Sunday, March 19, 2006

Doves creep me out.

I recently got a phone call from The Dove Foundation. The first words out of his mouth were about trying to get my help in cleaning up today's movies. Gives me a good idea of Dove's real motives. I decided to google Dove Foundation.

They don't write reviews. Instead, they write how each movie fits the "Dove Worldview." As in Kicking & Screaming: "It is Dove’s policy to not award any film with the Dove Seal if it contains a curse such as "go to hell" or "damn you" because those statements are cursing a person to hell. A movie can have a "what the hell" or "damn" and still be approved because those statements are not curses but are obscenities. "

So I say to Dove: thanks for the distinction. Now go to hell and damn you for calling me at home and blocking your phone number from my caller ID. That is breaking into my home and screaming in it. And you kept talking over me with your creepily moralistic voice when I tried to answer you. Not only are you an uninvited guest, you are a rude uninvited guest.

I admit that a lot of the stuff in the violence ratings is accurate. When a guy's, uh, organ gets ripped off, as in Brokeback Mountain, that is not kid-friendly. But is "Girl pushes girl off a pier" in Aquamarine really worth a rating?

Here are a few more Dove ratings on certain categories. Enjoy. Or squirm in fear. (My comments are in parenthesis.)


The Shaggy Dog. Kissing between husband and wife. (Really. Do you tell your kids about the stork?)
The Family Stone. Homosexual male couple adopt baby. (They should have stuck this one under a "homophobia" category, which they don't have yet but should.)
March of the Penguins: While the actual act is not shown, it is obvious by the music playing in the background that two penguins are going to consummate their relationship. (They gave this porno a Dove Seal anyway.)

(I am not kidding, that is something Dove thinks needs to be rated.)

Aquamarine. Girls jokingly pray to the gods of love and later to the god of hurricanes.
The Shaggy Dog. The Buddhist meditation in the beginning. (Kooky AND bigoted! Congrats!)
Miracle at Sage Creek. Indian singing over boy for healing. Nothing major. (This is not as scary as a Buddhist?)
Bloodrayne. Vampires vs. Humans with no mention of God or Satan. (I guess vampires can't be atheists. Or Buddhists.)
Wolf Creek. Talk of UFO's. (Wrong category. That belongs under "stupid".)
Hoodwinked. Goat has been cast with a spell so that he must sing everything he says. (Demonic karaoke! Hide the kids!)
Bewitched. Throughout the film spells are cast; witch makes things appear and disappear; witch runs time backwards; woman puts a "hex" on a man. (Is it in Deuteronomy where the reader is told to whack witches? As in Tony Soprano whack.)
King Kong. Ancient tribe dances and seem (sic) to be in voodoo-like trance. (Give them a break, it was not even hip-hop.)
Fantastic Four: References by villian (sic) of being a god. (Read
my review on my writing page. The comic book Doom is the one who can take on the devil, not this yuppie movie Doom.)
Monster-in-Law. There was use of Horescopes (sic again, would you please use a spelling and grammar checker?) and tarot cards towards the beginning of the movie.

(Dove missed a big occult rating for Because Of Winn-Dixie. The only way a dog can smile that massively creepy smile is through demonic possession.)

(the category where they stick whatever they don't stick elsewhere)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The film mocks religion through a zanny (sic, sic, sic!!!) "church service". There is talk about God and his mistakes. (OK, you explain malaria. I can't.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Two effeminate men walk dogs; Loompas worship cocoa beans. (I told you they needed a "homophobia" category! Add the first one to that, and the second one to "occult". Dove, I offer my services as a tech writer to help you out, if you can meet my hourly rates.)


I will stick with Dove soap instead, since that will actually clean when used as directed.

I have nothing against rating a movie on kid-friendliness. That is a good idea. But Dove bases their ratings on their version of Christianity. Non-Christians have families also. Buddhists are not grown in test tubes.

P.S. I have seen a cleaned up version of the movie Repo Man, and replacing "fuck" with "flip" sucked 90 percent of the humor out of it. Mark Twain said it best: "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."

P.P.S. For those of you who say that Repo Man and its swearing-stuffed script is not steak, I quote Yukon Cornelius from Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer: "You eat what you like and I'll eat what I like!"

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Cinequest is over.

Saw lots more movies.

God and Gays: Bridging the Gap. I liked this. It is an interview type movie, without the obligatory interview with homophobes. This is good for my blood pressure, although my imagination does not get a workout when I can dream of ways to skin homophobes alive and then pour salt on them, and laugh hysterically as they scream and dissolve. Anyhow. The most interesting, and most sympathetic character, is an older woman whose lesbian daughter had died, and the older woman had not reconciled before the death. The older woman is now heading a group to help gay Christians. She has lost a lot; most of her former friends will not speak to her now that she lost her homophobia. (Where's the salt?) My only nitpick: it needs titles to show the subject matter of the interviews. I suggested that to one of the filmmakers.

Sound Man. Great! Any movie with clips of Les Paul is going to be good. And the history of sound recording, with lots of interviews with musicians? Wonderful.

The Ape. Very good. One of the writers has written for Spongebob Squarepants, and I could see some of that humor here. But this is adult, and the ending is not happy. A great study of a would-be writer.

Hard Scrambled. A wonderful surprise, about a guy working at a diner who used to break legs for a living. Starring Kurtwood Smith (remember him from Robocop?), and he was excellent. His phone conversation at the start to a guy who wants to intimidate someone is perfect. An unexpected twist at the end. Great characters. And I just happened to see it because I happened to be around. Life is nice sometimes.

Little Athens. Interesting study of several loser kids. But an unhappy ending that is not necessary at all. Random bullets are almost always gratuitous.

Shorts Program 4: Animated Worlds.
Mysterious Geographical. Excellent. Fantastic imagery done with black cutout-type figures, and a very compelling story, and a grand sacrifice at the end.
The Flooded Playground. Bored me. If I want to see a baby's view of the world, I can watch Teletubbies, and that is a more interesting program anyhow.
The Boy Who Feeds Cats. Depressing. Don't need that. And I don't need to see someone die from mouse turds either. That's just gross.
Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot. EXCELLENT!!!! A great story of taking a weakness and turning it into a strength. The creator of this said he based it on a friend who seems to actually have a bad luck foot.
Maestro. A little tedious, and I guessed the ending easily, but still got a laugh from the audience and a smile from me.
John and Michael. Ok I guess, but dead brother stories are way common, and need to be exceptional, and this was not.
Message from the Boss. Pretty good. Really classy animation. But the song went on a bit long.
Legend of the Scarecrow. This story hooked me, and I did not think it would when it started. A fable about crows and scarecrows. Great story.

Shorts Program 6: Seens.
Wood Diary. Bored me a LOT, and I HATE closeups of drool. That is not something that needs to be blown up 20 feet high.
A Lineman's Cabin. Wonderful photography of green plains. I did not think I would go for longer silent scenes, but they worked perfectly here. And a twist at the end.
Life Ride. A Twilight Zone type story with a nastily great sense of humor.
Transaction. Did not care much for it when I saw it, but the memory improves as time passes. I bet I might like it better if I saw it again. A simple transaction between a prostitute and an older man, based on interviews with an actual prostitute.
The King Hunt. Got just a little irksome for a short time, but it had a great ending of a guy picking himself up and not letting a fall hurt him.
Hiro. Great characters, great story, great laughs, great ending, great visuals. What more could one ask?

Shorts Program 5: Cineverses.
Up on the Rope. Got in late, did not see it. Might try to find it online.
Against Nature. Ugh. Some vomit, and a snotty main character who gives writers a bad name. I wanted to set him on fire.
Phantom Limb. Phantom script. Another dead brother story. Makes babies look icky. Closed my eyes during the amputation and birth scenes. Not that I can't take that, but why in the hell should I? I don't have to clean my plate anymore, especially if the food turns rancid.
Uso Justo. Funny! Best satire of pretentious experimental film ever! I hope the creator gets the rights to the footage he used for this.
Five Minutes, Mr. Welles. Went on a little bit long. But a marvelous ending! And the actor playing Orson Welles was perfect.

I also liked the forums. Picked up some business cards (sure, I have an ulterior motive, maybe I can get a tech writing gig out of this). I really hope short videos take off online. I will be exploring that, both for my tech writing career and my video hobby. Very inspiring. Although it will be some time before I can afford an HD video camera. Since I can't process that on my Mac anyhow, it does not make a lot of difference now. Eventually, I will move up to HD. I am also inspired by the discussion of distribution of independent videos/movies (hobby and career inspired). This is gonna be great stuff.

OK, I will see about trying the video downloads on, although I think I can't watch them on my Mac (lousy Windows protected media). I will find out. There is stuff out there I have not seen.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cinequest post #1

I have just started going to Cinequest (the San Jose film festival). I went to the following:

Shorts Program 1: Hit the Ground Laughing
My faves:

  • K-7: the ultimate tense job interview.
  • The Racist Brick: short , funny, to the point.

  • The Awesome Robots vs. Transformo: I do like a wacky comic book satire.

  • Zombie-American does a neat take on those personal documentaries.

  • Heck, I liked all of them.

Shorts Program: After Hours Mindbenders (and my mind did get kinda bent; this was from midnight to after 2am)
I liked:

  • Chingaso the Clown, a bad-ass homage to clown vigilantes.

  • Lucky, another short-and-to-the-point short, perfect length, perfect setup, perfect ending.

  • Phone Sex Grandma: who would think that a grandma swearing a blue streak over the phone would be so funny?

  • Home Delivery: pretty good, a tad long, good animation.

I did not like:

  • A through M (there is a scene where a guy knows he is going to bite the big one, and he has a big rack of nasty surgical instruments within easy reach, and then the mope lets guards stomp up to him and beat him up as a prelude to killing him. Sabu from The Thief of Bagdad once said "If I am going to die, then I would dare anything!" Take a lesson, dude! You are SLOW.

  • The Second Death: Night Gallery did this better, and did not use teddy bears as monsters, and did not put a guy in a dress for NO REASON AT ALL.

  • Keep It Real, Dawg: Coulda been good if it was about 1/3 the length.

  • The Marionette. I despise when the bad guys win. To slightly paraphrase Marvin the Paranoid Android (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy): "There is enough misery in the universe already. Why make up more of it?"

And I don't remember the other mindbending shorts so well that I will document them, cuz it is after 4 in the morning now (arrived home after 3am, and had to blog).

The movies:
Chalk is a great take on teachers. I hope new teacher Nephew Eric sees this. Shown with Super Power Blues. With great power...

Looking forward to more of this. This stuff inspires me. I actually sent in a short I did, but it seems I am not up to their level yet. I will get there. (Helps my skill set also; I am learning video software, a booming market).