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Archive for January, 2010

Okay, so the thing was, I was not going to write a post about Avatar because I felt like it was past the time to be discussing it. However, the other night, I got to talking about it with my friend Henry and I got annoyed about it all over again, so I figured I just needed to get it out because it would be better for my psyche. So here goes.

Over the holidays, I went to see Avatar. Even though everyone in the world was practically wetting themselves over this thing because of it’s crazy computer graphics and the fact that it was James Cameron’s first movie since Titanic, I was not impressed. Here is why:

*By the way, here be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t say I didn’t warn you*

1. The script was really boring and unoriginal. I’m not saying the same story can’t be told more than once, but I expected something better. People keep defending it by saying “James Cameron’s been working on this for 12 years!” but as far as I’m concerned, that is exactly why it is disappointing – because he had 12 years to fix and tighten the script which he doesn’t seem to have done. For my money, District 9 told a similar story, but better.

These are the ingredients that went into making Avatar. Personally, I have a soft spot for Fern Gully.

2. The compound/mineral/whatever the hell they were trying to get out of the planet was called Unobtainium which, I’m sorry, seems like a placeholder word James Cameron forgot to do a search and replace on.

A picture of unobtanium. I kind of wonder if they had other names in mind for this substance. Misplacium? Unaquirius?

3. The completely ridiculous Army General bad guy. I like Stephen Lang but I swear to God, he’s playing a Looney Toons character.

The original concept sketches for Avatar's Army General. "I'll get you, you blue varmints!"

4. The fact that they couldn’t seem to decide if the Na’vi tails were sacred plug ins that helped them commune with nature or penises. Earlier in the movie, Sigourney Weaver’s character, Serious Scientist Lady, is like “Don’t play with that or you’ll go blind!” but then later on Zoe Saldana’s character, Sexy Blue Lady, is like “This is how we feel the universe’s life force.” C’mon movie! You’re either making masturbation jokes or talking about the profundity of the universe, but not both. And if they were penises . . .

"Is that your tail, or are you just happy to see me, Jakesully?"

5. The Na’vi are kind of horse/animal rapists. The scene where the warriors are supposed to subdue the animals by plugging into them against their will is creepy. By this same logic, they are also kind of dendrophiliacs.

Parts of this photo have been blacked out for modesty's sake.

6. That “I See You” song and the ever present insertion of the catch-phrase that spawned it. After having to suffer through Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” 56 million times after Titanic came out, I would really have appreciated being spared yet another epic love song.

I'm sorry, Leona Lewis, you are no Celine Dion (and thank your lucky stars for that!)

7. The animation never quite worked for me. Yeah, it was neat that the main characters were computer animated, but it had a kind of uncanny valley feeling for me where I was never totally emersed in what was happening.

An Uncanny Valley chart for your viewing pleasure. Sorry animators, blue boobs don't distract me enough to realize that things look wrong.

8. Holy ever loving crap was it long! I get that long is important in some cases, but those cases usually involve stories about the holocaust, not stories about blue alien people.

Oh Sam Worthington, how I envied your ability to sleep through most of this.

9. The fight sequences were actually kind of boring. I love action and I actually checked my watch during the ending battle sequence. It was so by-the-book, I remember thinking “Okay, the skeptic-turned-ally has bought it. The sage chiefton has bought it. The ball-breaking but spunky pilot has bought it. Now all that’s left is for our hero to have a close call but to be saved miraculously at the last minute!” (Also, on another fighting note, the walkers looked pretty much exactly like the machine Ripley used to kill the Queen at the end of Aliens which made me that much more uninterested because James Cameron was so tapped out of originality he had to steal from a movie he made in 1986.)

Oh ball-breaking but spunky pilot, we barely knew ye! (Except we did because your archetype is in every action movie ever made.)

10. James Cameron’s pretentious and self-congratulatory bull$h!t regarding this movie. Okay, this isn’t about the movie itself, but his attitude about the movie where he goes to awards shows, wins awards that were practically earmarked for him a year ago and then delivers part of his acceptance speech  IN A LANGUAGE HE MADE UP. If any other person went around speaking in a language they made up, people would be looking at them like “What is with that crazy person?” but because it’s him, it’s charming and precious. Colour me unimpressed.

James Cameron after his Golden Globe win. I'm still not convinced that, when he was speaking in his Na'vi language, he wasn't telling us what suckers we are for giving him $300 million to make a movie about sexy Smurfs.

Anyway, I can’t wait until awards season is over and people stop talking about this movie because so many better things came out last year that weren’t acknowledged in favour of this dreck.

(And as for James Cameron himself – James, if you could go back to making movies like Aliens, The Abyss and Terminator 2, I would really appreciate it. Until then, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for this one.)

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I love 30 Rock, so pretty much whenever I get a chance to reference it, I do.

Boy and I are two very different people and the time that this is most evident is when one of us is having a bad day.

When I am having a bad day, the thing I want most is for someone to give me a big hug and comfort me. I can usually figure out my own problems myself but it takes a little bit of love and understanding from someone else to calm me down enough to solve them.

When Boy is having a bad day, the thing he wants most is to tear in there right away and fix it. He is all about spitballing ideas and coming to a resolution as quickly as possible so he can move on with his day.

Even though we’ve been together as long as we have, whenever our bad days hit and we try to help one another using our preferred method, there is usually a bit of bristling at the other person’s preferred method.

When I am having a bad day, I sometimes end up getting irritated with Boy because instead of showering me with hugs and kisses and words of sympathy, he will often stand off to the side and offer me fixes, which makes me feel like he doesn’t understand me.

When Boy is having a bad day, he sometimes ends up getting irritated with me because instead of offering practical solutions, I will often go to hug him and tell him things will be okay, which makes him feel like I am coddling him.

I used to think that it was because we grew up in very different family situations, but the more time that passes, the more I wonder if my reaction might just be one of those intrinsic female things.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of annoying stereotype/cliche things that people like to associate with being a girl that bug the crap out of me. 

Our periods make us crazy.
We like to do nothing but shop.
We’re all insane over babies.
Sexual experience makes us sluts.

That stuff all sucks, but with the bad comes the good. It is a heckuva lot easier to be an emotional being as a woman. As a sex, we’re generally more encouraging of talking things out and shedding a few tears when needed. Therefore, we can live life with our feelings closer to the surface than men.

In any decision I have ever made, I have always weighed my emotions first and addressed the practicality of the situation second. As much as I appreciate logic in theory, my emotions are my go-to. So, when it comes down to it, if something doesn’t feel right to me, it gets shut down right then and there. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Even though we drive each other crazy sometimes, I’m kind of thankful that we have different problem solving tactics. If Boy reacted as emotionally as I do, we’d probably never get anything done, and if I reacted as practically as he does, we’d probably sweep too much under the rug. Plus, I think it bodes well for the future and having a family – whatever kid we end up having can come to me for cookies and comforting and can go to dad when it’s time to kick some ass and take some names!

And again!

Do you and your partner have different problem solving tactics? Which one of you is the fixer and which one is the comforter?

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Earlier this week, I made a crack about Mako from Conan the Barbarian not having enough of screen presence to pull off having one name. I also made a crack about him throwing out his back.

Not too long after I wrote all that, I managed to effortlessly pull a muscle in my neck/back that has left me in so much pain I can barely move.

I am not normally a superstitious person but just in case, I am going to play it safe and rescind everything I said, just in case his crazy ghost has taken vegeance on me. I’m sorry, Mako! Now if I could have my mobility back, that’d be swell.

Love and Kisses,

Girl

P.S. Did you know Mako was actually nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1966 for his performance in the movie The Sand Pebbles? Crazy!

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It’s pretty dead at my job right now, so me and a couple of friends have been playing around on Formspring.

http://www.formspring.me/girlonthepark

Feel free to ask me a question or leave a link to your own formspring in the comments so I can ask you one.

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Maybe it’s just me, but New Year’s Eve is kind of overrated. There’s all this pressure to make it some sort of ultimate landmark event when really, it’s just another day on the calendar. Happily enough, Boy feels the same way, so aside from the first year we were together where we, we’ve made a point of staying in for it and watching a movie.

This year’s New Year’s was marked with a viewing of the classic 1982 film Conan the Barbarian. Boy loves the stories of Robert E. Howard, so we picked up the double Conan disk at HMV to satisfy his curiosity. Unfortunately, the movie was so inaccurate to the stories he loved, it resulted in what I can only describe as nerdy hategasm.

Anyway, putting aside how the movie retained nothing but the Conan name, it was pretty awful. If you haven’t seen it, let me spare you the horror and give you the Cliffs Notes version:

The story starts out in a little Viking-looking village. Although it is supposed to be some primative time, everyone looks pretty clean and in fact Conan’s mom looks like she’s had some crazy lipjob.

Collagen, anyone?

The village is invaded by a bad army who torch and kill everything in sight.

At the center of the army is James Earl Jones. James Earl Jones is supposed to be the main badass, but instead he just comes off as ridiculous because:
a. He somehow decapitates Conan’s mom from like 10 feet away.
b. He is wearing the most horrible wig I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, it looks like they stole a wig from Cher’s tour collection and slapped it on his head, that’s how ridiculous it is.

"Do You Believe In Life After Love?"

The evil army takes Conan from his home into the desert where they chain him to some crazy turbine thing at a mill which then helps him grow up and turn into Ah-nuld who is crazy big and muscled. Now, never having owned a slave, perhaps there is some essential piece of knowledge I am missing here, but considering you are holding someone against their will, maybe it’s not such a good idea that you let them get so big and muscly that they could crush your windpipe with one hand. But then again, maybe that’s just me.

According to the trivia for this movie, Ah-nuld's arms were so big when they started shooting this movie, he couldn't hold a sword properly.

Ah-nuld is then sold to a dude who puts him in some Ultimate Fighting tournaments in which Ah-nuld slices up people so hard, they spray red paint (I know, amazing, right?). But even though he’s dominating in the ring, Ah-nuld’s ancient version of Mickey Goodmill isn’t happy with that so he sends him to the Far East where he learns to be a War Master by studying philosophy and poetry. Because, apparently, when someone is running at you with a spear, the best thing to do is quote The Art of War at them. Because that deflects weapons.

So, Ah-nuld’s master finally decides Arnie has paid his dues and releases him into the wild. While in the wild, Ah-nuld stumbles into a cave where he finds a sword all covered in rust. He then manages to bang the rust off in big chunks to reveal a pristine sword underneath. Does rust really work that way?

During his travels, Ah-nuld meets two thieves named Subotai and Valeria and together they steal this gigantic jewel from some cultists. Instead of leaving town and taking their loot with them, they stay in the town where they just robbed someone and the lady thief wears the jewel around her neck like a pendant. Good plan!

Although they have spoken a total of five setences to each other, Ah-nuld and Valeria make some magical love connection, so they hole up in some little shack where they writhe around and smear chicken grease on each other. I am not even kidding.

"Hi! My name's Valeria! I like long walks on the beach, fighting armour that really doesn't protect me and men who grunt!"

Sometime after their torrid KFC fuelled lovefest, Ah-nuld, Valeria and the other dude are spotted with the jewel (you think?) apprehended by the king’s men and are brought to the palace. Instead of getting in $h!t for stealing, the king commends them and offers them a quest to save his daughter from the cult.

Since Valeria wants to settle down and have a peaceful domestic life (women be crazy!), Ah-nuld sets out to do the quest by himself. Along the way, Ah-nuld runs into a crazy wizard whose name is Akiro in the movie but apparently Mako in real life. I didn’t think his stage presence was so powerful that he only warranted one name, but there you have it. Anyway, Akiro bobs along and cackles much like Rafiki in The Lion King and seems to serve no purpose until James Earl Jones pops out of nowhere and has his men crucify Ah-nuld on a tree. Ah-nuld’s thief companions find him there on the tree, bring him to Rafiki/Akiro and through some sort of crazy and poorly animated ritual, bring him back from the dead. Nice of them to give the dead guy another shot!

"Sorry, I would help you in your quest, but I threw my back out when I held you up on top of that giant rock."

After Ah-nuld sleeps off the last of his being dead, the trio goes to track down the princess. Apparently, she is being held at a palace where an orgy is taking place, but the people at the orgy are so clothed, it looks more like someone’s basement during a high school party. Dry humping abounds! James Earl Jones spots them and turns into a giant Muppety snake which they manage to fight off, but in the fray Valeria dies . . . or at least we think she does because it was at this point things got a little wacky and the DVD stopped playing. Now, it could have been a disc flaw because we did buy it for cheap, but I choose to believe that the DVD took mercy on us and decided to spare us  from having to watch Ah-nuld be emotional. Whatever the case, when we skipped to the next chapter, she was gone, so we assume she bought it.

Sorry, lady, Ah-nuld's bored with you, so out you go!

After Valeria’s death, Ah-nuld takes the princess and sets up a Home Alone style trap for the bad guys in the desert. He uses the princess as bait and the baddies fall for it, splattering red paint everywhere. As is the case in all action movies, Ah-nuld has one close call, but ends up being saved . . . this time by Valeria who has somehow managed to return from the dead as a disco valkyrie. She kills the bad dude and asks Ah-nuld if he wants to live forever, but instead of breaking into a rousing version of Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” she vanishes into the breeze.

I couldn't find a picture of Valeria as a Disco Valkyrie, so here is Alphaville. Gaze at this lovely photograph and wonder what the hell happened to them.

Sometime during the big fight, James Earl Jones ran away (perhaps to record his voiceovers for the last Star Wars movie?), so to get revenge for his lover’s death, Ah-nuld tracks him down at some crazy big temple. Instead of fighting back, James Earl Jones stands there lethargically and lets Ah-nuld behead him. You wouldn’t think that a beheading would be entertaining, but this one is pretty funny since the head they use looks like it was stolen from a mannequin in the Junior Miss department at Sears and makes the most hollow noise you have ever heard when it falls to the ground. I can’t say I totally blame the Foley guy though – it must of been a pretty sad flick to work on.

I'm showing a picture of the snake here because a) it's funny and b) this is as feisty as James Earl Jones' character gets. Mostly, he just stares at things or runs away.

The movie then ends with a shot of a bored and hairy Ah-nuld sitting on a chair as the narrator explains that he goes on to be king in another more interesting movie. However, having also watched the second Conan movie (which features Grace Jones as an Amazonian bad ass and Wilt Chamberlain as the protector of Kevin Arnold’s sister’s virginity – IRONY!), I can tell you that this never happens and that that movie ends in the exact same way. Boo-urns!

I like to imagine this is what Ah-nuld looks like when he runs the state of California.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading about our New Year’s Eve movie watching adventures! I watch plenty of other bad movies so I will be sure to write those up too to save you from having to watch them.

*If you have never experienced one in person, a nerdy hategasm is basically a cacophony of sighs, grunts and angry statements about accuracy and staying true to source material. I can’t tease Boy too much for having one though,since regular readers will probably remember that I experienced one when I watched the 4th Alien movie. HATE!

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Growing up, I had a decent sized family. It was far from big, but since my grandmother was 1 of 9 kids, there were lots of great aunts and uncles that I would visit during the summer when I was in Montreal.

An aunt and uncle I visited quite often were my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Charlie. My grandmother and Phyllis were sisters, and although there was a sister in between them, they were the best of friends. They were so close in fact that they got married in a double ceremony in September of 1949. When my grandmother passed away, it was a shock and although my Aunt Phyllis comforted me, I could tell that my grandmothers’ passing affected her deeply.

She was the first of the fab four to go.

This morning, my Uncle Charlie died. He was a large, quiet man and truth be told, I probably didn’t know him all that well (Phyllis did the talking for both of them). In fact, the most distinct memory I have of him is not really even of him but of his false teeth scaring me as a child. However, when I heard today, it made me sad to think that part of my family shrinking like that.

Before I got married, my grandfather gave me pictures from their double ceremony. To see them so young and so happy and now to know that half of those people are no longer around, that their stories and laughter and futures have come and gone, makes everything feel strangely fleeting.

I will be heading out to Montreal for the funeral in a couple of days. The last time I was in Montreal for any significant period of time was Phyllis and Charlie’s 50th anniversary back in 1999. Before that, I was there for my grandmother’s funeral in January of 1991.

And the world gets smaller yet again . . .

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They are shorties, so today I’m posting two of our weirdest chats, as well as a conversation we had with my Brother-in-Law on the way to the first of our four Christmases.

Conversation #1:

Things you need to know going into this first conversation:
a) When we were in bed one night, the nail on my husband’s big toe bumped against my knee and scratched it so hard it broke the skin. I did not notice this until it had scabbed over.
b) Male Platypuses (Platypi?) have little spurs on their feet that produce venom to harm their enemies.

The platypus always kind of looks like a random creature someone made out of Play-Doh, doesn't it?

Me: Man, my knee still isn’t healed. That place you scratched me keeps getting all pus-y around the edge.
Boy: What? Why would it be pus-y?
Me: I don’t know. There are a lot of little bacteria on feet, so maybe from that.
Boy: It’s not like I’m a platypus, Girl. I didn’t stab you with my spur or anything.
Me: Hmm. Maybe that would explain why there are no platypus cowboys.
Boy: Exactly! Too many dead horses.

Conversation #2:

Things you need to know going into this second conversation:
a) Boy works long hours but he always makes a point of coming and tucking me into bed at night.
b) Oftentimes, when I am feeling restless and like I can’t sleep, Boy will talk to me for a bit, telling me stories, telling me about his day or making up nonsensical facts.

Me: Tell me something random before you go.
Boy: There was once a bendy straw that was so bendy, it bent all the way through the fabric of time and then back again.
Me: Where did it bend through exactly?
Boy: They don’t know but wherever it bent through, when it came back, it tasted like strawberries.
Me: What kind of strawberries?
Boy: What do you mean, what kind of strawberries? 
Me: Like were they fresh strawberries or like synthetic strawberries?
Boy: Does that make a difference?
Me: Totally. Because fresh is more old-timey and synthetic is more futuristic.
Boy: Oh *thinks about it for a moment* Synthetic. Definitely synthetic.
Me: Cool! The future!

Bendy Straws - Cutlery's version of a wormhole?

Conversation #3:

Things you need to know going into this third conversation:
a) Boy and I were driving up to my MIL’s in Newmarket with Nick and Erin and we were all feeling kind of punchy.
b) We got onto the topic of Greek Mythology because I have been reading the Percy Jackson* books.

Me: And then the centaur was at the centre of the maze . . .
Nick: Centaur?
Me: Oh, shoot! I meant Minotaur!
Nick: I mean, really, can you imagine a Centaur in a maze?
Nick, Boy and I all laugh heartily.
Erin: Man, you guys are nerds.

Just a little diagram of what we were talking about. Don't feel bad if you didn't know what we were talking about. That just means you're normal.

*I just finished the last one last night and I really enjoyed the series. If you like adventure or mythology, pick ’em up! They are an easy read and a lot of fun.

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