Tag Archives: Michael Bay

Like Godzilla in Tokyo, PACIFIC RIM smashes all expectations

Summer means big, dumb summer movies, typically involving (a) cops and convicts shooting each other and making things explode, (b) cartoons from the ’80s being turned into $253 million wastes of good CGI and (c) members of AARP like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone trying to prove they can still hang with the young Jason Stathams of the world.

However: There are some big, dumb summer movies that rise above the mediocre pack of Michael Bay wannabes and G.I. Joe retreads.

PACIFIC RIM is a beautiful B-movie. It’s not gonna win a single Oscar and it doesn’t try for that. What it aims for is simple, pure entertainment, and it does that job well.

Here’s the trailer.

The director of PACIFIC RIM is Guillermo del Toro, who directed HELLBOY and THE HOBBIT — basically, the man can direct anything he wants. He’s a movie-making muffin of stud who did PAN’S LABYRINTH, which is literary, beautiful and one of the most unique movies you’ll ever see.

PACIFIC RIM works because it goes big without getting ridiculous, and entertains without trying too hard. It’s the rare kind of movie where you leave the theater and wouldn’t mind seeing the thing again tomorrow, or even today. There’s so much to see and marvel at, and it’s a testament to Guillermo del Toro skill at storytelling.

So go see the thing. I bet you it’s two hour shorter and five times as entertaining as any random Michael Bay explosion-fest.

Bonus clips below. Enjoy.

An epic supercut of Godzilla smashing things

Featurette about the monsters in PACIFIC RIM

Featurette about the humans and their giant robots 

Related posts:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

A short film full of win

This is insanely well done.

I salute you, filmmaker peoples with remote-control car collections, Michael Bay obsessions and creativity oozing out of your pores. GIVE US MORE.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

7 Comments

Filed under The Glowing Tube

Writers: can you do it in FOUR WORDS?

That’s the acid test for every writer: four words.

If somebody in line with you for the Largest Latte Known to Man asks what you’re working on, can you explain it in four words?

How about eight words?

Because if you can’t, you’re not really done.

What if I told you ... how to get to Sesame Street?

And I don’t care that you’ve spent the last seven years locked away in a French monastery, slaving away 25 hours a day, eight days a week to perfect (a) The Great American Novel, Even Though It Was Written in France, (b) the movie script that will turn Hollywood on its ear and stop it from spending $250 million apiece on Michael Bay explosion-fests involving robots that transform into cars or whatever  or (c) a punk-rock masterpiece with song after song with lyrics so beautiful, and rebelliously ugly, that anyone who listens to it quits working for The Man and buys an electric Fender so they can learn the only three chords you need to know to become AN INSANE ROCK GOD.

So let’s get down to it. If you haven’t already, read these posts to get all educated and such, even though it is technically cheating — because today, there is a quiz.

Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, The Big Screen

What made SKYFALL so insanely great?

Yes, the cinematography was beautiful. Just watch the trailer, which is packed with great shot after great shot.

But that’s not why.

Also: cinematography is just a fancy word for “hiring the right dude to actually work the camera and stage amazing shots, because the director is really the Big Boss of the film and not the guy behind the camera, though papers of news will confuse you about this by talking about the man behind the camera when they talk about directors.”

Also-also: the dialogue and writing was much, much better than your typical Bond film. But that’s not what made SKYFALL so excellent that it may be the first Bond film in the history of modern civilization to get nominated for Oscars.

So what truly made SKYFALL so good?


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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

Danish commercial makes Michael Bay look like an AMATEUR

Epic slow-motion. Soaring music. Stunned reaction shots — this commercial from Denmark has it all, and they do it better than Michael Bay without even resorting to 593 explosions.

Think of what they could have done with an explosion or seven.

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

7 Comments

Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Glowing Tube

Build your own Writing Monster (Part 2 of Why critique groups MUST DIE)

Conventional wisdom is conventionally wrong.

Nowhere is this more true than in the fields of writing, social media and publicity — three lands where tradition and mythology rule the day.

Those who haven’t read these posts should start here, so they don’t get all Confused, because this is really Part 2 of Why critique groups MUST DIE.

So: if people listen to this silly blog and (a) stop trying to use Twitter to sell books and (b) go all Michael Bay as they blow up old, obsolete critique groups, what should they do instead?

Get a team. Build your own Writing Monster.

Hopefully, better than one of these.

Now, this is the opposite of a critique group, which is typically people who live in the same area, have the same rough skill level and do essentially the same thing, whether it’s writing romances about Men in Kilts, epic fantasies about elves with lightsabers riding dragons or dark mysteries about haunted detectives who are allergic to razors and brush their teeth with bourbon.

That’s not a team. Those are your buddies, your clones.

Successful authors, actors, pro athletes and other public figures have a team full of world-class specialists: publicists to get free ink and airtime, marketers to sell widgets, trainers to make them look good if paparazzi shoot them on a beach in Maui, minions to handle the scheduling and correspondence, editors to edit their words and speechwriters to, I don’t know, write the speeches. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Red Pen of Doom, Speechwriting, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Stretch your editing muscles

Proofing for boo-boos is easy. Line editing is tougher.

Structural editing is the toughest.

So let’s play around with a little flash fiction from Joey’s contest and see what we can do, first with a standard edit job, then with a different kind of big-picture spitballing. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, Red Pen of Doom

Why critique groups MUST DIE

Every writer gets the notion — from college, from movies, from the Series of Tubes — that they should be in a critique group.

This notion is seven separate types of wrong.

It’s time for critique groups to go the way of the rotary phone — to make way for something better, faster and stronger.

Peoples of the interwebs: critique groups are obsolete

A critique group is useful for certain things:

(a) university professors who want students to break into groups and leave him alone for the next 45 minutes,

(b) writers who really, really like to read their work aloud,

(c) literary snobs who like to say silly pretentious things about the work of others, and

(d) happy writers who like to socialize with fellow writers and talk smack about the craft while drinking bourbon.

Sidenote: Yes, your particular critique group is wonderful, and you couldn’t live without it. No worries. I’m not driving to your house with the Anti-Critique Group Secret Police to disband it or anything. Also, your critique group’s amazing bylaws and secret handshakes mitigate all the typical disadvantages of plain old boring critique groups that are not nearly as awesome.  Continue reading

57 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Red Pen of Doom

The secret truth about writing

When was the last time you went to a movie and wanted to stay behind and watch it again?

What was the last political stump speech that made you laugh and cry and want to go knock on the doors of your neighbors to make sure they voted? When was the last time you read a newspaper story that built up to an amazing climax instead of petering off into boring little details?

More people are writing more things than ever before. Movies and TV shows, blogs and newspapers, hardcover novels and digital e-books. Yet most of it is forgettable. Trite. Boring.

It used to be, blockbuster movies were the ones that had amazing special effects.

STAR WARS showed us things we’d never seen before, like lightsabers. Who doesn’t want a lightsaber?

JURASSIC PARK gave us dinosaurs that weren’t claymation or puppets. Today, though, any old TV show can afford to have great special effects.

And with the written word — novels, speeches, non-fiction and poetry — every author has the same unlimited special effects budget. You can do whatever you want for free. So what’s the problem?

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47 Comments

Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, Red Pen of Doom, Romances; also, novels with Fabio covers, Speechwriting, Thrillers and mysteries

Tinseltown Tuesday: LOOPER

Action movies and thrillers are common because they’re exciting.

Unless it’s another stupid TRANSFORMERS movie, even the lamest Michael Bay explosion-fest will keep you awake.

However: there are very few original action movies and thrillers. It’s been done to death.

You’ve got your weary and alcoholic assassin, you’re weary and alcoholic ex-commando or your weary and alcoholic homicide detective. Sometimes, for variety, they make the hero wacky instead of weary, or make her a GIRL WITH A GUN.

HOWEVER: Hollywood executives enjoy making money, and these sort of things tend to make more money than deep, pretentious stuff about angsty rich people having affairs or noble poor people suffering far more than anyone should suffer.

So most action movies and thrillers are bad. Cardboard characters. Stunt casting. Missing motivations and plot holes so big, you could fly a 787 Dreamliner inside and do loop-de-loops.

Also, the dialogue in action movies and thrillers makes George Lucas look like Hemingway.

Case in point: every movie ever made by Chuck Norris.

On the flip side, a bad thriller can be fun, if it fully embraces it’s B-movie, low-budget goodness. ROADHOUSE did the impossible by turning Patrick Schwayze into a believable martial arts tough guy.

All of this leads me to what looks like  an interesting flick, LOOPER.

Good actors. Good setup. Good trailer.

Will I see this in an actual theater instead of Netflix or whatever? Yes I will, despite the fact that it lacks (1) Uma Thurman, (2) zombies or (3) Uma Thurman decapitating zombies.

Related posts:

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

1 Comment

Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen