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The Lonely Soul's Journal

Sunday, August 7, 2011

5:01PM - Railway Museum Car Show

 Had an awesome time with Deborah at the Illinois Railway Museum today!

Friday, May 25, 2007

1:19PM - Hahahaha

Random shit!

Monday, May 1, 2006

4:14PM - “United 93”

September 11, 2001 is a date etched into most American’s minds. The vision of a burning World Trade Center still lingers, as if recent memory, even though it happened almost five years ago.

The aftermath proved tragic for many, but the stories of those who perished in the terrorist attacks, pulled the American people together through the emotions of loss.

Now, a film, “United 93,” looks to revisit one story from that tragic day. The story is truly one of bravery and sacrifice, but should it be a movie?

The story of the now legendary, United Airlines flight 93, began at Newark International Airport, in New York City. The plane was bound for San Fran Cisco, California with 45 people on board. However, the fabled flight would not reach its original destination, but would join the ranks of three other flights, which were hijacked to serve in the interest in terror. But luckily, for the people of the intended target, Flight 93 would not reach this destination planned by the terrorists. It would crash in a field located in rural southwest Pennsylvania, after many of its passengers tried to retake the aircraft from the hijackers.

Questioning the validity of such a movie does not question the importance of the actual events, or the bravery of those involved. The preliminary concern about the film is that it may play on people’s emotions of 9-11 to make a profit.

The film is described as being a “living memorial,” to those who died on Flight 93. It was supposed to tell the story of these remarkable passengers, shedding light into their personal lives to show their sacrifice and explain the intent of their heroic action. Sadly, the film did not achieve this.

The passengers of “United 93” are left nameless, and random. There is no portrayal of their individual lives in detail, as one would expect from a “living memorial.” All you learn about these legendary people is what you can pick up from random conversation. Which is usually them sending loving messages to their families, or saying phrases like, “I wish I was at home with my babies.” If this were a fictional movie, I would describe them as having no character development.

The actual focus of the movie is on other events, generally unrelated to Flight 93. You see, and learn more of the air-traffic controllers than anyone else. It continually shows them tracking the possibly hijacked planes, detailing the chaotic nature of the day.

This environment of chaos, and panic, along with the spliced in actual footage of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and Pentagon burning can bring back a lot of those bad memories held by people. I’m sure viewer’s emotions were going to be a brought by this film, no matter what. But the way it is all put together seems to be made to intentionally play with people’s emotions, and fears.

Apart from simply playing with people’s emotions, my own personal concern was the film studios using the tragedy of 9-11, while playing on people’s emotions to make a profit at the box-office. When news of this film came out, it seemed as though it was all for the families of the passengers. As part of being a “living memorial” the families and an existing memorial project were to receive money from the film. Unfortunately, they were only to receive 10% of the profit, from the first three days of North-American release. For me, this only confirmed studios’ intent, of only being concerned with profiting from this tragic story.

Whether the film and its intent is ethically sound, or not, is a conclusion that can only be reached by each individual, as they see fit. My own opinion is that it is not, I can not accept someone intending to make money off of the loss, death, and terror felt on 9-11, or any other tragedy. I can only hope, and pray that I am not alone in such a conviction.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

1:41PM - Movie Review: V for Vendetta

Plot Outline: In the near future a freedom fighter known only as “V” rebels against the now fascist government of Great Britain.

This visual aspect of this film is spectacular. The direction and cinematography has the right texture to each part of the story to successfully pull you into it.
The dialogue can be a little “par” but has some power within it and has many nuggets of dry-humor. Many people probably won’t find some of the jokes that funny, or even notice they are there. But those who do will be laughing.

The best part of the film however is the story and message it gives, which is an important one. It is a warning about giving up too many personal freedoms for sake of security, which many people in the United States are too willing to do. That people must standup for their freedom no matter the cost or public opinion of them. In the film the fictional government and its leaders use their power and influence to control the country’s citizens through fear. They also round up, torture, experiment on, and kill certain groups much like in Nazi-Germany. Muslims, homosexuals, and political activists who disagree with their policies are the majority of these
.
“V” rebels against this evil government he is labeled as a terrorist. Though he does do some evil himself, it is a necessary evil to wake the citizens up from their fear. So they too will be able to stand up for the freedom that they believe in.

There are also commentaries within the film on how the media is way for the government to spread its propaganda and continue to spread fear throughout the population. They even have one of the characters “The Voice of London” as an obvious representation of Bill O’Reily. Which I thought was great touch the film.

Note to Certain Viewers: If you are a close-minded conservative you will probably see this movie as anti-American. While it is certainly a critique of the direction America is now heading (which in itself is anti-American), it does not question the long-forgotten founding principals that America is supposed to have been built on.

Overall Grade: A-

Grading Scale:
A=See it right away
B=Worth going to a matinee
C=Rent on DVD or watch on TV
D=I would rather be in a boring class
F=Become Amish if you have to, to simply avoid

Sunday, February 12, 2006

1:33PM - Funny Car Video

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3225099782534022273&q=saab

Friday, February 10, 2006

7:14PM - Ever Seen

A Dachshund beat a Great Dane at tug of war? I have and it is great!!!!

Current mood: amused

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

9:37PM - Have You Checked the Children..........?

I just saw "When a Stranger Calls" and wow!!!

The plot is that a conflicted high school girl went over on her cell phone minutes and now is grounded and forced to baby-sit. To pay the extra amount on the phone bill.
For the majority of the movie she is sitting around answering the phone, with the occasional creepy noise that intrigues her to investigate. This alludes to scary music playing in the background and ends with a cat jumping out of a dark room, sprinkler turning on, or clothes on a hanger placed behind a door. (Eat your heart out Alfred Hitchcock!!!)
After a few prank calls she is freaked out and calls the cops who are going to trace the call. When they do they find that the calls are coming from inside the house. After she finds out she makes a dash to get the children (who are now suddenly important) and get out of the house.
The creepy bad guy now (conveniently) appears after she finds out the truth (a real shocker) and now they are on the run from him. She uses all of her smarts to outwit him at every turn and gets out safely, after a climatic fight scene (of course). The cops arrive at exactly the right moment and the parents arrive home to find their children safe and sound. While the main character is shipped off the hospital traumatized by the experience (God I hope she got paid well).

The moral of this story is to not go over on your cell phone minutes. Get T-Mobile who has the most anytime minutes available. Otherwise you will subject to high overage fees and crazy stalkers who prank call and try to kill you.


Overall Grade: D




Grading Scale:
A=See it right away
B=Worth going to a matinee
C=Rent on DVD or watch on TV
D=I would rather be in a boring class
F=Become Amish if you have to, to simply avoid

Current mood: amused

Thursday, January 12, 2006

9:18PM - 2005 Year End Movie Review, Part 2

Now I have the pleasure or displeasure, depending how you look at it, of counting down the five worst movies of 2005. Those movies that were truly a waste of money both for you and the studio that thought people would actually like this crap. They made me question whether the high paid executives who approved them had actually seen a movie or had ever attended college.

And let me tell you there were a lot, let me stress that, a lot of terrible movies last year. So before I start the actual countdown I have some dishonorable mentions; Flightplan, Saw 2, Doom, and Into the Blue. I weep for the fact that those titles aren’t in the top five, but sadly there are far worse.

5) “The Amityville Horror”

Plot Outline: A family moves into a house where disturbing and grizzly murders took place before. Now they are faced with evil spirits that torment them and drive the Father of the family crazy.

In this gem they try to create an atmosphere of horror by the use of disturbing visuals, whose look and style seemed to be copied straight from “The Ring”. My favorite scene is when the ghost of the little girl who was killed in the house before, appears in the “current” little girl’s room. She appears to be soaked with water and has a noose tied around her neck, which I’m sure was meant to shock and creep people out. But it makes no sense! If you watch the beginning of the movie you see that she is shot while in her closet, how they got from that to her being hanged I’ll never know.

Then there was whispering of evil spirits that come from the basement. Every time you hear them the camera zooms in on the heating grate. So I have to assume that the evil spirits dwell within the furnace, turning it into some kind of dark and evil furnace of doom. A truly frightening notion!

So if ever I want to see a cheesy movie about a haunted house which is loosely based on a true story I’ll put in the original 1979 feature. Because if a copy of this ever found its way to my DVD player, it would be my house that would become haunted.

4) “Hostage”

Plot Outline: A once hostage negotiator and now small town cop must negotiate with some men after they take a rich family hostage. But there is information that mysterious figures don’t want found in that house, so they kidnap the negotiator’s family. Now he must save the people in the house as well as his own family while making sure that the information is never found by the authorities.

This is supposed to be fast paced and suspenseful, but it is neither and is rather cheesy and unrealistic. I’ve seen more plausible circumstances in anime cartoons. You don’t really care about any of the characters because they are boring and are portrayed by actors that seem not to care.

Then there are the themes that are never resolved. First the struggles of the main character’s family because of his career change. In the beginning this is emphasized and in the end is never resolved as if it were never mentioned. And of course there is my personal favorite. One of the men who are holding the rich family hostage, named Mars, has this infatuation with the teenage daughter. The movie keeps you thinking that this guy is going to rape her; he even goes as far as tying her up to the bed with her legs spread. But that ends with the same recurring theme that happens with these two characters. The camera zooms in showing only his face as he stares at her with this blank look, while the cheesiest violin music I’ve ever heard plays in the background. Now that’s good directing!

Then there is the ending where the negotiator perfectly executes every situation. Saving the rich family and using the hidden information to find his family, taking out their captors and administrating his own brand of justice.

3) “Hide and Seek”

Plot Outline: A psychiatrist and his daughter move to a new home after their mothers/wife’s suicide. After the move the daughter makes a new “imaginary” friend, named Charlie, terrible reoccurrences of the suicide start to appear with cryptic messages pointing the blame at the father. Who tries find out if Charlie is a product of his child’s imagination or a real person playing a sick game.

This movie tries to build suspense over the question, who is Charlie? It fails. Throughout the movie you are basically watching a strange little girl being psychoanalyzed by her father because of her anti-social behavior and belief in her “imaginary” friend. This is interrupted by the occasional message written on the inside of the bath tub by Charlie, not very exciting for psychological thriller is it?

If that boring dilemma wasn’t bad enough I had to see the ever so un-original ending. I won’t outright give it away, but I will say I thought it was a lot cooler when it was the ending to “Fight Club” and “Secret Window”.

2) “The Island”

Plot Outline: A story of a man and a woman’s survival after they find out their entire world is a lie. They find out they are in fact human clones to be used as spare parts for the people they are cloned from.

Does this story sound familiar to you? Maybe should because it was movie from 1979 called “Parts: The Clonus Horror”. This in its self wouldn’t be all that bad if it was called a remake, but the director and writers claim it to be an original creation. So it is in fact one of the biggest plagiarisms I have ever seen, which alone is enough to get it on this list.

Not only is the story plagiarized but the visual look and environment of the facility where the clones were kept was completely plagiarized from George Lucas’ first film “THX-1138”. Hell even the big chase seen where the two clones are escaping from the facility is ripped off nearly frame by fame from “THX-1138”.

All plagiarisms aside this also had the most and most blatant advertisements I have ever seen. My favorite is when the two clones are drinking water and the camera zooms real close onto the waitress’ tray. Then she sets the Aquafina bottle logo towards the camera perfectly framed (kind of like at the end of a commercial) and it freezes there for a couple of seconds.

Then there are the most un-believable action sequences ever caught on film. There is actually one point in the movie when the two main characters fall from the top of a sky-scraper and survive because they are caught in a flimsy net. And of course these clones that have been coddled their entire lives are suddenly great fighters, know how to use guns, and defeat the “bad guys”, who are trained ex-special ops military men. The film claims this is because every human has the will to survive, but am I really supposed to believe that two people who knew nothing of fighting and violence can defeat trained professionals?

1) “The Cave”

Plot Outline: After the largest underground network of caves in the world is discovered a team of professional cave divers explore. Only to find themselves trapped with mysterious and bloodthirsty creatures that dwell within the cave.

This movie was so bad I might have trouble conveying how bad it was.

There was of course the acting. The actors didn’t look like they cared and if they did they might want to consider a new profession.

All the characters those actors had to portray were one-dimensional and stereotypical. You have the tough woman who wants to keep up with the boys, the sexy smart woman who doesn’t know how sexy she is, the reserved leader who knows what’s best for his team but they don’t always respect or listen to him, the wild man who questions the leader and makes his own rules, and the smart mouthed “hip” black guy.

Then there are the monsters that are hunting them. They are comprised of the only CGI that might be worse than that in “Herbie: Fully Loaded”. Throughout the movie they kept the origins of these horribly generated beings a mystery, but when they actually reveal the truth it is a laugh out load moment. At the beginning of the movie you see three men enter the cave but become trapped. These men are in fact the creatures who “evolved” to survive in a light deprived and harsh environment.

Oh and did I mention that when they bite someone those people start to turn into bad computer generated creatures as well? This doesn’t make any sense in the fact that the creatures are humans that “evolved” to survive in an environment. How would having the power to turn people/potential prey for food into the same beings as them help them any? Maybe they have an “evolved” need for strange underground creature friendship. Or the “filmmakers” wanted a cheap ploy to ad corny un-effective suspense?

And of course there was the environment. The cave walls looked like a bad set made out of papier-mâché and if there was no set and the image was computer generated, then it looked like computer generated cave walls made of papier-mâché. This cave that was also supposed to be so dark was surprisingly well lit until the story called for it to be dark. And of course there is the fact that caves are supposed to be claustrophobic, this one is as wide open as you can get without being outside. Then again it is the biggest network of caves in the world.

Current mood: sad

2:59PM - 2005 Year End Movie Review, Part 1

This will be the first part of three year end movie categories best, worst, and miscellaneous.
I will start with the miscellaneous movies; ones that I felt could not be put into the best and worst categories.

1) Top Underground Film--- “Live Freaky Die Freaky”
Plot Outline: An animated movie that depicts the life of Charles Manson and his family, though called Charles Hanson in the movie for legal reasons I’m sure.

This animated movie is almost sure to offend you whether by its vulgar content, twisted sense of humor, disturbing visuals, or graphic violence and sex content. Which was in fact the entire point of the film and something I find to be quite funny in its self.

2) Good Yet Disappointing at the Same Time---“War of the Worlds”
Plot Outline: A story of a family’s survival after a mysterious alien force attacks Earth.

This has the great visuals and suspense that you expect from Steven Spielberg, as well as some great acting performances from Tim Robbins, Dakota Fanning, and Tom Cruise. Hey I know what you’re thinking; Tom Cruise may be a crazy couch jumping psychology expert Scientologist bastard, but he can still give a good performance dammit.
But unfortunately the suspenseful build up that Spielberg gives us leads to the movie going out with a whimper. A lame ending that is explained in five seconds of dialogue.

3) Weirdest Film of the Year---“Stay”
Plot Outline: A psychiatrist tries to stop one of his new patients, a strange artist, from committing suicide at an exact time and date.

Visually a pretty cool movie, but the story is something else that is hard to explain. It tells you a bunch a random crap that in the end doesn’t matter and makes you wonder if the main character is what he seems to be or if he is in fact crazy. There are a bunch of flashbacks that at the time seem random but in the end are the real story. Then it ends, and nothing that happened before the last ten minutes was seemingly real or relevant. I have a theory of what it was all about, but it is probably wrong so I won’t go into it. But I would say this movie would have the general movie goers exit theater with nothing more to say than, “What the hell?”

4) Could Have and Should Have Been Better---“Herbie: Fully Loaded”
Plot Outline: A young college graduate, former street racer, and girl of famous racing heritage is the owner of the magical Volkswagen we all know as Herbie.

As a big fan of the original Herbie movies I put on my “53” tee shirt and drove my vintage Volkswagen Beetle (and future Herbie replica) to the theater on opening day. I had such high hopes because first of all it was a Herbie movie and second the cast consisted of Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, and Matt Dillon, who all ended giving pretty good performances. Especially Matt Dillon who was probably the best villain in the series since Keenan Wynn.
The movie starts out with a cool opening which briefs you on the past movies, but semi-disaster struck when the actual movie started. First they had changed the look of the car by adding cheesy looking eyelids that blinked. Then they proceeded to add in bad sound effects that made the car sound like a dog. And if that wasn’t bad enough the CGI was the worst I’ve ever seen, god where is ILM when you need them?
Those points aside the story was pretty good, though far from perfect, up until the point when Herbie races NASCAR. Herbie was always an endurance road racer, not a “stock car”. Why change that now? Of course Disney had to take this opportunity to cash in on one of the biggest sports in America rather than doing it right.

Current mood: indifferent

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2:45PM - Greatest Broadway Song Ever

Germany was having trouble
What a sad, sad story
Needed a new leader to restore
Its former glory
Where, oh, where was he?
Where could that man be?
We looked around and then we found
The man for you and me

And now it's...
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Deutschland is happy and gay!
We're marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Rhineland's a fine land once more!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Watch out, Europe
We're going on tour!

Springtime for Hitler and Germany...
Winter for Poland and France

The Fuhrer is causing a furor!
He's got those Russians on the run
You gotta love that wacky hun!
The Fuhrer is causing a furor
They can't say "no" to his demands
They're freaking out in foreign lands
He's got the whole world in his hands
The Fuhrer is causing a furor!

I was just a paper hanger
No one more obscurer
Got a phone call from the Reichstag
Told me I was Fuhrer
Germany was blue
What, oh, what to do?
Hitched up my pants
And conquered France
Now Deutschland's smiling through!
But it wasn't always so easy...
It was 1932. Hindenburg was working the Big Room and I...
I was playing the lounge. And then I got my big break.
Somebody burned down the Reichstag. And, would you believe it?
They made me Chancellor. Chancellor!
It ain't no myst'ry
If it's politics or hist'ry
The thing you gotta know is
Ev'rything is show biz
Heil myself
Watch my show
I'm the German Ethel Merman
Dontcha know
We are crossing borders
The new world order is here
Make a great big smile
Ev'ryone sieg heil to me
Wonderful me!
And now it's...

Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Goose-step's the new step today

Bombs falling from the skies again
Deutschland is on the rise again

Springtime for Hitler and Germany
U-boats are sailing once more

Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Means that...
Soon we'll be going...
We've got to be going...
You bet we'll be going...
You know we'll be going to war!!

Current mood: amused

Thursday, November 3, 2005

2:55AM - SGT Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I just got a new job as a security guard. But I have to have shorter hair and no beard. So I'm going for the Pepper look because it's within the regulations.

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Monday, October 31, 2005

8:27PM

I just got my Power Ranger dvds today!!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

2:09PM

Well I'm off to the McCartney concert. I'm hoping to get there in time to see him come in and maybe get an autograph.

Monday, October 3, 2005

8:06PM

OK I have two riddles for evryone. After you solve both they will go together into one conclusion.

1. What has yellow skin and writes?
2. What kind of people are always in a hurry?

Saturday, October 1, 2005

12:19PM

Oh my !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was just surfing the internet and I found out Amy Jo Johnson put out an album in 2001 and a live one this year. I MUST OWN THEM
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Friday, September 23, 2005

12:06AM

YEA!!!!!! I just got a ticket for the McCartney show in Chicago. Now I get to see him twice.

Current mood: happy

Sunday, September 18, 2005

6:09PM - VW Show

Here are the first of the pictures.
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

2:48PM - Car Show

I will be showing my bug tonight at car show that benefits hurricane relief. It will be in Marengo at the Camphouse Grill.

Monday, August 29, 2005

11:57AM

I just passed the motorcycle safety class, so now when the dmv opens I will have my licsense. So now I have to get the Kawasaki running, but that should only take a batterey.

MOTORCYCLE TERROR COMING SOON!!!!! Maybe to your town.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

4:01PM - Exciting Morning

I was coming home from church this morning at about 40 mph (downhill) in my my bug. When I went to stop for a traffic light the pedal went to the floor. So I quickly pulled the hand brake, but it did next to nothing. So I basically four wheel drifted around a tight corner onto a side street and rubbed my tires against the curb to slow myself down. That got me down to about 15 but the end of the road was coming up fast so I hopped the curb and let the car come to stop in someone's yard.

Current mood: awake

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