For everyone else, if you don’t know what the game is, I’ll give you only one chance to not know anything about it. If you insist on knowing, this link will tell you everything you need to know. Just be forewarned that after you know about the game, you are forever playing it.
This weekend was Michaela’s going-away party. So I sat in a cold house all night under a blanket next a heating grate eating chips (lots of chips) and deviled eggs. Not great for my diet, I know. We all hung out, shared stories, played with Philbert the Parasauralophus, and then there was a big pillow fight. Six survived. I also slid down the stairway several times. Michaela, you might want to get that nail fixed.
Anyway, I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of the holiday season, if only because I have a ton of work I need to catch up on. So I’ll see every one in the New Year!
I’ll leave you with the cast of Scrubs performing “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
I was going to post a review of my favorite Christmas specials (A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Eight Crazy Nights, Mr. Hanky’s Christmas Classics, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, that episode of Invader Zim where Zim builds a giant Santa Claus monster, etc.) but then I came across the “Muppet Family Christmas” special from 1987 on YouTube.
This was one of my favorites as a kid. It’s 50 minutes of the most Muppets ever put into something, featuring the entire cast of the Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock all trapped inside Fozzie’s mom’s house during a blizzard. They sing holiday songs, crack jokes, Swedish Chef tries to murder Big Bird, and Jim Henson shows up at the end to clean up after everyone.
If I were you, I’d sit down with a cup of hot chocolate filled with marshmallows and watch the whole thing. It has Cookie Monster in it.
This is the infamous film that was filming at West Edmonton Mall last year. I finally got around to watching it. It stars Patrick Swayze, Tim Curry, Chris Kattan, and Carmen Electra, but it’s essentially “Home Alone” in a mall as two kids go nuts with a bag full of counterfeit cash. I remember walking through the sets whenever they were filming and getting shooed away by that crowd control lady. I even got to see Chris Kattan on the escalator once. He was just standing there looking bored. It was cool.
The reason I can’t give this a proper review is because of how close-to-home it is. I used to work in the back hallways of that mall for six months and I know it inside and out, so naturally I had to keep yelling at it every time the movie did something that went against my understanding of mall physics.
• “Stupid kids! The ice rink’s in the middle of the mall! How did you walk from the pirate ship to Santa’s village and NOT SEE IT?!”
• “You can’t jump the rails at the water-park and harass the girls! Where’s the lifeguards?!”
• “Chris Kattan is sitting in my chair at Tim Horton’s?! His butt and my butt are soul mates now!”
• “Stupid kids! Why did you walk five blocks to the other Booster Juice when there was one in the food court twenty feet away?!”
• “It’s not a toy store! It’s a hobby shop!”
• “What’s wrong with the pipes in the basement?! Why is there steam everywhere?! We’re supposed to evacuate the mall if that happens!”
• “Why is the only basement worker a one-eyed creep with a dog on a chain? What did he do to the other employees?!”
• “MY NO-SMOKING SIGN! I PAINTED THAT! IT’S IN THE MOVIE! I WANT ROYALTIES!!!”
• “Stupid kids! The security office is right next to the ice rink! How do you keep missing the biggest landmark in the mall?!”
• “What the hell is going on?!”
• “Why is the roof door unlocked?! I worked there for months and they never gave me a key! Why does this six-year old girl have one?!”
• “How are the Sea Lions performing without supervision?! Who’s giving them fish?!”
I hope this movie isn’t what gave Patrick Swayze cancer.
Me and Brit watched this and Saw on Saturday. This isn’t a great movie either unfortunately. Got a couple good chases, a few nice explosions, and Rosario Dawson’s in it. Unfortunately, it’s like a big mash-up of “Enemy of the State,” “Die Hard 4,” and “Get Smart,” taking plot elements from all of those movies, starting off strong, and then tapering off at the end when suddenly politics and government conspiracies start bogging down the story.
So… it was a flashback in a flashback, referring to a flashback from the last movie? No, wait? It wasn’t? It’s happening now? Or the other part is the flashback? Listen, movie, you just showed me somebody sticking their hand on a moving saw blade. It’s really hard to follow convoluted time travel plots when that’s happening.
At least I learned some Spanish from the bootleg subtitles.
Movies Out This Weekend:
-Yes Man (Jim Carrey says yes to another monster paycheck)
-The Tale of Despereaux (from the beloved children’s novel no one read)
-Seven Pounds (Will Smith and Rosario Dawson in something)
Movies Out On Christmas:
-Bedtime Stories (Adam Sandler and a big-eyed guinea pig. For some reason.)
-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt’s old and gets younger. I actually want to see this.)
-Marley & Me (The dog dies. Merry Christmas!)
-The Spirit (According to the posters, it’s porn. According to the trailers, it’s Sam Jackson. According to critics, it’s Battlefield Earth. I’m confused.)
Isn’t Christmas supposed to be one of those days where people are too busy to go to the movies? .
At 6:45 in the morning without caffeine, this can be a very disorienting experience.
ME (freaked out): “…Hello?”
ME: “Hey…. who is this?”
ELEVATOR: “Is Daniel there?”
ME: “No, I’m the only one here.”
ELEVATOR (pauses): “Who are you?”
ME: “This is an elevator.”
ELEVATOR: “What do you mean?”
ME: “You called an elevator.”
ELEVATOR (laughing): “How did I do that?”
ME: “Must be a wrong number.”
ELEVATOR: “Oh, okay. Bye.”
Michael Swaim at Cracked posted up his list of the 8 best internet sketch troupes. He warned me about bookmarking the page, but I did. I think I may have found my new favorite “hours of distraction” thing.
I dedicate this video to someone I know who loves poop jokes
I’ve got mixed feeling about the weather right now. I’m not a fan of icy roads, windchill, or the sun setting at 4 PM, but there’s something about the season that makes me feel more inspired to do things. Also, looking out the window at the falling snow while listening to Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” on my co-worker’s iTunes is really epic.
My cold from the previous week tried to get revenge on me this weekend with a fever. It succeeded in keeping me bed-ridden all Friday. So I wound up sick playing around on the old “Quest for Glory” games while downing Dayquil and cough drops left and right. Had to throw out my sushi since it wasn’t going to last another day and I couldn’t eat it with my stomach the way it was. So now it’s personal.
Saturday I was better, so Brittany came over. We had food at Chili’s, watched a couple movies, completed Episodes 1-3 of “Lego Star Wars,” and finished off my ice cream all in one night. This is what I consider productive.
Render’s almost done. Gotta get back to work. Later!
This was a surprising disappointment. To me, Bruce Campbell (the guy with the chainsaw hand) is one of the best action heroes ever and this movie didn’t seem like the right kind of tribute to him. In it, an Evil Dead fan calls Bruce into action to save his small redneck town from the wrath of a Chinese God of War, only to find out that his favorite actor is a pathetic coward in real life. It has a great premise and a few laughs, but the big problem is that this film awkwardly ends up being exactly like one of Bruce’s low budget, badly-written, straight-to-video horror movies instead of being a clever satire like GalaxyQuest was. So it doesn’t live up to anything remotely close to Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, or Bubba-Hotep. And what really stings is that Bruce directed it himself. Figuratively speaking, he created the very monster he set out to destroy with this movie.
Michaela and I watched this last Friday. It was really good. My problem with most musicals is that so many of them lack any good catchy songs with clever lyrics, yet the music in this one stuck in my head just like the Dr. Horrible soundtrack. The songs revolve around a year in the lives of a group of friends living in an apartment complex, most of whom have AIDS (so there’s always a happy ending to look forward to.) Rosario Dawson’s in it. I like Rosario Dawson.
Mass Effect (2007) Developed by: Bioware Rating: A+
All year, people have been telling me to get in on this game, but I didn’t have the computer to run it or any other modern games until recently.
“Mass Effect” is a Canadian RPG developed right in my own backyard (Bioware’s just down the road from where I work) and features the voice talents of two of my personal comedy heroes, Mark Meer and Seth Green. Right off at the beginning of the game, you’re asked to create your character. You can pick male or female and modify every single facial feature until you’re satisfied. Then you can name them whatever you want (as long as the last name is Shepard because that’s what everyone will be calling you.)
I booted up the game with the default “John Shepard” character just because I like playing game the “right way” the first time around. As John, you’re the commander of the Normandy, and you travel all over the galaxy with your crew visiting alien worlds and tending to military conflicts. At the beginning of each mission, you get to pick two comrades for support. They’ll follow you around and gun down extra bad guys for you as well as make use of their own special skills.
The graphics in the game are fantastic and I can see why I needed the GeForce 9800 to run this properly. Just slightly blur your eyes and you’re pretty much looking at pre-rendered quality with these characters.
The biggest thing about “Mass Effect” is the multiple alternate ways you can play it. As I mentioned before, you can pick your character, but as you travel around, you can also make your own choices, choose how you talk to people, and develop a whole new reputation. The first time I played it, I went the way of the “Paragon” where I talked to everybody and tried to be charismatic and helpful, tending to everyone’s needs. The ultimate goody two-shoes/lackey. The kind of guy who would fetch you a sandwich from the other side of the galaxy just because you’re craving baloney.
The only reason I did this, however, was so that it would be more fun playing it the second time around as “Jane Shepard,” the racist renegade who goes out of her way to not help people, take bribes, execute unarmed civilians, and be as bitchy as possible to everyone. Still, no matter what choices you make, the story still progresses. The characters around you will simply justify your poor decision-making skills with comments like “you did what you had to do” or “I trust you know what you’re doing.”
TERRIFIED CIVILIAN: “I surrender!”
SIDEKICK: “Was that really necessary, Commander?”
ME: “It was for the good of humanity.”
SIDEKICK: “I suppose.”
There also some nice polygon butt nudity later on, depending on which crew mate you decide you want to bonk. From what I can gather, you have the choice between the human chick, or the alien chick. Or if you’re playing as a chick, you can choose between some guy or – still – the blue alien chick. She’s open to new ideas.
All in all, Mass Effect is a fantastic game with some really engaging storytelling and characters, lots of optional side-quests, great action and animation, and an epic soundtrack. It’s comforting to know that what Canada lacks in it’s movies, we make up for in our video games.
Most of this week was spent taking a break from my game and working overtime at my actual job trying to get some videos finished before the Christmas break. I ended up sleeping over at work on Thursday just to catch up, which was actually quite nice. I’m a lot more productive after the 4 ‘o clock hour, and even got to sneak in a couple hours of Urban Terror before crashing on the couch.
Friday night, Michaela invited me over for movie-watching and sushi. Saturday was my uncle’s birthday, so the family got together and drove out to Barrhead to take him out for Chinese food. Then I watched three hours of game shows while visiting. Then came the dreaded Sunday where I plunged headlong into the world of holiday shopping and spent the whole day wandering around West Edmonton Mall, visiting every store, and even watching the Sea Lion show. Fortunately, I think I’m done with that stuff for now.
Looks like the general consensus is that “Twilight” will not topple “Titanic” after all. I mentioned before that teenage girls always determine the box office draw, and I still stand by this. From what I gather, the movie did a horrible job of adapting the book and since this is one of the rare cases where the fan-base alone can bring in $70M+, they probably won’t be going back to see it too often.
On the other hand, I keep hearing from people who DIDN’T read the book that it was a great movie. I’ve yet to see it myself, but I understand where they’re coming from. When I went in to see “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” a few years back, I was anticipating the greatest movie ever made. It started out strong and even added in a brilliant opening number involving dolphins, but the experience tapered off when they left out everything involving Genghis Khan, mattresses, and the importance of towels, and instead brought in some cheesy romance, a weird new villain, and that gun thing. By the end, I had to convince myself it was still a good movie in spite of how much it butchered the book, simply because everyone I saw it with loved it. And they never read the book.
A few years later, I can re-watch the “Hitcherhiker’s Guide” whenever it plays on TV and you know what? It’s not bad. Much like “X-Men” and “I, Robot,” it completely butchers it’s source material, but it’s still pretty entertaining if I didn’t don’t know a thing about the source material. This contradicts what I said before about movie adaptations, but sometimes ignorance is bliss.
It’d been a while since I saw the original “Appleseed,” which followed the usual formula of taking place in a post-apocalyptic future where man and machine work together and have awesome gunfights. It was an all right movie, and the 3D animation style of it made it look like richly detailed concept art come to life. But as cool as the animation and action was, the first movie was a big confusing mess of philosophy and anime cliches with one of those usual “wut?” kind of endings.
Such was not the case with this John Woo-produced sequel. I couldn’t even remember what the first movie was about, but I had no problems picking up where it left off. In this story, the city of Olympus is threatened by a plot involving mind-control technology, and it’s up to our heroine and her cyborg boyfriend to kick everyone’s ass in order to stop it. And they do it with flying robots and laser cannons.
Virtually everything has improved from the first movie. The visuals, the action, the humor – even the story makes sense now. With most Japanese cartoons, you either know to expect a weird but wonderful movie, or a lot of the same complicated crap. In this case, “Ex Machina” falls into a more Hollywoodized medium between the two, but still massively exceeded my expectations.
Another post-apocalyptic movie! “Babylon A.D.” is essentially a dumbed-down version of “Children of Men,” where a guy has to escort a special girl across the world to a safe haven. It’s one of those movies where people in the future have nothing better to do than riot all the time. It had a pretty gripping story, though, and some good action sequences. I found myself surprisingly hooked.
But I can see why the director was so angry about it earlier this year when he publicly trashed his own movie. It ended too soon and there were too many loose ends left untied. Just when the story was getting to be more interesting than the action, the studio decided otherwise and gave us car chases instead of explanations. Kind of like if “V for Vendetta” replaced all of it’s cool dialogue with more knife fights.
Movies out this weekend:
-Punisher: War Zone (Frank Castle’s back, with an R-rating this time.)
I should really post a movie video…
Okay – not quite a movie, but based on a movie. Courtesy of the Movie Blog, I present to you one of the most happy-makingest video game trailers I’ve seen in a while.
Weird Al Yankovic has released a new single from his next album. It’ll probably be several more months before the album itself comes out, but in the meantime, he couldn’t wait to share his parody of T.I.’s “Whatever you Like”, cleverly entitled… “Whatever You Like!”
(song only, no music video yet)
I can only hope his next album does as well as his last one did. Keeping up with contemporary music is what’s getting him back in the public eye, and this is probably the first parody he’s ever written that’s being released while the original is still up on the charts.
Just as long as he goes back on tour after this, I’ll be happy.