The Lorax: shockingly bad

I was not at all shocked that the new Lorax movie is bad. But I was shocked at how bad. Without question, Dr. Seuss has always been my favorite children’s author, ever since I filled the entire checkout card of my elementary school’s copy of The Cat in the Hat with my name. Yes, I just renewed it over and over, because I loved it. (And, apparently, my mom did not, or she’d have just broken down and bought me my own copy.)

Over the years I read a lot of Seuss books at the school library, but none made such an impression, both immediate and lasting, as The Lorax. I loved it like nothing else, and I still do. I loved the book, and I loved the 1972 animated TV special, which not only captured and expanded upon the spirit of the book, but did so with the kind of funky music that only could have appeared in a children’s television program in that decade.

Therefore, it was almost a given that I would hate the new CGI animated feature film adaptation. But I was not prepared for how much I would hate it. OK, the notorious Mazda commercial gave me a clue, but I had been lulled since first staring gape-jawed in disbelief at the audacity of a car company claiming that an SUV with a standard combustion engine was “Truffula tree approved” into thinking that maybe the movie wouldn’t be so bad, after all.

Oh, how wrong I was. I was wrong — as were the filmmakers — in so many ways that I can barely begin to catalog them.

Fortunately I don’t have to. In his Vulture review, The Badness of The Lorax Is a Shock, David Edelstein says it all for me.


We disagree over whether the source material is any good, apparently, and Edelstein seems to like most the part of the movie I hate most — the tacked on conventional family movie chase sequence in the final 20 minutes. I found it so gratuitous and unbearable (and frankly just plain boring) that I excused myself to go to the bathroom, but I really just wanted to get the hell out of the theater so I didn’t have to witness any further abomination.

Please. Do not see this movie. Read the book. Or watch the 1972 TV special four times instead.

“All in” is right

Today, according to banner ads and discussions from the likes of Neven Mrgan and Gizmodo, Microsoft is “all in.” All in “the Cloud,” that is, though the poker metaphor of betting the company on an all-or-nothing strategy seems apt.

Reading some of Steve Ballmer’s vacuous corporate speak surrounding this campaign (including the following PowerPoint-ready bullet points), I am not overwhelmed with enthusiasm for the endeavor:

– The cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities
– The cloud learns and helps you learn, decide and take action
– The cloud enhances your social and professional interactions
– The cloud wants smarter devices
– The cloud drives server advances that drive the cloud

My perspective on this kind of “communication” (such as it is) has evolved over time. When I was 25, it intimidated me, because I didn’t understand it. When I was 30, it annoyed me, because I realized there was nothing to understand, and it was just wasting my time. Now, at 35, it worries me, because I realize that this is how the people who are running things — important things like Microsoft, for crying out loud — actually think. They write nonsense like this and think it’s meaningful.

I wouldn’t bet on that.

Update: In Ballmer’s defense, the full presentation provided a lot more details than this bullet list, but it’s still a lot of not really very much.

Twittegration (or… uh… something like that)

Yes, I should inaugurate this new feature with a profound, witty, or at least marginally purposeful post. Alas, I might as well just say “Hello world!”

This post is a test of a new Twitter integration I’m trying out, using the Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress. Here goes (hopefully not) nothing!

Update: Looks like it works. Now I just need to get my custom URL shortener integrated into it all.