Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 38

This is the post where I step away from my usual analysis/update format to channel my inner Jesse Pinkman.  Yeah, that's right -- "Trick or treat, bitch!"

Haven't made up your mind about a Halloween costume?  Well, Breaking Bad is here to help you out!  The cast has a tradition of dressing up as each other for Halloween - great pics are here!

Here are some more photos from non-cast members to give you some (disturbing) ideas.

Here's even a "how to" site to make putting it all together that much easier!

And these guys will carefully walk you through the complete process of putting your Breaking Bad persona together because, after all, what's Halloween if not a celebration of change?  And no show does that better than Breaking Bad.

Now make with the candy corn, or something might happen to your pretty yard.  You get my meaning, bitches?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cloud Atlas

It's a cumulus! Or a cirrostratus!
It's best to begin by a straight-up admission that I wasn't at all sure about this one. Cloud Atlas is long - like Gone with the Wind long and, for the most part, contemporary audiences get antsy around the one-hour-and-forty-five-minute mark. It involves actors playing multiple roles across multiple storylines, switching time periods, races, and genders. The film has come under fire for "yellowfacing" - having Caucasian actors play Asian characters rather than hiring Asian actors. There are three - THREE - directors, two of whom are the Wachowski siblings, who once were the Wachowski brothers and that's a whole other kettle of mackerel that I'm not getting into, aside from saying that I imagine that Lana Wachowski has a unique perspective on just how much a person can change. The Wachowski siblings have a track record that shows a definite bent for visually striking films that dabble in theology and Big Questions.

Not sure, not sure.  But this is my not-quite-job, so I bought my ticket, not at all sure if this was going to be the first Matrix movie or Speed Racer. (Hey, like your career hasn't had the occasional misstep?)

I have to say, I've never seen anything like this movie. Ever. I think it's absolutely brilliant and let me explain why.

All too often today, films lack ambition. Worse, they don't trust the audience to figure anything out, so the storytelling tends to be "tell," rather than "show." Cloud Atlas trusts you to be able to connect the dots (by the way, a "cloud atlas" is a real thing) and expects you to try. It's not about stunt casting, although some will seize on that, since you have Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, and the incomparable Hugo Weaving (among at least half a dozen others) playing multiple roles. The key concept in the movie is that things, events, people, and (most importantly) love, repeat throughout time. Who's playing the "good guy" and who's filling the archetype of the villain might change, but the roles are always there because we have a hard time learning our lessons.  There's certainly some Carl Jung in here - I caught myself mulling over the concept of archetypes and the collective unconscious after the credits ran. And Joseph Campbell would swoon over this film.  Swoon.

Some will balk at the length. Some will balk at the pidgin language used in one part. Some will balk at the mixing of time periods.

I think all of these people are missing the pointCloud Atlas is huge and glorious and celebratory (there's a scene in a Scottish pub that had me punching the air in my seat) and tragic and funny and will both make you glad to be human and sorry to be associated with such a screwed-up species.

Go see it.  

Oh, and about the pidgin language part. I've read some criticism that griped that this part should come with subtitles. Really, buddy? Stop taking snarky notes on your popcorn bucket and try concentrating. (I know - that was snarky. Trust me, it was deserved.)

And about the time switches.  Just pay attention - the time period switches aren't random at all.  They occur when a significant plot point is reached in the Grand Story.  That's one of the key points - life is the same story told over and over.  It actually reminded me of John Gardner's line that "in all the world, there are only two stories.  You take a trip, or a stranger comes to town." (And Gardner showed in Grendel that he understands the power of telling a familiar tale through the lens of another character - he'd probably like Cloud Atlas just fine for that reason alone.)  Honestly, if you ever teach any sort of narrative structure class - playwrighting, screenwriting, or just plain ol' longhand fiction - Cloud Atlas could be a great film to use as a teaching tool, for it shows the same big events multiple times.

To sum up, Cloud Atlas is a movie for viewers who are willing to settle in for a long ride, who aren't afraid to think and who can still marvel at the way a movie can touch us emotionally. All that said, Cloud Atlas isn't for everyone - and it certainly doesn't make you a dunderhead if you decide it's not your cup of sweet tea.

But I'm oh-so-glad I saw it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 37

Two of the best parts of co-writing a book like this (aside from simply being able to co-write a book like this) is that (a) the workload is shared and (b) you get to see things from more than just your own angle.  My co-author, Ensley F. Guffey, is in the midst of writing a longer piece for Wanna Cook? that deals with the concept of place in Breaking Bad.*

"Place?" you say.  "It's in Albuquerque.  Got it."  No, not that kind of place.  (Although you're right.)  Think of it this way - you buy a house, but you make a home.  If you get that, you're well on your way to understanding the significant differences between "space" and "place."  And this is a concept with which Breaking Bad's cup just runneth over.

Think of the RV, where Jesse & Walt spend such significant amounts of time early in the show - and think of that scene in which the faithful, shot-up RV goes to its final reward, marking the end of an era.

Rolling meth lab in the peaceful desert.  Sort of.

Will Walt's fate be much different?
Or think of Jesse's house, which begins Season 1 as very much his late aunt's house, and the changes it goes through as Jesse makes it his own place.  The house can be viewed as a metaphor for Jesse's squirrel-cage of a mind as he spirals down (particularly the beginning of Season 4) and makes some decisions (remember how he pretty much literally wipes the slate clean?  That's place, baby.)  These are the sorts of things Ensley describes and explains - great work, too!

Somehow, lace curtains don't seem gangsta to me.
Same house, Season 4
*The book will have several of these longer pieces.  Each episode gets about 1,500 words, which includes a brief "what's going on" along with notes on recurring images and themes, notable camera angles and "extras" that apply to the episode, like pieces on Pablo Escobar and Walt Whitman.  But there are a few concepts that deserved a longer look, such as the application of a great theory on the steps Walt travels to become so violent and the use on nonverbal communication (Hector's bell, for example) in the show.  The "place piece" is one of these.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Critiquing the Slasher Movie

Puppeteer at work?
To begin with, this post is going to be about the Whedon/Goddard not-quite-horror flick The Cabin in the Woods.  It's been out on DVD for a while now and if you haven't seen it, be warned that there will be a few spoilers in this post - nothing that a quick look at doesn't have, but still . . . if you want to skip to the "bottom line," here it is.  See this movie.

Okay, now that we have that taken care of - what sets Cabin apart?  It's a movie that viewers enjoyed, but critics loved.  The "Tomatoes" rating is a fine and respectable 76% for viewers, but a whopping 91% for critics.  Then again, I suspect critics saw different things in Cabin than most casual viewers did.  Whedon is known for genre-mashing and Cabin (which he and Goddard co-wrote) showcases his fondness for creating hybrids.  I daresay some purists in the horror world despised Cabin for that reason and I'm sure a few fans felt disappointed in the film.

Confession time - I'm not a huge horror buff.  I'm fine with suspense and I can handle creepy, but the trend towards finding more and more creative ways to hurt people (usually young females) leaves me cold.  Oh, I can trot out all the theories about why being scared serves a valid societal and psychological purpose, and I agree with part of those theories,* but I still have no desire to see most of it.  Like all genres, horror films have certain tropes that must either be obeyed or subverted - here's a great rundown of those tropes and cliches.  Cabin not only acknowledges these "rules" (for instance, the sexually-active girl has to be the first to die and the virtuous girl must be the "final girl"), it creates a world in which these rules are ironclad.  Whedon likes to toy with the "free will vs. game is rigged" conundrum and Cabin shows that off, too.

I like this movie quite a lot because it asks some questions about just who watches these movies. While there are several excellent scenes - including one in a stuffed-to-the-gills basement - the one that best underscores this point takes place in a sterile control room where a celebratory party is going on, with the relieved partygoers completely ignoring the live images on the giant viewscreens that show a girl desperately fighting for her life.  If you laugh at this scene, it's probably some very uncomfortable laughter - after all, we're also watching this and we paid money to be entertained by images of innocent people being hunted and killed.

I think that ought to make us uncomfortable.

*Stephen King has written extensively on this and his Danse Macabre is well worth a read.  If you really want to know more, check out the Journal for Horror Studies.  Yes, it's real.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 35

Breaking Bad is an incredibly detailed and nuanced show that sparks strong reactions in its viewers.  Many of these viewers feel a compulsion to write about the show (ahem), or Tweet, or create in other ways.  One of those ways is through fan art.  Like fanfic (oh, yeah - it's out there), some is good, some is less so, and some is just awesome!  I've tried to feature some fan-created art here with the weekly "Walter White Wednesday" posts and it's high time I pointed you toward some of the fan creations that deserve a good long look.  Some are touching, some are thrilling, and a few are just funny (see top of post - a weakness of mine is my inordinate love for puns).

First, this link takes you to a curated collection titled "Breaking Bad Art Project," which was displayed at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles back in August. The works include both straight up fan art as well as pieces that were commissioned by the event organizer, Paul Scheer.  Show creator Vince Gilligan comments on the exhibit, along with Bryan Cranston (Walt), Bob Odenkirk (Saul), Betsy Brandt (Marie), and RJ Mitte (Walt Jr).  All proceeds went to the Alzheimer's Association in memory of Barbara Slovis, the mother of Breaking Bad's extremely talented cinematographer Michael Slovis.  Great, great stuff.

Buzzfeed collected their "25 Best Pieces of Breaking Bad Fan Art" - lot of focus on Walt here.

Like all good things (and some not-so-good things), Breaking Bad is active on Tumblr, where fans share their artistic creations inspired by the show.

Have you ever thought about taking Breaking Bad and tossing in other characters from other shows?  Like Game of Thrones or (heaven forbid) the Muppets?  Then this is the site for you!

Honestly, there is some wonderful, highly creative, professionally polished stuff out there - both visual art, writing, and video - that's done by fans out of love (or sometimes done by professionals trying to beef up a portfolio, but hey, it's still unpaid) that is well worth seeking out.  Find it, admire it, then let the creator know how much you liked it.  This stuff doesn't create itself, you know!

Until next week, chemistry fans!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Visiting the Past

Truth, we are often reminded, is stranger than fiction.  Well, that's only true sometimes, but boy howdy! - when it's true, it's really true.  There are some things that most of us just couldn't make up if we tried for days, even if we were fueled by an unending supply of caffeine, sugar, and less reputable substances.

So what about this?  Here's the pitch - in 1979, six political hostages escape and find temporary refuge in the private residence of an American ally.  The only way to get them out is to have a CIA spook go in with the cover story that everyone is (ready?) part of a film crew who's in this catastrophically-screwy country to scout locations for a low-budget science fiction adventure movie designed to cash in on the global success of Star Wars.

Truth really is stranger than fiction, because it happened.  Details were declassified in 1997 by President Clinton and the resulting movie, Argo, tells a tale that is hard to believe, yet mostly true.  (Not entirely.  A few things aren't historically accurate, such as the run-down Hollywood sign, which was actually cleaned up in 1978.  Also, the Canadian government was more deeply involved than Argo lets on, but it's a feature film, not a documentary, so let's not nitpick overmuch.)

One aspect of Argo that I quite liked is that it doesn't take the jingoistic route.  While no sane person would approve of the actions of the hostage-takers, it has to be admitted that some of this situation was chickens coming home to roost.  Consider the hard facts leading up to the American embassy being overrun by armed and angry dissident students, screaming for USA blood.  First, the USA financed a coup to overthrow the freely-elected leader of the country and place "our guy" on the Peacock Throne as the head of the puppet government. (How appropriate that it wasn't really the real Peacock Throne.  The whole thing was a sham.)  Oil, don't you know.  Then we ignored decades of human rights abuses as "our guy" treats the country like his personal piggy bank.  Oh, and he's quite willing to turn a blind eye to widespread corruption and torture of political opponents, by the way.  Lastly, when the citizens of the country overthrow "our guy" after decades of this mistreatment, we offer him asylum.

If your brother had been hung upside down to be beaten and shocked with cattle prods, I bet you'd be a bit miffed as well.

Ben Affleck directs Argo with a deft hand and a slyly comic touch (John Goodman and Alan Arkin are absolute gold during their time on screen as the Hollywood contacts in the underlying scheme) that never loses sight of the fact that this was a dangerous, desperate plan that had absolutely no guarantee of working. You also have several instances where you realize that a single frustrated, "This isn't going to work!" from one of the tightly-wound not-quite-hostages could have spelled death by firing squad for the whole bunch.  Also, Bryan Cranston (playing the CIA boss back home) shows again what amazing range he has an an actor - the casting of this picture is just aces.  Be sure to stay through the credits - President Carter wants to talk with you!

In short, Argo is a thriller for the sort of movie viewer who's willing to wait for the payoff, rather than demanding 3.2 car chases per hour.  For this, Affleck can finally put Gigli behind him.  (Come on, like you don't have a few snapshots you hope never see the light of day.)  Argo is Oscar-worthy - see it now rather than waiting for the nominations to come out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 34

Breaking Bad is on hiatus, both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have movies coming out this weekend (Walt's is here, Jesse's is here) and Aaron Paul has Emmys for bookends. So it seems like a pretty good time to take a look at just why fans love the show.  In no particular order, I give you 6 reasons to love Breaking Bad - and why you should catch up on it.

1. Jesse. The story goes that the character of Jesse Pinkman, an ex-student of Walt's who's turned meth dealer and general loser, wasn't supposed to live beyond the first season.  But when you have an actor as talented as Paul, who can bring a fragility and layers of nuance to a character who is so basically unlikable, well - that's not something you just toss aside.  Over the run of the show, Jesse has deepened, matured and become a character to watch. He's got some talent for drawing, carefully moves a random bug so he won't crush it, but he's also a drug maker-and-dealer and, oh yeah, a murderer. Yet in many ways, he's become the moral center of Breaking Bad and yes, it's a little weird to realize that at first - and it's a clear indication of just how skewed Breaking Bad can get.

2. Family Life. Good stories are always about relationships and Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan knows this. Jesse might be Walt's surrogate son (they do go into business together, after all) and Walt claims loudly and often that everything he's done, he's done for his family, but take a look at the Salamanca familia for a terrifying look at how tightly those family bonds can constrict. Hector has drawn so many into his orbit - some of whom are related by blood and some of whom are definitely not - but this is a man who understands loyalty and family, as well as murder and revenge. I wonder - think there's a parallel between Gus/Hector and Jesse/Walt?  Hmmm.
3. Skyler. Talk about a character who gets the social media nets a-humming!  There's a disturbing amount of Skyler-hate out there and any time there's that strong a reaction to a character, it's a good idea to keep an eye on her. Some of the hatred seems to come from fans who just can't stand the idea of anyone getting in Walt's way but - let's face it - Walt's off the rails. Sky is the one who keeps the family actually going. Once she's brought in to the mess that is Walt's retirement account, she has to figure out how far she's willing to go (pretty darned, it turns out) and where she's going to draw the line. The goalposts keep moving.
4. Tension & Drama. Breaking Bad is a thoughtful show that understands that you don't have to rush things. Sure, it uses time-lapse photography with changing light angles to show the passage of time, but it is willing to let stories unfold slowly rather than go for the quick solve. There are distinctive camera angles (look for the "up and through" shot) and images that echo in later episodes to pull viewers full circle. The show is primarily focused on Walt's descent into his own personal Hell (he even made the handbasket!) and the fundamental shifts his choices make in his own psyche. That's a story that takes time to tell and Gilligan & Co. aren't rushing it.
5. Humor. Without this, Breaking Bad would probably be too bleak for me. Humor runs throughout the show as a sort of leavening agent to keep things from getting just Too Damn Dark. It tends to be dark humor  (the kiddie pool scene, for example, or Ted's supposed end), but not exclusively.  Whenever I see Saul Goodman, I just start chuckling.
6. Walt. The diseased heart of the show. Walter White is a good man who goes bad and discovers that he likes it. He makes horrific decisions, bobs and weaves like a welterweight (hmm, close to "Walter White," isn't it?) to avoid being tagged with responsibility for his own twisted actions, yet we spend a good part of the first couple of seasons (maybe even longer) pulling for him.  That's the true genius of the show! Look, Walt is slowly becoming something terrible and malignant - he doesn't have cancer, he is cancer to everyone whose life he touches. And yet.  And yet. Can he change? Does he want to? And what price must he pay for the devastation he's wreaked in those lives?

In short, the show is fantastic and completely unlike anything else on television today. Watch. Catch up. Tell a friend.

But above all else - watch. Breaking Bad's like will not be seen again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Alive! It's Alive!

Lookit, boy!  That's you!
Tim Burton's use of stop animation, that is.  Frankenweenie is this week's experiment and a successful one it was, too.  I have to admit that I didn't much care for the title, which I don't think fits the story all that well - maybe it fit Burton's original live-action short thirty years ago better, but I'm willing to let that go as a minor quibble.  Frankenweenie is a love letter to the old Universal Studio horror films of the the 1930s and these were the films that (in many ways) shaped our view of what the "monster movie" should be. There are lots of little nods to James Whale's granddaddy of horror films, Frankenstein, here.  It's rendered in black and white as were the original films and I think the B&W adds a certain nostalgic charm. (It also lets you set up Gothic angles and let the scare spring from the shadows, which can heighten the dread.)  The hero, who simply wants to bring back his beloved Sparky, is Victor, which is the name of the mad scientist in the original. The sweet girl next door is Elsa, a tip of the top hat to Elsa Lanchester, who played the Bride in the sequel.  One of the resurrected pets is a turtle named Shelly, which might have to do with the turtle's shell, but probably is a sly wink to Mary Shelley, who wrote the original Frankenstein in the first quarter of the 1800s.

Look for grace notes throughout - Elsa's poodle, who is named for the ancient Greek Queen of Death, goes full-on Bride after her nose touches one of Sparky's (love the name!) bolts, Victor has a would-be assistant who seems very familiar, and the town just so happens to have a fully operational windmill, which is crucial in the first Frankenstein movie.  Also, Shelly the turtle is transformed by his Japanese owner into an animated Gamera for the climactic fight sequence, showing that Burton's love for horror/comedy blends extends beyond the shores of America.  There's even a slavering mob with torches, although I did not notice any pitchforks.  Also - for anyone who's ever shot their own film - we first see Sparky as he stars in one of Victor's wonderfully creative monster movies.  Burton knows the power of making your own stories.

A few sequences might be too intense for very young or sensitive children - after all, you don't reanimate a beloved pet without first losing the pet to the icy grip of Death and there's a sequence in a creepy pet cemetery where Victor goes to retrieve Sparky - but overall, it's a fun, family-friendly ride and a delight to look at.  (For a long time, I've thought that Burton finds horror in the so-called normal. Watch the baseball game, which is usually a sign of "ordinary suburbia, nothing to see here, move along.")  Frankenweenie has lessons here about loss, love, science, and hope, as well as some wonderful vocal performances.  Catherine O'Hara and Winona Ryder both have prominent roles here and it's good to see part of the old team back together.  Martin Landau, who also is part of the Burton stable, is the slightly mad Old World science teacher who inadvertently gives Victor the idea of harnessing electricity in the first place.

Fun flick, made even better if you've seen the early films Burton is referencing.  If you haven't, now's a fine time of the year to catch up.  These original films are short - most are under an hour and a half - and quite worth your time.  2012 is Universal's centennial, so they're re-releasing all sort of cleaned up "creatures from the vault" - add a few to your viewing lists.  I'd suggest Frankenstein and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein (which just might be one of those rare sequels that tops the original), and Dracula as absolute must-sees, but there are plenty more.  You know what they say about monsters - you see one, but a dozen more are lurking in the shadows!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 33

Pre Meth Walt - look, kids!
Chemistry is fun!  Like me!
Wanna Cook? is planned a quasi-commercial book. Or maybe it's a quasi-academic book. At any rate, it's a blend. While not as footnoted-and-polysyllabic as the genuine "television goes to the Ivory Tower" books are, Wanna Cook? is also designed to be far more than a recap guide. For me, this is a change. While the analysis of popular culture allows for a certain (shall we say) relaxing of tone, the overarching goal remains the same - take a solid background in the scholarship in the field and use it, along with your own independent research, to stake out and defend your particular position.

As you can imagine, these books tend to not crack the New York Times bestseller lists.  Oh, well. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be written. I'm quite proud of Faith & Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, as well as my other publications (and really, they make wonderful additions to any holiday gift list!  Just sayin'). 

It's been great to write so freely and to express opinions without having to exhaustively support each and every contention, but I have to admit, it's also been a bit daunting.  I'm used to "well, so-and-so agrees with me right here on page 47 of the treatise Philosophers Take On Television* (published by Oh-So-Important Press 2008), so I must be right.  Took me six hours to find that quote so I have to be right!" Instead, this is much more "when you see something pop up four times in six episodes and the camera lingers on the item each time, that's no coincidence.  This is what I think it means."

Post Meth Walt - do what I say, or else.
A Very Bad Else.
However, it's a good idea to test-drive your theories.  So this past week, my co-author and I hied ourselves to the annual Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in the South conference to present some ideas about Breaking Bad that will likely turn into longer pieces in the finished book.  We were fortunate to present alongside David Lavery (presenting on showrunner Vince Gilligan) and Jeffery Frame (presenting on secondary characters in the show), both of whom gave polished, artful talks.  (Keep in mind at these conferences, you're limited to a maximum of 20 minutes speaking time and that's with any clips you want to use. With a four person panel, your time is cut to a mere 15 minutes, so there's no time to fool around here.) My co-author has written about the panel over on his blog, so I won't duplicate it here, other than to say that the reception to our ideas was positive and it gives me hope that Wanna Cook? will be well-received and have some useful, creative, fun things to say.

In the next few weeks, I dive into the work of annotating and organizing Season 4, as well as re-writing the conference presentation into a book "extra." I daresay these weekly posts will show a focus on Season 4 as I work my way through that material - and what a season it was! Join me here on Wednesdays and I know Ensley F. Guffey would like to see you over at his place for the weekly "Meth Monday." Until then, stay safe and avoid angry chemistry teachers.

* Please note that, to my knowledge, neither this book nor the press actually exists, although I think the name of the press is especially cool and it probably should.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Little Long in the Tooth

It's October, which means it's release time for the scary stuff.  Over the next four weeks, cartoon scares will jostle for theater room with suspense and slashers.  Some will be aimed at kids, others at near adults.  The first of these hit this week and, in the spirit of the Halloween sacrifice, I gave up a perfectly good afternoon to see it for you.

Hotel Transylvania isn't a bad movie; it's just that it isn't much of anything.  It wants to be - oh, how it wants to be! - and it has a heartfelt message about fathers wanting to protect their children and how that urge can cause great conflict with a teenage daughter who yearns to stretch her wings.  Literally in this case - the father and daughter are vampires who do that whole "turn into a bat" thing.  The basic premise is intriguing - Dracula is raising his daughter by himself, since his beloved Martha was killed in a fire set by humans.  He wants to shelter his little darling and he's built a fantastic hotel for monsters to be that bunker against humanity.  There's some interesting vocal talent here - heck, I think Steve Buscemi is one of the most under-rated actors out there - and there are a few sly winks at other films in the paranormal pantheon (I especially liked the Twilight nod) but overall, the movie feels flabby.  Not awful, just not ambitious.  Rather blah and I hate it when I find my attention wandering during a movie.  Then again, it's one of the only Adam Sandler movies where I haven't wanted to stab out my own eyes, so there's something.

Still - this one's a rental.

As a monster movie, Hotel Transylvania references so many classics - Wolfman, Frankenstein (and his Bride), the Mummy, the Invisible Man, skeletons, zombies, oh, my! - that it's a perfect spot to mention something else.

If you consider yourself a movie fan (and really - who doesn't?), do yourself a favor and go buy Jennifer Garlen's new book Beyond Casablanca.  In this book, accomplished movie critic Garlen first lists ten classic "must sees" that top nearly everyone's list - Casablanca, Wizard of Oz,  It's a Wonderful Life, and so on.  But the book itself is, as the title indicates, about going beyond those films to discover other classics that you might have missed.  Nothing in the book was produced after 1959 - she's discussing true classics that have stood the test of cinematic time here - and I guarantee you'll find something to trip your trigger.  It doesn't matter if you prefer romcom, action, Westerns, film noir, musicals, or whatever - Garlen's got you covered.

For about the cost of a ticket to Hotel Transylvania and a popcorn/drink combo, you can have something more lasting and, I'll argue, more useful.