Review of “Signs”

Review of “Signs”

I got a bunch (possibly bunches) of e-mails after I wrote my review of The Ring telling me I should see Signs. Like with the lights out in the complete silence, in the basement if possible, blah blah blah. It then dawned on me that I hadn’t told everybody that I know how I felt about the film. So here is ver batem (whatever that really means) the message I sent to Terry:

> > >

Of course I saw Signs. I gave M. Night Shalayaman’s first two films (well, first two well-known ones) a collective 21 bugs out of 20. That’s a lot of love for the man. So I went out and saw Signs on opening night. Mind you, I have reasonably high expectations for the guy since I loved his last two films. And of course with all of them, there’s gotta be a twist to the ending or it’s just not an M calliber movie (I’m on a first name basis). And in this flick, the ending sucked. I was more dissappointed in a movie than I have been in a very long time. I was willing to overlook the fact that these highly developed creatures, capable of creating vehicles to travel light years away, could not open wooden unlocked doors. But when I found out that they were deathly allergic to… wait, where have I heard this before… water!!!, I was pissed! Very angry at the man. Did these aliens not do their research? I would think the first thing any alien would know about our planet is that it’s close to 3/4 water. And the life forms on it are 2/3 water. (On another note, if I was the Wicked Witch of the West and I knew there was a substance that could, oh, say… melt me, I wouldn’t leave a bucket of it just lying around on a wall somewhere. Like I don’t leave buckets if battery acid just sitting on my desk at work.) And the fact that the whole thing was about Mel’s faith being lost and then found again was a great way to play it. I’ve seen this trend in his other stuff (including a little known film called Wide Awake with Dennis Leary and Rosie O’Donnell, and of course several child actors – and by the way, there’s a reason you never heard of it). Anyway, I liked that particular concept… but my problem was with a very specific, yet extremely important part of the climax of the film. Mel’s wife was trapped between the car and the tree and given one last chance to talk to Mel (great thought, I’ve never seen that before). “Swing away.” Now I understand that it needed to be something trivial to get the whole loss of religion part across to Mel (we’re also on a first name basis), but “swing away?” And then Wakeem (I refuse to spell his name correctly) beats the alien with a bat? That’s it? I would have even been able to overlook the water thing and the fact that this climax came after the world was already saved from mass extinction of the human race (it’s kinda hard to have a second climax after that) if it was something better than Swing Away. Like, just off the top of my head, if instead of “swing away,” she said “get motor oil” or something like that, I would have been happier. But Wakeem beat the alien to death with a bat. Just stupid and anti-climactic. OK, the motor oil thing woulda been too, but I think if he took another week to fine tune the script a bit, he coulda come up with something. But I did like the asthma saving the boy. That was a great touch. See!! It was so close to great, but I think he shot his load of good ideas on the asthma boy and alien gas and the wife dying pinned to the tree, not to mention the way he handled the crop circles being the landing patterns and how he dodged the fact that they were just pranks in real life. No more creativity left but to swing away and have the aliens die when subjected to fucking water. Maybe lemonade or shampoo or something. But that’s getting a little too close to Evolution, the epi-center of all horrible movies with good potential. So I would be torn if I had to rate the film because I went in with impecibly high standards and I did like most parts of it. But I was thoroughly dissappointed with the ending, which is what stuck with me. He also needs to convince himself not to act in his films anymore. It wasn’t so bad when he had one or two lines and he could kinda hide himself, but this was a really big and important part with a lot of dialog at the beginning of the turn of the movie. Oh well. I’ll still be looking forward to his next film, whatever it’s gonna be. This turned out to be a much longer e-mail than I ever planned to write, but I guess I needed to get it off my chest. Don’t feel the need to write a novel back to me. And avoid at all costs Evolution if you can.


> > >

I know I said I’d be torn, but I just hafta rate it someway. I’ll give it 7.5 bugs. It is better than most, but I’m still pissed at those few huge details that could have easily been avoided if he really cared about his film audience (boy, he’s really taking this personally).

This quote came from one of my deadbeat roomies over the summer. I was driving Colin to work, or maybe the bank or something (probably the gay bar again), and 95 had a sign up that said “NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN.” So I was prepared to get over a lane or jump a ramp or something. Well, all it was was a lot of orange barrels on the shoulder of the road, to which Colin started quickly pointing to and counting…

Quote Of the Day 1/31/03

“1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1… I think I got the pattern.”

-Colin Batneck Fergus

Oh, that math humor! (Dorks, both of them)

Breaking the patterns of chaos,

Little Big Fish.

Still Standing Right Here…

Bitching Back

Bitching Back

Well, one of the funnier parts of my job is watching the refs deal with the coaches on the sidelines of our UMBC basketball games. Some refs just put up with the harassment, some give technicals, and my favorites are the ones that talk back to the bitching coaches. Most of the reasons I never wanted to go any further in my refereeing career is because I thought you weren’t supposed to talk shit back to the coaches. But over the weekend, our women’s basketball coach asked why this ref wasn’t calling fouls in our favor, and the ref replied something to the effect of “Because you’re whining too much.” But I heard this quip word for word today. Their team went up for a shot and had it blocked, but then one of their players touched the ball after the block and it landed out of bounds, right in front of one of their guys who was being boxed out by one of our guys (everybody got that?). So anyway, the coach was bitching about the call and said to the ref…

Quote Of the Day 1/30/03

Coach: “Are you telling me that he didn’t push our guy?”
Ref: “I didn’t call it, so obviously, he did not push your guy.”

Now there’s a ref with some nuts!

Obviously, you’re not a golfer,

The Dude.

Still Standing Right Here…

Rating Actual Reasons Guys On Our Varsity Basketball Team Got Kicked Off the Team For

If you guys don’t normally read these, this might be a good one to break that tradition for…

Actual Reasons Guys On Our Varsity Basketball
Team Got Kicked Off the Team For

Now, to preserve the anonymity of the criminals/suspects/just plain idiots, I’ve decided to disguise their actual names. Though, since all of this was in the UMBC or county public police log, and since they aren’t around anymore to kick my ass, I don’t feel so bad (or scared).

Dong Yates – OK, some guy had his bike stolen from the RAC (UMBC’s gym) about two weeks ago and reported it stolen to the police and everything. He came into the gym yesterday and told me and Geoff that his bike was back outside and locked up. So we waited for the “perp” to unlock the bike to see who it was. And what do you know, it was Dong unlocking the bike after bball practice. So Geoff and the campus police asked him where he got it. His response was that the bike wasn’t originally locked up, so he thought that somebody was just “giving it away.” So he took it and put a lock on it, making it his own. And thought he could get away with it. New Yorkers are so dumb. B*

Reefer Mulligan – Well, all this guy was doing was smokin a doobie with one of his bball buds. They were smart enough not to bring it into the dorm too, and they were out in their car. Well, the police saw the smoke-filled car and started drawing closer. So Reefer and friend opened the door and took off. Not knowing that one of the cops had seen almost every game that season. Also, not figuring that the police would be able to trace the license plate back to him either. But you know about these guys from New York. B+

Issac Crook – So the chemistry department had one of their computers stolen. About 6 months later, out of the blue, their computer popped back online. So using the IP address and other networking crap I can’t do, they tracked it down to the dorm room, and sure enough – guess what was there? Yep. And this is a local boy. A-

Will Jerkin – OK. This one combines the ignorance it takes to be a crook, the meatheadedness it takes to be a bully, and some flat out audacity disguised as idiocy. So this really big guy (about 6’8″ or so) takes this cell phone from a girl he just met while he was out somewhere. Then she calls him on it when she realizes she’s missing it and he answers and offers to give it back. For $100. So she agrees to meet him at the designated meeting place. Only she shows up with cops. New Yorker #3 A+

Sam Grand – No left hand, doesn’t play D, never passes the ball. He just sucks. C-

* – It should be noted that Dong didn’t get kicked off the team for that,
but rather, he just sucked too. C+

Lauren and I were discussing some of the stupid rules of the NCAA a few days ago. There are books filled with all the specific recruiting violations, how often you can talk to someone and what you’re allowed to say, etc. Well, in a little twist of fate, it looked like she was going to be living with one of the guys on the baseball team. And now since Lauren works in the athletic dept, there are rules she had to make sure she doesn’t break…

Quote Of the Day 1/28/03

“No, I’m allowed to let him live with me, but I just can’t give him a ride to class.”


To which I replied “well, I’m allowed to have sex with all the girls on the volleyball team as long as I don’t get caught playing volleyball with them.” Not kidding. But one is much more likely than the other.

Shot clock violator,

Duckpin Dustin.

Still Standing Right Here…



You know, I remember a time in which retirement used to mean you were done, finished whatever it was you were doing. Hang up the gloves, collect the pension and go golfing everyday. You didn’t “come out of retirement,” you just thought long and hard about whether or not you should do it in the first place. Like Charles Barkley did publicly for like six or seven years in a row. That was all the retirement talk there was. But just a week ago, Bill Parcels came out of what I believe to be his third retirement to write his most recent edition of “My Last Season Ever.” This kind of crap was never heard of even as recently as ten years ago. That is up until His Airness decided to pull the jersey off the ceiling and give it another run because he was bored. Apparently, you’re not allowed to do that according to the NBA. They have rules. But he did. And then he went out and bought a whole team just so he could have the option of doing it again. And then he did it again. And so like so many other words (foul and travelling to name a couple), MJ redefined retirement.

Now onto Ray Lewis’ injury (a word I’ve redefined). I have a friend who works as an EMT and had to fill in for a friend at a Ravens game. He was on the sideline with his two EMT buds and all the Ravens (and Ravenettes). Anyway, shortly after a turnover, Seth’s friend turned to him and said the Ravens sucked. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis, who is on the IR for the rest of the year, overheard him…

Quote of the Day 1/20/03

Ray: “What, did you say, you F****T!?!?”
Seth (to friend): “Ray Lewis just called you a f****t. You’re not just gonna take that, are you?”

Ray turned around to say he was just fuckin’ with him after he shit his pants (Seth’s friend, not Ray Lewis).

Avoiding muscular murder suspects,

Mr. Whistlehead.

Still Standing Right Here…

Review of “The Ring”

Review of “The Ring”


Before I critique this movie, let me tell you about the plethora of emotions I went through before I even saw this movie. When I first heard of The Ring, it sounded like a neat and rather original concept. I was interested. Then I saw a poster for it. And a cheesy TV ad. They reminded me that I don’t like horror movies. So it was over. I had already made plans to never watch it. Then all my fear junkies came back from seeing it opening night saying how good it was. Big deal. They said the same thing about Tremors 3 (yes, there’s a 3). Then some people whose opinions I actually care about said it was good and I should go see it. Then more people. Then everybody said it. And who am I to tell everybody they’re wrong (the same guy you were last time you did). So that’s what got me out to the theater. So before I even saw this trippy flick, I was already going through this roller coaster of emotions about the film. Actually, it was more like a roller coaster of opinions. But who’s counting (and who’s still reading)? The Ring is a serious horror movie. It’s not the crappy teeny bop bubble gum scary movie like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and it’s not the beast out of control wanna be horror movie like Deep Blue Sea and The Hot Chick. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Unless you saw Stir Of Echoes. Well, not exactly. If you cut up Stir Of Echoes into 52 pieces and shuffled them a little bit and cut the corner off of all the face cards and threw away all the diamonds and replaced them with 13 pieces of an unidentifiable sticky substance, you’d have The Ring (I think we lost him). The main character has no idea what they are looking for and only has a vague idea of where to start. Piece by piece, you learn more as the filmmakers see fit. There’s even a prophetic-for-no-reason son in both of them. The difference is that while Stir Of Echoes kinda makes sense in the end, The Ring is off the hook. OK, so there’s this videotape where you watch it and get a phone call correctly predicting your death a week from that moment. Well, what if you’re not near a phone? Or what if you only watch half the tape. Or what if you were in the room while it was playing but trimming your mustache or something else? So we look past these practical issues. Then there’s the ridiculously obscure backstory. Something about an insane girl, a torturing father, and what the hell was up with the horses? Why did the horse go nuts on the boat? I was left asking myself that question about a lot of stuff in that movie? Why was that scene even in the movie? Can’t answer that one.

I think I’ve begun to confuse myself writing this review and I would like to stop now. It is a very scary flick. I recommend watching it alone at night with all the lights out. And I know it won’t happen in this day and age, but I think it should only come out on videotape when it comes out. And if it does come out on DVD, rent the video. Go old school. It’ll be worth it. It would be even cooler if they re-shot like half the scenes in the movie and replaced the videotape with DVDs for when it comes out in Blockbuster. That would really fuck me up, and as a professional wiffleball referee, I can guarantee it would be worth the production cost. Man, would that be freaky! OK, I’m done with that thought. Go see it. As soon as you can. 8 1/2 bugs (bonus bugs for being a good horror movie without selling out, there ain’t many).

My sister and her boyfriend recently bought an RV and decided to give up the luxury of a steady income for a life of considerable doubt, second-guessing, and Ramen noodles. And I really wish I had the balls to do it. Anyway, they are currently on their way to San Diego to try to buy tickets off scalpers to the Superbowl. I don’t know exactly how expensive tickets are, but I imagine it’s a lot of Ramen noodles. Anyway, my sis took the time out to e-mail me from El Paso to thank me for my Christmas gift to her…

Quote Of the Day 1/10/03

“Thanks a lot for the radio – good idea! We use it all the time – its getting us through the playoffs and we get to hear great local talk radio shows hosted by stereotypical old male hicks wherever we are, and hear some news – but some places we’ve been actually didn’t have any news.”

-Excerpt from my vagabond sis

I guess a worldwide nuclear threat isn’t big enough to make it onto their radio stations. Hell, they probably wouldn’t even realize it happened for a solid week.

Watching DVDs from now on,

Achilles Heal.

Still Standing Right Here…