UFO Car Fails and Screech Teaches Chess
Spielberg Remains Safe& For Now
On Saturday, Lowtax and I started filming UFO Car, Something Awful's first short film, with the assistance of ten or so nifty-keen SA forum reader goons who stopped by. Now, I wouldn't exactly call our first day of shooting a total disaster& actually, on second thought, I think I'll go ahead and write it off as pretty much a total, complete, and utterly embarrassing tragedy. We got a couple of scenes shot in a somewhat technically competent manner, and some of it was moderately amusing, but it became painfully obvious after filming a couple of scenes that crafting the whole thing into a remotely coherent viewing experience would be nearly impossible.
So we all ended up eating lots of pizza and watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, one of the best Sci-Fi era episodes), along with some of Lowtax's terrible High School movies. On the bright side, we learned quite a bit and managed to film a remake of one of Lowtax's earlier movies that seemed to turn out OK. Someday, Something Awful Films will gross nearly $500,000 in direct video sales. Just wait, you'll see, we'll show you all, yams yams yams.
The entire experience reminded me that the youth of today (this includes myself, I guess, even though I'm pushing twenty-two) are incredible slackers. Our great-grandparents had to work like ten hours a day, six days a week in steel mills and coal mines, constantly inhaling toxic fumes or narrowly avoiding falling into vats of chemicals on a daily basis and stuff like that. But what do we do? Most of us sit in front of computers all day, bitching about the company's lack of free sodas and struggling to muster up the energy to type in a couple of commands to fix an NT homing beacon or router malfunction array shindango. We've got it easy. When it comes to actual, good ol' fashioned, backbreaking work, most of us are total and complete sissies. We fret about mussing our hands or scraping a fingernail. Most of us are soft and doughy and stagger about like drunk babies if we're exposed to rain. What a travesty.
As an added bonus, the little film foray adventure reminded me that there are just some things in this world that should never be filmed. My doofy-ass face wearing a weird Russian hat and holding a metal detector is one of them. Just to be on the safe side, I shouldn't be filmed or otherwise photographed at all. I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy looking at the Goatsecx guy or videos of people pulling intestines from cadavers, but I can't imagine anyone enjoying some lanky, coke-bottle bespectacled nerd stumbling about the screen with a nose about fifteen sizes to big and ears that stick out and spew gallons of ear wax in giant, endless streams. As the old showbiz saying goes, I've got a face that was made for radio. Unfortunately, I'm also blessed with a nearly Carmack-ian voice that shatters glass too. So I should just do everybody a favor and avoid face-to-face human contact whenever possible. For the greater good of mankind and all that.
Screech The Teach
Whenever you're feeling down, you can always take comfort in the fact that you're not Dustin "Screech Powers" Diamond. I always assumed Saved By The Bell would always be on the air, kind of like Star Trek. You'd have the original series with Captain Zack Attack, then SBTB: The College Years, then SBTB: The New Class, then SBTB: Generation Z, and then SBTB: Space Principal Screech and so on and so on. But apparently even bad things must eventually come to an end and some wise producer decided to put the "franchise" out of its misery. So what is Screech doing now to pay rent and support his crippling heroin habit? Why, he's teaching people how to play chess, o' course!
NOOOOOO!!!!!! They used the dreaded "e" word: edutainment! "Edutainment" ranks right up there with "interactive multimedia" in the hall of fame of overused and wholly inaccurate buzzwords. Edutainment is supposed to be both education and entertaining (get it?), but almost every piece of software claiming to be edutainmenting fails on both accounts. A giant animated blue puppet on a trampoline shouting "9 X 9 = 81!" is neither entertaining or educational, it's just plain scary and a waste of children's valuable getting-bitten-by-snakes time. As we all know, the only good edutainment titles were made before the stupid term was coined. Oregon Trail for the Apple IIe, for example.
But let's get back on the subject, shall we? Dustin Diamond Teaches Chess should strike fear into your very soul. Personally, I shudder whenever anybody mentions the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing series. Sorry, learning touch-typing from a fictional ethnic female cyborg gives me the creeps. So it should come as no surprise that learning about one of the most complicated, difficult, and respected games in all of human history from a gawky white Urkel who shamefully rips his "comic stylings" from Scooby Doo's Shaggy makes me violently ill.
Maybe I'm being too hard on the poor guy. I mean, I do remember that episode where he won the Chess game& and the press release helpfully points out that he has a huge collection of chessboards in a weak attempt to prove his validity as a chess expert. Gee, I sure wish the site featured a sample of the video I could check out. Oh wait, it does! You can get it right here!
Oh, that wacky Screech. Think that one-minute preview was painful? Imagine how four solid hours of watching this smuck hit has-been star rock-bottom would feel! Looks like the CIA just found a brand new torture device to use on dirty Hungarian spies: ten minutes of watching this and they'll be spilling their guts, along with their lunch.
The most disturbing thing I culled from this site, though, was the knowledge that Dustin Diamond was a mere block or two away from my residence. The company who presumably paid for his "services" is just a short drive away, and from the quality of the test movie I'll assume they filmed this on-site in an empty janitor's closet. Wow. A near-Screech experience. That's an event I sincerely hope none of you will ever have to endure. Well, all of you except Lowtax, that is. They'd probably have a blast trading hair-care tips, since they're both Brillo-headed and all.