Friday, June 24, 2011

Top 10 Video Game Movies: Part I

Zombie killer Milla Jovovich with golden guns, presumably to play Golden Eye

There are lots of good movies about video games: King of Kong, Scott Pilgrim, and The Wizard.  At the same time videogames are becoming increasingly cinematic.  So it stands to reason that there would be some great movies based on videogames, right?  Well, no.  It’s common knowledge that movies based on videogames suck, but some are certainly less sucky than others, right?  Well, kinda.  Here’s my top 10 video game movies.  Enjoy.

10. House of the Dead

Sorry, she keeps her top on the whole time
I know I'm going to take some heat for this one, but without including sequels (too many Resident Evil movies) or anime (fucking lame) there are woefully few halfway decent videogame movies.  That is not to say that House of the Dead is halfway decent, quite the contrary in fact, but I think House of the Dead has kind of a Plan 9 quality.  The movie is such a mess in every single way it becomes laughable.  Continuity errors abound, the acting is bad, the story retarded, and it’s so poorly directed you usually can’t tell what’s going on (for a more comprehensive review check out my friend Brian’s blog.)  Once you get past all those things there’s not much to complain about, except that the hottest chick in the movie doesn’t take her top off.  What gives?  Thankfully there are plenty of other naked ladies throughout the film’s mercifully short runtime.  Clocking in at 90 minutes HotD moves at a pretty good pace.  Even good movies can suffer from poor pacing and an excessive runtime (Judd Apetow is lucky he’s making movies in the DVD age.  No one would rent a comedy on two goddamned VHS tapes.)  While HotD is terrible at least it stars the U-Boat captain from Das Boot, which earns it a place on any list.
Speaking of Plan 9 here's Lisa Marie.  She played Vampira in Ed Wood.  She's hard to google and this picture is pretty rare.  Enjoy the sideboob!

9.  Final Fantasy
Creepy! Can you say uncanny valley?

Final Fantasy was kind of revolutionary for the time.  Sure the CGI characters look like those creepy mannequin robots from Doctor Who, but at least this movie swings for the fences.  Most fans of the popular series of video games hate this movie.  Luckily I’ve never played any of the videogames so I couldn’t give a flying fuck.  My disdain from the series stems from the first time I ever watched someone play Final Fantasy VII.  
 “What the hell is going on?" I asked.
My buddy said, “I’m trying to find a dress.”
“So I can disguise my character as a woman and sneak past the guard.”

Needless to say I wrote the series off after that.  If I wanted to dress in drag I’d be a British comedian.  Plus the name always bugged me.  How could it be a “Final” Fantasy if there’s like 20 of them, and Final Fantasy X 2 is just stupid.  What’s wrong with part 11?  At least give it a cool subtitle like “Final Fantasy X: the Finalist Fantasy” or “Final Fantasy X: The Legend of Curly’s Gold.”
You know what I always thought was missing from video games?  Hairless lady-boys, that's what!

8. Tommy (based on the Johnny Mnemonic Pinball Machine)

Coming soon to a bowling alley near you
The Who are better than Led Zeppelin, and Tommy is way the fuck better than The Song Remains the Same.  The Johnny Mnemonic Pinball Machine was okay I guess, not as good as the Spacejam Pinball Game, but okay.  You might think that Johnny Mnemonic was based on the Johnny Mnemonic Pinball Game, but that doesn’t make any sense.  First of all, Johnny Mnemonic sucks.  Secondly, the Johnny Mnemonic Pinball Game was based on the movie not the other way around.  Similarly, the Tommy Pinball Game was based on the movie Tommy which was based on the Johnny Mnemonic Pinball Game.  Confusing?  Well, it almost seems like I’m padding this list with a movie that has nothing to do with video games, and for that reason alone Tommy is only number 8 on our list. 
Interestingly you don't need VR gloves to operate the pinball machine

7.  Mortal Kombat

Get ready for the song and dance number
I don’t care what anyone says this movie sucks.  Usually when people are talking about video game movies everyone will agree that as a genre it is decidedly sub-par.  Then someone will chime in, “well Mortal Kombat was okay.”  It’s not.  It was made in the “CGI deadzone” (the mid-90’s) so the special effects look like shit; and the plot was retardedly stupid.  Why is it clocking it at number 7?  Well, just like when you played Mortal Kombat with your younger brother, the competition isn’t exactly strong.  Secondly, the plot being stupid doesn’t bother me that much, because the plot of the games was always pretty dumb.  That’s not to excuse the plot, but even at the age of 12 I knew what I was getting into: a dumb Kung Fu movie.  Mortal Kombat also had that hot chick from Billy Madison, and I always thought she was hot.  Whatever happened to her and Tia Carrera?  They were both hot and they were only in like 2 movies each.
There are plenty of pics of Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade, but I chose to include pictures of her in lingerie, because that's the kind of guy I am

6.  Super Mario Brothers
Sumthin' for the ladies!  Fun Fact: Ron Jeremy's nickname is "The Hedgehog" because he can curl up and suck his own dick.

Mama Mia! A crying Italian!
This movie falls into the same category as Buckaroo Banzai, Mac & Me, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Street Fighter, Flash Gordon, and Godzilla (1998): a movie that promised a sequel that never came to pass.  It’s also in a separate category from the previous movies on this list (except for Tommy) in that I actually enjoy it.  I watched this movie a lot as a kid, so it has the nostalgia factor.  It also has the legendary actors Bob Haskins playing Mario Mario, and Dennis Hopper playing King Koopa.  John Leguizamo plays Luigi Mario and I thought it was a nice change of pace seeing a minority playing an Italian instead of the other way around (Al Pacino in Scarface.)  The movie incorporates some of the elements from the video game: giant pipes, mushrooms, and King Koopa; while at the same time having absolutely nothing to do with the video game.  Admittedly it would be kind of hard to make a compelling film about a couple of plumbers jumping on things, but changing it to a parallel world where dinosaurs became people that drive electric cars and listen exclusively to “Walk the Dinosaur” was kind of a stretch.  Like most movies on this list Super Mario Brothers was not a financial success, hence the lack of a sequel.  Oh well, I still like it.

Part II coming soon…

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bottomshelf Beer Reviews: Colt 45 Malt Liquor

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… Lando Calrissian was born on the planet Socorro (not to be confused with Skaro, home planet to the hated Daleks.)  Sometime in the early 1980’s Lando endorsed Colt 45 Malt Liquor.  Until recently that was about the extent of my knowledge about Colt 45, but recently (for reasons I’ve already gone into great detail about) I ended up in the ghetto and when I was there I decided that I had to try some of the sweet malt liquor endorsed by the first brother in the Star Wars Universe.   
Goddamn Daleks, trying to steal our Kylie Minogue
Pimp as fuck
When I was a kid I watched The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi a lot.  In Empire Lando seems like kind of a jerk at first.  He shamelessly flirts with Princess Leia right in front of Han Solo, and then he betrays Han to Boba Fett.  He later redeems himself by forsaking his property, Cloud City, and trying to snag Han from Boba Fett.  Failing that, he goes undercover (like Shaft) and jailbreaks Han from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt.  As for going after Princess Leia, I mean could you blame him?  A hot piece like that… Anyway Lando Calrissian is awesome.  He brought a little soul to Star Wars, and pulled off a cape like no white man ever could.  He also owned Lobot, his slave, and I’d like to go on record as saying a black guy owning white slaves is cool.  Needless to say it is very cool that Lando drinks Colt 45.

 Speaking of cool, Colt 45 is also the name of the “peacemaker;” the gun carried by Wyatt Earp George S. Patton, and the Man With No Name.  I don’t know much about guns, but from what I’ve seen in movies the Colt 45 was without a doubt the most accurate handgun in the history of firearms.  The Colt 45 started production in 1873 and continues to this day.  Colt 45 Malt Liquor is clearly named after one of the most popular handguns of all time, right?  Well if you’re sitting there nodding your head right now, you probably feel pretty stupid, because Colt 45 Malt Liquor has just made and idiot out of you and me.  According to the company, Colt 45 is named after Baltimore Colts running back #45 Jerry Hill and not the popular gun.  Huh?  Apparently they didn’t want to get sued by the firearm manufacturer for copyright infringement.  I guess it’d be kind of like if I owned the Mickey Mouse Dildo Company, and when Disney tried to sue me I just said, “I meant the other Mickey Mouse.”   
Eye-ah-eee-eye! Wah! Wah! Wah!

Well Colt 45 might be confusingly named but it tastes pretty good.  Definitely a beer flavored malt liquor.  It tastes better than most malt liquors.  Hell, it tastes better than most cheap beers.  It tastes kind of like a German beer, and wasn’t bad when my tallboy got warm.  The aftertaste was a little bitter, with just a slight hint of cheapness.  Maybe it’s not for the foie gras crowd at beeradvocate, but I thought it was pretty tasty.  It’s kind of a challenge finishing some of the beers I review on this website, but I had no problem drinking Colt 45 and I’d drink it again.  I’d still rank Mickey’s and Schlitz Malt Liquor above Colt 45, but as Lando would say, “You (Colt 45) look absolutely beautiful.  You (Colt 45) truly you belong here with us, among the clouds.” 
This is from an ad from the official Colt 45 board game.  In case you're wondering this is a real product

There are two kinds of people in this world those with loaded guns, and those who dig.  Personally I dig Colt 45 Malt Liquor and so does Lando Calrissian.  I don’t by their bullshit story about their name, but it did remind me how awesome the Baltimore Colts were and how much I hate the Indianapolis Colts.  If you’re ever in the kind of liquor store that sells Colt 45 I’d say check it out, and pour a little out for Lando Calrissian.

Spellcheck doesn’t know the names of the major characters in the Star Wars cannon?  What kind of nerds work at Microsoft?

When criticized for appearing in a malt liquor commercial Lando responded by saying, “I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I'd appear in a commercial for that too."  Fucking eh. 

Until I was like 13 I thought that Lando Calrissian and Apollo Creed were the same person.  It's not racist, because all cool people look the same to me.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger Top 10 Part II

Three boobies, what an age to be alive.
This is the second half of my list of the best Schwarzenegger movies of all time (check out part one here).  Pass it around and feel free to write back in the comments section or facebook me about the list.

5. Total Recall

Two weeks...
This movie contains many of the same themes as Vanilla Sky.  The biggest difference between the two movies being that Total Recall is better in every single way.  Quiet introspection is replaced with machine gun fights; Jason Lee is replaced with Michael Ironside; and Cameron Diaz is replaced with a young Sharon Stone.  The romantic lead in Total Recall is kind of fug and can’t hold a candle to the always sexy Penelope Cruz, but this is completely overshadowed by a woman with three boobs.  You read that right, three boobies.  The special effects, plot, and action sequences in Total Recall are all undoubtedly awesome but a woman with three boobies puts this movies completely over the top.  This movie also has one of the best examples of henchmen syndrome: when those dudes jump Schwarzenegger and they’re all armed and he disarms and kills a few of them why don’t those guys take off when he gets his hands on a gun?  He already kicked their asses and now he has firearms.  The only thing in this movie less plausible than that is when Sharon Stone offers to go at it one last time and Arnie is still able to suss out that it’s a trick.  If I was in his place, I would have most definitely died at that part. 
Penelope Cruz's butt

4. The Terminator

Nice pants gross dude.
Remember that part when he kills all those cops?  Or that part where he rips his own eye out?  If you watched it on TBS or WGN you probably don’t, which is part of the problem most people have when ranking this movie within the Schwarzenegger pantheon.   The only problem I have with The Terminator is the part when Kyle Reese takes that homeless guy’s pants.  Dude didn't even have underwear on.  He wears them for the rest of the movie and as far as I know he never washes them.  I know he’s from a dystopian garbage future, but that’s fucking gross.  Couldn’t he change or at least wash them or something?   Terminator holds the distinction of being the first R rated movie I ever saw and I assure you that if you’ve never seen it uncut you are depriving yourself of an awesomely violent action movie.  Spoiler Alert:  you see Linda Hamilton’s boobies.  These are the first boobies I ever saw that didn’t belong to a saggy black woman in National Geographic. 

3. True Lies

Lots of movies attempt to blend action and comedy with varying degrees of success, but True Lies stands head and shoulders above the competition.  Part of the success lies in the fact that it could stand on its own in either genre.  You could take out the jokes and have a perfectly serviceable action movie, or take out all the machine gun fights and have a movie about…well without gunfights I don’t know what it would be about, but I bet it would still be pretty funny.  True Lies is also Tom Arnold’s best movie.  I guess that’s not saying much, but if you’ve only seen Little Giants and never seen True Lies I assure you this is a vastly superior movie.
Eliza Dushku is the daughter in True Lies

2. Conan the Barbarian

Become slave of Thulsa Doom, tap two manna for each action
Conan is based on a character created by Robert E. Howard, and most fans of the original stories hate the movie.  I on the other hand, like them both, but then again I’m not an annoying fucking fanboy douchebag.  Things aren’t exactly the same as the book?  Maybe that’s because they’re two different artistic mediums.  Conan is about yelling “Crom” and punching camels and this movie had plenty of both.  I always liked this movie, but after I read the aforementioned short stories it’s become one of my favorites.  In this one Arnie the plays the titular (tee hee) character: Conan the Barbarian.  When asked, “What is best in life?”  Conan replies “crush your enemy, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women.”  That line really sets the tone for the movie, because for Conan it’s not enough to defeat your enemy in combat, you have to make his wife cry about it.  The rest of the movie follows that general tone.  When Conan isn’t decapitating snake cultist, he fills his time drinking tankards of ale and having sex with beautiful sluts.  Along the way he teaches us the riddle of steel and we don’t even have to drink Steel Reserve.

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

I’m going to get kind of spoiler-y in my description of T2 AKA the greatest movie ever made.  I don’t know why I bothered warning you.  If you haven’t seen this movie by now you are either
 A.) Lame
B.) too young to be reading this blog (you kids still listening to Fallout Boy?)
A scene from Wayne's World that kids are too young for

Beautiful CGI
Why do I love this movie so much?  Well the action scenes are unparalleled awesome: like when the T-1000 is ramming the pickup truck and Arnie walks from the bed of the truck onto the hood of the semi and machine guns the T-100 right in the fucking face.  You never see something like that in a movie today, unless it’s done with bullshit computers.  Kind of an odd coincidence I guess, since this movie was one of the pioneer CGI films.  Unlike most CGI films though, T2 perfectly blends CGI with conventional effects.  This movie came out 20 years ago (shit I’m getting old) but still looks really good. 

The dominant theme for the movie is that there is no fate, and we set our own future.  I’ve never been a fatalist myself so this resonates with me.  It also flies in the face of the two subpar sequels that followed T2 but what can you do?  I don’t know, but you should definitely not watch those movies unless you’re happy burning two hours of your life that you’ll never get back.  I guess if you saw them you could go back in time and warn yourself not to see them, but then why would you warn yourself?  The movie handles this problem brilliantly by creating a time loop.  Miles Dyson creates Skynet from the chip in the first Terminator’s head.  Skynet goes on to build the Terminator, which gets sent it back in time to get crushed in the first movie.  Miles Dyson takes that chip etc.  I guess it’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around, but at least it’s not goddamn insulting to your intelligence like most time travel movies.
Saddest part of any movie ever.  Literally makes me tear up.

I guess that about sums up this top 10 list.  If you haven’t seen any of these movies you should definitely correct that problem.  I’ll be back next week with for my Top 10 Eric Stoltz Movies Part I, so come with me if you want to live.  Until then hasta la vista baby and um…I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.