Monday, February 1, 2010


Hello...all one follower of you. Hey, Ryan, what up?

This blog is moving. For all interested parties, it has been transferred to my actual website. I will probably leave this open just in case someone wanders on this on accident. The goal is to update it with a great deal more frequency.

Anyway, hope to see more followers there. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Paleness of Avatar

I enjoy following what the box office does. It's a bit of a hobby for me, and I will get angry when a film I want to do well bombs or a film I despise succeeds. It's a little ridiculous, but it keeps me amused, even if I annoy some of the people around me.

Too many people are falsely calling Avatar the greatest success in Hollywood history, especially since yesterday it surpassed the Titanic Worldwide Box Office; I suspect the domestic Box Office is not far behind.

But why don't we...knock Avatar down to size a bit, shall we? I'm not saying this as a criticism of the film—I have not seen it, and hold no opinion of it—but of people who are wrongfully giving it more credit that it, and James Cameron, deserve.

We turn to Box Office Mojo for some stats. I give you the All-Time Box Office Adjusted for Inflation. Please note this is only the domestic totals.

1Gone with the WindMGM$1,485,028,000$198,676,4591939^
2Star WarsFox$1,309,179,000$460,998,0071977^
3The Sound of MusicFox$1,046,753,000$158,671,3681965
4E.T.: The Extra-TerrestrialUni.$1,042,629,400$435,110,5541982^
5The Ten CommandmentsPar.$962,850,000$65,500,0001956
8Doctor ZhivagoMGM$912,395,600$111,721,9101965
9The ExorcistWB$812,679,700$232,671,0111973^
10Snow White and the Seven DwarfsDis.$801,150,000$184,925,4861937^

So...I want you to look at where Titanic sits on that list. It's 6th. Yes, it's only 6th. All the crazed teenagers who went multiple times to swoon over Leo only made it the 6th most successful film of all time. For those of you who grew up in my generation, you know how full those theaters were.

But, for those of you who have never looked at the Box Office Mojo list, you'll see the little ^ symbol in there. That means those films were released more than once and it's their accumulative Box Office. So Gone With the Wind was released and rereleased numerous times to give it that high of a total. Star Wars was of course rereleased in the 80s when "Episode IV: A New Hope" was added to the title, as well as the Special Edition releases at the 20th anniversary. But look at Sound of's never been rereleased. It had one theater run, then became a TV watching favorite, be it hacked up to be shorter or hacked up with commericals to make it a 5-hour epic.

Ladies and gentlemen, as your true winner at the Box Office, I give you: THE SOUND OF THE MUSIC.

As for James Cameron, who we have to honor as one of the greats, of course...I wouldn't say he's the true Box Office gold mine.

I'm going to go with the Top 20 now for these stats.

Who has 4 films in the Top 20: Steven Spielberg. 1) ET; 2) Jaws; 3) Raiders of the Lost Ark; 4) Jurassic Park.
Who has 2 filmes he directed plus 3 he executive produced: George Lucas. 1) Star— Actually, do I really need to do this? The ones that aren't there are II and III. Okay? Okay. And Raiders.

Even if Avatar breaks in the Top 20, which it could very well do, it still won't push either of these men out. It should also be pointed out how much of Avatar's gross is IMAX 3D or standard 3D...those tickets run a whole lot higher than a standard movie ticket, and those 8 movies from George and Steven didn't get that kind of special treatment. Imagine how much lower Avatar's total would be if the extra cost for IMAX and 3D were taken out.

The moral of the story: before you jump to the conclusion that Avatar is the most successful movie ever made, and James Cameron is the true Box Office genius, just remember a girl who wanted to be a nun, a boy who wanted to do something other than farm, and little guy who just wanted to go home.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let's Criticize Fandom! of those things the internet has allowed to blossom. Once upon a time you could only bond with those who shared crazy and insane interests at something like a cosplay party, and obviously there were certain fandoms not conducive to dressing up thwacking each other with lightsabers and blasters. I'm not knocking cosplay, but it is a very specialized activity, and even now continues to be taken extremely seriously. You just don't go to a cosplay party without a dang awesome costume.

But now let's talk about that for a minute. Is that healthy? I'm not just talking cosplay, I'm talking becoming so completely involved in your fandom it's all you do. I'm a fandom type of person, and sure, I can get carried away, but...I think there is a point when you realize there is a line you can cross from getting carried away and going too far.

As an example, I'm going to introduce you to the diverse community that is the superhero fandom, and more specifically Superman. Now, if you're a Superman fan, you are probably a Batman, Trinity, and Justice League fan—at least slightly—just by default. You also probably have at least a little liking for Marvel, whether you admit it or not. Within the Superman fandom you probably have a favorite incarnation: comic books (and your favorite era of the comic books), the serials, the original TV show, Chris Reeve movies (sometimes including III and IV, sometimes now), Lois & Clark (sometimes all four seasons, sometimes only the first two), Superman Returns, the cartoon show/movies, and Smallville. You could keep adding to that list, but these are the big ones. There are a lot of ways to focus your love of Superman, and also a lot of ways you gripe and bash on another incarnation. But we'll come back to that.

First, we need to talk about the most brutal thing in fandom: ships. Ships is a term for the couples you like within your fandom. I personally stay pretty canon and don't want people who don't get together to be together. In the Harry Potter fandom, I do not, nor have I ever, shipped Harry/Hermione, aka "Harmony." If you like to explore the idea of the "What if"s that is totally cool, but as far as pairings go, it's not my thing. In fact, let's go with that for a second. What's canon? Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Lupin/Tonks, James/Lily, Snape/Lily (sorry if you haven't read DH yet and were planning to), and a few others. Now, speculating with the outlying characters is fine, whatever. But the fandom has stretched to include any number of slash pairs and couples that would never become couples. Did you really have nothing better to do than contemplate what Draco and Hermione's sex life would be like? If the answer's no, don't worry. I suppose that's better than wasting 10 hours on quiz sites taking games written by someone who never bothered to learn grammar.

Back to Superman, though, and now let's talk Supes ships. Quick: what's the number one biggest ship in the Superman world? What ship should you just think by default if you mention Superman?

You've got it, right? Of course! Lois and Clark! Lois and Clark, Lois and Superman, Lois and Kal-el...I don't care how you say it, it is canon it will always be canon, it is THE PAIR. They aren't the only ones, though: Lois/Bruce, Lois/Oliver, Lois/Lex, Clark/Lana, Clark/Diana...L&C are not exclusive, but in the end, they are it, right? Right.

Smallville is a brutal place to be part of fandom. There are those us who just desperately want Clark to put on the suit and have the true Lois/Clark/Superman love triangle, but may not ever get our wish. There are those who still cling to Clark being with Lana (yes, even now). There are those who cling to Clark being with Chloe, because she is a better Lois than Lois. There are the Lois haters, who have been know to make death threats against Erica Durance just for being Lois Lane. There are the Lois/Clark lovers who have become completely nasty to the other older ships the series played with in earlier seasons. It's a brutal world out there, and the different sides of the Smallville fandom do not get along, and people get hurt. The Chlarkers bash the Cloisers who both bash the Clanas, and is that really the best way to, you know, enjoy your TV show?

Why get so brutal, mean, and cruel, about a television show that everyone of the above groups love (or hate but can't stop watching anyway)? It's stupid! Fandom is fun, and it can be a blast if you stick with your group and enjoy yourself without making fun or poking fun at everyone else. I tend to just get frustrated with characters, not different ships (although some ships do frustrate me in the Harry Potter world, I will admit). How hard is it to just step back and say, "Well, you have a different opinion than mine, but we're all allowed to think the way we want to, so I'll deal with that." Is it really that hard? It shouldn't be, and yet online communities and forums just bash and create more hell than any lightsaber in your bedroom.

Lesson to be learned: cosplay with awesome costumes, and if you decide to fandom ride on the net, play nicer than you would in person.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Know Nothing About Writing - Writers are Liars

This is part one because I just know I'm coming back to it. I can just feel it.

So, I'm in an MFA program right now, and I'm learning very quickly that my style of writing is not considered art. This should offend me, but it doesn't. I mean, we've all seen what can be considered art, and we've all seen things that struck us as beautiful that were called a disgrace to the artistic community. Art is subjective, and writing is no exception to that rule.

All the way through school, you have classes that are designed to teach you how to write. First it's the creative story and you seem to get a better grade the more adjectives you use. Heck, I wrote a story once about a rock with a name that was two lines long; don't diss it, that story was awesome. But now what? You're in college, you're writing the story that you know is perfect for publication and what happens? You have too many adjectives. Wait, what?

Then you want to tell a story. It's just a story that popped into your head one day and you love it and think it'll be worth more love on paper. But then you're told you can only write things you are deeply moved by, otherwise you shouldn't bother because it'll be crap. But...but you're story is awesome, you just aren't moved by it yet.

Obviously, I'm painting an egotistical writer here, and most writers who have had even a little experience know that these thoughts fizzle away and disappear. My point is everyone feels differently about how writing works, and you can't trust them. Writers, I mean. Writers are liars, especially of the fiction-writing variety. If we weren't liars, how could we do what we do?

Rule Number One about learning how to write: Never trust what a fellow writer or writing professor tells you. Every word of advice is to be taken with a grain of salt.

Have you got that? Remember it. You'll need it. No one is going to tell you the same thing someone else did. You have got to find your own way.

Here I am going to insert a definition of art. This is from my computer dictionary, just so you don't think I made this up: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination...producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."

That sounds gorgeous, doesn't it? Now, who dictates that? Is it that one workshop professor? Is it that one critic who is cynical about everything? Is it you?

Here's what I say, but I'm a writer so don't trust me or believe a word I say. Write your piece, proofread, then forget about it for a week. Don't think about it, don't stew about it, just leave it. Then go back and read it and try and forget you were the author. Do you like the way it sounds? Would it sound better with this and this and this? Did that not work? Can you fix it?

It becomes about you. Art is a personal experience. You know what you like to read, and you know what you're trying to accomplish should look and sound like. If you can step back and see the art, then you have accomplished what you set out to do. If you don't see art yet, edit it and let it sit again. Eventually you find the art, be it flawed or not. Maybe it's not publishable, but it's what you set out to do, so why should that matter anyway?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Book 002 - The House on Moon Lake

I like books and stories that wrap up nicely in the end. I've been told that both in my reading practices and my movie watching pleasures that that is an uneducated and unoriginal way of looking at things and I should work on appreciating the art of the alternative. Anyone who's spent time with me or pays careful attention to anything I write/photoshop/create/whatever will notice that I require symmetry or order. Sometimes one, sometimes both. I consider my need for an ending in a nice neat package my way having order to something I didn't have any control over; without the nice neat package, I find myself going a little crazy and having a strange sort of anxiety.

And that little side trip brings me to The House on Moon Lake written by Franchesa Duranti and then translated into English from Italian. I think I enjoyed the book. I'm not totally sure. Our story is about Fabrizio, a translator by trade, who stumbles upon a lost book by a completely unknown author who is considered to be awful. Fabrizio becomes obsessed with the book and alienates his quazi-girlfriend, his best friend and publisher, and eventually the world at large. Eventually he finds himself locked in a fantasy world that he created around the author's last three years of his life and his final mistress which he named Maria. As the story closes, although his girlfriend came looking for him, his captor kept him locked up and he decides that he will face the fate of dying in that house, the same house where his author and made up mistress spent their days.

The story closes around itself well enough that I'm almost okay with it, but at the same time...Fabrizio goes a little too crazy, and the craziness is not confined. In reality, he doesn't go crazy at all, just drives him sick by over thinking things, but the way the way the narrative is written it is hard to swallow that he just accepts his fate. So for that reason I'm left dissatisfied, and with a bit of an itch to rewrite the ending so I don't feel so tense and nervous without my symmetry.

This, my friends, is why I hate literature as a general rule. It usually makes me uneasy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Gaggle of Movies

Mamma Mia!
This film surprised me a little bit. I expected to like it because the very premise of the plot amuses me and I like ABBA songs enough to be interested. No one lied, Pierce Brosnan absolutely canNOT sing, but you know what? I didn't care. Every musical is allowed the one who can't sing, and I'm certainly not going to let that ruin a fun, silly little chick flick that includes some absolutely gorgeous cinematography of Greece. It, like Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, I think I liked just a little bit more than I would otherwise just because of the scenery. And it made me want to start saving for my fantasy Mediterranean Cruise. *sigh*

House Bunny
I was expecting a dumb comedy, but it's the kind of dumb comedy that appeals to me. So...I don't know that I'd recommend it to anyone, as far as midnight shows go, it's got its value. I don't believe that any human being could truly be that dumb, but I like the color array of personalities among the sorority girls and you end up really wanting them to keep their house. Also, the nasty girls from evil!sorority are named Ashley and Courtney, which gives me great amusement.

Not gonna lie, I almost didn't finish it. The first 45 minutes bored me and I decided if the movie didn't pick up that I was going to call it quits. Fortunately, the movie delivered FINALLY. I absolutely love the second half as the back story between Will Smith and Charlize Theron unfolds and starts to make sense. It was a different route that most movies don't go to that I've read a lot in books, but hadn't really seen on film. However, as a rule, I hate all films and Smallville episodes with superhero sex, so...well, I don't hate Hancock, but the superhero sex is enough to make me not ever want to watch it again. It doesn't humor me in the least. Blowing holes in the roof, breaking the bed through walls, breaking the bed itself, and most importantly EARTHQUAKES *wrings the neck of the writer responsible for that Smallville moment* are an automatic turn off.

He's Just Not That Into You
This movie is so true to life. I came out of it feeling a little giddy, a little vindictive, and really in love with Justin Long. Although that last one happens every time I watch an Apple ad, so I guess that doesn't really count. You could see where every one of the relationships were going, but you're okay with it because it stays so true to how things happen in real life that it's okay. I would recommend it for chick viewing, for sure, but I don't think guys should rule it out, either. I think guys could see their frustrations in the film just as readily as a girl could. But the movie takes it all with good humor and makes you smile readily. So, if you're looking for a escape, or a movie that can sympathize/empathize with you, go see it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Book 001 - Battle of the Labyrinth

By the way, this is not really a review because a full review would mean spoiling this one and the other three.

I don't know if this should count since I started it in October, but then I had to return it to the library, so I just barely got to pick it back up again today, and finished it awfully fast. I was trying to remember why I didn't finish it while I still had it, and I realized that it was my usual 'don't want it to end' dragging. It's the same problem I'm having with Brandon's third Mistborn book. I don't want to say good-bye. It's really silly with Percy Jackson because we've got Book 5 still on the way, haha.

It's my favorite in the series, what can I say? I loved everything about it, there wasn't a part that dragged, all the new gods and goddesses were wonderful, as well as all the other new characters. I guessed a couple of things, but got an awful lot of surprises, which I love.

Obviously trying to read this one without the first 3 Percy Jackson books would be like trying to read Half-Blood Prince without the other 5, but of course I think you should do that, too, so...yeah. If you need a fun, entertaining, and easy read, do it.

Highlights: Calypso, the naiad at the river, and Poseidon's visit