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Game of Dopes: Me Reading ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

Ned Stark from Game of Thrones is a little dumb

I just finished reading A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (that’s Game of Thrones series to you, if you only watch the TV show). Instead of reviewing it, I thought I’d give you a look at what’s going on inside my head as I read these things.

CHARACTER #1: I have a daring plan! It will bring me honor and/or glory!
ME: It’s a dumb plan. It will bring you death.
CHARACTER #1: Nonsense! I’m sure it’ll be fine.
ME: Yeah, that’s what the last guy said.
DEATH: Just so you know, I’m coming to kill you in 3…
CHARACTER #1: Who said that? Must be the wind…
DEATH: 2…
CHARACTER #1: Silence, craven wind-speaker!
DEATH: 1…
CHARACTER #1: Onward! For honor/glory!
*SliceBleedChompBurnSplatFail*
ME and DEATH: I fucking TOLD you.
CHARACTER #1: Oh, oh, I’m dying! Woe! Woe! I totally did not see this coming.
ME: I refuse to feel sorry for you. You’re obviously too dumb to live.
CHARACTER #1: Oh fine then.
*Dies*
CHARACTER #2: Wasn’t that dramatic? Are you moved?
ME: Try annoyed. I’m gonna go read a different book.
CHARACTER #2: Wait! Don’t you want to know what happens to me?
CHARACTER #3: Or me?
ME: Are you as thick as the other guy?
CHARACTER #2: Umm….
CHARACTER #3: Err…
ME: That’s what I thought.
*Leaves*
CHARACTER #2: Wait!
CHARACTER #3: Take us with you!
CHARACTER #2: Poop. I hate it when I don’t get everything I want.
CHARACTER #3: Oh but we CAN have what we want.
CHARACTER #2: How?
CHARACTER #3: I have a plan!
CHARACTER #2: Is it daring?
CHARACTER #3: Without a doubt.
CHARACTER #2: Will it bring us honor and/or glory?
CHARACTER #3: By the bucket! …if it works.
CHARACTER #2: Is this plan ill-conceived?
CHARACTER #3: Possibly. But I’m sure it’ll be fine.
CHARACTER #2: LET’S DO IT.

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Revolution Review

poster from the Rob Stewart documentary Revolution

I make it a point to read/watch the environmental books and documentaries that seem like they have new information to give me. Rob Stewart’s Revolution has been racking up the awards at film festivals and the trailers trumpet it as, well, revolutionary. That plus its focus on the oceans intrigued me enough to pay box office prices to see a documentary that’s not even an hour and a half long.

Filmmaker Rob Stewart of Sharkwater fame turns his sights toward discovering how we can stop ocean acidification to save humanity.

Now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you there’s not much about Revolution that’s revolutionary. It can best be described as ‘Rob Stewart discovers what everyone else already knows.’ It’s extremely light on scientific fact and the presentation is disjointed and superficial. It’s like a dumbed down version of An Inconvenient Truth.

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Top 5 and Bottom 5 Films of 2012


Well, another year has gone by, so it’s time to look back and see how the 62 movies I saw in theaters stack up against one another. This year’s best and worst movies were easy to choose but numbers 2 through 5 were hard, especially when I thought about them in retrospect – some big ticket movies were great in the theaters but didn’t hold up when I thought about them later. Others weren’t that great to begin with. In the end there were a lot of pretty good movies and a lot of pretty bad movies, but pretty doesn’t make the cut with me. Here’s what did.

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Top 5/Bottom 5 of 2011

It’s the New Year, which means all of the movie sites are slapping together “Best of” lists and starting their Oscar predictions. I don’t bother with Oscar predictions (that would require caring about the Oscars) but I do like to put together a Top 5/Bottom 5 just in case you missed something good or want to revisit a terrible movie and make fun of it some more. Only movies that I’ve seen count, so there are about 65 movies in contention out of the six million or so that were released in 2011. My criteria for winners and losers are rather nebulous – it all boils down to how I feel about it rather than acting or the directing or the effects or whatever.

Wondering if I picked what you’d pick? Click below to find out!

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Hugo Review

poster from the GK Films movie Hugo

I was really looking forward to Hugo, so much so that I actually wrote an angry email to our theater when it didn’t get Hugo in last week, when it was released. The trailer made it seem like an awesome children’s steampunk adventure. I didn’t know why it had to be directed by Martin Scorsese, a big shot of the “intelligent film” persuasion. You would think a children’s steampunk adventure would be more Chris Columbus territory, but I figured he was doing it for his grandkids or something. The story was certainly cool enough to appeal to kids:

An orphaned boy living in the walls of a Paris train station unlocks a mystery when he meets a girl with the key to his dead father’s clockwork automaton.

I was expecting something along the same lines as City of Ember (which, by the way, was fabulous) or A Series of Unfortunate Events, where the automaton’s clue leads Hugo down the path to danger, adventure, and the truth about his parents, but that wasn’t what I got at all. Instead, I got a thinly veiled lesson in the history of film which felt like nothing more than an ad urging people to support The Film Foundation’s restoration efforts. This explains why Martin Scorsese wanted to direct it – he’s the founder of that organization.

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Remembrance Day Movies

Since I’ll be away at Hal-Con this weekend, I decided to replace this week’s in depth movie review with an overview of films you might want to watch for Remembrance Day.

For most people, Remembrance Day means wearing a poppy on their coat for a week or so, and maybe even going to a ceremony. It’s rote. It’s what they’re supposed to do, at least on the surface. But you’re still missing the point unless you’re really thinking about and appreciating our soldiers, sailors and air men/women. If you don’t find that speeches and documentaries have really helped you understand what our military men and women have and are going through on our behalf, these movies may help. They’re fictitious, but they’re all based on true stories and they have that sense of immediacy that documentaries lack.

I’ve endeavored to include a broad spectrum of viewpoints and experiences, not just US Army ones, so please don’t message me asking where Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are.

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A Warning to Unicyclists

Everyone knows that there are two seasons in Canada: winter and roadwork. Now that our highways have gone from being slippery and dangerous to the torn up and dangerous, I just want to remind everyone to obey the traffic signs and stay safe.

So for all you person-powered transport enthusiasts out there:

NO JUGGLING WHILE RIDING YOUR UNICYCLE ON THE OCEAN

…THIS MEANS YOU.

Happy Random Friday, everyone.

P.S. – I had to go home and look it up, but apparently this sign actually means “Grooved Pavement” and that thing is supposed to be a motorcycle with mirrors on it. Go figure.

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Favorite Harry Potter Characters

Severus Snape

Played by: Alan Rickman

I can’t delve too deeply into why I love Snape the best out of any of the Harry Potter characters without spoiling The Deathly Hallows Part 2 on you, but suffice it to say I always believed there was more to Snape than what you could see on the surface. It’s easy to be a hero when everyone’s patting you on the back for it, but when you’re universally reviled (even by yourself) and you still keep doing the right thing, even though no one can know, that’s the most impressive thing in the world.


Nymphadora Tonks

Played by: Natalia Tena

J.K. Rowling does take pains to put witches and wizards on footing that is theoretically equal, but the one problem I have with Harry Potter is that the male characters have twice as much impact on the story as the female ones. Tonks is a character who deserves a story all her own. She can change her appearance at will, is a badass Auror with a great sense of humor, and has a really cute love affair with a shabby werewolf.


Remus Lupin

Played by: David Thewlis

For a while Sirius Black was my favorite because he was flashier, brasher, and more obvious in his concern for Harry, but as the series wore Lupin grew on me. Afflicted with lycanthropy from an early age, he dealt with it with quiet resolve, patience, good humor, and solid logic. Though a little ragged in appearance, there’s nothing shabby about his understated dedication to the people he cares about, particularly Harry, who is not even formally tied to him in any way, and Tonks.


Lily Evans-Potter

Played by: Ellie Darcey-Alden, Susie Shinner, and Geraldine Somerville

Lily never actually appears in the stories, but I really feel like flashback segments and secondhand stories us enough information for her to feel real. She was a sweet kid, willing to befriend the bitter freaks and intolerant of any sort of bullying, even from her own friends. She grew into a mom so dedicated she imbued her son with a special magic that saved his life even as it cost her her own. I’d say her character (if not her fate) is something to admire, wouldn’t you?


Neville Longbottom

Played by: Matthew Lewis

Neville is the character I would have focused on if I was writing a children’s story in the Harry Potter world. A clumsy, underappreciated nobody, Neville comes through again and again in battle despite his fear. His parents were tortured into insanity by Death Eaters, leaving Neville quiet but intensely loyal. He runs an underground resistance movement after Hogwarts is captured. He is the boy who could have been Harry Potter if anyone had bothered to pay attention to him at any point in his life.

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Funniest Canadian Movies

As you probably already know, I don’t usually go out of my way to see Canadian movies just because they’re Canadian. Maybe that makes me a bad Canadian. Maybe it just means I’ve got high standards. At any rate, that doesn’t mean I never watch any Canadian movies. In fact, some of my favorite comedies of all time were written and filmed right here in Canada with all or mostly Canadian casts and crews. I’ve listed them for you here, just in case you feel like renting something that will make you snort your stronger-and-therefore-better Canadian beer out of your nose at your Canada Day party. Comedy is notoriously subjective, so if you’ve got different favs why not list them in the comments? Bon viewing!

#5. Men With Brooms

Curling is an inherently silly sport, if you ask me. You don’t even have to be physically fit to play it professionally. Add in Paul Gross as the leader of a team consisting of a drug dealer, a mortician, and a guy with the world’s lowest sperm count, Scandinavian villains who wear silver pants, and a dead coach’s ashes packed inside a piece of sporting equipment, and it gets even funnier. Plot wise it follows the ol’ sporting standard: misfit team, come from behind victory, the captain wins the girl, etc. but with any luck you’ll be laughing so hard at their ridiculous antics that you won’t even notice.

Buy Men With Brooms on DVD.

.


#4. Gunless

Yes, it’s Paul Gross again, but with good reason. Gunless is a hilarious Western about an American gunfighter who ends up in Canada, where there’s no guns, gunfighting, duelling, or wonton violence allowed. Suddenly he has no idea what to do with himself. Maybe he should fall in love! Or build a windmill! His clashes (or lack of clashes, if you will) with the local populace are funny, but the best part is the dumbass Mountie character and his much smarter Native “sidekick.” It would have rated higher on the list if it weren’t for some stumbling around in the story department.

Buy Gunless on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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#3. A Dog’s Breakfast

This one is a little harder to find because it was an off-season vanity project filmed using favors called in from crew of Stargate Atlantis but it’s totally worth the extra effort. David Hewlett plays a dysfunctional recluse whose major relationship is with his dog. He receives an unwanted visit from his makeup artist sister (Hewlett’s real sister) and her soap actor boyfriend (Paul McGillion, also of SGA), whom he hates and accidentally succeeds in killing. His Telltale Heart-style efforts to hide the body are cripplingly funny, but even better are the hilariously cheesy sci-fi soap clips. Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: I actually met him!

Buy A Dog’s Breakfast on DVD.


#2. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

A spin-off from the popular sketch comedy series Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy follows the story of a mostly inept scientist working for a pharmaceutical company that treats pills like candy and spends money making parties within parties for their more important guests. He accidentally discovers a drug that traps people in their happiest memories while trying to cure depression. Each of the “kids” plays about eight different characters and the whole thing is totally insane yet brilliantly satiric. Everything from the rose colored glasses grandmas wear to view their families to drug companies’ preference for money over safety is fair game.

Buy Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy on DVD.


#1. Bon Cop Bad Cop

Forget Canada, Bon Cop Bad Cop is one of the funniest movies made anywhere. An Ontario/Quebec co-production, it’s about an English cop and a French cop who have to team up to solve the hockey-related murder of a man who was found draped over the “Welcome to” sign at the border between the two provinces. Whether they’re giving a lesson on conjugating French curse words while stuffing suspects into the trunk of their car or arguing in two languages over who’s fault it is that they just blew up a house full of marijuana, the jokes are smart, crude, and hilarious. This is the sort of movie you have to watch several times because you couldn’t stop laughing long enough to hear all the jokes.

Buy Bon Cop Bad Cop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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I Have a Random Opinion On: The News

Usually when I do an “in the news” segment, I form a more complex opinion of one story. But today I’m feeling a little attention deficit, so here’s a bunch of little opinions on some entertainment news headlines I lifted from the IMDB news page.

Conan O’Brien Adds Acting to His Sizzling Summer Sked
“Sked?” For Christ’s sake, how did you pass journalism school without learning how to spell?

Jackass Stars Pay Their Respects at Memorial Service for Ryan Dunn
Ryan Dunn, who died tragically of his own stupidity.

Elisabetta Canalis Steps Out with Her Dogs Post-Split
OMG! You mean celebrities’ dogs need to be walked, too? … or do you mean she had an affair with them?

Justin Bieber Gets Tackled at Macy’s
.Nobody’s really sure whether it was an assassination attempt or just an extremely over-the-top marriage proposal

‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling Launches E-Book Store
Because she just doesn’t have enough money yet.

Lindsay Lohan Ordered to Stop Parties During House Arrest
To be fair, she did stay home like she was supposed to…

‘Transformers 3’ opens in Russia, with love
So either Michael Bay hit his head and accidentally made a good movie, or Russians have bad taste.

Will the Entourage Gang Get a Happy Ending? Get Final-Season Scoop from the Cast
I’m sure they’ve had plenty of “happy endings” over the years, if you catch my drift.

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