Friday, July 29, 2005

On Vacation

I'll be back in a few days. Not sure how many though.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Return of Superman

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In the pantheon of comic-book superheroes, there is one hero who stands alone at the top. He came first, in the desperate days of the Great Depression to inspire millions of people with the idea that one man could save the world. He was unquestionably good. He had almost matchless power, and by contrast, the classic poetic fatal flaw. The symbol he wore on his chest became one of the world’s most recognizable icons, right after the Olympic Rings and the Christian cross. He became the standard by which all those who followed were judged.


Over the years, he has been portrayed in comic books, novels, plays, television shows, and movies, with varying success, strengthening his image in the minds of his fans.

So – as a guy who once rode his bicycle around with a “Superman” cape flapping from my shoulders, imagine my joy in learning that a new Hollywood production, “Superman Returns” will be released in the summer of 2006. The 1977 John Williams soundtrack began to strum through my mind as I started rooting around on the internet for information about the movie. I had reason to be optimistic; beginning with X-Men in 1999 and then perfected by the Spiderman franchise, the comic book movie has become a spectacle worth anticipating. And Superman, the greatest hero of the genre…surely it would be better than all the predecessors. A movie would be filmed befitting a character of his stature, with all the respect and reverence he deserves.

And that’s when I saw this:

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Oh, my GOD!!

Was this a joke? It can’t be – but no. These pictures are found on the movie’s homepage to promote the film. This “Superman” is nothing like I imagined. So much of Superman is what he looks like, and this is frankly the stupidest costume I’ve ever seen. Hastily, I forwarded the pics to my friends, and these were their responses:

“HAHAHAHA! I literally laughed out loud. Is this for real? He looks retarded!”

“I feel like I was just kicked in the nuts. This can’t be the costume – is it?”

It looks that way. Where to begin? This costume is wrong from the top to bottom:

1.) The cape. The color is all wrong. It’s brown! It’s the shade of dried-up chocolate milk, and it’s too short. The real Superman has a longer cape, more majestic, nearly ankle-length. Also – it’s tucked into his shirt collar! Who came up with that stupid idea? Nice work, fag - that successfully showcases how narrow this actor’s shoulders are (whoever the hell he is, he looks like a wannabe Calvin Klein model). The real Superman has a cape like this:

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"Talk to the hand. The SUPER hand. "

See how it sweeps over his shoulders? It’s like the cowl of a king. The new, stupider cape looks like how I used to wear my baby blanket, stuffed into my t-shirt when I was running around the backyard.

2.) The collar – it’s almost a turtleneck! How the hell is he supposed to hide that under his shirt? The blue neckline would be visible to anyone. See the straight-across Reeve neckline above for reference. Incidentally, this also permits a more favourable positioning of the cape attachment.

3.) The famous “S” shield – it’s way too small, and the raised-relief style is retarded.

4.) What’s with the hip-hugger jockeys? What are they, Underoos? Look at him standing there, it’s like he wants his bum-buddies in the steam-bath to check out his package. Should this movie be called “Ace & Gary”?

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"Look at the size of my cock! You
know you want to!"

5.) The boots. They are too low on the calves, and the split in the front of them makes me think of the boots that Rocket Robin Hood used to wear on the 5:30 a.m. Saturday cartoons. Wrong!

Whatever limp-wrist designed this costume, I want them fucking fired! This "effort" is an outrage, an abomination! Back to the drawing board, there’s still time. It’s due out in 2006, shooting has probably only begun - so there’s still time.

And the actor – who is this pretty-boy? I don’t want a name-brand actor, that would distract from the image of Superman. You’d be thinking, “Oh, there’s Brad Pitt as Superman.” It has to be an unknown guy, so they got this part right at least. But where are the muscles? This guy couldn’t beat his way out of a paper bag! I want steroids! Superhuman mass to destroy enemies and protect the weak! Who is this guy kidding? Drink gallons of Winstrol and hit the iron. You’re an embarrassment, son! General Zod would have owned his ass. Margot Kidder would have thought him cute in a high-school valedictorian kind of way. He’s not a man.

And he’s not Superman.

This man always will be:

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Looking in the Mirror

I don't know if I should contribute any longer to my blog.

I've been asking myself, what's the point? One blog in millions. I sit in front of the computer to write something for people to read, but why do I do it? These are my standard blog entries:

1.) A comment or opinion on something. Something quasi-journalistic, but of course, not really, because it's basically unedited and untempered ranting. But really - who cares what my opinions are? Why are they worth writing about?

2.) A deliberately tongue-in-cheek story-ish entry, including dialogue and funny pictures. Usually immature. Why should I do that? How am I bettering myself or others by posting something ninth-graders would probably come up with? So many hours spent writing something that didn't improve my abilities whatsoever...

3.) Short stories. These seem to be the only worthwhile contributions, because I try harder at these, and hopefully people enjoy the content more than the other stuff, which mostly feel to me like brain-farts. But to make them blog-worthy, I edit them down and chop out various passages to keep the length punchy, or else nobody reads them. And the point is to get people to read, right? But why do I care if people read what I posted?

4.) Movie reviews. is a better resource, certainly.

Suddenly it all seems like such a waste of time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Greatest All-Time Daydream

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[The scene: an aerial view of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the roof illuminated in the dark by a series of spotlights. The Toronto Maple Leafs insignia can be seen on the roof. Outside the arena, tense groups of fans in hockey sweaters wander around, waving to outside cameras.]

Bob Cole: “Time is winding down here at the Air Canada Centre. It is now a tie game, folks. 2-2, on Ward’s dramatic second goal about twenty seconds ago, at 18:55 of the third period. What a game! It gets no better than this, everybody; this is what playoff hockey is all about. It’s the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final, and it’s allll going to be decided tonight. Tie score! Between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.”

Harry Neale: “We’ve seen an incredible performance tonight from Ward. Two goals, a fighting major, and a ten minute misconduct! He hasn’t left the ice since he was released from the penalty box two minutes ago, when he tied the score to bring the Leafs right back into this game, Bob.”

Cole: “And the crowd suspects there is more to come as they set up in the Leafs' end for the faceoff!”

(brief pause; crowd can be heard cheering loudly)

“There are only twenty-seven seconds remaining, and we’re going to overtime if neither team can settle it in regulation. The faceoff is to the left of a masterful Eddie Belfour, who has faced 44 shots tonight. The puck is dropped…and the Wings control. Shana…Yzerman, plays the puck to the boards, and is immediately mugged by McCabe. The puck is frozen over there at their feet as the two players kick away at it! And…twenty! seconds are now left in the third. McCabe finally gets his stick on it and plays it to an open Kaberle, wheeling over in front of Belfour…

(crowd suddenly erupts in roar)

"And Ward was just nailed at the line by Shanahan!…Ohhh, what a hit that was - and no call! His helmet is rolling across the ice…I hope his head isn’t in it!

(crowd begins to boo lustily)

“Kaberle still controls the puck, circling back behind Belfour in the Leaf zone, looking for an opening for one last rush - it looks like overtime now for this game!

(crowd begins chanting countdown: 10, 9, 8…)

“Kaberle, feeds a long pass behind Shanahan…and Ward grabs the puck at the redline! And – it’s onside! No icing! He’s skating full-steam through the middle…Lidstrom pokes…OH GOD, LOOK AT WARD, WHATTA MOVE! HE’S PAST LIDSTROM!

(crowd explodes, the roar distorting the broadcast microphones)

“Ward is all alone across the blueline! Only seconds left…shoots…scores! HE SCORES!!!

(Cole is screaming as the horn sounds to end the period)

“WARD, WITH HIS THIRD GOAL OF THE GAME, WINS THE STANLEY CUP FOR THE LEAFS! I’VE NEVER SEEN SUCH A FINISH IN MY LIFE! And there he goes! Mobbed by his teammates…what a sensational end to this series!”

(crowd is screaming non-stop – hats begin to drop to the ice like snowflakes, collecting in drifts to honour the hat-trick. Darcy Tucker is crying with joy as he hugs the jumping crowd of players. Stripped gloves and hockey sticks are flying everywhere as the team celebrates the most dramatic Stanley Cup victory in history. The wobbling camera cuts to coach Pat Quinn, who is shaking hands with the coaching staff)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Headed South

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When I heard the rush of car tires outside, I tented my magazine beside the cash register even before the bell rang; my feet hit the floor at about the same time as it dinged above my head. My boss, Mr. Hoyer, is big on customer service. At his gas station, he wants the customers seen to in less than thirty seconds, or else you lose your job. He’s very serious about that, too; earlier this summer, I came out to the pumps one night to find him sitting there in his old Crown Vic, his thumb pressed on the button of a stopwatch.

“That was twenty-eight seconds, Faber. You’re pushing it. What were you doing in there? Have your nose in a Playboy?” he sneered.

“No way, Mr. Hoyer! I walked out as soon as I heard the bell ring,” I said.

“You don’t walk outta there, boy, you run.”

I sighed. “Okay, Mr. Hoyer.”

“All right,” he grumbled. “Remember - I’ll be coming around now and then just to check up on things.”

“I got it, Mr. Hoyer,” I said. He clunked the Crown Vic into Drive, and he was gone, having not even topped up his tank. The asshole had come by strictly to harass me, and had left me feeling jumpy and picked-on. The hell of it was, I had been at his car under his thirty-second service standard, but I still had the vague sense in the back of my mind that he didn’t think I was doing such a hot job. I knew I shouldn’t have felt guilty about it, but I still did all the same. Thanks, boss. Ever since then, I felt a little nervous anytime I heard a car roll up outside, and I imagine that's what the old bastard had wanted in the first place.

I could see though, I wouldn’t have to worry just now about a visit from Mr. Hoyer. The car waiting at the pumps was a smaller, foreign car, a dusty blue Volvo that had seen some hard miles and better days. Not beat-up or anything; just used, the kind of car that you would never notice unless it was part of your job to pay attention to cars.

I moseyed up to the Volvo (but still certain I was there in under thirty seconds), and craned my neck at the driver, a worn, weatherbeaten-looking guy on the far side of thirty. His blondish hair was pulled back from his face in a lazy ponytail, and his chin bristled with the eccentric beard of a mountain man. In spite of the warm evening, he was wearing a simple cotton jacket, a fuzzed elbow propped in his window.

“Hello sir, what I get for you?” I said.

The guy, he spoke so softly, I barely heard him. “Can you fill the tank, please?”

“Sure thing. Supreme?”

“Regular,” he said.

I lifted the hose, and flipped the pump on. Hoyer’s gas station was one of the few left where an attendant actually filled up your car for you. Almost every other gas station was self-serve now. Hoyer liked it that way too, because it meant his station was different from other places. Superior. Along with his quick-to-the-car rule, he wanted us to check the oil and wiper fluid levels and things like that for the customer. He was pretty old school that way. I didn’t know of any other station that did that, but I didn’t mind it at all, actually. It meant I had a job, for one thing, and the genuine pleasure the customers took in these little considerations was worth it, both in the smiles (from women, especially) and the extra lettuce they would sometimes press into my hand.

“Check your oil, sir?” I raised my voice over the hum of the pump.

“I think I’m all right,” said the guy.

“Wiper fluid? Tires?”

The guy smiled up at me, and the quality of the grin lit up his face. His eyes were arresting, blue gunfighter’s eyes that had the sudden ability to reach out and hold you in place. Between the lines around them, I saw the teenager he must have been, not so long ago. The difference in his appearance was so dramatic, I actually did a double-take at the sight of it.

“Naw, it’s cool,” he said, opening his door and easing out of the car like an old man. He stretched for the sky as he did, arching to his tip-toes in his clunky-looking shoes. He was pretty small, I noticed. Small, and thin.

“You don’t strike me as a Volvo kind of guy,” I said.

The guy gave me his million-dollar smile again. “Oh, but I am,” he said. “Volvos are practical cars. They’re unpretentious vehicles, and the safest in the world.”

“I guess,” I said. “But women don’t much care about those things.”

“Well, I don’t care much about women, either,” he said.

“Don’t care - why? Are you gay?” I didn’t mean to say that, but my mouth has a way of acting before my mind can stop it. I didn’t know what it was, but I noticed that sort of a vibe radiating from him, something out of the ordinary in the way he was standing there. Or maybe it was just because he was slightly built man with long hair. But I shouldn’t have worried, because he just laughed at me.

“Gay - no. But I’ve been called that before. No, I don’t care much about women right now because I decided to go on the road for a little while. I always liked doing it, and it’s been a few years since I’ve had a good trip in the car,” he paused. “Have you ever hit the road? You know, just taken a powder and gone someplace?” he asked.

“I don’t have my license yet,” I said. “But even if I did, I think I would want to go on a trip like that with my friends, not all by myself.”

The guy leaned on his fender, tugging a pack of Camels from the pocket of his jacket. He poked one in his mouth, and tucked a loose lock of hair behind his ear. “Yeah, but a trip like this, you need to do it by yourself,” he said around the smoke. A battered Zippo appeared in his hand, and he sparked up, pinching his face into the flame. He dragged deep, and blew a cloud into the night, tilting his head a bit to better hear the crickets out in the weeds. “A trip like this, you want some time alone, so you can figure some things out. Sometimes friends just get in the way,” he said.

“I guess,” I said. “Where are you going, anyway? Are you in a band?” I said, nodding at the large guitar case I could see in his back seat.

The guy stiffened a bit, turning to look at me. “I used to be - but not anymore. Not for a while. Are you a music fan?”

“No, not really,” I said. “I don’t have many hobbies at all, actually. I like watching movies and hanging out and things, but that’s about it. And reading, I do a lot of reading, too.”

He relaxed again, taking another drag of his cigarette. He closed his eyes as he did, the coal of the smoke brightening in the dark like a tiny toaster element in his lips.

“That’s okay, music isn’t very good anymore anyway," he said. "It’s all this processed MacDonald’s shit now, dreamed up by some suit in a boardroom for the teeny-boppers. ‘Are his jeans ripped enough? Is he dangerous-looking, but in a safe way?’” he waved his hand around in disgust. “They don’t even play guitars, most of them. American Idol bullshit. When I was a kid, at least the stupid hairspray bands could play instruments.”

He had this kind of sing-song voice that went up and down as he spoke, a sort of storyteller voice that made me think that he’d talked this way to people many times in the past. I liked listening to him. Just then, the gas pump dinged full, and I began to nurse a few more drops into the tank. Sometimes you can squeeze another buck or two into a supposedly full tank. I looked at the pump. “It’s going to be twenty-five bucks, sir,” I said.

The guy reached for his wallet. "Sir", he mused. "My old man made me call him that, I always hated it. I don’t look like a ‘sir’, do I?”

“I guess not,” I said. I thought he did, though. Anyway, I called everybody that who I didn’t know. In my hand, the pump stopped at last, and I flipped off the switch and racked the nozzle.

He walked over to me, holding the bills between his fingers. “Twenty-five,” he said, pinning me down again with his eyes. “And now, it’s time to rock and roll. How far am I from the I-96?” he asked, getting back into his car.

I folded the money into my overalls. “You’re almost there – it’s maybe a half-hour down the road,” I said. “Not too far. You didn’t tell me where you were headed.”

The guy settled in his seat, gripping the steering wheel for a moment with his fingers – remarkably long and thin, wrapping the wheel like tree roots. “I’m not sure yet,” he said. “That’s the other rule for a trip like this. You’re not supposed to know. It’s how I’ve always done things, and it’s worked for me in the past. But I do know I’m going to the South. I have an image in my mind, of a dream I had once,” he said, and now the gunfighter eyes were looking beyond me.

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“There was this little bar - just a shack, really, beside a river someplace, in the South, and it was quiet, except for the water. You walked up to it, and all you could hear was wind in the sycamore trees around you, until you got to the door of the bar, and that’s when you heard the music playing inside. It was hot in there, and packed with people, like a religious-revival tent, with a bony waitress serving the little tables like a contortionist. These guys were onstage, like these 1950’s colored guys who looked older than Adam, their heads down over their instruments, and playing the Delta blues like all get out. They were sweating up there in their strappy tee-shirts, and the guy on bass was in his bare feet. And I wiggled in and found me a seat, and sat a while, drinking in the atmosphere just like corn liquor. And then sometime later, they let me play with them. I pulled out my guitar, and I played onstage, and one of the guys sang an old song I’d never heard of, but sounded familiar anyway.” He stopped, maybe embarrassed a little about what he told me.

“It sounds like a great dream,” I said.

“It was. I think about it all the time. Anyway – I’ve always wanted to head South, and find someplace where I can play barefoot on a stage. Someplace where nobody knows me, and it doesn’t matter to them that they don’t. And just play.”

“Why would anybody know you?”

He looked at me again, back from his daydream, and I squirmed a little under his long gaze. “Oh…I don’t know,” he said finally. “I guess what I mean is, some moments are better in front of total strangers, people who don’t have any opinions of you. You can just play for them…and if they dig the music…who you are won’t matter to them.”

“I guess I don’t understand. Nobody would know me if I played a song for them,” I said. “But yeah – the I-96 will take you south. A long way down, anyway.”

He reached for his keys. “Have a good night, man,” he said. He pulled his car away from the pumps, driving slow, the same way my grandmother would. He made the turn for the Interstate, and I watched his taillights blink between the trees until he was gone.

I went inside, and grabbed my magazine off the counter, intending to put it back on the display rack, when I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. There, peering over a Hot Rod magazine, I saw the same sky-blue eyes looking into me that I had just seen out by the pumps – but that was impossible. I yanked the magazine – Spin - from the rack, and read:

Kurt Cobain 1967-1994
Ten years after his death,an intimate look at a troubled childhood

and secret heartbreak that shaped a rock legend

It was him. "No way," I breathed.

But it was. Unmistakably, except in this idealized studio portrait, restored to the youth I had imagined in my mind's eye only moments before.

The customer bell rang again over my head, and by the time I made it outside, I knew that I had waited long past thirty seconds to get there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


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This is not exactly a deep thought, but I wonder why classic insults typically include body parts that are usually contained in a set of jockey shorts:


"Did you hear what she said to me? What a cunt."

"No. I said Combo #1, penis-breath."

And of course, there are the combinations:

"Suck my dick, you retarded asshole."

Who decided these are the insults? Society has taught us that these are the bad words, but what if back in the day, our ancestors had arbitrarily chosen different body parts?

"I say, give me my shield, you dimwitted kneecap."

"That's right. Lick my elbow, you wench."

"Where is my mead, you useless earlobe?!"

But it's probably not arbitrary at all, but because disgusting bodily emissions usually seep from the insulting orifices we are familiar with.

That is all.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Drag Race

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I am alone, folded across the back of my motorcycle as the day dies around me. The dusk descends upon me on the streets, creeping black across the empty lanes ahead, before being beaten back again by an approaching set of seventies-vintage streetlights. The tangerine fuzz of the spotlights is already behind me, disturbed now only by the flight of gathering moths, magnified among the cracks and oil-stains below like angel’s wings. Traffic lights hang ahead in the dark, red this time, and I back off the throttle, hearing the slowing whup-whup, whup-whup of tar snakes beneath my tires as the clock rolls back to zero. I pop the bike into neutral, and the green indicator light doubles, trebles, inside my visor before I slip it open above my head. I do this at every stoplight, because otherwise, my exhaled breath would fog the plastic.

I’m looking down the deserted road ahead when a car eases to the line beside me, a murmur of conversation floating out the windows from the back seat. I look over and see a glossy yellow Mustang, waxed and detailed with football-hero care. The tom-tom hammer of American V-8 burbles side-of-beef thick through my dusty leathers, thumping my chest with the heavy hand of a play-yard bully.

The driver, his wrist is cocked in extravagant relaxation on his three-point steering wheel, his left arm hanging chimpanzee along his pristine paint job. He looks me over.

“Nice pipe,” he says. “Let’s hear the engine.”

My exhaust, I just installed the titanium glass-pack the week before, and I hit the gas. The ripping rev of my own v-twin rises briefly above the notes of the Mustang, and then once more settles below.

“Nice,” he says. “I like that. Nice bike.” But just to underscore who the real man is, he pumps his own throttle, and his 'Stang flexes on the pavement, bellowing rich and angry on high-test gasoline.

“I’ve got three hundred and fifty horses to the rear wheels,” he says.

A face appears in the window, from the back seat. “Hey dude, you wanna drag?”

They can’t see my face inside my helmet, but they see me pause as I do the math. Three-fifty to the rear wheels, oh yeah, that’s bitchin’. But his car weighs ten times what my bike does, and I can hit sixty off the line in just over three seconds. Still –

“C’mon, man, c’mon, c’mon. Give ‘er man, let’s do it.”

Well, when you put it that way. I look behind, confirming the empty highway, and nod.

The backseat frat boy whoops and slaps the side of the car, and I flick down my visor, revving the throttle with a James Dean wrist. Not to be outdone, the driver of the Mustang gooses the engine, and the ascending snarl of dueling engines drowns out all other sensations.

We’re doing this, having our little hit-the-gas pissing contest, when the light blinks green, and I accidentally dump my clutch at nearly eight thousand rpm.

I feel my rear wheel grab, and the nose of the bike leaps from the ground, pulling the best third-grade poppa-wheelie you’ve ever seen. As the bars rise to my eyes, my wrist locks the throttle open all the way, and my new muffler etches a sparkling Back-to-the-Future stripe into the pavement as I blast across the intersection.

I hear the banshee shriek of the Mustang laying rubber behind me, and I know nothing but go, go, go, and at last the wheel of the bike comes back to earth, and I slam the shifter into second, the engine raving all the way open, the traffic lines ticking past as I hit seventy miles per hour, and I risk a look back.

The Mustang is sideways in the intersection, just pulling out, a blue cigarette cloud of vaporized tires rolling under the lights behind him. He blew it, I realize. Too much gas, and he sat there spinning his Bridgestones even as my out-of-sight wheelie was finally coming under control. I flash my brakes, one-two-three to tell him the race is over, and he pulls up beside me.

Inside the car, the backseat frat boy is giving me a mock salute, and the driver gives me The Nod. I nod back, impenetrable inside my leathers, and notice the bike is back again into the meat of its powerband. With one last look – I own you, motherfucker – I open the gas to the stop, knowing I am matchless at this rpm, and I blow past the nose of the Mustang at seventy again, charging for eighty.

The last thing I see are the downcast headlights of the Mustang in my mirrors, still struggling to catch me as I disappear into the night.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Argus sees: War of the Worlds

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I’m in a movie mood lately. I’ve seen all the big Hollywood blockbusters so far this summer, and this week I’m on vacation. Last night, after a week of going to the beach, I was in for a change.

“Wanna go see ‘War of the Worlds’?”

Sure. The reviews all look pretty good, and it’s got the redoubtable Stephen Spielberg behind the lens, with Tom Cruise doing all his usual Tom Cruise Faces for the camera. It’s as automatic a winning formula as you can get.

Except – it wasn’t. War of the Worlds was a big disappointment for me. The critics, for the most part, are way wrong with this movie.

If you’ve read the book, or seen the 1953 original screen adaptation, the 2005 version will have no surprises for you. Throughout the movie, I sort of held out hope that Spielberg would pull some magic out of his director’s hat, but it never happened. Keep in mind, the original story was written in 1898, so the plot turns aren’t as fresh as they could be – but essentially, this movie is "Signs" all over again, except the premise is even worse, right down to the scary basement scene, which did not work for me at all [Spoilers follow]. Tom Cruise and family are hiding out in a basement while enormous alien tripods stomp around outside, and which could rip apart the little house in which they were hiding in zip flat. But for some inexplicable reason, they sent in some kind of floating probe-eye (just like the 1953 version) to find them, instead of vaporizing the house as they had been doing everything else. Oh, and despite the alien’s obvious and incredible power, the Cruise family isn’t found. Huh? How big was that basement, anyway?

The other major plot point is the eventual demise of the aliens (no thanks to the humans in the movie), and although I won’t reveal it, various clues dropped along the way throughout the movie leave this device wide-open to critical flaying. So – we are to believe that 1.) the alien tripods have been buried under the Earth for millions of years, 2.) the aliens have been “drawing their plans against us” in all that time, but 3.) are taken out by…something even more stupid than the fact that 70% of the globe is under water? How could the aliens not have forseen this, in a million years of planning? Hopefully this next won't give too much away, but even we puny humans know enough to get a malaria shot before we visit Africa, as a precaution - but this kind of foresight was beyond the aliens. How?

Also, I got to see a cool vintage Mustang in the movie for about three seconds, teasing me into thinking it would show up later, but it didn't. What a letdown. You don't put a cool car into a movie unless you're going to use it for something. That's a rule, just like when a guy gets bad news on the phone, he throws it across the room, or when a guy says how great things are going in his life, he's about to die. There's a formula to follow.

This entire movie had the feel of a director and cast going through the motions. E.T. or First Encounters this ain’t. Wait for the rental.