Shitty Movie Sundays: Soldier

Paul W. S. Anderson is close to being the official filmmaker of Shitty Movie Sundays. I would present this honor outright to John Carpenter were it nor the fact he has displayed far too much competence as a filmmaker in the past, despite the fair amount of shitty films that mar his oeuvre. Other candidates could include b-movie monster master Bert I. Gordon, or even Cash Flagg, as a tribute to his recent demise. Flagg would be an interesting choice, as he was, without a doubt, one of the most unique filmmakers of all time, quality notwithstanding. Anderson, on the other hand, has written, directed, or produced some of the most quotidian dogs to ever make it to the silver screen, number of explosions notwithstanding. The only factor that keeps me from committing Shitty Movie Sundays to total Anderson worship is that he has peppered his career with films that are so shitty as to be unwatchable, and there is no joy in a bad film that repels the viewer so thoroughly that it can’t be sat through without giving up one’s movie-going self to the unique absurdity of substandard cinema. It’s almost a religion in that way. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Soldier”

Let’s Hear It for the 1st

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, a political activist in Thailand, was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of three counts of insulting Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Her case won’t make very many waves throughout the world, it being yet another routine example of political repression is a country that has been slipping away from democracy at a rapid pace in the last decade. Every time an item like this appears in the news, one or two lonely paragraphs from the AP or Reuters, giving a brief glimpse into places in the world that aren’t all that free, it reminds me how suspect the nature of mankind truly is, and the remarkable power that agreements based solely on ideals of empathy and respect hold in a country like the United States. Continue reading “Let’s Hear It for the 1st”

Healthcare Follies

The inmates are running the asylum. Over the past few weeks, the Obama administration lost control of the debate over healthcare reform. In fact, the debate disappeared, replaced by what columnist Richard Cohen has called ‘political pornography.’ The rational has been overshadowed by the irrational, truth by deception. What remains a desperately needed overhaul of healthcare has been shouted down by right-wing extremists, both the elected and the unelected kind, who reference non-existent plots reminiscent of Nazi euthanasia and Kafkaesque bureaucratic hurdles to demonize a government that many of them are actually members of. Some of these opponents of healthcare reform believe the madness they spout, while some are shamelessly manipulating the gullible for political expediency. How effective is their clamoring? The centerpiece of any meaningful reform, an option to buy into publicly run health coverage, is now in danger. In a disturbing fit of rebranding, President Obama is no longer referring to ‘healthcare reform.’ Instead, he has been using the phrase ‘health insurance reform.’ Continue reading “Healthcare Follies”

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Deep Rising

Yikes. Sometimes a shitty movie crosses my path and I don’t know whether to lose myself in the fun of it all, or to hate it. Deep Rising, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, whipsawed me back and forth between deep belly laughs and outright revulsion so quickly that by the end I was praying for something, anything, to appear just for a moment, a fleeting second, and justify the mystifying amount of time I spent with this dog. Didn’t happen, so now, instead of letting the experience fade away into the deep recesses of my memory, I’m going to write about it. Continue reading “October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Deep Rising”

How To Fix College Football

Last week, ESPN.com held a mock college football draft, where writers selected the 40 teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) that they would like to see constitute a pared down top division, and subsequently divided them into four regional conferences. It was an interesting idea, one brought forth by the NCAA’s inability to put together an effective method of crowning a national champion. A lot of people have spent a lot of valuable time fretting over the jumbled state of the FBS, as if it were some form of national emergency, a tragedy of the first order that oftentimes there is no clear king of college football at the end of January. It is an interesting problem, though. Continue reading “How To Fix College Football”