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January 17, 2011 / Darrell

Read More at Darrell’s Blog.

October 25, 2010 / Guest Contributions

Somebody’s Job Is Shittier Than Yours



Matt Bate's new monthly rant

There are a lot of people out there who think their job is hard. They classify it as degrading, insulting, and most of all – downright depressing. You know, they are probably right. But for every shitty job out there, there’s always some poor soul slogging away with a job worse than yours. For example, I was taking a dump just moments ago and as I reached for the toilet roll to wipe away the rancid faecal matter dripping from my hairy asshole, I noticed some artwork plastered across the sheet. There were seahorses, stars and flowers among other gifts bestowed upon us from mother nature herself, and I thought to myself – someone has specifically drawn that piece of artwork for the explicit intention for it to be smeared and besmirched by our own vile anal sludge. Was the person who drew these images a failed artist, very much akin to a street hooker being a failed exotic dancer? We may never know who drew these pictures as no one in their right minds would admit to this being their breadwinning job. A depressing revelation has been made in light of this anonymity – do the artists know that their work is being defiled in such a way? On a similar note: how do people actually manage to hire these guys? I can imagine the interview process following this predictable template:

Interviewer: Welcome to the Sorbent toilet tissue headquarters. Good news, we looked over your portfolio and we have decided that your artwork is the best suited to this company’s mission statement of providing the user with the most ‘friendly, homely and soft’ wiping experience imaginable.

Interviewee: Oh awesome! Thank you! I started some new logo designs and stuff for the company…

Interviewer: …Oh cool. See, I was thinking more along the lines of you designing some preliminary sketches to be used on the actual toilet roll.

Interviewee: (notably disappointed and shattered) …oh… ok…cool…I guess.

So next time you’re out there busting your ass and complaining that no one ever respects your work, just think – there’s someone out there working exceptionally hard to deliver you the most relaxing wiping experience with the complete expectation that you will defile their work in unimaginable and sickening ways that would make Satan say “whoa, fuck that.” If half the world isn’t leaking diarrhea all over your precious end of year reports, then you’ve got it pretty damn good as far as I’m concerned.

September 19, 2010 / Darrell

Easy A: Movie Review

Easy A. The title sounds about as dumb as the blondes who get easy A’s. Bad puns aside, it is the latest comedy (with mild to moderate romantic themes) staring Emma Stone, who you might remember from such films as Superbad and Zombieland. And has also featured on more “top insert number here hottest women” lists than has won awards.

Like many other low budget teen movies, it starts with a webcam scene. Progresses the story with webcam scenes. And finishes (almost) with a webcam scene. Also like many other low budget teen movies, there are teacher student relationships, best friend fallouts, a crazy rival female, good looking guys and parents that are way too open about everything.

However, unlike many other low budget teen movies, the school “slut”, Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) doesn’t sleep with mimbos (man bimbos) instead choosing the socially outcast, and that’s really about it.

What Easy A lacked in substance, it made up for in one liners or slightly extended humourous situations that lasted a couple of lines. With special note to Olive’s parents Dill and Rosemary Penderghast (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, respectively). Picture Sam’s parents from Transformers, but not in an action movie, but where humourous parents should be, in low budget teen movies.

Easy A takes an interesting slant on the school slut issue, with Olive pretending to sleep with socially challenged guys to they can get some street cred. But that’s about as creative as it gets. Loosely based on the novel The Scarlett Letter, about a young adulterer who was ostracized (they claimed it was inspired by, but the word inspired implies too much creativity for my liking). But this isn’t always a bad thing, it makes it a very easy movie to watch (pun not intended).

Olive’s love interest got a surprisingly small part. Woodchuck Todd (Penn Badgley) was the school mascot and is mostly known for his role in Gossip Girl. Penn is dangerously close to being type cast as the “lonely boy”; in Easy A it was as if the director told him to just pretend like he was Dan Humphrey.

Also notably absent from this low budget teen film was the crude language. It was claimed that initially there were 47 instances where the word “fuck” appeared in the script, all of which were cut from the final film. And their inclusion is about all the directors cut of the dvd will probably have going for it.

In the end, Easy A doesn’t try to be anything but what it is; a low budget teen movie chick flick. And it does that quite well. Perfect for those whose brain hurt after recently seeing Inception. Also if you like big moments from 80s movies, the last 30 seconds of Easy A is dedicated to you. Recommended for those who don’t like thinking, like chick flicks, like drama that a high school kid could understand, never got laid and is now looking for a genius plan to gain some street cred or simply want to earn some brownie points with the girlfriend without too much pain and even a couple of laughs.

Easy A missed the cut for an A by a couple of marks, but it certainly got an easy B.

September 19, 2010 / Darrell

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Movie Review

Walking into The Sorcerer’s Apprentice I thought it could go one of two ways: it could be one of those super awesome films that I’m not ashamed to walk into the cinema to see even though the average age of the audience was 12, or it could be the exact opposite, one of those childrens films that are so bad that not even Dennis Ferguson would bother sitting through even though the average age of the audience was 12. Much to my surprise, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice turned out to be neither.

In a nutshell, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a film for 12 year old boys, written by slightly older, lamer, balding 12 year old boys, at heart (that is how I imagine Disney film writers to look like). Combine every childrens movie basic plot line, the sickly sweetness of Disney and 150 million dollar special effects budget, and you have The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. But to be fair the simple to follow, aesthetically pleasing movie was quite enjoyable.

It follows every second boys dream come true, with Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel) a rather nerdy kid turning out to be the chosen one. His mentor, Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage), teaching him magic and life lessons so that Dave can form an identity for himself, get the girl and save the entire world, without ever leaving New York.

Like every film produced nowadays (perhaps except for porn) there was a love interest. In Disney style, it was fairytale love from the very beginning, with all the main characters loving someone. Also in tame Disney style the ultimate show of affection was a two second kiss and the deepest line to describe a thousand year long romance was “I fell for her.” In short it felt like more of a necessity rather than an actual part of the story line.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice packed almost as many popculture references as Epic Movie, with everything from “these are not the droids you are looking for” to Magic The Gathering. And some less popular references for the literary literate who have read the original poem entitled The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with an entire ten minute scene of mops and water gone mad.

On a personal note, I particular didn’t like the attempted rationalisation of how magic is real. Vibrations of particles doesn’t exactly explain why they can throw lightning bolts, create dragons or do whatever else Disney spent 150 million on. It would have been more enjoyable for them to just say that magic exists in this world.

The pacing felt a little bit odd. The intro didn’t build up anything at all and felt rushed. The end was anticlimatic with the ultimate evil, Morgana le Fay (Alice Krige) being defeated in a two minute Dragon Ball Z esque energy ball battle. However, if you’re 12 years old, like the target audience, I doubt you’ll care.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice turned out to be a slightly cooler than the average kids film. I’d recommend it for the young, and young at heart (and possibly mind). Definitely not a thinking film, but look past the lame justification of magic and just enjoy what 150 million dollars looks like when turned into CGI. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is no National Treasure, it’s worth at least the ten dollars it will cost you to see it.

P.S. To all the mothers out there who were hoping for 2 hours of Nicolas Cage eye candy, don’t bother. Unless you like the scraggy hair look in a long dirty coat.

September 18, 2010 / Guest Contributions

‘Trier’ Little Harder: A Review of Lars Von Trier’s ‘AntiChrist.’

How many of you, as pubescent teenagers, took your girlfriend or a female relationship prospect to a horror film, just so that they would get within a very close proximity of your penis?  Not me, mainly because no woman could ever justify being within a one kilometre radius of my presence – but I’m sure most of my readership have (and perhaps continue to do so under strenuous circumstances).  If you are one of these people, then perhaps ‘Antichrist,’ a movie by self proclaimed “world’s greatest director” Lars Von Trier, is right up your alley.  Not only does it provide amble doses of violence and horror, but it also provides the viewers with enough information about human reproductive anatomy that would make a pornographic film look like an episode of ‘Blue’s Clues.’  But really, what else would you expect from an ‘Arthouse’ picture?

The film starts off with a rousing rendition of Georg Friedrich Händel’s beautiful aria, Lascia ch’io pianga from Rinaldo.  Immediately you are presented with black and white scenes of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg in passionate embrace.  These scenes are shot with the kind of slow motion camera you see being used in sports coverage around the world.  In fact, it feels like Lars Von Trier turned on Channel Nine’s telecast of the cricket one day, and saw them use the slow motion cameras played to classical music and thought, ‘heck, that sounds like a bang up idea for my next film!’  The only thing is, it’s a little difficult to tell whether they are having sex from the shots we are seeing.  So next, Lars Von Trier decides to add to the vast array of subtleties by inserting a close up, hardcore insert, of a penis entering a woman’s vagina.  It is these kinds of shots that truly dictate his proclamation of being the greatest director in the world.  Glad he cleared that up confusion.   Next we see their child fall out of a window, and this triggers Willem Dafoe’s character to take Charlotte Gainbourg’s character to a forest area called ‘Eden’ to face her fears.

Isn't Eden beautiful?

The reason why I say Willem Dafoe’s character is because we never learn any of the character’s names.  They are simply referred to as ‘He’ and ‘She’ to add some eerie mystery to make up for the film’s excruciatingly slow pace.  It is in these typical arthouse techniques that really makes ‘Antichrist’ a movie so obnoxious that it can (amazingly) actively compete with its directors inflated ego.  There’s even a scene where a self-mutilating prophetic fox warns Willem Dafoe that ‘Chaos Reigns’ and you are not even expected to laugh.  That isn’t to say I didn’t laugh at all during this one hour forty-five minute snore fest, that makes going to the dentist for root canal surgery feel like a privilege.  There is a memorable scene featuring Willem Dafoe laying into a crow which I found darkly amusing, and for that scene alone I’m giving it 23 points.

I’m going to come out and say, subjectively, that I did not enjoy this movie as much as I would have expected.  Lars Von Trier really creates an eerie atmosphere out of ‘Eden,’ the acting is beyond outstanding and engaging.  The underlying philosophical elements behind each character’s convictions is well thought out and detailed, but is hardly explained in a manner that could capture the audience’s imagination.  This is not unlike how a three year old child converses with others – expecting the listener to have a prior understanding of what is inside the child’s head while they are telling the story.  Instead, Lars Von Trier seems to be attempting feverishly to shock the audience with gratuitous extreme close up scenes of genital mutilation.  On one spectrum, we have the director trying desperately throughout the film to evoke atmospheric and subtle plot and character developments, whilst on the other, inserting obvious unsettling close up scenes of a penis (that was previously crushed) being stimulated until it ejaculates blood, among other favourites.  It almost seems like the director cannot stand by the quality of the film his making, instead trying to generate controversy to attain media coverage and attention.  This has been confirmed with Lars Von Trier’s inability to justify to an angry Cannes press conference why he made the film in the first place.

What I find more engaging than the film itself, is how the prominent defenders of the arthouse community attempt to justify the meaningless violence and sexual exploitation that is present in ‘Antichrist.’  At what point does a movie stray from the confinement of exploitation to pornographic?  There is more nudity in this film than some pornographic adventures (most of the film features the two main actors completely derobed).  One has got to question how hygienic their genitals are after their escapades in the forest without properly showering afterward (thankfully, it doesn’t really matter in the end because their genitals end up mangled anyway).  Explicit scenes of a woman masturbating viciously in a forest strike me as something from a terrible pornographic rip-off of Pocahontas or The Jungle Book, not a mainstream movie.

The people that call this movie a ‘horror’ filmmaking are only half correct.  It is more suited to ‘horrible’ filmmaking.  An inconsistent display of polar opposites regarding what the director is aiming to achieve with his film – is it atmospheric or unsettling horror like The Ring, or is it more, in your face, over the top violence like the Saw or Hostel franchise that he is trying to achieve?  Such inconsistencies mar what could have been one of the most disturbingly eerie horror films of the decade.  Instead, by film’s end, a haphazard plot and shot selection usher in millions of weary eyed viewers asking, “what is the point?”  And I couldn’t agree more.

Score: 77/173.

September 14, 2010 / Darrell

Social Psychology’s Guide to Avoiding or Aborting Conversations with People Running for Union Elections.

Are you sick of hearing “Fresh we can” or “more Change in your pocket”? With the union election happening this week, there are increasing numbers of campaigners out for their respective parties. And they all seem to have several misconceptions.

  1. That I would love to stop and have a chat to them about their promises.
  2. That I would love to take one of their flyers.
  3. That I would love to take another flyer, even though they saw me take one from another person from their party 2 meters to the left of them.
  4. That I care.
  5. That their flyers are a good use of trees.
  6. That I would love to take and read one of their flyers rather than a flyer from the competing party that I just got.
  7. That I spend enough time at uni to want a boost juice.
  8. That I want another flyer.
  9. That I like Grill’d enough to bother to vote.
  10. That I think the subway they put in was the awesomest thing in the whole freakin universe (sidenote: they should learn to bake bread properly).
  11. That I want another flyer.

So for those of you who are well informed and know who you’re going to vote for anyway, or simply don’t care, i have compiled a list of techniques to avoid conversations, or make the other person feel so uncomfortable that they will end the conversation with great haste.

To avoid a conversation all together:

  1. Lower your eyes to the ground while walking quickly. Looking at the ground is also a great way at being adaptive, so you’ll be making Darwin proud too.
  2. Fill your hands up, with anything from library books, to food, to coffee, their competitors flyers.
  3. Pretend you’re campaigning yourself for a party they’ve never heard of. They’ll then perceive you as one of the “outgroup”, hence they automatically hate you. I hear the socialist alternative alternative is running this year.
  4. Walk past them with the angriest scowling face you can possibly muster.

Or, if they fail to pick up on your hints that you don’t want a conversation and they start one anyway, here are some other tips to make them feel awkward and hopefully end the conversation faster than cheetahs hunt down their prey.

  1. Stand less than a foot away from them. If they step back, keep stepping forward. People feel very uncomfortable when you invade their personal space.
  2. Look just over their shoulder or at your feet when they are talking to you. Typically a listener should be looking at the speaker about 90% of the time. When it is less than 90% it is a nonverbal signal that they should stop speaking.
  3. If you make eye contact with them, try and keep it going for longer than 3 seconds. Any longer than that and they will start to feel really really uncomfortable.
  4. If in the rare event they let you get a word in, look at their eyes the entire time you speak to them. It’s quite creepy.
  5. When you speak put your hand over your mouth.
  6. Touch can be awkward. Inappropriate touch isn’t advised, as while you end the conversation quickly (in some cases not) you will probably get hurt. But if you are bold enough, see Figure 15.7 (below) for where strangers find it unpleasant to be touched.

Well I think that is enough tips to make your next encounter with election campaigners briefer, and more awkward than a flight of the conchords episode.

Happy voting (or not voting).

July 21, 2010 / Darrell

How To Buy A Mac At The Apple Retail Store.

The Apple Retail Store. A physical manifestation of the Apple Online Store, with a couple of drawbacks. Apple’s marketing team would have you believe that it is just as easy to buy Apple products from the Retail Store as the Online store. I’d have you believe otherwise.

After multiple purchases from the Apple Retail Store, I’ve decided to compile a guide for the easiest way to buy a Mac from the Apple Retail Store.

Step 1.

Go to your nearest Apple Retail Store, which in most cases at least a 20 minute drive. Note: this is about 40 times longer than it takes for your computer to start up.

Step 2.

Stand around in the store looking like you’re ready to buy something. Loiter around your product of choice while frequently looking up and making brief eye contact with the countless Apple sales people floating around the store.

Step 3.

Watch the sales people glance at you, then decide annoy/help someone else, whose business they haven’t secured yet.

Step 4.

Stand in the seemingly endless line for the one cash register that is open. There are countless other registers that are closed because there are countless other sales people trying to convince countless angsty teenagers to buy iPads.

Step 5.

Have the single sales person at the cash register tell you that they are currently out of stock.

Step 6.

Drive home and buy your Mac from the Apple Online Store.

Step 7.

Write a disgruntled blog entry about how crappy the service was at the Apple Retail Store, and use the Mac you bought to publish it.

Another little observation I made while wasting my life in the Apple Store. Types of people who play with iPads in the store.

  • 40 year old, self employed, overweight, Apple fanboys.
  • Angsty teenagers wearing beanies and flannelet shirts.
  • 8 year olds with rich parents.
  • 8 year olds with poor parents.
  • And bogans trying to update their facebook status to say that they’re on an iPad.