Thursday, May 22, 2008

spoiling ramblings on indiana jones

Quick thoughts before I go to bed:

It is an Indiana Jones movie. It is good. The action is fun, the character development is nill, and in the hierarchy of the films it is last. Having said that, I still feel like, if you took these four films as scripts and put them together, you'd see less of a discrepancy between the original trilogy and this new one. Koepp did okay.

What makes Skull nowhere near the other three is its heartbreaking use of CGI. After it was done I had this vision: a retarded, fat fingered George Lucas poking a patient Spielberg and whining: "Add more computerized monkeys! They are funny. They make me laugh."

Take, for example, the scene in which Indy and the Evil Russians stroll into the Area 51 box-hangar. The shot is CGI. Is it completely fucking impossible for you motherfuckers to build one fucking set? An airplane hangar with wooden boxes. WHY DID THIS NEED TO BE CGI????? A cartoon airplane hanger with cartoon wooden boxes with CARTOON FUCKING INDIANA JONES AND CARTOON RUSSIANS.

I dislike digital film as a medium. Bring back the 35 mm. Digital makes everything look...plastic. Film is wonderful for suspension of disbelief. Everything looks "movie." With digital film, everything looks "realer", so it's easier to tell when something looks like "shit." This was probably the biggest hurdle I had to get over. Further viewings, I'll be ready for this ugly, too-defined picture.

George Lucas, I want your head. The computer animated gophers and monkeys, that's you. You fucker. Greaser kid swings from the trees with monkeys. Seriously. Seriously. Seriously??????? Raiders had a monkey. A real fucking monkey. This movie has a real monkey, until you decide to get retarded and make a fucking gang of monkeys attack the villians.

Stunts. The first movie, you had a stuntman roll under a car. The second, there was a bridge (a real bridge) that broke, that stuntmen latched onto. The third, you had a real tank. Real boats.

Nothing in this movie looked real. Nothing. Not a goddamn thing. The amphibious boat going off the cliff onto a tree branch. That's a cartoon.

Jesus. All this whining makes it sound like I didn't like it. I did. I'm extremely protective of the Indiana Jones series.

So here's the thing. I don't want to hear any complaining about the aliens, unless it's related to the retarded CGI aspect of said aliens.

In the first movie, Indy is going after a magic box. With ghosts in it. The second flick he is force fed blood that turns him into "Evil Indy", until he gets burned. He is chasing magic stones that burn holes through bags. In the third movie, he throws a member of the Gestapo out of a blimp in Nazi Germany, and the blimp still takes off (it takes the Nazis a few hours to decide to turn the blimp around). He is chasing a magic cup guarded by an eight-hundred-year-old Templar. The wrong cup in his gallery turns people into skeletons. In Skull, he is returning a crystal (plastic-looking) skull to a temple built by (now undead) Mayans. The skull turns out to be an alien head. A flying saucer destroys the temple. Okay, it's a little weirder than the other flicks, but I can roll with it.

This thing needs further viewings. With beer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

adventure spoon

Rios got me the box of Apple Jacks with Indiana Jones on the cover. It comes with an Adventure Spoon.

This morning I stumble out of bed and go to the pantry and get the box out. The back of the box declares that there are three colors of Adventure Spoon: Green, Red, and Yellow. I tell myself it doesn't matter, but deep down I really want the green one.

I pop open the box and tear open the bag inside. I always seem to fail when it comes to opening cereal. The box gets fat in the middle. How does this happen?

In a surprisingly un-adventerous move, the Adventure Spoon is placed at the top of the cereal pile. Kids today, they are lazy.

I struggle with the plastic wrapping and connect the bowl of the spoon to the handle, which sports the words "Indiana Jones" in red letters. There's Mayan type etchings in the handle. Mysterious.

I pour the Apple Jacks and dump some milk on them and sit at the table. The moment of truth. I thumb the little red button and the light comes on, illuminating the spoon in a sultry red.

The Gods have spoken. Red is the true color of adventure.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Sitting in my computer chair with my leg propped up is comfortable but it crushes my balls.

My dog loves to stare out the window, evil genius-style. Today I was in the shower washing myself with Bath & Body Works apple scent because it smells good and she just howled. Like she was in pain. I threw the curtain back and bounded out of the shower butt ass sexy naked. The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. She was staring at something out the window. I filled her Kong with peanut butter and she chilled.

On my desk: empty bottles of water, empty bottle of Jones, empty bottle of Imperial Porter, Glade air freshener, Moleskine, Burt's Bees chapstick.

Aesop Rock's remix of "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" is what some may call a "banger." It makes me tap my fingers, so I'll call it a "fingerbanger."

Today at work an old Indian lady spent a half hour trying to decide if she wanted a picture frame. She inspected it. Checked it for the slightest imperfections. I had this daydream of this woman's house. It was empty except for a couch wrapped in plastic and this picture frame. You had to take your shoes off before you could enter, and you couldn't touch anything.

We hung up balloons for Mother's Day. Tiffany brought candy. I ate many little Snickers and Twix bars. Passed time by tearing the wrappers. They don't tear easy from the side, you have to split them vertically, between the wrappers' little teeth. My belly hurts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

live from the plantation 2

Spooky-relevant post to my college talk the other day, and perhaps the answer that I was looking for. Quitting school would make me like Sparta, basically. It is not strategic thinking.

As for Eric, I think the most important thing I noticed was that you mentioned all these things you were scared of. What was especially telling to me, is that you are afraid that if you drop out and fail at music, you'll be fucked. This is valid. But what about the flip side? What if you fail at "regular life" and you leave the music route unfulfilled? You end up with a job that you hate or that you suck at, a degree you don't need, and a sacrificed music career always sitting on your shoulder going "what if?"

We're young, and I think it's fantastic that we're thinking about these things now. We have to be careful, though. Talking about things, I believe, is your mind's way of relieving itself of the responsibility of doing them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

live from the plantation

I'm sipping dark beer. The box had Hunter Thomspon on it. Good marketing. Some of the money goes to build the Gonzo Monument, that two-thumbed fist. I'm for it. I'm on the fence about the beer, though. Dark beer is foreign to me. I fear it. I'm intrigued by it. I make faces when I drink it.

Speaking of foreign, I had my Spanish final today. I passed it. I may even get a B in the class. I'm a horrible student. With my student loan count tipping the scales at about $8,000, I'm thinking it might be time to cut my losses.

My boss, Regina, is a woman who at times is hard to understand. The other day, however, she imparted advice to me that rang crystal clear: "Unless you need the degree for a specific job, college is mostly pointless."

She's right. My mother went to college and got a degree so that she could become a teacher. My dad completed college to be an officer, but when he got out of the military, what good was a Bachelor's in English?

My uncle has a degree in History. He works for BMW.

At Kirkland's, I work with two ladies that have their Bachelor's. At one time, I worked with a woman who had her Master's. These people make the same money I do, give or take a few bucks an hour. None of them make what Regina makes, and she has no college education.

What good is my Communication bachelor's going to be if I want to write for a living? What good, for that matter, would a Creative Writing degree be? Rob Vollmar, a gentleman I greatly respect and a writer himself, told me that "No one ever became a better writer by going to college."

Unless, I suppose, you want to write about colleges.

Now, don't get me wrong. College was fun. Anyone who says, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey" with regards to higher education has a point. That is, if you don't have to pay for it. The first few years of my matriculation in El Paso were paid for by my grandparents, and they were awesome. I'm already nostalgic for them, and they only ended a year ago.

But the fun ends where the bill begins. And I have quite a bill.

I wonder how long it would take to pay $8,000 off? With my earnings, probably five years.

Is anybody else having similar crises? Anyone feeling crippled by the cost of college? Anyone picking up their diploma and finding that they have nowhere to go with it?

I've been finding a lot of comfort and understanding in Mr. Lif's "I, Phantom". That album has been spinning in my car consistently. Specifically number 4, "Live From the Plantation." I can relate.

Monday, May 5, 2008

5/6/08 1:57 AM

On my desk there's a remote control to a TV with no cable. Glade air freshener. Two bottles of water.

Rios cleaned the house today. It looks fantastic.

She got a feminist book. I read a few pages and liked them.

I got the urge to listen to Between the Buried and Me's "Mordecai". But just the good part. I've listened to it four times now.

creative scrreenwriting's indy jones article

The latest issue of Creative Screenwriting has an interview with David Koepp, the guy who finally did the new Indiana Jones script up right.

I liked a lot of what this gentleman said. At one point he mentions that there aren't any specific one-liners that relate back to the other films, because who remembers something glib they said 25 years ago? He also said that the references to the other films will be played down, because they have to be taken as three in a lifetime of probably hundreds of adventures.

In another rag I read that a mid-30s draft of an Indy script was called "Indiana Jones and the Monkey King" and had our hero riding rhinos to battle a Chinese deity in the search for a magical peach tree. Other rejects include "Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars" and "Sons of Darkness," about a search for Noah's Ark (which, if my nerdiness serves me correctly, was the plotline of an Indy book [yep, it was: "Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge" by Rob MacGregor"]).

Sunday, May 4, 2008


A few movies that I've seen recently that I really, really liked:

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Two brothers decide to knock off their parent's jewelry store, and their mom gets killed in the process. The whole "start the movie in the middle then go back to the beginning then go forward then back again" thing is starting to seem tired to me, but I don't see any other way this movie could have worked. I've only seen one other movie by Lumet, "Dog Day Afternoon," but I'm now definitely a fan. Watch how Ethan Hawke's character's life is presented: short and utilitarian. We are introduced immediately to his problems. Juxtapose this with his brother's scenes: Quiet, mysterious, and procedural. The writing in this movie is great, but I was truly amazed at how the director was able to add characterization through simple aesthetic choices, rather than strict dialogue. The violence is handled well, though I wish the movie didn't devolve into rampage-mode. What's up with Ethan Hawke growling and grunting like a cat when he's scared? You'll see what I mean.

The Orphanage - Scary and sad. Extremely tense scene in the middle involving a medium and night vision cameras. Good ending with two extra scenes tacked on that reek of studio tampering and audience pandering. People would have gotten it without being beaten over the head! Too bad. Self-congratulatory side note: I understood about 37% of this movie without having to glance at the subtitles. Go me.

Iron Man - This movie rules. Special effects are phenomenal. A long while back I remember reading an article about how Frank Miller was writing a Batman story in which Bruce Wayne goes to Afghanistan and lays pipe to terrorist anus. I never saw these books, and there seems to be a general fear about sending Superhero-types into real world situations. I can't quite remember who said it, but I seem to recall a director of a recent superhero flick saying that it would be unfair to our soldiers to show his hero going in and cleaning up a mess that they couldn't. Iron Man says fuck that. He fucks up Afghan terrorists. There is a clever way that John Favreau gets around the whole "one-upping the military beef": Tony Stark is a narcissist. He's obsessed with how he's affected the world. He doesn't build the Iron Man suit so he can combat AIDS in Africa. He goes to Afghanistan to destroy his legacy of enabling murderers. It all goes back to cleaning up his own mess. Not the military's. Robert Downey Jr. : fucking great. Gwenyth Paltrow: America-hating, Coldplay fucking, self-serious cow. But she's okay in this. Go see it at Warren! All digital! All THX!

Indiana Jones trailer - Tears of joy, a little bit? Yeah. I choked up when I saw this. There was no boner of joy, because this movie will transcend boners. This is deeper than sex. It moved me.