Monday, June 30, 2008

Movie Review - WALL-E

Ashley and I saw WALL-E on Friday night at the REX Movie Theater in Rexburg, the only first run movie theater in Rexburg. While I usually have some reservations about this theater due to the idiot students, I didn’t feel like driving to IF to see it. Gas is too pricey.

When I saw the previews for WALL-E, I approached it with cautious anticipation. While the visuals looked good, and while the mechanical voice of “WALL-E” was appealing,” I didn’t know if a robot who didn’t have an actual voice and great graphics could stand on it’s own for an entire movie.


While WALL-E has the awkward yet normal social desire to have friends (reminiscient of my teenage years), and while WALL-E was an obvious emotional ploy to get you connected…I think it worked very effectively. While the human characters are likeable, I think the robots steal the film because of the ability for us to relate to them.

Who can’t relate to being 14 years old and wanting a friend? Who can’t relate to being lonely? What about being misunderstood? Or realizing that the one standing in front of your was what you wanted all along?

These characters steal this film because they’re lovable, yet believable. How easy is it for a movie to create an emotional attachment and emotional manipulation with a character, all to leave you feeling kind of empty (a la King Kong 2005)?

Score – 19, but only because they couldn’t have more dialogue/speak


Beauty is an understatement for this masterpiece. Thomas Newman, who also did Finding Nemo, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption, scores another home run with this score. The robots flying through space, and the score that goes with it, really helps you take in the wonder of the colors that Pixar used.

Score – 20


I think that just the name “WALL-E” is enough to land this, as well as his new buddy “EEEEE-VAAH,” are going to be around until at least the end of the year. While I’m not going to judge a movie soley based on a catchphrase, I really think they could have ahd more. While WALL-E’s Chaplin-esque characteristics really don’t warrant a need to have a catchphrase, I think it could have been better

Score – 18


Wonderful. Perfect. Spectacular. Can I come up with any other adjectives to describe this movie? A story about finding love, about appreciating what we have, about materialism and consumerism, and a story about a little yellow robot. But I feel I need to address one issue in this movie:

Many have talked about how there was an overpowering “Environmentalism” message, and how that would have detracted them. While there is such a message, I don’t see it being as political as people are making it out to be. I came away from that with the message that we need to appreciate what we have. I saw a glaring message of consumerism, and materialism, and what can happen if we don’t care. I don’t think it was a message about “Global Warming,” instead, it was a message about us as a people.

Story synopsis: Robot (WALL-E) is on earth, performing the task he has performed for 700 years…taking waste, compacting it, and stacking it. He loves human trinkets, and watches “Hello Dolly” religiously. Ship comes to earth, with EVE, looking for human life. He and her finally break the awkwardness and begin to form a friendship, all while WALL-E wants to hold her hand, and starts falling in love. They get to the ship, other robots don’t want the plant to get to the captain, and slapstick comedy ensues.

Score – 20+


This is a spectacular movie that will appeal to adults and children alike. What child wouldn’t want to see more WALL-E? What adult doesn’t want to see a happy story? What male wouldn’t want to see a chick flick hidden inside of a slapstick comedy (*GASP!* Did I just say that?)? I can’t wait for it to go to the cheap theater here in town so we can rewatch it over and over.

Score – 20

IMDB Rating – 9.3 (#9 – IMDB Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes – 97%

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random Life Updates

Since it's been a while, here's some random life updates from not only my personal view on things, but from the life of the Malone family.

First, we had 2 new additions to the family: our babies. Every time I say that to someone, they automatically think that we are having kids. No, not yet. But we did have kittens.

The black one is named Mowgli, and the grey speckled one is named Chloe. We actually thought of reasons for the names as well, instead of "Oh that sounds cute." Mowgli is a demon-child. She wants things her way, she is very social, and gets frustrated when we won't let her have it her way. For example, she has found out that if she stands on the bottom shelf of the desk and leaps, she can grab on to my leg and climb up it. She then sits perched on my shoulder. But the problem is once's she perches on my shoulder, she's stuck. So I grab her when she's climbing up, put her on the ground, and tell her that she won't be able to get down if she's up there. She looks at me, and in her high pitched squeaky whine, meows like I'm making her life difficult. It's almost as if she's saying "I want to do it! Why won't you let me do it! IT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY!!!!!!!"

And then there's our little Chloe...named after Chloe O'Brian of 24 fame. Awkward and lacking in social skills, she is the happiest little girl around. But Chloe and Mowgli went well together when we got them from Four Paws, the group that rescues animals from shelters. Suprisingly, they love each other, go well together, and they are the little furballs that we can't get enough of.

Second...the NomRom Book Club is working on "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. We need people to get in on it, to get discussions going. Right now there have only been a few posts (My Amazon seller is taking forever and a day to get me my copy of the book), but there are some discussions going on. As soon as I get the book, I'll post a lot more for us to discuss. See the Book Club here

Third...because my mind works in a series of 3...with the movie season coming upon us, I'm going to work on getting more reviews up. While some of the movies I review might be a year old (for instance, I just watched "There Will Be Blood" last night), I still think they need to be reviewed for the people who still haven't seen them. Instead of saying "I liked this, I didn't like that," I'm going to use a ratings system found over here. Props to Lister for letting me rip off his rating system.

He uses a 100 point system, broken down into five 20-point categories:


As well as a personal rating (and why I would agree/disagree with the MPAA rating given)

We're going to see Wall-e this Friday night, probably at the REX here in town (the first-run movie theater). I'll probably be in a bad mood anyways (stupid Mormon college students, that's another post for another day), but I have need to review the following movies:

No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man
and others that are coming out.

So look for the WALL-E review Friday night, Incredible Hulk on Saturday, and Iron Man on Monday...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Evolution of Videos, or, I eat my candy with my Pork and Beans

Three weeks ago, Weezer introduced the world to the first single off their highly anticipated "Red Album," entitled "Pork and Beans." While I'm now old enough to say that I've know Weezer since the Blue Album, rocked out to "Buddy Holly," and remember them from way back when I was in 4th grade (about 9, 10 years old), I must say that this music video, in my opinion, can be looked at as one of the defining videos not only of 2008, not only of the Millenium, not only of the last 10 years, but can be looked at as one of the most pivitol videos in music video history.

Yes, I'm prepared to put them on par with Hendrix burning the guitar on stage at Woodstock, Aha's "Take On Me," The Buggles "Video Killed the Radio Star," Fatboy Slim's "Praise You," and yes, even Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Blasphemous as it may seem, this video tells more about our culture and generation than many may think. If you don't believe me, check out Mike's commentary on the video.

I can hear you all through the computer: "Yeah, I remember him, yeah, I remember that, I got that in a forward, etc." But this video does much more than just give us a few laughs. This video will be considered immortalized because it's more of a social commentary than a funny video.

If we were to look at it from a cultural aspect, it's groundbreaking. We, as a society, have become enamored with YouTube and this concept of Web 2.0, where we interact more with the web than (sometimes) with each other. Amazingly, this goes all the way back to the infamous dancing baby, which made the rounds back in 1996.

We've become a society that makes it much easier to get our 15 minutes of fame, and in some senses, our 15 minutes of infamy.

If this video isn't a great cultural commentary that will be preserved much like Thriller, I don't know what is...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ethanol, or, Why I'm Not Payin $5.00 in Gas

Last night, as usual, I was flipping through the news shows to catch up on the pundit’s opinions of the world. Brother Glenn was on vacation, Bill O’Riley was looking for a fight, Keith Obermann is an idiot, and Wolf Blitzer has one of the most beautiful beards I’ve ever seen…though his opinions are ridiculous.

Apparently it was a slower news day, because the news outlets went back to their tried and true hot-topic issues: The Election, the Iraq, and gas prices.

Gas reached a national average of $4.15 yesterday, with the Rexburg prices leveling out around $4.00/gallon. Now I’m not going to reminisce and talk about how when I was a senior back in Michigan, we could get gas around $0.99/gallon. Or how, within the last 2 years, the average price-per-gallon has gone up around $2. Or how GM is getting rid of their Hummer division of their company because nobody is buying the cars, and they are losing more money than a fat kid on McDonald’s Dollar Menu.

What are we talking about? No Mr. Iverson, I’m not talking about practice. I’m talking about Ethanol.

Along with “green,” “organic,” and “John McCain is Old,” “Ethanol” has become the big buzz word the last few years. I’ve noticed a decline, but when gas prices come up, people talk about how Ethanol is the answer.

I’m no scientist, but from what I’ve read, heard, and seen, it is anything but. Using Ethanol for a fix to the gas prices is like using a band aid for a slice across your neck (and I know a little something about that).

Here’s my problem with Ethanol…it reminds me of a Matrix-type scenario, where the entire world becomes overrun with corn because we need the fuel. Farmers aren’t farming like they usually do because they’re so concerned about planting corn to get the added money from selling that to gas companies. They’re not planting or harvesting other plants and animals, which drives the demand up (because the supply is down), which then drives the price up.

Ethanol is not the answer. It’s political. It sounds good. It’s a twinkie…full of sweet goodness, yet does NOTHING for our health. We hear “Ethanol is the solution to our gas crisis” and think that because we eat corn, it seems healthy, it’s cleaner, it must be right!

But answering the gas crisis question with Ethanol is a lot like this answer…it’s funny, but wrong.

What is the answer?

Hydrogen. Fuel Cells. ANWR. Drilling off our coasts. Glenn Beck, one of Keith Olbermann’s most hated people, mentioned that if we get the point where it’s a choice between getting our oil and “saving the bucktooth bunny,” that he would drill through the head of that bucktooth bunny to get the oil in ANWR.

I’m all for saving the environment, and agree that we have a stewardship as humans to take care of God’s creation, and that we need to appreciate the beauty of earth. But to what point do we put up those barriers? India has put out a car called the TATA, running for $1,200 American dollars. They are driving more. China’s gas prices have been driven up because of the earthquake, and they’re driving more. The more these 2nd World countries industrialize and enter the strata of 1st World countries, they demand will go up.

Why is hydrogen and fuel cells the answer? Because, in my opinion, the bubble on gas is about to burst. That’s the vision I keep having in my mind. The bubble on oil is getting bigger and bigger, and it will either explode because it’s too big, or something, some external force, will cause it.

My dad works in the automotive industry, and GM is working feverishly on this technology. GM, one of the most prestigious automotive companies at one point, has lost so much money they can’t see straight. Because of all the government regulations, the technology, and the logistics, they are on the cusp of the breakthrough.

Don’t give me this junk about a conspiracy with the auto companies and the oil companies. I will entertain thoughts about government deals with oil companies, but what car company wouldn’t want to be the one to put out the next big thing as far as automotives go. GM would again set the standard, if they were to get the technology out to the public.

Finally – I’m old enough to remember a day when we had $0.99/gallon gasoline…and old enough to go back on my promise about not reminiscing. While I don’t think that’s going to happen, we need to drill more. How can automotive companies afford to place more money in R&D while they are struggling to sell cars because it’s too expensive? How can we clamor and say “Gas prices are too much” when the amount of drivers isn’t going down? How can one do research on new products if it is more expensive to ship those new parts than the cost of the parts itself?


I like corn. I like corn-on-the-cob for July 4th and corn for Thanksgiving. I don’t like corn in my car. I like gasoline. I like new technology. But if we start thinking ethanol is the answer, our country will turn into a harvesting field for our insatiable desire to drive. Corn is not the answer. Fuel cells (like the batteries in your cell phone) and hydrogen are.

Comment and call me a heartless turd, but at what point does another great depression stand in the way of the buck tooth bunny?

Friday, June 13, 2008


This week has been filled with a lot of laziness for me, and you can obviously tell from my lack of posts. I'm heading down to Utah for a family reunion of the Mrs., so hopefully I'll have some new posts up.

I also think I'm going to drop to 3 per week. Every day is difficult, and once a month isn't fun for anyone reading. So look for new posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blogging Part 2

Elder Ballard, in his intriguing speech to BYU-Hawaii graduates, encouraged them to utilize “new media.” He states,

“May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet…to share the gospel and explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration

We are living in a world saturated with all kinds of voices because now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility…to define ourselves instead of letting others define us

Every disciple of Christ will be most effective, and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of the follower of the Savior of the world.

Your outreach can be international.”

While he never specifically outlined blogging as one of those “new media,” I submit (and I have many associates on the internet that will agree), that blogging is one of those new media.

Now, the issue at hand. While this new trend of blogging is good, it could be much better. I discussed with a girl I work with how she should take the passion she has for politics and debate, and translate that into a blog about those issues, not just about her family life. While Elder Ballard stressed the utilization of blogging for spreading the gospel, I challenge people that I meet to blog not just for gospel-related purposes, but many others as well:

- Apologetics – With the accessibility of anything and everything on the internet, blogging can be beneficial to help defend the church. FAIR does a great job of faithfully discussing many of these difficult subjects, as well as aggressive, bias questions that people can throw at us.

- Honesty – I recently listened to a great presenatation called “Inoculating the Saints,” given at the 2007 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, found here at Mormon Matters. Among other things, the concept of honesty within the LDS Church came up. While the Church as a body has been very honest, many times the members don’t recognize the honesty. One of the most telling statements involved a teacher who was teaching 16-year olds. He had a student who had never heard of polygamy. Ever. And he states that this is a major problem, which, to an extent, I agree. But the internet has been wonderful to me, because I’ve learned so much about things that aren’t discussed very often. Polygamy, polyandry, Adam-God, Mountain Meadows, Blacks and the Priesthood, Joseph Smith’s translation process…I could go on and on.

- Culture – Or, in my case, the negative aspects of culture. I find many of the things that we do in the Church “cultural.” For example, I’d never even comprehended about praying or thanking God for rain. I’m from Michigan – according to Yahoo Real Estate, we have over 100 “precipitation days” per year. Yet when I came out to Utah/Idaho, they prayed for “precipitation.” Well I got sick of hearing that real quick, and in a religion class recently, I gave thanks in my prayer for the MOISTURE we received…and got many quizzical looks. Cultural things like white shirts at church, caffine (I love my Coke Zero), marking scriptures, Deseret Book’s Fluff, Mormon pop-music, FPR’s, and the like.

- Education – Long gone is the day when scholarship is only to be found in deep intense scholarly journals that take you 2 hours to get thorugh a paragraph. There are spectacular blogs out there with serious scholarship publishing their findings.

- Opinions – I think this is the best part of blogging. We’re all editorial contributors on the internet. And the best part about that is we, the “everyday folk,” can state our “everyday folk” opinions. I don’t write for the Scroll, but I can state my opinion about administration, the state of the school, or anything else. The best part is that I don’t have to answer to authority (or worry that I’m going to get kicked off the paper)…all I have to do is deal with grouchy readers who want me to talk about something other than BYU-Idaho

So please, SAHM, Blonde Haired ditzy 18-year old, or bitter 24-year old who needs to get a life and quit complaining about things…embrace your nerdiness and blog!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blogging, or, Why I Haven't Been Doing It

Blogging, or, Why I haven’t been doing it

I must apologize. I haven’t been the best at updating my blog, but I have an excuse and a justification!

Excuse: Midterms were last week, and while finishing up my 1 credit Career Exploration class on the block, of course I waited till the last week to finish. I’m a procrastinator, but I’ll do something about it later.

Justification: Though I went on a two-week hiatus, I have returned like the Prodigal Son with a newfound furry and dedication (and a bunch of ideas that I can’t wait to put on paper…screen…in a column…whatever format works for you).

I’ve noticed a trend among college students, and I’ve been racking my brain to figure out if I like the trend or not. I’m going to force myself to take a “yay” or “nay” stance, because it’s too easy to fall into the middle ground. This trend is blogging.

I’m a blogger. I do it on and off, but I blog because I think…(begin sarcasm) no, I know that my opinion is the most correct and the most important (end sarcasm), and I want people to know.

I also feel that I have a personal obligation, not because my opinion is more important than others, or that I’m doing ground-breaking research, but because in an environment like Rexburg, where ultra-conservatism sometimes prohibits discussion, I want to be the voice that examines the harder issues from a logical and rational viewpoint.

There’s others out there who do the same thing. Paul H did a great job of looking at BYU/BYU-Idaho culture. The Voice, a small paper in Rexburg, is another. The BYU-Idaho College Democrats, when they ran their blog on a regular basis, looked on a national level of issues. Mike, from the Mike Experience did this as well. But these are some of the exceptions.

The trend now, especially among married students, is to start a blog for their family. Many times it is a place to post pictures, a place to let people know about what’s been going on with their life, and a place for their married friends to make comments. It’s become almost a community within a community, a ward within a ward, a clique within a clique within a ward within a community.

Sometimes the cheesiness of those blogs bother me. I Googled “BYU-Idaho IBC,” and aside from the 2 results from BYU-Idaho about their IBC program, there were 8 results in the first 5 pages on personal blogs with wives talking about their husbands in the IBC. There’s cheesy posts about lovey-dovey stuff that husbands have done for their wives, with pictures included. I’m not saying that husbands doing that stuff for their wives is a bad thing, but it’s the spirit of competitiveness and unrealistic expectations that I address here that bother me. I’m not trying to protect women. I am trying to protect the sanity of men. “Well Carly posted on her blog about how Tommy bought a dozen roses and picked individual petals and placed in a trail to their bedroom with him lying there in a red satin robe with candles and a bottle of chilled sparkling cider and the 6 hour BBC version of ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ All we do is hang out in sweats, eat Jack-in-the-Box, and watch ‘Dumb and Dumber.’”

Can you see the problem?

Here’s my thought: Bravo for blogging. I’m sure my parents would love to see more pictures of Ash and I, and what we’re doing. It’s an opportunity to keep a journal without even knowing it, and being able to have that on the internet (as long as you remember the website address). Blogging is a good thing.

But it could be better.

Look for Blogging part 2 Tomorrow!