Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Opinion About Movie Editing

In my lifetime it seems like there has always been the debate about movie editing and the legality thereof. It is my opinion that movie studios should allow movies to be viewed with editing. Perhaps, even, they should allow and do the filtering of movies themselves. I say this because I believe it is in the best interest of the movie studios and the people.

What is the point of making movies? I mean, a lot of people would say, it's art. And it totally is, but people don't usually do or make such costly and time-consuming art unless they are going to make money doing it. People totally have hobbies, and I truly believe that people enjoy making movies, but you've gotta pay all the people it takes to make a quality movie. I mean, the sound people probably aren't going to do it for free. So, what is the real point of making a movie? It's to make money for all involved in the process.

So how does allowing the filtering of movies allow people to make more money off of their art? It allows the audience to LIKE the movie more. Maybe people would disagree, but there are apparently a lot of people who want to use the filtering service. If there are companies that make money off of filtering movies, then I would assume that studios are making money off of them, as well, even if they are being filtered in the process.

There is a movie that I originally saw back in the day when there were rental places that edited movies, like, before they were shut down. I really liked that movie when I first saw it edited. It was one of my favorite movies. Later I saw it in its unedited form. I now dislike the movie. Why? Because I ended up viewing content that I didn't like. There is some content that will automatically decrease my enjoyment of any movie, such as blood, guts, excessive swearing, most nudity, sex, puppets (especially if they're supposed to be people), claymation, etc. If I can filter a movie or watch it as a filtered movie, the likelihood that I will purchase the movie, rent it, or watch it in some other paid manner increases. I realize that I will never find a filtering service that edits out puppets or claymation, but I just don't watch most of those movies, no matter how much critical and audience acclaim it gets. I get that it's an atypical aversion.

Another thing I don't get about studios being opposed to these movie filtering companies is that they are not doing anything different than what TV stations are doing. Obviously studios allow television channels to edit movies to play them for the public to watch. What is the difference? And what is the LEGAL difference between what television studios do and these filtering companies? Do the studios make more money when television stations air them as opposed to when people rent, buy, or stream movies? I mean, I've even watched a movie on an airplane that was edited for content!

So, clearly studios allow movies to be edited (hence, rendering the art argument as invalid). I just don't understand the disconnect between TV providers/airlines having edited the movies for content and the actual individual editing a movie for what that individual knows that he/she will not enjoy. We used to record movies off of TV all the time on our VHS player. I can't tell you how many movies I watched AND enjoyed that way that I no longer view because I don't have an available way to own/view it as an edited movie. People's interests, interpretations, and tolerance for various forms of art are different. Movie studios should allow people to experience this art/entertainment in a way that they enjoy themselves.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The 2016 Movie Post

Sometimes I wonder why I even do these posts, but then I'm like... uh, I like doing them! It's fun to look back and see what I watched and what I thought at the time. I can't believe this is my twelfth year writing them. I feel old.

Here are my previous years' posts: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

I feel like I saw a lot of movies in 2016. Like, way more than I thought. This is probably due to Tightwad Tuesday making a comeback at the theater AND the fact that we have a second run theater now (and I have Netflix) (and maybe that I flew five times this year). Plus, they have $1.50 popcorn (formally $1 popcorn) at the Tightwad Tuesday theater. I'm pretty sure I eat that value in butter alone.

Here is my list for 2016. It was a hard one this year. No five stars, again. SPOILER ALERT!

1. The Finest Hours - Something struck a chord with me in this movie. I think it was the presentation of a moral dilemma about risking your own life for your duty/job and in the off chance that you could save people's lives. Obviously this movie would have been terrible had it not ended somewhat happily. I say somewhat because plenty of people still died. My job doesn't require that I put myself in physically dangerous situations. I'm not married to someone who has to do that. It was just a good real-life example of sacrifice and heroism, and it touched my heart.

2. Captain America: Civil War - I like the Captain America movies. Their plot seems to be a bit more of political commentary than the rest of the Marvel movies and can get borderline preachy, but I have truly enjoyed these movies. I like that they tend to include more of the Avengers, as well. This one was painful to watch sometimes because of the plot, but it was still enjoyable.

3. Doctor Strange - This was a bit of a strange movie. It was nice to see Chiwetel Ejiofor again. I had enjoyed him in Serenity, and I was totally waiting for him to become a debonair bad guy (wish sort of granted) the whole movie. I'm not a huge fan of all of the kaleidoscope special effects. It's like, apparently between Doctor Strange and Ant-man if you get really small or go really far into outer space, it all becomes a kaleidoscope. Sure, the special effects might be easier than making up a non-kaleidoscope scene, and the kaleidoscope can seem to represent infinity, but still. Something different than kaleidoscope view, please. Also, the cape and librarian were funny.

4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - This movie was sort of depressing and tragic. It was emotionally heavy, even for a story in the Harry Potter/Voldemort world. Somehow, though, I enjoyed it. They had enough whimsical characters and situations to prevent me from being overly depressed, but it really was more of an adult movie. Also, I feel like the plural of No-Maj should be No-Majes, not No-majs.

5. Star Trek Beyond - I'm amazed at how well this movie has kept the tone set by the other two of the series. They added Jaylah to the mix, but she was a welcome and funny addition. I hope that she is in some of the future movies. I mean, there was plenty of ridiculousness in the movie, but it still succeeded. It is such a nerdy movie.

6. Zootopia - I thought that this movie was really funny. The premise was enjoyable, as well. They put a lot of funny antics in the movie. None of it was ground-breaking, but it was enjoyable.

7. Finding Dory - I was actually not looking forward to this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised! I thought it would be a complete rehash of Finding Nemo, and it was, but it was also thoughtful, fun, and cute! It was so preposterous at some parts, but I enjoyed it!

8. Arrival - This was a thinker movie, and it was a little boring, slow, and even predictable at parts, but it was also a good movie and with an interesting premise. I am reminded of the game Pac-Man while I watch it for some reason. I am also reminded of the movie The Tree of Life. I will have to see it once again, but I probably won't be interested in watching it more than that. I liked the conclusion and the main character's choice. That was nice.

9. 10 Cloverfield Lane - This movie made me feel so tense. I was freaking out during this movie. John Goodman was so good or maybe bad or whatever! I was completely freaked out and startled at many parts of this movie. It was crazy. Is this going to merge in with the movie Cloverfield at some point? Will there be another movie?

10. The Jungle Book - I almost didn't put this here because it's a remake, and I don't want to put remakes on my list. But then again, I really enjoyed this movie. I think it's great. They did an awesome job. I love the music. I actually really, really liked Scarlett Johansson's version of Trust in Me. Lots of people were raving about Christopher Walken, but I'm more of a fan of the King Louie played by Louis Prima from the 1967 version. I actually like the music better from the 1967 version, except for the new Trust in Me version in the credits of this 2016 one.

I also saw the following movies:

Jason Bourne - This was, you know, a Jason Bourne movie again. At least they killed off Julia Stiles' character this time. Unceremoniously, I might add. So at least she won't be back. I actually did enjoy the movie, though. It was good.

The BFG - This was a great adaptation of the book. I was pleased. My nephew said that he liked the movie's ending better than the book's ending, and I think I might agree. I was glad that they didn't ruin this movie for me. It was cute!

X-Men: Apocalypse - I enjoyed this movie pretty well. The antagonist was a bit of a monster, but I liked it enough.

Moana - This was a cute movie. I wasn't a huge fan of the crab, even though it was Jemaine Clement, but overall I enjoyed the movie. There were some really good and catchy songs, and I don't think I knew that Dwayne Johnson could sing.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - This was a good movie, but I really didn't like the CGI people. I could tolerate it for the brief moment that Princess Leia had in the movie, but they really should have just used an actual human for Tarkin if he was going to have such a big role or not give him so many close ups or something. It's like I was supposed to be amazed by the ingenuity and artistry of the thing, but instead I was creeped out by the hollow-eyed non-human on the screen in a human movie. If you're going to do a mix of actual humans and cartoon, take a page from the Bedknobs and Broomsticks book, not from the Matrix millions of video game Agent Smiths book. K-2SO was funny, and Chirrut Imwe was good. I guess I'm more interested in Jedi and less interested in the Muggles of the Star Wars galaxy.

The Legend of Tarzan - This movie was sort of like Australia or Pearl Harbor. It's like it was supposed to be this epic movie, but something fell flat. It wasn't the cinematography or even the acting. All of those were fine. I think it was the plot or how they put together the movie. At the end I felt like I wasn't very invested in the movie. I'm not sure what could have been fixed, but it's almost like they were shoving the supposed epicness of the movie down my throat, and I didn't swallow it.

Ghostbusters - Overall this movie was kind of meh as far as a strict remake. Like, they didn't really need to redo Ghostbusters at all. However, it was really funny. I saw it with two different people, both of whom were cracking up out loud at parts. That is the sign of a good comedy. It truly was very funny, even though it was totally ridiculous.

Independence Day: Resurgence - Okay, so the first Independence Day was totally preposterous and funny, right? Well, this one was similarly preposterous but somehow not as good as the first one. There is a difference, but most of that difference was slight as far as the plot goes. A big difference is the time period in which they came out and the willingness of the viewers to accept the silliness of the original movie. This second one just wasn't quite as good, but I didn't think it was as bad as most people.

Pete's Dragon - I don't know that I've seen the original Pete's Dragon all at once. I recall bits and pieces of it, but I'm not sure I've seen it all the way through, so I didn't care how it compared to the old one. It was alright. With the actors that were in it, I guess I expected it to be less cheesy or something. It was quite cheesy.

The 5th Wave - I saw this because my friends were watching it when I went to their house. I didn't know what it was and hadn't heard of it. This movie solidified for me the fact that the dystopian teen movies are past their prime. That being said, this movie really wasn't bad per se, it is just victim to over-saturation of the market of that sort of movie.

Collateral Beauty - I can see how this movie was supposed to be a ground-breaking drama, but it was too see-through. I mean, who didn't know that it was Helen Mirren's character in the hospital the minute there was a conversation going on? Also, I felt like they were trying to get people to wonder if the actors were real or not, but that was lame. Just a little bit of tweaking, and this movie could have been better. I didn't like that it was trying to surprise me. My friend with whom I saw the movie was crying through the movie because it really spoke to her. She had a mother who unexpectedly died, so my friend was unable to say good-bye. So I guess if this movie is something that appeals to you and your situation, it works. I just thought it was okay.

Alice Through the Looking Glass - These movies are curious. I felt like this one was clearly made to appeal to the Chinese people. Alice even had a dress that was Chinese. The artistry was cool, like in the first movie, and the story line was different.than most, but it was just okay.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - I didn't particularly care for this one. I think I'm not interested in the series.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - I actually thought this was alright. I love Batman, but his character was insufferable, which it was supposed to be, so I guess if you're going to have an insufferable Batman, it's okay that it's Ben Affleck. I enjoyed Wonder Woman.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - This was an unnecessary movie. It felt contrived and was just okay. It was like a reunion show, sort of like they did in the 90s with shows like The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island. They were also so unnecessary.

Kung Fu Panda 3 - This movie was not as good as the first two movies. It was cute, though, and it maintained the same tone as the other two, which was good.

Ben-Hur - I can't remember seeing the original one, but I'd like to watch it. I thought it was pretty good. Very violent, though.

Sully - It was good, but of course I knew most of it because I lived in the world when it happened not so long ago.

I also saw from 2014:

The Fault in Our Stars - It was really sad. It's another one of those movies that's probably better for people going through similar experiences.

Earth to Echo - It was basically E.T. and Super 8 combined.

Planes & Planes: Fire & Rescue - They were both good enough. I feel like they're the Cars movies, only planes instead of cars.

The Hundred-Foot Journey - I loved this movie.

The Giver - I don't really care for the book that much, so I felt similarly about the movie as I did the book. It was actually better than I thought it would be.

The Book of Life - I actually really enjoyed this!

Belle - I also enjoyed this movie.

I also saw from 2015:

Tomorrowland - I actually enjoyed this movie.

Creed - It was good enough.

Bridge of Spies - I really, really enjoyed this movie. It was great!

Brooklyn - I enjoyed it.

Once I Was a Beehive - It was alright.

The Good Dinosaur - I thought this was cute.

The Intern - I liked it a lot better than I thought I was going to.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - I had no idea that this was a zombie movie. It is just okay. I think this series is slightly more interesting than the Divergent Series at this point.

Pitch Perfect 2 - Not as good as the first one but very similar.

Hitman: Agent 47 - Too violent and contrived for me.

Goosebumps - This was my first experience of any Goosebumps thing, and I actually thought it was pretty good for a kids movie. It reminded me a little of Mr. Boogedy.

Movies I still want to see from 2015:

Tangerines (from Georgia)
Still Alice
Woman in Gold
Far from the Madding Crowd
Maybe Age of Adaline
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
A Royal Night Out
The Walk

Movies I still want to see from 2016:

Hail, Caesar!
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Love & Friendship
The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad - maybe
The Magnificent Seven
Central Intelligence
Miracles from Heaven
Queen of Katwe
La La Land
Kubo and the Two Strings

What did you guys think about movies this year? What are your recommendations to me?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Orlando Trip

Another trip I took a couple of years ago was one to Orlando. It was a ton of fun. I went with three of my friends, and we went to go to Disney World and Universal in Florida!

Here are some of the photos from that trip.

Here's part of Animal Kingdom. I loved the ride Expedition Everest. There was also a safari ride that was pretty cool, and the water ride really soaked me to the bone! It was kind of fun. It was sprinkling rain this day, but it didn't affect us too much because the rain happened when we were on the safari ride.

We also went to Epcot. They were having their International Garden and Flower Festival when we were there, and it was AMAZING.

I was so impressed with all that they could do with flowers, leaves, and bushes.

I enjoyed the rides, as well, but I'd say Epcot is less of a ride place and more of a walking around and looking at stuff place. The ride Maelstrom was cool, but I can definitely understand why they refitted it for Frozen. It was begging to be redone.

I guess I didn't take any photos of Hollywood Studios that I felt like including. They were having a Star Wars month or something, so we saw Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, and even some of the characters from The Clone Wars. I thought that was pretty cool. Two thumbs up for the Star Wars cupcakes. I also really enjoyed the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. And they had like an Indiana Jones show with special effects that I really enjoyed, as well. We saw the stage production of Beauty and the Beast. I'm not sure why, but I didn't really like it. It might have been the costumes, or maybe it was because it was full of gigantic stuffed non-people. It just creeped me out a little.

We also went to Magic Kingdom. We went there every day. I loved it, of course. We went the week before they opened the Seven Dwarfs ride, so we didn't get to go on it. I think we would have been able to go on it, had we actually stayed on Disney properties. Ah well.

My feet were absolutely killing me, even by the close of day two. The third day we went on the People Mover so much, just because our feet hurt us so badly. We needed to sit a little bit more than we did. I would go back to the hotel and put my feet up every night, but they were still killing me.

After Disneyland we took a day off and went to church and then dropped by the temple.

Then we went to the beach and sat on it. My friend who lived in Jacksonville met us there, and we had a nice relaxing day.

Monday and Tuesday we went to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. It was super fun. I am such a geek about Harry Potter. I loved it! Once again we were there just before they opened Diagon Alley, but we were able to visit Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. They did an amazing job with the architecture!

I am also a geek about The Simpsons, so I was totally looking forward to going to the Simpsons portion of the park. I loved going to the Kwik-E-Mart and Krusty Burger and to all of the rides. I loved the park and my experience. I said all of The Simpsons geeky things to the employees, and I feel like they really should employ people who are geeks about The Simpsons. I was surprised there weren't very many geeks working there. I felt like they completely missed my Bort joke, my request for an all-syrup squishee, and I'm pretty sure if I had requested a partially-gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverage, they would have had no idea what I was talking about.

 But at least they had The Ribwich.

Anyway, the trip was amazing and awesome. I totally recommend it to anyone who is interested in that kind of trip. My feet completely killed me, but I still loved it! I could definitely go again to both Disney World and Universal Studios.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

This was the final stop on our trip. I had eaten some sketchy chicken in the airport, and I started to feel sick. I'm not sure if it was the chicken or something else, but I really started to feel under the weather the day we got there. And I felt sick for months afterward, actually. It was enough that I went to the doctor and had all kinds of tests that came back telling me nothing. After about six months or so I finally felt normalish again. 2013 was the year of unhealthiness for me. I'm glad that's over.


This is the bed where I ended up sleeping a lot. I seriously slept a lot because I was feeling so sick. We stayed at Roxanne's parents' apartment. They were so nice to let me sleep there.

Other than sleeping, we walked a lot. We walked a lot around the city.


On any normal day I would have been all about riding this, but I just didn't feel up to it. Looks cool, though!


We also saw a bunch of statues.

And went to parks. We even ran into missionaries in this one.

There was even a church in the middle of this park. I thought that was pretty cool.

And there were a lot of tanks and missiles around. Here are some of the photos.

Here's the inside of a school building. I thought it looked pretty cool. We don't have very many old structures where I live, so it's cool to see these styles.

 And of course there were the potato chip flavors. It seems like a lot of countries have crab-flavored chips. I guess it's not that popular in the U.S. because I've never seen it here, but I've seen it in plenty of other countries. I also enjoyed that they have bacon-flavored chips!


And McDonald's had some different stuff, too. They had some pita-wrap-type stuff. I didn't look too closely. Food was unappetizing to me at this point, so I can't tell you much about the food.

One of my favorite experiences was going to a baptism and then going to church the next day. When we walked into church I thought that there was a girl that was staring at me and looked kind of familiar. After sacrament meeting she came up to talk to me, and it turned out that we did know each other! We went to the same university, and she was friends with my sister and other friends. She was there in Ukraine with her husband to adopt a child. It's crazy what a small world the church is. It's amazing how many times I have run into people I know at church in other countries.

I could go back to Ukraine. I was glad to go, and it seemed pretty cool, but unfortunately, I really wasn't feeling well at all while we were there, and that's too bad. I wondered if it could have been the yogurt I ate after arriving? I'm just glad I finally started feeling better. It had me worried for a while. I learned that I should take a little more time to plan my vacations and make sure I'm preparing myself sufficiently for any medical needs that could arise. I didn't even look to see if I should take any medications prior to going. When we went to Tanzania, we went to the health department and consulted with them and made sure we took vaccinations and suggested medications. I should have done this on this trip, as well.

The entire trip was fun, and I was glad to continue my adventures in the world!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Istanbul or Constantinople?

I'm going to try and catch up with photos from some of my vacations that I never uploaded. The last one I did was when I went to Tbilisi, Georgia in 2013. These are from that trip, as well, only this is the part when we went to Turkey!

We went during Ramadan, so the place was pretty festive. I thought Istanbul was really cool. I decided that visiting Istanbul was like going to a Muslim Disneyland! Why would I say this? It's because there were a lot of lines to go to the attractions (mosques), families were milling around, they had little carts that were selling food all around (corn on the cob was the most interesting to me), shops, tickets into the attractions that were like unto fast passes, and even light shows!

Here are some of the photos.

This is the Hagia Sophia. It was originally a Greek Orthodox Christian Basilica, but then it was converted into an Ottoman mosque.

It is so interesting because you can tell and see the Christian roots inside, as well as the conversion to the mosque.

Inside it, as well, they have the spot where the Byzantine Emperors were coronated.

Here is the Blue Mosque.

 It was beautiful inside.

Here's another mosque that was pretty cool. I can't remember what this one was called, though.

 The Blue Mosque is by Sultanahmet Square, where there was a suicide bombing earlier this year that killed 13 tourists. It's really sad, and I think it's terrible that people are willing to commit such terrible acts to try to manipulate people into a political position. Here is the Obelisk of Theodosius. It's in that square. The square used to be a Hippodrome (sporting arena) when Istanbul was Constantinople. It was originally built by the Temple of Karnak, which I saw on my previous trip to Egypt.

There's also a walled obelisk there. I think this is it. 

This is the Serpent Column. It was a bronze pillar that was also at the Hippodrome. Back then it had a serpent head.

 Also around that same area was a park and a fountain. Like mentioned before, we were there during Ramadan, and one night they had some festivities going on there. It was packed with people. The night life around Sultanahmet Square was pretty and festive.

This one reminded me of the grass areas at Disneyland.

Maybe the Blue Mosque is like the castles at Disneyland?

And these are like the light and water shows?

And here are some shops.

I love the Christmas lights!

We also happened upon the Basilica Cistern. It was pretty cool. There were fish in it.

And Medusa's head holding up some pillars.

This cistern was in the Bond movie "From Russia with Love." I'm sure you wanted to know that.

Not too far from the cistern was Topkapi Palace. We saw part of it, and the part we saw was pretty awesome. I loved all of the mosaics. They were so cool

And then we hung out in a park for a bit. We walked so much, and I got tired sometimes. Here were some bridges. I love bridges!

 One of the most famous places in Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar. Some guy... I can't remember if it was like the guy at the front desk of the hotel or one of our waiters asked Roxanne and me if we wanted to go to his house for one of the Ramadan meals. We said no because we wanted to go to bed so we could go to the bazaar in the morning. Well, duh... since it was Ramadan, pretty much almost every place was closed the day that we tried, including the bazaar. This is the closed bazaar. Sadness.

It's okay, though! We went a couple of other days and times! This is what it looks like normally.


We walked up and down the streets so much. This is what I saw pretty much every day.

 One time I was walking by with Roxanne and her dad, and one of the merchants basically wanted to buy me off of them because I guess he thought they were my parents. It was likely some kind of foolish flattery to get our attention so we would buy stuff from the guy, but it really backfired because it offended Roxanne because seriously, she is not married to her dad, and she is definitely not old enough to be my mom!

Oh! The food! I thought the food was super good! This was my favorite. They were some kind of dumplings/pasta with a yogurty sauce or something. Delicious!

And here are the chips that I always try to check out for the flavors! I know I tried some, but I can't remember what the flavors were. There was probably some kind of yogurt herb one. Maybe kind of like tzatziki but not. Or maybe a kebab. The actual kebab we had was super delicious.

And McDonalds had a McTurco, which is a flatbread sandwich. They also had a walk-through window outside on the street, instead of a drive-through window. I got ice cream from there regularly. Or the Burger King one. They both had delicious ice cream, and I got hot walking so much. Whenever I'd buy one it seemed to start a cascade of people getting the cones. They should have paid me for doing such a great job of advertising their ice cream everyday.

 But my favorite thing about Burger King is that they delivered. We totally ate at the one by the airport on our layover through Istanbul on the way home, and there were dudes on bikes that would take and deliver the burger orders. I was like, AWESOME!

One thing that was interesting about when we were eating is that sometimes old artifacts were all around us, even while we were eating!


They have so many artifacts, they have no idea what to do with them. We even saw a bunch just chilling down an alleyway at the side of a building, like people didn't know what on earth to do with this garbage. I wanted to volunteer to bring some of it back to the states. I'm sure I could find a museum in the U.S. that wouldn't mind an exhibit like that. Basically, we saw oodles of this type of stuff on the trip.


I should say that one of my most favorite places I went to was the Great Palace Mosaic Museum. It was pretty awesome. It just had a bunch of stuff like this, but I really liked it.


 Oh, I forget. We went on a few tours. We went on a water tour where we were able to see things like this and a lot of the houses on the shore. I'm sure notable people lived in them, but let's be honest. I didn't care who lived in those houses.

We were also able to go to on a bus tour that went from the Europe part of the city into the Asia part of the city. That was cool. It made it so I've been to five continents with Roxanne, which I think is pretty cool. We also went by Taksim Square where there were a bunch of protests at the time. It seems like there's always some kind of political turmoil whenever I travel. It makes the travel difficult. I felt happy that I was just on a bus, but we saw people being put into police vans or something. I'm starting to feel like my travel plans are cursed. I think this was Taksim Square, anyway. The protestors are not pictured.

And finally we went up a hill and got to take a fantastic photo of part of Istanbul at sunset.

It was beautiful. The trip was fantastic. I hope that Turkey can become a bit safer and more politically secure so tourists can feel more comfortable there. It was a great stop on the trip!