Quick Mail Bag - Sandwich time

I have been busy with some extra-curricular adventures, and have fallen behind a few days in my planned column writing. However, not wanting to leave you in the cold, I thought I would take a few moments to answer some of the comments/email I have received.

Several readers wrote to ask “What the hell?” after I posted a conversation between two people that went absolutely nowhere. Hey, they can’t all be winners, folks. For the record, while the conversation happened in my head, neither person was me, and I had nothing to do with it. I just wrote what they said. And I agree: while there may have been something salvageable in there, as it was presented: terrible.

Several people wrote to ask why The Hyperion Chronicles are not up to date. It’s me. I have been behind lately, and by the time I post I am usually too tired to fix things. I have a new plan starting next week, though, and I should never be behind again. (Stay tuned.)

A few also wanted to know why there was so much stuff going on in Monkey Barn. I wrote this letter to the Monkey Barn audience, hopefully explaining.

On my uncle’s birthday party (and the surprise musical guest Shawn Mullins), Sea Hag said she’d like The Decembrists to surprise her, while Dragon voted for Andrea Bocelli. As I threw down the gauntlet, I can only surmise the rest of you have no musical interests whatsoever. At all. I will forevermore refer to you as the TDB (Tone-deaf-bastards).

The Latest Monkey Barn Shenanigans

Interior Design 1 (Dominique)

Interior Design 2: Cork! (Dominique)

The Story of Menstruation (Walt Disney-style!)

Karaoke Theme Song

Karaoke Theme Song 2 (Lady Jane Scarlett)

Bomb Scare Blogging(Lady Jane Scarlett)

Ranking the Pixar Movies

Speaking of my uncle’s party, Koz wrote to back up my brother Achmed’s absurd claim that the food served at the party was heavy hors d’oeuvres and not a meal. You’re both (and anyone who agrees with you) missing the point. I will admit that the mouth-watering chateaubriand could be served as a hors d’oeuvre, as could the horseradish sauce and the cheese platter. But friends, rolls are not hors d’oeuvres under ANY circumstances, and when rolls were served NEXT to the beef, cheese and spread….that, little chickadees, is an implied sandwich, and that means a meal. QED.

Before I get to the final piece of mail, I wanted to say that in preparation for reviewing RATATOUILLE, I attempted to rank all eight Pixar movies. I found myself unable to do so, and beg your help. I have laid out the contenders and asked you to weigh in on how the Pixar movies stack up.

Speaking of that review, Lady Jane Scarlett correctly points out that I neglected to mention the “shorts” that go before all Pixar movies. The one in the theatre is called “Lifted,” about a young alien learning to raise people into the craft (presumably for probing). My understanding is that the DVD has an additional short. I miss the days when movies had shorts before them, and I applaud Pixar for continuing the tradition.

“Anonymous” wrote to ask how a movie can be in the 86th Percentile and only get a B+ in the Genre Grade. I have explained my ratings system many times before, but as I continually get new readers, it is always good to go over how I do it again.

My Suspension of Disbelief Index is how seriously to take the film. A clown eating a small child in a serious historical movie like ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE would be a serious flaw and a legitimate complaint. The same event in DUDE: WHERE’S MY CAR would not even make you blink.

My Genre Grade judges the movie in its genre only. For example, ARMY OF DARKNESS or HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE would never in an infinity of years score highly overall,1 but in their respective genres are enjoyable movies. When you add in the fact that some of you (and here I shake my fist in rage) watch movies based on the genre, not on the quality, then the Genre Grade becomes even more important.

The Pantheon Percentile seeks to judge the movie against all (non-porn) movies that have ever been theatrically released up to this point in time. That is a big thing. This is different from a Letter grade, where a 75 is usually a C, a middle grade. In the Pantheon Percentile, an “average” film would score a 50, whereas the best movie ever made (LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED WHITE AND BLONDE) would score a 99.999999.2

Further questioning my RATATOUILLE review, Bear disagreed with my assertion that having Remy talk to other rats but not humans was disjointed. I agree with Bear that Remy’s attempts to communicate were both flawless and hilarious, and I do not have a problem with the editorial choice. (Bear points out that director Brad Bird consciously does this because he felt that rats talking to humans takes the story one step too far down that old suspension of disbelief I wrote of above.) My point (poorly expressed), is that having Remy talk virtually non-stop the first third of the movie, and then stop talking completely (not even in narration to us, the audience), while trying to teach Linguini to cook, and then talking again during the conclusion; that sequencing was a little start-and-stop. It certainly did not lessen my enjoyment of the film, but as a critic I am obligated to point out flaws if they are legitimate, and I only mentioned it, really, in comparison to say Bird’s THE INCREDIBLES, which made the emotional changes more seamlessly. (But I wouldn’t kick either girl out of bed unless she wanted to do it on the floor, if you know what I mean.)

Keep those comments and questions coming!

November 14, 2007

1 Although: in infinity + 1 years you might have a shot
2 I’m totally kidding. The best movie ever is SISTERHOOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.


Koz said...

The rolls, etc do imply a sandwich, but they don't imply a footlong from Subway. I've seen this a lot and I still say its a snack not a meal.

But I also say it's free so eat up you beast, I would.

Bear said...

It seems the crux of the argument here is whether or not a sandwich automatically constitutes a meal. On the outset, I would have to say that while most of the time a sandwich constitutes a meal, I don't see why you couldn't have sandwich hors d’oeuvres. I have often won 1 chicken biscuit on bets with Hyperion and I would consider that just a snack.

Hyperion said...

It is not the size of the sandwich that makes it a meal, it is the effort involved. If there were those fruity cucumber sandwiches, all cut up into small pieces for you, I admit that could be an hors d'oeuvre. However, rolls are not part of a hors d'oeuvre table. They are only put out either in a holiday spread (obviously a meal), or to construct a multi-part sandwich. If you are adding meat, cheese and possibly spread, you have an official sandwich and a meal. I'm not even getting to the fact that they had huge chicken legs, thick chicken fried rice and cake for dessert....(Dessert, which is eaten AFTER A MEAL!)

The sandwich alone proves my case.

Dj kozzy koz and the fresh prince said...

So by using the words 'huge' and 'thick' you think I will be swayed to believe that this was a meal?

When you use those words it makes me think this was a Party at the Playboy Mansion rather than a birthday shindig.

Jerrica said...

Speaking as someone who witnessed said sandwich (and enjoyed one herself), it was totally a meal. Now stop being haters just cause Shawn Mullins sang us a lullaby and not you.

Koz said...

I know that Hyperion totally paid you(or bribed you with chicken biscuits) to post that comment. Come Clean!!!