My fellow Americans,
Today, we are broken-hearted. We are devastated by the sheer cruelty of Friday’s atrocities, and we may be wondering how we can ever heal. Tonight we all grieve with the community of Newtown, Connecticut.
But since I’m the President of the United States, I don’t doubt that you want something from me more valuable than my grief or my sympathy. You want a plan for change. I’m here tonight to give it to you. Continue reading
Should you go see Skyfall, the newest James Bond flick? Well, what do you like to see in your movies?
You SHOULD see Skyfall if you like:
- People driving motorcycles on roofs
- Sweet Kaleidoscoping introductory visuals set to new Adele songs
- Javier Bardem playing creepy bad guys
You should like Javier Bardem being creepy, he's great
- References to other James Bond movies
- Komodo Dragons
- A bit of exploration into Bond’s psyche
- Really impressive cinematography and lighting
- Tense finales
- Puns Continue reading
Stein actually acknowledges that 99.99% of climate scientists might be right about matters of climate, has some neat policy towards the rest of the world that involve not shooting at it, and got arrested for civil disobedience outside the debates like a boss. Her platform also catches the US up to most other developed countries in areas of education, health care, and criminal justice. I wish she had enough name recognition that I wouldn’t feel like I was throwing my vote away on her. Sigh….as Firefly’s Jayne Cobb once said, “If wishes were horses, we’d all be eatin’ steak.” Continue reading
Four years after the last episode aired, I finally got around to watching all five seasons of David Simon’s TV series The Wire. And now I have to figure out how to express just how darn good it is, without repeating what critics everywhere have already said. If you read criticism or listen to NPR, you’ve likely already heard about the show’s intricate plotting and sprawling, detailed depiction of Baltimore and the War on Drugs.
You got the briefcase, I got the shotgun
In Which “Jesse Reviews the World” Reviews “The House at Pooh Corner”
At the school where I work, I used to read stories to kindergarters before their nappy times, and sometimes I would pick The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. It was always a bad pre-nap choice. Even when I used my soothing, boring reading voice, the adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger always had the kids shrieking with laughter.
Though Disney has since made Pooh™ characters the epitome of cuddliness, The House at Pooh Corner, like the works of Roald Dahl and Maurice Sendak, is actually proof that most children love dark humor and imperfect characters. With the exception of Pooh and Christopher Robin, the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods are, by and large, jerks. Rabbit and Owl are arrogant and condescending, Tigger is manic and inconsiderate, Eeyore is rude and sarcastic, and even anxious little Piglet is self-centered and prone to jealousy. And unlike moralistic children’s characters like those in the loathsome Ms. Piggle-Wiggle books, our flawed stuffed animals never seem to change much or learn from their mistakes. Instead, they just stick to their neuroses and put up with each other’s crap. As a result – and I hope this isn’t too cynical to say so – they’re true to life in a way that, say, Peter Rabbit could never be. Continue reading
As would befit their titles, Return of the Jedi is the exact opposite of Revenge of the Sith. Sith is a movie with lots of new, interesting plot points that is dragged way down by the awfulness of the first two prequels and their terrible characters. Jedi, conversely, doesn’t have much of the way of ideas, but it’s able to coast because the first two movies set it up so perfectly. At this point, the audience loves Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie so much they’re willing to watch them in just about anything (Star Wars Christmas Special excluded). Continue reading
The Empire Strikes Back takes the things that were awesome in Star Wars and digs into them, unearthing deeper and richer deposits of awesome under the surface. You thought Darth Vader was pretty cool? ESB escalates him from a brooding henchman to a monomaniacal tyrant ready to tear the galaxy a new one if it would mean finding his (spoiler) son. You liked Han Solo? He’s back with better dialogue and a Millenium Falcon that’s actually able to turn, and he and Leia get a love story that’s sometimes quite poignant. You wanted Luke to learn more about the Force? In ESB, a Jedi Master weaves the complete mythology behind the Force, connecting animist and Zen ideas to create a unique philosophy. You found C-3PO annoying? Well….at least in this one Leia and Han tell him to shut up a lot.* Continue reading
That’s right, I’m gonna call this movie Star Wars, not A New Hope or Episode IV, titles that were added after the fact and make it seem like Star Wars is some middle chapter of a complicated and very uneven drama. I like that the original title is as simple as the movie itself: Star Wars. Wars in the stars.
That said, the title isn’t perfect.* Star Wars isn’t really about wars…not in the complicated, expanded way that the prequels are, where we know more the dynamics of the Trade Federation than we do about our main characters. Star Wars also really isn’t about stars or space. Rather, it’s an old-fashioned mythological quest, a legend about fulfilling your destiny and becoming a hero. Continue reading
REVENGE OF THE SITH
Out of all the Star Wars movies, Revenge of Sith might be the most painful for me to watch, because there are so many cool ideas in it that just aren’t quite executed right. Whereas the final storyboard for Episode I was a Post-It Note that said “ROBOTS???”, Episode III contains (Oh, yeah…there are spoilers in here) a major character turning evil, a democracy becoming a dictatorship, the birth of Luke and Leia, and the extinction of the Jedi Order. How could that be less than amazing? Let’s review together. Continue reading
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Lest you think these first three prequel reviews will just be complain-o-thons, let me start off my Attack of the Clones review with a controversial compliment: I think Attack of the Clones gets off to a somewhat promising start. It introduces elements that were completely missing from Episode I, which I will highlight in blue. First, an explosion kills a decoy Natalie Portman (sense of danger), which makes the real Natalie Portman feel sad (emotion). Someone must be out to get her! (comprehensible plot point) We see Anakin and Obi-Wan (main characters) talking to each other and learn that they are assigned to protect her from her would-be killer. But the assassin tries again, and so Anakin and Obi-Wan go on a chase through the city of Coruscant, quipping playfully at each other as they do so. Continue reading