Screen Squinty’s Top 15 Treehouse of Horror Segments.

The Halloween Special series which started in 1990 during The Simpsons second season called The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror (Th), and has been a recurring tradition (perhaps a bit of a belated one in some cases) ever since, and has long been a personal joy of mine from the very first episode when it aired.

Each episode consists of 3 main separate segments with occasional gags in the beginning and ending. It is these separate sections which will be individually added to my top list and not so much the episodes themselves.

Top 15 Treehouse of Horror Segments (in no particular order).

1. The Raven (TH:1, Segment 3).

This segment took a classic Edgar Allen Poe poem and made it mainstream. It inspired several children of my generation to read Poe after watching the episode. Homer as the beleaguered face of the story managed to combine his cloddery with this gothic tale brilliantly. The design of the segment was well done, with this great uses of stark colour and angle to give it a creepy vibe.

2. Clown Without Pity (TH:3, Segment 1).

This fun little tale is about a cursed doll out for murder, and contains a scene that has one of the best dialogues between a regular shmoe and an Evil Shop/Frogurt purveyor on television.

3. King Homer (TH:3, Segment 2).

This was a great spoof of the infamous King Kong movie from the black and white era with the appropriately cast Homer as the ape king himself. This also has one of the best renditions of “strolling through the park one day.”

4. Dial ‘Z’ For Zombies (TH:3, Segment 3).

A great little tale of zombies that spoofs this monster genre of the period, with inexplicable library sections, and Homer living out one of his ultimate fantasies.

5. The Devil and Homer Simpson (TH:4, Segment 1).

This one is particularly good, with its clever visuals of hell, titling Flanders as the king of hell itself, and a perfect resolution to the plot.

6. Bart Simpson’s Dracula (TH:4, Segment 3).

This segment is perhaps one of the best spoofs of the Coppola’s Dracula out there. It had great plot progression, well utilized characters, excellent humour, and an unexpected ending.

7. The Shining (TH:5, Segment 1).

This is one of the best Kubrick The Shinning spoofs ever, taking some of the most memorable elements and imagery from the original movie and bringing to light both the ridiculous and the creepy that was loved about The Shining. Marge also wins hand down for her nagging dead pan reaction after she subdues Homer.

8. Citizen Kang (TH:7, Segment 3).

I always enjoy a good parody that reflects the flaws of the political system, but I loved how this one took this type of parody and managed to make it into a Halloween special without losing its parodied commentary.

9. I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did (TH:10, Segment 1).

This is a great parody of I Know What You Did Last Summer, using tension well, and as always an excellent Flanders and Homer working well together in a story.

10. House of Wacks (TH:12, Segment 2).

I enjoyed this segment particularly for its parody of both Demon Seed (primarily) and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Pierce Brosnon also seems to be having a lot of fun in this segment as well, which you can really tell.

11. The Ned Zone (TH:15, Segment 1).

This segment had some of the better plot progression, utilizing a quickly escalating series of events to which centralizes particularly around Ned in a parody of the content and narrative style of The Dead Zone.

12. Intro (TH:19, Segment Intro).

In this short, Homer tries to vote for Obama and runs afoul of the automated voting machine. It was a great condensing of political conspiracies and spoof of elections.

13. There’s No Business Like Moe Business (TH:20, Segment 3).

One of the best episodes with Moe as a central figure, if only for this one segment. This was a great parody of Sweeny Todd and musical stage production in general (it was a meta segment), and I enjoyed the byplay and musical numbers between Marge, Moe, and Homer.

14. Couch Gag (TH:24, Segment Opening).

This perhaps one of my favorite couch gags of all time. It is chock full of various film and television references that you have fun watching it tow see which ones you spot. The visuals were engaging, detailed and clever merging film director Guillermo del Toro’s (who conceived this couch gaga) unique style with standard Simpsons fare.

15. A Clockwork Yellow (TH:25, Segment 2).

A great homage to Kubrick, particularly the Clockwork Orange parody in the beginning utilizing the language and visual style akin to Kubrick films. A Kubrick fan must watch.

Overall there is many more that I could have added to the list, particularly from the earlier seasons, but I felt these were a good sampling of some of the better sequences out there. With Treehouse of Horror set to play soon, we will see if this season’s Treehouse will be worth the watch.

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Kung Fury: A Review.

Image from http://www.memecenter.com/fun/6093591/convention
Image from http://www.memecenter.com/fun/6093591/convention

Film/Short: Kung Fury.
Created by: David Sandberg.
Released: 2015.
Running Time: 30 min.

This…this film! Oh my fudging Godlies!

I really don’t know how to coherently review this, so I took my que from the style of the film itself and just went with whatever freakin’ pops into my head, so here it goes.

How best to accurately describe this film? It’s like if the entirety of 80’s nostalgia tripped LSD, lost its shizer, and smacked me upside the head repeatedly with a film script it wrote while in the back of a sexily painted dream van. The resulting hallucination induced from the concussion is this film in a nutshell.

…And man oh man was it awesome! I send my hyper-masculine *squee* out into the void.

This independent film was 30 minutes of straight up so-over-the-top-it’s-in-another-galaxy level of camp that caricatures the 80’s action hero and rough Die Hard cop all merged into the lead character known as Kung Fury (David Sandburg). He speaks in the gravelly voice of the Nolan Batman of the 2000’s (but to be fair was a popular trait in the 80’s) while taking down a time traveling Hitler.

We see burns of ridiculous television premises that were super common in that decade (Triceracop), stiff 80’s animation, unicorns, sexy barbarian women riding animals of manpower, and so much violence the PCA’s of the actual 80’s might have hemorrhaged a hernia of affront.

This is a visual feast for the unsuspecting parody eye for the guy that tries its hardest to make you go “wow” and have fun doing it. The visual style used a cruddy 80’s VHS tape filter, for added nostalgia which, depending on the viewer, was actually a smart little addition and a nice little meta commentary on viewing experience in general for the hey day of Video.

Finally, the strength of this film also lies in the humour (though there were the occasional eye rollers). I think I had one of those small deaths a time or two while watching it I laughed so hard! The utilization of the utter ridiculous made this movie hard to predict as a viewing experience which  is always one of those rare treats that viewers like myself appreciate if its done well.

All in all, whether you end up loving it or hating it, you should give this a ganter because….Damn! This is a fun ride!

*Kung Fury can be viewed either on Netflix Canada or at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg

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Smile HD: A Review.

Short: Smile HD.
Created by: MisterDavey.
Released: 2013.
Running time: 3.58 min.

*Warning please Watch the short before reading review.

This is my second review of a My Little Pony Friendship is Magic fan made material, my first being Lullabye for a Princess. A friend of mine asked me why I would review fan made material and my response was that there is worthwhile content out there that can show the bigger production companies and independents alike something. I also have an amazed appreciation for the time, creativity, effort and unique viewpoints that some of these content creators put into their work, and thus that makes them worthy of the same equal appreciation and criticisms as the cannon they were inspired from.

Smile HD by MisterDavey is one of such fan made animated shorts that has sprung from the Brony community that uses a song number composed by Foozie that plays happily during some…rather interesting confrontations between Pinky Pie (the fourth walling party planning element of laughter from the MLP-cannon).

From the technical end of things, this is a very well-constructed animation. Some good use of animated angle shots, colours that match the palate from cannon, and a great musical number that juxtaposes with its happy upbeat tempo which enhances the shock value, and does it brilliantly mind you, with the visuals.

The character designs were faithful to the source material (even if the darker theme wasn’t) and utilized the style in concert with the music to enhance that “what the f***!!” reaction you get and hold as you watch this short, with some gruesome realism touched upon here and there for the sake of gross out effect.

Overall, what was first introduced to the community through the earlier fan made Cupcakes with its introduction of twistedly cheerful (and some would say sick) horror, Smile HD took it to the, admittedly mostly gratuitous, next level.

If you’re not a traditionalist MLP cannon watcher or a sensitive viewer, then this is something worth seeing.

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There’s a Man in the Woods: A Review.

Short: There’s a Man in the Woods.
Created by: Jacob Streilein.
Released: 2014.
Running Time: 3.35 min.

This rather interesting animated short utilized a narrative about how rumors can quickly spiral out of control and the consequences that happen. It is told through the point of view of a teacher (who remains nameless throughout), whose entire reputation and life is destroyed by the acts of one child fabricating a story about a man in the woods, and his mother who refuses to believe that her precious darling is behind an untrue story.

The animation style was a lovely mixture of bright colours and simple designs with a unique character style that suited the characters to a tee, seeming fun one minute, and somewhat creepy in another. The construction of the animation as a whole does well in conveying the emotion within the piece.

The plot progress is amazing on this, a good use of the short amount of time allotted to it to build the story, using an easy to frenetic pace, with an almost manic pulse in transitions that culminates into a dark but satisfying ending.

Michael Ho does a could job with his vocal infliction, adding just the right emphasis and tempo at just the right times to carry the story forward, eliciting a sense of empathy, tension and satisfaction with that last uttered line that was first made at the beginning of the short with a more harmless bent. Michael Oh has a very promising career in voice over work if he so chooses.

The only nitpick that I would give the short is that while he does an excellent job, the voice of the main character doesn’t completely jive with the age of The Teacher, sounding a little too young for what was depicted. This weakness is ultimately is overwhelmed by the obvious talent that has gone into this animation and the themes being exercised.

This is an animated short that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys poetry, animation, and important themes couched in good stories.

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The Pragmatic Truth of Truman: An Essay.

Many people, including myself I have found, enjoy the more practical approach of applying contemporary filters to better conceptualize concepts, including such philosophical positions as Pragmatism. So I have endeavored for this paper to further this proclivity to facilitate towards understanding some of William James’ notions of pragmatic truth by coupling it with the film The Truman Show (1998). Further I shall be using Michael Bacon’s “Pragmatism: An Introduction” (P. 33-35) as a summarized source of James work to better apply these notions to various aspects of the film, using scenes and concepts derived from the narrative.

I believe that by applying some of William James pragmatic theory of truth to film, the philosopher’s concepts can be better utilized in discussion with key aspects of the movie coupled with James’ notions, to better grasp how pragmatic truth functions within a more contemporary medium of understanding.

Synopsis of The Truman Show.

The Truman Show is a satirical dramedy written by Andrew Niccol. The plot surrounds a man who has been raised his entire life believing that the people he knows, his job, his very world is real, when in fact, he is in reality the only unknowing member of a television show, called The Truman Show, the dream child of Cristof (Ed Harris) the shows director and creator. The movie further shows Truman facing the fact that his entire existence was conditioned, and molded in a contrived environment, and finally the reactions of those complicit in this continuance of the contrived environment (1998).

Pragmatic Truth and Truman.

William James subscribes to the concept that humans are not passive participants within reality, and that our truths within reality are reflective of our current, active participation, and James believes that an individual plays a role in the creation of one’s own truth (Bacon 33).

This was a notion also prescribed by James contemporary, C.S Pierce, who also valued experience as necessary to truth (Bacon 33). Both these esteemed thinkers reason that our pre-existing prejudices cannot be expelled by a mere maxim to doubt everything, as some skeptics, such as the Cartesian, might approach the concept of truth (Bacon 33-35).

This notion can be coupled with a scene from the movie to better facilitate understanding. When the lead character, Truman (Jim Carry), is first confronted with the truth of his reality; in that everything around him is built for him right down to the sand he walks on, which is the desperate claim by the character Sylvia (Natascha McElhone) as the truth, but in this early scene it doesn’t register to him, nor inspire any doubt in him as to the validity of his reality. Why? Why could he not even consider the words she said, why not accept it as truth?

James might answer that as far as Truman the Individual is concerned, he had no relevant experiences to help him play an active role in confirming the truth that his world was, in fact, fake or even entertain the possibility of being remotely suspicious of the world around him within that present moment. He already had the pre-existing prejudice that was conditioned by his current reality through others within this reality that both played a role, and guided his played out role in constructing the veracity of his existence. Therefore, because of these pre-existing prejudices about his reality, and there being no present practical reasons to doubt the truth of his reality, he therefore cannot accept Sylvia’s claim that his reality is fake

It is later that he is challenged with experiences which contradicts his worldview which lays the ground work leading him to taking an active role in constructing this new truth himself. His experiences such as the radio announcer that suddenly follows his every movements as he drives, the elevator with no set back, his dead father mysteriously appearing out of nowhere, etc., and through the increasing transparency of the fabrications and cover-ups, he’s being primed through his experiences to be lead towards a paradigm shift of reality (that his world is a fabrication) and disregarding the old paradigm (that his reality is authentic), which becomes impractical to Truman the more he is faced with the artificial construction of his life.

James believes that truth is connected to what is useful to believe (Bacon 33-35). We apply this notion to the movie by considering all those who were “in the know” on the fact that Truman’s life was a constructed television show, all the people within his constructed reality, and those who supported the shows continuation through viewership, the financiers, the producers, other media shows, etc. Everyone who is complicit in the Truman Show must suspend any disbelief of the lie that they know about the Truman Show, and the harsher morally questionable reality of it, because they invest themselves in the shows existence, the product of “Truman is real”. Their practical truth was that it was a television show, nothing more, nothing less, when taken at practical value with their own useful notion of reality.

The negation of any real moral question of Truman’s circumstances is a true belief, supported from the reliable habit amongst producers and viewers alike, that what happens on TV is not real, it’s just a show, and helps them cope with the reality of the show’s blatant manipulative nature of Truman as beyond any moral responsibility. Even within the end, when Truman leaves the show, rejoining the “real world”, the shows watchers go about their lives, no real commitment to Truman beyond as watchers of a commodity, and the whole truth of Truman’s experiences, or responsibility to Truman’s adjustment to the world, are dismissed as trivial and become a dead hypothesis (a belief, according to James, that we don’t have any great stake in) to the rest of the world (1998).

So in conclusion, various aspects of James Pragmatic concepts, such as the construction of truth based on the role of experience first exemplified in Truman’s scene with Sylvia, the active role one plays in creating their own truths that Truman does when he has his paradigm shift with his own reality, and finally the true belief of television, morality, and Truman as an individual while applying some of William James pragmatic theory of truth to all this, we can see that his philosophy of pragmatic truth more understandably functions within this more contemporary facilitator.

Bibliography

Bacon, Michael. “Pragmatism: An Introduction.” Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2012. Print.

The Truman Show. Dir. Peter Wier. Perf. Jim Carry, Natascha McElhone, Ed Harris. Paramount Pictures, 1998. DVD.

The Truman Show trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loTIzXAS7v4

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Flick Foods Recipe#3: Squinty’s Salad.

What you will need:

• ½ cup of baby tomatoes
• ½ cup of chopped celery
• ½ cup of French cut carrots
• ½ cup of cucumber.
• ¾ cup of sundried tomatoes, shredded variety.
• 1 cup of real bacon bits.
• 4 cups of cheezies, broken into smaller chunks.
• 1 cup of thinly sliced precooked sausage, flavour can be either medium, hot, or honey garlic.
• 2 tbs of lime
• Mixed salad seasoning
• 1-2 large packages of mixed salad greens

The Process

Step#1

In a super large bowl, mix all above ingredients saving the lime and salad seasoning for last and toss it all together.

Step#2

Add the lime and the salad seasoning and give it another toss or two.

Step#3

Serve with either: Vidalia onion dressing, Honey Dijon dressing, Ranch, or Ceaser.

Walking Dead Memes.

A friend of mine suggested that I put up these two memes of mine that I made under the name snarkyphilo here since they are related to what I have reviewed in the past so here you all go.

This is memed from "The Walking Dead Seasons 6" no copyright infringement intended. source material is the property of AMC and affiliates.
These are memed from “The Walking Dead Seasons 5 and 6” no copyright infringement intended. source material is the property of AMC and affiliates.
These are  memed from "The Walking Dead Seasons 5 and 6" no copyright infringement intended. source material is the property of AMC and affiliates.
These are memed from “The Walking Dead Seasons 5 and 6” no copyright infringement intended. source material is the property of AMC and affiliates.

Screen Squinty’s Top 10 “Back to the Future” Humour.

In honor of Back to the Future Day, which is a day that celebrates on the exact date, October 21, 2015, When the character Marty McFly travels into the future in the second installment of the trilogy, I have created a list of my favorite top Back to the Future humour both as parody shorts, parody television show, reference and discussion.

Top 10 “Back to the Future” Humour (in no particular order).

1. Back To The Future In ACTUAL 2015 by CollegeHumor.

2. Rick And Morty (Television Show)

3. X-men Back to the Future Past by Barley Productions.

4. Why ‘Back to the Future’ Is Secretly Horrifying | After Hours by Cracked.

5.Terminator – How It Should End by HISHE.

6. Family Guy: Back to the Future George McFly.

7. Bart and Homers Excellent Adventures, A Treehouse of Horror Segment.

8. Honest Trailer’s Back to the Future.

9. How Back To The Future 2 Should Have Started by HISHE.

10. Robot Chicken: Doc Brown’s Plutonium.