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That guy.

We all know who “that guy” is. When everyone loves one thing, that guy says it’s hateworthy. When everyone hates something, that guy says it’s great. When everyone thinks that one thing is sad, that guy is unaffected. That guy always ruins your favorite game, your favorite movie, your favorite TV series, or your favorite anime because he always points out what’s wrong about it; or that guy is the only one on Earth who likes that song or that book or that artist and annoys you to death because everyone else hates it.

The fact is, we’re all “that guy”, even if you’re not a guy but a girl. Odds are there’s at least one thing out there that you love that everyone else hates, or you hate that everyone else loves. And I’m not talking about the polarizing things like “Twilight” or Justin Bieber. Lots of people hate and love both of those. I’m talking about you being the one person out. I’m talking about being the one vegan in a room full of delicatessens. The one person in Italy who doesn’t like tomatoes. The one person on Earth who doesn’t like chocolate and not because you’re allergic.

Me? I find I’m “that guy” about a lot of things. Just to mix things up for once, I thought I’d point out the five times I really am the Odd Man Out and my preferences are things that make people stare dumbly at me with an irritated expression.

5. The Brendan Fraiser remake of “The Mummy” is a good movie.

Ok, so it tried to be “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and failed. So what? It hit some of the right notes, and some is better than none. Brendan Fraiser might not have been quite serious enough to capture the Indiana Jones vibe, and the CGI is pretty lame in retrospect, but it’s a nice movie. It’s entertaining with a good number of practical-effects action sequences, it’s got funny parts that still crack me up to this day, and while the effects might not be convincing they’re definitely inventive. Sure, it makes both the historian and the biologist in me grimace on more than one occasion, but compared to some stuff and CGI-farts nowadays it’s practically a masterpiece.

I actually like this movie pretty much. While I say most Stephen Sommers movies are popcorn flicks at best (like “Van Helsing”), this one I actually prefer to all other average films and I’d leave on the TV over others.

4. “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” is pretty bad.

One of the things I like about the reboot of the series is I’m hoping it will convince other people how the wool was pulled over their eyes all these years. What most people fell in love with, I’m convinced, was the anime…which not only turned the source material into a glorified Zentai Ranger series but toned down the pansexual romance aspect of the series as a whole. I’ve read all twelve issues of the original manga and…it’s borderline creepy. Chibi-Usa’s demented obsession with wanting to kill her mother and have sex with her father right down to the end of the series is neither cute nor romantic…it’s disturbing.

Even that weird detail aside, the manga itself plays much more as a romance with a lot of action on the side, but even that gets repetitive when you realize the story is the same arc four times, and every enemy is beaten by a new MacGuffin in the form of a new weapon that spontaneously arises or a new senshi coming in to save the day. Even the thought of senshi dying loses all meaning when the Cosmic Resets pile up to constantly resurrect everyone worse than the sum wishes of “Dragonball”. Most “fights”, if you can call them that, are resolved by a single blast.

To its credit, the final arc is definitely more engaging than the others, and if you analyze it you can see that the entire story is actually a metaphor for the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Yet that aside, boil it down and it’s mostly a dull mess. The problem is it does have a number of characters who might be interesting to get into, and the anime offered the opportunity for that although it devoted most time to villains-of-the-week. Yet the manga itself just quickly shoved them aside for whoever was next to join the senshi and it got both repetitive and old, not to mention uninspired.

I really don’t see how this made the Magical Girl genre a thing.

3. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was a pretty good movie.

One thing I will never understand is why people hate this film so much. I mean…what exactly is wrong with it? My only guess is that people don’t like how it’s simultaneously darker than “Raiders” with the elements of the occult, evil spirits, and gross-out moments as well as lighter than “Raiders” with the sidekicks of Short Round and eternally-whining Willie.

I have to admit I do find Willie’s character a bit obnoxious, but there’s something just a tad endearing about that in that she’s not the typical female sidekick. Neither was Marion in the first movie but they couldn’t just make Willie a carbon-copy of that. I really don’t get the Short Round hate, though. I guess people just don’t like kids they find mildly annoying. Me? I thought it was kind of endearing how Indy has a kid running around with him that looks up to him and is as street-smart and savvy as he is. That may be because I first saw the movie when I was a little kid myself and, as was likely the intention, I identified with him. I could totally see myself punching out the Maharajah. 🙂 Plus, the kid was played by the same actor who played Dana in “The Goonies”, who was my favorite character out of that gang.

Aside from that, the movie does have a lot of stuff we loved in “Raiders”. Globetrotting, practical action sequences, thrills, chills, creepy crawlies, booby traps, the supernatural… And here’s food for thought…this is the ONLY Indiana Jones movies where Indy’s presence makes a difference. In “Raiders”, the Nazis would have killed themselves anyway on opening the Ark. In “Last Crusade”, the Nazis never would have been able to take the Holy Grail past the great seal anyway. In “Crystal Skull”, the aliens just fry the brains of Soviets and take off. Only in “Temple of Doom” does Indy actually save the day, not only breaking up the Thugee cult but getting the Stone back to the village, both saving its children and revitalizing it.

And yet people seem to hate this movie more than “Crystal Skull”.


2. Ace got what was coming to him in “One Piece”.

Oh boy…if anyone reads this, they’re going to kill me for this one. Most people think the death of Ace was one of the most tragic points not only in “One Piece” but anime/manga as a whole.

Me? Not only was I not terribly broken up, I was kind of ticked at him.

The fact is Ace is dead because of himself; no one else. All he had to do…all he had to do…was walk away. Instead he got into a (bleep)-measuring contest just like every other anime/manga-hero who is always made to look like they’re awesome for having stubborn pride when all that stubborn pride ever does is get them into trouble.

If it had just been him, that would have been one thing. But keep in mind all of his friends, his crew, his “second father”, and Luffy himself had almost literally taken on the whole world trying to free him. They all risked their lives. Many of them…even most of them…died trying to free him. By turning around and fighting that admiral, he made them die for nothing. He spat on everything his brother had gone through to try and save him. He took a piss on Whitebeard’s grave. And all because his inconsequential pride was stepped on.

Ace got exactly what he deserved. My only regret is Luffy is too ignorant and temperamental to realize that, and as a result nearly got himself killed too.

Ok, I’m going to need a suit of armor for my last one. Deep breath…

1. Hayao Miyazaki is a bit overrated. 

A bit! A bit!

Before you want to burn me in effigy, I want to say that Miyazaki has put out some masterpieces. All of his work is gorgeous and immersive no matter what he does and his studio was (at least, until he finally announced he’s doing a 3D film) the last bastion for high-quality 2D animation. He’s able to create fantastic plots with situations in which there is “no real villain”, just characters who got misunderstood or gave in to their own selfishness or pettiness. Movies like “Spirited Away” are deep in that they’re enjoyable on a purely visceral level as a good story and, yet, if you look deeper into them for the metaphors are even more enjoyable. “Princess Mononoke” is the best eco-parable ever and makes movies like “Avatar” look like “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest”. “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” isn’t that great of a movie, but the manga is one of the best mangas of all time. Right up there with the “Akira” manga. Even his ill-received “The Castle of Cagliostro” might have helped cement the “charming rogue” character type.

All of that said…I think he’s honestly put out some great piles of “meh”, and ironically they’re the movies people seem to like the most.

“Once upon a time there were two sisters. One day, they got sad and scared because they thought their mother was dying. Then it turned out she wasn’t dying. The end.” That’s pretty much the plot of “My Neighbor Totoro”.

“Once upon a time there was a witch who moved away from home. One day she stopped being able to fly. Then she was able to fly again. The end.” There’s “Kiki’s Delivery Service”.

“Once upon a time there was a tiny girl living with her tiny parents in a house. The mom got discovered so they had to move. The end.” And there’s “The Secret World of Arrietty”.

Nothing really happens in these movies. They just provide some lovely visuals and…that’s it. They honestly put me to sleep watching them waiting for something to happen or a plot to kick-start. They look like they’re the “start” of good movies and stories but they end before the story begins.

Visuals are nice especially if they’re really well done, but live-action movies and video games get slammed all the time for having nice visuals and nothing of substance. Why does Miyazaki get a pass for the same thing?