Archive for July, 2010

The War Crimes of 50 Cent: Thoughts on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

In the world of film there’s good movies, bad movies, and a lot of movies that lie somewhere in between. But it’s the ‘B movies’,the special, lower budget films, that turn out to be weirdly endearing. Sure they’ve got faults, but there’s enough good things in them to make you watch them. There’s usually some wild, crazy aspect that makes you appreciate them for what they are. Good entertainment.

The 2009 video game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is the game that I’ve played that feels most like a  great B Movie. It’s got a silly premise, it’s over the top, offensive, partially retarded,  and it’s damn fun.

The plot of the game is basically non existent and serves only as an excuse to propel Fiddy into a series of increasingly ludicrous and violent situations.

You play as Mr. Cent, and the game begins with you performing a concert in some giant stadium in some unnamed city in some geographic area that resembles the middle east. We have to assume it’s the middle east, cause there’s lots of sand, hence the title, and everyone speaks with a bad accent. Promptly after finishing the concert, Mr. Cent tries to collect eh 10 MILLION DOLLARS that his promoter guy is supposed to owe him, but his promoter guy is broke.

He got robbed by some terrorist/gangster/warlord guy and has no cash. So when Fiddy ever so politely threatens to kill the shit outta him unless he pays, he forks over a priceless artifact, the McGuffin of the story, a diamond and jewel encrusted skull.

Which promptly is stolen by people who work for the terrorist/gangster/warlord in the next scene. Fiddy gets double crossed, tripled crossed, and I’m pretty sure at one point even quadrupple crossed by various people who either want to kill him for no reason, or steal his skull. So he sets off to shoot a ton of dudes until he can get his skull back.

And shoot a tons of dudes he does, like so many dudes I’m pretty sure Mr. Cent could rightfully be charged with war crimes of some sort. And in shooting tons of dudes there’s some blood, also hence the title.

The game plays just like Gears of War, but without the roadie run and unfortunately also without the chainsaw gun.

You run into new areas, duck behind cover, shoot terrorist henchmen and then proceed into the next area to repeat the process. It’s fun, cause it’s not especially difficult, you can pretty much run n gun most of the time. So they gameplay’s not bad, it’s just basic stop n pop, and it’s fun in a mindless sort of way, it’s just the whole game itself is kinda offensive to anyone with moral sensibilities of almost any sort.

First off lets begin with the main character 50 Cent. He’s not a soldier, he’s a rapper. He’s not fighting through the middle east in an effort to liberate some country from the throngs of terror, he’s not trying to save anyone, he’s just in this whole situation for the money.

It’s a little hard to identify with him honestly, I mean I’m just a white guy livin’ in suburbia, I’ve never performed at a concert and expected 10 million dollars, I’ve also never been shot. The biggest problem is the motivation moving the story along, Fiddy wants to get paid. That’s it, you’re killing all these guys because you want a skull covered in diamonds. There’s just not a bit of nobility there.

So all the dudes that you kill in the game, you kill in the quest for money, your own personal greed as Mr. Cent. You want your skull back, and you will murder as many people as it takes to get it.

Sure they’ve all got machine guns and bad dispositions, but when you’re raining down hellfire and machine gun bullets at them from a helicopter, killing at least a few hundred guys in one level, you can’t help but think about the cycle of violence begetting violence, is getting a priceless skull really worth having the lives of all these men on your conscience?

Should I just go cut my loses and go home, cause I think what happens in the game might be considered an international incident.

It’s something I’ve never had to ponder before in my video games. In Call of Duty, the bad guys are either nazis or terrorists and you’re a soldier in a war, so it’s ok to shoot them in their faces. In Halo you’re shooting monster aliens, so it’s not just ok, it’s required to shoot them in their alien monster faces.

But in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, well I feel that it’s safe to say that all the people that Fiddy shoots are at least “Bad Guys“, cause they work for a terrorist/gangster/warlord, but it still seems a little bit unnecessary. Fiddy comes out of the experience looking like a monster, he can kill hundreds of men, call them all bitches, and then continue killing, all so he can get his bling.

In addition to proving to being a cold hearted, gangsta killa, Fiddy refers to all the women in the game as “Bitches”, which would be more offensive, if half the women int he game weren’t middle eastern hookers/strippers. YAY FOR MISOGYNY!

50CENT IS THE BEST ROLE MODEL EVER!

So yeah If you can get past the moral quandaries and general douchitude that Fiddy brings to the table, you’ll probably enjoy 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand.

Cause to be honest the game’s hilarious. It’s so fucking stupid, I can hardly believe it even got made.

SERIOUSLY. YOU’RE THE RAPPER 50 CENT FIGHTING TERRORIST BAD GUYS IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO GET SOME BLING.

The game even has a taunt button that you can use to say various offensive things.

I’m pretty sure if you were a dumb ass 13 year old kid into rap music this would be “The Best Game Ever Made OMG!!!

But the problem is that the game plays well enough that all the stupid shit manages to become just part of the charm. It’s like Army of Two but even less serious, it’s like the short bus version of Gears of War.

I’m pretty sure that the people who made the game did so with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. There’s no way to go about this material without a sense of humor. Which is the reason that the game gets a pass, because to be offended by something this retarded would be stupid.

Nothing this dumb should be taken seriously, and because the game is so silly it somehow manages to work.

There’s an undeniable charm to shooting a ton of faceless terrorist bad guys, hearing Fiddy yell something about getting his skull back, all while listening to really classy lyrics like these:

Nigga, it?s not a war when there’s casualties on one side, I ride
Turn it up on you niggas after Jay ride by
I click-clack, that?s that, I don’t flash, I mash
I wave the Uzi at ?em, I make a movie out ?em

Nigga, my gun go off
You see the barrell turnin’, you feel the hollows burnin’
Nigga, now you learnin’, nigga, my gun go off
Call it attempted murder, nigga, I’m tryin? to merk you
When I come back bustin’, nigga, my gun go off

Holy Fuck SHARKTOPUS Looks Amazing!!!

So yeah, I’m just sayin, this might be the best concept for anything ever.

SHARKTOPUS!!!

It’s a combination shark and octopus, not as good as a combination pizza hut and taco bell, but still pretty amazing.

Feast your eyes on the glory below:

I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe this work of ART.

Looks at least as good as Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.

Super Stoked.

Thank You Roger Corman.

Awesome Eats in Tallahassee, Florida

So I went to Tallahassee on July 7th to go see Lightning Bolt perform at The Farside.

That was a pretty amazing concert, but in the time that I spent in Tally during which I wasn’t having my ears destroyed, I was taken by my friend  Nikki to have some pretty awesome food.

For dinner we went to a cool place called Monk’s, that is known for their wide selection of burgers.

They’re the sort of place that has a giant list of crazy toppings that you can get, so there’s quite a few possibilities there for the picking, but they’re got some of the really interesting ones right there on the menu. As a man who is adventurous when it comes to culinary matters I knew that I had to try the burger on the menu called THE LIP SMACKER.

Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry Jelly.

I was terrified, I was curious, I was up for the challenge.

I have to say that the name of the burger is appropriate, it’s a sort of greasy, wonderful, flavorful mess inside your mouth. It’s kinda strange, but new and interesting, cause honestly, most people haven’t even considered such a meal.

Like I’m not totally sure that it’s something I’d be in a hurry to get over and over, but it’s certainly different. The peanut butter is pretty sticky, which is an interesting texture contrast to the rest of the elements of the burger. The bacon adds a saltiness, while the jelly gives you a sweet flavor, it works better than you’d expect honestly. While it’s not something I’d recommend for everyone to try, it is a burger that I’m glad I tried and one that I’m glad exists as an option. I always support creative food combinations.

Weirdness aside, they do make a good burger at Monks, nice and juicy, full of flavor. I plan on going there again, next time I’m in Tally.

The next day we went to a hot dog place  called Voodoo Dog. We picked up a flyer for them at The Farside while I was waiting around to get the two guys from Lightning Bolt to autograph their newest album for me. I saw the words, “bacon wrapped deep fried hot dogs” and I was sold.

The place itself was pretty cool, they had all sorts of pop culture pictures and things, a big poster for They Live instantly endeared me to the restaurant. They’ve also got a pretty cool logo.

Overall I had a pretty decent experience there, the signature bacon wrapped dog was pretty good, I got one with cheese and slaw, and another off the menu called the Hari Kari that was the bacon wrapped dog, with teriyaki sauce, pineapple, and green onions.

I wasn’t too impressed with the Hari Kari really, I don’t really think they put enough teriyaki sauce on it at all, cause it didn’t taste teriyaki-esque to me. So i felt like I had just gotten a hot dog with some pineapple on it, not really what I was hoping for.

The cheese fries that I also got were quite good, they used real cheese instead of cheese sauce, and they were nice and freshly fried, so they tasted wonderful like a cardiac arrest. So out of the things I got from Voodoo Dog, two out of the three were pretty good, and one was kinda meh. I’d probably try them again at some point, cause they’ve got a variety of other interesting looking hot dogs and burgers on their menu, I was just a bit underwhelmed with my first go round.

So there you have it, two places in Tallahassee, Florida that have serve some pretty good eats. When I’m in a different town I like to find myself good local restaurants that serve interesting foods, and I’d say these two proved a success.

So comment back here if you’ve got any suggestions of more places I should try out next time I’m in Tally.

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FREEDOMERICA DAY – 4th of July Fireworks

So cause around these here parts we support FREEDOM, and AMERICA, and FIREWORKS we documented some of our shenanigans on the fourth of July 2010.

Many of the crazier looking pictures were achieved using a blatant disregard for safety, string, and duct tape combined with a long shutter speed on my Canon 7D.

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Sharks in Venice

Now I like to fancy myself somewhat a connoisseur of films of dubious quality, but I sometimes can find a movie hard to watch. There is after all a distinction between GOOD Bad and BAD bad.

I feel that the cardinal sins of making a B movie are being boring, and misleading the audience. The film that I recently had the experience of viewing, Sharks in Venice commits both of those sins. I know, I really shouldn’t have expected much, it was after all a movie of the week that premiered on the Sci Fi channel. But every once in a while we do get a decent addition to the “Killer Animals Attack” genre from them.

I felt it had the makings of a decent bad movie. It has a great title, a trailer that inspires confidence, and it stars an actor far removed from his prime, Stephen Baldwin! My hopes were about as high as possible for this movie, all things considered.

Here’s the trailer:

Pretty much everything good in the movie right there

So yeah, I thought it looked enjoyable. It turned out that it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but not something I can really recommend to anyone, cause all the best bits are already in the trailer. You saw those two shots of poorly rendered CGI sharks eating people? that’s all the movie has going for it in the “bad CGI shark department’”. That’s it, the rest is the usual stock footage of sharks, clouds of blood, and murky shots of people scuba diving. Not impressive in the least.

That’s where the sense of being mislead comes in. Sure I know that if you want to get down to it the movie’s title is Sharks in Venice, and that’s what it delivers, but I feel that it should have had a lot more amusing shark action than just the stuff in the trailer. It’s such a great B movie concept. Just imagine sharks rampaging around eating gondolas, and boats and tons of people! Mayhem, body parts, teeth and blood everywhere. Yeah there was some potential there. Squandered potential.

I feel that in a movie like this, if you’re gonna name your film after the deadly animals involved you should at least have a decent amount of screen time of said animal. Look at Snakes on a Plane for example, tons of snakes on a plane for most of the run time. Or even other sci fi channel movies like Dinocroc or Supergator, they make up for the lack of quality in their movie by having a giant dinosaur/crocodile/gator eating people whenever they get a chance. The effects aren’t great or anything, but I expect to have my titular killer animals in the movie in at least some entertaining fashion.

sharksinvenicer1artpicI mean come on this is a pretty awesome DVD cover. It’s a giant fucking shark about to eat a gondola, it’s ruining shit and looking menacing. The only parts of the movie remotely like this were in the trailer.

When you give your movie a title, I usually expect it to reflect the content of the film. Sharks in Venice has the same problem that the academy Award winning film There Will Be Blood had; a title that while technically correct is actually a reference to a more minor part of the film as a whole in regard to screen time. Spoilers: There’s not much blood at all in There Will Be Blood, most of it shows up in the last scene, after Daniel Day Lewis talks about milkshakes.

I feel the movie should have been called Stephen Baldwin in Venice: The Sharkening.

Most of the movie is about Stephen Baldwin looking for some treasure that his dad was looking for. He has to go scuba diving to find it cause it’s in a secret underground place that has an underwater entrance. But every time he goes diving the sharks show up and eat someone. It sounds like there might be some excitement there, but  as I mentioned before it’s just murky looking and peppered with shark stock footage.

Stephen Baldwin’s girlfriend gets kidnapped by the mafia, who want the treasure. We don’t really care, but it gives Baldwin a reason to keep going into the water. The big twist is that the sharks had been released into the Venetian waters by the big mafia bad guy, who somehow got ahold of baby great white sharks, and decided that somehow they’d make good underwater guard dogs. The whole situation doesn’t really seem that feasible, especially considering the bad guy has a tank with baby great whites in it, and everyone knows great whites cannot live in captivity.

The middle of the movie is Baldwin dealing with the mafia, there’s a foot chase in which they run down the same small stretch of street at least three times, while mafia goons try to shoot Baldwin. It doesn’t make much sense, cause they need him to find the treasure. Then when he does lead the mafia goons to the treasure, they try to kill him. So there’s a short fight scene that manages to involve a battle axe, and a sword. It’s all captivating enough to the point that you’re not totally bored, it just doesn’t happen to involve any killer sharks.

Sharks_In_Venice_2By the end of the movie there’s a shootout between mafia goons and an Italian SWAT team at a factory/warehouse place. you know the same factory/warehouse place that all action movies tend to end at. Apparently there’s one in Venice. So there’s some explosions and shooting, and it’s all nothing that I cared about in the least.

The best thing about the movie is the fact that by the end, the shark is still alive. It doesn’t come back to life in some sort of surprise ending or anything, they just don’t bother killing it, so it’s just swimming around still. And the Italian police spend the whole movie just insisting that there’s no sharks in Venice despite eyewitness reports to the contrary. They’re really serious about it.

Which is a problem with the movie as a whole, it takes itself way too seriously. There’s not enough shenanigans to make up for the lack of goodness.

Honestly the best way to approach the film is to just watch the trailer, have yourself a laugh, and just be glad that the movie exists out there somewhere and that you don’t have to watch it.