Here’s a new column I’ve had gestating for quite some time. A chance to ruminate on a variety of somewhat applicable topics in a scattershot and simplified manner. Quick hits where full articles may not apply. Or perhaps the testing area to see if feature columns are warranted. Either way, here’s the first batch of tasting notes for both things relating to this site and beyond. Hope you enjoy. Discuss this feature HERE or send me a note on what to address or feature in a future installment HERE.
2009 is already a bizarre year at the turnstiles with a decent but odd international Liam Neeson film, a wretched superhero movie, a Kevin James vehicle, a vehicle vehicle (Fast & Furious), and a fun but huge missed opportunity in Monsters vs. Aliens all in the top five. To look at the current top ten minus the Pixar and J.J. Abrams contributions is to look blandness in the eye and have the blandness gaze back at you.
- Dance Flick may have finally put a nail in the hideous coffin of the ______ Movie craze. Please. Please. Please. Also, if I never see the word “Wayans” in the creative portion of a credits blockever again I’ll be more than sated.
- There is no reason that word of mouth should have allowed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [which is a name I’d have given the home movies I shot with Star Wars toys and GI Joe figures in the 80’s] to be cresting 300 million right now. I understand the first weekend and the effect of the sheer marketing power. But the movie is a juggernaut of concussive DUMB and though American audiences are like velcro to DUMB, I thought there was a lot of DUMB to be spread around for their dumb asses.
- Land of the Lost surprised me and failed, which it deserved to do. Despite folks looking for and finding lots to love about it (it certainly has its moments), it reeks of too much autonomy and a lack of focus. Perhaps a few stinging slaps to the face will allow creative teams the grace to find a more stable balance. Or slow on the pop culture infused remakes.
Video games are as part of the lifestyle of the average human being now more than ever. This is thanks in large part to toys masquerading as consoles like the Nintendo Wii as well as the actual delivery of quality gaming experiences on cell phones. Then there’s those dudes at the bar playing “spot the differences between two girls in bikinis”. More and more celebrities are proclaiming their Call of Duty prowess as well as touting their ability to bowl with their little Nintendo wands.
- The Sony PSP has always gotten the shaft from critics, whether it be the folks who declared UMD a joke [which is partially true but it’s still a fun media]. I personally love my PSP and were it not for a dearth of really good software support it’d be a permanent fixture in my laptop bag. As it stands, they’re doing everything they can to stay up with the times with the new PSP GO (details). I can’t imagine how a hardware like the PSP can compete with the DS and stuff like the iPhone but I’ll follow these boys to the edge of the world. Now, if they were really smart they’d use this new format as a method of delivering all the old catalog titles to us. I’m talking ALL of the old catalog titles.
- A year after their initial voyages there are new installments of Left 4 Dead and Battlefield: Bad Company. Similar to other forms of media, it seems everyone is only willing to actively support their existing brands rather than step into new worlds. I love the Battlefield series to death but Bad Company was a lateral step at best. We need FORWARD progress, though the new 1942 remake sounds glorious. Left 4 Dead is one of the more overrated games in recent memory, a fact made only sadder by the amount of my friends who play it. How much evolution can a title have with that short a gestation period? Now if someone would do a new War of the Monsters…
- As a Halo apologist I must say that the bulk of the Halo maps created since the release of Halo 2 have been seriously lacking. Recently we began playing the first game again and there’s nothing in the recent releases that compete with Boarding Action and Damnation. Now with the release of the ODST, it seems they’re not making efforts to appease the fans who made the game popular in the first place. Midship remake? YAWN. The folks at Bungie need to be less concerned with a map’s ability to be fitting for all gametypes and parity and remember the whole ’30 seconds of fun’ policy that works so well. Basically, there’s no reason EVERY MAP should be available, regardless of how well it works with boring gametypes like ‘Capture the Flag’.
- Blockbuster Video never really did a good job with their policies regarding games (or movies for that matter), but to charge $9.99 for a game rental is nutty as hell. They deserve every financial hardship they endure. Good riddance.
- The top five selling titles of 2009 are Nintendo Wii titles. This should illustrate the sheeplike and foolishly impulsive state of the American “gamer”. Almost 23,000,000 copies of Wii Fit have sold worldwide in 2009. I don’t think 23,000,000 fat people got less fat because of it. I don’t think 1,000,000 did. I have a Wii and I enjoy it but when it comes to quality games, it still hasn’t surpassed gimmick status.
- I still hate the Rock Band and Guitar Hero worlds, but if they come out with some sort of Mosh Pit peripheral I will be a convert.
This is where the real money is for Hollywood, as evidenced by the mass of effort in marketing campaigns devoted to this once maligned ancillary revenue stream. Tuesday, new release day. What a magical time it can be…
- Is it just me or has home video become terribly boring?
- I keep hearing of people making efforts to replace their DVD titles with Blu-Ray version, which is fine if you have the discretionary cash… but the 8th season of Scrubs? At a retail price of $54.99? I don’t get the need for it. In fact, Blu-Ray in general has mystified me. I’ve not watched a DVD recently and felt “Man, if I could only see every nose hair of Martin Sheen’s”. Granted, I’m the guy whose PS3 is my player and my PS3 isn’t even hooked up.
- I think they intentionally make these discs scratch attractants. Children’s titles ought to be pressed onto titanium, peanut butter-resistant discs since the people handling them most have tiny fingers and little demonic minds.
The internet is this thing they’re trying out that allows people to “log in” to a network of interconnected “sites” in an effort to “communicate” with “other people”. It’ll never catch on.
- A Google Search for the poster for Dance Flick revealed a handful of images with watermarks of online sites. Someone took the time to brand “exclusive” and their site’s name on a poster for Dance Flick.
- Twitter is called Twitter because Asshole Finder wasn’t catchy. It also does a good job of humanizing celebrities to the point where not only do we not put them on a pedastal, but we want to slam them in the face with a pedastal. In recent days I’ve discovered that Frank Marshall is way too obsessed with Lance Armstrong, Alyssa Milano is way too obsessed with the cause du jour, and that Rainn Wilson is way too obsessed with Twittering.
- The whole Michael Jackson thing really showcased the fact that humanity is probably in need of a cleansing.
The Finer Things:
Food, drinks, and other imbibements are what makes the world go ’round. Or at least our stomachs. Here’s a few little titdbits for those who give a damn.
- Dewar’s 12 Year Old Scotch is the most delightful yet affordable booze on the planet. It’s not as outright tasty as Myer’s Dark Rum, Maker’s Mark, or an assortment of other delicacies but for the prize it’s the most elegant and accessible option around.
- If you fancy the Hookah, you simply must try a double apple blend of tobacco. Delightful.
- When in the Northern parts of Atlanta there is absolutely no restaurant that can compete with Sugo. In fact, in my 37 years as an eating person I can’t recommend any place more, regardless of location. The attention to detail, passion for their craft, and consistently rewarding meals and service is a lost art, especially in the suburban landscape.
- If you have to drink beer, and I’m not convinced that you do… you need to seriously give the Allagash brand a hearty try. From their Belgian White to their Grand Cru, I’ve not found a brewery I adore as much.