Angry Robot



Note to McDonald's: Relax

What the shit is happening to McDonald’s? Are you all seeing these insane “I’m loving it” ads, in which multi-ethnic youths with a street edge engage in extreme activities, and mention is made of things like Steak n’ Cheese Flatbreads? I didn’t know corporations suffered mid-life crises, but here it is in plain view: Ronald McDonald gets his nose pierced, dumps his wife and starts a rap-rock band with the teenage prostitute he impregnated. Dude, take it easy. Sure, people hate getting fat all of a sudden, and they blame you. Work the veggie burgers then, forget about the frat-boy hijinx and the Steak n’ Cheese Flatbreads (what’s healthy about that, anyway?). Stick to the shit you do well, like fries, meat cookies and brainwashing children. You’re embarassing us.

New Camera

So my new camera arrived (actually it’s the new 4MP version of that little bastard). A Casio camera, you say? Yes – as that review there will tell you, it uses the same Pentax lens & sensor as the Optio S. The advantages are a better navigation system, a larger display, and a more graceful docking system. While I have yet to figure out most of the manual settings, which are what I tend to use on my SLR, the first few days with this baby have been hot jazz. It’s extremely small, image quality is high, and I love having instant access to the pics. Expect the ‘quality’ of my photo section to nosedive as I jam it full of pictures of me doing laundry, taking a smash, &cetera.

Babysitter of Pain

She, having experienced much pain herself and put it behind her, wanted the ability to take it away from others who might be less equipped to deal. Not permanently, but as a temporarily reprieve. Her friend has a dying parent and a wrecked marriage all at once – these things generate both pain and administrative ordeals, and the former makes the latter seem insurmountable. But if she could take the pain for the weekend, her friend could get shit done. She’ll take it for the weekend, I’ll take it for monday, you’ll take it tuesday. We’ll babysit the pain.

Best of the Worst of d/blog

I have many, many flaws – ugly clothes, drool ‘issues’, questionable personal hygeine, nonstop sailor mouth, repeated “pull my finger” requests, wooden leg, inability to communicate without referencing MC Miker G’s Holiday Rap, lump of coal where heart should be, penchant for getting run over, unwilling to leave house without arming self to teeth, breakfast martinis, steroid rage – but one thing I take great personal pride in is my robust internal censor. Amazing as it may seem, not everything that comes into my filthy drool-encrusted head gets posted here. I have a backlog of posts deemed unsuitable by the mysterious little inbred Leprechaun carnies who run tings inside my brain. Here, for your interest, are some tastes of those forbidden posts, ranked from best to worst:

There were definitely more, but I have to go now because my home planet needs me, and my number #1 cause of not posting something is because I got halfway through writing it and got bored. I’m already pretty sleepy here, so quickly! I post!

Roger Corman on Acid

Recently I caught a theatrical showing of “X”, aka “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes”, followed by a Q&A with B-movie producing legend Corman himself. The film itself is unintentionally funny more often than not, has a few great scenes but is nothing to write home about. Corman, however, is delightfully full of stories n’ jokes. Here are some highlights, for your interest:



  • Corman and many others associated with the production of The Trip (cough Hopper) dropped the acid before making the film “to see what it was like.” Corman wanted to make a reasonably accurate and value-neutral picture. He had an “euphoric” experience, so he went around to those who said they’d had bad trips to find out what they were like. When the production company (American International Pictures) saw his cut, they thought it was too pro-drug, so they added the anti-drug opening sequence and the crack through the last frame, meant to imply that the protagonist had wrecked his life by dropping acid.
  • Dumbest question ever: “a lot of your films feature characters wearing sunglasses.” I know, it’s not even a question.
  • Someone with the option on Fantastic Four approached Corman, asking if he’d make the film, and for how much. As he was shooting at the time (early nineties I think) for $500,000 or thereabouts per film, he asked for $1-million. They said yes, he made the film. Afterwards they came to him and offered him $700,000 for his share, saying the film wouldn’t be released. He took the money, amazed at the sum, but then asked: why? The person explained: they took his film to a major studio and said hey, this is the sort of thing we could make. He used the million-dollar picture as a demo tape. The studio liked it, and said sure, let’s make it, budget $80-million. The ingenious rights-holder’s plan? After the big-budget film is released, then put out the low-budge Corman version as a prequel. Fucking incredible! Unfortunately, it got lost in development hell, as is the risk one runs with the majors.
  • Corman, being friends with Jack Nicholson, related that Kubrick did 120 takes of one shot with Nicholson – the largest number I’ve yet heard. Afterward, Nicholson said to Kubrick: “Stanley, I’m right there with ya. But you should know that I tend to peak around the 80th take.” Corman claimed he rarely went above three or four takes.
  • There was other stuff, but now I forget.
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    Quick Links Thing

    I added a quick links thing over on the sidebar. The advantage is speed – the thing’s set up for quick posting of sites I like with minimum blather from yours truly. Haven’t set up the RSS yet but I will. Do y’all want comments on it or do you care?

    Dream Review #7


    As I fall asleep I am pondering death. I dream I died and went to Pac-Man heaven. It’s big-pixel old school graphics, and there are Pac-Man ghosts perched on the clouds where the angels should be. I think two things: a) either I’m in the wrong place, or this heaven thing is pretty disappointing; b) the ghosts are still. In Pac-Man the ghosts are either running after Pac trying to eat him, or running away from him trying to not get eaten. But here in heaven they are relaxed. I give this dream five stars.

    Kill Bill Vol. 1

    Does Vol. 1 stand on its own as a good film? Hell no. It’s entertaining, mostly, but ultimately this film (these films) will live or die by the split: the decision to make one 300-minute film into two theatrical releases. Volume One comes to a partial conclusion but lacks many things. Who was Uma marrying? Why did her co-workers turn on her? Why have an entertaining but pointless 20-minute sword-buying scene? What’s the significance of the film, what’s it trying to say? Maybe all of these absences will be filled in the second half, but even if so, one huge question remains: would this film, a three hour and twenty minute revenge drama, work on its own? If not, there ya go. If so, why was it released as two films?

    Obviously ‘Harvey Scissorhands’ would be the apt response to that last rhetorical question. As much as exhibitors hate them, there have been plenty of financially successful three-hour-plus films: Gone With the Wind, Titanic, Godfather II, JFK, Schindler’s List, Seven Samurai, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, to name a few. But Cap’n Miramax is notorious for his aversion to long runtimes and a 300-minute genre film must make him break out in a rash. But if we have a look at that list again, there’s a certain heft to the pictures. These are epics. Kill Bill, so far as anyone can tell from the halfway point, has nothing on any of them in terms of scope. The only comparison would be to the last two, for by the sheer ponderousness of its pacing, Kill Bill disqualifies itself from the kung fu genre. It’s really a spaghetti western with fights by Yuen Woo-Ping.

    Now plenty of people love the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. But ultimately it’s the same dirty genre showdown as happened in A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, except stretched across the fascinating historical backdrop of the US Civil War. For heft, scope, epicity (yeah like that’s a word) and all the rest, Leone’s masterpiece is Once Upon a Time in the West, which contains as much revisionism, formal advancement and raw emotion as the rest of his films put together. And not to fetishize runtimes or anything, but that flick weighs in at a slim 165 minutes. Kill Bill has interesting formal elements to be sure, but ‘innovative’ no longer applies to what is basically the same bag of narrative tricks as seen in Pulp Fiction, with a few stolen from De Palma and Stone for good measure. And emotion is almost completely absent. Sure, he starts the film with the quote “Revenge is a dish best served cold”, but film is a dish best served hot. If he had opened with “Revenge is a dish best served boring,” we wouldn’t look the other way, would we?

    As if sampling Ennio Morricone numbers wasn’t enough, Tarrantino earns even more Leone comparisons by severely limiting the amount of dialogue. When you consider the breakthrough excellence of the dialogue in his first two films, this choice smacks of the self-imposed challenge, like Hitchcock’s Rope and Lifeboat (and to a lesser extent Fincher’s Panic Room). But unlike Leone’s, Tarrantino’s visual language falls short of expressing his characters’ inner worlds. Thurman’s nameless character remains inscrutable, other than crying when she wakes to discover her baby is gone. She even wails “my baby”, which is pretty close to a cliche. And many other bits of dialogue are purposefully wooden, a fitting tribute to kung fu, but useless for exploring character or intentionality.

    But Tarrantino – or Yuen Woo-Ping, depending on the nature of their collaboration – has certainly mastered the rhetoric of the action scene. Not by technical trickery alone is this the best martial arts film by non-practicioners yet; the pseudo-climactic Lucy Liu scene is characterized by a relentless increase and variation in violence that works as an argument for – and demonstration of – the protagonist’s skill and will. Beyond that, it’s difficult to find a scene in this picture that doesn’t work, and indeed most are injected with something inventive that makes them more than memorable: the father and son cowboy detective team, Darryl Hannah whistling in the hallway, the tooth-crunchingly beautiful anime.

    Frustratingly enough, a collection of excellent scenes doesn’t necessarily add up to a good film. Half of one? I guess so; we’ll see: half of a good film, or half of a bad one. For all the violence in Kill Bill, the most brutal of all was Weinstein cutting it in half. What we have just watched was the lower part of the body, with the rest missing and presumed to be released in February. With the upper part missing, we can’t identify the body for what it is, we can merely predict. I would predict as follows: bloated, swollen. I’d love to be wrong.

    Shit is this the greatest web site or what.


    Who the hell is Bionicle? A few weeks ago there was a rather broad ad buy for a DVD entitled something like Bionicle: Mask of Light: The Movie. It was sheer excellence for a few reasons. 1. I have no idea who or what Bionicle is; 2. The ad presumed I was indeed familiar with Bionicle and made no attempt to explain Bionicle to me; and 3. The film’s title had two (implied) colons, and of course 4. the superfantastic and catchy mystery name, Bionicle. My roommate and I figured Bionicle must be a hard-headed downtown cop who doesn’t care for following the rules – “Bionicle! Did you have to blow up city hall? I’ve got the mayor on my ass!” Now I’m wondering if Bionicle is traveling across the States to get an explicit cock-suck from an actress who should know better (oh wait). Or is Bionicle is an ingenious kid from the projects who needs the help of Sean Connery and Gus van Sant to break through the wall of ignorance – “you da man now, Bionicle”? Obviously a quick web search would answer these questions, but the mysterious Bionicle has now acheived archetypal status in my little world and I dare not burst my own bubble of fabulous ignorance. Bionicle is a man, a child, a woman, a myth, he lives in each of us. In every good deed, in every smile, in every hand held out to your common man, there’s a little Bionicle. Bionicle, I dream of you, Bionicle I sing to you, Bionicle I have a unicorn in my pocket for you. Bionicle. whispers Bionicle!

    Comedy Wins

    So Schwarzenegger has won, and with him, comedy. Let’s just hope he’s not recalled after a year in office, as a four-year stint of Arnold will be the greatest reality programming our world has yet seen. Let’s hope for more egg-related comedy and “pumping” cracks (staged or not – just like on Survivor, who cares?). And “he had to split” caliber taglines at every TV opportunity – but one question for Arnie et al.: when you say “I’ll be back” or stuff like “terminating the deficit,” do you have to pay royalties to the screenwriters who made that shit up? Why can’t you hire those dudes on again to come up with new material?

    Jean Potien

    “I don’t know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand.” That’s the leader of our government talking. Hooray for Canada! (via leuschke)


    Odd article that seems to condescend to “minority” culture in an attempt to celebrate it: “A generation in search of morality was clearly unprepared to grasp the ideological subtleties of an aesthete like De Palma and a preening moralist like Stone who was not yet in full command of his agit-prop.” Props for calling Ollie Stone a “preening moralist”, though, and for reminding me to make yet another impulse buy at the dodgy DVD store down the street. (via GreenCine Daily)

    Ambitious Japan!

    This rocks. (via gizmodo)

    Ronald Reagan and Reading Proust

    Great article by Choire Sicha about the New Yorker Festival, whatever that is, featuring a surreal appearance by Paul Wolfowitz, aka Wolfowitz of Arabia.

    Fox News Makes You Stupid

    <a title=” – “The Region’s Home Page”” href=””>Check it out yo yo yo. 67% of Fox News viewers think Saddam Hussein was working closely with al-Qaida, as opposed to 16% of NPR or PBS fans. Nice!