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Stalker's Top Ten: Mogulus: The annoying

10FSReel.jpgThe Filmstalker Top Ten lists for 2007 is going to close now on a rather interesting tangent. Mogulus is going to rampage through his top film related rants for the year, and I'm sure this is going to kick off a few discussions!

Mogulus is going to take us through ten things that have really ticked him off, from a superhero to the pope, and from greedy writers to rather sick zombies...it's all here, and with an extra serving of JD - which isn't the only spirit, not until you've tasted the best Scottish whiskies!

So without further ado, here's a huge thanks to Mogulus for taking the time to write all this up, and to having such a unique voice. Thanks to you all too for staying with Filmstalker this year, and to the support you've shown - especially to those who have written for the Top Ten 2007 series. Here's to a great 2008 in film, and in life.

If you want to look at the other lists that have been sent in, then just head to the Stalker's Top Ten section, and don't feel that this is over, you can continue to submit your lists, we just won't be seeing a new one posted each day as the top story.

So, Mogulus, gp.

Hello, fellow filmstalkers. Mogulus here, with my personal top ten list.

As many of you are putting together fine lists in your own right, I've decided to use this opportunity to vent a little bit on some things, random and inconsequential, that just generally tick me off about movies, plot devices, clichés and more. Big thanks to Richard for the invite to do such an article, and I sincerely hope you guys and gals enjoy it. It's not my intention to offend anyone with anything on here, so if you disagree with me, maybe you'll at least just get a little laugh out of the whole affair. I had loads of fun choosing topics and writing this all out, and I hope you enjoy reading it just as much or more…


10. Spider Man 3 and the emo pelvic thrusts of doom:
Sam Rami is a god among men. Really. I'm usually on board with whatever he decides to throw my way. When 'army of darkness' descended into 'three stooges' homage, I laughed like he wanted me to. When Bruce Campbel turned up as Quentin Beck in the SM 'trillogy', I said "all's fair". But it's possible for genius to go too far. Einstein did it when he invented the atomic bomb, and he regretted it ever after. I can only hope Sam Rami regrets in a similar nature what occurred during Spider Man 3's second act…

…it started innocently enough. The movie was quite enjoyable. Fight scenes rocked. Special effects, while a bit C-G-obvious, didn't detract from the story. Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey were both hot, and all was well. Then, Peter went all beatnick/emo, took on a K.D. Lang hairstyle, and proceeded to become creepier than a drunk nerd at a 10 year high school reunion. Seriously. What gave? That one scene, and that one scene alone stripped Spider Man 3 of all dignity to the point that whatever came after it was like some weak retro rocket thruster trying to keep the space shuttle from falling into a nearby black hole. Far too little…far too late.

9. Transformers: "there's more than meets the eye…with you…":
Oh for the love of god. I'm enjoying this movie with my wife, whom has no idea what it meant when Optimus died in the '80's. I'm assuring her that this movie's going to be bad as heck, because the original cartoon never descended into too much kiddie fare, and she's believing me. So there we are, enjoying what really is a killer flick (the best of the year in my humble opinion), and then comes the infamous "ride home". Sam tries impressing the hooker like chick that everyone still thinks is hot (including me, oh boy, man), and it happens. The single worst line of dialogue ever in a Bay film:

"you think I'm shallow, don't you?" Hot chick says? "no I don't…there's more to you…than…meets…the eye…?!"

Let's not mince words. That's pathetic. There's no possible way any boy would say that with a chick that hot in the car. Forget the "breaking the third wall" humor. It didn't work. Not even for me, and I knew what that line was supposed to have meant. For the life of me, I can't understand how a line like that could get past the cutting room floor. Really. And if the writer who penned that line is striking right now, I think the union should sever all ties with him and make him (or her) beg for his (or her) bread.

8. The Pope ex-communicates "The Golden Compass":
Hey. There are people dying in the world. Of hunger. Of thirst. There are at least 60 wars going on…and I'm not going to spend much time on this one, because I'm sure the Pope does some good work. But let's face it. He's wasting our time denouncing a movie solely on the fact that it seems to disagree with his religion. I'm pretty sure seeing talking polar bears fighting isn't going to damn anyone, cause them suffering or convince them to sell their souls. I'd say "get a life" but I'd be afraid the pope would shock me with some of his awesome dark side powers.

All I'm going to say is, why didn't the good man denounce something truly evil…like the BRATZ movie?

7. Harry Potter says "Shut up!":
Have fun with this new drinking game. Sit around with some of your favourite Jack Daniels #7 (the only spirit that truly exists) and take a shot whenever Harry's being baited by someone and regresses to his only true comeback…"SHUT UP!"

Watch and weep as he says it in every freaking single movie so far in the series (as far as I can remember. For the sake of this article, let's assume he has…). Reading the books makes you realize that this is actually the only comeback the poor boy knows. Someone, get this boy some insult books on tape. Help him perfect some "dirty dozens" about Malfoy's mama. Because "shut up" doesn't cut it in this day and age.

In my home town, people would chisel his "shut up"s on a stone slab and laugh as they broke it over his head, setting him up for a senseless atomic wedgie. For goodness sakes, the boy's the best wizard in the world. Cant' he dream up a better quip?

6. Documentary Filmmakers. They're so much smarter than you:
This one actually ticks me off more than any other one, but I'm not about to put it at #1 because there's more pressing evils in the world than Michael Moore. Don't get me wrong. I think Docos are a good and healthy thing when done right. Most of them are not, however. For an example of what's wrong with these films, such as every Moore movie (except Sicko, can't wait to see that one, matter of fact), and more recent outings we hear about every other flipping day, I'll use an example without much relevance.

Were you ever, as a child, told that lemmings commit suicide by throwing themselves over cliffs? Me too. Until I was 26 I believed it. But it's actually a lie, created by the Disney corporation for a doco series they did back in the decade before disco, and they made up facts (yes, MADE UP FALSE INFO) for the purpose of entertainment. They even went so far as to force herds of the poor critters over cliffs to film them, then told the movie going public that they committed suicide to sell their cartoons that focused on that fact. It's been a myth for centuries that lemmings have death marches, but not one has ever been observed in nature that didn't have an explanation, such as predatory pursuit or natural disasters.

Doco filmmakers do this more than you'd imagine. Now imagine someone wants to make you think that something's immoral and it's going on on the other side of the world. How do you confirm it yourself? If you can't confirm it yourself with your own eyes, assume it may be disinformation until you can get hands on information. Otherwise, I don't have to tell you you could end up making the world an even worse place than these doco filmmakers would have you believe they are.

I have to say something nice about the film "Supersize Me". Watch it for a fair, balanced film that shows both sides of a controlled experiment. If all docos were done along these lines, the world truly would be a slightly better place.

Next time a documentary filmmaker tells you how to feel, keep in mind they're just like us. We all have agendas. We all want others to agree with us. The only difference is, we don't have millions to spend making a movie to tell others how to feel and then distribute it so that everyone can't help but hear about it.

I've purposely shyed away from listing more relevant social topics, but use your imagination and realize that we're really being told how to feel and think by movies today, and docos don't even have an obligation to report the truth. They can be as biased as they want, and there's no one to say any different until it's too late.

5. Rob Zombie turns Michael Meyers into common white trash:
Freddie Kruger is lame because he cracks stupid one liners. Jason Vorhease is lame because of Jason X, (end of story). Michael Meyers retained creepiness through at least 6 of his films because he was an enigma. We saw the face behind the mask and he was just another one of us. He could very well BE us. He wasn't deformed, abused, hated or even picked on. He was from a well off suburban family, had an incredibly hot sister, a loving mom and dad, and simply DECIDED in one instant, to go ginsu juice-o- matic on them one day. Think about that. Think about it some more. Think about it for a couple minutes more now……..

……Still there? Good. Now, here's Rob Zombie's version: A tortured and misunderstood soul whom was neglected and maybe even beat up repeatedly as a kid, whom was in essence a bomb waiting to go off.

He effectively turned John Carpenter's classy, sexy slasher/thriller into a music video for "the insane clown posse". Who couldn't see this kid snapping? Who besides me was rooting for him instead of hiding behind their sofa?

I had high hopes for this one. Why me?!!!

4. A suspicious lack of talking horse movies this year:
I'm completely making this one up because I only have 9 things that really ticked me off, but let's be honest. They made a sequel to "big momma's house". They made a sequel to "are we there yet" for god's sakes. It's been quite some time since we've last seen the grand splendour and awe of a horse that appears to talk, though we can all tell he's just licking peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.

Again, with a Hollywood writer's strike going on, I say we turn to proven formulas. "Frances, the talking mule" anyone?

I suddenly remember Robert Redford being the horse in Charlotte's Web, but that doesn't count. Humans couldn't hear him. It's gotta be true speech to count in this annal of entertainment. And I say it's time for a write in petition. Who's with me? (cricket chirps and I go away)

3. Robert Carlisle's zombie…is a child stalker?????:
So, 28 Weeks Later's going on just fine, another good film this year. It's got its' ups and downs, such as the fact that as soon as you like any given character, they get infected and killed, but hey. Nothing's perfect. And so this movie's going right into its' midpoint, and we start to see that the Carlisle zombie is doing WHAT?!!! It's trailing it's human children as they make their escape from London?

That can't happen. And I want my money back.

In 28 weeks later, zombies can't think (they're not zombies? Get real. You're dreaming). They run and eat. That's like, part of the 28 days bible or something. They don't contemplate loss or urge, they just seek and bite. This is the equivelant of a great white shark trying to sell your kids insurance on a fishing trip, but not taking no for an answer. It's just not in its' character. I didn't get the purpose of that plot line and…

…oh for goodness sakes, I suddenly remembered that the Carlisle zombie was in the CITY WHEN IT GOT NUKED AND WE SAW HIM SO NEAR THE NAPALM HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN VAPORIZED!!!!! But yet, there he is, unburnt, unsinged, alive (or so) and "hungry" for some related kid chitlins.

That's gotta be the laziest angle for a dramatic finale since George Romero decided to lie and tell everyone that "land of the dead" was a political alliteration to the Bush administration. It's not true, it doesn't work, and he should be lobotomised (but only if we can leave the part of his brain that he'll need to make his follow up, because I really do love his movies).

2. Cloverfield. Get over yourself and name your $%^& movie:
People, I ask you. What is a viral ad campaign? What is it's purpose? If you were to say "to get word of mouth going about a movie through convoluted online content intended to be freely distributed by individuals around the world via blogs" I'd hit you over the head with a frozen fish and shake your hand, because you get it. Richard Brunton got it. I got it, and you all got it. And we were all looking very very forward to "that movie" that we don't even know the flipping name to, that we don't know what is all about, that we just don't really get, but that we know we want to see.

Then, all of a sudden, I try to go to Filmstalker (best movie site ever) and find it's down. Why? I find out later it was because the bigwigs at the distribution company had some issue with something Richard had posted about the movie.

Wha…?! I'm sorry. Was our word of mouth not good enough for them? That they have to shut us up? Didn't you want us to post this crap anyway? That's what I thought. I didn't realize we were only supposed to talk about it using words they fed us, with images they approved.

Sorry. But ever since then, I've been ANTI Cloverfield. And I look forward to using the 50 bucks it would have taken me and my family to see it to buy toilet paper, because I have a funny feeling even single ply will hold up better in the long run than whatever "plot" is running in a film that they wont even tell us a PLOT OR NAME about.

At first, it was cool. But it's less than a month before it comes out. At this point, I'm done, and I've lost all interest in this movie.

AND FINALLY, my biggest gripe this year, which has been running and popping up through all my other gripes so far, (drum roll, please….)

1. Writers Strike / "we make more money than you do at your blue collar job, but we still don't think it's enough to continue enjoying doing what mogulus wishes he were doing FOR FREE, so we've decided to hold up all of your favorite movies and shows, depriving you of the distraction we should be providing, just so we can prove we're worth more than we said we were worth during our last contract negotiations":
(I know that title was long, but hey. It's from the heart.)

You read that right. I've always dreamed up plot lines. I've published books independently and even sold a couple. I dream of making action adventure flicks and know what it actually takes to write. Here's the secret they don't want to tell you: IT'S FREAKING EASY!!! IT'S INCREDIBLY FUN, AND TAKES NEXT TO NO TIME AT ALL TO DO IF YOU ACTUALLY APPLY YOUR MIND AT IT. Anyone who tells you different are either angling for more cash than they're worth, don't enjoy what they do, or lying to you.

Writing is like playing sport. You're either good at it or you suck. And if you're good at it, writing is like breathing. It's like being on vacation. Heck. As I write this article, it's like being on drugs. It feels soothing. And the thought of being paid to do it is just so awesome it makes me want to have sex.

I understand these writer's positions (not entirely, but I have read up about it a bit), but I'm also a member of a labor union like them, and am under a contract I despise and wish I could strike to get out of. The fact of the matter is, Work is hard. And it sucks. And none of us get the money we think we deserve. It's what makes us strive to do better. So we can move up and make something of ourselves on our own.

The royalties for digital distribution they're fighting for probably should be theirs. They do probably deserve it. I'll totally back them on that. But I also know they're under contract right now, and that they probably agreed to that contract.

They're doing something that every creative person on the planet wants to do, and if they're not doing it, I think the studios should be able, and should have every right to seek out and find other writers to replace them while they're refusing to provide the service they agreed to provide for. I don't believe striking has its' place in an industry that promotes any kind of fun, and let's be honest. Being up against a deadline for writing an episode of Desperate Housewives isn't exactly the same thing as being forced to work in unsafe conditions. These people need to take a tour through working class Amereurasiatralia and see what we're all doing for a living, so they'll go back to their writing desks and continue finding more creative ways for the cast of Grey's Anatomy to sleep with each other and for people to take Orlando Bloom seriously again.

Well, people, that's my list. I hope I didn't get too rude or crude back there, and I do hope you all realize it's all in good fun.

Motion picture entertainment (television included) are some of the best distraction from this humdrum world we habitat, and I'm truly thankful for the effort that writers, directors, actors and stage hands put in. It's magical. I hope all of you continue enjoying film as much as I do, and I look forward to seeing you all on Filmstalker in the future.

Richard, thanks for giving us this place to click on everyday, and know we appreciate it.




I thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter rant. Agree on almost all parts except #1. As you said multiple times, I do understand it's all in jest & humour, but I think the WGA strike is a good thing.

It's not just Digital Downloads etc, its DVD's .. the last negotiations (from what I've read up) happened pre-DVD days. So they get the odd cents for VHS sales. I mean who buys VHS these days?

I wouldn't agree with Writing is easy. The reason is, Writing isn't just Churning the pages but also getting them Sold. Surely, the ratio of what is written & what % of that sells needs to be considered too. I think it would be quite low.

Admittedly the ones writing episodes of TV shows & large Film productions are probably pretty OK either way, but I think the outcome of the strike will be an advantage to upcoming writers, the rising talents ..like ourselves ;).

It truly is a shame that the audiences are losing out because of it, but on the bright side, it means at the moment they can write all they like with proper time. It's only sales that aren't happening. I'm sure the writing is.

I'm not in Hollywood, I don't know anything except what I have read, but these are my thoughts on the matter.

point taken about selling the work, jaane. i'll be the first to admit that it's the hardest part of the process. And you're probably right that they're still harvesting their ideas right now, just not banking them out. I admit, I didn't think about that at all.

I'm basically mad because I enjoy television more than most film...and i'm missing their work.

one question, to you or anyone else who knows, how often do their contracts come up for negotiation? my union re-contracts every 2 years, so we're never out in the cold very long. If, like you say, the last negotiations came about that long ago, i'd say the problem could be solved by a more frequent renegotiation?

I've just looked into it and I think it's every 3 years. This does then raise the question of why wasn't this negotiated the previous 2 or 3 times .. I've put the question out there to a writer out there. Will let you know if & when I get a response.

By golly Mogulus, you know how to rant first class! ;) And totally agree with Ram re: the Harry Potter dig.

I do not have access to American television but I have heard that there are more good tv shows than what is shown to us in film and that's a real shame since it's the viewers that are really the ones suffering here. Imagine having to go to the cinema and just watch what is mostly rubbish! I feel your pain there.

i'm mainly thinking that i'm going to suffer because i'm the biggest fan of LOST in the world. seriously, it's as close to a 100 hour movie ( in the works ) that we've ever seen, as far as I know. As far as i can tell, 8 episodes of lost have been made, and they're going to show them all stateside and in Australia ( thank god ) straight through, then the season will go on haitus until the negotiations are finished...

...i have something more to add to this discussion, but since there's a new post on the front page about the strike, i'll make it there...



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