Sunday, December 24, 2006

Yo, Rocky Balboa

I've officially seen three of the Rocky movies: Rocky, Rocky IV, and now Rocky Balboa. I think everyone probably rightfully thought the same thing when we heard of Stallone's plans for a sixth Rocky film. I know my eyes couldn't stop rolling for weeks. However, he seems to have acknowledged all of those notions that would have caused us to doubt.

The first and most obvious of those being the question of both the actor's, and the characters age. How was this addressed? Well, this isn't a story about the greatest fight of his career, but a story about the last fight of his career. It deals with being a has-been but still having a few tricks he can teach to the new kid on the block. The other big issue is Stallone's acting itself. Can the man act? No, not really, but he can play Rocky Balboa and be as convincing as he needs to be so that the audience doesn't realize that this is in-fact a washed-up actor. And I suppose that's why this ended up being a smart move for Stallone. Had he tried to do Cliffhanger 2, our eye rolling would have been justified (We may have to hold that thought for Rambo 4 though).

It's got some sappy moments, it's got some inspirational moments and even some exciting moments. Whats good about it is that it doesn't seem to try to copy verbatim the formula of the other Rocky films I've seen. Sure, it makes it's homages, but tastefully and not to the point where they carry the story.

The best aspect of the character development of the film is Rocky befriending a down-on-herself young woman and her son. Had there been no fighting in the movie what-so-ever, this story could have been expanded into it's own film by itself. The only awkward or confusing thing was the current heavy-weight champ Mason Dixon. We're never really sure if he's supposed to be a cocky asshole, or just a good guy surrounded by the wrong people. In one scene he talks about how he'd rather be respected as a fighter than be the champ, and in a later scene he's asshole trash-talking Rocky. In the end though, he finally learns a lesson and that's the real point of the character.

All in all, this is a film about doing whatever it is you do without bitching about the obstacles in your way. In fact, Rocky makes a speech to his son saying pretty much just that. The story is full of those and other speeches, but they always seem natural, unpreachy and warranted. The best perhaps comes from Rocky's trainer (forgive me die-hard Rocky fans for not knowing the character's name). He tells rocky that he's not fast on his feet, and his reflexes are shot, so he's going to have to win the fight with "blunt-force-trauma", and it's time to start building some "hurtin' bombs".

As tempting as it is to laugh at so-called has-beens, you've got to give respect to actors like Sylvester Stallone, Bill Murray and Jack Nicholson that have managed to stay in the game just as well as they ever were (the later two more so). I say just as much with Stallone, because as I said, the man can't act, never really could, but he's still doing it and I'm still paying to watch, so that's something. Like the movie poster says, "I ain't over till it's over".

*** (3 out 4 stars).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Updates and More

First of all, until I have time to get the new logo to appear up top without the site feed title being the location of the jpg file, It's just going to be text based.

In badass martial arts movie news, Yimou Zhang (writer/director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers) has a new movie coming out called The Curse of the Golden Flower. It stars Chow Yun-Fat and Li Gong.

Lastly, I finally was able to pick up 24 Season 5 on DVD. I was disappointed with the packaging this time. It just seems like they got lazy (using slim-cases instead of the usual gate-folding case with elaborate photo-art). However, they more than made up for it with the design and function of the menus. They look much cooler than in years past, and they finally added a "play-all" feature. Only took the 5 seasons to realize that people might want to watch several episodes in a row uninterrupted.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Title

As you may have noticed I've changed the name of this blog from "Trevor's Lucid Dream" to "The Lucid". Title doesn't make sense to you? Don't look to hard into it. It's only meant to retain a reference to it's origin while being a more news-like title. I did this because I've decided I much more like writing about external things rather than dear-diary stuff about myself. I'll try to keep my focus on news, science, music, and movies, but who knows. I'm in the process of adding category labels to all my posts. Those categories are listed in the right column. I've also added a "Shoutbox". If you'd like to leave a message on the site not related to a post, there's the place to do it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Here is a case and point of why I hate the mainstream media. CNN yesterday was talking about a cruise ship that had 2 "outbreaks" of a virus on board within the last year. They said that they had hired more cleaning staff and doctors for it's next voyage. The "reporter" at the desk was giving tips on "How to Keep Yourself Healthy on Your Next cruise". This same person asked the guy in field how common this virus was. He then responded that this was a very common virus and not at all exclusive to cruise ships. He then went on to say that 1 in every 12 people in the United States contract this virus every year and the symptoms are much like the flu. He was then asked what the ratio of people getting sick on cruises was, to which he responded about 1 in 100. They both then chuckle about how they suppose the media was just blowing this out of proportion because it happened on boat.

So, did you catch that? You're LESS LIKELY to contract this virus if you're on these cruise ships. You're LESS LIKELY to contract this virus if you're on these cruise ships. You're LESS LIKELY to contract this virus if you're on these cruise ships.

CNN having this info before hand, decides to put this shit on the air anyway. Then, the reporters admit that it isn't newsworthy. And yet, it fucking made it on the air. This isn't the first time I've heard of illness on ships cause by virus contraction, and I'm going to go ahead and guess that over the past 18 months that this has been a "story", news organizations have had these same statistics.

So what we have now are people thinking that these ships are just disease vessels when their own kitchen is probably far more unhealthy. I'm gonna bet that the people running the cruises are swept up in the same paranoia hence the added cleaning and doctor staff. Or maybe they are aware of the reality but are just appeasing public idiocy induced by irresponsible "reporting".

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Sudoku Conquest

I did a few in the past and thought they were too easy. Then I came to realize I was doing them wrong. The two puzzles above represent my triumph in doing them correctly (And, of course they were much harder than I thought). I feel smart. Isn't that the ultimate reward of anything in life? Doing something that doesn't make you feel like quite such an idiot. If I could do a bunch of shit myself on my car, that too would make me feel smart; maybe someday.

I've found that doing these mundane puzzles calms me down when I'm depressed, pissed off, or freaking out. Having something else to focus on helps take my mind off of my troubles. Perhaps if I do enough of these I won't need Zoloft anymore.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Titanic, yes I said "Titanic"

Ashley and I watched the entirety of Titanic the other day and when it was over I realized something; I had sat there for over 3 hours and 15 minutes and watched what I still believe is a pretty corny movie. More specifically what finally came to me about the movie was why it was so insanely popular. While I don't care for the plot nor really would I ever go out of my way to see it again I realized that the film is almost perfectly paced. Most other 3+ hour movies will lag in the middle somewhere, have an awkward, drawn-out ending, or have 3 false endings. Titanic, it seems, doesn't fall into any of those trappings. It begins, it middles, and it ends. It tells a big, long story, and yet I sat there and watched the whole thing without being bored. That, along with it's sappy love story and suspenseful finish is why so many people like a movie that before I would have snickered at. So there you have it, I found something positive about a movie I never really liked.