Monday, June 17, 2013

From the Ashes

I figure it's about time I returned to the English Muffin Power Hour. In the time since we last visited, I have destroyed my shoulder and seen it rebuilt, reinforced by glorious titanium (I'm part cyborg now). It is time I start cyber-blogging...

Your move, creep!
Yeah, that's essentially what I look like now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Avengers Film Series- Ranked and Reviewed- Part One

As part of my ongoing (and inexplicable) efforts to isolate and bewilder the fine honey community, I'm going to rank The Avengers series and then review them. Normally, you would think that this would include 3 or 4 films. But The Avengers was a bold move trying to bring cross-film continuity into cinema. By that, I mean in order to understand plot elements in Captain America, you had to have seen Thor. It was a huge gamble because if any one of the five films that set up The Avengers was a dud or if the film proper was awful, the whole exercise would have been futile and would have been a spectacular way to burn a billion dollars. I'm not actually being poetic there. I looked up the budgets for the six films and it ended up equaling precisely 1 billion dollars ($140 mil for Iron Man, $150 mil for Incredible Hulk, $200 mil for Iron Man 2, $150 mil for Thor, $140 mil for Captain America, and $220 mil for The Avengers). Obviously, this gambit wound up being a wild success as The Avengers alone grossed $1.51 billion worldwide which means that, ultimately, the other films could have been released for free and they still would have made a 51% return on investment. But I digress, this blog isn't going to talk about the economic qualities of the Avengers Initiative, but rather the cinematic qualities of each film.

As you know, I tend to be a bit long-winded when I blog. So I'm going to try and keep this installment under 2,000 words. In the first part, I'm going to rank the films from 6 to 1 (with 6 being the blandest and 1 being the best). In the second part, I'll provide my viewing recommendations so you can experience the Avengers with minimal time requirement.

"Should we do something?"
"No, just stand here and look cool for the commercials!"
6. The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk was Marvel's follow-up to the universal success of Iron Man. Full disclosure: I never actually saw much of The Incredible Hulk. I can honestly say I've only seen the last 20 minutes on FX on night when I was bored. The story is well-known by the society's collective consciousness (due in part to it being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if Mr. Hyde took steroids) and the film just never looked that intriguing. Unfortunately for the Hulk, most of America, Marvel's casting studio, and even Marvel's movie gurus agreed with me. Not only was Hulk the least financially successful of the Avengers prequels, it was also the least significant to the overarching story. All that happens is that Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk because they're trying to recreate the Captain America Super Soldier Serum. And somehow Bruce Banner transforms from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo between films. If they can successfully change actors between films and no one will comment on it, you know you have a dull story. The last piece of evidence to support this being entirely forgettable is the Hulk sequel has been put on hold until after the Avengers sequel. So everyone else will get a second (or third) solo outing before they'll even consider making a follow-up to The Incredible Hulk. Yawn.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pitch Perfect Review OR Hunter Blogs About Something Substantially

Hey everyone! it's been a while since I got in the groove of actually posting things of substance on the English Muffin Power Hour and I fear my blogging skills may have gone to rust. English Muffin scholars will point out that February is, indeed, my least favorite month of all time and for good reason. If you want those good reasons, you should definitely read my blog on the subject. I use the word "expatiate", it was a good time, a simpler time before graduate programs wanted me to write 12 pages on cross-cultural protein deficiencies as a cause of cannibalism.

Recently, I have been exposed to what the fine honey population called "the best film ever" and the dude population would call "a chick flick". I call it "the child of Mighty Ducks and Dodgeball raised by Glee" and what legitimate film critics call "Pitch Perfect". So I figure, why not review it?
The punchline is that it's rated PG but it sounds like an R rating. PUNS!

Did I like the movie at all? Nope! Review over! Let's go back to talking about swords and explosions!

Did Tony Stark invent the Arc Reactor by quitting early? No sir!
Fine, I'll go more in depth because Iron Man demands it. Pitch Perfect chronicles the journeys of Controlling Blonde Chick as she tries to rebuild her a capella squad from the ashes of an embarrassing performance in the national championship. Except its really about Brunette Hipster Chick as she tries to fulfill her dream of becoming a DJ or possibly a singer through the absurd route of joining a group dedicated to singing. Because how can you be a singer if you spend all your time singing?! They are joined by an omni-racial cast of one dimensional sidekicks such as the Fat Chick (called Fat Amy because SUBTLETY ), the Skank who only talks about how much sex she has and wears outfits that are more low cut than the protagonists, the quiet Asian who has no clear motivation to join an a capella group and the urban punk who they've arbitrarily declared to be a lesbian. Somehow this ragged band of misfits must pull together to win the big championship.

Sound familiar? It's because they stole the entire plot of The Mighty Ducks and changed the word "hockey" to "a cappella dance off" and the word "boys" to "college-aged teen girls". We have the coach who is haunted by a terrible mistake solely costing his team a championship in Emilio Estevez's character. You have the plucky underdog secondary protagonist who is taken under the coach's wing and becomes the star of the team in Charlie Conway. You have the fat kid who's not really good at sports but has to do it anyways in Goldberg. And you have the transformation of this ragged band of misfits learning to use their uniqueness to work together and form a team that is greater than the sum of its parts in a timeless kids' sports movie.

But it doesn't just rip off  The Mighty Ducks because it also has a decidedly irreverent, adult humor to it complete with sex jokes and gross out humor a long with a pair of sardonic announcers. That's right, Pitch Perfect also rips off Dodgeball, right down to having one of the characters being suspected of being a lesbian. At least in Dodgeball, it's due to the female protagonists surprisingly strong throwing arm and it's played very subtly throughout the film, until the ending when the running joke gets an appropriate punchline. Dodgeball also features a plucky band of misfits working together to become a team, but they're much more over the top and dysfunctional than The Mighty Ducks. Plus, you have a larger than life bad guy in Ben Stiller. It's a parody of movies like The Mighty Ducks and it works brilliantly.

"At Globos Gym, we're better than you and we know it!"
Now I've talked for over 500 words and I haven't really gotten to the core problem with Pitch Perfect. In my defense, I've been talking about other, better films instead that you should definitely see. The main problem Pitch Perfect has is identity. It tries to parrot two very successful sports film that are ultimately antithetical to each other. As a result, Pitch Perfect tries to make fun of itself while being serious and it just comes off as tepid and cliche.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is this real life?

Bean won. He won everything.

Darth Vader FML

January? I barely knew thee.

So it's almost time for January to end? Man, I did not see that coming at all. It seems like just yesterday I was all pumped for the fantasy semifinals but then I blacked out for a couple of weeks. I wonder what ever happened...