Spared or Spoiled Movie Reviews: Captain Fantastic

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Captain Fantastic (Bleecker StreetUniversal Pictures)

captain-fantastic-poster

Written & Directed by Matt Ross

Starring Viggo MortensenFrank LangellaKathryn Hahn & Steve Zahn

Philosophical and intellectual plot holes in abundance but Captain Fantastic is still a pretty good film. No really it is.

Captain Fantastic is the story of a family that has lived for years off the grid. Self-sufficient. Healthy and happy. Until family tragedy (the mother’s mental illness and death) forces them to rejoin the world, begrudgingly and hysterically. This is a fish out of water family. Who clearly benefit from healthy living and minimized technological distractions. But the children have no experience with modern society and very few social skills while at the same time being capable, confident, and extremely intelligent. It is a great movie. And in between yelling at it for being wrong about so many things, I liked it… I guess.

Verdict: SPARED

captain-fantastic

The kids of Captain Fantastic are all amazing. (great actors and great characters) The idea is… interesting (I use that word a lot). The kids in this movie are all smarter than me (or is that smarter than I?). I really liked how bright the children are. I liked how well-trained they were for survival. But any well-rounded training would also include etiquette and social discourse. So I felt this was a tremendous plot hole. And any reading list would include books about human interaction (at least Dale Carnegie’s How to…). But the most egregious plot hole is that they call the mother a Buddhist throughout the film and yet her children know very little about Buddhist philosophy. I guess that part of the curriculum is forgotten.

captain-fantastic

The “hippie” movement is made fun of quite a lot. And becomes a running joke throughout the film. They make fun of the idea of celebrating Noam Chomsky’s birthday. (HOLES!!!) I did enjoy the joke about not making fun of fat people (Americans are a fat and sickly population and it’s not a joke). But the children are told that it’s okay to make fun of Christians. Then they pretend to be ultra-religious Christian home-schooled kids to scare off police who come snooping around their bus. That was genius. But if you’re strongly Christian you might find that as annoying as I found the fake Buddhism.

captain-fantastic-school-bus

Captain Fantastic is very good from a pure enjoyment stand point but the way it flings around political terms and claims of being morally superior is troubling. The mother was supposedly a Buddhist but never taught her kids not to steal. Not to mention that she was wealthy and didn’t have to steal. The mother was supposedly a Buddhist but in the first scene they kill a deer. I guess the mother was a pretend Buddhist like most of the 60’s hippie children of rich parents. Not interested enough to do the research.

captain-fantastic-2

Then there’s the nonsense about the mother’s mental disorder and her husband sending her to a facility away from her children and her natural food and her healthy lifestyle. Of course she died. And yes I’m saying 100% healthy living is better than all the antipsychotics that exist or will exist for helping to handle even the most serious mental afflictions. (I know this for a fact) There were so many of these social, economic, philosophical and political plot holes in their upbringing that it became annoying. I liked the ending though. It’s a good movie (really it is). Fantastic writing (everything but the philosophy stuff). Good performances from all the kids. Viggo Mortensen is great once again. It’s just the movie pretends to be smarter than it is.

captain-fantastic-movie

But of course, if they did things my way, there wouldn’t be a movie. The mother would still be alive. The kids would be capable of social discourse. They would grow their own food. Not kill animals for selfish reasons. And they surely would not have cut off Sweet Child O’ Mine before the change. That’s the best part of the song. What the hell, Matt?

captain-fantastic-2016

Captain Fantastic is a great film about family but a horrible film about philosophy. It’s like they had all of these heady ideas and in trying to find a balance with ignorance (that seems to be a running theme these days. Ignorance gets to have its say, in our schools, in our politics, and in our fucking movies) the film-makers poke fun or completely misinterpret simple ideas about compassion and healthy living.

You know you can entertain and still inform right?

captain-fantastic-cast

Captain Fantastic features a fantastic cast and a fantastic story and a fantastic premise, it just has a very tenuous grasp on its own philosophical concepts. But it’s still a delightful story with an excellent cast of fine young actors. So I liked it, I guess.

– Mel

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To All My Friends (Who’ve Wondered Where I’ve Been)

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Too much anger. Didn’t really want to get it on you. I have a tendency to spew hate when I’m angry. I hate it when the bad guys win… I’ve been experiencing a what-the-fuck few weeks. The American election was hacked and I’m surrounded on all sides by people waiting for their chance to say “I told you so.”

“I told you so.” Among the bodies of the dead.

“I told you so.” Brought to you by the makers of Pepsi and Xanax.

“I told you so.” Translated from the original Russian. (actually, little known fact, it was in German before it was in Russian)

I’ve reached a point in my life where more people are younger than me than older. I’m surrounded on all sides by the children of the damned. Social media misfits more concerned with likes and dislikes. Trolls without bridges. History books unopened. But mouths that will not stay shut.

chinese-farmer

I haven’t been around much lately because I know me. The thoughts racing through my head should not be shared with anyone. My doctor doesn’t want to know. My lawyer doesn’t want to know. The fake twitter accounts of Russian trolls, who successfully influence the tired liberals into hopelessness and fits of screaming, don’t want to know.

For one misguided instant I considered self-immolation as a form of protest. Nothing else, it seems, can penetrate the walls of the corporate pay-to-play media and so-called social media’s cavernous, echo-amplifying, bottomless pits of ego and frustration. Setting myself on fire in front of some monument to our fallen democracy seemed like a good idea at the time… for like, literally, a second. For like one scary second.

So I’ve been away.

And I apologize. I figure there’s like 25 or 30 people who read my blog. And I love you guys. And I’m going to post some good stuff. Life goes on no matter how dire. I know my friend Alex misses my movie reviews. New shows, some of the best stuff I’ve seen on TV, came and went. Anybody watch Atlanta? That was amazing. Donald Glover is knocking it out of the park on the daily. Speaking of which, my list of the best albums from this year includes more genres than you can shake your rump at. Who knew I’d like Trap Music. OMG I like Trap Music.

Music, Movies, TV, the third chapter of my novel… but politics, fucking politics, pissed me off to such an extent that I couldn’t write but scream. I couldn’t think but scream. I could not talk because all the screaming made me lose my voice.

So I went away. Started meditating again. Got back to temple. Working out. Stopped doing the few remaining vices I’d allowed myself over the past decade. Pizza, Beer, Porn, Masturbation. It’s about time I stopped living like a 13 year boy without adult supervision. I’m gonna be 50 next year. And the US president is going to be Donald J. Tr… I can’t even say it.

The pounds flew off since I stopped eating garbage. It’s amazing how much more money I have in my budget since I stopped drinking. And the energy. The sexual energy. The mental energy. The spiritual energy… it’s through the roof. And now being channeled into less selfish endeavors.

thats-great-maybe

Doing yoga everyday. Getting to the temple at least three times a week. Working on my compassion and my mindfulness and my body. I will require these things to make it through the next few weeks. Let alone the next few years of protests and civil (and uncivil) disobedience. Gotta build my stamina for all the marching and demonstrating. Because, as you know, Donald J. Tr… I still can’t say it.

I’ll never be able to say it.

What is the true nature of reality? We see things as we want them or don’t want them to be. Sometimes a fantasy. And sometimes as our worst fears realized. We label situations and phenomena as good or bad. As helpful or unhelpful. As progress and advancement or… as the… the nightmarish, back-sliding, hateful, racist hell-scape that I can’t seem to wake up from. Somebody please wake me up.

WAKE ME UP!!!

I meditate to find love for the seemingly unlovable. I meditate to find focus amidst the din of unchecked voices (un-fact-checked and un-verified). I meditate to find the me that can help and not just criticize. That can pull his weight and not just pull his dick. That can be a calm in the storm and not just more destruction and distraction.

Because it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to violently overthrow the US government. And I don’t say that lightly. People are going to die. People are going to die because they’ve lost their healthcare and can’t afford their treatments. Because they’ve lost their government jobs as the agencies that protect us, from emotionless and compassion-less corporations, are shuttered one after another. People are going to die because they’ve lost their minds after too many deployments in some foreign distraction called another war. People are going to die.

thats-awful-maybe

And we can’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. Like that one time that one guy resigned from being pope because he realized he was too evil and stuff to be pope so he let the cool guy be pope. We can’t wait for that. We can’t wait for lightning to strike his ostentatiously disgusting jet plane as it floats on a cloud of ego or one of his fucking hotels to collapse under the weight of his hubris. We can’t wait for that. And we can’t sit around watching our neighbors die from treatable diseases or complications from dangerous pregnancies or malnutrition. Fucking malnutrition in the 21st century.

So yeah. We need to violently overthrow the US government… but with love. Out of compassion for our fellow human beings these people have to go… on both sides. I will not be governed by hate. And also I will not be governed by hate. So that really no one has to die for idiotic and preventable reasons.

We’ve been hacked. Our election. Our government. Hacked.

And respectfully, the only course of action, after you’ve been hacked, after they infiltrated your system, installed their malware, their trojans, their porn, the only course of action is to unplug the damn computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I went away.

But I’m back.

I’m going to see Rogue One tomorrow. So I’ll let you guys know how I like it. I’m going to post all my reviews and stuff over the holiday season. There’s a lot. You know I didn’t even realize it was the holidays. This is usually my least favorite time of year (except for the Doctor Who special). Because I’m alone and everything about this time is geared toward family and friends and stuff. But ever since I’ve rediscovered my faith, going to temple and Dharma classes and meditation, I don’t feel so alone.

I feel great actually. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. The healthiest I’ve been mentally, spiritually and physically. The best.

And to think, I owe it all to the rigged, hacked, fraudulent and fucked up election of Donald J. Tr… you know what, I still can’t say it.

You guys thank him for me.

See ya tomorrow after Rogue One (unless I’m too hyped to post anything but OMG OMG OMG OMG then I’ll post on Saturday after Dharma class)

Now watch this 2 minute video.

– Mel

High-Rise vs Circle: A Film Comparison Game Show

Time for another Film Comparison Game Show with your host: Meeeee

High-Rise (2015) vs Circle (2015)

So it’s the proverbial end of the world as we know it and people are acting nutty. We’ve only got one set. One location. Maybe a couple of peeks outside. But we’re going to show you what the human race is like when the motherfucking world is ending. This is…

High Concept Apocalyptic or Dystopian Science Fiction Without Special Effects

Let’s look at the two films we have on the show this time around.

Circle (2015)

Circle (of death)

“Wait… did someone just say, ‘You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye’ or am I hearing things?”

A film about a bunch of random Americans in a room deciding in what order they should die in… you know… just because.

and

High-Rise (2015)

Tom Hiddleston naked in High-Rise

“Yes ladies, I am naked in this movie. You’re welcome.”

A film about a bunch of Brits in a high-rise building trying to kill each other during their own little apocalypse… you know…  just because.

I watched these movies back to back (but not on purpose) so they kind of blended together. I had no idea about the similarities but they stripped my conscience bare. And I really liked both films in a “this shit is disturbing” kind of way.

So bookmark this page. And go watch them. NOW

They’re both pretty quick films. Films of this genre usually are. That way I can spoil them because you just can’t talk about these movies without spoilers. Usually you don’t even know what’s happening in these kinds of films until the end. And also you’ll know when I’m being full of shit and we can talk about it in the comments.

Go on and watch them now. I’ll wait.

We’ll ALL wait. What’s 3 hours between friends?

Are they gone?

I lied. We’re not gonna wait for them.

Let’s get right to it.

Circle 1

“That’s cold, man.”

I love this genre. When I wanted to make movies this was the kind of shit I liked to do. Because the concept overshadows everything else. You can do them on a shoe-string budget. All you need is good writing and good acting. In fact, Circle (2015) is a lot like a play I wrote in college. And High-Rise (2015) reminds me of one of the concepts in my novel. But enough about me. Let’s start the film comparison. (cue the music)

Still no music? We don’t need music.

But we do need this:

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

SPOILER ALERT!!!

spoiler alert (for the wee folk)

spoilers up ahead… I’m serious. (for the people who don’t think I’m serious)

Everything past this point is full of SPOILERS.

For the love of god go watch the movies first before reading this!!!

High-Rise (2015) vs Circle (2015)

A Film Comparison.

1) Casting & Characters

High-Rise (2015): Starring Tom HiddlestonJeremy IronsSienna MillerLuke EvansJames Purefoy & Elisabeth Moss

Circle (2015): Starring Michael Nardelli, Carter Jenkins, Lawrence Kao, Allegra Masters & Julie Benz

Circle Cast

“This is a pretty inefficient way of exterminating the population. I’m just saying.”

Circle (2015) has some well-defined almost stereotypical American characters from all walks of life thrown together in a spaceship. (They’re in a spaceship. I told you I was gonna spoil it) Trying to talk themselves into two more minutes of life.

Elizabeth Moss and Tom Hiddleston from High-Rise

“Fair warning. I’ve lost my mind.” “Me too. Isn’t it liberating?”

High-Rise (2015) has several of my favorite actors playing people who are losing their minds as their mini society begins to breakdown in their state-of-the-art self-contained high-rise apartment building as the infrastructure crumbles..

Winner: High-Rise

Sienna Miller in High-Rise

“Well, If you don’t want a smoke or a drink or want to fuck me then there’s just no pleasing you.”

You can’t beat that British cast in High-Rise (2015). Circle (2015) needed lesser known actors to promote the equanimity of their situation. But what can I say, I just like watching people I loved in other things doing wacky shit. I’m a big fan of Sienna Miller. I think she’s brilliant. And Hiddleston and Moss and Purefoy. Great cast.

 

2) Location & Setting

The High-Rise

“Yes. It is shaped like a penis. Why do you ask?”

It’s right there in both titles. High-Rise (2015) takes place in a high-rise building high above the streets. And Circle (2015) literally takes place in a circle. Just a bunch of people standing in a circle unable to move or they get zapped by the evil unseen aliens.

Circle location unknown

“You guy’s realize this is just Duck Duck Goose with consequences, right.”

High-Rise (2015) is the more interesting location because what floor you live on has so much meaning to the characters until it absolutely doesn’t. However Circle (2015) is the higher concept (if that’s a measurable thing) I mean they’re standing there in the dark for the entire movie. Except for the stupid peak outside at the end. (My play ends with the last guy just walking off… and yes we are talking about me again)

Winner: Circle

Death in Circle

“Guys, take a minute to appreciate how bad-ass this chamber looks. Um… well… two minutes.”

If you want a high concept setting look no further than Circle (2015). You can’t even see the damn walls. It’s crazy man. It’s intense. They’re dropping like flies.

 

3) The Social Message

Circle politics and race

“Wait two minutes. Did someone just research the demographic make-up of the country and match the percentages?” “Yep.”

Circle (2015) tackles ageism then racism and xenophobia then sexism and ends up being a huge slap in the face to our concepts of good versus evil.

High-Rise Upper Class

Marvel’s The Fantastic Four (the later years)

High-Rise (2015) is a straight across the bow shot at class-ism and social standing with an over-powering moral message that tells us in no uncertain terms that if the working classes aren’t respected and stop working then everything collapses and you’ve gotta fight for your right to party.

Winner: Circle

There is so much underneath the concepts of both of these films. And interpretations may vary. I was more connected to the story in Circle (2015) (as an American) and in my opinion the anti-moral of the film seems to say that since everybody is gonna die, fuck the concept of good and evil and, just survive.

Circle 2

“Wait… Is this the Vagina Monologues? I’m in the wrong theater.”

And while you’re at it, fuck your liberal and intellectual ideals. Intellectuals are abortion loving assholes anyway. Which is a screwed up message. But I may have brought a sensitivity to a political agenda into the movie with me. However it seemed pretty blatant where I was sitting. Especially the whole abortion thing.

 

4) What Each Has To Say About Humanity

High-Rise

“I’m on a horse.”

When society breaks down in High-Rise (2015) it’s pretty much every class for themselves. Then every species. And then every man for himself. Chaos.

And when the chips are down in the very American Circle (2015) the entire system breaks into factions based on race or ethnicity or age or politics or ideology. There are factions within factions. It’s deep shit.

Circle No Touching

“Not it!” and just like that we had a winner.

While the men in High-Rise (2016) get extremely violent.

Folks aren’t allowed to touch in Circle (2015). Touching gets you zapped to death.

While the Brits lose all sense of composure like it’s some massive catharsis of anger and pleasure and ego.

The Americans become competitive and believe the last one alive should be the winner… and it definitely should be them… for reasons.

Circle 3

And then he breaks into the gang fight dance from Michael Jackson’s Bad while the rest of the group fall off their platforms laughing… The End. “Your butt is miiiine.”

And also pregnancy doesn’t give you a pass during the apocalypse in either movie.

It’s just a shit show all around in both countries.

Winner: High-Rise

High-Rise Jeremy Irons

“Aren’t you a deliciously good boy. I could eat you up. Yes I could. Yes I could.”

Personally I prefer the fucking and fighting of the Brits to the manipulating and back-stabbing of the Americans. Just my preference. Doesn’t make me anti-American or anything. Except for the part where the Limey bastards eat a dog. I could have done without that part.

 

4) Writing & Directing

High-Rise (StudioCanal)

High-Rise Poster

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Written by Amy Jump  Based on High Rise by J.G. Ballard

High-Rise (2015) gets the immediate edge by being based on a science fiction book by J.G. Ballard written in 1975 and for using 70’s items as if they are state-of-the-art future tech. Just lovely. I love that past as future crap. The building as social experiment. And the world outside as oblivious. I’ve never read the book and many of the themes went over my head but it was a very good movie.

Then there was…

Circle (FilmBuff)

Circle Poster

Written & Directed by Aaron Hann & Mario Miscione

Circle (2015) is clearly some Tea Party propaganda film with a shitty fuck all liberals ending where the one good guy and smart guy turns out to be a coward and baby killer. Thanks FOX News. In the end our liberal villain is standing outside with a bunch of children because most of the other groups let one of the kids live. But not our atheist, liberal scumbag. He kills the child, pregnant woman and fetus. And he’s unfazed.

But for the most part, both of these are good thought-provoking films. Also if you have to give lectures to explain what happened in your film, you did not do your job.

Circle 4

“I know I’m human. But how many of you are that thing I don’t know… John Carpenter’s The Thing… aw c’mon… Rent it. It’s a classic.” “Is it longer than two minutes?” “Oh yeah right.”

Circle (2015) is well-directed and for the most part well-written. With great performances from the entire cast. This is a performance-driven film. The dialogue is fantastic and there is an actual silent clock moving the movie along at lightning speed. Every two minutes someone dies regardless. The trick is that the people in the circle get to decide who it is that dies next. I love the concept. It’s a monumental study in human ego. The ultimate snooze bar. The people do anything and everything for two more minutes of life.

Circle 5

“Hold up everybody. Mel’s gonna tell us how he’s better than all of us. This should be good.”

Personally, I’m out of there as soon as I figure out what’s going on.

“Alright guys. I’m out. Do me a favor. Be good to each other. Don’t let the last thing you do on this earth be screwing somebody over. Remember the last person is not the winner but the loser. They’re the one who chose to kill 49 other people. And they’re the one who has to live in a nightmarish hell-scape with that knowledge.” And as I stepped off my platform I’d leave ’em all with a salute, a smile and comically cartoonish, “See Ya!” in a goofy voice right before I died.

Always leave ’em laughing.

High-Rise Party

“Am I in the wrong era again? Doctor! The TARDIS took us to the wrong year again. Doctor!”

High-Rise (2015) is a big old mess. However, the depths of depravity make it really entertaining. They go from the most British prim and proper stick-up-your bum-ness to THE LUNATICS ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM, and it is a joy to watch. There is no comedy in Circle (2015). But High-Rise (2015) is funny as fuck. And the cast is phenomenal. I love Sienna Miller and Tom Hiddleston and my girl from Mad Men, Elizabeth Moss (and her English accent), and James Purefoy (the guy from HBO’s Rome). I love this cast.

High-Rise Supermarket

“Oh my. Clean up on aisle: gorgeous.” “They say the supermarket is a great place to find a date. In fact you can find a whole box of them.”

The high-rise building is a microcosm of British society and of the world under capitalism and perceived meritocracy. And once they realize that there are no rules… then there are no rules. It brings to mind the most decadent civilizations in human history right before the fall, the crash or the wrath of god.

Winner: High-Rise

Tom Hiddleston Sunbathing in High-Rise

“Drink it in, ladies… My bookmark is my penis.”

As a movie, I liked High-Rise (2015) way better than Circle (2015). Mostly because there’s a big old abortion-sized hole at the end of Circle (2015) That’s because if you’re including the bloody unborn baby as another person that’s 51 people and if it ends with the mother being last. She would have had to kill her unborn child to survive. Or have the machine kill the mother, the winner would be the unborn kid… oops no. The baby would die too wouldn’t she. Thus making this little ending stunt fundamentally flawed. A fundamental flaw of this magnitude in a film that was otherwise perfect (up to that point) pisses me the fuck off… but also because High-Rise (2015) is just much more fun to watch because again… THE LUNATICS ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM!!!

 

5) Verdict: Human Beings Suck

High-Rise Endless Party

“Do you know whose house this is? Do you know whose shirt I’m wearing? How about my name. Could you tell me that? No? Do you wanna just have sex again?”

You were expecting something else? It’s the only conclusion you can come to. It’s the only conclusion these movies allow. There are no good guys. In both movies, the best the human race has to offer ends up being part of the problem. There are no Bodhisattva in hell, I suppose, is what they’re trying to say to us.

Circle 6

“Okay let’s do a good show guys. Don’t die on three. One… two… three. DON’T DIE!”

Well personally I think they’re wrong. I’ve never been to hell, (just hell-adjacent) but that’s where you find them. That’s where they’re most needed. So while another jaded creative intellectual tries to tell us that everyone is just as bad as they think they are, I have a message of my own; They’re not as bad as they think and neither are we.

Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise

“We’re all going through this.”

I’m gonna leave you with this simple realization. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second. Someone does something good for someone else without wanting anything in return. For absolutely no reward. It happens so often it’s not even newsworthy. It’s common. But when someone does something evil, we point all our cameras at it. Evil is news. You know why? Because evil is the anomaly. Good is our default position. And we need to realize that… especially when we’re in hell.

“See Ya!”

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: Warcraft

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Warcraft: The Beginning (Universal Pictures)

Directed by Duncan Jones

Written by Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones and Chris Metzen  Based on Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment

Starring Travis FimmelPaula PattonBen FosterDominic CooperToby KebbellBen SchnetzerRobert Kazinsky & Daniel Wu

Warcraft: The Beginning is so much better than I thought it would be. I have always loved the cut scenes from World of Warcraft. The cut scenes in that game are extremely cinematic. They are the best thing about the game. They are incredible. So, I knew Warcraft the movie could never compete with those tiny animated scenes (that are amazingly bad-ass. I kid you not). So I didn’t expect much. I also read a lot of people saying that it’s the worst movie from this year. I couldn’t agree less. I liked it a lot. It was nowhere near as good as the cut scenes in the video game but honestly that would have been nearly impossible.

Verdict: SPARED

Warcraft 6

If you have never played WoW (World of Warcraft) then I get that a lot of the joy of this film is lost on you. I get it. But Warcraft: The Beginning is a perfect video game movie. The best of all time in my opinion. It combines so may aspects of game play into its story. And because of the way it’s filmed, it’s almost too familiar. It is a joy to watch.

Warcraft 4

And that’s because most of Warcraft was green screen or blue screen, the locations are perfect replicas of the game rooms and locations. To the point where I achieved wood. Not a half chub but a full on chubby walnuts. Forget how bad the acting was. The film was gorgeous and I was fully aroused.

Warcraft

And still I get it. The acting is not that good. Neither is the dialogue. But the story is familiar and the look is perfect and the actors are good at the physical parts. Like for instance I tried to watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the actors were great actors but they couldn’t do the physical parts, so they either slowed down the action for them or just put it off camera which is maddening because you want to see the kills in a zombie movie (am I right?) and I couldn’t even watch it. I turned it off. That’s why there will be no P&P&Z review. This is also why Tom Cruise has all the money in the world. He’s a great actor AND he can do the physical parts. You have to find a happy medium people. I’m tired of good actors who obviously can’t handle a sword or throw a punch and I’m also tired of these athletic types who look awesome doing action but can’t act for shit. Warcraft finds a center. The actors aren’t great thespians but they’re okay and they look good doing the physical bits. Warcraft is pretty awesome.

Warcraft 7

I’m sorry if you didn’t like it. It’s not for you. It’s for the fans. I was a fan of WoW. Okay I was a fan of WoW up until it got racist RANT ALERT like soon after Obama was elected. For those of you fuckers who blame Obama for all the rampant racism, I can remember that time. I understand your confusion. Because when Obama got elected the motherfucking racists lost their motherfucking minds. I couldn’t stay in anything resembling a chat room in the game. I couldn’t visit the cities. I couldn’t find a guild. It was awful. It was aggressive and it was moderated by sympathetic racist puppets. I’m sorry. I’m getting angry. Because I complained all the time. They even suspended me when I started to fight back against it. (They suspended ME) But anyway. I really loved the game I just hated the people playing it.

Warcraft 3

I haven’t played WoW in seven years and just judging by YouTube comments and Facebook and Twitter I’m guessing WoW is still a recruitment tool for the KKK. But this movie (we’re still talking about the movie) is nice to look at and there are no chat channels with the grossest racism that is never reprimanded. Oh my god, I have never been called nigger so much as playing two video games online: the chess app Chess with friends. (There is nothing that pisses off a racist more than a black man beating them in chess), and while playing WoW. Even the people who were in my guild would call some other players niggers and then justify it to me when I objected in the most fucked up ways. They’d say, (I’m sorry but I have to continue this thought) “We’re not trying to be racist. We know you’re black. But these players just act like niggers. You know, like real niggers. That’s all. No offense.”

Warcraft 2

Offense taken. RANT OVER This review got way off track.

Warcraft: The Beginning was entertaining. I plan to buy it. I loved the look. I loved the story. I used to love playing WoW and loved the cut scenes, and Warcraft reminded me of the best parts of that. It was fun to be in the World of Warcraft once again.

Warcraft: The Beginning is like one big video game cut scene with live actors and cool action and I liked it more than I thought I would.

Amazing.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Reviews: The Big Short

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)

The Big Short poster

Directed by Adam McKay

Written by Adam McKay & Charles Randolph  Based on The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Starring Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling & Brad Pitt

There are no words. There are no words to describe how much I love this movie. I loved everything about it… everything but the plot. However that’s not the movie’s fault. The Big Short is about the housing crisis of 2008. More accurately it’s about the people who saw it coming. But not just saw it coming they bet on it happening and then made millions and billions and billions of billions while millions of people lost their homes and their jobs and their lives and their minds and their money. This is a movie about the real villains. Except with varying degrees of villainy, they are all evil. The Big Short deftly handles the amazing feat of making you root for the end of the world. Making you root for the bubble to burst. Making you root for the villains. We all know it happens. This movie makes you want it to happen. It made me feel sick to my stomach. I fucking love this movie.

Verdict: SPARED

Steve Carrell in The Big Short

“I have a question please. When you say the movie made you sick to your stomach and then you say how much you loved it, do you know how crazy that sounds?”

The Acting

Steve Carrell is astonishing in The Big Short and I had no idea he could act. This is the first movie I have ever seen him in that was good. Christian Bale from Batman Begins is his insanely great self. But he always does great work. And the movie includes beautiful cameos from some of my favorite TV actors like Karen Gillan from Doctor Who and Max Greenfield from New Girl. But each and every one of these people are dirt-bags. They play finance and real estate douches and assholes. All of them. There is this fantastic scene where they’re leaving Las Vegas and they all get into different types of cars. Into different sizes and kinds of transportation and it is amazing. You see the different levels of villainy. And then the celebrities who play themselves like Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez and I’m guessing some other people.

Margot Robbie in The Big Short

“Really? Some other people? There’s just me. I’m in a bubble bath. Margot Robbie in a bubble bath. What else do you need? Now stop all this nonsense and loofah my back. Now please!”

The Directing

Adam McKay’s direction is phenomenal. The Big Short is fantastic. He handles several narrators from several different pods and throws in a paper-thin fourth wall that anyone can break through at any time. And they do. They all do. And it’s wonderful. He allows for far-in-the-weeds economic exposition by having different celebrities in strange situations describe the various banking and mortgage jargon and laws and stuff. And it’s amazing. This is a disaster movie. This is The Day After, Earthquake the movie, The Towering Inferno and it’s funny. Even though it’s not really funny at all. This stuff killed people and ruined lives but here it’s very fucking funny. And as it turns out nobody wants to hear about banking and real estate unless it’s got tits & ass and it’s making them laugh.

Brad Pitt in The Big Short

“Am I laughing? Do I look like I’m laughing? This is serious business. Am I a joke to you? Am I a clown here for your amusement? Ahhhh I’m just kidding. Have a drink.”

The Writing

The Big Short is a great script based on a book by Michael Lewis. I love the metaphors and the language. The characters are bigger than life. And while sure they’re based on real people. These are all real people. But nobody talks that cool. Come on. This is like if Quentin Tarantino wrote about bankers. This is great dialogue. And I learned so much about credit swaps and sub-prime mortgages and CDO’s but that’s real banking. All this shit really happened. But again, and I need to keep saying this, while these guys are making a mint, many more people are losing their shirts… to Short, you see, means to bet on something to lose. To bet on people losing their jobs and their homes. This was the biggest crash since the big crash. There was a lot to lose… and a lot to gain from it.

Christian Bale in The Big Short

“You’re not gonna try to talk banking are you? Because there’s no way this is gonna turn out well. Or politics. Please don’t talk politics. It’s not gonna work without Margot Robbie in a bubble bath.”

The Banking

In my opinion, there is a real devil here. And it’s money. The love of money and the love of making money. They say what we needed back then were better regulations. But more than that, what we needed was better mental health care and screening for bankers and hedge fund managers. We needed to weed out the psychopaths and sociopaths who, no matter what rules we create, would always find a way to game the system for their own advantage. Because when you lack compassion, then the things that others would deem unthinkable become ways to win. Schemes implemented that destroy people’s lives in order to make money are set into motion with a smile. And that’s not going to end people. We’re not going to regulate out the ability for the evil to rob the innocent. You don’t stop wolves with a fence. You stop the wolves by getting a dog. Something to spot those people and prevent them from getting anywhere near that much power. Just like psychopaths shouldn’t be allowed to have guns, they shouldn’t be allowed to have hedge funds and they shouldn’t be allowed to run banks either.

“Wait… you can’t… no… there’s no way you could… that’s not something that… he knows that’s crazy, right? Mel’s blog is so weird today. Wasn’t this a movie review a minute ago?”

The Politics

And we keep electing these same sociopaths to public office. Sociopaths and career politicians. You can say we need to reward honesty, except the truth is subjective. And language is used against us to justify all manner of abhorrent behavior. Remember when the first thing on a politician’s resume was how honest they were. These days we allow people to feign sincerity and promise the world. And again and again they prove themselves unworthy of the office we give them. Because those who are worthy don’t want it. Our nomination process is horrible at all levels. Wanting to be in office should be evidence enough that these people should not be. They can say anything as long as it sounds like something that we want or that we fear. When someone comes along and tells you the brutal truth, not some wish list of what the world would look like in your particular ideological fantasy but the brutal truth about what can be done and what can not be done, then that person, that unpopular truthful person, should be nominated for office. But it seems we’d rather be lied to. And we need to stop rewarding this behavior.

The Big Short movie

“Wasn’t this supposed to be a movie review? Can you tell me what happened to that? Now we’re getting political platitudes from a guy with a blog.” “Um. I hate to tell you this. But that’s what blogs are used for. Like all the time.” “I did not know that.”

The Award Season

The Big Short is an important movie. It is an important lesson in a financial system run amok. But also a lesson in reality. There are laws and rules and regulations but because we have a system that is far and away a monster of our own creation, we have little hope of reining it in. The Big Short is a fun and funny movie about a financial disaster that actually happened and will happen again. But instead of pretending that there will be a way to control this monster. We should all stop feeding it. Divest completely. No matter what your financial planner tells you, he or she is lying or being lied to. No matter what a politician promises you, he or she knows that it’s not possible or they’re too naive to know. But either way, we need to starve the beast before it kills us all.

Christian Bale from The Big Short

“What we need is more artists in office and less bankers and lawyers and rich kids and thieves.”

How do we do that you ask? I don’t know. I’m just a guy with a blog.

The Big Short is one of the best movies of the year. But it’s also an important film that everyone should see. If it wins the Academy Award then maybe more people will.

The Oscar race is heating up this year… at least in my house it is.

– Mel

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Are you a job creator that could use a “diversity hire” to fill-out a government quota but you’re too afraid you’ll end up with a black radical, black panther or reverse racist?

Mitt Romney

“Binders full of black people, I do not have. So, um… Yes.”

Yes.

Are you sick and tired of having to check to see if any minorities are around before telling the latest Obama So Black joke at work? I’m talking to you big guy.

“Here’s one you may not have heard. Obama is so black…” Just say yes, Donald. “Yes.”

Yes.

Do you believe that reverse racism is more than just something white supremacists invented as a way to justify their hatred and hide their political impotence?

“Let me tell you something about the Negro…”

You know what. Don’t answer that last question. Just call…

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency.

We have the black candidates that wont make you feel insecure about your bigotry.

We have the Negroes for you.

Ben Carson

“This blog post is the worst thing since slavery.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency 

We have the job applicants that will allow you to feel secure about telling racist jokes at the office. Our men have the blackest skin with the most perfect diction. You’d swear they were just normal people by listening to them but trust me they’re all black. You’ll be amazed. And our black women candidates are some of lightest-skinned “sistahs” around. They all self-identify as white women, but don’t you worry. They know which box to check off at tax time and with little to no sass or back talk. In no time at all you’ll be known as An Equal Opportunity Employer.

Amy Holmes

“I’m not black. My father was from Africa. Ah-free-ca. We weren’t slaves.”

The first thing your clients will say when they see your new hire will be “My god! What a credit to his race.” or they’ll ask “She’s only half black isn’t she?” (as if there’s such a thing). And go ahead and tell that aggressively and disgustingly racist joke in front of them. They can take it. They’re just that good.

Allen West

“You’re reading the blog of someone who despises you. I should know. I hate everyone.”

Now here comes the tricky part. After you’ve told your racist joke in front of one of our highly qualified “black” applicants, a few moments will pass (it will seem to everyone in the room as if it’s been long minutes spent in tense silence). Don’t be alarmed. This is done on purpose. The tension build up will make the pay off all the more sweeter as our candidate will laugh at the joke. But not just laugh, he’ll say “Good one.” and “I heard THAT.” and “I can’t wait to tell my wife that one.” (Don’t worry none of our candidates have white wives. That would be wrong)

Clarence Thomas

“I do not respect my wife’s decision to marry a black man… Sorry Honey, I’m under oath.”

All our candidates are skilled in the best fake laughter. You’ll swear he’s pissing his pants while making full eye contact with the “racist joke” teller in the most submissive way possible (without seeming gay of course) and did you know he’ll even give that bigoted individual an extra little smile just to let them know that THIS Negro isn’t one of THOSE.

*Ask about our Black Republicans. Black Yes Men. And Dark-Skinned Right-Wing Pundits who will agree begrudgingly to the most hateful racist rhetoric with a nervous smile. (as seen on Fox News)

Michael Steele

” Now everybody be cool. He’s not calling us Uncle Toms. It’s just the name of the agency.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency

Make sure to ask your new diversity hire about his thoughts on Ferguson or the Confederate Flag and he’ll answer, “Confederate is just another word for friend.” or he’ll joke,  “You mean Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York?” And it will all seem as non-confrontational and submissive like as if he were calling you “Massah” without the slightest bit of irony. (*because of ongoing litigation our candidates will not and can not refer to you as “Master”, “Massah”, “Suh Boss” or “Bossman” and will in fact call you by your first name as if you were good friends).

Ask them about #BlackLivesMatter or the Black Lives Matter movement and our candidate will smile sheepishly and tell you reassuringly that he thinks ALL lives matter (without throwing up a little in his mouth).

Senator Scott

“I am opposed to this blog post in every way. Unless I’m told to believe otherwise.”

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will send you the colored faces that can fill out any staff photo, Human Resources pamphlet or Police Brutality Press Conference Podium.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will fill your color quota without creating the hostile, “dark” and scary workplace of your worst nightmares.

Uncle Tom’s Employment Agency will work with you and your lawyers to bring you the diversity hire of your dreams. Our candidates will always be “one of the good ones.” We guarantee it. (guarantee void after 6 month probationary period)

Condi Rice

“Melvin, I swear, if you call me an Aunt Jemima, I will cut you.”

Uncle Tom’s

Satisfying your employment needs since 1648

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User Comments 1-5 of 209

anonymous Writes: We used your service earlier this year and were quite happy with our “black person.” But after his 6 month probationary period, he became a full-time employee and he changed practically over-night. He put up a photo of Malcolm X in his cubicle where everyone could see it. Last week he wore a Dashiki to work on casual Friday. Is this a bait & switch? He’s talking lawsuit. I can’t be sued again. I just can’t.

wutangfan69 Writes: I had a similar experience to the previous commenter. It was like he changed all of a sudden. The look he gave me when I innocently called him “Mah N****h.” I meant nothing bad. They say it all the time to each other. I can still see his angry eyes. I was afraid to go to work this morning and I’m the owner. You have Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas in your ad. But what you sent me was more like Wesley Snipes.

aynrand4ever Writes: You can’t say you’re sending a non-threatening black yes-man and send a highly intelligent and qualified n-word who’s now competing for MY job. You see that? I’m saying “n-word” now. He’s got me afraid to even type the word n-word. You should be ashamed of yourselves. I will never use your service again.

ngryblkmn38 Writes: 6 years after taking office, your “candidate” is walking around like he owns the place. I think they call it swagger. But I’m not complaining. It’s kind of nice.

dtrumpjrjr Writes: I specifically requested a “mammy” type, light-skinned African-American female to be my personal assistant. But I was not aware that I wouldn’t be able to pat her on the butt every once in a while. They have such nice… She broke my arm in three places. Can I get a refund?