Oval Office Thunderdome: The Circus Continues

One can never tell who is really winning an election until the votes are tallied. But right now, Mitt Romney is losing. After the expected convention bounce in his poll numbers failed to appear, and President Obama got his after the Democratic turn a week later, it’s been nothing but bad news for Romney. His party’s message is failing to resonate with independent voters. More of them trust Obama and the Democrats on the economy and on entitlements. In the midst of an ongoing crisis in Libya, in which four American foreign service members lost their lives, his campaign politicized the moment with false accusations about administration actions and was roundly panned by just about everyone. People within his own party are now saying on the record that Romney will say anything to win the presidency — that he is emanating an unseemly desire for the job that voters tend to pick up on and reject. He is increasingly seen as out of touch with common Americans. And now this: Continue readingOval Office Thunderdome: The Circus Continues”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Backdraft

Do NOT trust this trailer. This movie sucks.

Nothing is ever interesting enough for Hollywood. If you pitch them a movie about mountain climbers starring Sylvester Stallone, they follow that up by asking what the hook is. Alpine climbing in bad weather just isn’t compelling in their line of thinking, so the movie has to be augmented with a bunch of bad guys who robbed the Treasury Department. And that’s how we got the movie Cliffhanger. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Backdraft”

The Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry

Dirty HarryThe tough-nosed cop with a disdain for the rules is a staple in film. Always butting heads with desk-bound lieutenants and mayors more concerned with getting reelected than cleaning up the streets, this breed of law enforcement officer has little time for procedure or the niceties of due process. Largely a fabrication of Hollywood, this cop operates in a world where the worse the crime, the more likely the guilty will go free due to the dreaded plot device known as “technicalities.” It’s all the more galling because there is never any doubt to the audience or to the hero that the bad guy is bad. Letting the bad guy go free because his rights were violated is nothing less than a miscarriage of justice, and it’s always left up to the hero cop to right such grievous wrongs. No film comes to mind that explored these ideas more effectively than 1971’s Dirty Harry. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battleship

Battleship movie posterWhat a gloriously stupid movie. And I write that in a mean way. Battleship is the type of adrenalin-fuelled CGI monstrosity that assumes its audience didn’t pay attention in high school. From an introductory scene that will produce epic eye-rolling from Neil DeGrasse Tyson to a climax that demands we believe a museum ship can get underway at a moments notice AND carries live ammunition, Battleship requires the suspension of a lifetime of critical thinking skills in order to be enjoyed.

Directed by Peter Berg, Battleship is based on the classic Hasbro board game of the same name. That fact alone should be enough to make a viewer suspicious. There is now a decades-old pedigree of bad cinema based on video games, but at least the source material for those films had readymade narratives associated with them. Battleship is a board game. There is no narrative more complicated than tiny pieces of molded plastic. What a mountain the filmmakers raised for themselves.

According to the story, in 2005, scientists beamed a signal to an extrasolar planet that they believed harbored conditions ideal for life, hoping to contact an alien civilization. Meanwhile, the hero of the film, Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), is a downtrodden sap celebrating his birthday with his successful older brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), an officer in the United States Navy. Some idiotic shenanigans ensue as Hopper tries to impress Sam (Brooklyn Decker), a hot blonde who wants nothing more out of the night than to get her hands on a chicken burrito. Hopper is arrested for breaking and entering, and possibly resisting arrest, but is out of jail and nursing a hangover the next day as his brother issues a stern command for Hopper to sort his life out and join the Navy. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Battleship”

The Empty Balcony: The Final Countdown

When I decided to watch The Final Countdown, I was expecting to get a Shitty Movie Sundays review out of it, but the movie failed to live up to expectations. It is not a shitty movie. It’s not great, but it was good enough to keep me interested. I remember seeing the film as a kid, a long time ago, and I remembered that the premise was incredibly wild. Add in the fact the film has faded into obscurity, and I thought I had a winning combination of shitty. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: The Final Countdown”