If my heart is the bird, then you’re the hot air balloon.

I love Owl City.

Now, before you judge me (though I don’t really care if you do), let me explain why:  Owl City’s songs make me happy. That’s all there is to it.

The complaint I hear the most about Owl City (which, for the uninitiated, is essentially one guy, Adam Young) is the following:  “Owl City is a rip-off of The Postal Service.” Whether Adam Young consciously imitated The Postal Service or not (I don’t care), the fact is:  I don’t like the Postal Service, but I like Owl City. There is something fundamentally different about Owl City’s music, namely that it’s upbeat and full of energy. The Postal Service’s songs, on the other hand, I find tolerable at best, and at worst, their dreary weariness grates on my consciousness.

Another complaint I often hear is this:  “Owl City’s lyrics are crap.” This depends entirely upon one’s definition of “crap.” Granted, the lyrics to many of the songs are apparently meaningless, at least intrinsically, but they are often chosen for purposes other than just their meaning. The following lyric, from “Sunburn” on the deluxe edition of Ocean Eyes, illustrates one of many instances in which words are chosen for their euphony:  “Implying that she’s the bee’s knees and I am the cat’s meow.” The consonance and internal rhyme of “she’s,” “bee’s,” and “knees” is pleasing to the ear (at least to mine, if not to yours).

I don’t think that the lyrics to any Owl City song are “deep,” as one poorly-argued diatribe accuses. In fact, I think it’s quite possible that “Fireflies” isn’t really about anything. But the words, while they may be devoid of inherent meaning, contribute to the feeling of the songs. And we’re back to my main point:  they make me feel happy.

Several of my friends might argue that I like Owl City songs due to the mental associations I have with them. I’m not entirely sure that isn’t the case. But I think that I enjoy Owl City independently of those associations as well. This, like every other point I’ve made in this post, is subjective, but then, so is all artistic appreciation. You may not like Owl City, but I do. And that’s that.


Human Tales

“Human tails? Humans don’t have tails. They have big, big bottoms that they wear with bad shorts. They walk around going, ‘Hi, Helen!'”

–Batty Koda, FernGully:  The Last Rainforest (1992)

On the evening of 15 April 2010,  I had the pleasure (?) of seeing FernGully for the first time since I was ten. This was also the first time I’d ever seen it in a theater, let alone a theater full of college-aged former fans of this film. I am convinced that this only improved the viewing experience.

I admit at first I was worried that I’d wasted the dollar I’d paid for my admission. The projectionist had initially forgotten to remove the anamorphic lens from the projector, causing the image to be stretched horizontally on the screen. I was on my way to the box office to complain when this error was rectified, much to my relief.

The film is as bad as I remember it to be:  it is a badly-written, barely-decently-animated, preachy, environmentalist diatribe against logging and pollution, based entirely upon emotional appeals. I could go on about why it’s so bad, but that’s what the Nostalgia Critic is for. What really makes this movie so bad is the amount of talented people who contributed to it:  Robin Williams and Tim Curry both provided their voices for this film, and they each performed one song. Curry managed to somehow bridge the gap between his role as Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and  James Wood’s Hades in Hercules (1997). Elton John and Raffi each performed a song as well, adding to the wasted talent. Various other voices are provided by Grace Zabriskie, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, and Christian Slater.

As I previously indicated, what really made the movie worth the price of admission was the audience I saw it with. Bad movies are made bearable by watching them in groups, and you can’t get much better than a crowd of students shouting “That’s what she said!” and “Big-lipped alligator moment!” every so often. One particular couple of girls in the row behind me was very vocal, exclaiming the name of every animal that appeared on the screen — except for that random lizard no one can identify. (Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a goanna.)

It was pretty fun to see FernGully again, mostly due to the nostalgia it induces, and also because I can now see it the tripe it is. I probably do not want to see this movie ever again — but then again, that’s what I thought before I heard it was playing at the university theater.

There are no Fringe benefits.

Urged by a friend, I watched the pilot episode of J. J. Abrams’ series Fringe on 21 September 2008. I was leery, as it seemed to be simply a rehash of The X-Files (which, for the record, is my favorite television series). Nevertheless, I jumped in with an open mind, hoping to enjoy Fringe. My reaction, written immediately after I viewed the show, is recorded below. I have edited it slightly from the original version.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet seen the pilot episode of Fringe and wish to do so unspoiled, do not continue.  Continue reading