Saturday, December 11, 2004

Here at The League, we see shitty movie so you don't have to.

For whatever reason I got it in my head to go see Blade Trinity. Full disclosure: I saw Blade and Blade 2 on opening nights and just enjoyed the hell out of them. Blade Trinity? Not so much.

From the opening scene of the movie, something just feels... off. Something is wrong. I don't mean in a good tension building way. I mean, the editing seems sloppy, the scenes don't really make sense. Special editing techniques seem borrowed and poorly used. Even the audio seemed muddy a few times (but that's also Snipes playing a character who never unclenches his jaw long enough to speak). Camera shots are okay, but not great. Dialogue is covered, but there are some scenes that just feel as if the director has no idea where to put the camera or what the intention of the scene is, which is weird. David Goyer wrote and directed the movie.

Additional disclosure: I used to read David Goyer comics, so I was really pulling for this guy. He used to write JSA and some other comics, and word on the street is that his next project might be a big-screen adaptation of The Flash. Which I think would be swell. Except that large chunks of this movie have the feel of a particularly well crafted undergraduate student film. That is not a compliment.

In the interest of even more disclosure, I had read something WAS wrong with Snipes while the movie was being made. I don't remember where I read it, but it seemed to suggest Snipes may have been charged with domestic assault charges during the filming of Blade. So, you know, maybe there are good reasons why Blade seems so, uh... tense. I cannot confirm or deny these rumors, so I do not believe these allegations (note the clever way in which the League avoids yet another charge of libel).

The movie is full of simply dumb inconsistencies.
-The vampires, who burn up in daylight, live and work in a sky scraper which is big and mostly glass. Sure, they COULD be hiding out during the day, but that's like keeping a big ol' jug of chlorine gas in your house and just thinking nothing could possibly go wrong.
-Cops are armed with... nothing. So when that chick from 7th Heaven appears in the movie armed only with a bow, no biggie. She doesn't need to worry about being riddled with bullets while selecting an arrow and taking aim.
-People escape from a half-dozen police cars by... driving away in a late-80's model SUV down a normal city street.
-Our lady-hero gets a stern reprimand from Blade because she isn't prepared (ie - isn't wearing armor vs. the vampires...) and she STILL goes into t he final battle in a really cute belly shirt she found at the GAP.
-She is, however, armed with a sort of laser hack saw which is reportedly "half as hot as the sun", but which folds up comfortably onto your belt without scalding you, and which needs a power supply no bigger than a pack of gum. And the thing doesn't melt your eyes out of their sockets when you kick it on (forget needing a welders mask).

Parker Posey, who I really, really do like, plays exactly the same role she played in Josie and the Pussy Cats (a movie which I secretly love but try not to admit to enjoying). The director manages to make Ms. Posey look awkward and stilted from the very first shot of the movie (in which the vampires, for no good reason, unearth Dracula in the middle of the day in the middle of the Sumerian desert... nice stealth mission, guys). I think that's hard to do. They also seem to put her in some pretty funky hairstyles which do less than flatter Ms. Posey.

Jessica Biel seems both out of her league and element in this film. And someone should have pointed out to her character that listening to MP3's with ear-buds while people are trying to kill you is sort of like intentionally closing your eyes while someone is trying to kill you. It doesn't make you tough. It makes you silly.

Ryan Reynolds will be the reason people like this movie. He's great. Seriously. He's really funny and fits well with the modern action film as a wise-cracking tough-guy. In the SPider-Man comics, Spidey is always talking trash while he's picking fights, and the writers of Spidey 3 would do well to watch Reynolds performance here to see how it's done.

The rest of the cast are pretty much fill-in-the-blank slots. Sure, there's a big, tough bruiser vampire (played by the guy who was Sabretooth in X-Men), but not a whole lot else to take a shine to. One actor plays a blind geneticist, and I'll say she does a lot with a small role. But it's not much to save the movie.

Oh, and the Zoe character gets to riff off of Newt from Aliens. Bleah. And she completely disappears during the final firefight which she sort of sparks.

Plotwise: Dracula is dug up, ostensibly, to capture/ kill Blade. Dracula is TOLD this. Then, upon returning home, the exact same five vampires who dig up Drac immediately set-up Blade and get him captured by the cops. However, instead of just putting a bullet in Blade and going off for blood-slushies, they play with him for a while. No idea why.

Having awoken their God for apparently no reason, Dracula is then supposed to somehow be helping the vampires with some sort of formula, but for what? I'm not sure. I THINK it's to allow vampires to go out in the sunlight (which Dracula can do), but it's never really clear what master plan Parker and Co. are working out. The plan is the sort of hazy mess you usually only see at large, public universities. As they work out the details, Parker and Co. ditch Drac by giving him some clothes nobody in their right mind would wear out except to go "clubbing", a little walking round money and then letting him wander the streets of what is clearly Vancouver.

Never mind the fact the FBI is operating here in Vancouver (we see that big space-needle doo-hickey a dozen times in the film) like it's no big deal. Or that it seems like sort of a let-down to go from being the scariest vampire in the world to having to live in Canada.

Natural resources are wasted.
-Patton Oswalt show up, toss out a few lines and then are tossed away.
-Vampire dogs are introduced and then just dropped (literally).
-Even a relationship between Seventh Heaven refugee-girl and Kris Kristofferson is muddily established and then goes absolutely nowhere.
-Kristofferson backs up all his computer files (to where?) and then blows up the building he's in to, I guess, protect Blade. Never mind that his files, should they have fallen into the hands of the police, might have actually shown the police Blade might not be just some kooky guy with a great car.

Look, this is one of those movies I could go on and on about, and people who liked it could argue, "Hey, League... It's not that kind of movie, quit taking it so seriously".

And, God help me... I am not taking it all that seriously, but this has got to be one of the laziest, sorriest feature films I've seen this year (including AVP). The Blade series, which was sort of a one-trick pony to begin with, maybe never should have gotten beyond the first film. But the second one was okay, if not a great improvement. One would have hoped the cast and crew connected with this flick would have done a better job.

I assume this is it for ol' Blade. I'm kind of hoping the Blade movies have now fulfilled America's obsession with rich club kids as bloodsuckers and will move on to some new idea. The idea was great when it was fresh, but like all sci-fi fantasy ideas, its being done to death (see Underworld or Dracula 2000).

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mrs. League here. I'd like to create a new column here at the League called:


I regularly read, which generally contains a nice, if somewhat guarded, overview of the world today. There is a section on the main page of this site which features a Video of the Day. I've been noticing in the past week or so video titles such as "Florida park having trouble getting crocodiles to mate" and "Woman gets hand caught in bus door; subsequently run over". Now, I'm just speaking for myself, but it seems like those are two news items not screaming for video coverage. Just my two cents...

Arden keeps it real.
Well, that went poorly...

Yesterday was my final presentation for my ostensibly "online" course I am taking in pursuit of my Masters. Honestly, I didn't work all that hard on the presentation itself as I am much more focused on the paper which the presentation was going over. I'm about 80% done with the paper, and have outlined it to completion, so I felt fairly confident in my talking points.

I don't like Power Point as a resource for presentations. People spend too much time worrying about which trippy background to use, how to make cool sounds and flashy animations whiz in and out of the frame. I pretty much like to use a white background and black, arial text. Totally boring, but I guarantee you, I spend 1/2 the time of some people on my presentation prep, and the audience doesn't care.

Seriously, nobody cares. I hate to be the one to tell you, but it's true.

Anyhoo, apparently presenting on "Considerations for Implementing Distance Learning Programs in Institutions of Higher Education" is not as sexy a topic as I had originally believed. I announced that I do not like giving presentations, and would feel more comfortable having a conversation using my PPT's as a springboard. Well, that didn't work. The blank stares I received as I proceeded weren't just the usual "hey, you're not making any f**king sense" stares I usually get when I present. Rather, these people were actively NOT listening to me. Doodling on notepads, playing on computers, checking their voicemail... luckily my instructor was nodding emphatically and smiling the entire time as if encouraging the syrupy smelling kid in the class as he brings his macaroni art to the front of the room for Show & Tell.

Of course as I concluded and asked for questions, nobody raised their hands to ask any questions and everyone looked down at their shoes or at their desks.

"Oooookay..." I nodded.

My teacher tried to help out by asking a question, but it didn't really go anywhere. Someone sort of asked a question which didn't really relate to anything I'd just said. And at that point I was trying to figure out if it was possible everyone in the class just didn't care, didn't like my presentation, or didn't understand a word I said. Or if it didn't matter. And there's no graceful exit in a classroom.

Anyway, that's why I've been busy.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mrs. League here. Last year 'round Christmastime, the League and I were camped on the couch taking in the yearly showing of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Leaguers, this is my absolute favorite Christmas special. I Loved Rudolph as a wee lass and would spend an alarmingly abnormal amount of time drawing pictures of the nasally-challenged Christmas deer. But last year's viewing sparked a new discussion at League HQ starting with the consensus that "Hey, this show is sending out some questionable, non-Christmassy messages."

Someone agrees with us: 16 Serious Questions about "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

Here's just a sample:

"1) Why is Santa such a complete bastard?"

".......this guy is absolutely ITCHING to cancel Christmas. Hey Santa. It's not your call. Christmas is the day Jesus was born. God will let you know if Christmas is cancelled. Until then, get in the damn sleigh."

Good stuff.
Somethings are too darn interesting not to share.

Check out these images of the skeletons of popular cartoon characters.
2004 Holiday Spectacular Rules Update

Well, it looks like my little scheme (hatched originally by our own Jim D) wasn't making much sense. Jason still sounds confused and when he gets confused he gets angry, which usually leads to unwarranted name-calling and a subpoena of one sort or another.

Here's the basic idea of the photo contest:

Want to see Melbotis in a field of snow with David Hasslehoff? That's an idea. I'll see what I can do to put that together with my digital camera and the magic of Photoshop.

Want to see Ryan and Jamie on the roof wearing reindeer antlers? That's an idea.

Want to see Mel and Ryan drunk, naked and passed out in a bundle of Christmas lights? That's an idea!

Just want to see a picture of Jeff and Mel drinking some nog in front of the tree... ? THAT'S AN IDEA!!!

You come up with an idea for a Holiday scene and Jamie, Jeff, Mel and/or The League, and we will be happy to create a holiday masterpiece for you to view each time you visit The League during the week of Christmas.

Depending upon quality of ideas and our amount of free time, we'll produce as many of the images as we can. But it's up to YOU, our loyal readership, to tell us what, exactly, YOU WANT TO SEE.

If you have a Holiday themed idea, send it along. We'll see what we can do to get a nifty holiday themed image created for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The 2004 Jim D. Enforced HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR!

Greetings, Loyal Leaguers.

I'm busy. Super duper busy. But not so busy that I don't take phone calls.

And yesterday, I was pressing my nose to the old grindstone when Jim D called to say, Hey, you lazy bastard, get a holiday contest up and running.

"I dunno," The League replied. "I don't have any ideas."
"Why don't you have people write in and say what sort of holiday photo you should take to post to The League?"
"You know..." The League said, thoughtfully staring at his light fixture, "That ain't a bad idea."
And thusly, the 2004 Jim D. Enforced HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR was born.

We're going to have two running items for the 2004 HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR.

1) Tell The League what you'd like to see for a Holiday themed photo.


2) Tell Melbotis your Christmas wish!

Ultra-Humanite and The Flash bring the kids Holiday tidings

The rules are as follows:


a) must be relatively tasteful in nature. Let's not go down the path which leads to blindness.
b) I can photoshop in folks I don't know, but let's try to keep your demands on my time realistic
c) must be HOLIDAY themed. This may include Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc... But Ramadan is over, so we'll wait for that for next year.
d) should contain at least one member of the staff at League HQ (Jamie, Jeff, Mel, The League)

entries should be submitted before December 17th. Send the e-mail to Mel's e-mail address in the left hand side-bar.

Mrs. Kent gives Mr. J'onzz a lovely Christmas present


a) submit to Mel an e-mail detailing your Christmas wish.
b) Mel will reprint your letter in it's entirety
c) Mel will follow up with any questions or comments you may have
d) Must be a Holiday Wish of some sort.
e) try to keep it clean.
f) every entry fit to print will be printed.
g) Mel cannot spell-check nor edit, so he's printing what he gets.

So start sending in your entries. You will see the winner/s of the Holiday Photo contest the week of the December 20th. The Christmas wishes will be posted as they come in.

Send entries to Melbotis.

For more on the rules, click here.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I do not understand the BCS. Moreover, I am actually upset that UT's rankings weren't lower. After all, the Fiesta Bowl is a 10 minute walk from my office. I'll have to settle for the Rose Bowl, I suppose. Go Horns!

For the totally confusing year-end results for college football, read here.

Jim was asking "why no Holiday contest for 2004? down at The LEague". he is, I asuppose, referring to the now infamous "Holiday Heckstravganza" from 2003. Last year I checked in to see what Loyal Leaguers thought of Holiday media, and then I posted some results. Well, this year the League is doing everything he can just to keep up with work, school, Mel and Jamie. Besides, I had no ideas for this year's Holiday Contest. Maybe I will have you guys send in Christmas wishes to Mel. He will print your letter and respond.

What do you think?

I had a nice, quiet weekend. Spent Saturday morning shopping for Christmas decorations, lights, etc... We put up the most Super tree anyone ever saw, drank some hot cider, hung a wreath, set up a nice little Holiday table. It was raining cats and dogs all weekend, so I didn't initially think I would put up the outdoor string of lights (we do sport one string in the front window).

About 5:00 Heavenly Creatures came on IFC. I always tie Heavenly Creatures in my head with Christmas depsite it's utter lack of a Christmas theme. When the movie was released, I was hanging out with high school chums also home for the Holidays and suggested we go see the movie down at River Oaks. This was back when having Peter Jackson attached to a movie meant something far different from what it means today.

When the titles rolled, pal-Erica said quietly, "I thought you said 'Heavenly Christmas'." And suddenly I was having flashbacks to when I had taken my high school girlfriend to see Naked Lunch without any kind of prep. Suffice it to say, the screening did not go well. Heavenly Christmas indeed.

Also, my copy of the Spider-Man 2 DVD arrived from Amazon. So I wrapped up my Saturday with a little Spidey action. Still a great movie. Although The Admiral did confirm he felt Peter Parker was "a bit of a weenie" when he and my mother went to see the movie last summer. I have also decided I want four monstrous mechanical arms.

Sunday was spent working on my paper for school. I have to present Thursday, so there goes the remainder of my week. Much like UT, my current school has very little parking for students coming to campus to utilize the library, so I got rained on walking from hither to yon. Of course there were parking garages close by, but they're all locked up on the weekends. Ingenius.

I realized how much I missed doing research while I was down in the basement digging through journals. Web-searching just doesn't have that same sense of Eureka! that you get going through stacks of dusty magazines and books looking for a scrap of evidence to back up your nonsensical thesis.

My last year of college I had to write a 35+ page paper on a minor incident involving Woodrow Wilson's secretary when he was involved in a "leak" scandal regarding the US's entry into WWI. I spent months in the PCL at UT pouring over NYTimes from 1916-1918 (truly, it is the paper of record if you want to do research). I also browsed Wilson's correspondence during the same period.

In the end, I finished the paper and I guess I got an "A", but I am fairly sure my instructor thought I was an idiot, as did my fellow classmates. I was inclined to make bizarre, sleep-deprived suppositions and to show up with stacks of photocopies of pages with nothing underlined in any of them claiming that, buried in here, I had proven Tumulty's innocence (which really wasn't in doubt).

Anyway, while the current research topic is, perhaps, a bit more mundane, it's nice to be back in the stacks and trying to make a point through the odd process of quoting other people.

Sunday morning I had decided that either the lights were going up in the rain or they would not go up at all, and so Jamie and I slogged into the yard and got our lights up. And, I might add, they are quite festive. We're not into the icicle thing, and until this year we were using white lights. But our neighbors who had hung lights last week ahd used color lights, and back in Austin we always used colored lights (we were kicking it South Austin style with the string around the windows, etc... ) and I wanted a return to form. It may not look like a Martha Stewart approved Christmas, but it's festive.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get some pics taken and posted.

One last comment, Randy sent along some Asian reprints of DC comics he picked up on his recent Honeymoon to Singapore, Idonesia and other places they won't have me. Gotham Comics is an Asian publishing company which also licenses American stuff for reprint, and the comics Randy sent are some great issues of Superman and Batman produced by Gotham. Up until this moment I wasn't going to open them because they're factory sealed, and I thought that was kind of cool, but now... now I want to read them, or at least take a look at them. The ads, etc... are always fun to look at. Should be cool.

Friday, December 03, 2004

And.... just as I thought I was done for the weekend, Jamie showed me this.

Poodle workout.

In the world of WHAT THE F**K....??!!!, this one may be near the top.

Seriously, just let it run and let it all soak in.

Couple of quick items to take us into the weekend:

1) Reed-o sent this along. Anyway, I thought it was hilarous.

2) Should I ever run for office I shall do so as a Republican for the sole purpose of using the following for my campaign slogan:

Compassionate. Conservative. Cuckoo for Coco Puffs.

I just want to see that slogan printed beside my face plastered on a billboard near the freeway.

3) Still no idea what to get Jason. I'm going with a gross of packages of Spaghetti noodles.

4) Mel woke us up this morning at 4:30 AM standing on the couch (upon which he is NOT allowed) and barking. At 4:30 AM. Must seek vengeance.

5) I want to see you people visiting Jason's new site. He's working really hard on it, but he's going to get discouraged if nobody ever visits or comments.

6) Everytime someone tries to tell me Superman isn't Christmassy, I want them to remember how Superman helped St. Nick save Christmas that one year...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Christmas is coming. Still no idea what to get for Jason. Lincoln logs, hookers, booze and golf lessons are all I've heard about thus far from you people. I need some help.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Video of an amazing karate-weilding chimp. It's not about age, it's about skill level.
Today is World AIDS Day.

Learn more about AIDS and HIV and what is being done at the link above.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Couple of quick notes:

1) Looks like I was caught up in an Urban Legend once again. Thanks to Jim for the link.

2) Watching the 40 Least Metal Moments on VH1 is awesome. The guys they're interviewing to show their dismay at how un-Metal some of their heroes have become are just awesome. The guys being interviewed are 40 or older, and are not afraid to keep on rockin' in a way which you haven't really seen since 1993, nor by many folks over the age of 18.

Ricki Rachtman? Is ashamed of Ozzy? Dude, don't worry about it. We're embarrassed for you for being 40 and still idolizing Dave Mustaine. I mean, some of these guys giving commentary seem genuinely pissed off.

I highly encourage you to catch a few minutes of the show.

And, hey, metal testimonial guys... try to remember... You're being interviewed by VH1, the network built on the backs of Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and Gloria Estefan.

It made me really miss metal dudes from back in high school. Do they still have metal dudes in high school? It was like, you just knew the metal dude was going to be a terrible lab partner before they even paired you with the guy. He was going to put his head on his desk and make you do all the work, or else he was going to keep using the bunsen burner to torch notebook paper.

I miss metal dudes. I need to find some.

3) The Real Gilligan's Island was a spooky disappointment and lasted five minutes on my TV. But at least I know what became of Nicole Eggert.

4) I propose a new viewing challenge. I propose Madi Hinojosa go to see the all new Fat Albert Movie in the theater. If she agrees to see the movie and write a review for The League, I will reimburse her for the cost of 1 ticket, 1 small popcorn and 1 medium soda (based upon costs here at the local theater). I highly suggest Madi try to rent some Fat Albert cartoons or read up on Fat Albert online before going to the show. I also suggest she find the old Bill Cosby comedy records in which Fat Albert originated.

The review will be printed without edits here at The League.


Can you believe it? Randy has influenced my brother.

Randy said:

You know what I love best about the commenting feature of The League? The back-and-forth between The League and his brother. Now, this may be because I have no siblings to call my own, but nothing makes me chuckle more than when Jason is calling The League names and vice-versa. You two should have your own tv show, or at least radio show.

At the very least, Jason should have his own blog.

Thus, my brother has decided to jump into the blogosphere, not realizing how unwelcome his meddling presence will surely be.

And so, from within my own family, blogcompetition is born. I am sure to lose a great deal of readership as people while away the hours reading his musings and not my own.

My one saving grace is that Jason is both cheap and lazy. This means he won't pay for server space for photos, and he's sure to blog once or twice a week at best. Not exactly the kind of dedicated blogging you've come to expect from The League.

I would expect his blog to be acerbic, if merry. He's an opinionated little minx, so you're sure to get some good Texas Democrat venom spewing within his postings.

So, before he gives up on the whole enterprise, I encourage all of you to visit what will surely be a short-lived but entertaining venture into blogging.

Ladies and germs, I present (with no small amount of trepidation) The Adventures of Steanso.
A Mrs. League Pepsi Holiday Spice update.

Dedicated Leaguers may recall the immensely popular The League Takes The Pepsi (Holiday Spice) Challenge!!! post. In that report, the League mentions not being able to imagine drinking the stuff again sans a little help from the Captain. I think our neighborhood Basha's came to that same conclusion. Yesterday I noticed they were selling the PHS in a separate display coupled with Jim Beam.

In other news (and this is for Shoemaker): December 5 is Ninja Day!
Greetings, Leaguers.

Jim D is not just a lawyer of the highest caliber, he's also a bit of a film nut/snob. The interesting thing about Jim D's film nuttiness/snobbiness is that he puts his moolah where his mouth is.

A long while back now, Jim D told me he'd written a script and a buddy of his was going to produce/ direct the film. "Cool," said The League. But The League went to film school and has heard THIS song and dance before. Usually a script gets written and some plans are made, and then people get lazy. But, Leaguers, not our Jim.

I read the script in a rough version, then in a cleaned up version, and finally in what I believe to be the shooting script. And it's a taught bit of drama Jim's written. His chum Alistair is the director and, i think, the editor. Jim stayed involved as a producer on the film, which meant he didn't need to worry about some knucklehead taking his script and turning it into a slapstick comedy.

Primary shooting completed earlier this year, and I think it's off to be edited now.

Here's the additional good news: They've cut the first trailer.

probably the best way to catch up with the goings on with the film is to click here to get to Jim's re-cap page. Check out stills, the trailer and the proposed poster.

Well done, Jim! I'm super excited to see the film continuing to make progress. It's going to be crackerjack when it's complete and assembled.

I totally want a credit. I don't care what it's for, but I want a credit. Something like "4th Assistant Associate Producer" or "Jim Wrangler".

Monday, November 29, 2004

Randy is back from his honeymoon!

I loved this picture. If you click on it, you can get to his first post.

If you go here, you can see even more of Randy's vacation photos.