Monday, September 30, 2013

Welcome Back, Michael J. Fox

So I caught Michael J. Fox's new sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show, the other night.  Honestly, I didn't even know he was making a return until the second I saw him on TV.  I was like, wait, that's Michael J. Fox!  Admittedly I haven't seen a lot of Marty McFly since he retired from acting, so naturally the first thing that drew my attention was his involuntary muscle spasms due to his Parkinson's.

But what's so cool is that Fox used his handicap as a strength for this new show, about a retired news anchor with Parkinson's who decides to give it another run.  And both of the first two episodes ended with him poking fun at his disease and making light of it.

And just because everyone's interested, Back to the Future II's future projection is kind of hit and miss.  The wrinkles are there, more-so if you watch the show, but the hair they were totally off on:
"Well, what are you lookin' at, butthead?"

Honestly, I don't see this show lasting very long.  It had a few ha-ha jokes, but there were too many characters that were too much alike which made chunks of the show feel like filler material.  I mean, when you watch a TV show it's either got it or it doesn't.  This one will hook you in initially because it's Michael J. Fox's big comeback, but once you watch the show it's like...hmmm. 

And let's not fool ourselves.  The main character's name is Mike Henry, but we all know this is pretty much a fictionalized autobiography.  The big positive is that, again, the show spotlights Fox's handicap as a strength and I think we're probably going to start seeing more of this; actors that have handicaps will play characters with the same issues.   

It's great to see him back, though.  I also watched about 30 seconds of Junior MasterChef or MasterChef Junior or whatever the shit they're calling this show.  Needless to say, it looks like a piece of shit and is obviously just a launching pad for a bunch of child actors.  Watch - the kids on this show are gonna be seen in future Fox programming - book it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's the Deal with Google+?

Seriously, what's the deal with Google+?  Why is this crap always being forced upon us?  Why is it that only like 2% of the people who have Google+ actively use it?

Normally I'd just shrug it off as another failed social media network, but Google's insistence on competing with Facebook has seriously damaged their reputation in my eyes.

So for the last year or so YouTube has asked me at least once a month about changing my account name from "gregjbaldwin" to something more, uh, professional I guess?  And every time they do this I tell them to F off and they're like "okay, we'll ask again later!"  Well, a few days ago it finally happened: they forced me to change my user name but they did it in such a way that I'm still not sure exactly what the hell happened, but this is the result:


So here's what these knuckleheads did.  Because Google refuses to acknowledge that Google+ is a failure of Titanic proportions, they've been finding ways to force feed it down our throats.  What they've done here is basically connecting your YouTube account (because Google owns YT, of course) to your Google+ account that you kind of sign up for by default whenever you sign up for Gmail.  So now I have, like, two YouTube accounts: one as my original gregjbaldwin account that I've been using since 2006, and a new Greg Baldwin account that's linked directly to my Google+ account.  


Mind.  Blown.  Seriously.

I don't get it.  Like, at all.  What the hell is the point of this other than what I've outlined above?  Has Google invested so much into Google+ that they just refuse to eat the losses?  I mean, other than Google Hangouts, what features does Google+ even have?  It's basically a less populated Facebook, that's it.  Remember when it first came out and you needed an invite in order to use it?  It was super exclusive and everyone was anticipating a rival to Facebook.  Then when it officially launched everyone was like ???

Two of my Google+ connections regularly use it; one is Rich Samuels of The World According to Rich who uses the hangouts frequently.  The other is Mark Cuban, eccentric billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks.  That's it. 

I guess the good news is that now I have two YouTube accounts for some reason:

If you think about it, this kind of encourages trolling

I do get what Google is trying to do by connecting all of their services so you just need one account to e-mail, watch videos, chat with friends, etc.  But the way they've done it is so sloppy that even Honey Boo Boo would ask them wtf they're doing.  And really, the continued forceful use of Google+?  This is what I say to that:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Everything That's Wrong with "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

OK, I needed a place to vent about this movie and since sucking blood can be considered a type of gourmet, it's appropriate to vent about it here.

I was so psyched for this movie.  It's based on a best-selling novel with an amazingly high concept that put out some absolutely epic-looking trailers.  This should have been a slam dunk summer blockbuster.  And then on June 18, 2012, reality stepped in.  Reviews from critics were overwhelmingly negative paired with bad word of mouth that led to an underwhelming domestic box office performance of only $37 million (based on a $70 million budget).  It did go on to recoup its expenses in foreign markets, but on the homeland people were most unimpressed with the alternate secret life of one of our nation's greatest presidents.

As much as I wanted to, I didn't get a chance to see it in theaters.  It spent only two weeks in the top 10 and by the time I was able to finally go, it was already gone.  So I waited for it to be released on video (or DVD, or digital download, or Netflix, or iTunes or Redbox, or whatever the hell else there is these days).  Sadly, it didn't appear on Netflix.  It also didn't appear on iTunes or Amazon for digital rent, which is what I wanted since I had heard it's so bad.  So I sulked off and didn't think about the movie for a while until a few weeks ago when I decided...I still really want to see this.  There is a digital download available for 8 bucks, but I'm not a fan yet of owning digital movies, so I spent an extra couple bucks and got the DVD.

The DVD, while brand new, came in a cheapass flimsy case, the kind the studios reserve for crappy movies that will one day make it to the $1 bargain bin.  I'll get to my review of the movie in a second, but first I really just want to list...

(Spoilers and some naughty language)
1) One of Henry's conditions for teaching Abe the ways of vampire hunting is "no family, no friends".  Yet right as we meet this guy he's in the bathtub with a prostitute in his lap.  I guess it's more of a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing. 

2) The "no family, no friends" issue is contradicted throughout the whole movie because guess what?  ABE AND HENRY ARE FUCKING FRIENDS!!!

3) In the weeks and months following his encounter with Abe, did not a single person in the South notice that this asshole is walking around with a bullet in his eye socket?

3b) Or better yet, why the hell doesn't this asshole just take the damn bullet out?

4) Why is Adam the only guy who can turn people into vampires?  And why the hell is his name Adam?  Shouldn't the King Vampire who's been around for 5000 years have a cooler name like Leonidas or Spartacus or Caligula or something?  I mean, they might have as well just named him Mike or Chris or something even more generic and unassuming.  

5) Silver is a major item in this movie as it can kill vampires and is seen as a symbol of betraying God and subsequently a curse upon the cursed because Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus...but as we're told, vampires (specifically Adam) have been around for over 5000 years.  They were in Ancient Egypt.  They were here 3000 years before Judas betrayed Jesus.  So, what, did the rules of vampires just instantaneously change or something because of this event?  Judas betrays Jesus and then vampires become mortal to silver?  HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE??? 

6) So the thing with being a vampire is that you can't kill other vampires.  BOGUS.  This is demonstrated to us after Adam turns Henry into a vampire and Henry subsequently tries to stab Adam but can't because there's, like, a force field that prevents him from doing so or something.  So you can't stab another vampire with a knife...but you can apparently bite them and beat them to a bloody pulp and seriously wound them.  HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE???  A vampire can't stab another vampire but they can bite them???  What, are there subjective rules on vampire assaults?  Is there an invisible referee that's overseeing these fights?  "Oh, you're just gonna bite him?  That's okay!  I just didn't want you to stab and kill him!"  If this is one of God's rules, as Adam says, then shouldn't vampires be prevented from using their number one weapon against each other???

7) Maybe I missed something, but what was the point of Adam turning Henry into a vampire?  Wouldn't it make more sense for Adam to target people who, you know, actually WANT to be vampires?  Hey Adam, just hold out for 150 years and then go to a screening of Twilight and wah-lah - there's your army. 

8) Henry follows Abe around for the next 30 years and no one bothers to notice that this guy doesn't age.  While Speed grows a Carrot Top afro and Abe turns into Daniel Day-Lewis, Henry still looks like John Stamos hangin' on the set of Full House with Bob Saget and the Olsen twins. 

9) What the hell is up with that blonde vampire chick?

10) Adam is adamant (lolz) about forming a homeland for his fellow vampires.  "All I have ever wanted is to see my kind granted their rightful place."  After all these thousands of years on this planet they DESERVE A PLACE, RIGHT, ADAM???

Okay, guys, seriously?

You're on this planet for 5000 years and the only thing that can kill you is silver and garlic bread.  And just as a side note you've had about 4 millenniums to do it before the creation of the first gun which would have made your task THAT much easier.  I mean, really?  Okay, so, Adam apparently is the only one who can turn people into vampires.  Why that is, I don't know, it's never explained.  But this guy has had 5000 FRICKIN' YEARS to build his army and create a homeland for his people and he still hasn't done it.  Hello, LAZY!!!  How hard is it to go around sinking your teeth into people?  I could probably bite 50 people right now before anyone even has any idea of what's going on but I won't do that because it would be insane.

11) I don't understand this subplot with the slaves.  Like, at all.  So, the vampires see an opportunity in the South to, like, drink the blood of slaves and stuff?  And they can get away with it since they're slave owners and stuff?  What am I missing here?

12) Henry talks about how going to war with the South is a bad idea because slavery is the only thing that's kept the vampires at bay all these years.  I guess this is because of reason 10 where the vampires get their slaves, they get their blood, and if that's taken away then the vampires are gonna smack some bitches.  But again, and I can't stress this enough...THE VAMPIRES HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS!  THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KILL THEM IS A PIECE OF SILVER!  WHY HAVEN'T THESE MORONS JUST ESTABLISHED THEIR OWN COUNTRY ALREADY???

13) How did Speed conveniently get in touch with the blonde vampire chick to tell her of the silver plan?  Better yet, how was it that Henry was conveniently standing there to see this exchange take place?  Or wait, why is it that Abe was conveniently walking down the dark alley as Henry was chomping on the guy's neck, thus revealing himself to be a vampire?  It's like everyone in this movie has a GPS tracking device hanging out of their ass or something. 

14) "A friend in need is a friend of Speed."  Thanks George Jung, I'll remember that.

15) Why did it take the vampires so long to kill Abe's son?  Better yet, why did they seemingly just ignore him and his family for all those years?  Did blonde vampire chick just wake up one day and think, "hey, I'm gonna go bite Abe Lincoln's son!"? 

16) "I suppose some vampires can be trusted."  Yeah, Abe.  Henry has only been following you around for 35 fucking years and still hasn't drank your blood so, yeah, I'd say you're correct in your assessment.

17) At the end, Henry proposes that Abe becomes a vampire so the two can fight side-by-side throughout the ages.  While he doesn't directly say it, one assumes that he's implying they fight vampires since, you know, the movie is called Vampire Hunter.  But what doesn't make sense is that vampires can't kill other vampires so wtf are you talking about, Henry?

18) It's presumed that Adam kills Speed with a bite to the neck during the train chase...but wait...Adam is the one from which others are created.  That means Speed ain't dead - he's now a vampire.  Or is this a plot line for the sequel?

19) Other than Asshole-Who-Walks-Around-With-Bullet-In-His-Eye, did you notice that the rest of the vampires that are among society are perfectly normal people?  They're pastors, pharmacists, bankers; all contributing to society.  Wouldn't it have made more sense if they were all, like, assholes and stuff?  Since, you know, that way there's more of an incentive to get rid of them?

20) How is it that Henry is able to turn people into vampires?  I thought Adam is the only one for which others are made?

21) This face:

An impressive letdown is what I'm calling this flick.  A movie with so much potential that wound up drowning in its own vampire blood.  I don't look at this as a movie that I didn't like because that wouldn't be true.  I actually really enjoyed parts of it.  Regardless of the above issues, it was still entertaining, Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln was fantastic, its style is great, the effects and costumes and set pieces are very well done, and the score is riveting, even sensational in some parts.  But it could have been so much more.  What's more frustrating is that Seth Grahame-Smith, the author of the book, also helped write the script so you'd think some of these major plot holes would be filled but no.  It appears this was the guy's first attempt at adapting to the screen and it shows. 

The main issue that critics and moviegoers alike criticized this movie about was that it takes itself too seriously and there's no humor in it.  I personally disagree entirely as I think all of the humor relies on the fact that one of our greatest presidents, the guy with the top hat and beard, is hunting vampires.  That's the humor!  I didn't need a bunch of L-O-L jokes to get into this since the movie's story itself is a joke.  My main problem, aside from the giant plot holes, is that the characters other than Abe (and Mary Todd to an extent) were all bland and boring.  Will and Speed follow Abe around for decades but they were just...there.  Additionally the movie suffers from a lack of real depth which you can directly relate to the 21 reasons above.  You think of Inception and it goes layers deep.  This movie just barely skims the surface of what could have been a deep story.

I mean, in Jack Barts' three scenes (the asshole with the bullet in his eye) it took me a second to realize that this is the same guy from the opening scene who Abe later shot in the eye.  The movie just lacks that extra zest.  The thing is, I keep watching parts of this thing thinking that maybe something will change even though I know that's not the case.  It is entertaining for what it is but oh so disappointing at the same time.'s the best Lincoln movie that's been released over the past year.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, Spielberg.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cookie Head

Because everyone likes cute pictures of dogs:

Cara receives a present from some of her fans

Enjoy the day!