So I watched Die Hard and I looooved it. I was hoping I’d love its 90s-era sequels just as much. Unfortunately it went from being a smart, contained, and different action movie into just being a mess of explosions, terrible one-liners, and undefined motives. I decided to go and pick out moments that meant something to me. I really didn’t like this movie, but I’d say most of the problems stem from the script and direction. I think the acting’s actually pretty good in despite all the problems. So, Bruce, if you’re reading this, you did well for yourself despite all the obstacles, bubbeleh. Side note: The times are rough estimates, I’m going off a PS3 stream, which doesn’t give an exact time code. Additional sidenote: This is intended for people who have seen the movie and its predecessor. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend doing so before reading this because, alert, it’s filled with spoilers.
Let’s do this.
0:00 If fonts could talk, this one would say “fuck you, I rule.” It’s also letting you know right away: this is not going to be one of those sequels that’s better than the original. And yes, it’s the same font as the first one, but the first movie just placed it on the screen, they didn’t make a whole big deal about it.
0:01 I’m going to have to side with the airport cop who’s writing McClane a ticket for parking where he shouldn’t. John, there are garages there. Also, Holly’s plane is going to take a while, why on earth are you there so early to pick her up? Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first contrived moment in the movie, but we’re already….ONE MINUTE IN?? Uh oh.
0:02 At first it seemed like a clever move, introduce us to Antagonist 1, The Naked Colonel, while he watches Antagonist 2, The Most Interesting General in the World (TMIGW) on the news WHILE ALSO giving us background info. But it’s ruined by him doing his weird naked, sweaty yoga capped off by a ridiculous, sassy gun-like remote control move. OH NO! HE’S LAYInggg out his clothes? Terrifying? The IMDb trivia says that this was done because it’d “be different”. Yikes.
0:04 Holly: “Honey, it’s the 90’s, remember? Microchips, microwaves, faxes, airphones.” I love that line. If I ever have quadruplets, those will be their names. Microchips, share those crayons with Faxes. Microwaves, I don’t know where your shoes are. Airphones, finish your vegetables and then you can have dessert.
0:07 Old Church Man: “I kind of feel like a piece of me is dying along with this church.” Evil Henchman: “You’re right about that.” This…dialogue…is followed by three gunshots that cause the most dramatic fall backwards ever caught on camera. After they shoot the guy, they…start readjusting the pews? Maybe you should hide the body? Lock the doors? I don’t know, I’ve never killed a guy in a church before.
0:13 So these two members of this rogue military team don’t have ANY kind of fake ID to show someone in case a cop pops in on them while they’re messing around in a private access area? I’d say whatever, but we just saw another team in full costume with a fake vehicle to take down one old man. Yeesh.
0:22 John: “Hey, Carmine, let me ask something. What sets off the metal detectors first? The lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?” Me: “Shit wouldn’t set off a metal detector, unless you had been trying to eat coins.” This is what we call a second rate action movie quip. Even Bruce looks disappointed he’s saying it.
0:25 Al! Oh, Al. We miss you. Right now I can tell you that this is my favorite part of the movie because it briefly took me back to the awesome first movie of this franchise. Bittersweet.
0:35 The Naked Colonel: “Attention Dulles Tower, attention. They say that blind men become very attentive by way of compensation. Now that you’re both blind and deaf, I think I got your attention.” Me: “What? Does anybody…huh?” I want Hans back.
0:52 The Naked Colonel: “Give me a flight number. One that’s low on fuel.” Random Henchman: “One hundred one one four Transatlantic from London. It’s as dry as a martini.” Me: “Random henchman, leave the shitty zingers to the leads. Also, martinis are wet. So that doesn’t work. There are a million things that are dry that you could have said instead. Just stop it.”
1:16 McClane (to TMIGW): “You’re supposed to stay in your seat until you reach the terminal…no frequent flier mileage for you.” You were fine with this line until you decided to throw on that extra little part about frequent filer miles. Yes, John, yes. You feel the need to make all your quips airport-related, but c’mon. Don’t just cram them in there without care. Make sure they make some kind of sense given the current situation.
1:18 So first they just start firing their guns at this plane. Fine, I can see how that might get the job done. But then they start using ALL of their grenades to blow it up? And also, they’re doing a magnificent job of aiming their throws into smallish windows. Imagine how much pressure that is for the henchman. You do not want to be the one henchman who throws their grenade and have it bounce back to you. Finally, John manages to parachute away (I’m sure this would actually work). But…they just watch him? Guys, you weren’t throwing your guns into the plane. Why not try shooting at him? He’s just kind of floating up in the sky. Oh brother.
1:23 McClane: “Barnes, we’ve looked at twelve fucking houses and we’re nowhere.” Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why didn’t they make a montage of this? That would’ve been fun. I wonder if they just kinda sneaked around or if they knocked on doors.
1:31 Without doing any kind of research, I can guarantee you that the Die Hard 2 snowmobile chase is Todd Palin’s favorite movie scene ever.
1:35 And now we learn that Major Grant is a bad guy too. Uhhh…why did they go through with that whole rigamarole with the fake gun fight at the church? And why did they go inside and examine the booby-trapped flight equipment? Did they know there was a blogger at home watching them on his television who was going to be watching that they had to trick? For whose benefit was it to pretend even when they didn’t have a higher authority around them who could’ve busted them? This was such a terrible twist. Later, John explains it by saying it was to “jerk us around, buy them some time”. Ok, but when they were all by themselves, they were still pretending. Unless they’re method actors who also are soldiers, I’m not on board with this.
1:37 McClane proves his point that Major Grant’s a bad guy by firing this gun with blanks. A bunch of cops pull out guns and uhh…do nothing? If you saw a guy firing a gun in a crowded room at your chief, wouldn’t you immediately shoot to take him out? McClane’s lucky he didn’t get shot. I guess Carmine’s staff really doesn’t mind if he’s shot. I mean, look at that cop on the left of John. He even looks bored. “Whoops, there goes another guy shooting at Carmine Lorenzo. Ho hum.”
1:43 Annoying News Lady: “Right there, right there, get that.” Duhhhhhhhhh. Although, in her defense, she does have the world’s laziest/worst cameraman. She shouldn’t have to tell him to start filming the plane filled with bad guys that their helicopter is chasing. Yeesh.
1:50 McClane: “Yipee Ki Yay, motherfucker.” First Die Hard, this line was awesome. But that’s because it followed a conversation in which bad guy Hans compared McClane to American cowboy movie heroes (like Roy Rogers). Apparently, in this world, we’re supposed to believe that John liked that particular quip of his so much that he just uses it whenever he’s about to be a bad ass. Blech. And that’s the last moment I felt like commenting on.
Overall, this movie was pretty awful. We never really were told why the bad guys were doing what they were doing. In DH1, it was very simple. Hans wanted money. And it unfolded beautifully. The Naked Colonel, TMGIW, and Major Grant all hated communism, and apparently TMGIW was a buddy of theirs and that was worth killing dozens of innocent people (all from capitalist countries)? Didn’t really make sense. It makes think of The Rock, in which we see a group of traitorous soldiers commit a terrorist act. But they were acting because they felt their country had betrayed them. That makes way more sense to me.
Also, this movie completely threw out many of the things that made DH1 so much fun. It wasn’t contained in one relatively small location (an airport and the neighborhood around it is way bigger than a single building). The villains weren’t smart or interesting. Catchphrases were just thrown up instead of being clever. They traded patience for more fighting and explosions.
But it’s not like they could have just done the same things over again in a sequel. It would have been silly if the exact same thing happened again. And that’s the rub, my friends. It means they shouldn’t have made a sequel. If you can’t tell another story with a character that retains all the elements that you liked previously, then you have to let it go. That’s not a bad thing.
I think I’m going to do this with Die Hard 3, but honestly, this took way longer to write than I thought it would. So who knows when that will happen. See you around, kids.
January 29, 2012
Namath (9pm, HBO)
“‘Namath’ seems too cozy and slightly too apologetic to be considered a pure, real-deal, warts-in-sports documentary, yet too honest to be seen as a whitewash. But, above and beyond that, it’s good, very good.” - Phil Mushnick, NY Post
I don’t usually get struck by the coolness of poster art, but this is very very cool looking. I’d buy it if it’s available.
There are several beloved movies I haven’t seen. Scarface. Jaws. Rocky. For whatever reason, despite have every opportunity to see them, I just haven’t. It’s not like I’m actively keeping myself from viewing them, either. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours to spare. For the longest time I had never seen Die Hard, either. Finally, finally, finally today was the day I changed that fact. And boy am I glad I did. I thought I’d share things that I loved, disliked, or just thought were interesting. But lest any criticism make it seem like I didn’t enjoy the movie, just know all of this comes from me being super pleased I finally watched it.
Thoughts on the “Bad Guys”:
1) The alternate title could possibly be Alan Rickman Doing His Thang. Good lord he’s awesome as a villain in this. It’s funny how this movie almost makes you want to root for him. They paint the cops (save Carl Winslow) as bungling assholes. At several points I was happy to see Hans totally vanquish them. One thing that’s awesome about him is how well-dressed he remains throughout the movie. While John McClane is getting dirtier, bloodier, and less dressed, Hans barely sweats. So cool.
2) I wonder if they ran out of money for the costuming for the bad guys. Everyone decided to dress up except ol’ Tony. Dude’s wearing a sweat suit. Maybe the production staff decided to go cheap on him since he’s the first notable bad guy to bite the dust. That being said, Tony’s decision to go with a light ashy gray sweatshirt/sweantpant combo definitely made it easier for John to write that little message in blood.
3) It seem like every action movie has the obnoxious asshole who’s an innocent bystander, but annoys everyone by trying to be buddy buddy with the bad guys. Usually they wind up surviving and “learning a valuable lesson”. I love that in Die Hard, Harry Ellis, the coke-sniffing dirtbag just winds up getting shot at the height of his bullshit.
4) Considering how much he stuck out, I was surprised that the lone Asian henchman’s death was so anticlimactic. Earlier, I loved that he looks around before stealing a candy bar. Dude, you just took a group of people hostage and are holding a machine gun. You’re good to go on the candy.
Thoughts on the “Good Guys”:
1) I knew that Reginald VelJohnson, a.k.a. Carl Winslow, a.k.a. Big Guy, was in this movie, but it was still exciting to see him the first time. I thought it was hilarious that the fat store clerk was questioning the unhealthy snacks of the fat cop. I bet you anything that dude was inhaling sleeves of those mini powdered donuts before Al Powell showed up.
1a) Continuing with Al, I thought it was weird that we get to know so much about him. We know his back story, he was a good cop that accidentally shot a kid. He has a pregnant wife. Loves twinkies to the point where he can list the ingredients. And he has a wonderful intuition that kicks in when threatened. I feel like I know him more than I know John McClane.
1b) One more thought on Al. That hug between him and John at the end was more passionate than the kiss that John and his wife have. And despite Al and John not meeting face to face until the end, their chemistry was top notch. I don’t know, guys. Maybe when they inevitably remake this movie they should make John and Al fall in love.
2) Johnson and Johnson are fucking dicks, no? They really hammered that home when they included the line about them being ok with losing 25% of the hostages. I groaned at that. We get it, they’re chumps. Unnecessary. Their introduction was pretty awesome though. “No relation.”
3) The black FBI Agent Johnson’s real name? Grand L. Bush. Grand L. Bush!
4) It’s hilarious that in the final fight scene between John and Karl (the blonde Fabio-esque henchman) that Karl grabs John’s hair. And not the other way around. Really, John? It never dawned on you to grab a handful of his bleached locks? How did Karl grab a hold of John’s wisps?
Other Quick Thoughts:
This. is. remarkable. If you want to read the details on how Angela Zhang might have unlocked the secret, then click the image above. The story hits home for me, personally. My aunt and uncle on my mother’s side have had recent battles with cancer. Fortunately, they’re doing well. But when you combine that with the fact that their father (my grandfather) died of cancer, it makes it more of a possibility that I too will have to fight it when I’m older. Or maybe not. Maybe thanks to Angela I’ll never have to really fight it at all.
(Source: CBS News)
January 19, 2012
The headline explains the story and the picture proves how dumb the claim is. Listen, I dislike Kings of Leon as much as the next guy. I thought their music was decently catchy, but didn’t live up to the hype. And then running away from pigeons after only playing three songs and charging ridiculous amounts of money for fucking bandanas was super douchey. But c’mon, you’re being unreasonable, No Age. All you have to do is walk down Melrose for 5 minutes and you’ll see a ton of t-shirts that are similar to these ones.
There’s a problem we’re facing these days, where people are so sensitive that they’ll make silly arguments with the “bad guys”. You need to pick and choose when you’re going to go after someone. Otherwise, it’s all just a bunch of people screaming. Let’s be adults.
January 19, 2012
Most websites that cover music are covering the new. Not a lot of them cover the old, not the ones I’ve read at least. 2011 was a year that I realized I needed to go back in time and learn about some groups that weren’t just The Beatles or Rolling Stones or gigantic Motown artists. I’ve learned that I enjoy quite a bit of “older” music. I’m going to share some of these acts over a couple parts.
Here are some the people that really struck a chord with me last year. For each one, I’ve included a link to a song of theirs I liked. Click on the picture of the artist for bio info. They’re put into the decades in which their careers more or less got started (the song may be from another decade).
Clyde McPhatter - “You’re Movin’ Me”
Bobby “Blue” Bland - “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”
Arthur Alexander - “Soldier of Love”
Françoise Hardy - “Mon Amie La Rose”
The Animals - “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
O.V. Wright - “I’ve Been Searching”
The Turtles - “Let Me Be”
The Beach Boys - “Do You Want to Dance?”
The Left Banke - “Walk Away Renee”
Tim Hardin - “If I Were a Carpenter”
Brenton Wood - “Oogum Boogum”
The Monkees - “Shades of Gray”
The Millennium - “5 A.M.”
Upcoming, stuff out of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and last decade.
January 10, 2012
On the National Geographic job website, they allow you to give a name prefix. Usually the field is limited to Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Dr. I guess they have enough ADMIRALS and GENERALS applying online that they had to add those in. I hope General Odierno doesn’t also want this social media job.
January 5, 2012
Who doesn’t love Sir Charles? Has there been a more entertaining sports figure in the past few years? I disagree with you on whoever you just said. If they were truly entertaining, they’d be hosting SNL this weekend. On a side note, thank you NBC for making us watch commercials before we watch your commercials. Yeeeeeeeeeesh.
January 4, 2012
It isn’t easy being a Nets fan. Tonight we’re going up against the Celtics without Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, or Deron Williams. I mean, we were probably going to lose anyway, but now especially…at least we got a somewhat good prospect in MarShon Brooks. And we’ve got “The Landlord”, Shelden Williams, who is so unafraid of dunking in someone’s face that he’ll do it to even himself.
(Via Ball Don’t Lie)
January 4, 2012
Sometimes you need to hear things twice. For whatever reason when I listened to this album, it didn’t stick. But when I found it while organizing my music I decided to give it another listen and I’m glad I did. This is an album that works more as a complete piece than something to pick and choose songs off of. Though that’s not to say they don’t have songs that are catchy on their own.
But I wonder about second chances. If you asked me point blank if I believed in them, I would probably say yes, of course. But I don’t know if I actually practice in them. There are people, places, things, experiences that I don’t like after being in their company only once. It’s a struggle to know how “forgiving” I should be. On one hand, an initial impression might be entirely wrong. The human mind is too complex and susceptible to change to have a perfectly consistent ability to process new information. So therefore, nothing should be judged once. On the other hand, life is short. Why keep examining the same old same old when there are new things to be seen and done? I can exhaust myself trying to get into a band I don’t like or rereading a book I found uninviting, or I can toss it aside and look for the next thing I’ll love. But maybe if I never “work” toward liking something, I’m dooming myself for a life of constant disappointment. I guess the answer is trying to strike a balance and never getting to deep down into the well of either.
Wooooooooowwwww. That was boring, huh? I hope you give me a SECOND CHANCE to entertain you.
Official Site: www.secretcitiesmusic.com
Beach Boys - Do You Wanna Dance?
I’ve been really really getting into The Beach Boys a lot these days. I’ve been reading up on them a little and apparently this song is notable for a few reasons:
It’s funny watching this now, it’s so obvious a recorded track they’re “playing” to. Mike Love isn’t even “mic’d” up. He’s basically doing what Tracy Morgan does in those SNL Christmas song performances.
January 3, 2012
And we’ve reached the end of this list. Guys: It was a real blast. See you on the other side (meaning 2012, not the afterlife. Unless you’re planning on dieing soon. In which case, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re giving up on life so easily. Fight, man, fight! What’s that? You’re 156 years old? Wow. What’s that? You’re a tortoise? Wow. This is my question: Out of all the human things to do how did wind up on Tumblr? Really? Tortoises were on Tumblr first? Wow. Learn something new every day!)! Here we go!
TV Girl - Benny and the Jetts (EP)
This is probably the latest addition to this list for me because I only have known about this group for a couple weeks now. They’re ultra catchy, though. I think that the title track of this EP is probably one of my top-5 songs of the year. It’s so fun-sounding but talks about heartbreak. I’m always a fan of somber lyrics put to cheerful music.
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
I learned about this guy through my favorite radio show of all time: The Best Show on WFMU. Its host Tom Scharpling has insanely great taste in music (ok, sometimes he veers into punk more than I prefer) and is constantly introducing lesser known works to his audience. I feel like he was on board with Vile before Vile really took off this year. Anyways, Kurt Vile was on his show one week, almost a year ago exactly, and was actually really funny. More Vile in 2012. Long Live the Best Show. Long Live Tom Scharpling.
We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships
I love when I get a music recommendation from a friend and that I actually like the music. For whatever reason, I don’t often talk about music with too many of my friends. I owe this to my buddy Diaz who shared the group with me. I really liked the album. They have an interesting style.
Wilco - The Whole Love
ESPN columnist Bill Simmons will often discuss ranking things in the context of creating a “Mount Rushmore”. So you have to pick your four favorite things within a category, but not only are they something you like, but they’re also important in a certain sense. I don’t know if that makes sense. Anyway, my Rushmore of music is always shifting, but there are two constants: The Beatles and Wilco. I loved this new album. I loved how it was closer to their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sound, too. It’s not the same, but it’s closer to that I think.
Wye Oak - Civilian
This album is on everybody’s best of blog. For most of the year I disagreed with that notion, but I gave them another listen the other day and I realized how much I liked it. It’s definitely a heftier album. It’s not bubblegum pop. I’d say that you should give the whole thing a listen as opposed to just a couple songs. It went from something that disappointed me to be one of my favorites of the year.
Honorable mentions (in no particular order):
December 30, 2011
I’m going to start off with a reply to a comment on my last entry from my former college roommate (sure it was only for a semester, but that qualifies, right?). Follow him on Tumblr here.
Interesting about Noah and the Whale. I heard their latest first then went back and listened to First Days of Spring and really loved it, too. I also had to buy Real Estate after hearing one song, on NPR I think.
You know, honestly, after writing that about how I wasn’t a fan of Noah and the Whale’s second album, I realized I hadn’t heard it in a really long time and how I had only listened to it maybe once. I should give it another listen considering how much I like the albums that sandwich it. As for Real Estate, I can’t believe it took me this long. They’re so good!
Alright, back to business. Here we go!
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
Their drummer is still the craziest I’ve seen at a live show. He’s a flurry of activity. I can’t think of many performers I’d like to see a super slow-mo recording of, but he’s one. This band is very charming to watch live. At one show I saw them at, they ended their set, stood to the side of the stage in view of everyone for a second and then returned for their encore.
Starfucker - Repitlians
Starfucker was one of those bands I had heard about but avoid listening to because of their name. I’m not wild about bands that include obscenities in their name. It becomes a thing where it has to be censored and it takes extra energy to explain who you’re talking about. Also, while it doesn’t bother me (shit! fuck! hooray!) I feel so self conscious about cursing. I actually curse very little in real life. I don’t know why. This blog has way more salty language than I actually use. Anyways. I finally gave them a listen and really really liked the album.
Telekinesis! - 12 Desperate Straight Lines
This band has a drummer as their lead singer. He’s also the brains of the operation which is pretty cool. He also has a wonderful last name: Lerner. What’s that? You’re saying I’m only saying that because that’s my last name? Well of course that’s why I’m saying that you dummy. Great, you caught me. What are you doing holding my feet to the fire, anyway? Leave me alo…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. I’m getting punchy here.
Tristen - Charlatans At The Garden Gate
I only knew about this album because I saw that AV Club had reviewed it. Otherwise, I hadn’t really heard too much about Tristen. I’m glad that I investigated beyond the review because this was a really great album from a lady singer-songwriter. That’s actually a “genre” (is that the right word?) I’m woefully ignorant in. One of my music resolutions is to look further into that field. Joni, Joan, ladies: Look for me in 2012.
Alex Turner - Submarine (EP/Original Soundtrack)
I wasn’t going to put EPs or soundtracks on this list but then I realized that if I liked it more than a full length deal than that probably meant something. Also, this is my blog and to set rules for myself in that regard is dumb. Nobody cares how I keeping account of this. That’s one thing I don’t get about some reality TV shows, when they twist themselves over the rules they’ve created. I understand there are some actual legal obligations they have to keep, but if I was a reality show runner I’d be looking at how I could constantly keep tweaking the rules to ensure the best quality show I could produce. Tangents! Alex Turner is the front man for Arctic Monkeys, who I believe were one of the first big bands to get popular via the internet. Or maybe I just made that up. Too lazy to research it. I want more solo stuff if this is what we’re going to get. I love it.
December 28, 2011
Photo of the day? Photo of the day.