Mortal Kombat Logo

Sculptures

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There have been many times in my life when I happen upon some form of visual art and I’m filled with a compelling desire to recreate it myself. For years I’ve felt this way about the poster art for the Broadway show Wicked and I’m still not sure what to do with it.  One day I decided to be nostalgic and look up possibly the closest thing to a good film adaption of video game there is, Mortal Kombat, and I was struck by this need after watching its badass opening sequence with its logo engulfed in flames. I had to do something with this logo. And something I did.

 

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The Tai Lung Theory

Film Thoughts

Tai Lung was raped in Prison?

tai lung imprisoned

This was a theory I thought I came up with myself until I found out online that several fanfiction writers and members of the Kung Fu Panda community had surmised this early on.

Was it possible that the infamous snow leopard was brutally, and likely repeatedly, raped by the guards of Chor Gom Prison?

It is highly unlikely that the creators of the movie meant for this idea to be instilled in a family-friendly animation, but with the idea so easily accepted amongst fans of the movie, where does it come from?

“How do you wanna take it today, Kitty?”
“How do you wanna take it today, Kitty?”

So what are the facts? Commander Vachir clearly has a disdain for him and frequently mocks Tai Lung in his imprisoned state and in the movie makes a point of showing this by stepping on his tail knowing he can do nothing about it. Ok, so maybe that’s not much. But what about the fact that Tai Lung is not only locked up but immobilized leaving his body vulnerable let alone in a bent over position making non-consensual sodomy all too easy. It would be very possible that some guard took advantage of this (and thus, him).

Arguably, the the other biggest motivator to the theory is one that doesn’t come from the movie itself; the fact that prison rape does exist, and quite a bit more than people care to think about. And while most associate the term “prison rape” with inmate-on-inmate rape, there is a another, albeit less prominent, case of staff-on-inmate rape.

Shifu and Tai Lung 2So why would people throughout the KFP community, both fans who like and dislike Tai Lung,  want to believe this idea? There are two reasons this theory is endorsed, each one from both sides.

1. It takes the mighty snow leopard and forces him into a submissive role. Fans of KFP who dislike Tai Lung like this theory because it changes his stance with out making a retcon of his personality as it would be happening against his will. It only leaves the guards in question who are not very discussed in the movie at all and are less concrete to changes in character.

2. It adds to the sympathy of the villain. Why? It fleshes out the character to a more 3-dimensional state. One of the problems that creators found while making Kung Fu Panda was that test audiences consistently found Tai Lung too sympathetic. And why not? Living a life with one goal in mind only to be denied it. Who hasn’t been there or can’t relate to that? Throw in the father/son dilemma and the fact that the title he wanted goes to someone else and you not only have a pretty good understanding of why this guy is angry but you almost find that his anger is justified. It wasn’t until the creators included mention of Tai Lung’s rampage across the Valley of Peace that audiences felt he was just unlikeable enough to be a villain. So the guy attacked innocent people? Well, sure then, he deserves to go to prison…. where he was raped. Just like that, we’re back to feeling sorry for him. It also adds a role reversal to the situation. The supposedly admirable guards are now despicable rapist and the once “dangerous” villain is suddenly the victim.

Personally, I do believe this theory.

After assessing this theory, I re-watched all of the prison scenes and Tai Lung’s confrontation with Master Shifu keeping it in mind, and I must say it not only seemed to make sense but it added to the intensity and the dimension of each of these scenes.

“How do you like me when I’m not chained up?”
“How do you like me when I’m not chained up?”

It gives a new meaning to his anger. During the breath-taking prison break sequence, he’s not only fighting off the guards to escape, suddenly his fighting is an act of revenge against any one of their sexual assaults enacted on him while he was defenseless. His anger and vengeance gives him a different drive. He’s re-establishing his dominance and power among people who formerly dominated him.

You didn’t stand up for me, Dad. And I was sent to prison. You wanna know what happened to me there?”

You didn’t stand up for me, Dad. And I was sent to prison. You wanna know what happened to me there?”

 

As for the equally thrilling encounter back at the Palace, it is clear that Tai Lung blames Shifu for his imprisonment by his remark “I rotted in jail for twenty years… because of your weakness.” With this mindset he can easily also blame him for anything that happened to him while he was in jail including however many times the guards of the prisons forced themselves on him.

I don’t think it’s such a glaring revolution that it makes it impossible to view the movie without thinking about this. I’ve seen the movie multiple times after theorizing this idea and the movie works both ways. While the idea may not have been intentional and might seem needlessly cruel to a character who already had a lot against them, it gives some great depth to an already great and deep villain.

-Cameron Metrejean

Characters that Ruined Movie Experiences for Me

Film Thoughts

4 Characters that ruined movie experiences for me

While not often, there are times when I can’t take a movie seriously or even enjoy it because of one element. With some movies the focus is all it takes to make an otherwise good movie off for me. But a movie with bad focus only strikes me as unfortunate. It’s when the big problem is a single character that it just drives me up the wall with the way they act or treat others in the movie. While I could probably fill a page with annoying villains in movies, I’m looking at 4 characters that pissed me off with their needlessly aggravating nature to the point that I saw the movie considerably differently.

 

#4 Gene, Wreck-it-Ralph

gene 1It’s funny how many little annoyances I had with this movie that I overall loved. I wasn’t even so upset that it lost the Oscar for Best Animation to the subpar Brave (a movie I have much more problems with) because it was fairly unanimous online that it shouldn’t have won evident by the common phrase “Brave, you have something that belongs to Wreck-it-Ralph” being passed around. Though, my vote was for Rise of the Guardians which unfortunately got snubbed.

Mayor Gene is the movie’s initiating antagonist, not to be confused with the threat (the cybugs) and main antagonist (won’t spoil it). Mayor Gene heads the lynch mob, optimistically called the Nicelanders, against poor Ralph. While the other apartment members only seem to fear Ralph as it seems they never stopped to talk to him to realize he’s not like the character he portrays, Gene out-right hates him and isn’t afraid to let his would-be subtext come to voice when he talks to Ralph.

And it is here that all the trouble in Fix-it Felix universe begins. You can trace it back to Gene being a jerk that get’s upset any time Ralph comes out of his dump of a home.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The late night apartment scene

Everything about Gene in this scene has him acting like the entitled victim here, as if the game getting shut down was all part of Ralph’s grand scheme, talking about how he’s “a man of his word” by giving Ralph the biggest slap in the face by letting him stay in the apartment now.

gene-4Like giving him the keys to the corvette after totaling it

When Ralph is forced to state the obvious “This isn’t what I wanted to happen.” Gene has the gaul to accusingly ask “Then what did you want?” Dick, you know what he wanted. He wanted to be treated nicely and not be excluded by you and your snobbish attitude. But since all Ralph says is “I just didn’t want to be alone in the dump.” Gene says “Well, now you can be alone in the penthouse.”

UGGGGGHHHHHH!

Granted by the end of the movie he and the Nicelanders do come around but we never get a clear reason why they had the well-needed change of heart. Did they all get together and decide they’d been too harsh on Ralph? When he didn’t come back did they realize that the villain does a lot for the game with no appreciation? Did Felix tell them how he risked his life to save a little girl? In the end we don’t know. It came out of nowhere. They just treat him well when he comes back which begs the question “Why didn’t Gene and the Nicelanders just treat him well to begin with?”

And really, for me anyways, that is the satisfying ending to me; Ralph being accepted by his own game. As cute as the wave scene between him and Vanellope is I wouldn’t be as content with the ending if the only thing Ralph had to be happy about was Vanellope being happy. But that’s partly because….

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Any other characters?
Vanellope Von Schweetz

Yeah Vanellope is annoying. I get that she’s supposed to be that way and yet I can’t help but feel Sarah Silverman might have done a little extra annoying ad-libbing in the studio that pushed her over the edge. Her personality just doesn’t seem to mesh well when you consider how she’s supposed to be Ralph’s emotional center, the one he’s striving and risking everything he has to save.

Even just little things like when Ralph ask why she doesn’t leave her game for a better place. She informs him that Glitch’s can’t leave their own game but

she has to open with “You really don’t know anything do you?” It’s not said in an overly mean manner but really? Do you really need spin it that way? Why not just “You don’t know much about glitches do you?” She and Ralph are supposed to have this connection because they are both looked down upon by their fellow game characters. But whereas Ralph is a genuinely nice guy completely un-justifying his treatment, I can’t really imagine the other characters liking her annoying personality even if she wasn’t a glitch. 

Oh wait, she's a Disney princess?

Oh wait, she’s a Disney princess? We like her then!

#3 Bonzo Enders Game

bonzo 1While I will say the overall thing that disappointed me with this movie was the rushed story line, I can overlook that because I couldn’t help but think “this is what the rushed exposition of The Last Airbender film would be like if it was done a bit better.” Plus, the underlying motive of a rushed story is so we, the audience, don’t have to spend 3 hours in a theater. There’s some love there. But Bonzo stands out to me in the much more in-your-face bad way.

While I didn’t read the book which I’ve had recommended to me a few times, I have read online that many fans of the book found that casting someone smaller than Ender as his rival who he’s supposed to overcome by using his intelligence to beat their shear brawn made their eventual showdown rather laughable. Sure the actor obviously beefed up a bit in the same way that Topher Grace did for Spiderman 3. But just like with that movie, while the effort is appreciated it still falls short by a lot and it brings to question why other much more appropriate actors were passed up.

Moises Arias is an actor that has followed me from my early days of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Hannah Montana to Enders Game. And every time he plays the same character that I can’t stand; A small smug insufferable jerk who has much more influence and power than he should.

The role itself is antagonistic and meant to be unlikeable but gosh darnnit does it have to played by a guy who amplifies it with such unabashed haughtiness that boasts “I have the authority and I know it. Suck it.” His irritating performance takes a character I should love to hate in the same vein as Draco Malfoy, but it just make me hate the character with no enjoyment in the hate.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
Any scene where I had to look at his face-scrunched, nostril-flared, lips pushed forward, scowl. 

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So pretty much every scene he’s in.

Any other characters?
Ender
asa-butterfield-enders-game

Asa Butterfield impressed me in The Boy in Striped Pajamas but I found his performance lacking and supremely annoying in Hugo. But since I saw the films in reverse order I decided to give him a chance with this film. That’s my skewed film logic. While he did annoy me I couldn’t really blame his performance specifically this time. I found his acting to be adequate to how the character was written.

Ender in the movie is something of a Mary Sue (Gary Stu as he’s male) character, always knowing what to do, passive aggressive tone, his complacent statement of facts, and getting a laugh out of how others perceive gravity, because thats what passes for humor in a smart person’s mind right? 

Look who thinks a tomato is a vegetable, snicker snicker

Look who thinks a tomato is a vegetable, snicker snicker

I never really got to point that I cared for him. But as he didn’t care for Bonzo either, I suppose we can share that similarity. Plus he did get rid of him half way through the movie, another plus.

#2 Costa Project X

costa 2I did NOT enjoy this movie. I mean I know that high schoolers can be loud, vulgar and obnoxious but….. ok I’m not sure I can entirely blame the movie there. But I do wonder if I would have liked it if Costa had been changed or removed entirely. I see a lot of criticisms online commenting on the loathsomeness of the main characterS when to me it really all comes down to Costa. The two other main guys seem alright to me. Any time they took part in typical douchebaggery you could tell it was completely influenced by Costa. The entire time I watched this movie I kept wanting to scream at the two other guys “Why are you friends with this dick?! Ditch him!”

From telling his friend he’s a “pussy” because he doesn’t want to throw a gigantic party, to advertising said party on Craigslist and the radio, to his constant talk about how great Queens is, Costa is probably the most blatant and over-the-top example of “dirtbag friend.” 

Because nothing says "I'm a pimp!" like that sweater vest

Because nothing says “I’m a pimp!” like that sweater vest

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The scene that didn’t happen; His lack of a demise.

At the end of the movie we find out that the party that Costa started has Thomas convicted for disturbing the peace, contributing to the delinquency of minors, and inciting a riot and that his parents are using his college fund to pay for the damages. Basically his life is crap now. And Costa? He got off scott-free and he is not charged with anything because his parents have a good lawyer.

BUT he is awaiting the results of 3 paternity test from that one night. So thats karma right? Nope, Not good enough. I want him in jail rooming with the bulkiest, meanest inmate who’s going to take him and…. beat him to a pulp. Get your mind out of the gutters, people.

On a side note, those poor three girls.

Any other characters?
Angry Little Person

I didn't expect to be treated this badly at such a high class party!

I didn’t expect to be treated this badly at such a high class party!

What the heck was this dudes problem? He starts by punching someone early on which has him shoved into an oven (not turned on just fyi). When the three main party goers find this out they go to let him out and he thanks them by punching each one of them in the nuts. And then he retaliates more (because he felt the need to?) by hijacking the homeowner’s dad’s mercedes and driving it through the crowd of party goers (more than likely running a few of them over) and into the swimming pool. Why? What did Thomas do?

He climbs out of the pool declaring “Fuck your car” before squeezing in one last nut-punch to a random bystander.

….Douche…. just….douche

#1 Vi Rose Joyful Noise

Please hold all "Say WHAT!?"s until afterwards.

Please hold all “Say WHAT!?”s until afterwards.

What a strangely put together film this was. The songs were incredible, I even bought the soundtrack. But all over, this movie was very muddled with it’s tone that it wasn’t quite clear what kind of movie this was supposed to be. It was nice to see Keke Palmer again having not seen her since my younger days on Disney’s Jump In. And I enjoyed Dolly Parton’s role as well.  But Queen Latifah as Vi Rose, REALLY strikes a bad cord with me. And I find when talking about this movie with other people I can’t not bring up how much I despise her character. The role has actually made it hard for me to look at Queen Latifah the same way again, which surprises me since (unlike Moises Arias) she’s previously played a lot of fun characters I’ve enjoyed in Hairspray and Chicago (also musical films) among others.

Much like the film, her character is very jumbled. There are times when I feel the movie really intends for us to dislike Vi Rose. Scenes where G.G. (Parton), Olivia (Palmer) and Randy talk about her disagreeable behavior seem pretty dead-on with how she’s acting. Then they throw in this scene where Vi rose is having to remove a bed pan from a hospital patient which I guess is supposed to be an attempt at humor mixed with sympathy for her character, but all I can think is “Wait, she’s a nurse? When did that happen?” One second she’s this self-righteous pious woman seeing the faults in others, next she’s doing things that I’m pretty sure her other half wouldn’t like. Stuff like this has been done purposefully before, notably in the character of Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame where the hypocrisy divides a very complex character. But that is not the case with Vi Rose. I can’t even call her an undefined character. She’s more like two defined characters that act vindicated in their impossible coexistence.

Ok so how she perceives herself is completely off, but hows her perception of other people? Pretty bad too. I think one prime example is her car conversation with her daughter where she denounces her father who is a soldier stationed far away. She repeats the phrase “He left us. HE LEFT US.” Ok, good, Vi, you have the first three words down. Now finish the sentence; “He left us to support us.” See what a big difference that makes? I’m not gonna act like your spouse being gone for so long doesn’t come with its own kind of stress but you can’t treat it like the same stress you would have as if he abandoned the family for his own selfish reasons. The animosity towards him seems to fit something a rebellious teenage girl would feel, not unlike Miley Cyrus’ character, Ronnie, in The Last Song. In fact, this whole scene sounded switched around. Shouldn’t Olivia be the angry teenager mad at her dad for leaving them and Vi Rose be the one to explain his deeper reasonings as an adult/parent should know. No, that wouldn’t work. Olivia has already shown she has much more sense than her mother. What’s Vi Rose gonna do next, stamp her foot and say she quits the choir when she doesn’t get her way?

 

vi-rose-2

Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The hotel/elevator fight scene.

This had to be one of the most misguided scenes in film I’ve ever seen. I can just barely tell what they were going for here. The only way I feel I can thoroughly show how terrible/awkward this scene is is little by little.

The two of them are getting some rest in a hotel room on there way to the choir competition. At least, Olivia is trying to but Vi Rose is snoring. She pokes her mom to let her know this and Vi Rose tells her to go back to sleep. Simple enough I so far.

But then Olivia puts on her shoes  and plans to go downstairs where she takes a pictuesque walk by herself thinking through all her problems and looking to God for guidance-

Oh that doesn’t happen? Why?
Because as she begins to leave the room Vi Rose is gonna have none of that …. for some reason, and goes down the hall after her.

VI ROSE: If you make me come after you it will be the last thing you do
Seriously, what’s with the sudden viciousness?

VI ROSE: Can you actually believe I’m gonna let you wander the streets alone?
Who said she’s going to wander the streets? She could be going for a walk by the pool, down to the lobby, or to one of the rooms that any one of their many other choir members are staying in.

VI ROSE: Nobody ends up with the boy they liked when they were 16. You’ll get over him.
A typical “100% fact” that turns teenagers off parental advice.

Olivia then informs her mother that her anger has nothing to do with Randy. I told him I didn’t wanna see him anymore because you made me! This is about me! It’s here that I once again sympathize with Olivia. She rejected the boy she liked per her mothers demands. She’s already shown she can listen, though she does lose me a bit with her next line that her mother hates her because she’s pretty. Not sure how that comes into play

OLIVIA: Don’t bug your eyes out at me! You hate that I’m pretty ’cause you don’t feel pretty! I defended you to Randy, but now I’m just trying to cut through the bullsh*t once and for all! You know how sad that is for you to feel that way about yourself? What’s interesting is there isn’t much animosity  in the feelings behind the idea that her mother hates her. It’s more like she pities her mother, like she’s trying to allow her mother to have a reasonable explanation for hating her. LAlmost like she’s trying to make her mother the complex villain I mentioned earlier.

OLIVIA: You are the only one you hate more than me, and no matter how much you sing that old-time church music, God doesn’t seem interested in helping you out with that!

Then there’s the turning point, Vi Rose slaps Olivia. Was this necessary? And I’m not even trying to bring up the whole “is spanking/hitting your children wrong” point but I mean was this situation really calling for a slap?

Because

….because then He’ll have no time for MY  ugly, petty, adolescent bullsh*t!

 

VI ROSE: Don’t bring God into your ugly, petty, adolescent bullsh*t!
Where did THAT come from? Vi Rose, not only is there no other character in this movie that is more petty, adolescent and full of bullshit as you are but if this is a misunderstanding that your daughter is having don’t you think you ought to try to set it straight, kinda like what you did with your son with Aspergers earlier in the film when he asked “Mom, how can you love God when he made me like this?” Or looking back does the slap seem more of the way to approach it.

 

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Olivia doesn’t get the chance to speak much after this because Vi doesn’t give her the chance. She goes on a (big shock) rant that’s as misguided as the scene leading up to it.

VI ROSE: I am an incandescent, board-certified supermodel, baby. I happen not to flaunt it because I’m a married woman, and I would never disrespect my husband the way that you just disrespected me.
Ok, I have to laugh at that. Vi Rose, you made a very obvious and blatant denouncing of your husband not 30 minutes earlier in the film. Did the writers think we just forgot about that part?,

VI ROSE: I put [a mirror] on the refrigerator just to watch myself eat all of them calories, and if I got a heart attack from all that food, I’d just give myself CPR, because I’m a nurse. That’s right, I’ve saved lives, and that is definitely not bullsh*t!
Saving lives? no. But giving yourself mouth-to-mouth is about as Bullshit as it comes. Even trained doctors can’t do that, Vi. If you believed such a thing is possible I wouldn’t believe you’re a trained nurse. I guess this line was the only reason for that scene at the hospital since they are literally the only times the movie mentions her being a nurse.

VI ROSE: Now, look, I’m done talking to you for the foreseeable future….
This line just seems unnecessarily mean-spirited, and once again would sound more appropriate coming from a child i.e. “I’m not speaking to you for the rest of the night”.

VI ROSE: ….so my advice to you right now would be to get your behind back in that room, get back in bed, and you treat my snoring as if it were a Marvin Gaye love song! That’s right, you respect my snoring, because it comes from exhaustion, okay? It comes from working hard to put food in you and your brother’s stomachs and every stitch of clothes on y’all’s backs! Get in that room!
Vi Rose, My mom loves my dad but when he snores really bad some nights, knowing that he works hard for the family doesn’t suddenly make it bearable. She still goes into the guest room to sleep.

Olivia rushes back to the room looking scared as we can only assume she is now terrified of her mother’s lunacies.

And for all her teenage-isms, Olivia proves to be the more mature character. She actually shows she’s capable of learning something and is willing and able to make changes. What changes Vi Rose makes to herself are only assumed or not very evident. The movie unfortunately leaves a lot of unresolved conflicts swept under several rugs like “Yeah, we won the contest! Guess that means everything else is good too.”

As such, there is no real resolution, at least not one equal to what this problem called for. The film’s idea of one is just before the tournament, Vi Rose guilts Olivia into a hug. I am not satisfied with a hug. And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE hugs.

Now I can't tell anyone that without them thinking that I'm just copying this adorable guy

Now I can’t tell anyone that without them thinking that I’m just copying this adorable guy

Olivia apologizes but Vi Rose’s only attempt at resolve is her admitting that Olivia’s life as a 16 year old is “no day at the beach” indicating she otherwise feels everything she’s done to her daughter up until this point was totally justified. We later see her letting her talk to Randy again but she gives us no indication why she changed her opinion. Much like Gene and the Nicelanders, why didn’t she do this from the beginning. We never get an “I was wrong” or an “I’m sorry too” because frankly that would be too sensible for her character.

Any other characters?
Nope, just Vi Rose.

And I think I’ve talked about her enough.

Yes, this is really the face she made when she slapped her daughter

Yes, this is really the face she made when she slapped her daughter

Any characters you couldn’t stand to the point the movie wasn’t as good to you? Leave your comments

Videos

After some two years of planning I’m happy to present my first short film inspired by the song Panic Switch by the Silversun Pickups.

 

Taglines: When you panic where does your mind take you?

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama

Trivia:

Filmed on two separate days, the final weekend of the three main members before their graduation.

A misunderstanding with an ill-tempered professor lead to the inability to use the rented classroom one day before shooting. An hour of frantic searching later and Cameron had found a replacement classroom to shoot in thanks to a kind science professor whom Cameron had previously had. Her name was later put into the special thanks section of the credits.

The classroom was initially supposed to be filled with more students in it. Cameron had put up 3 fliers in his theatre building advertising a need for extras as well as several on Facebook. No one responded.
While this initially worried Cameron as it didn’t support the song lyric “When you see yourself in a crowded room” he initially grew to like it. “Wouldn’t you be much more panicked knowing you’re one of the last people taking a test in a classroom that held many more students?”

For the shot when Cory looks down at his pocket while leaving the classroom Cory had to stand on a stool to achieve the right angle.

Filmed in one building.
Nearly all of the hallway shots were filmed on the third floor. The only ones that weren’t were the shots of Cory running up the short flight of steps to the crossroads. These were shot on the first floor, same as the classroom.

Cameron decided to add in additional close ups weeks after shooting was over: the knife’s bloody tip, the knife being gripped in both hands, and the test being turned in. He had to recreate these shots using his own hands and completely different locations. His skin is noticeably pinker and his arms more hairy than Cory’s.

Excluding the aforementioned close-up shots, the shots of Cory running up the short flight of steps to the crossroads were the last shots to be filmed.

The shirt Austin Aschbrenner and Drew Fontenot wore were provided by Cameron respectively to avoid use of logos and to give Drew a more “professor” look. Cameron had previously bought this shirt for his own performance as a professor in Kyser Hall Massacre a short film directed by Panic’s co-director, Alex Cobb.

The name on the scantron sheet says “Cory Cobb” a combination Cory Germany and Alex Cobb

Panic

Videos

After some two years of planning I’m happy to present my first short film inspired by the song Panic Switch by the Silversun Pickups.

 

Taglines: When you panic where does your mind take you?

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama

Trivia

Filmed on two separate days, a Friday and Saturday, in May, the final weekend of the three main members, Cameron Metrejean, Alexandra Cobb, and Cory Germany, before their graduation a week later.

Writer/Director, Cameron Metrejean, first came up with the idea after hearing the film’s song, Panic Switch by the Silversun Pickups, in the trailer for the movie Sucker Punch (2011). Cameron sights Sucker Punch as an inspiration as well as Black Swan (2010) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

Cameron got the idea for the shot of the test bubble becoming blank in an eye-blink from scenes involving the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.

A misunderstanding with an ill-tempered professor lead to the inability to use the classroom (that had been previously reserved) one day before shooting. An hour of frantic searching later and Cameron had found a replacement classroom to shoot in thanks to a kind science professor whom Cameron had previously had. Her name was later put into the Special Thanks To section of the credits.

The classroom was originally supposed to have much more students in it. Cameron had put up 3 fliers in NSU’s theatre building as well as several on Facebook advertising a need for extras. No one responded.

While this initially worried Cameron as it didn’t support the song’s lyric When you see yourself in a crowded room, he eventually grew to like it. “Wouldn’t you be much more panicked knowing you’re one of the last people taking a test in a classroom that held many more students?”

For the shot when Cory looks down at his pocket while leaving the classroom Cory had to stand on a stool to achieve the right angle.

Filmed in one building, Kyser Hall in Northwestern State University. Nearly all of the hallway shots were filmed on the third floor. The only ones that weren’t were the shots of Cory running up the short flight of steps to the crossroads. These were shot on the first floor, same as the classroom.

Cameron decided to add in three additional close-ups weeks after shooting was over: the knife’s bloody tip, the knife being gripped in both hands, and the test being turned in. He had to recreate these shots using his own hands and completely different locations. His skin is noticeably pinker and his arms hairier than Cory’s.

Excluding the aforementioned close-up shots, the shots of Cory running up the short flight of steps to the crossroads were the last shots to be filmed.

The shirt Austin Aschbrenner and Drew Fontenot wore were provided by Cameron to respectively avoid use of logos and to give Drew a more “professor” look. Cameron had previously bought this shirt for his own performance as a professor in Kyser Hall Massacre a short film directed by Panic’s co-director Alex Cobb

The name on the scantron sheet says “Cory Cobb” a combination of Cory Germany and Alex Cobb.

Sincato comforts Jo

Sculptures

Years back, my online friend decided to bring both of our fanfiction characters together for a story and I have to say he did a bang-up job. In tribute, I decided to sculpt our two characters together in one of the short story’s final scenes.

The legs on the bench had to be taken down nearly 3 times because I realized that it would inadvertently make Jo's legs longer than Sincato's. The ombré effect on Sincato's tail took some time.

The legs on the bench had to be taken down nearly 3 times because I realized that it would inadvertently make Jo’s legs longer than Sincato’s. The ombré effect on Sincato’s tail took some time.

I wanted Jo's look to convey doubtfulness at his recent actions.

I wanted Jo’s look to convey doubtfulness at his recent actions.

Sincato's eyes proved a little harder given there size. Eyes have always been the trickiest part of sculpting for me. They make the character so much. even if they are just off a little bit, the whole character can be different.

Sincato’s eyes proved a little harder given there size. Eyes have always been the trickiest part of sculpting for me. They make the character so much. even if they are just off a little bit, the whole character can be different.

After reaching a secluded section of the village where several trees stood and a single stone bench was provided to enjoy the trees when in bloom, the badger sat down on the bench as the raccoon stood with his arms crossed, feeling the cool breeze a bit. “What did you want to talk about?” Sincato asked even though he had an bit of an idea already, the badger looked up to him and sighed. “I don’t know how to deal with this, with what happened today and nor do I know how to tell Po about it. I feel like I did something wrong but at the same time it was right but I was raised to believe it isn’t right by any means.” He looked to the raccoon who stared down at him. “I can’t really imagine what Po was thinking when he saw me, covered practically in-“

Jo sat back a bit, resting his paws on his lap as he took this in. Sincato looked off to the distance as he rubbed his paws together. As he looked back down at the badger, just by staring into the boy’s eyes he could see alot was still on his mind. “You’re somewhat new to killing, aren’t you?” The badger met his gaze and nodded, “How do you find it so easy to do what you did today? I just want to know…” Jo asked, the raccoon sat down next to him and stared down at the grass, “I, guess certain people are just worth more to me then others. The Shim’s, they’re my chance to rebuild myself from the ground up, I don’t wish to lose them too.”

-Jack Stromme

 

To Read more….

 

 

I’m Moving On

Writings

I’m Moving On

Can’t count the times you’ve broken your promise to me
Gave me hopes then took them away so easily
Looking back, all the junk that you put me through
How could I ever have looked up to you?
You still act like it’s all good, that I’m your slave
But that roads been walked, wore down and repaved
You broke me down and told me I was less of a man
But you’re not in my new plan

I’ve heard all your stupid lies
I see them now with my new view.
Now my only limit is the skies
Now that I am rid of you!

You can’t tell me I’m not strong
You can fight but you won’t stop my song
You can’t try to hold me down for long
I’m moving on
Try to keep me deterred
Try to shut me out but I’ll be heard
Try to call me worthless and you’ll be wrong
I’m moving on

Looking back through all those times
I gave you everything you could possibly need
Now I see you had made up your mind
But with out you I am freed

Did everything I could to please you
Still you showed me nothing but hate
It took me so long to leave you
Now that I’ve left it feels so GREAT!

You can’t tell me I’m not strong
You can fight but you won’t stop my song
You can’t try to hold me down for long
I’m moving on
Try to keep me deterred
Try to shut me out but I’ll be heard
Try to call me worthless and you’ll be wrong
I’m moving on

You tried to keep me bound, locked to the ground
But what goes around always comes around
You made schemes while I had dreams
But I know your play and its array
Threw every insult you could throw at me
After all that, look where I’m at
I’m moving on

You can’t tell me I’m not strong
You can fight but you won’t stop my song
You can’t try to hold me down for long
I’m moving on
Try to keep me deterred
Try to shut me out but I’ll be heard
Try to call me worthless and you’ll be wrong
I’m moving on

 

Best Worst-Rated Movies

Film Thoughts

Since I did the first list of good movies that were given bad reviews from critics a few years ago, I’ve seen several other movies that I think could also qualify.

 

10. In Time

 

In the future, time is everything. It’s your income, your life, and the rich can live forever. How much more fast paced and intense can you get when you know exactly how long you have to live and knowing it changes every second? Yeah, there are alot of cheesy time-related lines, but for everyone of those there are an equal amount of profound lines on time that get kind of thought provoking. Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake make as good a couple as they do bank robbing partners. And I gotta give Justin Timberlake credit. He has come a long way since being part of NSYNC.

 

 

9. Fireproof/To Save A Life

 

Both dramatic movies that I can’t help feel were slammed solely on the grounds of being religiously based. While there are a few elements of cheesiness that come with Christian story lines, what makes both movies great is how both realistically address real-life problems; Fireproof: Shaky Marriages. To Save a Life: Teen suicide, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, among others. The characters in these movie both appear to be taken from modern day life, and both took their shoestring budgets and did a lot with them.

 

8. An American Carol

 

There’s not a whole lot I can say about this one. Truthfully, I do understand why it wasn’t well-received. The reason it didn’t do well, is the same reason I and several other people love it; It’s political satire aimed at a republican audience. If you’re on the right, then this is a must-see. If not, well…. on to the next one.

 

 

7. Planet 51

 

This was a hilarious animated reversal of E.T.; An alien planet is visited by an american astronaut and the inhabitants see him as the alien. The animation is bright, fun and colorful and gives us a range of characters that I think are very enjoyable. And it’s interesting to see the characters go through a parodies form of unknown paranoia as well as how they come to grips on the ideas of outer space and what lies beyond their planet. While the ideas never become truly thought-provoking, they’re not really supposed to be. Granted I could live with out a hand-full of the toilet jokes, but this is still a decent family film.

 

 

6. Fun with Dick and Jane

 

Jim Carey is undoubtedly a comedy genius but I hadn’t expected Téa Leoni to make me laugh as much as I did. They make a great duo and the almost psychotic distances they go to stay afloat had me rolling on the floor laughing. Alec Baldwin is expectedly brilliant as the power-hungry villain. The writing is clever and delivered perfectly and kept me entertained the whole way through. The movie’s heightened heist climax was an unexpected surprise and kept me engaged until the very end.

 

 

5. Rush Hour 3

 

As far as the critic’s censure “comedy sequels that are just repeats of the original,” Rush Hour 3 doesn’t even scratch the surface of this criticism as much as others (*cough cough*Hangover 2). The relation that Lee has with this films antagonist is quite unlike the first two. Lee and Carter also seem to go through a more difficult struggle with each other that really highlights the friendship they have. I think it is impossible to not crack a smile at Chris Tucker’s antics in this movie. Well choreographed and intense fight scenes is one of the movie’s greatest rights for bragging and I feel they consistently go unnoticed. Even if this movie had been a repeat of the first two, with movies like the Rush Hour series, I don’t feel it’s necessary to have a story thats completely fresh every time. If it’s funny and entertaining, then it’s funny and entertaining.

 

 

4. Burlesque

 

Technically this was a mixed reviewed movie, but very low in the mixed ratings so I still count it. I could not believe this movie was written and directed by a guy that was new to both fields. Beautiful cinematography should have had them in the Oscar nominations. Astounding songs that further show off the already flawless voices of Cher and Christina, the latter of which surprised me quite a bit with their acting in her debut role. Cher, herself drew quite a few laughs from me with her abrasive but well-meaning character. I love the characters, the dialogue, and the setting. Granted, it is a pretty basic story line; small town girl moves to a big city looking to make a new life, but when she finds the thing that could change her life forever she gains much attention, a rival out to get her and the guy of her dreams. And while basic story lines may sometimes prove a problem, they also have the potential to last longer as they can speak to a number of generations (i.e. The Karate Kid). Sleekly styled with laughs thrown in, Burlesque is a winner in my book.

 

 

3. Red Riding Hood

 

A lot of Twilight haters disliked this movie right off since it was directed by Catharine Hardwicke and involves a 17 year old girl and her connection to a werewolf, but the similarities stop there. The dark styling and coloration really bring out what is so interesting about this movie and its gothic take on a simple children story we all heard growing up. It’s darkly beautiful throughout as Amanda Seyfried’s character struggles with the loss of a family member, being torn by the guy she loves and the guy she’s set to marry, and the mysterious wolf that only she can understand. The mystery of who the werewolf is will keep you guessing and looking at the wrong person even when you think you know who the wrong person is. Granted, there are mistakes that keep it from being historically accurate. There are a lot of liberties taken with the modernization of social norms and other behaviors, but as it’s a fairy tale, I don’t think it really matters. It’s its own world, and a fantastic one at that.

 

 

2. The Last Song & A Walk to Remember

 

I decided to put these two films together since they are both based of Nicolas Spark’s novels.

 

I feel I must also briefly mention Dear John since it’s also a Nicolas Sparks book-turned movie that was given bad reviews despite winning over audiences, but also because it starred Amanda Seyfried who, in case you didn’t notice has already showed up in two of the movies on this list. But compared to the other two, it’s not as strong.

 

In The Last Song, Ronnie, played by Miley Cyrus, is forced to spend the summer with her distant but loving father where she meets a charming volley ball player named Will. With much of the criticism in Miley’s direction and I honestly don’t get why. I mean, I’m not gonna give her an Oscar or anything, but, she did a good job at stepping away from her Hannah Montana days to something more down to earth and I applaud her for it. I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan of Bobby Coleman’s acting but the rest of the cast held up great, notably Liam Hemsworth and Carly Chaikin.

 

Most people are very surprised when they hear that A Walk to Remember was met with terrible reviews when it came out, and I am too. The movie centers around Landon Carter, a high school bad boy who’s life begins to gain new meaning when he falls for a faith-filled girl named Jamie.  Mandy Moore’s quietly strong portrayal was spot on and very genuine. This movie has since become standard date night movie, for good reason. It’s charming, and surprisingly powerful.

 

 

 

1. Suckerpunch

 

Most critics claimed this plot line was just an excuse to have a movie with hot girls in short skirts performing badass fight scenes. And believe me, those ARE huge plusses, but there are a lot of things to be appreciated about this movie. It was nice to see Vanessa Hudgens performing for a different crowd and Emily Browning as the quietly strong Babydoll (And guess who that role almost went to. Amanda Seyfried). The idea of the fantasy sequences is just ingenious to me. Who among us hasn’t wanted to escape life’s problems and defeat them in an epic video game style? The fact that every fantasy has a parallel to the reality is what really intrigues me. Simply getting a zerox copy of a map becomes an entire battle against zombie soldiers to retrieve a map. Every time I hear some one say that this movie “thinks it’s so deep,” I know instantly that they didn’t look deep at all. At first glance this movie does appear to be the outcome of a geek’s imagination, but the more I analyze this movie, the more I love it. The special effects and visual flare were unbelievable, even the most scathing critic admitted that. The movie stays dream-like while life-like and subtle yet in-your-face. When you really stop and look at the storyline, foreshadowing, and structure of this film you really notice how much thought Zachary Snyder put into this truly smart film. This movie made a lot “Worst of the year” list, and I think it easily should have been one the year’s best.