Monster Trucks – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2016 film Monster Trucks.

Story

This felt like a trippy 80’s plotline, however it was much more coherent and actually had some good messages. It’s scientifically ridiculous, but a great parable. I appreciate that they didn’t go into wish fulfilment with the father storyline. I also liked the emotional twist with the stepdad.

Score: 0.5

Character

The main female lead is smart and capable, the male lead isn’t an idiot, the majority of the other characters feel pretty well fleshed out. They’re all a little cartoony, but acted in a believable way.

There’s a huge lack of diversity and I’m not very comfortable with the “Wise Mentor” trope being a black disabled person.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The movie is worth it just for the dialogue and the way the actors deliver it. Jane Levy and Lucas Till are brilliant as are the rest of the cast.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

To balance off the heavy use of special effects, the film makers gave us beautiful nature shots and vistas. Every shot is thought out in advance and works really well.

The music is used perfectly, as a movie where the monster isn’t supposed to be scary, the use of music makes all the difference in the early scenes. Had they used more dramatic music it would have been terrifying, had they used lighter it would have been ridiculous.

Score: 1

Fun

This movie was designed to be fun and slip in some environmental and emotional messages. It succeeds and has more than one awesome moment. Both kids were glued to the screen and my wife and I laughed a lot.

Score: 1

Overall

This movie is much better than it has any right to be considering the premise. It’s an exciting and wholesome movie with great comedic moments and awesome action sequences. The moral and environmental questions are subtle, but present and the movie values intelligent characters. Plus the monsters are really cute.

Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Is Your Coffee Dumb?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It seems that smart devices are everywhere. Everything from your fridge to your toilet. (Must fight urge to sing circle of life…)

Why should your coffee be any different?

There are a lot of options they range in price. I’ve done a lot of research and here are my top three recommendations for smart coffee makers.

Behmor Brewer ($373.00 at Amazon Canada)

This is the best possible drip coffee maker on the market.

Pros

  • Temperature control
  • Soak timing
  • Pre-soak
  • App
  • Schedule
  • Smart home integration

Cons

  • Price
  • Only 8 cups

Read more from Kwikey Locksmith Services, INC. about that.

Overall

If you want complete control on your coffee and you want it at a specific time, this is your coffee maker. It’s versatile and from one of the best names in coffee. Unfortunately the price is high.

Gina ($230 USD from Goat Story)

This is truly for the hipster coffee scientist. It combines a Bluetooth-enabled scale and app with the tried and true pour over method of coffee brewing.

Pros

  • Hipster Cred
  • Absolute control
  • Brew coffee like a European Barista
  • Makes spectacular coffee
  • App
  • Easy to clean and maintenance

Cons

  • Price
  • Not really all that smart
  • Use your own hot water
  • Only 25 oz of coffee
  • No smart home integration or schedule

Overall

This is for those that want to take the time to experiment and brew the perfect cup of coffee. It’s simple but time consuming. It’s a lot of work but will make amazing coffee.

Create your own (~$40)

I’ve mentioned before that the best coffee maker is the simplest. The less bells and whistles on the darned thing, the more power there is for the water heater and pump.

What you do is you buy yourself a simple coffee maker. For a 12 cup machine, it’ll cost you around $20; less if you want smaller or get a sale. The only feature that is important is a physical switch, on or off, not a digital button.

The second part is to buy yourself a smart plug. They range from 20 to 100. Make sure it works with your phone/tablet/computer or the smart speaker/hub of your choice.

So now you have them connected, and when the smart switch is on, the coffee maker is on.

Pros

  • Price
  • Any size of machine you like
  • Makes surprisingly good coffee
  • Schedule (Using IFTT or Stringify)
  • Smart home integration

Cons

  • Not fancy
  • No temperature control
  • No pre-soak
  • Simple settings
  • Not as impressive

Overall

This is the option I’ve gone for. It works extremely well. I tell my Google Home in the morning to start the coffee and then hop in the shower.

I could schedule it to wake me with delicious coffee smells if I wanted, but I like the snooze button too much.

This is cheap and easy and will make good coffee.

 

Good Brewing!

Éric

Intelligence?

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been watching Scorpion, it’s a fun procedural show. The storylines feel pulled from bad pulp novels but the characters are lovable and interesting. But it has me thinking about Intelligence.

TV Genius

It seems one of the new trends in movies and TV is the stereotype “Genius” (Warning Link goes to TV Tropes). Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a new trend but it seems to have gotten new traction the past few years.

There seems to be two major types of “Geniuses” on TV the charming superbrain who is based off of Sherlock Holmes and the broken super-intellect.

Almost all the brainy detective types on TV are based off of Sherlock Holmes. Monk, Mentalist, Forever, Elementary, etc…

Most of the super-intellects that are broken are in cast centred shows. They vary from the mildly socially awkward but smoking hot Felicity from Arrow, to the broken and unable to function without help of Steve Urkle.

Does television have it right? Does a higher IQ mean you have to give up other parts of you mind? No!

Superiority

The characters of Big Bang Theory are just more interesting to watch for television audiences than a true genius.

Not only are they more interesting, they are more comforting. They always have something the audience can feel they are better at, even if it’s just seeing their own limitations. The audience thinks, I might not be able to understand string theory but they feel superior because they can comfort a friend.

Deus Ex Genius

In a story, it’s easy to believe that the character can determine the chemical composition of slime with their science kit in their parent’s basement, easy as long as the character is smart.

A weak writing plot is to have your super genius work like the hand of god to fix anything. If you’re going to do this make sure you build up that your character has been studying the area of science that you’ll be using. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean they know how to do surgery.

The Lies of Intelligence

The Secret

Let me tell you a secret…

Intelligence is as hard to define as Talent and they are both destructive.

The general idea of genius or intelligence is that you have it or you don’t. That is total Poodoo. If you work, study, and dedicate yourself to something you will become an expert in that field. Intelligence isn’t something you’re born with any more than being able to drive a car or lift a hundred pounds.

I’ve had teachers tell me it was ok that I was getting 50-60 per cent on tests because I just wasn’t that smart. That’s the greatest excuse to give up. It’s also a total lie. I’ve taken IQ tests and I’m firmly in the “Above Average” category. But those tests check for logic and problem solving skills. Those are skills, learned skills.

Emotion

Robots are smart, logical, and have no emotions. So are certain Vulcans. It’s just another lie. Intelligence doesn’t depend on how little emotion you show. It’s not an either or situation. Both can exist in the same person. Some of the smartest people have been highly emotional.

Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

 

Who’s your favourite fictional Genius?

Éric