Flixster

on Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I've been on Facebook for a while now and I have come to the conclusion that it is just a gigantic marketing tool. In fact, the Pirate and Zombie and Werewolf applications were invented by marketers to see how the Facebook community works and how they could exploit it. It must've worked because Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook, recently sold a small percentage of it to Microsoft for $246 million. Still, it is a handy way to keep in touch with friends and I'm not going to delete my account anytime soon.

One of the applications (or apps) that I use for movie review and sharing is Flixster. I am consistently amazed at the stupidity of some of the users. I understand that taste is subjective and that one person's trash is another person's treasure, and that's not what I find so odd. No, it is people who give a 4-star rating to movies they don't like, or the people who rate a movie based on the attractiveness of the leads, like this one, an actual "review" of the movie Stardust,
"i freakin love this movie itz like the best the dude is freakin hawt and robert de niro is freakin funny he is like soooooo adorable...lol".


I understand, only slightly, the attractiveness of the leads angle. I myself posted a blog back when I was on Myspace "reviewing" the movie Underworld, which was simply, "I'd let Kate Beckinsale bite me on the neck." But that was on my blog, not on a movie review site. But the practice of giving a 4-star rating to a movie you don't even like confuses the hell out of me.

Have these people never seen a really good movie? Possibly. 90% of what comes out of Hollywood is crap, crap, crap. I will never understand how movies like Meet the Spartans can be the "#1 movie in America" or why they feel like they can recycle stupid ideas like Underdog and expect people to buy it. But buy it they do, even really crappy movies can make millions, and ultimately that's what Hollywood is all about.

So here's a comparison between Flixster, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and my own ratings on the movies I have just mentioned as well as a few of my favorites: (Sorry about the gigantic white space, if you see one)
























































































Movie



Flixster



IMDB



Rotten Tomatoes



Me



Stardust



4/5



8.1/10



75%



2.5/5



Meet the Spartans



3.5/5



2.5/10



3%



NA*



Underdog



3/5



3.8/10



15%



NA*



Underworld



4/5



6.6/10



30%



2.5/5



Citizen Kane



4.5/5



8.6/10



100%



5/5



Plan 9 From Outer Space



3/5



3.5/10



60%



3/5



The Princess Bride



4/5



8.2/10



95%



5/5



Das Boot



4.5/5



8.5/10



96%



5/5



Saving Pvt. Ryan



4/5



8.4/10



94%



5/5



Shooter



4/5



7.1/10



47%



.5/5



Home of the Brave



3.5/5



5.4/10



23%



1/5

The lesson learned here is that I should get my movie info from Rotten Tomatoes, they seem to be closest to my own tastes.

*I don't want to see these, I will not see these.

Devil Cat

on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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Yes, yes, I know I asked for it when I got a kitten. Kittens very quickly become "tweens," which is roughly equivalent to teen-age years in humans. When your cute, playful little kitten becomes a "tween" he becomes the Devil.

Frank has decided that toilet paper is the enemy and must be destroyed. My roomie bought one of those bajillion packs of TP, Frank broke into the cabinet and attacked the outside of the package. After we opened it he somehow attacked all the middle rolls. They are almost completely shredded and are pretty much useless. In the process a paperback book that must have gotten a little too close got a some collateral damage as well. I put an 8 lb. weight in front of the cabinet door. He won't be shredding any more packs of TP anytime soon.

Last night I heard a noise coming from the bathroom (he seems somewhat fixated on the bathroom) and I went to see what the hell he'd gotten himself into this time. He had managed to get himself up on top of the bathroom door. "You got yourself into this," I said, "get yourself out." A little time later, poor Rusty must have gone in there to see what was up and got ambushed from on high. He doesn't yowl much usually, but he sure did then, poor bastard.

This morning really got me, though. I heard a crash come from my room. He had crawled up on the topmost point of my computer desk and then made a leap for the bookshelves that are above it. In the process he knocked down my three-tiered "in-out" box which had all my printer paper and about 150 plastic page sheaths as well as a bunch of miscellaneous mail. I pretty much wanted to skin him on the spot.

I can't wait until he outgrows this phase, it's stressful to me because I never know what he's going to break or destroy. I almost feel like locking him in a kennel when I leave, but that would be cruel. I keep telling him that if he keeps this up I'll wind up killing him.

But he's just too cute to kill.

Bridge Over Troubled Water, part II

on Sunday, February 17, 2008

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Now that trivia is over I can start concentrating on learning the music for Bridge. Nathan, Jeff & I had our first real sing-through on Saturday night and we got together with some of the horn players on Sunday. Unfortunately, I am fighting a case of the "creeping trivia crud" and my concentration and vocal ability were left wanting.

I've spent the last few weeks getting "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Song for the Asking" under my fingers, they are by far the most challenging things I have to play. Most of the album is pretty simple from a basic musical standpoint, Simon was and is a folk singer, after all. He throws a curve at you now and again, but if you know basic folk and blues chord progressions you can find your way through most of the music without too much trouble. The challenge is going to be finding the nuance within the song and to try to recreate it live -- instantly. They spent months in the studio perfecting each song, we have to do it right the first time, every time.

I am very excited about having the strings play with us, we've got some very good players on board. Ken has been transcribing a lot of the string parts and he says they're kind of "odd." If you listen to the album very closely, and you have to because they're buried so far down in the mix, you can hear that they are indeed playing some rather strange lines, but they fit so well into the song. The strings are what will bring "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" and "Song for the Asking" to life! I can't wait.

So now I will spend the next few weeks making sure that I listen to the album every day. The trick is to listen -- just listen -- to not sing along. Mouth shut, ears open. That's the only way to learn.