Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PCP - I Finally Watched The Thing

Thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA for another hit of PCP.  I'm now 20% complete on my list of 15 movies I was embarrassed to have never seen.  John Carpenter's The Thing was the film that inspired my post in the first place, so I'm glad to say I was finally able to watch it.  I had seen the recent prequel first (review in this post here) but had never seen the original film.  I've now seen the original and I am glad that I did.  As with any review of an older film (this one is 30 years old) there will be some minor spoilers in my review.  So, in honor of today being Halloween, I give you my review of The Thing.

The Thing - 1982, rated R.  109 minutes.  Starring:  Kurt Russell, Wilford "Diabeetus" Brimley, & Keith David.  Directed by John Carpenter.  My rating at the end of the post.

The Thing is considered by many to be a horror classic.  It is the story of an outpost in Antarctica that has been infiltrated by a shapeshifting alien.  The alien is able to infect others and assume their form, so a lot of the horror and tension is in trying to figure out who is still human and who has been taken over.

John Carpenter is a master of horror films (he also directed the original Halloween, among others) and The Thing definitely stands heads and shoulders above the majority of his film work.  The tension is so thick it can be cut with a knife, and the suspense will leave you on the edge of your seat.  He does a great job with the limitations of the special effects of the 1980s as well, having some horrors happen off screen or in shadow so they are more in your imagination than on the screen, which can often be far more powerful and terrifying.

Read the rest of the review after the jump -->

Thursday, October 25, 2012

PCP on TV - Making another DVR cut

Just like I took an axe to the Mob Doctor from my DVR, I have made a second cut of a show from my schedule.  The CW's Beauty and the Beast is no longer getting recorded.  I had been meh on the show from the start, and only was planning on watching it because my wife seemed interested.  It turns out she wasn't as interested as I thought, so we have cut the show from our DVR.  Based on the reviews it's been getting from professional critics, I'm sure I did the right thing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PCP on DVD - A Dangerous Method

My wife and I are both psychology majors, so films that have anything to do with psychology are especially interesting to us.  In some cases, we watch those films to laugh at just how poorly they portray psychology or psychotherapy.  In the case of this movie, it was to learn a bit about the roots of modern psychology, as the main characters in this film were the pioneers of psychology - Jung & Freud.

A Dangerous Method - 2011, rated R.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

A Dangerous Method was a fascinating look at the origins of modern psychotherapy and the rivalry between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), the fathers of the science.  It also revolves around their interactions with a patient turned mistress turned colleague Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), also a real person.  This biopic was extremely well acted and very interesting, at least to a person who has studied psychology.  I have a feeling that for those that have no interest in the history of the science, this film will bore them to tears.  Aside from the great acting on the screen, there isn't a whole lot happening in this film.  Considering the science was known at the time as "the talking cure," it is no surprise that this film is all dialogue, the occasional sex scene, and not much else.  It was a fascinating film though on a subject that I have an interest in, so I did like the movie.  If you're not into psychology or history however, you can probably take a pass on this film.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PCP on DVD - Shame

Sometimes I want to see a film to see just what all of the fuss is about.  Shame is one of those movies. 

Shame - 2011, rated NC-17.  My rating:  9 out of 10.

Shame received a lot of controversy when it was released as an NC-17 film last year.  It is the story of a sex addict played by Michael Fassbender and his codependent sister played by Carey Mulligan.  It is a harsh look at what the reality is of sex addiction; it is not the fun thing that people imagine it to be but instead it actually sucks.  The film is stark and blunt, as well as graphic.  Definitely earns its NC-17 a few moments into the film when we see plenty of full frontal from Fassbender (which resulted in plenty of jokes at award ceremonies from the likes of George Clooney), and later in the film plenty of sex and drugs as well.

The performances from Fassbender and Mulligan are terrific and powerful.  Their performances are some of the best I've ever seen committed to film.  Fassbender's increasing slide from functionality is very well portrayed, and Mulligan's core sadness is deeply moving and heartbreaking.  The film was snubbed by the Oscars, but it raked in a number of other awards from various organizations that are well deserved.

All in all this is a powerful, haunting film that I am glad I watched.  However, it is not the type of film you can watch more than once.  It is a great example of what sex addiction is really like however, so from a psychology standpoint the film makes a powerful teaching example.  If you see this film, prepare for your night to be rather ruined though, as it is bleak and haunting and it is a bit of a buzzkill.  Films that deal with subject matter as dark as this though do tend to be a bit of a downer.  It's still a great film though, and as I said the acting is outstanding, some of the most fearless performances that I have ever seen.

Monday, October 15, 2012

POS - My stance on gay marriage

I'm really tired of gay marriage being an issue in this country.  We seriously have so many far more important things to focus on right now with this country, things that will have ramifications for generations such as the economy, healthcare, the environment, or many other subjects.  Gay marriage should be so far down on our nation's list of priorities, but it seems like it keeps coming back up in election after election.

Here is my stance on gay marriage:  Who cares?

Seriously, if two consenting adults that love each other want to make a commitment to each other, why is it my business or anyone else's business that they want to do so?  I find it a little ironic that the political party most opposed to the institution of gay marriage, the GOP, also advocates shrinking the size and scope of the government.  Yet they want to keep the scope of the government large enough to be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults.  Seems a little bit hypocritical to me.

But anyways, I am not opposed to gay marriage for one simple reason - I am opposed to all forms of discrimination.  I myself am a part of a heterosexual interracial marriage, a marriage that would have been illegal in some parts of the U.S. less than half a century ago.  Who am I to deny the right to marry to someone else? A right that I wouldn't have had if I had been born a half century earlier instead of the 1980s.

But wait, what about the sanctity of marriage?  Gay marriage will ruin that!  My response to that:  bullcrap.  You know what has ruined the sanctity of marriage?  No-fault divorces, shortlived celebrity marriages (Kim Kardashian's 72 days, Britney Spears' 55 hours, I'm looking at you!), and drive-through wedding chapels in places like Las Vegas.  Seriously, if you can get married without getting out of your car, then the sanctity of marriage was already irrevocably damaged long before homosexuals began being allowed to marry in some states.

There is absolutely no reason why homosexuals should continue to be denied the exact same rights as heterosexuals, such as the tax breaks for married couples, visitation rights in hospitals when your partner is dying, and countless more things that gay couples are denied now.  The Declaration of Independence calls for us to have the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Any law restricts someone's pursuit of happiness is in violation of the core ideals of our nation.  That is why the anti-gay marriage lobby is pushing for a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage.  It is because deep down they know that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will rule that if they ever decide to take up a gay marriage case (which some day they will).

Also, think of the economic boom if gays are allowed to marry.  You just know their weddings will be fabulous!  Think of the economic stimulus!  Legalizing gay marriages will be a direct shot in the arm to the economy, yet another reason in this crappy economy to go ahead and legalize them now.

Bottom line, there is absolutely no reason that two consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to marry.  The state governments should be issuing them marriage licenses just like two heterosexual people can receive now.  If religions don't want to perform the ceremonies, then fine, they can have a civil ceremony or have their ceremony performed by a friend of theirs.  It's not like you can't become an ordained minister online anyways.  I just want this to become legalized so it will go away and stop being a political issue, so we can get back to focusing on what really matters in this country.

Friday, October 12, 2012

PCP - Top 50 films of the 90s?

So the good folks at the A.V. Club ( have compiled a list of what they feel the best 50 films of the 90s are.  It can be found in 3 parts with descriptions and breakdowns of the films at these links:  50-31; 30-11; 10-1

Unless you want to read their analysis (which I do recommend) if you don't follow those links, here's their Top 50:

50.  Dead Man     49.  American Movie     48.  Ed Wood     47.  Starship Troopers     46.  Heavenly Creatures     45.  The Limey     44.  Metropolitan     43.  Terminator 2:  Judgment Day     42.  All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre)     41.  Raise the Red Lantern     40.  Trainspotting     39.  The Blair Witch Project     38.  Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control     37.  Glengarry Glen Ross     36.  L.A. Confidential     35.  Naked     34.  Seven     33.  The Matrix     32.  Close-Up     31.  Paradise Lost:  The Child Murders at Robin Hills     30.  The Thin Red Line     29.  Irma Vep     28.  Election     27.  Short Cuts     26.  Eyes Wide Shut     25.  Fight Club     24.  Crumb     23.  Carlito’s Way     22.  The Sweet Hereafter     21.  Fargo     20.  Red     19.  Exotica     18.  Schindler’s List     17.  Safe     16.  The Big Lebowski     15.  Groundhog Day     14.  Hoop Dreams     13.  Boogie Nights     12.  Miller’s Crossing     11.  Barton Fink     10.  Being John Malkovich     9.  Rushmore     8.  Unforgiven     7.  Reservoir Dogs     6.  Out of Sight     5.  Chungking Express     4.  Dazed & Confused     3.  Toy Story 2     2.  Pulp Fiction     1.  Goodfellas

The list has a bunch of documentaries on it and some foreign films, but there were also some notable films that I can't believe they left out of the list.  I have no clue how they neglected to include these 10 films:
Saving Private Ryan, The Usual Suspects, The Silence of the Lambs, The Shawshank Redemption, Apollo 13, Braveheart, Good Will Hunting, American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, and A Few Good Men.  As far as I am concerned, their list is complete BS without several of these films, but most especially The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, & Saving Private Ryan.  What do you think?  Are there other films that you think they dropped the ball on by omitting from the list?  Are there any others from the 90s that I forgot in my 10 additions?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PCP on TV - Made in Jersey is cancelled

I hope anyone isn't saddened by this news.  CBS's Made in Jersey gets the dubious honor of being the first show in the 2012-2013 TV season to get the axe from a network, as per an announcement from CBS today.  I don't watch the show so I don't have to cut it from my DVR (as you'd know if you read my fall TV preview) and based on it's extremely low ratings, no one else was watching it either.  And the Friday shows for the CW hadn't even made their debuts yet.  CBS decided to pull this one before the CW had its premieres and started beating it in the ratings apparently.   For more on the cancellation click here.

PCP on the Page - The Gods of Gotham

The Gods of Gotham is another book I picked up on a whim from my local library.  What caught my attention was the quote on the cover from an author I like, Michael Connelly, so I decided to give the book a shot.

The Gods of Gotham is set in the early 1840s in New York City, a time of incredible social pressure and massive unrest in the city.  Think the time period of the opening of the flick Gangs of New York, where there is massive violence and rage between the nativist Protestants and the newly arrived Irish Catholics that bubbles from time to time into all-out open warfare.  A new police force has just been founded, and the protagonist of the book, Timothy Wilde, is a member of the newly formed "copper stars." 

Wilde is investigating a series of murders of young children that has ties to the massive immigration of recent Irish to the city during the 1840s Potato Famine.  He's a noble hero and a pretty good cop considering he's just been on the job for a few weeks. 

For a relatively new author (GoG is only the 2nd novel from author Lyndsay Faye, she doesn't even have her own Wikipedia page yet) the book is actually incredibly well written, and it has the potential to be the start of a new series.  It is extremely well researched, especially the language and customs of the 1840s, and the book does an incredible job of transporting you back 170 years in time.  I don't want to spoil the twists and turns the book takes since it is a mystery novel, but I do encourage you to check this one out.  It is a pretty good book and I look forward to reading more from Lyndsay Faye in the future.  She's definitely an author I'll have to keep tabs on, I'll probably have to add her to my favorite authors list.  If you've read the book, let me know what you think in the comments!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

PCP on TV - My First DVR Casualty of the Fall

As you may know if you read my fall TV preview, my wife and I watch a lot of TV, and we added 9 new shows to the DVR for this television season.  Well, we are making the first cut from those shows.  Fox's The Mob Doctor is getting whacked from my DVR.  I said on my preview post that I was only "meh" on this show.  I only gave it a shot because I liked the cast, a lot.  As much as I like the actors involved in this show though, I feel that the show has come to the emergency room dead on arrival.  It seems that I'm not the only one that thinks this about the show, as it is not doing well in the ratings.  Don't be surprised if this doesn't get renewed, right now it is pulling well below Alcatraz and Terra Nova were last year.  I've decided to be preemptive and just cut it from my DVR now, so I can spend more time watching shows and movies that I actually enjoy.

As to the other new shows, I'm still waiting on the premieres of 3 of them (Nashville and Arrow debut 10/10, Beauty & the Beast 10/11), but of the ones I've seen, I'm enjoying them so far.  666 Park Avenue has potential but is struggling a bit in the ratings, so we'll see how that goes.  Elementary is pretty good so far.  Go On and Guys with Kids have me laughing quite a bit (and Go On already had its first season extended to a full season order, so NBC seems to be happy with that one).  Dallas doesn't return until January.

I'll do more posts on the fall TV season as it continues on, but thanks for dropping by today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

POS - Expel the Electoral College

As I mentioned in my last political post, I had a rant coming to the blog about the Electoral College.  For all the things I find aggravating about our political system here in the States, I think the thing I hate the most is the electoral college.  It is an extremely archaic, outdated method of determining the Presidency.  It was developed over 200 years ago during the formation of the Constitution, in an era when rapidly tabulating an accurate vote count for the Presidency and then conveying that information to the officials of our nation was an extremely laborious and time consuming process.  It was also added in as an additional way for keeping the vote out of the hands that didn't deserve it, i.e. the people, and instead keeping control more tightly in the hands of the selected few.  Also, the solution of the Electoral Compromise was a way of getting around the issue of slavery and voting in the South when it came to having a direct vote by the people.

The effect of the Electoral College is very similar to the way that U.S. Senators were elected until the government realized that it was a stupid idea for electing Senators (appointment by your state's congress) in 1913, when the government passed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing for direct election of Senators.

Read the rest after the jump -->