Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Horror of Mind

Christmas night I drive through a small town. I could have taken the highway, but I don't. I drive on small, short little roads--curves impractical rather than seductive. The lampposts are lit, and there are decorations up, and it is festive. Festive, but alone. It is a celebration, but there is nobody celebrating. The celebration is inside the houses that line the small-town streets. I am the one who is alone. It's a weird feeling...

I see a couple of other cars out...and I wonder to myself why they are out. Why they are driving in Sheboygan Falls at 7.30 on Christmas night. That's when you celebrate--ya know? That's not the time when you're out driving.

As a matter of fact, that is precisely the time when you are not out driving.

Except for me.

The words "shackled by ambition" pop into my head. Wait, what? What was that? I'm used to my Victorian maudlin use of cliché to describe sorta how I am feeling and sorta how I want to be feeling.

I have to drive. I can't stop, really, even if it means being out and about on Christmas night at 7.30. Even if it means giving up traditional measures of comfort--even if it means defying tradition--I have to. I can't really stop. So even though I may want to go back and relax in my quiet home, I can't. because I have better things to do.

Better things. Ha.

I keep driving. The lights are looking at me judgementally. Streetlamps with their sad festoons of evergreen--either fake (which end up looking cheap) or fresh (which end up looking dead). They're saying to me, "shoulda got out when ya had the chance. Shoulda cashed in, and gone and embraced those simple pleasures that your family back there embraces--they can enjoy the little things."

Because that's what pleasure is. It's simple. When you complicate pleasure, it becomes less pleasurable, it becomes more like work. It becomes more stressful. Pleasure--what we call pleasure--can be stressful. Recreation become less about unwinding and more about fitting every last activity in.

The ability to laugh at the story of a stupid cat that loves to lick hands...there's nothing sophisticated about that, or intellectual. it's just funny. It's grotesque, and it's funny.

Is being intellectual a bad thing? Is it...does it make you more mean, lower?

Does my intellect make me less able to appreciate the wonders of life?

Just because I comprehend something doesn't mean that I understand it. Have I broken apart the rose to see what's inside--and lost the beauty of it?

This was supposed to be a poem. It started off as "My Impression Of Lights In A Little Old Down-Town Street". And look at it now. All growed up into a melancholy soul-search.

I feel stupid. I feel stupid for thinking I'm smart. I feel stupid for accepting the world's concept of "intelligence" with which it labels me. I feel stupid for being proud of that label.

I wish I could be simple again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Wroted A Poim!

Today, I sat down and I wrote:

“I am the first coming of Rembrandt.
Before Rubens was, I am.
And when Pollock has crumbled into oblivion,
I will still be splattering order all over my canvas.”

And then I tried writing more, but it didn’t work.
So I deleted it, and I tried again.
And the second try was worse than the first.
So I facebooked for a little bit, and then I realized:

that poem will never be written.

It’s a shard. It’s a poem-fragment.
It’s like all of those wonderful novels I began writing when I was younger.
It won’t go anywhere.

It was about the clouds after a tornado-storm came through.
They were beautiful.
But I can’t write that poem. It’s just not going to work.
Instead, I’m writing this.

I feel like this is more a lecture than a poem.
I feel like smashing my computer for sucking out all of my inspiration.
I feel like I’m done with this poem.

Or lecture. Whatever it is.

Long live awkwardness!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finally. :/

Here's a poem. It's by W. H. Auden.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Now that is a good poem.

Long live one-night returns!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Several Quotes For You

Last year in my Classical and Modern Rhetoric class, we were assigned a "commonplace book". We were supposed to write down awesome quotes that we read or heard or saw on TV or in a movie or on-stage. I did this, and I recently ran across my old commonplace book.

Here are some of the quotes from it, and I apologize in advance for not citing. 

When in doubt, light something on fire.

Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.

In ancient Sparta, things were decided by which side shouted the loudest. Fortunately, we are not in ancient Sparta.

History is written by those who have hanged heroes.

It's our wits that make us men.

There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.

Duty is ours; consequences are God's.

You're in love. Have a beer.

Satisfaction is a vice.

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.

To speak French, punch yourself in the tongue and try to talk.
Sirs, the vessel of our State, after being tossed on wild waves, hath once more been safely steadied by the gods.

Nothing is more characteristically juvenile than a contempt for juvenility.

Okay, that's all. Goodbye!

Long live origami!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Two Commissions

I may take some flak for this post, but what the heck--my 360 just died, and I'm feeling antagonistic.

Not too antagonistic, mind you, because I was the third owner of said machine. Nevertheless...ouch. I'm not a fan of things that break. It's not my idea of A Fun Time.

Okay, so I was back home for the weekend, and my esteemed father, who happens to be a pastor, preached about Matthew 28:11-15. You know, the bit right before the Great Commission where...meh, I'll just pop it into the body of the post. Can't hurt, right?

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

So...yeah. Those chief priests were bad, bad men.
And then, right after it says that "this story has been widely circulated", there's this bit. Perhaps a tad more familiar. 

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Now, notice anything interesting about those two little blurbs? Right: they're kinda parallel. First you have the bad guys sending out their minions to spread their version of the truth...then you have the Good Guy sending out His...well, I won't call them minions...His disciples to spread His version of the truth. (We all know which truth is Truth.) Then you have the promise of reward (money/omnipresence) and an allusion to eternity.

Awesome, huh?

I just love it when the Bible is good literature. And as I've learned more about literature, I keep finding instances of fine craft in the Holy Scriptures. I guess there's a reason Jesus is called the Word in John 1...

Long live epiphanies!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Evolution of Arrogance

I'm going to be a senior this year.

Instead of waxing verbose on how delighted/scared/proud/humble that makes me feel, I'm going to look back. I feel that this year my attitude is different than in past years, and that's a good thing. But it also prompts me to consider exactly what my attitude was in the first three years, and exactly how my current attitude is different.


My freshman year was a strange one. I was nobody...but I liked being nobody. Shortly after beginning classes my first semester, I came to the very welcome conclusion that I was more intelligent that 90% of the student body--or maybe that 90% was closer to 95%. I was riding high in all of my classes, and I sort of considered myself an intellectual ninja--someone who nobody expected to excel, because they didn't know him, and then he'd STRIKE FROM THE SHADOWS and get an A in the class, and then disappear back into the woodwork.

More than that, I thought of myself as a youthful, fresh-faced savior. Nobody knew me, but they would, I told myself. I was going to be an intellectual shot in the arm here at my school.

Gosh, I was a pill.

Then came my sophomore year. This was when I began doing theatre, incidentally, and this change brought about a shift in my priorities. While previously I had been rather narrow-minded, viewing academic achievement as the only way for me to leave my mark here at school, now I realized that there were other ways to achieve "remembered" status.

During my sophomore year, I began realizing that my willingness and ability to work well with my superiors gave me an advantage over my fellow students. I had figured out by now that, while I was smarter than most of my peers, I also had to work to cultivate that advantage. I didn't particularly love work, and toadying to my superiors was a whole lot easier than striving and achieving.

As a sophomore, I didn't see myself as a fresh-faced savior; now I saw myself as something of a rising star. My potential was no longer latent; it was becoming active. In another year, I felt, I would be well-known and powerful.

Then came my junior year. By this time, I had honed my social skills to the point where people could actually bear spending time with me, and I had been elected to the executive board of a student organization. I got the lead in our Fall Musical, I had a semi-official position (unpaid, of course) within the machinery of our theatre department, and I felt that I had almost arrived. Surely by my senior year I would be king (or at least committee chairman) of all I surveyed.

Then some funny stuff happened. I lost an election I considered a foregone conclusion. I was in charge of an event that didn't live up to my expectations. I got in touch more with the world outside my school. And I saw a lot of freshmen.

This led to a shift in my perception of myself. Whereas before I thought I was all that and more, now I began to realize that my point of view was wrong. I was considering my accomplishments relatively, not absolutely. In other words, I was viewing myself as a big fish and denying the fact that I was in a tiny, tiny pond. When I have had the opportunity to experience larger arenas, like, say, the Milwaukee theatre scene, I am sharply reminded that I am nobody and I have done nothing.

Now, one might ask, "Ian, how does that differ from how you looked at things your freshman year?" The answer is that I'm in a different pond now. When I was a freshman, I was a small fish, but I was in a small pond; it takes less time to be biggest in a small pond than to be biggest in the ocean. Sure, I'd like to be influential and affect people's lives. But I now know that the chances of being "influential" are pretty small. Everything has to line up right and fall into place perfectly. And I'm starting mighty late.

And one may not neglect the spiritual side. I don't often do this, and perhaps I should do it more often...but here's a bit from one of the least-known books of the Bible, 2 Corinthians:

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by sight--we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5.1-10)

This is interesting, because it doesn't specifically say that the "mortal", the earthly, is bad. It's a "burden", and "we groan" under it, but that's not because the "mortal" is evil. It's because we yearn for our "home not made with earthly hands." I also think the repetition of "being...of good courage" is noteworthy--this earthly pond of ours here can be trying at times, and stressful, but we were "prepared...for this very purpose" by God.

But that's all incidental. What I focused on in this passage is where it talks about "our ambition". See there, where it says that our ambition should be "to be pleasing to Him"? Yeah. My #1 priority should not be building my influence or creating a legacy or even maximizing my potential. It should be pleasing my Father in heaven.

As I enter my senior year, I think I'm on a healthy path. I need to finish these two semesters, and I don't need to elevate my status here any more. I mean, I'll be gone after this year. And who cares if I'm remembered at some two-bit Lutheran school in Milwaukee? The fact that this has been the only world I've known for the last three years doesn't mean that it's the only one--or even a worthwhile one.

I have moved beyond school. I'm beginning to think like an adult.

This concludes the personal, uncomfortable, boring section of this post. Here's a video.

It's catchy, it's intriguing, and it's atmospheric. I don't know why recently I've been on such a '60s and '70s kick...but it seems like they put more thought into their music back then.


(Maybe sometime I'll write a blogpost about my sign-off. It's an interesting story. And don't forget, if you want to view this post with all sorts of flashy stuff, especially that video which I so kindly embedded, travel on over here to The Uninformed Opinion and get the real lowdown.)

Long live introspection!

Also, long live great (really great) music!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Poem of Mine!

Enjoy it.

Or else.

The floor:
is changing.
Alphα and Ωmega
infinite, immortal, and unchangeable

And what looms up treelike?
      huge puffy translucent puffs of ice
trees without trunks
or stems
leaves foliage twigs branches…
hovering ethereal and mysterious over the surface of the waters.

Above the canopy?
Cyclopean, a knife-spear
rends the heavens and comes down
piercing bone and marrow
belligerently defying its lunar superior…

and a swallow
past my head.

Long live experiential poetry!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Unstimulated Thoughts

I've been thinking a bit, and here's the offspring of my mutated cerebral processes.

1. This is the first year I've had decent financial aid. Funny, my last year of school, and they finally get my FinAid right.

2. I'm watching The Office right now. Now, I love The Office--unlike a few (foolish) people I know--and I think the reason I like it so much is because of the commitment to character that most of the actors display. Some would argue that characters like Kelly Kapoor, Creed Bratton, Dwight Schrute, Kevin Malone, and Angela Martin are what made The Office great during its heyday, and across the board, the actors playing those characters are absolutely committed to being in character. The show's set is reportedly a hotbed of improv, with some of the greatest moments emerging spontaneously off-script (like when Michael kisses Oscar in season 3). In terms of practice, The Office has got it goin' on.

3. There's a lot of buzz recently that the superhero film as a genre is dying or fizzling or something. I don't think superhero movies are dying, exactly...but I do think they're in danger. Pity. There have been a lot of superhero flicks over the past decade which have had a serious impact on the film industry. Spiderman 2, for instance, gave the genre a lot of cred because of Alfred Molina's performance--it showed the American moviegoing public that superhero films can have good acting as well as good effects. But when a "superhero film" with Nicolas Cage and Christopher Mintz-Plasse makes $50 mil in a relatively unopposed market...that means that there's a problem. Here's hoping the efforts of Marvel Studios can turn things around.

4. A poem. The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats. Here ya go.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Long live randomization!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Instrumental Voices

I like the title of this post 'cause it's kind of got a double meaning. Or rather, two double meanings. You'll probably understand better after you read this whole post.

Speaking of which, I will be embedding a whole buncha videos in this post. So if you are viewing this on my Facebook page, you probably will want to come on over to my blog proper and view this post. That way you can see all of my pretty embedded videos.

This post will be a bit of a departure for me...bear with me. I was inspired to write this edition of the Uninformed Opinion when I was listening to Pandora Internet Radio and allofasudden "Mrs. Robinson", by Simon and Garfunkel, came on.

Here it is, btw...

This song struck me as really capturing the spirit of the psychedelic movement in '60s and '70s music. It's got that soft groove, a bit of a multicultural feel to it, and their inimitable harmony.

Simon and Garfunkel are weird, because they preach in their music, but their music is never preachy. A paradox perhaps, but nevertheless true. For instance, take what is arguably S&G's best-known song, "The Sound of Silence". It's full of message, but its unique sound keeps the message from being too jarring.

I think it's interesting how versatile they are, while never really breaking out of a genre they epitomize. They never really deserted their folksy ballad-with-a-kick format, but the interpretation of that format varies widely from song to song. "The Boxer", another of Simon's masterpieces, is a more produced sound than the pared-down a capella of "Sound of Silence".

The greatest thing about Simon and Garfunkel isthat their music is incredibly well thought-out. Lyrics, vocals, tempos, even the aggressiveness of their all works together. And it can be subtle, too; not all of their preaching is clubbing. In "Scarborough Fair", the song as a whole subsumes the message, and oddly enough, strengthens it thereby.

Sure, there's a message there, but the first time you hear the song, you don't pick up on the anti-war just get a feeling of pain and loss.

So that's it. My fandom for S&G knows little boundary. Remember, if you're reading this on Facebook, take the time to check it out in its original version, here at the Uninformed Opinion.

Long live harmonization!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

News...Probably Bad...

First news: Ricky Gervais won't be taking over for Steve Carell as Michael Scott. He wrote that in his blog. One name that's being bandied about to take Carell's place is Portia de Rossi.


That would be really, really horrible.

Michael Scott is one of the few awesome Office characters who's stayed awesome. It's sad that Carell is leaving.

Second, Toy Story 3 has broken records. It's now Pixar's highest-grossing film...domestically, I think. It's doing well, still. The Toy Story franchise has to go down in history as one of the most solid animated franchises ever.

For the record: I see the first news as bad, the second news as good. But I could be wrong. I have been wrong before. It happened that one time.

What do YOU think? Portia de Rossi as head of Dunder Mifflin-Scranton? Toy Story as a classic franchise?

Long live random news!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Revolutionary Road Is A Strange Film

I watched Revolutionary Road recently. You know Revolutionary Road, right? Sam Mendes' adaptation of Richard Yates' acclaimed 1962 novel of the same name? Starred two Oscar-winners and an Oscar nominee? Didn't do very well commercially, but the critics loved it?

Yeah, you've probably never heard of it.

I mean, since you're all so imaginary, you probably haven't heard of much.

Is it strange that I write a blog for imaginary readers? It seems like a small step from talking to myself.

Anyway--Revolutionary Road.

Interesting film. It wasn't a narrative film; but it wasn't a "character piece". It was more about a relationship than anything. The relationship between Frank and April Wheeler is so alive, so deep and richly-constructed, that it almost functions as a character by itself.

I was talking with an associate of mine--the one who lent me the film, in fact--and complaining to him about the fragmented nature of the narrative. He pointed out that the question of the film isn't "will they move to France?" or "will she self-abort?" but "can their relationship survive?"

I don't think I've ever seen such a strange film. Kathy Bates and Kate Winslet give great performances, especially Winslet. Funny; I've always hated Kate Winslet, because she annoys me...but in Revolutionary Road, she was really awesome. Not that I liked her character; but her performance was consistent and sensitive.

As much as I liked Winslet's performance--and Michael Shannon's Oscar-nominated turn--I dislike DiCaprio's more and more as I continue to think about it. One reviewer mentioned the film's careful adherence to '50s parlance--slang, in particular--and DiCaprio's lines are the most '50s-ish. For some reason, though, his emotional development throughout the film is spotty. It seems that he has three modes: angry, puzzled, and serious. He switches between these logically, but predictably, and that ultimately cripples his character, in my mind.

I enjoyed Revolutionary Road--if "enjoyed" is the right word. Perhaps I should say that I was impressed by Revolutionary Road. It's an impressive movie; the Wheelers' unique relationship kept me engrossed, and the top-notch supporting cast helped mask DiCaprio's somewhat shallow performance. I'd rate it 7.5/10.

Long live careful fiilmmaking!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Piranha 3D

My girlfriend wants to see it. She's brave, that's for sure. The first one, from 1972ish, was pretty well-received. Now it's being remade, like every 1970s and 1980s horror movie.

You have to admit that the '70s and the '80s were good decades for horror. But for some reason all of these remakes are horrible. HORRIBLE. The only passable remake in recent memory--at least, in my uninformed opinion--was Rob Zombie's Halloween.

I just needed to make the point that the idea behind Piranha is kind of like the idea behind Aqua-man: lame. Lame, because the agents in question are bounded by a very finite geographical location. Aqua-man is pretty awesome in the water--but useless on dry land. Piranhas are not fuzzy fun friends if you're swimming with them, but if you stay far away from the water...well, there's not much they can do, is there?

Of course, many horror films are more about effects than about plot or character. And what plot one does find within the horror genre is often riddled with logic holes.

Maybe I'm expecting too much...

Long live nostalgia!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Brief Thought About Michael Emerson

As I've mentioned before, I boarded the LOST boat long, long after it sailed. Actually, I don't think I started watching until after the series finale. I'm nearly at the end of the series, and I must say that the show has had its ups and downs. Seasons 3 and 5, particularly, were disappointing and poorly-constructed, though Season 2, in my opinion, was very well put together.

As I've become engrossed in the series, I've discussed with other fans of the show the lack of character development in later seasons. We meet multiple new characters as the show progresses, but they lack flesh--they're like cardboard cutout characters that are there to answer some questions or raise some questions or maybe probably die, but not before they've become romantically involved with someone.

One delightful exception to this rule, however, has been the character of Benjamin Linus, played with absolute brilliance and poise by Michael Emerson. Linus' character, introduced in Season 2, has steadily and naturally progressed and unfolded--perhaps "unfolded" is the better word, because the way LOST is constructed precludes up-front character development. LOST lives and dies by the flashback--or flash-forward, or occasionally flash-sideways.

It's true, the creators missed fire with Nikki and Paolo and Charlotte and multiple others, but Linus is a home run. In Season 3 I hated him, as I should, but by the end of the season, I began to feel stirrings of pity for him. Throughout Seasons 4 and 5 he began coming into his own dramatically, often providing or sparking much of the emotional conflict especially off-island. Now, in Season 6, he's the most human, the most compelling, the most accessible character left alive.

This is not due, in my opinion, to the genius of J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse. I think that Michael Emerson's incredible interpretation of the character is what makes Benjamin Linus so rounded, so alive. Emerson is in constant control of his voice; he obviously knows his scripts and knows his character and makes a conscious effort to adopt his character's voice. He is in constant control of his body; he can evoke arrogance, sliminess, and pathetic sorrow with his posture. He is in constant control of his facial expressions and his breathing; he's a whole-body actor.

Michael Emerson is why Benjamin Linus is awesome. Michael Emerson is an awesome actor, and I want to see more of his stuff.

Long live respect!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Not Reviewing Inception

I went to see it, you see. And I loved it. But I'm not going to review it. Not yet, that is. I don't feel that I've fully comprehended it. Once I see it again, I'll definitely blog about it.

I mean, I enjoyed Inception. And I understood it. But I don't think I comprehended it. I laid my hands on it, but I didn't fully grasp it. I need to see it again before I can wrap my mind around it. Make sense?

No, instead I'm going to talk about How To Train Your Dragon, which I went to see recently at a budget theatre that has movies weeks after they're released. I went to see it with my girlfriend, who is a huge fan of the film, and her sister, who is also a huge fan of the film. So there was some pressure on me to enjoy it, and I don't function well under pressure. I mean, when I'm pressured to do one thing, I usually end up as far away as possible from that thing.

I didn't expect to enjoy How To Train Your Dragon.

The main reason I didn't want to see Dragon was that it's a DreamWorks Animation project, and before Dragon, DreamWorks Animation had produced exactly 0 worthwhile movies, in my opinion. I know they were behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, but I occasionally disagree with critical opinion. I've seen far too many DreamWorks films, and, to be perfectly honest, Dragon was the first DreamWorks project I saw that I didn't feel was a waste of my time.

I don't know why DreamWorks can't craft believable universes--subcreations. I love Pixar films in part because they tend to have unique, fresh, full backgrounds. It's like Cobb tells Ariadne in Inception: to be believable, your creation has to be unique and detailed and consistent.

But Dragon bucked that trend. While its creators still couldn't avoid the patented Dreamworks propensity for anachronistic idiom (Hiccup, the protagonist, is a Viking, and he calls something "cool". No. Just--no.), they successfully crafted a believable universe, rich and--for the most part--consistent.

I especially liked the imaginative introduction of the existence of multiple species of dragon. The way DreamWorks usually handles this sort of film would have had the different dragons be wisecracking, farting, and generally disappointing viewers. By making the different dragons sentient yet mute--and more importantly, analogous to and cooperative with various characters--the creators broke of the normal DreamWorks mold. I can only hope that this becomes a trend.

I thought some of the characters were poorly-drawn, and some of the relationships seemed rushed. But that's a children's film for you. When you're selling to kids, you don't need to craft deep, rich, textured characters--archetypes will do.

Oh, and when Stoick (Hiccup's father, voiced by Gerard Butler) is preparing to enter the lair of the dragons that have been plaguing his village, he goes into Leonidas mode. It's quite funny as an inside joke.

This has been more of a ramble and less of a review, but since when have I been organized or focused?

Long live self-denial!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Popular Writing vs. Meaningful Writing

This post was originally part of the Road of Writing post which I just finished. I sorta bridged into this one, and then I realized that I was writing a very long post, so I chopped it up into two chunks. This post is because recently I've been thinking about Mr. S. King and how he likes to construct writer-characters in his books. Misery, of course, centers around Paul Sheldon, a popular, well-known author, and in King's mirror novels The Regulators and Desperation a major member of the ensemble, John Marinville, is a popular, well-known writer.

Central to the personal emotional conflicts for both characters is the dichotomy between "popular" writing and "meaningful" or "real" writing. "Popular" writing, according to King, is the stuff that people buy, the paperbacks that are fun reads. "Real" writing is inherently less financially successful, but garners critical praise.

In Misery, King goes so far as to say that being known for writing "popular" books is one step above being a hack. Sheldon and Marinville hate writing popular material, but they know that writing popular material is what pays the bills. They love writing meaningful material, but they know that all the critical acclaim in the world won't feed them.

Fundamentally, King is discussing the antithesis between commercial and artistic success. To King, the two are mutually exclusive, which betrays a sad lack of faith in the discernment of the American reading public--a lack of faith which is all the more pathetic because it's warranted.

They say that you write best about that which you know. I think that in Paul Sheldon and Johnny Marinville, Stephen King has injected himself into his writing. King's work has often been the center of controversy; check out this column by Harold Bloom, written on the occasion of King's receiving the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Awards.

I'm not going to weigh in on the artistic merit of popular writing. I don't believe that novels which are popular should be discounted because of their popularity, though; while American readers don't have a lot of discernment, their approval shouldn't be the kiss of death for literature.

This has been a very meandering post. I think I'm done now.

Long live autobiography!

The Road of Writing

I am going to ignore the fact that I haven't posted for over a month. That point is moot.

I recently read Stephen King's Misery, which is a thought-provoking book if I've ever read one. It's quite different from my usual fare. 'S funny: I love psychological thrillers when they're in movie-form, but I really can't stomach book-psychological thrillers. Perhaps because the written word is simultaneously more raw and more subtle than anything one can do with film.

Perhaps I should explain that.

Writing as an art form--the use of words--is communicative. It's a street, if you will, usually a one-way street, and most of the time ideas and conceptions (not concepts--I use the word "conceptions" on purpose) and tones and shades and colors travel from the author to the reader. And the only leeway that the author can utilize is vocabularic. Of course, there's the typescript niche, but words are words. Voice, in my opinion, matters little: Sherman Alexie has a distinct voice, distinct from that of Lee Child, distinct from that of Robert Frost. Writers who rely solely on their artistic voice to nuance their writing become caricatures of themselves. One author dangerously close to this pitfall is Jeff Shaara.

Does this make sense? Words are blunt by nature. Yet everyone has a different frame of reference; everyone comes at literature differently because no two lives are the same. This difference is what provides the shades and tones and colors for which authors hunger.

Film, on the other hand, is a much more middle-of-the-road medium. I'm not a film student, but in my experience natural subtlety is rare in film. Usually when a filmmaker tries to be clever/sensitive, it comes off as studied. Which sorta defeats the purpose.

Now, this was supposed to be one post, and it was originally called "Popular Writing vs. Meaningful Writing", and I was going to talk all about Stephen King and how people rip on him. But I'll talk about that in my next post.

Long live vagueness!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Do Not Heart Hypocrites

I had a run-in with one, yesterday. Actually, two run-ins. (Run-ins? Runs-ins? Runs-in? I think it's runs-in.)

I had two runs-in with hypocrites yesterday, and both of them reminded me just how much I dislike hypocrisy. The funny thing is, I'm a bit of a hypocrite myself, and I'm fairly certain that the reason I hate hypocrites so much is that I'm one. They say that we hate most what we see in ourselves--the whole opposites attract bit.

Anyway, I'm only going to talk about one run-in, because...well, I won't reveal my real reason for not talking about the other one. Let's say that the other encounter was conducted entirely in an obscure German dialect, and translating it would be too hard.

So a professor comes down to A/V last night--one with whom I have a history...well, perhaps I should talk about the history a bit.

Some profs adopt me as their own special buddy. They act all friendly and respectful and genial, and then they sorta beguile me to do A/V stuff for them, and then they think that I'm their personal A/V assistant. In short, they use me like a five-dollar something-or-other. And I am a spineless fool, so I don't tell them "NO!" at all, really. This professor of whom I speak is one with whom I have this history; she considers me her "inside man", the one who can do her huge favors and stuff.

She comes down to A/V last night, asking if we have extension cords. I don't know what we've got available, so I tell her that I don't know what we've got available. Then she says, "Oh, you've got the stuff I need. I was down here snooping around earlier, and you've got the extension cords." Then she opens the Forbidden Door and walks right back to where the extension cords are stored and shows them to me.

Just thinking about it grinds my gears.

It's events like this that make me yearn with an undescribable longing for my graduation.

The Forbidden Door, by the way, is the door back into the Computer Support office. It's kind of funny. Only us initiates are supposed to go back there, and we've plastered signs ALL OVER, signs like "DO NOT ENTER: IT Personnel ONLY please" or "Please Keep Door Closed" or "Please Ring Bell For Service" or "There is a dragon in here, and he will claw your face off".

And people still go back there. Like my hypocrite professor-friend, who was "down here snooping around earlier". It's like they can't read!

Well, that's enough anger and hatred. My good friend Drew Barnes turned me on to this awesome guitarist Django Reinhardt. He was a gypsy, and he only had two operational fingers. Now, most guitarists will tell you that you kinda need most of your fingers to work if you want to rock out on the guitar, but not Django. He managed to make it work with this:

Django had it goin' on. And here's a sample of his work--one of his best-known compositions, "Minor Swing":

I don't know about you, imaginary adoring fans, but I feel pretty small after listening to that. Can I get a "Holy Crap"?

Long live dynamic genius!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Two Types of Webpeople

I think there are two types of webpeople: the self-aware and the un-self-aware.

Allow me to explain. Please.

Webpeople I define as those who create and share information or content. So webpeople aren't necessarily individuals; sometimes webpeople are groups or organizations or even institutions.

Self-awareness, in my uninformed opinion, is underrated. If you have a handle on who you are and what you're doing, you're on your way to being awesome. 'Course, there are some other things that contribute to being awesome as well, such as intellect and divine intervention, but as it is, the self-aware have a leg up on the blissfully ignorant.

There are some webpeople  who take the Information Superhighway seriously. They think that a) what they're doing is seriously going to change the world and b) what they're doing will last forever, or at least a long, long time.

These people are not self-aware. These people are blissfully ignorant. These people are often annoying.

Examples (and this is where I'll probably raise some hackles) are primarily political- and social-activist groups, like The Huffington Post or The Drudge Report. But one doesn't have to be partisan to be blissfully ignorant. deviantart encourages thousands--perhaps millions--of untalented losers to create and create and create, fueling their pipe dreams of brilliance or success. So do various other social-networking and open-source websites; the business of today's web is to validate the masses. And as the masses create and upload and comment and flame, they begin to think that what they are doing has weight--that they will be remembered.

To this end, I give you one of The Onion's recent news blips:

Amazing Original Thing To Become Hated Cliché In 6 Months

NEW YORK—An extremely clever and creative new thing will amuse the world for two and a half weeks in June, become passé by mid-September, and wind up as a trite and infuriating cliché by Christmas, sources said Monday. "Positive reviews on Boing Boing will signal the brief 'happy' phase of this exciting new thing's existence, about 11 weeks prior to the first backlash," said Wired magazine senior writer Stephen Levy. "I look forward to watching America fall in love with, make YouTube parodies of, sour on, forget about, and groan legitimately when hackneyed late-night talk show references are made to the thing." Levy estimated that the thing's creator will earn $400,000 from licensing its image for use on T-shirts that will all be donated to Goodwill by next spring.

Prophecy? I think so.

The other type of webperson is in the minority, unfortunately--the self-aware user. Self-aware webpeople realize that few will read their tweets and fewer will care...and the self-aware are fine with that. The self-aware don't create and post because they think they'll make a difference--they create and post because they enjoy it. It's a wry mockery of the earnestness of the blissfully ignorant.

Interestingly enough, "wry" and "mockery" are words often used to describe the efforts of the self-aware. Examples of self-aware webpeople are xkcd or The Onion or They don't try to change the world. They post and don't care who reads it--or who doesn't read it.

I like to think I'm the latter. But maybe the fact that I'm writing this post says that I'm not.

Anyway, the reason I haven't posted for so long is that I've been watching LOST. It's amazing, but I won't blog about it, because that ship sailed several years ago.

In other news, Burn Notice is amazing. I'm glad it's coming back tonight.

Long live half-hearted appeals!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

LOST: A Few Pertinent Questions

So my valiant readership must have noticed that I haven't posted in a few days, and here's the explanation: I'm slowly but surely becoming a LOSTie. I know, I know. That ship has almost sailed, no? But I'm partway into Season Two, and I have a whole bunch of burning questions which need to be answered, like, pronto. So...if you have any ideas, comment and let me know.

N.B. The following post will make no sense to the majority of my minute readership, but a small and dedicated minority might understand these questions.

BURNING QUESTION NUMBER 1. Why do the boars always run towards people who invade their space?

I swear, it's happened, like, 4 or 8 or 15 times. Whenever a survivor sees a boar in the jungle, the boar runs right towards the survivor. It doesn't run away. It doesn't get scared. It charges. Now, I'm not an expert in the field of boar psychology, but that's pretty strange to me. Also, the survivor never gets out of the way in time. If I were John Locke, I'd spend less time brooding mysteriously and more time teaching basic dodging skills.

BURNING QUESTION NUMBER 2. What's with Jack's heavy breathing?

Family Guy has raised this point on at least one occasion--Jack is always out of breath. Is he trying to be sultry? Does he have a chronic respiratory dysfunction? Or is his heavy breathing perhaps symbolic of...of something? This question had better be answered soon.

BURNING QUESTION NUMBER 3a. How does everyone find their way around the island so easily?

I mean, there's the caves, and the hatch, and the Black Rock, and Sayid's Honeymoon Suite, do these people keep from getting constantly lost? (Ha. Just got that. Pun. Lost. LOST. Ha. Anyway, where were we?)
Ah yes. And even if we eventually discover that all of the survivors had microscopic iron shrapnel enter their brains from the airplane, turning them into homing pigeons with instinctual magnetic compasses, that's bull, because of the magnetic anomaly. Also, I'm pretty sure that would kill them.

BURNING QUESTION NUMBER 3b. Why are there no beaten paths?

Now this is really annoying: they keep walking all over there, 40 people, for more than a month, and the place isn't all trodden down already? Humph. I smell an inconsistency here.
That's all my Burning Questions for now. But more will soon surface. Fear not.

EDIT: I thought of one more burning question.

BURNING QUESTION NUMBER 4. What's with Jin and English?

Here's the thing. Whenever somebody wants to talk to Jin, they're like, "Hey, dude, I'm gonna talk English to you all up in here. Even though you don't speak English. Yeah." And he, inevitably, is all "WHAAA?", only in Korean. So what do they do? They say the exact same thing they said before, only LOUDER. Because it's not like there's a language barrier--not that at all. He's just...deaf.

Seriously. If you're trying to communicate through a language barrier and you're misunderstood, you don't repeat yourself louder. You change your wording and simplify it. You don't shout at your conversation-mate because he's deaf.

Long live LOST!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Well, This Is Embarrassing...

I should preface this by saying that I have accepted the fact that this blog will forever languish in pathetic obscurity.

Also, this summer I'm going to try to turn over a new leaf. I've been told that I'm too wordy, too ostentatious with my verbiage, so I'm going to try to scale back--try to be more direct. We'll see how that works out.

The "embarassing" from the title of this post is referring to how last night right before I went to sleep I had a grand idea for a blogpost today--I even thought up a catchy title for the post, which I have now forgotten--and this morning when I woke up I had no idea what the idea was. Can't even remember the title. Blasted sleep, taking away my great ideas!

Anyway, I was going to hang my head in shame and totally not post at all today, but then I read Facebook and somebody had posted a hilarious article which I decided to share with my readership. And then I realized that I really need to promote Hyperbole And A Half too, so...yeah.

Here's the Hilarious Article. I like the part where he says "A little paranoia in the face of danger can save your butt!" Right, and a little paranoia in the face of danger can also lead you to make bad decisions and possibly imperil your butt. In fact, I'd be willing to guess that your butt's safety when danger is occurring is decreased when you're paranoid.

In a marginally related story, why are paranoid people seldom cowards? Most paranoid people I know--the conspiracy theorists, etc. (and I know far too many)--aren't going to run away from the impending tidal wave of doom and horror which will shortly overtake, overrun, and overwhelm all in its path. All of the paranoid people I know have a foolproof plan for taking back--whatever is being overrun, be it America's Political System or The Local Gun Club or McDonald's or Your Mom. They're all willing to stand up to the Man, or at least they say that they are.

Perhaps that's the point. They say that they're willing to stand up to the Man, but they never get a chance because they're paranoid and their unfounded fears come to naught.


In more happy news, I have recently become addicted to Hyperbole And A Half, a hilarious blog maintained by Allie Brosh. It's really good. And funny. At the risk of being shot for plagiarism, here's a sample of her work:

"Jealousy is an issue that creeps up inside many solid relationships and renders them useless, much like a discarded cow carcass. Probably the best way to combat jealousy is with macaroni art."

Here's the url.

I think I'm going to go do some work now.'s summer. Glory and joy.

Long live skulking!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It Looks Fun, Okay?

In a shocking turn of events tonight, Ian The Pontificator will have blogged twice in one day, during this, the busiest time of the year.

The reason I'm writing this time is because of a new video I have only recently been seeing. (If that last bit sounds clunky stylistically, I'm not surprised. It's a seldom-used verb form that I was trying to see if I could use. And I did.)

Also, that last bit there didn't make sense. Anyway...

Now, a word of apology (not saying "I'm sorry", but defending myself): I realize this movie will not be great art. I realize it will win no awards for acting or directing or even cinematography. It will be in 3D, which is often the kiss of death nowadays, it seems. It will have Milla "Whiner" Jovovich, who of course HAS to be in it, but I sure wish she weren't. It will be a monster-fest, of course, and the filmmakers look to be making it more action-y than horror-y.

I hope this will be a tight film, I hope Jovovich will a) get her act together or b) just stop, I hope it still won't be in 3D, I hope they have fewer boss-monsters, and I hope there will be a return to the small-budget fun horror flick-feel that RE 1 had (and RE 2 had, in vastly diminished qualities). But I've hoped before, and my hopes are often in vain.

I won't even get into the whole CGI vs. prosthetics debate.

I still will go see this movie, because the Resident Evil franchise is the definitive, best, and most successful videogame-movie franchise. And I'll still go see it, because the RE movies are always fun. But they're losing me. This is the last one I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on. If Afterlife fails, I give up.

Long live guilty pleasures!

A Brief Cogitation

I'm about to go down to the theatre for call for the opening of our spring show, You Can't Take It With You. And I was thinking...which is always dangerous, to be sure.

I don't talk about theatre much on this blog. Or on any blog, for that matter, because this is the only blog I keep. For whatever reason, I just haven't unveiled a whole bunch of my theatre soul in this forum--and as anyone who knows me well can affirm, my theatre soul is a large part of who I am.

I don't know why I don't Pontificate about theatre. Maybe it's too close to my heart, too ingrained within my psyche, for me to really open up about it. Hmph. Mysterious.

I've come a long way, you know. My love for literature actually interested me in theatre; my first-ever audition was for Principles of Directing--their Shakespeare scenes. I saw the audition notices, and I was intrigued. The rest, I suppose, is very recent history.

A lot of what I've done, what I've accomplished, hasn't been from innate talent--any sort of Gift for this sort of thing. Every single one of my characters has been the result of sweat, usually tears, and often some blood, in varying quantities. (It's always my own blood, though.) I can't say all of my characters have been successes--Dr. Rank from A Doll's House, for instance, was horrible, Will Rogers wasn't my finest hour, and the Red King was kinda meh.

But I can say that, whether or not I make logical, wise character decisions, that I've never mailed in a performance. I've never given up on a character. I've always kept at it, sometimes to the detriment of my associates. 

See, I'm coming to the conclusion that what makes a great actor or actress is not his or her talent, or voice, or physical control. Success in theatre is all about working your butt off and then working some more. Commitment is all very well; intellect is all very well; risk-taking is vital, and so is creativity. But without a good work ethic, success in acting is very rare.

There are people, I suppose, to whom character and movement and all the rest come naturally. I've never met one of them. All of the great actors and actresses I know--and I do know, to varying degrees, some pretty incredible actors and actresses--are the ones who will do the work to make their characters live. The success stories are the ones who've worked hardest.

I know a fellow named Jason who is quite possibly one of the best male actors I've ever seen perform. He was in community theatre, and I had the privilege to work with him on two shows before he moved to Egypt. He worked harder than anyone I've ever seen before, and his characters were inevitably excellent--superlative. Jason isn't superhuman--he's not gifted with the power to pull a believable, sympathetic character out of nowhere. He works, and that's how he succeeds.

I have to leave for call in five minutes.

Long live diligents and diligence!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It's April Fool's Day, the only day in the year on which we like to be lied to.

So the good folks at google decided to have a little fun. Here's what they did.

See where it says "Not In Kansas: learn about our new name"? Here's a link to the article that explains the whole thing. Now that-thar's some excellent win.

Long live foolishness!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Then I Opened The Third Seal, And I Saw...

Okay, so some BAD, BAD news coming out of Hollywood this weekend.

At least, I think it's bad.

I've been told that I'm elitist. What do you think, imaginary audience?

Anyway, here are some links. I'll go from best to worst.

First off, this from Bryan Singer, director of the first two X-Men movies: he also directed the excellent The Usual Suspects and, more recently, Valkyrie. He's a good director, I think; he's just made some bad decisions recently. Singer also helmed Superman Returns. This is bad, because I think the X-Men franchise should go away. The last two films (X3 and Origins) have been more focused on CGI rather than character or story--though I don't think it's a coincidence that the better X-Men movies were made while Singer was in charge, and the franchise started failing when he left. The bottom line is that if Bryan Singer is going to make this work, he's going to have to put his foot down and get this franchise back to what made it great.

Think that's the worst I can throw at you, imaginary readership? You're wrong. It gets worse.

I'm no Harryhausen fanatic, but the man was a master, and apparently his work on the 1981 Clash of the Titans was pretty flippin' sweet. After Alice in Wonderland, I'm really soured on films whose sole draw is their visuals, so I'm going to be extra-critical of the 2010 remake of Clash.
You want my real, uninformed opinion? It looks like Transformers (more later on that wonderful franchise) but with animals instead of robots.

And now we discover that Louis Leterrier is planning a Clash trilogy. Woo hoo. Because what movie audiences everywhere need is biodegradable Transformers. Right.

Now, Leterrier has done some halfway-decent work. His first film, Unleashed, got moderately good reviews. His second film, Transporter 2, is my personal favorite of the franchise, and got mixed reviews. His most recent project (I can still say that because Clash isn't out yet) was 2008's The Incredible Hulk, which was overshadowed by The Dark Knight but was an excellent little superhero flick. So maybe we'll give Leterrier the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Here's the worst news. It's from Michael Bay's official website, and here's the link if you're not convinced. I'll let it speak for itself:

Transformers 3 has been going very well. We are going to shoot in LA, Chicago, Washington DC, Florida, Texas, Africa, Moscow, and China. On the talent front, we just locked in Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Both amazing actors I've always wanted to work with. We also just got Ken Jeong, he is the super funny actor stuck in the trunk from “Hangover” and the Doctor from “Knocked Up.”

We start shooting pre-shoots in about one month.

I also was at a Ferrari charity event this week raising money for a hospital being built by Ferrari in Haiti. I announced that night the newest Autobot to join Transformers: the Ferrari 458 Italia.

I also want to thank everyone on this site that donated to the Make -A-Wish charity. We raised $20,000 which I will personally be matching. This is a great charity where they make wishes come true for kids who are very ill. We have had many Kids from Make-A-Wish visit us on our Transformers sets and this time we will be posting video of their visits on Transformers 3.

Michael Bay


OMG!!!!!!!! A FERRARI AUTOBOT?!??!?!?!?! LOLZORS HOW C00L IS THAT?!?!??!?!!!????!?!!?!?!?
Kidding, of course. What, will the Ferrari have an Italian accent ("Well, hello-a there, Autobots! Whaddya all sittin' around, lookin' glum for, ah? Would-a you like some of my fresh pizza to cheer you up, ah?")? Bah. I believe AnonymousInternetUser3304 said it best: 

"go die in a hole michael bay"

That's it for me. Long live the stupid people that make the smart ones look so, so much smarter!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Wrong "Alice in Wonderland", Part IV: Semi-Shiny!

This week has positively flown by.

It seems like a mere thre--what? Oh, that joke is outdated and I should never dredge it up again? Oh, okay.


So this-here is the final instalment in the Pontificator's four-part miniseries on just how much Alice in Wonderland failed. This one will probably be a bit more blunt and short than the others, because the other entries in this series were more fact-based and therefore (counterintuitively, I know) more subjective. In focus, I mean.

See, it's hard to quantify visual effects. And then there's all sorts of biasing things that come into it: like the fact that Tim Burton is undeniably a master of visuals. Or the fact that I did not enjoy Alice in Wonderland, and I don't think it's a well-made film.

So the short story is that I feel like I have to give Burton the benefit of the doubt because he's done so much good stuff in the past, but I don't want to give him the benefit of the doubt because Alice is a terrible, horrible, no-good film.

Perhaps I'll break this down into Likes and Dislikes--Cheers and Jeers. Or...well, perhaps getting creative with words is a good idea. Tears and Leers: "tears" given to what I thought was bad, "leers" given to what I thought was wonderful.

Tears for the visual effects in general. They were derivative. I've seen this landscape before: it was called Middle-Earth, it appeared in a trilogy called The Lord of the Rings and it came out in 2001, 2002, and 2003. They were good.

Leers, though, for the palette. Helena Bonham Carter's realm was pretty consistent--hearts and Red were the main images. Anne Hathaway's hideaway (Hathaway's Hideaway--sounds like a pub) was a bit less consistent, but at least that motif of airy, ethereal, incorporeal, White was present.

Streams overflowing of tears for the misuse of 3D. Seriously? The only redeeming factor of  the 3D was the flying cups during the tea party. That's ALL. For 3D to be valuable, the film has to be visually focused on the 3D. Call me a homer, but I think Up and Avatar are the only 3D films I've seen that use well the 3D.

Tears, too, for a lack of motif visually. Now, there were AREAS of Underland that had a consistent motif, like Helena Bonham Carter's place and, to a lesser extent, Hathaway's Hideaway. Right now, it seems, for 3D films to be successful, they have to find a motif--natural, mechanical, whatever--and exploit it. I think part of the reason that Up and Avatar were so successful visually is that they chose their world and stuck with it. Alice flits from tangled forest to wasteland to grim dark brooding palace to heavenly airy etherea to checkerboard/battlefield and can't decide which to focus on.

And...this concludes my report. I do NOT recommend spending money to see Alice in Wonderland, either in 3D or in 2D. It is a waste of time, money, and screen-space. Don't see it unless you can see it for free. I give it 3/10.

Long live finality!