Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Clarifying Dud Remakes

One of my earlier entries suggested that Hollywood should take a chance by remaking duds and trying to get it right. I even specifically singled out The Island and compared it to Parts: The Clonus Horror.

I should clarify something. If you're going to remake a dud, give credit where credit is due. Admit you're remaking a dud, fer cryin' out loud.

In other words, try to avoid this.

Monday, November 28, 2005

We've Jumped the Shark? D'oh!

I've thought this before, but I'll say it out loud and on the record:

The Simpsons have jumped the shark. Actually, I think they did so a few years ago.

For those of you unfamiliar with shark jumping, I refer you to this article. I knowit may seem sacriligous for me to say it, but I think they have. It's time for the Simpsons to retire gracefully before they crash and burn.

Let's face it, the Simpsons have had a major impact on our society. I can remember when it first debuted, it was roundly decried as a harbinger of the decline and fall of American society. Christians especially hated it and singled out Bart as a devil in blue pants. I find it ironic, then, that a decade later, when I went to the Seminary, you couldn't walk through the campus during the evening without hearing a Simpsons re-run in somebody's dorm room.

The Simpsons are everywhere. "D'oh!" is even in the dictionary now. Matt Groening has conquered the pop culture world. But I fear that Groening's clan has overstayed their welcome.

I know this is my opinion, and I know it may not be that popular, but if you want to see what I mean, just live out my day today with the Simpsons. It started as I watched last night's new episode, where Lisa is tutored by Milhouse in the Italian language and Marge joins some social circle called the "Cheery Tomatoes" (or something like that).

First of all, both plots were somewhat repetitive. At least, they were to me. Lisa has had a "first love" how many times? At least two or three by my reckoning. Granted, it was about time that Milhouse got his shot, but still, having Lisa getting a crush on anyone at this point has been done before, and done better. Marge joins a club because she doesn't have any friends? Ummmm, no. She's had lots of friends. She's been in countless organizations and had all sorts of chums. Sadly, the plots of this week's episode were just stale rehashes of ideas done before.

Then, this evening, I got to watch a classic Simpsons re-run, the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episodes. It just drove home the point for me: the Simpsons have jumped the shark. Those two episodes are funnier and more creative than anything they've put on this season.

So let the Simpsons go. Let them go off the air before they really begin to stink up the joint. Let Groening bring back Futurama. Let him come up with something new. Or, if that won't work, try shaking things up a little: let the Simpsons age. Let Bart graduate to the 5th grade. Let Maggie actually speak her first words. What would Lisa be like at sweet 16? How will Homer react to Grandpa's death? It's time to find out. No cartoon series has ever let their stars age before. Maybe the Simpsons could be ground-breaking pioneers in this way.

But whatever the case, let's recognize the plain truth: the sharks have been jumped.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I guess I'm not the only one who thinks that they have the least read blog. I did a Google search with that term and came up with at least fifty others that lay claim to the title. I'd like to beg to differ with them all, but then, I do have some readers. Hmmmmm.......

Any suggestions for a new name?

Maybe the Winds are Lonely for a Reason.....

One could easily describe me as a bibliophile. I love books. I can't help myself. I devour them. Tonight I was at a Barnes and Noble, and while checking out, the clerk asked me if I had the membership card. My reply was, "With as many books as I buy, I had better!" I keep joking with Jill that when I become a best-selling author and we build a house somewhere, I'm going to include a massive library so I can display all my books.

The one problem I have, though, is that I'm not what you would call an adventerous reader. I have my favorite authors, and I mostly just read what they write. I've even been known to read the same book five or six times if I like it. I'm also a sucker for franchise books, such as Star Wars novels. It takes a lot for me to be adventerous with my reading.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to stretch my reading legs a little and try a relatively unknown author. I'm a member at Red vs. Blue and skulk around their forums. One thread I subscribe to is "Tips for Writers from Writers". Recently, someone came onto the forum and talked about how they had self-published a fantasy novel entitled The Lonely Winds.

Now, I've always been a little leery of self-publishing. But when I read the glowing reviews on the book's website, complete with a judging form from some self-publishing contest, I was intrigued. I decided I had to give it a shot. I ponied up the twenty bucks and bought a book from a little known author, hoping to be surprised and delighted.

Sadly, I am neither.

Granted, I'm only on page 108 of 447, but I'm willing to bet that unless a miracle occurs or I suffer from brain damage that impairs my ability to judge literature, I'm going to stay unimpressed.

The reason is that B.I. Flight is a horrible author. At least, he is in my opinion. He seems in love with his (admittedly) impressive vocabulary. Unfortuntaely, while he knows large words, he doesn't always seem to know what they mean. He calls things "ironic" that really aren't. He says stuff is "interesting" when it really isn't.

Not only that, but one of his main characters drives me crazy, a man named George.

In the initial pages, George seems to be a highly cultured, intelligent man, one who uses many, many large words in the course of regular conversation. After the first seventy pages, though, George starts to "break character", so to speak, interjecting exclamations like "Great googly moogly!" and "Holy Hand Grenade!" It doesn't ring true to the picture of George that was forming and is quite off-putting.

I think the problem is that Mr. Flight never had access to a real editor. I doubt that the folks at Infinity Publishing did much for him other than take his money.

This may seem cruel and harsh, but it's the way I see things. If B.I. Flight has somehow stumbled into an area of the internet that's less read than his book, I'll apologize if you're offended, but I won't apologize for what I've said. Your novel, while creative, needed a lot more work before it came out in print.