Well, not anymore. I mean, there was a time, yes. Like when my dad took me with him to see Ghostbusters II in theaters when I was 4. All I know is, I was terrified. Granted, it's a pretty frightening movie for a child. I mean, jeez, the last time I saw Vigo, he still creeped me out! Truth be told, I don't really remember that traumatic movie experience. I just remember my dad teasing me about it years later, whenever he would watch The Ghostbuster movies at home. I also remember regularly having nightmares about Slimer. Just take a look at the guy! What 4-year-old wouldn't be scared out of their mind by him?
Don't laugh, but even more commonly, I would have nightmares about the crocodile from Peter Pan. I would have this recurring dream where the crocodile would burst through the wall of my room (like the Kool-Aid guy if he was a giant, menacing crocodile) and would eat me. This one dream haunted me over and over throughout much of my childhood. Though there was one distinct change about the crocodile's appearance that made him even more horrific in my nightmares. He would glow in the dark with the same green glow as Ghostbusters' Slimer. It was like a hybrid of my two most feared foes! Slimer and the Tick-Tock Croc combined!
Well, that was a long time ago. I don't have those nightmares anymore. I don't believe in ghosts anymore either. All things considered, I think I've managed to come out of this okay. However... to this day, I've still never seen either Ghostbusters film in full. 5 minutes here and there, in typical 5 Minute Movie Guy fashion, but that's about it. Well, now is my chance to change all of that. The original Ghostbusters film is in theaters this weekend only, to celebrate the film's 30-year anniversary. I think it's time for me to face my childhood fears head-on! I'm going to watch the movie on the big screen some time later today. Consider this a tribute to the recently passed Harold Ramis, as well as a long overdue viewing of a classic. Ghostbusters, my life is in your hands!
Oh, and by the way.... Thanks, Dad...
5 Minute Movie Guy
Today I signed up for the Long Beach International City Bank Half-Marathon 2014! This will be the first running event I've ever done, and it's only 45 days away! I'll be joining my sister, Katrina, her husband, Matthew, and their newborn son, James. We've gone walking/running three times now, and I'm really getting ready to pick up the pace. I'm gonna be a running fool for the next couple months to get myself prepared for the event. Truth to be told, I've never been much of a runner. I enjoy it a lot more than my lungs do, that's for sure. Regardless, I'm excited to be a part of this and look forward to building up my endurance and conditioning. It should be a wonderful and rewarding experience. Maybe I'll see you there at the finish line!
(Update: Oops! Thought the Emmy's were last night. I was misinformed. The VMAs were last night, and the Emmy's are tonight! Yeah, it didn't make sense to me why they'd have them on the same day, but I guess they're not after all. The show starts tonight, Monday, August 25th, at 8:00 PM ET!)
The Emmy's are tonight! I imagine many of you will be watching, but I regret to inform you that I won't be. Nor will I be covering it in any shape or form. What do I look like? 5 Minute Television Guy? Get it right! I'm 5 Minute Movie Guy!
I hate to break it to you, but I don't even watch television anymore. Most TV shows just don't do it for me. People are always trying to get me to start watching TV series, but their attempts are futile. Most people seem to have no problem spending several days impulsively binge-watching shows to get caught up-to-date, but I have absolutely no interest in ever doing that. In truth, my only exposure to any of these shows is through my dad, who regularly watches many of them. I've seen a few episodes of Breaking Bad and some brief moments from Game of Thrones, but was never really enthralled by either. I have never in my life been so invested in a TV show that I felt the need to see every episode. I guess because of that you could say I'm more of a sitcom guy, but even then there's probably only a handful of those that I've watched somewhat regularly.
Since I won't often talk about TV shows on the site, I suppose I should use this opportunity to tell you that some of my favorite shows include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, That 70's Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, and Spongebob. (Yes... Spongebob.) I'm also a big fan of In Living Color and lately I've really enjoyed The Tonight Show now that Jimmy Fallon has taken over. As you can see, my list is mostly very much dated and it's all comedy shows. These days, it's all about the TV series. I guess I've never made that transition, and I don't intend to. They require a much greater investment that I'm not willing to put into them. It may partially be a matter of having a short attention span, but I think it has more to do with trying to better utilize my time. I find that the older I get, the less time I'm willing to waste on TV and video games. Movies, on the other hand, require much less of a time investment (although unfortunately a much greater financial investment).
Anyway, I'd love to write more about all of this, but I have to get ready for work, so I'll save it for another time. If you're watching the Emmy's tonight, I hope you enjoy the show and may your favorite one win!
The unfortunate thing about making changes is that there can be unintended consequences. You know, cause and effect. I thought it was a good idea to widen the home page to give us more room to work with. It seemed to be working out quite nicely, and I think you'll agree that our home page looks better than ever. On the downside, it also widened every... single... page on the website, which has created some issues. First and foremost, if you're an iPad user, allow me to apologize. Movie pages are looking pretty lousy right now for iPad users as a result of this recent site change. I'm not a coder, so for me, fixing it is a matter of just tinkering with the code through trial and error. If I'm unable to fix it, I may have to resort to compressing the width back to where it was. That's certainly not something I want to do, since it's essentially taking a step backwards, so I'm gonna try my best to find a way around this. If pages look a little off as a result, I apologize. I think the news pages look fine, but the main movie pages are now a little bit off-center (which probably bothers me far more than most people). Please, bear with me as I try to get all of this situated. I'd hate to have a janky-looking website, so I'll do whatever I can to fix it.
Additionally, Ryan and I have come to an agreement about making some changes to the movie pages. We're going to be removing the Twitter and Facebook buttons from the main pages because they're incredibly tedious to put onto every page, and I'm pretty certain that no one has ever clicked any of them, ever. I'm not upset about that or anything, and personally I don't usually click those kind of buttons myself when browsing the internet, unless it's something I really want to share. Therefore, not only is it annoying and time-consuming, it 's really just a waste of precious time. I'm sure the buttons won't be missed.
When it comes to the movie page polls, there are some issues. Currently, we have polls that ask, "Are you going to see this movie?" The problem with that is it becomes obsolete once the movie is out in theaters and people have seen it. To remedy that, once the movie has been released, we've been shifting it over to "Did you see this movie?" However, that's kind a boring poll. Since we've added the rating stars to pages, it's our hope that you'll only vote after you've actually seen the movie, in which case, that poll question serves little purpose anymore. So instead, we're not going to get rid of the poll, but we're going to just ask a question we feel is appropriate to the movie itself. For instance, "Which character in The Expendables 3 is your favorite?" or "Did you prefer book or the movie adaptation of The Giver"? I think these questions will be more interesting so that you'll want to take a moment to answer them.
I'm also thinking about integrating a forum into the website. I don't think I would use the default forum option that's included with my website provider since it seems pretty limited. I'd probably instead implement another forum type from elsewhere. When I added Disqus to the website, it seemed like a more convenient and easy way for people to comment on pages, since people can sign in through various social media sources (Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc.). While I don't intend to get rid of the Disqus comment sections from the movie pages, I realize now that it's a little limited. It's more like facebook comments than a forum. In that sense, it's unorganized, and not likely to provoke much thoughtful discussion. They're also limited to pages for specific movies. I want you guys to be able to talk about what you want to talk about in terms of movies. For instance, what if you wanted to talk about The Dark Knight trilogy? Currently you have no place to do that. A forum would remedy that problem. Forums build communities, and communities push websites. I want 5 Minute Movie Guy to be a place that you can go to where you can connect with people through movies. Where you can read about them, learn about them, write about them. Movies bring people together. Shouldn't movie websites do the same?
Well, there you have it. Facebook and Twitter buttons are gone, polls will be changing, a forum will be made, and the website resizing issues will be remedied. I like to keep you guys updated on things happening with the site so you're aware of changes and additions. Speaking of that, you may have noticed that we've added a couple more people to our staff. I don't want to squeeze them in here at the end of this blog, so I'll give them a proper introduction soon. As always, thanks for reading!
Late last night, or I suppose I should say, very early this morning, I transitioned the site to our new home page. Doing this required me to increase the width of the site to give us more room to work with. We are now operating at a wide load level. You'll notice that all of the pages are wider throughout the website, which certainly has its advantages. I'm totally cool with capitalizing on empty space to give you guys more content. Although widening the site does stretch some things that will require some tweaking, but all in all, I think it's certainly a change for the better.
I'd like to thank Ryan for designing the updated home page, which is now up-and-running for your viewing pleasure. It now includes our featured Top Movie Trailer (which will probably go through a couple more revisions), a convenient section to promote our exclusive features (currently Movie Kombat and Pick My Flick - be sure to vote if you haven't! The polls close soon), as well as new movie releases, and a weekly poll. Ryan's been pushing the weekly poll idea since he joined the site about a month ago, and now the site is finally wide enough to fit it aesthetically. You can look forward to the poll changing every Sunday! We hope you enjoy the changes and find it to be a more engaging and interactive experience.
It's amazing how someone we've never met can have such a profound impact on our lives.
Today the world mourns the death of Robin Williams, whose passing is an immeasurable loss. If you haven't heard the news, Robin took his own life yesterday, at the age of 63, in a tragic and unforeseeable suicide. He was undeniably one of the world's most gifted and beloved comedians and actors. I don't think there are many among us who haven't been touched by his comedic brilliance, his heartfelt performances, and his larger-than-life personality. He made the world a better place for all of us, and left a lifetime's worth of joyous laughter in his wake. Robin Williams was more than just an entertainer. He was an inspiration, he was a once-in-a-lifetime legend, and he was a friend, even to those of us who never had the privilege of knowing him. We're forever grateful for his tremendous contribution to the world.
Robin Williams, my friend, you will always be missed.
Robin McLaurin Williams
So as you may or may not have noticed, you too can now vote on movies here at 5 Minute Movie Guy. I was previously including 5-star polls with the reviews, but I never quite liked how that looked. Now if you go to any movie's home page here on the site, you can vote between 1 and 5 stars on a rating scale below the film's poster (but only if the movie has been released). However, in doing so, I'm able to give a name for each respective star of the scale system. For example, the default choices were:
1 star = Awful
2 stars = Poor
3 stars = Average
4 stars = Good
5 stars = Excellent
Personally, I had a little bit of an issue with that. I do not define a 3-star film as "average". Maybe it's a matter of having always used a ten-point scale prior to creating this website, but to me, an average film would be a 5 out of 10, which would translate to 2.5 stars. However, as I said in one of my earliest blogs, using half stars defeats the entire purpose of having a 5-star scale. If I do that, I might as well rate things on a scale of 1-10, and I don't want to do that, being 5 Minute Movie Guy and all. Yet if we were to get technical about it, on a ten-point scale, 5.5 would actually be the real average, not 5.0. By that logic, 3 stars should technically be average because it's equally between 1 star and 5 stars, but in terms of rating, I feel that's a pretty harsh system. Essentially only 4 star and 5 star reviews would then be considered favorable, and I don't like that. I'd rather lean towards a more forgiving and positive review scale. So I had to adjust the rating terms a little bit, and that ended up being a lot harder than you might think...
If 2.5 is average, well, then 2 stars must be slightly below average, while 3 stars would be slightly above average. Then it's just a matter of assigning the right word to those definitions. I wouldn't say 3 stars is good, but it's not bad either. Though it's more good than bad, right? So I settled on calling it "okay". Well, what about 2 stars then? I didn't want to continue using the label "poor" because to me, a "poor" movie and an "awful" movie are both movies you clearly shouldn't watch. Instead, I considered "decent", but I feel like "decent" and "okay" are almost synonymous. Maybe "decent" is more akin to "average", but I certainly wouldn't consider it to be below average, would you? Perhaps "decent" is somewhat ambiguous. I suppose it could go either way. Though when attempting to narrowly define something as rudimentary as a star rating, ambiguity is something I want to avoid. Therefore I tried the word "mediocre" instead, which I believe to have a more negative connotation, but if you look it up in a thesaurus it says it's a synonym for "okay". I totally reject that claim. There is no way "mediocre" and "okay" are the same. While similar, they're on slightly opposite ends of the spectrum as far as I'm concerned. So I'm sticking with "mediocre" for my 2-star scale. By the way, if you've gone cross-eyed from reading all of this, I sincerely apologize.
Now that I got the two most difficult stars out of the way, I wanted to keep the other terms fairly simple. "Awful" seemed suitably appropriate for 1-star. It's a simple term that establishes that this is a movie you'll want to avoid watching at all costs. From there, I wanted to continue to use easily identifiable rating terms for the remaining stars, thus I kept 4-stars as "good" and changed 5-stars from "excellent" to simply "great". There's more than enough of a difference between those words to set those scores apart. "Good" being a movie you should probably check out, and "great" being a movie you should definitely watch. So in the end, my final review score system ended up looking like this:
1 star = Awful
2 stars = Mediocre
3 stars = Okay
4 stars = Good
5 stars = Great
I had initially contemplated the idea of doing personalized review terms catered to specific movies (for instance, a Bill and Ted scale might have a 1-star rating of "Most heinous!" while it's 5-star rating would be "Most excellent!"), but given the difficulty in defining these terms, that's totally not going to happen. Plus I'm a big fan of consistency, and I don't want my rating system to be an inconsistent mess, even if those personalized choices would be more fun and entertaining. Instead I'm implementing that fun factor into each movie page's poll, which I'm tailoring to be specific to that particular movie.
Well, now that I've given you a complete breakdown of my review terms and the process of defining them, let me know what you think. Am I obsessing too much over this? While maybe this blog post was a bit excessive, I think finding a good way to define my rating system for everyone to understand is very important, and I hope that with these newly assigned ratings I've accomplished that. In other words, I really just wanted to make sure I didn't leave any fault in my stars! ;) Thanks for reading! Now go out there and vote! You can even use the Disqus box on each movie's main page to let me know what you thought of the movie you rated, or just to talk about that movie or ask questions. Your input is truly appreciated! Thanks!
...and why you should be too!
Over the last few weeks, as the release of Guardians of the Galaxy has drawn nearer and my anticipation has grown, I've noticed that there are a lot of people who don't share my enthusiasm for this movie. I suppose that's fair. After all, so few of us even know who these guys are. With Guardians, Marvel is pushing a movie with a bunch of unknowns while we wait for their popular superheroes to return with more incredible sequels. Surely this is just a little distraction to keep us occupied while we wait for The Avengers 2, right?
Actually... I don't think so.
I have a bit of a problem with Marvel's superhero films. Granted, I'm not a huge superhero fan to begin with (with the exception of Batman, thanks to Christopher Nolan's brilliant trilogy). It's something of a misconception people often have about me. While I think I'm reasonably knowledgeable about these characters, I don't find many of them particularly interesting. Believe it or not, I was reluctant to even bother watching The Avengers, though I'll admit I'm glad I did. It's an ambitious movie that's well made, and was almost everything one could hope for. Yet there's one major issue I have with it, which I like to refer to as...
The Coulson Problem.
SPOILER WARNING! I'm going to spoil a couple parts of The Avengers movie in the following paragraph!
The Coulson Problem has to do with the film's over-dramatization of Agent Coulson's death in The Avengers. A minor, nearly insignificant character dies, and it's made out to be the most dramatic and horrific thing imaginable. They even went so far as to make it the very thing that gets The Avengers to put aside their differences and assemble as one. His death was an avoidable tragedy that could have been prevented if only this group of heroes had stopped fighting amongst each other and learned to work together for the common good of the people. Never mind the countless casualties that die all the time because these heroes aren't able to save them. What makes Coulson different is that his death is a direct result of their inaction, and additionally, they see him as one of their own. I understand that, and I even think it works pretty well. However, let's not treat it like Iron Man or Captain America just died. Coulson is a guy most of us wouldn't have even known by name if not for The Avenger's completely over-the-top reaction to his death. He's little more than "that one guy" and yet we're supposed to be emotionally invested in his death? That's a little ludicrous if you ask me.
Thus, I define The Coulson Problem as making an incredibly big deal out of something comparatively small. Herein likes my problem with Marvel's movies. They play it too safe. When the biggest thing you can muster is a drawn-out, accentuated death of a minor character no one cares much about, you're playing it too safe. I'm not saying Marvel needs to kill off one of their heroes, but they need to take some legitimate risks with their franchises. Look at The Dark Knight trilogy as a comparison. How many good characters actually die in those movies? I can only think of one. Yet nobody would argue that The Dark Knight plays it too safe. It's bold, it's dark, and it escalates the stakes and creates tension very effectively. Meanwhile, Marvel movies continuously attempt to build up to these epic situations, but they fall flat because you know everything is going to be just fine in the end. Their movies end up being emotionally ineffective, disengaging, and frustrating. Marvel, don't build up to something if you're not going to give me anything. Stop being such a tease. All you're giving us is inconsequential deaths and close-calls. You try to set up this massive ordeal and yet there's no pay-off for us as viewers. The only real risk you ever seem to take is with property damage, and that typically lacks any emotional weight. Buildings can be rebuilt. Your own characters don't even care about that, so why should we? Give us more! Give me something to care about. Make me feel something!
Here's why Guardians is different...
This is Marvel's first movie that looks like it has any balls. Yes, BALLS! HUEVOS! COJONES!
I watch Marvel movies like The Avengers, and I ask myself, "Why should I care?"
You probably watch the Guardians trailer and ask yourself, "Why should I care?"
Well, let me tell you why....
1. These are not your typical superheroes:
The Guardians of the Galaxy are a pretty crude and brash bunch. They're not the squeaky-clean heroes Marvel is best known for. Just from watching the trailer, one can clearly see that. They're not exactly good guys, and they mainly seem to be looking out for their own best interests. As Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) says in the trailer, they have a chance to do "something good, something bad, a bit of both." That makes these guys more interesting since we don't really know what to expect from them. They don't follow the same principles as Marvel's heroes on Earth. After all, the main conflict of the film is the result of Star-Lord stealing a sacred object that doesn't belong to him. We're essentially following a group of misfits who have the fate of the galaxy in their hands. So we've got a cast of characters that include a rogue outlaw (Star-Lord), a ruthless assassin (Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana), a monstrous warrior out for vengeance (Drax the Destroyer, played by Dave Bautista), a bounty hunter raccoon (Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his tree-like protector (Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel). If that's not a unique crew, I don't know what is. They seem like a lot of fun and should be a nice change of pace from Marvel's more predictable heroes.
2. The Guardians scale is much bigger than Earth:
These guys are traversing the galaxy and are dealing with intergalactic threats. It almost makes Earth's superheroes seem small-time by comparison. We got a taste of the dangerous forces beyond Earth at the end of The Avengers, when an alien species wrecked most of Manhattan. If we can see more of that, I'm all in. Guardians of the Galaxy broadens the scope of the Marvel universe tremendously and should be a real-game changer that effects all of the new Marvel movies from here on out.
3. Guardians features a great cast:
To be honest, I didn't even have the slightest idea who Chris Pratt was when I first heard about this movie, but judging just from the trailers and his late-night TV appearances, I am confident that this guy is awesome. He's not exactly a newcomer to acting and has been around for quite some time, but this is going to be his big breakout role. Chris Pratt has what it takes to lead the movie and he's going to become very well-known now that Guardians of the Galaxy has officially hit theaters today. Also, keep a look out for him as the star in the upcoming movie Jurassic World! Then we have Zoe Saldana, who certainly proved her worth in James Cameron's Avatar. Apparently she has a passion for playing aliens. There's also wrestler Dave Bautista as Drax, who should be perfect as the group's muscle. Lastly, the film's biggest stars, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, should bring a lot to their roles as Rocket and Groot.
4. Guardians should help set up events for The Avengers' future films:
So you probably know by now that Josh Brolin is set to play Thanos in The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and that he was the purple villain that appeared after the film's end credits. What you probably didn't know, however, is that The Guardians of the Galaxy personally have some strong ties to Thanos. Gamora is actually Thanos' adopted daughter and serves as his trained assassin. Meanwhile, Drax was once a human, but he and his family were murdered by the hands of Thanos. He became resurrected as Drax the Destroyer, and his primary mission has been to get revenge. So Guardians of the Galaxy is likely to teach us plenty about Thanos and help set him up for the next Avengers film. Seems to me like this will be a great way to prepare us for battle with one of the baddest dudes in the whole galaxy.
5. Guardians has a killer soundtrack:
I'm calling it right now. Guardians of the Galaxy will have the best licensed soundtrack of the year. Maybe I'm a little biased since this is my kind of music, but man, it is awesome! I mean, the soundtrack has David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, and The Jackson 5. Do I really need to say more? You'll be chanting "Ooga-chaka" for weeks!
6. Guardians looks like Marvel's funniest movie yet:
You can expect a lot of laughs from this one. I think one of Marvel's strong suits is their sense of humor. Iron Man 3 was outrageously funny, and I think it's safe to say that Guardians is going to be too. The trailers are already really amusing, and I certainly anticipate the rest of the movie to be the same way. It looks like it's hitting all the right notes, and having the wise-cracking Star-Lord as the lead character should lead to a lot of laughs. This is a film that knows exactly what it is and doesn't appear to take itself too seriously. It looks like the filmmakers are having fun with the fact that these rambunctious characters don't have a reputation to uphold. It's no-holds-barred with Guardians of the Galaxy, and watching it is sure to be a good time for all.
7. Guns. Lots of guns:
Marvel is going big with this movie. How often do you see the good guys wielding a rocket launcher? Or a raccoon going on a rampage with a machine gun? Iron Man suit aside, these space weapons might just blow away all of the other weapons that Stark Industries has produced. Rather than relying on superpowers, the Guardians have to stock up on firepower and go in guns-blazin'! Fortunately, it looks like they've got quite an arsenal up their sleeves!
8. With Guardians, Marvel is finally showing some balls:
The very act of Marvel making Guardians of the Galaxy is a risky move. They could have just as easily used the resources to make another sequel for one of their franchise stars, but instead they chose to invest in a movie with relatively unknown and risqué heroes. It looks like their risk is going to end up paying off big time, since the movie looks fantastic and all of the early reviews are absolutely raving about it. I hope this is the start of good things to come, as Marvel finally appears to be boldly stepping into more mature territory. Perhaps this new change in direction can prevent us from having to stomach any further give-me-a-break "Coulson problems" in the future, and then maybe, just maybe, they'll even be able to get me to start caring about the conflicts, as well as the characters, in their movies.
Tomorrow I'm going to finally watch Guardians of the Galaxy, one of my most anticipated movies of the year (it just barely missed cracking my top 5). I'm really excited to see it and to watch Marvel push beyond their usual play-it-safe boundaries. After reading this blog, hopefully you feel the same way. This film is far more important than just a little side project, and it appears to legitimately have the potential to change the fate of the Marvel movie universe. Here's to hoping it delivers in spades!