Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year? Doubtful.

With the New Year rapidly approaching, a mere number of alcohol-soaked hours away, I find myself pondering the completely arbitrary and pointlessly ritualistic changing of the calendar year, and what it means about the events that have occurred over the past twelve months. For this truly is a holiday meant for reflection and anticipation, a weighing of the past's influences and whatever the future might hold.

Normally, the changing over of the old year to the new one is represented by the iconic images of Old Man Time and Baby New Year. The white-bearded elderly soul, back bent and crippled from the trials and tribulations of his past experiences, hands off the baton of responsibility for forging through yet another year to the innocent diaper-clad newborn, and scampers off on withered legs and a crooked cane without even attempting to warn this naive cherub about the horrors that await his brief and harrowing existence.

ⓘSAW †he dirty soul ☠Part I☠Image by CornĂ©rStonĂ© via Flickr
Being a movie fanatic, I prefer to personify the New Year by comparing it to a film that contains the essence of what the holiday represents. In this case, with the complete nightmare that this past year has become, I don't seem to be able to shake the feeling that January 1 is coming upon us with all of the harsh brutality of a Saw sequel. Just look back at the massive amounts of abject misery and mindless destruction that have occurred over the length of 2010, and ringing in the New Year raises the same levels of terror and dread as waking up strapped into some psychotic cancer patient's homicidal shop project and hearing a prerecorded message explain exactly how gruesome your impending demise is going to be.

This past year has been so screwed up, they might as well have replaced last year's Time's Square ball drop with a bicycle-riding Jigsaw puppet rolling on to every television set in America:

"Hello people. I want to play a game. This coming year, your house values will be driven down by reckless and opportunistic lending practices. Unemployment rates will hover indefinitely high while new jobs are shipped overseas, and soulless corporations alter their business models to exploit the fear of downsizing to squeeze uncompensated productivity out of their underpaid workers. As you struggle to keep your head (and mortgage) above water, your ineffectual political leaders with put on lavish shows of false concern and hollow efforts of economic restoration as your quality of life rapidly deteriorates. Live or die, the choice is yours. Actually, you have no control over it whatsoever; you're basically doomed. Have fun." 

Instead of being a time of hope and celebration, this New Year's is like surviving one horrible Jigsaw trap, with other victims viciously destroyed before your eyes while you cling tenaciously to life, only to get shoved through a time-locked door where yet another perilous struggle for survival awaits you. I'm to the point where I'd rather wake up with a spring-loaded mechanical trap strapped to my face and a key surgically implanted in my scrotum than face whatever mindless, spirit-shredding madness 2011 has in store for us. Instead of slowly descending during Dick Clark's uncomfortably humorous countdown, that giant geodesic sphere hanging over Times Square should plummet to the pavement, eject hundreds of spring loaded spikes, then tumble at full speed down Broadway like a giant spiked bowling ball of death and destruction, impaling the crushed and mutilated corpses of the helpless inebriated onlookers, rolling over the unsuspecting crowds in much the same way that 2011 will eventually bulldoze over what's left of spirits.

So, this is Scott from Moviesucktastic, wishing you a Happy New Year, a fun New Year's Eve celebration, and a quick, painless death at the hands of our destructive sociopath Baby New Year.

Game Over. 

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dream Diary: Treasure Hunt

double scope ice cream coneImage via WikipediaI had this weird dream last night.

A group of people and I are involved in some kind of elaborate scavenger hunt that centers around us following clues and riddles scribbled on a pile random slips of papers, coasters, napkins and envelopes. One specific clue leads us onto an old fishing vessel, where we try to figure out the coordinates left behind be a dead fisherman that will supposedly lead us to the location of the Loch Ness Monster's ocean home. We figure it out when one of his former shipmates tells us that his old partner would often write the coordinates down wrong. This somehow enables us to figure out the right numbers, which lead us to a tape recording of the dead fisherman's voice under a pile of newspapers in the same room.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated portion of the dream, a serial killer has body wrapped tight in Saran Wrap, and is digging a hole in the floor of a cabin in which to hide it. The body, which bares a striking resemblance to Bryan Cranston from the AMC series Breaking Bad, has its face wrapped tightly with the plastic, mouth opened wide as if screaming. Suddenly, he comes to life, tears through the plastic and attacks his would-be murderer. I never return to this scene, and so I am unsure of the outcome of the struggle. 

Meanwhile, back at the bizarre treasure hunt... this clue-driven challenge somehow involves time travel (of course), and at one point I find myself walking through a lightly snow-covered field with an older woman. We reach a house supposedly belonging to her, at which point she asks if I am from the future. I confess that I am, and she asks me if I can do something about coffee cups when I go back. It seems that the paper coffee cups of whatever time I am currently in keep igniting when she drinks coffee, as she likes to smoke at the same time. I assure her that there is no need to worry; the coffee cups of the future are thick, heavy, and highly flame retardant. I then return to my future time to discover that, reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder, my conversation with the woman has somehow resulted in all modern day coffee cups looking like ice cream cones.

Taking a moment to assess my situation, I thumb through the stack of clues and realize that there is no way I am going to finish this bizarre game before I wake up. Then I wake up.

Analysis: No more eating Coffee Ice Cream while watching Dexter reruns.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Scott's Dream Diary - Giving Unto Caesar

Benjamin-Constant-The Throne Room In ByzantiumImage via WikipediaHad this weird dream last night. I thought I was a Roman Soldier transported to modern times, and walked into a Roman-themed casino wearing a toga, carrying a broken spear, and demanding to speak to Caesar.

It turns out that they have an actor who sits in a throne room pretending to be Julius Caesar, so for some reason the staff decides to humor me and take me to him. They take me to the entrance of the "Throne Room," where I kneel and bow, and allow the broken spear to be taken away from me. I then spend the next ten or fifteen minutes talking to Caesar about fate and one's importance in the world, while the actor goes along and plays the part, possibly enjoying the chance to finally do some real acting. I can't recall the specifics of the conversation, but it was tinged with sadness about being out of place and time, and how we shape our own destiny.

At the end of our conversation, he grips my shoulder with a firm squeeze full of emotion, looks me straight in the eye, gives me a knowing nod, and comps me $10 on the nickel slots. Then I wake up.

Verdict: I've been playing too much Fallout: New Vegas before bedtime.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

PETA: Dead Puppies Aren't Much Fun

I have a theory that 70% of the people that complain about PETA going "too far" are just upset because the organizati­on's extreme push against animal cruelty makes them question their own inattentio­n to the consequenc­es of their actions, and they hate being made to think so much. The other 30% just enjoy complainin­g.

As far as the commercial goes, I think it woks on both angles. The message of the ad agrees with responsibl­e and emotional side of me that hates to think of animals being tortured and murdered to feed the pet industry, while the morbid humor of the ad appeals to the side of me that thinks children playing with dead dogs is funny. See? Everybody wins.

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