Mad Max: Fury Road – remember movies?

So the debate is whether movie theaters are bound for the crypt because covid walked in and spoiled the popcorn machine. To me, whether theaters are doomed has been in my brain for years and had nothing to do with the virus messing with the screen focus.

The problem with theaters is the ability to put out quality movies that people actually want to see. Box office receipts have been decent for years, but not at the level you’d expect for an industry that should be growing in proportion to the population.

I attribute this to a movie studio model that chases big blockbusters with about 95% of their energy, and maybe leaves a little 5% left over to take some chances. For the most part, there’s not room for the spark hit or decent medium budget flick anymore.

Plus, all the big blockbusters for about a decade have been superhero slop. Hey if this is your thing? Okay, I get it, sort of. But it’s not mine. I haven’t seen a superhero movie in, since, uh, um?

I think they have an eighth actor to play Batman now. It’s John Wayne’s ghost! They dug up his mortal remains, cloned him, trained him to talk in an even more guttural voice, and he’ll endlessly punch faceless bad guys to no purpose for a run time of 2 hours and 43 minutes. This movie will make $1.3B.

Then there’s the darker side of the Hollywood equation, the dominance of China. China is now the world’s largest box office and it won’t be close. They don’t even have Netflix to compete with theaters. Mulan is out this week on China’s screens and America’s small squares. It will make $1.3B.

Never mind the script was run past the Chinese Communist Party censors or that that lead actress thinks pro democracy protestors are losers. These are minor considerations when you’re trying to make money in China. Just ask the NBA.

But if you’re like me and you want quality, open thought, risk taking, and generally not seeing movies that feel like they emerged from a vending machine? Well, you need to get rid of superheros, and China’s deep Hollywood influence.

Well kids, that ain’t happening. And so to me, covid aside, this a business model set up for failure. They’re just begging Netflix or Amazon to eat them up. Movie theaters will be where you go see classic movies back when they made movies that were actually good. Or theme park rides like in Universal Studios, or 4D experiences, or Big Brother mind control centers, or whatever.

Meanwhile, if you want to watch real movies, you’ll have to stream or buy blu ray versions of old films from back when they made actual movies. And there’s no better example of that in Mad Max: Fury Road. Which is all of five years old at this point, but feels like it was made a century ago.

a perfectly normal way for your protagonist to start the movie’s action

This will be a short review because I consider it boring to write a seventeen page piece on just how awesome every part of this movie is. The problem is that it lost money, and so Hollywood’s never going to take such a risk again.

Let’s face it, Max is in the promos with this weird face mask on, Charlize is bald and looks angry, there’s a dude with a guitar that shoots fire. I think mainstream audiences saw the trailer for this movie and immediately checked out.

It’s their loss because they missed one of the best action movies in history. A movie that also had heart, characters you cared about, and didn’t beat you over the head with some kind of overtly cultural/political message.

This all comes from the mind of George Miller who’s an elderly crazy man only famous for Max movies, and other massive cult hits like Babe and Happy Feet. This movie is worthy of an insane asylum, but to me that’s a positive when ever superhero movie is written by twelve suits in a boardroom.

this is not a computer generated scene

1) Hardy is awesome as Max, says about twelve words in the whole movie, but is such a talented actor that he does the rest through facial expressions alone

2) Theron is the real star / hero of the movie and that’s the point, I don’t usually like her as an actor but in this role she’s perfect and it’s her performance that grounds / drives this movie

3) Miller gives you a story you instantly care about (unless you’re psychotic), a brave woman is attempting to rescue of a gaggle of pregnant women from an extremely evil dude = sold

4) The plot starts five minutes in, the film doesn’t mess around with your mind or time, it gets right into it, and you’re hooked

5) The film has some of the most mind bending, realistic, and baffling action ever put on screen, even when I rewatch this movie I still find myself gripping the couch arm

6) Sure they used some visual effects, but much of this movie was shot on site using practical effects, which is why it looks so awesome and probably also why it was so expensive to make and thus part of the reason it lost money

7) All the craziness in play is such a positive to me, Max is strapped to a car for the first action scene as a literal blood bank, the second action scene he’s still chained to a lunatic, all the different looks for the weapons and vehicles, the guitar that shoots fire, a religion that worships an altar of steering wheels, all positives for me

8) Max and Furiosa each undergo their own stories of redemption, pain, and ultimately end the movie once again giving a shit about people and things, all accomplished without overly dwelling on it or portraying either of them as enraged, miserable lunatics

9) The action, I mean, damn, some call it the best action movie of all time and they might damn well be right

this movie is actually hers and not Max’s and it works perfectly

I could go on and on. This movie’s not for everybody, but it sure works for me. And I wish it worked for a lot more people too. I hope it’s done a lot more on budget with streaming and blu ray so the studios will take more risks like this.

But I doubt it. Remember movies? Here’s one of them. Enjoy it. There won’t be too many new ones coming out like it ever again.

retire “hump day”, or else

We’re back!  After an unexplained 477 week absence.  Did you miss us?  No?  Oh, ah, uh, hmm, we thought folks missed us.  [cricket, cricket, cricket]

So we’re back to talk about what massive important topic to the human race?  Global pandemic?  Locust swarms?  The shortage of effective keys and locks?  No!  But rather, the continual use of the term “hump day” at work.  Oh my!  The horror.

1) This joke was mildly amusing when the Geico goons put this out nine years ago.  I say mildly, as in something you’d chuckle about once and then wish to forget forever.  But folks kept saying it again and again in the camel voice.  It won’t die.  Why?  Why won’t this die?

2) Why do folks carry on and spout jokes written by a boardroom of faceless suits?  Geico is famous for this.  They’re not jokes folks.  They’re made to separate money from people.  If you want to inject humor into the workplace, please use something not written by the Giant Octopus.

3) The term Hump Day has Jumped the Shark.

4) Saying even anything remotely sexual in the workplace now gets you drawn and quartered by the Stazi.  The word “hump” is associated with sexual behavior.  We must retire its use in the workplace otherwise the office will be burned to the grown by Antifa.

5) The camel actor in the original Geico commercial was euthanized over five years ago.  His Kuwaiti owners didn’t want to pay for his anti-biotics.  I’m sorry.  I’m so very, very sorry.

6) The concept of Hump Day is that the week is half over and it can only go happily calmer or get better from there until the joy of the weekend arrives.  This theory is shit.  Everyone knows at 1pm on Friday you’ll get that fucking phone call that makes you want to quit your job that very instant.

7) Elves are responsible for your decreased workplace satisfaction.  I know this to be fact.  The sources My Guests possess are unimaginable and infallible.

8) Enjoy your day!

Dromedary skeleton

everybody’s wood shed day comes eventually

competence is the only power over the virus

It would seem virus battle tactics are the new arena of politics.  In an era where everything must be political, soon your tooth brushing method will determine how you vote.

In the meantime, the debate has centered on whether to reopen the economy and risk increased death.  Or to keep the economy closed and risk financial death.  Both these options suck.

But there’s a third way that folks seem to mostly ignore which is what I find baffling.  China’s Communist Party’s talking point is only their all powerful neck stopping model can defeat the virus.  They’re lying, started this to begin with, and are downplaying their own virus infection/death statistics.

The answer lies in South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and to a lesser extent Germany.  This is the competent category.

Into the incompetent category you can shove the US, Italy, France, Spain, Britain, and of course Communist China.  The answer to this virus is simply that government should do its job.  Instead of sucking.

Sure, there are significant privacy, social, cultural, and obedience factors that likely make introducing a South Korean virus battle methodology into the US problematic, but does that mean it shouldn’t be seriously discussed?  Instead of, you know, just keeping to the same failed talking points both sides have adopted?  The virus doesn’t care who folks voted for.  South Korea never even executed a full lockdown.

I think in the coming decades this will become a more glaring aspect of our planet.  Sure, the differences between democracy and oligarchy are stark.  But what will really set apart nations is simply those that are governed competently, and those that are not.  It will be readily apparent say by 2035, and the split begins now.

work is an intrusion to home

Every human needs a sanctuary, a place where they can unplug and not be accountable to anybody but themselves or their immediate family.

For the white collar worker this evil virus has eviscerated that line.  Yes, it’s been dulled for years as high fliers or big shots checked their work e-mail at 12:31 in the morning just to keep themselves in the game, but now it’s in overdrive.

For blue collar workers who are either out of a job or have to expose themselves to the virus every day on the jobsite this is a good problem to have though.

I’m now on week two of online conferences and courses for work at home and it’s extremely jarring.  I don’t want to hear big shot #43 run his mouth about how awesome he is while I hear my washing machine go.  It’s an intrusion on my castle.  It feels odd.  It feels wrong.  Honestly, I’d just rather be at work.

A few publications that aren’t busy (still) playing politics have begun to ask very important questions about where society will be after the first global pandemic in a century.  My worry at this particular moment is the work world and the your world will be essentially blended from now on.  You did it for months, so why can’t your boss ask you do to work at home whenever the hell they want?  At whatever time they want?

This isn’t normal and it isn’t human.  But whether we like it or not, maybe it will become the new normal?

more evidence of the future downfall of all humanity

This morning while driving I watched a teenager, probably about 13, get out of his mother’s car to board his school bus.  For you see, he was waiting in the warm car until the bus got there, instead of just standing at the curb.  It was 43 degrees out.  My younger brothers and I were walking to the bus stop, alone, in subzero weather before I was ten.

We’re all doomed.

we present our axe throwing business plan

So the latest urban gentrified hipster recreational activity is axe throwing. And so, um, uh, … what? Essentially people go to what is in any sense a bar/club, only while you get pasted you throw axes at wooden boards. Although it seems not all venues permit alcohol while you throw, I think it depends on the jurisdiction’s laws.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the use of any kind of weapon and the proficiency that comes with it. Throughout most of human history, the ability to expertly wield (at a minimum) a small dagger was considered necessary to remain alive. Now we’re lucky if people can chop an onion. But I just don’t get why this is a thing?

First off, how is this even legal? In today’s bubble wrapped society this is one that somehow got past the government nanny filters. Is it like those infernal scooters where regulation just doesn’t address it? I suppose there’s no law that says you can’t run an axe club, but if you tried to open a throwing knives club I bet that’d be illegal. Or heavily regulated.

As a weapons example, the axes these clubs use most closely resembles the Francisca; the quintessential battlefield throwing axe first perfected by the Franks and later used to spread mayhem by other such warlike races such as the Vikings. It was essentially an attempt to break the deadlock that was the spear and shield wall warfare of the period. The age of the longbow and armored heavy cavalry came later, but for a few hundred years it was spears, shields, and axes; backed up by limited and essentially ineffective archery.

So if you’re throwing an axe at a club with your mates, this might be cool, but you don’t get the real experience. So we at TAP are here to help. We’ll open our own axe club. Let us know what you think. We always get lots of feedback to the posts on this degenerate blog.

Here are the guidelines:

– Intoxication is mandatory, as it likely was on most medieval battlefields; the customer may choose whatever beverage they desire, but before beginning, a BAC test will verify the customer is above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.

– Axe throwing will not be done individually, but in a group via the shield wall. The inexperience of the customer is irrelevant. Armor and shield will be used. Those who refuse or cannot wear armor or lift shield will be ejected from the venue without refund.

– Customers will submit to a short training rehearsal on shield wall tactics so as to experience abject suffering and shocking reality of being one minor cog in a mass of human meat meant for the medieval grinder. Training mistakes will be met with physical correction with a ferocity as determined by venue management and training staff.

– Actual axe throwing is conducted from the shield wall with environmental conditions necessary to fully simulate the medieval battlefield experience. Noise generators will produce human screaming and shouting at decibel levels prohibited for airport runway employees. The building’s heat will be at a level considered medically negligent to induce dehydration. Despite the level of intoxication, no substance fitting the proper definition of food will be offered to the customer. And so on.

– Axes will be thrown by the shield wall at wooden walls simulating an opposing shield wall. Customers will be ranked by the number of axe hits assessed by venue management as solid kills or crippling blows enough to have removed the target from the fight.

– Customers with the lowest scores would normally have become medieval battlefield casualties. To simulate this for the customer, before departing the venue they will receive a single bare-knuckled punch to the face via a former, jaded heavyweight boxer. Physical injury and its associated potential medical costs are the responsibility of the customer.

– Customers with the highest scores will receive free alcohol for the remainder of the evening, a refund of their fee (paid in gold coins), diligent (legal) attention and adoration from venue employees from the gender of the customer’s choice, ample roasted meats for consumption, and several musical templates which they can sing with their fellow high score patrons.

That is all. Please carry on. Enjoy your day!

iu5EIZ50O0.jpg

the BBC can’t remember own failures; but we can!

Oh my, I have no life. How come I can remember a lunatic piece I wrote over four years ago but not when I last took mine doggy for a haircut? The BBC is (rightly) all over the Washington Post’s obit about how Baghdadi was just a misunderstood neighborhood religious tutor. But the BBC seems to have forgotten when it once referred to Hitler as just a poor failed struggling artist. Said this blog’s unhinged, dumb author (me) back in 2015:

I especially like how the BBC wraps their article with this one liner about Hitler:

“He went on to become Germany’s military and political leader from 1933 to 1945, launching World War Two and causing the deaths of millions.”

For some reason they wrote this line in a non-dominant, weak voice; like Hitler was just some disgruntled toll booth operator who spray painted his bosses’ car.

How about this instead, BBC:

“He went on to brutally acquire the title of Germany’s military and political dictator from 1933 to 1945, attempted to conquer Europe and committed cultural, physical, and emotional genocide against tens of millions. Nobody misses him.”

Why does this modern newspaper writing style surprise anybody? It sure doesn’t surprise me. The modern elite (which includes the media) is all about the grey. Moral equivalency is a supposed virtue now. Good/evil, black/white, are for bigots and losers. Monsters aren’t meant to be hated, they’re meant to be understood.

It’s tolerance and understanding for all! Except, for those who voted for somebody they didn’t, or for somebody who says something online about [insert anything here] that they disagree with, or if they’re fans of the Houston Astros, and so on.

In the year 2176, Big Brother will murder one-billion people. The joint BBC/Post obit headline for him: “I love you.”

PS: goodbye false caliph, you piece of shit, nobody will miss you

Japan – Niigata: when my camera was terrible

Today’s smartphone cameras have become so capable it’s hard to remember that carrying a camera was once a conscious choice. Once upon a time I had a camera in my pocket that was five times the size of a smartphone and it was complete garbage. Times have changed, have you noticed?

Garden.jpg

On this blog, we are very, very slowly making our way through my past travels. Lots of Japan to go. Wanted to do a complete, worthwhile post on Niigata, but can’t. Nearly every one of my shots from that trip are absolute, grainy, garbage.

Most of that was me. I’m not the expert photographer I am now (cue laugh track including laughing by drunken hyenas). But also, at the time my camera was pathetic. I don’t even have it anymore, or remember what it was.

Here are the only shots worth posting. Enjoy. Who gardens better than the Japanese? Not me. Not you.

Uh, Niigata’s great. Go.

Courtyard.jpg

 

Garden1.jpg

 

Garden2.jpg

there’s only one Joker

Apparently there’s a new Joker movie coming out.  It’s the fourth one this year.  I’ve never seen any of them.  They say this new one’s pretty good, I won’t be seeing it either.  Just don’t care, I’m over superhero, or superhero villain movies.

I think the only Joker I’ve seen was with Ledger, he did okay I guess.  I just found him completely uninteresting, even boring, because he played the part as a stark-raving-mad-brutal-psychopath.

There’s only one Joker, and it’s Jack Nicholson.  There will never be another.  All others are frauds.  His is the perfect combination of brutality, camp, evil, seriousness, character motivation & development, fun, and just plain great acting.  It will never be topped.

Batman-The-Joker.jpg

That is all.  Please carry on.