2012 - Movie Review


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I'm not sure where Roland Emmerich draws his inspiration from, but if he's anything like me I assume the man begins a new game of Sim City and spends the next three hours just slamming the keyboard with open palms and hitting random disaster buttons until every residential home and park is flattened, flooded, and burned. The film 2012 is basically the same experience, except this version of Sim City resembles something off of a gaming system a decade ahead of us. A gaming system that allows you to play with John Cusack as the lead character.

If only the future were right now...

It should be noted that Roland Emmerich has assured me that all of the events that take place in 2012 will in fact take place in the year 2012. Considering he also made a similar assurance with The Day After Tomorrow, I think we're in for a rough three years. Live it up.

The movie itself is about what you'd expect. The world begins to blow up and in the process John Cusack gets the one chance he never had to get back in touch with his estranged wife and kids. The man is also a writer, and Roland Emmerich makes the interesting point of noting that whatever copies of literature we have carrying around with us when Earth starts rattling might just be the last books humanity has left. I take this to mean that there's an underground bunker somewhere that Roland Emmerich has stored up with spare copies of Stargate, The Matthew Broderick version of Godzilla, and 10,000 B.C. ...God help us all.

The movie is long. Does it really take two and a half hours to destroy every continent? I don't think so. It only does because Roland Emmerich is clearly a man of science and is kind enough to stoop to my level and show me scenes of scientists looking at computers and saying "The world is exploding. I know. I'm a scientist." He also is kind enough to throw in all sorts of character development, including extraneous characters who are clearly only established so that the narrative has a reason to show a part of the world getting punched in the baby-maker.

That said, some of these extraneous characters are quite fun. I would've just appreciated more focus. For example, the two elderly cruise ship lounge-singers were just great. Imagine how awesome, creative, and innovative this movie would have been if they were the only central characters. That's something I would have really enjoyed. But then again, I suppose that's not why I invested in this ticket. I wanted to see destruction, and really, some of this is just glorious.

I must admit, I really didn't know how 2012 would end. For all of the mass destruction, I really did want to see John Cusack to pull through and save the day. Was this due to good writing, or just John Cusack being John Cusack? I'll never know.

Point is, you could do worse with your movie cash than check this one out.


Meteor Pwnage

Meteor Pwnage - Chimes Opinions Article
by Zachary Newcott

It wasn't 10 minutes after leaving Beth's place that she called my phone to tell me something about a meteor shower going down at 1 in the morning. Having just seen the trailer for 2012 and viewed the disaster film "Confessions of a Shopaholic" earlier that night, I made a sharp U-turn in the middle of Imperial highway and sped back to her place. I knew we didn't have much time. Seeing a fruit cart parked alongside the road I quickly drove directly through it while glancing at my watch and yelling "HANG ON!," "GET DOWN!" and "WE DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME!" to no one in particular.

Artists rendering of meteor destroying a bad movie.

Upon my arrival Beth informed me that apparently meteor showers happen pretty frequently and don't always result in the extinction of all human life. I replied by saying, "That's exactly what they want you to think," while filling buckets with clean drinking water. "We'll have to take Georgie Fruit with us," I continued, as I glanced to see him licking himself in the litter box. If the situation got really desperate we could use him for food ... and it was already a desperate situation. Beth calmed me down by explaining that most meteors in a shower are hardly ever bigger than a grain of sand, and went on to lighten the mood by explaining that stars themselves are giant gassy balls.

"HA HA! Now I, the Ankylosaurus, will live forever!"

Knowing I had nothing to worry about, we took a trip to the local park to stargaze. Although I seemed set on lying down in the mud, Beth meanwhile managed to find a nice patch of grass for us to share. "Wow!" I exclaimed as I relished the majesty of the universe. "These are the biggest meteors I've ever seen!"

"Those are airplanes," Beth explained.

"Oh, but look! That constellation is moving!"

"That's a helicopter."

"Ah, I see," I concluded. The universe, I was discovering, is filled with mystery and intrigue. What could at one moment be the Milky Way may at the next be car exhaust, and what could at once be the sound of a distant traveller from another world be also the sound of my stomach attempting to digest a 7-Eleven chili dog and losing the battle to potentially disastrous results.

Turning my head towards Beth, I began asking the profound question of "Do you ever think that-"

"Look a meteor!" she yelled.

"Dang it!," I exclaimed. Realizing that I missed it and also forgot my question.

My dad and I used to go stargazing every summer at the beach and watch falling stars graze over the ocean. We would wait minutes at a time for a fleeting streak of white that would often be so slight that I probably imagined it, and usually did. It was nice sharing a similar moment with Beth, with both of us reclined back and wondering if the meteor shower was about to start, had just ended or was going on behind a thick veil of pollution.

"Are meteor showers usually this lame?," she asked.

My chance to respond with a "Yes, probably," was cut short by a blinding streak of white in the sky that seemed to leave a vague scar hanging in the air for several moments before fading away into a blue mist. With our jaws hanging open we both released loud gasps.

Looking at each other, Beth effectively summarized our situation by saying "We just got pwned by the meteor shower."

I don't think even the dinosaurs could have said it better.


Meatballs and Explosions

Chimes Opinions Article 11/09/09
Zachary Newcott

It was only a few weeks ago that the power cord for my laptop died out leaving me with yet another reason to resent technology. Upon a quick trip to Best Buy I realized a new replacement would cost me a solid hundred bucks. What is this, the Ritz?! Let's be honest here. Online, through a grammatically impaired seller on eBay, I could get a similar power cord for only one tenth of that cost. Really, there is no choice. Before I knew it I had a brand new power cord en route to Los Angeles on a cargo ship from Taiwan.

If there are any lessons that Newcott Explains It All has driven home through the years, one would be to stick it to the man, the other is that being cheap often doesn't pay very well. This past week I received faulty information that Ikea was selling Swedish meatball meals at the cost of one dollar. Seeing this as both an opportunity to stick it to the man and eat food, I was on my way. Imagine my disappointment after having driven a full half-hour and being distracted by a display featuring various robot arms opening and closing cabinet doors, only to hear that I would have to pay full-price for my little taste of Swedish delight.

"I'm afraid you don't understand," I told them, polishing my monocle. "These meatballs are only a dollar." I stared them dead in the eyes. "The INTERNET told me so."

"I'm avraid vees meatballs are at vull price," The cocky Swedish Ikea employee replied.

I looked like a fool. They might as well have punched a hole in my top-hat as well, which they did, by placing it in front of one to the door-opening robots.

Luckily, I still had my Taiwanese power cord to keep me company. Coming home at night I returned to my computer to update my facebook status with something in regards to Ikea being the man and that they should stick their lingonberries up their Flarke.

Right up it.

It was at that moment that I heard a loud popping sound accompanied by a bright flash of light and fire. Blinded, I frantically stumbled in my room in fear that the illegal fireworks I had stored under my couch had finally reached their expiration date. The smoke informed me however that this was no Purple Rain, the explosion had actually come from my power cord. My brand-new Taiwanese power cord, which had now left a permanent black smudge on the the wood floor.

Not wanting to make too much of a scene at two in the morning, I was suddenly thankful that I had been too cheap to replace the batteries in the smoke detector and too lazy to re-assemble it after breaking it open when it wouldn't stop beeping. Picking up the cord by its tail end, I flung it outside near where I buried the dearly departed Flan the mouse. Once again, I had to nudge my roommate's cat away so he wouldn't begin gnawing on it.

Now it seems I may once again have to make an investment, and although my intelligence may say that quality comes at a price, my gut also says that exploding cheap power cords also come at only a fraction of that price. Is it worth the risk? Only time will tell my friends.


My Camping Adventure

Camping - Chimes Opinions
Zachary Newcott

After strategically placing bowls of cat food around the apartment, we decided that Georgie Fruit would be well occupied for the next two days while Beth and I set out to go camping with her roommate and her fiance Jared. I myself had only been camping once before as a cub scout, and apart from my sewing and tie-tying badges I considered myself to be somewhat of a novice at the sport. Luckily I consider Jared to be a lumberjack of sorts because he has a beard, so we were in good hands.

We arrived at the campsite a bit later than expected, mostly because someone (me) had eaten Indian food before-hand and was too stubborn to admit he had made a horrible mistake. This resulted in our first obstruction which came in the form of a gate with a lock on it. Although the sign next to the gate said "camp ground 2 miles away," I took this to mean, "you are fully capable of walking 2 miles even though you spend hours at a time sitting at your computer while clicking refresh on Facebook status updates and refuse to eat most things unless they can be consumed through a straw (blended Indian food)."

Picking up our gear we started to make the hike. Despite my constant requests, Jared refused to carry me on his shoulders, especially since after the first time I demanded he gallop like a pony. I had the task of carrying the drinking water, which didn't last long seeing how dusty my boots kept getting. After the third mile we had to come to terms with the fact that the National Park Service is made up of a bunch of rotten liars with a bunch of rotten lying signs.

It was Halloween weekend, and myself, being a rational man, refused to enter the porto-potty after realizing that the monster of the film Jeepers Creepers, who is also named Jeepers Creepers, was most likely hiding inside of it. We continued our trek, yet we suddenly stopped in our tracks after being terrified by a screetching owl who then quickly flew off afterwards, having successfully fulfilled his goal of making me soil myself. Realizing that I had packed no second pair of pants, I knew it was going to be a long trip.

Eventually we arrived at the camp ground. I was disappointed to find that there was no refrigerator to speak of (bad news for the left-over Indian food) and that the only concierge level I could find was comprised entirely of hungry coyotes and mountain lions. We set up our tent and made our way off to bed. Meanwhile I discovered that our tent lacked air conditioning, solid walls, and was entirely missing other rooms. Sleep was made difficult by the endless string of coyote howls combined with my snoring which resulted in frequent slaps to my face and sharp jabs at my sides.

Although the next day involved walking back three miles to pick up the car, I found the isolation nature has to be calming. True, the peace was frequented by passing jets and relentless coyote howling, yet to be in a place without cell-phones and where the only distractions to be found are reading a book, or being read a book by someone else when said book doesn't have enough pictures, is a refreshing chance for a brief escape.

Beth and I returned to her apartment to find that Georgie had found his food cache's immediately after we left, and was both hungry and angry. With several angry swipes at our hands, we poured him a bowl-full. It seems that even nature likes the conveniences of the modern age. Feeling the soft comfort of the carpeting under my feet, I realized I do too.


This One's For You Rob Mulla

Rob Mulla. You dog. This post on the Awkward Unicorn is all for you.

Word around town is that you subscribe to this blog on your "google reader" or what-have you. I'm honored.

Here, take this hypnotic cat gif image. It's on the house. This time.

Not enough for you? Here. Take this video as well of a cat in Japan who is famous for his wig-colored patch of hair.

Style. Something American cats often lack. Let that be a lesson to you Georgie Fruit. I want you to grow your grey face mask back.

what. food?


perdy cool mash-up time

take a look at this one. It's a combo between The Killers and La Roux, by the mash-up artist Suga.

Sugamotor - Smile Like You're Bulletproof (via: vipr)

Interesting, no?