Tag Archives: U.S.

Bowling For Columbine

In one of the only documentaries that I respect of Michael Moore’s, Moore investigates the gun culture that takes America by storm. Looking at it from the angle of the Columbine High School Shooting, Moore suggests that the gun nuts of America and the way in which we perceive the 2nd Amendment is basically bonkers. Anyone can get a gun and they’re not always used for self defense or hunting. From the get go, you know where Michael Moore is coming from, and pretty much this whole documentary ain’t pretty.

Named after the fact that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went out bowling the morning before they tragically went wrong, Bowling for Columbine takes us to the ten pins. After some frightening images here and there, Michael Moore can never seem to help

A frightening image of a man.

attacking the administrations in power (more often Republican than Democrat) and the wrong things they always do (never the right). With a documentary such as this that tackles everything related to and around guns, Michael Moore correctly attempts to narrow down the cause for all the gun violence in America.

He compares the U.S. to other countries, examines what other people have blamed for gun violence, and brings it all crashing down on Charlton Heston, head of the NRA. In what I thought was his best

Let me just scare Charlton Heston into saying he’s sorry. Will that help?

segment of the documentary, Michael Moore allowed Marilyn Manson to defend himself with a wider audience than he may get otherwise. (Not to say he doesn’t, he’s an amazingly talented and magnetic performer.) Manson proves himself to be an intelligent and understanding person (contrary to the images and rants against him) and shows that compassion and listening may have helped the shooting and others around the world.

But I stop here for a moment to acknowledge information that has come to my attention. Thanks Wikipedia, although you may be wrong some of the times, you bring things to light I never knew. In the

Marilyn Manson, a wonderfully talented man and artist.

criticisms of Michael Moore’s documentary, he is annihilated. Some of it may have been by conservatives who believe in the right to bear arms, but a lot of it is coming from those he wronged in the film and otherwise. He was wrong about Lockheed and the particular plant he went to. He was wrong about the violence rates and some of the causes. And he ambushed Charlton Heston (as I felt he did) and inaccurately portrayed Trey Parker by associating him with the cartoon he showed minutes after.

Here’s where most people should come up against a brick wall with Michael Moore. He’s fat. He’s gross. These two aspects of his outer appearance would frighten most people he would talk to or try to approach. (I can understand that police officer wandering off when Michael Moore complained about the Hollywood sign. He had better things to do.) When listening to him talk and seeing the way he presents himself, it almost appears that he has a mental disorder. No joke. The way he holds himself in his documentaries gives a lot of people pissed off impressions of him. And sometimes rightly so.

One of the more well done parts with Moore helping out victims of Columbine.

Because it didn’t just stop here. He goes on to make 4 MORE DOCUMENTARIES ATTACKING THE REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION. At this point, he has turned into a huge gargantuan baby who is fed up with the system. He whines and puts up his yellow police tape and carries his bag around crying for money for the people. His head got bigger than it should have after the success of his first few documentaries and he thought that was a green light for as much more as he wanted to make. For shame.

So although I liked the idea and parts of this documentary, when Michale Moore puts his name on something, expect the huge range of bias he’s bringing to the table. Don’t take everything at face value. Because although in this very documentary, Michael Moore says that America has a state of fear going on, he is

Well deserved? You be the judge.

perpetuating it and stirring things up more by showing us why we should be afraid and not other things like invigorated to fight or do something. Damn it, Michael Moore, show some class. And that’s my rant. Bowling for Columbine, 6.1 out of 10. Michael Moore as of today, a whiny baby 0 out of 10.

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Chappelle’s Show

It had to end sometime, but I’m betting a lot of people who watched this show as hardcore fans wish it hadn’t have ended as soon as it did. I’m not going to get into the details many of you may know about why Chappelle left the show. It was his choice and I respect that. This review is just going to be about how wonderful the show was and my appeal to maybe bringing it back.

So the premise of Dave Chappelle’s Show is quite simple and brilliant. In a series of sketch comedy scenes, Chappelle addresses the issues of racism, ethnic tension, and the ways in which we deal with issues between the races. In a not so subtle way, I feel that Dave Chappelle attacked racial stereotypes in a not so subtle manner. By displaying the

UNITYYYYY!!!

ridiculously racist ideals of the U.S., Chappelle showed that even in a entertainment type setting, these racist views aren’t plausible in today’s society. Now, Chappelle said in one of his recordings that, “You know why my show is good? Because the network officials say you’re not smart enough to get what I’m doing, and every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong. You people are stupid.” In an offensive way, Dave Chappelle is addressing the issue that the stereotypes are what makes everyone laugh. It doesn’t do anything else. It doesn’t make us think. I’m sure there are those of us that it does do more than make us laugh at the racism, but the show lost sight of that (i.e. Lost Episodes).

One of the best written sketches, and I think it went over people’s heads.

What made me laugh about this show wasn’t necessarily the racism and stereotypes. What made me laugh were the ridiculous characters and the great way the dialogue was written. I’m not gonna say I was above laughing at some of the racist jokes, but it was more characters like Leonard Washington and Tron that made me laugh at the exaggerated mannerisms that were displayed in their sketches. And I felt that Dave Chappelle tackled more than just racism. He talked about ridiculous pop culture. Be it Grand Theft Auto or Cribs, Chappelle showed just how ridiculous our society has become in what it values and projects. He handled the political and the ethics of society. He even displayed, in a good light, just how pervasive and progressive African Americans have

Now that’s a position you wanna see.

become in society. Yes, the Lost Episodes went in the wrong direction, but it was the abrupt end of what was before a good thing.

And this show was a very good thing. It brought to my attention that Eddie Murphy’s brother is funnier than he is. He proved to me that white people can be included in black comedy and join in the laughter without feeling awkward. He’s brought out the issues of drug use among society, race relations, and African American views on just about everything. He pushed the boundaries at a time that being politically correct was more important than anything else. He spit in the face of keeping silent on issues that actually matter. And I applaud him for that.

Game, blouses. May you never quit comedy, Dave Chappelle.

So, if you are one of those people who this show passed by, check it out now. It’s all on Netflix. Bask in the glory of what is considered in the top 50 of all time best shows on television. It may have been too short lived, but Dave Chappelle is an intelligent and sensitive person who understands quality is better than quantity. And he makes some of the best quality sketches I’ve seen. So, for all his hard work and comedic genius, Chappelle’s Show deserves a 9.1 out of 10.


Harsh Times: Get Some Christian Bale

In one of my favorite Christian Bale films, Bale plays a hardened soldier newly returned to South Central Los Angeles. With new promising jobs for himself on the horizon, Jim Davis (Bale) has his feet in two camps. In one, Davis is a well-to-do yet slightly skewed veteran soldier that wants to bring his loving Mexican girlfriend to the U.S. and marry her. In the other, Davis has returned to his old haunts around the streets of L.A., drinking and living the life of a hoodrat. Cruising around with his friend Mike Alonzo (Freddy Rodriguez), attempting to right their lives but always falling short.

Jim Davis, although its not explicitly stated, suffers from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. After serving over in the Middle East, Davis suffers from bouts of extreme anger and unquenchable violence. This get him in some trouble throughout the film. In a manner of speaking, Davis becomes his own undoing, turning into a destructive time bomb ready to explode at any moment, hurting those he cares about. As an outsider viewing this, Alonzo (Rodriguez) is a spectator to the bomb

Two thugs, cruisin’ to get their. Rodriguez is creepin’ a bit hard on Bale though…

show. Both serve as peer pressure for the other, although, in the end, Davis seems to want to remain in his in between life much longer than Alonzo does.

The film starts with a bit of iffy war footage of Christian Bale running around in trenches, letting his gun go at will and laying waste to the terrorists. This is juxtaposed to the waking fear that he feels when he wakes up in the squalor of his girlfriend’s poverty in Mexico. Marta (Tammy Trull) is a wonderfully devoted character who is only a product of the environment around her. She makes the best of what she has and loves Davis dearly. Jim loves her too, and surprisingly never cheats on her. In this movie, Spanish is the language of love, spoken competently by Bale in this film, as if he picked it up after falling in love with Marta. The language barriers and connections in this film between the white and Latino characters is one I applaud in its representation in the film.

The hardened stare of a killer.

I was also impressed with Freddy Rodriguez’s performance in this film as well. Not seeing him in much other than the Grindhouse films and Six Feet Under. His voice is more recognizable than his acting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because he ran his mouth in this film. Sylvia, played by Eva Longoria, was just thoroughly average in this film, as she usually is. (I did surprisingly like her in Over My Dead Body… if that’s what it’s called). Terry Crews, star of The Longest Yard and The Expendables, made a surprise appearance as a semi-believable street thug, providing some of the only comedy in the film. And last but not least, J.K. Simmons made an appearance as a Homeland Security agent looking to hire Davis. He’s always believable as authority figures in his films.

In this film comes a lot of the breakdown of what happens to someone who suffers through war. It may not appear during their service as in this film, but it may occur anytime after, triggered by any number of things. For Davis, I felt it was his return to a society that was just as cruel as the conditions he felt in

Look everyone, it’s the Old Spice Guy!

war times that did it for him. He came back to more of what he knew, and treated it like the warring sands of the Middle East. And what impressed me more with David Ayer’s writing and directing, is that he based these characters on real people from his experience in South L.A. This brought a new level to Christian Bale’s acting and the way in which his character was formulated.

Bale and Rodriguez getting the direction they need from Ayers.

Let me say again how impressed I was with Christian Bale’s acting in this film. As one of my favorite films of his, Christian Bale does nothing less than attempt and succeed at an American accent. Although I felt that the lingo used in this film was a bit over the top, when it was used, it was more than likely appropriate. With some tricks of the trade thrown in there and some real mean streets shizz, it wasn’t a stretch to believe the events of the film. But it just goes to show that the corruption of the streets can easily lead to a tragedy. And the way that Christian Bale portrays that breakdown of a character, up to the tears and fear, its a commendable performance. Not to mention how frightening Christian Bale becomes when he’s serious. I wouldn’t wanna deal with him in a dark alley.

So with his performance, some true to the streets gang banging, and the whites vs. the latinos really

Jim Davis, rollin’ hard to get his.

adds a lot to a well written story. The psychological thriller elements of the film are well delivered and I can connect things I’ve witnessed in my life to the events onscreen. On a touchy subject like the recent tours of duty over in Iraq and Afghanistan, this movie touches just the right spots with aplomb. I’ll give this one, as should be expected, a decent 84. out of 10.


Misifits: Series 1

I would like to start off with a special thanks to my girlfriend’s sister Dana for making me aware of this wonderful show simply titled Misfits. I know she’s just paying me back for telling her about Foxy Shazam, and so it’s all good now. I would also like to thank Hulu for showing this in the U.S. for free. It is not small wonder this is one of the most watched shows that you have in your archive.

Hailing from the wonderful little island of Britain, Misfits is a series about, well, a group of misfits. Being as vague as I can about the series, I’m not going to tell you what they did or just exactly what happens, but I will tell you one thing. Freak electrical storm. These five Misfits gain bizarre superpowers that get them into some pretty strange situations (and sometimes gets them out of them). With a culture different from our American teenagers, a whole new kind of token characters are created.

A great cast of heroes has been assembled here.

And what a wildly awesome bunch they are. It’s not to say they are completely different from us, but, I swear, if MTV tires to touch this show I will burn their headquarters to the ground. This is a show that, in its context, can only be done amazingly by those who originally did it. Any bastardizing of this show will be seen as blasphemy. Anyways, back to the characters. There’s Simon (Iwan Rheon). He’s the quiet outcast of the group that never really had any friends, and, at first, it appears to be plausible. We gain an emotionally connected insight into his life as the series progresses and, if you don’t like him as much as I think everyone should/does, then you might wanna stop watching. Being one of the key characters, it’s sad to see that he’s leaving after Series 3.

This is why she's hot.

Next is Alisha (Antonia Thomas). This smokin’ hot and fiery young black woman is beautiful and knows it. She uses every man she can for what she wants (usually sex) and then throws them to the gutter. As with almost all the characters, she doesn’t give a shit what people think of her. Typical of a delinquent. After Alisha comes Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), the athlete gone bad on that one mistake. With his track days over, Curtis has given up on life and wishes anything to have things back to the way they used to be. It does my heart good to see more than one minority in a “superhero show” like this and Curtis and Alisha are good representations.

You better recognize.

Next is Kelly (Lauren Socha), the spitfire “slag” of the group. Representing the “lower class of Britain” in this show, she jumps on everyone’s case with her unique way of speaking. As one of my favorite characters, I love that she’s always the one dishing out the hits on all the guys. And not flirting. And then we come to Nathan (Robert Sheehan). I recognized him from Cage’s Season of the Witch and was surprised that HE IS ONE OF THE BEST ACTORS IN THIS SHOW. I was constantly laughing and believing that the young choir boy I saw from Cage’s disaster was a completely different person. In looking forward to watching everything this kid ever does, Sheehan does an amazing representation of the smartass class clown.

True. And funny.

So there we have all the characters. In the first episode, you begin to discover just who they are and how their powers relate to their lives. Seen as punishments that accurately fit the crime, these five must deal with a series of horrific events and the consequences of their actions. Set in an imagined suburb of London named Wertham, this is one of the best British shows I’ve ever watched, and I’ve seen all of The Mighty Boosh and Little Britain. (Just roll Nathan into both those shows and he’s just as funny.)

Word.

I can’t reveal too much about the plot because its just too good to discover what happens. The series is fantastic and I really can’t say more than that. I encourage any superhero/anti-superhero, nerdy, British loving, dramatically inclined, film lovers to check out this show on Hulu. At least watch the first series. All the characters develop into these amazing people that you wish were your friends and you care deeply for them and the relationships they form with each other. (And there are some steamy relationships you won’t see coming.) Coming from a guy who’s not that into the gossip/Skins style focus on love and sex, it was a bit over the top for me in this show, but it gave an adult quality to the 20 year olds acting on screen. Focused solely around their time in their community service building, a lot more is going on than meets the eye.

Discover all the mystery. And what's going on here.

I can’t say enough how wonderful this show is. If you watch it/are currently watching it, there will be an update for how good Series 2 is in comparison. (I don’t know about Series 3, Nathan has left…) So keep up on it and discover all you need to know about Misfits. And I’m going to post the show opening song because of how perfectly it fits and how catchy it is. Get some of these Misfits, they’re 10 out of 10.

I also forgot how amazing the score to the show is. Enjoy!