Tween Tramps

I know that my year and a half as a step parent hardly qualifies me as an beginner in parenting, let alone an expert. I do however get annoyed by what some people allow their kids to do. Just as much as a dog owner that does not pick up the poop from the sidewalk, I am annoyed by parents that let a tween dress like a total tramp.

I have seen the phenomenon before, but it turned out to be a total “pandemic” when I visited World of Fun this weekend. I was always a little annoyed by the MTV show that showed girls having sweet 16 parties that seemed to be more expensive than an actual wedding, but what I saw this weekend was just a little too much.

It starts with the make up. I don’t think any kid under the age of 18 needs full on club make up. To be fair, I am not a fan of make up, I believe in natural beauty. I do appreciate it when a woman gets all dolled up to go out, but a 12 year old with more mascara than all the Emo bands in the world put together to me is going a little too far.

I understand that most parents have to trust their kids, and that they can just go to their friends house and do it anyway, but My Mom would have never let my sister go outside with some of the make up and clothes I saw.

I seriously have seen movie prostitutes with more clothes on and less make up that some of these kids. I thought I was just being over critical, but the more I walked through the park, the more example of “club clothing and make up” on little girls I encountered.

Granted, it could be that I am just getting old and even people in their twenties look like 12 year olds to me, but it seems like this is not something that I just noticed. Appearently there are reality shows on TV about little girls being in beauty pageants… I guess I totally forgot about how creepy the whole JonBenet Ramsey murder case was.

Newsweek has an article titled “Are We Turning Our Tweens into Generation Diva?” I am afraid we are letting some of our kids just look like tramps.

I sold out!

For some tasty quesadillas and a great free movie. Thanks to @jpgardner, Bea and I got to visit the new Mainstreet theater. I have to say the experience was a wonderful one.

I had my doubts going in, and was fully aware of the potential of being used as a marketing “tool,” you can thank Meesha for my enhanced paranoia. I figured we would get a free movie and some snacks and that would be the end of it. However, the experience was so much more than that.

I have been to that area so many times and never payed much attention to the building until today. The outside looks wonderful, but once you step in you are truly wowed by how nice the place is inside. The building was completely remodeled, and I am not sure the normal person would get the access our group got to see how much of the old building is actually still there. The pieces of the old theater that we got to see really gave the experience a feel of history which enhanced the tour that we were given.

I went in trying to be hypercritical of everything, but I honestly could not find anything to complain about. I did not want it to seem like I would love a place and gave it a good review simply because I got to see a free movie. The quesadillas I had were awesome and I would probably get them when I get to go again. Bea is already planning an outing for us there. The only thing I can think of to really complain is the prices of the food and drinks being a little more than what you would spend on your weekly movie outing if you are a movie buff, but you do pay a premium for going to a theater where only 21 and over people would be allowed or just the amenities that are available to you.

After arriving and getting some AMC stickers that made us somewhat official, we waited until the group gathered and our tour began. While they were not super keen on actually giving us some of the information we geeks wanted, (how big are the digital movies? How much is it actually gonna cost for a ticket?) we did get to learn about how they used to have tanks for trained seals and how most of the materials used in the remodel project are either recycled or fully recyclable (I think our tour guide mentioned how the carpet was 100 recyclable more than a few times). I have heard of a place being cooled with blocks of ice, but actually being in one that was cooled that way and getting to see the ducts that were used to pump the air to the upper balcony was neat. It was also neat to see the old balcony which is probably not going to get seen by many people but I am sure plenty of pictures from tonight will surface.

The tour gave us access to behind the scenes to see the racks of servers and projection rooms. They have some beefy systems and all of the theater houses are fully digital. One of them is even 3D ready. They have some premium theaters and some regular ones, I am guessing they will be more than 15 bucks for the fancy one we went into. The seats were actually recliners and you have a very space age looking tray that slides towards you for convenient access to your food and drinks.

We went into the theater thinking we were going to see Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, and we got the surprise right before the movie that we were actually seeing a sneak preview of The Brothers Bloom, a movie I have heard nothing about. The movie is excellent if you have a dark sense of humor, but it did drag a little bit towards the end. If I was to review it, I would give it 3 out of 4 stars.

Overall my impression of the place was positive. The theater and the seating is superior to any other theater I have been to; I mean the recliners even vibrate! The price you pay might be a little steep, but with that you will get rid of annoying teenagers ruining your movie experience. This place is perfect for a dinner and a date with your significant other. I think you should really judge it for yourself as soon as it officially opens up on May 1st. I know that Bea and I are going back for sure.

*Update*
More reviews are going up!
Average Jane
Vivid13
JohnInKC
Ramsey Moshen

Follow the hash #amcmain

Watchmen (*)

If you are a fan of the graphic novel, under the age of 18 or offended by genitalia stop reading now. I went to see this movie as a complete virgin to the series. I had heard nothing about Watchmen, which surprised me because I thought I knew a little more about comics than your average person. I am not sure if reading the comic book before would have made this movie better, but I think that people that judge it with those eyes might be a little more kind. I don’t think so though, because even though I like Superman and Spider Man a lot, the most recent movies sucked.

If you are never going to watch this movie, then continue reading because I am about to tear it apart… along with probably some of the comic book and probably make a couple of enemies along the way… but hey, I voted for Obama and that already lost me friends, so what is another couple just because I thought a movie was completely ghey.

The superhero genre is getting a little over saturated. I think Dare Devil and Electra started to show us that, and well from then on we have seen a series of crap where the only golden nugget has been The Dark Knight. Everything else as movies has been a pile of crap, and Watchmen seriously felt like stepping on steaming poo.

I would like to start by what I did like. I think that Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs / Rorschach is impeccable. He kept the movie flowing and I was waiting to see what he was going to say next every single time that he appeared on screen. His character was the only one that seem to have not only depth but any type of likability. Even as a very flawed human being he was still able to be someone you wanted to survive, but he ended up getting blown to pieces because of the greater good.

For a second imagine a world where Superman does not put Lex Luthor in jail, but rather becomes his ally because he thinks humanity is so flawed that what is 15 million people’s death if billions can be saved in the future. In the same train of thought imagine that Batman is not as good of a detective he is, but more of an accountant type that can’t get it up for a beautiful woman, he has to first take the batwing for as spin to regain his manhood that was left hanging along with his cape. The joker is a rapist that is actually allowed to be part of the good guys. All over this comic we see caricatures of other beloved heroes. It is almost like their flaws are being inflated and the painted on top of a canvas mirroring our current paranoia and divisiveness. It is not that the heroes have gone bad, it is more like the heroes were never good.

I get the fact that people live violence and sex. I also think that there is such a thing as too much blood and violence. The blowing up of human bodies is just not something I enjoy seeing, along with attempted rape, bones broken and being exposed through skin and child dismemberment. It did not seem to add anything to the story and the fight scenes just seemed like an excuse to poor some more blood on the camera. In a world already so full of destruction I want to go see a movie that entertains me, not a movie that depresses me.

Every single character is flatter than the pages of the graphic novel that they came from. I am sure the true fans of the series would say that I am missing the point or the satire in the content, but trust me, the package it was delivered on was pretty horrible. Talking about packages, I never though i would see a movie where there would be 4 blue penises on the same frame. If you thought 300 was homoerotic, well there are about 300 frames of penises in this movie. When there was for I had to resist the urge to yell out loud, come on, enough of the blue penises. While there were a couple of bare breasts in the movie, they did not make up for the penis overload, not even one vajajay.

The special effects throughout the movie felt wrong. The camera angles tried too hard to be comic book frames. When the most believable part of an alternate universe is that Nixon stayed in power for three terms, you have serious issues. To me the movie was pretty bad, and it was only somewhat entertaining. I would not even consider this a rental unless you enjoy looking at mans buttocks and full frontal over and over and over.

Slumdog Millionaire (****)

I cannot believe that in the last weekend of 2008 I actually watched a movie that I can add to my must see list. The Dark Knight was an impressive movie, but the raspy voice of Batman made it lose its fourth star. I was ready to start building the post about how much this year sucked when it came to movies, when my wife went and found this gem of a movie.

Mixing a fictional story with the crude reality affecting the world right now would be impossible to execute, but this film did it. The most amazing thing is that it did it while being entertaining, beautifully shot and impeccably casted.

I loved the use of color on the movie Hero that made the frames almost look like paitings, I also was taken back by how real City of God portrayed poverty and social inequality. I never imagined that a director could create a film where every scene could be made into a poster and hung in a gallery as a photography exhibit and also paint such a clear picture of India.

I know India is a big country and trying to say that a movie can give you an idea of what goes on over there is pretentious. The globalization theme has made me interested in India beyond liking its food and watching National Geographic documentaries. Almost every single aspect of how much India is changing is touched on in the movie. The social commentary is subtle and intelligent. From everything I have written it would seem like this is a heavy movie, but that is the best part of it, the movie is not.

Even though the movie takes on themes like poverty, globalization, and entertainment, in its core this is a coming of age story. Growing up we learn things that we use later on in life. This movie cleverly mixes that idea into how moments in your life can be used to win a game show. Not just any game show, but the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

I hope all the scattered thoughts that I have posted here spark your curiosity, because it’s hard to talk about the movie without giving too much away.

Twilight (**)

buy at Amazon.com

Before anyone wants to take my man card away I want to say that, one I am back to about 100% so I can probably hurt ya, and two, next Monday we are going to go drink beer and see football. Yesterday I got tickets for the midnight showing of twilight for Bea and I go see it. While I was being nursed back to health Bea gave me the first book in the series to read and I was hooked.

Simple writing, compelling story, almost comic book like action got me hooked. I ended up reading all of the books in probably a weeks time. The characters all have some flaw that even when they are immortals make them very human.

But I guess everyone wants to hear about the movie… and I am going to have to be a harsh critic. As a standalone movie, it fails. To fully appreciate the plot and understand the characters behavior you have to read the book first.

A movie goer will be dissapointed by a movie that will feel very slow in some parts and then too fast in others without any transition.

That said, the movie was cast flawlesly. The actors do an excellent job at delivering lines that everyone that has read the book was waiting to hear. There was attention to detail and many of the locations looked very close to what I had imagined them. However it did not have the wow effect that the Harry Potter universe did when the first movie came out.

Bella, played by Kristen Stewar was amazing. She played a very complex character who has the least amount of good lines since most of the book happens through her narration. She comes off likeable without being cheesy, a real person rather than the cartoon most trouble teenagers seem to look like in todays movies. She is a great actress because even though you have seen her in plenty of movies, each character stands on its own. She was in Zathura, Jumper and Panic Room.

Edward played by Robert Pattison who you probably first saw in Harry Potter playing Cedric Diggory plays the perfect vampire from the books lore. He has the best dialogue which he used to stop the hearts of every girl in that theater. I was amazed that there was actually no screaming during the movie, kuddos to all the tweens.

Taylor Lautner played a good Jacob, but his role does not really develop until later on the books. I hope this kid goes through a huge growth spur and can play the rest of the movies which I am pretty sure they are going to make.

The special effects in the movie worked quite well. Visually it did its job. The biggest misstep was the music. Even though the score was not bad, there were plenty of opportunities missed to use excellent songs. I think it would have made the slow not drag so much.

I give the movie two stars because the source material is some of the best I have ever read. Once you read the book, see the movie, it will be very entertaining. If you have not read the book, then be ready to feel like you are missing tons of stuff when you watch it.

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