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  • fuwalda says:

    I have never seen this commercial.

    Remember when Dominoes had those commercials earlier this year where they said that they completely changed their recipe? That was weird, right? Did that work? Is their pizza better?

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    I guess the one I’m talking about is also Dominoes. I believe it’s all part of that same campaign where they try to dispel the negative associations people have with fast food pizza. I mean, I haven’t had Dominoes in…well, maybe I’ve never had Dominoes. The point is, I can’t speak to the quality. If I want pizza, I’ll just buy a frozen Freschetta or DiGiorno, or even the Wal-Mart brand for about $5. Frankly, the only time I buy fresh-made pizza anymore is when I travel home to Long Island.

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Real Tomatoes?

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Imaginary People

I get attached to the imaginary characters I create in online roleplaying games–I admit it. The better the character creation tool, the more I get attached to the characters. So I’m pretty excited about the upcoming revamp of the character creation tool in EVE Online.

Avatars in EVE have always been a second thought in that game, since all they amount to is a profile graphic for your character sheet or for somebody else to see when they check your profile info. But at some point in the future, CCP are finally going to release an expansion to the game that allows characters to leave their ships, so they’ve worked up a new avatar system that goes live in January. I’ve been playing around with it on the test server, and the results are pretty incredible. Check ’em out.

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  • fuwalda says:

    Oh man. Now you’re just baiting me. You knew I couldn’t resist a blog post on Mr. Arkadin. Between the two of us, we’ve probably owned every version of this film that has been commercially released in the US. And I’m not sure why, since it’s pretty much unwatchable. For some reason, though, I keep coming back to it, thinking that each new version is somehow going to make sense.

    I mean, if this movie made sense, it would be a masterpiece, since it’s really fascinating, has an interesting story, and an amazing performance by Welles. Every scene he’s in is incredible. That scene where he tells the story about the scorpion and the frog (or whatever) is one of my favorite scenes in movie history. But… I dunno, man. It just makes no sense, and it doesn’t help that even the version with the improved audio and video transfer is still impossible to hear in most places.

    I like the movie, but only watch it if you are an absolute Welles fanatic (like we are).

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    Mr. Arkadin is the sort of film that isn’t quite as good as the sum of its parts–individual scenes illustrate Welles’s genius–but I don’t think it’s a disaster either.

    Yes, most of the dialogue was rerecorded…poorly…often with totally different words. Yes, the lead actor gives a somewhat one-note performance (though I think Robert Arden gets a worse wrap than he deserves). Yes, the mystery of the plane without a pilot isn’t really a great hook. And yes, there are some script problems, like van Stratten so quickly buying into Arkadin’s cock and bull story about amnesia.

    That said, I think the film does make sense if you pay attention. We had to pause the film about a dozen times along the way, but my wife still found it to be interesting, and this is a woman who says about Citizen Kane, “All I remember is the sled.”

    I don’t know…I think Mr. Arkadin has a lot of the hallmarks of a great film. If the production had been Hollywood caliber and if Welles had somebody to rein him in, like he had Mankiewicz on Kane, this film might have fared better.

  • fuwalda says:

    As soon as this dumb Christmas marathon of mine is done, I’m gonna have to do an Orson Welles marathon.

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Mr. Arkadin

I discovered by chance on Friday that the library owns a copy of the Criterion Collection edition of the Orson Welles film Mr. Arkadin. There’s a strange story (or possibly not so strange given that Orson Welles was involved) behind this film that I knew a little about, but not much. In short, Orson Welles never completed a cut of the film. At some point in the editing process, the film was taken away from him for the purpose of expediency and released in a form that Welles never authorized.

This is especially problematic, because Welles filmed the story in such a way that he would essentially be the only one who would know exactly how it was meant to be put together. For example, the framing sequence, itself, which ties it all together, was kind of a last minute change that–if I’m recalling correctly–isn’t reflected in the original treatment (or script?). Anyway, it’s all explained in the bonus materials within this set if you’re curious.

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  • fuwalda says:

    I thought T Salvation was the bomb… at least as far as action movies go. It looked great, had a decent enough story, and had a few action set pieces that were off the hook. It’s no T2, but it was better than T3 or that shitty TV show. I know a lot of people love that show, but it sucked.

    Public Enemies caught my attention when it first came out. It had a decent cast, a good director, and it was all about Dillinger. Then it came out and everybody hated it. So I forgot about it. Also, when I said it had a good director just now, for some reason I was thinking about Ridley Scott, but then I remember that it was actually Michael Mann, who I hate. That was probably another reason why I skipped it.

    Did they talk about how John Dillinger has a supernaturally long dong?

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    I tried to watch the Terminator TV Series, but it never sparked with me. I never saw an episode that I thought was great or even particularly interesting. That said, I probably only saw three episodes, and I half-watched them at that (because they weren’t engaging).

    Public Enemies wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was just…nothing. Though maybe it was bad, I don’t know.

    They didn’t mention anything about his dong being long, but I’m pretty sure he did mention something about his penis at some point.

  • fuwalda says:

    They should’ve just made Boogie Nights, only about John Dillinger. They could keep talking about his huge penis, and then, at the very end, there would be a title card that said, “70 years later at the Smithsonian.” Then a curator or whatever would open up a box and pull out Dillinger’s monster dong.

    Now THAT’S a film!

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    That would have been a better movie.

  • Anna says:

    christian bale may not be interesting, but in terms of sheer aesthetics, I’m pretty sure he’s at least 75% responsible for my last 2 kids’ existence. HAAAAAAWT!!!

    MONSTER DONG? nice.

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    ha! I’m glad I’m not your husband right now.

    I’ve got nothing against Bale, really. I liked him a lot in American Psycho. But beyond that, he has played such uncharismatic parts.

  • Anna says:

    yes, he is kind of void-ish in everything after AP.

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Article

Christian Bale Weekend

Some day Christian Bale is going to make a movie in which he actually gets to be interesting.

Unintentionally, I caught a couple of his films this weekend. The first, Public Enemies, which was really more of a starring vehicle for Johnny Depp. To this film I give a great big, “meh”. Granted, it’s almost impossible to watch a movie when my two-month-old daughter is awake and frequently hungry–if not for food than for attention–but just the same, “meh”. There really isn’t anything to say about it. It’s no Untouchables.

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  • fuwalda says:

    This was an epic blog post.

    And that movie just seemed dumb to me. Too high concept. And a concept that makes no sense at that. But I’m sure Gervais was funny. He always is.

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    heh. Well, lately I’ve got the patience for about one post a week, so I’ve got to get everything out at once.

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Tax Cuts, Ricky Gervais, and DCU Online

Nevada is in bad shape economically–as is most of the nation, but Nevada is as bad if not worse than anywhere. A couple of years ago, all untenured employees at the university where I work were asked to take a pay cut for the next two years. The understanding is that, hopefully, in fiscal year 2011 our salaries will bounce back to their original figures (though God only knows, really).

Because of the dire economic conditions, we all took one for the team–I mean, what can you do? That said, if my salary returns to where it should be next July, I’d be insulted as hell if the administration attempted to make it out to be a raise, wouldn’t you?

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  • I stay away from Eve and MMO’s in general, not because I think they are bad, but because I know I’ll get drawn in and neglect all the other games I’ve been meaning to play but never got around to, i.e. Fable 1&2, Mass Effect 2, Oblivion, Fallout 1 & 2…

    Sigh…

    There should be a cruise ship for video gamers, or something, so when we get old and retire, we can catch up on all are gaming.

    Well, wait a sec. That sounds kind of depressing. Nevermind. lol

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    It’s true–I haven’t done much console gaming at all in the past couple of years, during which time I’ve been alternating between EVE and Age of Conan or nothing. The last game I purchased was Batman: Arkham Asylum. That was almost a year ago and though it’s a great game, I’m probably only half way through it.

    I do like EVE, though, because if you don’t want to deal with anything stressful, there are plenty of things you can do in game that don’t require a lot of your mental energy. Hell, you could probably just do courier contracts with your ship on autopilot as long as you avoid dangerous star systems.

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EVE

I’ve been screwing around with EVE Online here and there for almost a couple of years now. My progress has been pretty pathetic, since I tend to play for only a few weeks at a time before letting my subscription lapse, then coming back a few months later to accomplish just as little as I did last time. Rinse and repeat at irregular intervals as I get bored with other games. But recently, they offered a free five days to check out the state of the game, along with a reduced price two-month plan, so I went ahead and reactivated my subscription. And that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing with myself for the past week and a half.

Despite my lack of commitment in general, I’m just going to put this out there: EVE Online is a fantasic game, and the developers (CCP) are probably (in my experience) the best of any MMO developer for the level of really genius thought they put into the game systems and, in particular, the ridiculously complex economy. There’s so much to do in this game, that it’s truly unlike any other MMORPG that I’ve ever played. Upon any given log in, I could, for example:

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