Saturday, October 23, 2010

One of the Stupidest Remakes Ever

I grew up knowing very little about the 1984 film Red Dawn, other than the fact that it was an action film which starred Patrick Swayze. Lately, I learned that it's been remade by famed stunt director Dan Bradley (who worked on the last two Bourne movies, the last two Spider-Man movies, and the last Indiana Jones and James Bond movies) with star of the upcoming Thor adaptation, Aussie up-and-comer Chris Hemsworth, in the Swayze role. I still didn't know anything about the plot, though.

Thanks, however, to, a site which I happened to "like" on Facebook (because it really is pretty darned funny) I now know its basic premise: it's about a bunch of high school kids who stage an armed resistance against a Soviet-led communist army which has successfully occupied the United States of America. In view of perestroika, a remake of this film set in the present day would obviously be ridiculous, but that has apparently not stopped studio execs over at the floundering MGM studios from trying, by replacing the USSR with, of all things, China. When I read that China would be the new heavy, I found myself flabbergasted and thinking "are they kidding me?"

In this day and age, where almost everything is made in China and where even people who have professed to live and die by Maoist principles are criticizing China's capitalist tendencies, picking a fight with China by making a movie about their invasion of the United States of America is profoundly stupid. What compounds this is that this film comes barely two years after the United States had just about the most hated man in the world as its president. I mean, Marvel studios was afraid to give the title "Captain America," to the film adaptation of the superhero comic of the same name because the image of the United States the world over is downright awful. This doesn't strike me as the same impulse that prompted the remake of The Karate Kid, which, after all, was set in China. Sure, it's about riding high on love for the 80s, but I'm thinking it's a different kind of love.

This strikes me as an effort by the suits at MGM to revisit a simpler time, when communists were evil and the American way was, well the way. Part of me imagines that this film may have been done with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but the rest of me really doesn't think this film is worth writing an overly long-winded blog post about, so I'll stop here, but in this day and age it astounds me that someone would be idiotic enough to pick a fight with the Chinese.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well Kudos to Facebook, But What Does This Mean?

I have yet to see The Social Network, though I've read a number of the glowing reviews and have found myself impressed by the trailer. In short, I certainly want to see it.

What makes this compelling to write about, for me anyway, is that while the internet has, in the strictest sense, literally been around for forty years, the social networking phenomenon in any form remotely recognizable as related to what we have now has only been around for the last ten or fifteen years at the very most. I didn't think we'd have a movie about it, at least not a biographical one, quite so soon.

It figures Facebook would be the one to make the big leap first. As an FB user, I think everything that came before it basically just pales in comparison in terms of sheer user-friendliness. That may be a good or a bad thing, but the point is that whereas Friendster, Myspace, Multiply or even the lesser known sites like Tubely seemed to have reached their limit in terms of public interest, with Friendster (which seems to have been mainly a hit in the Philippines) having peaked a few years back and with Myspace having been effectively supplanted by FB as the "in" social network among Americans, FB just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. And it's the only network that's had a movie made about it.

No wonder a lot of sites tie up with FB, even Twitter which I really don't care much for; it's kind of a matter of survival, I would think. Facebook, and social networking in general, has been effectively woven into the social fabric.

Now, this has gotten me thinking.

I can't help but wonder: with so much of our lives online, from our journals to our picture albums, what happens if the whole thing, one day, just up and crashes? I mean it's so much more convenient to chuck our pictures into cyberspace than actually stock up on photo albums, and to type down our thoughts (like I'm doing right now) than to actually write stuff down in a journal. Books, comic books, music albums are all available online for download into our handheld appliances, many of which have set expiry dates.

I've been telling my wife for years that we have to start putting our pictures into albums. Back when we first got married, we used to do just that, but since we got started on digital pictures, it's all been about saving stuff onto a CD or onto a hard drive. Considering we've had our hard-drives reformatted more than once, that's a kind of risky proposition, really. I'm talking about really wonderful memories here, like our family's trip to Bohol and Cebu three years ago. Sure, photoalbums can get lost in fire and flood, but to my digital storage media is a lot more fickle because God only knows how long photobucket will be around or what virus could take gmail out.

There's something more, though, and it's not about being resistant to technology. There's a warmth, dare I say it, to sitting with one's family around an old album, as opposed to just admiring something on a screen and clicking "like." It's great for sharing these precious recollections with people one cannot see everyday, but when a family such as mine doesn't have any pictures more recent than 2004, the time to start investing in some photo albums has definitely come.