District Walrus...or...Walrus 9...er...whatever

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SPOILER-LADEN REVIEW BELOW

Story
This is one of those cases where I did myself a disservice waiting too long to see the movie. It got talked up too much and then wound up being Oscar-nominated. I wish I had gone into District 9 without any expectation. But that's my problem, not the movie's problem.

What I liked about this story was the way it was different from most alien movies. The alien ship hovers above Johannesburg rather than a major American city. This isn't a typical alien invasion movie and made me think about Alien Nation instead of something like Independence Day. There is no big action star leading the charge to fight off some big alien threat. Much in the same way Cloverfield was about the "common man," this movie was as well.

And right off the bat, they had me much the same way Cloverfield did. This movie starts off as though we're watching a documentary (in the same way The Office or, to a lesser degree, Arrested Development is done) about some major event we would have heard about if we had lived in this reality. I thought it was a brilliant way to tell this story and for the first few minutes, I was very impressed with the movie.

At some point, the movie makes a shift away from the documentary-style, shifts back, shifts away again, shifts back, shifts away for a long time, shifts back briefly before the end, and then ends away from it in the wrap up. My preference is that they pick one way to tell the story and stick with it throughout. The more impressive route would have been going with a documentary approach all the way, but maybe that wasn't doable. If that was the case, it could have been made more clear if we were in the documentary or not.

Sharto Copley's character was rather unlikable by the end of the movie, although he eventually redeems himself to a certain degree. This was another case where I found myself flip-flopping in the story. At times I was rooting for him and other times I was rooting against him. I suppose that's the way humans are and it is fitting in this "common man" story.

Well before the movie is over, the stage was being set for a sequel. Although, I don't think it needs one.

While I have criticisms, I still enjoyed the movie and found the narrative to be very strong in spite of the inconsistencies throughout in delivering that narrative.

Presentation
The performances throughout were great. While Copley's character was unlikable at times, he did a great job portraying that character.

The major plus were the special effects. WETA delivers some truly stellar effects once again.

The major drawback was the score. I found it to be overly dramatic at times and very repetitive. I wish it had been more understated throughout.

STORY
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PRESENTATION
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REWATCHABLE
walrus_reno

Test of Time: I Like to Hurt People

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Hurt hurt hurt, stretch it nowIn high school my buddies and I rented a lot of movies, but unlike most we actually sought ought weird and bad flicks. Nam Angels, Make Them Die Slowly, The Blood of Heroes, Gymkata, and the list goes on. If it was questionable and on VHS, we we probably watched and enjoyed it.

One of the gems we discovered nestled in the wrestling section of our local video store was a little film called I Like to Hurt People. I was so gonzo for this movie that I procured my own copy when the video store refused to sell me theirs. I recently took that venerable tape for a spin for the first time in 7 or 8 years.

I Like to Hurt People centers on the mayhem caused by infamous heel wrestler, The Sheik (Ed Farhat) in Detroit during the late 1970s. A number of big name wrestlers of the era also show up including Dusty Rhodes, Andre the Giant, Dick the Bruiser, Terry Funk, Ox Baker, Abdullah the Butcher, and Bobo Brazil. It's part in-ring action, part kayfabe documentary, and part horribly acted vignettes featuring a fictitious Stop The Sheik (STS) protest movement.

My reaction now is the same as it was back in high school. The flick is weird, disjointed, and the soundtrack is completely cheesy, but I love it anyway. I Like to Hurt People clearly passes the test of time for me. I guess it’s time to assess the options for replacing that VHS tape.

Don't-mocracy

3 comments
Sadly I missed the first Dewmocracy, although I have sampled the winner Mountain Dew Voltage which is okay, but nothing I'm going to seek out ever again. I would like to have tried the other flavors, particularly the strawberry flavor. Jeeg and I both have a passion for strawberry soda and I'd like to see Mountain Dew take a crack at it.

The newest edition of Dewmocracy started recently and thanks to my pal Marc, I was able to partake of a little taste test of the new flavors.

White Out
We started out with this one. It is described as a "smooth citrus" flavor. Let me tell you that I would not use the word "smooth" to describe this. And as far as flavor, it hardly had any. It was like drinking a 7-Up or Squirt that had been distilled with seltzer water. After drinking it, it instantly ended up in third place. The other two would have to be really bad for this to get bumped up a spot.
Distortion
Next up was this Dew described as "lime blasted." And my understanding is that lime is a citrus flavor so now I immediately see this as redundant. And, it was really only a slightly more potent version of what I had just drank. Not too impressive either.
Typhoon
With the previous two not doing too well, it seemed like before even trying this flavor that Typhoon would come out the winner. It was described as having a "punch of tropical" and going into this taste test, it was the one I was most looking forward to trying. Maybe that anticipation only set me up for disappointment because while Typhoon was the best of the three, I did not like this flavor either.

All in all, I'll call this Don't-mocracy. All three were disappointing and even worse than the Taco Bell-exclusive Baja Blast flavor which I cannot stand. Stick with the original and maybe an occasional Code Red and you'll be dewing just fine.

However, in the interest of fairness to Mountain Dew, I offer this link to a more positive review of the flavors from my Twitter pal Paxton Holley over at the Cavalcade of Awesome. He is generally more favorable to the flavors so in the immortal words of Levar Burton, "Don't just take my word for it."

How I Watch TV

5 comments
Firefly was the greatest 14 episode television series ever made. As if Friday evening wasn't already good enough, that one hour of television turned Friday evening into something magical. Yeah, I watched it when it aired beginning with "The Train Job" and going all the way through to "Serenity." (Talking aired order here, not actual episode order.)

When FOX canceled Firefly, they not only killed the production of what could have been the greatest TV show ever made, but they killed my desire to ever love appointment television again. The loss of Firefly was so huge, that ever since then, I have changed the way I watch television.

There were several TV series that I never caught when they originally aired that I watched on DVD. With an ever-varying schedule and inability to rely on VCRs or the local WB affiliate, I didn't watch Buffy (and subsequently Angel) until it made its way to DVD. Sitting down and watching an entire season of a show over the course of a few days was awesome. Beyond not having to watch commercials, compacting the time it took to tell the story helped my overall appreciation of the story. Little bits that were setting up things for future episodes weren't as easily forgotten had I been watching with weeks or months long gaps between episodes.

And waiting for the series to get some footing before watching means that I am not going to have my heart broken about a cancellation as easily as before. Or at the very least, I can go into it knowing that my time with this show is limited.

More importantly, I am free from the shackles of appointment television. Sure, there were VCRs and DVRs, but in my experience, those devices are evil and only look to not function and the more opportune moment. Or even worse, they only work as well as the person operating them. So now, if someone wants to schedule a meeting or a get-together at the same time my favorite show comes on, it doesn't matter because I'm not bound by the chains of time or equipment. I'll catch that show on DVD or Blu-ray later.

Sure, potentially months later. And the biggest downside to waiting like this is fighting off the spoilers. I'll tell you now, the next four months are going to be a struggle. My wife and I just finished watching the first five seasons of Lost on Blu-ray. Magnificent Blu-ray. Season 6 is scheduled to come out at the end of August. We will be engaged in a battle to fend off spoilers until we can get season 6 out of the mailbox and into our Blu-ray player.

I say all of this to get to this point...

You don't likely watch TV the way I do. That's fine. I'm not advocating one way is better than the other, just that I have a preference. But please don't say anything to me about how Lost ends until sometime in September when I give the all-clear. I know that I put myself in this position because of the way I watch TV, but please, please, please, just be mindful.

Thank you and happy viewing.
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