Videos I wish I hadn’t rented

If I were to make a list of the DVDs I’ve rented that I wish I hadn’t, it would be as long as my arm, and I’d get depressed. After all, not only do these cost me money, but they cost me time.

So I’ll just read off the two most recent: Triple-X: State of the Union, and The Shield: Season 1, Volume 1.

I’ll start with The Shield. I picked this up on the strength of Michael Chiklis’ performance as Ben Grimm/The Thing in The Fantastic Four. And make no mistake, his performance in this series is strong. All the actors, in fact, are putting forth strong performances. It’s a great drama. It’s also depressing. I didn’t want a story of a severely flawed hero who (I assume — I haven’t seen more than the first two episodes, but I know Chiklis appears in at least two seasons of this show) gets away with murdering a fellow officer. So… while it’s a good program, it wasn’t what I wanted to be entertained by. It didn’t “bring the happy” (Sandra’s expression for programs that we enjoy watching together.)

And now, Triple X: State of the Union. Simply put, here is a film that never should have been made. The premise of the first “Triple-X” film was pretty good, and it looked like it could have been the heir to the James Bond franchise. Vin Diesel was great. I would cheerfully have paid to see another Diesel/TripleX film in the theaters.

This film, however, was flawed from the get-go, in that they didn’t have Diesel to work with, so they wrote him out of the story (he dies off-screen), and the NSA chapter for which he was working decides to keep his code-name and slap it on somebody else. Oh, and there’s a huge plot for a coup of the U.S. presidency on the part of the Secretary of Defense, and it gets foiled with the help of the Boyz ‘n the Hood.

I’m not sure who the target audience was supposed to be, and I’m not sure the filmmakers knew that, either. Regardless, it did not include me, in spite of the fact that it had car chases, helicopter chases, boat chases, train chases, explosions, shootings, martial arts, black ops, heaving bosoms, and intrigue. The ability of the director to assemble these elements in such a fashion as to alienate me (and, I’m projecting now, most of the rest of the action-film demographic) is masterful. It’s like he took chocolate syrup, chocolate shavings, chocolate cake, ice cream, cream-cheese frosting, oreo cookies, and whipped cream, and managed to create a lima bean and brussel-sprout salad.

I want CSI Season Five, and I want it NOW.


53 thoughts on “Videos I wish I hadn’t rented”

    1. Firefly… don’t get me started.

      It’s criminally irresponsible for anyone to create a show that good, and then CANCEL it. Yes, I’ve seen every episode. Yes, I’ll be at the movie, probably on opening day.

      1. *Nod* I missed it when it first aired. I finally got around to borrowing it from a friend this past friday.

        …I’ve burned through 3 discs already, MAN that show is good. 🙂


        …I can kill you with my brain…

        1. I missed it when it first aired.

          I have an excuse; I was on an exchange trip from August to December 2002. I figured I’d check it out when I got back… by the time I DID get back, it was long gone.

          But watching it on the DVDs as God Whedon intended, I’m somehow not disappointed about missing out on watching the premiere last.

      2. Well, to be semi-fair, the person who created it wasn’t the one that cancelled it. But otherwise, yes… it was a crime for that show to be cut down before it even finished its first season.

        Now my wife has two one-season sci-fi shows she mourns the passage of… the other being Earth-2.

        1. Not SF but…

          I’m still bummed about Wonderfalls. That was a really neat show that also was canceled before it was on long enough to gather much of a following. Sometimes my hubby and I wonder if us liking a show is the kiss of death…so many good shows we like seem to get canceled. Of course, they aren’t mainstream shows, none of the ones mentioned here are…you have to use your brain a bit to enjoy these…

    1. What concerns me is that it isn’t yet available for pre-order on Amazon. I keep looking so I can know the release date. Okay, I just Googled,
      This site:

      Has CSI season 5 listed as releasing Nov 8. It has CSI NY season 1 releasing Oct 25. Months of waiting yet to go.

  1. Ouch.

    Considered doing movie reviews as a sideline to Schlock? 🙂 The world needs more reviewers who can look at a steaming pile of … er … Hollywood’s Finest like that and tell it like it is.

    1. Anti-heroes and utterly flawed protagonists are an important features in movies which I imagine Howard would hate. People with huge blind spots don’t make good reviewers.

      Plus, he liked Fantastic Four, which is reason enough to condemn anyone from talking about movies ever again.

      1. 1) Your above phrase “are an important features” has an extra word in it. LJ has no facility for editing posts, but you can delete and re-post if you’re quick. You, it would appear, are not.

        2) Condemnation is something that is done TO, as in “I condemn you to a pedantic grammar-reaming.” You can’t condemn someone FROM something. You either want to condemn me to silence, or ban me from posting movie reviews.

        3) While we’re on the subject of banning, I’m in a bit of a mood right now. Give me a reason, punk.


        1. Git ‘im, boots!

          Thank you, Mr. Tayler. Your aggressive response brought a bit of joy and laughter to my day. Reminds me of the reasons I troll: it is wonderful to see someone express some degree of anger, especially if they do it well.

          The smile on my face and moisture in my eyes aside, I am sorry you did not enjoy The Shield. Personally I like a show with grit, and that show had plenty of it. I take it you did not like the movies A Simple Plan, Se7en, Requiem for a Dream, Spun, or perhaps even Twelve Monkeys.

          Plenty of episodes of weird-fic shows like The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone also feature situations where no one wins, and occasionally situations where there are no good guys. Is that the kind of thing that fails to “bring the happy”, or is it something I’m missing?

          1. I saw Twelve Monkeys, and enjoyed it. I saw Se7en and did not. I haven’t seen any of the others. I did see Fargo (same writing team as A Simple Plan, I believe?) and liked that.

            Regrettably I allowed to goad me into using the Ban hammer. I TOLD him I wasn’t in a good mood today. Some people’s children…


          2. If you liked Fargo you may enjoy A Simple Plan, but keep a backup to watch afterward (clear your pallet in necessary). I did not enjoy Fargo (My sympathetic sense of shame prevents me from enjoying certain dramatic or comedic situations.), but A Simple Plan hurt in that good way.

            As for that individual and his clumsy trolling, I cannot imagine that he did not foresee the likelihood of this result. Then again, a little research reveals [unflattering and unnecessary details], so who knows.

        2. wrote:

          Look, you admit that The Shield is good, but you can’t stand it. Is that not a blind spot. Why get so defensive?

          Also, good job with the pedantry. Hallmark of idiotic flamewars since the dawn of the internet. Just calm down and realize you aren’t actually open-minded enough to review, as this person suggested you should. It’s not a big deal.

          And then I banned him.

          I don’t have a “blind spot.” I recognize that “The Shield” is a great piece of work — solid acting, excellent writing, and really good directing. It’s also not to my tastes. Fantastic Four WAS to my tastes, even though it lacked a lot of things. That’s not “blindness” of any sort. That’s just taste — pure and simple.

          I told you I was in a “bit of a mood,” and you went and defended your position with hostile language, implying that I’m an idiot, when YOU are the one not proofing your posts. Hey, you’re a guest here. Or rather, you WERE a guest here.

          Goodbye, .

          1. It seemed like torch was just giving you a hard time at first. Then he tried just a little too hard to prove his point. I dunno that I’d’ve banned him, but the again, it’s not like it’s the first time he’s been here and acted… less than civil I guess. Friends all around?

      2. The trick to reading movie reviews is to read reviews by a reviewer whose taste you know you agree with. The trick to finding a reviewer whose taste you know you agree with is to read their reviews of movies you’ve already seen and see if you agree.

        So if a reviewer doesn’t match your tastes, well, don’t put much stock in his movies. But don’t assume that everyone else will agree with you. After all, it’s clear at least one person doesn’t… and you’re the one reading his stuff in the first place.

        (As for the “huge blind spot”, I think you’re overreacting. Let’s take, for example, 24. Bauer is clearly an antihero. He pulls a lot of illegal crap for the ultimate good, and it’s fun to see someone tell authority to go screw themselves sideways… but there were places in 24 (I’m thinking the second season in particular, with the one witness they brought in – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry) where Bauer did things that he really should have faced consequences for. And it makes those sorts of actions a lot more powerful when the antihero does them for the ultimate good despite knowing that he personally is going to have to pay for them.)

        And remember, only a Sith deals in absolutes.

  2. In regards to The Shield: Yeah, it’s not very… happy. It’s gritty like a floor covered in rice.

    Killing Vin Diesel off-screen is absolutely Riddickulous. (see what i did there oh i’m clever)

  3. Oh, man. They KILL Xander off-screen? Thus ending any chance of bringing Vin back for later installments? LAME LAME LAME LAME.

    Thanks for the warning, Howard.

    1. Well, Vin didn’t want to do another one, at least not at that time. I imagine if he wants to, Xander will show up and everyone will be all ‘WHOA WHAT YOU WERE DEAD’ and he’ll be all ‘Infinite lives, kids.’ and it’ll be great.

        1. It’s odd, really. The President is a pacifist, and he’s the one the hero has to save, so maybe the audience is liberal peace-niks who think demilitarization will make our enemies into our friends (which is one of the things the President in this film actually says.) But how many liberal peaceniks get off on shoot-em-up action films?

          Oh, and then all the music was rap/hip-hop, and a group of inner-city chop-shop gangstas get recruited to save the day. That appeals to a certain crowd, yes, but again, I ask “where is the overlap?”



          1. Easy. There is no overlap. This is one of those films that try to appeal to everyone but also end up offending everyone in some way. The peacenicks are offended by the action, the actionites are offended by the hiphop, the hiphoppers are offended by the peacenicks, ad nauseum.

          2. I pretty much figured from the get-go that this was one I didn’t want to waste two hours of my life on, so I’m completely talking thru my hat here, but…

            I think it’s more likely that the target were armchair warriors who would be able to scoff at the peace-loving president and say, “see there? those sissy types always need a Real Man with a BFG to pull their nuts out of the fire”.

            Or not. 🙂

          3. But how many liberal peaceniks get off on shoot-em-up action films?

            Everybody’s got a guilty pleasure somewhere. And action films are a perfectly good one. 🙂

            More seriously — in my experience being a liberal peacenik among liberal peaceniks, it doesn’t really seem to contraindicate enjoying action movies with lots of lack of peace in them. The problem is when the action movie starts getting crossover into real life where things are nuanced and complicated and war hurts innocent bystanders — and, for me, having the President be a pacifist in ways that affect the plot (as I gather they do, at least a little) starts making the whole thing political, which is exactly the sort of crossover that I’m talking about.

        2. Point of order: Ain’t no such thing as 200 proof. Alcohol cannot be maintained in an open vessel at a purity level higher than 97%. Any more than that, and it absorbs moisture from the air until it reaches said point.

          (we now return you to your scheduled, non-show-off, programming)

          1. Hahahaha…

            Man all these replies are filling up my gmail inbox 😉

            Seriously, I wonder what that kind of proof alchohol would do to your internals. There probably is harm from drinking such a high proof alcohol even in small amounts.

            Besides I hate alcohol, it smells like liquid human waste.

          2. Everclear is 190 proof or 95% alcohol.

            It will dry out your mouth, throat, and the skin on your face as you fail to get it all in your mouth.

            I find it best to chase it with water and an antacid or two.

            (Use it carefully or do not use it.)

          3. 190 Proof

            I was damned fool enough to drink a half of a bottle of 190 proof ‘shine from Kentucky on the night of my bosses bachelor party. It was physically impossible to just drink it without having some sort of chaser… I mean I was unable to breath without something to wash it down… starting with Dr Pepper… graduating to Coors Original, and finally my chasers ended up being
            blackberry brandy, courtesy my bosses best man / bar tender. I didn’t sleep that night, though I did manage to pass out for two hours.

            The very next morning we were being reviewed by our District Manager, our Regional Manager, and our Regional VP was along for the ride. “Sorry, I have a touch of the flu, ” I couldn’t even keep WATER down until about 5pm the next day. NEVER again, though some of the pictures from that night are indeed priceless.

          4. Re: 190 Proof

            Tell me how many times something like that has occurred to YOU whilst drinking particularly potent alcohol? That’s why. =D With everyone else drinking and handing me stronger chasers, I particularly NEEDED water, and instead got alcohol poisoning. Ahh, that’s what friends are for.

          5. 200 proof

            I work in a histology laboratory, and 200 proof does in fact exist. We use it to do some of our stains. Granted, it’s in a vacuum sealed bottle protected from light, and the bottles are 1 time use only, but it is possible. Also, you have to sign it out just in case some suicidally stupid tech decides it might make a good party drink (which it most certainly does not).
            And for those of you that were wondering or want to astound your friends, we use the 200 proof as part of a progressive ethanol rinse to get all the water out of human tissue. The stain is immiscible with water, but miscible with alcohol. We dip it in increasingly concentrated amounts of ethanol which is miscible, then stain it all pretty colors to see the cancer inside.

  4. Hollywood MVP pass was the solution for me.

    I watch a ton of movies (projection theatre in home). For $15 a month you get 3 movies out at any time (any old ones, new ones usually about 2-3 weeks after they hit the shelves) from your local rental place (aka no shipping back and forth of movies).

    I think the best part about it is being able to stop watching a crappy movie and take it back w/out feeling like I’ve wasted any money. That an all those times I was SURE I’d have enough time to watch a movie and my kids had other ideas.

  5. Well, I’m not going to argue about The Shield. It’s gritty, nasty, and if you thought the Vic shooting a fellow cop was depressing and/or traumatic, you should seriously stop watching the show NOW. People get squicked out by different things, but for me the shooting was far, FAR from the most disturbing bit.

    The Shield requires one to be in a certain frame of mind. Wishing for the happy is definitely not that frame of mind. The show is excellent, but one can be an excellent entertainer, or an excellent torturer. Their talent does not mean their skills should be applied to everyone.

    Which, upon looking at it, is just a really long-winded way of repeating what you’d said originally; great show, but not for you. But seriously, if the shooting bothers you that much, don’t force yourself to watch more, and just give up on the series.

  6. Frankly…

    I love the shield. The flawed hero (more the anti-hero) appeals to me a great deal…

    It does have it’s “happier” shows, but that isn’t saying a whole lot…

    It’s just grit, and by golly if I don’t like that kinda thing…

    That, and I giggle on the inside when I see him playing Vic, because I remember the jewish police comishioner her played long ago…

    Same prefession, totally different characters.

    And the man is a recovering drug addict, so that appeals to the AA guy inside me…

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