Let me just start off by saying that All Hallow’s Eve is, as you might guess, horrendous. It’s not scary, it’s unnecessarily brutal, and it serves little purpose even existing at all.
The movie features a babysitter and two young kids…brother and sister, who just returned from a night of trick or treating on Halloween. In his treat bag, the boy finds a VHS tape. He’s 11, but somehow knows exactly what it is as soon as he sees it. Now, first off you’re thinking, wow- the writer has blatantly ripped off the entire premise of the also terrible horror anthology, V/H/S and it’s sequel V/H/S 2. The kid begs the babysitter to play the video, she argues they’re too young, he says they see worse on the internet (probably true), so she plays it. The kids watch the first of three frame stories on the tape with the babysitter…they are put to bed after story 1, and the babysitter finishes the last two alone while waiting for the kids’ parents to return home.
There are bits of homage to past horror films, especially Night of the Living Dead, which is playing on the TV before they start the VHS. You have to wonder what family today even has a VCR, let alone one that’s still hooked up and ready to be used. Silly things like this don’t matter when you can’t write a story to begin with. To be fair, the wrap around story with the kids is the best part of it all. The main actress, despite the scowl she wears the entire movie, is decent enough, and the two kids are both adorable and probably the best actors of the entire movie. They have nice chemistry as bickering siblings and the dialogue here is pretty spot on. The rest of the dialogue, however, is stilted and badly written for the most part, even in the wrap around story.
There are three segments/short films in this “anthology” (tho all were written and directed by the same guy)the first one features the clown character in what seems like a bus stop. A woman is kidnapped…and well, not a lot happens. There’s too much brutal violence and zero scares, and the violence serves no greater purpose than simply being there. The second story is even worse and includes what I assume are aliens and a terrible actress who screams a lot and falls down every ten seconds. The third and final story is the best, though it’s still pretty terrible. Again, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and no scares to be had here. All ending with a ridiculous special effects scene that should have never been included in any film, not only because it’s unnecessarily violent and semi-sexist (it’s weird stuff), but because it looks so insanely fake and dumb.
The wrap around story has a nice twist ending, but I won’t spoil what little fun might be had here. Thank God this movie was less than $10, because it’s not even worth that. I suspect writer and director Damien Leone has a future career of poorly written direct to video DVD releases, but then again, there’s really only one direction he could go from here, and that’s up. I will say one thing, the clown character is well done, the actor gives him nice movement, and his mannerisms are truly very creepy. If given better material to work with, even some of the really violent stuff would have made sense, given a few scares. There’s just nothing here to work with.
So, I was one of those youtube videos where someone had posted the full movie…forget which movie it was, but on the sidebar, I saw the movie “The Quiet Earth.” The info. said it was a New Zealand film from 1985 about a couple of survivors in a post-apocalyptic earth. Sounded interesting enough, so I downloaded it, added it to my Plex watchfolder to stream to my TV later on. Last night, I finally watched it, and let’s just say it was well worth it. An underrated film, no doubt, one that I’d wager few people have even heard of. Perhaps it’s because it’s from New Zealand, or maybe people just hated it back in the day? Who knows.
Our main character wakes up in bed, at home, and something is weird. He knows it, but he can’t quite place it. He gets ready for work, starts to make his commute, and he notices there are no people around at all, cars and trucks are left abandoned in the streets, he comes to a house and tries to get someone to answer, the water is spraying from the faucet, the bed has been used, but the inhabitants are nowhere to be found. A very effective setup to the film, eerie and lonely; we’re likely to see some weird stuff soon. We discover that he works at some sort of secret base, technology everywhere you look, 80′s era computer screens, old printers, doors that go swoosh as the open, a futuristic looking place, maybe military in nature, but definitely a place where secret work is taking place. We find out that what has happened was probably part of some program they were working on with the Americans called Project Flashlight- he doesn’t really explain fully what it is, outside of it being an energy grid set up around the planet, part of it allowing planes to refuel via electrons in the air (at least that’s what I gathered from his various explanations). An interesting idea, very thought provoking, very well done execution.
He realizes he’s the only one left, so he does the regular crazy stuff- drives a car through the mall, loads up on goodies, takes residence in a mansion, records a message played on the radio station to others, “My name is Zach…you can reach me at…” hoping others left alive will reach out to him. He slowly goes mad, decides he’s either President of the world or God, or both. I won’t say much else about the plot, but to mention that it’s all very well done. The locations are great, the empty streets all over make it truly feel post-apocalyptic, the acting is pretty spot on, and the story constantly makes you think about all sorts of issues.
It made me think a lot about these sorts of situations in general. How would we react if we thought we were the only ones alive on earth? And furthermore, if we chose to live our full lives, what would be the best, safest route to doing so? Most of these films seem to imagine a world where buildings aren’t soon falling into the city streets, and that electricity stays on for weeks, perhaps months or longer? But, that can’t be true, right? It kept popping into my head- the electricity would turn off in fairly short order, I’d think, right? Somewhere electricity is produced and harnessed and sent out over powerlines. Someone has to keep the power stations open and working, someone has to ensure the generators keep turning, that they stay oiled, that things don’t overheat, etc. So, how long would power stay on? Our main character solves the power issue early in the film by driving around a truck-based generator. All well and good, but what about food? Surely, there are tons of junk food items and canned foods that would last for a couple years, and then you can easily garden your way to food…I kept trying to throw up roadblocks in my mind. I guess you could easily find gardening books at any book store, right?
So, you’d have food easy enough, and with generators and tons of gas stored in gas stations around the country, you’d be able to power it all well until your death and beyond…but wouldn’t nuclear power plants, no longer being taken care of, overheat and explode, throwing radiation into every part of the planet? Wouldn’t normal power plants explode too? Cities would be pretty deadly, as gas lines would eventually break and explode, skyscrapers would eventually fall over (that can’t be safe!), and all sorts of animals and disease would, no doubt, run rampant through the streets. So, it seems small towns or the country would be safest, but steer clear or places with lots of animals, I’d assume? So many questions, so many things few of us would ever know, having little expertise in a range of topics…but always a cool thought experiment. These movies are always fun in that you imagine yourself in the guy’s shoes, wondering how awesome it’d be to take over a city for a day, able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, no matter how insane. Like a real life version of Grand Theft Auto to the nth degree. It almost makes up for the fact that you’d never see another person again. Almost.
First off, I’m not the target audience. I’m 34, will soon be 35. I read RL Stine (fear street and the standalones) in Jr. high and high school religiously. I even kept reading them after school was finished. From time to time, I come back to the old classic, and I’ve picked up a few of the newer books as well (this trio of books started in 2005). I think some of them hold up well, the stories are truly written well enough for the target audience, and the suspense is there, likable characters exist to keep you interested, etc. I just reread THE CHEATER (fear street) a few months go, and I enjoyed it, there were sufficient twists, and I liked the main characters enough to care what happened to them.
This book was a bit different. First, what I did like. I liked the idea of a group of teens sneaking out at night to hang out, have the city to themselves, whatever. It’s a fun concept, something I can imagine I’d love doing if I were a senior in high school, but the execution here is pretty poor. We start off with Jamie and her boyfriend Lewis. They sneak out at night alone, spending time near the old Fear mansion on what is now a desolate Fear Street, most of the houses gone, a shopping complex is being built on the site, the Fear mansion itself will be gone too soon enough, parts of the house already torn down. An accident occurs, and we’re suddenly sent a year into the future where a new all night bar called Nights has opened, and the group of kids who hang out at night has grown, most of them meet at the bar, sometimes heading out to other places to hang as well.
We get used to Jamie and Lewis, then they are suddenly pushed to secondary status as others become central to the plot, mostly Nate who is friends with the two, a night person himself. I had trouble buying most of the dialogue between the teens. No way kids today talk like they do in the book, and I’d argue that even when I was in high school in the late 1990′s, no one really talked the way they do in this particular book. Too many embarrassingly bad lines thrown back and forth, and none of the teen stuff felt true to life, so it definitely takes you out of it, and you’re reminded you’re reading a book that might be popular, but few would argue it’s truly great writing. Stine knows his bread and butter, the elements that made him wealthy beyond imagination, and he’s sticking with it, even if it all does feel a bit outdated.
What sounds like a whodunnit sort of mystery novel turns out to be supernatural in nature. I won’t spoil much by saying that, but the supernatural element takes hold and it’s pretty much what you get through to the end, it leaves off nicely for the sequel and the third book.
Let me quickly add the whole of the Nights bar- it’s all just plain bizarre. We’re supposed to believe that a popular new bar in the new shopping complex in a city the size of Shadyside is so desolate every night of the week that the bar tender, who is often asleep at the bar, would be able to allow teens into the bar, drinking whatever they want, coming and going all hours of the night, without anyone noticing. Without the authorities saying- hey, why is this bar always filled with kids, and bar tender, how about a trip to jail? None of this is executed well, and it just seems silly, and again takes away from any realism the book might have had. Add that to the poorly done teen dialogue, and the book suffers immensely. Besides- if this whole night people group is so secret, and they fear being caught by adults, why not meet somewhere away from people, instead of smashing car windows downtown Shadyside, yelling and hollering, etc all night long?
Stine was always one of the tamer YA horror authors, never getting too serious or too grown up (you want that, you go to Christopher Pike), so he has a formula, and it’s one that has worked well for him, and he keeps it alive here. Not a great book, not a terrible book, but hopefully the rest of the series redeems some of the lesser qualities of this first entry.
So, in high school I discovered books. I was a freshman, and one of the new kids I started hanging out with was a big reader. He got me into a summer program before my freshman year, and I started reading all the time. I started off with novelizations of movies (License To Drive was the first book I read that summer), and I moved my way into YA (young adult) horror…mostly RL Stine’s Fear Street, Christopher Pike, a bunch of the Point Horror series books, etc. It was 1993, so this was the prime time for all of these series.
I haven’t ever lost my love of YA horror, even at the age of 34. Recently, I picked up the Fear Street Nights trio of books from Amazon sellers ($4 per book including shipping? Not too bad if you ask me.) I’ve finished book one, Moonlight Secrets. I have moved onto book two now. They’re fairly quick reads, not all that exciting, too filled with supernatural stuff to entertain too much, but the whole Fear Street allure is there, keeping me reading.
A few things about the first book, and there might be some slight spoilers here:
First off- these teens meet at an all night bar called Nights? Seriously? One, I can’t imagine a city like Shadyside wouldn’t have some sensible 2AM cutoff times for alcohol consumption in the ol’ taverns. Two- some slacker dude runs the place and has no problem facing definite jail time for serving seemingly nothing but minors all night every night? I’m supposed to believe that this brand new bar, built atop where the old Fear Mansion once stood, nestled into the new shopping complex, at the end of what was considered the most infamous street in the entire town is a place where teens can hide at 4AM, not afraid, ya know, adults might see them coming and going, making as much noise as possible, throwing bottles at cars speeding away from the place (as happens in the story)? These kids constantly talk about how scared they are to go to the police if something bad happens (and a lot of bad happens), because their parents will discover the bar and the fact that they all stay out all night, week in and week out?
I get it’s poorly written teenaged stuff, but come on!
I like the idea of being a teenager, having the run of the small city at night, but too much of it took place at this bar that made no sense, and the other aspects of the story took on too much of a supernatural vibe to be taken too seriously. Bring back the good ol’ murders of the earlier Fear Street books, and I’m game.
It must also be mentioned that Stine clearly does not know how teenagers talk. Remembering back, I honestly don’t recall if he ever did that very well, but the lines here are often atrocious. Pike does a much better job at getting into the vernacular of young people. It could be the fact that Stine has to be near 70 now (the book was written in 2005), so perhaps he shouldn’t have any idea how teens talk these days. There were a number of sections that were pretty laughable in the way the kids acted, the situations they were in, etc.
Despite the less than stellar start to the series, I will continue to the end of book 3. I will probably end up posting a longer format write up on the entire series. I have a few of the old Point Horror series books coming this week from various amazon sellers (Spring Break and Christopher Pike’s Weekend). I will post some stuff on those two as well. I downloaded a couple Fear Street books to my kindle, and I picked up a double book of Pike’s Chain Letter 1 and 2. All to come soon.
It turns out, the media has painted a false picture of what happened in the Rose Garden press conference…apparently the marine, pictured here, wasn’t shielding Obama from the rain, but rather was giving the president a thumbs up on the great job he’s been doing the last couple of weeks. I checked Marine protocol, and apparently a thumbs up in uniform is perfectly acceptable.
Greatest photo bomb ever. Nothing more to see here.
NOTE: This review contains some spoilers.
I’ve been looking forward to this for, I guess, about two years now.
The very idea of a new TCM just excites me. A massive fan of the
original, I liked most of what came after, minus the terrible New
Generation sequel which stunk. I even liked TCM2 and Leatherface a lot.
I just like the series, and the character of leatherface is creepy as
heck in general.
I personally loved this one. 10 mins or so in, I wasn’t sure how I
felt. The girl’s family was too over the top redneck, some of the
dialogue was a bit silly, but it felt like a true homage to the
original, a loving tribute made by people who I suspect truly adored
the first film. The introduction to leatherface is brilliant, the house
itself is super creepy, the stairs, the door so very much like the door
in the original, the kills were inventive enough, and there was a good
deal of atmosphere. When that chainsaw starts and it overpowers every
other sound- it’s scary as hell.
I had issues with the timeline, of course (wouldn’t she be in her 40′s
in the present day? How on earth did the police chief look younger
today than in 1974? etc), and I had issues with some of the stuff the
characters did (SPOILER!!!- If Heather’s friends were just butchered,
why is she calmly reading through documents in the police station, okay
to be left alone- if I had a run-in with leatherface, I’d demand never
to be alone again in my life, including trips to the bathroom and
shower! That just didn’t ring true at all- she seemed way too composed
and way too easy with being left alone to browse newspaper
clippings…speaking of which, that scene went on WAY too long, and
what was with the constant camera pans over various parts of the
documents? It hurt my eyes…just have the character read the info. out
loud for heaven’s sake).
So, yeah, not a perfect movie, but it was so much fun, it was scary
enough, it had enough inventive kills that I looked past those
problems. This, for me, might be equal to the original. In some ways, I
might even go as far to say it’s superior. The house, for example, is
way more creepy…that long stairway down and the metal door beyond it,
I loved every minute of it. 9/10 for sure.
So, I’ve watched a bunch of movies the past week. I figured I might take a bit to run down the list and sort of mini-review some of them…
First off, and don’t laugh, but I watched an ABC Family original movie from a few years back called HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS. I actually saw this on the rack in WalMart several times…it was combined with 3 or 4 other Christmas-y movies…it sounded sort of, well, delightful. I never picked it up though. Good thing, as I saw it under Christmas movies in the Netflix streaming list. It’s actually really good. Melissa Joan Hart plays a wannabe artist who works as a waitress and has basically no prospects…her boyfriend has just dumped her, and she just bombed the interview her dad got her with a family friend…an interview for a serious job, no more of this dead end artist nonsense. Her parents are expecting her for Christmas- they have rented a massive cabin in the middle of nowhere, there’s lots of snow on the ground, they have a tradition of banning cell phones at these get togethers, and they’re expecting their daughter’s boyfriend to make an appearance. Since she’s basically screwed everything else up, she HAS to bring her boyfriend. But, since he’s just dumped her, she has no choice but to bring a guy who happens to be in the diner, a patron played by the uber-charming, Mario Lopez, who is there to propose to his girlfriend, a nasty and arrogant gal played by Gabrielle Miller (Lacey from Corner Gas). Lopez is certainly not coming to her Christmas willingly, so she kidnaps him at gunpoint, thanks to an antique, but working, gun the restaurant has on display.
It’s pretty much the typical cliched story of two people in a weird circumstance who should hate each other, but discover they have a lot in common and eventually fall in love. It’s an ancient story, and it’s been done better in other films, but this one is nice as well. Markie Post does a nice job as the mother who is constantly trying to make the best Christmas ever. The setting is beautiful, and who wouldn’t want the type of Christmas they have with their various traditions and all? Lopez and Hart have nice chemistry, and their love is ultimately sort of believable, if not a bit silly. It’s all fairly cheesy, but it’s comfortable and light throughout. There are some decent laughs, and no one ever takes things too seriously. 7/10 on this one. Now, I just need to check out the other ABC Family film with Melissa Joan Hart called My Fake Fiance. Sort of the same plot line, but in this one they apparently pretend to be getting married in order to score the many gifts that come along with weddings. As luck would have it, that one is on Netflix too.
So, let’s see. I also watched the Mel Gibson movie, Get The Gringo. I had tried to watch this before but would always start it, get 5 minutes in, then go to bed because it was too late to finish. I finally watched a downloaded copy I had for about an hour only to realize that the spanish in the film DID have subtitles, just not on the version I had. So, I had to go back and watch all the parts with subtitles on Netflix streaming…finishing the movie there. A weird movie, to be sure, but it’s a good one. I sorta kinda love Mel Gibson for a lot of reasons. He does a superb job here given the odd material. A Mexican prison filled with kids and families and an almost carnival-like atmosphere, run by a shady bad guy who is need of a kidney transplant, but he has a very rare blood type, so he keeps a kid in the prison who shares his blood type for the day he’ll need the transplant? There’s some well executed action throughout the film, plus it’s funny. Gibson is the ultimate bad ass, and he makes it through on his likeability. The actor who plays the kid is excellent, especially given his young age. I’d give this one a 7/10 as well.
I also watched a movie I had been wanting to see for a while now. I have a habit of wanting to see subpar films apparently. This one is called Homerun Showdown. It looked like a cute family movie, and better yet, it stars Matthew Lillard, an actor I’ve liked since seeing him in the first Scream movie (which I love). The script here wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was, as mentioned, kind of subpar, but I still liked the movie. It was cute, warm, and lighthearted, despite the inclusion of some deeper themes throughout. The actors all did a fine job. Lillard was likeable as he always is, and Dean Cain was hateable, which was a change for him, as he’s usually the charming nice guy. It’s the story of a rag tag bunch of kids who form a baseball team after being cut from the tryouts of the regular league. If they can find a coach, they can field a team. They find Lillard, who once played minor league ball for a very short period of time. He now works at his dad’s bar and grill…dad played by The Rocky Horror’s Barry Bostwick (likeable as well!) Lillard’s heart isn’t into coaching, and he’s only roped into it through a competition with his brother– whoever can snag more balls at the homerun showdown gets to own the bar when dad retires. Dean Cain is Lillard’s older brother, and as it turns out the more successful of the two. He owns his own car dealership and used to play major league ball until an injury ended his career. Cain is set up as the mean one, Lillard as the nice guy. There’s a subplot involving romance with Lillard’s character, but frankly it made no sense. They didn’t explain how the two wannabe lovers knew each other, so how they came to be a couple was just weird. Some of the dialogue sounded as if it came from a script written by someone who had no idea what they wanted to say, but still, in totality it worked. Let’s give this one a 5.5/10.
Okay…so, onto Magicians starring two hilarious Brits– David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the two stars of the series The Mitchelle and Webb Look and the even funnier, Peep Show. This is a sort of throwaway film, the script was silly, and there weren’t as many jokes as I would have liked to see, and they weren’t anywhere near as funny as the ones in the series, Peep Show (which is written by the writing duo who wrote the film’s script), but I liked it overall. Mitchell and Webb have great comedic timing, and they have a nice comedic chemistry together, they play off each other so well. Webb the dummy and Mitchell the completely lacking in self esteem loser who can’t seem to do anything right. This film has them as a magic duo who were on top of the world, but it all came crashing down when an accident involving Sarah Hadland (from the brilliant British series, Miranda) cut their careers short. The story follows them years later trying to win a prestigious magic award, but bickering the entire time and eventually going off into their own solo acts. Like I said, this movie feels almost like a throwaway, but again, I liked it. Not perfect, but you can’t go too wrong with these two comic geniuses. 6.5/10.
I watched a documentary called Craigslist Joe. It’s the story of a guy named Joe who decided to spend 31 days living completely from Craigslist. He ended up traveling from Los Angeles to NYC, down to Florida, then back across the country to L.A. to end his journey at a New Year’s eve party with friends on Dec 31. He would get all his food from Craigslist stuff, volunteer opportunities, ride shares, etc. He had only a laptop, cell phone, his backpack, a set of clothes, and one guy with a camera. He wanted to see if community was truly dead, or if he could depend on the kindness of strangers. It was pretty cool to see him travel across the country, finding ride shares on the site, crashing in various houses of the people he met along the way. He did a bunch of volunteer jobs. He got food by meeting new people and explaining his story. Some people bought him meals, others cooked for him or invited him to dinner with them and friends. A lot of people shared their lives and their life stories with him. It was really endearing, and maybe it shows there a lot of nice people out there willing to lend a helping hand. But, the flaw with the film is that it wasn’t really about a guy living off craigslist and the kindness of strangers, but rather a guy making a movie, followed by a camera topped with a shiny light. That ruined the experiment part of it, but I always like this sort of thing just to see normal people and how they live and as close to normal as possible since there IS a camera there and a stranger, so that’s not precisely 100% normal for any of them. It’s probably as close as you can get though, and I tend to lamely live vicariously through them, the wish that I could so easily meet total strangers and get to know them in a matter of hours or, at most, days. 7.5/10
Finally, I watched Headhunters, the film based on the novel by Jo Nesbo. It was bloody as hell, pretty graphic many times, and filled with blood. It did have a nice plot with some interesting twists along the way. In this one, Roger Brown is a headhunter who finds the best talent for the best corporations. He’s also an art thief, a habit he has to stick with in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle and to keep buying the expensive stuff he thinks makes his wife happy, though a kid or two is what she really wants. He explains at the start of the film that he’s 5’6″ and he uses money and the stuff it buys to compensate for that lack of height. It’s all Reputation with a capital R. He steals art by tricking various people into letting down their guard and telling him when they will be away from their homes, what works of expensive art they have, etc. In comes Clas, a potential new CEO for a big company looking for a good leader. It turns out that there are nefarious things in play and Clas is a very bad man. I won’t give away too much of the plot, but it’s filled with gun play, violence, fighting, and lots and lots of blood. It’s a fun film that misses the mark in a lot of ways. It could have been so much better with some changes to the script, but as the pattern goes here so far, I liked it. 7/10.
My plans for tomorrow? Watch the following- Trollhunter and maybe Rare Exports.
STORY UPDATED MARCH 29 (GO TO BOTTOM)
So, the media and various rabblerousers (including, not surprisingly, Al Sharpton) are out in full force, basically demanded the arrest and execution of neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, who shot and killed an unarmed Florida teen, Trayvon Martin earlier this year. In fact, the black panther party has literally put a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman’s head.
The media has, as they often do, behaved disgustingly with this story. The president has, unfortunately, but not shockingly, weighed in, doing his best to add a racial element into the mix by stating:
My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son he would look like Trayvon and, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened
This isn’t the first time Obama weighed in on local matters in order to inject race into the mix. Recall he scolded the Cambridge, Massachusetts police saying they had “acted stupidly” when they arrested Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, for breaking into his own home (reports state that a black neighbor called the police to alert them of the break in.) The charges were, of course, dropped, but this is what Obama said at the time:
“I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that [Gates case]. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”[emphasis mine]
So, without knowing the facts, the president of the United States decides it’s a good idea to inject himself into a local issue that had nothing at all to do with race (no one came forth with a shred of evidence that race ever came into play, and in fact one of the arresting officers was black). President Obama feeds the racial element when no evidence exists to suggest race ever had anything to do with this case. In fact, Zimmerman is of hispanic origin, so to make the case that this is somehow a white man oppressing a poor black is silly.
Let’s take a look at some of the facts here.
According to police reports and Zimmerman’s 911 call made just prior to the shooting, Zimmerman was patrolling his neighborhood as a watchman (reports aren’t clear whether or not he belonged to a community group or was a “self-appointed” watchman) and saw a young black male wearing a hoody looking around at the houses in what Zimmerman thought was a suspicious manner. So, he followed the young man. Now, it’s important to note how the media has misreported so many facts in this case and just refused to report other facts that might distort their preconceived notions on this case. During the 911 call (full transcript and audio here), we have the following exchange:
Are you following him? [2:24]
We don’t need you to do that. [2:26]
Now, the media is reporting (in most stories I have read and watched on TV) that the 911 dispatcher ordered Zimmerman not to follow Martin. Nothing could be further from the truth, as you can clearly see from the transcript. There is no order given, it’s merely a suggestion that following Martin wasn’t necessary. To claim the operator ordered him not to follow Martin is a blatant mistruth and it’s offensive, because any rational person can read the transcript and see for himself it’s not true. The media, I suspect, is set on portraying Zimmerman as a cold-blooded killer who not only shot a teen but disobeyed direct orders from 911 dispatch in the process.
Only at this point of the 911 call (2:30 into the call) did Zimmerman seem to start to pursue Martin. Zimmerman tells the dispatcher that he’s standing there and that the male whom he thinks might be black (from the transcript) is looking at him weird. He looks shady. Notice how Zimmerman tells dispatcher that he’s got something in his waistband and that Martin is coming toward him. So, this media narrative that Martin was simply walking with his tea and skittles and Zimmerman had no motive to think he was suspicious doesn’t add up. Why not simply note that Martin was, according to Zimmerman’s call, approaching Zimmerman and acting weird?
At some point, Zimmerman started to follow Martin, a scuffle ensued and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin.
Now, to make a few more notes- one of the 911 calls apparently has a male in the background screaming, “help!” before the shot is heard. The media and pundits (as well as those rallying for Zimmerman’s arrest)
claim the voice is that of Trayvon Martin. However, the only witness on record [report here] to have seen the fight says that Zimmerman was on the ground and Martin was atop of him punching him in the face, as opposed to the story sold to the media by the various race-obsessed pundits (Al Sharpton,cough). It’s been reported that Zimmerman was covered in grass stains on his back, that his head was lacerated, and that his nose was broken.
So, as you can clearly see, a rush to judgement without having all the facts, injecting race into this whole thing when no evidence exists to suggest race was a factor in this matter at all.
Some have argued, based on the 911 call, that Zimmerman used the racial slur “coons” in telling the operator “fucking coons.” Now, logic demand that we make conclusions based on the best evidence we have that makes the most sense. Is it rational to think Zimmerman would call 911, know he’s being recorded, then use racial slurs in the process? Even if we had any evidence to suggest that the hispanic Zimmerman was racist, doesn’t it stretch logic to think he would use a slur on the phone? Here’s a much more likely scenario that matches logic, common sense, and the evidence- Zimmerman said “fucking goons.” Unfortunately, most media outlets are happy to report the conspiracy theory of Zimmerman using a slur, but very few have bothered to report the more likely scenario of Zimmerman saying “goons.” Point is- everyone is trying their best to inject race into this in any manner they possibly can.
One of Zimmerman’s friends (and legal adviser) was on ABC News to declare his friend said the word “goons,” and that from what his high school-aged daughter told him, the kids these days use goon as a term of endearment. Normal response from an older man not in touch with the current lingo of the youth, but of course the pundits on the blogosphere and in the media are pouncing on it, trying to claim that Zimmerman used “goons” as a term of endearment, when he did no such thing. He merely talked about the word in context and used his daughter’s information to explain the term. He never tried to claim Zimmerman used it as a term of endearment, and this is another instance of the media poorly and dishonestly reporting the story.
Now, onto the way Martin and Zimmerman are described in the media. This is the photo most news organizations have been using to show Trayvon Martin:
To note- Martin was 17 year old when shot. This is apparently a photo of him from age 12. You have to ask yourself, why is this the picture they use to show a 17 year old, when we know he had a facebook page, we can assume, is filled with recent photos of him? The media is clearly trying to sway public opinion. Show Martin was a smiling, bright eyed kid. Now, this is the photo I have rarely seen used to show Martin:
Now, the only point I’m trying to make here is – why not be honest in the portrayal? He’s not the bright eyed, bushy-tailed 12 year old, he was closer to the kid below.
In fact, some media have gone so far as to turn this into a national tragedy. Huffington Post has removed their regular masthead on their website to display this below. Notice, they also use the 5 yr old picture of Martin, in what we can assume is a ploy to gain sympathy and paint Zimmerman as a child killer.
And this is important, because this is how nearly every media outlet shows Zimmerman:
So, instead of using another photo of him, they use the mugshot of him with a scowl. He was arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest, apparently after an incident at a bar. Charges against Zimmerman were dropped.
Why doesn’t the media use this photo of Zimmerman?
Why use this smiling photo when they can convict him much more easily in the court of public opinion by using the scowling mugshot photo?
So, Zimmerman is portrayed as a lunatic with a previous brush with the law and Martin an innocent teen who never did a thing in his life. Few media outlets seem to mention the fact that apparently Trayvon Martin was in Sanford visiting his father because he was on a 10 day suspension from school. No one will state why Martin was suspended for two weeks, but some reports have suggested it was assault on a school bus driver. I’m unable to find any concrete evidence as to a reason for the suspension, but it does seem fishy most media is leaving that element out of the story. Point being- it gives credence to the idea that Martin may have, in fact, attacked Zimmerman, causing him to act in self defense, which is what he claims to Sanford. Zimmerman, it should be noted, has never denied shooting Martin, but said that he did so in self defense after Martin attacked him.
Many have made issue of this hoody that Martin was wearing. Let me just take a second to say that hoodies have a bad man, and let’s be honest- for good reason. If someone is walking through a neighborhood at night looking around, just walking around looking into houses in the rain (which is what Zimmerman told police Martin was doing), if that person is wearing a suit, you’re obviously going to think it less suspicious than someone wearing a hoody. That’s not racist, it’s not offensive, it’s simply a fact of life. We all make judgements about the things and people around us based on all sorts of factors, and style of dress is one of them. My guess is that the frequent break ins that were taking place in the neighborhood the weeks prior to the shooting, the guys who did it were probably more likely to be in hoodies than in suits or oxford shirts. Those are simply facts, and try as some might, facts are never racist or bigoted. We probably SHOULD urge kids to stay away from this sort of dress.
Now, that said, it doesn’t mean that the hoody caused it as some have said, but I can see where one might be more suspicious of some kid walking around at night in a hoodie.
Here is a likely scenario, one that matches the evidence we have, and it also matches logic and common sense. Zimmerman was an average citizen who wanted to give back to his community. He was tired of the crime that plague so many of these neighborhoods, so he became a neighborhood watch captain. He either joined a group in the community, or he “patrolled” the area by himself. He took a legally held gun with him in case he ran into major trouble, but almost surely never thought he’d have to use it. He saw Martin in his dark hoody, thought the kid in the rain peeking into houses looked suspicious, called police to inform them, but decided that the police always take too long and these type of characters tend to get away, so he followed Martin. Martin became scared and attacked Zimmerman. Zimmerman had already suspected Martin had a gun (he mentions to 911 dispatcher that he seems to have something in his waistband). He’s being beaten by Martin, yells for help to the sole witness who runs upstairs to call 911. Zimmerman doesn’t want to use his gun and never thinks he will have to use it, but fearing that Martin DOES have the gun he suspected, he fires off a round to save his own life.
That’s a quite reasonable scenario and explanation of the events. Never does it stay from the known evidence, nor does it stray from what Zimmerman told 911 dispatch or the police after the shooting. It fits also with the stains on Zimmerman’s clothing and the broken nose his attorney says he had and the lacerations and bruises Sanford police say he had.
But, why stop there when we can claim racism? That is offensive beyond belief, because we shouldn’t need to make up wild scenarios for what is clearly a tragedy. Martin was, indeed, unarmed, and it’s sad that he lost his life. Zimmerman was probably overzealous in his watchman duties, but who among us hasn’t lived in or seen neighborhoods plagued with crime, knowing we want to do something about it but not knowing how to go about it? Zimmerman, from all accounts, is a decent family man with a job and a home. No one has offered a shred of evidence to even remotely suggest Zimmerman is a racist, and we have no reason to believe he is the cold-blooded killer that the pundits, the race hustlers, and the media make him out to be.
Did Zimmerman overreact? Perhaps. Should he had not followed Martin at all? Probably would have been a good idea just to call police and let them handle it. Was he attacked? Evidence suggests he was, in fact, attacked. Was it self defense only? Again, no evidence suggests it wasn’t. and all the evidence we do have suggest that to be the case. It was a tragic accident. To inject race into it is deplorable, and these folks doing so should be ashamed of themselves. So too should the media for misreporting so many aspects of this story while creating fanciful stories about cold blooded murder, while also refusing to report alternative, more rational explanations.
I can see no evidence to suggest Sanford police are incompetent or covering up for Zimmerman. He stated he acted in self-defense, and they have more evidence than we do. Why jump to convict Zimmerman? Race is the main issue here, in that if Martin was white, you can bet that this would have never made national attention, and these silly rallies would have never taken place. We have millions of people calling for Zimmerman’s head on a platter, to hell with the facts. That fact is scary as hell. That so many Americans will willingly toss aside facts to convict a man of being a cold blooded racist murderer is terrible, and we should all speak out against it.
Look folks, we might never know with 100% proof what happened that night. New reports give a clearer picture of what evidence police used to let Zimmerman go. ABC News reports the following:
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch crime captain who shot dead 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, originally told police in a written statement that Martin knocked him down with a punch to the nose, repeatedly slammed his head on the ground and tried to take his gun, a police source told ABC News.
Zimmerman had claimed he had called police about Martin, whom he found suspicious, then went back to his car when Martin attacked him, punching him.
If accurate, this means that Zimmerman may have followed Martin for a short time, then retreated to his car, and at the point Martin attacked him, causing Zimmerman to fear he would lose his gun and be shot, so he shot first. That changes everything. Even if the attack did not occur as Zimmerman was retreating, there’s no evidence here to suggest intent to murder. There’s nothing here to suggest anything but self defense. Sure, you can argue Zimmerman should have just stayed in his car, but if that’s always the argument 100% of the time, we have a neighborhood watch at all?
In the end, we might never fully know precisely what happened, but the evidence backs the claim of self defense. Those going crazy over this seem to, for the most part, be people obsessed with making this a national issue of race. These people are at best just slimy and at worst working to destroy the country itself, because the last thing we need is an imaginary racist killer going out and murdering young black males. The media and various pundits have played into this, and the fact that so many are speaking out without having access to the evidence is simply disgusting, and it’s something that should not be taken lightly.
UPDATE (March 26, 2011 3:03PM):
I was curious as to why Trayvon was suspended. As I mentioned, many have indicated it was because he punched a school bus driver, and a ten day suspension seems like it might fit that sort of crime, but his family first insisted it had nothing to do with violence, but that Trayvon was on an area of school property he wasn’t supposed to be on. That seems odd tho- two full weeks suspension for that? His family now says that he was suspended for having, what they claim was a baggy with marijuana residue in it. Their story changed, and they seem to be the ones hyping the racism angle, so I honestly find it hard to trust they’re giving the real reason he was suspended.
I found this blogger here who looked into it, and it seems that Martin was almost surely dealing drugs and almost definitely punched a bus driver. This lends support to the theory that Martin was beating Zimmerman and that Zimmerman did have good reason to see Martin and think he looked suspicious (notice in the pics on the link Martin has gold teeth and is covered in large tattoos…add the hoody to that, and let’s be honest folks, if you’re a neighborhood watchman, if that doesn’t tip you off, you’re not doing your job.
The point here is that the media isn’t portraying Martin accurately, and if you see an unfamiliar face in your neighborhood (Martin was visiting his father and was unknown to Zimmerman), and especially a guy who has a bunch of tattoos and gold teeth and a hoody, it might make you wonder more than if it was a clean cut guy with a button down shirt on and no tattoos. Fair or not, tattoos carry with them a certain stereotype, and that’s the stereotype of a thug. And whether we like it or not, stereotypes usually persist for a reason- they’re rooted in a foundation of truth. Who can blame Zimmerman for seeing this character and thinking he looks sketchy?
UPDATE 2 MARCH 29, 2012: Looks as if the media has also screwed up the reporting by claiming that Zimmerman was a “Self appointed” neighborhood watch captain. A fellow watch captain has come forward to give his thoughts on the story, and he says that Zimmerman was APPOINTED captain by the community organization.
When are the scumbags in the media ever going to get their facts straight before smearing everyone in sight?!
EVEN WORSE, it seems as if NBC News is misreporting Zimmerman’s words in the 911 call. The NBC story linked above to the watch captain’s thoughts as well as most of the other NBC stories I can find on the story show the following text, as reportedly what Zimmerman told 911 dispatch:
Except, that is NOT AT ALL what he said! THIS is what was actually said:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic?
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
Notice how NBC tries their best to distort Zimmerman’s quote to make him look racist, when in fact Zimmerman never mentioned the young man’s race until 911 dispatch ASKED HIM what his skin color was!!
In order to smear Zimmerman as a racist, the lowlife “journalists” at NBC have decided it’d be best to completely report lies. This is the state of the media today, folks, and it’s scary as hell. How can we trust ANYTHING these people tell us?! Insanity.
UPDATE (Trayvon Martin’s Twitter feed):
The Daily Caller has collected together all of Trayvon Martin’s tweets from his twitter feed. Not saying anyone is perfect, but this just goes to the character of Martin. It goes to the question as to whether a reasonable average person would see a person like Martin, his clothing, his tattoos, his demeanor, his attitude, does he seem likely to be the kind of person to attack someone he suspects of following him, etc. These ARE factors, though so many people want to ignore them. Like I told others, if you see someone in your neighborhood wearing a tuxedo and is clean cut, you’re probably going to trust him more than a young black male sporting tattoos, gold teeth, and a hoodie. There’s no denying that outside appearance often speaks volumes about a person- it’s the reason why we dress up to go to job interviews, and it’s the reason why managers aren’t going to offer a job to the guy who comes in in baggy jeans and chains.