-plus of listening to a band attempt to recreate their songs. There was nothing interpretive. The light show wasn't that impressive.

Or maybe it was, we just couldn't tell because we were so far off to the fucking side!

This is what's pissing me off. I lax'd around and got tickets after they'd been on sale for a while for Chili Peppers, Incubus, and NIN (back in LA), had less-than-prime seats and still got to see a great show. I sit on Ticketmaster and try to get the best tickets as soon as they're available for Tool or Radiohead, and I get stiffed--I end up paying $75 a pop for nose-bleeders so I can try and see a show from behind some idiot's camera phone. If there is a way to get good tickets, I don't know what it is. I don't know whose dog you have to fellate to get a seat under the canopy, but if you're paying upwards of $50 to squeeze your ass into an itty-bitty chair...

You can't connect to an artist that way--and that's the point of going to a concert. If all you want is to hear the music, BitTorrent is fucking free. And don't get me wrong. I like concerts. But I can go to Dresden Dolls and see a spectacle (a spectacle that features the best drummer ever, ever, by the way) or I can go to Vienna Teng and get an intensely intimate experience and still afford a beer when I'm there.

And speaking of beer!!!! During the aural abortion that was the opening act (who's name I dare not utter here, lest someone attempt to Google them and unwittingly increase their pagerank), rather than continue the assault on my senses, I decided to get a beer. A beer is $9. Okay, I get it, it's a concert. You pay amusement park prices. I'm fine with that. Well, I'm not, but I've come to accept it. Well, it turns out that there are no glass containers or bottle caps allowed in the venue because they can be used as projectiles. WTF? First off, I paid for tickets, so there's no possible way I'm within throwing distance. Second, what kind of damage can you do with a bottle cap that you can't do with a plastic bottle? Third through fifteenth, how is this anything other than a ploy to charge $9 for beer!!!!!?

I was low on cash, so I hopped over to the ATM, a venture that took up most of the opening act's set. I shit you not. By the time I finally got up the front, I saw that it would cost me $3.50 to take money out. Okay, whatever. I've seen worse. I get home and check my statement to see that not only has the ATM charged me $3.50, but the bank charged me $2 for using a non-BOA ATM. And because I had the audacity to check my balance before pulling money out, they charged me twice. Makes me want to burn down their offices strongly consider moving my money elsewhere.

So the beer that was overpriced at $9 ended up costing me $16.50, all told. And while it was a good beer, it wasn't that good. And that sums it up for me. It was a good show, but it wasn't $75 good--not this time at least. There was one unintended pleasantry, however.

Radiohead (and MTV) are trying to take a stand against Human Trafficking. According to Radiohead (and MTV), human trafficking is the second most lucrative illegal trade behind drugs, but they hope to spread awareness via the cunning use of pamphlets at concerts and an exclusive video for "All I Need". This will surely stem the tide. After seeing this video, I can't imagine that anyone in an impoverished nation would want to stuff themselves into a container ship because of the promise of work in a sweatshop. Thank you Radiohead (and MTV).

First off, I want to know where they got there numbers. According to other sources whose background is more reputable in the statistics world than "we used to air videos in the 80's", arms and black-market antiquities are the big illegal markets behind drugs. Second, if human trafficking is that lucrative, then I'm going to need some venture capital. Seriously, we'll start local. We can go to the deep south, find closet gay males and sell them as personal shoppers to Manhattanites. We can learn about the market that way and get some revenue while we save up for a container ship!

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Oh, George

More evidence that George Lucas is batshit bonkers. Apparently the earliest incarnation of Indiana Jones 4 was going to be called "Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars". Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg vetoed it, and then the three spent ten-odd years trying to come up with a premise they could all live with.

Early Indy Press is bad, but we'll see how critics respond after the screening on Sunday.

Radiohead post-game to follow. Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What Was the Radio Doing?

I should be more excited than I am. In four-and-a-half hours, I will be at a Radiohead concert. Granted, in four-and-a-half hours I will still be a good hour away from hearing Radiohead play, but you get my point, I'm sure. I should be uber-jones'd, but I'm not.

I'm just sort of fine with it. Even though I forked over $75 for a ticket to a show featuring one of my favorite artists, I've kind of adopted this take-it-or-leave-it feel. You wanna go see Radiohead? Tonight? Yeah, tonight. Hmm... will we be back in time for CSI?

I get the impression that this is how older couples start to feel about sex.

Of course the last time I went (to Radiohead, not to sex) there was a hefty two-hour road-trip involved, starting in Fulton and heading East to St. Louis (hmm... is this a Radio-heading?). I sang along with every song except the one or two from The Bends (because I like Kid A Radiohead, not early Radiohead) and paid too much for a T-Shirt that I don't wear because it fits awkwardly. And now, to round things out, I will end this paragraph with one last parenthetical note (involving Radiohead).

Last time it was a religious experience. Not quite, but it was damned ceremonious. I came this close to putting the tickets in my safe deposit box, but then opted against. It was a Sunday show, and boy wouldn't it suck to not make it to the bank on Saturday morning, or to discover that this particular branch doesn't have Saturday hours. How excruciating would the next day and a half have been? But this time, I'm like "whatever". I'll go. I'll enjoy myself. I'll convince myself that it was more fun than I would have had spending another night playing Super Mario Galaxy with Abby. It's just hard to get excited about it, and I don't know why.

Weird.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

So, Was There a Cornelius Nova?

So, this is kind of cool. It turns out Chevy Chase's real name is Cornelius Crane Chase. He got the nickname "Chevy" from a grandmother who knew of an old English folk song called "The Battle of Chevy Chase". The moral of the story:

If your real name is Cornelius, any nickname will do!

I've had requests that I post links to my other blogs (because I am writing three of them currently... concurrently... with current... I digress). So now they're on the left side of the screen there.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Abby Update

Abby's final draft of her master's thesis is complete. Tomorrow she heads to Columbia to turn in her paperwork and make sure there are signatures where they need to be.

Congratulations, hon.

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Giving People "The Slip"

Nine Inch Nails new album "The Slip" is available for free download from their website, nin.com. It is available in multiple formats, including mp3 and higher-than-CD quality.

My only regret is that I won't have a chance to listen to it until late tonight. Curses.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Reviewed: The "Iron Man" Previews

There is, no doubt, a glut of reviews for "Iron Man" being posted across the internet today. I have opted to not review it, only to simply say that you should see it. See it, or be kicked in the nuts. Also, it featured the best Stan Lee cameo of any of the comic book films.

Yes.

There were five trailers before Iron Man, many of them brand new trailer for highly anticipated summer films. I will review them instead.

The Love Guru (a.k.a. Mike Myers isn't Dead, We Promise) - Myers has been MIA. Oh, sure, there was that dismal third installment in the Shrek series, but we haven't seen him in a major live action movie since Austin Powers 3 oh so many moons ago (unless you count that cinematic abortion of a children's movie "The Cat in the Hat". Which I don't. And even then, he was under 93 lbs of make-up). So now he's back. And he's brought Mini-Me with him. And has an incredible beard. Yay.

The good news is that the damned thing actually looks pretty funny. Myers plays a man raised in India who grew up to be the definitive authority on romance. The trailer is a wealth of site gags, from an elephant in a pet carrier to a Vern Troyer sized office to a digitally-rendered 10-year-old with a Mike Myers head... it goes on and on. The bad news is that this is a Mike Myers vehicle, and things can get a little out of hand. He has this annoying tendency to tell the same joke four or five times at a go. Odds are, the sequel to this has already been green-lit (maybe it's called "The Love Guru Saves Christmas" or "All You Needs is Love... Guru") and then we watch which MM pattern it follows. Will it go the way of Shrek and Austin Powers, producing a sequel that's even better than the original before completely dropping the ball with the third installment? Or will it pull a Wayne's World and get straight to the #2 with #2?

Prediction: worth seeing.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan (a.k.a. Adam Sandler isn't dead Either, but we Won't Swear to It) - Another promising-looking comedy featuring a familiar face with some unfamiliar facial hair. In this one, Sandler plays an Israeli counter-terrorist paramilitary specialist who decides to move to the States to become a hair stylist. Until his past catches up with him... What can we say? If the execution is half as funny as the premise, it should be in good shape. And Adam Sandler certainly has the capacity for humor, assuming his handlers can keep him under control. Sandler sort of reminds me of Jim Carrey. Both are good actors who can be incredibly funny at times but will take things completely over the top if you let them. And it's hard to laugh at someone when you're embarrassed for them.

So we'll see. Character-acting is definitely something we more naturally associate with people like, well, Mike Myers, but this may be a great role for Sandler. This may end up being his Zoolander. On the other hand, the foot joke in the trailer was moderately stupid, and this is the same comic team (Adam Sandler starring with Dennis Dugan directing) that brought you "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry".

Prediction: worth renting... probably.

The Dark Knight (a.k.a. Batman Begins 2 a.k.a. Batman Continues) - This is the second full-length trailer for what is possibly the most yearned-for movie of the summer. The trailer will no doubt be given the frame-by-frame analysis by fans after it premiers online Sunday, but the gist of this trailer is to introduce us to Harvey Dent, the Joker having been a major focus of the previous trailer. We hear a lot of Dent dialogue, see him with his face being pushed into a puddle of... something... which may be part of his transformation into Two-Face.

Chris Nolan's directing is generally superb, and with the last Batman he did a fabulous job of naturalizing the source material and humanizing the characters. I'm sure the end product will be great, but there are a couple of hurdles to overcome. Unlike Batman Begins, The Dark Knight will feature two villains who've both appeared on film in the last twenty years, and who were originally portrayed by A-list actors. Granted, Tommy Lee Jones' ham-fisted Two-Face impersonation won't be much to trump. The Joker a la "Jack" is another animal entirely. Nicholson's performance will no doubt be the bar by which this film is measured. And then there's the whole Heath-Ledger-being-dead thing. While it seems to have taken some of the wind out of the viral campaign, it may be good for the movie in the long run. This one is supposed to take even a darker tone than its predecessor, and the ghost of Ledger may give the film the same kind of added mystique that propelled The Crow to cult popularity in the 90's.

Prediction: ass-kick-er-oo.

The Incredible Hulk (a.k.a. Pay No Attention to that Other Hulk Movie) - I can't help but wonder if the epic battle at the end of this film will be a symbol for the uphill battle this film will have to make to get some traction in the theaters. Is it The Incredible Hulk v The-Abomination-as-played-by-Tim-Roth, or The Incredible Hulk v That-Abomination-Ang-Lee-directed? After only 5 years, this not-quite-sequel isn't quite making it out of the shadow of that uncharacteristically bad film "The Hulk". While it doesn't appear to be re-telling the origin story, it is basically a series re-boot, since they've replaced the entire cast and toned the monster's shade down from "candy-apple" to a more filmic "sewer-water" hue.

While there is nothing to indicate explicitly that this hulk is any more or less "credible" than the other hulk, it seems to have learned from past mistakes. There is less over-bearing plot and lots of tank-ripping action and monster-coolness. And that's really all we want. I do, however, take a slight issue with Edward Norton. He just seems mis-cast. And the fact that he also co-wrote the screenplay leads me to wonder if this isn't a little bit of a vanity project. And why does his chin-scruff evaporate when he becomes the monster? I think a grizzled, lightly-bearded Hulk could be interesting. Or perhaps not. Actually, I'm trying to think of anything that might make the character of the hulk interesting--and I'm coming up blank. And that may be the second-largest hurdle for this film to overcome. Not only must it deal with the fact that Hulk fans have already been pissed on by their movie hero, but it's titular character is defined by his one-dimensionality. The Hulk is a force of nature, not a tragic hero. You wouldn't make a movie based on a tornado, would you?

Wait.

Prediction: good, but not great, and it will only fare modestly at the box office

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (a.k.a. Indy 4, Liverpool 3) - I trust Steven Spielberg to make a good movie more than I trust George Lucas to shit all over his beloved franchises. And that's why I'll be seeing this one the day it opens. I'm not worried. It will be great. What could go wrong with Indiana Jones? Other than the Temple of Doom, I mean. Okay, while I trust it to be a very good movie, I have some reservations:

First, 4th films in franchises do not usually turn out well, especially when movie 4 is a money-maker tacked onto a perfectly good trilogy years later. See Star Wars. See also Die Hard. See also Star Wars. Then there's the fact that effects technology has changed a great deal in a very short while since Indy 3. This gives you the opportunity, if not the obligation, to include grand cinescaping effects shots that simultaneously betray the vibe of the first movies and look really fake by comparison. See Jurassic Park 3. See also Star Wars.

In fact, I could sum up most of my list of "Things That Could Go Wrong with Indy 4" by pointing at a list of "Things That Did Go Wrong with the Star Wars Prequels". And note that I don't include Shia LeBoufe on my list. I think he'll do just fine. And it's worth noting that this chapter in the Indy series has actually been in development since 1989. And they've acknowledged that the character has aged by placing this film 20 years after the previous installments, so they've dodged a few of the bullets that would normally get me nervous about a sequel. And I'm ever so glad that they got away from Nazis as bad guys... but why did they have to replace them with the Russians?

Whatever. The historical pantheon of traditional Hollywood villain archetypes is populated by Nazis, Russians, Indians, black people, aliens, and the occasional ambiguous European. Still... argh. This post has gotten long and that's a rant for another time, so I'll wrap this up by saying that Indy 4 will be an entertaining film and it will sell more tickets than a tent-revival hosted by God himself.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's a MADD World

"Life's not a bitch, she's just misunderstood."
--the codependent philosopher

So Mothers Against Drunk Driving (aka MADD) publicly asked Rockstar Games to stop selling Grand Theft Auto or at least re-classify it as an adult-only game, on the grounds that the character is able to drive drunk. Rockstar Games responded with:

"We have a great deal of respect for MADD's mission, but we believe the mature audience for 'Grand Theft Auto IV' is more than sophisticated enough to understand the game's content."

Weak. Here are some better options:

"Why, yes, absolutely. While we were spending years and millions of dollars on this highly anticipated title, it never occurred to us that the acts depicted in our game were wrong. Honestly, we thought the police were only in the game for a lark. Thank you for illuminating us, we'll pull the title and put it in the adult-bin next to Custer's Revenge for the Atari. I'm sure the fans will understand."

Or how about this?

"We understand that drunk driving is wrong, and we believe that by giving kids the opportunity to do so in the virtual world, they can hang out at home rather than sneaking off to a friend's house to get drunk and then drive back."

Here's my thought. Yes, drunk driving is wrong... actually, I won't even say wrong. I'll say stupid. Drunk driving is ill-advised. To drive drunk is a bad decision. Yes. Agreed. But I can certainly differentiate between real drunk driving and virtual drunk driving. And if a 15-year-old can't, well, we work around that by not letting 15-year-olds drink. Or drive.

And what about drinking and virtual driving? I like a beer or two while I play Mario Kart. What's wrong with that? Not a damned thing.

I appreciate the sentiment behind Mothers Against Drunk Driving. But the idea that someone will drink and drive in a video game and then think "hey, that wasn't so bad, I bet I could do that for real..."

Per-posture-us.

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