Something to Make Budoy Worried

So just in case anyone noticed, we haven't been playing much Texas Hold 'Em Poker nowadays. Of course everyone's busy but it's also because of a number of improvised games that have cropped up and that we can waste glorious loads of time playing like murder and monkey-in-the-middle (if we have a swimming pool).

However, thanks to Filipiniana (Philip and Anna), we now have...

... this!


On Bullies, and How To Responsibly Discuss Them

Some feathers flew just recently in our mailing list when someone circulated a newspaper article about some kid named Salvosa from Ateneo grade school who died recently, under undisclosed circumstances. For the three or four j-boys who didn't read the piece, suffice it to say that the gist of the piece was that a couple of bullies had made his life a living hell back then and had scarred him for life, effectively preventing him from ever making something of himself. I am not exaggerating. If you read the article, there is simply no other conclusion to draw from it.

As someone who endured various forms of bullying in grade school, and to a much lesser degree in high school, I found the author's conclusion to be extremely rash, to the point of being irresponsible. I never even met this Salvosa kid, having only entered the Ateneo in high school, but I felt like this so-called journalist had done him a massive disservice by writing about him like this. The poor kid came across as a total weakling.

As unfortunate as it is, bullying has been and will continue to be a part of school culture for a long time to come. It is a part of the reality of human existence which, to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes is nasty, brutish and short. It's detestable, true, but that doesn't mean we can't do anything about it. I know I did. I know a lot of my friends did, and turned out to be quite successful later on in life.

There are so many different things which can cause emotional scarring other than what one experiences at school, like one's home environment, physiological makeup and many other things besides. The kid clearly had a lot of psychological issues, but the writer of the piece just refused to look at things that way. I won't downplay that Salvosa really did suffer at the hands of bullies; I know I hated a lot of my grade school years because of them, but to place the burden of having irreversibly ruined someone's life squarely on the shoulders of two stupid kids who probably had their own psychological problems is just bad journalism.

It's forgivable for the deceased boy's loved ones, such as his father, as well as his would-be high school moderator, to make comments about how the bullies affected or may have affected him. It makes perfect sense for them to be swept away by emotion, especially since it should have been their job, especially the teacher's, to protect the student from this kind of treatment. But for a journalist to lift all that anger and grief and transplant it into the thesis statement of his human interest piece is just plain stupid.

Bullying is real, and it continues to be a problem in most school environments. But there are ways to tackle the problem responsibly and scientifically, which involve discussion with parents and teachers. Often (though not always), bullies are also victims, such as my favorite example, my fucked-up cousin, now living in the States bouncing from one attempt to make something his life to another. This should often be considered when talking about bullies rather than condemning them like they were child rapists or something.

The article was undoubtedly well-intentioned, and indeed the acts of the bullies were most reprehensible, but the author could have done both the poor, deceased boy and the subject matter more justice if he had avoided the trap of being caught up in the rage of the bereaved, of those feeling grief and regret over the thought of a life wasted.


Hooray for Ryan!!!

I picked up my first comic book for the month of July, and was thrilled to see an ad for Ryan's millcase products! These are hard plastic cases, a lot like the stuff they keep CDs in, which are meant to protect comics much more effectively than the current plastic and cardboard backing boards do. Getting exposure in major comic publications has to be a good sign!

The best of luck to you , Ryan! Know that, as soon as these products become available here, I'll be picking them up regularly (I'm not really crazy about buying stuff over the internet).



Aaaand Let's Have a Positive Review This Time

When the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out in 2003, I was one of the naysayers. I was one of those who took umbrage at the thought that Hollywood was so creatively bankrupt that it was now pillaging theme park rides for ideas on which to base its movies. A year before, Disney had come up with a real stinker called The Country Bears and flopped horrendously. I wondered why they were insisting on having another go at it.

Two or so hours later I came out of the theater pleasantly surprised. Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp and crew had created a truly entertaining film, and the most enjoyable flick I'd seen that year since X2. After getting burned by the migraine that The Matrix Reloaded turned out to be it was nice to really enjoy a movie once again.

Similarly, after watching the mixed bag that the latest Superman sequel turned out to be, it was nice to watch a movie that was pure entertainment, which aptly describes Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The storyline is predictably flimsy: several people, including Depp's character Jack Sparrow and the film's new villain, Lord Beckett (who seems vaguely Napoleonic in stature and nature) want a key, which opens a chest, which contains...well, something important that I'd rather not disclose. Beckett throws Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) in jail but then strikes a deal with Turner to find Jack and get from his magic compass so that he can obtain the key. It gets pretty chaotic from there, and the further I go into the plot the more spoilers I give, so I'll stop there.

Plot aside, this movie is sheer enjoyment from start to decidedly unresolved finish. It is devoid of Superman Returns' pseudo-religious pretension, and the gobbledygook of the Matrix Revolutions, which it resembles in that it is also the first half of a five-hour film.

Johnny Depp is magnificent in this movie. It was he who elevated the first film beyond a generic summer action movie, and it is he who saves this film from all its narrative shortcomings. The guy is pure magic from start to finish. The other actors look rather staid, having to play straight man to his raving lunatic, but the dynamic works somehow.

The other star of this film is, without dispute, Industrial Light and Magic. I wasn't really crazy about the effects of the first movie, as walking skeletons and zombies seemed rather generic at a time when mumakil and winged ring wraiths were storming the cinematic landscape. But here they've absolutely outdone themselves. They also managed to hit a weak spot of mine: the film features a giant squid, called a kraken, which destroys ships with its enormous tentacles.

I don't know if anyone knows this, but I LOVE GIANT SEA MONSTERS!!! When I was younger, one of my favorite visual effects shots was in Terry Gilliam's Baron Von Munchausen, when a towering island turned out to be a monstrous fish. This hearkens back to that, and almost put a tear in my eye. This creature is ILM's proudest achievement yet, and is their defining moment for this decade, just as the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park were its defining achievement of the 1990s.

This film has shattered Spider-Man's opening weekend record of $115 million, with a record $135 million. While i predict it won't have the wall-crawler's legs as I don't think a hanging plotline lends itself very well to repeat viewing, this film definitely deserves all the success it's getting now. I'm looking forward to seeing it, and that SPIDER MAN 3 TRAILER, one more time!


why superman should not have returned!!!

obviously this is for people that have seen the movie.

again... SPOILER ALERT!!!

well, i guess the title for this blog was sort of harsh considering that i don't have anything against the actors or the effects. i thought brandon routh pulled it off quite well, kevin spacey was genius, kate bosworth was endearing, and sam huntington was entertaining – even james marsden faired better than his lip quivering counterpart in x-men - hell, even the 'sorta' cameo of kumar was amusing. kudos for casting noel neill (gertrude vanderworth) and jack larson (bo the bartender) who played lois lane and jimmy olsen respectively in the george reeves superman incarnation of the 50s – which i have not seen but i thought was a good addition simply for nostalgic reasons (interestingly enough the trailer for ‘hollywoodland’ premiered during the screening, made me want to go see that one). the action sequences, particularly the airplane rescue scene was amazing! although, if i were superman i would have flown immediately under the nose of the plane – like he eventually did - and slowly stopped it’s descent instead of grabbing the wing to stop it from spinning… it still made the whole theatre, yours truly included, burst into applause when he finally set the plane down in the baseball stadium.

anyway, like i was saying the actors and effects weren’t the problem. the problem i had with this movie was the overall plot! yes, i have a problem with singer and the wonder twin hacks he calls writers! first of all, for an evil genius you'd think lex luthor would come off his last evil plot (as witnessed in superman 1) and stop trying to sell realestate! second, the movie had too much of the ‘passion’ in it. fine! superman as savior! we get it! but force feeding us the whole death and resurrection and crucified poses! please! and what’s with that whole ‘the son becomes the father, the father becomes the son’ bullshit! hey if i wanted the circle of life, i’d watch the ‘lion king! but that’s not the best part. the best part, the part i truly hated was the audacity of these three stooges to actually think that they can give superman a kid! please! don’t mess with canon law kids! dc didn’t like it in the mid-80s and literally erased a superboy from the current timeline, hell, they even did it again just a year ago with their latest crisis! and here comes the director and writers thinking it would be cute to have a supertyke in the picture. it's like lois lane being with someone else and not superman - oh wait! the fuckers did that too! who the hell do they think they are that they can mess with such iconic characters! morons! to add to that, who also thought that supes wasn’t only a super voyeur but a super-ahas as well! sheesh! fine the first two superman movies from the 70s/80s were ok (not great, just o-k!), but with a $260 million budget (reportedly the biggest for any movie), you’d think b.s. and the funky bunch would have come up with a better, truly awe inspiring movie and not just a continuation to the earlier two! i’ve encountered people that really liked the movie. sure! they're entitled to their opinion. but for me, well, at a certain point in the movie, i was actually hoping it would end already!

two thumbs down! better yet, stick it up brian singer's ass! i'm sure he'd enjoy that one!

incidentally, the 'superman returns' premiere also previewed the 'spider-man 3' trailer. and well, what can i say... it was amazing!!!


Pity Not the Bombshell Who Mangles "Kiss Me"

When I first saw the Youtube video featuring Alyssa Alano disfiguring beyond all possible recognition the Sixpence None the Richer Song "Kiss Me," the first thing that hit me was "shit, this chick is hot." I mean, people who murder songs are a dime a dozen in this country. You pass by them on your way home in videoke bars. On special occasions you can hear them belting out tunes several blocks away from your house thanks to their ridiculously amped up sound systems. But a song murderer who looks this good is something truly unique. She looks a little like Lynda Carter. (that's WONDER WOMAN to those of you who don't know your cheesy 70s shows).

Lately, having heard the comments of all the people who have seen and laughed at this video, and having heard that her video has a total of something like 300,000 hits, I can't help but wonder: have we all been taken for a ride?

We all know what the state of the porn--I'm sorry--bold movie industry is like nowadays. The only Filipino porn we can get our hands on is the stuff produced by amateur videographers and, more often than not, transmitted via cellphone. Girls with great bodies and faces simply aren't going to be able to cut it, especially if they can't really do much more than bare skin. As hot as she is, there's no denying that this Alyssa Alano girl isn't exactly one of a kind.

Bearing this in mind, one wonders if this whole thing wasn't cooked up by some publicist, thinking the only way to shoot her into the stratosphere was to set her up as the next Rufa Mae Quinto. I hear her TV appearances are increasing exponentially. She looks like she might be our own version of William Hung, the difference being that she's much, much easier on the eyes and not that much harder on the ears, if at all.

So we laugh and laugh, but one really wonders who has the last laugh...all the way to the bank.