Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Blockbusters

I LOVE Summer Blockbusters. I can't help it, I am a sucker for a big budget action flick. Every summer at about this time I get all jacked up about the months of big name movies that are about to hit the theaters. It is like every week is a new chance for an adrenaline filled joyride. During the summer, I will see almost anything that looks flashy and fun.

Some of my friends joke that I have no taste in movies. I disagree. I know when a movie is bad, it's just that sometimes, I like bad movies. To be clear, I have hated movies before, even action ones. Spiderman 3, for example, was inexcusably terrible. However, Daredevil, for example, was technically awful. But, I had a good time watching that bad movie. While Spiderman 3 was tired, overproduced, overcomplicated, and insulting to the audience with its plot and character development. Daredevil was simple, inventive (blind guy kicks ass by hear/seeing), and unencumbered by any hint of self-righteousness. It knew what it was; a cheesy, popcorn, comic book, action movie.

Now, my favorites are true masterpieces like The Dark Knight, Iron Man 1 (and to a lesser extent, 2), and The Matrix. And, while I am hoping for something great to emerge this summer, I will settle for a few fun date nights with my wife at the theater. Jackie, by the way, is a real trouper and goes with me to most of these potential suckfests. She even enjoys herself on occasion.

So, what am I looking forward to this season? Iron Man 2 set the bar fairly high, but there is definitely room for improvement. I have high hopes for the A-Team, The Last Airbender, Predators (Robert Rodriguez producing), and Inception. My guilty pleasures may be Prince of Persia, The Karate Kid (learning Kung Fu), Salt, and Jonah Hex.

My biggest problem is that I get too excited about movies too early. So, thank you JJ Abrams for the sneak peek at "Super 8", a movie that hasn't even started principal photography. But, the movie that I might be most excited about, won't come out for over 6 months. While technically not a "summer" blockbuster, I cannot wait for Tron Legacy. I remember watching Tron at a young age (it came out when I was 6 years old) and I hope that this sequel captures the same magic. Here is a look at both the trailer and the teaser. So, until December 17th, I will have to make due with my unflappable optimism for this year's Summer Blockbusters.

Leave a comment with the movie you are most looking forward to this season.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bluetooth Headsets

I HATE Bluetooth Headsets. Listen carefully, Bluetooth headsets are not fashion accessories. They are meant to aid in the safety and comfort of making cellular phone calls and that is all. But, people tend to use them in a way that says, "Hey, I am so important, I could get a call at any moment." I'm not sure how the trend started, but someone thought that these ear plugs looked good and began wearing them for the "style" of it. Around 2005, I thought (hoped) that the trend would end, but here we are, 5 years later, and still some people insist on perpetually wearing these ear protrusions like they are a part of some sort of low budget Star Trek reenactment. Here is the deal, you have about a 2 min window before and after an actual phone call in which it is acceptable to continue wearing said device. Beyond that, you are wading into "Jerk" territory.

There are a few scenarios in which these headsets can be warn outside of the two minute window. If you are driving, no problem and thank you for making America's roads a little safer. If you are working or may receive a work related call at any moment then, fine, you are on the job and I can respect that. Also, some of these devices are actually hearing aids in disguise, in which case I disagree with your choice of hearing aid, but OK, fine, I guess you have to hear.

But, here are some examples of the ridiculous uses I have seen of these headsets. First, there was the employee of my school district who wore one through the entirety of the superintendent's welcome to school address. This seemed genuinely rude in my opinion or, at least, lazy. Second, was the woman I saw wearing one in a nightclub/bar. There was a live band playing so loudly that we could hardly hear ourselves think let alone carry on a conversation with someone. So, what in the world was she going to do? Even if she noticed someone was calling, the place was so crowded, there was no way she was making it to the exit in time to field the call. But, hey, she looked cool and that is what matters. Last, but not least, there was my favorite. A guy was walking into the Arclight theater with his girlfriend wearing two different kinds of these awful devices, one on each ear. I KID YOU NOT! One on each f-ing ear! I mean, come on! What is the thought process there? Did he have two different cell phones that he might be getting calls on at any moment as he was entering his movie of choice for the evening? In the end, the most baffling part is how the girl that was with him put up with it. One thing I am teaching my daughter for sure,"If a guy shows up wearing a Bluetooth headset, you walk away. If he is wearing two, you run."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parking Structures

I HATE Parking Structures. More specifically, I hate this scenario: A car in front of me decides to wait for a pedestrian walking to their car when there is clearly going to be a wealth open spots on the upper levels of the structure. Being stuck behind this driver could be used as torture on me and I would give up national secrets after about 2 minutes. Of course, there are exceptions. If the person is pregnant or in some way physically impaired and must have a spot close to where they are going or if the lot is truly packed and there are no spots anywhere, then fine, wait for that slow walker. But, if the person is able-bodied and they decide to hold up even a few cars for the chance of a spot opening up in the near future, my blood begins to boil. Here is an easy way to remember what to do, "If the reverse lights aren't on, move along."

Now, my rage can occasionally backfire and sometimes my friends are caught in the middle. Zac, Ben, and I were caught in just such an unfortunate situation on one of our many trips to The Vegas. In the parking structure at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino (a lot basically designed with the thought that there should always be an open spot somewhere), some genius decides to wait for a spot to open up near the exit of one of the levels. It wasn't even in a prime location. But, because it was near the exit, and because the person leaving the spot took and exceptionally long time to execute that maneuver, this genius created an extraordinarily large back-up of cars who were all just trying to leave the structure. The line was so long that it wrapped down the isle and then doubled back down the next isle where we waited at the end of this line-up about exactly opposite to the perpetrator of this terrible crime. I don't know who honked first (it may have been me), but what followed was the most glorious outpouring of automotive honkery that I have ever heard. When the spot finally opened up and we were freed from our concrete prison, we were in a position to count the cars that were held up by this terrorist. 14! I ... I have no words for the rage that I felt.

Well, even-tempered Zac, playing off of my rage, decided to roll down his window and, as we passed the perpetrator, he yelled something on the order of, "Hey, F*** you A**-hole!" I thought it was hilarious, until two seconds later when I had to slam on the breaks because the 14 cars that this guy had held up had now reached a stop light at the base of the ramp leading away from the structure. So there we stopped, about a yard away from the genius "we" had just cussed out. The cherry on top was the family of six on Ben's side of the car with the mom's hands over the youngest child's ears shaking her head in disgust. There being no escape, we all just sank down in our seats and waited for the stack of cars to get moving again. It felt like an eternity, it was probably about 30 seconds. Too far? Probably. But, seriously, 14 cars?! He couldn't have just moved onto the next level?! As a new parent, I regret that the kids had to be put through that vulgarity, but if that guy never holds up a line of 14 cars for 5 min again, it may have been worth it.