Thursday, April 25, 2013

The 5 Craziest and Most Random Lines in Film History

NERD NOSTALGIA: The 5 Craziest and Most Random Lines in Film History

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Well here we are once again with another edition of “The 5”.  This week we are counting down the 5 Craziest and Most Random Lines in Film History.  About two weeks ago I posted a Note on Facebook asking anyone who wanted to participate to help with the voting.  Although, the response to my note wasn’t as large as I was hoping I still feel like I got a decent amount of feedback to compile this list.  The way the voting worked was like this: I provided a list of some lines from films that sound so bizarre, random, and out of place that you can’t believe somebody actually wrote that down on the paper for the screen play.  Each person who voted had to select their 5 personal picks and rank them in order.  Since there were a lot of 3 way ties for some of the votes, I had to come up with a creative formula to rank them more efficiently.  The formula was: # of Total Votes (basically, if somebody put it in their Top 5, it counted as a vote) + The # of 1st Place votes + the # of 2nd place Votes.  These were the Top according to all those who voted so if you have a problem with this list blame them and not me.

#5- “I feel like a puppy that’s been raped by a bulldozer!” from “Kickassia”

     If you’ve never heard of “Kickassia” there’s a good reason why.  “Kickassia” was the creation of brothers Doug & Rob Walker who work for the website  If you’ve never been to the site defintley check it out.  ANYTHING Nerd related that can be discussed or reviewed is on this site, it’s amazing.  So “Kickassia” was a film made for the site to celebrate the sites 2-year Anniversary.  In the film, the reviewrrs of the site take of the Micro-Nation of Molassia, and rename it “Kickassia”.  All seems to be going well for the reviewers until an struggle for ultimate control of Kickassia breaks out and all out war between the sites members break out.  In one of the films MANY epic battles we see two of the sites most popular characters The Nostalgia Critic (Doug Walker) and Dr. Insano (Noah Antwiler) Duke it out in a battle that is both epic and hilarious.  The battle ends with the Nostalgia Critic vanquishing Dr. Insano.  We see the other reviewers re-marking about how their plan to stop the Nostalgia Critic didn’t work, before the camera cuts to an exhausted Dr. Insano laying out the couch and uttering the phrase “I feel like a puppy that’s been raped by a bulldozer”.  That one line is just so bizarre and random that it makes me laugh every time I hear it.  If you want to check out the film in it’s entirety just go to and click on the Nostalgia Critic’s link.
Not this Specific Line, but this should help you understand the insanity of "Kickassia"

#4.) “It’s a beautiful day for a skate rape!” from “Hobo with a Shot Gun”

     I don’t’ like to use this word so casually, but I love, love, LOVE “Hobo with a Shotgun”.  It’s an awesome film with tons of violence and outrageous one-liners, and no one-liner in the film is more outrageous than “It’s a beautiful day for a skate rape!”.  So in the film the town is run by a powerful evil man known as “The Drake”.  The Drake has two young sons, named Slick and Ivan, who he encourages to be as destructive and sadistic as possible.  Most Ivan and Slick’s days consists of hurting, maiming, raping, burning, and killing people for fun, and no one dares to stop them; except for one righteous hobo with a shotgun.  After stopping and humiliating Ivan and Slick, the two brothers put a bounty out on the Hobo.  The scene where this line is uttered happens when Ivan and Slick find out the Hobo and his prostitute companion Abby are trying to flee the town.  The two brothers show up prepared to kill the Hobo.  Ivan actually wears his ice skates on the pavement, which he intends to use to inflict serious damage with.  As the two brothers walk down the hall to Abby’s apartment we see Ivan turn to his brother and loudly exclaim with excitement “Woooo!  It’s a beautiful day for a skate rape!”.  This was actually my personal number one for the countdown. Actor Nick Bateman makes his big screen debut playing Ivan in “Hobo with a Shotgun”, and by spurting out lines like “It’s a beautiful day for a skate rape!”, I think it’s safe to say that this is first of many great performances we can expect from an actor like him.  I can’t wait to see what other up and coming films Nick Bateman will appear in, in the future.

#3- “I am not in the business of murdering innocent children. That's God’s Jurisdiction” from “The Devils Carnival”.

Another great film that came out recently was “The Devils Carnival”.   I won’t waste much time diving too much into the plot of the film, but I will tell you that it was made by the same company that created “Repo: The Genetic Opera”.  This line is spoken towards the end of the film and deals when the Father of a young boy named Daniel confronts Lucifer (Terrance Zdunich) about leaving his son alone and letting him live.  Lucifer takes offense to these accusations and tells the father “I am not in the business of murdering innocent; that is God’s jurisdiction”.  What an epic line.  I think the reason why I personally like this line is because it reflects some of my own religious beliefs and philosophies.  Why should the Devil get such a bad rap?  Why can’t more people attack and blame God every once and a while?

#2- “I’d like everyone in the world to call me I cocksucker and give me a dollar” from “Leaves of Grass”

     I thought this line would make the list, but I did not think it would make it this high up considering it is farily unknown film.  So the film is about twin brothers—both played by Actor Edward Norton—and one’s an Ivy League Professor and the other is a small-time marijuana grower in Oklahoma.  The scene where this line appears is in a meeting between the pot growing brother, Brady, and a local businessman and drug lord named Pug Rathbaum (who is played by Actor Richard Dreyfus).  Pug wants to collect on the huge loan that Brady owes him for, but Brady tells him he can’t pay him back just yet and that he’s going to have to wait even longer to get his money back.  After some intense build up this eventually leads Pug to exclaim “You know what I’d like?  I’d like everyone in the world to call me a cocksucker, and give me a dollar” to which a confused Brady asks “Why’s that?” and Pug response is a surprising “Because then I’d be rich and everyone would love me”.  If you have not seen “Leaves of Grass” I highly recommend that you do see it.  Besides Edward Norton and Richard Dreyfus, the film also features the acting talents of Susan Sarandon and Tim Blake (who also wrote and directed the film).  It really is an enjoyable black comedy.

#1- “My God...I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school” from “Fight Club”.

     Not only did this line receive the most total votes, but it also received the most 1st place votes and is your choice for being the Craziest and Most Random Line in Film History.  Interesting fact; this line does not appear in the Chuck Palahniuk novel it was based off of.  There was originally a line in the novel where the characters Tyler Durden and Marla are having sex, and Marla cries out “I want to have your abortion”.  The Studio thought that the line may be to controversial for film audiences so they had the screenwriter Jim Uhls write another one, and the line was changed to “My God...I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school”.  Interestingly enough, the studios like Uhls change even less, but it still managed to be uttered out by actress Helena Bonham Carter on screen for all to enjoy.

     So that was you’re “5 Craziest and Most Random lines in Film History. Thank you to all who participated in the vote and I’ll see you next time on “Asylum for Nerds”.  And if you think another lines was more deserving of being on this list, let us know in the comment section.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The London Eye? Doesn't fall. Am I the only one disappointed?
Yes, I have found a movie in which no one gave a care as to what kind/how good their performance was. Even Robert Carlyle, the guy who made Eragon just barely bearable was a freaking honey badger for this movie!

Carlyle don't give a fuck!

The film is your run of the mill cliche ridden flick about a storm that comes for Merry ol' England at the same time the highest tide of the year approaches. The combination of these two water sources causes a barrier in the Thames to fail and the water floods right over it and into the streets of London.
Robert Carlyle plays Rob....fuck it with the same first name I just called him Carlyle! He is a military scientist who helped build the barrier. His ex wife (or maybe they are just separated. She's seeing other people, but keeps his last name!) Sam is also working on the barrier. Rob's father has believed for some time that this could happen, but no one believed him, not even his son. Now that it's happening everyone goes 'oh shit' and freaks.
So evacuation procedures are set in and people are led out of the flood zone, but it's king of hard to evacuate half of London in the three hours they had. See the top weather guys in Whitehall thought that the storm would veer off to Holland and when it doesn't everyone hates him.
In the meantime Rob, his father, and Sam are still at the barrier when the surge of water hits it. Pretty much everyone else working there dies and the three get out to a platform. Seeing it as their only option the Sam and Rob jump into the water, leaving Rob's father on the barrier.
I guess that wasn't such a good idea because soon after a helicopter shows up and saves the father! He is taken to Whitehall to help track the storm and make sure no one else dies.
Sam and Rob manage to find a boat and a small raft which carries the sewers....somehow. I have no clue how London's pipe system works! They find a few other survivors and make their way to the surface. Of course we have the cliches like the family, the Underground workers who are the skinny and fat 'comic relief' of which the fat one dies. The secondary characters don't get much screen time unless they die dramatically so it's mostly focused on Sam and Rob's barely mentioned reconciliation.
The film is filled with our group traveling through halls, tunnels, and other passage ways each time chased by the raging water of the overflowing Thames.
They emerge out to the streets as the storm passes and people emerge from their various hiding places to beg for rescue. The media seem surprised that so many people survived by CLIMBING TO THEIR ROOFTOPS!!
BUT WAIT!! All is not well, as our three main characters may just have a happy ending. WE CAN"T HAVE THAT!!! This is a disaster movie! One of them must die in a convoluted bullshit way to depict further the gravity of the situation!
Apparently the barrier (being closed) is keeping the water in London. Opening the barrier will somehow ebb the water away from London, if they don't.....oh fuck it I have no clue what they are talking about. They talk about opening the gates in the river counteracting the surge and pulling all the water back, out of the city. I have no idea... Here's the vid (I think where it's explained at about 2:30 ish). See if you can get it better.

Flood Part 8
So to enact this plan of Rob's father the three of them return to the barrier to open it. In order to do this someone needs to get into a room that is flooded and operate a drainage system that will enable them to gain access to the nesessary controls. But whoever does this will enact security measures, trapping them in a flooded room until the run out of air.
In the meantime the army, of course, needs to have a plan B that includes blowing something up! So they mobilize planes to destroy the barrier if they run out of time.
Sam, Rob, his dad and a random military officer try to decide who goes in to die. The military guy tries, but he doesn't know the barrier well enough, so Rob volunteers to go. This enacts the tearful goodbye between Rob and Sam, while the cliched father walks off to go himself... This triggers the son at a locked door trying to get his father to come back, but Carlyle, as I said does not give a fuck and I just don't believe this scene at all. He barely does anything. I mean, I know you had issues with your father until the beginning of this film, but that's your dad going to his death to save your ass, bang the door with an extinguisher or something!
So Carlyle's dad goes in and does what he needed to do (override the manual systems apparently) and the military load up their planes to blow them up!
They get the gates open just before the planes launch, saving everyone.....goody..
Oh, and here's another thing that pisses me off: The dad takes off his O2 mask BEFORE IT'S OUT OF AIR!! Yes, he was told that he would run out of air before anyone could save him, but don't just give up like that! 'Okay I'm done, saved everyone, now I'm gonna die! WEEE!' *bubbles bubbles dead*
So the water goes back to where it belongs and Carlyle has another unconvincing cry over his dead dad everyone else lives happily ever after.

I'm not sure what the budget was for this film, but...I think it was all put into big name actors who knew the script was shit and just threw their hands up saying 'fuck it'. Yes there are a few fleeting moments where they show us a glimpse of their talent, but they are few and far between. Carlyle's performance is one of his worst, I think and this film did not keep my attention at all.
Let me explain that a bit. I am a morbid person. The only reason I became a fan of Carlyle is when I saw him portray a character who was slowly dying! So I thought seeing him in a disaster movie as he repeatedly almost DROWNS would have been appealing to me, but this just did not grab me in the least.

The effects are not great either. The green screens were more convincing in Stargate Universe than in here!

If you are looking for some good white noise while you work with a few moments of distraction, go for this movie, but otherwise skip it!

Movie poster....pretty much says it all.....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Retrospect on "Fritz the Cat"

NERD NOSTALGIA: A retrospect of “Fritz the Cat” and “The 9 Lives of Fritz the Cat”

By: Brian Cotnoir

The 1st X-rated animated film
Oh.  Your.  God. I can’t believe I live in a world where films such as this actually exist!  It seems so farfetched and out of touch with reality that I almost don’t want to believe films like this were actually made.  I of course am talking about Ralph Bakshi’s “Fritz the Cat”.  What the f*ck is wrong with Ralph Bakshi?  He’s one of those film directors that made a career making films that really have no definitive object, consistency, or reason!  Not to mention he directed what I consider to be the worst film ever made—“Cool World”.  I would seriously rank Ralph Bakshi in between Lars Von Trier and Uwe Bolle on the list of Worst Film Directors of All-Time. This week’s review is going to be a little bit different.  Instead of reviewing just one film, I’m reviewing two films; “Fritz the Cat” and its sequel “The 9 Lives of Fritz the Cat”.  The reason why I choose to review both of these films because I found the same issues in both films and I would like to try to compare and contrast both.                    
Bad Kitty!  Bad, Bad Kitty!
So “Fritz the Cat” is animated feature that was first released in 1972, and it has the distinguished honor of being the first animated film in the United States to receive an X-Rating.  It’s is the story of a cat, named Fritz, who goes to college in New York City, and he fancies himself as a revolutionary thinker and writer, when the truth is that Fritz is no different than any other person in his age group.  He’s lazy, he’s a liar, he’s irresponsible, and his only motivations are to get stoned and to get laid.  Fritz will say anything to any woman in order to get them to sleep with him. He’s conniving and manipulative, and doesn’t like to accept responsibility for anything.        
     One thing that the film does is it uses animals to represent different races and demographics in the world.  The white demographic is shown as being animals like Cats, dogs, rabbits, and horses; the black demographic is shown as being Crows; Puerto Ricans are represented as Monkeys; and all the cops are pigs.  By today’s standards these animated animal representations for different races are politically incorrect and racially insensitive.  I happen to believe that for the time these animations were made that they represented cultural hostility and reflected the racist views of many people at the time.  It was during the Civil Rights Movement of the Mid-Twentieth Century and in some ways I think it could be interpreted as something similar to political cartoons.        
That's Good Ol' Fashioned Political Incorrectness!

     “Fritz the Cat” does hold some relevance.  We see Fritz rejecting the traditional lifestyle and opting for a more bohemian and radical lifestyle.  We see scenes of him going into Harlem to talk to the Crows, and claiming that he understands their problems, only to get a slap from reality from the Crows to tell him that he doesn’t understand the problems of black Americans because he is a Cat (white), and that he never will, but that doesn’t stop Fritz from trying, and accidentally triggering a race riot in Harlem.  I actually believe that if a Hollywood studio bought the story rights to this film and made into a live action (without the animals) that this film could be successful and well liked, because the film did address many social and cultural issues of the late 1960’s-early 1970’s and does cause you to think about the issues of the time an multiple levels.                                            
Oh, it soooooo awful!
 Two years later there would be a sequel to “Fritz the Cat” called the “The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat”.  In this film it basically shows us that Fritz has become a loser burn out with no job, and not motivation except to smoke weed and screw.  The story arc is held thinly together by Fritz reflecting on all he’s done in his past lives, while his wife berates him for his laziness and irresponsibility.  Bakshi didn’t have anything to do with this film, it was a different film crew that put together this sh!tty sequel, and there is little no effort put in.  Just like the first film, “9 Lives…” is just as sexually explicit, and has three times the amount of random and unnecessary scenes as the first one, and granted some of the artwork in these random scenes is pretty cool, it still holds no relevance or importance to the plot and just leaves with a feeling of confusion that causes more pain than pleasure, in my opinion.

This is Awful! X (
    Also the audio for both films was terrible.  To me it sounds like Ralph Bakshi just walked around with a tape recorder and recorded people’s conversations and then put animations over them.  It’s just so bad.  There are parts where people are having a conversation, and the animation is showing something completely irrelevant to what people are talking about.  It’s confusing, and it reflects some of Bakshi’s later works like “Cool World” and some of you know how much I hate “Cool World”.      
What the Hell is this???
    Also what’s the deal with Bakshi’s and the Nazi themes?  I know Bakshi is Jewish, but the Nazi themes—in both films—just seem to come out of nowhere.  Towards the end of the first film we see Fritz come across a Nazi drug addict biker rabbit, and in the second film we see Adolf Hitler trying to rape Fritz in the showers!  What was Ralph Bakshi trying to express?  That Nazi’s are bad? No Sh!t, everybody knows that.  That’s why they’re cast as the bad guys in a lot of films from “Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade” to “Dead Snow”.  Nazi’s are bad!  Everyone hates them!  But if you’re still going to rip on a group for being evil and bad at least have some rhyme or reason why you’re ripping on them.  
    My final opinions on both films are this”  “Fritz the Cat” is an alright film.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, and I think this film is definitely not for everyone.  As for “The 9 Lives of Fritz the Cat”, don’t see it, it’s garbage.  When a film is more confusing than entertaining than you know it’s probably something you should avoid it.  When will I learn to avoid watching films made by Ralph Bakshi?

Click here to read my terrifying review of the film "Cool World"

Monday, April 15, 2013

The 5 Films that Have Had the Greatest Influence on Me

NERD NOSTALGIA: The Five Films That Have Had The Greatest Influence on Me

By: Brian Cotnoir

   Once again, I have decided to do something special.  I have literally sat through hundreds (if not over a thousand films) many great, and others not so great.  Reflecting back at some of my own work, I decided to compile a list of the Top Five films that have had the most profound impact on me as not only a film critic, but a writer as well.  For those of you who do not know.  I have written five screenplays (one awful, one God-awful, and one so god awful it’s kind of funny, one adapted from a novel, and one good).  This article is a tribute to those who have inspired me and to those who have influenced my own writing styles.

#5- “Ed Wood”
This is probably one of Tim Burton’s best films, but strangely enough it’s also one of his least well-known films.  This film is a bio-pic and it tells the story of notorious Hollywood director, Edward D. Wood, Jr.  Wood is a man, who many consider to be the Worst Film Director of all-time.  I will be honest, the first time I saw this film I didn’t know who Ed Wood was.  I assumed Ed Wood was just a made up character, because you have to admit that the idea of a film about the worst director in the history of film, sounds like a novelty idea that Hollywood writers would make up and have made into a film.  Shortly after seeing the film, I learned that Ed Wood was a real person and that he really did work closely with the great Bela Lugosi and the two of them stared in/made some of the worst films ever made.                                                    
     The reason why I found this film so influential is because it introduced me to Edward D. Wood, Jr. & Bela Lugosi.  I’ve watched all of Ed Wood’s films and most of Bela Lugosi’s early films, and I really enjoy them.  Ed Wood wasn’t called the Worst Director of All-Time for nothing.  His films are huge piles of crap (check out some of my past blogs that I’ve written on his films), but at the same time his films give me hope.  As an aspiring writer I look at Ed Wood’s work and I feel inspired.  My work may not win awards or be considered “good”, but if my works could spark a cult-following because of how bad it is and at the same time bring people joy, then I will view my work as being successful.

#4- “City of Lost Children”

I rented “City of Lost Children” because when I looked at the cover, I thought it was going to be a creepy horror movie, but much too my surprise and pleasure, what I got was a French Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure.  I was blown away by all the wonderful images, settings, and creative characters that I saw in this film, and to this day I still believe it is one of the best foreign films ever made.            
 The reason why this film is so influential to me is because it introduced me to the writer/director Jean-Pierre Jenuet.  After watching “City of Lost Children” I set out to find more of Jenuet’s films, and I’ve watched them all and I have to say he is my hands down favorite director of all-time.  Jenuet works with pretty much the same group of actors and crew in almost every film he’s directed.  The only film he directed in which he did not write (or co-write) was “Alien Resurrection”—That was written by Joss Whedon.  All of Jenuet’s films have unique characters and each of the characters has unique and interesting background story and by the grace of God all of those small little stories that seem insignificant at first end up having a huge effect and relevance to the plot. As much as I praise Mr. Jenuet for his work, my first reaction after watching all of his films was too just give up ever trying to write or create my own film because it will never be as good as his.  When a film’s director can motivate you to give up because you think his work is that amazing and you will never come anywhere close to that, then you know you are dealing with a truly astounding individual.

#3- “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Is there anyone in the world who does not like this film?  I’ve loved this film since the first time I saw it which was a very long time ago—-It was at my local movie theatre when the film was first released in 1993; I WAS 4-YEARS-OLD!  My older sister and I begged and annoyed the crap out of our mother until she took as to the theatre to see it. Almost twenty years later (God, that statement just made me feel really old) it’s still one of only two movie from my childhoods that have followed me into adulthood and it is still a film I thoroughly enjoy watching and isn’t it obvious why?  With its stunning stop-motion visuals, likable and memorable characters, and stellar soundtrack composed by Danny Elfman, who in their right mind would say this film is anything but fantastic!    
    But why is it influential to me?  For one reason it was the first film to show me the idea of telling a story using songs.  Seriously, you could remove all the dialogue from the show just show people a film with the songs and the plot would still hold up and you would know exactly what was going on.  The film has since gained a cult following and is loved by everyone who watches it and will only continue to grow and be loved for generations.

#2- “Repo: The Genetic Opera”

I first heard about this film through my friend The Corseted Critic.  She actually brought me and a few other friends to a midnight screening of this film, when it was first released.  At this screening was actor Terrance Zdunich (aka “Graverobber”/The person who wrote the screenplay) and the film’s director Darren Lynn Bousman.  These two stayed after the films showing and did a Q & A with the audience and they regaled us with stories of the films origins and all the work they put into making the film.  This was the first time I ever watched a film and said to myself “I can totally do this.  I really want to do this now.”  Years later, I still haven’t made a single film, but this film still serves as my initial inspiration to want to start writing and creating my own film.

#1- A Clockwork Orange

    Everyone who knows me personally knows that I have a slight obsession with this film.  I don’t know most people would say that about me, I only own a copy of the DVD, the soundtrack, the book, prints all three theatrical movie posters, and a manuscript to the Musical Production of the story...yeah I am obsessed with “A Clockwork Orange”.  I read the book a few years back, and was very confused at first, but once I got past the difficult language barriers I found Anthony Burgess’s tale about a 15-year-old sociopath Alex the Large/DeLarge and his crimes in his virtually lawless future to be most enjoyable.
There were two things that helped seal this as one of my favorite films the first time I saw it one was the soundtrack:  When I first heard the Moog Synthesizer rendition of the “Precession March from the Funeral of Queen Mary” performed by Wendy Carlos, I became very excited to see the film, and then that first close up shot of actor Malcolm McDowell sealed the deal that I was going to enjoy this film.  Like I said, I read the book first, and I was reading it I had this picture of what I thought Alex might look like in my mind, and when I saw him I squealed with Joy and proclaimed, “Holy Crap it really is Alex”.  Malcolm McDowell looked just as I imagined Alex DeLarge; except I pictured Alex and his droogs to wear more military style clothes rather than white suits, but other than that it was just how I pictured them in my mind.                                    
    What really makes this film so influential to me is this was the first film I saw that made me think of film on many different depth levels.  Everything from the lighting, to the camera angles, to the music, to the dialogue seemed to have a significant meaning and I studied and researched many of Director Stanley Kubrick’s methods and directions that he used for “A Clockwork Orange”.  It was at that exact moment that I began to look at films in a different way.  I wasn’t just the acting or the story I was paying attention to; it was the lighting, the cinematography, the dialogue, the pacing, the music.  In a way “A Clockwork Orange” is what made me “the Film Junkie”.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stargate Universe

HOLY HELL any sci fi fan needs to see one of the Stargate shows! It is some great Science Fiction and I've only seen one of the four shows that exist about it.

Okay so what I gathered from  only seeing this one is that a Stargate is a wormhole generator that can connect with other Gates letting people travel great distances through space to other planets and far off universes. The gate were build long before man by some kind of race called the Ancients. Whether these are aliens or some long past species of Earth, I'm not sure.
So the Gates are like giant phones with 36 symboles on them and they connect to gates using sequences of 8 (I think). Now, there is a 9 digit sequence that no one seems to be able to connect with until a code in a video game is unlocked by an MIT drop out named Eli. As soon as he break the code a General from Stargate Command and a Dr. Nicholas Rush knock on his door and beam him up to a ship, traveling to another planet.
They explain that the code he broke was needed to unlock the 9th chevron or digit in the Gate adress they are trying to get to (why, because SCIENCE that's why!). So Eli is taken to a planet called Icarus (SYMBOLISM!) where the Stargate people believe they can use the core to gain enough power to dial the 9th chevron (Wait that's actually a word! Let me look that up: chevron- A line or stripe in the shape of a V or an inverted V, esp. one on the sleeve of a uniform indicating rank or length of service. Okay that makes sense as there are nine V shapes on the OK!) So they use the planet's core to power the gate and using Eli's math dial the 9th chevron. It works, but just as an attack is launched on the planet, causing the core to overload or something and the planet near to exploding.
Now I have something to say about this. At first the dial out does not work and Rush is wondering how (mostly blaming Eli's bad math). Eli says that maybe they need to dial from earth to get the connection....five minutes later Rush dials from the same planet and gets the connection. HOW???!!!Despite that the adress gets them onto a ship. An ancient ship that, when looking back in the log, was launched from earth millions of years ago. Since then it has been traveling through space to some unknown destination. 

So we have a group of people running for their lives ending up on a million year old ship that they don't have control of (the controls are locked out) traveling through galaxies faster than the speed of light, so even if they had control they wouldn't make it back to earth any time soon, and there is limited power so they can't dial back to earth. Oh, and every time they need something the ship stops where there is a planet with a gate on it that has the things they need (seed ships were sent out before this one to place gates where needed)The ship is called Destiny and it is a pretty cool set if you ask me. Think Firefly's Serenity, but bigger and able to house about 200-300 people!
Speaking of the people, the characters in this show really drive it along, and how different they are creates a lot of conflict:

(In the order IMDB lists them:)

Dr. Nicholas Rush played by Robert Carlyle: Dr. Rush has been, for lack of a better term, obsessed with the 9 chevron adress for quite some time. When he finally dials it he does not seem to keen on leaving Destiny, knowing how much he can learn from it he believes that they all ended up there for a reason. His stubbornness to not leave Destiny and continue her mission is sometimes border line villan territory. You're never really sure just who's side Rush is on. Carlyle does great in this role and really makes what could have been an all around bad guy VERY human and likable. I found myself rooting for Rush more than not even when he is near crazy!

Colonel Everett Young played by Louis Ferreira- Col. Young is the leader of the military that ends up on Destiny. His goal is to get the people with him back home, which goes against Rush's wishes. This causes the two to bump heads often and they really have an interesting love hate relationship. Col. Young is a great leader, but is fallible. He makes mistakes and bears the weight of the consequences. Sometimes it can be too much and his ability to fulfill either mission is put into question. 

Leitenant Matthew Scott played by Brian J. Smith- Lt. Scott is Young's second in command and pretty much the poster boy for perfect soldier. He follows and gives orders and could be a perfect Ken doll if he didn't show his flaws like having a kid back on earth he didn't know about or his love for a woman on board named Chloe.

Chloe Armstrong played by Elyse Levesque- Chloe is the daughter of a Senator who was on Icarus when they all traveled to Destiny. When her father dies she is sort of left there with nothing to do or contribute until the writers decide to use some bullshit to make her about as smart as Rush.

Eli Wallace played by David Blue- Eli is the comic relief of the show, but he has his serious moments as well. He is thrust into this world and enjoys every minute of it as his previous occupation was....nothing. He is smart, but funny and underestimates himself as he is put down by Rush most of the time.

Leitenant Tamara Johansen played by Alaina Huffman- The medic of the group, quite skilled, but what she lacks in knowledge or materials she makes up for in ingenuity and a passion for saving lives.

Master Sergent Ronald Greer played by Jamil Walker Smith- the loose cannon soldier of the group. I shouldn't say loose cannon, but let's just say that if there is a fight, this guy is in it! He has a short temper and was even in jail before the move to Destiny.

Camile Wray played by Ming-Na Wen- the civilian liaison on the ship. Sort of the HR for the soldiers, speaking for the normal folks on the ship.

Colonel David Telford played by Lou Diamond Phillips- a Colonel on earth who wanted to be part of the Icarus project but Young sort of beat him out of it.

Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis), Dr. Dale Volker (Patrick Gilmore), Dr. Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) and 2nd Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson)- all part of the major character group, but not really filled out as the rest. A few smart guys and one more soldier.

These are all well rounded characters and both have funny and serious moments, giving them more interesting personalities. Also the stories are driven by how different all these people are and how they cope with having to live with each other on a ship going god knows where. The acting is also spot on. I cannot find a weak player in here! The actors give it their all and are fun to watch!

Now I have heard that this is the darker of Stargate shows and perhaps that is what I like it. Conflict creates interest in the characters and stories of shows and this show has a lot of conflict. I may try the other shows, but I really don't want to screw up how I feel about the cannon with a new cast of campy comedy induced characters. I like my brooders thank you very much!

Between going on planets for supplies and meeting the creatures there and dealing with problems and things breaking on the ship the writers have a lot to work with, but let's go through one of my favorite episodes: Season 1 Episode 11 Space.

In a previous episode Colonel Young beat Rush and left him for dead on a desert planet (he had his reasons.....many).
The ship has in their possession five Ancient stones that can connect to earth. They do this by trading consciousness between one person on Destiny and someone with the other set of stones (usually on earth).
Some pretty good alien design from the episode Space
This time when Col. Young uses the stones he trades with an alien from a nearby ship. They all try to fix this problem while suspicion on the ship is that Col. Young killed Rush.

A ship appears soon and it turns out it is the same ship Young was just on. Destiny gets a message to surrender and when they don't an attack is launched. Destiny fights back as best they can, but one of the enemy shuttles gets through and takes Chloe.

Young uses the stones to try and find her and finds...Rush. He is trapped in a tank of water with an oxygen mask on. Young uses a pipe to shatter the tank and free Rush. The aliens do not speak anything close of our language so Young, in the alien body can't speak. Rush uses some of the alien tech to receive Young's thoughts, so he knows it's him. Something happens to the stones and the connection is lost, leaving Rush with the thoughts of the alien now. Rush fights the alien, killing it and goes off to find Chloe. Young orders Destiny to fire on the ship and another battle occurs while Rush finds the girl and frees her. Now why Young orders the main ship fired on when Rush AND Chloe are still on it isn't really clear: is he killing Rush to cover his tracks or saving the ship from being destroyed by the aliens?

The aliens run off and Rush and Chloe return to Destiny, much to the surprise of most on board.
So here is the interesting part: Rush goes along with the story that he was caught in a rock slide and Young thought he was dead. Young also keep the secret that Rush framed him for the previous murder of a soldier who killed himself. They do this for the good of the ship, but it creates great tension between the two as they are both strong leaders with followers of their own and two different missions. This is one of the best relationships in the show.

Now, this is not my favorite episode that one is Time (1x8) , but that includes time travel and I don't want to confuse anyone! If you have Netflix, check it out!

I will say one thing about Time, it has one of the BEST lines I have heard in a while:
Eli: Well at least things can't get worse!
Rush: I think that is a failure in imagination!
Best response to that line EVER!!

With engaging settings, rounded characters and great writing this show is great.

There is one other thing I need to say: the ending. SPOILERS!!

So the series ends with the ship having an enemy they cannot beat, so they decide to run, not drop out of Faster Than Light speed (which no enemy seems to match) and just keep going. The problem with this is that life support and food cannot last the three years it would take to get away from the enemy. So they use the stasis pods recently found on the ship, putting everyone to sleep until they are out of danger. The only problem is that one of the pods is not functioning properly. After a drawn out debate Eli decides he is the best to stay behind for a minimum of two weeks (the amount of power he can use before eating up what will be needed to travel the three years out of the galaxy) trying to fix the pod. The ship goes dark, leaving Eli alone and the show is over.
WHAT?!!! Now myself, like many others I'm sure was about to jump onboard the fanfic wagon and write a movie much like Serenity that concluded the story as best I could, but that was before I noticed something.
The writers knew that the show was ending a few episodes before this. You can just tell. And I remembered a quote from one of them: "...Our mission is and always will be the journey itself."
The writers knew that Destiny was not going to reach it's destination, not on screen at least. They were telling us that the ending we got was the ending they wanted and we should be satisfied. Should we stop writing our own endings? No and I may still write mine, but that isn't what the show was about. It was about people and a journey.
So here's where that leaves us: Destiny is still going. Either Eli fixed the pod and three years later they woke up to continue the journey or Eli died trying to fix it or screwed up, using up to much power and Destiny drifts through space, a ghost ship. I like to think the former! There are possibilites for an ending, but it's about the journey, not the end. Much like life if you want to get philosophical about it!

Human Trafficking

Ok, so this is a made for TV movie that is available on Netflix based on events that I am sure happen when a woman is taken from her home and forced into being sold as a sex slave to wealthy sickos. It stars Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland as two Customs Enforcement officers who get on the case of one human trafficker named Sergei (played by Robert Carlyle). The story follows a few young girls who get taken and are under Sergei's cruel care. One is Helena, a single mother who is seduced by a man who then gives her to Sergei's men in Prague. Another is a twelve year old who is taken on a vacation to the Philippines right from the street. Nadia is a 16 year old who tries to be a model, but gets caught under Sergei's thumb as well.
All of these women (while some have a bit of idiot in them) do NOT deserve the things that are done to them. This is a movie that, while on TV, was not afraid to push the envelope of what they can show.

So let's dive in.
trailer for Human Trafficking

We start with a girl whom we do not know being led into a room by a tough guy in a leather jacket. She is forced into a room with a fat slob who pays for her and forces her to kneel in front of him as he takes off his shirt and makes her touch him. She looks like she is about to throw up and at the first opportunity she runs and dives out the window. Agent Kate Morozov investigates her death and deduces that she was trafficked. This is the third death of a girl and that seems to hit a nerve.
In Prague Helena is living with her daughter and meets a man at the bar she works at. They seem to hit it off as he walks her home. They get more attached and eventually he invites her to a weekend in Vienna. She thinks he likes her.
In Russia Nadia is getting out of school with her best friend and talking about getting away. They go to a model tryout with at least 50 other girls. Sergei shows up and chooses a few girls including Nadia, but not her friend. Nadia tells the woman in charge (after Sergei leaves) that she is only 16, but the woman says they'll take care of it. Nadia goes home to her father and we see that he wants her to stay home though she wants to go away for a year. Let me say here that I love this father and his daughter is an idiot, but at 16 weren't we all?? Nadia sneaks out at night leaving anote for her father and going with the agency to Washington DC.
Annie is on vacation with her parents. She is 12 years old, but from the right angle she looks 18. While out shopping with her mother in the street a van drives up and takes her away, leaving her mother running after her.
Meanwhile in DC Agent Morozov is in an office trying to convince Agent Bill Meehan to hire her as a Customs Enforcement Officer so she can catch the guy trafficking these girls.
Nadia is taken to DC as promised, but then they are led to a run down building's basement and their money, passports are taken. Sergei comes to inform them that they are his property now as getting them to the US took a lot of money they now owe him. Sergei chooses Nadia to be the one to strip in front of him.
Each woman is told that should they try to leave or disobey something will happen to either them, of their loved ones. Helena's daughter is even threatened.

You know, I just looked back at what I wrote and don't think it adequately explains how bad this is. Think that you think life is going good, you meet a man or get your dream job. You are extremely happy and excited for this new part of your life. You trust these people to take care of you in a new country you've never been to before, but they lock you up, beat you and sell you to the highest bidder for sex, in all it's disgusting forms and if you don't do as they say, you, your father, brothers, sisters and daughters, or sons will pay the price.
I recently saw the new Evil Dead (may do a review not sure) and one of the things from the original that is kept is the infamous tree-rape scene. A friend of mine asked why they kept that and I think I have the answer. It's also why Human Trafficking is great because it knows this: rape is scary. To be a woman (or man) and have the risk of some person forcing anything upon you, breaking you, making you suffer and enjoying it, is, in my opinion, the most terrifying thing a woman, no a person, can go through.
I don't think this film captures just how scary it can be, but for a TV movie it comes close.

The film bounces between the three girls and the Agent trying to save them:
Annie is taken to a house where children are sold to men who want to 'play' and meets a local girl who ends up getting sick.
Helena is in a house that is found and raided by police and makes a deal that as long as she gets her daughter she will tell them everything.
Nadia and Helena become friends before Helena is moved and later saved. Nadia remains trafficked as her father gets in as a guard to try and save her.
As the police use Helena's words and shut down more houses owned by Sergei, worrying him. He has Helena taken care of, but that does not stop Agent Morozov from continuing her search for him. Through surveillance of Sergei and information from other girls she gets closer and closer.

The film follows the girls as they create friendships, try to cope with what is happening, even escape attempts. It does a great job showing all they can of what happens to a woman under these circumstances.

Annie and her new friend

Agent Morozov creates a profile as a Russian 21 year old on one of Sergei's mail order bride sites (legit as far as the law is concerned). She gets the attention of a man who had been seen around Sergei. When he proposes she come to the US she dresses herself up for her husband-to-be so she can look younger and be led to Sergei. Morozov is sent in with a bug and loads of backup standing by. When she is roughed up/stripped Morozov loses her wire and her backup can't hear what is going on. Sergei comes in to check the girls and notices a few things off about Morozov, like that she is too old. He asks her who she is and she is able to steal one of the guys' guns, introducing herself with her real name as her backup comes in after waiting too long through the radio silence. Nadia's father gets her out while Sergei almost gets away. The team outside shoots him dead, but not before he can say something to Morozov. (I say something because he says it in Russian and it is NEVER translated!) :(.
So Sergei is dead and the police find all the girls and either take them home or let them stay in the US. The film ends with Morozov telling the press that human trafficking is real and going on.
Agent Morozov and Sergei

The movie bounces between the story lines, making the film interesting and keeps you sucked in, wondering what will happen next. Now, most of the story lines have a happy ending, but believe me you are not sure that will be the case while watching this film. For all you know all of them could have died and that is portrayed well.
This review does not, can not, compare to watching the film. The acting of the girls is spot on, showing the fear, pain, hate and helplessness that I'm sure these women feel as this does happen in real life. The motivations of Agent Morozov are clear and shown (though not told in this review). It is a believable story and leads her ont his quest to find Sergei.
Speaking of Sergei, Carlyle, as always gives a chilling performance as Sergei, a business man who just sees his trafficking as another business, if illegal. He is cunning, shifty, ruthless and this is backed by his supporting actors. The girls, Helena, Nadia and Annie are fabulous actresses and portray the fear they have of him. He is a powerful man and everyone knows it. Now for a bit of nitpicking: his accent is shite! It may just be me, but he is a man with an obvious Russian name, who is called and American and can't seem to decide if his accent is American or a REALLY Americanized Scot! I can hear some of his natural accent come through every now and again and to me it was a bit distracting. I think they should have given him a Russian accent, maybe hide it better, I don't know. Aside from that...he kills a guy with a PEN for Pete's sake! :)

This movie sheds light on a real issue in the world and while it is fictionalized I'm sure there are people going through similar events right now. Human Trafficking- worth a look.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A review of "Hey Arnold! The Movie"

NERD NOSTALGIA: A review of “Hey Arnold: The Movie”
By: Brian Cotnoir

A Whale of a Fail!
During the 1990’s-early 2000’s Nickelodeon released a number of films in theatres—many of them based off of their own popular TV shows. I remember going to see films in theaters that Nickelodeon made such as “The Rugrats Movie”, “Rugrats in Paris”, and “Snow Day”, and even though I liked these films when I saw them as a kid, I will admit that now when I compare them to their shows, I can honestly say I enjoyed the shows a lot more than the movies.  One film that Nickelodeon released in theatres that I never saw until just recently was “Hey Arnold! The Movie”. “Hey Arnold!” was one of my favorite cartoons that was on Nickelodeon.  For a children’s cartoon this show certainly did have a lot of fun and unique adventures.  It was a show that taught us all that you didn’t need to go far to have an adventure; you can have all sorts of amazing adventures in your neighborhood.  Unfortunately for this film, the same adventures and stories from the show did not carry over that well into the film.  

So the film opens up in a similar way to the actual TV show, we get some glimpses of the city and Arnold’s neighborhood and we see all the same characters we’ve all grown to know and love, but unfortunately the film doesn’t waste any time on them and would rather be flushing out background stories to characters
we’ve never seen on the show before just to piss us off (I think?).  The stories central focus is around Arnold discovering that a man named Mr. Scheck (voiced by the super-talented Paul Sorvino) and his company Future Tech Industries has purchased most of the property in Arnold’s neighborhood and plans to tear down all the
My thoughts on the Film Exactly, Helga
businesses and houses and build a giant mega mall on the land.  We later find out that the reason why Scheck wants to destroy the neighborhood is because his ancestors used to be loyal British subjects who owned the land where Arnold’s neighborhood is until the American Revolution when the angry colonists revolted and drove his family out, and ever since then it has been his dream to take vengeance on Arnold’s neighborhood for the humiliation it caused his family all those years ago.  Once Arnold finds out Scheck’s true motives, and decides that it’s up to him and his best friend Gerald to stop Scheck and save the neighborhood.             
And Arnold commanded to Scheck
Wow, I just like how the only person in this film that shows any initiative and motivation is a 9-year-old!  Seriously, everyone else in the neighborhood has given up and is ready to sell their property off to Scheck, but then Arnold gives a heartwarming speech about how great the neighborhood is, and then everyone decides to put all their faith and futures in the hands of a 9-year-old, who they all seem to be following blindly.  Seriously, Arnold is like Jesus of the neighborhood, all he has to do is make a speech and everyone is willing to do whatever he says.  This is quite a stretch, not only for a Nickelodeon film, but for any children’s film.  Throughout the film Arnold & Gerald are constantly getting into danger, but miraculously manage to escape scot-free every time!  There’s even a scene where they contact a super-secret spy agency run by a woman known as Bridget, and ask for their help, and Bridget complies.  She gives Arnold and Gerald access to all of their expensive spy equipment for no charge!  Is this the worst spy agency ever or what?  What kind of spy agency would trust all of their special equipment in the hands of two 9-year-olds?           
Why Christopher Lloyd?  Why????

Also, another problem with this film is that they spend almost no time on the characters we know from the show.  We get introduced to these new characters like Scheck, Bridget, and the creepy city coroner (voiced by the Great Christopher Lloyd).  For crying out loud the bus driver, who had maybe 5 lines the entire span of the show, even got a background story, and so does his ex-girlfriend, Mona, who we do not see on screen until the last 5 minutes of the film!  That’s way too much time to waste on characters we’ve just met!                        
"Wow, Arnold...that film was pretty bad"
I’m not surprised this film was a failure.  I don’t know why they chose this story for the Big Screen film release, when they could have gone with much better stories.  Like how about a film where Arnold finds out that his parents might be alive and goes out to find them or they actually come back and want to move away and now Arnold must decide whether or not to go with his parents or stay with his grandparents in the neighborhood?  Those would have been way better film stories to go with than the piece of monkey excrement story they went with for “Hey Arnold! The Movie”.  So if you are a fan of the show, do yourself a favor and avoid this film at all costs; it’s just not worth it to see a piece of your childhood get shot in the face over and over again.