Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Painting*

Whether buying or renting, painting the interior of your house always seems like a good idea. It can make a room seem more vibrant and home-y. Best of all, one have lots of fun with the paint choices to add little quirks that perhaps the house doesn't have and to reflect one's personality a bit. Plus, everyone loves painting. It's great. You can write funny things on the wall and paint on your friends. Except, no, painting sucks. The idea of painting is amazing. But painting sucks.

I somehow forget that painting sucks even though I've done it enough to know better. It's like how a woman's body released chemicals to help her forget that childbirth is a taxing and painful experience. Andrea and I just bought a house together (OK, she bought it because I'm a deadbeat with a lot of debt) and the entire thing, inside and out, is white. Just looking at those bare walls filled our minds with possibilities. What colors do we want? Do we want to do an patterns or lines around the room? Should we paint the ceiling? If so, should it be the same color as the walls?

We came up with color ideas for the boy's room first and went to check out swatches. After grabbing more swatches than we would ever need (and spending a good twenty to thirty minutes looking through them) we returned home to mix and match in order to find the colors that best complimented each other (people don't put nearly enough value on whether or not the colors are nice to one another). There were times during this process that it felt like we were planning a heist, taking every contingency into account. "If we use this color, then it we can't use this one, but we can use this one which doesn't go with this one, which I really like. However, if we use this one, then this one, this one, and this one are all in play." It's ridiculous and time consuming and I can totally see why someone might paint their entire house one bland color because it's so much easier. And, of course, all this strategizing come with the knowledge that, while these colors a nice on a small piece of paper, they will look completely different covering a whole wall or even a room.

Now we're ready to buy the paint except we only have a rough idea of how much we need and a solid idea that we don't want to buy too little. We (Andrea) just bought a house and, having done so, just put down a considerable down-payment. Lord knows we don't want to spend too much on this project. We buy what we think we need and head off. The fun and excitement were imminent.

It's not that I forgot that you have to tape along all the areas you don't want to get paint on. It's that I forgot how annoying it is getting the tape to line up perfectly along the corner even though the wall isn't entirely straight across. And we get to do this twice! Because you need to put (at least) two coats on every surface! And since we have a textured wall and ceiling, the tape doesn't sit flat at all points so the paint seeps under slightly which makes the exercise seem vaguely futile. But we do it anyway.

In addition to the taping prep, there's also the patching and sanding of every little whole the previous resident put in the walls. I'm not sure what the son did in his bedroom, but it looked like he was throwing darts at about two feet up from the floor. This process also entails removing the ugly, ugly curtains and their settings which were screwed in in wildly inconsistent and inconvenient manners. Were I not so level headed, I might have just ripped them off the wall out of frustration.

Once things are all taped, there's a sense of relief. Now I can get some real painting done! Just after I get every corner and edge with this small roller/brush. Seriously, but the time you get to the fun, eventful, and efficient painting, you're ready to quit. One hour to prep, one our to corner, fifteen minutes to fill in the rest.

Of course, painting the ceiling is it's own bit a fun. Our ceilings are eight-ish feet tall. Too low to require a ladder and just high enough to put strain on my back. A wrinkle is added with painting the ceiling, too: gravity. I don't really notice the tiny bits of paint that occasionally fly off the roller while painting the walls, but when I'm painting right above my head, I can't help to because the either hit my face, glasses, or my eyes. True, I could be wearing goggles, but who thinks about that when buying paint supplies? And, because I'm an idiot, while I was walking around, looking at the ceiling and painting, I forgot where I was in the room and stepped right into the paint tray. Not only did I make a mess, but it was the last of the paint and I already wasn't sure if we'd have enough to finish the room (after I poured the spillage from the plastic on the floor back into the pan, we did). At least Andrea learned a lesson: if she ever hears me yell "FUCK!" she should always bring the camera with her just in case my shoe is covered in green paint.

By the time the second coat is going on, resignation sets in. The process sucks, but you'll be done after this coat. Except without decent lighting (we don't have decent lighting) it's nearly impossible to see where you've already painted. I spent most of the time with the roller in one hand and my phone-as-flashlight in the other. A situation that isn't ideal for painting a ceiling.

None of this would be remotely as bad if it wasn't for one mitigating factor: we have a two month old baby. If there's anything that crushes productivity, it's a baby (even now, I have to pause my writing to give him some attention). He turns a two person effort into one. I know it's not ideal to have a baby around paint and we do our best to isolate him. Put him in another room with the windows open and a fan on. We're using low VOC paint. But the boy has demands and sometimes those demands take a good forty-five minutes to meet and then ten minutes later, he wants more. Doesn't he realize the faster we get this done, the better it will be for him? Also, yelling "FUCK!" is a sure fire way to wake a sleeping kid up.

We're about a halfway to two-thirds done, and the place is starting to look great. And soon I'll go back to forgetting about how much painting sucks and enjoying my new home. And maybe then we'll tackle the outside.

*Pictures to come later.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Work Is Now EVEN MORE Famous Than Yours

I already told you about the commercial that was shot in my place of work. Well, now NPR has picked up on a bit of Hollywood Theatre programming: Hecklevision. In conjunction with the Portland Mercury, we show a film that is rife for gentle mocking. Thus far, we've shown the likes of Red Dawn and Commando.

Click here to listen to the Mercury's Erik Henrikson take Robert Siegel to task for his astoundingly wrong opinion of Point Break. While we're taking people to task, it's Hollywood Theatre, not Theater, and I'm sure Erik would like people to know his name is spelled with a "k" and not a "c."
photo by the Portland Mercury

Stupid Headlines

I know that headlines are supposed to grab one's attention so people will want to read an article and if I see one that's particularly outrageous, I kind of appreciate it. But when headlines strive to simply be informative yet they are still ridiculous, that's when I take umbrage. Case in point:

Halfway down, there's a link that I clicked (it is on CNN.com). It says "Paralyzed boy stuns class, walks." Obviously, it's about a paralyzed boy who stunned his class BY walking. However, the headline suggests that the boy somehow hit his glass with some kind of stun gun and walks out. 

You know what? I don't know why I'm complaining. I'm just going to ignore the link and pretend that's exactly what happened.

PARALYZED BOY: Hey jerks! I'm tired of all your sympathetic looks.

ZAP! He fires stun gun.

He gets up from his wheelchair, takes a few steps and turns to the unconscious class.

PB: That's right fuckers. I can walk now.

Puts on sunglasses.

PB: Shocked? 

Turns and leaves.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Work Is Famous (and so is my coworker)

A few of you have visited me here in Portland and a few more will be visiting this summer. Those who have visited have received the tour of my place of work: the Hollywood Theatre. Those who will be coming, I will push, prod, poke, and pressure to visit the grand old building. It's a  great place to work and is one of the oldest theaters in the city, built in 1926. The entire Hollywood District is named after it. Oh, and it's starring in a motherfucking commercial*!

It should be noted that, due to the prices of corn steadily rising, we've had to adjust the price of the popcorn mentioned in the commercial. There's no word as to whether Progressive has done the same.

Also, that stellar paint job was donated by the Tradesperson of the Year, Joel Hamburg.

*Sorry for cursing, but it's pretty damn rad**.

**There I go again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Sister, My Nephew

Most of you who would read this post are probably already aware of the uncanny likeness between my older sister and her son, but I want to share it with everyone. It's remarkable that it was only noticed in the past month. Remarkable and hilarious.


Mandy, or Sam in drag?


For the first time ever, I saw a 35mm print of Jaws in a theater. It was awesome. It's one thing the see the shark on a TV screen, even a large one, but it's another to see it swim across the screen and actually be bigger than the car in which you drove to the theater. I'm unclear on how many times I've seen the movie, both in its edited, TV form and on DVD, but I assure you it's plenty. It says a lot about the film that even though I've seen it so much, it held my interest until it ended at 2:30 AM even though by all rights I should have been passed out asleep due to a baby that consistently wakes up between 7:30 and 9:00 AM. There's not much else to say critically about the movie, so I'm just going to pass on some observations.

-- Even though the Fourth of July revelers swim fairly close to the shore, the shark POV shots and incredibly deep. I don't know many people whose idea of beach leisure is treading water. Hell, when I'm in the ocean, I don't even like going out where I can't stand with my head above the water, let alone treading water fifteen feet above the ocean floor.

-- I can't imagine directing a movie with so many extras. It seems absolutely daunting. There's also several longer takes that require loads of background action from extras and cast and it's all pretty convincing. Consider me impressed.

-- Some of the people I was watching Jaws with mocked Quint's boat as being impractical for their purposes, but compared to everyone else who went shark hunting, Quint's bost is easily the one I would choose.

-- I'm a bit unclear as how Ben Gardner was killed by the shark. There was a breach in the hull of his boat, but he was still in the boat (albeit dead) when Matt Hooper found him. Did the shark come aboard, stab him, and throw him below deck?

-- Mrs. Kintner is easily the most annoying grieving mother I've ever seen in film.

-- I love that the movie has the gumption to kill both a child and a dog. It really raises the stakes.

-- Also that adults are so willing to plow over little kids and the elderly in order to save themselves.

-- "I saw one [a shark] eat a rocking chair once." That line stimulates my imagination in the best ways.

-- Best line reading:

-- The dolly-zoom is pretty overused, but you might get me to admit that Spielberg pulls off the best one ever (yes, even better than Vertigo).

-- Another great shot is the conversation on the ferry. Here's the end of the scene:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Example of Why Other People Confound Me

This is the intersection at SE 52nd and Holgate.

There is a traffic signal in all directions. I frequently bike through this intersection heading south quite late at night with little of note happening (much like the rest of my ride). Tonight, though, I saw something that utterly perplexes me.

Some background. When I'm riding late at night and there is little to no traffic, I will slow at red lights, but if the coast is clear, I will continue through. It is my believe that without traffic, a traffic light has no meaning and there should be a change in the laws that from, say, 11 PM to 5 AM, all traffic lights should be treated as stop signs. Or better yet, blinking reds (except for when there is still a relatively high volume of traffic, which is why the blinking red would work best) (plus, not all signals sense when a bike is waiting and will repeatedly skip my turn). However, if there is another car at the intersection with me waiting for a green light, I will wait for the light to change. I don't want to fuel the fire between drivers and cyclists by blowing red lights right in front of them.

As I'm riding south on 52nd Avenue, a car passes, but the light at Holgate changes to red. The car comes to a stop, but, seeing no traffic in either direction, proceeds through the red light only to turn into the driveway to the right immediately after the intersection. This driveway is right in front of the Bud Light truck on the image above (and leads to a Plaid Pantry parking lot). Also on this same image, right behind the Bud Light truck, is another driveway.

So, if you're not with me yet, I'll break it down. This driver, heading south on 52nd came to the red light at Holgate. Instead of taking a legal right turn on red and make an equally legal left turn into the Plaid Pantry parking lot, the driver decided to drive straight through the red light to make the right into the lot. What the hell is wrong with people?

It's possible that my mind is so boggled because drivers are always talking about how cyclists break so many laws when this shows, clearly that drivers break these same laws (and let's not forget it's a Saturday night and there's a high probability that the driver is buzzed at the least. He or she is hitting up a Plaid Pantry at 1 AM after all...). But as someone who likes to believe he's remotely logical, this is the sort of thing that will eat at me for a while because I will never know what the driver was thinking. The incident drove me to write far too many words on the subject, for crying out loud. After at 13 hour shift! I hope that the passenger gave him or her an earful, at least.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Dumb Moves in Piracy

This is one of the stupider things I've seen this week. There are going to be two new, unskippable copyright notices before actual DVD content. And yes, they will show every time you want to watch the movie and will always be unskippable.

An ICE spokesman tells me that the two screens will "come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD. At which point the movie rating comes up, followed by the IPR Center screen shot for 10 secs and then the FBI/HSI anti-piracy warning for 10 secs as well. Neither can be skipped/fast forwarded through."
The idea isn't to deter current pirates, apparently (the new scheme requires all legal purchasers to sit through 20 seconds of warnings each time they pop in a film, but will be totally absent from pirated downloads and bootlegs). It's to educate everyone else. As ICE Director John Morton announced in a statement yesterday, "Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort."
The idea seems to be to mildly inconvenience that people that are actually paying for their media. And considering that if you go to a movie in a multiplex, you're most likely going to see an anti-piracy add, or have any recollection of the lawsuits for illegally downloading music, you are already aware that piracy is a big issue. People already ignore the FBI warning, now everyone is just going to learn to ignore for longer. I don't have many nice things to say about VHS, but at least one could fast-forward through that crap (remember the days when one of the advantages to DVDs was that they didn't have a bunch of trailers and other crap before the content?).

Oh, and you know what doesn't make you sit through this junk? Pirated movies. Nice work, goofy government agency...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Long-Winded Response to a Facebook Comment from My Cousin about Gay Marriage*

I don't typically write about my political beliefs in this space, but my cousin commented on a Facebook post of mine and realized that my response was going to require more space than that thread offered in order to give it the thought and respect it deserves (he's family and I like him. I'll leave the snarky, dismissive comments for people I don't know). In order not to deluge you, my faithful readers, with boatloads of political discourse, I'm going to purge some other thoughts here, as well. You've been warned...

For those who need to catch up, here's the exchange thus far:

NCI fail to see how basic civil rights can be left up to a vote by the masses. Just because gay marriage isn't popular doesn't mean it isn't right (or anyone's business but those getting married). I thought Republicans wanted to keep the government from interfering in our personal lives...

Cousin: Small Federal Government.... more power to the states. Wouldn't you rather have a vote then have one person telling you what you can and can't do?!?!

NC:  In this case, absolutely not. I've said it already, but Civil Rights should not be up for a vote. In the end, instead of one person telling people what they can and can't do, we have thousands even though this issue has zero bearing on their lives. Why should you, or anyone else, have a say in whether two consenting adults can get married?

Cousin: Your talking about changing the way the country has described marriage since before our country was our country. Not to mention one of the hottest most opinionated topics possibly ever. Federal Government wasn't established to take on these issues, it should be up to each individual state to put forth their own laws and legislation. Is it ok for one person to ram a bad health care system down our throats or let a commonwealth vote on it?
I'm not for or against this hot topic but I sure don't want one person declaring what's right and wrong in his or her opinion.

Third Party: [Addressed to Cousin] - Without a doubt the Federal Government should make sure that each and every American should have the same protections and rights. If that wasn't the case slavery would still be around. 

Each and everyone of us should have the same rights and be protected by the law the same way, and right now that isn't the case. The Federal Government needs to make changes to make that the case.

Cousin: I understand but I'm simply pointing out that it is not the responsibility or the role of the Federal Governments it is the States. Slavery was ended but it was years and years before blacks were given equal rights. Also, slavery was ended over a war which led to over 1/2 a million deaths. 
All I do know is Obama has huge balls after his commitment to support same sex marriage. First president ever to do so. I don't like what he is doing from a business standpoint with our country but that comment today was impressive to take a stand on.

I can tell you're enthralled already. So let's go further down the rabbit hole.

First of all, bringing up the (or more accurately, "a") definition of "marriage" is a red herring. It's common knowledge that languages evolve (don't worry, I'm not going to bring that controversial subject into this discussion). Hell, "gay" has undergone just that. To act like altering the definition of a word is a big deal is disingenuous. It happens all the time. I don't think it's a stretch to adjust the definition to "a formal union between two consenting adults."

I'm not going to bring healthcare into the discussion because I think we'd find ourselves similarly at odds (though I won't say that Obama's plan is perfect). However, the difference between the health care debate and the gay marriage debate is that in order to fun health care of any sort, someone needs to pay whereas allowing anyone (consenting adults) to marry has no effect on anyone but those involved. Right now, it's pure discrimination that homosexuals can't marry and thus can't receive the same benefits the government offers heterosexual married couples. Why should a large group of strangers get to decide that? This subject shouldn't even be up for a vote. If the state governments are failing to do the right thing by American citizens, then the federal government should absolutely step in and rectify the situation.

And it's not "opinion" that gays should have the right to marry. It should be their Civil Right as an American and human. Nearly everyone I've heard decry gay marriage spouts off examples from the Bible. However, it stands to reason that amongst the thousands of religions out there, not everyone can be correct. Religion (and even a lack thereof) relies on Faith. I wholly respect your faith, though it differs from mine, but neither of us has a right to force our belief upon the other. We can discuss the matter as intelligent adults and learn from each other, but I can't say to you (and expect you to abide), "you can't eat fish on Friday" if you don't subscribe to that belief structure. The same goes with people using Christianity as a reason why gays shouldn't marry. It's one thing to hold a belief, but entirely different to force it on others. Yet, that's exactly what's happening when people vote on gay marriage.

Furthermore, there are literally THOUSANDS of gay people who have done far more for this country than I ever will. I refer, of course, to those who served in the military (discreetly, until recently). I defy anyone to suggest that these people who served their country don't deserve all of the rights that even the lowest of us heterosexuals get.

Can't we just skip the embarrassing phase when we have holdout states putting off the inevitable? Is there anyone that still believes that we should have slaves? That women and blacks shouldn't have the right to vote (Yes, I know there are, but they'd be scoffed at)? This is the trajectory of not just gay marriage, but gay rights in general. More and more, people are feeling comfortable "coming out." It's only a matter of time before all states support gay marriage, so let's just do it now. How can something based solely in love be so controversial?

This is why I've been lukewarm on Obama's position on gay marriage. As big of a deal as it is that he supports gay marriage, I wish he would have hammered down harder on it being a Right. I almost would have been happier if he'd come out and said, "while I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman, I recognize that every (law-abiding) American has the right to marriage, regardless of sexual orientation." Sure, it's great if he supports gay marriage and believes it's a right, I just with he'd put more emphasis on the latter.

OK. It's nearly 2 AM, I wrote this right after work, and I'm losing the thread. I'd hoped to put in all kinds of links and spice things up with a bit more humor, but it is what it is. Thank you all for indulging me. Please respond (civilly) if you have any thoughts to add or counterpoints to make.

*I make some leaps from comments my cousin made that don't necessarily represent his opinions. He just offered me a springboard to get to some other ideas. The only comments and opinions that can be assumed to be his are those that are quoted.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If I Had a Sight & Sound Ballot

Sight and Sound releases a Top Ten Films of All-Time list every ten years and, lucky us!, this is that year. I believe ballots are still being tallied, but the results should be out soon. Here's where you can check out historical results of the poll.

I'm not in the business on commenting on this sort of thing. I'm in the business of stealing ideas. So, with that, I'm bringing to you my list of greatest films of all-time. There are a few considerations I'm going to have to make. Obviously, just because a movie is a favorite of mine, doesn't mean that it's necessarily one of the most accomplished movies ever (sorry The Brothers Solomon). Also, there are many lauded films that I simply don't believe are that good (hello most of Woody Allen's filmography). Perhaps most significantly, a lot of films that are deemed "classics" I haven't seen that many times. It's hard for me to vote for The Godfather or 8 1/2 when I've only seen them once. Also, I don't believe in limiting filmmakers to one spot. If they have two of the best movies, then there's nothing I can do but include it (as of now, I haven't made my list so I don't know if that will be an issue).

Away we go (that movie doesn't make the list)! Judge me appropriately. And as always, I reserve the right to change my list at any time.

1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb -- Stanley Kubrick
My default for favorite movie ever. And my buddy Paul just introduced me to this epic trailer:

2. The General -- Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

3. Rear Window -- Alfred Hitchcock

4. Lawrence of Arabia -- David Lean
Remarkably, it doesn't feel remotely 3.5 hours long. Also features some of the best cuts in film history. How I yearn to see a 70mm print...

5. Alien -- Ridley Scott

6. M  -- Fritz Lang

7. Brazil -- Terry Gilliam

8. The Exorcist -- William Friedkin

9. 12 Angry Men -- Sidney Lumet

10. La grande illusion -- Jean Renoir

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Super-Moon and Me

As I was leaving work after midnight with my coworker and all-around nice guy, Matt, we came to the alley that signifies our separation. He walks just a few blocks home to the east, and I ride my bike five miles south. Tonight, May 5th, offered us a glimpse of the super-moon, notable because it was clear skies so we could see it and that it wasn't some giant Occupy protest in which thousands of people dropped their pants in unison as I suspected the "super-moon" might be. It was nice to see, it didn't look substantially different (sadly, we didn't experience anything like this... stupid telephoto lenses that I don't have...).

We parted ways and I began a very peaceful and beautiful ride home. The super-moon guided my way south and even though there were street lights, I have little doubt it would have supplied enough light for me without them. The temperature was a brisk 49 degrees and the combination of the clear sky and crisp air drew my memories back to my years in the mid-Atlantic and New England. More specifically, the fall, my favorite time of year. I miss a lot about Boston and Harrisburg, but fall is in the top ten.

We don't get many days that feel like fall on the East Coast and my mind recalled many great moments as I rode my bike. Night baseball in September in Boston. Geology field trips to New England and New York. Cool evenings by the fire in my parents' backyard. The super-moon brought piece and reflection to me this night. Unfortunately, the spell was broken as I entered back into civilization. I approached Hawthorne and the sounds of shout-flirting echoed through the air. Cinqo de Mayo revelers were out in droves and traffic picked up substantially (many of the drivers I'm sure were tipsy, at the least). My guard went up and I couldn't recapture the serenity of my super-moon ride. I only wish I'd taken more time to enjoy it (though I'm sure Andrea is happy that I didn't as it was getting awfully late and my phone had died).

So thank you, super-moon. I had a lovely time with you while it lasted.

Super-moon. Not pictured: cape

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

I cannot stress this enough: if you haven't seen Cabin in the Woods, STOP READING! There are spoilers ahead and if any movie rewards the viewer for ignorance, it's this one. Even the trailer gives away too much of the mystery. A group of kids go to a cabin in the woods and it's a horror movie. That's all you need, nay, should know. So STOP READING (if you haven't already).
There hasn't really been an effective "meta" film since Scream (though I enjoy the entire series and feel able to argue the validity of each entry). What most filmmakers and screenwriters screw up is that they spend too much time winking at the audience and not enough time creating an interesting narrative with compelling characters. Scream works because the viewer doesn't need to be a horror expert to enjoy the film (much like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz work as a straight zombie and action movies, respectively, which is why I don't view them as parodies). Sure, there are references thrown in, but that's the icing on the cake. No one is saying, "Billy Loomis? Like the guy from Halloween?" (one must assume Randy had that conversation with Billy long before the events of the movie take place).

So here we are, sixteen years later (thirteen if you take into account that Cabin in the Woods was made three years ago and waiting for a release), and Cabin in the Woods hits the screens. Fortunately, it's goals are entirely different than Scream's. Cabin isn't deconstructing a genre, per se, just using a common trope to get at bigger issues. Whereas Scream establishes the tropes in an effort to subvert them, Cabin uses tropes to point out that anything can happen given the right circumstance. Take a group of attractive young people, isolate them, and that's basically 80% of horror movies.

For example, once our group of "heroes" are in the cabin, almost everything they interact with is revealed to be a trigger for their demise. In the basement, each character nearly summons a different beastie until Dana (our virgin) summons the Buckner's, an undead family bent on killing. It could have just as easily been a merman or a messed up ballerina. Basically, in this cabin setting, we could have watched literally any subgenre of horror.
But who's in control of this? Viewers are used to just one layer to this scenario. Cabin, instead, has architects who are setting the blueprints for the cabin-goers demise. Played amazingly by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, these men are essentially gods (or screenwriters). They manipulate the cabin and the people within to direct them to certain decisions. There's loads of talk about "free will" and the odds are certainly stacked against our young friends so the amount of it is debatable, though I don't want to take this too far into a religious discussion (I can't help think about when Bender meets God on Futurama, though)

And on top of the architects are ancient gods for whom the young are sacrifices! We're all puppets! In the process of establishing this hierarchy, Cabin kind of explains the survivor girl trope, too. I particularly enjoyed this plot turn because I've been reading a lot of Lovecraft lately (OK, ALL of Lovecraft), and this ritual sacrifice to ancient beings is distinctly Lovecraftian. Basically, Cabin in the Woods plays with the genre and really shows how malleable horror is. It's a very fun and funny movie and I'm sure I'd get more out of it by watching it again (and, had I written this the day or day after I saw it, it might be more insightful). With all that said, here are some thoughts and observations:

-- I really wish this had been an international effort with filmmakers from five or so other countries making the versions alluded to in the film on the video monitors. How cool would that be? Like when comic books have the world's intersect. Each movie includes clips from the others, but they are all done with the tropes and signatures of the country's own horror films.

-- One thing that bugs me about meta films is that they try to have it both ways. By commenting on the action, you can really get away with anything. For example, I was pretty disappointed with the Buckner's because it was so familiar. Who needs more zombie-like creatures. However, Bradley Whitford's character comments on this. He is disappointed not only about the family (which I believe they've seen before), but also that it wasn't a merman, something Whitford has always wanted to see. Rubber was the worst offender of this by having a surrogate audience watch what we're watching. SOMETIMES I WANT TO SEE A TIRE THAT CAN BLOW PEOPLE'S HEADS UP WITHOUT COMMENTARY! (Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park also position them in a holier-than-thou position by mocking everything, including themselves. It makes them basically critic proof and is kind of brilliant. I hate them for it.)

-- Also, the stoner guy bugged the shit out of me, but that character sucks in most movies. Commentary or just annoying. I hate not being able to give my whole heart into complaining about him!

-- I was disappointed that the god at the end was humanoid. Probably residual Lovecraft yearning.

-- However, the beastie melee finale was epic and amazing and I smiled through the whole thing. And I don't know if it was intentional, but the cubes with the monsters in them reminded me a little of the movie cube with the way it was set up and also with having a different way to die in each box.

-- The scene of people rooting for the boobs: classic.

-- I loved that the cabin looked almost exactly like the Evil Dead cabin and the direct quote of that film when the cellar door flies open.

-- I ready in the comments on a friend's blog that someone didn't think the story/characters didn't develop beyond the concept. I disagree, though I hope that's clear above. But the comment made me think about the characters and I don't actually think that the group of young people are the one's we're supposed to care about in the end. The real protagonists are the architects of the cabin. I feel like we know and understand more about them and their lives and desires than the victims, who are just cyphers anyway (the movie says as much). Or maybe I just like them the best...

If you've seen the movie, let me know what you thought. I want to talk to someone about it!