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Cool and Crap Awards of the Week

Illustration for article titled Cool and Crap Awards of the Week

At least two things happened in the world of science and fiction last week, and one was cool and the other was crap.

Coolest alcohol-tinged recruitment effort that involved science fiction, antiracism, and M&Ms: Last night at Madison's Wiscon science fiction convention, the Carl Brandon Society threw a party and recruited new members by harnessing the power of scifi author Claire Light behind the bar. The Carl Brandon society offers scholarships and prizes for science fiction writers of color, and membership is only $25. A price everyone gladly paid after Claire (pictured) kept handing out C52s — tiny drinks featuring three layers: Grand Marnier, Bailey's, and coffee liqueur (with an M&M in the bottom, so the C is for "chocolate"). You have to drink it in one gulp, or the Bailey's curdles. After a few gulps, some shit-talking about Martian colonies, and a dissection of the imperialist politics in vampire novels, I joined the society. And so did everybody else. Who says good causes don't have to be fun? Click through for the crap award (yes there will be some spoilers).

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Crappiest effort to pay homage to a once-great franchise, while also failing to pay homage to 1950s science fiction and misapplying CGI ant swarms:

Sure, I said Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a fun afternoon diversion, but that doesn't mean it wasn't total crap. I love Indy, and I loved the "alien skull" premise of this film, and yet the more I thought about it, the less I liked it. The ending felt like bad TV. And no, it's not cool or neato that Indy was able to survive a nuclear bomb blast by hiding inside a refrigerator. I can believe that he might escape a giant zooming rock by the skin of his teeth, but a nuclear bomb? That stretches the bounds of credibility so far that I'm not having fun anymore. I'm just feeling condescended to. Plus, as many io9 commenters already noted, the CGI ants were crap. Swarm of ants = good. Swarm of ants so fake they look like a batch of angry M&Ms (and not the good kind you can drink with the Carl Brandon Society) = crap.

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Plus, why did putting the crystal skull inside a burlap sack prevent it from being magnetic? Oh I know: probably the same forces that made gold and gunpowder ferromagnetic in the movie. The force of crap.

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DISCUSSION

farwent
Josh Wimmer

(Do I have to mention at this point that spoilers follow?)

I thought it was really a pretty good movie. It was no Raiders (but what is?) and no Last Crusade, but thoroughly enjoyable in its own right. It very clearly established from the outset that this was Indy in a new era, and, y'know, spacemen and flying saucers were the stuff of adventures of that era. And it's kinda silly to call it X-Files plagiarism — most everything (like the alien design) has a foundation in real-life history that goes all the way to Roswell or further.

The end was a little abrupt, and kinda weak, in that it was more or less a retread of what went down with the ark, but it didn't last too long; and I give points to them for wrapping it up quickly. And speaking as someone whose first really noteworthy birthday present was the VHS tape of Raiders I got when I was seven or so, the wedding was EXACTLY what some of us have been waiting for for years — the question always having been, "What happened to Marion?"

One complaint: I glanced at the flap copy in the novelization at B&N last night, and it referred to the crystal skulls as more powerful than the ark. I disagree.