Friday, September 30, 2011

This Christian Geek

So what does it mean to be a Christian and a geek? Are the two worldviews even compatible? Can you believe in God, believe that Jesus was the Son of God, came to Earth, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life and also be a fan of graphic novels, Babylon 5, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Doctor Who, video games, Magic the Gathering, The Big Bang Theory and many, many other geeky pursuits?

Yes. Yes you can. Any other questions?

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Review of 'Ducky Tie'

Quick Review: It had potential, but didn't quite live up to it.

Full Review: The theme was boobs. Lily has them and Ted is one. This episode was uncomfortable and hard to watch. I like these characters, I am still rooting for them, but it's getting harder. Part of that is the writers, who sometime around season five forgot how great these characters were and relied more on banal gags rather than genuine character moments.

Take Barney's Twitter comments. First, Twitter's been around for a long time, guys, so it isn't as cutting edge as you think it is. Secondly, they just weren't that creative and reeked of trying too hard.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This Review of Weird Al in Concert

Quick Review: Go see him. It's a great show.

Full Review: Go see him. It's a great show. What more do you need to know? Fine, I'll tell you why it's a great show.

Weird Al is entering an improbable but welcome fourth decade of cultural relevance. Most of the acts he's parodied have come and gone, but he's still out there touring, and we are better for it. After all this time, Al has perfected the art of the concert, and if you ever get a chance to catch one of his performances, you owe it to yourself to see him live. This man knows how to entertain his fans.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sequels I Pretend Don't Exist

I like sequels. When done right (Spiderman 2) they can expand upon the universe, explore the characters in greater depth than the original allowed, and resolve dangling plot threads from the previous film. When not done well, and sadly this is often the case, they not only are a terrible movie, they retroactively ruin the previous film. (On the plus side, they do allow a lot of actors to pay back what I assume are massive gambling debts.)

Thus, to preserve my sanity and continued enjoyment of the first installment(s), there are sequels I just pretend don't exist. As far as I'm concerned, these movies were never green-lighted, scripted, cast, financed, catered, filmed, produced, and released. They didn't happen, and a pox on anyone who tries to shatter my precious illusion. (And yes, I am aware of the irony that writing about movies I pretend don't exist violates my own rule. I'm sure we can move past it.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An open letter to the plantar wart on my foot

Dear Plantar Wart,

I know we've had our ups and downs in the four months since you decided to attach yourself to my foot. I attempt to excise you, and you just keep coming back. I must say, I am impressed by your tenacity. You are a worthy opponent, and I give you my grudging respect. No matter what I try, you never quit. Even when I whittle you down to nothing, you just wait until I think everything is getting back to normal and reappear with a vengeance. You are devious and sneaky, like a ninja.

So here's to you, Wart. As I continue my efforts to destroy you, your children, and so on to the seventh generation, know that I will never forget our epic conflict of 2011. May they sing about our battles for generations to come.


The Guy Who Seriously Wants You to Die!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Review of the 'How I Met Your Mother' Premiere

Quick Review:
They try too hard and string us along, but it's not a total loss.

Full Review:
The past few seasons have been rough for the fans of How I Met Your Mother. We'll still watch anything from seasons 1-4 in reruns (or pop in a DVD and hit play-all.) However, we're a bit more picky with seasons 5 and 6, as it marked the beginning of a decline. From the horribly handled Barney and Robin relationship to the even more horrid introduction of Zoey, it was sometimes an effort to tune in every week and/or log into Hulu. We've spent six years waiting for Ted to meet 'The Mother,' and so far all we've gotten is a foot.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why do they tolerate Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory?

This is why you use spray-paint to scrawl your death threats - fewer drips

With the fifth season of The Big Bang Theory starting up next week, I felt it would be a good idea to tackle one of the biggest burning questions of the series. If you watch the show regularly, then congratulations, you're a big nerd. You also may wonder why Sheldon Cooper's friends tolerate him. Particularly Leonard, Howard, Raj, and Penny. Sheldon forces them to abide by strict rules, assigns them strikes if they break said rules, and otherwise makes their lives miserable on a daily basis.

You'd think that five minutes with that lunatic would have them either heading for the hills or getting their stories straight when Sheldon goes on "vacation." (You have two scientists and an engineer - disposing of a body wouldn't be that difficult.) But instead, Sheldon is an integral part of the group. So much so that the three of them regularly give in to Sheldon's often insane demands, adhere to his dictatorial roommate agreement, and tolerate his outright abusive behavior. Sheldon is a tyrant who rules with an iron fist inside a toy Incredible Hulk hand.
Mussolini used to wear Batman underoos.

While some may see this as one of the worlds biggest plot-holes (right up there with why they couldn't just fly The One Ring to Mordor?) I believe that it makes sense. Below are eight good reasons why they tolerate Sheldon, and one very bad reason.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Review of Justice League #1

Quick Review: A great way to begin a reboot.

Full Review: If there's one thing the DC Universe loves to do, it's reboot itself. The last big reboot was Crisis on Infinite Earths, and smaller reboots (or retcons) happened in Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis to name a few. This time, through the series Flashpoint, the DCU got one huge reboot and reset. I won't go into the details, because as a some-time reader I'm not fully immersed in the continuity. Long story short: The Flash changed history and then changed it back, and in doing so reset the entire DC Universe and now everyone is starting over. (I don't suppose a "my bad" would cover that.)

And this brings us to Justice League #1, the issue that relaunches the brand new (again) DC universe. The story told is simple. Batman and all the other heroes aren't trusted and, in Batman's case, considered just as bad as the criminals. This first issue has Batman meeting Green Lantern for the first time as they fight an alien menace. This takes them to Metropolis, where they track down the only alien they know about: Superman.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Eight Good Portrayals of Christians in Mainstream Media

I can name this Christian in one cross

Most of the time, when Christians get portrayed in mainstream television and movies, we aren’t exactly shining beacons of great character. We’re portrayed as ignorant, intolerant, backwards, or just simply the villains. Before you think this is a rant about the “Liberal Media” that’s hostile to Christians, I should point out that when we Christians are left to our own devices, our output isn’t always stellar, either. (Yes Kirk Cameron, I’m talking about you.)

The good news is that there are examples of Christians who are portrayed well. Believe it or not, Hollywood (or in one case the BBC) got it right when it came to portraying what it really means to live a life of faith. These characters aren’t perfect, they have their own flaws and failings, but what they all have in common is a deep abiding faith that guides them and motivates them to help others. They embody the core tenets of the faith, and their imperfections are not that different from our own. After all, perfect characters of any stripe aren’t that interesting, and Christians are no different.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This Review of 'Fright Night'

Quick Review: Fun vampire flick in 2D

Full Review: Twilight this is not. Instead, we have a simple story of boy meets girl, boy's next door neighbor is a vampire, boy has to fight and kill said vampire with a surly and foul-mouthed David Tennant. It's a fun movie with all the vampire killing you could want, but don't expect anything with the depth of Let Me In. This is about fighting and killing Colin Farrell, and that's a movie I can get behind.

True, this is a remake, but I never saw the original, and this version worked for me. Thus, I'll only address what I saw in this one and not make any comparisons. I also only saw the 2D version. I have an aversion to post-production 3D, and I'm fairly certain that the "3D" only subtracted from the experience.

This Review of 'Our Idiot Brother'

Quick Review: It's funny, grown-up movie that ends well.

Full Review: You may not realize this, but Our Idiot Brother is a movie for grown-ups. It's not your run-of-the-mill stoner comedy, it's not even a "loveable loser makes good" kind of film. It's a story about a guy who is who he is and is perfectly okay with it. He's an idiot, for sure, but it's actually one of his endearing qualities. He loves and trusts stupidly, and in the end, that idiotic, unselfish love is what drives this story to its heartwarming conclusion.

In many ways, aside from the arrest for selling drugs, the idiot brother Ned (Paul Rudd) is kind of a Christ-figure. He shows up in the lives of his three sisters and disrupts them completely, but in the end, they are better for it. He leads them down the right path, even if it means leaving the safety of the way things were for the uncertainty of what could be. Ned is constant, and as the movie shows, that never needs changing. It could be a spiritual sequel to The Big Lebowski, as this dude does indeed abide.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Seven Parody Movies that can Stand on their Own

The parody film genre has one fatal flaw - you can't feed it after midnight. Did you get the reference? Good, then you're either a film connoisseur, a child of the 80's, or handy with Google. Otherwise, you're scratching your head wondering what "feed after midnight" has to do with anything. This is a parody film's fatal flaw - you have to understand the references to appreciate the jokes.

Which means that for a lot of films, enjoying them involves hours and hours of prep-work watching and enjoying other movies and possibly television shows. (And for some of the films that get lampooned, enjoying isn't exactly the right word for it.) Having to do homework before watching a movie makes it seem like English class all over again, where the reward for reading the book was to watch a poorly produced movie of the book made before any of us were born. (I'm looking at YOU Great Gatsby)

However, not all parody films are like that. The best are those that transcend being a parody and become an even better version of what it spoofs. It's a film you can appreciate on its own merits, and you may not even realize that you are dealing with a parody. The seven movies I'm talking about today are examples of parodies that stand on their own.