Archive for April 29th, 2012
I am happy, and disappointed at the same time to see that The Pirates! Band of Misfits made so much money, because it is a truly remarkable film. It opened overseas in March and to date has a $58 million dollar gross with nearly $56 million coming from foreign sales. Without question the film will do well in The United States. It’s everything we go to the movies to see, it’s grand, it’s funny, it’s exciting, and was just a whole load of joy on the screen.
This movie was a must see in my family, since any subject that has pirates in it makes it a priority. But in this instance there was an extra incentive. I raised my children on the films of Wallace and Gromit from Aardman Studios, so we were all intensely excited to see a rendition of that type of stop motion animation from that studio. And we weren’t disappointed. The film was just fantastic in every category.
I don’t recall laughing so much in a film for a very long time. As usual, in the tradition of Wallace and Gromit action sequences, there were wonderfully difficult stop motion scenes in The Pirates! Band of Misfits that truly pushed the very edge of stop motion animation, particularly the bathtub scene. Watching it in the scene below does not ruin the experience of seeing it on the big screen in 3D. I would pay money again to see the film just for this scene.
I love movies that depend on good clean fun to tell a story, and nobody today does it better than Aardman Studios. They are truly the best there is. In the world of animation only Pixar is doing anything even remotely as genius as the work seen in The Pirates! Band of Misfits.
The film itself was not a disappointment at all. My kids are preparing for a long trip to go see a play in London next week and then a photo expedition in Paris, so we all got together Friday night to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits before they leave. As we bought our tickets I was very impressed to see that Simon and Schuster was giving out free copies of Carter Goodrich’s new children’s book Zorro Gets an Outfit which was hauntingly reminiscent to my personal circumstances since I am set to become a grandfather soon. The book reminded me of all the kid stuff I was about to become reacquainted with, as my own children have been grown for quite some time now. The book is very good and of high quality as I browsed through it prior to the start of the film. Everything about the theater experience was set to be epic on a Friday night out with my family, a big movie release by Aardman, a book promo by Simon and Schuster, a giant state-of-the-art screen—everything was perfect—except for the audience.
Nobody was there. Besides my family, there were only three other families in the largest theater at the multiplex. It probably would have been cheaper for the theater to gives us the movie print they had in their possession and send us home rather than run the projector for such a small audience on a Friday night. The small audience was not the fault of the movie or the effort of the studios—it was the economy. Nobody was out and about on a Friday night with their kids to see a good old fashion family film, and that said a lot about the state of The United States.
As the film ended and we all got up excited from the wonderful film, I paused a minute to look around at the silence of the theater and I was truly sad. It was only 10:30 PM and the parking lot outside was nearly vacant. If a movie like The Pirates! Band of Misfits didn’t pack the house, not much would. I suddenly understood the reason why Sony Pictures did not release the film first in the United States, but instead focused on the international market—because they didn’t want the poor numbers from America to hinder their box office opening. The big American releases are waiting for May and June when kids get out of school to see movies, because the economy is that weak.
On a personal level I had a wonderful evening with the work of Aardman Studios. Before the film, my wife and I picked up my kids at their house where we had Little Creasers Pizza, and watched a quick episode of Wallace and Gromit from Netflix to get into the spirit before heading to the theater.
Art does reflect the culture it comes from and there is a reason American films were the envy of the world for such a long time, because the culture of America was the same. But that is changing, and the evidence is even in the kinds of movies America is making, the way studios market them and who shows up to see them on a Friday night.
With all considerations included, The Pirates! Band of Misfits is a wonderful film that I’d recommend seeing several times, even if you go to see the movie by yourself. However, if you have children in your life, you are wasting time if you are not already in your car and on the way to the theater. Movies simply don’t get any better than this one. Every single frame of it was a delight to the senses.
This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon
Lumbering down the Mason school system hallways in pursuit of the retched sounding animal noises permeating along the corridor originating from a closed office door Assistant Principal Keeton turned the knob as the ghosts of Stacy Schuler’s sex antics haunted her mind. The worst horror imaginable presented itself to Keeton’s eyes as yet another sex scandal has exploded upon the scene of that promiscuously infatuated school district. Mason High School business teacher Jason Austerman and high school campus supervisor Kimberly Rowland were in states of undress and performing a vigorous rendition of the horizontal mamba in contorted manifestations. Darryl Parks of 700 WLW was one of the first to break this story on his Saturday show. Listen to the video below to hear how it sounded.
So why did they do it? Why didn’t Jason and Kimberly get a room down at the Fields Ertel exit during lunch where they could be alone? Or maybe take a drive in their car and park someplace private and do their business? The only conclusion one can make is arrogance, pure and simple.
Arrogance is what makes these teachers believe they can embark on these sexual adventures during school hours under the protection of the teachers union. Mason during the Stacy Schuler trial was able to contain the portion of the story involving assistant principal George Coates sending pictures of himself to Stacy during school hours. Mason managed to get rid of George quickly and discreetly while the media focused on the sex between Stacy and the five high school students in her home. But there was sex going on at Mason during work hours between Stacy and others. This is just the latest escapade between Jason and Kimberly. Public employees trained in a progressive political system do not have the kind of values that mainstream Americans have, and they have a noticeable arrogance knowing that the union protects them from anything but a catastrophic public relations meltdown.
Because Assistant Principal Keeton opened the door and became a third-party to the act, the labor union and Mason public relations by Tracy Carson could not clean up the public perception at that point. The two school employees resigned quickly, so that they could get jobs elsewhere once the heat was off. That is the mode of operation for all public schools.
At Lakota, the district to the immediate west of Mason, there is a recent case where a teacher used a special needs child to gain access to the mother in order to start a sexual relationship, using the child as leverage. All this was done on this teacher’s school computer and the father/husband of the child and mother had obtained the very salacious emails—stacks of them, done during school hours from school property for acts of sex that was covered up by the school principal and the human resources manager at the time. The teacher was moved to another school to satisfy the parents, the human resources manager took a job in Michigan and just this past week the Principle took a new job locally but far enough away from Lakota to hopefully leave his ghosts with little motivation to follow. There are many such stories and this is why schools have to pay extraordinary amounts of money on public relations to contain these types of scandals.
At Lakota the need for clean public relations went so far that the former public relations director of 2011 was pushed by the school board to clean up a series of dangerous stories, one the pedophile case at Lakota where a teacher was undressing students in his third grade class and taking pictures of them and storing multiple images of child pornography on his school computer. Then of course was this case involving the special needs child and a very angry father. (VERY ANGRY.) The case went to the State of Ohio School Board. But the papers didn’t report that—did they? Because good public relations helped contain the story quickly, but not without damage. The PR Director at Lakota decided she didn’t want to perform the job as dictated by the school board focused intently on keeping all news about Lakota good, because the focus was on passing a school levy in the fall of 2011. The school board paid the PR Director $90,000 to go away and buy-out her contract and they now pay a private firm $60 an hour to do the job. CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME OF THE ACTUAL BILLING STATEMENTS. Yes, it’s very expensive, and its whole purpose is to clean up messes like what Mason is going through right now.
Mason has been forced to avoid a tax increase attempt while the smoke clears from their year of scandals that could not be cleaned up by Tracy before the story got into the mainstream media. They managed to move their superintendent–who had knowledge of many sex scandals going on in Mason climaxing with the Stacy Schuler trial–to upper Ohio to avoid more scandalous damage. So as Stacy Schuler nobly stood in front of her accusers and took responsibility for her actions and went to jail for 48 months, there were many, many rats that had jumped off the ship in Mason to avoid massive investigations that would ruin everyone’s careers. Just like what has happened in Lakota, and is happening at this very moment in every public school in America. It’s a game to these public employees that is focused more on avoiding detection than in behaving correctly.
So why did Jason Austerman and Kimberly Rowland of the Mason school district do it, especially knowing the risk to Mason if they got caught? Because they are arrogant, they lack respect for themselves, their jobs, the community that employs them, and the money that funds the whole operation. They live in a government employment bubble of altered reality that does not understand responsibility for their actions because they lack competition in their business. Public school teachers and administrators can act badly and get away with it because they don’t fear losing their jobs unless their schools public relations department fails to protect them, and in those cases the next choice is to simply move to a different district. So there isn’t any fear of losing a job to keep their morality in check.
This latest case of malicious sex during school between school employees will not be the last. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it’s rampant. There is without question evidence that these things go on in every workplace, but in government positions they happen more often because in those jobs even the least bold among us lack fear of punishment for their actions. In most jobs coworkers might only think about doing the dirty deeds but will avoid the task out of fear of being caught. In government positions, especially well-paid teachers and administrators who do not work pay check to pay check with dimes to spare like most people, they have a luxurious life, short work hours, healthy compensation and a progressive work environment that is a direct result of the utopian hippie age where sex is free, personal possession is forbidden, and trust in a God for guiding principles is virtually nonexistent.
This won’t be the last time sex scandals break out in a school system. It is the job of the public relations personnel in these schools to cover for the Jason’s and the Kimberly’s of public education and all those who knew about the sex, but failed to act while trying to convince the public that they should continue to send their children to these education institutions, and that they should build their homes around such testaments of prosperity as public education. But upon a closer look, these institutions of learning are simply pornographic propaganda nightmares that do very little for the public of what they promise. The children come out of them half-baked, the parents pawn off much of the parenting to the third-party of public education because they fear the personal responsibility of actually being a parent. Meanwhile in a corner office darkened for effect there are animal noises coming from two impassioned school employees as they indulge in each other while students walk by the door outside and snicker. Most of the school employees know about it and avoid turning the door knob because of the scrutiny that in so doing might bring to their personal livelihoods. Reporting the activity might affect the next levy attempt, so they turn their attention the other way, and plot their own sexual moves to attempt to bed either Kimberly or Jason once one of them is free. And we wonder why our kids come out of public education so screwed up and demoralized. Just look to the animal sounds coming from the corner office with the door shut, but audaciously unlocked—almost daring someone to open it—and you’ll know why.
This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon