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Bullshit!

Here's where you'll find things that annoy me and things that I feel like ranting about.

Peacemaker Reviews UPDATE!

JJ Mortimer

moviehole.jpg

Missing, I've been.  Back, I will be.

I've taken a bit of a sabbatical from movie reviews since this summer, and for a reason that most of you can relate when you get a bit bored - I've just not been in the mood or motivated enough to review films that are plainly "good" or "passable."  What I crave more than anything else is a film that's expected to be good, but from out of left field is so bat shit horrendous and terrible that I just have to vent my opinion on my distaste for the movie.

I've seen a lot of "good" films these past couple months, and even a few disappointments, but nothing made me want to sit down and actually put my feelings to words.  Part of that is for the aforementioned reasoning, but I must also include that, once again, I've become a bit jaded by "Big Hollywood" and their penchant for strictly making money by "any means necessary, instead of the need to dazzle audiences.  Hollywood producers have become fantastic at casting the veil over my eyes, making me think that what I've just seen was "great," when in fact, upon further dissection, all I saw WAS just a product to sell toys, kid's meals, and over-priced 3D surcharges on already over-priced movie theater tickets.

Luckily, and hopefully, this is the time of year when the real contenders come out to play.  I'm not referring to award "contenders," but films that are contending for my ultimate readmission into the wonder that is FILM MAKING.  Of the bigger-budgeted motion pictures to review, my return to the written form of film criticism (until I can gather enough funding to get myself up and running and into the video format of film reviewing) will be this Friday after my viewing of The Last Jedi.

How fitting, that a sequel to one of the original films that made me love movies so much will be released and ready for me to see this week.  Regardless of whether I think it's great film making or not, The Last Jedi will retain some of that wonder that I've carried with me since my single-digit years of childhood.  I hope Jedi does not disappoint, and I can't wait to give you guys the words that convey how I feel about a tent-pole of modern film making.  Either that, or I will tell you all about the giant shit cheeseburger I just ate with my eyeballs.

The True Box Office Top 10

JJ Mortimer

For the record, here are the Top 10 domestic Box Office hits of all time after inflation is included for the tickets sold:

1) Gone With the Wind (1939) = $1,719,399,800
2) Star Wars (1977 + re-releases) = $1,515,797,800
3) The Sound of Music (1965) = $1,211,954,800
4) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982 + re-release) = $1,207,180,400
5) Titanic (1997 + re-release) = $1,152,887,700
6) The Ten Commandments (1956) = $1,114,810,000
7) Jaws (1975) = $1,089,950,700
8) Doctor Zhivago (1965) = $1,056,392,700
9) The Exorcist (1973 + re-release) = $941,198,900
10) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 + re-release) = $927,590,000

The closest a sequel gets to the top 10 is last year's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at #11 with $920,059,500.

I don't see any sequels, remakes, reboots, Transformers, or any movies in the past nineteen years on this list. So, can we stop reporting "biggest movie" claims with recently-released movies until they stand up next to THIS, the TRUE Top 10?

"Game of Thrones" - Season 6, Episode 5 ("The Door") Final Thoughts

JJ Mortimer

Not one week removed from critics claiming that "Game of Thrones" can "no longer surprise audiences" comes not only one of the ten biggest surprises in the show's history (in my opinion), but what may well indeed be the single biggest character revelation so far. And, indeed, one of the most tragic endings to a character's story.

Last night's episode displays a forethought of story, structure, surprise, and revelation from author George R.R. Martin that blows many other authors out of the water. What was indeed a secondary character for the majority of the show's run/book's length, a moment of discovery, surprise, and tragic on a somewhat supernatural level brings this particular character's story arc into a deeper mechanic of the purpose and endgame of what "Game of Thrones" IS and is to BECOME.

Heartbreaking, heroic, and tragic on a level I haven't experienced in many years of watching movies and shows, the creators of the "Game of Thrones" show and author George R. R. Martin outdid themselves on every level to the saddening benefit of the fans. One of the best dramatic moments of the story's run, by far.

Hold the door.

Other stuff happened as well.  The entire episode was great, but on this one particular review, I just wanted to highlight the part we as fans are going to be reflecting on for the rest of the series' run, as well as when we go back and re-watch from the very beginning when all is said and done.

Peacemaker's Music Recommendation - Ayreon's "Into the Electric Castle"

JJ Mortimer

Once in a while I like to suggest or recommend a piece of obscure/little known entertainment, often something specific that not everyone may like, in hopes of seeing who may know it.

I've owned the progressive rock album "Into the Electric Castle" from Ayreon (Dutch musician Arjen Lucassen's multi-decade group project) for twelve years, but never actually listened to the thing straight through, end-to-end with its 100-minute album length, until this week.

And holy shit. By sheer artistic prowess, epic storytelling, and a true operatic sensation, this album may very well be one of the most impressively-recorded, immaculately-instrumented pieces of work I've ever heard in the progressive rock genre.

I have to thank Michael Milbrett for turning me on to Ayreon so many years ago. For had I not known of them, I never would have rediscovered this album and currently be enjoying the living hell out of it.

Personal favorite songs on the album's story-based narrative (about people picked out of multiple eras of history to journey to the mysterious Electric Caste) are "Time Beyond Time" for Lucassen's closing guitars, "Across the Rainbow Bridge" for its almost Queensryche-era rock feeling, and "The Castle Hall" for its darkness and bass-rattling undertones.

If you're a fan of concept music, rock opera, and multi-layered compositions with a multitude of artists and instruments implemented to create a unique sound, check it out.  Listen to it with good sound, the bass turned up a little, and the lights turned out, with thoughts of the fantasy & science fiction of your childhood freely flowing through the mind.

Positive Movie Review Blurb

JJ Mortimer

Some people ask me why I give so many favorable movie reviews.

"Nearly every movie you review gets a 'thumbs up' or a four-star review from you.  How can we trust your judgment?"

My response:  "Did you also like the movie I gave a four-star rating to?"

"Yes."

"Then there's your answer."

The reason I give so many favorable reviews (on average, the films I review have a 3-and-a-half star rating) is because I watch a lot of good films.  At this present time, I don't have the ability to see every movie that is released in the theater.  Marvel or huge franchise blockbuster movies aside, more often than not I see a new film on the Sunday of the weekend it is released (which I used to see the midnight before, but lately it has become the policy of many theaters and distributors to allow Friday-released films to be screened around 7pm on Thursday nights which is fantastic for my sleep schedule).  This gives me time to feel what the general populace is thinking about a particular set of films, which allows me the chance to determine which one would be more worth my time and money to see.  Sure, there's a bit of ethical "critic" choices to be had here, but I'm not a professional critic - I'm a film goer just like you and your friends, so I tend to be wise and pick the films that aren't going to waste my time.

The reason I say all of this is because we are approaching the Thanksgiving/Christmas movie season, where many Academy Award-bait films are being released.  This is the time when production companies reserve the best-of-the-best to be seen just before the Oscar ballots are handed out, and for their best product to be remembered in the eyes of old people who would bestow golden naked dudes with swords upon their films and film makers.  Chances are, there are going to be a lot more four-star-rated film reviews in the coming weeks.

I don't hand out favorable reviews willy-nilly.  But, I will start adding alternative rating sub-headings to give people a better idea of how I feel about a film.  For example, I may give a film the best review of the year, but then I might add at the bottom of the review whether I would purchase the film in Blu-Ray upon its home video release, to which I might say "no purchase."  This does not mean it is actually a bad or boring film, but it just may not have the rewatchability of a lesser, summer popcorn flick that I gave only a three-star rating to.

In finality, just enjoy the next couple months.  There are gong to be a shit-ton of great films coming out, and all of them may be fantastic.  But, to see if you actually like a film that I reviewed quite highly, you may need to read between the lines and determine if you will like it as well.

Comedy Bit of the Week - Bill Hicks

JJ Mortimer

Where quite a few comedians today (in my opinion) feel forced, contrived, and often hindered by an ineffective actor/character approach to their material, Bill Hicks exuded a level of self-confidence that rivaled that of an alcoholic rock star lead guitarist, exuding a real-life darkness that could only be played off with the use of their God-given talent (in his case a dark humor and a slap-you-in-the-face sense of insensitive sensibility) for an unwitting crowd to observe.  The man wasn't without controversy, touching on many subjects political and ethological that were very touchy to people on both "sides", but that danger not knowing what he was going to say next gave his comedy the edge that truly was ahead of its time.

One could argue that more underground comedians of today were spawned from and inspired by the raw-natured talent of Bill Hicks than any other of the classic comedians - often without their even knowing it (and sometimes outright stealing his persona).  This bit alone, recorded at Dangerfield's around the late 80s, is a perfect example of his effortless ability to portray his thoughts and emotions with a sense of cool that was unhindered, and most of all, real.

Sadly, Bill Hicks passed away in 1994 at the age of 32 due to the complications of pancreatic cancer.  Perhaps he was smoking the packs with the wrong warning on them.

Anyway, on a sentimental note, here is his last recorded bit replayed on Letterman fifteen years later as a sort of "apology" for having been removed from the program before it aired that night.  Letterman's introduction explains it all.

*After Letterman's intro, jump to the 11:10 mark, and enjoy:


Journalblog (July 8, 2015) - Random Thoughts on Hollywood

JJ Mortimer

We can bitch and complain as often and as angrily as we like, but Hollywood isn't going to change the way we would like it to change.  Adapt would be a better word - adapt to the consciousness of American audiences who actually care about the quality of the films they experience, and are drooling at the opportunity to experience something new again.  Which isn't to say we don't get some original ideas once in a while.

Every year there are bad films and good films.  There are the occasional instant classics and a handful of atrocious, god-awful messes that are so bad we can't forget about them.  And that's part of the problem - we tend to remember the giant disasters more than the films that actually touched us and moved us emotionally in a positive light.

As the years go on, people will remember how there were three abortions that were called sequels to the first (and entertaining) Transformers film - each one more expensive and than the last, and more bloated than a whale that's been stewing in the sun for three days.  People remember the needless reboots, remakes, rehashes and sequels too many years removed from their predecessors for anyone to give a damn about, because these films are jammed down our throats through marketing that makes us believe we NEED to see this probable piece of shit and pay to have its streak marks stained on our brains.  Yet the reason these terrible films are made is because, more often than not, they are making their money back.  And their name value means everything.

Each major studio usually has a limit of how many giant, over-$100 million dollar-budget films they can make.  They also have a number of moderate-budget films, as well as a number of low-budget films they can green light within their budget.  It's a business, we get it.  But, in my heart and soul, it's been many, many years since the majority of the big budget films that were made had the care of the audience in mind.  The dollar is the bottom line, and even if a writer/director has his heart in the right place, the business suit-wearing executive, with a bow tie so tight around his neck that he forgets what role a producer is actually supposed to take in the creative process, will dip his balls in so deep into the production that the spawn will be nothing short of demonic upon our viewing eyes.  Yes, many executives fuck their movies, usually metaphorically (although it wouldn't seem out of the question to think that some of these assholes fuck their movies physically).

That's the problem with our major source of visual entertainment.  With the movies we spend the most money to see, we are mostly (not always, to be fair) given the "creative outlook" of a non-creative studio executive with a bag-full of "no" to any sense of outside creative judgment, and a dick-full of "yes" to his own personal, perverted needs.  This is why those smaller films, the low-budget features, will be the future of what we see and remember as we go on in our movie-watching lives.  The less money we spend on that which we KNOW is going to be terrible, the less likely those films are to be greenlit.  Once in a while, we are graced with executives who listen to their creative partners - Kevin Feige at Marvel Studios is a perfect example.  But, for every Feige, we get a half dozen revolving door executives behind the scenes a needless reboot, all of whom don't have the balls to allow the hiring of physical creators and extra pre-production time to implement the details we loved back when movies actually felt "hand made", and not addled with computer-generated effects in every single frame of digital celluloid.

Now you understand that for every film I decide to go off on an angry, expletive-filled rant about because of its obvious laziness when it comes to the creative allowances of its production, there is at least another film I will love mainly based on its producer(s) actually allotting time to shoot the film on FILM, create monsters with puppetry and animatronics (with CGI used only when necessary, and sparingly), and stimulate more than just our eyes and ears, but also our brains and hearts.  Speaking of hearts, no more CGI blood sprays, Hollywood.  That's seriously and literally (not figuratively) the laziest visual effect choice in the history of modern cinema.

That's why I propose, in the most simplistic of fashions, that of all those films each studio green-lights, they should all take a chance at allowing at least one of the more-than-moderately budgeted films to be creatively handled by those who are hired to be creative.  No producer input, but given the money to create a film with the hearts of the audience in mind.  Allow a director to hire people from the "hands-on" departments that have largely gone out of business.  Give a few extra months of pre-production AND production time to make a film that doesn't feel rushed or canned, which in turn could create more jobs for people in construction, fabrication, tailoring, makeup, prosthetics, masonry, woodwork, transportation, robotics, etc., instead of going to a room-full of nerds who are probably bored and many days past giving a shit about what the movie is actually about.

Journal - Random Movie Thoughts, Part 1

JJ Mortimer

You know why I like reviewing films that are released in the last quarter of the year rather than films released during the summer?

Movies in the fall/winter actually try to be good.  You get two kinds of films then - films that were held back until the holiday times because they are so damn good that studios are hoping to increase their chances at Academy Awards, and then you get films that intentionally try to be good for the sake of winning awards.  

Usually, you can decipher between these films.  Some of the "intentionally award-driven" films have won the Oscar ("The English Patient", "Slumdog Millionaire", "The Artist") while others that were very deserving have won because they were just so damn good ("No Country for Old Men", "The Hurt Locker", "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King").  I like reviewing films at this time because it's more fun to filter the fake shit from the real gold.

The other reason it's more fun to review award-caliber films is because you can actually talk about other aspects of the film making process, rather than just the visual effects or how good an actress's boobs looked.  Rather, you get to dissect the cinematography, the purposes behind certain edits, the subtle looks an actor gives during a performance - all of the things that make certain films stick with me longer than an entertaining popcorn flick.

The 2025 Movie Lineup

JJ Mortimer

In light of how far in advance film production companies are stating the release dates of films that aren't even yet in pre-production, here's what I expect we are going to see announced by the summer of 2016 FOR the summer of 2025:

 

"Jurassic Universe"

"The Silmarillion"

"Terminator 360" (June)
"Terminator One" (December) - both still starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese's great grandfather

"Star Wars Episode 10 - Return of the Hutts"

"Avatar 4"

"Autobots"

Disney's "Thawed"
Pixar's "Mouse Trap"
Pixar's "Monsters Retirement Village"

Marvel's "X-Force"
Marvel's "X-Factor"
Marvel's "The Whizzer"
Marvel's "Dazzler"
"The Spectacular Spider-Man" (starring Jaden Smith)
"Batman vs. Aquaman"

"King Kong vs. Godzilla"
"King Kong '76 vs. King Kong 2005"

"Lawrence of Arabia" the re-re-re-release
"Titanic" reboot, starring Kate Winslet as "old Rose"

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Haunting of Jack Sparrow" (the ninth film)
"Indiana Jones and the Game of Thrones"

Live-action versions of the board games "Risk" (starring Danny DeVito) and "Trivial Pursuit" (starring Danny DeVito)

"Mickey Goldmill", starring Sylvester Stallone

Terminator: Genishits: Stills from Hell

JJ Mortimer

No bit of news about the upcoming reboot of the "Terminator" franchise, entitled "Terminator: Genisys" (I can't make that spelling up), is giving me any confidence in the future of the human race.  Just to give you a glimpse of how low my expectations are for this future pussy-fied action movie that will be rated PG-13 despite being about killer assassin cyborgs, here are some still photographs the producers released to build INTEREST in the film (if their idea of interest is causing eyes to cry diarrhea):

This is Kyle Reese, played by the wooden Jai Courtney, trying his best to differentiate himself from anything awesome Michael Biehn did in the original.  He looks like, instead of robbing a homeless man for clothes, he broke into an Abercrombie & Fitch and had time for a shower and shave... 

...some random future douchebag (Matt Smith from Doctor Who-the-fuck-cares) who doesn't give a shit about aim...

...and poor Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, so great in Game of Thrones yet completely devalued into a still photo that looks like they replaced a burger about to be angrily bitten into with a machine gun in her hands instead.  For God's sake, she's not even pulling the trigger and the rifle is firing.  Guns suck in the future, apparently, because they only fire FIRE (notice the lack of ejecting shell).  Yes, I'm nitpicking this trash.

The first two pictures make me WANT to see the human race eradicated. Kyle isn't even aiming at anything yet STILL firing his weapon. The second guy is one-arming a two-armed-mandatory weapon. Both men are putting more emphasis on their scowl then their aim. Seriously, what the hell are they shooting at. Neither of them care about hitting whatever the shit it is!

Poor Arnold looks so gawdamn old that I feel the producers and director Alan Taylor are actually TRYING to kill him.

Granted, these ARE NOT shots from the actual film, but regardless, they should be trying to actually build INTEREST in the film, not full-blown dispassionate hate.

In the future, they apparently have better dry cleaners than we do now.

I can't fucking wait to see these films (yes, plural - it's a planned TRILOGY of PG-13 shit-logs) bomb like a nuclear blast on August 29, 1997.

Video Games vs. MMA - Website Category Change

JJ Mortimer

I've been thinking for the past couple weeks about changing my UFC/MMA section into a bona-fide Video Game Corner.  Much of my downtime (repair time, as those like me who get kicked and punched all day would call it) is spent on my XBOX 360, trying my best to finish up all the RPGs I can before committing myself over to the XBOX One.  One of the reasonings behind changing the section over to video games instead of MMA is a little personal and complicated, but should be easy for some of you to relate. 

In late 2006, after a particularly ugly breakup, I decided to give the UFC a second go with all my extra time on my hands and with my limitless access to free delivery rentals (before Netflix went streaming, it was in competition with Blockbuster Video on its ability to mail you DVDs, and since I was an employee of Blockbuster, I took advantage of how easy it was to cheat the shitty online rental service and get month after month for free).  At that time, my only real experience with MMA was UFC 1 through 4, having seen them on pay-per-view.  Royce Gracie, in my mind, was still the most spectacular human being that could never be defeated.  Working at the video store, I occasionally came across a UFC DVD, specifically remembering the coverbox for UFC 46, "Super Saturday", and looking at these plain-looking guys and wondering where the awesomeness of 600-pound guys fighting 200-pound guys went.

"Who the fuck is this Randy Couture asshole?", I remember thinking, also not knowing how the hell to say his name, pronouncing it "cooter".  Regardless, I gave it an honest shot.

Somewhere along the line, a friend told me how awesome this Ultimate Fighter reality show was.  I thought it was probably shit, of course, upon hearing it labeled a "reality show", immediately putting it in the same category as Survivor.  I got my first UFC DVD in the mail (not remembering which one), and fell in love immediately.  I had no fucking idea what I was thinking about dismissing what I had seen on the shelves.  I not only wanted to see more fights from Matt Hughes and Randy Cooter (my early favorites), I NEEDED to see more.  In the matter of a month, I had seen every available fight on DVD, and even went into the Pride catalog. 

About four months later, I was introduced to who Bas Rutten was, and before you know it, I was training at Bas' gym, and having my first MMA fight in July 2008.  I loved, and still love, MMA.

After getting the majority of my family on board, and buying nearly EVERY PPV event from UFC 71 to 171, you could say I was a freak about the combat sport.

Then, something happened.  I started to see through some of the cracks of the business.

A couple years back, they announced an increase in number of events, which was great at first, but quickly began to lose its luster when a new event would be on nearly every week.  Fight cards began to get watered down, especially with the advent with the new weight classes.  Then the UFC unveiled their bullshit Fight Pass, and a great chunk of great fights were relegated to that service (something I refuse to buy to this day).  Somewhere along the line, my addiction cleared itself up, and watching fights became more educational rather than entertaining (I teach MMA now). 

I still love to watch fights, but that sweaty-palms, butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling I used to get is gone.  One of the problems is because of the lack of real "stars" like Couture, Hughes, Liddell...guys people used to go out of their way to watch and talk about.  The UFC became "too popular" at a time when many of the hard-core fan's favorite fighters were already on their way into retirement.

What we have now is that strange notion where the majority of fighters feel, sad to say, the same.  There are few names that can put asses into bar stools like the fighters before the UFC went main stream.  Everyone is fan, and everyone thinks they are a fighter.  Some of the passion has dissipated, and I blame the combat sport's lack of foresight into bringing a quality product with the FANS in mind, first and foremost.  Now we get company presidents bad mouthing the fans and telling them that if they don't like a fight card because it clearly is a shitty card, they should go watch The Notebook instead.  How about fix your fucking product instead of calling us assholes for voicing an opinion on why we are paying $60 fucking dollars for something that is NOWHERE NEAR as good as what we were getting for free a week ago.

Watching fights no longer consumes me the way it used to.  I find myself fast-forwarding through a lot of the lesser bouts (looking for a finish or a spirited exchange between fighters), getting to the main card post haste.  Basically, I felt nothing when I missed UFC 177.  I don't give a shit that the fights were good - I would rather spend my money on heavyweight fights (my favorite) where little happens rather than a bunch of smaller guys whose names I don't know who just happen to put on decent fights.  I want "names" on the fight cards - stars - if I'm going to pay for it.  And that is a difficult task to achieve, given that the level of the "superstars" that I grew to love no longer exist on that same level.  Sure, you have a Jon Jones, a Ronda Rousey, or an Anthony Pettis.  But there's still something missing that once existed when the UFC and mixed-martial arts was in it's infancy as a kind of 'underground' passion sport.  Watching fights now is like watching a Schwarzenegger film two decades after he was able to open a film based on his name alone.  Sure, it's awesome to see him in The Expendables 3, but the spark of excitement is missing.  The butterflies are gone.

Anyway, my passion has never left video games.  So that's why I'm thinking of changing it over. 

That's all.  Enjoy.

The Unforgiving Yin-Yang of Forgiveness - a Stupid Study

JJ Mortimer

By JJ Mortimer

I am about to use two of the stupidest (but arguably correct) examples to make a point about an imbalance in social forgiveness.  Here we go!

Have you ever noticed how sometimes the most terrible of human beings can make one simple act of kindness, and nearly every one of their deceitful actions prior can all but be forgotten?  On the flip side of that coin, did you ever notice how a person, otherwise known as a perfect, stand-up, overall great human being, can be completely derided by society for making one mistake, never to be forgiven or trusted for the rest of their lives? 

Just for fun, here is an example of the first kind of person and how we perceive them in that particular situation: 

In the 80s, I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kind of kid.  I was totally on board with the Turtles as the heroes, and Shredder was just an untrustworthy, dangerous, sociopathic, overall bad guy.  Every episode found a new way for the viewers to despise him, and fear him, and for the Turtles to beat the ever-living shit out of him.  But, there was one episode in general, titled "Case of the Killer Pizzas", where (in a nutshell) alien eggs or something were disguised as meatballs that, once microwaved as a pizza topping, would hatch and grow to become a yellow xenomorph-looking creature from the movie Aliens.  At one point near the end of the episode, the aliens get out of hand and neither the Turtles or Shredder, with his goons alone, could defeat the creatures.

So they team up.  For the first time in the series, we see the Turtles, their master Splinter, and their murderous arch nemesis join forces to fight a bigger problem.  And I was TOTALLY on board with this.  In that very moment, I forgave all of the evil deeds that metal-headed bastard had committed, and had hoped that the union would be more than temporary.  Of course it turns out that once the threat was defeated, so was the pact between rivals, and so the show continued on with Shredder as the enemy of Splinter and his shelled boys.

But HOLY SHIT for this one moment.

But HOLY SHIT for this one moment.

What makes me curious now as I think back about the situation was how easily I forgave Shredder for all the shit he had done because of the ONE INSTANCE where he could be viewed as a good guy.  His intentions indeed weren't necessarily to help the Turtles, but to get the best team up possible to defeat an enemy that threatened himself, as well.  The Turtles were just extra pawns to be used in his overall plan, but still...he teamed up with them.  And in that moment I didn't care about all the people he murdered, all the crimes he committed, all the pizza he wasted - he was a good guy in my eyes, and all it took was for a moment where he kicked and punched alongside OUR heroes.

Before going back to being a single-minded foe, bent on murderous domination while seemingly spending no down time to eat or sleep.

Before going back to being a single-minded foe, bent on murderous domination while seemingly spending no down time to eat or sleep.

Now, on to the other more dubious situation - a good person never forgiven for ONE deed.  And I'm going to use a very touchy individual as an example.

Retired officer Mark Fuhrman, better known to many as a racist police detective who was accused of planting evidence to "frame" O.J. Simpson for the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson in a racially motivated situation, was a highly decorated officer in his 20-year tenure with the Los Angeles Police Department.  Before the trial and his eventual perjury conviction, he was the recipient of 55 commendations during his service as an officer, as well as a Vietnam veteran having served his time as a United States Marine sergeant (for which he was honorably discharged after his time in the war).

If only he could shut his mouth and follow a simple police procedure - at least, in the minds of the defense attorneys. 

If only he could shut his mouth and follow a simple police procedure - at least, in the minds of the defense attorneys. 

On paper, this is exactly the kind of man any officer would look up to, and the kind of man you want on our streets, looking out for us and kicking ass on the bad guys. 

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the bullshit Simpson case (because you all know O.J. WAS the murderer), but Fuhrman made the one mistake of entering O.J.'s estate without a search warrant.  And he was arguably forced to convict himself in a line of questioning that resulted in him perjuring himself in his use of a racial term.

My point being that, to this day, everyone remembers Mark Fuhrman as a "racist" and as the only person in the Simpson case who actually had criminal charges made against them. 

Yes, there was a point in this case where THIS man was the "good guy".

Yes, there was a point in this case where THIS man was the "good guy".

Reading that last sentence brings one of the most cringe-worthy thoughts to mind - that no matter how good a person you are, no matter how glowing your record is, no matter how many lives you save or crimes you prevent, you make one noticeable mistake and EVERYTHING BEFORE THAT is forgotten.  You forever wear a rendition of the "scarlet letter" upon your forehead, never to be forgiven for a perceived "misdeed".

My point is this - whether you understand the point-of-view of the bad guy being too-quickly forgiven, or the good guy being derided for an inexcusable amount of time for one failed deed, it's safe to say that people, even characters in movies, are much more interesting when they're bad-turned-good.

Hell, look at the way you felt when I even brought up Mark Fuhrman's name, and how feelings of disdain and anger seemed to ooze out of some of your faces, while the excitement some of you received at the concept of Shredder joining forces with the Ninja Turtles was almost palatable. 

Nobody likes to see a hero fall from grace.  That's basically the entirety of the 1970s cinema movement prior to Star Wars in a nutshell - good guys gone bad.  Nobody likes to see their hero make a mistake.  People don't like a black spot on their white coat.

But, what people DO like are the villains who have that momentary change of heart, because the amount of effort it takes for an evil man to change his ways in order to benefit an action of "good" far outweighs the weakness it takes for an overall "good guy" to forget his oath of righteousness.

It's unfair, but it's the truth.  The truth is nobody can be "perfectly evil" OR "perfectly good".  We are humans, and humans make mistakes.  Humans can also redeem themselves.  One good deed when it's least expected can change the world forever in the most positive of ways, while one bad deed when it's least expected can tear it down to the rat-and-turtle infested sewers.  Just don't be so quick to forgive one person while turning your back on another when that other person may very well have done quite a bit more to receive your pension of nicety. 

"Road House" Teachings

JJ Mortimer

By: JJ Mortimer

Road House was probably the last "true" 80s action movie, holding all the typical cliches and character motivations that made the decade so fun very close to its heart.  My first day as a night club bouncer a few years back was a little nerve-racking because I had never had to physically  handle another human being outside of a dojo setting.  I knew there wouldn't be action like what we saw in Road House, but I was still curious as to how the real-life interactions were outside of a Hollywood setting.  I wanted to know how much of it was bullshit.

The first question I asked of one of my supervisors was in relation to this movie:

"So, what do you guys think about Road House?  Is the movie totally full of shit?"

His response is one of the most memorable things in my three years as a bouncer:

"Dude, that movie is our fucking bible."

But dress shirts ARE required when ripping someone's throat out.

But dress shirts ARE required when ripping someone's throat out.

Three choked-out humans, a few dozen drunken drag-outs, a handful of life threatenings, one knife pulled, two dry cleaning bills to remove blood stains, one loogie spat onto my face, a seemingly-devoured watch from off of my own wrist, three witnessed tazings, and one Gangs of New York-style parking lot brawl, and I had the time of my life.

Anyways, the following are a few things I learned from watching Road House's version of what bouncing in a rural town like.

1)  A roundhouse kick is faster than a finger pulling the trigger of a gun.

2)  If you're a bad-ass bad guy, you apparently spent time in prison, having "fucked guys like" Patrick Swayze.

3)  A knee shatters with only five pounds of pressure, but ribs can take thirteen full-powered bare knuckle punches and ten solid boot kicks without any real damage.

4)  You can catch a punch with your bare hand.

Sam Elliot can also catch a bullet with his anus.

Sam Elliot can also catch a bullet with his anus.

5)  A 60-year old man can take four (4) 12-gauge shotgun blasts to the upper body before dying, let alone falling down.

5.5) Said 'fight skill-less' 60-year old man can pose a significant physical threat to a martial arts master.

6)  Protecting your face while throwing (or taking) punches is for pussies.

7)  Police don't give a shit about a town-based, violent dictatorship.

8)  Police response time = 0:00 minutes (i.e. "never"), unless the credits are about to roll.

9)  Blocking a kick with your testicles is a good defensive maneuver.  

10)  Your girlfriend will be pissed at you for defending your life against a man who has every intent on killing you.

11)  Lying to the police when they finally DO show up = case closed.

My $100 ALS Post for Idiots

JJ Mortimer

Click the picture and donate your money, assholes.

Click the picture and donate your money, assholes.

First off, I need to make a point as to alert people that it took two idiots to show just how idiotic people are treating this "ice water" challenge.  A great many cheers go out to Steve-O and Charlie Sheen, guys who I (just four seconds ago) called idiots, but will no longer call them that.  They have my respect and the respect of the ALS Association for their $1,000 and $10,000 respective donations, and for calling people out on the idiocy of the "ice water challenge".

Now, on to my bullshit rant.

An interesting thing happened in the past couple days.  As a flood of videos came rushing in on Facebook involving the challenge to help "awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease", I noticed that the majority of people dumping water on their heads made NO MENTION as to what the challenge was for.  Nor did they make any mention as to promote any kind of monetary reciprocation for the ALS Association.  After the first video I saw late last week, it took two days and probably a dozen videos before someone finally mentioned (before being dunked) what the challenge was for.  That's not the interesting part - I will get to that in a moment.

The "ice water challenge" became more of a stupid stunt (it seemed) for friends to "challenge" each other with than becoming any kind of act with a given purpose to help save lives.  The whole thing felt like a weasel's version of a shitty Jackass stunt.  For morons.  Who like to waste.

Now don't get me wrong - a great many of you I'm sure had your hearts in the right place, and I'm sure even some of you made donations to the ALS Association, right?

Right??

In case you didn't, here's a link so that you can donate to your heart's content.

Here it is again in printed link form:  http://www.alsa.org/donate/

Here it is yet AGAIN with a link embedded into the actual name of the foundation that NEEDS your money, and not your ice water wastefulness:  The ALS Association

The interesting part happened when today, I was so angry at the people who made no attempt to make mention as to what the "wasted ice water dumping on my head" challenge was for, that I made the effort to go to the ALS Association and make my $100 donation.  Yes, your ice water challenge videos actually worked in helping to raise awareness for the research to help fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  But, did it need to be in this stupid form that people should have known would be more about the shitty "challenge" part rather than a purpose for raising actual awareness for the needed research at the ALS Association?

Nobody called me out or "challenged" me to dump and waste my dog's drinking water (hose water) on my balding scalp.  I went to the website, donated my $100, and now I "challenge" YOU and WHOEVER ELSE DUMPED FUCKING WATER ON YOUR HEAD TO GO TO THIS WEBSITE AND DONATE YOUR $100!  If you have the money to own the camera to shoot the video, and you can afford the water bill to willingly pour water on your head during this drought, then you can actually give a simple $100 for actual research. 

Just doing the "awareness" part works - in this case, yes - but now you should do your part and put your money where your mouth is.  For those of you fucking idiots who think the dumping of ice water on your heads is just a "challenge" and don't actually know (or make any attempt to mention) what it is for, then maybe next time the challenge should be pouring your own Mountain Dew-colored piss on your head, because THAT, my friends, would be a challenge you would remember, and willingly donate money for in order to NOT have to do. 

The people suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease would appreciate the piss out of you.

P.S.  In case you need a link again to the website to donate your $100 (and you didn't see the previous eight that I posted), here it is for an eighth time.

P.S.S.  This is just my way of thinking, but from here on out, if your "ice water challenge" video doesn't end with you walking over to your computer and filming yourself donating money on the ALS website, then you are officially a gawdamn asshole.
 

Lou Gehrig, the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.

Lou Gehrig, the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.

Quick Quips about Today's Interesting News

JJ Mortimer

1)  Joseph Gordon-Levitt considers himself a 'male feminist', because he says, "There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole."  I wonder if he's against women suffrage, or if he has a thing against slavery as well.  If he considers himself a 'male feminist', he needs to act the particular role that comes with the majority of the spotlight feminists and say he hates men - particularly white and black men - and dress himself in an androgynous style with a real shitty haircut.

How about this:  Try being yourself for a change.  I'm sure you're a great guy and all, but your words come out about as understanding as Forrest Gump understood how much of a bitch Jenny was.

How about this:  Try being yourself for a change.  I'm sure you're a great guy and all, but your words come out about as understanding as Forrest Gump understood how much of a bitch Jenny was.


2)  Sea World announced they are expanding their Orca habitat amid backlash from the Blackfish mockumentary/movie (I call it a mockumentary because it mocks the actual effort in realistic, true reporting that the majority of other actual documentaries put into their production).  While the response by Sea World is saddening given the fact that they now have to spend millions of dollars to upgrade their facilities, despite the fact that they actually treat their animals VERY WELL, it's still a giant "Fuck You" to the producers of that fucking stupid movie AND to the executives at CNN who would like to witness Sea World close its doors, let all their animals free, and watch as real, unprotected wildlife eats all of the released animals.

"Mommy, is that Keiko?  We should make a movie to raise money to let him go, you know, so that National Geographic can film him dying."

"Mommy, is that Keiko?  We should make a movie to raise money to let him go, you know, so that National Geographic can film him dying."


3)  World Health Organization (W.H.O., for the morons) has announced that the Ebola virus is more widespread than originally thought.  The scary part about this is they have made previous articles about the epidemic in regards to what is occurring with the virus in the United States.  Now, they blatantly want you to believe that WE are overrun with this horrible new strain and to get vaccinations, shots, immunizations, etc, in response.  What they aren't telling you in the headlines is that the deaths they are referring to are in Africa.  Regardless, it is terrible that people are still dying from this virus, but to reclaim a little bit of the "population calm" I would hope the W.H.O. would make notice of what territory they are speaking of before people head to their doctor to get a miracle anti-Ebola medication.  While they're at it, they should also ask about the new A.I.D.S. medicine, and the chewable vitamin to prevent Hepatitis G or whatever.

Comedy Bit of the Week - Tom Segura - "The First 48"

JJ Mortimer

Tom Segura's bit about the A&E show "The First 48" is one of my favorite descriptions of a television outside of John Mulaney's "Law and Order" routine.  In this one, Segura gives his rendition and interpretation of the show in a way that may hurt some sensitive people's feelings.  Tough shit - it's funny.


Asshole of the Summer - The Movie Season, Summer 2014

JJ Mortimer

This summer has been particularly terrible for movies, even worse so than 1996.  I came to this conclusion partly based on the fact that, yes, I am getting older and I am starting to see through the hidden agendas involved in a lot of story telling and production.  That's why films like Lone Survivor are such a breath of fresh air because it appeared to be unabashedly patriotic by simply telling a true story. 

Not-so-hidden politics, needless stereotypical cliches, and reasons behind choosing what country a film is shot in are but a few things that have been irking me as of late with many other film productions.  For example, I get an uncontrollable urge to have a diarrhea outburst in my pants when I learn that China was chosen as the location for the third act of Transformers: Age of Extinction NOT based on a story telling need, but because the producers knew that the Chinese would spend a ton of money to see giant robots whooping the shit out of each other.  We all know that location scouting outside the U.S. is something that is probably ALWAYS taken into consideration by any film's producers, but what I have been seeing lately is this general need to shoot in China because, in reality, they have quickly been buying up a lot of America's economy, and now it has translated over into the film industry.  Sad state of affairs for the American film community, and a subject for another rant which I probably won't engage in for the simple fact that people will think it's political when it is mostly based on simple mathematics.

Those statements aside, anyone can admit (especially teenagers and young adults) that there has been a general lack of fun in the theaters, minus a few exceptions.  I have been very vocal about the poor choices of Independence Day movies this year (one horror film, one shitty comedy with a one-note star), but we are quickly approaching August and the only film looking forward to is the ONE film that actually has an ability to save an entire season - Guardians of the Galaxy.  Why, in the name of Athena's' hemorrhoids, was THIS film not considered for the Fourth of July weekend?  I know that production schedules make for most of that decision, but a big-budget Marvel film with space adventure, comedy, and heartfelt characterizations connected to the Avengers universe COULDN'T have pushed its production back a few weeks to get that weekend locked down? 

My problem is, outside of Guardians, there has been nothing really to look forward to.  22 Jump Street  was a lot of fun, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a worthy sequel, and a few other movies were good, but where's our Men in Black? Our Independence Day?  Our Jurassic Park?  Hell, our Saving Private Ryan?  All these films were big summer movies, and with the exception of Private Ryan, were a lot of fun.  All of them were hits, relatively original or groundbreaking, and none of them held out for the winter holiday movie season.

And THAT'S why this summer sucked so hard.  Almost every big movie, probably eight out of ten major productions, were targeted for release around Thanksgiving and Christmas to capitalize on holiday spending and the winter school breaks.  This is a similar pattern as the video game industry - the summertime is the doldrums, and the winter is the golden key. 

In hindsight, this won't be a terrible year, but the summer will go down in record (at least my mental record that hasn't been punched-drunk yet) as the worst summer in nearly twenty years.  What's going to save the entire year are the last two months when we see the final Hobbit film and another Hunger Games, as well as all the films that held out specifically for recognition at the Oscars. 

As I get older, I don't look forward to the summer as much because I KNOW that once Halloween hits, the really good shit comes to the theaters.  Right now, all we are getting is mainly shit in the fan, with an occasional good nugget that sticks to the wall.

This movie may very well be the undigested peanut we are looking for:

Guardians of the Galaxy could end up being merely "good" and would still make up for a large amount of the crap that we've seen this summer.  Seriously, that's how bad this summer has been, that a simple spectacle of one film could manage to overcome the multiple fumbled balls of other films over the past handful of weeks.

Guardians of the Galaxy could end up being merely "good" and would still make up for a large amount of the crap that we've seen this summer.  Seriously, that's how bad this summer has been, that a simple spectacle of one film could manage to overcome the multiple fumbled balls of other films over the past handful of weeks.

Comedy Bit of the Week - "Bill Cosby: Himself"

JJ Mortimer

Bill Cosby: Himself was easily one of my five most watched movies as a kid, right up there with Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  We had a VHS copy that we had recorded off of HBO, with a printed sticker on the front with the hand-written title, and we would put that thing in and watch it what seemed like once a month.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Bill Cosby was already an established comedian whose laid back and casual demeanor was what set him apart in his story telling ways.  He was a family-friendly performer, and a 'traditional values' family man to boot.  His style was easily more accessible to the common fan of comedy, and a welcome apart to the more edgy, dirty (and arguably popular at the time) routines of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy.  Essentially, his Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show is a pretty direct reflection on who he is as a real-life person.

What set Bill Cosby: Himself apart from his other earlier routines (the Fat Albert bits, his stories as a kid in the streets) was that he was a little more animated than usual, at times.  The majority of the movie is set with him sitting in a chair, speaking to the audience as would a grandfather to his young grandchildren, telling stories in a manner that is his typical casual, but then with the mannerisms of a physical comedian.

Throughout its run time, Cosby speaks maybe two minor curse words, showing that comedy doesn't necessarily have to be littered with f-bombs or the damning of God.  The following is such a bit, that perfectly portrays why he was one of the most popular names in comedy and family television in the 1980s (if you haven't seen the entire movie, you will do yourself a great service and see it on Netflix or even Youtube):


New "Star Wars" set "footage" (funny)

JJ Mortimer

In light of all the hype surrounding director JJ Abrams' choice of using a lot of practical locations and live-action props for "Star Wars: Episode VII" instead of a predominantly CGI and green screen set (ala George Lucas in the prequels), I thought it was quite appropriate that someone would create a video that would over-shadow that awesomeness with what it would be like if the "Star Wars" set itself were 100% practical, 0% CGI.  Have a look:

For those of you without imagination, I must remind you that this is fake.  This is not real.  Disney did not spend what would appear to be $16 billion on full-size AT-AT walkers and other Imperial ships.

Asshole of the Week - "KFC Commercials"

JJ Mortimer

The Colonel says, "It's finger lickin' fuckin' disgusting!"

The Colonel says, "It's finger lickin' fuckin' disgusting!"

If I wrote this article in the 90s, I would be talking about how much I fucking hated the commercials for Carl's Jr. and their "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face" bullshit campaign.  I remember those ads being the first to truly disgust me, even when there was a really hot woman eating the burger (except for Paris Hilton - she made me want to vomit before she ate her burger which I'm sure she then summarily followed up by jamming her middle finger down the back of her throat).

Today, I can't begin to tell you just how much I despise the KFC "filming my family while they're eating" commercials.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  Of COURSE I can tell you how much I hate them!

*Disclaimer:  None of what you may consider to be my attempts at any kind of sociological or psychological information is based in any kind of factual information.  I research none of my personal findings, and I don't give a fuck.  Enjoy.

1)  They cater to the lowest common denominator of middle class home life.

In this ad, we have two "happy" adults, filming themselves while their two children drown out any attempt at communication with the other people in their immediate area.  The son is content with slowly becoming deaf, and the daughter can't take her eyes off of her gawdamn phone.  Neither one of them are content with assimilating any abilities at social, person-to-person interaction that may help them in future jobs, family life, or relationship dilemmas.  Yet somehow this is fine, because these two parents are idiots for allowing this to happen, and even filming it to show the world just how little a shit they give.  This is what KFC thinks of you - that yeah it's important for your family to gather, but let's be real people; your kids don't want to talk to you.

And if they REALLY wanted to be realistic with their parents not giving a shit about their kids not giving a shit, they should go to the extreme of reality and just show the kids walk up, grab some food, and go back into their rooms in their own little happy worlds of denial, ignorance, and care-free living in their sheltered existence.

2)  The families, especially the moms, are extremely happy with feeding their family fried "chicken" instead of delivering a healthier, home-cooked meal.

Before feminists get up in arms, the reason I highlighted the mother figure in this situation is because the commercials are more centralized on the mother character pleased with herself for feeding her family.  Therefore, I assume by deduction and reasoning that she's the main decider on what food the family eats and is probably the primary cook for the family.  So shut up.

What is decidedly irritating is that, in this world of growing concern for health and proper family habitation and socialization, KFC wants to show that this is how families gather - with shitty "food" on the table.  People may consider the fact that the children hate the food they make them, so "I give the fuck up" is their response.  Here's a bucket of fried bullshit to feet your ugly, non-contribution faces.

3)  I don't want to see people eating, and I REALLY don't want to see people talking while eating.

I can't get over this.  It all started with two girls dipping chicken shit nuggets into sauce and chewing the fuck out of them in front of what I'm assuming is supposed to be their "live" Skype feed, as though anyone gave a shit what their opinion was on cheap food.  Since then each one of KFC's commercials ends with the person who's filming taking a giant bite of their food with their face right up in the fucking camera.  Just to give you an idea of how much my eye is twitching in pain from this, I used to have a list of pet peeves and irritations listing over 538 items long.  Eating disgraces took up three spots in the top 10.

In the newest KFC commercial (as of this writing), the dad does that atrocious thing where a person sticks their tongue all the way out of their mouth before taking a bite, showing all the bits and pieces of the food they were just chewing. 

Fuck.  Off.

In the same commercial, the mom, who is also too concerned with filming herself facing away from the table and not paying any attention to the potential choking hazards that her family is performing, asks her kids if they are enjoying their future diarrhea.  The one kids responds with a full sentence of approval, all with a giant mouthful of assorted chicken parts, and the parents couldn't care less.  No manners, no correction of meal time disrespect - nothing. 

 

In the end, all these commercials are doing are solidifying my choice to not eat at their establishments.  KFC's main competitor, Popeyes (on the west coast), at least attempts to make their food look good.  The only problem with that company's recent ads is their spokespersons speak something related to proper English, but is more in line with the future of communication from the generation of texters than people who had to write term papers in English class with a pencil and paper. 

Neither company's advertising campaigns want to teach you anything other than the laziness that too many families (and employees) already know.  KFC is trying their best to relate to their perspective of what people are - self-absorbed, non educated, not-giving-a-shit-about-morals or the social contract of eating respectfully around other people, narcissistic "selfie" takers.

KFC is using social media, or the Youtube generation, as the angle for their advertisements.  That's fine, you know, for relating to the times.  But in the process, at least show a little care and at least give us hope that the people you are portraying actually give a shit about the things that help make families strong.  Show kids who aren't always drowning out the world around them with their technology.  Show a mom who actually isn't proud that she had to go to KFC to get a quick meal because she's working full time with the husband to help keep a house over their family's head from the shitty economy.  Show people who wait ten seconds and swallow their food before eating.

Seriously, how funny would it be if in a thirty second commercial spot the parent asks the kid a question while he is chewing, and then ten seconds of the run time is spent watching him chew his food with his hand in front of his mouth, swallowing, and then responding in kind?  But holy hell, that would be an optimistic look at proper parenting and the teaching of social graces.  Nobody's going to buy that, you Kentucky Fried Cocks.

P.S.  Just to give you an idea at how stupid KFC knows the general public is, they changed their name from "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to KFC in 1991 because of their expanding menu and the problem with the word "fried" in their title in a more health-conscious environment.  Other than that, they changed nothing about their food (other than an attempt to have grilled chicken choices on their menu), and it is now a staple of family-sized dining.