One Star Wonders

Calling bullshit on the wisdom of crowds.

One Star Wonders - Calling bullshit on the wisdom of crowds.

Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Is nothing sacred with Mel Brooks?

Victim: Robin Hood – Men in Tights

But nothing screams “Brooks has lost his edge!” than the JFK joke. At one point a bad guy is taking aim at Robin with a crossbow from the window of a tower labeled “Ye Olde Booke Depository.” Even after nearly 50 years, this was appalling. Too soon, Mel, too soon.

Huh. I saw this movie when it came out twenty years ago and I’ve watched it hundreds of times since and I never caught that joke before. That’s pretty damned funny.

As for the meat of our intrepid reviewer’s argument: I would argue that the very fact that he’s so up in arms over a joke about an assassination that was nearly fifty years removed when he wrote the review is proof enough that Mel Brooks still had some edge left when he made Men in Tights. Enough edge to reach twenty years in the future and get our intrepid reviewer’s panties in a twist.

The Neverending Story disappointment

Product: The Neverending Story

The very beginning of this movie was interesting… But when the storybook started . . . sorry I just couldn’t get into the over reaching attempt to make another movie with “cute” aliens and monsters that talk.

Not into cute aliens. Not into monsters that talk. Doesn’t seem to care for fantastical storybook settings.

Still decides it might be a good idea to buy a movie with a kid riding a giant white furry dog-snake creature right there on the front cover.

Amazing how that purchase didn’t work out for our intrepid reviewer.

Learn Japanese with the magic of modern technology

Product: Now You’re Talking Japanese In No Time

I wanted something that would help me to understand the language and give me the basics… I have listened to the CD, and they only say each thing once… this is not something for beginner, unless you are going to listen to each CD numerous times.

They only say each thing once on a language CD? That’s terrible! It’s as though the people who made the CD thought that they were putting their audio program on some sort of modern technology that allowed people to go over the audio multiple times through either the magic of the rewind button or the simple expedient of starting the disc or track over again.

But no, that’s just crazy talk.

Warcraft, LotRO, the MMO grind never changes

Product: World of Warcraft

when you reach 60 you suddenly have no options for how to advance… you go on incredibly restrictive several hour raids in boring zones… Thank heaven for Lord of the Rings Online; wait for that, don’t play this trash.

Hoo boy. Where to start? This review was written in the far off year of 2006 when World of Warcraft was still new and fresh to millions of starry-eyed gamers who’d never experienced the addictive Skinner box that is an MMORPG.

And unsuspecting gamers having their first MMO experience with World of Warcraft would be akin to a college student deciding they want to dabble in recreational drugs and then going out to pick up some pure heroin for starters. The MMO high is fast, intense, insanely addictive, and our hypothetical gamer is inevitably going to be a little cranky when they come down and emerge blinking from their dorm room to discover that they hit level 60 at the price of skipping all their classes for a semester and getting kicked out of school.

I imagine that’s the place that this poor gamer was in when they wrote this angry review back in the day. Only we get to look at this from the future where we know that Lord of the Rings Online was exactly the same as every other MMO that slavishly copied Blizzard’s money printing machine after World of Warcraft simultaneously revitalized and destroyed the MMO genre.

That old phrase comes to mind: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Only in this case the new boss had terrible controls, mediocre quests, and went free to play a few months after launch because everyone realized how crappy the game was compared to Warcraft and left at the same time to go play the Burning Crusade expansion.

I bet our intrepid reviewer really liked his shiny new flying mount.

Labyrinth is a terrible measure of kid friendliness

Product: The Witches

This movie scared our children so much… This movie was produced and directed by those who made my favorite movie Labyrinth. This movie was no where near as fantastic as Labyrinth.

Really? I can understand parents being a little blindsided by The Witches. I watched the movie as a young man when it was still brand new and it scared the ever loving crap out of me.

But using Labyrinth as the yardstick by which kid-friendly content is measured? Seriously? The movie where a fabulously coiffed David Bowie sporting a massively hypnotic codpiece that launched a thousand girls into puberty back in the day does his best to seduce a fourteen year old girl? The movie where they walk through a bog filled with literal anuses farting happily away? The movie where muppets try to rip the aforementioned fourteen year old girl limb from limb while singing a happy song about the joys of a little dismemberment among friends?

To quote one of my favorite movies: I wonder what your basis for comparison is.

Astronomical murder rate, she wrote

Product:Murder, She Wrote – The Complete First Season

Why does Angela Lansbury have to travel all over the world to clear up murder cases.

The fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine where mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher lived had a population of around 3500. The regular show ran for 12 years usually with 22 episodes a season and 1-2 murders per episode. Let’s make a conservative estimate and say there are 30 murders per year.

So if  every episode took place in sleepy Cabot Cove that would mean the city would have an adjusted murder rate of 858 murders per 100,000 residents which is apparently how that sort of thing is measured so you have to do some math to get at a proper proportional comparison to much larger cities.

Compare that to a murder rate of 159 per 100,000 residents in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which currently has the dubious honor of the highest non-war zone murders per 100,000 residents in the world. Or compare it to the highest scorer in the United States, New Orleans, which comes in at 58 murders per 100,000 residents.

So why didn’t Murder, She Wrote set more episodes in Cabot Cove? Probably because to do so would make the quiet Maine town the most violent and deadly city in the world. The news would get out, there wouldn’t be any more tourists flocking there like bugs to a zapper, and the show would be over before the second season got off the ground.

Sherlock’s pricing is elementary

Product: Sherlock: Season One

Good show but not worth 23 dollars for three episodes!

Let’s imagine we’re the famous detective and do a bit of deductive reasoning to get to the bottom of this ridiculous pricing scheme!

Sherlock costs between $22-27 depending on what package you buy for a mere three episodes. That seems ridiculous on the face of it, but our intrepid reviewer left out the pesky little fact that each of those episodes is 90 minutes. So “three episodes” is 270 minutes of entertainment. That’s equivalent to three full-length movies or roughly twelve episodes of a typical American sitcom.

Compare that 270 minutes for $22-$27 to the $15-$60 someone could expect to pay for three movies of equivalent length. Or look at a season of an American sitcom that retails for around $35 for 17-24 episodes.

At the higher end of its price scale that puts Sherlock at $0.10 per minute of entertainment compared to $.07 per minute of entertainment on the high end of the pricing scale for a sitcom with 24 episodes and $0.22 per minute of entertainment for purchasing three new movies.

When you look at it that way the value proposition for purchasing Sherlock: Season One is elementary.

In the Banned Kitchen

Product: In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

I just had to analyze this book for a banned book assiginment… This book should be removed from all bookshelves.

I think it’s safe to say that’s one banned book assignment that backfired horribly. The silver lining? “Banned book assignment” screams Library Science course, and with the library job market in tatters chances are this intrepid reviewer never got a chance to put their unique brand of openmindedness to work in the workplace.

Star Trek VI: The Misremembered Series

Product: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The Undiscovered Country is a thinly disguised rehashing of the Cold War using the imminent collapse of the Klingon Empire due to an industrial accident on the Homeworld’s moon as it’s impetus…

While the television series often did the same, specifically regarding Viet Nam and the Cold War of almost forty years ago, it did so with a great deal more tact, and much more creative writing…

The Undiscovered Country doesn’t have those qualities. It is preachy and strident.

More tact and more creative writing? Creative like in Let That Be Your Last Battlefield where the one dude with a half black/half white face was chasing down the other dude with the half white/half black face? Nuanced like The Omega Glory where a group of primitives called the Yangs and Comms fight off a technologically superior force? The one where the big reveal at the end is that both sides are actually the irradiated descendants of a United States and Soviet Union that developed in parallel on the planet thousands of years before they did on earth and destroyed each other in nuclear war?

Yeah, the original series was just dripping with creativity and tact when it came to addressing the cold war.