Sunday, April 08, 2007

Memories Live, Even After The Relics Turn To Dust

Last night, we torched the old barn.

I guess this needs some explanation. See, my family if moving soon. It's hard for me because this is the only home I've ever really known. I've lived here for 19 of my 22 years, and I have a lot of fond memories of this old farm. It consists of a large meadow, a small wooded area, and a creek. This place used to be a small horse farm, with chickens, dogs, cats, a vegetable garden, and a small above ground pool. But over the years, all of the animals died off (except Sparky), and the place has become a bit dilapidated.

At the center of the property was the horse barn. It had two stalls, a dog kennel, and storage for all of the various feed we needed. The chickens also used to roost in there at night. However, since the animals died off, we didn't tend much to the place, and it became pretty much abbandoned.

So, finally, my brother decided to burn the fucker.

He invited his friends over, and doused the thing in gasoline. I came out to watch... figured I'd say goodbye to yet another memory. He tried the set it off in style at least... with a molotov cocktail. It would have been nice... except he didn't chuck it hard enough and it skipped clear off the barn and into the back field without it even catching. We had to result to a flare that our roommate had.

After it went off, it was probably the second biggest fire I ever saw in person (The first being when my neighbor's much bigger barn when up when I was 5). It took the thing down pretty quickly, about 45 minutes. After that, it was about a shin high 20x50 foot block of flame, smoldering boards and planking, and ash. Me being the little fucker I am, started to dare my brother's friends to run across it, through the flames, now that it was somewhat doable. So, after about 10 minutes of me pressuring people, my bro does it.

I am NOT about to let my bro out-stage me like that. So I take off my long coat, bundle it up, toss it to our buddy Curtis, and run through. Then I hear one of his friends yell "Now you have to come back through!".

Now, in order for you to understand my method of thinking in what happens next, I gotta tell ya a short story. Back in my days of high school football, we used to have these one-on-one drills where basically, we just charge and hit each other head on. These were probably my favorite drills because it was a good chance to hurt somebody, as well as get hurt.

With that said, this next part is the part of the night I'm going to remember on my death bed and smile over. I prepare myself, and charge back through the flames. I get about half way through when suddenly, crashing through the smoke and flame, is Andy, a guy about my height, about 50-75 pounds heavier than me, sheer muscle, and an old football teammate. In the split second that we saw each other, we braced each other and hit each other in true football form. We hit each other so hard that we just clear ricocheted off and blew each other clear out of the fire, kicking up showers of that old barn's flaming ashes.

We both got back to our senses and started balling laughing. Apparently, he couldn't see through the smoke that I was running back through so quickly, and he thought he had time to get across. We reminisced back to our football days, cussed that we didn't have a camera to capture that moment, and went off about how we now had bragging rights that we did a football drill in smoldering ash and flame.

I looked outside today when I was making breakfast, and realized that barn was no longer there. However... at least we sent it off in style.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Silent Hill

I finally just saw the movie Silent Hill, and I must say... it's about time they got a video game movie right.

Not only did this movie do the game a fair amount of justice, it was the first videogame movie that, well, felt like a movie. In the early days, movies like Super Mario, Stret Fighter, and Double Dragon felt like movies trapped in their core content, and had to stretch shit out to fill the time requirement for a film, like the film makers had no ideas. Then Mortal Kombat came along, and I really liked it... until I saw it again last year and realized how cheesy bad it is, and how much (the start of a Paul Anderson tradition in every movie he made up to this day) of a horrible rip off it was of a much much supirior film called Enter The Dragon starring the legend, Bruce Lee.

Paul Anderson went on to make Event Horizon (a concept that is ripped from the novel A Wrinkle In Time) and Soldier (one word describes that, "ugh") before he snatched the job of zombie genre creator George Romero to make a film adaptation of probably the most significant game franchise of the 32 bit era (rivaled only by Final Fantasy), Resident Evil. By this time, he fancied himself an artist, and wanted to see his own, "unique vision" of Resident Evil brought to the big screen, versus George Romero's true-to-game script. This "unique vision" was nothing more than a combination of two OTHER far supirior films, 2001: A Space Oddessey and Aliens. The acting was horrendous (it got rediculous how much each actor emphasized "FUCK" like it was a trophy or something), the cinematography ridiculous (THE MATRIX MOVE IN A ZOMBIE FLICK!?!?!), and any sence of horror was reduced to absolute boredem. The only redeeming factor was Marylin Manson's musical score, which was probably the best peice of music he's ever gonna write.

How this man got the privlege to make his, once again, "own unique vision" of Aliens vs. Predator over James Cameron and Riddley Scott's (the director of the first two Alien films) proposed Alien 5 is beyond me, but that's a rant for another day. Thank GOD AvP2 is being headed up by the people involved with 300.

We're not even gonna talk about rat bastard Uwe Boll's mocheries of House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and Bloodrayne.

But, after over 15 years of horrendous game to movie adaptations, Christophe Gans (director of Le Pacte des Loups: Brotherhood of the Wolf), finally produced a true cinematic expirience based on a game. This man lobied for 5 years to get the rights to this film. This man REALLY wanted to make this film, and it shows. As I said before, this is the first game-movie that really feels like a movie. What I mean by this is, the casual movie audience can watch this and never ever know it was based on a game. Yet, the film incorporates every element from the game perfectly. The enemies, the way they move, the atmosphere, the sounds, even the fucking colors are dead on. While the film wasn't as scary as the game to me, it had a very interesting plot that kept me guessing through out the movie, and an ending that has been the subject of heated debate and interpretation. Not to mention the fact that Silent Hill 2 main villan, Pyramid Head, somehow manages to steal the show despite only having a cameo.

Oh, and guilty pleasure moment, but I knew i was gonna love this movie when it became the first videogame movie to feature Johnny Cash.

Speaking of music, one thing that really hit home for me is how the entire soundtrack, with the exception of Johnny Cash, is entirely music from the game, composed by someone you've all heard me rave about recently, Akira Yamaoka.

I loved this film to death, and couldn't recommend it more. Not only does it fully embrace its source material, but doesn't bastardize it for a "unique vision". There was no cheese in this film. It is filled with the same disturbing, perverse imagry that makes the game so sadistic and memorable. I only wish the next crop of game movies that includes Dead or Alive, Postal, Far Cry, and the third Resident Evil film, showed as much promise as this film did. I guess the next good one is going to be the recently announced Silent Hill 2, headed once again by Chris Gans.

Ya know, after I finish Sailor Moon, I should try to steal the Castlevania franchise out from under Paul Anderson's nose.