Tag Archives: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Uh … is this really the best way to protect children from Internet predators? Seriously.

Check out the video linked below, in which a local FOX affiliate films parents and an Internet prankster teaching adolescent girls about online predators.

I’m going to go ahead and express what I am certain is the minority opinion here. Of COURSE I agree with the goal of protecting children from Internet predators. But is this the best way to do it? Just think about it. What we have here is an elaborate, staged situation that could traumatize a child, which is THEN BROADCAST and is PERMANENTLY ACCESSIBLE via the Internet. I don’t care if the girls’ faces are blurred — I’m willing to bet that their classmates, neighbors and extended family members know exactly who they are. And now there is a documented public spectacle that could follow them throughout their lives.  (And any other Internet user could easily blog it, tag it, or link to it with the girl’s name.)

This is at least a bizarre manner of teaching children, and at most potentially harmful. I can’t imagine that something like this could be condoned by any child psychologist, or very many professional educators.  Who comes up with these ideas?  The Internet prankster, Coby Persin, whose modus operandi is impersonating adolescent boys?  The parents?  Parents can be idiots.  It’s why so many children can be idiots.  (I have schoolteacher friends.)

[EDIT: I should not have named Persin as a “professional” prankster or “consultant” in an earlier draft of this blog post — it implied that he is paid for his services.  Persin’s Youtube account is set up to receive donations and has paid advertising, but I don’t see any evidence that he was paid by the girls’ parents.]

I generally think it is a very bad idea for parents to broadcast footage of them disciplining their children. It just seems … simple-minded, and maybe even (consciously or unconsciously) a bid for attention by the parents.

But, hey — I’m no expert. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I actually DO know exactly how to protect oneself from the movies’ “Predator.” You cover yourself with mud so that he cannot see you via his infra-red vision; then attack with with non-metal weapons, as Arnold Schwarzenegger did in 1987.  I don’t have kids, but if I were raising adolescent girl, we probably WOULD re-enact that film. Any girl of mine would be raised to be the next Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor.

FOX 12 Oregon: “Social Media Dangers”

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Can a zombie movie be an Oscar contender? (A review of “Maggie.”)

I’m not even sure how to describe what I just saw.

It was a zombie movie.  It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a gentle, mild mannered father.  There is virtually no action.  It’s actually slow.  We see precisely three zombies, by my count, and one of those appears only in quick flashbacks.  Schwarzenegger doesn’t even raise his voice, much less raise hell.  Where I come from, that’s what we call “ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR A BAD MOVIE.”

But “Maggie” (2015) was simply FANTASTIC.  It’s expertly made, and is like no other “zombie movie” I’ve ever seen before.  I’d give it a 9 out of 10.  It … actually isn’t really a horror movie, but rather a very, very dark family drama, cleverly housed inside a horror sub-genre. The movie is about terminal illness, and not monsters.

Schwarzenegger hands in a nuanced, understated but still quite touching performance.  He was perfect — I never knew he had it in him.  I KNOW he is the actor here; I recognize his face and read his name in the credits.  But I still have a hard time believing that this is the same man that starred in “The Running Man” (1987).  (Okay, cheap shot.)  Abigail Breslin was also perfect as the afflicted daughter.  And Bryce Romero was terrific in a supporting role.  They’re great young actors; Hollywood seems to be producing more of them these days.

Wait … is that kid’s last name actually “Romero?”  That’s SO meta.

The actor portraying Maggie’s primary care physician (is it Wayne Pere?) gave a great performance — he’s right on par with Schwarzenegger here.

And John Scott’s script is superb.  I love the way he crafts characters against stereotype — we have doctors who are neither omnipotent saints nor detached jerks.  The popular kids at school sweetly welcome their infected friends along on a night out, instead of ostracizing them.  An overzealous Jerk Cop character wants to round up all the infected without prejudice and quarantine them right away.  But, by the end of the movie, moral ambiguity suggests that he’s … probably right.

This movie falls just short of perfection with a few forgivable flaws:

1)  Its plot setup is ridiculous.  The government institutes quarantines for infected people, yet … politely allows people to return home for a few weeks until they are definitely dangerous?  And they then return voluntarily to quarantine after a phone call, even after it becomes well known that the quarantines are hellish places to die?  I’m … pretty sure no quarantine in history has ever worked like that.  Consider the recent Ebola outbreak, and how the quite healthy and asymptomatic Doctors Without Borders’ volunteers were sequestered immediately.  Maggie’s release to her home was quite obviously an overly convenient plot device.

2)  Whoever performed the radio voiceover in the opening scene really dropped the ball.  They needed a reshoot or a better actor.

3)  I honestly think a lot of horror fans will be disappointed with this.  Was it really necessary to include almost no action?  I personally feel that “28 Days Later” (2002) was a moving, touching, richly thematic film.  (It’s a favorite.)  Yet it still served up some racing, screaming hordes of “infected” that were goddam terrifying.  If “Maggie” had just one action set piece, it would have broader appeal.  And it would break up the movie’s slow pace.  A movie like this doesn’t have to be ABOUT exploding zombie heads, but … it wouldn’t hurt to include just one, just for fun.

4)  By the end, it is possible that the film pushes the drama just a little too far, depending on your taste.  By the time the “Mama’s garden” scene occurs toward the end, you might begin to wish the movie just reaches its conclusion.

Still, this is a great flick.  See it.  Tonight.

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