Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006
dir. Paul Robertson
This Australian cat named Paul Robertson made this badass animation that looks and feels like a video-game crossed with a horror film.
Pirates, monsters, blood, guts, nudity, Big Lebowski references... it's 12 minutes of pixelated (not "pixilated") perfection.
Download the film here:
Check out Paul Robertson's artwork at Deviant Art:
and his Live Journal:
My mom, Lois, came to visit Sam and I today. She had the whole week off from school (she's a preschool teacher), but Sam works long hours on weekdays so decided to visit on the weekend so we could all hang out together.
I was a hazy day, but we decided to go to the Santa Monica Pier because the clouds tend to keep the crowds away. Even though I live in West LA, I hadn't been to the pier in several years, and it'd been even longer for my Mom. Her cousin Doug was (still is?) a Santa Monica Police Officer.
After the pier we wandered around 3rd Street.
I'm not really a fan of shopping, but I like to people watch, and 3rd St has some of the most fascinating people. Earth Day 2006 is next Saturday, but apparently Santa Monica kicks off their celebrations / protests a week early because there were hippies as far as the eye could see.
Unlike Eric Cartman, I like hippies. I consider myself relatively eco-friendly, but I didn't really spend any time at any of the Earth Day booths because the sun had finally come out and I didn't feel like staying in one place too long.
Mom and Sam wanted to browse the stores and like I said, I don't like to shop, so I cruised over to Barnes and Noble by myself to read.
I very rarely read comic books, but I read a good chunk of The Best of American Splendor by Harvey Pekar. I was only vaguely familiar with the strip before seeing the film American Splendor in the theaters a few years ago. The film is brilliant and the comics are so banal that they border the bizarre.
After 3rd St we headed back to our apartment to relax before dinner.
While we we sitting around, my mom suddenly asked my general questions about my blog, like "what do you use your site for?" but the questions quickly became very pointed, specifically about porn.
I knew she was referring about my recent post about the experimental film Tokyo Elegy and I tried to explain that the film was NOT representative of the films I normally watch.
I watch many many films on a regular basis, and though I try to keep a Film Diary of my reactions to all the films that I watch, I usually don't have time to write anything more than a few notes, and since I don't like to post incomplete thoughts, I only publish a small fraction of my film diary entries. Every once in while, though, my reactions to a film are so overwhelmingly positive or negative that I can't help but to rant endlessly about how much I loved or hated a film. Recently, my rants have been about offensively horrible films, like Tokyo Elegy, which I watched on a whim.
It turns out, though, that my whim had unpredictable consequences, because my mom, being worrisome as most mothers can be, mistakenly got the impression from my rant about a film that involved a real-life pornstar playing a fictional pornstar, that somehow I was spending all my time watching (and occasionally reviewing) pornography.
This might sound like an absurd conclusion for my mom to draw, but when my mom mentioned my recent public debate about God (or the non-existence of God), I became clear that the real source of my mom's concern was my recent "conversion" to atheism (something that I've spent considerably more time discussing on my blog than porn posing as art).
My mom is deeply religious and I totally understand that it must be devastating to her to know that her oldest son has renounced the faith that she tried to instill upon me. My parents raised me in a very Christian environment, and my younger brother and sister remained obedient, faithful children, while I turned my back on God and my family.
Or at least that's how it seemed to my mom.
My mom's biggest fear was that when I started calling myself an atheist, I had become an immoral, evil person who commits unspeakable sins, including, among other things, watching porn. In my mom's eyes, a sinful downward spiral was the only logical outcome of being an atheist because for her, God is the source of all morality.
She ever asked me straight-up, if I loved Sam.
I tried desperately, until my voice was hoarse, to explain to my mom that I didn't turn my back on God, that atheism is NOT satanism, that I am still fully capable of love, that I am indeed still very much the sweet moral guy that she raised, only now I have much more progressive and liberal opinions about most things, including porn.
My atheism is the bi-product of education and rational thought, rather than ignorance and stubborn narrow-mindedness. My religion is philosophy; my God is science. And I would argue that atheistic morality is much purer than sectarian morality because it is rooted in a love of humans, rather than a love of a supernatural spiritual being (God).
I love my mom, even though I believe that her mind has been infected with the irrational memetic virus of religion. And I am eternally grateful that she confronted me about my atheism today.
My dad is much more outspoken and opinionated (like father, like son, I guess) and so I have had theological debates with him since the beginning of my epiphany that there is no god. My mom is much less confrontational, however, and so for six years now, my mom and I have avoided discussing our divergent faiths. Until today.
Again, I am grateful that she had the courage to engage me in a theological debate today, because my hope is that my mom, and my entire family, will one day awaken to the fact that there is no God. There is no heaven, there is no hell and this life is the only life we have.
I know my family is praying for me and for my soul, but I wish they would stop wasting their time. I have no soul to save, and their prayers have fallen on absent ears all these years.
aka Tokyo Elegy
dir. Ian Kerkhof
Thy rod and thy staff will bumfuck me. Thy will be done, thy kingdom come in my ass, forever and ever. Anus.
The above pseudo-biblical quote from one of the many graphic (but censored)* sex scenes in Shabondama Elegy pretty much sums up this masturbatory exercise in art-house experimental film.
The film is marginally poetic and sometimes clever as South African director Ian Kerkhof mixes sex and violence to explore what happens when a Dutch criminal (legitimate actor Thom Hoffman) meets a Japanese pornstar (real-life bukkake babe Mai Hoshino). Kerkhof then adds lube and bullets into the mix and the result is not at all surprising:
- pornstar + lube = semen
- criminal + bullets = blood
- semen + blood = sticky mess of red & white bodily fluids
The film opens with a figurative blood bath as the tragic hero murders two Japanese police officers, and predictably (as if ripped from the pages of a textbook about experimental filmmaking) one of the final images of the film combines fluids with the colors red and white to depict the heroine washingly herself clean (both inside and out) of her slain lover in, quite literally, a blood bath:
Clever, and yet amateurishly cliched.
* NOTE: I'm not sure if the version I saw was censored to meet strict Japanese porn laws or domestic art-house policies, but I doubt seeing an uncensored version (if it even exists) would improve my reaction to this film. The director intentionally superimposed enough other images, like the floating head seen above, that the blotches over genitals hardly corrupted his artistic vision.
(NOTE: I don't want people to think that I gave this film five stars so I gave it half a star to make it more obvious when really it deserves no stars. I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone unless you want to test your critical thinking skills, or maybe if you enjoy infomercials, because that's really what this film is: an infomercial for New Age bullshit. It pretends to be a documentary but really it's a propaganda film by a CULT!!!)
What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? was recommended to me last year by Donna Segal, who thought I'd be interested to see the CG anatomical "fly-through" animations that peppered the film because I was working on a similar CG "fly-through" a bloodstream. Since I have a habit of hijacking conversations and frequently steering them towards science and/or philosophy, I suspect Donna was also curious about how I would react to the film's claims and implications.
What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (aka What the BLEEP Do We Know aka WTFDWK) is an overlong infomercial for New Age nonsense posing as a documentary. It mixes pseudo-science with psycho-babble as it first asks the question "What the fuck do we know?", then answers with "not much." (Ultimately the film decides that someone or something, namely "god," does indeed know everything that we don't, but more on that later)
Though the filmmakers are trying to suggest that we, all of humanity, know very little about the "real" world, all they are really demonstrating is that they themselves are ignorant.
They blatantly misrepresent the known science of quantum mechanics by interviewing theoretical physicists, like Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami, whose claims about the relationship between the universe and consciousness are extremely fringe and NOT at all accepted as fact by most physicists. CG-laden dramatizations of quantum principles, like wave-particle duality and Heisenberg uncertainty, mislead the audience into believing the contradiction that it is impossible to know anything and yet anything is possible.
One of the film's supposed "experts" claims that it is possible to "walk on water" if a person only believes it possible.
Another absurd claim the filmmakers make is that matter and the physical world can be affected by thoughts and emotions. The example given in the film is the work of Masaru Emoto, who alleges that water can be influenced by thoughts. Emoto's findings have long since been discredited by the scientific community for his refusal to repeat the experiments following proper scientific methods, specifically double blinding, but the filmmakers ignore the fact that Emoto's a quack and they go so far as to misrepresent his unscientific findings even further to make them seem more mystical.
The film shows a closeup picture of muddy dam water and then shows a magnified photo of the same water after it has been "blessed" by a monk. Miraculously, the formerly disgusting murk has transformed into a beautiful ice crystal (i.e. a snowflake). What the filmmakers fail to mention (quite intentionally) is that Emoto FROZE the fucking water!!! They also forget this freezing fact when showing pictures of bottled water with various labels on the side like "chi of love," "thank you" and "you make sick I will kill you." Again, as though through supernatural intervention, the water that was labeled with postive messages turned into snowflakes after being "left out overnight" and those labeled with negative words turned into jagged blobs.
And again, the filmmakers neglect to mention that the bottled water was frozen, and then photographed by people who knew what the labels on the water said and therefore the photographers knew which sort of ice crystals to look for.
But the biggest bunch of bullshit spewed by the filmmakers is the implication that if positive or negative thoughts could have such an effect on water, then naturally these thoughts can have a direct effect on humans, since afterall, as the film reminds us, that "90% of our bodies are water." No that's not a typo. The film actually makes the factual error that the human body is composed of 90% water, even though, in reality, the human body is only between 78% to 55% water, depending on age and sex.
If the filmmakers can't even get a simple widely-known fact like the human body's chemical composition right, then it's not that surprising to hear them make up history by claiming that Columbus' ships were invisible to Native Americans because the natives had no prior knowledge of large boats and so they were unable to see them until they were told that the ships existed by their "shaman." This nonsense is both historically unfounded and a gross misrepresentation of epistemology.
But why would the filmmakers misrepresent science and flat out lie to their audience?! Well as it turns out, they have a hidden agenda: the promotion of a New Age cult.
That's right, I said "cult."
I knew something was fishy when the film starts preaching about god near the end. After misrepresenting science during the first part of the film, the makers of What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? covertly shift gears and gradually try to convince the audience that scientists are arrogant to think that universe can be explained without god.
See, the "expert" featured most prominently in the film is a charismatic blonde woman (wearing way too much makeup) who dispenses great words of wisdom like "it only takes one sexual fantasy for a man to have a hard on." But it isn't until the end credits that we learn who this woman is and what sort of credentials qualifiy her to make any of her scientific and ultimately spiritual claims. As it turns out, the credits don't really tell us much, only that the woman is "Ramtha, Master Teacher - Ramtha School of Enlightenment, Channeled by JZ Knight."
I was curious just what the fuck "channeled by JZ Knight" meant, so after consulting wikipedia, I learned that the blonde talking head in the film belongs to alleged psychic JZ Knight, but the words coming out of her mouth are credited to Ramtha, 35,000 year-old spirit, "channeled" through Knight, who claims that Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who fought against the Atlatians [as in "Atlantis" (as in "the lost city of")].
What a load of steaming bullshit!!!
Not surprisingly, the three directors of the film, William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vicente, are admitted students of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment and the concepts of the film, including the final part about spirituality, are all consistent with the "teachings" of this cult.
Now I don't know if any of the film's other so-called "experts" (a chiropractor, an anesthesiologist, and a graduate student among others) have any association with RSE and the film itself never specifically mentions Ramtha or RSE (except in the credits), so I guess the film cannot be labelled explicitly as a recruitment film, but it's definitely stealth propaganda disguised as a serious scientific documentary. Sadly, the film has won several awards in the documentary category. Maybe Scientologists should've tried the same strategy for their scifi epic Battlefield Earth...
Still, I need to thank Donna for recommending this film to me. It is definitely thought-provoking (and anger-provoking), and it further solidifies my resolution in the scientific method by exposing the utter nonsense that results in deviating from it.
My friend Robyn Yannoukos is an intern at ShadowMachine Films working on Robot Chicken and after watching the first 6 episodes of Moral Orel, another stop-motion animated series on Adult Swim that's also produced by ShadowMachine, I decided to see what sort of work Robyn's been doing.
Robot Chicken is insanely hilarious as beloved childhood toys rape and murder each other in rapidfire one-liner visual gags and retro mashup parodies.
My favorite visual gag from Season One depicts two naked guys playing a backyard game of ring-toss with donuts:
[from Season 1, Episode 09 "S&M Present"]
And my favorite parody features a vengeful Jesus hellbent on killing the Easter Bunny:
[from Season 1, Episode 02 "Nutcracker Sweet"]
Cheers to Seth Green and Matthew Senreich for creating such a twisted show.
ELIZA "LIZ" CHINCARINI
a.k.a Eliza Kinkz
Liz is my classmate in the UCLA Animation Workshop.
She's a great animator. She animated the music video for the Death Cab for Cutie song "Your Heart is an Empty Room."
I learned the hard way that you should never come between Liz and her cupcakes:
|"HANDS OFF MY CUPCAKES!!!"|
guyznodate.com (personal website)
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
The less you know the more you believe
And in all the madness.
Thought becomes numb and naive.
So much to talk about.
Nothing for to say.