Bruce Wilson’s article in The Huffington Post goes into some truly unsavory facts about Rick Warren. It’s not even a year since the Wright and Hagy scandals, but here we are again:
What’s lost on Warren’s followers is how fanatical devotion and blind faith in authority, secular or religious, is what lets good people do bad things [The Milgram Experiment & The Stanford Prison Experiment]. It’s not lost on Warren though.
Which is worse: Asking God to damn America? Supporting Israel as a stepping stone to fulfilling Apocolyptic prophecy? Modeling your mega-church cult after Hitler, Lenin, and Mao? We rightfully denounce Islamic fundamentalism but don’t mind a little of our own homestyle hate mongering.
Blood and Fire would have been the first Star Trek (Next Generation) episode to include a positive portrayal of openly gay characters. Paramount lost its nerve, never produced it, and still hasn’t given us a positive portrayal of gays in the 22nd, 23rd, or 24th centuries. The racial and cultural integration of The Original Series bridge crew was groundbreaking for its time, and subsequent productions have tackled plenty of other current social issues–just not this one particular issue.
The crew over at Star Trek: New Voyages has teamed up with the original author, David Gerrold, and turned it into a two-part episode set in the last two years of Kirk’s five-year mission. The gay story line here is vastly expanded and includes Kirk’s nephew. The teaser for Part 1 opens with the Enterprise fighting a Klingon battlecruiser:
Star Trek: New Voyages Download Page – Everything is available as parts on YouTube, but I recommend visiting their downloads page to grab the H.264 files form BitTorrent, especially the teaser.
Approach NV understanding it’s a work by and of the fans; they’re learning, evolving with every new release. This episode in particular benefits from Gerrold’s rewriting and directing. Loving attention to detail and the fondness for the material shines through the sometimes awkward moments of an amateur production.
Pause for a brief nerdgasm here. The Klingon K’t’inga class, also known as the D7 in Star Fleet Battles, it my absolute favorite ship design from the entire Trek universe. I loved the combat scene with amazing FX quality for a fan production. NV also pushed my ship-combat-FX geek buttons with an earlier episode featuring The Doomsday Machine. Be still my geeky heart! BTW, You also must see the remastered version of that TOS episode.
Good — A reasonable Plan B pick if you’re at the store and nothing else grabs your attention
Next is one of the better exploitation movies based–very loosely–on the pillaged name and works of Phillip K. Dick (PKD). I usually have a special whip set aside for this particular sin. It’s an assault on an author I respect and my favorite movie of all time, Blade Runner, which actually surpasses the very good PKD novel that inspired it.
What makes Next tolerable is how far removed it is from PKD’s short story, The Golden Man; it’s really just a regular action/chase film with a psychic twist. Nick Cage can see two minutes into the future and tries to live in obscurity with his Vegas magic act until FBI agent Julianne Moore decides she needs his help to stop a nuclear terrorist attack. She’s not the love interest: We get the not-from-Flashdance Jessica Biel as the damsel in distress. Meh. I was more excited to see Peter Falk shuffle through a scene. Some entertaining moments and understated special effects give this otherwise fair affair a leg up to good.
Cage is tolerable in the film, but Moore needs to say no to any more FBI agent roles. She made a lackluster Clarice Starling and similarly just doesn’t fit into this undemanding character’s shoes. She’s no Kyle MacLachlan: He had a run of FBI agent roles that produced some real entertainment like Twin Peaks and The Hidden before it.
Actually, grab The Hidden if you’re heading to the store or updating your queue. 100% cult classic alien cop body snatcher buddy chase flick. If it’s not there, consider Next if you don’t feel like trying to catch it on basic cable.
One of my favorite Far Side cartoons appears in Flckr’s The Far Side Reenactments Pool:
It leaves out some important details from the original cartoon. I’m not usually a fan of flickr, and the items in this pool are hit-and-miss. However, I’m subscribing to the pool as an RSS feed just in case somebody reenacts other favorites like the python in the pet shop.
Although I did not reproduce the original cartoon directly for copyright reasons, many others feel no such restriction. A Google image search of Far Side cartoons turns up plenty for the young/curious or the ancient/nostalgic. Alas, I didn’t find the particular pet shop cartoon I loved so much and had such a formative impact on my sense of humor.
The last year has been one bumpy night, so let’s hope 2009 won’t also require seat belts, airbags, parachutes, or trauma units. I wouldn’t mind using the fire-fighting bazooka though. May it also bring more Internet nonsense like this insane Star Trek/Doctor Who mash-up:
I should start out by saying there’s nothing new about fights and shootings at Philadelphia movie theaters. I do have a few thoughts though:
- This is why I always go to the suburbs to see films that aren’t playing at any of the Ritzes.
- The kind of during-movie urban safari pandemonium that likely triggered the shooting is why I particularly avoid the Riverview.
- I can’t say I’ve never thought about something like this during a movie, but a katana or a trained pack of killer ice weasels would be my method.
- One look at this guy and you can totally believe he’d go back to his seat and resume watching the movie after shooting somebody.