Feb 28, 2009

The "Everyday" Quote of the Day - Now For Everyday Use!

"Are you crazy? Don't go between them!"
"Go between them?! Are you crazy?"

For use in situations involving:
  • High-speed boat chases in treacherously crowded waterways, esp. when approaching two tankers drifting dangerously close to one another, offering almost no through-space for one small boat, let alone two!; to be followed by thrills and/or close calls (see: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  • High-speed freeway driving, esp. when approaching two semi-trucks occupying the traffic lanes to your left and right, creating--right in front of you!--a narrow, intimidating, but ultimately unavoidable gap that you MUST drive through if you are going to survive

Go to the 1:20 mark for a lesson in the "everyday" application of this handy quote!

Feb 26, 2009

Indy's Back!

No, I'm not referring to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. By now you should be in the final stages of repressing Jones' recent calamity. His next adventure will take place in the palm of your hand! Er, hands. Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings is coming to the Wii.

Set in 1939, a year after Last Crusade, Indy finds himself in search for an old colleague who went missing on a quest to uncover the staff of Moses. You know, the one that parted the Red Sea? The biblical route always seems to work for Indiana Jones. The Ark of the Covenant in Raiders, and the Holy Grail in Last Crusade. Of the novels, the most successful and fan favorite was The Genesis Deluge which dealt with Noah's Ark. Sorry Sankara Stones and (stupid) Crystal Skull.

As you may expect, legions of enemies will be ready stand in the titular archeologist's way: from spiders and snakes to Lao Che's thugs to those ever so lovable rascals, the Nazis. A new villain, Magnus Völler, will be Jones' nemesis for this excursion. As for his main squeeze? No news as of yet, but I'm sure they'll throw at least one strong and sassy female Indy's way.

The Wii's motion controls play a big part in the game. You'll hold down B and swing the remote to crack Indy's whip. The whip can disarm enemies, grab enemies, swing across pits, interact with items that are out of reach, or may be needed to disarm traps. Hand-to-hand combat will also use motion control. You'll hold the remote and nunchuck in each fist (just like boxing in WiiSports) and the controller will mimic your blows. So if a few light jabs don't do the trick, give 'em Indy's mean left hook. The game boasts a very interactive environment. Indy isn't necessarily the strongest fighter in a scrap, be he keeps his wits about him. At a nearby pool table, for instance, Jones can pick up a cue and break it over an adversary's head. Or, grab the balls from the table and lob them at the bad guys from across the room. Grab an enemy and rush him head first into a gong...or concrete wall...or throw him off a ledge.

Aside from the main story mode, the game also features a co-op mode with it's own original story! The second player wasn't announced, but it is someone we'll know from the series. Henry Jones, Sr. or Sallah, perhaps? The co-op focuses on cooperative puzzle solving and the like. If that wasn't enough, there is also a four-player mode where you can have aerial dogfights! All of this sounds very promising. It delivers a new story while retaining everything we've come to love from the original adventures. And no contributions from Lucas! That's always a good sign. However, I would accept a written apology from him for making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Somehow I doubt anyone'll see one of those.

In closing, I'm super excited for this game! Couldn't you tell? I love Indiana Jones, and adventure, and video games, and though its sad I'll probably never have another Indy film (that is watchable) at least he can still make use of his fedora in other mediums. Look for it this Spring.

Feb 25, 2009

'He's Just Not That Into You' Makes Me Want to Smoke a Cigarette, or Two

(Surgeon General's Warning: The Cigarettes Depicted in the Photo Above are Fictitious. They Were Drawn, Poorly, Using Microsoft 'Paint', and Are In NO Way Meant To Condone Smoking And/Or Being Sexy In The Workplace.)

According to an article in the New York Times, the American Medical Association Alliance plans to present an official complaint to Warner Brothers (and it's parent company, Time Warner) about the "disturbing images" of specific cigarette brands in the recent film, He's Just Not That Into You.

A representative of the volunteer-member AMA alliance cites "various studies" estimating that 200,000 young people pick up cigarettes annually because of displays of smoking in films--and "there is," the rep is quoted as saying, "absolutely zero artistic justification for this."

The outcry stems from several appearances of a bright yellow cigarette box, suggestive of the Natural American Spirit brand of cigarettes, and the (questionable) appearance of a red Marlboro carton (a person who worked on the film disputed this).

...Nevermind that the film doesn't ever actually show anyone smoking those cigarettes. And nevermind that there is an entire subplot about losing your wife because of smoking. Yes, I imagine large quantities of 15-year-old girls will be picking up tobacco after seeing a vague, brightly-colored pack of cigs in the vicinity of Justin Long, in a romantic comedy based on a self-help book with a title taken from a Sex and the City quote. This is definitely a huge problem. Or not.

I understand--completely--the argument that there is no "artistic justification" for having cigarettes in He's Just Not That Into You; after all, there's no art in He's Just Not That Into You, and very little logical justification for much of anything. Ha ha. But seriously, people get riled up over this?

I'm definitely not condoning smoking, but to attack a movie studio on such flimsy grounds, based on conjecture and subjective artistic opinion, seems nonsensical. And to so clearly ignore the intentions of the plot--“It doesn’t really matter if the story line is negative or not in terms of the impact on kids”--in favor of pure images, like a glimpse of a cigarette box, seems dangerously obtuse and entirely beside the point. Even if movies do get almost a quarter of a million kids to start smoking every year, there must certainly be other factors weighing into this choice, no? Lifestyle habits, parental guidance, discipline, social pressure, etc. are, in my mind, more likely the culpable parties, with a child's taste in movies more of a symptomatic byproduct. To make movies into the bad guy, and to do so by trotting out phrases like "artistic justification," sounds too much like needless censorship.

Anyway, the MPAA already considers smoking when rating movies for young viewers, and as far as I can tell (I freely admit to not having seen He's Just Not That Into You) the movie is neither glamorizing nor ignoring the consequences of smoking in its (non-)portrayal. So what's the big deal?

...It is true, though, that that little yellow box is kinda pretty. And its kinda making me crave...something. I can't quite put my fingers on it.

Feb 24, 2009