Thursday, October 23, 2008

This May Be The Funniest Political Ad Ever

I didn't see this coming...

I don't know what it is about seeing Sarah Palin laid out by a linebacker that fills me with so much glee, but there's a powerful message in this ad that can't be denied.

Terry Tate, you da man.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture??

Obama's Leading... Wait.. it's even.

Above is a screencap from the MSNBC site. It also highlights the reason I can't allow myself to get too optimistic about Obama winning this election in a landslide.

The AP poll actually says McCain has gained ground since the third and final debate. Read it and you'd think McCain's "Joe The Plumber" argument is making believers.

Then you read this NBC/WSJ poll, and Obama's up by ten points.

What's the truth? I find it so hard to believe--after 8 years of Republican mismanagement of the economy, the war, and just about everything else--that McCain will win. But then again, the logic of many Americans isn't always sound:

Good Question

The screenshot above also provides a some reasons not to vote for McCain. The same man who claims Obama will be a "Tax and spender" has a running mate who's using $150,000 of public funds to add to her personal wardrobe. The economy, which McCain claimed was a-ok, is an empty shell hollowed out by the same corrupt businessmen McCain's such good pals with.

With the election right around the corner, Obama supporters can not afford to be overconfident. The New England Patriots were undefeated-- and lost the Super Bowl. The first season of Heroes was great-- until the season finale. Just because things may look rosy for an outsider seeking to upend an inept ruling party doesn't mean Obama's got it sewn up just yet. The AP poll should remind us of this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Thumbs Down

This Photo Of Borat Has Nothing To Do With This Story

I remember turning on Clerks 2, and being immediately turned off by the technicolor-- something about it didn't feel right. The original's black and white made the convenience store where Dante works seem bleak and depressing-- made even moreso by the steel shutter that wouldn't open. It was the perfect foil for the bawdy, raucous humor that makes up the movie's narrative. However, in Clerks 2, the whole scene reminded me of Dick Tracy-- everything bright-colored and comic-like. Instead of real people having funny conversations... it suddenly felt over-the-top... fake. I didn't get that far into the movie-- a few forced bits that sounded nowhere near as natural as the "Star Wars 2nd Death Star" banter in the original. I have to say, I still haven't watched the whole thing. If someone asked me if I liked Clerks 2, I'd have to say no... but then again, I didn't watch it all.

Why am I getting into this? Well, it seems esteemed movie reviewer Roger Ebert recently wrote a savage 718-word review of the movie "Tru Loved." He bashed the acting, the directing, the script... even the concept of the movie itself. Then, in the last paragraph of his review, he dropped the bombshell:

"Full disclosure. I lifted the words "San Francisco to conservative suburbia with her lesbian mothers" straight from the plot summary on, because I stopped watching the movie at the 00:08.05 point. IMDb is also where I found out about Bruce Vilanch's dual role. I never did see the lesbian mothers or my friend Bruce. For "Tru Loved," the handwriting was on the wall. The returns were in. The case was closed. You know I'm right. Or tell me I'm wrong."
Well, needless to say, some readers were a little bit peeved, as, I'm sure, were those involved in making the film. 8 minutes of a 99 minute film is not a great sample size for judgement.

Ebert's defense?

"I started viewing with an open mind and my customary hope that I would enjoy it. I did not. In some way, a film must seal the deal with us. It must make us willing to watch to the end. Even when a film doesn't do that for me, I keep watching because, if nothing else, I can get evidence for a negative review.

With this film, I believed I had all the ammo I needed, not involving the movie's story, but its competence. It did not seal the deal. It left me with no confidence that it would be able to. If nothing else, I hope the review reflected the stream of consciousness that can take place when a movie loses a viewer's sympathy and goes wrong."
Now, I have a problem with this. Roger Ebert gets paid, and paid well, to be a movie critic. One reason people listen to him is that they trust him to have an objective view of the movies he sees. He watches the bad movies, so we don't have to. If we watch the first eight minutes and don't like a movie, we can walk out. But as a critic, it's his job to watch those remaining 91 minutes to see if there's any reason we should stay. How many terrible movies have you seen where one scene or one character makes the movie noteworthy? Lethal Weapon 4 was an obscene, unfunny parody of the previous Lethal Weapon films, but it stood out thanks to Jet Li's dynamic villain.

By not watching the rest of the movie, Ebert did not do his job. What he did was present us with a quick lesson in filmmaking 101, but he could have easily applied that criticism to any film. I wonder... if this had been a major studio release with brand-name actors, would Ebert have treated the movie so flippantly? I think not.

Ebert has a great job. He gets to watch movies and write about them. If he only wants to write about movies he likes, he should have a blog on myspace. But if he's going to do his JOB as a critic, he'll need to suffer through bad films the way we suffer through "team building seminars" or TPS reports at our jobs.

Plus, if the guy could sit through "Wild Wild West," (a film I gave up on after 8 minutes) he should have given this film the same courtesy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Black Power

Tommie and John at the 1968 Olympics

Interesting story on the BBC about the man who shared the Olympic medal podium with United States' sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where the two Americans infamously made their "Black Panthers" salute protest. For his support of the two athletes, Australian Peter Norman was ostracized from the sport he loved.

Matt Norman, his nephew, created a documentary about the moment that changed the three men forever, Salute.

Its incredible how far we've come from that moment in history. Back then, the athletes were vilified for daring to protest against an American establishment which had yet to treat African-Americans as equal.

It took until 2008, 40 years later, but we finally have an major-party African-American nominee for President.

We should all learn a lesson from Peter Norman, someone who took on an unpopular position because it was the moral, right thing to do. People like that end up heroes... just not until many years later, when the rest of the world has caught up.

When I first heard the pundits talk about a so-called "Bradley effect," in which Obama may lose votes simply because of his skin color, I shook my head. It's 2008-- you've got hicks in Arkansas listening to Jay-Z-- how can people still be racists? Even subconscious ones? To me, it's like believing the world is flat or that the moon is made of cheese. Someone's a lesser person because they've got more pigment in their skin? Does that mean people with a lot of freckles are inferior? Come on...

But reading a story like this reminds me that those people over 40, who still hold the keys to this country, lived in a time when a white person supporting civil rights risked their reputation and livelihood. They lived in a time where a black man could be a hero while running around a track (or on a football field), but couldn't get a seat at a restaurant. I'd hope that since 1968, people have caught up with Peter, and are able to see Obama as a candidate, not as a color.

I suspect they have. It's about time that the color of a man doesn't disqualify him from the Presidency.

Next up, Jews?

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