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Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only an error to be exposed. -- H.L. Menken

The Rating System

Kex Liked It:
It Sucked:
It Really Sucked:
It Sucked as bad as Eyes Wide Shut:

It Sucked badly enough to bring the world to the brink of apocalypse:



Come on now: Did anyone really think I was going to endure Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell dressed as Elvis in some sort of anti-hero crapfest? Kurt Russell has done the Elvis thing before, if I remember correctly. It was some sort of made-for-TV mini-series based on the life of "The King" back in the late 70's, when there were still a few sane people around who gave a crap about his death. For all I know 3000 Miles To Graceland may be the 21st Century's Gone With The Wind but I'm more inclined to think that seeing Costner doing Elvis would be more painful that filing my lower lip with a cheese grater for an equivalent period of time. Is Costner ever going to make another good movie?

Monkeybone: Now there is a movie title that just screams, "Stay home, pop open a beer, lay on the couch and watch anything that comes on." Doesn't matter what it is...even the crappy Saturday afternoon UPN movie: I think this week it was The Laverne and Shirley 25th Anniversary Reunion. Yeah, when that starts sounding good, you gotta know Monkeybone sucks...I don't even like beer. What I do know is that I've been torched
by Brendan Frazier movies so many times now that I probably couldn't even go to a theater where one was showing without slurry bombers circling overhead in preparation.

So once again, it was a weekend for visiting the videostore, and I came home with Blade. There is nothing that old Kex loves more than a good vampire flick, and this movie definitley left me wishing I had rented one. Movies like this are the primary reason I opened this review page to chisel a few notches in the ego-driven, over inflated, crap factory that has become Hollywood.

It never ceases to astonish me that there are still a few folks out there that can look me in the eye, with a straight face, and claim that there is no correlation between movie violence and the rising tide of social disorder. After seeing Blade, I was left with a nearly overpowering impulse to attempt to hack into the American missle defense system and launch everything we had in the direction of Southern California. I'd have to call that a violent reaction to a violent movie. Geeze Louise, was this a violent movie. Hey Hollywood,does anyone out there remember the definition of the word "plot?"

I've spent most of a fitful night attempting to come up with words to summarize the storyline of Blade only to realize that there is so little story to summarize that it was a waste of what might have been a good night's sleep. Here is what Blade is about: Wesley Snipes kicks some ass. Wesley snipes struts around looking like a bad ass. Reset to the start.

Okay, I exaggerate slightly. There is a tiny grain of a story here. Snipes plays a sort of vampire-human hybrid, because his mom was bitten just before she gave birth to him. Thus with the aid of his vampire-hunter friend (Kris Kristofferson)he has made it his personal mission to rid the world of vampire kind. Kristofferson made every effort to stealth his appearance sufficiently in this film that no one would recognize him; or maybe he just looks like that these days, and someone fished him out of an alley and obliged him with a paycheck. Its kind of hard to say, but I have some doubts that he would have stooped to this kind of project two decades ago, when he actually had a career worth building and saving.

Snipes nemesis is vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) who apparently needs Blade's blood to transform himself into some sort of legendary super vampire. You see, the vampires of the world exist in a kind of loose confederation, that is apparently run by a board of Directors that could have been lifted out of one of the Godfather movies. They seem more interested in just going about their vampire business, which curiously involves running corporate ventures and maintaining sort of a loose peaceful coexistance with humans, whom they prey on anyway. That part of the movie seemed a little vague, but except for the scenes of graphic violence, almost everything in this movie is pretty vague.

In reality, this movie lifted things out of a lot of other films...the Godfather style vampire Board of Directors wasn't the only pilfered image. A lot of martial arts films were borrowed against here, not that if you haven't seen one, you've seen them all anyway. The entire tone and atmosphere of the movie was lifted from a film with a similar but slightly longer title: Blade Runner. The latter was also something of a festival of graphic violence, the principle differences being that 1. There was actually more plot than pounding, and 2. it was a reasonably good film.

In Blade Runner, you had the inner turmoils of a man struggling against questions of justice and appropriateness of his own enterprise. Ultimately, that was intersperced with his own uncertainty of the nature of his existance: Harrison Ford began to wonder if he wasn't, in fact, one of the droids he made a living by hunting down. By contrast, Snipes had no uncertainties about his status in Blade. He was a bad ass half-human, half-vampire and he hated it, so he took it out on all the vampires he could catch. I guess we were supposed to be glad he wasn't on the other side.

Then again, maybe Snipes wasn't all that upset about his misbegotten life. Maybe we just watched a portion of his existance in the throws of being pissed off about a really bad trip to the barber. He'd have had some justification there, because that haircut was a crime against humanity. I'd would have hated to have seen the guy that gave it to him when he got done, although there would have been a guy who had it coming. If you pull a guy with a rifle off a tower and see a haircut like that, you sort of feel an empathy for where the man is coming from. On the other hand, hair DOES grow back.

I guess next time I get a yen for a vampire flick, I hunt around until I can find a safer era from which to enjoy the tale...the younger crop these days has turned the entire legend into kind of an icky blend of rave and rap pop culture. The vampires of my taste were the distinguised, genteel types as portrayed by Lugosi, Lee and Palance; the well groomed spiders luring the unsuspecting into their web of terror. My vampires don't look like Jay and Silent Bob. The very thought of Christopher Lee or Jack Palance battling Abraham Van Helsing with martial arts manuvers is so absurd that I can only wonder how the genre got morphed into this pathetic state. And I don't even want to consider pulling up a mental image of Bela Lugosi donning a bad-ass scowl.

Last Week: A Kex Classic Review: Independence Day:

Okay, so I wimped. I skipped going to a movie this weekend for two reasons. First of all, we had about 7 inches of snow in Denver on Friday, and the temperature on Saturday nosed over the magic two digit treshold sometime after noon. Somehow, going to the movies just didn't seem that attractive. Second, there would have had to have been a choice a hell of a lot more attractive than the one I faced to have worked up any real enthusiasm under the circumstances.

The planned review was We Were Soldiers but after Blackhawk Down very recently and all the other graphic war films I've endured the last couple of years, I'm flat burned out on the genre. This could be the best of the lot for all I know or care, but enough is enough. I knew war was hell before Private Ryan and I don't like the way that most of the movies have generated a tone that the makers were pissed off that I wasn't part of the original event. Hell, 99% of the people involved with the movie most likely weren't either. Besides, 2 and a quarter hours of the Austrialian Mel Gibson doing a southern accent might have sent me into a bad dialects postal rage.

Or, there was the new teen sex-comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights. Perhaps the only thing I'm more tired of in the cinema than graphic war films are bad teen sex-comedies. I wasn't sure whether 40 Days and 40 Nights was a reference to the plot gimmick or how long the movie was going to feel, so I skipped that one too.

So I hit the rental stores and returned home with a classic: Independence Day. This is one of those sci-fi films that Hollywood did strictly to cash in on a lot of base, and more recent human emotional hot buttons. Mix in the typical human aversion to outsiders, with our more recent distrust of government, and voila, the plot for Independence Day is half written already.

I'm not sure you could make this movie in 2002 and have the kind of success it enjoyed a few years ago. People have lost a little of their enthusiasm for seeing government buildings getting blown to ash in the last few months. On the other hand, it might even provoke a greater sense of audience empathy, as the gallant Americans face off against what appears to be a nearly invincible foe. Maybe it would still work, although this film contained so many flaws that to this day I've wondered why so many people were apparently so enthusiastic about it.

We could discuss how every spaceship designed by the evil guys in sci-fi seems to have one vunerable point right smack in the center of the ship that they are mysteriously lax about guarding. Generally you have an otherwise invincible flying fortress of death that can destroy entire cities or worlds, but one spot that can be effectively attacked by a rubberband and spitwad which will bring the entire contraption down. You'd think that the aliens would either encase that one vunerable spot in a vault of lead 12 feet thick, or at least guard it with half the crew and nuclear tipped missles, but no. They seem more apt to erect flashing neon signs that say "ATTACK HERE!"

This film was particularly curious, because the otherwise invincible aliens that had crossed the light years and beaten down civilization within a matter hours had apparently never heard of firewalls or encryption. So a cable repairman (Jeff Goldblum) with a laptop was able to bring down their entire defense system. Apparently all the alien teenagers were so well obeyed and indoctrinated into the social order that none of them ever got around to Hacking 101.

Then, we have the courageous President of the United States (Bill Pullman), who not only acts as a beakon of bravery and inspiration, but leads the world's counter attack by flying his own fighter plane into battle against the aliens. Our current President used to be a fighter pilot too, but somehow, under similar circumstances I just don't see him flying into battle against the invaders. I'm figuring he'd be selling them the petroleum needed to fuel the ground invasion vehicles.

Okay, he DID serve in our nation's armed forces back during the Vietnam war. He was in the Texas National Guard, bravely defending our vunerable southern flank against possible incursion by the formidable Mexican Air Force. In those days, getting into the Texas National Guard was about as easy as cramming an elephant into a thimble, but somehow he managed to get in. I guess maybe he had some connections or something.

And then this movie showed us the slightly insane Area 51 scientist (Brent Spiner) who was in charge of trying to figure out how crashed spacecraft that we recovered in New Mexico back in the late 40's worked. Spiner worked very hard to appear as different as possible from his nominal character, Commander Data, but it just didn't work. Everytime the camera flashed on him I wondered why he didn't simply contact Picard and request that the Enterprise ram a few photon torpedos right up some alien wazoo.

Some of the public suspecion of government that inspires movies like this is still very much alive and well. Just the other day, a guy showed me some pictures that he claimed were alien spacecraft (they looked more like photoshop paste jobs of a porchlight over a landscape) that he said he had taken just the day before. He claimed that the government was covering up alien visitation, and these pictures proved it. My inclination was more toward the notion that he had a working porch light, but I tried to be polite.

He went on to claim that NASA was also in on the coverup, because they didn't want to create some sort of wild public panic. I tried to remind him that "NASA" consists of tens of thousands of scientists, administraters, managers, secretaries, janitors, engineers, technicians, astronauts and medical people, so the conspiracy would not only be ungainly in size, but most of the participants in said conspiracy would actually be acting in opposition to their own best interests. He seemed unmoved, and departed with his porchlight photos, apparently somewhat miffed. I guess if they start blowing up cities, I better get out my laptop and start hunting down a brave cropduster.

Last Week: Gods And Generals:

I really liked this movie, but I'm not going to expound on that fact all that much in this review. Rather, I am going to set about to demonstrate, yet again, that Roger Ebert is a dork. We've pretty well established that fact in the past on this page, but something this monumentally true needs to be repeated once and awhile. Monumental is always an apt word to use when referring to Roger Ebert. The man in huge. I'm not sure whether he is writing for the Chicago Sun-Times these days, or eating all of the daily editions.

Roger referred to Gods and Generals as a movie worthy of saluting goodbye. I sort of feel the same about Ebert's columns on the rare occasions I bother to read them. I'm well aware that the Sun-Times movie review page usually ends up lining the parakeet cages in Chicago anyway. And why is this guy still on TV? Does anybody actually watch him since Gene Siskell passed? No.

Allow me to answer a few ridiculous Ebert critcisms of this film:

Less enlightened than GONE WITH THE WIND, obsessed with military strategy, partial between North and South...

Yes Roger. It was a rare movie that followed an outstanding book. The book was ABOUT military strategy, and portrayed and even balanced view for North and South. The book endeavored to explore both viewpoints fairly, humanizing both sides. The author wanted to show that the Confederate movement was filled with righteous human beings who believed sincerely that they were doing the right thing. waits 70 minutes before introducing the first of its two speaking roles for African-Americans.
I guess Rog-baby was asleep 10 minutes into the film when it actually introduced the first of its two speaking roles for African-American actors. It was a black woman slave of a well-to-do southern family. Remember that scene rotund one? This was also a purposeful salute to the book. The author attempted to portray the Southern downplay of the slavery issue, while the North mostly wished the problem would just go away.

The Northerners, one Southerner explains, are mostly Republican profiteers who can go hame to their businesses and families if they are voted out of office after the conflict...

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Slavery is not the issue, in this view, because it would have withered away anway, although a liberal professor makes a speech explaining it is wrong.

The "liberal professor" is one Joshua Lawerence Chamerlain, who volunteered to fight for the North. During the war, his acts of heroism against overwhelming odds leading his troops at Gettysburg won him the Congressional Medal of Honor. He spoke 7 languages, and was seriously wounded at a later battle. He returned to action, and captured an entire Confederate corp single handed when he bluffed them into thinking he was their commander. He was appointed by General Grant to accept the Confederate surrender at Appomatax. Later, he became a popular govenor of Maine. What have you done lately Rog?

Except for Lee, a non-believer, both sides trust God.

WHAT? Every biography ever written about Lee portrays him as a devout Christian. That includes the second two books in this series, Gettysburg andThe Last Full Measure in which Lee plays a more significant role. At no point did this movie suggest that Lee was a non-believer. Did you bother to watch this film Rog?

GODS AND GENERALS is the kind of movie beloved by people who never go to the movies because they are primarly interested in something else--the Civil War.

I go to the movies a lot and I loved this film. I'm not obsessed with the Civil War, although I am interested, perhaps above average. But what the hell is wrong with making a movie that appeals to a specific market. Its done all the time Rog. Some of them you applaud. You may not be interested in the subject matter. Perhaps in fairness, you should have passed.

As I conclude, I want to issue a few warnings. First, this is not a movie for children. There is some graphic violence, although it was quite mild by the standards of recent war films like Blackhawk Down or Saving Private Ryan. That was actually refreshing, as most of the gore was either implied, or too vague to be stomach turning.

The bigger obstacle for young ones here is the length. This film has a running time just a sneeze short of 4 hours. Its the first film I've been to in awhile that actually had an intermission. One other brief warning here. Joy rated this one a "four hanky."

Last Week: Hidalgo:

Start with 3 pretty good movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Seabiscuit, and The Last Samurai. Mix them all together, and what do you have? One would think that 3 good movies would mix together into another pretty good one. But the whole isn't always the sum of its parts. Sometimes, like in the case of Hidalgo, it isn't even close.

Hidalgo is the story of a real guy, Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen) who was a dispatch rider for the cavalry, as well as a competitive long distance horse racer. Supposedly he never lost a race. But Hopkins has a bit of an identity problem, as his father was white and his mother was Native American. Consequently he drifts through life lost between two worlds, never really making much apparent effort to land safely in either.

Following the massacre at Wounded Knee, Hopkins' guilt over delivering the orders that led to the slaughter send him to the comfort of the bottle. He ends up a rather unreliable performer in Wild Bill Hickock's Wild West show, mostly embarassing his employers with his drunken antics.

Hopkins appears to be heading for a complete breakdown until he is approached with an unusual offer. He is invited to participate in a centuries old, 3000 mile endurance race in the Middle East. It seems that the head Sheik (Omar Sherif) is a fan of western dime novels, and has heard of Hopkins' exploits. But Wild Bill's claim that Hopkins is the world's best long distance racer offends the Sheik, who takes great pride in the capabilities of Arabian horses. Thus the challenge is set down.

Hopkins is portrayed in a fashion very similar to Nathan Algren from The Last Samurai. Both have tortured memories of military service involving the slaughter of innocent Native Americans. Both have become drunken shells of their former selves. Both get an opportunity to rediscover themselves in a foreign land.

Hildago is very similar to Seabiscuit in that he is an undersized, potentially over the hill horse forced to race against bigger, stronger animals. Somehow he has to overcome his inherent handicaps through sheer heart. In Hollywood, that rather tired formula always turns out the same.

This film starts to get weird when we toss in the Indiana Jones elements. During the course of the race, Hopkins has to rescue the Sheik's daughter, and save her fromt he clutches of an evil prince, as well as a city filled with his followers. Through the course of the race, he is forced to endure constant sabotage efforts, as the wicked, cheating Arabs constantly sabotage his bid to win.

Fortunately good old American guile and heart are enough to overcome all adversity, and Hopkins wins the respect and admiration of the numerous carictured Arabs. Not that they are his only adversaries. A young and beautiful British heiress (Louise Lombard) also has a horse in the race, and she is behind many of the efforts to prevent Hopkins from winning. Hopkins meets her on the ocean voyage to Damascus, where she is in the company of her benefactor, played by Malcolm McDowell. He is in the film just long enough to remind everyone that he hasn't taken the great dirt bath yet, although his part is so small that I didn't even see his name listed among the 40 credited actors in the closing credits. Maybe I just missed it.

This movie really depressed me because it reemphasizes how poorly we are handling our foreign policy these days. If Dubya had just gotten himself a good horse and gone over there and won a race, we could have avoided all that war nonsense. Of course, he would have had to endure all the cheating of those nasty shiftless Arabs, but afterall, he is and American and more than up to the challenge, right?

Um, on second thought, maybe not. If we are going to bet our national prestige on a horse race, I think I'd want to be sure that we sent someone to ride in it that has some concept of which end of the horse points forward. That eliminates most of the current administration.

Last Week: A Rental Review: The Story of the Weeping Camel:

If I had hated this movie, it would be all too easy. Why was the camel weeping? Because somebody made her watch the film. Maybe they should have called it The Story of the Sleeping Camel. Even the star couldn't stay awake.

Yes, this review could have just written itself. But a funny thing happened on the way to composing this week's review. I didn't hate the movie. In fact, this might just be one of the best movies ever made in which not much of anything actually happens.

The Story of the Weeping Camel was an Oscar nominee for the Best Foriegn Film at the 2005 Academy Award ceremony. It didn't win, but it wasn't as horribly painful as most imports. In fact, it was better than about 95% of the domestic efforts I've seen over the past few years.

There is a rather important secret to watching the DVD version of this film, which we didn't figure out until about a third of the way into the movie. It didn't really matter all that much, but as a public service, and of course, this review site is all about lending an honest hand to the movie going public, I feel compelled to share it with my readers, even at the risk of coming off a bit foolish.

MOst of the time, if you watch a foriegn subtitled film, the DVD is preset to provide you with the appropriate English subtitles. This DVD mysteriously isn't, so we watched for about a half an hour, puzzling at the sparse dialog, but bascially able to follow the general flow of the plot. Then I picked up the CD case, and the synopsis noted that it was English subtitled.

So, at that point, I went into the options menu and turned on the subtitles, and the movie started making even more sense. I strongly recommend likewise for any of my readers that are inspired to go rent the DVD version of this movie, unless you happen to be one of the six or so people in America who happen to speak Mongolian.

At the end of the movie, we did backtrack to the opening first few lines of dialog, in which an old guy recounts an interesting tale of how camels were given horns by the gods because of their kind hearts. But deer came along and asked to borrow them, but never brought them back. The kind hearted camels still always watch the horizon, hoping that one day the deer will bring them back. Its a cute story.

Anyway, the film opens during the camel colting season, and after a few glimpses into the life of a Mongolian goat herding family, we are treated to a lengthy scene of a very difficult birth of a rare white camel. Watching a camel being born isn't really something that is high on my list of imagery I want from a movie, but I guess I've managed to work my way pretty far down the list by now anyway.

The mother camel ultimately rejects the new white colt, forcing our Mongolian family to go to all sorts of elaborate effort to make her accept the new arrival. Nothing seems to work, and they more or less are forced to hand feed the calf. Still, the young camel apparently needs its mother, and the family is forced to resort to one last desperate measure.

The two youngest boys in the family must ride across the desert on camels to fetch back the nearest music teacher, who will participate in an elaborte musical ceremony to help the mother camel accept her colt. It seems a little bizzare that the parents of the young boys, who appear to be about 11 and 5 respectively, would send their young off on a jillion mile ride alone across the Gobi Desert.

Heckfire, most parents here in the good old U.S. of A are pretty nervous about sending boys that young to walk down the street to 7-11. But the musician must be fetched to save the colt, and gramps needs some D batteries for his radio, so off they go.

The journey across the desert is safe and uneventful. Dude (the elder boy) navigates the desert expertly. Ugan (the younger brother) handles his camel with amazing expertise, and has no difficulty along the journey worse than having to take a whizz. I didn't need to see that either, but, oh well. Ugan is also introduced to the wonders of television along the way, and in the end persuades his parents to buy them one. You almost get the feeling that they were much better off without it.

I liked Dude, by the way. This movie is about 90 minutes long, and Dude is on camera for about 40 minutes of it. In all that time, he never once even threatens to crack a smile. I guess if you grow up in the middle of the Gobi desert with no convience more elaborate than a battery operated radio, there might not be a whole lot to smile about. Then again, maybe there is a lot to smile about.

Dude and his brother return safely home, and the musican arrives at their goat farm shortly thereafter. He owns a motorcycle, which has to be about 50 times faster than riding a camel, even in the Gobi desert. The ceremony is successfully performed, and the mother camel accepts the sweet little white colt. Its all very touching, and the musican declares, after seeing his success, "I think its time for a cigarette." I'll bet he lit up a Camel. (BAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!) Okay, enough of that. But I'm not making that up.

I liked this movie because I think it gives us an interesting perspective of what life and culture is like in the remote regions of the Mongolian Gobie desert. At least, it provides some insight into what things are like until our moron President finds some reason to go in and bomb the crap out of the place.

I think a new K.A.W. record has been set with 3 consecutive smiley movies, but its going to have to be one of those records with an asterisk. Robots was a new release, but with the lack of appealing releases the past two weeks, I hand picked a movie for review last week, and this week, I found an unexpected diamond in rental. Next week, I'll be back at the cinema for something new, and it will most likely suck.

Last Week: The DaVinci Code:

We aren't in the habit of backing away from much of anything here at the K.A.W. movie reviews, and this is probably no time to start. The DaVinci Code is stirring a lot of controvery, due to the general theme of the book and movie; Maybe, just maybe, some of what you learned in Sunday school isn't exactly the truth. Now there is a revelation.

First of all, this movie has been getting bashed pretty soundly by the majority of critics out there. Surprise! I significantly disagree with them. I kind of liked this movie. Now, I'm speaking from the perspective here of being one of the 600 people in America that hasn't actually read the book. If I had, perhaps I wouldn't have been as interested in the movie.

The single biggest charge against it is that its too blabby and dull. I didn't particularly find it boring. Then again, there are a lot of films that hit the theaters who's praises get sung to great heights by mainstream critics which I find incredibly dull. In numerous cases, I'd rather saw my foot off with a dull fingernail file than watch them.

A lot of religious types are bashing this film due to its controversial message. Unable to understand that this is a work of FICTION, they consider the entire subject to be a personal affront. I have only two messages for them. 1. Some of what this movie and presumably the book as well says is, in fact, true. If its uncomfortable maybe your faith needs a reality check. 2. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but some of the Bible is fiction too.

That statement is going to get me email, I know. There are those folks out there who consider EVERY word in the Bible has to be unerring and infallible truth. Perhaps they should actually read it. Look folks, God didn't fax The Bible to mankind. A lot of it is inconsistant, errant, and in some cases, downright silly. For that reason, rather than discussing this movie at length, this week, as a public service and hopefully wakeup call to the excessively pious, I am going to present 10 EXAMPLES OF WHY THE BIBLE CAN NOT BE ACCEPTED AS UNERRANT TRUTH. Note that I could just as easily list 100, but frankly I don't have the time.

1. Two seperate, and mutually exclusive tales of the creation are presented in Genesis. In chapter 1 of Genesis, there is a detailed account of the creation, in which the specific order of appearance of everything is laid out. In verses 25-27, it is noted that God created the beasts of the field, then in verse 27, it is noted that man and woman were created simultaneously.

Then in Chapter 2, verses 18 and 19, the Bible contradicts itself by stating that man was created first, then the beasts of the field were created and brought to Adam so that he could name them (that must have taken awhile!), and then woman was created. You can't have it both ways, obviously.

2. In Genesis chapter 32 verses 22-30, the omnipotent God has a wrestling match with Jacob and loses! I guess one could argue that he threw the match WWE style, but the Bible appears to describe a protracted contest in which the all powerful God of the Old Testament realized that he could NOT win!

3. The Bible tells us its okay to own slaves. WARNING! This may only apply if you are Jewish, nontheless, under certain circumstances at least, the Bible does justify slave ownership. In Leviticus chapter 44, for example, God clearly states that its okay to own slaves, but only if you purchase them from neighboring foriegn nations, or if foriegners living in your nation are willing to sell you their children. In other words, its apparently okay to buy yourself a Canadian, if you happen to find one for sale. I'm not sure I really want to own one though. As we all know, Canadians look like this:

I know they all look like that because I saw it on TV. And what with those flappy heads and beady little eyes, I don't think I want one in my house.

4.According to Exodus 31:15, working on the Sabbath is cause for being put to death. How am I supposed to buy my cheap plastic crap from WalMart if they aren't open on Sunday?

5. In one of the weirder passages in the Bible and that is a rich tapestry from which to draw, in Malachai chapter 3, verse 2, God compares himself to laundry soap.

6. God is evidently unable to distinguish a light source from a reflective source. In Genesis 1:16, its says that God made two lights, the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. But the moon is not a light source, rather it reflects the light of the sun, and it shines in the daytime during half of its visible phases.

7. In Genesis 3:14, God punishes the serpent for tempting Eve by forcing him to crawl on his belly and eat dust. I'm not sure how snakes got around before that...maybe they took their tails in their mouths and rolled. However, there isn't a snake on the planet that eats dust.

8. Luke 14:26 states "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children,and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Not exactly a prime statement of family values.

9. Apparently God does not know the difference between birds and bats. See Leviticus 11:13 and 19 and Deuteronomy 14:11 and 18.

10. According to 1 Chronicles 16:30, the earth does not revolve around the sun or spin on its axis: Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

Okay...the Bible has numerous great and important teachings. But its rife with inconsistancies, scientific inaccuracies and absurd rules that people would probably get arrested for practicising. Most of you probably don't go around killing witches with any regularity anymore. So let's all just try to lay off the hysteria a bit, and pay more attention to the real focus of religion, which is caring about our neighbors and being good to each other...even Canadians, okay?

Previously: The Simpsons Movie:

They truly are the root of all evil. Many years ago, the fledgling Fox Network brought together a group of independent televison stations, mostly on the UHF band. Nobody thought that the enterprise would amount to much. UHF stations typically had poor reception more than a couple miles away from the transmitter and in those days, cable penetration was pretty low.

Naturally the new network tried its hand at original programming, but most of their efforts were pretty dismal. Actually, that is an understatement. Some of the early Fox series never made it to the second commerical before they were cancelled. The only mildly successful series Fox managed to air in its very early history was a marginally drawn cartoon which originated as filler time during breaks in a relatively crappy comedy series called The Tracy Uhlman Show.

That animated series was The Simpsons. It wasn't much to get excited about at first, but the show had some enormously clever writers who figured that as long as they were destined to flame out, sooner rather than later, they might as well do so in a spectacular fashion. As a consequence, The Simpsons adopted a "take no prisoners" edge that started getting a lot of positive critical attention, and drew enormous ire from a lot of latter day moralists, the type that are so common in this country these days.

All the negative publicity The Simpsons drew only fueled curiousity about it. Ratings slowly rose, and cable invaded more households. In a way, cable TV, Fox Network and The Simpsons all grew up together. The success of The Simpsons emboldened the people at Fox to try other outrageous series like Married With Children.

Pretty soon just about everyone could see Fox on cable and The Simpsons was destined to become one of the most popular and longest running shows in televison history. Fox Network wrestled the National Football Conference contract away from CBS, who responded by wrestling the American Football Conference contract away from NBC. Fox then launched their own "news" network which was little more than a pathetic mouthpiece for the political far right. That was a curious coup, since they gleaned most of the money to do it from Fox Network viewers who were mostly on the political left.

So, at some point in the future, when the blame gets laid for all the misery visited upon America by the Republicans and the political right, Bart Simpson's name will be raised with prominence. Yes folks, we did it to ourselves. Just by watching Bart, Lisa and all the other yellow denziens of Springfield, we effectivey sold Kruzchev the rope with which to hang ourselves. Hey, nobody ever said the conservatives were stupid.

Now, we are going to do it again. The Simpsons have come to the big screen, and of course, we are turning out in droves to see it. Rupert Murdoch is getting richer which means he will probably launch a second "news" network, probably called Fox Headline News. I can see it all now. A typical few moments will go like this:

Good morning. In headlines at this hour, liberals are dangerous traitors that need to be shot.

Global warming is a myth. Don't pay attention to people who actually study the matter. Listen instead to the wisdom of talk radio hosts who never have been burdened by a passing grade in a science course.

Today, President Bill O'Reilly announced that all political parties who's mascot is not an elephant are outlawed.

Yes folks, I guarantee you it is coming soon to a cable channel on your dial...maybe one of the only two you will eventually have.

That said, should you go see The Simpson's Movie? Absolutely yes. It is the funniest movie I have seen in a long time. Even if you don't particularly like the tv show, I think you will find something here enjoyable. Much like the television show, the writing is outstanding. The animation is slicker with the bigger budget, and the film stays loyal to the slaughter of sacred cows.

The television show has a lot of young fans, even though it is clearly not written for them. The film has some humor that will go over the heads of younger viewers, but on the whole isn't wildly offensive. The greatest danger associated with this film will be manifested as you find yourself driving home singing, "Spider pig, Spider pig...."

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