TheKey Chronicle

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Tuesday, May 11, 1999


I love all of these movie critics that saw the latest Star Wars film a couple of weeks ago at a press screening in New York. Most of them quickly published their reviews about a week before even TICKETS go on sale for the damn movie! It's like each reporter wanted to see the film bomb or something - like a bad movie will keep American Theater-Goers from the movies!

Yes, most of the reviews were negative. And you may think I'm just another Star Wars geek who is bitter about his dream movie being slashed by critics, but the fact is, I'm not.

Honestly, I feel that any critic who publishes a negative review of this film is wasting his/her chance at warning the public about a REALLY bad film. You see, I EXPECT THE PHANTOM MENACE TO BE VERGING ON THE RIDICULOUS! Yep, you read it right, I think the new Star Wars movie will be a silly, shallow effects laden animated movie with a week plot and week characters.

How do I know this? HELLO!!! Look at the most recent SW movie Lucas put out - remember the EWOKS??? Can you say "Let's make a quick buck on toys"?? RETURN OF THE JEDI was a week excuse for a Star Wars film. It was almost a complete kid-movie - and this is what THE PHANTOM MENACE will be as well. And you know what I say to that? COOL!! JEDI may have been the weakest of the three but it was STILL better than TITANIC!!! I just can't wait to see MATRIX's ass kicked both in box-ofice and in movie quality. Sure, PHANTOM MENACE won't have kung-fu, but it will have LIGHTSABERS!!

[|Do you think THE PHANTOM MENACE will be better than critics say it is? If so, how?]


Well, almost everyday of the week I drive past the Federal Building here in beautiful Westwood, California. This is the building where the FBI in Los Angeles County have their offices. This building also houses the only Post Office in Westwood. If terrorists wanted to blow something up in LA that was governmental, this would be the building they would park their rented moving van in front of.

Now, if I pass the Federal Building on the way home from work, right around rush hour, say at six in the evening, I see thirty or forty protesters with placards in their hands and cheers coming from their mouths. What are they protesting? Well, by the headline of this piece, you can gather that they are NOT protesting Serbian atrocities against Albanian Kosovars (aka folks that live in Kosovo that have Albanian relatives). They all seem to be blissfully unaware of the reports of these atrocities, none of which I'll go into here because I think you all know what I'm talking about. They all claim that CNN really stands for "Clinton Nato Network" and that the American media is a pawn of the American government. Oh yeah, sure - try making that claim back when Ms. Lewinsky was capturing the headlines!

They all seem to be so passionate about getting the point across to us motorists that NATO is an evil entity, that you almost become curious about their facts. At one point I thought to myself while passing them one night on the way home from work that I would need to see if I could get some of their literature in the morning as I passed them on the way to work. The funny thing was, the next morning, they were gone. I thought that perhaps the bombings had stopped over night, so I turned on the radio and listened to my favorite news station and discovered that the bombing had continued. On the way home that night, they were back!

Hm, for people who felt so passionate about NATO and how it MUST stop "KILLING CHILDREN" the protest sure seemed conveniently scheduled. Then I wondered to myself just what kind of protest was this? I mean, back in the 60s, a protest meant that you'd stay there all day and all night until you either got your way, were carted away or transported to a hospital! What is this crap? If all these people are worried about their jobs, then why not just get a website and plaster the Federal Building with flyers with the URL on it? Oo, and with this being such a big movie town, you can just imagine how many protesters are going to be there once the new Star Wars movie opens!

I'm not worried though, I'm sure they'll be back with movie popcorn and Star Wars merchandise and pure hatred for NATO boiling in their hearts.

[|What do you think?]

Sunday, May 2, 1999


Well, this may not completely constitute as a Bitch, but here goes anyway. As I type this, I am EAGERLY anticipating hopping in my car in two hours with a couple geek-friends of mine and driving twenty-minutes down the road to the biggest Toys R Us in Southern California. Why will I be doing this at 10 o'clock at night? Three words:
"STAR", "WARS" and "TOYS"

I'm trying to figure out why I am ALREADY getting MUCH joy from buying toys that are aimed at children who are still hovering around puberty. I understand why I am going nuts for a Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber. I mean, Freud would have a field day - so whatever.

But what's with my urge to buy four-inch tall men and women with guns? I haven't even seen the movie yet, but I know I want a Darth Maul, a Ben Kenobi and a Qui-Gon figure. Is it my need to find more things that I can control?

Maybe that's it. But I also want to buy that C-3PO watch that Rosie O'Donell gave away to her audience last Thursday, as well. I sure as hell won't be wearing a C-3PO watch to work, or to the john!!

So what's my damage? Is it a cry for help? Is my next move to bring a REAL gun to work instead of Han Solo's blaster? There are so many people who just don't understand my obsession with Star Wars toys. People tell me to "get a life" but then, I have one. I have a job, a girlfriend, a career goal (SEVERAL of those actually) and a hobby that requires I occasionally show up at a toy store at twelve, midnight. Really, if you're going to compare obsessions, really toy collecting isn't that horrible a habit. I mean, I'm not an alcoholic. You can't arrest me for driving while playing with my saber. Of course, I usually like to do that in private.

So I guess what I think is that I just like to be childish sometimes and I also enjoy the funny looks I get from other adults my age or older when I pit my little plastic Luke Skywalker against my little plastic Darth Vader (both with their removable hands). So the next time you see an adult playing with toys or doing anything else that seems out of character for an adult, stop a moment and try to imagine what it would be like to be doing the same thing.

You might be surprised. I know I am - every time I actually do those things.

[|Got an opinion? What is it?]


When you ask the software companies why software packages are so expensive they explain that it's because software pirates rip off so much of their product that it's not cost-effective to charge what the software is actually worth.

That's funny, I thought the reason software is pirated was because it's too damn expensive to pay for!

So, here's a note to software companies - why don't you do what the government did with alcohol decades ago? Remember that? They had such a helluva hard time enforcing prohibition laws that finally they just made the stuff legal. Guess what? The illegal trafficking and sales of alcoholic beverages all but stopped. You think that will work with your software guys?


[|What do you think?]


Why is it that "The Matrix" is such a big hit?

The film has massive plot holes the size of small moons. The thing is a total piece of crap story-wise and it's digital effects are no better than what you'd see in a TV commercial for the GAP.

Sure, the fight sequences are numerous and well choreographed, but is that enough to make a good movie? I don't think so. Sure, you might argue that it's just one of those films that needs to be enjoyed for what it is, but how many of those kinds of films are we going to have to sit through before we get a movie that really deserves to make the money "The Matrix" is making?

The best part of this film (the plot structure) was COMPLETELY stolen from a 1998 film called Dark City that bombed in the theater because it didn't have the marketing budget that a Keanu Reeves film could muster. Oh yeah and Dark City didn't have all those explosions. It was just a stronger film that developed the story amazingly well, set up rules and then STUCK to them, unlike "The Matrix" which seemed to shoot holes in it's own plot.

Way back in 1975, a young film maker was putting together a film he called at the time "A New Hope". He explained to the people working with him that you can't make a movie that consisted solely of great special effects. Without a good story, strong characters and a decent plot, people just would not show up in theaters. Sorry George, but you're so wrong.

Not that Star Wars was any piece of script-art, but at least Star Wars ripped off plot elements and it's basic structure from OTHER genres than it's own. So why is it that people flock to these movies? Movies with more explosions in their scripts than pronouns? I think it's because people just don't know how to feel anymore. I remember when I saw "Sling Blade" the guy next to me sat and sobbed just before Mr. Sling Blade smashed in Travis Tritt's head.

COME ON - Billy-Bob was basically punishing the guy for what he MIGHT do - you can't DO that!

It's not fair to a person to punish him BEFORE he commits the crime, yet, here was this guy in the audience crying over the sacrifice of this mentally challenged dimwit. I'm sorry, but it's one thing to cry when it's worth it and drop money when it's a good film, but when you see a movie because it's better than anything else that's out? That's no reason to blow eight bucks!

[|Have you seen "The Matrix"? What did you think?]


Here's what happens - you happen to admit in school that you've learned a life lesson or two from Star Trek and BOOM, nobody talks to you. You try to make friends but everyone keeps making fun of you telling you to go hang out with Spock and Data. (Which is really annoying since Spock and Data were only in one episode together.) But you don't let that stop you from trying. Soon you realize that no one understands the kind of person you really are and you get very frustrated with the fact that no one cares to give you, a nice, friendly person, the time of day. Then you realize you're not so nice and friendly anymore and in many ways you resent the position society has put you in. You start to listen to dark, hateful music and paint your face white, even resorting to wearing a black trenchcoat in the middle of July all in an attempt to tell the world how alone you feel and how happy you are in your loneliness. Then you discover that all the jocks and pretty girls you once so enthusiastically wanted to be friends with now perpetually make fun of you both behind your back and in front of it. You silently dream of a way to get back at them for not giving you the chance you needed in the first place to be part of the group. One lonely Friday night you visit Blockbuster and rent your usual cache of Jackie Chan films, soft-core porn movies and Japanese Anime tapes (the R-rated kinds) when you notice a film in the artsy section starring Kate Winselt's boyfriend from "Titanic." It's a film about drugs and basketball - WOW, you like it already! Upon viewing the film you notice a scene where Kate Winslet's boyfriend wears your wardrobe, goes into a high school and kills everyone who gets in his way.

"WOW, WHAT A GOOD IDEA!" You think, "If only I could get my hands on a shotgun!" With the internet, YOU CAN! You steal your Dad's credit card and pull up "" in your PC's favorite browser. The next morning, the FedEx man brings you your shotgun. COOL! You then proceed to go to school and reak bloody revenge on those who ridiculed you for watching Star Trek. Realizing that your work here is done, you off yourself. Less than a week later, kids all across America try to rip off your idea by building bombs, buying guns and threatening to take some lives at their high schools. You've quite a legacy, but then again, you're dead now.

"You got what you wanted tiger, how does it taste?"
-Charleton Heston
Planet of the Apes, 1967

[|What do you think?]