Spoiler alert: For astronaut Mark Whatney, former Martian, it was a bad trip. Upon his safe return to terra firma he tossed his helmet away, breathed deeply and said, “Fuck space.”
He was still an adventurer, though, so two years later was exploring the depths of the deepest oceans on Earth when he was accidentally left behind.
There he was forced to grow seaweed and sea cucumbers and survive on oxygen he derived from shells and Bunsen burners.
Mark Whatney had become The Crustacean.
I won’t spoil that ending, either, but he did eventually return to space travel.
Venus: Whatney daringly visits the second planet in our solar system and his faceplate is briefly blown loose during an EVA. Yes, you guessed it. He becomes The Venetian Blinded.
His eyesight eventually returned and he went on to visit Uranus, but I have absolutely nothing to say about that trip.
Smog is car poop
Cars 2 is billed as a movie where cartoon car characters save the world. I found myself wondering, “How will they do that, exactly?”
Scratch that. Actually I don’t give a shit. Whatever. I have to admit, it sounds like exactly the wrong message at exactly the wrong time.
Is your planet being killed by pollution? No worries, mate! All you need is more of the #1 thing that caused it – cars! And we got ’em incoming, full throttle. Here they come to save the day! *cough* *cough*
Bah! There’s gotta be some irony there. “I’ll save you by killing you!” If that’s the aim of the movie, then I for one say, “Job well done!”
Ever curious, I decided to do a little research into the characters in this movie. Here are my findings.
Lightning McQueen – A “generic” NASCAR with design influenced from the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper. According to NASCAR their race cars can get about 4.2 miles per gallon. (Source.)
Mater – A tow truck inspired by a 1951 International Harvester but Mater looks more like a 1955-1957 Chevrolet or GMC. I can’t find fuel economy data but I’m guessing it was about 5 to 10 mpg.
Finn McMissile – Inspired by James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5. This one had a whopping 14.6 mpg.
Holley Shiftwell – Unknown vehicle type but she looks a lot like another race car to me. We’ll just go ahead and call this one 4.2 mpg, too.
Rod “Torque” Redline – a tough-as-nails Detroit muscle car. That’s a bit too ambiguous to nail down fuel economy but I’m guessing that isn’t was “muscle cars” are known for.
And now, at last, the plot of Cars 2 can be leaked. Remember, you heard it here first! Start your engines!
It is a dark time for the rebellion. The Empire, powered by a new Death Star (semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit) named “BP” is consuming the planetary fuel reserves at an alarming rate. Fuel that is desperately needed by our heroes for life and death stuff like winning the first-ever race to determine who is the world’s fastest car.
Darn it, wouldn’t you know that to win that race their gonna need fuel – and lots of it!
The gang speeds off to enlist the help of Emmit “Doc” Brown who has replaced Doc Hudson who has dimmed his high beams for the last time and is now parked in that great wrecking yard in the sky.
Doc Brown introduces Dicky DeLorean, a cocky stainless steel farm boy who’s the fastest ship in the fleet, and possesses doors that, when opened, allow him to fly and kill womprats just like he did at Beggar’s Canyon back home.
It’s a race against time to get the fuel they need to save the planet from, well, from cars. Just like them. Will they be able to stop the hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur oxide, and volatile organic compounds that belch from their very own exhaust pipes before they run out of fuel and save the planet and make the atmosphere safe to breath again?
Fasten your seat belts! It’s the carbon-based thrill ride of the year!
Behind the Tweets: Star Trek 2
Twitter-sized movie recaps. This week, Star Trek (reboot). Plot summary: “The Enterprise travels from Earth to Vulcan and back again.” #tsmr
—As seen on Twitter
Think about it! What was the plot – in a nutshell – of the recent “reboot” Star Trek movie?
Stripped down, it is basically this: The Enterprise travels to Vulcan. The Enterprise travels back to Earth.
Wow. Abrams really is some kind of wundergenius. Naturally I’m waiting to see what he’s got up his sleeve for Star Trek II. (He’s listed as a producer over on IMDb.)
Besides shaking the old school cameras, what else has he got?
This is what we know. (And by “know,” of course, I mean guesses I’m pulling out of my ass.)
Spock Jr. decidedly won’t be needing any pon farr. Certainly not while he’s pluggin’ into Uhura’s communication board. (How the new timeline caused them to somehow hook up remains totally unexplained, just like every other Abrams plot twist.) So we can forget about any pon farr scenes.
After successfully hitting so many “notes” in the first film, the movie makers will be tempted and unable to resist including many more. This includes:
- Chekov firing torpedoes.
- Uhura singing.
- Sulu fencing.
- Nurse Chapel hanging around sick bay, and perhaps trying to steal Spock from Uhura.
- The Enterprise bumps into Khan.
- Kirk defeating a robot with some wacky logic.
- Scotty claiming he canna change the laws of physics – and then doing exactly that.
- A Vulcan nerve pinch.
- Someone working out in the ship’s gymnasium.
- A food replicator making little cubes of gelatin.
- A humorous interaction with the ship’s computer.
- Yeoman Janice Rand bringing the Captain an iPad with gratuitous product placement bonus.
- Klingons with old skool bumpy foreheads and Next Gen pain sticks.
- A quick diversion into the Mirror universe.
- A tribble.
- Dr. McCoy claiming he’s a doctor and not a [insert best guess here] – most likely “Ship’s Counselor.”
- A transporter malfunction and/or amazing save.
- A tricorder.
- The birth of Jean-Luc Picard in a vineyard in France where his father is heard to exclaim, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”
- Tholians and their “web.”
- The Prime Directive will be broken in a bold move that will earn Kirk a citation.
- The fate of all humanity will hang in the balance so Captain Kirk can save the galaxy one more time. No lesser stakes would be acceptable.
Defying the laws of Hollywood physics, the next movie will not have any time travel elements. That will be a first in the movie franchise. This will widely be viewed as another groundbreaking move by Abrams.
A brief diversion regarding so-called “Notes”
I first heard of the concept of so-called “notes” in movie-making courtesy of George Lucas. To him, a “note” is doing the same shit twice. A note is a device for discouraging original thought.
For example, in the first Star Wars movie, aptly named “Star Wars” (long before any of that renumbering trilogy horseshit) a few things happened:
- Someone said, “Look at the size of that thing!”
- Someone said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
- Someone said, “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!”
Lucas, in a fit a pure genius, decided it would be wise to include those exact same phrases in everything else he made for the rest of his life. Those phrases appeared verbatim during a love scene between Han Solo and Leia Organa, but unfortunately that scene ended up on the cutting room floor. But Lucas was still able to get those phrases repeated ad infinitum all over the rest of that damn galaxy.
Here’s a little memorandum to George Lucas, the brilliant guy who wrote the Solo/Greedo scene and the douchnozzle who went back and ruined the Solo/Greedo scene: Notes aren’t notes. They’re just re-hash of the same shit!
Star Trek II – The Wrath of Spock
Captain’s log, Stardate 1312.4. The Enterprise and crew have been ordered to an area of space unexplored by the Federation, where literally no man has gone before. Our mission is to create star maps of the region. This is our first deep space voyage. Our new navigator, Dave Bailey, has relived Chekov who volunteered for cryogenic experimentation. Meanwhile, the further we travel from Earth, the more … human … my First Officer seems to get. I’m worried about my friend…
Here are my suggestions on the next Star Trek movie:
Spock is increasingly obsessed about the loss of his home planet, Vulcan, and he’s tormented by haunting dreams of his dead mother. His beliefs shaken by the revelation from his father, the Ambassador, that he married a human out of love, Spock is conflicted. Even inventing a 3D form of chess can’t relieve his anguish. (Technical note: That chess game is going to look soooo bitchen in 3D.)
Meanwhile the Enterprise is ordered to a previously unexplored region of space to create star maps. Starfleet Command envisions the mission as a relatively safe way to shakedown the ship and provide the new Captain and crew with valuable experience.
Out of desperation, Spock devises a plan to save Vulcan and his mother. He is well aware of the existence of red matter, and its ability to generate rips in time, but red matter no longer exists since Nero’s ship was destroyed, and it won’t be invented again for another 100 years. Spock theorizes that matter and anti-matter colliding could conceivably send the Enterprise back in time, but he lacks the computational abilities.
Spock continues to obsess about time warp calculations and his duties as Science Officer suffer, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Captain Kirk. McCoy interrupts a heated discussion between Kirk and Spock in the Captain’s Quarters. Spock reveals his plan save Vulcan and is expressly forbidden to pursue the research by Kirk.
Rebuffed, Spock retreats to his quarters and tries in vain to meditate, only to realize he knows of a place where he can obtain the knowledge needed for his plan. He knows that Kirk met future-Spock on the ice planet and reasons that a mind meld between the two must have taken place. Spock realizes that he can access scientific knowledge from future-Spock indirectly through Kirk’s mind.
Spock isolates Kirk and a terrible fight takes places. Kirk is defeated by Spock. Spock initiates the mind meld and gains the knowledge he seeks, and something more, something unexpected.
As part of a science experiment in cryogenic freezing, Chekov is thawed out. Later, the Enterprise encounters the SS Botany Bay drifting in space. Using knowledge acquired from the experiments on Chekov, Dr. McCoy is able to thaw out Khan Noonien Singh, one of the word tyrants from Earth’s past.
A three-way battle for control of the Enterprise erupts. Spock initially seizes control but at the last minute aborts his plan to join forces with Kirk, because only together can they defeat Khan.
After Khan gains irrevocable control of the ship, an unbreakable friendship will be forged and there will be some tough choices to be made to save the ship and determine the fate of all mankind…
Sorry. That’s where my creativity ends. At least for today. Oh yeah, they also drop off Navigator Bailey with Ron Howard’s brother AKA “Balok.”
I’ll need just a bit of tranya to finish my screenplay. To that end, I propose a toast!
As a kid, I used to lay awake and think
When was Santana gonna make a drink?
But now I’m all grown and my dream came true
Santana tranya, from Beta Quadrant to you!
Editor’s note: We realize we have violated the nerd precept that Star Trek and Star Wars can’t be mentioned in the same post but we’re out of time to edit. Deal with it.
Sideways goes Vertical
Was it really way back on May 9, 2010, when I speculated about a sequel to Sideways, one of the most successful independent movies of all time? Wow. Time sure flies when you are having fun.
If you aren’t regularly reading my blog, you miss out on bleeding edge shit like this.
Since then search engine terms like “sideways 2” and “sideways sequel” have consistently performed well in bringing traffic to my blog. For the last seven days terms related to Sideways are the second most popular reason people visit my blog and I only wrote about the topic that one single time.
That sort of thing is a testament to the popularity of the book by Rex Pickett and the movie of the same name.
Now we know more about what’s next for Miles and Jack. Rex Pickett has written a new book that picks up their story. It has been seven years since that crazy week they spent together in Santa Ynez valley…
Miles and Jack are back.
The Follow-up to Sideways
It’s seven years later. Miles has written a novel that has been made into a wildly successful movie, and the movie has changed his life. Jack, contrarily, is divorced, has a kid, and is on the skids. Phyllis, Miles’s mom, has suffered a stroke that’s left her wheelchair-bound and wasting away in assisted-living. She desperately wants to live with her sister in Wisconsin. When Miles gets invited to be master of ceremonies at a Pinot Noir festival in Oregon, he hatches a harebrained road trip. With Jack as his co-pilot, he leases a handicapped-equipped rampvan, hires a pot-smoking Filipina caretaker and, with his mother’s rascally Yorkie in tow, they take off for Wisconsin via Oregon’s fabled Willamette Valley.
LOL! I can already see it. 🙂
Alas, I’m a little late bringing you this news. The book has already been on sale since December 1st. If I had known I would have told Santa to bring me a copy.
Looking back I can see my original post was pretty darn accurate. Remember, you heard it here first! Jack’s marriage failed? Check. Oregon’s Willamette Valley in search of more pinot noir? Check. Yamhill County? Check. (That’s where McMinnville is located.) Miles as the Master of Ceremonies at the International Pinot Festival? Check!
What about Maya? Apparently she and Miles are no longer an item (were they ever?) and she doesn’t make the trip. Miles’ life has evolved (devolved?) into celebrity, the wine festival circuit, and, get this, groupies. For Miles! Wow. Of course there is plenty of wine drinking, too. And sex. But that’s all I know at this point.
In the course of this book Miles apparently comes face to face with his abyss (if you’ll pardon the phrase) and reaches several turning points including one with his mom. I haven’t read the book yet so I don’t know how it all turns out.
In closing, I’d simply like to propose a toast to Rex Pickett and the hopefully forthcoming conclusion to The Sideways Trilogy. You hear that, Google? The Sideways Trilogy. The Sideways Trilogy. The Sideways Trilogy!!!
I crack myself up. Now pardon me, I have to go swill down some Merlot.
Sideways 2 – Merlot Strikes Back
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Can you believe it has been six years since the movie Sideways came out? It was released all the way back in 2004. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it. For the uninitiated the trailer and the review by Ebert & Roeper are included at the bottom of this post. The film is equally funny if you know a wine snob or happen to be one yourself. No interest in wine is required to enjoy the film, however.
The film is about an aspiring writer named Miles (played excellently by Paul Giamatti who should have won an Oscar) who is a bit of a wine snob and still hasn’t moved on with his life following his divorce. Miles and his friend and former college roommate Jack (played hilariously by Thomas Haden Church) decide to spend a week in California’s Santa Ynez Valley wine country as a send off to Jack who is to be married at the end of the week. Miles wants to turn his friend onto wine, eat good food, play golf and enjoy the scenery. Jack just wants to “get his nut” with one last sexual fling before getting hitched. The week they share is at times hilarious, touching, sad, disturbing and poignant.
One of the most famous scenes from the movie, perhaps, is:
Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.
Miles: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!
One of the recurring notes of the film is the constant denigration of Merlot by Miles. You see he has a particular penchant for the red wine varietal Pinot Noir. Interestingly the movie had an effect on the wine market:
Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot Noir, while denigrating Merlot. Following the film’s U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. Sales of Merlot dropped after the film’s release possibly due to Miles’ disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film. However, sales of Merlot in the United States remain more than double those of Pinot Noir, the country’s second most popular wine. (Source.)
The movie was based on the book “Sideways” by Rex Pickett. The novel on which the movie was based is said to be largely autobiographical even including the scene where Miles famously drinks from a spit bucket:
Q: Why did you drink from a spit bucket?
A: I was at Epicurious. It was a special tasting upstairs. It was high-end Cab. They weren’t really spitting, they were dumping. Maybe a few had spit. You’ve got to understand, I was broke back then. I thought, “Wait a minute, there’s a lot of good Cab in there.” I picked it up and drank from it. They talked about that for months. I knew it had to go into the novel.
Q: So how did it taste?
A: I admit, I was a little drunk at this point. I think I said something like, “This is a great Meritage.” Honestly, it’s a true story. But I didn’t guzzle from it. Let’s get that straight.
Did I mention this is an awesome movie? With scenes like this and plenty of others that rival it how can you go wrong? 🙂
It has been reported that Pickett is writing a sequel after a trip to Oregon and being told he “missed the boat, that the real pinot noir story was in Oregon.” (Source.)
Details are still a bit sketchy on the sequel, but the gist is that Jack’s marriage has failed. Big surprise, eh? Sorry Napa Valley, you get dissed again. This trip finds Milo and Jack together again and on their way to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in search of more pinot noir. No doubt there will be plenty of fun along the way but eventually they find themselves in Yamhill County where they decide to crash (and succeed) at getting into an event know as the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I don’t know much else about the plot, but I seriously doubt Merlot will strike back. I don’t anticipate Miles’ preference changing in that department.
Other than the report linked above stating that Pickett is writing the sequel I can find no other information about a possible sequel. There appears to be no movie deal at this time and no commitments by any of the actors to reprise their roles. But he’s hoping.
If a sequel does happen, I’ll even pop a bottle of pinot noir and try to find out what Miles sees in it. 🙂
Sideways reviewed by Ebert and Roeper: