I watch movies and sometimes notice things.

pacific rim jawsIn the last week or so I’ve seen a few movies and they’ve all got me really thinking about the people and things contained in them, so I’d like to talk about them for a bit.

I saw Pacific Rim in theaters with a special someone and we both agreed that, while enjoyable, it wasn’t a great movie. It was fun to watch, especially if you turn your mind off for a while.

The main character is a doofus and has awful dialog. Okay, sure. The only female in the movie (sorry, Bechdel Test) is troubled but pretty and also a little kick-ass, which is nifty. One of the scientists behind the “decipher the alien brain” project is Charlie Day of It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia and Horrible Bosses fame, who I really really like as an actor, and definitely adds to the movie in that he takes away from the serious dialog silliness. The robotic voice of the Jaegers is Ellen McLain, known mostly as GLaDOS from the Portal series (and the announcer in Team Fortress 2, incidentally), whose voice filter was actually licensed from Valve (though toned down) for the movie. What a cool little thing.

There is a part in the movie where the crew is held up by a man on a motorized cart, who only stops and glares at the main characters before continuing. He doesn’t appear anywhere else, but his face is shown clearly. After a little surfing, I think it has to be the producer, Thomas Tull, though I may be way off base, as I don’t remember the scene very well. Cameos are cool.

Just today we also had some time to spend and spent it watching WarGames, a “thriller” starring a very young Matthew Broderick as the accidental initiator of an almost-nuclear war. It’s this movie that coined the “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play” line.

Originally I was arguing, having never seen it before, that the Matthew Broderick of this movie grows up and changes his name to Ferris Bueller (which we’d watched together a week ago). There are so many similarities: he has a computer, his room is upstairs, his parents are goofballs, he is a slacker in school, there is a goofy love interest, etc. etc.

But once he gets kidnapped for suspected Soviet espionage, that changes everything. The movie is very enjoyable, if a little goofy at times (but not in a bad way). Really, it’s funny how after watching Dr. Strangelove (again a week ago) how much the War Room has changed in 30 years, yet the plot is still the same: “nuclear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies.”

wargames the bookOh, and the slightly foppish assistant in WarGames with the receding hairline and the thin mustache? An actor named Michael Ensign. I recognized him for his part as the hotel manager/owner in Ghostbusters, but turns out he was in Titanic and was the voice of Dr. N. Tropy in a good chunk of the Crash Bandicoot games (which I would have never picked up on).

[An aside: it’s funny that the only game he didn’t play N. Tropy in is the one I played the most of, Wrath of Cortex, which might be why I never noticed. Wrath of Cortex had a shitload of other celebrity voices, though, including Clancy Brown (voice of Mr. Krabs among many other roles), Debi Derryberry (voice of Jimmy Neutron, among others), R. Lee Ermey (of Full Metal Jacket), Mark Hamill (… Luke Skywalker), Jess Harnell (a super prolific voice actor, including Wakko from Animaniacs), and Tom Wilson (Biff from Back To The Future). What a hell of a cast for an ultimately moderately bland, “safe” game.]

Anyway. I digress. A lot. Basically, I have been watching more movies lately, I have liked most of them, and the more I watch movies the more I appreciate the people that go into them. The End.

[epilogue: while surfing through WarGames links I found this website, dedicated to guessing the DEFCON level of the United States military. The site’s been running for 30 years, so Netscape users beware.

epilogue two: while surfing through Pacific Rim websites I found this gem buried in the comment section. What was a discussion on proper dictation turned into a sports chant. (Also, go Tigers.) ]

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