25.10.11

Five Things That Don't Suck (Part 1)

It was recently brought to my attention that this blog might make me look like a person who suffers from a severe case of depression and pops pills day in and day out to make it in this cruel world where everything and everyone sucks. Based on this, I decided that every now and then, this blog deserves a post regarding things that don't suck. Much like the "Six Degrees of Suck", this will only be an occasional deviation from the format I have established so far. 

This isn't going to be a long post, I'm afraid. The very reason this blog is about things that suck is because I've discovered that I'm funnier when I complain than when I try to say nice things about people/situations/whatever.

So, now that the introduction part is over, here are five things I think don't suck:

#1: Songs from the 1960s

I recently watched All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and it sucked.

(Although I can see the appeal.)

The only part that didn't suck was the ending, where they used one of my favourite songs of all time, Sealed with a Kiss, by Bobby Vinton. 


Bobby Vinton's version comes from the 1970s, sure. But this song was first sung in 1960, and made famous by Brian Hyland in 1962, whose version is the one above.

And that's not the only 1960s song that's just fucking brilliant. In fact, many of my favourite songs come from that decade: Dream a Little Dream of Me by the divine Mama Cass, Michelle by The Beatles, We Gotta Get Out of this Place by The Animals, the cover of Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel... these are just at the top of my head.

I don't have a joke to add, as I clearly stated in the beginning. All I can say is that all those times I called my dad "remnant from the 1960s" when I was a teenager to piss him off, I had no idea I was actually giving him a compliment.

#2: Halloween

As I already said, for the past couple of weeks I've been slowly decorating the house to prepare for Halloween, which is currently only 123.5 hours away, or 7410 minutes.

(Can you tell I'm excited?)

What's so great about Halloween is that there's no religious mumbo-jumbo attached to it. Sure, there may be ties to pagan feasts or Christian whaddayacallit shit with spirits and dead people, but nobody expects you to go to church on the date. All you have to do is dress up, drink, eat sweets and scare people. And watch horror films. And carve jack-o-lanterns. And have fun.

A holiday where all you have to do is have fun, and not feel guilty/spiritual/Christian about it!

(The Pope obviously disapproves, as usual.)

#3: Classic Literature

I recently decided to restart reading classic literature, after a break of about 6-8 years. Contrary to popular belief, this had nothing to do with the fact that classics are free on the Kindle and I'm nearly broke.

(Public Domain Laws, you are my best friend right now.)

I've only read Wuthering Heights and Animal Farm so far, and I started The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens today. And you know what? I fucking love it.

Yes, classic literature can be heavy. Outdated language or prose can make it difficult to get through a book. Lack of editing may allow for big chunks of unnecessary stuff to exist in already long novels. (Although not a long novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray's eleventh chapter comes to mind as a bright example. If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about: it's that chapter where Wilde describes... what was it? According to this, it's the "profound influence the yellow book has on Dorian". Huh. All I remember is jewellery and shit.)

And yet, I fucking love it. I read Les Misérables when I was 11; it took me about three days to finish it, and I doubt I could get through the whole thing if I attempted it now. Still, I'm glad that I've read this book, as well as many other classics. Sure, modern literature is fun and easier to read and there are occasional gems that are quite likely to be considered classics in a century or two, but classics deserve attention too -- and not just from Literature students.

(Although Lit students should definitely be made to suffer for their terrible career choice.)

#4: Rugby

Not only does rugby not suck... it's fucking awesome! Why? Because take a look at these:





It's like a gay football orgy! What's not to love about it?

And finally...

#5: Louis C. K.

And this is why:


Oh, Louis. If you weren't so ugly, I'd ask you to marry me.

24.10.11

Why Clowns Suck

I discovered this on Facebook today:


I don't agree with the first part of the statement -- in fact, I find the "everything happens for a reason" response to things rather infuriating --, but I have to concur with the rest: clowns. What the hell?

I watched It when I was in high-school. (When I say "watched", I mean paid attention for the first thirty minutes, then spent the rest of the time gossiping with my then best friend while the film was in fast-forward in the background.) The suckiness of the film aside, the concept of the story hits quite close to home: clowns are fucking horrible, and you should be ashamed if you are one.

(You should be even more ashamed if you are two.)

A lot of people seem to be suffering from the same phobia as I: coulrophobia, commonly known as "fear of clowns". (If there are Facebook groups about it, you know there's plenty of us.) It is to all those fellows out there that I dedicate this post, in the name of coulrophobia pride and solidarity, which explains why clowns suck. Here we go:

#1: Because they're not funny.

Futurama is funny. People falling asleep on the train are funny. Even Hollywood dramas are occasionally funny. You know what is definitely not funny? I'll tell you what: some dude dressed in giant shoes, colourful costumes and a wig, covering his ugly face behind make-up. What that is, my friends, is fucked up.

Here's a joke for you:

A student, a doctor, a pilot, a writer and a clown meet in a bar. While they're having pints, the student asks: "So, what do you guys do for a living?"

The doctor answers: "Well, I do surgeries and I save people's lives."

"Nice," the student says. He then turns to the pilot. "How about you?"

The pilot answers: "Oh, I drive airplanes, so I deliver hundreds of people to their destinations every day."

"Cool," the student says. He then turns to the writer. "How about you?"

The writer answers: "I write books, and through those I entertain people."

By then, all eyes are focused on the clown. The student asks him: "How about you?"

The clown answers: "I put make-up on, go to parties and make children cry."

...



Do you think that joke wasn't funny? That's because clowns aren't funny.

#2: Because becoming a clown is a terrible life choice.

As the previous non-funny joke very clearly illustrates, there's something very wrong with the concept that people would willingly decide to follow a profession that automatically includes them in one of the most hated groups on the planet.

How does one decide to become a clown, exactly? Can someone explain this to me?

("People at school always thought I was creepy, so I thought I'd make a living out of it.")

("Ever since I saw It, I knew that my dream was to kill little children.")

("I suffer from social anxiety, so this profession helps reaffirm my belief that everyone hates me.")

Whatever terrible thing happened to all those clowns out there in their childhood years that led them to this career, I think it's time for them to be adults about it and take the normal approach: GO TO THERAPY.

#3: Because they're creepy.

Come on. Do a google search on "creepy clowns". I dare ya. I double dare ya. I triple dare ya, if that's what you're into. 

No? All right.

You just saved yourself from having to look at pictures like this:


Or this:


Or, dear god, this:

("This is my latest attempt at getting my wife to divorce me.")

The way I see it, clowns exist for one reason only: to make you feel better. You see, when your life sucks so much that you can't take it any more, when your boyfriend/girlfriend has dumped you, when your job is sucking the soul out of you, when your own kids despise you, when all you have to wake up for every day is that wank in the shower and that frozen pizza for dinner (and to hell with the calories!), all you have to do is take a pause and think to yourself: "at least I'm not a clown."

Thank you, clowns of the world, for making our problems look smaller in comparison.

("You're welcome. See you in your nightmares tonight, asshole.")

#4: Because does anyone have any doubt that they're evil?

If you're still not convinced, take a look at this:


I rest my case.

PS. I do not recommend researching clowns if you're coulrophobic. There is some creepy stuff online regarding clowns. I mean, take a look at this. What the fuck?

22.10.11

Six Degrees of Suck (Part 1)

You all know the game, "Six Degrees of Separation". If you don't, here's an accurate description from the source of all accurate information, Wikipedia:

"Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer."

This is not the only version of the game, either: there's also "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", which requires you to connect any individual to Kevin Bacon.

Well, I would like to introduce to you a new and improved version of the beloved game that I came up with this morning: Six Degrees of Suck.

(Kevin Bacon sucks, so it seems only fitting.)

In this version, what you're required to do is start from one individual who sucks and link all the way through to another individual who sucks, with only six steps to go -- and each degree should suck, too. For this round, I will begin with Kevin Bacon, for obvious reasons. My goal is to get to Kristen Stewart, who is the famous actress I currently find to suck the most. So, let's start with:

Degree #1: Kevin Bacon Greg Grunberg


Connection: both starred in Hollow Man, 2000

Why Greg Grunberg Sucks:

Because he starred in Heroes and, unless you're Kristen Bell, that's reason enough to suck. In fact, here's a quote regarding Heroes's fate, at the time when its much delayed cancellation had not been announced yet:

“We wrapped yesterday and the [final episode] is nowhere near a series finale. It is cliffhanger-y and exciting, but it is nowhere near an end to a series that people are so invested in. It does not tie everything up in a neat bow… I don’t have any doubt that the show will be back.”

Brought to you by Greg Grunberg logic: if the season finale is "cliffhanger-y and exciting", then it's not the series finale.

(The knives in the hearts of Veronica Mars fans everywhere are twisting right now.)

Newsflash, Greg: morons suck.

#2: Greg Grunberg Melissa George


Connection: both starred in Alias, 2001-2006

Why Melissa George Sucks:

Because if I wanted something cold and milky white on my TV screen, I'd cum in a jar, put the jar in the fridge for two hours and then decorate my TV set with it.

Please, Melissa, stop accepting TV roles.

#3: Melissa George Rose McGowan



Connection: both starred in Charmed, 1998-2006

Why Rose McGoAway Sucks:

Because she starred in Charmed and, unless you're Charisma Carpenter, that's reason enough to suck. But even if she had starred in Space Odyssey or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she still would've sucked because she's talentless.

Rose McGoAway is the type of celebrity that makes you mad that celebrities get paid so much money, not just because they don't deserve it, but because they also waste it on stuff like this:

("My most recent plastic surgery brought my inner beauty out.")

#4: Rose McGowan Bruce Willis


Connection: both starred in Planet Terror, 2007

Why Bruce Willis Sucks:

Because he starred in four Die Hard films. Count them: four.

#5: Bruce Willis Kristen Stewart


Connection: both starred in What Just Happened, 2008

Why Kristen Stewart Sucks:

Seriously? You need me to answer that?

...

Made it. In fewer than six degrees, too. That was difficult and time-consuming, but I might try it again in a few weeks. If you have any suggestions for celebrities that suck, feel free to name them.

P.S. In case you still haven't noticed by now, you just lost the game.

21.10.11

Why Religion Sucks

I was reading the news this morning and apparently the world is supposed to end today.

("AGAIN?!?!")

I don't know what time it's supposed to be, but this is Harold Camping's fourth attempt at predicting an apocalypse. I don't know about you but personally, I stopped taking him seriously after the third failed attempt. (Or, you know, the first.)


Apparently, apocalypse prophecies have been going on for a while. According to this, one of the earliest predictions of an apocalypse took place around 2800BC. I quote:

"According to Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end."

....


Approximately 4811 years later, people are still stupid enough to believe that the end is going to come in the form of a predicted apocalypse or a rain of fire sent from heaven to smite us. Some are even stupid enough to waste their entire life savings to promote said predictions, proving once again that Darwin was wrong all along.

(Are we sure we're not still monkeys?)

I was raised a Christian by my parents; I grew out of it around the age of 17. When I told my dad that I was questioning certain things about religion, he answered that if my sister, my brother or I ever decided we were not Christians, it would kill him. After that, I stopped discussing religion with him and my mother and restricted myself to jokes, such as:

[dad is about to throw out Easter eggs, mum intervenes]
Mum: Don't throw them away! I'm going to take them to the church this weekend.
Me: They're not edible, what are they going to do with them?
Mum: It's Ascension day, you're supposed to take them to church on Ascension day.
Me: What's Ascension day?
Mum: It's the day that Jesus returns to heaven, 40 days after his resurrection.
Me: And what does he need the eggs for? Don't they have restaurants on the way?

or pretending I'm following Christian rules, such as:

[mum and dad are at our country house, I'm at our city house; it's Good Friday, and I'm eating chicken nuggets]
Dad (on the phone): You're not drinking milk, are you?
Me: Oh, no, no. I haven't drunk milk since yesterday. I mean, Tuesday.
Dad: Good. So, what are you going to eat today?
Me: Sorry, dad, gotta go! *click*

And I'm all right with that. They don't bother me with going to church, I don't depress them by telling them what I think of church. But every now and again (i.e. every single day), something will happen that will remind me why religion sucks. There are many reasons, but the most important ones for me are:

#1: It starts wars.

Since the beginning of time, religion has been at the very centre of wars. From the Crusades to the Reconquista, the Muslim Conquests, the European Wars of Religion and the numerous cases of Islamic terrorism, where there's been religion, there've been wars.

As Religious War Org puts it: "Please kill each other soon, so we can have our planet back."

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people?

("Thou shalt not kill, unless it is to defend the honour of Me
and other Creatures of questionable existence.")

I honestly will never be able to understand what is going on inside the heads of those people. What levels of brainwashing does one require in order to believe that if they kill a bunch of strangers, 72 virgins are going to wait for them in heaven?

(Ever since Satanism went out of fashion, heaven has been having trouble with stock.)

What kind of IQ do you need to figure out that this is a load of you-know-what? And who the hell came up with the idea that we need to teach other people the "right way" of doing things?

Just take a look at this. (Relax, it's only like 90 seconds.)


I find this pretty impressive, and rather terrifying. This represents thousands of people lost, and it was all in the name of religion.

Now let's look at it more individually...

#2: It turns people into morally superior assholes.

When I used to work at Starbucks, we had the option of soy milk for lactose-intolerant people or people who were fasting. While untouched through most of the year, soy milk always became immensely popular during Easter. There was one customer, however, who had asked me if we had alternative options for milk during Christmas. The conversation went sort of like this:

Me: We have soy milk. It's 100% lactose free, if you're lactose intolerant.
Customer: Oh, no, no. I'm just fasting.
Me: Oh.
Customer: *smile of superiority* Yeah, yeah, most people don't know, but you're supposed to fast during Christmas as well. I bet you didn't know that.
Me: No, but I'm not Christian.
Customer: Oh, what are you? A Buddhist?
Me: An atheist, actually.
Customer: .... Oh. *takes the beverage and goes* Merry Christmas! Err.... Bye!

Many religious people have the cunning ability to convince themselves that by declaring themselves religious they're automatically elevated to a high level of morality that atheists can never hope to reach. It doesn't matter if they go to church twice a year; it doesn't matter if they say "Jesus fucking Christ!" ten times a day; just as long as they maintain the status of "Religious", they're better than you. And it's not just against atheists or agnostics: it's against other religions, too. The sort of mentality that makes 5-year-olds declare "MY MUM IS BETTER THAN YOURS!", which you should get over by the time you hit 13, carries over in many cases, such as:

(Courtesy of PostSecret.)

Congratulations, Christian bitch. You really showed that Jew!

... Wait, what?

Another example from PostSecret:


Yep. Apparently failure is measured in how many of your children learn to think for themselves. Postcard sender, all I say is I can identify.

#3: It blocks human rights.

This lovely British couple earlier this year was denied the right to foster care because they had stated to a social worker that they would teach children under their care that the "homosexual lifestyle" is morally wrong. As a reaction to the court ruling, they claimed they were being discriminated against because they were Christians.

("As Christians, we find it preposterous that we are not allowed to teach children to discriminate.")

I'm not even going into cases such as Westboro Baptist Church. I'm only going to say that apparently, religion is the perfect excuse if you want to be a dick against minorities, be they women, gay people, black people or aliens. All you've got to say is that [insert group of people you're against] threaten the "stability/sanctity/importance of [insert religious mumbo-jumbo]" and you're set.


#4: It's RIDICULOUS and IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

I recently discovered this on Facebook:


It was uploaded by a "friend" I've never met in my life and whom I quickly deleted after this. Not before I noticed one of the responses below her post, however:

Christianity-

The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat

his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master so he can remove an

evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a

talking snake to eat from a magic tree.

Seems Legit.

Brian McLaurin, you're my hero.

When I was in high-school, we had this crazy religion teacher who used to tell us that if a girl enters a church when she's having her period, she has to either burn the first sanitary napkin she used that month or throw it in the ocean.

(God condones pollution, among other things.)

The day when we were discussing Jesus Christ's death on the cross, she said that when he exhaled his last breath, God got so angry with humans that it started raining down. That's when I raised my hand and asked: "But isn't God supposed to not have the same emotions as humans, like anger?"

Her response was: "Errr... Yes, you're right. It wasn't God himself who got angry. It was nature. Nature got angry with humanity and expressed God's sorrow for the death of his son."

Then another student asked: "Why? He was going to be resurrected in three days anyway."

Apparently, it didn't matter. God had a temper that day. Can you blame him? His son died.

(Of course, God knew Jesus was going to die, but I'll get to that.)

#5: I can't be held accountable (or be proud) for anything I do.

I love this bit about Christianity. Judaism, Islam and Buddhism require you to persevere, to be a [let's say good] person until the end of your life so you can get your virgins/avoid being reborn as a ladybug/whatever. But in order to get into heaven, all you have to do is repent for your sins before you die. You can be an asshole who steals, exploits and kills people all your life, but if you repent on your deathbed, it's all cool, bro.



Now I know what I have to do! Now if only I wanted to spend the rest of eternity with religious people, I'd do it. But I don't.

And it doesn't stop there. Many religions assert that everything is predestined, but you're still judged by how you act. Get it? God has decided everything you're going to do, but you still get punished for doing it.

If I knew somebody was about to do something evil like, oh, I dunno, genocide, I'd do everything in my power to stop them. And since God is also omnipotent, I assume he has a hell of a lot of power. He just doesn't want to stop you, because you have free will, so you're allowed to do what he already knew you were going to do when he created you in order to give you free will.


If you ask me, God sounds like a bit of an asshole.

Moral of the story:

20.10.11

Why So Many of Today's Horror Films Suck

I love Halloween. It's my favourite holiday, sharing the top spot with Christmas. For the past week and a half, I've been taking small steps towards decorating the house to prepare for our Halloween party next weekend: I bought balloons, I stuck a bloody "Keep Out!" sign on the kitchen door, I placed skull-shaped tealights on the kitchen table and my next plan is to maybe print out A4 posters of horror films and blue-tac them on the walls. All my flatmates, along with our landlord, find my little obsession with Halloween amusing, and they're curious about how the house will look by the time the party comes along. Who knows, they might even be slightly concerned about my sanity.

("Sure, Noel, decorate all you want while we slowly back away and lock ourselves in our rooms!")

I've also resolved to watch a horror film per day until the 31st of October, starting with films I've never watched before I resort to horror films I know and love, since I already did that about two or three months ago. For the past two days, unfortunately, I stupidly decided to watch recent films, released in the last decade; obviously, they sucked.

Now, I do not pretend to be a horror film expert. I am a horror film fan, and I do have some knowledge in the area, but there are plenty of (supposedly) good horror films that I haven't watched yet, and I look forward to doing that. There is no denying, however, that there has been a steady decline in the quality of horror films since the late 1990s. In the last two years, I doubt I've watched more than two or three (recent) films that I found enjoyable and/or scary.

(Toy Story 3's ending doesn't count.)

So what is it that makes so many of today's horror films suck? Here's my opinion:

#1: There's too much gore.

Forget the subtle terror of Black Christmas or the collected creepiness of Silence of the Lambs. In today's mainstream horror, it's all about the gore. Saw, Hostel, Wrong Turn, Turistas, these are all bright examples of a new-found obsession with torture, excessive blood and... well, little else.

(Because nothing is scarier than the prospect of vomiting.)

I don't get the point of "torture porn". According to Wikipedia, Stephen King has defended the genre by saying that "sure it makes you uncomfortable, but good art should make you uncomfortable."

(Good art.)

I don't know which dictionary Mr. King uses, but I think there's a point where splatter stops being art and starts being "oh my god, what the fuck is the director's childhood trauma?!" The very reason Funny Games (one of my favourite horror films) worked was because they didn't show us what was going on. Every time something horrible was about to happen, the camera panned out and we were left to stare at something else, someone else, and wonder what kind of awful things the killers were doing. I think I bit my lip so much while watching Funny Games that I could've used the shredded skin to sew a glove. Hostel, on the other hand, just made me regret having eaten before I popped the DVD in.

#2: I'm sick of remakes.

Just an hour ago, I discovered that The Thing's remake is coming out later this year. This was the second strike for 2011; the first one was the remake of Fright Night, which I refused to watch because, well, I've already seen it.

I don't know how many of the last decade's horror films are remakes of old films/foreign releases, but I can name at least 20 at the top of my head: The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Halloween I & II, Funny Games U.S., My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, The Ring, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Let Me In, The Crazies, House of Wax, The Eye, Dark Water, The Grudge, Quarantine, The Last House on the Left... OK, so I can name 18. Still impressive. And if you add the two I mentioned in the beginning, you get to twenty.

Some of these are actually enjoyable (e.g. Last House on the Left, The Amityville Horror). Others are just bloody horrible, and an insult to the original (*cough*Black Christmas*cough*). Regardless of that, the fact remains that we're riddled with remakes of classic or foreign horror films. And there lies the eternal question:

("Pay £2 at the video store to watch the original or pay £7 to watch a poor remake?")

If your answer is the second, see the badge on the left side of this blog.

#3: They're just not as good at making fun of themselves.

If there was one thing 1980s-1990s horror films knew how to do, that was self-parody. Braindead is one of the worst horror films I have ever seen; it's also one of the funniest. What's not to love? Kung-fu priests? Zombies spitting body parts into each other's bowls? A giant mother-zombie trying to stuff her son back into her womb?

Unfortunately, where the past decades excelled, the 2000-2010s fail miserably. Attempts at humour or self-parody in recent horror films result in confusion (was Drag Me to Hell trying to make fun of anything, or was it just that bad?) or outright scoffing (as was the case with most of Scream 4).



Excuse me while I go vomit a little.

-------------------------------------------------

OK, I'm back.

#4: If something works, you gotta milk it dry.

As the string of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th sequels from the 1980s prove, this is not a recent trend. Studios know that familiar will always win: so what if you just know that the 5th Final Destination will suck bollocks, just like the 4th, the 3rd, the 2nd and the 1st did? You're still very likely to watch it. Cinema-goers have always been this way, and we always will be.

("Hmmm. Saw 387 is not as bad as I expected.")

Still, just once it would be nice to watch a brilliant horror film and not have it ruined by the dozens of inevitably inferior sequels/prequels/parallel universe explorations of the same events.

A Disclaimer Before I Sign Off:

So... I know this list is not extensive. I also know there are many recent horror films that are actually good (The Descent, Paranormal Activity, 28 Days Later, El Orfanato, Trick 'r Treat, REC, etc.). If you look hard enough, you'll find them. Hell, there are even recent films that are excellent at (self-)parody (e.g. Shaun of the Dead, Lesbian Vampire Killers). As the title clearly states, I'm not saying the horror genre is a lost cause. What I am saying, however, is that I'm sick of the 80% of new releases being bad, or remakes.

As a horror film fan, I think no one can blame me.

(Well, you could, but this would have to be my response:)