December 2011

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix! Good luck finding this anywhere else other than bittorrent, and playing it anywhere else than your computer.]

QUIRKS: Based on the Jack London novel The Sea-Wolf, which was my favorite book ever for a short period of time near the end of middle school, before I discovered The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke.

This is the 13th film adaptation of the novel, after versions in 1913, 1920, 1926, 1930, 1941, 1958, 1972, 1975, 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2008.

This was originally a mini-series, so it’s 2 1.5-hour “movies”, or one 3-hour “movie”, depending on how you want to look at it. And decent books *NEED* three hours to cover their events. Lord Of The Rings helped establish that, and the rushed feel of the some of the Harry Potter movies helped drive that point home further.

PLOT SUMMARY: Go read the The Sea-Wolf wikipedia page; it sums the plot up better than I ever could.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a captain named Wolf Larsen.
Committed atrocities far worse than arson.
He murdered his crew–
Was trusted by few.
Survival of the fittest, like Darwin.

[Hey, I tried at least…]

HAIKU REVIEW: Don’t fall in the sea,
or some dick named Wolf Larsen
might force you to sail.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Wolf Larsen is a dick.

(Carolyn: “I wanted to like him! … I really wanted to like him! … But he was a dick!”)

PEOPLE: Starring Stephen Campbell Moore as Humphrey Van Weyden. A beardy German TV actor Sebastian Koch as Wolf Larsen…People in the IMDB forum were like “What the hell?”, but I actually thought he was well cast and did a good job. And then we have well-known Neve Campbell (The Craft, Wild Things, 54, Scream 2-3, Party Of Five) as Maude Brewster — I still think she looks like Selma Blair, and she’s probably the most well-known actor in the movie.

Also with Tim Roth (Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, The Incredible Hulk, Funny Games U.S.) as Death Larsen, and Andrew Jackson as Johnson. (He was in a couple Smallvilles, and 174 episodes of All My Children.)

VISUALS: Some brutal violence at points! Movies at sea aren’t very visual heavy anyway. You mostly see a boat, some dirty people, and Neve Campbell.

MORALS: The whole movie is about morality. Justice versus “might makes right”. The same topics that are explored in the book.

BAD STUFF: Some would say the length. We wouldn’t.

There are some minor deviations from the book. I would have liked to see Wolf [highlight for spoilers] set fire to his mattress.

CONCLUSION: We really liked this! Carolyn had never read the book, and I was quite happy to finally see a movie adaptation of it that didn’t scare me away by being some old dated production. Though I hear good things about the Charles Bronson + Christopher Reeves version. It may be the case that a story taking place in the 1800’s can’t really be dated by production value because the story itself is dated. I don’t know. I just don’t like old stuff.

Clint: IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: IMDB: 7.5 rounded up to 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.3/10.

We would both rate this 4/5 stars on Netflix… If Netflix had a page for it.

RECOMMENDATION: To see how it compared to other Sea Wolf adaptations, you may want to visit the IMDB forum for this movie.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The other 12 Sea Wolf movies :) (more…)

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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: More of the same.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Bon Jovi fails at saving career.

PEOPLE: John Carpenter is no longer involved, and I think that might actually be an improvement — though Carolyn disagrees. This is now directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, who directed 2 episodes of Max Headroom:20 Minutes Into The Future and Halloween 3.

Bon Jovi (Cry_Wolf, National Lampoon’s Pucked) slaying vampires!!!! Cristian de la Fuente as another slayer. Natasha Gregson Wagner (High Fidelity, Urban Legend, Lost Highway, Buffy The Vampire Slayer the movie) as a daywalker almost-vampire. It’s rare that I say there’s bad acting: But she managed to achieve it. Diego Luna (Milk) as Sancho. Now he’s a director?! Darius McCrary (Family Matters, the voice of Jazz in the new Transformers movie, Saw 6, 15 Minutes) as the token black guy [highlight for spoilers] who gets killed first. And the strangely lovely Arly Jover as the head female vampire. She reminds me of Nina from 24, but actually played Mercury in Blade 1.

QUIRKS: Another generic vampire movie.

VISUALS: Barely any special effects, other than some violent gore that didn’t look as realistic as it could have.

MORALS: Sometimes you have to become what you want to destroy in order to destroy it.

BAD STUFF: Carolyn said the story wasn’t as good. To me, it was more of the same.

The “spectacular” ending was better than the ending of the last one.

The plot holes were more minor. (That didn’t look like a “couple months” of drugs — 180-pill pill bottles are HUGE.) They didn’t make the mistake of talking about how killing the head vampire would return people to normal this time, so it wasn’t a glaring hole when people didn’t return to normal after they did it.

CONCLUSION: Carolyn didn’t like it as much as Vampires 1, but I think I liked it better. Though it still gets the EXACT same rating from me. Both are ultra-generic pass movies. But this one had a fewer flaws to me. And as much as I hate to say it, Bon Jovi > James Woods.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.6/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. “I can’t believe you liked it better than the 1st one, Clint!”
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.4/10 (higher than 5.8 for the previous one), Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (lower than 3.3 for the previous one). Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.5/5 stars, which is actually kind of accurate.

RECOMMENDATION: Bon Jovi fans should check this out. If you could stand Vampires 1, you might be able to stand this. Some people really like this franchise, but I think it’s kind of generic.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I don’t think we shall watch the 3rd movie, Vampires: The Turning. As tempting as it is to complete the “franchise”, that one only gets 2.9/10 on IMDB. Though the fact that it is in Thailand with Asian vampires MIGHT make it interesting, IMDB commentators seem to disagree.

MOVIE QUOTE: Ray Collins: You ain’t lived till you got head from a vampire. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: Kill original vampire before he learns how to make all vampires walk in daylight. Wasn’t this the plot of Blade? Someone should make a chart of vampire movies. Columns for plot elements, rows for movies. I bet a lot would have the “stop them from daywalking” column X’ed out.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Catholocism creates deadly complications.

PEOPLE: Directed by John Carpenter (Escape From New York, In The Mouth Of Madness, Prince Of Darkness, Big Trouble In Little China, Starman).

Starring James Woods (Videodrome, Cat’s Eye, and a voice in Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within–and don’t forget the Family Guy episode all about him), Daniel Baldwin (Clark Remington from the horribly underrated National Lampoon’s Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks), and Thomas Ian Griffith as the head/original vampire.

Sheryl Lee sure likes to play party girls who get fucked up, abducted, tied up, and taken over by supernatural forces.

QUIRKS: Based on a book. Which almost means nothing in the context of a generic vampire-killing flick. Especially since the author said the film ended up containing a lot of his dialog, but none of his plot. (And the dialog was some of the worst part, so I wonder if the book totally sucked!)

VISUALS: Generic action.

SOUNDTRACK: Unnoticeable.

MORALS: Kill vampires. Blame their creation on Catholicism. Funny!

BAD STUFF: The plot wasn’t the greatest. And some of the dialog was pretty bad.

I kept saying “just burn the building down or knock the roof off! Then the sun will get them! Dumbasses!” [highlight for spoilers] But they saved that obvious move for the ending fight.

And then there was the whole, [highlight for spoilers] “Wah wah, once we kill the master you’ll be fine, Sheryl Lee.” And then they did and they weren’t. No explanation. There were still vampires even though they killed the head/master/original vampire. WTF.

CONCLUSION: Ultra-generic vampire-killing movie with very few special effects, characters, interesting locations, or unique aspects.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.8/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Stay away from this, unless you really want to see every vampire movie ever made. SOME people really like this, though. And we’re still gonna watch the sequel.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Every other generic vampire-killing movie in existence. But Blade definitely come to mind.


Jack Crow: Can I ask ya somethin’, Padre? When I was kickin’ your ass back there… you get a little wood?

Jack Crow: You ever seen a vampire?
Father Adam Guiteau: No I haven’t.
Jack Crow: No… Well first of all, they’re not romantic. Its not like they’re a bunch of fuckin’ fags hoppin’ around in rented formal wear and seducing everybody in sight with cheesy Euro-trash accents, all right? [Do they sparkle? -Clint] Forget whatever you’ve seen in the movies: they don’t turn into bats, crosses don’t work. Garlic? You wanna try garlic? You could stand there with garlic around your neck and one of these buggers will bend you fucking over and take a walk up your strada-chocolata WHILE he’s suckin’ the blood outta your neck, all right? And they don’t sleep in coffins lined in taffata. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin’ heart. Sunlight turns ’em into crispy critters. (more…)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1-2, Made). Starring Will Ferrell as the elf (it was going to be Jim Carrey… And that actually might not have been as funny.) Also with James Caan (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) as Elf’s dad, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen (Back To The Future 3), Zooey Deschanel, Amy Sedaris, and even Peter Dinklage (Death At A Funeral, Nip/Tuck).

PLOT SUMMARY: Elf that’s really a human returns to the real world.

VISUALS: Seeing Bob Newhart as an elf? Priceless.

SOUNDTRACK: Christmas songs.

The 12-second belch was courtesy of Maurice LaMarche! Awesome.

MORALS: Something about open-mindedness with your children? Oh, and also, everyone should believe in Santa, of course.

GOOD STUFF: Will Ferrell acting like his typical typecast man-boy character. It works even better when there’s a good reason for him being such an idiot.

BAD STUFF: Family friendly.

CONCLUSION: Cute. Glad I watched it. Good Christmastime movie. Ferrell is almost always funny.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “Nothing spectacular, but it was a cute Christmas story.”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.8/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–and they were right to estimate us lower than average in this case).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch, but only during Christmastime.


MOVIE QUOTE: “It’s just like Santa’s workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms… and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me…” (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: Couple who avoids Christmas for 3 years now must go to 4 different family Christmases in 1 day.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Free spirits eventually succumb to the control of their biological clocks. DNA rules you!

PEOPLE: Starring Vince Vaughn (who seems a lil’ fatter) and Reese Witherspoon (looking even better than usual).

With other family members played by Kristin Chenoweth (she is Miracle Grohe from Sit Down, Shut Up! And looks a lot like her animated character! Boobs, too.), Jon Voight (Jonas Hodges from 24 in 2009), Robert Duvall (Karl’s Father in Sling Blade), Sissy Spacek (Blast From The Past), Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made, I Love You Man, Iron Man, Daredevil), Mary Steenburgen (Back To The Future 3, Step Brothers), Dwight Yoakam (Crank 1 – 2, Sling Blade), Tim McGraw (fortunately very minor), Katy Mixon (The Informers) as the pregnant spray-cheese girl, and Colleen Camp (Last Action Hero, Wayne’s World) as a cougar aunt. I mention her, because Carolyn was like, “That lady.”

Although she was only in it for a minute, I totally recognized Collette Wolf from Observe And Report (and The Foot Fist Way), even though she was blonde here.

QUIRKS: Families. Holidays. Family stress. Relationship stress. Wait a second — is this a comedy?!?!

MORALS: Free will gives way to DNA programming. You have no choice. May as well have a crib full of shit-producing babies and get it over with. (Ugh.)

BAD STUFF: I totally identified the exact, precise moment (within 1 second) that the humor stopped. It was predictable like that. Basically, the first 2 Christmases were funny, the 3rd one began the tension, and by the 4th one there was no comedy left.

CONCLUSION: Not as much of a comedy as we had wanted, but it was good to watch during the stressful holiday season, to see the funny parts.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. It would have been 4/5 stars if the comedy had been consistent, but it fell into the romantic comedy pitfall.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: /10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–and they are right because we ultimately rated this 3/5 despite more people rating it 4/5).

RECOMMENDATION: Keep in mind that this is ultimately a romantic comedy. Proceed with caution. There are definitely funny moments, and if you’ve had to run around and visit multiple Christmases like the 3 we used to have to go to (before people started dying and the number dropped to 2) … Then the stressful situations will at least make you happy via schadenfreude.

MOVIE QUOTE: Howard: Boys, I don’t want to speak ill of your mother on Christmas, but she’s nothing but a common street whore.

Darryl: Look, Brad. I’m not trying to be your father, you already got one of those. I’m just hoping for a chance to be your friend.
Brad: You were my friend, Darryl. You were my best friend. We grew up together, we rode bikes together, we used to smell each others hands. But now you’re sleeping with my mom and it’s a little bit weird for me. Can you appreciate that?

COINCIDENCES: (real life, Four Christmases) While watching a Christmas movie during Christmas season, fog caused the events to happen in the movie, and it was actually super-foggy outside when this happened in the movie.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). Starring Paul Giamatti (Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, Sideways, ridiculous bad guy from Shoot ‘Em Up, Lady In The Water, Dr. Satan from The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Storytelling, The Truman Show, Donni Brasco) as Santa Claus, and Vince Vaughn (Four Christmases, Wedding Crashers, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Old School, Zoolander, Made, The Cell, Swingers) as his older brother Fred.

Santa’s hot wife is played by Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter, Chicken Run, Sleepy Hollow, The Crying Game). Head Elf Willy is played by John Michael Higgins (Mentok The Mindtaker in Harvey Birdman:Attorney At Law, 5 eps of Arrested Development, Yes Man, Walk Hard, Evan Almighty, Blade 3, Wag The Dog). Mother Claus is played by scary Kathy Bates (Misery, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Golden Compass, Six Feet Under) — which is an interesting casting choice since I always expect her to tie people up and break their legs. Father Claus, Trevor Peacock, was also in Sunshine.

Fred Claus’s girlfriend Wanda is played by Rachel Weisz (Evy from The Mummy movies, Sunshine, The Fountain, The Constant Gardener). Willy’s love interest is played by Elizabeth Banks (Role Models, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Spider-Man 1-3, Wet Hot American Summer, Catch Me If You Can). Efficiency expert/bad guy Clyde is played by Kevin Spacey. And Ludacris plays an elf!

There are also 3 brothers of famous people starring in cameos: Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, and Stephen Baldwin.

QUIRKS: Christmas movie.


UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): N’er do well brother almost ruins Christmas for an entire planet.

VISUALS: CGI elves made from non-little people actors. Great sleigh shots. A decent amount of effects for a Christmas movie, actually.

SOUNDTRACK: Christmas music, obviously, but major bonus points for using a song that was actually in the playlist playing when we stopped to watch the movie: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. Also: The Bird Is The Word.

GOOD STUFF: Great cast; good Christmas story adopted to modern age.

CONCLUSION: A decent Christmas comedy-fantasy full of heart, with a great cast. “Elf” may have been a decent Christmas comedy to watch — one which received the same rating as this one — but this one actually had heart and a decent Christmasy story.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Same ratings that we gave to the movie Elf!

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.7/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.1/5 stars–which is closer to the 3/5 we rated than 3.3 is. Go Netflix!).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing!

SIMILAR MOVIES: While Elf may have more ridicuilous laughs than Fred Claus, Fred Claus actually has more heart, and a better, more Christmasy plot.

MOVIE QUOTE: Fred Claus: “I don’t hate you, Nick. I just wish you’d never been born.” (more…)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Greedy spenders steal taxpayer money.

PEOPLE: From the director of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which I think is the 2nd worst movie title ever, after Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants.

Starring Diane Keaten — remarkably attractive for how decrepit she is. She should be in a pro-necrophilia PSA. I haven’t seen her since Mama’s Boy. In fact, I’ve seen almost none of her movies, and wonder why I know who she is. Also starring Ted Danson (Cheers, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Phone Booth, Wonder Boys, Go). And Queen Latifah (What Happens In Vegas, Scary Movie 3, Ice Age, Sphere) is looking is less fat than I remember her. If I had to have sex with a fat black woman at gunpoint, it might be her.

Also with Adam Rotherberg, Christopher McDonald (Fanboys, The House Bunny, Superhero Movie, Tappy Tibbons from Requiem For A Dream, The Faculty, SLC Punk!, Happy Gilmore, Fatal Instinct), Roger R. Cross (Agent Curtis Manning in 24–I recognized him but Carolyn didn’t), Stephen Root (the stapler guy from Office Space, the boss in News Radio, Dodgeball, Just Friends, Idiocracy), and Marc Macaulay (The Punisher).

Katie Holmes’s quirky character is funny at times. Everyone assumes she’s a druggie just because she’s weird. I had similar experiences in high school, back when I didn’t even know what drugs looked like and had never drank alcohol. However, she made a huge mistake passing up The Dark Knight for this relative piece of junk.

QUIRKS: A heist caper comedy. Let’s steal money from the Federal Reserve before they shred it! It’s actually harder than the movie looks.

MORALS: Fuck the government.

BAD STUFF: Some slow parts in the middle. And of course the movie is riddled with factual errors that would prevent it from ever happening in real life. But… IT’S A MOVIE, after all.

And don’t forget the DVD artwork! Diane Keaton’s scarecrow body, head-larger-than-waist, feet-at-weird angles cover has been featured on Photoshop Disasters… Though the post was removed. Probably by a b.s. DMCA request.

CONCLUSION: A barely-passable female-driven comedy that could never happen in real life. Not necessarily worth watching unless you’re in the mood for a comedy and have nothing else to watch. Carolyn liked this a tad more than me.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.5/10, Netflix: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: There’s not really many reasons to see this, other than needing a comedy to watch for the night’s entertainment. There aren’t enough comedy movies in the world, which is why WE watched this.

MOVIE QUOTE: Bob Truman: They say money can’t buy happiness but it sure as hell buys everything else.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

HAIKU REVIEW: People bitch about
most movie adaptations;
This time they are right.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Future war is full of racism and reckless pilots.

PEOPLE: Chris Roberts never got a chance to direct again after this… And that’s probably a good thing. He is much better as a producer, working on Lord Of War, The Punisher, and Outlander. I think the only reason they let him direct this is because he was involved in producing Wing Commander 1 & 2.

Starring Freddie Prinze Jr. (Freddie from the live Scooby Doo movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer) as the main character; Matthew Lillard (Shaggy from the live Scooby Doo movie, Without A Paddle, SLC Punk!, Scream 1 & 2, Hackers, Senseless) as the comic relief/reckless buddy; Saffron Burrows (Troy), as the wing commander. I was convinced she was Catherine Zeta-Jones the entire time. Upon further investigation, they don’t really share as many features as I had thought and are obviously not each other. Tcheky Karyo (The Patriot) as the civilian ship captian. Jurgen Prochnow (The Da Vinci Code, Sutter Cane in In The Mouth Of Madness, Dune) as a douchey racist (IIRC). David Warner (the ArchMage in Gargoyles!) as the admiral — and I can still have absolutely no capability in telling him apart from Alan Rickman. Ginny Holder as the love interest.

And an uncredited voice by Mark Hamill, who did voices in the original Wing Commander game!

QUIRKS: Based on a video game. Science fiction space war.

VISUALS: Don’t expect to see the Kilrathi for more than 5 seconds. They cut all their scenes out because they were so poorly executed and unrealistic. And even then, they don’t look AT ALL like in the video game.

BAD STUFF/CONCLUSION: A poorly told story. Fortunately for us we enjoy sci-fi space war movies, so we managed to barely scrape by being able to stand this. I’m glad we watched this as a Monday-night movie for completism’s sake, but this shall never be watched again!

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. Barely passable, and only due to the legacy of the video game.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 3.7/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.7/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Only see this if you were a fan of the Wing Commander game. Even then, don’t expect ANYTHING from the game, really. This is poorly done.

South Park S13E6 (Pinewood Derby) makes reference to the space battles in this movie, so now I need to watch that again sometime.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

If I was a bank,I’d charge people $5/mo to make debit card transactions too–after the govt capped my transaction limit & thus my profits.

A lot of people are whining about paying $5 to use their debit card. Nobody’s making you use that debit card. You don’t have a constitutional right to withdraw money from a bank account using a debit card. It was a banking gimmick to make money off people too irresponsible to have credit cards, and people too cowardly to carry large amounts of cash. It worked. A lot of people who are scared of buying cash and have no credit now use debit cards. (Nevermind that this means all their transactions are now data points for Big Brother.)

I also just read a study… It’s about 5 yrs old, but was the first of its kind. Only half of people even use ATM cards for direct-draw purchases! I think I only have once, when it was a $50 discount (at which point I wouldn’t mind paying a $5 fee to save $50!). The other half of people pay using credit, check, or cash. No ATM swipes.

The half of people that DO purchase using direct-draw ATM/check cards do this do it an average of 3 times a week, or 12 times a month. The government just passed a new regulation capping the transfer fee at 21 cent cap. I thought credit cards charged 29 cents per transaction? 21 cents seems kinda low! Actually, upon cursory inspection, they charge about 2% of the sale. That’s a lot. The costs add up. I know they do, because I’ve gone to places that only take cash because they don’t want to pay for all the credit card transaction fees. Gas stations often give you a cheaper per-gallon rate if you pay in cash. Cash is king.

Anyway, at the average rate of 12 transactions a month, a bank stands to only make $2.52. A credit card company would make a lot more than this. Say your $12 transactions were $25 each; that’s $300, or $6 in fees at 2 percent. PLUS they make interest off balances (if you’re the type who doesn’t pay your full balance each and every month). They make a lot of money doing these transactions! But Bank Of America would only make $2.52 on these transactions.


Now take into consideration that the relationship between banker and customer is the opposite of the relationship between between creditor and customer. The bank pays you for holding your money; you pay creditors interest for spending your money before you get it. Transactions are less profitable for banks than for creditors. Credit card companies make big money on those irresponsible (or, in rarer instances, unlucky) enough to end up paying interest. I’ve never paid interest on my credit cards; I’ve never carried a balance except by billing error; and in fact they’ve written me a $250 check for having spent $25,000 through my main card. In other words, everything I buy via credit is 1% cheaper than the cash rate (assuming both are sold at the same rate, and it’s not one of these places that gives you a cash discount).

But for banks, it’s the opposite. Banks keep our money and pay US interest, instead of us paying them interest. A transaction at an equal cost to both businesses is a completely different animal. For a creditor, $6 in transaction fees opens them up to making business on you paying the interest on what you just bought. For a bank, $2.52 in transaction fees means they make no extra money. (They may save a miniscule amount of interest, but there’s no profit.)

ATM cards don’t really open banks up to new business. It only drains money from them. It doesn’t matter if they are net-profit — a way a business stays profitable is by eliminating arms of the business that are not profitable.

It is fully possible for anybody, rich or poor, to make as many purchases they want without spending a cent on transaction fees. Just don’t expect the banks to foot the bill forever. It was a temporarily thing based around a gimmick to gain customers. But the gimmick is no longer special. The honeymoon is over. Back to normal.

If you want this fee to end, then you are foisting the costs of YOUR debit card onto people like me who don’t use them. The money that the banks lose on these transaction fees (and associated fraud) will be made up for by increasing other bank fees. Fees that apply to all people. They are a business. To succeed, they will make sure to operate at a profit. That is how business works. If you take away money from one area of income, they will raise prices in another area to make up for it. So now their fees have gone up. Or maybe they now offer a slightly lower interest rate. So now I’m paying for your debit card?

Yeah, I’d much rather you pay for your debit card than me. It’s not my fault you got sucked into sucking your bank’s teet for every penny you spend. There are tons of creditors willing to let you spend their money instead, in the hope that you won’t pay it back at the end of the month. They are much nicer with their money than the banks!

I recently read the average american loses over $100 a year in their checking account due to bank fees. That’s funny — I’ve banked for over 18 years, and that is more than the total fees in my life. I did get a few for going below the minimum balance. But you know what? If you spend 20 minutes to phone in a complaint, most banks will waive a fee just to get you off the phone. They’re counting on the stupid people who fuck up, incur fees because they can’t work a system, and then don’t fight it. The cause is not their evil fee structure (which you want to increase, by making me have to pay for your debit card transaction fees), but people who don’t know how to operate within a system.

If you overdraft, you are spending money you don’t have. You should be using a credit card. If you hit minimum balance fees, you don’t have enough money for a bank account. You should be using cash. If you have bad credit — you get what you deserve. And remember: No credit is as bad as bad credit. If you don’t have a credit card — even one you never use — you’re setting yourself up for failure later in life.

If more banks pick up this fee, expect more people to use credit or cash. Someone tried to claim that cash was somehow more expensive than electronic transfers. Has anyone ever made you pay them 29 cents to give them cash? Nope. Cash costs the cost of the minimum wage worker who takes it from your hand and puts it in the register. He’s already paid. His slowdown only really affects the people in line behind you. No extra money is spent to collect the cash past the cashier who is there for all forms of payment. Electronic? Now you need network connectivity, machines to process the cards, electricity; the credit card companies need massive databases, database programmers, administrators, data centers, IT security. OF COURSE electronic fund transfers are more expensive! They will likely be more expensive than cash for the forseeable future. I am surprised this is not a fact that is simply instantaneously obvious to people without any evidence being prevented.

But anyway — this whole $5 ATM card thing is a great example of entitlement-based bellyaching. As a customer, if you don’t like it, you can take your money elsewhere. (For now.) And you should. Go to a credit union. Go somewhere else. Don’t use Bank Of America if you don’t like their fee structures. IT’S YOUR MONEY. YOU control how it exists in the system. If you have to pay $5 to do things the way you want to do them, and that is unacceptable to you — then YOU need to change.

Anyway, the government regulated business, and business passed on the extra cost incurred to the customer. This is pretty much how any business would operate. If you made me sell t-shirts at a loss, I’d make my customers pay a t-shirt club fee to get into my store. I’d have to make up that money somehow. While the dollar values might not be accurate (perhaps credit card transaction fees are too much, so the comparison may not be as good as I think it is), the point that they are charging people who use a service for using that service — rather than making up that money elsewhere — is quite fair to me.

I shouldn’t have to pay for your inability to use cash or credit.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Drugged man hires gigolo to fuck his wife, so that he can fuck a criminal drifter.

PEOPLE: Mike Judge‘s 3rd live action movie, after Office Space and Idiocracy. And let’s not forget Beavis & Butt-head and King Of The Hill. That Mike Judge is writing and directing this is sole enough reason to automatically demand this movie be seen!

And then you have the cast: Main character by Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Sit Down Shut Up, Valerie/Valerie’s Family/The Hogans, Silver Spoons, Hancock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Juno… And Teen Wolf 2. No. I haven’t seen it. Not yet.)

Also starring Mila Kunis (Jackie from That 70’s Show, Meg Griffin from Family Guy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Kristen Wiig (Adventureland, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Walk Hard, The Brothers Solomon, Knocked up) finally getting more screen time. She sometimes gets parts that are way too small, like an extra in Melvin Goes To Dinner.

We also get a barely-recognizable Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons (Jennifer’s Body, I Love You Man, Juno, Ladykillers, Oz, and of course J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies), Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek 0, Crank 2, The Stoned Age, and “I need you like my elbow needs an asshole” drug dealer Rupert from The Rules Of Attraction), David Koechner (Sex Drive, Snakes On A Plane, Talladega Nights, 40 Year Old Virgin, Dukes Of Hazzard, Anchorman, Man On The Moon, Wag The Dog) as the annoying neighbor.

And.. Gene Simmons?!?! As a schiester?

Sometimes a cast can really make a movie — and it really helps here.

QUIRKS: A very easy-to-digest comedy, full of laughs and awkwardness.

MORALS: Don’t do what Jason Bateman did. Hahaha.

BAD STUFF: This is arguably the worst Mike Judge movie, but that’s kind of like saying “this is the worst sex”. The worst sex in the world is better than going to work on Monday. Besides, Idiocracy wasn’t quite as funny as everyone remembers it being.

CONCLUSION: A great comedy movie! Such awkwardness! Such a great cast! Such uniqueness! Such great writing (and directing) by Beavis & Butt-head creator Mike Judge!

This guy can certainly keep up with the quality of Kevin Smith or Judd Apatow movies. But he’ll never be able to keep up with their quantity, unless he starts cranking them out faster. And that’s my biggest complaint: Mike Judge isn’t making movies fast enough.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.9/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.7/5 stars–Nice when they are right at guessing.)

RECOMMENDATION: See it! It’s Mike Judge for chrissakes!

MOVIE QUOTE: “There goes Johnny Horsecock.”

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