Saturday, October 1, 2011



 I am a college student and have a double major in English and History. This means that I look at the latter of my two majors with a very different light than most of the stuffier history loving crowd that insists on the facts and nothing but the facts. History to me is one giant anthology of different stories and accounts, with fantastic and fascinating characters and all genres. This is why I decided to begin this series of articles, History's Biggest Badasses, which will list off hero after villain and list of the stories that explain their bad-assery. An important note is that history is often more fiction than fact and these articles are more fiction than history. I will probably embellish a little, here and there, and make mistakes. Leave comments if you take up issue with anything I said but just try to have some fun. Also, feel free to suggest some other bad asses.


Let's get the obvious out of the way. Disney's Pocahontas was not just a bad historical film but a bad animated film in general. To those who nostalgically cling to the film, to each their own. To those who are offended by the film? Get over it.

What's bizarre is that rather than get some random Broadway singer to portray the princely (rather than short and portly) Captain John Smith, they went with Mad Frickin' Max. Furthermore, the John Smith in the film is the idealized version of Smith, complete with being blessed with magical powers (he can talk to the natives), being a master warrior, and an all-around good American (um, he was British? And he was being played by an Australian? Weird?) 

But the thing about John Smith was that his story does not begin in Jamestown. It begins with a humble British farmboy that filled with a desire in his loins to see the world. James was a mere 16 years old when he left home, probably pockmarked and punk rockin'. He soon became a mercenary and his record was rather impressive. 

He fought in the army of Henry IV of France against the Spaniards, fought for Dutch independence, then set off to the sea where he, basically, became a pirate. As a pirate he fought in the Long War against the Ottoman Turks. He killed a buttload of Turks, first under Austrian Habsburgs in Hungary and then again under Raudu Serban in Wallachia. He is reputed for killing and beheading three Turkish commanders in duels and was rewarded with a Transylvanian Knighthood and a coat of arms, bearing the heads of three turks. 

Nice try, b****es!
In 1602, he was injured and battle and became a slave, which was probably no big deal to Smith. In fact, after his Ottoman master sent him to his Greek mistress as a gift, Smith turned things back in his favor. Using his powerful manliness, Smith soon fell the Greek mistress under his spell, and probably after tricking her with some clever wordplay or distracting her with his hypnotic body, he managed to escape. He then traveled through North Africa and Europe before finally, after years of craziness, made it back to good old England in 1604.

John Smith started telling anyone willing to hear his story about his incredible exploits and became a celebrity in London. In 1606, he began his travels to Virginia but not all was well. Smith had a bad habit of mouthing off and being a little too bad ass. In fact, he was put in irons for his actions on the trip to America.

But it was soon discovered that in the ship's orders from the Virginia Company, which wasn't opened until they arrived, put John Smith in a leadership position (sparing him having to come up with a badass way to escape his execution). It was then that John Smith began showing off his managerial skills in Jamestown. His first big encounter with the natives came when Smith went on a little expedition to look for food (Jamestown was starving).

With only a half dozen men, he made his way upriver, and searched for the natives. He believed the natives would have food and that he could trade for it. He soon saw some natives on the shore and asked if they were willing to trade some food for supplies. The settlers were obviously quite unhealthy, because the Native Americans could see just how gaunt they were, and mocked them with paltry offerings. Basically, they would hold up a kernel of corn and offer it in exchange for Smith's breastplate. Unfortunately, they did not know John Smith. John Smith don't care. John Smith don't give a ****! He "let his musket fly" and began shooting at the natives. Smith and his crew soon forced the natives to submit and begrudgingly befriend him.

After basically saving Jamestown by being a ballsy maniac with a musket, new began to spread, and it probably wasn't long before the natives knew Smith by name. In fact, in December of 1607, Smith went on another expedition that was not so immediately beneficial. He left his two companions, who had fallen asleep, to go duck hunting with their native guides. When he returned, the two were stone dead and he was surrounded (purportedly) by 200 natives. This is when Smith goes absolutely bat-poo crazy. After grabbing his native guide and "bound [the guide] to his arm with his garters and used him as a buckler, yet he was shot in his thigh a little, and had many arrows that stuck in his clothes but no great hurt, till at last they took him prisoner." 

Let's break this insane, cruel and badass moment down. John Smith, a fat, short British guy in a breastplate, armed with musket and saber, and only aided by his native guide faced off against 200 hundred native men. He then grabbed the guide, strapped him to his arm and used him as a FRICKING MEAT SHIELD! The guide is never mentioned again, so it can be assumed he was filled with arrows (which is f***ing horrible) and Smith survived and was taken prisoner, after being shot in the leg and his clothes poked with arrows like a porcupine. John Smith is either just a fantastic liar or a total badass!
Next, he was taken before King Powhatan and spent six or seven weeks as their prisoner, where they were obviously impressed by him enough to keep him alive, well fed and entertained. John became weary when the natives got him nice and full and were preparing a ceremony. He assumed the worst, that they were going to eat him. They forced him down and placed his head between two stones. The King grabbed a club and Smith was sure his brains were going to be bashed in. Pocohantas then embraces him and rather than doing what John Smith feared...Powhatan had actually just performed an adoption ceremony. He had literally just made John Smith, a Transylvanian knight, former pirate, and Jamestown badass, a native American prince.

Not only did they return him to Jamestown but he, very likely, saved the colony. After his return, Pocahontas (for the lover of the colony as a whole, not Smith, she actually ended up marrying a a John Rolfe and moving to England...) brought food to the colonists during hard times and very likely helped them stave off starvation. John Smith then wrote out his epic adventures and today I can relay them to you.

Word of the Day. 10/1/11

Word of the Day

chimera [ki-meer-uh, kahy-mer-uh]
1. (usually, or if capitalized) a mythological fire-breathing monster composed of the head of a lion, a goat's body and tail of a serpent, often ending in a snake head.
2. any monster made of disparate parts.
3. a horrible and/or unreal creature of the imagination

EX. Neptune wiped the sea foam from his beard and, as they hit the shores of Ithica, the bearataur rose from the sand. The grizzly chimera raised its abominable mace in its claws and charged at Korbo with a roar made up of all the roars ever roared.


Fantasy Friday

I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday. That is to say I run a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign every Friday set in the country of Beniro. As such I've decided to chronicle the hero's adventures from the perspective of different characters my friends play. Each week and each short chapter I will rotate the perspective so you can get a feel for all the characters. I will try my best to capture my friend's characters and the adventures they go on. I might change some elements but know I do it for the story.

A lot of the art I will be using is not credited, so if you know the artist, tell me and I'll label it appropriately.


It was not in Lucius’s nature to be early. Punctuality was as out of fashion in the upper echelons of Beniro society as incest and badminton. The current fashion pleased Lucius because he hated the sight of inbred royalty and the implications of the word “shuttlecock.” Yet, a whole hour early he had arrived, and a whole hour later he leaned against a pillar waiting to enter King Duhknin’s Great Hall. He had not arrived early out of courtesy to Doktham’s ruler. He had arrived early in order to complete his business with the old king. Lucius hated prolonging the wait to discuss his debt with King Duhnkin so he could take his leave and return to Tiefl.

It was also not in Lucius’s nature to owe favors or debts to Dwarven kings or anyone else for that matter. Lucius had been born with a silver fork in his mouth and, as the heir to a Tiefling trading empire, would probably die with a silver fork in his mouth. It had been his Uncle’s plan to pay for his education in wizardry. He reckoned having a wizard in the family, much more a wizard as the leader of the family business, would be a worthwhile investment. It was not as if he forced an unwanted education on his nephew. Lucius was born prematurely and his body was too weak to learn the way of the sword. Furthermore, he loved reading, spending almost all of his time in his Uncle’s library and pouring over ancient tomes of forgotten lore. Lucius was sent to apprentice under the prestigious wizard, Knilerm. But something went wrong between beginning of his education and his fall into the dark arts. His Uncle had cut him off until he could prove himself a good man. Yet, the fall had cost Lucius much more precious things than his family fortune.

At least it was not without its amusements. He was bored but he was not dying of boredom. He was not very bored because, despite being somewhat alone, he was not completely alone in waiting on the King. Sitting on the marble bench near the door was an elven maiden in green robes. She had a gorgeous face with skin like snow and emerald eyes that were like deep pools of time. He took advantage of the way that her eyes searched the floor for any grain of soil to pick at her every feature he could with precision. Her aureate hair, like a field of dark yellow on a dry winter’s day, probably smelt like rain. An earthy green cloak and a thick skirt made it difficult to judge that body but he was positive she was the athletic type. Thin but muscular, strong but flexible, and soft but enduring; hers was a countenance he would love to admire more closely behind closed doors (or anywhere really). He might have made a move on the flaxen lass but, alas, standing to her right like an unintentional chaperone was a knight.

The chivalrous kind, but even more intimidating, was his shape. A good foot taller than Lucius and, despite being suited in a mix of plate mail and scale, he could the dumb muscle from across the room. He had to be more careful to make a judgment of such an intimidating figure. Clad in bronze and copper green steel from neck to toe, a great golden fist holding a lightning bolt painted on the front, running down as if faded from time, and a green cape attached to the great paldrons that adorned his shoulders; it was all a little too dashing for such an ugly creature. He took special care to first look at his hands, in fact more like great scaled claws, one brick read and the other as pale as the sheen of his plate mail. The unavoidable was the knight’s face. Not quite reptilian, or crocodilian, the paladin had the head of a dragon but more to the shape of a human. He was a dragonborn. His eyes like fine golden beads set under a prominent frilled brow, seemed to dart around with impatience. Every now and then he would hear a gruff murmur from the paladin directed toward the elven maiden, who would politely smile and nod, or if the dragonborn was luckier, a chortle. On one hand, he was a little nervous at the sight of a dragonborn paladin, not only a symbol for justice, but a member of the very same race that had destroyed Lucius’s peoples Reziek Empire generations ago.

The last fellow in the hall was sitting, leaned against the wall next to the door leading into the Great Hall and lacked even the little patience that Lucius had. Occasionally, the young man’s eye would dart to the door as if expecting it to open any minute. He would rise at the sound of any approaching footsteps, which Lucius could not hear but only imagine from where he stood, before returning to his place on the floor. That solitary eye stood out brightly, black but bright as a marble, as it seemed to pick out every detail in the room. Lucius had to be extra careful to avoid meeting that cold gaze but was sure the other had noticed his observation. That fellow intimidated him even more than the dragonborn but was a head shorter than even Lucius. There was a relaxed fury in the posture of the eye-patch wearing young man with his green velvet hood and longbow. He looked out of place in the dark halls of Doktham.

            Yet, it was not in his nature to begrudge someone for looking so different, as the dragonborn or dangerous, as the ranger. He too suffered great scrutiny for his own appearance and he too did not belong. The most curious thing that he noted about the people in the room, including himself, is that they did not belong. They were all from the surface world and all looked uncomfortable. They were all waiting to go into the room and that made him a little nervous. When the door at the end of the hall opened, the young man with the eye-patch quickly followed a drow guard into the Great Hall. He hung back, as the dragonborn and elf were ushered in as well. The drow guard looked across the hall at him and judged him for more than moment. He could just see the other’s thoughts in those white eyes. Lucius was sure that he saw:

What’s a Tiefling doing in the King’s foyer? Why is he looking at me like that? Do they all have to be so ugly? Its skin looks just like the red hot fire of the Nine Hells with eyes like great golden blobs of magma pooling out of his jagged skull and leering at me. The worst part is those horns. Coming right out of his brow and shooting straight up ahead of his hairline, those devil’s horns, like a fiendish goat. Why won’t it go away?

But rather being ignored, the stern looking drow cleared his throat and gestured for Lucius to come in, “The King is ready to speak with you, Sir. Please do not keeping him waiting long. He has very little patience in these trying times.” His voice was dry and monotone, dressed all in black leather, and wearing a blue cloak. His shock white hair pulled back and down to his shoulders showing off that he had lost one of his pointed ears in what was surely a dark and violent life. This was no ordinary drow guard. Lucius quickly stepped out of the shadow he had been lurking in and entered the Great Hall.

It was a marble cavern, carved by craftsman in time before there was a Reziek empire, and the figures he had seen in the foyer were making their way down a blue and white strip of carpet that led to a great black throne at the end of the hall. The drow guard closed the door to the hall and ushered Lucius forward. Confused about the manner of the meeting, Lucius turned to the drow, “I don’t mean to be rude but I have been waiting rather long for a meeting with the King. I hope it would not be too much to request an explanation for why the meeting is anything but private? The King and I were to discuss private matters.” 

The drow didn’t look at him, instead focusing his eyes on the throne before saying, “The King has his reasons. I would walk faster if I were you.” He added with a tone of utter impatience not only for Lucius’s question but anything that he had not already planned that morning. Such people made Lucius consider his words and actions carefully, and so, rather than cause an incident with the guard, he doubled his speed before finally reaching the end of the carpet. He stood at the right of the other three and watched as the drow guard moved to stand beside the throne.

Sitting on the throne was King Duhnkin Startooth. Tall, for a dwarf, Lucius was always impressed by the dwarf’s stature. Bald but with a dark grey beard that ran from his fast to his waist, where he had it tucked neatly into his belt, he looked his age, 212. Rather stout, his body forcing the black and blue chainmail he wore to bulge, he still looked strong as iron. Perhaps most impressive was toothy smile, living much up to the name of his clan, shining like white pearls. Yet, the King did not look the same as he had last seen him. There was weariness in the king’s face that sunk the wrinkles made from centuries of guffawing laughter. He soon caught the reason as he looked down and noticed the other’s arm hanging in a sling. Perhaps the king was growing and had suffered a fall after one too many drinks or perhaps, even more grave, he was wrought with an infirmity of the mind making his body seize and shake when he felt stressed. It was not in Lucius’s nature but he was concerned. He was about to ask the King a good many questions when his eyes caught another sight he fancied.

Standing on the other side of the throne, was another drow, but not so dower. A young dark-skinned lady, in the same black leather and blue cloak, was surely a guard and perhaps the daughter of the older drow guard. He hoped not. She was a beauty of a different kind than the fair elven maid whose beauty shone like the sun, while her own was best in shadow. Furthermore, it was dressed in a more easy to admire form, tight black leather that, while sensible, was easier to conjure into less than armor with the proper imagination. His eyes lingered on her body a bit too long, so he quickly moved to admire her pursed lips, her eyes filled with a rose glint, and teasing him with unfocused gazes from behind a few stray tresses of hair. Yet, her eyes were not on the floor or his fellow guests. Her eyes rested, with some sunken sadness on the king’s arm, and this quickly sobered his observations. He was about to ask the king about his arm when the king interrupted him, “Salutations, my fine young friends. I am most pleased to see you all are in good health. To those I have met before, thank you for returning to my Great Hall with such speed. To those I have not met, thank you for responding to my request so swiftly. To all of ye, welcome.”

Lucius did a gracious half-bow and glance to the side at the others. The dragoborn knight knelt on one knee, the elf made a clumsy attempt at a curtsy and, the ranger just nodded. The King grinned, “I am sorry that I could not explain the exact manner of request or purpose of our meeting in the letter I sent to you all respectively. My most loyal advisor, Chezz,” He paused to wave a hand at the older drow guard, who nodded in appreciation.

“It is my greatest honor, my lord.” Chezz said, but Lucius had trouble believing it. King Duhnkin, on the other hand, seemed more than satisfied but also seemed to sense the constant undertone of irony in everything the drow said.

“As it should be,” Duhkin cleared his throat and continued, “And it is my honor to welcome you young folk into my kingdom. Doktham is the first and last great city of the Underwold but,” His words grew heavy, “all is not well.”

The King moved uncomfortably and the dragonborn asked, “My lord, please tell us what we may do?”

“First, tell us what is not well and what you expect us to do about it, sir?” The ranger showed little respect in his tone but Duhnkin seemed little bothered. He nodded,

“Nadarr,” The King looked to the dragonborn, “Aramil,” then the ranger, “Lora Faine,” then the elf, and then finally, “Lucius, I have not sent for you for your courtly affection, although I am sure you are well-mannered. Let us drop this façade.” The King spat on the floor as if releasing all unnecessary levity in his words, “Doktham is dying. I sent for your help to fix it because you are all obligated to help me. Yet, this is not for me but for the people. The city’s lifeblood is its people and my people are dying.”

The king let out a violent coughing fit and Chezz took over, placing a hand on Duhnkin’s uninjured arm, “What my King is trying to explain is that the people are suffering from a plague. The Stoneskin Disease. A rather nasty thing that is affecting the dwarves of Doktham, the disease turns its victims to stone and the effects are, as of this moment, permanent.” He explained with the hollow emotionless drone of his voice.

Lora Faine spoke up, “My lord, what need have you of us? I am a healer, yes, but unless you show me a case I cannot cure it.” 

Chezz seemed to grimace as the king moved to rise, squeezing his shoulder and trying to stop him, “My lord, please.”

Duhkin ignored him, threw off the sling and revealed his arm’s true plight. His hand and wrist looked as if they were never flesh but rather crude grey stone. I couldn’t help but hear Lora Faine gasp and the feel the collective internal wince of the room.

“Does it hurt, your highness?” The drow maiden, from beside the throne, stepped forward just enough to see it.

The king seemed to take some shame at this, lowering his arm and shaking his head, “I’m sorry, little Ryjac, but I feel no pain in the arm. I feel nothing. Just a weight at the end of my arm, creeping up and stiffening everything.” Lucius could not imagine the pain the king was feeling, not in his arm, but in his pride. The king had been a great hero once and to lose control of his arm, his body, was surely agony. Ryjac had moved to help the king place his arm back in the sling and sit back in his throne as Chezz stepped forward.

Chezz explained, “As you can see this plague is a most terrible curse and, if not handled quickly could result in panic and worse, the total collapse of our kingdom. I have already taken it upon myself to place a careful quarantine upon all entrances and exits to our city as of now but we need a cure and quickly. The king is not well enough to travel and I am needed here. We needed young talented people and so, I took it upon myself to send for each of you, either through recommendation by your orders or from other such advice. You are all capable adventurers and I believe you can handle the task.”

“What task?” Aramil asked.

Chezz stared right into Aramil, “A task that, if completed, may save us all. The king knew a witch, Shebaba, who is said, can cure almost any ailment. She has cured great epidemics in the past but in recent years has become…difficult to reach. The king needs you to find her and to make a formal plea for her assistance.”

            Aramil glared at Chezz and looked at the other three would-be adventurers, “And who among us would know their way through darkness of the Underwold? I assume not a single one of us has ever taken a step into those miles of crisscrossing tunnels that form an endless maze that has driven experienced trackers to madness? Without a guide we might as well be blind and, while we are at it, dead, before going on such a fool’s errand.”

            Chezz did not seem impressed, “Do you not think I considered that, half-elf?” His voice was a little throatier. Lucius could tell he was offended by Aramil’s impudence, which unlike Chezz, Lucius found refreshingly honest, “I have the perfect guide for you. I will send one of my Black Hands to guide your through the blindness. The Hand is the best trained ranger in the city and has read every map known to our people. I hope that is sufficient?”

            Aramil nodded but looked about, “Where is this sufficient guide?”

            Chezz’s thin lips formed a smile and he looked back besides the throne, at Ryjac who was watching him from where she crouched by the throne, “There. I would hope my niece is more than sufficient enough for this task.”

Friday, September 30, 2011

Word of the Day. 9/30/11

Word of the Day 

zip-a-dee-doo-dah [zip-uh-dee-doo-dah]
1.  Slang. Used ironically in response to someone giving a long explanation of trivial minutia.
2. fantastic, wonderful; wonderful feeling

EX. After Professor Scrooge McX explained that HAMMER BROS. was sending their giant robot lawyers to take out Magnet Pete, Logan Louse spit out,"Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Professor. This ain't our problem."


Today was pretty okay. Got past the Forest of Illusion in Super Mario World.

All signs point to no Navi, lots of sword fighting and a game that I just have to get and play. Something about Zelda (Link to the Past is my favorite LOZ and SNES game) just makes me all kinds of excited as a gamer. I really love this franchise and this trailer is gorgeous.

Remember when Links's Uncle dies in Link to the Past and gives him his sword?

Since when  did we need a British animator to lampoon our entertainment villains? C'mon America! Pick it up! I want ten parodies animated of this monster by this time tomorrow!

Gary Oak is always amusing.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


Homer Simpson is, perhaps, the most beloved cartoon character of the last twenty two years. While the characters of the Simpsons began on The Trace Ullman show, the full-length sitcom debuted on Dec. 17 1989, approximately two weeks before I was born. Home Simpson is my favorite member of the Simpsons family. He is considered fat and, in fact, on the show has been called "tubby" on several occasions. He is perpetually 39-years old, and although his weight and height fluctuate dramatically during certain episodes, he is usually about 6 feet tall and weighs around 250 lbs. He has had several heart attacks, heart surgery (including a triple bypass and having a pace maker put in) and his weight is used to great humorous effect. Perhaps, not as funny is a cold hard fact about myself. I am just a little over 6 feet tall and have weight 250 lbs, since I graduated from high school.

Yet, unlike Homer Simpson I am only 21 and am not a cartoon character who can eat his weight in donuts in one sitting. I am, by the lax standards of a cartoon show, fat. Some people have tried to sugar coat my weight but the facts are facts. If I show a picture of myself and ask them to describe the person in the picture the word "fat" would probably not be used in front of my face. BUT if I show someone a picture of Homer Simpson and ask people to describe him, they would probably say he is "fat." Homer Simpson is fat. It is part of his persona. It is undeniable.

When I first discovered the fact that I have the exact same build as a 39 year old Homer Simpson, I probably chuckled to myself at the amusing coincidence and shrugged it off. I couldn't shrug off the weight so easily and, almost every time I read about Homer's body statistics, it becomes more difficult to ignore. If I wanted to know if I was obese, I didn't need to look at any silly chart. It took Homer Simpson's body to tell me that I was fat.

I guess I don't have much more to say about this subject. In a way, its more of a confession presented in a curious way. Partly, I hope that some women who are self-conscious about their own weight might read this and know that guys think about their weight too. I am reminded of my body's shape every time I buy clothes and every time I have to climb up stairs, feeling the full weight slam down on my flat feet. I never feel guilty about eating because, honestly, I don't eat much more than any other guy my height and age. I actually tend to eat with some conscious effort to watch my portions and nutritional values (unlike Homer). I do feel guilty every time I get winded running to class. I started gaining weight when I moved from a very active lifestyle in my pre-teen youth in the Australian Outback to the body boom of my teenage years. One's body is unavoidable.

Yet, do I hate my body? Its hard to say. On one hand, fat is funny (Homer is the star of the longest running sitcom) but on the other, its generally considered unattractive and is very unhealthy (Homer is joked to be so unhealthy that he is going to die at 42). If anything is going to make me lose weight, its going to be for my health.

At least I have a full head of hair...then again so did Homer at 21. D'oh!

And I'm not Banana Yellow. So that's cool.

Word of the Day. 9/29/11

Word of the Day 

livid [liv-id]
1. having a discolored, bluish appearance via a bruise, blood vessel congestion or strangulation.
2. enraged, furious, angry
3. dull blue; dark grayish-blue
4. reddish or flushed

EX. "E. Pluribus Unum! LATIN, MOTHER F***ER, DO YOU SPEAK IT?!" The livid face of the Wizard of Jules bellowed at the heroes. Flames rose behind him and filled the emerald chamber with noxious black smoke.


Being sick sucks...and junk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TGTBTKIWF 3. The Wickerman (2006) *SPOILERS*


DISCLAIMER. The Wickerman (2006) is a remake of a horror movie of the same name. This film would purport itself as being a horror movie but instead is so over the top it fails. In fact, it fails so hard that rather than retreading over familiar ground of other critics...I will try to give it a more interesting spin. First, I will talk about Nicholas Cage. Then, for the people who can't bare to watch the film or don't remember it, I'm gonna give a full breakdown of it's plot with lots of spoilers. Finally, I will break down whether the movie succeeds or fails.
Quick note on my rating system?
*/5. So Bad Its Good- If I give a movie a "*," that means a special little turd. Its a movie that is so bad that its hilarious (even if the directors didn't mean to make it that way). These movies are great for sharing with friends and tearing it apart. Ex. The Room, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, Mac and Me.

 1/5 Kill It With Fire, If I give a film a rating of "1" it means the movie isn't just bad. It is barely a movie or so offensive that to even uses a single sensory organ to witness it would be an insult to the heavens. If I give a movie a 1, avoid it at all costs. The film is pure garbage. Kill it with fire. Ex.  Shrek The Third, Punisher: Warzone, 10,000 B.C. 

2/5. Bad, A movie that lands itself in the bad category means that, while a failure, is not a complete failure. The movie might have some entertainment value, like a good character/scene, but as a whole it fails or is offensive. Ex. Wolverine Origins, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Hancock.

3/5. Okay, The movie was neither bad nor great. Its probably worth at least once viewing and maybe more if it really catches your fancy. This is probably the easiest rating to give a movie. ex. Night at the Museum, Simpsons Movie, Prince of Persia.

4/5. Great, These are the movie I recommend you check out at least once before you die or it you're just bored. These are the movies that really deserve attention and help elevate film as art and entertainment. ex. Iron Man, How to Train Your Dragon, The 40-Year Old Virgin.

5/5. Favorite, These movies are instant classics....or at least in my book. I reserve 5/5s for movies that I HAVE to own and watch and share with everyone. At some point this year, I'll probably make a list for my top 100 films. Wink. ex. Big Trouble in Little China, Brazil, The Royal Tenenbaums. 



 Nicholas Cage is one of my favorite actors in modern cinema- let me rephrase that. Nicholas Cage is one of my favorite actors in modern cinema but he has a fatal flaw. Nicholas Cage's acting theory seems to come from a point of detachment. This sort of detachment works wonderfully in certain kinds of roles. Other actors, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, usually employ this tactic to present a sense of detachment from the events at hand, either because of insanity or because the events at hand are so insane but unavoidable that the only escape is detachment. Unfortunately, while the events of the film I am about to discuss are quiet absurd, Cage sometimes fails to use the method effectively. Nicholas Cage usually uses this method to one of two effects. The Elvis Approach, which if over extended, like in Ghost Rider, will fail every time or come off as unintentionally hilarious, Dead Fall. The other approach involves Cage basically playing himself but with increasing detachment. This approach I will call the Sponge Appraoch because it is completely reliant on the material of the rest of the movie. In a zany comedy like Raising Arizona, or it is very effective in some more serious fair like Con Air because his character is desperate to escape the situation he is in and, more recently, in Kickass, his role as Big Daddy is successful because his character is a sociopathic vigilante who uses the concept of a dual identity as a shield for his actions. The Sponge Approach fails in films where the content at hand is either to absurd, Knowing or to bland, the Family Man. Despite this Achilles Heel, I would like to make it very clear that I do enjoy Cage's better works, alot, and even get a perverse pleasure out of his crazier roles. Few films are more perverse or crazy than The Wicker Man (2006). In The Wicker Man, Cage's greatest crimes are that because of his detachment in the face of the most ludicrous and silly events at hand that he doesn't just come off as detached, he comes off as Nicholas Cage trapped in a terrible (terribly funny?) movie.

The film starts by establishing our character as a good guy, he even gets called "Honey," (ha ha, what clever irony) but the story really begins with good highway cop, Edward Malus (Nicholas Cage), following a station wagon after the little girl inside drops her dolly out the window. He grabs the doll and attempts to return it to the little girl. Except the little girl is being quite the obnoxious brat. She tosses the doll back out at him and he goes to pick it up. It is important to note that the cinematography of this first scene is extremely clean, so much so that colors pop more than a nature documentary, but this never changes. We'll get back to to this queer directorial choice later on because, right now at this very moment, Edward Malus is picking a doll up off off the road for an attractive blonde single Mom and her child.Oh, and right now at this very moment, an 18-wheeler plows through the station wagon. Edward leaps into action but the car is in flames. Awkwardly, the little girl inside of the station wagon is watching him with disinterest as he tries to smash the windows, but is interrupted by the vehicle blowing up in his face. It is in this moment that we are granted the first of many questions to come throughout the film, "What happened to the mother and her little girl?" This immediately brought up as a question in the very next scene when Edward is back in his home, months later, recovering from the trauma. We soon discover through the info-drop of a blonde cop friend that they never found the bodies of the mother and girl. We also discover that Nicholas- Edward- (wait, goddammit. I am not even going to pretend that the audience is going to not call Cage's character, Nicholas Cage, so, for now on to preserve my sanity and for my own amusement, I will simply refer to Edward Malus as Nicholas Cage or Cage. There. Moving on.). Cage receives a letter from an old flame, Willow (Kate Beahan), asking for his help. Her blonde daughter has, apparently, gone missing and he may be the only one that can help. (Second question, where is the daughter? )Called to action, Cage says good bye to his cop buddies and goes to find the daughter by visiting Summer Isle. He hops on a ferry to get to a dock where he hopes to hire a pilot to fly him to the secluded location. On the ferry, he has terrible visions of a little blonde girl in a red sweater getting nailed by a semi (which if I went into this with more seriousness, could've been jarring but instead was just embarrassingly funny). As he gets closer to the docks, he finds that his cell phone has lost its signal. We are about to leave the bright set-up and enter a new world. The funny thing is that this is very much the good beginning of a horror film and is a set-up right out of Stephen King's book (except this is set in the Pacific Northwest). Except for one problem. Summer's Isle is anything but the typical horror setting.

 The next scene involving the pilot is fairly uninteresting except that it establishes that pretty much no one comes to or leaves the island. The pilot at first refuses to give him a ride but after being offered to take Cage and his friends *pulls out a couple of Benjamins*, the pilot agrees to drop him on the shore. He walks up the shore, where we see people dressed in fairly humble clothing. He sees a red-haired woman and two men carrying a dripping sack. They ask him why he is there and he explains its for Willow. Then we get our first silly, awkward line of the movie. Cage looks at the sack and asks, "What's in the bag? A shark or something?" He receives a cold reception from everyone, who obviously wants him to leave. The inhabitants of the island appear to mostly be women, and when he goes to the local bar, he meets Sister Beech (Diane Delano). The bar is filled with women, almost all blonde, and its barmaid does not seem amused by the male intrusion. Beech gives him a mug of mead but when he spots a bee, he squishes it, getting everyone's attention. Beech asks, "Why would you do a thing like that?" to which Cage responds that he is allergic.When he asks about the missing girl, they all tell him no such girls exists. He gets a room, and soon ends up finding Willow, who he had been engaged to and who tells him not to trust anyone. During this conversation, he is more obsessed with their relationship than the missing girl, Rowan. It is at this moment that the good cop begins his descent into being a complete and utter a**hole, but to be fair, the film is going to drive him there. Before going to bed, he spies to creepy blind elderly twins having a meeting with the other "Sisters" and asking if a Lady Summer's Isle plans to join them. In this short time, this just raises six new questions: What is the deal with the bees? Does the girl exist and if so why are the women lying? Why did Willow just contact him? Why is Willow afraid of the others? Are the inhabitants witches, Wiccan or part of some sinister cult? Who is Lady Summer's Isle? So far, the film is trying to build tension...under bright sunlight.
There is a rather scene with Cage chasing a ghost of the little girl, Rowan, into a barn after dark and then just returning to bed. (This scene is completely pointless so I'll just move back to stuff that is more useful). In fact, there are several hallucinatory scenes like this but all are pretty unimportant to the film. The next big scene we have involves Cage visiting the school, all the while everyone being a jerk to him, including the plethora of pregnant and/or blonde women (one asks him to help him escape) to talk to the teacher and students. He soon discovers that all of the students are little girls, mostly blond and there is even another couple of creepy twins. Even more disturbing is the fact that the girls were learning the lesson that all males are basically phallic symbols as they walked in and when he tries to interrupt the teacher tries to brush him off and asks if he has a warrant (he does not) but he strong arms his way in. He asks the girls if they knew Rowan and they all deny she existed. He loses his patience when, after opening a desk and a crow flies out, they tell him they did it to see how long it took for him to want to escape. On one hand, everyone so far on the island has been creepy and a jerk but on the other hand, he is acting like a maniac in front of children. He then forces the student attendance record from the teacher's desk and finds Rowan's name has been crossed out. Sister Rose (Molly Parker), the teacher, takes him outside and compares him to Don Quixote. She basically mocks him as a knight with a pointless quest. After being pressed to explain, she reveals that Rowan died in a fire and was buried in an old churchyard at the request of Willow. He goes to the graveyard and meets Willow who tells him that they're lying. He also discovers the women of the island are part of Celtic religion and abandoned Christianity long ago. This is where Willow grew up but if he helps her find Rowan, they will leave the island together. Rowan is his daughter, by the way. Minor detail.

Speaking of minor details, he catches a blond girl running off the path in the woods and soon he ends up in the middle of a huge beehive farm. The islanders raises bees for the honey and harvest. He panics and stumbles down hill, knocking over hives along the way and going into an allergic coma.
This comes off as more Benny Hill than Alfred Hitchcock. He looks like an idiot because, rather than slowly walking out the way he came, he runs, like an idiot, tripping over his own feet, and nearly getting stung to death. Nearly because the creepy doctor he met earlier in the film saved his life. He wakes up in the home of Lady Summer's Isle and asks if he can talk to her. He soon meets the leader of the island who explains, matter of factly, that she is the physical embodiment of their god, Lady Summer's Isle, and that they view men as basically being inferior and no good except for their seed. Frustrated with this male-hating cultist, he asks for permission to dig up Rowan's grave and gets it. It is important to note three more questions raised: What is going to happen in a couple day's at their festival day? Why are the men so few, submissive and silent? Who are the bee keepers?
It is at this moment that film goes from awkwardly made and over the top in all elements to downright ridiculous. Cage digs up the grave, alone, and discovers that their is no body, but a burnt up doll. He grabs Willow and yells, "HOW DID IT GET BURNED!? HOWD EHT GERT BURD?!" Furious that he has been deceived so much and, desperate to find a daughter he never knew, he tells Willow to wait for him while he literally searches everywhere on the island for Rowan. He then goes to the Lady's manor where he sees creepy things like a chick covered in bees but nothing else. All the while, the women prepare for some festival event. He returns to the Inn to ask the men for help but discovers they can't talk! He then begins his search by stealing the bike from the b****y teacher and searching every home. No one seems to take him seriously, making his over acting seem evil sillier, especially when a little girl jumps out of a closet and laughs at him.When he returns to the Inn, he sees Sister Beech, who mocks him as she is about to put on a bear suit. It is in this scene he becomes even more ridiculous by first knocking out Beach and then starting to pull on her bear costume. He is then attacked by the teenage worker of the bar and knocks her out as well. Disguised as the bear, he goes to meet up with the march, where he sees Willow joined them despite what he asked. They soon reached a cross where a little girl is tied. He runs up, unties her and then runs in the woods with her. He soon ends up encircled, threatening them with his gun, but they just laugh at the dumb man. That is when we have our big reveal!
It was all a TRAP! Rowan was never missing. Their island's harvest was bad last year and they need a sacrifice. The best sacrifice is a gallant hero who is connected to them (through Rowan being his daughter). How do you find a gallant hero? Trick him into thinking a little girl is missing, than his daughter and after he proves himself, you've got him. The worst part? Willow was in on it and drops the bullets from his gun, that she stole, on the ground (this is so fricking silly). He tries to fight but they tie him down. They then break his legs, the whole while he shouting, "You bitches! You bitches! This won't bring your god back!" It all so silly as he mumbles and curses them and is dragged up into a huge wooden idol, the Wicker Man, and sent up to the head. The wood idol is filled with male animals, all hanging upside down, and as he reaches the top they begin to burn him and the animals alive. He curses them with his last breaths. The end.
NOW, to be honest, this film is not a complete failure. In fact, it  has plenty of good ideas, and not just the ones from the original. The idea of having the evil cultists be all female and to play on those rather bizarre terms was clever. Furthermore, the use of imagery, like the blonde hair, was also a good idea to help tease the deliriousness of the main character. So really? Why does the movie fail? First of all, there are the pointless hallucination scenes that really serve no purpose other than to extend the movie by about thirty minutes. The movie loves wasting time. The real reason this movie fails is that it takes every element it has that could work and takes it to eleven. The women are far to b****y, the men are too submissive, the island is far to bright and natural, the plan is far to perfect, the cruelty is too cruel but one big criminal, besides the main offender, is the sound track. The soundtrack is over the top and does not lend a creepy enough tone. In the end, we have a film that comes off as an hour and forty five minute episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? with a big budget and Nicholas Cage.The biggest tragedy is that this film could've worked if they scaled back some of its method and unnecessary parts (bee beard) and recast the lead. Nicholas Cage is just not a good choice to set against such bizarre circumstances. Even he admits the film "There is a mischievous mind at work on The Wicker Man, you know? You know what I mean? And I finally kind of said, 'I might have known that the movie was meant to be absurd.' But saying that now after the fact is OK, but to say it before the fact is not, because you have to let the movie have its own life." But honestly? This film needs to be burned.

2/5 or *3/5
Just watch the video below: