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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Trip Nickels of 2008 – 5 Things I’ve Been Griping About, 5 Things I’ve Been Thankful for This Year, and 5 Things to Watch Out for in 2009.

2008 has been an interesting year. We’ve seen the improbable become probable, the stupid become even stupider, and we’ve seen hope and joy supplant fear and torture. It’s been a mixed bag, and really there’s no better way for me to sum it up than this.

5 Things I’ve Been Griping About the Loudest

5. – Movies Studios Are Continuing to Suck!

Between Fox’s Watchmen cock-up and Warner Brothers’ pushing Harry Potter back until next year, movie studios have had it rough this year. Actually, no…they haven’t. Fox set Christmas Day box office records with The Two Bitches and their Puppy; and Warner Brothers gave us The Dark Knight, while leaving Speed Racer to die on DVD, and thinking that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 was a sequel everyone clamored for. Not to mention Paramount thought they’d slip one past the audience by making them think Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an actual Indiana Jones movie. Oh, and Universal did the STUPIDEST thing they EVER could have done by releasing Hellboy II: The Golden Army a week before Dark Knight. Oh…and they allowed Mamma Mia to get Green-lit. Yeah…Hollywood giveth and Hollywood taketh away…and we’re supposed to believe the writers deserved more money.

4. – I Don’t Care About Your Kids, Or Their Tastes!

Miley Montana and the Jonas Surprise Gays have made their mark on popular culture, and it’s all because of the shrilling, yelping, harping, crying, and bitching tween market we’ve allowed to dominate a good chunk of our culture. We should be returning power back to the adults…you know, the ones that spend their hard earned money on their children’s shitty obsessions. Yes, I was a huge Britney Spears fan when I was a kid, but I didn’t bankrupt my parents because of it. Hell, I could have gone to meet her when she did an appearance at Macy’s back in 1999. Why wasn’t I allowed? Because I would have had to skipped school, gone to the city, and wait in an ungodly line. That doesn’t mean they didn’t get me anything and everything involved with her that they thought I’d like. My parents fed my habit, but knew when to lay down the law. Parents today…fat chance if the kids would let them order them to go to bed or do homework. The kid collective has drown out the adult voice of reason, and this market that used to be harmless to society is making its way to becoming a big threat to the world. Members of their generation are already superstars who are so spoiled that semi nude pictures of them can’t even ruin their careers…imagine kids like these as diplomats, heads of state, and decision makers. They get away with murder, and we’re supposed to allow it? No. Keep your little shits on their leashes, parent their asses, and keep their goddamn pop pap off of my Internet/Television/Email/MySpace account. While you’re at it, keep them in line in public too. I can’t stand teenagers who can’t shut the fuck up at the movies/at the mall/in bookstores and other public places. I can drive, I pay taxes, and I don’t want to be hassled when I’m trying to watch Quantum of Solace because you couldn’t be bother to tell your significant other to wrap it up or pull out. They’re your kids, your responsibility, so your judgment is called into question when I can’t hear the explosions because your brat is snickering at a text message. Speaking of bookstores, why don’t they sit and fucking read any of the books in the stores? I’m not talking about this Twilight or Gossip Girl bullshit, I’m talking seriously reading adult reading level books. Pick up a Crichton, or a Grisham, or dare I even say a Stephen King book…at least their genre material is more sophisticated on most levels.

3. – George Lucas Needs to Be Put Down!

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sucked, and I do not blame Steven Spielberg one bit! (He still has to answer for botching Munich, but not by much.) It was Lucas who insisted on the Aliens, it was Lucas who ruined his own franchise and had to wreck his own best friend’s Lego set, and it was Lucas who kept rejecting script after script. (How do you reject a Frank Darabont script? HOW?!) Also, he allowed Star Wars: The Clone Wars to exist. While the trailers looked kinda cool, once the nostalgia (or what was left of it) faded, it looked like a pocket full of Fail! George Lucas, GTFO Hollywood!

2. – “It’s a Girl Thing” is Not An Excuse!

I’m lucky to be dating a really smart woman right now, and I hope to keep dating her after publishing these thoughts. That having been said, through the eyes of a heterosexual male, this has not been a good year for complex women. 27 Dresses, Sex and the City, Sarah Palin, Mamma Mia, and The House Bunny are ALL examples of how labeling something as a “girl thing” does not excuse their entertainment/political value. They are all examples of a product pitched towards women based on a set of criteria that dictates they’ll more than likely enjoy it. (I.E. “They have a vagina, they’ll LOVE this.) 27 Dresses and The House Bunny had very shallow and underdeveloped stories, Sex and the City and Mamma Mia were basically the same movie (except for different ratings, levels of sexual content, and running times), Juno was nothing more than a penis bashing celebration of single motherhood while blaming men for everything and ultimately offering no substance whatsoever, and Sarah Palin somehow combined all of these things along with a “George W. Bush in a Skirt” image/mentality. Yes, men have silly entertainments as well…but that doesn’t excuse their shitty nature either. (I HATED Shoot ‘Em Up, and I shut xXx off after the first 20 minutes.) Maybe I just expect more out of entertainment, but even when my brain is turned off I still expect the most basic of all expectations…to be amused and entertained.

1. – The Writer’s Strike Was Bullshit!

You want more money?! Fine…then retroactively repeal the royalties of the most heinous film releases of 2008, and do all in your power to make sure no only are they erased from the public record, but that YOU PAY THE PUBLIC for having to endure advertising, talk show appearances, and any related media involved in the promotion, production, and distribution of some of the most horrible films EVER. I made a list, but I realized I don’t need to remind everyone of the atrocities you committed on the Silver Screen, and even on the Small Screen. You want to get paid better? WORK AT IT! Don’t beg for money, prove you’re worth it. Write something that’s worth seeing, and toss the bullshit out the window. Make the system your bitch by only producing quality product, and shunning everything else. That’ll make for less overall product, and a hopefully bigger push for quality product. Prove you’re worth the money in ’09, and maybe I’ll retract this. (Note: The Writer’s probably WON’T prove they’re worth the money in ’09, so I should be safe here.)

5 Things I’ve Been Most Thankful for This Year (besides Friends, Family, and Love)

5. – The Dark Knight Kicked Massive Ass and Kung Fu Panda Surprised the Hell Out of Me!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Dark Knight kicked all sorts of unholy ass; we all know this. I’m actually more surprised that Kung Fu Panda kicked the Hell out of my expectations. I saw the commercials, saw the trailers, even saw the annoying Cell Phone PSA’s at AMC Theatres…and I thought I was predisposed to hate this film. Then the reviews poured in…then the DVD came out, and finally I just said, “Why not? It’s a rental”. I am so sorry I missed this movie in IMAX, because even on a regular definition television it is gorgeous. It’s heavily influenced in Asian myth and filmmaking, plus it can serve as almost a backdoor way into teaching kids about Zen philosophy. Whatever you say about it, it’s still a really, really good movie that isn’t half as annoying as the commercials let on.

4. – Dr. Gregory House, and all of his associates at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital!

I finally got myself caught up with all four seasons of House, M.D. on DVD; and it’s safe to say that while it’s a procedural, it’s never completely boring or formula driven. While the cases might shake out in very limited variances, the personal stories of the characters are what drives the show home. Most of all, the story of the evolving friendship between Dr. Gregory House and his best friend Dr. James Wilson is one of the best plot points the show has always had to offer. It’s a consistently good show, even more consistently good than 24, and I will be sticking with it until the end. (Or until they massively jump the shark.)

3. – Pajiba Allows Me To Be A (Half) Serious Asshole!

In case no one has noticed, I have an ego. Quite a big one, actually; and as we all know it’s fun to sometimes let our ego out of the cage for a little and just go crazy. ESPECIALLY when we have a very strongly held opinion on something. Pajiba is one of the best places to let ones’ ego hang out, and what’s even cooler is there are other, huger egos to spar with. That is not a bad thing, though some might be a little more abrasive than others. Just suck it up and enjoy…90% of the people there are 110% above the rest of the populace. Go for the reviews, stay for the personalities.

2. – The Cannonball Read, FTW!

Brian Prisco’s literary version of the 1980’s version of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has been up and running since September 1st, and it’s a fun event that promotes literacy, as well as flips the bird at Ms. Alabama Pink’s Cancer. The goal is to see who gets to 100 books in a year the fastest, and I am proud to be part of something so fun, so ambitious, and so cutthroat.

1. – America Got It Right!

We voted Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, we gave him a mandate, and so far he looks poised to nobly begin his quest towards fulfilling said mandate. Also, if the current results are any indication, Al Franken will be the next senator of Minnesota; which just goes to show that sometimes smart, funny people can get elected into office. (Particularly when the country is sick and tired of the stupid ones reigning supreme.) Here’s to a return to intellectualism, and may all of the newly elected/re-elected office holders help us become the country we deserve to be in the 21st Century.

5 Things to Watch Out for in 2009

5. – GAH! Now I HAVE to Read “Twilight”!

I bought my girlfriend the first book in the Twilight series because she “wanted to see what the fuss was all about.” The last time she ever checked something out for that very reason was when we went to see Cloverfield (which I raved about constantly), and she wasn’t a big fan. I was kinda hoping history would repeat itself. Not only did she read it in a day (she’s normally a fast reader, much faster than me) but she liked it. She was pleasantly impressed and that it’s a close race between Twilight and Harry Potter as to which one is better. This pretty much seals the fate I consigned myself to earlier…I’m going to have to read the series I’ve been genetically predisposed to hate. I too want to see what the fuss is all about. However, I have a feeling that once Twilight falls, I’ll be looking for a New Moon to Eclipse me as I start Breaking Dawn…right in the fireplace.

4. – Will “Watchmen” Be Any Good?

20th Century Fox is officially the worst studio of 2008. First, they couldn’t produce a worthwhile film if their lives depended on it, and 2009 looks like it’s shaping up to be the same forecast. (They made me suffer through Juno and 27 Dresses (or as I affectionately refer to it as, Heiglfield.), now I’m going to have to slog it through Bride Wars.) Now they’re attempting to delay the release of Watchmen, which looks like the first really good movie of ’09. All because they sat on the rights for 20-some odd years and did NOTHING with them. Warner Bros. got off their assed and picked this one up in turnaround, and I don’t care what the Judge ruled on Christmas Eve…if Fox had a problem, they should have contested it in the beginning. They didn’t, the film is pretty much finished, and in any case it should be too late for Fox to stop this movie. I don’t care about the altered ending; I want the movie in March as promised. As for Fox, you can kiss ANY chance of me seeing XMen Origins: Wolverine goodbye. It looked lame to begin with.

3. – 24 Season Seven HAS to Be Good!

Plain and simple. It’s been almost two years since a full season, and Redemption was ok. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ok. (If anything, it’s shown just how wrong it would be to make a 24 movie at this time. They don’t completely have the hang of the mechanics of a 24 story exclusively within the confines of a full length picture.) It was still a good start towards Season 7, and the trailers for the next season look even better now than they did a year ago. Doubts still linger though, especially with the collective “Meh” uttered by fans after Season 6’s rollercoaster of quality. Good or Bad, it’ll be awesome to see Jack Bauer back on a regular, weekly basis.

2. – Will “The Devil v. George W. Bush” Ever See The Light of Published Day?

I’ve already started revisions and additions to The Devil V. George W. Bush in hopes that I’ll have an “Inauguration Day Edition” finished sometime this year. (Obviously, I’d like to have it done by January 20th, but I’ll probably just write a foreword dealing with the obvious issue of “Hey, this already happened!”. In any event, I’d love to shop this around to publishers sometime in ’09, so that I may be able to publish and sell this piece of work I’m very proud of. Most of all I thank you, the readers, for enjoying the story and for just being there. I hope you like the work you’re seeing here.

1. – Can the Obama Presidency Succeed?

Short of walking on water, the Obama presidency has high hopes pinned on the backs of its officials. This is going to be a big test, seeing as the nation is expecting big things, and some of these demands are admittedly daunting. The American Public needs to keep a couple things in mind. We’re not going to leave Iraq in the snap of a finger, we’re not going to fix the Economy magically, and in short miracles will probably not be worked. What the public should expect from the Obama presidency is a step towards a United States with more integrity in the Oval Office, as well as the beginnings of the great work ahead. Like it or not…November 5th was Day One, and so far we seem to be doing ok. Not perfect, but not abysmal. Also, keep in mind it’s going to take at least most (if not all) of the hopefully first term of Obama’s presidency to wash away all of the stains from 43’s eight years. Overall, keep your expectations muted, learn to steer more towards the middle road, and you might be surprised with what actually gets done.

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