Saturday, 5 December 2009

Fireworks and Christmas Lights - two big light ups that really get me down

If there is one thing that Christmas and New Year have in common, it's big lights, both of which I generally find really annoyingly expensive and a waste of money and energy. Yeah, I'm the New Year and Christmas Grinch, rolled into one.

I saw an article on the news recently about this Australian house thta has about a million household lights and decorations outside it. The darn thing looks garish and it makes me sick. What I find repulsive about this is a) the expense and b) the wasted energy.

I'm not a rampant greenie by any stretch of the imagination, but heck, why do you want to blow out your bill like that? What's even more stupid is the way I bet you that Today Tonight will run one of those feel good stories abotu how much Christmas Cheer this guy has - it would be un-PC to suggest anything else - and then pretty soon afterwards run a story abouthow we can all energy save around the house. Tip No. 1 - turn off all those bloody lights!

Then the guy admitted that he spent $100,000 on Christmas decorations. What? He could have bought another house for that much and instead he opted for some tacky light-me-up talking reindeer?

But $100,000 on decorations is a drop in the ocean compared to NYE fireworks. Fireworks have to be the biggest waste yet. I can't see the point of them, the best place to watch them is on your TV screen and that being the case they ought to hire some graphic designers to do a cool display using CGI or something and save a whole heap of money.

No, instead we have to spend millions each year stringing stuff up on the bridge that gets blown up in a few seconds and goes up in pretty colours and then disappears. Its only use is to attract people in droves outdoors so they can piss and get pissed and leave broken glass and urine all over the place. Not to mention that fireworks are rather dangerous too.

Later on someone will complain about how we don't have enough money for this or that and you can go back to those pics you have of fireworks on NYE and watch how those millions of dollars got blown up. Wouldn't it be nice if the govt could say instead they were going to do something actually useful with the money, like we decided to buy books for schools or donate it to research or looking after a museum or something instead of blowing it up over a bridge?

And if they did announce that, it's very likely people would whinge about the Mayor not having the right New Year spirit.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Karate Kid Remake

I'm really sorry I can't share the pics of this remake with you, you'll have to go to the website to see them, but I have just found out they are remaking the movie The Karate Kid.

The classic cheesy original featured Ralph Macchio as Daniel-san, who even though he was in his twenties, played a teenager (he's a bit like Michael J. Fox, he just never grows up), who moves into a new neighbourhood in America. He gets bullied by these local guys and is surprised one day when a local maintenance guy, Okinawan-born wise old Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) jumps the bullies. Mr Miyagi becomes his karate mentor and teaches him techniques unconventionally, as well as about honour and self control etc. And so he ends up one-upping the bullies by the end of the movie.

Most of us watched the movie and remember classic lines like "Wax on, wax off" and Daniel trying to do the crane stance, or catch a fly with chopsticks, or Mr Miyagi being able to mend his leg by rubbing his hands together, or giving the silent smile through the crowd and the nod.

Anyhow, I read about this remake, and I naturally read plenty about people being angry as hell that their original was to be 'tarnished' with this idea of a remake.

Here's the set up. Will Smith has pitched the idea for a remake, to star his nine year old son, Jaden as The Karate Kid. There's been talk of calling it The Kung Fu Kid, possibly partly to update it and partly to not offend people who are extremely precious about The Karate Kid.

A mother, for work reasons, goes to live in China, her son Dre (Jaden) is attacked by bullies and needs to learn Kung Fu. A master of kung fu teaches him both kung fu and how to speak Chinese. The kung fu master is played by Jackie Chan.

A lot of blood is being spilled on the message boards. Some claim that people who are against the movie are only against it because they are racist, and don't want to see a black kid learning kung fu. Others say they aren't racist, others say yes, they just don't think a black kid is right for the role - it just does not fit well in the story. It doesn't portray the ethnic issues realistically and they can't relate to it, and anyway, everyone thinks of the Karate Kid as white nowadays.

Other objections brought up are that:

1. Jackie Chan is the wrong actor to step into Pat Morita's role. He's too young and too flippant and funny. In fact you didn't even need a really good martial arts actor to step into Morita's role - what was more important was that the person had the right warmth and chemistry, because Mr Miyagi teaches more lessons about self restraint and less kicking ass in the movies, that's what he's really about.

2. It doesn't matter that Jaden is black, but it does matter that he's nine years old. No one can relate to a nine year old getting beaten up; you don't believe he really needs martial arts lessons, not serious ones. You feel that more at his age he is just likely to get into a few scraps and be teased. The film is a coming of age story and Jaden is not the right age to give that any real meaning.

3. A lot of posters just hate the idea that Jaden got the movie through his Dad - the nepotism, stating that he's untalented and wouldn't have got it if it hadn't been for Will.

This objection ... well I can understand the resentment, but it's basically born out of jealousy, hell we'd all do it if we could, we just didn't get the chance. If we had a rich and famous father who could give us opportunities or 'legs up' we'd take them (not necessarily in showbiz but in some other way) and not think twice about it. Most of us have this already and don't think twice about ti, taking it for granted. Many of us live in houses, get pocket money, went to certain schools, got Christmas presents, had parents of certain intelligence who may have given us advice, some might have parents who helped us with a loan or said they'd babysit our kids for free ... WHATEVER.

All that is help, but if you mention it to many of these same people and say it's getting help from fortunate parents with resources, they cite it as "different" from getting your big rich Daddy helping you put you in a Hollywood film because all the help they receive is 'normal, regular help', but getting a film is "unusual".

Actually, it just means that you're used to it. There are some people who would look with envy at your level and say "I hate those rich lucky bastards who get pocket money and can go whingeing to their parents every time something goes wrong and can dump their kids/dogs/parcels at their parents when they need a break ... spoiled brats!"

It's just a matter of degree. And some people are sure they can pick what degree is "acceptable", trying to convince others it's generally acceptable, when what they really mean is "acceptable ... to me". And that level is usually "Up to as many opportunities as I get, is acceptable for others to have too! But don't go too much further than thaaaat!"

4. Another poster suggested that a better remake, if one had to be done at all, would have been to put an aging Ralph Macchio into the Pat Morita role and have him teach a small Japanese kid the way of Karate ... that is, if it's possible for Ralph Macchio to age.

I'm not particularly looking forward to this Karate Kid myself, but then I never saw the Next Karate Kid. I only saw the ones with Daniel-san. The original and the best!