Monday, January 30, 2012

Reginald Denny Would be So Bummed

You know what? I'm fucking tired of people. That's right. I said it.

People suck these days. There's no getting around it. Nobody has any regard for anyone any more. It's such a fucking bummer.

So today, I'm gonna talk about some of the things people do that I don't get. Some of it is just common courtesy. Like.. traffic stuff. Seriously... I'm seriously gonna bitch about traffic and other peoples' driving.

Some of it is more of a new kind of etiquette for a modern society. Fucking Facebook dickheads. You know? Like, this isn't a problem people had to handle 20 years ago, but even though there's no real established kind of decorum that Ms. Manners wrote a book about, I feel like there's just some common sense stuff that people generally seem to ignore on the interwebs, because I guess there's no danger of being punched in the fucking face. Anyway, I wish there was a "Punch in the Fucking Face" button right next to the "Like" button.

Let's start with the traffic bullshit.

I'm just gonna say it... It's fucking rude to take more time to park than is necessary to actually just park. If we're in a completely empty parking lot or whatever, fine... do what you have to do, but if it's the middle of the day, and you really think your time or convenience is so much more valuable than everyone elses that you feel the need to BACK IN to a space. I'm telling you right now, you're wrong. Even if I'm not personally being inconvenienced, or even if my time specifically is not at a premium at that moment, you don't fucking know me, so just pull into the space like a decent human being.

Allow me to provide you with a scenario... one that I briefly summarized on Facebook and started like a serious debate about patience and common courtesy or whatever. That's cool, and all good, and for the most part everyone was well behaved during said Facebook debate, so whatever, but I'm gonna break it down for everyone again.

It's 4:00 pm. I'm at Rookwood Pavilion in Cincinnati, circling an extremely crowded lot looking for a space to get my damned Starbucks. I am NOT in a rush, as I don't have anywhere to be for a full hour, so I'm just circling the lot with 2 people in front of me, waiting my turn.

Finally a spot opens up right by the front of the store, and the first person in line signals that they'll be taking it. Fine. Good.. That's what is supposed to happen. But then, for some reason, they pull past the space, swing wide and then SLOWLY start backing in to the spot. This is ridiculous for a couple of reasons.

1) It takes 4 times as long as parking regularly.
2) It completely blocks the rest of the people waiting to park, since they swung wide and then blocked the full lane with their giant car.

During this little parking scene, a spot on the other side of the lot opens up, and is immediately taken by a car just entering the lot that wasn't blocked by the parker.

Allow me to provide an illustration. And yes... this is the EXACT parking lot.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm being a jerk about this. The photo of the lot is actually pretty accurate to what it was like that day. No spots, the same direction of driving as the day in question.

So... The commenters on my Facebook came down on a couple of different sides.

1) Agreement
2) Devil's Advocate (they were all "what would YOU have done?")
3) Disagreement (I don't know that person's reasoning, so I shouldn't assume they were being a jerk)
4) Not only disagreeing, but saying that they would back in also, and if honked at they'd go slower (apparently daring someone to key their car).
5) Telling everyone who agrees with me that we all need to calm down because patience is a virtue or something.

Here's the thing. It's not at all about patience. It's not about personal histories of every driver on the road. My feeling is... I don't know you, you don't know me, so I'll assume you're a crazy person, and I expect the same.

I completely agree that if I know your full life story, I may concede the extra time it takes for you to pull in backward. I may also concede my own convenience if I like you, or if you're old, or you have a cute dog.

If you are neither old, or likeable, or have an adorable pet... Do us all a favor and be as efficient as possible, dude, because I don't fucking know you.

We live in a society. By definition, there are other people in a society. To assume or contend that your pain or convenience makes you better than me, well... I have news for you. You're not better than me, or anyone else.

You wanna know how I knew I was actually annoyed and not just traffic annoyed (a state I am in almost all the time)? I knew I was truly annoyed because I personally wasn't inconvenienced in any particular way. As I said earlier, I wasn't in a rush. I had nowhere to be. In fact, after I watched the 2nd golden spot get taken, I just left and went to another Starbucks.

I wasn't inconvenienced, so i knew it was bunk. BUNK.

Moving on.. Let's talk about Facebook for a minute.

I recently had an exchange on Facebook where I'd posted a sincere comment on something (on my own page), and had multiple people decide they wanted to either argue or tell me I was stupid. It upset me, I'll admit. I was taken aback by the sort of aggressiveness of the comments. I deleted the first one, where they felt the need to disagree with my statement, and wrote  a new one. I said that there's always a time and a place to debate those things, but I'd rather people didn't use that particular comment. I even invited people to leave related comments on a new post on my page if they felt the need to. That request was summarily ignored by someone telling me my opinion was stupid.

It took me by surprise, because I don't really feel like I'm on those kinds of terms with either of those people. It could be said that by putting it on my page, I was opening myself up for whatever, but really? If someone goes to a poetry reading and does their thing, is it acceptable to heckle them? I mean... it's allowed, but am I wrong to think that it's not a cool thing to do?

So it struck me that people have this feeling that the screen and keyboard provides this magical free pass to say whatever they want. The Tofu Muchacha has experienced that kind of thing with her blog.  She's allowed anonymous commenting for a while, and there has been an increase in unconstructive, mean comments. It hurts me to hear it, because I hate to see her feelings hurt by a stranger. Especially one who doesn't have the courage to provide an identity.

The internet sucks sometimes.

So anyway, because of those feelings I had, let me make some suggestions as to how to behave toward your fellow humans on Facebook.

Consider the following "The Bible of Facebook Etiquette". Unless you don't believe in the bible, in which case, let's call it the "God Delusion of Facebook Etiquette" (please excuse the very specifically directed Richard Dawkins reference.... That was for you, Hombre.)

Rule 1: No Hijacking Other People's Posts
If I write:
"Man... I really love Disney"

There are many varieties of appropriate responses.
- You can simply "Like" it.
- You can be all "Yeah! Disney Roolz!",
- You can say "Disney's Whatevs, but Universal is WAY better" (you'd be wrong, obviously).
- Maybe "What's your favorite ride??"

Really any of those are cool. What's not cool?

"I don't give a crap about Disney. I care more about the presidential election."

By saying that, you're saying that what I care about is stupid (and yet... you are my Facebook friend). You're also saying that whatever thing you've got to talk about is more important. That's fine, but leave it on your own page. It is NOT okay to derail someone's Facebook post (assuming that post had nothing to do with you to begin with).

There's one other appropriate response. You can ignore it. What?!? You mean I don't HAVE to weigh in on literally every status update on my stream? I can simply, if I'm not feeling a particular post, NOT do anything?

That's right. You can just move on to the next one. And that's what you should do.

There is nothing more ridiculous, if you don't care what a person has to say, than taking the time to say you don't care. That's the beauty of Facebook. It's not directed at anyone in particular. You don't need to feel compelled to respond.

Rule 2: Don't Fight with People You Don't Know
Look... I'm all about a good debate.

When I'm commenting on my friend's post, there's always a chance I may disagree with something my friend's friend says.  A lot of times I've never met that person before. Because, they're one of those "You have 1 friend in common" people.

So when I say to that person "What are you, some kind of idiot?"... That's not cool.

It's no different than saying it to a complete stranger having a conversation at a restaurant. Oh, except that while telling a stranger at a restaurant they're an idiot when they're being an idiot might sound freaking awesome, it's not awesome to put your mutual friend in a weird position when that dude you told off is all "What the hell is wrong with your friend?" to that same mutual friend.

I know it's tempting. If you want to fight, fight on your own page with your own friends like a civilized person.

Oh... If they start it? Have at it.

Rule 3: C'mon Dude.... Read a Room.
There are occasions when the frivolity of Facebook gets all serious, and someone posts something that's actually sincere or important to them.

Please, for the love of Pete, let them be.

When your friend says "I have Lupus", it's not the time to say "Haha... Did you get diagnosed on "House"?  You probably have a third testicle instead".

When your friend says "My dad just died", it is not the time to say "Whatever dude, do you wanna watch
some college football this Saturday?"

When your friend says "Today's been a shitty day", it is not the time to say "I bet mine was worse."

There are times when people are upset, and they want to vent. There are times when people are feeling introspective or contemplative, and while I agree that perhaps Facebook isn't the most private way to have those feelings, it can be a very cathartic experience to post something on Facebook, and have 30 people "Like" your response.

I'm not about to get totally maudlin or anything, because this blog was about being pissed off at how rude people can be, but let me just say...

Facebook has a lot of power today. It's sad, maybe, but it's true. People are killing themselves, because they're being bullied. They're coming out of the closet. They're announcing their engagements, and babies, and losses, and grief, and triumphs. It's really one of the most incredible networks of social interaction in history. Maybe perhaps THE most incredible. There are a BILLION people on Facebook. That's a seventh of the world.

Anyone who's experienced a flood of birthday wishes on their wall can tell you that even that brief "Happy Birthday" can make you feel special. It's an awesome feeling when Facebook is cool. I've even grown closer to people in my family because of it, and while that may be sad in a way, I'm glad it's there. I will never say that it replaces real human contact, because it doesn't, and it can't, but it does have power.

People are too often forgetful that just because it's easy to post something off the cuff because the keyboard almost equals anonymity, you're not anonymous. It might be silly to care, but people care.

We live in a world where people feel like their relationships aren't official until people change statuses. Facebook is here. It's a thing. It's not a fad (at least the concept isn't). So, I guess what i'm saying is... be nice to people. Watch what you say. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it on Facebook. Be honest about that.

Kind of a disappointing rant.

My bad.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Disney World E-mail Debate - Top 10 Attractions


There are very few people I know who love Disney as much as I do. My friend Annie is one of them. She’s been there many times, and puts a lot of thought into her visits.

She’s often expressed interest in my Disney-themed blogs over the years, so in an effort to bring more variety to my blog posts, I’ve asked her to occasionally discuss various topics via email… The products of those discussions will be posted here.

For the first one, I asked her simply to name her Top 10 Rides/Attractions at Disney World. Here’s our unedited (except for typos) exchange:


Well hello there, Dan! Look at me! I'm actually doing this! After literally years of talking about it. Amazing. Anyway, without further ado, my top ten rides at Walt Disney World.

My number one is easy: Splash Mountain.
This is always my answer to the age-old "If you only had time for ONE ride..." question. It has everything. Thrills? Check. Cute Disney characters singing? Check. Impressive audio animatronics? Checkity check. Granted the queue is pretty heinous in crowded mid-July and it can be amazingly stressful when the woman in front of you lets her toddler stand up for the entire ride, but the ride itself? Pure Disney perfection.

Two is Expedition Everest.
The backwards drop is so freaking cool. It's rare now but I loved when it was first built and people honestly did not know what was going on when we pulled up to that mangled
track. I'm sure they didn't think a yeti had destroyed it, but when's the last time you went on a roller coaster and were surprised by anything? I actually screamed, "AHH THE YETI" the first time I rode when they light him up near the end. It's a damn cool ride.

Three? Space Mountain.
Nuff said.

Four is Spaceship Earth.
It would've ranked higher before the recent changes. Would it be that difficult to allow riders to select which audio they want? But I digress. This ride can also be made stressful by idiot teenagers who climb around the cars during the backwards descent. Am I the only one who notices these things? And never, ever forgets them? And DO NOT call it a golf ball. I am not responsible for my actions if someone calls it a golf ball.

Five is the TOWER OF TERROR!
I never really realized until just then what a sweet name that really is. Anyway. Another example of many Disney fans' reason for loving the rides so much. It's not just a drop
ride--go up, come down--like every other theme park builds. It's got a story and it is SO COOL. When your elevator car goes forward into the Twilight Zone? Amazing.

Six is Pirates of the Caribbean.
Iconic, classic, fun. Although, I once read a probably-not-true story about how the cast member in the bridge above the drop can forget to press a button that will make the
boat behind you land on top of your boat. I assume there would be scalping. I always imagine scalping. I cannot get this out of my head, so I find myself unreasonably stressed during that part of the ride. (Wow, I didn't expect this list to illustrate how neurotic I truly am.) Would've scored higher without all the changes. I understand including Jack, though. I just don't love it.

Seven is It's A Small World.
I know, I know. But I love Mary Blair. I love the cheesy hippie dippy message. I could be wrong, but I think they haven't added the character dolls to the Disney World ride. I saw the new version in Disneyland and I'm not really a huge fan. I love when they Blair-ize the characters, but they felt out of place. I hope, in vain, that they leave the WDW attraction alone. (ramblerambleramble) Only downside is when you're stuck in a mass of boats for 12 years at the end of every ride. Also a favorite ride for Mothers who like to let their toddlers stand up and stress me out.

Eight is Soarin'.
Every time I remind myself not to look down. And then promptly look down.

Nine is Ye Olde Rock n Roller Coaster.

And ten, and it's so wrong but so right, is the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
No offense to ole Snowy, but some of the Fantasyland dark rides are barely worth any wait above 20 minutes. I like this one. I like when the rain rain rain comes down down down and it feels like we're floating along. I like the Heffalumps (Woozles...meh). I like the book pages throughout. I just think it's really well done even for such a simple concept.

And there you have it. Now tear it to shreds! Let me guess your
list... "1. Spaceship Earth 2. Soarin' 3. Everest....."



Alright! This is gonna be fun. So, first... an interesting list. I think I could have predicted at least 7 of your 10. Maybe not in order...  I dunno... It's hard to say you're wrong about any of them (except I can't see putting Winnie the Pooh in any Top Ten, and my feelings about It's a Small World are well chronicled, though I at least understand the historical significance of that one.. I'll discuss more of your choices after my list..

Also, I'm not as tormented as you are by children standing up on the ride vehicles. Part of me really wants to see one of them fall out of the People Mover, or whatever, so it doesn't bother me. I've found my enjoyment of some of the attractions diminished, though, by the jackasses who take flash pictures and the other ones who don't go all the way down the row. These things make me far more angry, and they definitely alter my rankings. Little Mermaid is pretty fun until you get stuck on the edge because some family acting as though the rules don't apply to them decided to stop in the middle. I pride myself on my crowd estimating, and know exactly where to stand to get a good seat. All my planning is ruined when they stop in the middle.

Anyway, lets do this, and then we can hash it out. And you guessed 3 of my top 10 in your last sentence, but not the order..

Number 1: Soarin'
It's the same deal for me with the whole "if you could only ride one thing". I thought not as much about what ride I would choose, but what ride I'd be most bummed I'd skipped. I think that makes sense...right? Anyway, I really think that Soarin' is everything a Disney ride should be... It's technically superior to everything else like it in the world. Every motion simulator TRIES to be this good and fails. It's just an incredible feat of engineering. It has thrills, but not the kind you get at King's Island, which are cheap. Any ride can drop you or whatever, but Soarin' is exciting when you're not really even moving at all, and I like that it avoids terror and is more a mellow thrill... if that makes sense. I also love the smells. I know it's weird, but literally whenever I smell oranges, I think of Soarin'. That's a weird thing to try to explain to someone.

Number 2: Pirates of the Caribbean
I can go either way on the additions of Jack, Barbosa and the rest, but really it's a real classic of Disney creativity. It's a legendary dark ride. It's so weird too... Every time I ride it I see something new. Like... You know how you go through that room where the pirates are chasing the women, and the one woman with the rolling pin is chasing the pirate? I never noticed until this past trip that their legs actually move! I always just thought they were gliding around, and maybe they are, but the legs are definitely churning away. How freakin' awesome is that? I've ridden the thing 30+ times and I'm still experiencing it differently. That's cool.

Number 3: Expedition Everest:
Waaaay back in the Spring of 09 I wrote a blog called "Disney World for Aliens" where I decided what 5 attractions I would recommend to aliens if they were ever to visit and ask "Explain what makes Disney World great in 5 Attractions". Everest was my #1 thing. It wasn't saying that it was my favorite ride, just what attraction was the most Disney. It scored one of the two perfect 10 scores. I think I still agree... First, it's another one of those technical marvels. You have backward and forward movement, tracks that literally flip around, and enormous animatronic things. Next, the theming is right up there as one of the most intricate in the whole of the Disney Empire. Third, it has this visual impact that beats just about every ride in the place aside from Spaceship Earth. You walk in and that mountain just TOWERS over to the right. It's amazing to look at. Add to that the totally exciting ride itself, and it's a top 3 attraction any day. It still makes me feel really gross afterward though. Have I mentioned I'm not a roller coaster fan?

Number 4: The Haunted Mansion
I've come to love this ride more and more as time goes by. It's funny; it's another excellent example of theming. It's the ride I'd most want to work on if I were a cast member (Not the job I'd most want, but if I were to be a ride character). I've been known to listen to the full narration of the ride (By Thurl Ravenscroft...greatest name ever!) in my car. I tried to record it on video this past visit, but I failed miserably. I really like the updates they made to it over the past 5 years, and the new queue is a lot of fun. You'd mentioned the narration on Spaceship Earth, and I think this one is even more indispensable.  Thurl died in 2005, and there's really no way to get anyone to come close to being as snarky and creepy and funny at the same time. None.

Number 5: Mickey's Philharmagic
You know... I'm a softie, and this attraction pushes all of my nostalgia buttons. I just found out that they didn't record any new Donald voice stuff for any of the ride, but simply took old recordings of him and pieced it together. Anyway, there are a few great scenes, each re-done with pretty excellent 3D.. Especially, if I do say so, the Peter Pan scene where you fly around Big Ben.

Number 6: Spaceship Earth
You're right... it's not as good as it once was with the old Jeremy Irons narration. That was epic. There was nothing better than cresting at the top of the dome and hearing "Or will we use this power to usher in a new age of understanding and cooperation on this, our SPACESHIP EARTH." That was a magical moment... I'm not sure, though that it would beat out any of the other 5 for me anyway. And there are still some awesome things. As a Hidden Mickey fan, S.E. is a treasure trove of them. It's also infinitely entertaining to 1) make funny faces into the new cameras that put your head into the animations at the end. 2) Select a random language so you have no idea what you're choosing in the interactive portion. That shit his hilarious. I'll never forget selecting French and watching our funny faces marching around with French narration as we boarded our sea cars. It loses points by getting rid of Irons, but I love a lot of the new additions. So... it evens out for me, mostly.

Number 7: Tower of Terror!
I hadn't ridden this ride since 1994 before my visit in 2009. Let's be clear about something... I was a great big pussy for a long time. This ride fucking TERRIFIED me (fittingly, I suppose). The TM convinced me to ride it again after all that time, and i came to realize... holy crap is that fun! I've talked a lot about the theming previously, and sure enough... it's awesome. What I never realized was how much fun it was to be the heavy end of a yoyo. They've changed the ride mechanism like... five times since I rode it the year it opened, when they pretty much just dropped you once and that was it. Now it's totally random, and it drops you like 5 times. And almost bounces. It's crazy fun.

Number 8: Splash Mountain
You're totally right about everything you said about Splash Mountain. It's definitely the best incorporation of characters into a ride. It's gotta be the longest actual RIDE ride anywhere. The music will get right in your head ("Pretty good sureasyourborn") and while the drops are scary, they're not so scary that I dread them at this point. I used to, though... In fact, I remember years where I'd watch the people plummet (and there's no other word for it), and I'd straight up talk myself out of it. Not anymore. It's really, really fun. The only reason it doesn't make it into the top 5 is that I really dislike walking around with wet shoes. Trust me when I say... If you ride it once and make it off without getting soaked. STOP RIDING. The gods do not appreciate you tempting fate by riding a second time. Every time I've done it, I've paid the price with soaking wet shoes. I can't abide wet shoes, so the ranking drops just on the outside chance of shoe wetness.

Number 9: Star Tours
Never, in a million years, would I have predicted that Star Tours would crack my top ten even a year ago. It was shaky and nauseating and definitely outdated. A cool (and I believe the first) motion simulator that had seen better days. Not anymore. They've worked out every mechanical kink, so the movement is now smooth as silk, and the motion seems really, really real. Oh... and they've changed the plot. To FIFTY FOUR variations. The plot comes in these episodic pieces that they puzzle together to create a larger adventure, and each experience is different. Officially, it would take 6 hours of non-stop riding to experience all of the options. What better way to keep the thing fresh? It also has you fighting Darth Vader, and that's pretty cool.

Number 10: Finding Nemo: The Musical
It's easy to forget about this show, but if you're going to the Animal Kingdom, you HAVE to see it. It's so well performed, and the music is so catchy and clever (Written by the people who wrote Avenue Q). It also manages to pack in a really good proximity of the full Finding Nemo story in a little over 40 minutes. The tech is awesome. The puppetry is really inventive (I would LOVE to play Bruce the Shark), and the singing is, overall very well executed. After the TM and I saw it in 09, we liked it so much that she bought me the soundtrack, which lived in slot #5 in my car CD player for the next 2 years. This is easily the best show in all the parks, and one of my favorite things at Disney.

Honorable Mentions: Peter Pan, Kilimanjaro Safari, People Mover, Carousel of Progress,

So... it seems we have a lot of overlap (Splash Mtn, Everest, Tower of Terror, Pirates, Soarin, Spaceship Earth).  I mentioned above your questionable inclusion of Winnie the Pooh, so I won't belabor it, even though I could say that I think it's inferior to Peter Pan in every way, except for the duration.  I'd like for you to explain your inclusions of Space Mountain, which is, in my opinion a little boring, always has way too long a line, and is kind of painful to ride.... and Rock n Roller Coaster, which to me is the most non-Disney of all of the major attractions, even though it's really fun.

What were your "Close but no cigar" choices? I'm surprised that neither of us had Journey into Imagination, even though it's widely considered terrible. I'm also surprised there was no Toy Story Mania... Just for the newness. Strangely neither made my top 15. What about Kali River Rapids?

This is fun.



My sick obsession with reading about theme park accidents is why I stress so much about it. The People Mover has killed before! The vehicles really do not care if you are stuck underneath them, it seems. Shudder.
I commented that some evergreen smelling thing reminded me of Soarin' recently. You are not alone. I'd also like to add that Soarin' is really cool to experience as a group with other riders. I've always been surrounded by people ooh-ing and ahh-ing. (I always do single rider for this one, who cares who you're sitting next to?)

We, too, have the Haunted Mansion CD with Thurl. He was Tony the Tiger! And sang "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch!" He was actually a bonus answer at my trivia one night. (No one got it.)

I almost added Philharmagic. It was number 11. I have yet to get through the damn thing without crying though. (There go those neuroses again)

I like the new things at the end of Spaceship Earth, too. Although I made the mistake of opening my mouth for the picture so I ended up with a see-through mouth.

The first time I rode Tower of Terror I had to be helped off of it because my legs were totally jellified. And I could not wait to ride it again. Disney has a way of making things just scary enough without being too much (Mission: SPACE excluded). I am not a ride person at all anywhere else. If it doesn't make me puke, then I'll surely get a headache. At Disney, I know I can safely ride anything without risk of day ruination.

Also on Splash Mountain, if you've made it down the drop without getting wet, don't get too comfortable. That elephant sees me coming every time.
I cannot--CANNOT--wait to see the new Star Tours. Why must you taunt
me by speaking of it's awesomeness?

OMFG WITH THE NEMO MUSICAL! I still cannot believe I let you make me sit through that garbage. The puppets are really cool. Other than that? Total waste of everything. The lyrics are written by a five year old! "I'm so sad/I miss my dad". Oh, just wretched, that thing. I also cannot make it through this without crying. (Get it? Cuz it's so bad? ZING.) But it's good to know that they sold that one soundtrack that they made by accident.

Peter Pan is short and underwhelming. The concept is cool, it's great to look at, but I can never justify a 45 minute wait for 3 minutes of, "Cool! So small!" Ride vehicles are neat-o, though. You must always wave to Nana. WAVE TO NANA!

I think Space Mountain is so totally rad. I honestly get giddy every time I climb into that car because I'm about to go into space and it's SO COOL. I love the exterior as well--so 70's futuristic. I'm having trouble coming up with any explanation beyond, "CUZ ITS COOL, I LIKE LIGHTS!" The DL version is much less cool, I will say. If this were a DL list, I'm not sure that it would've made it. You know, less colors. I've waited two hours for Space Mountain before. With a FP [Fast Pass] in hand to ride it again immediately after. Maybe I have some sort of forgotten childhood subconscious thing with it. Who knows? Same with Rock n Roller Coaster, too, really. I mean, arguably Everest is no different. There's nothing "Disney" about a Yeti. Their Disney-oscity lies in their awesome-noscity.

I considered Philharmagic, Toy Story Mania (which I do think is really fun but I can't wait to not have to wait in line for 6 days just to ride it), Star Tours and MuppetVision3D. Oh, and I seriously tried to rationalize adding El Rio del Tiempo (name change? what name change? lalalala...) or Maelstrom. But that's when my brain starts going, "And
Jungle Cruise! And the Tiki Room! Andandandand!" and I remind myself that the point is to pick only ten.

Oddly, I've never ridden Kali River Rapids. I've always wanted to but there's never been a convenient time to be soaking wet. I get pretty wham-bam in Animal Kingdom. Get in, ride Everest a couple of times, Dinosaur, Rainforest Cafe, and I'm outta there. I'm a little surprised you didn't have your little safari on there, too. Or the dreaded Carousel of Progress.

This felt reeeeeeeeally ramble-y. Feel free to edit. Structure was never my strong suit.


That was a lot to take in... I'll respond, you respond (in short form) with any closing thoughts, and we'll call this one complete...

1) Finding Nemo, when we saw it, was still in rewrites. I scanned through the soundtrack and there is no "I'm so sad; I miss my Dad". So, if that was in it in 2006, it's not in there now. Either way, the tech and the puppetry is awesome. The music is catchy, and it grows on you. I love it now.

2) I wonder if that open mouth thing is what happened to me. We got a video with 2 Tofu Muchachas. It was mildly disconcerting.

3) You mention, briefly, Mission Space. I read things all the time about Top 10s and whatnot, and I very rarely see it mentioned. I've ridden it once, and it was "meh" for me. Not memorable. (I did ride the tame version). It didn't make me sick or anything, but I can see how it would. I also note no mentions at all of Test Track. I skipped it for the first time on my most recent visit. And we definitely had the time.

4) The difference between Rock'n'Roller Coaster / Space Mountain vs Everest in terms of "Disney-Osity" is the level of technology and the theming. There's nothing more inherently Disney about a Yeti than there is about Pirates, but the Yeti itself is so awesome, and well done.. ONLY Disney could do it. I've never felt the same about the other 2. There's something original about Space Mountain that I will concede, because i think it was the first indoor, dark roller coaster. I'd be more inclined to include that one, just because of the historical significance. Maybe it's the Aerosmith inclusion in the other one that sort of makes me apathetic to it. Seems to date it very specifically, and isn't Disney supposed to be at least a little timeless?

5) I feel far more "Wham Bam" about Studios than I do about Animal Kingdom, though Tower of Terror is a fairly new addition to my favorite rides and it certainly extends my stay there. AK has a bunch of "second tier" things for me. The Safari is awesome, but it’s far too dependent on the animals' moods to be truly in top 10 considerations. Dinosaur is good, but not great. Festival of the Lion King is great, but I didn't have room for 2 shows. Same with Tough to Be a Bug. I'd choose Philharmagic over it any day.  Kali River Rapids is fun, but way too short, and yeah... There's about a 50% chance of getting more than soaked. Like... completely water-logged drenched. Not worth it.

6) Carousel of Progress is part of the subject of a whole other e-mail exchange: Things that sorely need updating.

7) You mentioned also the Tiki Room... They finally brought it back to the old show, and it was awesome. It also just missed inclusion.



Well, we agreed on an awful lot, even if the placement was different. I think it's really heartening how many recent additions we both have on our lists. I think it's easy to sit back and look at all the things that have changed or that Disney is doing wrong nowadays. This list served to remind me that they still do a lot of really cool things
that stay true that what Disney once provided and what we fans have come to expect. A beginning, middle and end. Intense theming. Superior technology.

It's also nice to see that things that have barely been changed since their construction (adding Sparrow or changing audio are really small changes, if you think about it) on both of our lists. The Star Tours changes have updated a ride that was starting to feel dated and stale without changing the essence of the ride--or getting rid of it all
together. These lists have really made me feel a lot less pessimistic about Disney (as reading critical blogs can often lead you to be).

With the big Fantasyland expansion looming, it feels exciting to think about what these lists will look like in another ten years. How odd and special how Disney can balance the old with the new and manage to have guests love all of it. It's not as though it's all geriatrics on Pirates while the kids are zooming around Test Track. Well, that's enough gushing about WDW. I'm glad to have my current list archived so I can look back and it (and think, 'Really, Annie? Really?').

One last note: Seriously? Finding Nemo: the Musical? Out of everything--EVERYTHING--else, you pick that. It boggles my mind so much that I give the computer screen the side eye, wondering if you're just trolling your own brain somehow. But, sure. Tell people it's awesome. Less people in line for Everest that way.

If you were entertained and wish to follow Annie on Twitter, she can be found at @djphob
Me? I'm at @beefymuchacho (of course).

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 2011 Muchacho Movie Rankings: Part 2... The Golden Muchachos

I’m back for Part 2 of my 2011 Movie Blog Extravaganza! Also known as the less intense and overwhelming portion.

In Part 1, you may recall that I talked forever about a lot of movies. Some good, some bad, but most importantly, I talked a lot.

Part 2 will concentrate on the Golden Muchacho Awards. They’re basically like the Oscars, but way more prestigious, and far more fictional.

Let’s Get Started!

Best Supporting Actor:
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Okay, so I hated this movie a lot, but Patton Oswalt somehow rose above the fray to put in one of the better performances of the year, supporting or not. I would have enjoyed hanging out with him in his garage, drinking Jawa Juice or whatever it was he was making in those barrels.

Honorable Mentions:
Simon Pegg, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love
TJ Miller, Our Idiot Brother\
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Aziz Ansari, 30 Minutes or Less

Best Supporting Actress
Anna Kendrick, 50/50
I believe Ms. Kendrick is now a 2 time winner of this award. It’s possible I’m not totally rational when it comes to her, because I find her totally fascinating, and really really talented. In any case, I thought she was excellent in this movie, as the reluctant love interest. She managed to play the character’s struggle between all of these conflicting emotions so well, and so believably. I mean… I would not have wanted her as my therapist, but that may have kinda been the point.

Honorable Mentions:
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Bryce Dallas Howard, 50/50
Judi Dench, My Week with Marilyn
Maggie Smith, Harry Potter 7 pt. 2
Elle Fanning, Super 8

Weirdest Performance, Female and Male Respectively

Carla Gallo, We Bought a Zoo – A truly bizarre performance and an equally strangely written role. Gallo tends to play relatively likeable characters, but this one wasn’t at all. It was so weird. I didn’t understand the animosity she had, and it just seemed horned in to create some sort of drama.

Mickey Rourke, Immortals – Man… this dude is totally crazy. I mean, I get that he was playing this crazy horrible villain, but he kept spitting on the ground and into things. Big pieces of fruit or whatever he was eating. It was so clearly a character choice he was making that was just strange.

Biggest Waste of Good Actors

Pirates of the Caribbean – Depp, McShane, and Rush in the worst movie of the year.. This is the CLEAR winner. There are no runners up.

Best Looking Cast
Crazy Stupid Love – This movie wins just by sheer volume of attractive people. Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and Marisa Tomei. I mean… That’s some good looking dramedy.?

50/50 – Bryce Dallas Howard and Anna Kendrick.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig
Captain America – Chris Evans and Hayley Atwell.
X-Men – January Jonesm Jennifer Lawrence, and Fassbender.
Drive – Gosling and Carey Mulligan

I refuse to list Twilight, because that’s literally the only goal of the producers of this movie, and they still fail. I won’t even go into how the vampires are supposed to be the most beautiful creatures on Earth, and um… Not even close. Did you see how butchered Maggie Grace was? Yikes.

Toughest Scene to Watch

Water for Elephants – The beating of the elephant. There’s only one other possible choice, and I’ll mention that too, but this one was the only scene that I literally had to look away. I don’t know how they did it, but that was some super disturbing, super realistic animal cruelty. Don’t want to see it ever again.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Rape of Lisbeth / Lisbeth gets her revenge. I mean… I don’t want to spoil it for people, but the horrible rape scene, followed by the subsequent revenge was pretty damned disturbing.  I’ll just say that while it was sort of enjoyable to see Lisbeth give that pervy guy a violent comeuppance, when she shoved that giant silver thing up his ass, and then kicked it. I’m certain the whole theater shuddered at once. That was rough.

Best Individual Scene – Comedy-
Bridesmaids – The Dress Shop Scene. If you haven’t seen it, my describing it to you will just seem gross. Just know that it was really fucking hilarious.

Best Individual Scene – Drama
50/50 – Pre-Surgery. The scene when Joseph Gordon Levitt is heading into surgery, and his fear and anxiety starts bubbling to the surface. A really powerful scene, excellently acted.

Best Actor
Joseph Gordon Levitt – 50/50
Look… This was a man’s performance. He hit every note, and he did it with subtlety and seeming ease. There was nothing showy about it, and it was kind of easy to get lost in the shuffle of bigger name performances this year, but for my money, JGL makes a potentially saccharine, manipulative role and squeezes every bit of humor and pathos out of it. He has 4 or 5 amazing scenes in this movie. Seriously, people. Buy it on BluRay and sit down and watch it. It’s just an excellent movie anchored by a really excellent performance by its lead.

Honorable Mentions
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Steve Carell, Crazy Stupid Love
Matt Damon, We Bought a Zoo
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter 7

Best Actress
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Nobody touches it. She was so good, and so sad as Marilyn Monroe. I mean… I’ve talked a lot in other places about how I see a difference between the biopics where the actor impersonates a person (Ray and Monster as two highly lauded examples) and where the actor plays the person without doing an impression (Walk the Line). I much prefer the latter to the former since impressions seem gimmicky. There are occasional movies where the impression is so good, and so deep that you forget you’re not watching the real person. (Man on the Moon is my favorite of these.). Well.. Michelle Williams can be added to this list. And for the record, Jim Carrey was robbed.

Honorable Mentions
Carey Mulligan, Drive
Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Monday, January 16, 2012

The 2011 Muchacho Movie Rankings Part 1

Last year I wrote a blog about all of the movies I saw in the theater in 2010.

I’d always been interested in the question “What is your favorite movie?” and found my answer changing based on my tastes and my mood. This, of course, is natural, but I also wondered how I would rank the movies based solely on my gut reaction to it at the very moment I saw it, so I started at the very start of the year, and listed each movie I saw as I saw it. Each time I added a movie, I placed it within the list based on where it ranked among the other movies at the time I saw it. It was easy, because I didn’t have to evaluate each movie at the same time. I was exceptionally pleased with how the list came out, and I think it’s an interesting way to rank them.

I didn’t do it the same way this year. I didn’t keep exact running track of them. Instead, I sort of just kept a list, unranked, throughout the year, and decided to evaluate them all at once by a new criteria.

“Would I want to see it again?”

I created several categories, and started at the top, picking the movies that fit into the most esteemed category (“Movies I’d want to own”). Once I’d divvied them all out, I was able to then rank the more manageable groups within their subsets.

I think it’s still a fairly accurate portrayal of the movies I loved, liked, and disliked for the year, and I’m keeping them in order… So basically you’re getting my Best to Worst. Overall, I don’t think it was a particularly strong year.

Let’s break it down…

Movies I Want to Own”

50/50 -
Maybe I’m not your typical “dude” who wants action, action, and more action. I’m definitely all about the story with many levels, and I really feel like no movie this year did a better job of mixing great acting, excellent writing, comedy, emotion, and people I liked doing interesting and likable things. Joseph Gordon Levitt should be considered for Best Actor this year, but he won’t be mainly because the movie came out too soon, and is probably considered too light for most voters (because what’s a movie about a young guy dying from cancer if it’s not light?). My girl Anna Kendrick rocked it, again. Seth Rogen proved he could act, and not just be awkward (like his performance in The Green Hornet, for example). I cried at this movie, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s the only one this year that really got me without me feeling a little manipulated (I’m looking at you “We Bought a Zoo”). The Oscar talk has really gotten a head of steam lately, and I rarely hear this mentioned, which is odd since Rotten Tomatoes has this as the 2011 Winner of the Golden Tomato award for Best User Reviewed movie. Everyone loved it.

The Descendants / Moneyball
Clooney and Pitt, at it again. Um… In completely separate movies. Both feature very strong performances by these established stars, and they’re getting the majority of the attention, but they also featured great performances by other people, putting them over the top. The Descendants features Shailene Woodley as Clooney’s daughter, acting the shit out of a role that could easily be one-note, AND a barely mentioned Judy Greer as “the other man’s wife” being great in just 3 scenes. I loved her in that movie. In Moneyball, our boy Jonah Hill, before he lost a crapload of weight, playing a completely fictional person in a movie about a true story. Kinda weird, I know, but he was really good. And that movie was about baseball, so I had to give it extra points. Of all the movies on the list, theTofu Muchacha would have cared the least about this Moneyball…. One last note about The Descendants… Is it now Clooney’s secondary mission to play the leading man opposite pretty brunette girls who garner Oscar talk for Best Supporting Actress?

Harry Potter 7 part 2. –
You know what’s weird? I didn’t have part 1 on last year’s list at all. That was, I think, a mistake, or maybe I was just planning to count the whole thing as one movie and saved it for this year. Yeah… that’s what it was… Anyway, it’s very difficult to rate this movie by itself. All of the years of buildup to it sort of give it too much context for me to be completely honest about it. I could likely write a whole blog about just this movie series. It’s great, it got better as it went along, and I was totally happy with the on-screen realization of one of my all time favorite books. It didn’t pack the emotional wallop that the books did, but how could it? Still great, and I’m excited to see the kids start showing up in other movies. Radcliffe in The Woman in Black should be good.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I was about halfway through the book when I went to see the movie. I couldn’t wait anymore. I’m super glad I was impatient. I really liked it. Rooney Mara played Lisbeth Salander as the total badass I picture when I read the book, and literally every scene she was in was so arresting that I was almost hypnotized by her. There were definitely some down points in it… I find the actual mystery they’re investigating to be a bit of a non-starter, but that’s more an issue with the source material. I found the performances, across the board, to be excellent. Daniel Craig was believable as “not Bond”, Christopher Plummer was crazy good, and I loved all of the assorted Vanger family members. The Soundtrack was also excellent. Like… really excellent.

There are a bunch of movies in the next two categories, and for the most part they could have, upon further evaluation, been swapped around and I wouldn’t have questioned myself too much… However, so much of this experiment is about “Gut Reaction” at the time of viewing that I couldn’t do too much fiddling with them. I simply separated them between categories at where I felt was the best place.

Netflix on a Saturday Night (Reasonably Good Movies, worthy of a date night)

Bridesmaids / Crazy Stupid Love
Do you know that people are talking about both of these movies in terms of OSCARS? That’s so strange, you know, because I see these movies as essentially the same kind of flick, and for the most part just really fun and fluffy. Of course, both of these movies are elevated by good writing and pretty strong performances (Wiig and McCarthy in Bridesmaids and Gosling and Carrell in Crazy Stupid Love). In the end, I came close to placing these movies in the upper category, but for whatever reason (as opposed to the ones above) neither of them stuck with me long after I left the theater. I think the TM liked them both a great deal, though, so that counts for something.

We Bought A Zoo
I really liked this movie, except for the dead wife/mommy storyline. I feel like, even though it was based on a true story, this part was overly manipulative. Especially the business at the end. I really am a sucker for father/son bonding movies, and I love animals, and I am one of the few unabashed Patrick Fugit fans out there. Overall, it was a really good movie with a lot of memorable stuff, but I couldn’t rate it higher because I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a puppet as I walked out.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol / Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows
Okay… So… These movies were super fun. I enjoyed both of them while I watched (especially Mission Impossible), and they were both pretty stunning to look at. So… why not in the DVD category? They suffered from the same disease…. The central conceit/ mystery was a little too convoluted for me. I left thinking that something didn’t sit right. I don’t generally have a hard time following espionage plots, but the one in Sherlock Holmes was almost impossible. I did have a hard time believing that Moriarty, with his vast intellect, would be so consumed with something so pedestrian as war racketeering. And in MI… how many times is “Global Nuclear War” going to be the goal of someone in a big spy movie? How is this a reasonable goal? Anarchy is interesting, sort of, but the odds of death are far too high for the villain to truly want to blow everything up.

Super 8 / The Muppets
I had a tough time with these two. On the surface, they’re both really strong movies that also happen to sort of prey on my own nostalgia (partly for kind of awesome filmmaking with kid stars and partly for Muppets… you can guess which was which.). I think both would be higher had I felt more personal connection with The Muppets (I liked them, I think, but I was never the huge Muppets fan that some kids were) or with late 70s nostalgia. I was born in 1980. I have a feeling if some of the key situations in Super 8 had had the ring of MY childhood, I’d feel more strongly about it. In both cases, they were enjoyable, but not indelible.
* Side note… I never put together the central concept of the Muppets until recently that the difference between Muppets and puppets is that puppets are known to be toys with hands up their asses / strings on their arms, while Muppets are regarded by all humans as completely normal and fitting within the human world. Weird, huh?

Captain America
I do know a few things for sure:
1) Chris Evans has never been as good as this.
2) The effects were awesome.
3) Elrond played the bad guy
4) The action sequences were tight.
5) The period feel of it was cool for a super hero movie.
6) The main love interest, played by Hayley Atwell, is smoking hot.

All of these things are points in the favor of Captain America. Just one problem: For the life of me I can’t really remember the plot of this movie. I mean. I remember the Captain American origin portion, but lord… that whole Elrond part was crazy and I don’t remember it. I think it involved Truman Capote.

The Big Year
This movie came and went without much comment. It was largely disliked by critics. But you know… I liked it. It wasn’t anything brilliant, and it wasn’t breaking new ground, exactly, but it was a very likeable movie, about a quirky subject (bird watching… which itself is a term disliked by that community), featuring several big name, likeable stars who do largely likeable things. It’s a pleasant movie that I would watch again if it were on cable, and if I see it on Netflix on a Saturday night with the Tofu Muchacha, I’m going to push for it… because otherwise lord knows what nonsense I’ll end up watching.

NetFlix on a Thursday Afternoon (maybe part of a movie marathon, or while we’re spending a lazy day at home)

A decent movie with an utterly terrifying premise. Kate Winslett dying early on doesn’t win it any points. Ultimately, it doesn’t really do anything different than several other movies with the same concept. One funny note… I’ve never witnessed more obsessive hand-washing than I did in the men’s restroom after seeing this movie. I mean, dudes were going to town.

Horrible Bosses / Our Idiot Brother
Movies featuring guys I find funny and for the most part are funny, but definitely aren’t ground breaking at all. Horrible Bosses would have been way better had it gone much further with the bad behavior of the bosses. I kind of feel like they did it with the Kevin Spacey character, but the other two were bad but didn’t really warrant the crazy level of hatred. They were definitely bad, manipulative people, but MURDER material? I’m not sure. Our Idiot Brother was largely predictable, but had some funny scenes. Especially the ones featuring the hippie boyfriend of Paul Rudd’s ex. That dude brought this one up at least a category.

Thor / X-Men First Class
The mediocre super-hero movies of this year’s batch. They both had cool things (most of the Thor/ Asgard stuff , and Fassbender). They both also had some fairly glaring flaws (most of the Earth stuff in Thor, and the horrible, over-the-top acting of Kevin Bacon in X-Men). Origin stories are interesting sometimes, and sometimes they feel like setup. These two flicks wound up more on the “felt like setup” side. Thor was the most obviously “engineered for The Avengers” of all of the pre-avengers movies. X-Men seemed to want to establish a new group of actors to play younger versions of these characters, because presumably Famke Janssen, Hugh Jackman, James Marsden are all too fucking old at this point, or have realized they have better things to do. If that’s the case with X-Men, I give it a pass, because I like the new cast. Unfortunately, I fear that Jennifer Lawrence may have something better to do now (what with being the lead in The Hunger Games and all).

30 Minutes or Less
Okay… I loved 50 percent of this movie. The Jessie Eisenberg /Aziz Ansari portion of this movie cracked me up. I think Ansari is one of the funniest people working today. He’s fucking hilarious right now. He’s got this delivery where he points out obvious things with incredulity that makes me laugh every time. Eisenberg’s character was also funny, and a pretty interesting change from The Social Network. I mean… he was equally unlikeable in his own way, but I enjoyed his performance anyway.

And then we have Danny McBride and Nick Swardson.

I’m sorry, but I have to say it… I’m tired of Danny McBride’s “Danny McBride” bit. I like Eastbound and Down well enough, but isn’t that character a little overdone at this point? Swardson too. You can’t really call it “acting” at this point, can you? It’s just this weird character he does where he’s full of crazy, perv bravado…. Oh… and he’s an inept moron. When he did it in Tropic Thunder, it was fresh and hilarious. 3 years later, he needs to come up with a new bit, and I’ll be honest and say that he personally reduced the score and grade of this movie.

The Hangover Part 2
I love the first movie. This was not markedly different in either way, except that now it’s not as fresh or as interesting. Funny? Yes. Even remotely satisfying? No.

NetFlix at 3 AM (You know… that time of night where you’re just awake and you see something and are all “Why the hell not?”. I would watch these at work rather than a rerun of American Pickers. Probably. These are not particularly good movies.)

Tower Heist
I miss Eddie Murphy being funny like this. His presence was literally the only interesting thing about this movie (aside from a 30 second scene between him and the girl from Precious which was in the trailer). Other than this, there’s barely anything to make me remember it at all. Eddie Murphy still has it in him somewhere. That is all.

Man… There were a lot of beheadings in this movie.

Normally, I’d say this was a good thing, and it certainly wasn’t a BAD thing, but damn…This could have been a totally badass movie. It wasn’t. It was merely watchable. I would have liked to see Peter Jackson make this exact movie with his own script and effects team. It could have been fucking awesome. Oh… and Mickey Rourke is almost certainly completely insane at this point. I’m pretty positive.

Watchable, Maybe Good, but Just the Once. (Can you say artsy fartsy?)… oh… in no particular order.

Okay, okay… I know like every art snob and his/her brother is totally having a boner about this movie, and it was… you know… kinda good. That’s… that’s about all I can say about it. Gosling was good, I suppose. Albert Brooks is apparently already clearing space on his mantle. It has Brian Cranston, who is awesome. It has Carey Mulligan, who is also awesome. It has all the makings of an awesome movie, except for being an awesome movie. It was fine, but you know… I never have to see it again.

Midnight in Paris
I’ve never been one to totally get Woody Allen. I mean… the dialogue or whatever, and you could argue that Allen is the greatest Traveloguest of all time. He’s written more love letters to New York than anyone, and now he’s on to the European Capitals (First with Vickie Christina Barcelona). It’s an entertaining watch, but has far too many annoying characters for me to want to see it again. Poor Rachel McAdams, one of my all time favorites, was made to be such a horrid shrew, I had to watch The Wedding Crashers to wash my brain of her performance. She was so one-dimensionally written that I wanted to stop watching. It’s not like Owen Wilson’s lead character was much more likeable or sympathetic. He wasn’t. People have loved this movie. It’s one of the best rated Woody Allen movies in 30 years, and my thoughts? Meh. It’s pretty. It needed more Adrian Brody (and you know that’s not a good thing to think).

My Week with Marilyn
A single, amazing performance that saves this movie from being almost entirely unlikeable. Michelle Williams was worth seeing essentially become Marilyn Monroe, but even with her crazy good portrayal, she didn’t really succeed in making Marilyn a sympathetic character. Eddie Redmayne may have changed his name from Colin to “Gawker” and everyone would have gone along. I did like Judi Dench, but then… doesn’t that basically go without saying at this point? I’m glad I saw the movie for Williams’ performance, but now I have, and it can go away.
The Ides of March
More completely unlikeable people doing things I don’t care about. Regardless of what my occasional blog may indicate, I’m not all that interested in politics. I’m also not a fan of stories about adultery and political intrigue. I saw this movie because it was filmed in Cincinnati, and I was curious to see the local things they used. Of course, they edited locations strangely, and it distracted me. Clooney did a decent job, I assume, but it’s not my kind of flick. It also featured my least favorite of Ryan Gosling’s 3 roles this year, and the best performance I can recall of Evan Rachel Wood, not that that says much.

Should Have Waited for NetFlix (I would have preferred to be able to pause it to take a break and evaluate the number of movies I see).

Something Borrowed
I remember finding this to be a perfectly fine RomCom. That’s about all. Hugely wasted talent with Krasinski (who basically picks one bad movie after another) and Ginnifer Goodwin. The TM told me at the time that it’s a book in a series of books, and that the 2nd one features the utterly detestable character played by Kate Hudson. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how anyone could tolerate 5 more minutes of her. She’s one of the worst characters I can think of, and I saw Rachel McAdams in Midnight in Paris.

Water for Elephants
I read the book and really liked it. I have to admit that I hoped for more. It was a disappointment for reasons I can’t fully articulate, so I won’t. It just wasn’t a fun watch. It also featured the worst single moment of viewing of the year, when the elephant was beaten. Bad.

Killer Elite
If I told you that I saw an “intrigue” movie featuring Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, and Clive Owen, you probably would have been excited, right? Well… I sure as hell was. And then I saw it, and I thought… Huh… That was boring as all hell. I don’t care what happens with these people at all. And it also featured Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck. A good actress who also happens to be a badass in action scenes, and also happens to be very attractive…and she’s a total non factor.

Movies I wish I could Forget (and possibly already have).

First the movies that I totally forgot I saw until I started putting together this list:

Sucker Punch/ Hall Pass/ The Green Hornet-
I guess these movies happened. I recall a guy pooping in a golf bunker. I recall a girl dressing up like a doll. I recall an Asian man making coffee, and Christoph Waltz being a bad guy. That’s about it.

I remember thinking at the time that Sucker Punch could have been cool if it had made any logical sense at all.

I remember thinking at the time that The Green Hornet would have been better had it featured bad language, nudity, and violence… Which is weird, because Seth Rogen was recently interviewed by Howard Stern, and he essentially admitted that the movie sucked because it was PG13 and not R. I kind of believe him. He’s for sure right about it sucking.

I THINK Hall Pass featured the pooping golfer. I cannot be sure.

The Rum Diary-
We’ve all seen this movie, back when it was called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I never have any interest in seeing Johnny Depp play a drunk ever again. (more on that later). This was a movie about drugs, sex, and Puerto Rico that also happened to be completely boring. Amber Heard is in this movie and it’s still completely boring. It’s just a boring fucking movie that was unnecessary.

Just Go With It
A completely ridiculous movie whose end could have been predicted in the first 2 minutes. Also, it’s one of those maddening movies where if the main character had simply just told the truth in the first 5 minutes of the misunderstanding, everything would have been fine. Instead they go through INSANE lengths to keep a lie going for absolutely no reason.

Brooklyn Decker – “Why do you have a wedding ring in your pocket? Are you married, you asshole?”
Adam Sandler – “No, I’m not married. I was engaged once, and she broke my heart. I carry this ring around with me all the time. Sometimes, and I’m not proud of this, I show it to girls to get sympathy. Not my proudest moment, but at least I didn’t do that with you, right?”
Brooklyn Decker – “Wow… that’s super sad and kinda pathetic. Whatever, I’m over it. Let’s bone again, and then why don’t you get rid of that ring... And then let’s get married.”
Adam Sandler – “Done”

Puss in Boots
Other than the fairly entertaining concept that while it’s an anthropomorphic cat, he still acts like a cat sometimes (blatantly stolen from Dug’s squirrel obsession in ‘Up’), not interesting. Not funny. Not engaging. Just a stupid movie that is nothing more than a cash grab. And Humpty Dumpty was really weird.

Young Adult
I toyed with putting this in the last category along with the other 3 worst movies I saw this year. I know it’s a strange choice, because Charlize Theron is good. Patton Oswalt is good. Patrick Wilson is good. All three of them are good. Jason Reitman is good (I think… though come to think of it, I also disliked the almost universally loved Juno). In any case, it’s difficult for a hoard of good actors to make a really detestable film, but they somehow managed to do it, while still putting in decemt performances. Especially Oswalt, who kicks total ass. For whatever reason, though, I couldn’t wait for this movie to end. I HATED the main character. (Like… you’re supposed to think she’s a bad person. I just couldn’t stand her). I didn’t understand why anyone tolerated her nonsense. I thought, for a brief moment at the end that the movie might be slightly redeemed. But no. I know that is part of the supposed charm of it… that she’s so unapologetically awful. But I feel like for that to work really, the character has to have some sort of likeable thing going on underneath where you don’t completely despise her. Fail. I don’t feel bad for her. I just hate her.

It’s the performance of Oswalt alone that prevents me from placing it in the last group…

The Movies that Actively Made me Want to Fight Someone. They were just that bad.

Twilight –
Okay, so my relationship with the Twilight movies and books is well chronicled on this blog. I’ve compared it negatively to just about everything. Most recently to the far superior Hunger Games trilogy, that…so help me… better live up to my expectations in movie form. Anyway, there’s something truly detestable about these people taking an excruciatingly weird, awkward, gross book like “Breaking Dawn” and dividing it into two equally excruciating, awkward, weird, gross movies. Like Puss in Boots, it’s a totally blantant cash grab, and it’s taking advantage of teens everywhere (and me, who will undoubtedly see the last one in the theater too). This wasn’t a good movie. It was downright dull. NOTHING happened. If a person watched just this one movie, and didn’t understand the whole vampire/werewolf bit, they’d think it was some sort of elaborate “Sex=Pregnancy=Death” thing. Because that’s all that happened. They got married. Sexed it up (violently) for a bit, she gets immediately knocked up, and then the fetus tries to eat her from the inside. Nice huh? Good teen fun. Fuck these movies where nothing happens, and we’re expected to love it and salivate for more. There’s not even a satisfying Werewolf/vampire battle, or even one of the godforsaken teen love triangles. The choices have all already been made. Even the horrid Rosalie character gets the shaft when all of the “depth” from books is totally erased and barely eluded to. Gross.

The Green Lantern-
Easily my biggest disappointment of the year. I LOVE the Green Lantern story. Hal Jordan, test pilot, is bequeathed a magic ring that helps him guard the universe. His powers are only limited by his creativity and imagination (and the color yellow, idiotically enough). So many places to go with it. So many options. But no… It was just a bad, cheesy movie with laughable special effects and no imagination. Bad acting. Bad writing. Stupid villain. (Paralax, what?!!). Ryan Reynolds personal gift is snark, and they took that all away. Blake Lively is… terrible. What can I say? She’s the worst. It was tough to sit through. It was like they took an awesome superhero idea and spent a shitload of money on it, and instead of giving it to capable people like Christopher Nolan or Sam Mendes or Peter Jackson, they give it to a monkey with some crayons. It was just awful. Totally upsetting. Totally unoriginal.

I was especially disappointed with the lack of imagination used for the powers. When given the choice of creating anything with his mind, he made like… 14 guns, a car, and a wave. Seriously? That’s the best he could come up with? He’s the savior of the galaxy? Bullshit.

And here it is folks… my WORST MOVIE OF 2011.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
What total fucking nonsense this movie was. You know why it was the worst movie of the year? Because it was the biggest waste ever. First… I think it was so bad that it has almost sullied how I feel about the first movie. I barely regard the 2nd and 3rd movies, since they were sort of obligatory sequels with good things and bad things, but mostly guilty of pushing a little too hard when the first one was so effortless.

Well, this one pushed so hard it nearly took the good will the first one built up, and shoved it off a cliff. The first movie is easily in my Top 10 movies of all time list. (I should do that one soon. That’s so tough).

1-For the first time, Johnny Depp looked bored playing Jack Sparrow. I’m not saying he was steller in 2 and 3, but he at least seemed to be having a good time.

2-The plot was crazy, and also really really dumb.

3- Enormous wastes of Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Geoffrey Rush. I’m not saying that these guys deserve meatier material, but seriously. McShane played the greatest anti-hero in the history of television. I think he can handle a little more substance. Geoffrey Rush has a fucking OSCAR. He already played Barbossa to perfection a few times. Why was this one so stale?

4- The biggest reason it’s the worst is because it took something so awesome, and with so much great background, had infinite time, money, and scope to really get it right, and failed miserably. It was boring. It wasn’t funny. The action scenes were SOOO BAD. When you compare the fights in this one with the sword fight between Orlando Bloom and Depp in Curse of the Black Pearl, you’ll see what I mean. There was no rhythm. There was no heart to any of it.

I think this is ultimately my biggest pet peeve with big budget movies that are highly anticipated. In that group, I’ll include movies like The Green Lantern, all of the Twilights, this most recent Pirates, and the last Indiana Jones movie….

These movies are guaranteed to make a shitload of money. There’s no question that the 4th Indiana Jones flick was going to crush it at the box office. So… with that in mind, and no real need to rush something out, why not come up with something really fucking good. There’s no way that George Lucas and Spielberg thought that shit was any good. And it hurt the legacy. Same with Pirates here. You’re telling me that they couldn’t wait another 6 months to find the perfect script, and maybe get a good fight director, and maybe get Johnny Depp in the groove? I call BS. The thing is… they made a crapload of money, but they seriously hurt the legacy of the movies. Maybe they just don’t see it.

This is why I’m fine with Ghostbusters 3 never seeing the light of day. If it’s not good, don’t push it.

Let’s leave it at that. I think a five thousand word blog is quite enough, thank you.

(Stay tuned for Part 2 later in the week where I give out my Muchacho Awards. Yes, I’m really taking this “Blog More” resolution seriously.)