Tag Archive: writing


On Writing

I am currently impossibly high. No drugs. No anything. My problem is writing. I’d stopped writing fiction for a while– lost the time, lost the inspiration. I’ve picked up the pen again and remembered why I tend not to write around other people.

Writing is both a mental and physical process. We think, we hit the keys, move the pen, the issue is that on top of it, when I’m in the head state of a character, something happens when I’m in a good place. I’m removed from all of this. I feel everything they do, from chill of the air where they’re being kept captive to the scent of the tea and the wool of their coat against their neck. My thought and speech patterns mesh and combine with theirs and physiological responses start to match. You can see where this could be problematic– on the anger side, I look like I’m ready to murder someone. On the sad, I feel as hopeless as they do.

My favorite flavor of this intoxication is young love. Not love between two idiot teenagers, but that sense of affection moving into something that pushes irrational impulses in the most rational of human beings. Those days where you fret about what the hell they think is wrong with you, if they know, if you even know what in fuck’s name is wrong with you. This is especially fun with cerebral characters because I identify with them so– While they’re looking up the physiological symptoms of arousal, I was the person that when someone asked if I truly liked the guy I was dating at the time, I of course said yes… but I also went home and thought for about a half hour, checking my pulse, for pupil dilation with him held in my mind.  You probably don’t believe that anyone could be that dense about their own emotions and responses to stimuli, but I was. I saw pictures of love, I could act the parts just fine, I was happy with this person, but if someone is staring at me going “but you LIKE him, right?” I don’t know how I’m supposed to know without some type of concrete indicator.

I’m better now, granted, but it takes me back to those moments where I tended to be completely oblivious to internal cues of emotion. Depending on the situation, it can take me back to the horror and cursing everything that I was apparently in love with this person because I simply didn’t know what to do. I knew external cues, but I could only know what was demonstrated to me. I didn’t know how to demonstrate any type of affection without being false. I eventually settled on giving gifts– it seemed to work and is one of the most common expressions, almost everyone gets that you like them if you give them a present, correlating how much you like them with how much value they perceive the gift to have.  Even a socially awkward penguin like me could manage that much.

Going back to those moments where one has no idea what to do to show affections, deciding if one should even try to show their affections is amusing, nerve-wracking, and difficult. It’s nice to say “Ha! I know that now!” but it also never fails to show how far I have left to go. Gifts, apparently, aren’t the end all and be all of affection– after a while they become a careless short hand. That leaves being affectionate by other means, words, actions, and when you’re still cripplingly anxious that you’ll do something wrong at times, it just makes you want to hide. It makes you lose hope for your character– how the hell can you get them through this? If the ending is to be happy, shouldn’t they at least be able to stammer that they care for someone, even if it feels like speaking Mandrin? And what if they’re interacting with someone much more normal? What then? What the hell does a more normal person think when the general affection consists of less kissing, hugging, and flattery and more of mutual company, perhaps sitting a bit closer together, and trying your best to remember the odd things that make them happy? What does a normal person think when you’re a writer, you love romance, but when it comes to love letters and poems you come up with “Roses are red, violets are a purplish color, not blue, and I hate everyone in the world but you?”

I’m not sure. Still not, three years into a relationship. All I know is I have an extremely wonderful, tolerant person by my side that acts as a wonderful consultant when I’m staring at a problem like this one. It’s nice having a model when my character manages to find someone that is tolerant of their being as much of an idiot as I am with romance or more:

“This scene isn’t right. All of them end with the other one upset. I know I’m doing some bit wrong– it all feels rushed.”

She’ll listen as I talk through it, and then: “Foreplay, maybe?”

“Uh.”

“Explain?”

“Yeah. Explain it to the person with no concept here. My brain goes from A to B. You know that, and for that I’m sorry.”

The truly fabulous part is that instead of sighing like the long suffering girlfriend with an idiot for a partner, she’ll just start laughing. She’ll explain. Again. She’ll help me with the scene. I’ll file away the knowledge for future reference, forget bits or think I have it wrong, and then it all seems to start again. I’ll write embarrassingly personal fiction and blogs on the internet all while awkward penguin-ing at her any time I try to do any explanation of my own emotions in any form other than indirectly and in text. Joys of being /dating a writer, I suppose. Everything makes sense on the page and in meat-space we bumble about, trying to think of what the hell we had a character do to solve this same problem and looking insane.

To think, this is my drug and passion. Sometimes I think it would be easier and more socially acceptable to have a drinking habit.

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It’s… it’s… ALLLIIIVVVE!

Yes, I’m not dead. No, you can’t have my vast collection of art books and geekery.

What the fuck have I been doing? What kind of a question is that?! Things, obviously.

A little update on what’s been going on: I have my first real, adult, 9 hour a day including lunch, job. It’s been taking its toll, lemme tell ya. If I didn’t like working with technology, I’d be fucked. Add on that a flare up of my stomach being a bitch, a sinus/ear infection and a course of antibiotics, and my endometriosis trying to kill me. And Viktor damaging/destroying things and generally being a pain in the balls. Not good. Thus, the writing juices, they have not been a flowin’.

The good news: Now I’m out of training for my job and trying to cram my brain full of information visually and aurally, so there’s probably going to be a little more free space in my brain. I’ll be learning by doing from here on out, which has always been a lot easier for me. So, I’d like to ask you all a question:

What do you want to see here?

Yes, it’s a cheap plea for things to write about, but I’m pretty sure you all don’t want to hear about what’s been fascinating me lately. Not a lot of people are interested in The Divine Comedy and listening to me go “Dante, what the shit did… How did you come up with some of this nonsense?” or being amused to find out that one can make “figs” with a fist and it is an obscenity rather similar to flipping someone off. Or my musing upon a point of a friend from college that The Divine Comedy is just one big gay love note to Virgil from Dante.

But, hell, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe ranting on classical literature is something that would amuse you lot. I’m going to go through my draft posts and see if there’s anything worth salvaging, and see what I can do to maybe write on two of my favorite topics at the same time: Playboy Bunnies and Geisha.

Keep out a watchful eye, leave me a note below if you want to see my fucked up take on something, and I promise things should be in order here again soon. Look out for a new post in the coming week of SOME sort.

Post a Week 2011

I haven’t been having much of a problem making my post a week goal, which has surprised me. Usually I have some angry tirade I can go on, but today, I don’t have a lot. My problem from work today is resolved, the asshole I encountered on the way home is in the past and I’m trying to just let it go. Even if I was dwelling on it, there’s not much that can be said other than “people are assholes.”

This Post a Week thing has actually be really beneficial for me in a lot of ways– I never quite realized how relaxing it was to have to pick something each week and go on a ramble about it. It clears up a ridiculous amount of space in my head that would otherwise be taken up with going over a problem or irritation repeatedly.

So, I’d just like to thank you folk that read this blog for wandering by and reading my rambles, and assure you that the ranting and raving will resume next week.

Who’s Running this Playpen?

Inspired by an essay by Michelle Sagara West “More Than a Marriage of Convenience,” from Finding Serenity

Where are all the adults on TV?

No no. Don’t point at anyone above eighteen years old. Where are the real adults?

Where are the people in real, committed relationships? Where are the people struggling to make ends meet, working two jobs, where are the people that aren’t dancing around in a “will they won’t they?” Where are those that are past that dance?

Firefly fans will know what I’m talking about with this one: Where are Wash and Zoe?

To explain for anyone unfamiliar with these two: Zoe is a kick ass, level headed “warrior woman” and a very reserve, private person. Wash is a pilot that plays with dinosaurs in his spare time, wears Hawaiian shirts, has a strange, slightly silly sense of humor, and mad piloting skills. On Firefly, we walk into their relationship after they have been married a while. They are disagreeing about if to have kids, they are not ripping each other’s clothes off at every turn (though that certainly happens occasionally), and they are out of that young love stage. They are very different, but they are very solidly committed to each other.

The young love stage of a relationship, the “honeymoon” stage, only lasts for two years on average. I’m hitting that end point in my relationship. I know that looking at TV for an accurate picture of life is a stupid idea, but it would be awful nice to see someone like my girlfriend and I on the TV occasionally. The only couple I can really think of that is even sort of close to that is Ellie and Awesome from Chuck, and that’s only up to the point I watched, which was the end of season three. Even then, they weren’t married yet, and the wedding planning stage seems to always fall solidly in the honeymoon stage, or even prolongs that stage if the couple was starting to hit the end of it.

Point is, I don’t know of any couples outside of sitcoms (why I refuse to count those is a whole other ranting post about what cheap, poorly written bullshit American sitcoms are are), that has a real, established couple near the center of the action, that are in every episode, not just visited occasionally as a subplot. And age is not a limiting factor here. There are plenty of adolescent relationships amongst legal adults– House and Cuddy are just one example.

I know, I know, it’s more exciting when everyone has butterflies and can’t keep their hands off each other, when they’re running into the empty closets and exam rooms to have a hot fuck when they should be working. That part of a relationship is thrilling, we wish it could last forever because it’s so exciting. Everything is so new, so wonderful– and you haven’t realized that they leave their socks all over the floor, that they don’t wash their dishes for at LEAST two days after they’ve eaten out of them, or that they’re clingy as fuck and will call you at three in the morning because they had a dream you broke up with them and want to yell at you for it (laugh at that last one and how crazy it sounds, but it’s happened).

The problem here is that television is the main media a lot of people consume, and because of that a lot of people mistake what they see on television for what their life should be. We live in a world centered around media, and in part due to that, the American Dream seems to have morphed into living like a movie star with all the scandal, money, and fame one could possibly have. The general impression seems to be that if you are a normal person, with a job that doesn’t make you famous (or infamous) and makes you enough money to swim in, you are a failure. And what type of relationship does that “normal” person have? A marriage, and not just any marriage– it’s a terrible boring marriage where no one cheats, they “never” have sex, and they have to actually work to earn a living. Who wants that when you could be rich and famous and fucking whoever you want every night, but always have some sap to fall back to when fucking around doesn’t work as well as you hoped?

Well, one could argue that any sane adult wants that former one. The problem is, that first “boring” marriage means that both people have to realize that there is something a more important to them than excitement in relationships. They have to admit they want someone to walk through life with, they have to admit they want actual commitment, not just the excitement of new love. They have to not just throw up their hands and leave their partner at the first sign of trouble.

In my experience, it’s that last one people have the most problem with. Not only are you out of that honeymoon stage, but UGH, your partner is being all… human. Not like the couples on TV. If they’re mere morals, WHY would you WANT to work so hard to keep them when, obviously, you deserve a REAL relationship, one filled with passion and drama and a man that looks like Patrick Dempsey. REAL couples don’t HAVE to work to keep each other. They’re soooo in love that nothing else matters. That’s how it should be. If you get married and it turns into that boring marriage, then CLEARLY you’re not with the right person, and you should get rid of them so you can find “the One!”

I know the above paragraph seems absurd. Looking at it on paper, it SOUNDS absurd. Everyone knows TV is all bullshit. Right?

Honestly, I’m beginning to think that many people don’t. That many people, due to so called “reality” TV, people have a distorted view of what reality should be. I honestly wonder if these type of expectations are why the divorce rate is so high. People encounter one problem and boom, they’re not the right person any more. If having a baby doesn’t fix whatever problem you have (because all couples with babies are happy on tv!) then off to court.

Now, let me say something: there are many, many valid reasons for divorce. People make mistakes. Sometimes, a relationship worked at the beginning but just doesn’t age well. No one should stay in a relationship they are not happy in. It’s terrible for your mental and physical health. What I AM saying is that maybe people need to redefine what they think an unacceptable or unhappy relationship is.

I’ve wandered a ways from Wash and Zoe here, but I have a reason for it. That boring relationship up there? That IS Wash and Zoe.

Wash does not look like Patrick Dempsey, he’s not a male model. He and Zoe fight. He and Zoe do not have crazy wild monkey sex every night, but they still have sex. Maybe infrequently enough to be considered “never” by some people, especially if they’re used eo sex most nights of the week. Zoe and Wash sometimes yell at each other, they sometimes get frustrated, and they sometimes can’t stand to be around each other. They have to work at their relationship. Sometimes they have to work to see why it is they put up with each other, and it is no one person’s fault. Zoe wants children and for Wash to stop trying to rule in on situations he knows nothing about, Wash wants his wife to rank his opinions above her Captain and old War buddy Mal and he also wants Zoe to realize that it is a really, REALLY shitty time in their lives to bring a kid into this chaotic world. So, Zoe agrees, begrudgingly, to wait on children for now. Wash, after a few choice events, realizes that his opinion does matter more than Mal’s– but Mal will always have authority on some subjects due to his experience. Both of them compromise, and both of them realize that compromising is not a slight against what either of them want.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what a real adult relationship is in my estimation. Furthermore, I think the process of reaching compromise is just as dramatic as the screaming fits of “WELL YOU DO YOU LOVE ME OR NOT?” that are on TV now. Just as much yelling is involved. Just as high of emotions are involved. The stakes are just as high. So why isn’t it on TV more? Where are the adult relationships that I can sympathize with whenever I want scream because my partner and I are fighting over something as important as where to move to, if we should ever have children, on who should be in charge of what decisions that are not the silly, dumbed down version of those relationships that exist on American sitcoms? I want to see two serious adults resolve serious problems. I’ve had enough of the high school drama of who kissed who in what hallway and s/he loves me, s/he loves me not. I’m bored, and it’s because I see that dynamic everywhere. I want something new and fresh. I get that those new relationships are so popular and such selling points for their “living vicariously” value, but if you watch more than one show religiously, you’re going to get tired of going on the same ride three nights a week for months.

One last question before I go: Anyone else notice that all those shows that try to hinge their popularity on the “will they won’t they” dynamic of one couple go down in quality faster than you say “Just fucking get together already?”

Gaga did coke. Hemingway, Stephen King, and Poe were raging alcoholics. Countless other artists have died from drug overdoses or been steeped in some sort of illegal substance for at least part of their lives. It leaves whack jobs like myself wondering if to be great, I have to develop some sort of substance abuse problem.

Of course, realizing how stupid an idea that is, my mind went wandering for another explanation. Best I’ve got is that a whole hell of a lot of people that create greatly influential work are troubled. Troubled at best.

What leads those with depression and troubles to the arts? Maybe it’s the only thing we can do to escape our pains and troubles.

I’ve got pretty much nothing for this week’s blog entry, and for that, I apologize. There’s been too much other shit going on– too much drama and other bullshit none of you want to hear. School is always a problem. Family is always a problem. Money is a problem for everyone right now.

When I said I was thinking I needed to develop a substance abuse problem, maybe I was looking for an excuse. House has his vicodin (or did) and Holmes had his heroin. Hell, from what I’ve heard, Alexander the great was an alcoholic and he took over half the goddamn world.

Me, however, I am not great. Just fucked up. Fucked up in ways that my professors are starting to notice that I’m not quite normal and starting to worry about me. Not normal in ways that interfere with my school work and classes. Much stronger than needed reactions to certain types of events. Discovering “triggers.”

Thankfully, I’m too poor to afford most drugs. And those I can, I don’t want. I don’t want any of them really– my body couldn’t take it, as fragile as it is. So I’m stuck with what I can do: Hide in plain sight, staying inside my head, and playing Resident Evil and whatever other survival horror games I can get my hands on. I can murder the monsters in the dark there. It makes the specters here easier to bear.

Title of Post: Lyric from “We Are the Kids from Yesterday” by My Chemical Romance.

“Well now this could be the last of all the rides we take
So hold on tight and don’t look back
We don’t care about the message or the rules they make
I’ll find you when the sun goes black

And you only live forever in the lights you make
When we were young we used to say
That you only hear the music when your heart begins to break
Now we are the kids from yesterday…”

First off, I’m going to participate in the “post a week” hoo-hah that is going on. You have all been warned.

Second, I have made a decision of my life path. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that my dear friend over at The Uncomfort Zone has some terribly ambitious plans in the making, and is making them happen by studying for the LSAT and being all adult. Those of you that follow my twitter and have read my delusions of grandeur know what I’m talking about.

I’m gonna be a screenwriter. Preferably for TV.

You know how shows seem to fizzle at the end of approximately two seasons, and that’s if you’re lucky? How House has gone all to hell because (House Cuddy ) Huddy is fanservice. Bad. Fanservice. That would be fine except for the fact it is OUT OF CHARACTER for both of them? How Chuck is dead to me because of the shit they pulled in season three? (Aside rant: Chuck is not James Bond, people. I don’t give a flying fuck what magical computer he has stuck in his head, he’s still been a dork for how many years of his life? And NOW he’s Mr. Superspy? Oh no. Also, the only reason Superspy Barbie (Sarah) hasn’t been hauled out and shot in the head for some of the stupid shit she pulls is an act of Deus Ex Machina, nothing more. I hold to my idea that she is what murdered the show because the writers keep trying to set up chemistry that ain’t there. If Chuck has any sense at all, as he seemed to demonstrate early on, he would have taken this yo-yo thing and gone “You know what? Go cry in your ‘daddy’s in jail, I trust no one, I’m a hardass spy and cannot love you–OMGPLZDON’TGO I NEED ATTENTION IN THE FORM OF BLIND ADORATION BECAUSE NO ONE LOVED ME’ corner. Fuck this. I’m going to go find someone sane.” )

See that, right there? That’s why I’m going into screen writing. Because apparently, character continuity does not exist. It’s all about “omg, MAKE SEXUAL TENSION. MAKE IT NOW. Now beat it to death! Do it, do it!” Further more, there seems to be a trend of perpetuating the idea that you should keep pining over people that treat you like shit that needs to stop. The idea that you should let them treat you like shit, and that this is good writing and television, disturbs me. Huddy is an example (really, Cuddy? You’re the “tough” chick on the show and suddenly you NEED a baby and are letting House treat you like garbage?) and so is Chuck/Sarah. There are other examples in popular literature at the moment (Twilight, anyone? “OMG, I love you so much I’m going to take away all your friends and your decision making ability! I KNOW WHAT’S BEST”) but I’m taking on fixing TV. Why? A little history.

I have always been into two things: characters and the way they talk. I love mind hacking characters, I love figuring out why they do what they do, and I love the way they say what they do and don’t say what they do. I have been writing fanfiction most of my life. Yes, I know, I just lost all respectability as a writer. Stay with me.

Why did I turn to this hobby? Well, combine a shitty home life, school life, and a fascination for people in a little sixth grade body. Add in a dash (okay, more than a dash) of wanting to talk to someone. There you are. My writing process for getting to know characters in a nutshell. I drag a character in, sit them down, and talk to them. I’ve been poking around other people’s brains and lives ever since, learning from their mistakes, their biases, pondering the questions of what it is to be human and to be alive. Why one should bother to be alive is a popular topic, especially with the pessimists that claim to hate humanity.

Perhaps it is because of the way that I deal with characters, as beings I have little control over, real living breathing beings that have their own agendas and thoughts despite whatever I come up with and are not simply playthings for me to fuck around with and puppet as I please, that dialogue is a strong suit. How I first get to know characters, how they first charm me or repel me, is how they speak. What the say. I listen, however offensive I may find it. I spend a very long time having conversations with them before I dare to try to write for them. As a result, I always tend to get high marks for dialogue in assigned work even if the rest is crap. It’s from all those years of imaginary conversations that I kept writing until they rang true, not just settling for making the character say what I think they should to make me happy.

The other stuff, meanwhile? The long-winded ramblings of setting, back story as provided by an omniscient narrator, writing that “This happened, then this happened?” Ehh. I can, but put in that form, my words come out as clotted cream, not something you would want to put in your coffee. Dialogue, or text that sounds like dialogue, is how I tell a story, other wise it comes out dead and flat. That’s a problem in books. You gotta summarize something sometime, and describe things sometimes, and I just… suck. Believe me, I’ve been trying really hard to fix it, but I still suck. Screenwriting, on the other hand, is all dialogue and actions. You CAN just imply other action, or skip it entirely. You can cut between scenes much more easily, showing what is important rather than the important bits AND a whole bunch of summary AND description. You set the dialogue and the scene, but the rest is implied via stage direction and other suggested action.

Maybe there’s a way to write books like that. Maybe. But at the present, I’m leaning toward screenwriting as being the place I wanna be. It plays to my natural strengths. All that stuff, the arguing around the table with a bunch of coffee driven writing fiends, the deadlines, the being a part of something that’s a hit but still being able to walk down the street unmauled– I like that idea. I really do. Plus, I’m overqualified for the job, which helps. I’m gonna have a degree in English and Psych both here soonish. Now, all I gotta do is convince the folks out at Warner Bros. to let me in their elite screenwriting program once I get the hell out of this damn college.

Wish me luck.

Watching Sherlock Holmes (the newest movie) and contemplating what it is about this movie, and about the older episodes of House, that I find so very calming.

Yes, ladies, gentle folk, and those in between, ’tis a trip inside my head time. Do feel free to skip if you’re uninterested, but I will try to make it entertaining, despite its egocentric nature.

As many of you have probably noticed, I have a take on the world that is a bit unusual in some ways, not so much in others. The differences in my mind, in how it works as it processes is in some ways a blessing, some ways a curse.

I am good at school. I can twist and argue things well, which is why I do well as an English major. I have good grades there, not spectacular but a respectable B average after almost four years there. However, this same ability to twist my mind inside out around Kafka’s The Trial and work my way into a character’s emotions like a happy heartworm. For those of you that are scientists out there, ignore that “heartworms” mostly reside in the arteries in the lungs and run with the simile.

However, this same ability turns reality into a nightmare, where paranoia is justifiable by the sheer number of negative outcomes that can be thought up for every action and its reaction. It whirs, an overclocked CPU, taking the smallest pieces of information and expanding it, tracing it’s origin, route to the present, and the many ways it can meander into the future to significance or none, wanted or not. I cannot control when it decides to run off on these tangents– They can be summoned when needed, but once they appear, they cannot be stopped. If this process takes a dark turn, it can end with me turning into an angry, suspicious, cynical, inconsolable mess and there is really no way to properly explain how or why to most individuals. Not only does my mind run in all directions– it has the sadistic ability to convince me that whatever conclusion it comes to is right, or at least has a high enough possibility of being right that it will cause me to worry and take precaution.

My mind has the remarkable ability to synthesize the past, future, scenarios, sensations, reasoning, logic at a speed that would shame a cheetah. Despite the above problems, it does come in handy, and not only with school. A large part of why I am a writer has to do with the fact that if I try hard enough and harness that power, I can hack my way into a character’s mind to the point I feel the stitches of their clothing over my skin, the weight of their jewelry, know the breadth of their shoulders and how they have to move because of their shape and build, their inflections when they speak and the sound of their voice. I know their biases, their fears, their reasoning. Due to this immersion technique, I will pick up moods and mannerisms for whomever I am writing occasionally. Hell, I’ve been told I have a certain expression on my face when I write some of my best loved characters. I can synthesize a person from a touch of perfume, a tea, a turn of phrase. It’s alchemy. Beautiful, glorious alchemy of a god, where I turn not lead into gold, but clay into flesh.

My mind eats input, craves stimulation, and consumes itself when left idle, usually for the worst. My… sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Sherlock Holmes or House, both are brilliant detectives and utterly kick ass at what they do– they can solve things no one else can solve. They also are drug addicted, eccentric, and a complete and utter bitch to get along with.

It is arrogance to compare myself to those two, lowly being that I am. However, even in my most self loathing of moods, I can see similarities. I have a dangerous fondness for alcohol and painkillers that (thankfully) is kept carefully in check and under constant watch by myself and my dearest. I have eccentric tendencies. Where House sets the hospital on fire or Holmes lures flies into a bottle to experiment with how they react to his violin, I have been known to write compulsively on any flat reflective surface I can find and mutter River-esqe nonsense while gnawing my nails and lips until they bleed.

I suppose it is their kinship, perhaps, that is so calming. Their sound flowing of ideas and reasoning, the timbre of their voices as they explain their latest theory. Their own immersions into the minds of the criminals they’re chasing or the patients they’re treating. Or perhaps it is simply the fact that when Holmes and House go off on their flights of reasoning, it ends well. It doesn’t turn around and impale them. Usually. Perhaps it is even more soothing when it does.

Maybe what is most comforting is that for all of the shit that has happened to me, how people seem to avoid me, how I seem to have some repellent air about me, people like me can be useful. Needed. Needed enough that what little relief simply drugging myself into a stupor or worse can provide from the constant tangled blur inside me, I am worth more to the world awake, alert, functioning. Useful enough that someday, I will find where I am needed, much as House and Holmes have. Somewhere I am needed that will keep my mind active, awake, and busy so it does not consume itself. Somewhere that prevents the consumption and destruction without halting my mind or blood completely.

Schoolwork and Terrible Movies

Happy Halloween, one and all. To celebrate, I’m not only going to a lovely woman’s birthday party tonight, but watching awful movies as I do my schoolwork.

Why do awful movies bring us so much joy? Maybe it’s the fact that it is so laughable that they exist in the first place. Maybe it’s the fact that they are expected to compete in a market with things that are Oscar winners. Or maybe it’s just… the fact that… well, they’re terrible. And sometimes involve some of our favorite actors. And make us go “DEAR GOD, WHY DID YOU EVER DO THIS AWFUL THING?”
Today’s example that inspired this ramble is what spawned the nickname of “Kung Fu Jesus,” Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, the Adam Baldwin version. It’s terrible, absolutely awful. What makes it so got me to wondering…

Script: Poorly written in a number of ways. Riddled with cliches, stereotypes, and utter failures at being funny, though there are some gems in a few places.

Characters/Plot: Also stereotypical. Guy only concerned about money drags his wife to Hong Kong to make money as a surgeon (wut?). When asked “why Hong Kong” he doesn’t quite have a reason… PLOT POINT. Oh noes, it happens that he’s the mystical Ninja the White Dragon. There’s some crap with a prophecy and blah blah, but the baseline is that once the Chinese mob kills his wife because he “lets” one of theirs die after being riddled with bullet holes, he almost dies, is dragged back from the brink of death by a mysterious Chinese-medicine-man-come-tour-boat-captain on the side, who just HAPPENS to have a mysterious book of prophecies. Wa-hoo. It’s actually more involved than that, but the basic formula is there: Materialistic+Great Personal Tragedy= Transformation into fighter for good and no longer materialistic, because that’s a crappy quality in a hero.

Shooting: While it doesn’t have that delicious “filmed with a home movie camera” feel to it, the shots are uncreative, mostly uninteresting, and composed poorly.

So why the hell am I sitting here watching it?!

Well, the reason I first bought it for, you know, five bucks, was the fact it has Adam Baldwin and I’m an insane Casey fangirl, even if I’m not a fan of the actor’s politics. And I like eyecandy, damnit. Even if the man himself at times annoys me, he’s got a pleasant outward genetic configuration. And in this movie, he’s shirtless for a decent while. Yes, I’m shallow. Shush. Why I keep watching it, however…

Honestly, it’s fun to watch this thing and pick it apart. As bad as I make it sound, it is good in spots, and I’m pretty sure that given more money and time, it wouldn’t have been nearly as laughable as it is. It’s an interesting take on the original story. It just tried a little too hard to be the Karate Kid with some what the fuck mystical bullshit thrown in. It’s one of those stories where I want to pick it up and see if I can fix it up, shine it a bit, and make it into something either insanely campy on purpose, or something less laughable and more convincing. I think it’s the fact that this could be good(ish), it just ended up deliciously bad thanks to ineptitude upon a number of people’s parts. Maybe not great, but at least slightly more respectable.

Some bad movies are brilliant because they relish in their insanity– See The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That wasn’t trying to be good… it was trying to be Rocky Horror. Nothing else. And that’s why it’s so damned FABULOUS! Same with Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman version), though no one likes that movie but me. That one’s delightful because it’s… something. Damn me if I know what it is, but the insanity draws me in. The list goes on with the likes of Evil Dead and Repo! The Genetic Opera, but the point is that you can take an idea as bizarre as two squares crashing a party at a castle of “rich weirdos” that turn out to be aliens and make it epic. You just have to either pour your soul into it, or just embrace the absurdity. Don’t try to be serious. Don’t try to live up to the Oscar winners. Deal with the fact that you’re the weird kid with the goofy hair by dying the goofy hair orange and wearing vampire teeth to school on Easter.

So, why are bad movies great? They bolster our ego (“God, I could do better than this and I’ve never held a camera.”), they have potential to be good, or else, they embrace their weirdness to the point it no longer seems like insanity, they take the madness to brilliant new heights.

For a great Halloween example: Look up “Trick ‘r Treat” with Anna Paquin, shown to me last night by friends. It’s that weird kid in the corner that chews his toenails, and knows it. Enjoy the ride, boys and girls. And the cult of stripping female Werewolves. Mm.

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