Thursday, August 25, 2011

How the Apes Rose

This is PFC Robert Walgrave, 3rd Marines. I am holed up in an abandoned K-Mart outside of Boston. At least I think it's abandoned. Hard to tell with K-Mart. My entire division was wiped out in the uprising, and I know my days are numbered. My only hope is that the eyes reading this belong to a human, and not one of those damned apes.

I can imagine what you're thinking. How could you let this happen? How could the world's highest-funded military be bested by animals whose only bragging rights are opposable thumbs and free-wheeling attitudes about rape and fecal matter? I'm sure you're angry. I am too. And I'm sorry. I have no excuses. I can give you reasons, but not excuses. If it's any consolation, the images of my buddies getting torn apart by screeching chimpanzees in diapers and clown wigs will haunt me the rest of my days.

At the time of the Ape Uprising, we were complacent. We were ignorant. It was bliss. Monkeys and apes had been ingratiating themselves for decades. How could we be threatened by animals who looked so adorable in little suits, smoking cigars? Who cherished stuffed animals like our own children did? Who *ate their own poop*? Were there warning signs? Of course. Some had lashed out, impatient to set the game afoot. Need I remind you of the orangutan who almost raped Julia Roberts, or the chimpanzee who removed the face of that one lady in Connecticut? We failed to connect the dots. That's on us.

The military itself was focused on other areas. When given our choice of electives, did any of us think to sign up for "Managing and Quelling Higher Primate Revolts?" Of course not. We stood in line for "High-Impact Explosives and You," "Headshots as a Form of Self-Realization," and "Making the Most of PTSD to Get Laid Back Home." You know who did sign up for the primate revolt course? Henderson. You know who the first target was once the shit literally hit the fans? Henderson. Clever monkey bastards.

Their tactics were outstandingly original. We received our own call to arms at 0500 on 5 August 2011. My platoon scrambled out of our racks and we were locked and loaded within minutes. We moved outside to form ranks for what we assumed was a surprise drill. That was our first encounter with an ape trap. The grounds were covered in banana peels. If the Three Stooges taught us anything, it's that banana peels are the slipperiest substance known to man. Turned out it was also known to ape. Within seconds we were all on the ground. The accidental discharges alone counted for 28% of our losses that day. Before we could regroup, we were nailed by an artillery barrage of ape feces. I mentioned shit hitting fans; this was it. They'd stolen giant wind machiens from their connections in show business, and were using them to shotgun their feces into our base. Blinded, bruised and generally grossed-out, it was a simple affair for the apes to move in and start raping and face-tearing.

I hope the textbooks of your day don't shy from the horrors of this war. The apes' greatest advantage was psychological. A man who's been covered in poo and raped by a silverback is a man who's lost his fighting spirit.

You may be thinking "Private, at the time of the Uprising there were only a few thousand gorillas left. How could such a small force overcome your numbers?" Well, we were fed lies. It turned out those totals were gross underestimations. Gorillas and other large apes had been hiding in our society for decades unbeknownst to us. The advent of reality television gave them even greater cover. Several contestants on The Bachelor, including a few winners, and most MTV reality stars were in fact actual apes. Hiding in plain sight, they were able to gather incredible amounts of intelligence on our army and social structure so that they could pinpoint the most vulnerable spots, causing great devestation with minimal effort. And in lowering the bar of mass entertainment, they dulled and softened the population, ensuring we would provide little resistance once the uprising began.

So here I am, writing to you on a legal pad in this K-Mart. Hmm, 4 for $5, good deal. How could these guys not keep up with Wal-Mart? Anyway, I reached this point by traveling at night. Some ape outposts were unavoidable, though I tried saving myself through dissemblance. Fortunately my wife was a big Jersey Shore fan so I could blend in. Though due to my narrow build I had to perform my share of favors. Apes' tastes are certainly...specific.

To my descendants, I can only offer my deepest regrets for the situation I've left you with, and what little advice I can afford. Don't take your time for granted. Don't get complacent. And for the love of God almighty, if you take back this planet, do not under any circumstances allow reality television to resurface.

Also, keep an eye on those penguins. Anything that cute and isolated is bad news. Take it from a survivor.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Movies I've Never Seen #1: Beauty's Magical Adventure

Beauty's Magical Adventure

In which I fully describe the plot of a movie I've never seen and know nothing about, based solely on its Netflix picture.

This film is a cutting-edge animated documentary about the ins and outs of copyright law. Not content to merely gather talking heads on the subject, documentarian Peter McFickelson inserts himself into the story by creating his own version of the Beauty & The Beast fable which bears a striking resemblance to an Oscar-nominated film by animation powerhouse Disney Co.

The film starts with a quick five-minute segment detailing the copyright process and what constitutes copyright infringement, a la Schoolhouse Rock. This is followed by a longer animation-within-an-animation of McFickelson hand-drawing his own Beauty/Beast feature. This is then followed by an animation-within-an-animation-within-an-animation of McFickelson hand-drawing the segment in which he hand-draws the feature. This goes on for two more hours. Many viewers have questioned this decision, but McFickelson has always marched to the beat of his own drum to say the least!!! Following this segment is the completed result of his labor, Beauty's Magical Adventure. It is, to quote the main theme song (composed by none other than McFickelson, what can't he do?!), a "tale as old as wine."

The documentary takes a turn for the dark in its final act. As we all know, Disney Co. operates above US and even for that matter galactic law, so their punishment of McFickelson is one of Supreme Commanding Judge Michael Eisner's own choosing. Never one to shy from the truth, McFickelson shows us every detail of his time served as a restraining belt on Space Mountain, a hand towel in the bathrooms by Pirates of the Caribbean, and finally the newest character at Epcot. This is achieved [SPOILER ALERT] by the removal of McFickelson's skin, which is then worn by an actor outside Test Track.

I give this 3.5/5 McFickelson skins.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Diary of a Mad Bedbug

Dearest diary,

Yet another day of fighting the good fight, trying to change our image in the eyes of these humans.

Yet another failure.

Diary, what path is left open to me? What door has not been slammed in my face? If only you had ears, that you could hear the horrible things they say about my kind. Have you been called a plague? An epidemic? A punishment for all man's crimes? Then what could you possibly know of my pain?

I'm sorry Diary. I should not have lashed out like that. You can see how deeply this discrimination is affecting me. If I could raise my bedbug voice, I would tell these humans how much we love them. Why else would we fill their movie theaters to the brim? I cannot do justice to the pleasure I derive from watching my hundreds of thousands of offspring take in their first Pixar film while nursing from the elbow of a human child. The look of joy in their multifaceted eyes is a precious thing. The folks at Pixar really know how to tug our bug-heartstrings.

I wish you could know the bittersweet pride I feel when I watch those same offspring hitch home on their children, knowing they will go on to fill that human's house with bedbug joy. And hundreds of thousands of their own glistening, translucent progeny.

It is love alone that drives us into the racks of Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret. We adore the fashion sense of the humans. If only we could wear those jeans with the same flair. Alas, they are terribly unflattering to our six stubby legs and wide, blood-filled abdomens. And thongs? Forget about it. Not with these proportions.

Diary, have you ever loved something only to have it look upon you with abject horror and fury? Have you stood watch over that thing in the night, protecting it from whatever evil lurks in the dark, only to hear the screams of your beloved upon waking and finding that you've been feeding periodically on their life's blood? It's no picnic to discover that your beloved thinks YOU are the evil lurking in the dark. If it is a crime to love something so much, you want to put a part of them inside you, then Your Honor, I am guilty of it in the first degree.

What is a bedbug to do, when the object of our love finds the very means of our procreation hideous? Would that I had a switch, with which I could flip off my lusts like my human's bedside lamp. Diary, they would take every form of pleasure from me had they the means. What can I say? When I see a bed-damsel, segmented abdomen bloated with the blood of our human, I simply have no choice but to stab her in that abdomen with my hypodermic genitalia and ejaculate into her body cavity. Do you know what makes the prejudice of the humans even worse? I'm thinking of them the whole time I do this.

They would take this joy from me, Diary, but they shan't. For I am going "underground," as they say. The humans hate us? They think us monsters? Then monsters we shall be, hiding in the dark crevices of the human home. Fortunately for us, we can fit into a gap the thickness of a credit card, lurking undetected. There are thousands of such gaps in my human's bedroom alone.

If you need me, Diary, that is where I shall be. Waiting. Watching. Feeding.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Three Musketeers in THREE DIMENSIONS

We caught Cowboys and Aliens Monday night (which was a lot of fun; both cowboys and aliens were present, as promised), and I had the pleasure? of seeing the trailer for the new Three Musketeers movie.

Oh, by the way, they made a new Three Musketeers movie.

Go ahead, watch the trailer. I'll wait.

Ho. Ly. Shit. Right? I do suppose it's about time for another version, after Man in the Iron Mask (1998) and, um, The Three Musketeers (1993). In fact, we're overdue. But this? We're being trolled, my friends. Evidence:

1. Hollywood listens. They know, man. They hear our jokes about what their pitch meetings must sound like, and those jokes hit them down deep, so their revenge is to come back at us tenfold. I picture execs sitting in an office with a view of the hills and the ocean, saying "OK. We're making another Musketeers movie. How would a sketch about this meeting play out?"

"Well, we'd be coked up." (then they do a lot of coke)

"Great great great great what next?"

"I guess they'd have us mash together four disparate scripts we've had floating around for several years. How about the one with the Napoleonic steampunk stuff, and the one with the assassin queen? I can't feel my face. Is my face still on my face?"

"Oh, we have to do a rush postproduction 3D conversion, then complain when no one pays $20 for the rush postproduction 3D tickets. I think that would be in there. Bob, your face is beautiful."

"Gents, don't forget we have to wipe our asses with $100 bills."

&c &c

2. Christoph Waltz. Hollywood giveth and it taketh away. It cuddles us with one hand and when we get comfortable and happy, slaps us with the pimp hand. Here's an actor who galvanized audiences as one of the best villains in modern cinema in Inglourious Basterds, in four languages no less. Typically, a breakthrough performance and Supporting Actor Oscar nod gives a performer carte blanche. But Hollywood knows what you want. It also knows you pirated that one movie because you weren't sure if it would be any good (it wasn't), or that you snuck into that one movie after your other movie ended. You've been a bad boy, and bad boys don't get what they want. So you get Christoph Waltz in Green Hornet and now The Three Musketeers 3D (can't wait for the geniuses in marketing to overlap those 3s).

3. CGI flamethrowing airships. You know, the heart & soul of the Three Musketeers story.

Monday, August 1, 2011

MTV at 30

I spent most of Sunday watching old clips of MTV programming on VH1 Classic, in honor of the 30th anniversary of MTV's first broadcast. It was amazing and sad. That's right folks, another "whatever happened to MTV" article! Calm down. It won't be 1,000 words about how it's all whores and morons now. While accurate, that argument is tired and unproductive. There's a bigger picture to examine here.

Bias disclosure: the 90s will forever be my decade. I will shove it down my kid's throat, and he will hate it til he grows up. I've accepted this as fact. I will be a sad old man listening to grunge, Guns N Roses, & early-to-mid-Radiohead, watching True Romance, and bemoaning the slick production values of the modern era's movies and music. The graphic capabilities of today's video games are fantastic, and I love them, but not quite as much as those sweet 16-bit pixels.

The main thing I was reminded of yesterday is how wonderfully weird MTV used to be. From the animated bumpers going to and from commercials to the Denis Leary junkyard rants to a short film with a young Steve Buscemi sweet-talking a model with pop song quotes, I have to imagine MTV was a haven for ambitious young filmmakers in the 80s and early 90s. And other than a sort of brand affirmation, what purpose did these things serve for MTV? What benefit could they have gained from randomly showing Joe's Apartment a few times a day? And how awesome was Donal Logue as that greasy cabdriver?

When MTV got rolling in the 80s, it was the thing kids watched to piss off their parents. It was a counterculture, and like all countercultures it celebrated the weird. It could get dirty and raw and stay fun, like a Remote Control clip we saw where the Red Hot Chili Peppers broke up the show in progress to become contestants, barely letting Ken Oberg get a word in edgewise. Sure, it was planned, and sure, they had an album to promote or something, but these were guys who went on stage with nothing but gym socks over their dicks! Rock stars used to get banned from the VMAs! Madonna's performances then are STILL racier than anything we see today. Bieber. Miley. Nothing has killed entertainment more swiftly than the realization that there's money in tweens.

MTV has always been a business, to be sure. That's what impresses me the most. Since it was a child of media giant Viacom, that means there were real Business People in Suits saying OK to Liquid Television. LIQUID TV! That show exploded my head. It showed me a whole weird world that had absolutely nothing to do with the Cosbys or Tim Allen or Roseanne. I couldn't tell if I was coming into stories halfway through, or they were going to give us backstory later, or who Aeon Flux was really fighting for. And I loved it.

The window for weird on TV has shrunk considerably. I believe its main tenant now is Adult Swim, which you can bet your sweet bippy I'm watching regularly. Otherwise, we now have the internet. If you want weird, give me five seconds and I can probably find a video that will make you reconsider everything you've assumed as fact about humanity to this point. Or, you know, Nyan Cat. And that's good. I'm glad kids have an outlet to realize not everything is as the corporations tell us. But when something like Liquid TV can pass through budget meetings and test audiences and end up in your home, that means a little more than some idiot in his garage uploading a video of himself dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog dancing to the Spin Doctors.

Ultimately, MTV became its own worst enemy. It created in the Real World a Frankenstein's monster which eventually turned on its master. Once groundbreaking television, the show has morphed into trust-fund kids getting drunk and fighting about nothing. And of course, I'm sure there's a valid argument for the Real World eventually giving us Jersey Shore. So yes, the channel is largely populated by whores and morons. But let's be honest, old MTV had Tawny Kitaen dancing on the hood of a car. It had Jenny McCarthy screaming at drunk frat boys. It had Pauly Shore.

But it also had Radiohead playing "Creep" poolside on MTV Spring Break. Which gave the line "I don't belong here" profound meaning. That song alone is one of the best anthems for the people we all become from 12-18. NO ONE belongs then. Anywhere. And we need someone to tell us that's OK, we're not alone. We don't need someone elevating talentless morons to celebrity millionaire level. We don't need kids getting pregnant to get on TV. We don't need Ke$ha.

Don't celebrate stupid. Celebrate weird.