Another Freaking Late-To-The-Game Review of “Avatar”


For being such a self-proclaimed pop culture geek, I tend to miss out on a lot of the most widespread phenomenons when they first hit. I still haven’t watched past the second episode of “Lost”. I’ve played, in total, maybe two hours of any of the “Halo” games. I never actually heard a Lady Gaga song until Molly Lewis covered Poker Face.

So it’s not that surprising that before this Monday, I hadn’t gotten around to seeing “Avatar”. In this case, there are two specific reasons I’ve held off so long:
1. I’m just a bit broke, and
2. Unlike certain close friends and frequent collaborators I’ve roomed with for two non-consecutive semesters and one summer in LA, I’m not exactly passionately in love with James Cameron, for reasons I will get into shortly.

But now I’m in Orlando, right across the street from the movie theater that my old friend Rich manages, and he offered me free IMAX 3D tickets. And who am I to say no to an offer like that? So, I finally managed to see “Avatar”.

Before we get into this, I should explain that I haven’t actually been impressed by special effects since…well, probably since I saw “Toy Story” in the movie theater at age 8. Since that moment, I take it for granted that it is possible to get anything on screen. Now, I definitely appreciate the hard work that goes into the effects, but an effect on its own doesn’t get a reaction out of me. The image it creates or its role in the story might be phenomenal, but the mere fact that a computer graphic looks photorealistic doesn’t affect me any more than, say, a photorealistic painting–I appreciate how much effort it took, but it’s not like I’m surprised that it’s possible.

Because of that, while the technological innovations may wow many viewers, my view on “Avatar” lives and dies with the story, the characters, and maaaaaaaybe the action. Using this criteria, I can sum up my review of the film (and, indeed, much of Cameron’s work) in one word: “Calculated”. Continue reading

A Long-Delayed Rumination On “High School Musical”

The other week, my sister Lizzy and I felt like watching a movie. We had no idea what movie we wanted to watch, so I looked over our family’s DVD library to see what we had. And that’s when I came across something in on the shelf that Lizzy–and the rest of the universe–had been trying to get me to watch for years, but that I’ve always managed to avoid. However, I was in a riffing mood, and had recently read a recap on it while going through random AgonyBooth articles, so I decided it was now or never.

“Lizzy, I’ve resisted for a long time, but I’m gonna give you one chance before I change my mind…”

Immediately, Lizzy jumped up excitedly, and injured herself. She ran to her computer to brag to Twitter that she was making me watch “High School Musical”.

I love a good musical as much as the next former high school thespian, but I had no real interest in ever seeing any part of the “High School Musical” franchise. But Lizzy had been pushing me to see it for a long time, because she felt it would bring back memories of the fun “rivalry” between our drama department and our basketball team. And it might have done just that, had it been a remotely realistic portrayal of any high school I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Christmas Specials II: The Second Best

Last year, I compiled a list of my top five favorite Christmas movies/specials/animatronic shows/smoke signal stories, because it was the only post idea I had. Since the Nostalgia Critic recently compiled his own favorite specials list, I figured I might as well round out the list by sharing my numbers 6-10. Now, as always, you may consider some of these a stretch, but if you have a problem with it, go start your own blog. On to the list! Continue reading

The old overanalyzing-the-movie- based-on-the-sixties-TV-spy-spoof- in-the-blog-post trick.

On Saturday, Lizzy and I went to catch a matinee of the “Get Smart” movie. As a fan of the classic series, despite the fact that it was cancelled seventeen years before I was born, I had been anticipating the movie’s release for quite some time. I’d been following the development of the film since way back when Will Ferrell was considered for Max. I had read the early script reviews, which kept my expectations astonishingly low. So, on Saturday, I went in, hoping to be entertained.

Was I entertained? Yes, to an extent. Did it feel like “Get Smart”? At parts, sure, but overall, not really.


My Top Five Favorite Christmas Specials/Movies

It’s Christmas Eve, and what better way to celebrate the season than with passive entertainment? Christmas specials and movies abound, with more produced every year, ranging from the classic to the not-so-classic. And because I have nothing better to write about at the moment (unless you want to hear about my uneventful dentist appointment this morning), I figured I’d try one of those newfangled “lists” that all the popular young bloggers have been compiling for generations. Here are my five all-time favorite Christmas bits o’ cinema/television. Because I’m too lazy to compile multiple lists, this particular list includes everything, be it a feature film or a half-hour episode of a television series. Continue reading

Of Ghosts, and the Busting Thereof.

You know how it is with fanfilms. Some of them suck, quite a bit. Others are pretty decent, with at least a few well-done aspects that make them worth watching. But there are a select few that are incredible, and stand high above the rest. You’ve got your “The Formula”, your TESBY/TENCLO, your “Fanboys” (the 2003 one by Peter Haynes, not the upcoming cheesy-looking theatrical one)…seems like most of the great fanfilms have been Star Wars related. Isn’t it about time somebody made, oh, I don’t know, a really solid “Ghostbusters” fanfilm?

Ask and ye shall receive. Continue reading