Friday, November 26, 2010

My Top 101 Movies Part VIII: 30-21

30. Cool Hand Luke 1967
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy
Synopsis: A free spirited man is sent to prison and attempts to escape.
Review: The primary reason to see this movie is to watch Paul Newman star in his most iconic role. He's absolutely astounding (and ridiculously sexy, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation) as the one man who refuses to play by the rules and attempts to beat the system. It's left to the viewer to decide who wins, but no matter how many times he's beat down, one way or another he always manages to get back up again. The indomitable will of Luke, combined with Newman's natural charm makes for a hero for the ages. There's also many wonderful supporting performances, most notably from George Kennedy as Luke's best friend in prison, Dragline. It's fun to watch with many memorable lines and scenes (my favourite being the carwash), and who can forget that smile.

29. Donnie Darko 2001
Director: Richard Kelly
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal
Synopsis: A strange young man begins to have weird visions involving a giant bunny named Frank who tells him to do things.
Review: When watching this movie, you'll probably notice that it's tripping balls, which for some people can be a major barrier, but I don't see it being about metaphysics so much as it is about morality. Donnie's (Gyllenhaal) worldview may be twisted and skewed, but when compared to some of the town's more vocal moral watchdogs, he seems relatively level-headed. And the ultimate decision that the entire movie revolves around is one of life and death that makes Donnie into something of a quiet hero. Whether you "get" this film or not, it's still a chilling tale, with a dark and brooding atmosphere, a solid soundtrack, creepy visuals, and great dialogue. I believe that this film demands mulitple viewings to fully appreciate, but that does nothing to diminish it's quality.

28. Memento 2000
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Synopsis: A man with no short term memory attempts to find his wife's killer.
Review: I don't know what I like better about this movie: the story itself, or the way it's told. Some people may think that telling the story backwards is a mere gimmick, but I believe that the structure serves the purpose of both the story and the main character quite well. It really gets you into Lenny's (Pearce) world and helps you to understand him. We start off sympathizing with him and his quest of what seems to be a simple case of vengeance, but as the film progresses he becomes more morally ambiguous, and also willfully stupid. Without giving too much away, I will say that if the story were laid out in the conventional fashion it just wouldn't have the same impact. It's a unique accomplishment and it tells a wicked cool story to boot. Definitely worth multiple viewings.

27. Pulp Fiction 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman
Synopsis: Two mob hitmen go about their day.
Review: It's the movie that introduced most of the world to Quentin Tarantino and what some critics consider to be the defining film of the 90's. Though I would not be so bold to make such a claim, I will say that it is awesome as hell. It has all the elements needed to make a cool movie: over-the-top violence, ultra-slick dialogue, original story structure, and characters who, as one critic put it, "the depths of their shallowness is profound." Every actor plays their part to a tee, and even players with minor roles, such as Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel turn in memorable performances. It's a great and influential film that has a spawned a slew of imitators and sparked plenty of critical debate, and I don't think it's going to lose any of it's veneer any time soon.

26. Star Wars 1977 (and Empire Strikes Back/A New Hope)
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hammil, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Synopsis: A small group of rebels must stand up to an evil empire and Darth Vader.
Review: I pretty much grew up on these movies, and despite certain elements which I do not care for (I'll give you a hint: they're two feet tall, ugly as sin, and bring down the Empire using sticks and stones), the original trilogy remains as some of my favourite films. The basic plot may not be anything too special, but the universe is incredibly imaginative and easy to get immersed in. It's filled with crazy aliens, cool characters, epic space dogfights, awesome costumes and settings, a memorable musical score, and of course, lightsabers. On top of all this, the sound and special affects are amazing and I believe that they still hold up today. I may have lost some respect for Lucas in recent years, but what he did back in 1977 laid the groundwork not only for a pop culture staple, but also for the way people think about movies today.

25. Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford
Synopsis: An acrhaeologist tries to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.
Review: No film series captures the spirit of adventure quite like Indiana Jones, and of all the movies made thus far, Raiders remains my personal favourite (though Last Crusade comes in a close second) where we meet one of cinema's most recognizable heroes for the first time who comes with his own instantly recognizable theme song. It's a lot of fun to watch him work his way through traps, puzzles, snakes, and Nazis. So just what makes Indiana Jones so cool? I think it's his ability to think on his feet, relying on his wits and strength (and his whip) to see him through any obstacle, and still have a witty one liner at the end of it all. Of course the most important part is his hat.

24. North by Northwest 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Cary Grant
Synopsis: A man is mistaken for a spy and chased across the country.
Review: Of all the stories out there revolving around a case of mistaken identity, this one is probably my favourite. It's funny, action-packed, and has a twisting story that most Hitchcock films share. It also features Cary Grant's most memorable role as advertising executive, Roger Thornhill who relies on his wits, his feet, and his smooth-talking to survive and figure out just what the hell is going on. I also like the spy thriller aspect of the film and I think that this can be counted as one of the inspirations for the James Bond franchise. It's easy to see how Grant could have been 007. There are plenty of timeless scenes and set pieces (the crop duster scene springs to mind), and it cannot be stressed enough how awesome Cary Grant is which makes this my favourite Hitchcock film.

23. It's a Wonderful Life 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart
Synopsis: A despairing business man finds a new lease on life.
Review: For many, this film is ubiquitous viewing around this time of the year, but I don't really see this as being a "Christmas movie" as it doesn't really have all that much to do with the holiday other than that part of it takes place in December. As the title suggests, it's really just about life and the effect that each and every person has on the world, no matter how unnoticeable of insignificant it may seem. Much of this movie is actually pretty depressing seeing as how it's about a man on the verge of suicide who got a big kick in the pants from life. Of course the ending reaffirms the belief that life is worth living, but Capra manages to do it in an uplifting rather than a sappy manner (Ok, so maybe the "Everytime a bell rings..." line is pushing it). In any case, Jimmy Stewart does a terrific job, the film itself is iconic and continuously referenced to even today, and it's a powerful and moving piece on the human condition.

22. Gone With the Wind 1939
Director: Victor Flemming
Starring: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable
Synopsis: A Southern belle and a rogue carry on a love affair during around the Civil War.
Review: Epic is the word I'd use to describe this movie. It's like four hours long, has large and detailed sets, and everything about the film is on a grand scale. Of course none of this would matter if it wasn't for Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable as Scarlett O'Hara and Rhet Butler respectively. They form the emotional core of the film, and are the greatest romantic leads in Hollywood history. On top of this, O'Hara and Butler are great characters who aren't wholly good or bad, or completely sympathetic either which make them all that more compelling to watch. It was ridiculously popular upon release, and remains popular today, and it will probably stay that way for some time and for good reason. It's simply phenomenal.

21. Amadeus 1984
Director: Milos Forman
Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tommy Hulce
Synopsis: Salieri has a rivalry with, and attempts to sabotage the career of Mozart.
Review: For me, this movie is a feast for the eyes and ears. The scored is fantastic (it's hard to wrong with Mozart) and the costumes, sets, and scenery are absolutely gorgeous. The story itself is a compelling, if not entirely historically accurate, look at one of the great musical geniuses while also providing a chilling perspective on envy. Hulce gives a hysterical performance as the famous musician, but the show goes to Abraham as Mozart's rival, Salieri. He is a terrific actor and its too bad he never did much work on the silver screen. In any case, you should all watch this movie.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Top 101 Movies Part VII: 40-31

40. Ocean's 11 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts
Synopsis: Eleven men attempt to rob three different casinos at the same time.
Review: This is one of those movies I enjoy simply because it's fun to watch. The ensemble cast has great chemistry and you can tell they're enjoying themselves, there are plenty of laughs to be had, and it has a slick, wicked cool, and twisting plot. As you may or may not know, this movie is a remake, and normally remakes tend to pale in comparison to the original. But I've seen the first Ocean's 11 starring the Rat Pack, and I have to say that this is one of those rare films that takes the original premise to a whole new level. Clooney, Pitt, Damon and the rest make Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. look like shit. Unfortunately, like any fun and popular movie, they had to go ahead and take away from it by making sub-par sequels, but ignoring it's successors, I still think this movie stands up and will be a continued favourite for years to come.

39. Rear Window 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelley
Synopsis: A man confined to his room in a wheelchair spies on his neighbours and becomes convinced that he's witnessed a murder.
Review: Easily one of Hitchcock's best, Rear Window is one my all time favourite suspense movies that achieves it's effect through a combination of claustrophobia, voyeurism, and never being certain exactly what has or will happen. The whole film is set in an apartment building and you see what Jeffries (Stewart) sees and only know what he knows. Being bored and confined to a wheelchair, you feel his ennui and utter helplessness when things start to get hectic. Like all Hitchcock films, there's a dark sense of humour and some rather disturbing implications of some of the character's actions (such as what did the murderer do with the body?). If you only see one Hitchcock film (though I don't know why you'd want to only see one) then this should probably be it, although Psycho is more famous and *SPOILERS* there's still one more of his films on this list. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his best performances and Grace Kelley is hot, and also a fine actress.

38. Fiddler on the Roof 1971
Director: Norman Jewison
Starring: Topol
Synopsis: A Russian-Jewish father marries off his daughters while suffering persecution. Review: I grew up on musicals, and while I now look back on some of them as cheesy and a bit silly (I am looking at you Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), this one as always remained one of my favourites. Part of it I think is because it deals with heavier subject matter than most musicals, but still grounds it in humour and family life. However, the major draw for me has to be the main character and father-figure, Tevye (Topol). He's easily one of my all time favourite characters in any movie, and is played to perfection by Topol who I am yet to see topped in any production of the musical. He's funny, easy to relate to, instantly likable, and I especially like the system of logic he uses to solve all of life's problems. And of course you have some great musical numbers such as "Tradition," "Matchmaker," and my personal favourite until Gwen Stefani destroyed it with the pickaxe of her voice, "If I Were a Rich Man."

37. Steamboat Bill Jr. 1928
Directors: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton
Synopsis: A fop attempts to help his estranged father run his steamboat.
Review: When I went to see this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that it was a comedy, but I wasn't sure if the humour of the silent era would hold up today. Luckily, I was not to be disappointed. This movie is hilarious and features some of the craziest stunts I've ever seen, all performed by Buster Keaton with amazing acrobatic skill, and (I suspect) a little bit of luck. On top of this there are also some pretty good lines (on title screens) as well as some clever visual gags. To complete the experience, there was a live pianist in the theatre who had composed his own music specifically for the film. It was a memorable night overall and I look forward to seeing more work from this great comedian.

36. Seven Samurai 1954
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
Synopsis: The titular seven try to save a village from bandits.
Review: Kurosawa has directed many, many great films, but this is the one that I feel is most deserving of being called his magnum opus. It's epic in scope and length, has some of the most memorable characters in any of his films, the battle sequences are intense, and the writing and plot are superb. I find the story to be at once tragic and uplifting. The samurai do eventually succeed in their quest, but as is pointed out at the end, it's the farmers who are the real winners while the defenders died and gained nothing for it. It's an interesting take on honour, duty, and violence that I think has appeal across cultures, as evidenced by the American Western remake, The Magnificent Seven. For people with short attention spans, this movie could be difficult to sit through, but for everybody else it's mandatory viewing.

35. Fantasia 1940
Director: A Bunch of Guys
Starring: N/A unless you count Mickey Mouse
Synopsis: Classical music and crazy cartoons!
Review: Like most children, I watched plenty of Disney films in my youth, and although there are plenty of classics to choose from, this is the one that by far stands out the most. It was and remains one of the most original and creative works of not just animation, but of cinema in general. There's virtually no plot, which is a bold enough move in and of itself, and the entire thing is a feast for both eyes and ears. The animation team came up with some really weird and creative ideas, one of my favourite of which are the dancing mushrooms. But every scene (perhaps sketch would be a better word) is memorable in its own way, though the most famous is certainly Mickey vs The Broom of Doom. I also wish to note that the one sketch with the devil summoning all the dead and demons scared the shit out of me as a kid, but its still awesome and I am glad they didn't remove it to make it more palatable. This is a film that transcends boundaries, and can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age, gender, or culture.

34. The Manchurian Candidate 1962
Director: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, Laurence Harvey
Synopsis: A Korean War veteran begins to unravel a conspiracy involving him and the surviving members of his squad.
Review: This is the original, not the remake, for those of you too lazy to read the date. It's one of the great political thrillers, and one that doesn't pull any punches. The point here isn't the mystery of what exactly is going on, as most of that is revealed at the very beginning. The primary driving force behind this film is if they'll be able to stop the plan from going into action. Essentially it's a race against time, and by the end the tension will have you shaking in your chair. It's also a very dark film which doesn't shy away from the disturbing stuff. I don't want to reveal too much for those of you who haven't seen it, but I will say that Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Iselin is one of the greatest movie villains of all time. I actually hate her. She's ridiculously evil, and will make your mother look like a peach.

33. Apocalypse Now 1979
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
Synopsis: Capt. Willard heads upriver into Vietnam to find the enigmatic Col. Kurtz.
Review: I'd say this is one of the darkest movies I've ever seen which makes sense seeing as how it's based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The progression of the film can be described as a descent into Hell as each scene becomes more disturbing and morally black than the last. This journey into the horror at the heart of war and civilization is physically represented by the journey of the gunboat down the river in search of Kurtz who is both a visionary and the embodiment of all that is wrong with the imperial project. It begins with the dawn raid set to "Ride of the Valkyries," has the massacre aboard the native riverboat in the middle, and ends in Kurtz's demented home he's made for himself. It's one helluva ride that, much like the novel, is open to interpretation, and it has an intense story, great cinematography, and stellar performances from some of the greatest to boot.

32. To Kill a Mockingbird 1962
Director: Robert Mulligan
Starring: Gregory Peck
Synopsis: Two children grow up in a lazy Alabama town while their father, a lawyer, defends a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.
Review: A lot of probably were probably forced to read the book in high school, and probably hated it because you were forced to read it in high school. Luckily my view of it has not been tainted by the educational system as I read it of my own accord, and it's one my favourite novels, and one of the few that has the distinction of me reading it twice. I hold the movie in just as high esteem, thanks in no small part to Gregory Peck's inspiring performance. I can't picture anybody else in the role of Atticus Finch who was rated as the all time greatest hero in cinema by AFI, a ranking that I agree with. His portrayal is supported by the at times charming, and at other times moving story faithfully adopted from the novel, as well as strong performances from the young actors playing the children. There are plenty of powerful and moving scenes from the film, some of which have become instilled in popular culture, with the courthouse scenes standing out the most (if you've ever seen Pleasantville, you'll find a clever reference to this scene).

31. Blazing Saddles 1974
Director: Mel Brooks
Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder
Synopsis: A black sheriff is put in charge of defending a racist town in the wild West.
Review: I am too lazy to re-review this movie as I've already done it, so instead here's the link to that review.

Rules I Live By

This post could just of easily been called, "Bizarre and Irrational Habits that I Have," but I prefer to think of myself as infallible. Which may also be a bizarre and irrational habit that I have. Well, without further ado, I present the list.

1. Always wear socks
As some people have noticed, I virtually never go barefoot. I always wear socks no matter what. The only two exceptions are when I'm swimming, and when I'm going to bed. If somebody were to steal all the socks in my house, I'd probably have a nervous breakdown. It's not that I have webbed toes or are am ashamed of my feet or anything. It's just that I distrust the cleanliness of the ground. Who knows what's down there. There could be any number of bodily fluids, icky bugs, pieces of glass, rusty nails, etc., and I don't want any of those things coming into contact with my precious skin. Oddly enough, I really don't care if my socks have holes in them, no matter how gaping they are, which pretty much makes wearing them redundant. In fact, the more I think about it, the more absurd this core belief of mine seems. But it's gotten me this far in life without killing me, so I see no reason to stop.

Me at the beach.

2. Never drink coffee
I've come to the conclusion that coffee is bad for you based on virtually no scientific evidence. People always say how they can't live without the buzz from their morning cup of coffee, yet I've been doing just fine without it, and I bet they did just fine before they started drinking it. I think it's become an addiction for many people and now they're just making excuses. Coffee is the cigarette of the modern era. Everybody does it without questioning it or wondering if maybe all that caffeine has any negative side effects. It's pretty much a drug, and believe it or not, I don't do drugs. I hardly even drink alcohol. Yeah, I am pretty fucked up like that. Also, coffee tastes like shit.

Could you live in a world without coffee?

3. Always have a #2 pencil on hand
This one I don't strictly adhere too, but I do have an undying love for pencils. I prefer the classic orange HB #2 pencils, but one of those fancy push pencils will do in a pinch. I like the convenience of being able to erase mistakes, whereas with pens you either have to use white-out and wait for it to dry, or just scratch out your mistake which makes your writing look like crap. Also, you don't have to worry about it running out of ink. If it gets a bit dull, you just give it a few twists in the sharpener and then you're back to maximum efficiency. I think pencils are the most underrated tool that mankind has ever invented, and it's high time we give it the recognition it deserves. Though I do have one question. Has anybody ever seen or used a #1 pencil?

From my cold, dead hands!

4. Set aside time every day for contemplation
This is a nice way of saying I daydream a lot, and value that time I spend each day in deep thought. It can happen at any time, normally on the bus, or before I go to bed, or when I am bored in class, and sometimes at home when nothing in particular is happening. There can be any number of things running through my mind from how I'm going to survive a zombie apocalypse to what I'm going to write for my next blog post. Sometimes my propensity for daydreaming exhibits itself in weird and very public ways. Often I'll start talking aloud to myself, or I'll pace back and forth which I believe is a habit I picked up from my papa (grandpa, not dad for those frenchies out there) since I've noticed he tends to do the same thing. In addition, I've noticed that he'll read aloud signs he passes on the road for no particular reason at all, a habit which I also seem to have acquired. Does this all make me insane? I'd rather not think about the answer to that question.

Like this except with more crazy and less nudity as I'd be wearing socks.

5. There's nothing wrong with procrastination
Believe it or not, I used to be very dedicated to my school work. I'd spend hours doing research, solving problems, and checking my answers. But at some point around grade 7 or 8, I discovered that I could put in the bare minimum effort and still get between 80 and 95% on my work. This was, for better or for worse (probably worse), a life changing epiphany for me. Now instead of coming own and plopping myself down to work on that writing assignment or math problems, I just sit at the computer playing video games, or in front of the TV watching Netflix. I figure that i can just write that term paper the night before and still pull off an A-. If I actually applied myself I could probably be an A+ student and have a lot more money than I currently do. But that sounds like it would take a lot of effort. So I'd rather not.

I would have come up with my own pithy slogan, but I didn't feel like it.

6. Let the ladies come to me

When it comes to relationships, my attitude is if a girl is interested in me, then let her come ask me out. Why should the guys always have to do that job? I'm pleased to say that my methods have met with a 100% success rate in that I've never had a girlfriend. I like to think that it's because of my abrasive and offensive personality. For some strange reason that thought gives me comfort. Maybe it's because it makes me feel as though I didn't have to compromise my values or personality for the sake of pleasing a woman. Or maybe because it prevents me from coming to the conclusion that I'm a coward for not asking anybody out. Whichever it is, I'm just glad I don't have to waste any money on a girlfriend.

Natascha is the only woman I need! Now give me a minute while I sob in a corner.

Bonus points to whoever can give me one of their own crazy habits so I don't feel like such a weirdo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 6 Most Amazing yet Pointless Videos

You can find plenty of bizarre, disturbing, and absolutely useless stuff on Youtube (especially if you read the comments), but very few videos can actually be described as art. What follows is a list of some videos that I believe straddles the line between the two. Are they brilliant masterpieces, or pointless distractions who's only value is in how long they can keep us from doing work? I'll leave it to you to decide.

Lazy Town vs. Lil' Jon
I don't know how many times I've seen this video and I still find it hilarious. It's terrifying how well these two songs mash together despite their vast difference in content. You also have to consider how small the overlap must be between fans of Lazy Town and fans of Lil' Jon. In fact, I'd say the overlap consists solely of the twisted mind who produced this video. It get creepier when you notice the strong sexual undertones of the Lil' Jon lyrics contrasted with images of an innocent young girl dancing around and spraying fluid all over the kitchen. When watching this, it's hard not to feel a little bit dirty. It should come as no surprise that a solid 90% of the comments on this mash-up involve pedophilia. Yet I still find it quite funny, well put together, and pretty creative. Is it clever? Perverted? Somehow both? Is this making you uncomfortable? Then my job is done.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps on the Ukulele
One morning, Jake Shimabukuro woke up and decided that he would become god of a particular instrument. He settled on the ukulele which falls somewhere between conch shell and accordion on the scale of respectable instruments. I suppose he can be forgiven since he is from Hawaii where the uke is what bagpipes are to Scotland. But I just can't get over that he's playing one of the greatest renditions I've ever heard, of one of the greatest Beatles' songs on the ukulele with a skill that he must have sold his soul to the devil to acquire. I'm sure Satan was laughing all the way to the soul bank with that one. No matter how good you get at playing the ukulele, you're never going to reach the same level of fame, fortune, or non-stop sex that even a half-decent guitarist in a semi-popular rock band will get. Am I saying that Jake wasted his talent? Well if he's happy then who am I to judge? Snake-Eyes Damascus, that's who. Jake, you are simultaneously awesome and ridiculous.

TF2 Mass AI
I can't even begin to imagine how many hours it took to put this all together. EvilDaedalus had to Set everything up, make sure everything is in the right spot and does what it's supposed to do at the right time, edit all of the footage, and then synch it to the music, all of it done in his spare time while playing a video game for no purpose other than to look cool. Am I the only one who thinks that the making of this video was a colossal waste of time, effort, and skill? I suppose there are a lot of machinima people out there who'd flame me for the previous question, and they may be justified. Certainly there is some sort of beauty to this video, but then you realize it's a guy goofing around in a game engine making bots kill each other or dance around in silly ways. Oscar Wilde once said that all art is useless, but did he have something like this in mind? Probably not, seeing as how computers, video games, and the internet didn't exist when he was alive.

Slap Chop Scout and Kaboom Heavy
I included these two together since they both take dialogue from TF2 and insert it into infomercials to comical effect. The first thing you'll notice is just how well the voices of the Scout and the Heavy match the bodies of Vince Offer and Billy Mays respectively. Secondly you'll notice how well the dialogue, from a video game without a plot or much in the way of character development mind you, matches up with the actions in the videos. And lastly you'll notice how retarded it all is. Clearly a lot of effort went into making these videos as they had to find the appropriate dialogue, and then edit it into the video to make it seem natural. But after having watched these videos many times over, I can't figure why somebody would go to all that effort. It's the same thing with all the autotune remixes of any video that becomes remotely popular. Why do people do it? Do you see a point to any of this? The more I see of the internet, the less I understand it.

Matrix Ping Pong
Some of you probably remember this one. It was popular for a while, and I have to say that it is interesting to watch. The way it all flows together seamlessly and creatively is certainly impressive, but when it comes down to it, it's a glorified puppet show of two guys playing ping pong. It's so out there, that you know it has to come from Japan. At least it doesn't involve tentacles, though that is the next logical step. The whole thing looks awesome, and requires a high amount of coordination, but like anything else on the internet, it doesn't seem to amount to much more than a novelty to distract me for a few minutes. Am I being to harsh on these guys? They seem pretty proud of what they accomplished, whatever that may be. Then again, Johnny Knoxville seems pretty proud of what he's accomplished on Jackass, so maybe that shouldn't be how we judge what constitutes art.

Ryan vs Dorkman
This video is absolutely astounding. There's a good sense of humour, the sound and special effects are spot on, and the choreography is mindblowing. And it stars two uber-nerds trying to be action heroes in a warehouse. I suppose if you don't consider Star Wars to be art then you certainly won't consider this to be art either, but there is a graceful elegance to this video. I can't believe I just used "graceful elegance" to describe an amateur lightsaber duel, but there you have it. Is this truly a great example of human artistic achievement or is it just geek masturbation fodder? Is that a false dilemma? You bet your ass it is. Do you know what a false dilemma is? Well you'd better, because I'm not explaining it to you.

Bonus points to whoever can convince me that one of these videos is either art or tripe.

Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus

Let me start off by saying that this movie is without a doubt, bad. It's so bad that I couldn't watch it all in one sitting as it was too painful. I watched the first half one night, and the other half two nights later. This movie sucks super hard. The acting is offensive, and the terrible writing and characters don't help. The special effects are ugly to say the least, and it was clear that they didn't have much of a budget based on the quality of the animations and how frequently they reuse the same ones over and over again. The story is completely non-sensical, and riddled with plot holes and logical gaps. As far as I can tell, there isn't even really a climax. This movie tries to be campy, but it even fails at that. There are the occasional laughs peppered throughout this shoddy attempt at filmmaking, but overall it's just bad. Now let's get into the nitty-gritty of just how bad it is.

The film opens with two marine-biologists in a really shitty submarine set looking for whales off the coast of Alaska while some army guy is in a helicopter above them apparently about to launch some top secret military experiment. The attractive, single, female marine-biologist keeps commenting on how strange it is that there are so many whales in one place. The chopper pilot then drops some gadget into the ocean which emits waves of some sort that somehow releases the titular duo who have been frozen in ice for millions of years (because that's how cryogenics works, right?). The helicopter then explodes for no apparent reason, while Mega Shark and Giant Octopus completely ignore the submarine and each other despite the fact that when they awoke they were locked in a life or death struggle. This all somehow explains the strange behaviour of the whales who I guess had some sixth sense telling them that a piece of human technology was going to release the deadliest sea creatures to ever exist, and this same instinct told them to swim en masse towards this certain doom. This the first of many times that the movie won't make any sense.

The next time happens five minutes later when the scientists arrive in San Francisco. It turns out that took the sub for a joyride from the Californian marine institute that they work at, took it all the way up to Alaska, and then came back without getting caught or reprimanded. By the time they get back, it seems that Mega Shark and Giant Octopus have begun their reign of terror as a whale carcass has washed up on shore. For some reason this event is of intense interest to the government who have agents all over the place despite the fact that everybody dismisses the incident of being of no significance. All of them wear sunglasses. In fact, virtually anybody who works for the military or the government and doesn't have a speaking role, wears sunglasses at all times no matter what. The attractive, single, female scientist sneaks a peek at the whale at night when no guards are around (I suppose they figured the police tape would be enough of a deterrent) and finds a large tooth embedded in the whale's body. She takes the tooth to her Irish friend/mentor and he tells her that it's the tooth of Megalodont, a giant prehistoric shark.

Meanwhile we get our first real look at the incredible CGI in this movie when Mega Shark straight up jumps thousands of feet into the air and catches a passenger jet mid-flight. I think this may very well be the most ridiculous scene ever put to film. It's unbelievably retarded and is made even more stupid by the terrible acting that accompanies it. A guy is sitting on the plane when they hit some turbulence. He gets nervous and an attendant comes by to comfort him. For no reason at all, he tells her that he's getting married tomorrow. She has no idea what to say to that so she just walks away. Then he looks out the window and sees a giant, poorly animated shark jumping out of the water. He shouts, "holy shit!" and then we are treated to a cheesy explosion. At the same time, Giant Octopus tears apart a Japanese oil rig in what can only be called an orgasm of complete nonsense. I can't even begin to describe what happens, because when I think about it I realize that I still don't know what the fuck was going on. There is one lone survivor who I think is supposed to be Japanese, but he might also be Australian. I actually have no idea who he's supposed to be, but that doesn't matter because he only exists to introduce the final main character, a Japanese marine-biologist who is doomed to become the love interest for the attractive, single, female marine-biologist. He asks the man some irrelevant questions, who is being secretly held since apparently nobody is allowed to know about the whole shark/octopus thing even though by this point there have been tons of reported attacks seen by tons of witness. The Japanese man then departs for San Francisco to meet up with Irish mentor and attractive, single, female scientist.

About this time, a video arrives at the home of Irish mentor where they are all staying that was taken from the submarine, and apparently has footage of the awakening of the sea monsters, but all you can see is a black mass, though the characters adamantly claim that you can clearly see them. Then some military guys arrive and arrest them at gunpoint since obviously there is no way they would have come peacefully to work on solving the problem with access to government resources. Now we get to see a string of montages of the scientists mixing Kool-Aid together and shaking their heads in disappointment (cuz that's how science works, right?).

Meanwhile the navy is trying to take out Mega Shark, but little do they know that high-powered guns have no effect on sharks. All you see of the shark is his fin sticking out of the water as it slims closer to the battleship. Except for it never gets closer because they just replay the same shot over and over again, like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when Sir Lancelot is storming Swamp Castle. The interior of the battleship is just a room that's always bathed in red, has a bunch of random machines and buttons all over the place, and has a steering wheel. They fire their guns a bunch and then somebody reports that Mega Shark is down, because he disappeared from their radar. But then he comes back unexpectedly since radar wasn't designed to keep track of massive sharks twice as large as an airplane. The captain stands there looking like an idiot, doing nothing, and then explosion. It should be noted that this scene is reused later, and is exactly the same in every way except for there's a different captain.

The Japanese scientist and the attractive, single, female scientist decide to have sex since they figured that they must be in love or something, I don't know. After doing the deed in a closet in a military installation without anybody noticing, they realize that pheromones are they key to defeating them. One chemistry montage later, and they have the pheromone that is apparently nuclear waste as it glows green. The plan is to lure the sea beasts into highly populated areas where they can... I don't really know where they planned on going from their. Needless to say, it ends with the Golden Gate Bridge being bitten in half.

Plan B is to use the pheromones to lure Mega Shark and Giant Octopus to each other so they can duke it out and kill each other since obviously it's been bred into their genes to have an irrational hatred for one another. At no point does anybody ask, "Hey, what happens if instead of both of them losing, one of them wins?" So they set out in a dangerous mission in some submarines to bring the two together in the middle of the ocean. A bunch of subs are destroyed and many die in the process, but it's all worth it to see the movie live up to the promise of its title. I'm just kidding, it's the most anti-climactic monster battle in the history of cinema. This movie is one and a half hours long, and Mega Shark doesn't actually fight Giant Octopus until the final fifteen minutes of the film, and when they do all you see is Giant Octopus wrap its tentacles around Mega Shark who squirms for while, escapes, bites one of the tentacles, gets caught again, rinse and repeat. Finally they sink to the bottom of the ocean, locked in death's grasp, and Japanese scientist, and attractive, single, female scientist have a make-out session. The end.

If you still want to see this movie after reading that, then do everything in your power to avoid paying for it. I watched it during my free month of Netflix on the PS3, and even then I still regret it.

Bonus points to whoever can tell me what the filmmakers were thinking when they made this shit that isn't fit to be called a movie.