And he says what we're all thinking far better than we would have said it.
If we can sue the Federal Government to get them to release papers, can we sue Uncle George to get our movie back?
6:45 AM |
Monday, September 20, 2004 DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION!!!
Jason (The League's brother) returned from college with all kinds of new-fangled ideas, but one of my favorite was the best game in the world.
DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION
This game spawned the movie game listed below, and the rules are simple.
Have at least two players (although three or more is preferable so there is always a horrified witness).
Now, one person is the question-person, and the other is an answer-person.
You will take tunrs in each role, but the question person's job is to dream up an absolutely horrific situation. Now dream up another. Now present these two options to the answer-person. The Answer-person must select between one of the two horrible fates dreamed up for them, and they cannot say "I don't know." They MUST answer. And, yes... DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION!!!
The question I like to kick a new game off with is this (and it's a borrowed one, so fogive me for not being original):
If you had the choice between:
four magical tree frogs stuck to your face for the rest of your life, constantly singing an endless loop of Canned Heat's "Going up the Country"
Having your hands replaced with screaming monkey heads (no, they cannot be removed)...
what would you choose?
This sort of question sets the tone of utter devastation. And no, DEATH IS NOT AN OPTION!!! Sure, we'd all rather be dead than spend the next 30-40 years with screaming monkey hands, but is that worse than singing frogs on your face? I don't know! I cannot say! But you may have to.
Then, once the answer-person anguishes and screams and finally decides upon a horrific fate, they might ask the question-person an equally soul-piercing question, or they may turn on the witness.
The witness, I might add, should not really say anything unless the answer-person simply cannot decide what should hypothetically befall them.
So, the League and I were playing this game yesterday where given the choice of two movies, which would you rather see? Sounds easy, right? Not the way we play it - we have taken the 'lesser of two evils' approach. Example:
Mrs League: 'Ladybugs' or 'Ed'. The League: (keep in mind the League had turned down 'Ladybugs' about 5 times at this point) ...SIGH....'Ladybugs'.
Nothing seemed to be able to top 'Ed' for the League. SO! My challenge to you, Leaguers is to come up with a movie that the League would rather see LESS than 'Ed'. Good Luck!
**Update: It has been helpfully suggested by Randy that I list what movies have already been tested against 'Ed'. Unfortunatly, I can't remember some of the candidates, but I do know these lost out (and please help me out, League if you remember):
Alien vs. Predator Pure Luck Batman & Robin Ladybugs
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Busy week last week at The League. But not an unpleasant one.
Nathan and Renata were here from Wednesday evening to early Friday morning, and that was quite a bit of fun. Nathan is/ should be some sort of celebrity. He once appeared in a notorious episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, back during it's why-is-this-show-on-five-times-a-week-? heyday. He was the guy who entertained Regis with his stuffed monkey.
Nathan is now a DJ and program manager at Texas Public Radio in San Antonio. Renata is Minister of Information for one of the universities in San Antonio.
Both of them are a lot of fun, and it stinks that we don't live closer to them so we can see them more often.
Friday and Saturday were lazy days. We mostly lolled about on Saturday, and I tried to read some comics I had stacked up. I hadn't yet had a chance to open up my Criterion edition of Slacker, so Saturday afternoon I popped that one in the player and gave it a whirl.
I saw Slacker the first time during the summer after I moved out of Austin. My mother packed us all into the GMC conversion van and hauled us down to the River Oaks Theater. I loved the movie then, and I still like it now. And now, it's a little like looking back at a moment in time.
The acting in the movie is still stilted and awkward, and the characters and dialogue are still going to drive a good portion of the audience nuts. Reviews of the movie on Amazon.com usually go from fawning to outrage, and there's seldom any space in between.
I only watched a few items on the first disc aside from the film itself. I look forward to hearing the audio commentary by Linklater and Co. I did watch the ten minute commercial for an upcoming documentary on Les Amis, the now defunct cafe which sat on 24th street across the way from the Castillian. The doc won't mean much to people who never lived in Austin, but it did hold some interest.
And there's a whole other disc which I haven't opened up yet.
For some bizzaro reason, Jamie and I watched all of the DMX/ Jet Li "package" film, Cradle 2 the Grave. DMX is NOT a good actor, and Jet Li is visibily bored during most of the movie. Anthony Anderson is just creepy to see in any movie, now that he's facing sexual assault charges.
The title of the movie has no relevancy to the plot, characters or anything which occurs in the movie. Jamie has hypothesized that DMX just liked the phrase. We're not sure.
There's also quite a bit of casual racism, and a little bit of little-person abuse in the course of the movie, but, you do get to see Jet Li kick a lot of people in the head. For some reason, the bad guy's ending is similar to the of Belloq in Raiders.
JLU kicked ass. One of the best episodes this season. Even if they did blow up Red Tornado.
Now we're planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've already purchased airplane tickets, so look out LAWTON, OKLAHOMA!!!! It's gonna be a funky, funky Christmas.
Okay, this is weird. When I went to link to a website with this image, the first one to come up was The League... I am the snake eating it's own tail.
The League Reviews: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
So Mrs. League and I went to the cinema early to catch a showing of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. And I did enjoy the movie, but not as much as I thought I should have.
From a plot standpoint, the movie holds together as well or better than most sci-fi movies. The plot is fairly standard sci-fi fare, and is pretty much as advertised. From a story standpoint, I had some issues. I never really knew who the hell these guys were.
Okay, Mrs. League just walked in the room and said "Are you ruining Sky Captain for everybody?" "No." "I liked that movie way more before you started going 'this was this' and 'this was that'. You're going to ruin it for everybody." So apparently I ruined the movie for Jamie. Whoops.
Why does she say this? If, apparently, you don't want the movie ruined for you, stop reading now and go on with your peaceful life.
If you're still reading, I apologize in advance for ruining everything.
What is the big issue? Sky Captain is, as advertised, an homage to the past. A past of science fiction and pulp and Saturday matinees. I can dig it. But... (and this is the League, so there's always a complaint, right?) Sky Captain takes and takes and takes, and I'm not sure what it ever gives back.
Spoilers --- start here
Dodging between outright nods to some sources (Godzilla, Buck Rogers, a handful of others) and taking without acknowledging from others (Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., Blackhawk, Superman cartoons) and tying in other movies (King Kong), one wonders exactly what's left here that IS Sky Captain.
Polly (played by Paltrow) is Lois Lane. The Robots are from the Superman cartoon "The Mechanical Monsters", Sky captain is an amalgamation of Captain Midnight and Blackhawk. Frankie (Jolie) is Nick Fury with boobs, right down to the helicarrier and eye-patch. She's kind of leading a British SHIELD squadron.
The villain's plot is stolen from the cover of Amazing Stories (which, of course, I now can't find).
One thing that drove me nuts but I couldn't place until later... You catch a glimpse of a sunken ship at one point, and the ship is titled "Venture". That, kids, is the name of the ship taken to Skull Island in King Kong. Which makes me wonder, is the island in the movie supposed to be Skull island with it's exotic creatures? Or the Island of Dr. Moreau? We don't know. It seems to be both.
And, kids, I LOVE homage. I love to see things pop up which I can recognize and say silently to myself "cooooooool, I am so in on the joke..."
My point here is, Sky Captain is a fun movie with non-stop homage, but I wasn't really sure what it gave back. There's no new story here, although it does recycle fun parts of existing movies, so, take from that what you will...
My other concern, which is only tangentially tied to the movie, is this: When or if the original sources should wish to take themselves seriously again, or gain screentime again... will audiences look to them as copies of Sky Captain, or will they know which came first? Jamie says "I think you're giving audiences too much credit." And maybe she's right.
But with both a Superman and a King Kong movie in pre-production, do they stand a chance of not being unfavorably compared? I don't know.
----Spoilers end here---
Now, Sky Captain is amazing to look at. It is absolutely gorgeous, and the line between reality and CG is completely lost. These guys did amazing work.
The acting and editing of some scenes seems a little flat, but here's my recommendation: Do this movie right. See it on a Saturday afternoon, kick back and let it wash over you. Be 11 years-old again and eat a bag of popcorn during the movie.
Watch giant robots fill the screen, watch Gwyneth Paltrow show some leg, watch airplanes dogfight in the middle of Manhattan. This movie is pretty damn cool, so you can safely ignore my spoilerish comments above.
The bottom line is that I WANT movies like Sky Captain. I want movies that know and relish a form of action film that has been supplanted with machine gun toting steroid freaks and Keanu Reeves. There's room for all of it out there, but my favorite genres are the ones that smell a little musty and are maybe a little creaky.
I want giant robots and plucky reporters. I want mad scientists and secret islands. Hell, I guess I want Sky Captain.