Have you watched the Cinefix Homemade Movies of the the Death Star Trench Run scene from Star Wars: Episode IV? Trust me, even if you think this idea is dumb, stick with it until about the 2nd minute and the genius of it will slowly be revealed to you.


[embedded video: Homemade Star Wars

If you want to really nerd out, there’s a side-by-side comparison available:


[embedded video: Homemade Star Wars side-by-side comparison]

Via laughing squid.

paleontologychicken Last month, Husband took a day off and we spent some quality time together.

(With our Tivo, Overlord II).

A series of Florida swamp adventures slowed down my posting schedule, but here at last is what I wrote about the rest of Pop Culture Paleontology Day (low rent edition).

I’m hoping the suspense didn’t kill you after I posted about our warmup flick, lake Placid 3, and then left you hanging when we moved on to 4 truly special dinosaur creature-features: Raptor Island, Pterodactyl, Rise of the Dinosaurs, and Triassic Attack.

(They were special because they were the 4 dinosaur-themed movies we had on our Tivo).

There are spoilers here, but if you’re reading this you probably don’t care.

Before we get to the movies, I wanted to comment on the real-life big news about the Smithsonian getting long-term lone of a super-swank T. rex.

“Tyrannosaurus rex gets long-term lease at Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.”

That the [Army] Corps had a T. rex to lend was news to many of its senior leaders. “They didn’t know we had a dinosaur,” said Sonny Trimble, who oversees curation and management of archaeological collections for the Corps. People transfer, he said. Many retired. So “the chief engineer doesn’t wake up in the morning saying, ‘How’s our dinosaur doing?’”

I’ve been telling you for years that the dinosaur-human supersoldier project is a secret, so of course they didn’t want us to know they own dinosaurs.

I don’t think that counts as a digression because it’s about dinosaurs. And the military.

raptorisland

First up, Raptor Island (2004).

This movie is a classic, in that it was made in 2004 when SyFy was still SciFi.

The movie opens with a plane crash in the distant, grainy, faux-film effects past. Who was on the plane? What was on the plane? Why are you asking stupid questions like that?

The movie jumps ahead 40 years later, to Lorenzo Lamas and his CIA agent lady-friend and his team of Navy Seals hunting a terrorist in a jungle full of vicious dinosaurs.

Lorenzo Lamas, bitches!

As an aside, the raptors in all these movies were slappers, not clappers. See also: Brian Switek: Doing the T. rex Stretch at the Smithsonian’s Dinosaur Tracking Blog.

Wait! What the hell? While I was looking up that last link, Lorenzo Lamas – Navy Seal, hair gel aficionado, and now, apparently, a dinosaur expert – informed his CIA lady friend that a plane carrying radioactive waste (or maybe weapons-grade plutonium, it’s not clear) mutated the regular animals that lived on this otherwise benign island in the South China Sea. Into dinosaurs! In only 40 years!

Of course it did!

After that brilliant exposition there was some nonsense with some explosives, a volcano erupted, some other military shit happened, and then the movie ended.

On to Pterodactyl (2005), which stars dinosaurs, a volcano, and Coolio.

pterodactyl

Paleontology Professor/heartthrob Michael Lovecraft (Cameron Daddo) and his motley band of grad students pile into a jeep and head off into a forest in Turkey because an earthquake has opened a fissure in a dormant volcano and they plan to look inside! Little do they know, because they ignored the warning at the beginning of the movie, Coolio and his Special Forces team are hunting terrorists in this same forest.

The same forest! What are the odds!?!

Pterodactyl is nothing like Raptor Island.

In Raptor Island some terrorists and some terrorist-hunting military dudes all ran around in the forest (and occasionally in some caves), and they battled dinosaurs, and there was a huge nest of baby dinosaurs, and then a volcano erupted.

In Pterodactyl, some dinosaurs fly around and some terrorists and some terrorist-hunting military dudes run around in the forest (and, occasionally in some cave-like locations), and they battle dinosaurs, and there’s a huge nest of baby pterodactyles. It’s totally different than Raptor Island because in Pterodactyl the volcano erupts before any of the other stuff.

We thought that maybe if we were lucky, some raptors might show up and eat all of the characters.

(We weren’t that lucky).

(During parts of Rise of the Dinosaurs, and definitely through the whole middle section of Triassic Attack, we hoped that some raptors might show up and eat us).

At this point in the festivities we took a break so Husband could make chicken curry for dinner because pop culture paleontology day demands consumption of birds.

(It was hilarious at the time).

After dinner, it was on to…

Rise of the Dinosaurs (aka Jurassic Attack 2010), in which a plane crashed in the jungle and then some military dudes hunt terrorists and battle dinosaurs.

Only kidding!

They’re hunting rebels.

Hey! The military dudes just came upon a nest of dino eggs!

Hey! That was Corin Nemec, co-star of House of Bones

Now they’re battling dinosaurs!

After some “dramatic” action and they escape in a helicopter. Like you do.

As they fly back to civilization, having forgotten that in the beginning of the movie the central conflict was that they were all infected with a bio-weapon that meant they would have to be killed or something and could never go back to civilization, two of the characters have this exchange:


“How do we explain all this?”
“We don’t!”

Fine. Whatever. The movie is over? I’ll take it.

triassicattackLast, but not least: Triassic Attack, which stars Kristy Mitchell, star of Lake Placid 3. When I saw that I was sure that this was meant to be!

(Or, at that point, I’d reached the optimum blood-alcohol to achieve some sort of b-movie equanimity. Who can say, really?)

Triassic Attack has the annoying elements of Movie Archaeology combined with the annoying elements of Pop Culture Paleontology.

When we watched Lake Placid 3 this morning, I was confused because I remembered it as a bit of spoof of Eureka, starring Colin Ferguson.

It wasn’t.

That’s because I was confusing it with Triassic Attack, which is a bit of a spoof of Eureka, directed by Colin Ferguson.

This movie is aggravating on many levels. It confuses archaeology (humans and artifacts) with paleontology (dinosaurs).

In brief: the Chief leading the American Indian repatriation protest at the paleontology museum does a ceremony to re-animate the dinosaur skeletons and your brain rolls over and fakes a coma for 90 minutes and it’s best to just go with it.

Oh, here, let’s just make this super-easy:


[embedded video: Triassic Attack trailer]

If you’re a super-nerd, you might enjoy this Pterodactyl trivia. It’s the kind of thing we cared about before we watched 5 of these movies in one day and broke something in our insides.

I’ll just quote wikipedia because it’s all I can muster at this point:

Many of the characters are named after famous science-fiction and fantasy writers – Burroughs (Edgar Rice Burroughs), Clarke (Sir Arthur C. Clarke), Donaldson (Steven Donaldson), Heinlein (Robert A. Heinlein), Herbert (Frank Herbert), Lem (Stanislaw Lem), Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft), Serling (Rod Serling), Yolen (Jane Yolen) and Zelazny (Roger Zelazny).

As I finish editing this draft (6 weeks later), we’re watching Swamp Shark, which includes dramatic dialogue like, “If it breathes, it can be killed!”

Now that’s some quality writing. The acting is even better.

Clearly we don’t ever seem to learn our lesson.

Intending to watch the hilarious Happy, Texas but instead watching the not-hilarious Paris, Texas is a mistake I doubt one makes twice.

I certainly haven’t.

Ditto: thinking you’re in for an evening filled with the adorableness of Sandra Bullock (and adorable alcoholics, judging from the description) in 28 Days and accidentally finding yourself immersed in the horrors of zombies in 28 Days Later.

Haven’t made that mistake again, either.

Mistaking Under Satan’s Sun (aka Under the Sun of Satan) for Under the Tuscan Sun would probably be the most disturbing of all, but I haven’t seen either one so I’m just speculating.

Unless Under the Tuscan Sun also stars Gérard Depardieu as a self-flagellating priest. I hadn’t considered that possibility.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the case but I’m very sure I don’t wish to investigate further. Slate’s David Edelstein concluded his review of Under the Tuscan Sun with this description: “The movie is sweet but deeply suspect: It’s like Lost Horizon re-imagined by a realtor.

What the hell does that even mean?

After about 30 seconds of research I’ve realized it’s a bit less ominous than I thought, in that it turns out Lost Horizon bears no resemblance to the movie that I originally thought he was referring to, Lost Highway.

I am not to be trusted with the Netflix queue when I have a high fever.

Are bike messengers still a thing in the United States? Not as in, do they still exist – of course they still exist! (How else would people get weed delivered to their office in the middle of the day?)

Let me start over: I’m sure there are still courier services – I wonder if their numbers have decreased.

With the exception of Premium Rush, they’ve almost vanished from pop culture. When was the last time the “hip friend” character on a show was a bike courier?

I was just wondering about bike messengers because I was wondering if someone made a Dark Angel reboot, would the main characters still be messengers? I don’t know why I was thinking about this. I’m not now, nor have I ever, watched Dark Angel.

Maybe I started thinking about Dark Angel because it’s indirectly connected to Stonehenge Apocalypse because Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles was in the 2nd season of Dark Angel and then a few years later landed a lead role on Supernatural, which, in the 4th season, added Misha Collins to the cast as one of the best characters ever and Misha Collins is, of course, the star of Stonehenge Apocalypse, which we’ve just started watching.

Probably not, but it would be cool if that was why.

I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned Stonehenge Apocalypse. Not only have we seen it before, we’re re-watching it. On purpose. For pretty much no reason at all.

It’s got Misha Collins AND disaster movie physics AND adventure movie archaeology AND Stonehenge AND an apocalypse, all wrapped up in one big tortilla of terrible.

Goddamned movie archaeologists. Always doing their archaeology stuff with ancient powerful relics, trying to facilitate the apocalypse or raise an ancient god or get even more super-rich.

Luckily, movie physicists and movie astrophysicists are always standing by to save the day by preventing the power-mad, well-funded movie archaeologists from destroying the world.

For realism, these movies really ought to have a scene in realtime where the movie archaeologists spend 30 minutes arguing over which is the the cheapest happy hour in town and then spend the next 7 hours of storytime drinking beer and arguing about stable isotope analysis and critical theory and heritage management politics and how whoever takes the job managing Stonehenge is out of their ever-loving mind. After they slept off their hangovers, they’d spend the next 6 months of the story grant-writing and and then they’d take a series of moderately paying Cultural Resource Management temp jobs to make some cash during the field season.

Then they’d resume apocalypse facilitation in earnest in the Fall because it’s way more fun than cleaning, labeling, cataloging, and analyzing artifacts in the lab.

Plus, that’s the kind of work you leave for the grad students.

That would be significantly less dramatic and exciting than the “quest to find an ancient Egyptian temple in Maine and turn Stonehenge into an apocalyptic death ray” storyline we just saw in Stonehenge Apocalypse, which was also profoundly lacking in musical numbers, so I’ll leave you with this:


[embedded clip: This Is Spinal Tap]

Incidentally, FWIW, the Cycle Messenger World Championships continue to happen. Plus, everyone carries messenger bags now and wears skinny jeans, so although it seems like bike messengers are maybe less visible, bike messenger culture has it’s tentacles deep in fashion and is here to stay. For a while, anyway. At least until smaller portable devices reduce the amount of crap people carry around and messenger bags get smaller or become irrelevant. That seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

Crapfest has been postponed due to a family emergency so we’re just considering these random acts of viewing to be part of the warmup to The Real Crapfest. Just so you know.

Mary Harron’s brilliant, disturbing, satirical movie, American Psycho, contains a now-iconic scene where Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) holds forth on Huey Lewis and the News before killing an associate with an axe. Sorry if that’s a spoiler, but there’s really no other way to warn you that this clip contains gratuitous and potentially upsetting scenes of someone dancing to Huey Lewis and the News:


[embedded clip: American Psycho: Huey Lewis]

I mention this because this funny or die clip is probably a bit confounding if you haven’t seen the source:

Yes, I know that in sharing this I’m essentially advertising a Huey Lewis album since this video was created to “celebrate” the 30th anniversary of said Huey Lewis album, but I’m easily amused and can’t help it.

Home again after the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference, which was a 4 day whirlwind. Think I’m kidding about the whirlwind part? Here’s the pdf of the schedule – it’s 501 pages long.

(The conference is actually going on until 9:45 tonight but we attended 3 panels between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then our brains melted. Well, I can’t speak for Husband, but I can assure you mine did. While I’m writing this, I’m watching Project Runway and I’m having trouble following the plot. Yikes).

My conference paper on the TV show Supernatural was well-received and everyone else on the panel was fascinating so I was in great company:

horror (text, media, culture): television and New Media horror

“Translating tradition: domesticating seasonal horror through television.”
Derek Johnston (panel chair)

“Beyond salt and fire: the agency of human remains in the Supernatural Universe.”
Rebecca Stone Gordon

“Control is Being taken away from You”, Marble hornets and transmedia horror.
Ralph Beliveau and Amanda Kehrberg

I should probably edit the draft of my first TED DeExtinction post so I can get that online tomorrow. I intended to post about that last week and so it concludes with the delusional statement that I’d blog from the PCAACA conference. We can see how well that worked out.

ikea5

When I first moved to Washington, DC in 1988, IKEA ads touting their high product-testing standards were on TV a lot. My roommate and I loved one with a scientist jumping up and down on a bed chanting, “You’re gonna get hurt! You’re gonna get hurt! You’re gonna get hurt!”

That’s how I remembered it, anyway. We especially loved that ad after we’d been drinking all night at Ireland’s Four Provinces (aka The 4Ps) so, um, do with that what you will.

Over the years, I’ve quizzed marketing experts about this ad campaign. I’ve made phone calls. I’ve searched for this ad on youtube. All to no avail. Samer almost had me convinced that I’d imagined it. Almost.

Recently, I began to wonder if I was perhaps remembering the ads themselves properly, but had the company wrong. I commenced googling, and the first hit led me to a detailed dissection of the whole campaign!

It was real! And it was an IKEA campaign! And it was, indeed, almost exactly as I remembered it!

Thank you so much, Adland! There’s no video, but the picture pretty much says it all, and they break down the ad.

TITLE CARD: IKEA LOGO VO ANNCR: Ikea, Swedish for common sense.

In the closing scene, the male tester is jumping up and down on a bed. …Like a kid.
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.
SFX: BELL
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.
SFX: BELL
FEMALE TESTER: You’re gonna get hurt.
SFX: BELL

The post is a discussion of a number of ad campaigns and I’m not familiar with, but the IKEA part vindicates my memory. Lots of Gen X creatives read this site, though, so some of you will probably find it interesting if you remember this ad, or some later ads for other companies that were apparently suspiciously similar.

I loved this note at the bottom of the post, a 2005 update to the 1998 post:

A visitor lets us know that IKEA tv spot in the Badland section was definitely done at Goldberg Marchdesano in D.C. Joe Moscati was the Art Director…he was at the One Show to accept award on behalf of Goldberg, and has the pencil with his name on it to prove it. Wow, this makes the ‘original’ ad an olden goldie, 1988 is a long time ago for a commercial.

I’m glad the website broke down all of the ads in the campaign – they were all funny.

I uploaded their image and put it at the top of this post because this post has been in my draft file for a while and I’ve had trouble loading the adland page a few times and I’m afraid they might disappear. I’m going to drop them a line to make sure it’s okay I’m using it. And to thank them for documenting this ad campaign!