Category Archives: Movies

Rethinking Robocop

Yesterday, during commercial breaks of the Saints/Vikings NFC championship game, I was flipping over to watch bits of Robocop 2. When I was younger, I remember my friends would gather to watch Robocop and were very excited when the sequel was announced. Watching it now, however, I see how bad that movie was. Or was it?

It struck me how old the entire thing felt, and how silly the technology was. It got me thinking about a franchise reboot, and then it got me thinking about what Robocop would be today, if he were re-envisioned.

The first thing I noticed is that Robocop is slow and deliberate, and when his “joints” move, they produce a hydraulic buzzing sound. So we’ll need him to be smoother in movement, and without announcing his presence. He’ll need to be significantly lighter on his feet than the slow and heavy-stepping original.

The original sported an eye plate, that stretched only a centimeter or so in height and a few inches in wrap. That will need to change to be supplemented by smaller cameras that can give Robocop a 360 degree view of his surroundings.

Since Robocop was severely damaged after being caught in a magnet, we’ll need a better metal. I propose new Robocop be constructed of a smarter, so-called “space age” metal such as titanium, vanadium, tungsten, or magnesium.

The original Robocop recorded interaction on an in-body video camera, presumably storing it digitally, which was pretty pretty commonplace for the 1987. New Robocop will not only record interaction to a bank of flash memory or some sort of SSD array, but he will be equipped with Wifi and some sort of cellular connection like LTE or WiMax (he’ll be in a big city, so we can presume coverage). He will transmit all of his data periodically, so he won’t need to store terabytes of memory in-body.

New Robocop will not have exposed skin (or internal mechanics). Period. That’s weakness.

Original Robocop stored his gun in his leg. This is an outdated concept based on a concept that looked cool in the 80′s. Today’s Robocop will store multiple weapons throughout his body, small rubber-bullet-like projectiles perhaps in his forearm. We can equip his chest or fingers with mace or tear gas. If he requires an actual gun, it will be not be trigger deployed. It will be activated only when connected to Robocop, and very likely controlled via WifiDirect or Bluetooth. There’s simply no good reason to rely on old fashion triggers that can be exploited. In the event of system malfunction, a manual weapon will be present, but since Robocop shouldn’t be relying on his gun most of the time, he will have a nightstick of some sort.

New Robocop should not have an over-synthesized voice.

One of the constant flaws we saw in Robocop 2, as they attempted to build a second Robocop, was the lack of control they had over the machine. We fix this by running the Robocop program on a Linux-based system and jailing/chrooting it. New Robocop can do what he wants, but if he gets out of hand, we still have control. We allow remote SSH logins from authorized IPs, and sudo up to root guaranteeing ourselves a remote shutdown option. No sloppy infrared remote control here, just pure IP access.

Once Robocop is a computer, we’ll need a few more accommodations, because that becomes the chief point of vulnerability. We’ll need pretty sophisticated software here to prevent someone from hacking into Robocop, but that’s of course the plot of the movie, I’d suggest: someone hacks into Robocop remotely and alters the programming, and despite Robocop’s knowledge that he’s been compromised, he’s unable to prevent his own actions since he’s jailed into a subdirectory. The twist at the end, I’d suppose, is that some hot-shot teenage hacker finds an exploit and jailbreaks Robocop remotely, thereby giving Robocop the ability to control himself, at which point, he pretends to be following orders, but instead, tracks down the guy controlling him.  Right before his death, the guy should shout something cliche like “But… I’m your masterrrrrrrrrrrrrr….!

One of the unaddressed issues I saw with the robotic cops in the movie was the perpetual need for a lubricant like oil. It seems submersion in water would simply short out all of these solutions. So I’ll reiterate the lack of exposed skin and mechanics, and we’ll spend some time making our Robocop water resistant and reuse some sort of internally stored WD-40-like fluid, which is also “green.”   It would be a shame to build a billion dollar robocop only to have him quashed by a bucket of water.

I’d like to see Robocop be a little less terrifying to the average citizen.  Robocop ought to represent something, and cops are supposed to be there to protect and serve the average citizen, not just to get the bad guys.   So Robocop ought not be stomping around the police station and calling people “punk,” nor should he be be marching into an arcade, smarmily offering “Isn’t today a school day?” Nein, Robocop should be there for citizens, first and foremost.  We’ll disable his sarcasm and “witty quip” programs.   Robocop should offer an air of protection, not a fear he’ll malfunction.

Lastly, if I’m going to invest a billion into a Robocop, I think I might put him in something a touch nicer than an old, banged up Ford Taurus.

Six Movies That Are Supposed To Be Funny… But Aren't

Scary Movie 3
From (at least part of the) team that brought you Airplane comes a new stinker that still riffs off other movies but instead draws on recycled crap like poking fun of Michael Jackson. This movie couldn’t have been dumber if they tried. There is nothing witty, nothing funny, and nothing original about Scary Movie 3, in which they parody – if it can be called that – Signs, The Ring, 8 Mile, to name a few. Skip this one – see parts 1, 2, and 4.

Talladega Nights
#1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.” That’s about as much of my brain as I care to devote to Talladega Nights, which is about as dumb as a movie can get. Despite hoardes of devout twenty-somethings spouting off the lines to this film like a classic Family Guy episode, there is no actual comedy here, just ridiculousness trying to pass as comedy. The whole “Dear sweet baby Jesus” thing was never funny and still isn’t. I find Will Ferrell both funny and entertaining, but in this film, he’s neither.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
I’ll probably take some heat for this one, but Ace Ventura was just not very funny to me. The only comedy in the film was watching Jim Carrey’s crazy plastic face contort. I actually find Jim Carrey to be a very entertaining person and I was really blown away by Eternal Sunset of the Spotless Mind, but his earlier comedy like this and its eponymous sequel pandered to the lowest chuckles in its teenage target crowd.

Waterboy
I have to admit I’ve never made it entirely through this film in one sitting. But be fair: it’s only because it sucks so bad. Let me get this straight: we’re supposed to laugh at Adam Sandler acting like a retard for an hour forty straight? Sucked. Let’s not forget about Rob Schneider. This guy is actually funny – or at least, used to be – and is so unfunny he could make a clown cry.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat, although the hardcore call it a two hour laughfest, is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I am a huge Ali G fan – I’ve seen pretty much every episode of the HBO show and laughed hysterically through most of them. I have literally fallen out of my chair laughing at Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters. Then why did they release this piece of shit? Borat was, since its inception, about parody – putting people in uncomfortable positions and/or exposing their true, crazy beliefs. Then why have a movie where only about 10% is donated to that success formula and the rest to a stupid subplot, replete with bad acting, a drifting story, and a fat, hairy Russian’s asshole in your face? While some will call this a classic, I will call it what it actually is: shit. I pray – literally pray – that Cohen doesn’t eff up Bruno like he did Borat. Bruno is fantastic.

Epic Movie
This 2007 film played off the success of Scary Movie, Date Movie, and other satire flicks by working off the material Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Chronicles of Narnia, Nacho Libre, X-Men, Superman and a slew of other action flicks provided. Unfortuntely, this movie was so boring I had to resort to slicing my eyes open with the edge of my Twizzler bag to stay awake. This movie doesn’t suck, it’s just so unfunny and boring you may find yourself on the edge of a psychotic break. Fo reals. Epic Movie contains fewer that 5 laughs, and those are:
1. Laughing at yourself for buying a ticket
2. Laughing at the actors for demeaning themselves so
3. Laughing at the writers for thinking this was going to be funny
4. Laughing at the fact that you are still watching the movie

Do yourself a favor, and instead of watching this movie on Friday, kill yourself. It’s easier.

Six Movies That Are Supposed To Be Funny… But Aren’t

Scary Movie 3
From (at least part of the) team that brought you Airplane comes a new stinker that still riffs off other movies but instead draws on recycled crap like poking fun of Michael Jackson. This movie couldn’t have been dumber if they tried. There is nothing witty, nothing funny, and nothing original about Scary Movie 3, in which they parody – if it can be called that – Signs, The Ring, 8 Mile, to name a few. Skip this one – see parts 1, 2, and 4.

Talladega Nights
#1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.” That’s about as much of my brain as I care to devote to Talladega Nights, which is about as dumb as a movie can get. Despite hoardes of devout twenty-somethings spouting off the lines to this film like a classic Family Guy episode, there is no actual comedy here, just ridiculousness trying to pass as comedy. The whole “Dear sweet baby Jesus” thing was never funny and still isn’t. I find Will Ferrell both funny and entertaining, but in this film, he’s neither.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
I’ll probably take some heat for this one, but Ace Ventura was just not very funny to me. The only comedy in the film was watching Jim Carrey’s crazy plastic face contort. I actually find Jim Carrey to be a very entertaining person and I was really blown away by Eternal Sunset of the Spotless Mind, but his earlier comedy like this and its eponymous sequel pandered to the lowest chuckles in its teenage target crowd.

Waterboy
I have to admit I’ve never made it entirely through this film in one sitting. But be fair: it’s only because it sucks so bad. Let me get this straight: we’re supposed to laugh at Adam Sandler acting like a retard for an hour forty straight? Sucked. Let’s not forget about Rob Schneider. This guy is actually funny – or at least, used to be – and is so unfunny he could make a clown cry.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat, although the hardcore call it a two hour laughfest, is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I am a huge Ali G fan – I’ve seen pretty much every episode of the HBO show and laughed hysterically through most of them. I have literally fallen out of my chair laughing at Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters. Then why did they release this piece of shit? Borat was, since its inception, about parody – putting people in uncomfortable positions and/or exposing their true, crazy beliefs. Then why have a movie where only about 10% is donated to that success formula and the rest to a stupid subplot, replete with bad acting, a drifting story, and a fat, hairy Russian’s asshole in your face? While some will call this a classic, I will call it what it actually is: shit. I pray – literally pray – that Cohen doesn’t eff up Bruno like he did Borat. Bruno is fantastic.

Epic Movie
This 2007 film played off the success of Scary Movie, Date Movie, and other satire flicks by working off the material Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Chronicles of Narnia, Nacho Libre, X-Men, Superman and a slew of other action flicks provided. Unfortuntely, this movie was so boring I had to resort to slicing my eyes open with the edge of my Twizzler bag to stay awake. This movie doesn’t suck, it’s just so unfunny and boring you may find yourself on the edge of a psychotic break. Fo reals. Epic Movie contains fewer that 5 laughs, and those are:
1. Laughing at yourself for buying a ticket
2. Laughing at the actors for demeaning themselves so
3. Laughing at the writers for thinking this was going to be funny
4. Laughing at the fact that you are still watching the movie

Do yourself a favor, and instead of watching this movie on Friday, kill yourself. It’s easier.

Is this Damon Lindelof… at Camp?

I went to camp in Pennsylvania in the late 1980s, and I was friends with many people there, most of whom are now mere memories. But several years later, I somehow found a Yahoo! Group with many of my fellow campers, and then I built a website for the camp alumni. After a server crash in December 05, one for which I was completely unprepared, sadly, I lost most of the data.

So in the last week, I finally got around to rebuilding everything, but rather than host the photos, I decided to create a group on Flickr. I posted all of my camp pics. Many are of people I was once friends with, but have long since lost touch with, or worse, forgotten.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email from an old counselor who wrote to tell me “the “some dude” posted in your pictures is Damon Lindeloff. The same Damon Lindeloff that is co-creator of the TV Show – Lost.


(c) 1990, Adam Scheinberg, some_dude.jpg, originally uploaded by Adam and Jennifer.

Damon Lindelof I thought to myself – really? So I did a quick scan over to google images to check out what Damon Lindelof looks like. Lo and behold, it looks just like him (see image on left). And he’s the right age, born in ’73. And he is from New Jersey – my camp was mostly people from NJ and NY. So, this is very likely Damon Lindelof, one of the main writers of Lost, and at some point, at least, I was obviously friends with him. Kinda cool.