Thursday, June 26, 2008

Euro Semifinal Russia/Spain

I'm sitting here in the Bryan Center watching the second semifinal between Russia and Spain. The action is pretty good with Russia controlling early but Spain coming back of late. There's been an abundance of players falling though: I guess it doesn't help that they're playing through Hurricane Luigi...

I find it hard to root for a team that's playing in a European Championship even though most of their country is in Asia.
Probably the only bright spot for their team in the quarters was their penalty kicks.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movie Review: The Happening

First off, spoiler warning: all parts of this review which might ruin the movie for those of you that haven't seen it are in white. You can highlight them for easier reading.

M. Night Shyamalan has a history of making intriguing, sort of scary movies. He wrote the Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, and now, The Happening. IMDB also credits him with the screenplay of Stuart Little. I don't know what to think about that.

The premise: Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) is a science teacher in Philadelphia. Suddenly the "happening" occurs in Central Park, and it makes people kill themselves. It starts happening in other populated places, and people are killing themselves from Washington to New England. Elliot, his wife Alma, and friends have to figure out a way to not kill themselves.

The plot: They run. A lot. Seriously, there's not a whole lot more to the plot than that. Except for Shyamalan's extremely weak attempt at a subplot, as Elliot and Alma are not getting along at the beginning of the movie. (Spoiler): The way this "virus" works is that it has been spreading from more populated places on to less and less populated places. They try and get further and further from people until they find some old lady's cottage in the middle of nowhere, PA. She is unnecessarily grumpy and eventually gets affected by the virus, putting her head through a window. Wahlberg's wife is over in the spring house when this hits, so she has to hole herself up in there, along with a friend's daughter. Luckily, there's a talking pipe between the main house and the spring house, allowing them to reconcile. Wahlberg then decides that if he dies, he wants to die with her, so he throws caution to the wind and goes outside. Luckily, the virus went away, and we jump ahead to Wahlberg's wife finding out she's pregnant. Then the happening happens in Paris. The end.

The acting: Below average. No one in this movie is a very good actor. Even Wahlberg, who has generally been pretty good, falls short here. Of course, all this may be the fault of...

The script: absolutely sucked. The more I talked about this movie with Bob and Noah, the more we realized this was really poorly written. This movie has none of the elements of a good drama. Subplot? The only apparent attempt was Elliot and Alma's splintering marriage. It turns out that there aren't any juicy secrets between them. Elliot even delivers a line around the middle of the movie that seems to admit that the conflict between them is pretty poorly developed, and reduces it to a joke. It turns out that they just forgot to communicate over the past couple weeks. And you know how there's always intriguing false leads in a movie? You know, when they make you think you figured it out, but not really? Negative. Again, Shyamalan made a couple weak attempts, but there's no point in this movie where you say "whoa! he really got me there". Finally, Shyamalan never figured out a creative way to explain information to the audience. Most of the info is delivered through random characters (who have no point to their existence other than to deliver a line or two of information, and then kill themselves) or intrusive news reports.

Bottom line: M Night Shyamalan takes a semi-intriguing idea and then kills it with subpar acting and a script that he apparently spent a lunch break on. The concept has potential, but it gets completely killed in Shyamalan and co.'s assumption that people will be wowed just because he wrote it. Wrong.

Grade: D+. If it comes on TV in a year and you have nothing better to do, invite some friends over and watch it so you can spend the next week making fun of it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas Prices

If you're blaming the price of gas on the rise of a barrel of crude, be careful. The increase in the price of crude has far outpaced the increase in gas prices.

Crude Oil

Gas prices

Crude oil has DOUBLED in one year, while gas prices have only increased around 33%.

Monday, June 2, 2008


+ You know you're an avid Lost fan when you see the headline, "Astronauts set to open hatch after space-station docking" on CNN and you wonder how they're going to do it with no handle.

+ Ted Kennedy just had surgery for his brain tumor at Duke Med Center. I wonder if I should pay him a visit and say Hi.

+ Aliens invade Denver. Thanks to Larry King for giving these guys credibility. The reenactment halfway through is pure gold. I never knew aliens looked like cheap, country fair stuffed animals.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Seriously CNN, seriously?

Soup Can Sunday

1. Listen to this audio illusion. You have to use headphones. It'll make you think you're crazy, too (i.e. hearing things that aren't there).

2. So, the world record in the 100-meter dash was just broken...exciting! Personally, I don't think it should be news anymore. If you beat the world record by .02 seconds, is that really all that newsworthy? Especially when somebody will beat it tomorrow by .01 seconds?

3. This Tuesday is the last two primary contests: Montana and South Dakota. AKA "Going out with a Bang" but more likely "Thank God, it's almost over."

4. Mid-Life Crisis moment of the week. Reportedly, this is also the same guy who threw the infamous pizza two years ago.