We can do without films, cells, stats

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

There’s no real need to give a long introduction to this one. There are things I encounter in my life that just need to go, and I’ll tell you why:
• Computer-animated films: I’ll admit it, I loved “Toy Story,” made at a time when Pixar was pretty much alone in computer animation. Back then, making an animated feature was a giant risk, and studios had to put forth a maximum effort and hire top-notch talent so all of that money on computer animation wouldn’t go to waste.

Little by little, computer animated films entered the world of science fiction (Final Fantasy VII), adaptations of famous books (The Polar Express) and knockoffs of Woody Allen movies (Antz).

Now, the process is employed by at least 10 studios, but computer-animated films haven’t gotten 10 times better. Instead, we’re seeing the same film 10 times.

Here’s the average plot for a computer animated film now: The story starts with a lavish world created by

(superrobots/humans/adults), but the creators are now trying to change that perfect world at the expense of the (normal robots/animals/children) who have (human emotions despite their robotic beginnings/an unexplained ability to speak/a college vocabulary). Add the crazy character voiced by (Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres and Larry the Cable Guy) and a tension-breaking comedy scene with (flatulence/an animal biting somebody’s genitals/a badly mispronounced word).

I’m sure the formula can apply to at least half of the films already released (Doogall, Ice Age: The Meltdown, The Wild, Over the Hedge, Cars, Monster House and Barnyard) or the ones set for release later this year (Khan Kluay, The Ant Bully, Open Season, Flushed Away and Happy Feet).

You can see why computer animated films are quickly becoming my least favorite genre, just ahead of the “uptight white guy meets zany black guy” police comedy.

• The elimination statistic: Sports are full of unnecessary statistics, like “batting percentage against left-handers in domed stadiums east of the Mississippi River.” The one that bothers me the most, however, is the “record when facing elimination” statistic, applied to teams that must win a game in a playoff series or go home for the offseason wondering what went wrong.

Every time I listen to a commentator or a pre-game/post-game show talk about how a team is “undefeated when facing elimination this season,” it roughly translates to “I can’t think of anything important to talk about.” Any team that’s still alive in the playoffs obviously has not lost an elimination game. If a team ever wins a championship with a losing record in elimination games, then I’ll be impressed. Until that happens, stop using the statistic.

l The “cell phone at the restaurant counter” guy: Cellular telephones are great inventions because you can talk to anybody at any time. That’s also the reason they’re annoying inventions.

New rule: If you use your cellular phone while you are standing at the “Order Here” area, you should be sent to the back of the line because you’ve proven incapable of calling that person before you come to the counter or making a list before you enter the restaurant. “Ponder” and “Use your cell phone” appear nowhere in “Order Here.”

Previous readers of my columns may point out that I’ve written about Point No. 3 before. Since it still happens, I guess I need to keep writing about these things until we band together and get rid of them once and for all. Don’t make me write this column all over again in a few months.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact him at 763-3431, ext0. 313, or by e-mail: