Sunday, February 08, 2009

Oh Cheese, Thy Name is the Sci Fi Channel

I have had a very lovely peaceful weekend, slightly upset by a phone call Friday night from M. He is okay. Everyone is okay, however, it was a bit traumatic for me: the boy is growing up and there would appear to be little or nothing I can do about it. I would vastly prefer that he was swaddled in cotton wool and safely ensconced on some remote island inhabited only by saints, but unfortunately he's in East Baltimore living the tough life. It's good for him, I know it is, but oh, lord, do I worry. Then, because I'm still working my way through Patrick O'Brian, I remind myself that if this was 200 years ago he would have been at sea already for 9 years or so. I also remind myself that while I may drink too much, I totally do not drink as much as a British naval officer in 1809. Nowhere near. Why I find these reflections comforting, I couldn't tell you but there you are.

Last night I settled down in front of the TV to watch a movie. I have several Netflix movies waiting for me but I had some vague idea that there was something actually on TV that I wanted to watch and lo, I was not disappointed: there was a Sci Fi Channel original movie loosely based on Journey to the Center of the Earth only not Victorian and involving an entire small military group of young women in revealing, sweat soaked wife beaters. Actually, the whole production was apparently secretly funded by the wife beater lobby: that's all anyone was wearing. The wife beater lobby ran out of money about three quarters of the way through the movie, too, and they went quickly from tyrannosaurs and pterodactyls to really, really lame giant spiders. I'm always delighted to find out that there are open savannas and mountains and entire vistas that look a lot like southern California deep in the center of the earth and of course, they're always populated by dinosaurs who apparently fell down there at some point. After all, why not? This one was strangely devoid of freaky human tribes practicing human sacrifice, though, which was a sad oversight, and there was only one river of lava. Lame.

I got comfortable enough to watch the first half of the next movie, too: it was all about some future corporation trying to colonize a remote planet for nefarious motives. The planet was named Oxygen, which I guess will happen in a few years when the names ABC, CNN and Lifetime are already used up. It also looked a whole lot like southern California except that the monsters were all just giant bears. Giant bears suck as monsters, I must say. I find it difficult to really get into blowing bears away and, while I too have a sensible fear of bears, they are still cute, no matter what you do. Anyway, since they never showed the humans and the bears in the same shot, I couldn't quite grasp the giantness of them no matter how many badly written lines emphasized their enormous size and scariness. It might almost make you believe that the whole reason for the movie was that someone had lucked into a whole lot of free bear footage and thus decided to fulfill a lifelong dream: a movie that cut from bear growling to head flying off and rolling down a slope (that was pretty cool and so was the part where the bear swiped the guy's whole midsection out and he just stood there like a Cylon for a few minutes with a photoshopped hole where his side used to be.)

I don't know why I like these movies so much - they're abysmal and even to my non scientific ear, I can tell that they make no sense. "The laser is set to alternate cold and hot which builds up an incredible oscillation which eats it's way through solid rock and lava with no problem!" Huh? What? No. No, sorry, not even an art major will agree with that one. "This entire planet/cavern beneath the earth that looks just like the Hollywood Hills is inhabited by predators only with absolutely no prey species apparent!" Yeah, I don't think so. That many big predators argue that you'd see at least a squirrel or something. "Giant cave bears hunted in packs and their only predator was prehistoric man!" Nope, no, they didn't. "This bear is a cub!" No it isn't. No, it's a sad old bear skin you got from the props closet and the whole muzzle is full of white hair, you idiots. And there you go, I think I just summed up why I like bad movies so very, very much.


haskell said...

You might like "Dark City." It starts out as film noir and turns into science fiction. Even though not everything makes sense, it's an interesting story with great special effects. Definitely worth renting.

mygothlaundry said...

Dude, that is VERY strange. I watched Dark City last night!