Category Archives: Film Crits

Miseducating Millions of Taxpayers en Masse

Unacceptable: “I just wanted to be as accurate as I possibly could. There are, there are a few places that are inaccurate. The
biggest place that’s inaccurate is right at the beginning. Um, don’t – don’t tell anybody but if you’re in a dust storm on Mars
you’re not even going to feel it. Mars’ atmosphere is less than one percent of Earth’s – so a 150 kilometer per hour wind, would
feel like about a 1 kilometer wind does on Earth. It wouldn’t do any damage to anything. Shhhh. […] Most people don’t know
how Martian dust storms work. People don’t realize that it’s not like being in a sand blaster and it’s just more dramatic that way,
so I just made that concession. I know I’m a liar I just – I just, uh, wanted that more, it’s just more dramatic.”

Update: Weir‘s turning out to be a decent guy…(speaking at the Mars Society’s conference helps too!)…from a Reddit AMA:

“If you were given the opportunity to go back in time to change one thing in The Martian, would you
change anything? A character, a plot point, or something to do with the story?”

“Yeah, I’d probably make the initial disaster an engine test failure instead of a sandstorm. It’s the most
glaring physical inaccuracy in the book and I wish I hadn’t made that concession to drama. I think I could
have set it up so an MAV engine test blasted Watney, impaling him with debris, and started leaking
fuel, forcing them to launch. Something like that.”


1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming.
Open your word processor and start writing.

2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes)
interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it.
Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.

3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish
an ebook to major distributors (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.

Zubrin: “The Matt Damon character in The Martian isn’t interested in Mars. He doesn’t care about the search for life on Mars, or about Mars as humanity’s new frontier. He just wants to get home. In contrast, Howard’s ensemble crew is fascinated by Mars. For them, the Red Planet is not just a place of peril; it is also a place of wonder. So while Mars may not have the star power of Matt Damon, it has something that The Martian lacks: the star power of Mars.

Critical Notes on ‘The Martian’ Script: Unhelpful Nonsense


Negatives from the script (available online as a PDF):
  • appearance of Mars compared to a “blast furnace”
  • protagonist’s first word is “Fuck” [unimaginative use, no problem with word]
  • multi-paragraph undramatic expositive dialogue
  • dumbed down unintelligent boring main character
  • cheesy dated dialogue “our bad”, “shitstorm”, “I’m going to have to
    science the shit out of it” heh heh
  • crucifix sole combustible at base
  • overriding obvious question: why doesn’t he fix the damn antennae???!
  • 30 day mission rather than standard 500 day Mars Direct (which would allow enough foodstuffs for one person to live many years of emergency survival on Mars…not to mention a spare antennae)
  • astronauts from military backgrounds/pilots
  • inability to launch during sandstorm due to “wind”
  • crew must lean in to “force the doors closed against the wind”
  • “We’ve never had a manned ship controlled remotely before.”
  • Mark holds up his middle finger. Fuck you Mars.” [emphasis original]
  • Drug glorification “I’m dipping this potato in Vicodin and there’s nothing
    anyone can do about it.” [This criticism seems to receive the most attention…a person close to me nearly died from alcoholism recently, as a result I have a new hatred of addictive substances which would have surprised my past self. I enjoyed alcohol but this tragedy was by far the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed. My hope is we as a free society come to abhor drugs of all kinds, and disdain their use as we have cigarettes.]
Constant corny uptight hierarchical conflicts:
  • “We’ll do our best.” “Mark dies if you don’t.”
    “We discussed this.” “You discussed this.”
  • “I’m sorry commander you need to verbally–” “Launch!”
  • Even afflicts CNSA: “Are you kidding?” “Have you ever known me to kid, sir?”
  • “Bullshit it should be Commander Lewis’ call.” “We need to make this decision. It’s a matter of life and death.” “She’s the mission commander. Life and death decisions are her damn job.”…”You goddamn coward.”
  • “We’re talking about mutiny which is not a word I use lightly.”
  • “Easy, cowboy. You and I are military. There’s a good chance we’d be court martialed when we get home.”
  • “When this is over I’ll expect your resignation.” “I understand.”
  • “You’re sending him to space under a tarp?” “Yes. Can I go on?” “I’m not sure I want you to, but okay.”
  • “…I feel obliged to mention that setting off an explosive device on a spacecraft is a terrible, terrible idea.” “Copy that. Can you do it?” [thinks, then] “Ja.”
  • “Oh wait a minute. Yep. I’m looking at my shoulder patch and it turns out I’m commander. So shut up.”

Sole Positive:

  • blue sunrise

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Sheer Illiterate Fantasy of Star Wars (Thank you Neil!!)

“Star Trek – all versions of the series – have made admirable attempts to do the right thing within the laws of physics. And, where they’re on the frontier? That’s where the imagination of the writers and the creativity of the science fiction themes come in. But you can’t undo the well-tested and well-known laws of physics that oughta serve as your foundation for what you’re doing. Otherwise the whole thing just becomes fantasy – and you might as well just write a story no different from Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.”

Star Wars…it was to…I, I never got into it…I donno…maybe because they made no attempt to portray real physics. At all.

We aren’t really fans of either – viewing their reliance upon interstellar space-travel as having set-back exploration of our own solar system – now, with humans – with real, doable, nearly-off the shelf technology. Not warp drives or Xwing absurdities. …But we are definitely fans of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Case in point…for reasons beyond comprehension 32 geniuses spent 17,336 hours of semi-conscious human life constructing a replica of a vehicle which has never and will never fly, anywhere. Even if it were made of something else other than 5 million legos. Why don’t these wizards volunteer at SpaceX or Blue Origin for 4 months – sweeping shop floors would have been more noble. Or help Bill Gates eradicate polio. This is shameful…(really):