Crazy for “The Crazies”
Feb 20th, 2010 by CrazedPenguin

Before anyone even says a word: no one ever claimed my writing skills happened to extend to clever titles. They don’t.

A while ago, a friend of mine mentioned a movie trailer for what looked like a great zombie movie that he thought was titled “The Creepies” or something like that. I didn’t think much of it, since zombie movies (like 28 Anythings Later) tend to take themselves seriously to the point where they end up crawling up their own asses. Resist the urge to bitch about how I’m wrong and that the 28 Anythings Later movies were artistic genius for now, if that’s possible.

The previews for “The Crazies”? They look promising. My initial reasoning to go see it? Well, that came from the fact that I’m not a movie buff and had no idea that there was the 1973 version of “The Crazies”. Damn you, Romero, wrecking my belief that this movie could be a spiritual successor to Romero’s (Place) of the Dead. That logic went down the toilet the second I found out Romero directed the original “Crazies”. Keeping this in mind, it’s now necessary to wonder if this version of “The Crazies” lives up to the standards set by the previous one (and, as I haven’t seen that one, those standards could be easy to meet).

For those of you who have been living under a rock, or just can’t be bothered with cable, the general plot of “The Crazies” is that there’s this nice town, Ogden Marsh, in Iowa (a mythical land in the United States that resists the passage of time). The people suddenly start going banana-rama crazy and killing the other people because of a virus that doesn’t make Christopher Eccleston put them on a leash in his backyard.

Maybe I have high hopes because I want a crazy people horror movie that’s good, so I can rinse away the foul taste left behind by 28 Weeks Later. Maybe I’m just hopeful because the previews are creepy as hell. Or maybe, just maybe, I hope this movie carelessly wanders into the busy street and is mowed down by the speeding truck that is my critic’s wrath (which will not be hauling my mighty cache of poorly conceived metaphors).

My tip to the folks who were involved with this movie? Delay its release in theaters, and add in footage of this man:

Perhaps a little too crazy.

“The Crazies” arrives in theaters February 26th.

And yet another thing…
Feb 20th, 2010 by CrazedPenguin

Throughout the course of history, there have been many great and profoundly meaningful events. Events that happen once-in-a-lifetime, events that only happen once, that kind of thing…You know what I mean.

What I’m referring to is me being wrong, of course. Take a second. Calm down. The world isn’t ending, I promise. Not too long ago (read as “the last time my lazy-ass wrote a meaningful post here), I wrote a rather angry post concerning “And Another Thing”, the latest addition to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. I went on about how Eoin Colfer was so very wrong to have written this book, and how it would obviously be a piece of garbage, and so on.

That is why I feel it is appropriate that I write this and correct myself. For the record: “And Another Thing” is a passable, and welcome, addition to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” series, and I would go so far as to say that Eoin Colfer did a hell of a job continuing where Douglas Adams left off.

No, it is not quite Douglas Adams’ brilliant writing but it comes close enough that it fits with the rest of the series. When I started reading, I hated the book on principle. I still had that “Grr, how dare you?” mentality. Only a little into the book, I felt myself fighting off a chuckle here and a knowing grin there. The further I got into the book, the more I lost the battle and found myself laughing out loud.

And so, I must concede that “And Another Thing…” may not be the best book ever written, and I still say Douglas Adams is the only person who is truly fit to write books under the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” title…but Eoin Colfer did a hell of a job, and “And Another Thing…” has proved itself worthy of its place in this truly epic trilogy.

And Another Thing?
Dec 1st, 2009 by CrazedPenguin

My copy of “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide” occupies a space on my desk that is exclusive to it. Nothing else I own is permitted to take up its space, although my copy of “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac” seems rather intent on doing so when I’m not paying good enough attention. I regard the Hitchhiker’s books in the way that rabid Tolkien fans froth over the “Lord of the Rings” books (and I should note that there is nothing wrong with this).

Now, as I have a Borders card and a Barnes & Noble membership, I receive plenty of e-mails from each. Barnes & Noble at least has the sense to tempt me with coupons that will invariably result in me spending a considerable amount of cash that I would otherwise not be willing to part with. However, I digress. One such e-mail, not too long ago, arrived during one of my late-night Stumble!Upon sessions. I opened it up, curious to see what Borders thought I should buy, so that I may laugh at how wrong it was, only to see this:

And Another Thing cover

My immediate response consisted of something to the tune of, “What the [expletive removed] is this?” Having never read any of the “Artemis Fowl” books, I had no idea who Eoin Colfer is. However, as I have some level of reading skills, I can tell it isn’t “Douglas Adams”, and this is what I take issue with.

Let’s participate in a hypothetical exercise. Imagine taking your copy of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, in whatever incarnation that you own it in. Now grip it by the spine and hold it so the open side of the book is parallel to the floor. See that? It’s a book so laden with brilliance that it drips from the pages. Now, if you actually did this, and your copy is as well-loved as my original copy, you may also see some pages fall out.

As I have not read any of Eoin Colfer’s writing, I’ve had to depend on what I hear from others. The “Artemis Fowl” books have been deemed the apparent heir to “Harry Potter”, which I found enjoyable enough. Sure, I imagine that the final installment in the series could be classified as a potentially lethal weapon, but this is beside the point.

Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I would love to know what made Eoin Colfer even think to add to Douglas Adams’ masterpiece that is The Guide. Writing a fantasy series reminiscent of Harry Potter qualifies him to complete this task no more than my ranting about George W. Bush in the past qualified me to be President (though it should be noted that I have already bestowed the title of “Emperor of the Mother-Effin’ Known Universe” upon myself).

There are two authors I feel are even slightly qualified to undertake this task, which I feel was surely botched in “And Another Thing…” and those would be Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Perhaps Neil Gaiman moreso, although I’m willing to concede both writers are far better alternatives. I am willing to admit that I could be entirely wrong here, mind you, which is historical enough on its own.

I’ve asked for this book for Christmas, and intend to buy it should I not receive it that way. I’m going to give it a chance, despite wanting to find Eoin Colfer and beat him with this book. Maybe it’ll be good. Or maybe I’m right.

Penguins on Wheels
Sep 16th, 2008 by CrazedPenguin

Clever titles aren’t really my forte, but neither is keeping up with this column. This summer, with the aid of some serious taunting in my general direction, I have been persuaded to ride roller coasters. I am, by no means, an expert on the topic, but I figured I could at least do a write up on my thoughts on these coasters. I will rank, based on a number of factors (how much I enjoyed the coaster, the general consensus of the coaster, etc) the coasters I’ve enjoyed this summer in hopes that they may provide some help to fellow amusement park-goers.

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2007: Looking back at all of the fun stuff
Jan 6th, 2008 by CrazedPenguin

First, and most importantly, I’d like to wish any and all readers a belated happy New Year. That will make up for how much you all might end up hating me by the time this column is done with. 2007 was a fun year, yes, and there were quite a few goodies that I, myself, have just gotten familiar with. For instance, did you know that the XBOX360 isn’t just an overpriced piece of garbage? Or maybe I’m just being too gentle because my system is too young to have Red Ring of Death’d me just yet. Regardless, I have so kindly put together a list of major “props” and “flops,” from my viewpoint, of 2007. Then, of course, there’s also the “indifferent,” but that’s because I’m not so shallow as to say something has to completely suck or rock the world off of its axis. Hopefully, I’m not alone in all of these views—and I doubt I am—but, even if I am, remember that this is all in good fun. If you disagree, that’s all well and good, but save yourself the time of typing up that angry e-mail and sending it. Instead, try doing something productive.

My shenanigans aside, here we go:

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