Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Read This Blog on Irony!

I was driving home from work today when the song Ironic by Alanis Morissette started playing on the radio. Just about anyone I know is quick to point out that the song lacks actual examples of irony. Yet, as I listened to the song, I noticed that every single piece of the song was very close to being ironic, it just lacked that last inch of ironic twist. Without that twist, the lyrics in the song are as others have pointed out, bummers.

Irony is typically spoken words that convey the opposite meaning either intentionally or, in the case of a dramatic context, unintentionally. Irony is also when the outcome of a series of events is the opposite of what would be expected. In the case of Ironic, it is this last definition that was intended even though the lyrics are not ironic. This, hilariously enough, makes the entire song of Ironic, ironic. This very well may have been a big meta joke played on us by Alanis

Okay, at this point, I stand corrected. There is an actual example of irony in the song. It comes from this section:

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."

The plane crash after avoiding flying is not ironic. His statement, however, is ironic. He clearly doesn't think the plane crashing down is actually a pleasant experience. Irony!

But the rest of the song is filled with near misses. Here's another example:

A traffic jam when you're already late

There is nothing ironic about a traffic jams when you are late. When you are late, the expected situation is that you aren't going to make it on time. For this to be ironic, it would have to be hitting every light green when you are late. Alternatively, it could be ironic if a section of the highway with always congested on your commute is free of traffic on the one day you are running behind and can't make it to work on time. Those would be ironic.

My favorite example of a near miss comes from this line:

It's like rain on your wedding day

There are two ways that this could be ironic, but as it currently is stated, the line is not. It would be ironic if the rain on your wedding day happened following an unusual dry spell and with a forecast of clear skies the night before your wedding. It would also be ironic if the actual event of rain (generally assumed to be a damper on weddings) made the wedding the best day of your life. Unfortunately, the context of the song paints the rain as as simply bad weather on an otherwise important day. It simply isn't ironic.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games Midnight Showing

This isn't going to be a standard King of the Hill post. This is a post on the midnight showing of The Hunger Games, a movie I've been waiting for a long time to watch. In preparation for this, I decided I'd do a costume for the first time on a midnight showing. If you are familiar with The Hunger Games at all, you know that costume selection varies from the drab to the outlandish. I decided to go with an outlandish look and dressed as a resident of Capital District.

My outfit isn't as outlandish as some of the people from the Capital District. Effie, for example, pushes it to the extreme. I wore a custom fit rest vest, homemade jabot, black pants, boots, and hair pulled back in a ponytail with a ribbon tied into a bow. It gave me a nice, stuffy look that I did my best to play up for the photos.

We arrived very early for the showing. Specifically, we showed up at 8:00 PM for the 12:01 AM showing. There were people there dressed up, most of them from our party and all of them teenagers. In fact, it should be noted that almost everyone at the movie was a teenager. I had a couple of kids approach me and ask about my costume. I explained why I was wearing my outfit and what it was for. Most of the fans of the movie didn't see it until later. Our movie line was inside the theater. We stood in line until about 9:30, when they kindly let us go into our screen.

Waiting was both entertaining and very difficult. It was two-and-a-half hours of listening to teenagers talk, scream out the time left until the movie in fifteen minute increments. Someone else in the theater, one of the many teenagers, approached me and complimented my outfit. The final, and most surreal compliment came after I returned from the restrooms. One of the kids in near the backroom shouted out, “Hey, I want you to know your costume is cool!” He started to clap his hands and it resulted in everyone clapping. Yes, I got an applause for my outfit. Crazy teenagers.

There was a brief moment of panic in the theater when the project didn't run properly, it pushed back our screen time a few minutes, but then it was time for the movie to begin... I should probably put up my disclaimer here, but you know it by now. Blah, blah, blah, every movie for the year. Blah, blah, blah brackets at the end of the year. Let's get the damn comparison going!

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes v. The Hunger Games

This is your last chance to avoid spoilers. Stop reading now if you don't want to be spoiled. I'm strictly reviewing this based on the movie, not the book. The movie didn't vary too much from the book except for a few very notable exceptions. The biggest difference was the riot at District 11 which doesn't happen until Catching Fire. But, again, this isn't about the adaptation.

If you aren't familiar with the movie, The Hunger Games is a movie about Katniss Everdeen from District 12. Every year, the Capital District holds a contest to “honor” the history of Panem's survival. One boy and one girl from each district is selected by lottery or volunteer status to participate in a death match. 24 children enter and only one leaves. Katniss volunteers when her sister is selected at random to participate. Her partner is the local baker's son, Peeta.

Katniss and Peeta struggle with the fact that they both can't leave the game and, at the same time, struggle with the fact that District 12 doesn't have careers. Careers are children from District 1 and District 2 that spend their days at special schools for fighting. About 45 minutes of the movie leads to the point of them entering the game and then, the movie erupts in shaky cam violence. Yes, shaky cam. I can't stand that crap. I have read that the shaky cam was a method to keep the violence of the movie down enough to maintain a PG13 rating, which is unfortunate. Shaky cam makes me nauseous and detracts harshly from the movie for me. This is part of the reason I hated Transformers and never returned to catch future Borne movies.

Stepping away from the camera techniques, the movie was phenomenal. It spent most of the time focusing on Katniss and, occasionally, moving away to the control room for the games or the broadcaster, where it explained a bit of what was going on. The technique was a great way to cover knowledge that Katniss might have thought about internally, but couldn't speak aloud due to a lack of available character to interact with.

There was really little to complain about in the end with this flick. I felt most of the characters were well portrayed and developed adequately. I do think the casting for the characters were too old, especially for the part of Gail. That guy looked like a mini-giant in a pack of rabid teenagers. He didn't convince me he was a kid for a second.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a nice, entertaining flick, but it doesn't stand up to the might of Katniss Everdeen when armed with a bow.

The Hunger Games

Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
Katniss: Jennifer Lawrence
Peeta: Josh Hutchenson
Gail: Liam Hemsworth

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hunger Games Pre-Game Show

I'm going to be attending a midnight showing of Hunger Games tomorrow.  I guess you could technically say it is the day AFTER tomorrow.  And, for the showing I'm dressing up.  This will be a first for me.  I have never dressed up for a movie showing.  So, for this blog post, I'm going to do a rundown of my outfit and how ridiculously crazy it is.

My main outfit is built around an awesome red jacket I rarely get to use.  I have an epic Elegant Gothic Aristocrat Faux Rider's Jacket from Fanplusfriend.  I've used the jacket before, but never like this.  The jacket itself has a nice Capital District feel to it, so I decided I'd be one of the bad guys for the movie.  I'm not anyone in particular, just a citizen from Capital District.

After consulting with a friend of mine, I'm focusing on a Red/Black combination.  I've got a pair of black pants the compliment the jacket well and will be wearing my nice black boots.  I sewed a black lace jabot to give my outfit a more elegant and rich person feel to it.  I'll have black gloves and my hair will be a bit crazier than usual.  The details on the last are a bit sketchy, that will be determined tomorrow.

As for the movie, I don't expect much.  The characters cast are way too old for the role.  Specifically the casting of Rue really disappoints me.  Every single promotional trailer makes me feel that the characters look older than they should be.  I'm going to give the movie a fair chance, however.  We'll see what happens.

Photos will be shared for the event, probably on Friday or Saturday.  For now, this is all you get.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes v. Puss in Boots
After a series of older movies, it is time to move back to modern flicks. This time, I return with an animation from Dreamworks and the Shrek spin-off movie, Puss in Boots. It should be noted that the winner of this match is going to face Hunger Games next. I'll be catching a midnight showing of that and I don't foresee me catching another movie before then.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Challenger: Puss in Boots

Director: Chris Miller

Writers: Charles Perrault and William Davies

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Zack Galifianakis

Puss in Boots, is the story of Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) from the Shrek series and his adventure to recover the legendary fabled magic beans. This movie focuses on the back story to Puss from his earliest days including his upbringing by means of a flashback. In the story, Puss has finally managed to locate the magic beans, something he and his childhood friend, Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zack Galifianakis), have been questing for before fate separated them.

Puss in Boots is entertaining, but is not noteworthy. The plot is dry and fairly predictable. Puss is betrayed, must fend for himself, and eventually wins over the misguided Kitty Softpaws (voiced by Salma Hayek) to the side of good. This obvious plot doesn't make this a bad movie, in fact, I enjoyed it emensely. It just doesn't make it particularly noteworthy. The Shrek formula was already used and brought everything new to the table long before Puss in Boots. The high energy of the three main stars and the clever writing make it a movie you should watch, but not a movie to knock down Marilyn Monroe.

Winner: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

Clueless vs. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I'm playing catch-up right now as I cover grounds for a practical marathon of movies last week.  For now, I'm pitting the movies one at a time against each other.  This time, I'll be putting the 1990's comedy, Clueless, against the 1950's comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  Can classic Marilyn Monroe fair against Alicia Silverstone for the top movie of the month?  Let's find out.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Challenger:  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Director:  Howard Harks

Writer:  Charles Lederer

Staring:  Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Charles Coburn

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a movie about a seemingly ditzy burlesque dancer, Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe) and her close friend Dorothy (Jane Russell) on their cruise across the Atlantic to France.  Lorelei, is engaged to be married, but has a fondness for playing around with gentlemen with money.  Dorothy has been assigned to keep an eye on her friend.  At the same time, Lorelei's father has hired a private investigator to keep tabs on Lorelei.

The first thing about this story that catches my interest is that despite being almost 60 years old, the story isn't something I recall being rehashed into the ground by future movies.  The plot, is still fairly formulaic, but nothing that detracts from the story.  The characters of Lorelei and Dorothy have a bit of depth to them, though I found the love interests, nothing more than stereo types with a lack of any significant depth.

This is honestly a tough call.  On the level of plot, the two movies are equally entertaining and developed.  When it comes to characters, Clueless wins out in the end.  But Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is almost 60 years old and has aged very well.  This brings the two movies to a near dead even position.  There is one final thing that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes offers:  music.  The movie has several musical pieces including the famous piece, Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend.  This allows the movie to just squeak on by.

Winner:  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saying a Lot with Few Words (Part 1)

Today, my wife and I are doing a cross-post on the same subject just like we did back when we discussed descriptions from different perspectives.

When writing, you need to be able to say a lot with as few words as possible. This applies at the macro level and the micro level. My current work in progress is a Young Adult story. Depending on who you ask, the target word count for a YA is between 40,000 and 80,000 words. I'm personally aiming for 80,000 words or less. Lengthy scenes can be nice, but they add up quickly. There are two ways to cut down on length. You can cut scenes and you can learn to cut down on scene length by saying a lot in few words. Today, I'm going to talk about some of the macro tricks behind this. My wife will be talking about this from her perspective over on her blog today as well, so be sure to check out what she hasto say on the subject.

First of all, I should explain what I mean by saying a lot in as few words as possible.  On the macro level, what I'll be talking about today, this is making a scene as short as possible without cutting into the story.  On the micro level, this is stating something to the reader without needless exposition.  The best authors are experts at both of these tricks.  They can avoid the exposition or unnecessary dialogue and can keep scenes short, and to the point.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.normandie-wine.com/  
 In my current novel, my protagonist, Peter, is a fourteen year old who can teleport. For various reasons, he is trying to track down and catch an arsonist. In the story, he ends up in France where he meets a girl named Claire. Claire becomes the second person to discover his ability. In the scene when Claire and Peter meet and talk, there are several ways that I've cut the length of what I've needed to say to keep this event to part of a single chapter instead of two or three.  In order to achieve this, I replaced what would have been an entire chapter with a single, critical piece of dialogue between the two characters. I cut descriptions of the scene, leaving the less important descriptions for the reader to fill in. The scene involved Claire's angry father; he was minimized. I also used the ever important trick of not rehashing what the reader already knows. You'd be surprised how effective it is to write: “Peter told Claire what he knew about the fires.”

For a more specific example, I'll examine my choice not to spend much time describing Claire. I prescribe to the formula of cutting down descriptions of characters to a minimum and letting the reader fill in the rest of the details. I focus on what the character notices first, the details that stand out the most, and the unusual details. This might be long flowing black hair, bright green eyes, freckles, or, in the case of Claire, her unusual style of dress. I never spend time describing every last detail of the character and even when I'm describing something unusual, I keep it simple and focused on Peter's story.

Writing about tricks on how to say a lot in a little words isn't quite the same as showing the process. At this point in time, I'm describing a scene that takes place a few weeks after the chapter mentioned above. Peter is at home when his mother calls him out of his bedroom. Peter has just received a package from Claire and his mother is trying to find out what's going on.

NOTE: This is draft writing. I don't like sharing draft writing and it is all subject to change. Don't judge.

This was the last line I wrote:
“Why are you getting packages from England?”
To proceed, I need to figure out what needs to be covered in this scene. First off, Peter is entering the scene confused. I like to torture my characters and it's important that Peter find himself thrust, repeatedly into scenes where he needs to adapt quickly. He doesn't know what this package is, who it is from, or why he's getting it. So the first thing I need to have to do in this scene is have Peter go through the process of figuring out what is going on. The second element needed is to have Peter lie to his mother and feel guilty for having done so. Finally, I need to maintain a bit of dramatic tension. Peter's pursuit of the arsonist is getting intense.

I could respond to this question with extensive dialogue between Peter and his mom.  However, this adds a lot of information of the course of several paragraphs when I can handle this quickly, maintain Peter's character, and hit all three of the requirements I'm looking for above.

I froze. The arsonist had seen me at my father's work. He might know where I live. This could be the very means he used to start fires. My mom's life could be in danger. I bit my lip and walked over to where my mom stood with the package. I couldn't get a clear view of the package, but I did get a glimpse of the label. The writing on the front was too flowery to have been from someone trying to burn down homes. This had to have been from Claire. I had forgotten she had said something about attending a private school in England. She had asked for my addressed when we last spoke, but I hadn't expected her to mail me a package.
“It must be from my pen pal,” I lied. I felt a jab of pain in my heart, lying to my mom again like that. “I write to her as part of my make-up work for school. I don't know why she sent me a package from England.”
My mother looked at me with dubious eyes, but finally a smile appeared on her face. “You never told me you had a pen pal.”
She handed me her package and left the room with the rest of the mail in her hand, leaving me alone to find out what Claire had sent me.

This scene is 232 words in length and covers what could take over a thousand words to explain. Even still, it is longer than I'd like and will likely get shortened later when I go through and make further edits. It covers all three areas I wanted to touch upon, and leaves me satisfied.  I'd like to note that the main area I cut a lot was with his mom's reaction.  She could have probed to find out more.  She could have lingered to find out what was in the package.  Instead, she adds a bit of guilt by not responding immediately with believing Peter before wandering off.  It easily saved a thousand words.

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

Clueless v. Super Troopers

I've already watched three movies for the month of March.  One of the movies is exempt from the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge (I'll post on this later).  For the start of the month, I'm going to pit the first two movies watched against each other.  I'll be comparing the comedy Clueless to the comedy Super Troopers.  Despite both being comedies, these were very different films and only one can walk away the winner.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

First Challenger:  Clueless

Writer/Director:  Amy Heckerling

Starting:  Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy

Clueless is a school-aged romantic tragedy involving Cher (Alicia Silverstone), a Clueless valley girl with an endless wardrobe and her attempt to argue her way out of bad grades all the while working on her pet project of turning new girl Tai (Brittany Murphy) into a popular pretty girl.  Cher runs into a bunch of trouble and is frequently bailed out by her father's ex-step-son Josh (Paul Rudd).

There is something about Clueless that makes it different from the normal lot of movies.  When I tried to nail down the story in a brief summary, I realized what that is.  Clueless isn't a typical movie.  Most movies establish a premise early on and build off of that premise as the movie progresses.  In Clueless, the movie is character driven.  You start with one plot, a superficial attempt of Cher to improve her grades that evolves into a story about her developing a character with substance.  This is a unique break from the dramatic structure and, in my opinion is what has made this movie age well even if the technology of the movie has not.

Second Challenger:  Super Troopers

Director:  Jay Chandrasekhar

Writer:  Broken Lizard

Staring:  Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, and AndrĂ© Vippolis

Super Troopers is a silly film about a group of Highway Patrolmen about to lose funding as part of budget cuts to the Vermont State budget.  The group of goofy cops are trying to prove their worth despite the interference and rivalry with the local police force.  The movie is as much about these goofy cops and their crazy antics as it is about their attempt to save their budgets.

What you have with Super Troopers, is a group of characters with a strange bit of chemistry going through a loose plot while having lots of crazy one, extremely funny scenes that have little to no contribution to the main plot.  These scenes are, without a doubt, entertaining and well worth the watch.  For example, everyone should know how to play the meow game, that's just downright hilarious.

Final Verdict:
Clueless is a movie that a character's development.  Super Troopers is a selection of hilarious scenes and events strung together around a central plot.  Both are entertaining, but only Clueless has the substance that makes it the winner of the 2012 King of the Hill Challenge

Winner:  Clueless

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm Older Still

I turned thirty-three on Friday.  I had a great day with lots of interesting surprises and, as a whole, the birthday was pretty darn epic.  There was definitely some major sneakiness going on behind the scenes and I give a kudos to everyone who managed to pull the wool over my eyes.  Take that acknowledgement when you can, because it is hard to pull something like that on me.

I woke up to some crafty item placements by Alice.  She knows my morning routine fairly well and had placed Scott Pilgrim Volume 3 near my alarm clock.  I hadn't set the alarm, but I did find it first thing.  My next stop after getting up and finding the volume was to go to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot and discover sitting on top of it, Scott Pilgrim Volume 4.  Alice clearly knows my routine because I found Scott Pilgrim Volume 5 sitting on my laptop.  The only part of her planning that didn't come together was the location of Scott Pilgrim Volume 6, which she had put in the laundry hamper.  She hadn't realized that I had been planning on doing NO laundry on my birthday (can you blame me).  So she handed it to me in person.

Anyway, so my day itself involved spending it in hiding int he world, writing, and in general, doing what I wanted to do away from the house.  I didn't do anything at home, because Alice wasn't getting home until 7:30 PM and I just didn't want to lock myself up in the house.  It was a great day that only got better.  I did a little bit of shopping, mostly getting some things we needed at BJ's.  While getting gas, we had a freak white out.  Eventually, I got home to discover that my friend Judy from Kentucky was here.  She had arrived a day early.  Super sneaky.  She and Alice had a few presents waiting for me when I got home.  Judy had ordered a book from Finland.  It isn't it's own story, it is actually a summary of children's books.  The book is entirely in Finnish and allows me something simple to practice my translations.  At the same time, it might also hook me up with some stories I haven't heard of before that I can also translate.

Alice had another surprise waiting for me, a board game that I have always loved that has been only recently released.  (Hey, I'll take a new edition of the game.  I don't need the original edition that sells for a few thousand dollars).  Talisman is a multiplayer adventure game where you slay monsters, collect treasures and work your way to the center of the board to collect a mystic artifact.  It is a cut-throat game that I've only really played once before and was a hell of a lot of fun.  I'm not sure who I'll get to play this game with me, but I'm really looking forward to break it out and play it.

I did not get lockpicks.  These were not a gift.  I do not have these in my possession.  In completely unrelated news, if anyone needs someone experienced with lockpicking for the purposes of writing research, hit me up with an email and I'll connect you with someone who does.

Anyway, I had a great birthday and I can't think of a better one that I've had before.  I've lived 33 years and I'm looking forward to the next 33 years.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Fire Ants of Doom!

It saddens me to announce that my Grandmother has lung cancer.  I have a lot of fond memories and stories involving my Nana, including the story posted last month about the dinner with Stephen King.  Eastport is a place I spent a lot of summers.  My grandparents loved to watch me, my parents loved to get rid of me for a week, and I could entertain myself for hours.  There used to be an old fashioned store where you could buy Root Beer floats and used books.  There is no question that my writing interest was development from my summers in Eastport.

Eastport has tons of stories, and I may eventually getting around to writing about them all.  One story, the one I'll tell today, is about the fire ants and the anthill of doom.  In Maine, fireworks are illegal.  And my dad, being the progressive that he is, provided me with half-a-brick of firecrackers on a regular basis.  Fireworks are nice, and watching them explode is fun, but I've always been the kind of person who likes to take something fun and do something productive with it.  Legos were mansions and fireworks were the instruments of revenge.

Eastport is an international shipping port.  It isn't a major port, but it has had lots of imports from around the world.  Well, somewhere along the line, one of the ships managed to get some sort of fire ants in a shipping container.  I've never seen these ants before and attempts to research them online have led me again and again to ants that aren't native in the US.  So yeah, these ants were unique.  And they had a home just outside of my grandparent's house.

The bite is most notable.  The bite hurts like hell.  They have absolutely no problems biting anything they come across.  If you walk through a field with a nearby ant hill, they will be all over your leg and do a lot of damage.  I hated these suckers.  So, when I had those firecrackers, I got revenge.  I used to throw them down on the ant hill and blow them up, only the issue was that the main hive was built into a piece of stone bedrock (not sure the actual type of stone and it's gone today).

Somewhere along the line, I learned that the ants loved watermelon.  I would shove firecrackers into the watermelon, wire it up like a master, 12 year-old demolitions expert, and set it down by the hive.  I'd go inside and read for an hour or so.  Then I'd return to watermelon swarming with ants.  One light of a match and it was time for fun.

Of course, the first time taught me an important lesson of physics.  Twelve firecrackers going off will send ants skyward.  What goes up, must come back down.  And they did... onto me.  I learned the hard way that if I was going to do this, I needed to run faster.  I experimented a lot with fuse settings, but honestly, the best way to destroy those suckers was to light the fuse and run.  And I got really skilled at running fast.

The ironic end to the story is that the ants no longer exist.  Eastport needed to do some infrastructure work about eight years ago.  When the city encountered the bedrock housing those ants, they had to remove it.  They did so with TNT.  I still can't think of that without a smile creeping across my face.  It couldn't have happened to a worse species on the planet.

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil v. TiMER

This is the final match for the month of February.  March will bring a high-stakes month as I celebrate another year of my life with a movie marathon.  The final movie for February was watched just in time to be reviewed.  Can TiMER stand up to the champions of evil?  There's only one way to find out, read on and see.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Challenger:  TiMER

Director:  Jac Shaeffer

Writer:  Jac Shaeffer

Starring:  Emma Caulfield, Michelle Borth, John Patrick Amedori, Scott Holroyd

TiMER is an alternative reality story in which a service exists that allows you to install a timer onto your wrist.  The timer connects to your true love, assuming they have the same timer, and counts down to the start of the day that you will meet your true love.  When you and your true love meet, the timer chirps and you know you have found them.

The movie is a fascinating look into the philosophical question:  "What is love?"  It addresses this issue by providing characters with completely different situations with the timer.  Oona (Emma Caulfield) has a timer, but no indication of when she will meet her true love.  Steph (Michelle Borth) has a timer that lists her as not meeting her true love until she is in her 40's.  Mikey (John Patrick Amedori) plays a character who refuses to get a timer installed.

TiMER covers an interesting topic and handles it mostly well.  However, in the end, TiMER fails to address the concept of true love adequately.  The main story involves Oona and her love of Mikey and the question as to whether or not Mikey is Oona's true love.  I also was greatly disappointed with Oona.  For everything she went through, I felt like she didn't learn her lesson in the end.  I felt disappointed.  And maybe, the point to the ending was to leave me feeling like it was obvious to the viewer, but not the characters.  However, this wasn't the obvious message left in the end.  I was disappointed.

This was a great film, a great premise, and did a phenomenal job avoiding exposition. For all of that, this movie proposes a question and fails to answer it.  At least with Tucker and Dale vs. Evil you get the promise of what is presented at the start of the film.  All stories need to go to completion.  This one did not bring that satisfaction in the end.

Winner:  Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

(I'll edit in standings tomorrow.  I'm tired)