Sunday, September 24, 2017

UK Journal: British Food and Toby's Jug

Undated, 1989 [I imagine this is either later in the day or the next day]

Well, here I am. I met Mrs. Lee [my host mother] and she seems nice. Too soon to tell. I napped and then ate (Yuck). The food is really filling and just a tad bit disgusting but I'm sure I'll grow accustomed to it.

Then we checked out the rail road station. I hope to see the others soon. Well, time for bed, Hasta Luego.

[Notes]

9:00 Wimbledon station 7/15

[7/14]

Welp (sic), here I am on the train to Tolworth. Today, 7/14, we walked around Wimbledon, our nearest biggest community. I hung out with Natasha most of the time, if not all. I'm liking her more all the time. Mrs. Lee on the other hand...

I bought two 7"s [those are records, kids], "Overground" and "Israel" [Siouxsie & The Banshees] and I also saw the 7" for "Disappointed" [Public Image Ltd] but didn't get it. I found "Viva Hate" but under a different name, if I don't find Andy's other albums, I get him that. [Andy Feudner had given me a long shopping list of singles from The Smiths].

Tonight we went to the EF party -- dull. We did not do anything. Then we (Stacy, Natasha, and I) went to Wimbledon and looked around. We went a man who went to U of M [The University of Michigan]. His family s Arabic and live in Wimbledon. They should us 'round the house: it was HUGE. The whole family seemed very nice and knew how rude the English usually are. Good clothes but bad attitudes.

[Notes]

Andy's expenditures
£6.49
£3.99
£1.99

Andy can spend
£25.00
- £16.50
==========
£8.50

£8.50
9.90 DM = £3.30
£5.20

Party Pyramid:

DAYTONA!
Bash -- Drunk and fucked
Party -- Drunk
Get-Together --> Us


[Undated Entry]

Oh, June! I'm Home!

What did you do today, Ward?

Well... The train was 25 minute late to Wimbledon but luckily Michelle, Leslie (a fellow Michigander and frequenter of Teen-Nite at the Shelter) and two older guys were there so I had a pretty good time waiting for the train.

We eventually got to Wimbledon and then went on to Waterloo where we took the tube to Piccadilly Circus. While in he station I was reminded of An American Werewolf in London: the part where the guy is chased up those steep escalators which I had to face today. Then we toured London on top of a bus and saw many things but I was totally disoriented by the driving. Then we were allowed to go off on our own so Natasha and I went all over London where we were at [a horrible sentence].

I bought some 12"s [more records, kids] for Andy and some Monty Python albums and a Public Enemy t-shirt for myself. She bought a leather bracelet and t-shirt for herself.

We are supposed to go to some really fine shops soon and I hope it is soon and I hope they are fine.

Then she and I walked all over for hours, buying tea and ice a few times and having a rather inexpensive dinner and then went back to St. James park for a lovely sit down.

[Notes]

72 New Malden Police 152

July 16

"Well, at least Mussolini got the trains to run on time."

[Notes]

Meet 7/17 at Wimbledon at 8:45

Tonight bring "The Scream", Seldane, batteries [Sounds ominous]

[Undated Entry]

Right, today I went to Buckingham Palace and saw a bit of the changing of the guards. They even played "The Washington Post" march when they marched out. It is so hard to believe that so many people from so many different parts of the U.S. can enjoy one anothers company as much I feel our group is.

My parents want to send me to Germany while I'm here so I'm going to check with Fran [our leader] tomorrow to see if there are a few days that I wouldn't mind being gone.

After Buckingham Palace we went to Hyde Park and saw Speakers' Corner. Quite a novel and necessary idea. Then Natasha, Stacy, a girl from Washington named Heather, and I walked to the Hard Rock cafe. Rip off, boring. Then we went up the street ad found all sorts of vendors where I found tons o' Smiths crap. I got two buttons for 10p each -- a Siouxsie and a Bauhaus -- then we found a guy who sold packs of four buttons and one post card where I found Siouxsie again and where Natasha got the same plus some Depeche Mode, Morrissey, and one other which eludes e for a minute. Then we had a perfectly awful time just sitting around Piccadilly Circus and riding the underground.

I found out that Michelle and the L.A. guy [Jimmy] both live in Tolworth. I was supposed to meet them at Toby's Jug tonight but I didn't feel like it. Sitting in a smelly English pub with a bunch of drunks and then walking home didn't really appeal to me. So, I watched some stupid show about three English vets with a stunning bovine rectal examination scene.

Public Enemy and the Blues Brothers seem to be popular. I've seen more stuff with them than anything except maybe Michael Jackson and The Cure.

[Notes]

Tues 7/25
Fri 7/28

Wed Waterloo at 10:30
Thurs Free
Fri Paris
727
Toby's Jug.... 533
Heathrow... 609

[To be continued]

Shanghai Diary: Trip to the Malls

While I'm here this first week, two of my co-workers from the Southfield office are with me. They arrived a week before I got here and then leave this coming Saturday.

One of them is my direct boss, Jason, and the other is the CMO of the company, Laura. Laura wanted to do a little shopping today and I wanted to talk with them and get out a bit myself. After I met them at their hotel, we took a taxi to the "underground mall" at Century Park. Indeed, it was a mall of sorts that took up either side of the metro stop there.

We entered into a maze of stores (or booths, really), each seeming to stock a slight variation of the other so that it felt like we were in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, us walking in front with the same handful of stores rotating in the background. To abuse the metaphor, we were something of a Scooby Gang, fending off hordes of shopkeepers -- most of them in their twenties -- who would attach themselves to us and start throwing out brand names and products, "You want to buy some watches? We have Rolex, Tag Heuer..." or "We have bags for you, Prada, Gucci..." and a simple "no thank you" would not dissuade them. This gave me a good chance to try out my limited Mandarin with a "Wǒ bùxiǎng!"

There was only one store that finally seemed interesting to me where they sold the most tacky tchotchkes I could want. I made note to possibly come back for some in the future, though I'm not sure if I could handle the hustle of the sales pitch again. I actually had a good time of watching it happen when Laura and Jason went into one booth to buy some shoes. The haggling with the shopgirl, the way the girl kept insisting that her items were quality, the pushing of different products, the demuring about their authenticity until finally "admitting" that they were just as good quality as the name brands that were illegitimately marked on them, and back to the haggling. It was quite a dance.

I managed to get Andrea a little solar powered Maneki-neko ("Chinese" lucky cat) for her office area at home.

Afterwards we went to a more "legitimate" mall where little-to-know shopping happened but it was still interesting to see the layout of the stores. It reminded me a lot of the indoor/outdoor malls of Las Vegas. On a rainy day like today there wasn't much desire to walk around outside but we could see the stores we wanted to get to from one level to another or across the way.

This is where we had lunch. Though the hostess seemed to know her English, the wait staff did not. But, a picture menu on an iPad seemed at first to help. That is, until the questions about "what kind of meat is that?" started cropping up. Apparently, years of "The Iron Chef" have inured me to being squeamish about ingredients. I tried to use Google Translate as best I could but the white text on a white background confused the heck out of the app. After about 20 minutes of going back and forth, they had ordered a few dishes (including french fries, cokes, and fried rice). I went more for presentation and got some dumplings and a dish that looked interesting and spicy.

While they picked at their spread of plates, I chowed down on mine which seemed to be some deep fried squab, un-fried shrimp, peanuts, and hot peppers. I'm guessing squab because of the number and size of bones. I didn't really care. It just tasted good. The dumplings were great, too. And the balsamic vinegar dipping sauce was potent.

After some more walking around, we decided to head back to their hotel which was a very quick cab ride away. Their hotel is about a block from my apartment, though in the pissing rain it feels longer. Thank goodness Andrea dug out an umbrella for me.

They seem to have a lot of umbrella etiquette. They have dispensers at the hotels for plastic bags in which one is supposed to wrap their umbrellas before going inside. And outside of a restaurant I went to yesterday they had a caddy for umbrellas. If the rain has been this bad for the last two days, I can't imagine what it's like during monsoon season.

We ate a little dessert at the hotel in the lobby and I was supposed to head back to meet them for dinner but I begged off. I got incredibly sleepy around the time we would have probably met and the idea of going back out in the rain didn't appeal to me. My eating and sleeping have been thrown off significantly so far. I'm trying to maintain my meal program but I've found that I was incredibly hungry on the flight over and haven't been too hungry today since the one meal.

I crashed out for an hour and now I'm back up and waiting for 10PM when I try my first Skype call + recording for an episode of The Projection Booth on Polanski's The Tenant. It'll be a three time zone affair and my maximum speed of internet is about 2 Mbps so I hope that can sustain a good call.





Saturday, September 23, 2017

UK Journal: Part 1

When I was 17 years old, my parents sent me over to the UK as a program called "Educational Foundation" (EF). I remember seeing ads for it late at night when I was watching The Young Ones on MTV and having a free packet of information sent about it. I don't know what possessed them -- I don't recall presenting a very good case -- but they ponied up the money and put me on a plane in the summer of 1989. It wasn't so much an "exchange program" as this wasn't done during a school year and there was no back and forth. It was just a bunch of American kids going to England for six weeks(?) with the opportunity to do two side trips.

While I was on my way, I started doing a little journaling. I want to transcribe those journals here as a counterpoint to my "Shanghai Diary" and as way to preserve these journals as they're little memo pads and likely to get lost.

With no further ado:

July 12 (1989)

In St. Louis, Missouri... about 2 1/2 hours until I go to New York and, so far... I met two fellow EF students such as myself; Stacy and Natasha. Both seem very nice. Natasha is the, must I say "typical?" dark poet. you know the type, "all around is darkness" kind of stuff. Stacie, on the other hand, sees cheerful and happy. They are staying together at the same house when we get to Surriton [sic. Most likely I meant Surbuton]. According to Stacey, we're all going to be in the same general area. Good. They seem pretty cool.


I'm a stranger in a strange land.

St. Louis?
The Arch.
Chicago?
Sears Tower.

It's strange. So far I've seen a Steve Convery, Mr. Menard, and now John Litman. Does everyone look the same in each city or am I just making people look familiar?

I wish I could look around St. Louis but by the time I fond the exit to this airport it'd be boarding time.

Well, time goes on, and on, and on, and on, but we don't. St. Louis is civilized to a point. They have iced tea but it's $1.27 a glass [I didn't understand the concept of "airport pricing"].

Here we are. St. Louis. The plane was late and so are we. We aren't even sitting on it yet. Sitting here listening to people, or to my headphones.

Oh Boy! Excitement! It's about an hour after we should have left and here we sit.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to New York. I certainly hope to make my flight to England in time. It's 6:07 and we've been in the air for about an hour. We had our snack time and the condiment of choice was "Grey Poupon" known the world over for its fine flavor. Made with the finest white wine.

By the way, did I say that Peter Lorre was a flight attendant?

We're supposed to land in 25 minutes.

Okay, I can handle this. After a run to the New York terminal and 4 1/2 hours in the air it's now 6:00 in England but I'm still here in mid air.

Natasha and I talked for a few hours. She seems quite nice. Not the brooding, tempestuous poet that she first seemed to be. Right now, she's asleep while Stacey is writing as well. Stacy managed to sleep a lot during the flight and Natasha finally managed but I, alas, could not. It is a pity that Natasha isn't a closer friend or I could use her shoulder as a pillow for I am sure I could have fallen asleep then.

Our dinner was late and not tasty. We had chicken with an awful batter.

I certainly hope to be seated with these two on y return journey. I believe I'd thoroughly enjoy their company on the 5 1/2 hour layover back to Detroit.

DUDE! I am still airborne [sic]. I am still tired. I am still amazed that the sun's up. Will the English girls have hairy armpits? How shall I phrase the question? "'Scuse me, darlin' but..."

Wakey wakey Mr. Parrot, this is your 6 o'clock alarm call!!!

I still haven't met the other EF students as they are all spread out over the plane.

DUDE! I'M HERE! I'm in England! After about a 3 hour wait at Heathrow, we're finally all on a bus headed to our host family. I met a pretty cool girl, Michelle, from West Virginia.

[Random notes]

4 Gypsy Lane
Hampshire
Ring wood
England

Waterloo Station.
Tomorrow.
Meet for fun orientation at Raynes Park Station at 10:00
Where is rail station?

7:30 at RP Methodist Chuck. A party. Invite host family.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Shanghai Diary: Arrival

Though the flight from Detroit to Shanghai was "only" a little over 14-15 hours, it was really over a day due to the time change. We flew to the northeast rather than west as I had expected. Some of my fellow travelers posited that it might have been to give North Korea a wide berth. Going that way, the sun seemed to set a little early and then "rise" again at 11PM as we made our way over Greenland. At one point I looked out the window and it seemed like we were going over the face of another world. With no clouds, we seemed to be very low in the sky (no sense of perspective). The was nothing but white with only shadows from the sunrise to give any depth. It looked like mountains and "rivers" of snow. I tried to capture it with my cellphone but, of course, you can't really see the depth and clarity of the human eye.

The sun rose and set while I was in the plane. It was after 7PM Shanghai time when we finally landed. I had tried to sleep on the trip but only managed to nod off about a half hour from touch-down. Then it was the rush rush rush of everyone pushing their way through the airport as if we weren't going to have to wait about an hour for our luggage, no matter how fast the Customs lines went.

At the mouth of the luggage return there were two ladies who seemed to have one job of turning luggage on its side in order to fit bags on the carousel in a proper way. The carousel would occasionally stop while more bags were being loaded somewhere. When it'd start again they'd work quickly to handle the new demand. Of course, I could only think of Lucy and Ethel working on that candy line. "Let 'er roll!!"

I had a bit of a SNAFU with not seeing the person who was supposed to bring me back to my apartment. I ended up getting swept away by a gypsy taxi driver who ended up charging me much less than the apartment then (double) charged me when I checked in.

I need a little clarification from my office when I get there on Monday. The apartment has me checking out after two months though I'm here for three. That's a bit concerning.

The apartment is pretty nice. I took a video of it:


It took me a while to get the air conditioner working. The lady who brought me my apartment's fresh water supply showed me how to use a remote control to turn the air on and off. With the settings all being in Chinese and Celsius, it'll take a little figuring but I found the all important "colder" and "not so cold" buttons.

Though the mattress being anything but "cushy", I slept like a stone. I think being awake for 28 hours will do that.

Now I'm off to explore the neighborhood a bit and get a new SIM card and data plan for my phone. Once that happens my 734 number won't work until my return.

Currently Reading: The Tenant by Roland Topor.

I have a lot more reading to do:

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Introducing the Shanghai Diary



I'm not a good blogger, Jenny... But I know what love is. And I know that there's no way I should start a separate blog just for a three month stint. Though definitely not as film-centric as my old TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) diaries, I still wanted to keep a record of my trip and my thoughts about going to Shanghai, China.

The Frequently Asked Questions I get are as follows...

Are you going for vacation? No. This trip is a work trip, though I've never gone away for such an extended period. Most work trips I've taken over the years have been for conferences, training, and face-to-face meetings, but the longest of those has been a week, tops. This trip is over twelve weeks! I've never been away from home that long.

The longest I've ever been away from home occurred when I was 17 years old when I went to the UK. I am sure that I'm going to talk a lot about that trip as I talk about this trip.

Will you be going alone? The first week I'm in Shanghai, two of my co-workers from my office here around Detroit will be there with me. They'll be arriving a week beforehand and staying that first week I'm there. Then they depart and I'm on my own insofar as people I know already. No, Andrea isn't going with me. At least, that's how it seems. We're hoping that work will pay her way over. If that happens, then she may go. If not, she'll stick around the homestead, watching the kitten and dogs and we'll save that money for another day.

Will you be working all the time? Oddly, the second week I'm in Shanghai is "Golden Week", a week-long holiday. That means my office there will be shut down, however I'll still be working on some of my regular projects, albeit in a very different time zone. Shanghai is 12 hours ahead of Detroit. This means that midnight "my time" will be noon back in the office here. I don't see me working that late but still doing a lot of checking in.

Once Golden Week is over, I'll be back in the Shanghai office and working those hours as well as doing some checking in. I'm not quite sure how much I'll be working over my day schedule. Though this is a work trip so I think I should be disposed to the job whenever needed.

Do you speak Chinese? No, I don't speak Chinese. Not Mandarin, not Cantonese, not Shanghainese, none of the dialects. I have been listening to Pimsleur's "Speak and Learn Mandarin" over the past four weeks and picking up a little. I have a feeling that this isn't going to be a major issue but, again, we'll see. I at least know how to ask, "Do you speak English?" and say, "I don't speak Mandarin."

I've been prepping for over a month now: getting my inoculations, obtaining my work visa, reading up about Shanghai, watching any and all "reality" TV I can about it (Bourdain, "Bizarre Foods", "Culture Shock", etc), and countless blog articles. I've also been binging on Two White Chicks in China a podcast from an American and British ex-pat out of Chengdu. They've provided some valuable insights and, moreover, have made me feel a lot more comfortable about going over.

I've been on an eating program via Henry Ford hospital since March which has me eating pre-packaged shakes, bars, and other sundry items from bettermd.com. Unfortunately, they don't ship to China which means that one of my bags is going to be packed with a ton of these powders which I know will run out a few weeks after I arrive. I feel like I'm going to be measuring out everything like Matt Damon in "The Martian." Fortunately, it's all high-protein and low-carb and I think I can find enough "real" food like that in Shanghai. I'm also hoping to find some kind of bulk food store where I can stock up on similar items.

I'm also going to be getting a lot more exercise than I do here in Metro Detroit where a car is a necessity. Meanwhile, Shanghai is one of those places that has embraced public transportation -- like all civilized places should. A real metro line (one that is longer then 3 miles long), regular buses and maybe even some trolleys. I plan on walking to my office every day which may be 2 miles away. I say "may" because my apartment and my office show up in different places depending on what map I view -- Apple or Google.

I'm working on loading up my iPad with some things to watch and read during my upcoming 14 hour 22 minute flight. I have to pack a stack of physical books because of studying up for the podcast (I still plan on podcasting while I'm there) but I'm also working to find electronic versions of as much of those as possible to save room. I'm also making sure that my computer has all of the files I need for watching movies and editing podcasts while there. The toughest part of that seems like it will be the 15 hour time difference between Shanghai and Pacific Standard Time.

I'm hoping that this trip will allow me some much needed time to catch up on some projects, do a lot of editing, reading, watching movies. However, I want to make sure that I take time every weekend to go out and explore. Being a movie nerd, I'll admit that I'm curious to attend some screenings there and seeing what some Shanghai theater are like. Plus, there are some movies coming out that I really want to see: Thor 3, Blade Runner 2, and Kingsmen 2. Fortunately, I'll be back in time for Jumanji 2.



Flashback: When I was 17 and preparing to go to the U.K., I had so many less toys and gizmos than I do now. No worrying about SIM cards, very little worry about conversion for plugs. When I was going there I went with a list of record albums that friends, mostly Andy Feudner, were looking for. Amazing that now it's the opposite -- so many gadgets and no need to worry about buying things for people. The world is such now that there aren't many books, albums, or objects that we can't order from any part of the world. With the exception of my diet food, I suppose.

Nerding Out: Going from around 40 degrees latitude to 30 degrees latitude will give me some different weather and throws off my idea of trying to figure out exactly what percentage of the circumference of the earth I'll be traveling. As best I can figure, I'll be going about a third of the way around the globe.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Teaser Trailer for Cult Film Documentary Survival Of The Film Freaks

June 30, 2017­ – Ted Raimi, Greydon Clark, Adam Green and more are part of Survival of the Film Freaks, a new documentary that explores how technology continues to change how we define “cult” films. Directors, actors, and journalists from all generations weigh in on the ever-changing world of cult cinema in this documentary that is both an ode to and an exploration of cinema fandom.

At the helm of Film Freaks is director Bill Fulkerson. A passion for cult cinema drives Fulkerson; he has hosted the cult cinema podcast Outside The Cinema for over ten years, reviewing countless films for nearly 500 episodes. “I’ve been a lover of weird and wonderful cinema since I was a kid, and how we view and acquire these films continues to evolve. With this documentary we hope to show the past and future so that we never lose these hidden gems.”

Co-directing alongside Fulkerson is documentary filmmaker Kyle Kuchta (Fantasm). “Cult isn’t a genre, it’s a mentality. These films have legacies and followings that now everyone can be a part of because of the Internet. Film Freaks looks to delve in to what ‘cult’ means in an age where everything is available at the click of a button.”

Film Threat’s Chris Gore, William Sachs (Galaxina), and Lloyd Kaufman of Troma are just a few of the familiar faces in Film Freaks. The team is currently finishing up the remaining interviews and moving into post-production this summer.

Stay up-to-date with Survival of the Film Freaks: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Future of Shopping

Today one of my co-workers sent me a video from Amazon. "This is so cool!" she said. And I agree.



Thing is, I remember this same idea from 2006 brought to us from IBM:



Oddly, I was just thinking about that second commercial yesterday as I looked at the long lines at Kroger and thought, "Why can't I just walk out and have all of my stuff scanned and my account billed via my Kroger ID?

Now I'm waiting on my jet pack, rocket car, and no lines at the grocery store.

Friday, September 09, 2016

The Hateful Rebel

A few weeks before Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight came out, the story broke that it was, um, inspired by an episode of the TV show "The Rebel" (Season 1 Episode 25 - Fair Game). As soon as this news broke, people started asking me if I was going to do a comparison video between the two things. Not being that handy with video software -- at least not nearly as handy as a lot of people I see online who seem to have some strong AfterEffects skills.

To that end, I was waiting for someone else to do it -- maybe Jacob T. Swinney? -- to put something together. While I think that this could be better, Geektoid has cut together something that juxtaposes a few scenes and ideas.



If someone doesn't put together something better soon, I'm going to have to dive headfirst back into Sony Vegas.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Obligatory Ghostbusters 2016 Review

Going to the the 2016 Ghostbusters on opening weekend was something of a point of pride for me after reading all of the "trollicious" comments about how terrible the new movie would be. After having written my thoughts about the bizarre anti-women sentiments of too many fanboys (disguised as "this remake will ruin my childhood" whining), I felt obligated to review the film one way or the other -- positive or negative -- as long as I could review it honestly.

In 2011, director Paul Feig struck gold with the comedy hit Bridesmaids. Since then, he's made three additional film starring Melissa McCarthy (Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters). These films, penned by Katie Dippold, Paul Feig, or a combination of both, all seem to draw from the same well. There's a pattern to the jokes in these films which mixes ribald comments with a seemingly faddish turn wherein characters riff a series of allegedly funny lines and, rather than using the best one, several of them are strung together in the final product.

That kind of "on the fly" humor can be effective but it has to be honed and used judiciously. At times, these jokes pile on to one another, making scenes increasingly funny. When not done well, however, scenes can feel clunky and each additional comment makes the scene clunkier.

Unfortunately, Ghostbusters 2016 is a very clunky movie.

The film re-teams Bridesmaids stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy while introducing "Saturday Night Live" alumn Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones to the mix. Wiig as Professor Erin Gilbert is our protagonist though she quickly becomes eclipsed by McCartney as Abby Yates and McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann. Gilbert and Yates bicker like the former friends they are while Holtzmann embodies some kind of living cartoon character -- appropriate since she seems styled after the Egon Spengler on the animated "The Real Ghostbusters". This presents a conundrum as Holtzmann becomes the most interesting person to look at on screen but she never gives us anything but an out-of-step lipsynching scene (where she's seemingly seducing Gilbert?) and several nonsequiters. She may be brilliant when it comes to making ghost-catching gadgets but she doesn't know DeBarge from Devo.

After the three women begin a business to investigate the paranormal, they hire Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). Dumb as a box of rocks, Kevin is a one-note character whose first note rings flat and only gets worse from there. The scene of him showing his graphic design skills might be one of the most excruciating bits of the film.

We eventually meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a mass transit employee who manages to make it past Kevin's incompetence and summons the Ghostbusters to the subway for their second supernatural encounter. Apparently, Patty is impressed by the team's incompetence and inexplicably joins them. This is one of many "this thing needs to happen so it's just going to happen" moments of the film.

There is an antagonist in Ghostbusters... of a sort. Rowan North, played by Neil Casey, has less depth and backstory than a "Criminal Minds" freak of the week. He's such a thumbnail sketch that I kept expecting that he was just a lowly henchman for some bigger baddie (like Andy Garcia's Mayor character or, even better, Cecily Strong as Jennifer Lynch, the Mayor's assistant). Alas, no. The film's villain remains unmotivated and as poorly drawn as the rest of the characters in the film.

It seems that the real bad guy of the film is Paul Feig who's given his team very little to work with. Additionally, the film suffers from being simply poorly made. The most glaring example of this comes in the scene after the team gets called into the Mayor's office and told that they have to stop their ghost-busting antics. This cuts to the team in an alley where Yates says that the Mayor is allowing them to continue to hunt ghosts!? The scene proceeds to exist with the sole purpose to demonstrate a few weapons that will be used in the final confrontation with the Oogie Boogie version of Rowan North. There's really no need for this scene as the audience has seen Holtzmann making quantum leaps in technology throughout the film. The film then cuts to what was the next natural scene after the Mayor's office scene where our heroes are downtrodden, not the elated characters we saw during the brief weapons try-out.

This same kind of editing and pacing issues mar much of the film. Of course, the film takes an extra beat whenever introducing a ham-handed cameo from the original Ghost Busters cast (the Sigourney Weaver bit just feels tacked on, because it is) but then one of the film's other cameos, Ozzy Osbourne, cuts away too quickly (after a terrible laugh line).

Other pacing problems present in the Ghostbusters only catching one ghost before the final confrontation, the inexplicable absence of Gilbert from the team after their strange-but-brief "victory" over Rowan North, and the gaping absence of the dance number Kevin-as-Rowan is setting up the police for (which we see somewhat in the credits).

I won't even go into how troubling Leslie Jones's role was handled in her "white people be crazy" stereotype into which her character was cast. Again, better writing and judicious editing could have helped her character just as it could have helped all of the other paper-thin characters in this overblown film wherein, at the end of the day, it didn't matter what gender the actors are but how good the script and direction need to be.

Ghostbusters 2016 is not the worst movie I've seen. It's not necessarily a terrible movie. It feels like there's a competent film hidden beneath the incompetence of the product that came to theaters. I don't think that a fan edit will help the movie once it comes out on home video as that can pare back some of the clumsiness of the current film but it can't do anything to help build the characters into something more than the synopsis descriptions they're limited to on screen.

And, by the way, I don't think it's going to ruin your childhood.