Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Shining

A talking finger, whose hobbies include being attached to a young boy, and seeing into the future, stops Jack Nicholson from killing the boy it's attached to, and his mom.

If you like talking fingers, hotels, and sexy ghosts who turn out to be really disgusting when you start making out with them, then chances are you will love The Shining.

The Shining has all of these things and more. Yes, that's right, I said more. There's also a hedge maze, a pantry full of goods, and a snow plow.

4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Conjuring

I grew up in a real-life haunted house, so The Conjuring was of particular interest to me.

One day, my Mom was taking me along to go grocery shopping. "Tommy," she said,
"Don't be scared, but there's a ghost living in our house. I know there's a ghost here, because it keeps moving the car keys off the hook and leaving them in strange places."

"Did you hear that?" she said to my father. "I said there's a ghost that keeps moving the car keys off the hook, where we both agreed we would always leave them."

"Mmm... Sounds like a ghost, alright. Did you check the kitchen table?"

"I found them already."

"Then what are you complaining about?"

"I shouldn't have to look for them! They should just be on the hook!"

The ghost was causing my parents to argue. And it really seemed to like playing with the car keys for some reason.

I got an idea. That night I took the car keys and flushed them down the toilet. "Follow the keys, ghost!" I yelled. "Follow them and don't come back!"

The next day, I told my parents what I had done. "Now the ghost won't have anything to play with, so maybe he'll go away." They just stared at me, and said nothing. Probably they were wondering why they hadn't thought of it themselves!

Sure enough, the ghost must have disappeared, because my parents never mentioned it again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Hunger Games

First of all, I know what you are all thinking, and the answer is no.

The Hunger Games is not about a game of chicken at lunchtime in the office cafeteria, which results in one lucky (and some would say foolishly brave) marketing director named Steve Jenkins winning everybody's lunches. And he'll sell them back to you, but he's going to make a tidy cut by the end.

But Steve only takes cash, and if you don't have any of that, well good luck trying to talk him into giving you a freebie just this once.

No, this Hunger Games is about something else entirely. It is about fighting and vengeance. And, uh, there's a whole lot of images. Images and sounds combining to create a distinct feeling, or mood.

But you can't focus on what is happening. All you can think about is that roast beef and pickle sandwich you were going to eat, but that that asshole Steve ate instead.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

One of the most celebrated children books of all time has finally made the silver screen. What you may not know is just how much the Hobbit reveals to us about the secret life of the legendary writer, linguist, and grifter, J.R.R. Tolkien.

The Ring
Tolkien won his prized gold ring at a pub over a game of riddles, by stumping the then riddle-master, C.S. Lewis. Tolkien asked his now immortalized riddle: "What have I got in my pockets?" The answer, of course, being the gold ring he had previous lifted from Lewis's own pocket only a half hour before.

Tolkien was nearly killed that night by Lewis's wrath, and a broken pool cue. But the daring writer escaped from a bathroom window, and was never seen at the likes of the Goblin Hole again.

Neither of them spoke a word of it anyone after that night. But as an ultimate gloat, Tolkien replicated his triumph in the riddle game of the Hobbit, and then had it published.


While writing the Hobbit, Mr. Tolkien would spend weeks at time locked away in his room. Sometime his body and clothes alike would become incredibly foul. What should have been a simple task of delivery his clothes to the local Chinese laundromat proved difficult due to Tolkien's inexplicable and deep mistrust of laundromats.

Tolkien's personal breakthrough comes at the same time as writing about Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the company, overcoming his strong mistrust of elves, and giving his family's treasured treasure map to be examined by Elrond. So does Tolkien finally overcome his own prejudices against laundromats, and finally gives Mr. Chang his smelly, smelly clothes.

Gandalf, by far one of Tolkien's most bearded characters, is Tolkien's take on one peculiar postman Mr. Gunderman, who would stop by Tolkien's family's house, and periodically attempt to recruit a young Tolkien on various quests whenever his parents were out of the house. Later arrested (but never convicted) Mr. Gunderman would always be a source of inspiration for the writer.