Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

A crisis of culture

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2010 at 12:32 am

Since I’ve started my new job, the room in my life for entertainment has dwindled to a mere appropriate amount. And I’m actually very grateful, as I like my new job and all that comes with it such as paychecks, which can be deposited as money, which can then be used in trade for goods and services. I mean, I imagine you are all familiar with the concept.

But as I use my time to entertain myself, I find myself reflecting on my consumption of media. With the release of new Iron Man and Tron related trailerosities on the internet, my geeky heart is all a flutter with the prospects of new delights. I find myself gleefully working my way through Dragon Age and dusting off Fallout 3 with honest enjoyment. I even polished off a collection of Solomon Kane stories by Robert E. Howard. My assault on geek culture has been thorough, multi-tiered, and extensive.

So what is the crisis I am encountering? Not really sure. I’m just wondering if this stuff is really the extent of who I am or what I think is important. Are my sensibilities so immature, so escapist, so separated from the reality of my actual life that lightcycles and briefcase battle armor can really excite me? Shouldn’t I be seeking some kind of stimulation beyond that which made me happy as a child? Something with more depth? Something that matters?

On the other hand, maybe this “child-like” wonder is actually the human experience at its purest. Maybe all pretensions at culture or depth of contemplation are illusions that we are making progress when we should be seeking the primal sensations, the most simple and wonderful things. I have no idea.

I hate to be a bummer. Just had some weird thoughts bouncing around. Feel free to comment or just ignore me until the Dragon Age expansion comes out next week and I can back to life as normal.

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Commando. Part Two

In Movies on March 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Okay, where were we?

Ah, yes. The multitude of amazing villains in Commando. Well, let’s continue.

C) Arius:While Bennett is the main baddie; the heart and soul of antagonism of this classic film, the guy who hired him was the former dictator of the fictional country of Val Verde, Arius. Let’s put him perspective. He was played by Dan Hedaya, best known (by me, at least) for his portrayal of Nick Tortelli on Cheers. Check him out.

Who wins in a one-on-one fight between this guy and Arnold Schwartzeneggar? You tell me?

With his fortified estate and army of soldiers, he still find himself in an elaborate shoot-out with John Matrix himself. Sometimes, an out-of-shape, middle-aged dude has to take care of the situation himself. Of course, he finds himself getting gunned down to death to death and falling out a window.

Let’s move on from villains. Sorry to all you Bill Duke fans.

4) Val Verde: This is the fictional Latin American country that looks suspiciously like an estate in southern California. I’m not sure what their primary imports and exports, but they do seem to have a few key products.

A) Fake mustaches that grant resurrection: As John Matrix exterminates his way through the Val Verdean soldiers, we clearly see some of them later on during the fighting. How is this possible? Well, since most of them are sporting some really terrible fake mustaches, I can only image these are responsible for these miracles.

B) Building made of gunpoweder insulated with gasoline.: This must be a quaint, local Val Verde custom. See, when Schwartzeneggar sticks a few small, anti-personal mine near a couple of buildings, this happens.

Listen, I need to stop writing about Commando. I realized that if I spend too much time thinking about this movie, it’s all I can think about. Also, such thoughts make me dumber by the minute. So, we can come back later, okay?

Commando. Part One

In Movies on March 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

“Remember when I said I would write this blog every day.”
“That’s right, Scott Brown, you did.”
“I lied.”

The other night I was reminded of two things about the film Commando. One, that it is maybe one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen. Two, that I probably know this movie, in terms of scenes, lines, and characters, better than any other movie I have ever seen. Maybe it was from watching the film in my friend T.J.’s dad’s man-cave when I was in first grade about one hundred times. So, instead of concentrating on how this movie is completely and utterly terrible and inappropriate for an impressionable six-year-old to watch, I will give a short list for you on why Commando is amazing.

1) John Matrix:
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the titular Commando in this movie, a retired soldier named John Matrix. This is maybe the best name in tough-guy movie history, despite the fact that I have never heard of the name Matrix in the real world. To be fair, the name Johann Rectangular Array of Numbers is really common in Austria. Damn you, Ellis Island!

2) Best plot ever:
This simple film, for those of you whom are not blessed with eidetic memories of it, is about Matrix’s daughter getting kidnapped by bad-guys as a ploy to make him assassinate some president of Val Verde. He has something like eleven hours to to get his daughter back before the villains realize he’s not cooperating and kill her instead. Matrix is put on a plane to Val Verde with an escort named Enrique, a strange looking guy with a sweet Panama hat. As soon as he gets on the plane, he breaks Enrique’s neck, covers his face with his hat, and tells the the Stewardess to “Not disturb my friend. He’s DEAD tired.” He must also tell her to ignore him as he voids his bowels and goes into rigor mortis, but that occurs off-screen. He then jumps out of the airplane through the landing gear into a swamp a few hundred feet below and sets off on a quest to kill his way to his daughter before the plane lands and the bad guys realize he has escaped. My favorite thing about this amazing plot, by the way: Matrix is going to spend the movie fighting multiple dudes, kidnapping/charming a ditsy stewardess to help him, stealing an armory’s worth of weaponry and stealing a slow, aquatic propeller airplane to fly down to Val Verde to get his daughter. He needs to do this all before a fucking commercial jet plane that has a several hour lead on him can get to the same destination. This issue is never explained.

3) Best villains ever:
This topic deserves its own post, to be honest, but I’ll try to give you the highlights. Let me break it down better.

A) Bennet
The real main villain of this movie is Matrix’s old war buddy, Bennet. Now, Bennet is played by the Australian actor Vernon Wells, maybe best known as the Wez, the scary evil lieutenant in Road Warrior or the scary biker in Weird Science. With Matrix and Bennet having conspicuously non-American accents for having been American soldiers, I guess there must be some American Foreign Legion I never heard of. Now, let me explain how dangerous Bennet is. He has so much confidence in himself, he sports a ludicrous Freddie Mercury mustache, wears tight leather pants, fingerless gloves, and a chainmail wife-beater throughout the movie. Also, he is so sure of himself, he has let himself become several dozen pounds overweight despite the fact that Schwarzeneggar is at the peak of his “I am a giant, juiced-up monster” phase of his life. At the end of the movie, he even throws away a gun so he can fight Matrix in the inevitable hand-to-hand fight. This would be like a hunter saying: Who needs a gun. I’ll box this bear to death.”

Don't stop him now. Cause he's having a good time. Don't stop him now. Cause he's having a good time, having such a good time now!

Let me go off on a tangent quickly to mention that John Matrix is so much more physically impressive than everyone in this movie. With every fight, I would have not been surprised to seem him give his enemies a swirly or stuff them in a locker. It’s less a series of fights and more a series of deadly bullying episodes.

Anyways, not only is Bennett a strange physical specimen, his character is ape-shit crazy. He spends the movie fondling a knife, talking about the good old days when he and Matrix were pals. It’s all, “Me and Matrix could kill all these soldiers” or “I wonder if Matrix would want to be more than friends when I’m done killing his daughter.” It’s amazing.

B) Sully
While Bennett is no match for John Matrix, he is a titan compared to the character of Sully, as portrayed by David Patrick Kelly. Kelly is best known as the bottling clanging villain Luther in The Warriors but I find that he really comes into his own as the cocky, sexually-aggressive leprechaunesque Sully. He is eventually attacked by Matrix and it is sad how outmatched he is. I mean, he’s like 5’2″ wearing lifts and 120 pounds wearing jousting armor. Sully is eventually thrown off a cliff in one of the classic Schwarzeneggar murders that we all love so much. Fantastic.

You know what? I’m not even done with villains but I have way too much to say. Let’s make this a two-parter and I’ll see you guys tomorrow.