Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Room: The Review

The Room is a "film" I've waited to see for quite some time. It's been floating around midnight screenings in Hollywood and New York since 2004, but Netflix just made the experience available on DVD two weeks ago. Naturally, I had the thing queued-up months ahead of time, but when that little red package finally showed up, I didn't watch it for another ten days because I figured two things: 1) I shouldn't watch it alone, and 2) I had to watch it with the right person/group of people. Both turned out to be accurate assumptions.

Set - for the most part - inside a curiously decorated apartment, The Room chronicles the dire results of a love triangle gone bad. What happens when a man's best friend starts sleeping with his fiance? Apparently, nothing much. This movie - originally marketed as being "infused with the intensity of a Tennessee Williams play" - was written, produced, and directed by Tommy Wiseau, the same creepy narcissist (you'll see what I mean if you watch) who stars in it. Conceived as both a stage play and a 500-page novel, Wiseau spent seven years illegally (?) raising funds for his "passion project," the result of which is a film so awful I've already almost watched it twice (I just couldn't make it through the fourth lengthy sex scene the second time around).

I don't know what I could say on here about The Room's imbecilic production, staggeringly awful final cut, and various celebrity/cult followings that Wikipedia doesn't already cover, so I'll just add my own opinion. Did I like it? No. Did I enjoy myself? Hell yes. At first I didn't know exactly how to react to what was happening onscreen, because - as is the case with all super shitty movies - it takes a while to acclimate to the craptastic quality of the proceedings, then turn those elements into a barrel full of laughs. Once you start, though, you won't easily stop.

Everything is just. so. horrible.

Characters who are never explained appear out of nowhere (literally) to finish the dialogue of other actors who walked off set, seemingly important plot lines ("the results came back positive... I have breast cancer") are introduced and then never referenced again, and time passes, well... funnily. The worst part of the whole thing (and, paradoxically, by far the most amusing), though, is Tommy Wiseau's portrayal of Johnny, the lethargic, long-haired, white-assed, clueless, suspicious, happy-go-lucky, and ultimately suicidal protagonist. He mumbles. He screams. He cries. He shows his ass... a lot. I can almost understand why Wiseau spent so many years dragging this project to fruition: he definitely comes across as caring very deeply about the subject matter, even if any sane audience might think there is none.

And there's so much more awesomeness involved. For serious. See it, or risk having your life remain exactly the same as it is now, with the addition of the two hours you didn't waste watching The Room. I know what I'd do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

7-11 hot chocolate really is the best. And it's made with genuine hershey's!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar: The Review

I figured this post should begin with a list of midnight movie premieres I've waited in line for, if only to establish my nerd level. Please note that friends dragged me to at least a few of these:

- LOTR: The Return of the King
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- The Village (looong story)
- The Dark Knight
- Avatar

Of the eight, Avatar was far and away the least serious operation. Sean and I - along with several of his friends - showed up 35 minutes early and were, like, fifteenth in line. We also got some beers past security... hell yeah! No one was in costume, and no one seemed to really care about the film. 3D glasses, though, make everything more fun, so we messed around a bit with those to while away the time - all 10 minutes we had to stand outside the auditorium.

After securing perfect seats (and lamenting over the pitiable size of the movie screen) I took the first of two bathroom trips (the second was a very, very difficult choice, because I didn't want to miss anything) and then Avatar began.

So how was it? Well, the visuals were astounding. I could see it three more times just to bask in the glory of James Cameron's masterfully rendered 3D universe. Everything seemed so... real. And immersive. It's like I was there, man. I couldn't tell from the film's previews if the special effects were going to satisfy my relatively high standards, but I'm happy to report that not once did I notice anything shoddy looking. In fact, about halfway through Avatar's 2 hour, 41 minute running time, I forgot the blue aliens onscreen were computer generated. Same with the jungle monsters. And the jungle itself - even during night scenes when all the plants lit up and glowed in proper trippy-ass fashion. I was pretty much drooling.

The story and dialogue, though, were completely predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen the entire time, down to who was gonna switch sides at the last minute and who would be either injured or killed in which battle. But I can't really hold that against something that was otherwise so freaking sweet. Seriously. Go see this movie. It's an experience. Guaranteed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

3D: The (far from) Final Frontier

So my brother surprised me this afternoon with tickets to Bend's midnight showing of Avatar in 3D. Initially, I had mixed feelings about seeing James Cameron's new film on anything other than a certified IMAX screen, but it turns out the only "IMAX" screen in Oregon is less of an IMAX screen and more of a glorified run-of-the-mill movie auditorium that boasts a slightly larger film ratio... and that's it. These counterfeit IMAX experiences were big news a few months back, mostly because the average moviegoer has no idea they are being duped by paying more for only a slightly crazier cinematic trip.

Having seen both The Dark Knight and Watchmen in 100% legit IMAX auditoriums, I can attest to the difference the awe-inspiring screens provide for a viewing. The image before the viewer is literally SO big and lucid that it's all-consuming. There is no alternative but to become completely immersed in the world of the film. And that's what I wanted with Avatar... especially since it's in 3. Freaking. D.

But alas. I'm relegated to the meager technological wonders of Oregon, and I'll take what I can get. Tune in tomorrow for my thoughts on what's about to go down...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And So It Begins

It's no secret to those of you who, like, really know me that for the past several weeks I've been in something of a downward spiral of panic, terror, despair, and complete uncertainty (all in equal measure, no less) regarding my life post-July. Who the hell is going to employ me? How the hell am I not only going to get to, but make it in some big city or another? Is this the point in time where I should throw in the towel, accept a life of begrudging mediocrity, and start working for The Bulletin's Community Life section? Or do I keep on thinking that I can pretty much accomplish whatever as long as I'm driven, and then drive myself right into the deepest, most penniless hole this side of that other deep, penniless hole? The former seems secure in what it would provide, the latter terrifying in that it promises nothing but further uncertainty.

I guess when I put it that way, I know which path I'm taking.

But that means lots more hard work. I need to prove, well, something to someone, the point of all this being that this blog address is going directly under my phone number on any and all resumes I send out to any and all possible employers. I mean, who wouldn't hire someone that's capable of updating a blog almost daily?

Which, of course, means I need to start updating this blog almost daily. But for seriously, this time.

Also, because no magazine or whatever is going to hire me to write summaries about what I've been up to for the past several weeks, my posts have got to start critiquing/exploring/commenting on things that are NOT my own existence. So expect changes, dear reader(s?), and expect them soon. Within a day, perhaps.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Top Tens (2000-2009)

I'd like to preface these lists by stating that I was twelve years old when 2000 dawned, so I probably missed a lot of important goings-ons in the earlier part of the decade. Still, though, this is my blog, so deal. Also: none are in any particular order.


- Wet Hot American Summer
- Donnie Darko
- The Royal Tenenbaums
- Almost Famous
- Children of Men
- Synecdoche, New York
- The Dark Knight
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- Into the Wild
- Milk

TV Shows:

- Six Feet Under
- Arrested Development
- 30 Rock
- Mad Men
- Deadwood
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- The Comeback
- The Sopranos (technically began in 1999, but whatevs)
- Stella


- Funeral, Arcade Fire
- Neon Bible, Arcade Fire
- Apologies to the Queen Mary, Wolf Parade
- Silent Alarm, Bloc Party
- Oracular Spectacular, MGMT
- Chunk of Change, Passion Pit
- I am the Fun Blame Monster, Menomena
- Is This It?, The Strokes
- Parachutes, Coldplay
- Chicago, Sufjan Stevens


- Finding out about terrorists/the resulting chaos
- Sasquatch! Music Festival
- Coming out
- New Zealand
- College
- Working at Disneyland
- Any and all camping trips (including that fateful Reed one)
- Beating Dajuan for the position of Student Body President
- My kickass friends
- Apple products

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Saturday Night!

And the term is over. I successfully spent the past three weekends in: Vegas (a composed level of crazy), Portland (a seriously out-of-control level of crazy), and Bend (where absolutely the only thing out of control was the amount of food I ate). Otherwise, not much has gone on. I settled avidly into a strict wake-up/coffee/class/library/ gym/food/more-library routine that, while not providing many (read: any) memorable instances, certainly made the time pass.

A note on the seasons in Eugene this year: they've been exquisite! I think we've had, like, maybe nine days of rain in total. The rest have been either absolutely sunny or foggy, with little (read: no) in-between. My grades this term have in no way reflected this trend, so I figured it would be appropriate to talk about them in the same paragraph. Never before have I done so mediocrely! We'll have to see if I end up on top... I'd like to think it's a possibility, but at this point I just can't be sure.

Awesome movie to see: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Awesome book to read: The Devil in the White City

Awesome TV show to watch Online via Netflix: Party Down!

**Apparently I'm a bit behind the times on 2/3 of these "awesomes," so bear with me if any/all of them are old news.

Also, I was writing the first part of this post from beside our house's fireplace (the only nice feature of the entire place), and Chris walked in with some friends. He asked what I was doing, and I replied, "blogging."

To that, he responded, "Oh cool! I didn't know you blog. But I hope you're not writing about how we just rearranged our living room furniture, because that would be, like, the lamest thing to blog about ever."

So now I'm blogging about how we rearranged our living room furniture. I think the whole thing is pretty unpleasing from the perspective of any sort of aesthetic standard (much like the various empty beer bottles Chris - in a stroke of "genius" - previously positioned in a jagged line over the mantel of the fireplace), but who am I to shit on someone's style?

After my only final exam this Tuesday, I'm flying back down to Anaheim to hang out with all the people I left behind in the Disney College Program. It's going to be a good time. I can't believe I'm headed back. I'll finally get to experience the Nightmare Before Christmas-ified Haunted Mansion! Bah!