The Bad Movie Report

Evidence of a Decaying Mind

The Jaw-Dropping 4th Anniversary Column

Remind me never to buy a house again.

Amazing, isn't it, that two of the major purchases you can make, cars and houses - which, as I understand it, power the Durable Goods Index analysts keep yammering about - are the most involved, complex and downright painful things you can do in this life. It's like the Powers That Be wanted an experience as debilitating and exhausting as childbirth, but that everyone could enjoy. In fact, given the choice of reliving either the purchasing of our new home or the major car wreck that half-crippled me, I would have to ask for time to consider the matter. And then the accident would probably win, because at least there were painkilling drugs involved.

The other parallel with childbirth is that, just as when you are expecting a child, everyone else has a horror story about their experience with the upcoming event, and absolutely must tell you theirs (A tip of the Freex motley to Chad 3-B Theater Plambeck for being the first, and the most entertaining, of these). I won't go into details here because a) I still feel a lot of rancor over the events and b) they're likely boring as hell to anybody not inhabiting my body.

As I type this, perhaps a third of my movies and an eighth of my books are unpacked. I have discovered that as a housepainter, I make a pretty good movie critic; and am still seriously plumbing the depths of my shortcomings as a handyman. Not to mention the darker side of what our local power company laughingly refers to as "Balanced Billing".

Oops. I'm getting into details...

It's been a pretty fallow season for the sites in Stomp Tokyo land. Chris and Scott have been laboring on their book, I've been involved in a human chess match, Joe Bannerman has been... well, we don't know, but it doesn't involve Jimmy Buffett music, we can be sure. Updates have been scarce. We're trying to ramp back up. Really.

It would be facile to speculate that like a lot of America, we were in shell shock over the events of last September, but that's an excuse that's become as popular as the homework-eating dog. Really, all 9/11/01 proved was that we occupy the same planet as the rest of the world, where a**holes with bombs have been killing innocent people for years. It didn't prove much else, except that the main body of what is usually referred to as The Common Man can and will rise to the occasion, and be far nobler than one would expect; that a certain percentage of that body will pay $300 for a gas mask (the new form of snake oil); and that, to crib a conceit from From Hell, we have now officially entered the 21st century, where much will be the same and yet everything has changed.

Perhaps it's the fact that I was born and raised during the ugliest part of the Cold War, when we were certain nukes would rain from the sky at any moment and turn us into dust with a half-life measured in centuries - but I don't feel the overwhelming fear that the media assures me I should. Righteous anger, yes. Determination, yes. But my day-to-day has not changed, nor has that of anyone I know (my friends serving in the military being the exception, natch). The same perspective applies to our current War on Terrorism - it took us nearly fifty years to put down the Soviet Union, and that was an enemy with a concrete face. Anyone expecting a fast-paced CNN-friendly war like Desert Storm is going to be suffering a reality check very quickly. The major difference this time is that the destruction actually took place on home soil, and a lot of folks are feeling a loss of security - especially since it is possible, even probable, that another blow is on the way.

I guess I just never felt that secure in the first place. I know way too much about serial killers and random acts of violence. There are moments I am acutely aware of how tenuous is our grip on life, of how easy it would be for a careless accident or single act of stupidity to rob me of my loved ones (it didn't take 9/11 to pound that into my skull). I am told that I have a better chance of being hit by a meteorite than of winning the state lottery, yet I continue to play the Lotto. Somehow, in my statistically-deficient brain, this seems to up the probability of the meteorite hit. Every day I am not brained by a hurtling piece of space crap, I am ahead of the game, and when you live like that, anthrax in the mail just seems par for the course.

Is there room for places like Stomp Tokyo and The Bad Movie Report in such a world? Well, yeah - if there was before, there still is now. Likely even a need for something as frivolous as reveling in crap cinema. My typing fingers grow itchy, as they've done very little for me in the last couple of months. I had hoped to have a full review up for Halloween, but HA! Life keeps getting in the way, wives and sons get sick and must be cared for, and boxes must still be found and unpacked.

It was a bumpy ride this year - for that, I apologize. Here's hoping that now that my life has actually settled down a bit, there will be a return to normalcy... or at least the bi-weekly update. Whichever comes first.