Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Archive for June, 2007

Awesome Nature Video

Posted by Jack Deus on June 29, 2007

Youtube is a great thing. Check out this video and tell me you don’t find it entertaining. Watch the 5:48 mark (2:35 left) specifically. I bet that lion will think twice before attempting something like this again.


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Movie Review-Ocean’s 13

Posted by Jack Deus on June 28, 2007

Warning, while I try to cut down on the spoilers, I guarantee nothing.

Fans of Ocean’s 11…rejoice! Ocean’s 13 followed the normal trend of movie trilogies and was almost as good as the original. Fans of Ocean’s 12…I didn’t know you could read. I figured anyone who thought that movie was good either had an IQ less than 20 or… well, that would really be the only reason you would like Ocean’s 12. Anyway, 13 is pretty similar to 11 and not at all like that monstrosity 12.

A couple of things I really liked about Ocean’s 13. 1. The cast was great. As expected the original 11 (led by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon) were all brought back, Andy Garcia (as their last minute financier) made 12, and thank God Julia Roberts wasn’t kept to be 13. Instead they brought in the very funny Eddie Izzard as a consultant. Al Pacino was also added to the mix as the casino owner Danny Ocean and his gang were going to take down. 2. The CGI shots of the hotel were well done. It looked very real and very much like a hotel someone might build on the Strip. While my buddy Skid figured it was probably fake, the hotel even fooled him, but in his defense he has never been to Vegas so he didn’t have anything to compare it to.

Three things I didn’t like about Ocean’s 13. 1. The plot used the same basic premise of Ocean’s 11, which I liked-try to rob a casino using really sophisticated methods, having to overcome impossible odds, and come out of it unscathed. Maybe I don’t remember it as well as I think I do, but the first one seemed a lot more believable than this one. The biggest thing that wasn’t believable was Willie Bank (Al Pacino) and his right hand woman, Abigail Sponder (played by Ellen Barkin-the main character in the movie Switch) both being hoodwinked not once, not twice, but a total of 5 times by Ocean’s gang. Willie Bank was a big-time casino owner who always stayed at least one step ahead of his business partners, and in the span of a week he alone gets fooled three times. I don’t think so. 2. In the first movie, the job was basically pulled off by the 11 in the group. They didn’t rely on a lot of outside help. In this movie, there was a lot of help that the group needed from people that were already working in the casino. I find it very hard to believe that none of the casino insiders backed out, NARCed, or just screwed up. With the plan hinging on very precise timing for it to even have a chance at going correctly, confiding in that many outsiders was probably necessary, but extremely dangerous and made the heist very hard to believe. 3. They made a big point about Bank not keeping an architect on very long, so there were almost a dozen different blueprints for the casino. Using a giant drill (the one that dug the Chunnel) and bad blueprints, someone in the group figured out what frequency would make the whole casino shake like there was an earthquake, but not fall down. No friggin’ way are any of them that good at math that they figured out that problem in that small amount of time.

Overall, this movie was not quite as good as Ocean’s 11, but way, way, way better than Ocean’s 12. I want to give this movie an 8, but the unbelievability of some parts of the plot force me to only be able to give it a 7.

Posted in Reviews-Movies | 1 Comment »

Movie Review-Evan Almighty

Posted by Jack Deus on June 24, 2007

Warning, while I try to cut down on the spoilers, I do not guarantee this post doesn’t have any.

Evan Baxter (Steve Carell of The Office and The 40 Year Old Virgin fame) and Morgan Freeman (as God) return in this spin-off from Bruce Almighty. This time God wants Evan to build an Ark, Noah style, with his family to save himself from the impending flood. Evan then tries to balance his new job as a U.S. congressman, keeping his family happy, and building the ark.

I went into this movie not expecting very much, but was very pleasantly surprised. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments I would have to take off my shoes to count them all, and I still might not have enough digits to keep track, including one scene that had the entire theatre rolling for an entire minute. Steve Carell does a great job with the physical comedy especially when he first starts building the Ark, and also delivers very funny monologues and one-liners. Wanda Sykes (probably best known for lending her voice to the animated movies Over the Hedge and Barnyard) makes him look like a grade school talent show entrant compared to her as she delivers snappy one-liners throughout the entire movie. Basically every time she is on the screen expect to laugh out loud. Also adding to the humor, albeit in a sort of creepy stalkerish way is Jonah Hill (you might recognize him from the movies Knocked Up and Accepted) as Evan’s know-everything-about-Capital-Hill helper.

Along with being one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time, Evan Almighty also has a few good messages for its audience. One, take care of the habitat around you and try to peacefully coexist, not dominate it. Two, when you pray for something such as patience or for your family to be closer together, don’t expect God to just give you those things. Rather, expect Him to give you opportunities to be patient, or opportunities to work/play/be together as a family and recognize these opportunities as the answer to your prayers. Three, if you really want to change the world, don’t get overwhelmed by not knowing where to start, instead start with one Act of Random Kindness (ARK) and go from there. There were other messages in the movie, but those were three of the biggest ones.

It’s not often you find a movie that has good clean humor (the movie is rated PG) and some really good messages to live your life by. The move was a little hokey at times, but even with the hokeyness I would still give it an 8 and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a few laughs.

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Movie Review-Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Posted by Jack Deus on June 21, 2007

Warning this movie review may contain spoilers, but I try to cut down on them.

Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and The Thing return to the big screen to fight against and then along side the Silver Surfer. Once the Silver Surfer joins sides with the Fantastic 4 they do battle against Doctor Doom and Galactus.

Most movie sequels are not as good as the first one, but Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer was at least as good, if not better than the original Fantastic 4. I am probably being biased because the Silver Surfer is my favorite super hero behind Wolverine (what guy doesn’t like Wolverine?), but I don’t think that influenced my grading of the movies too much.

So, what did I like about the second Fantastic 4? One, unlike a lot of action movies the plot was actually thought out (for the most part-see what I didn’t like later in the review) and not just thrown in around cool action scenes. Two, speaking of cool action scenes, there were plenty in this movie. Three, the CGI was good. I don’t know a lot about CGI, but I think it would be hard to really screw it up anymore. I’m sure someone like my buddy Skid noticed a few parts in the movie where the CGI was a little off, but for non ubergeeks like me, the CGI worked well. Four, superhero movies are supposed to be all about showcasing the superpowers of the heroes, and this movie did not disappoint. All 6 superhero characters (the Fantastic 4, Silver Surfer, and Doctor Doom) got to take center stage at multiple points in the movie and at the end it took the 5 good guys all working together to successfully battle Doctor Doom and Galactus.

What didn’t I like about the movie? I will try to go into this without spoiling too much of the movie. One, the news media seems to care more about the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman than the odd occurances happening all over the world. I understand the writers were attempting to make parallels to our own world where untalented people like Paris Hilton dominate the news, but I would like to believe people would rather hear about the world possibly coming to an end than the latest plans for a wedding. Two, speaking of the wedding, there is no way the Invisible Woman has so much left to do with only a week before the wedding. My wife planned almost our entire wedding but I still know it would be impossible to get everything she had left to do done in a week. Three, the drama with the Human Torch trying to decide if he still wants to be a ladies man or settle down I didn’t think was done very well and really should have been left out completely in my opinion. Four, the battle between the Fantastic 4 and Doctor Doom at the end seemed too quick and a little unreal, even for superhero movie standards. I understand that superhero movies need to redefine the laws of physics a little bit to account for the superpowers of the heroes, but it seemed to me even the new rules didn’t apply during the final battle scene. I won’t go into any more detail about it so I don’t spoil the ending, but watch for it.

Overall I thought the pros far outweighed the few cons and would give this movie an 8. If you like superhero movies you should definitely like this one.

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Dog Fighting

Posted by Jack Deus on June 18, 2007

I realize the news about Michael Vick and dog fighting is a little old, but I wanted to express my opinions about dog fighting anyway, because, sadly, somewhere in the United States, as you read this, there are dogs being bred or trained to fight or are actually fighting.

First, I need to start off with a message to Clinton Portis, Shut Up! You obviously don’t know how big of a fool you made of yourself and your team when you asked what the big deal is if Michael Vick is breading dogs for fighting. First of all, dog fighting is illegal in every state, and is a felony in all but 2 of the states. If that wasn’t enough, the brutality of dog-fighting alone should make you realize what the big deal is. Just because you are a waste of human flesh and an oxygen thief and think that dog fighting is a good form of entertainment doesn’t make it OK for Michael Vick or anyone else to breed fighting dogs. You may be the star running back of my favorite team, but I will never again support you or your actions and won’t even think twice about passing you up during my fantasy football drafts.

Second, some people may try to justify dog fighting by comparing it to boxing or ultimate fighting, but that is total crap. The fighters in both of those sports make a conscious decision to enter the ring and can leave whenever they want to. Last time I checked, and I suppose I could be mistaken because I’ve never actually been around dog fighting, the dogs don’t get asked if they want to fight, they just get thrown in the ring and are forced to fight for their lives. I was watching Outside the Lines on ESPN a little while ago and they showed a little bit of footage from some dog fights and it was absolutely brutal. The whining and whimpering and biting and snarling and gouging and bleeding was absolutely disgusting. I can handle watching many things, but I had to turn that off. Compare that to ultimate fighting or boxing, with all the rules designed to protect the fighters and, unless you are a moron, you can tell the difference. Dog fighting is more like the movie Unleashed, not any sanctioned fighting. If you need me to go further in depth on the differences between ultimate fighting and dog fighting you are a lost cause and might as well smell the scratch and sniff sticker I put at the bottom of my pool.

Third, my dogs wrestle and play fight all the time, and I find it very entertaining. It is nothing like dog fighting, however. Even though they look like they are baring their teeth in a mean way and even though they are growling at each other, it is completely different. For one, my dogs don’t try to hurt each other and if they do accidentally get hurt they let out a yelp and the other one stops instantly to make sure his “brother” is OK. For two, it is almost like they are sumo wrestling because for the most part they just push and shove each other, they aren’t actually attacking each other. They hardly ever bite and both have more of a defensive mind set than an offensive one. For three, when one does manage to get a hold of the other dog’s ear or arm or leg with their teeth, they know how hard they can bite so they don’t make it hurt and they let go after a few seconds anyway.

If anything, my dogs “fight” like you would spar with your best friend. You might accidentally land a punch or kick but at the end of the day you shake hands and are still friends. The dogs that are trained to fight for their lives so that inbred country hicks can get off while watching them tear each other to pieces, act like you or I would if a mugger attacked with a knife. Fighting dogs only attack the other dog because they were trained and have it ingrained in their mind that if they don’t attack, the other dog will attack them. It is purely a survival game. In that same Outside the Lines episode, they showed how the dogs the authorities took from Michael Vick’s house acted when they were around humans and most of them seemed as happy as the family dog, wagging his tail and eager to please. Unfortunately, all of the dogs had to be put down, because of their training and the possibility of what they might do if they saw another dog or something that reminded them of their brutal living conditions.

Basically what I am trying to say is this: dog fighting is a felony in 48 states (should be in all 50-but that is neither here nor there) and more importantly it is a brutal, disgusting, inhumane “sport” and everyone who participates in, gambles on, or otherwise supports it should be punished to the full extent of the law. I am torn between my Christian desire to forgive the supporters of dog fighting and my raw animal instinct to treat everyone who supports dog fighting like the dogs, whipping them, keeping them in cramped cages, and forcing them to fight to the death like their dogs. Depending on my mood, it is lucky for those who condone dog fighting that I am not judge and jury of their fate when they get caught. The only thing I can do is plead with every one of you who reads this to turn in anyone and everything you know that has to do with dog fighting to the authorities and let them sort it. If you participate in dog fighting, give it up, turn yourself in and stop the violence.

Posted in Advice, Sports | 5 Comments »