Sunday, July 31, 2005


Succesful trip. I am officially in love with the machine that is gas production. Pictures coming soon.

This is only a weekend post, so substantial content is allowably absent. Just please, for the love of all that is holy, go here and tell me this video doesn't disturb the hell out of you. I'm going to have nightmares about that shit for a week.

Oh yeah, and everyone needs to plan on being in Austin this weekend for a big, bad Bass send-off.

That is all, business as usual Monday morning.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Field Trip

I'm off to Louisiana for a week to check out/learn about drilling rigs, completions, production facilities, and all that kind of stuff. Be back on Friday. Harrass the hell out of Richard and Giz for new content. Oh yeah, and when I get back, remind to tell you about the bar I went to last night, where I saw, among many other things, a badass cover band and a mullet in the wild. Pictures below, including one of the mullet's fun-loving woman. Many Bothans died to bring you this information, so enjoy. Hasta Friday...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Booze Review: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Hell

I once read that the Pope, before he was Pope, was known to order Franziskaner at dinner back home in his native Bavaria. Of course I had to try it out. I had the Dunkel variety a couple of months back, and it was amazing, so I had high hopes for the Hell.


Allow me to preface further by saying that I absolutely love drinking Weissbier. I would venture so far as to say that it's my favorite type of beer. As any self-respecting drinking man should know, the key is in correctly pouring it. That's hands down the best part of the experience. The little swirl and dump at the end... oh goodness I get a little feeling of joy every time. See here for details if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Once the beer has made the transition to glass, proper time must be taken to appreciate its aesthetic appeal. The Hell is a rich amber color and completely opaque. It's clouded by the yeast floating around in it (which is also where it gets its amazing flavor). The kicker though is the soft, abundant head you're left with. I had a little dream about taking a bubble beer bath in this stuff. Just think, how awesome would this be:

beer pool

Smell was pleasing, but rather insignificant, but the flavor was very appealing. All wheat beers have that distinctive taste, but this one had a zesty streak in it - fruity and tangy. It definitely contrasts with the more boch-like qualities of the Dunkel. The carbonation was minimal, and it was very easy to drink. In fact, I was amazed at how quickly I slurped them up. The aftertaste was unexpectedly spicy, but after a one beer, I couldn't imagine it being any other way.

The main drawback to the Franziskaner line is their alcohol content. The Hell is only 5% ABV (oh yeah, and good chance to mention that it was $6.99 for a sixer). Five percent just doesn't cut it these days, and I wasn't even close to buzzing after finishing. Still, I had a great time drinking this beer. I was scrambling to figure out what sort of mood it put me in, and I finally came up "jovial." That's a good thing. Anyhow, great beer, pick up a six pack next time you see it.

Appearance: 10/10
Taste: 8/10
Enjoyability: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I don't get it. Gangs, profanity, a "fuck the police" attitude, theft, prostitution, and murder will get you an M rating. Fair enough. But, toss in some "explicit" (albeit completely unauthorized) sexual content, and POOF. You're AO. The backwardness and complete absurdity of things blow me away sometimes.

san andreas

Everyone who has played this game knows it is a more than just a game; it's a thing of beauty. In a country where things like scat and blasphemy are federally funded as mediums of art, it's pretty hard to see where the politicians and watchdogs had even an inch of footing for the bullying they did to get the rating changed. Alas, censorshiop seems to be about the one thing that politicians are actually succesful at these days, so I guess you just gotta let 'em do their thing.

Oh well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Kurt Russell

Kurt has come full circle. I thought maybe last year's Miracle was a fluke, but with Sky High coming out this week, it's official. The man who was once Walt's poster boy for the "child actor" spot has made his return to Disney. I'm ecstatic.

kurt the hurt

When I was a kid, I wore out my tape of The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and Now You See Him, Now You Don't. Was there ever a more loveable character than Dexter Riley? I think not. Of course, Kurt's post-Disney career has ebbed and flowed. But from the lows of Overboard and Executive Decision to the greatness of Big Trouble in Little China and Escape From New York, Kurt has held tough. Seriously, how did he not make that list of the 100 greatest Americans. The man is an icon.

Now, nearly thirty years later, he returns to his roots, in what we at the TOB hope will amount to a resurgency of K-Russ glory past.

Kurt Russell, we salute you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pre-season jinx

go vince go

Yesterday afternoon, the Big XII snuck out the media preseason poll. Holy shit. My mind has been so drowned in baseball lately that I completely lost track of football time. For shame. So anyway, yeah, we're ranked to win the division. God bless you, media, but I'm blaming you for the jinx.

Earlier this weekend, Rod was named Big XII preseason defensive player of the year. Damn straight. I expect 45 tackles, 6 for loss, and 4 sacks. Tall order, I know, but it's Rod. He's a manimal. Other preseason all Big XII-ers: Blalock, Aaron Harris, Huff-Daddy, Jon Scott, DT, and, of course, VY. I'm peeing my pants in excitement.

As confident as I was during my undergraduate career that each season was "our year," I think this year I've officially adopted Giz's reserved hesitance. Sure, I'll always have that boyish giddiness deep inside, but I don't know if I have it in me to lay my heart on the line, yet again, for the inevitable crushing defeat. I'm sure things will change immediately after taking that first step out into the sunlight at Memorial on the glorious first Saturday of September, but for now my emotions are somewhat tempered.

(Very irrelevant aside: Sam and Bob on KVET play Willie's cover of Midnight Rider EVERY DANG MORNING. Come on guys.)

I think the Media Days are here in Houston (today and tomorrow?), so I'll keep you posted on the local coverage. Maybe if we're really nice to Giz, we can get a real preseason analysis out of him. Cross your fingers. The juices are flowing, boys...

Monday, July 18, 2005

I Trim My Bush

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For lack of anything to say at all, bland presents

I know a lot of you have seen this, but for those who haven't, enjoy. For those who have, just watch it again. - giz

Note to self:

texas texas yeehaw

Don't sit next to this kid the next time we play quarters. Watch the video. It's absolutely unbelievable. We should all aspire to such excellence.

Harry Potter sucks

Two open letters.

Dear J.K. Rowling,

Please, stop. The world is in enough of an artistic funk as it is. The last thing we need is someone else to cash in on an insubstantial, overrated piece of drivel... SEVEN TIMES. You've proved your point. Children really will read, so long as it's the trendy thing to do. Thank you for that. Now please, throw yourself off a bridge and take the rest of your muggle buddies with you.




Dear Parents of Harry Potter fans and Adults who are Harry Potter fans,

Please, stop. Stop, stop, stop. Stop ranting. Stop raving. Stop celebrating. Stop dressing your children up. Stop allowing them to make asses of themselves for the national media. Make believe is great, but it belongs in the backyard or the playroom, not in public.

Stop trying to tell me that "these books are really good," because they're not. They're garbage. Stop trying to tell me that they're great "if they get kids reading again!" Oh yeah, just like junk food is great if it gets them eating again. Just stop.

Stop pretending you are somehow a literary critic because you've delved into the thematic elements of Harry fucking Potter. Stop calling this the Renaissance of children's literature. Stop dumbing down the world by holding these books as the gold damn standard. In fact, stop dumbing down the world by opening your mouths. Just stop.



P.S. Your kids are still idiots.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Booze Review: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Picture this. You go to the sto' around nine, desperate for a beer or six. The HEB beer aisle is cluttered with the usual lot and you just can't seem to find anything you'd like to try.

Then it catches your eye.

You've done your best to hide from it all these weeks, but now you're cornered. It's seen you. Your fate is sealed. You must plunge into the belly of the beast and face this challenge. With only the slightest hesitation you pick up what would appear to be a light load, but which you know to be so much more: the four pack DFH 90 Minute IPA.

the beast
9% ABV, $8.99 a four-pack

You get home. You take a deep breath. You take a nervouse shit. Desperate to get as much of the home-court advantage as possible, you throw on Back to the Future and crank it. This is your turf. Fuck you, beer... let's do this.

You pop the first bottle and pour. It looks so... beautiful. It's a golden amber color with a soft little white head. No carbonation, it sits perfectly still, staring at you with what you imagine are big, doe eyes. Knowing it's just a false front to trick you, you snatch it up and give 'er a whiff. Oh. Oh la la. Flowers? Citrus? You are in love. You would give anything for this beer. You would sacrifice heart and home for its sake.

STOP. She has you under your spell! Ohhhh, she's a crafty one. Sure she looks and smells like a million bucks, but lest you forget, you haven't even been formally introduced yet. We must wait for just the right time to... wait! This is it! Quickly now, the Huey Lewis skateboard sequence is starting, this is your chance!


Holy fuck me in the goat ass, you think, after the first mouthful. Bitch packs a fuckin'...


You taste the burn as the alcohol content renders your throat into a new asshole. Is there such a thing as oral rape? If so, surely this is it. You do your best to buck up and take it like a prison vet, but you eventually submit to the pounding you are taking. The dull, throbbing thud of a donkey dick repeatedly slapping your face is the only thing you are aware of as you desperately search for your happy place.

Slowly, deliberately, and painfully, several realizations come to dawn on you. 1)Your balls were not quite so hairy as you had once believed. 2)Marty's classic "Let's see if you bastards can do 90" has become a personal bitch-slap. 3)You miss your mother. 4)You might be gay.

Four beers later, while cowering in the fetal position in your back bedroom and hallucinating, you hear a pair of voices. If only you had heard them a couple hours earlier, you could've avoided this rape and all would be well in the world. Alas, you are left cold and alone, doomed to hear Clubber Lang's prophesy through the remainder of your waking hours....

"What's your prediction for the fight?"
"My prediction?"
"Yes, your prediction."
".... PAIN ...."

Appearance: 7/10
Taste: 10/10
Enjoyability: 10/10
Overall: 10/10

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Possibly the greatest thing ever invented

NicoShot. Beer infused with nicotine. 3 cans of brew = 1 pack of smokes.


Okay, here's the plan. We get a keg of this stuff some Thursday... and play like it's business as usual. That means smoking the customary pack and a half and the obligatory Cody keg ride. By the wee hours of the morn, we should all be the first people ever to die of an alcohol induced nicotine overdose.

Seriously though, can we get our hand on some of this stuff? Who's the Delta these days?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Well, yes. To it we do it...drunk.

I'm constantly reminded that these things should be about insightful commentary and not unfounded proselytizing or personal reports. I have a hard time generalizing my experiences to a commentary applicable to the common populace. Piss poor, Richard. Maybe my quasi-minority (we Asians are no longer considered "minorities," a.k.a. underprivileged, since we get into college and have computers and shit and fuckass) status keeps that sense of segregation strong. In all honesty, I'm so intimidated by all the carefully formulated opinions I read about that I can't express my own. A pity...I think...considering the direct correlation between stupidity and the proclivity to be outspoken. I'll work on it.

In fraternal news, Jell-O wrestling has been postponed to next Thursday (July 21st) because I'm a bad president and don't stay on top (ha ha gay) of my brothers. No headway has been made on obtaining the Gehring Award. We have pinned one Tim List, who unequivocally fits the Chi Phi mold. We aim for more. I love you.

That's a lotta nuts!

So Lakewood Church is opening the doors of its new church this weekend in good ol' H-Town. After a $90 million renovation, it'll be able to seat close to 20k people, somehow proving that Pastor Joel's "power of positive thinking" works. Whatever. It'll always be the Compaq center to me (remember the back to back championships, *tear tear*). The only reason I am aware of this is because the local news is devoting well more than substantial coverage to it, both on air and in print. Good gravy, you'd think it was the second coming of Christ.

I take to heart the "judge not, lest ye be judged" business, I really do. But holy shit. It's stuff like this that makes that a tough precept follow. The Lakewood site has the look of one that's out to sell you life insurance or mutual funds. Although, come to think about it, I guess that is the business they're in. Become a member of our church, start your tithing program, God blesses you profusely and without fail. And by profusely, they mean with good health, a white picket fence, and 2.5 children. I'd take that over an annuity any day.

I'm pretty sure Jesus fits in there somewhere, I just haven't been able to piece it together yet. Ah well, thankfully naivety and good intentions do count for something, so the congregation's hope for salvation isn't necessarily in vain. Oh yeah, and also one good thing about having a super megaplex church is that your wife instantly becomes a very do-able diva.

I guess I'd sell my soul for that.

We are all winners

The next person to read this will be our 1000th visitor. This is a small milestone in Triumvirate history.

check which number you are here

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Everyone sells out

Last night, for some God-awful reason, I decided to watch Rock Star: INXS. Actually, to be honest, it was on right after Two and a Half Men, and I just couldn't find the remote. Laziness prevails. But what can I say? This show has to be one of the top five worst ideas of all time.

suckity suck

Somehow, somewhere, someone decided that it would be cool to try and replace the greatness of Michael Hutchence with some no-talent ass clown, wannabe of a front-person (yes, they let women audition, too). Yet watching the auditioners drool over their own egos and describe their unique "musical vibe" was about as entertaining as driving a hot poker through my eyeball. Add to this a collection of horrible, horrible covers, Dave "I-am-the-ultimate-sleazeball-piece-of-shit" Navarro offering his worthless opinion, and an impromptu jam-session (read: one guitar and 15 singers) and you have the making of one of the worst hours ever to disgrace the small screen.

Still, I am always entertained by the audiences they get for these things. Much like Hit Me Baby One More Time, the producers managed to pull in a sizeable crowd of youthful - and rather hot - young women. I'm 100% positive that none of them would know Hutchence from their own asshole in a lineup of 2, but hey - they sure go ape-shit rowdy over the act of pissing on his grave, nonetheless. Oh, to be young in L.A.

All was nearly avenged at the end of the show when Dana, of softcore cable porn fame (I KNEW she looked familiar!), was booted for making yet another bloody train wreck of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." I wonder if Dylan ever wishes he could've held that one back from release?

Monday, July 11, 2005

God Bless America

First of all, congratulations to Tito. Winning is fun.

Secondly, the weekend was a slow one, and my Muse failed to make an apparition. So my profundity is lacking. However, and luckily for you, I've been saving this little gem for a rainy day. It's called the Trailer Crashers and it stars everyone's favorites, Sammie and Arnie.

i'm a cop you idiot!

I want to see the whole movie like this.

Make sure you watch until the end because you get the chance to crash the trailer yourself. Hours of fun! Well, at least 10 minutes.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

And the Winner is....


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Tito is the big winner with his winning submission: "Pair these 2 up with Marshall and you got one hell of a buddy comedy."

Special commendation for LT this week, for his multiple submissions.

Here's your shout out Tito.
I expect more submissions next week, and better ones at that. I promise the next one will be greatness. - giz

And the changes keep rolling in

As I'm sure you've noticed by the time you get to reading this, I added a Video of the Week over there on the sidebar. Let me know if you think it's gay or whatever. If the response is negative I'll zap it.

All my love,


Friday, July 08, 2005

Introducing---The Bland Caption Contest

I will try and make this a regular thursday thing. Here are the rules:
1. Caption the picture
2. That's it

Winner gets a shout out. Once we become a pay-blog (my dream), we will have a better prize.

So I will get the inaugural contest started. And a warning to all, I don't anticipate these captions as being politically correct, so dont be offended.

Here is the first shot-

Image hosted by

My caption - "Wee are the champions."

Lets see some good ones guys.

Friday Booze Review: BridgePort Black Strap Stout

Okay just to go ahead and get this out if the way, when I hear "Black Strap Stout," I instantly get a mental image of a big, huge black man whipping me with his belt while I cry/bleed my way into submission. So, needless to say, I was a little scared to try this beer.


BridgePort Stout

Oh man, oh man. First off, let's go ahead and get the specs out of the way. As both the website and bottle inform us, BridgePort Brewing Co. is Oregon's Oldest Craft Brewery, producing since 1984. I think the microbrew revolution kicked off around that time, so that sounds about right. This is the first time I've seen this brand at the ol' HEB, and even though they had two other offerings (an IPA and an ESB), choosing the stout was a non-brainer. $6.99 a six pack, 6% ABV.

Now, on to the good part. The beer poured like tar and ended up a deep, dark brown with a thick, dark tan head. I was actually a little disappointed with the head; it was relatively innocuous and fizzled away pretty quickly. Aroma was (as always for me - Mr. No Sense of Smell) tough to pin down. I'd call it roasted chocolate or smoked coffee or something in the middle. Fuck smell. Taste is what it's all about.

I'm not sure what I was expecting it to be like, but whatever I predicted was completely wrong. It had the great roasted malt flavor of a stout, but with a strong kick of molasses-like sweetness. That molasses flavor really threw me for a loop; it was nothing less than love at first sip. The body was medium, slightly oily if you will (no carbonation), but had a dry aftertase. I don't know, for a beer so simple, it's awful tough to explain. It was super easy to drink, and enjoyable as all get out. I couldn't believe how fast I was putting them down.

As far as the drinking experience is concerned, this one gets two thumbs up. The 6% ABV is always a plus, but this one snuck up on me a little. It wasn't until five beers down and getting in the truck to drive home that I realized I had caught a pretty serious buzz. All ended well after I succesfully navigated myself back to my apartment and popped in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Believe it or not, I've never actually sat and watched it with the commentary on, and, holy shit, it's amazing. Burton AND Reubens?!?! Both those guys did a brilliant job on that movie. I could probably listen to them over and over.

Sadly, by that point the beer had taken its toll, and I missed the end. I snapped awake at 4:30 and peeled my (now naked and sprawled) body off the floor. Somehow the beer had raped me in my waning hours. So be it, because it rocked my fucking world. Pick up a sixer next time you see it.

Appearance: 6/10
Taste: 9/10
Enjoyability: 10/10 (for inspiring me to watch Pee Wee)
Overall: 8/10

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Scoop

dino dookie

Certain questions have fascinated man since the dawn of his existence. Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? However, one question is often overlooked, though it is equally as intriguing and perhaps even more timeless. The question is, What the hell is poop?

I remember once playing Mushroom at the house, and someone - I'm pretty sure it was Cody - decided that the category was going to be "types of poop." Disgusting, you say? Maybe so, but that was probably the best category I've ever taken part in. We went around the table AT LEAST ten times, listing off every different type of human crap we could think of. And believe me, there really are that many.

So what really is the deal with dookie? In answer to all your scatological questions, I present you with the Scoop on Poop. From floaters to corn turds, green ones to etymology, it's all covered. This is classic work-reading material, so please enjoy it as much as I did. Seacrest, out.

Credit Maegan with the link.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Crash, Bang

I stayed up on Sunday night and watched the Deep Impact probe crash into Comet Tempel 1. It's pretty fucking amazing if you think about it, like shooting a speeding bullet into another speeding bullet, several hundred thousand miles away. Gotta hand it to Newtonian physics - they're still holding up strong.

And every story has a touch of humor right? I remember reading a couple months back that some Russian astrologer lady had announced that she would sue NASA to the tune of $300 million (the cost of the mission) if they went ahead with the program and altered the comet's current state of existence. You know, because the comet's well-being affected her well-being here on good old Earth. Cosmic radiation and shit. Anyway, looks like she's gonna go ahead and go for the gold after all.

I love people.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Summer of Love

gone, gone, gone

"It will be the office of the president to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the senate to appoint. There will of course be no exertion of choice on the part of the senate. They may defeat one choice of the executive . . . but they cannot themselves choose — they can only ratify or reject the choice, of the president." -Hamilton, Federalist No. 66

This is by now old news, but since I don't blog on the weekends I have to get this out now: "Yeeeeeeeehaw." Talk about getting blindsided, and in a great way. Everyone would have (and still will) bet their life that Rehnquist is finished before summer's end, but O'Connor? Holy shit, talk about your all-time greatest two for one deals. I cannot lie, I'm absolutely giddy with excitement.

I can't wait for the resistance from the dirty left. Bush could nominate Christ himself and they would filibuster him for being a religious radical. And why are those bastards so desperate to win the battle to fill this vacancy? Because they can't win jack shit in the legislature, and far more often than not these days, they're losing at the ballot box. Last week, I made the tongue-in-cheek remark that the Supreme Court was becoming irrelevant. I say now, and with a straight face, that the Democratic party is already irrelevant, and its leaders know this. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the stakes involved for the Democrats in favorably filling this vacancy include the future existence of their party.

Bush has stated that he has no litmus test for nominees, and rightfully so. Nominees' personal opinions on issues ranging from the death penalty to abortion have absolutely no bearing on what really counts: their judicial philosophy. Bush has repeated almost ad nauseum that he wants a Justice who will "strictly interpret the Consititution" and "not use the bench to write social policy." Amen, amen, and amen. After the Court's latest wave of insane decisions last week, those words should be shouted down from the mountaintop. These calls from leftists for Bush to choose a nominee who will "unify" are completely absurd and inappropriate. It is YOUR job, Sens. Kennedy and Reid, to unify; it is the Court's job to follow the law to T, divisive as it may be.

This is a huge moment in time. One of the more understated reasons for Bush's re-election last year was the inevitbility of a Supreme Court vacancy, and the fact that more than a few folks felt he would make a wise decision on who should fill it. I obviously didn't (don't?) vote, but if I would've, you bet your sweet arse that that would've been the clincher for me. As split as Americans are about war, social security, and every other issue out there, they can all agree on one thing: judicial activism is bad. The time to reclaim the Court is now, and Bush is going to be under unbelievable pressure to follow through on his campaign promises. Time to buck up, Georgie boy.

And now, for your entertainment purposes, I offer you one of the greatest blogs EVER: I Hate Horses.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

This Is Great

My goal today is to watch live 8 online, all day. Updates will come.

Highlights so far:
-Seeing A-ha again.
-Seeing Brian Wilson in Berlin, eventhough he forgot the lyrics to "God Only Knows"
-Bjork starting the whole thing is Tokyo.
-Paul McCartney with U2 doing Sgt. Peppers live for the first time.
-2:42 PM- The Scissor Sisters rock my socks!!!
-3:00 PM- Even if Velvet Revolver suck, Scott Weiland is one of the best front men in rock.
-3:13-Green Day- Covering "We are the Champions." This happened while I was sleeping, but what a great tribute to Live Aid in 85.
-3:23 PM - Sting playing "Message in a Bottle," kickin it 85 style again. I wonder if I watched LiveAid.

-Audioslave butchering "Killing in the name of". The fact that they played this on this day boggles my mind.
-3:08 PM-Def Leppard- I'm sorry Joe Elliot, but you just dont have the voice anymore.
-3:13-Green Day- Covering "We Are the Champions." Leave that moment in time alone please.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday Booze Review: Belhaven St. Andrews

This one's actually a two for one. After I had a good fill of drink, I went and watched War of the Worlds last night. So lucky you. We'll start with the beer.

$7.99 a six pack, 4.6% alcohol by volume. Weeeeeeeeeeak, weak, weak. Still, it's namesake is dedicated to the home of golf, and it's brewed in the mother land, so I decided to give it a chance. Actually, who am I kidding? Anything Scottish has to be good.

This ale poured a a glorious copper-red with a decent sized ivory head, which most definitely left some lacing around the glass. Aroma was weak at best, but I was able to pick up some malts and a tad of something sweet, maybe caramel? You won't really care what the hell it smells like though once you get a good mouthful - the greatness of this beer is in the flavor.

I'd had one of these before, but good gravy, I don't remember it tasting so damn good. Initially you get a nice, smooth malty flavor, tempered with a hint of fruity goodness (the bottle doesn't lie!). After this comes the unexpected- yet completely welcome - aftertaste of what I can best describe as smokey-toffee. As awful as that may sound, it's like a warm splurge to the back of the mouth, i.e. it's amazing.

I really didn't want to stop drinking this beer. The flavor just never got boring. Alas, I was limited by time, and before I knew it I was slamming my last two on the way to the show.

Appearance: 7/10
Taste: 8/10
Enjoyability: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

The show. War of the Worlds. Spielberg's latest blockbuster attempt. A quick glance at his other outings and, well, shit. He's the fucking man. Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and I'll even include Minority Report just because I liked it so much. The gross on those films alone is probably like 500 trillion dollars or something, and deservedly so: they're great movies, for a number of reasons. So how could War of the Worlds miss with a director with such a proven track record? Easy: leave out the human element.

You know, I've often thought about how cool it would be to have a movie that was just one big orgy of bad-ass special effects. I mean, how sweet-ass-sweet would that be, just one big goo-fest of cool stuff? Well, Spielberg has provided us with that in this movie. Does it work? That's the million dollar question. By the first 15 minutes or so the characters are already typified: Ray (Cruise) is the shitty father who never sees his kids, the son is the teen harboring rage against his unforgiveable dad, and Dakota Fanning is, well, fucking creepy no matter what movie she's in.

The thing is, you KNOW after these 15 minutes of introduction that everyone's gonna have the big group hug somewhere down the line. The characters are so transparent, they're bullshit. So Spielberg has to have action, and action alone, as the meat of the movie. I think this is a noticeable departure from his previous successes. A hugely important part of what makes a Spielberg blockbuster great are the characters, and ESPECIALLY the humor they can bring. Indiana Jones, Ian Malcolm, fucking Quint and Hooper aboard the Orca. Great, great characters that not only give you a break from the action, but are charismatic enough to pull you into their world and make you care.

So back to the question at hand, since Spielberg abandons characterization, does the action work? Yes and no is the best I can give you. Yes, because it is fucking awesome. Holy shit is it awesome. The tripods... wow. Mowing down humans left and right, relentless in their pursuit. Intense, heart-pounding stuff. And as always, Spielberg manages to get a TON of unbelievable shots in there, jawdropping stuff. You really get a great worm's eye view of the action, and the stuff's always shot from Ray's perspective, so it's pretty hectic and panic-inducing. Thrilling and enthralling... for the first hour, that is.

After that, and especially when Ray meets Tim Robbins' character I was bored. Like, really bored. Even when they showed the aliens for the first time... I was bored. Any and every time the full, all-out, balls-to-the-wall action action stopped, I was bored. I mean, you're on a super-high of adrenaline from the first ass-kicking hour, and then BANG. The movie hits a brick wall, and you end up like a crank fiend with a dry supply. You want more. More. More. You don't care about all the sneaking and hiding crap. Ten minutes later you get another fix.... but fuck, man. That wasn't NEARLY as good as your first high. Again. Hurry, you can't wait. And so on, and so forth the rest of the movie.

You just don't really care enough about the characters to want the movie to slow down for them, and you most DEFINITELY become desensitized to the action after all the on again off again business. I got up and took a piss in the last 10 minutes. That's how little I cared. Oh yeah, and I already knew how it was going to end... which is a definite plus for the movie, because it's one of the absolute best endings in the history of science fiction. Good call on leaving that one in there. I think the audience was a little taken by surprise though, because, like the book, it ends just as quick as it all starts - nay, quicker.

I'm a roller coaster junkie and I most definitely love cheap thrills, and this is cheap thrill polished to perfection. So when it's all said and done, as completely unfulfilling of a movie that this is, I still can't help but recommend going to see it at the theater. Unless you can get your surround sound cranked up to about 90 decibels, do yourself a favor and see it where it'll have some real balls. The bass is outstanding, and the special effects look great on the big screen. Just don't go hoping for a superior Spielberg experience, because he definitely didn't bring his A-game to this one. C+.

Addendum: Yes, the word Scientology flashed in my head about a million times while watching this movie. Damn you, Cruise, and your permeation of the media with your alien religion bullshit.