Tuesday, September 21, 2010

10,000 B.S.

I don't enjoy bad films, but my tastes for movies has some of my closest movie-geek friends second-guessing my film critiques. I enjoyed "A Knight's Tale" and "Ice Age" (all three) and you can usually get me to see any animated movie as long as it doesn't have talking cars in it (that's right, I did NOT like "Cars"). However, once in awhile, maybe not since I was forced to watch "Cabin Boy," a movie is so bad, so horrible, that my mind obsesses over the absolute carelessness of the studio, writer and director for manufacturing such an awful piece of "art." 

I remember when the film, "10,000 BC" came out in the theaters. I even remember thinking how it probably would be cool to watch on the big screen or on IMAX. I didn't have that many expectations of the movie, but I did, in fact, expect to be entertained with over the top computer animation and cool action scenes. 2008 came and went and I never got to spend the 15 dollars to see it. Instead, I got to watch this particular piece of crap on my HD television the other night. I know I'm late to the party on this movie review. The saber tooth cat is already out of the prehistoric bag that this movie was completely horrible. I knew that when I sat down to watch it, but expected to enjoy all the ridiculousness of it, much like how I enjoy watching "Face-Off" up until the part when Nicholas Cage says, "I want to take his face...off" and then I turn off TBS and watch a re-run of South Park.

"10,000 BC' was not to be one of these movies. Before the opening title, I already decided that if I had been in a movie theater and not my own apartment, I would have thrown my blue-raspberry Icee at the screen (and if I didn't have one, then I would have gone to the concession stand and bought one). First off, I had already known that the one thing people really didn't like about the movie was how all these "cavemen" had straight, white teeth. While the movie in itself was anachronistic,  I had thought the film maker would at least attempt to make up for his lack of story, character and action with some bit of interesting history. So, I stupidly watched on.

I hated all the characters and I couldn't understand any of their names. I hated the narrator who essentially sounded like he was reading us a Dr. Seuss book, except in a much more remedial fashion. For example, the men journey on through the snow and mountains. We, as the viewer, see this, and yet the narrator feels the need to tell us this as we are seeing it (remember "Adaptation" with Nicholas Cage? When Kaufman goes to the writing seminar and Brian Cox's character says "And god help you if you use voice-over!" This was going through my mind for most of Roland Emmerich's prehistoric orgy of awfulness). Cliff Curits played Tic'Tic, although I didn't know that was his name during the film at all and kept calling him "Rabbit" (the character he played on NBC's failed show, "Trauma"). Steven Strait played D'Leh, who was on a quest to save his people and his love, the beautiful blue-eyed Evolet. This all would have been a great start to an epic journey if anything happened on the way. The action scenes were boring and the animals were laughable.

In the first fight, when D'Leh wins the white spear for killing the mammoth (a lucky accident which totally doesn't pay off when he kills a mammoth later in the film at the great pyramids--the poor beast was just running away like all the other slaves), I was rooting for the mammoth. D'Leh then falls into a hunter's trap and the rain starts to fall, (a situational rip off  from "Apocalypto") and instead of killing a monstrous sized saber tooth tiger, he saves it...and the monster cat let's him live....twice. Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? Cats + water = disaster for anyone in its way, and I'd hate to see how a cat with two-foot fangs reacts after almost drowning. Oh wait, I did. He jumps out of the water and let's his meal go. That makes perfect sense.

The men finally get to the pyramids, which I think was supposed to be a big reveal or twist, but it totally went nowhere. So the cavemen are in Egypt now? They go from snow and mountains to jungle to desert in "many moons" and that just doesn't cut it for this viewer. I want to see a map. It's not enough that the banal D'Leh figures out how to use the stars to navigate at night, give us something else, because at this point there is 40 minutes left in the movie and I don't care to watch anymore.

Oh, the big reveal of the pyramids, that's right. And the weird, creepy witch guy with the veil. Plus, we should care about pretty blue eyes' virginity too now, because it seems as though D'Leh hasn't had the chance to have sex with the woman he's lusted after since he was ten years old, because cavemen were known for their well reserved manner and respect of women.

The end of the movie is like seeing two hippies on some nature preserve and ready to start their commune. I hate to make this joke, but there are most likely 10,000 reasons not to see this movie and why it's horrible. I know I'm not the first one to make a rant of how awful this is, but I can't help myself. I've been obsessing over it for the past 24 hours and I just had to write about it. Don't see this movie. Ever. Not even if it's for free on a 20-hour flight. You're better off sleeping.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Car Trouble

I drive a 2009 Toyota Corolla and no, it did not take on a life of its own and try killing me and all the other drivers on the road. In fact, I thought I had lucked out with the whole Toyota scare until I received a phone call two weeks ago. Apparently, yes, my car was being recalled and I had to take it in to my Toyota dealership right away. I bought my car at Marina Del Rey Toyota and they were very helpful, so I wasn't expecting any bumps in the road when I dropped my car off on a Friday afternoon to get my floormats and accelerator pads fixed and installed. Four hours later, the guy who was in charge of my car came to me with bad news: my front brakes were shot and I needed them fixed right away....and it would cost me around 300 dollars. I, at the time, did not have 300 dollars. In fact, I'd like to think that at any given time in my life, even when I am making more money, I don't have to spend 300 dollars on brakes. My car is only 2 years old and has about 20,000 miles on it. When I informed the nice gentleman at the dealership that I did not have the money to get my brakes fixed right away, he told me they could possibly lower the price to 240 dollars. Again, this didn't help. Finally, after I began asking leading questions about my brakes, it came up that the brake pads were to be replaced, but that my rotars were shot and that I'd be lucky to make it the five miles back to my home. Given no other choice, I took my car with its new and improved accelerator pads and floor mats, said a Hail Mary and made it home just fine, not hearing any scraping metal when I stepped on the brakes.

My next step to remedy my car problems was to now find a garage, not the dealership, to give me two things: 1) a free quote and 2) fix my brake pads for less than 200 dollars. I called around to local garages in my area. The Auto store in Playa Del Rey quoted me 185 for the brake pads and 47 dollars to take a look at it (which would be included in the 185 if I chose to go with them). I then called two garages on Lincoln Blvd. one at a 76 station, who quoted me 200-220 dollars and then another who quoted me 140 dollars. These were all referrals from my friends who had business at these garages. I finally called one more place, Culver City Motors (that was also a place recommended by a friend) that was on Washington Blvd and the guy was very honest with me over the phone and told me he'd take a look at the car for free and that the brake pads shouldn't run me over 130 dollars.

So, yesterday I finally went to get my car fixed. When I arrived I saw that the garage was full of Mercedes and I thought I was at the wrong place. When I called my friend who recommended the place to me, he said that I WAS at the wrong place. A small sense of panic ran over me for two reasons: 1) I was now going into this garage cold, with no reviews from any of my friends and 2) I had already dropped off the car and the guy was about to give me a free quote. Yet, I quickly calmed down because I knew if the quote was too high, I could just take the car somewhere else, although I knew the more I kept driving on it, the more likely I could ruin the rotars. So then came the moment of truth. I needed new front brake pads, for 127 dollars, and my rotars were fine (but if I had kept driving a few more miles, I would have been scraping metal). The guys at the garage were really nice and honest. They did the job for half the price that Toyota quoted me. Although I went to this garage cold, I am happy to report that it turned out in my benefit. My reason for this blog post  is to let other people know who live in West L.A. and need a car fixed that Culver City Motors was great for me and if you feel overwhelmed with a really bad car problem, don't worry. It all works out in the end.