The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nice!

Okay, I realize this is petty, but this made me very happy. Have you ever wondered what Bruce Timm, the producer of "Batman the Animated Series" and the rest of the DC Animated Universe thought of the 1994 "Spider-Man" cartoon on Fox Kids?

"I watched the pilot, the one with the Lizard. I thought that the pilot was really good, and by [the next episode] the quality had just plummeted. I didn't watch it every week, but they sent me these Academy screeners for the Emmys — They sent me a Spider-Man episode from, I think, the 2nd season, and I thought, 'Well, I haven't seen it in a long time, so I'll pop it in and see what they're up to.' And it was god-awful. 'This is the one that they're sending out for Emmy considerations?'"


Petty, yeah. But that quote gave me such a happy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Top Eleven Villain Songs...

So, the Nostalgia Critic just did his Top Eleven Villain Songs. He and I have much in common, we both love villains. And in these musicals, we both think the villains have the best songs. I agree with most of his choices there. But, for the fun of it, I thought I would highlight three villain songs that didn't make his list that I always enjoyed.

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/17640-top-11-villian-songs

Jafar shows just what a power mad dictator he truly is with this one. I love that little slap he gives Aladdin near the end, showing just how beneath him the street rat truly is. He's just having a blast and rubbing salt in the wounds.



Who would have thought Vincent Price could sing? This is a long one, and one of only two song numbers in the movie, but it's memorable. And a mouse gets brutally murdered in it. Professor Ratigan, beneath his class and sophistication, is a lowly thug and I think this song reflects that quite well.




And finally, this one may be a bit unorthodox, but I have always enjoyed it. He didn't get a song in his movie, but the spin-off series brought him a song that's quite menacing and fun. Especially since I am such a patriotic New Yorker.

That, and I just like Hades a lot. Sure, the movie he was in was mediocre, but the TV show was fun, and James Woods is great a very fun villain. Okay, so James Woods doesn't even attempt to sing this all the way through, but it's still good.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Stupid Retro Review...

Some things from your childhood are better left buried. Especially when you hated them in your childhood. Anyone remember "Challenge of the GoBots?" No? Feel lucky. Feel very, very lucky. However, being the spawn of Satan that I am, you are going to be reminded.

In the 1980s, there was a little show called "Transformers." "Transformers" was a big, dumb toy commercial. While it still is, it's since had incarnations of not dumb. "Beast Wars" and the more recent "Animated" being gold. But, the original "Transformers" was kind of dumb, but I loved it. And still have a soft spot for it, but I see it for what it was.

However, there was another show on at the same time. "Challenge of the GoBots." If "Transformers" was a big, dumb toy commercial, the GoBots were a retarded, festering, shit pile with AIDS in it. And being that this was the early 1980s, we never, ever talked about AIDS.

So, before we begin the pain, we are going to sing about AIDS:



Okay, now with that out of the way to alleviate the oncoming pain, on to the review.

"Challenge of the Gobots"
Crime Wave

Okay, I'm going to review this as I watch it. Someone better give me a blowjob when this is all over.

We open up with a familiar, twirling star. Hanna Barbera, this can't be good. And here is the theme song. I assume that is their home planet. A much more retarded version of Cybertron. It looks like a tiny testicle between two mushrooms. The Gobots come from Planet Testeshroom... that's what I'll call it from now on, until I get an official name. If we do, and I hate it, I will continue to call it Planet Testeshroom.

The theme song is very... boring. It's two words repeated over and over again. "The GoBots! The GoBots!" I wonder if someone was credited for writing it. Takeo Yamashita was credited for the lyrics of the "Lupin III" theme song, and all that is is "Lupin the third!" over and over again.



There you go, Robby. Your Lupin III reference. You know I pepper those in for you, right?

And now, we get to the title:

"Crime Wave"
Story and teleplay by Francis Moss

Here's his website, complete with an e-mail: http://www.francismoss.com/ I am not telling anyone of my readers to e-mail him with a link to this page. Do you understand how I am not telling you to do that?

Hey, he wrote episodes of "ExoSquad" and "Mighty Max!" Awesome. Francis, if you read this and anyone of my stupid readers does what I didn't tell them to do and e-mails you a link, know that this review is written with... well, not, love. But... "ExoSquad" ruled.

Okay, so we open with Leader 1 and Scooter flying over The City. Which city, you ask? I don't know. Since this is the 80s, I'm assuming that it is The City, and the Tick still hasn't moved here, and Arthur is in college majoring in accounting. American Maid is in Grenada fighting the enemies we didn't actually have there. Die Fledermaus is still a frat boy somewhere. Sewer Urchin is in the sewers minding his own business. Chairface Chippendale is a newly made man, and not yet the ruler of all crime in The City.

Moving on...

Leader 1 and Scooter are flying over The City. Scooter complains that this is murder on his nerves. ......

....

...... Scooter.

Let me show you a picture:



At this point, I want to look at the kid sidekicks from every incarnation of "Transformers." Bumblebee, Spike, Buster, Sam, Wheelie, Daniel, Cheetor, Proto-Human Kids, Kicker, Koji, Sideburn, and anyone else... I, Greg Bishansky, apologize for every mean thing I ever said about any of you. I was wrong. I was mean. You have nothing on Scooter.

So Scooter and Leader 1 are upset that the Renegades (either the bad robots on this show, or the some motorcycle gang trying to sound tough) haven't pulled any mischief in weeks. But, as Leader 1 points out, they can still keep busy. The two robots then proceed to foil a bank heist by the most stereotypical crooks in cartoon history. At this point, we learn they are called the Guardians.

Okay, so, let's get this straight

Guardians = Autobots Lite
Renegades = More retarded Decepticons.

Got that?

As the crooks attempt to escape, Scooter echoes with his voice that he is the police, and they are surrounded. And if you can hear Scooter's voice, you'd realize just how stupid and unbelievable that actually is. And then, the crooks actually fall for it! Well, this is The City. Maybe the cops sound like that.

Speaking of the crooks, I have got to show you how badly they are drawn!

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LOOK AT THEIR EYES AND MOUTHS! LOOK AT THAT!

The cops show up soon enough to make Scooter's cunning plan pointless, but he is blasted in the ass by Cy-Kill, the leader of the Renegades. Dear god. Cy-Kill is a colorful motorcycle, and Crasher is a transvestite race car. The sad thing is, I'm not making this up. That's what Crasher is.



Leader 1 vows that Cy-Kill will not get what he wants. But, it's too late. The crooks are escaping, which is apparently what Cy-Kill was after all along. The bank robbers. Because what would be more important to a world conquering alien robot than a little grand larceny. Say, kids, remember that time Megatron busted Charles Manson and his Family out of prison? Apparently the murderers of Sharon Tate and her unborn baby were an intricate part of his plan to build a giant purple griffin to conquer the Middle East.



Cy-Kill and the bad guys escape. Leader 1 is as perplexed as we all are, and Scooter throws a fit. He knows he won't like what Cy-Kill is up to. I'm guessing Cy-Kill just wants to hang out at the Bada Bing.

Meanwhile in one of The City's several million conveniently empty warehouses:

Cy-Kill meets with several figures in organized crime, not including their boss, Kincaid. He wants to meet with Kincaid and all the leaders of organized crime in one week. Which leads one to wonder just where Kincaid was. Well, I'll tell you where he was...

Kincaid was waiting for his appointment with Dr. Jennifer Melfi, a psychiatrist. I know because his appointment was right after mine:

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Dr. Melfi: How are you, Greg?
Me: .... the usual.
Dr. Melfi: When last we met, you were looking for a job.
Me: Yeah, well, gotta eat. But, for fuck's sake, there's nothing out there.
Dr. Melfi: Could this be tied to feelings of resentment towards your parents?
Me: What the fuck would my parents have to do with any of this!?
Dr. Melfi: I can see you are angry.
Me: You must have been at the top of your class.

ONE WEEK LATER

Some poorly dressed, Italian Americans meet in a lodge, where they are pissed off by a well dressed Italian slob. Just... go with it. Manchinson introduces Cy-Kill, Crasher, and um... another one. It turns out that Cy-Kill's nefarious plot is to arm the criminals of America with hi-tech weapons into a criminal army. What he gets out of it are loyal criminals to rule Earth for him while he conquers the galaxy.

LOL! I'm just kidding. I made Cy-Kill's plan there up? Do you think an alien Megatron-wannabe overlord would be that stupid??? HUH? Sigh... I'm lying. I didn't make it up.

So, the criminals begin their crime spree, and at one point, some stupid cops confuse a black race car with a low flying jet......... yup.

So, Cy-Kill is working with stupid criminals to steal from stupid cops. I miss Megatron.



Sigh... I wish I were getting killed over and over like Starscream here. It's probably less painful than GoBots

A bunch of criminals in a truck approach Fort Knox pretending to be there to pick up the garbage. The guard doesn't fall for it. FINALLY! SOMEONE WITH A BRAIN! I LOVE YOU, GUARD! But the crooks ram the gate with the truck, and an evil Renegade car gets out, and transforms into a robot with a beyond evil, Nazi-esque war helmet...

... I'm just kidding, he's wearing a top hat.

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I am tempted to stop this review now, as I doubt anything else can top the robot with the built in top hat.

We cut back to the Guardians. One of them looks an awful lot like Zartan, except he's red. His name is Turbo.

And I am learning something while watching this. Ever had little transforming robots that weren't Transformers, and sucked? That's right, they were GoBots.

So, the Renegades get away with the gold, and their crime sprees continue. Leader 1 decides to send his friend Matt with his 80s mustache to infiltrate the crooks.

Good god, this was back when we had a President with balls. Why can't Reagan just bomb them? You know he would the second they dared him too.

So, Matt dresses up like an 80s glam biker WITH A BIG MULLET and rides Scooter *snicker* to fool Cy-Kill. He's using the name, Leroy Palms. Um... yeah. And the well dressed slob is now a poorly dressed slob. No one can pull off a bow-tie. He tells the slob he wants to join him and he has hundreds of bikers ready to join.

Matt spies on Cy-Kill as we get exposition on how force fields are being provided to make the criminal army invincible. Because the criminals want to militarize. Hmm, how come Michael Corleone never thought of this.

Come to think of it, Cy-Kill, don't you think there were plenty of foreign dictators and terrorists who would have been MORE PRACTICAL TO MAKE THIS DEAL WITH!?

Matt overhears this and is about to escape when is captured by the trannie race car! Cy-Kill pulls of the MULLET!!!!! and recognizes him. Uh oh. Will Cy-Kill kill him now, or do something stupid? I haven't finished watching it, but I think we can all bet on stupid.

So, they lock Matt in a basement, but he is able to talk to Scooter through a window. God, what bad security. Cy-Kill puts two and two together too late once he is told that Matt was dressed like a biker and figures Scooter must be there. Hey, don't blame me, I said he should kill him.

Scooter escapes but the Renegades give chase, but are stopped by THE ALMIGHTY..... log. Yes, a log.

I hate this.

HOLY SHIT!!!!! I SPOKE TOO SOON!!!!

The criminals have militarized with Cy-Kill's weapons. Now they are dressed like... NAZIS! Complete with watered down swastikas too.

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Do I really need to caption this?

You know, Lucky Luciano and the Mafia helped us fight AGAINST THE NAZIS! Eh, whatever...

So, the Renegades and the Mafia Nazis are marching on the government. The military mobilizes to stop them. Leader 1 shows up to tell Cy-Kill that this time he's gone too far! I have to say that I agree. The Nazi Mafia is where I have to draw the line.

Remember when Michael Corleone was an American war hero in World War II?

The Guardians try to stop the Renegades and the Nazi Mafia but can't penetrate their force field. Leader 1 goes down, as does Red Zartan. The soldiers are zapped. And finally, Cy-Kill leads a marching army of Nazi Mafiosos.

Manchinson is riding in his limo, standing through the sunroof as if he was Hitler. I am not making this up. I swear to you, I am not.

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I think I need something to bring me back to normalcy. Something sane and rational.

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Ahhh... much better...

The Nazi Mafia arrives at the White House, which Manchinson declares his new home. We meet The Generic President. No wonder these dicks weren't bombed. This isn't Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a badass and wouldn't put up with this. The Generic President would. I'm guessing he's Jimmy Carter. So, let's call this Carter's second term. I always thought an evil alien motorcycle and Mafia Nazis would take over the world if Carter was re-elected.

Manchinson tells the President to get out, but Carter refuses until Cy-Kill breaks his ceiling and tells him to get out. Manchinson sits behind his desk, and declares that he is now the most powerful man in the world. Then he sends for the interns.

Outside, a GoBot helicopter named FlipTop carrying kid sidekicks shows up and rescues Matt from the Nazi Mafia. They've had enough. No Renegades or Al Pacino Nazis are going to spit on the flag. Jimmy Carter is president, dammit! Not Marlon Brando. It is time to bring that force field down.

Oh god, there are six minutes remaining. I don't think I can last. I'll try.

So, they return to the Mafia's hunting lodge where Matt dresses up as a scientist to bring down the force field. While, outside, a good helicopter and a bad one fight for no reason.

Oh god, the scientists all have German accents.

But Matt succeeds and the generator for the force fields come down. YAYE! The Nazi Mafia is easily taken down, and Manchinson is arrested in the Oval Office. No one saw the intern.

With no force field, Cy-Kill runs off like a pussy, only for him and the Renegades to engage in the most unexciting fight ever, which ends with them being thrown in a lake, only to be picked up by a space ship.

Leader 1 is not concerned. Let the Renegades escape, "they'll have painful reminders of the guardians."

Cy-Kill vows revenge. "Those Guardians will pay for this! And the price will be very high!"

The End

Please tell me you will make them watch this show. This show was painful. Beyond painful. It hurt to watch. God... Hanna Barbera and action just don't mix. Johnny Quest, this was not.

Nazi Mafiosos? Seriously?! God. I'm going crazy! CRAZY! Hmm, it has been a week since my last appointment with Dr. "Nice Legs" Melfi. Time to go...



Damn, Dr. Melfi is a bitch.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Retro Review - "In Zarm's Way"

I hate this show, but it's like a train wreck. You just can't look away, and it's so stupid you just have fun tearing into it.

Now, this whole review and tear into Captain Planet is Robby's shtick, but I have his permission. Hopefully he'll do some more.

Okay, so here we go. Today I am reviewing an episode titled "In Zarm's Way." Wow, there's a pun in the title... we've got to be in for a treat.

Okay, lets start. This must be a later season, because the introduction has changed. They replaced the soundtrack with something that sounds even gayer. Oh, the show's been re-titled "The New Adventures of Captain Planet." Because the old ones were just so compelling. But hey, if there's anything that George Lucas taught us. New means bigger and better. So, by that title, I guess Captain Planet will actually go on adventures as opposed to being the deus ex machina summoned at the end of every episode by his eco-terrorist groupies.

"In Zarm's Way" Written by Ron Myrick, Nick Boxer, Sean Catherine Derek and Laren Bright. It apparently takes four people to write one of these.

For those not in the know, Myrick went on to win an Oscar and Boxer is now a Congressman. No wait, that was Sonny and Cher. What did happen to these two? I never see them credited elsewhere. Come on Ted, your deep pockets couldn't deliver real talent. Let's see the green.

"In Zarm's Way" Written by Stephen King, William Faulkner, Noam Chomsky and Christopher Marlowe. Atta boy, Ted. That's showing the green, enough to bring Kit out of retirement.

Anyway, we open on Hippie Island (I don't know it's name, don't bother to correct me if you do know, I don't care.) We open to the Russian girl being an anal retentive bitch. "The problem with the world is people do not give a hoot." Yes, that's her line. I'm expecting the Owl to show up any minute. No, not the give a hoot owl, the Marvel villain. He'd make this thing much cooler. Anyway, Russian Girl and Asian Girl are arguing about whether or not people just give a damn, and we are then subjected to badly animated sequence of Russian pollution and poverty. Asian Girl (Gi) argues that no one is born greedy and uncaring. So, Linka and Gi have just given us the theme to this episode. Nature vs Nurture. Our best psychiatrists have been debating this for centuries, but fret not, the Planeteers are here to answer this for us.

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Gi seems to think that the world would be a different better place if it were in the hands of children... stupid bitch. I think I read that book before, it was called "The Lord of the Flies" and Gi seems to think children can get along without stealing the conch and killing Piggy. So Gi and Linka are arguing Nature vs Nurture and use their Magic Screen that can see anything to watch a black guy and Asian woman in an American suburb act like, well, Hank Hill and his Asian neighbor. So, that screen can see anything? I bet that Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong uses it to watch Paris Hilton in the shower.

Anyway, while Black Dad and Asian Mom argue, her son... an Asian kid with the worst haircut I have ever seen drawn and... ugh, I can't describe it, I need a screen shot.

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It's like a mullet and a fro combined into a terror not even the dumbest toothless hick would wear.

Okay, with that out of the way, Asian Kid and Black Kid (I don't know their names yet) run into the middle of the street while their parents argue and are about to be turned into Fried Chicken Curry when the screen freezes and Gi says she'd do anything to stop it. As if on cue, a purple tornado appears right in the middle of the Hall of Vegans and one of the Planeteers' mortal enemies appears, offering to help them. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong demands to know what Zarm wants.

Hmm, Zarm, I don't really remember him. ::Googles him:: Hmm, Zarm is apparently a war god who wants to instigate hate and war on a global scale. Hmm, his faggy outfit aside, this sounds like the description of a credible villain. He's been voiced by Sting, David Warner and Malcolm McDowell. Well, I'm pretty sure that's not David Warner. Probably not Sting either, yeah that sounds like the guy who killed Kirk.

Okay, Zarm offers Gi a chance to save these kids instead of letting Darwinism take its course by playing a game. I hope it involves guns and cruise missiles. Oh, the game is to "see if people are born bad or just become that way." Once again, let me remind you that Kit Marlowe helped pen this script. If Gi wins, the kids win. If Zarm wins, Gi has to work for him. I guess Zarm has a thing for teenage Asian chicks. Oh, Gaia wonders in, and is not surprised to see the War God in the room. I guess Gaia has been dropping acid with hippies in Amsterdam and assumes she's still tripping... oh and she's not Whoopie Goldberg anymore. Gi agrees and Zarm teleports them all away in his magic purple tornado. Gaia delivers the most insincere "No!" ever delivered, and Zarm laughs in her face, probably as amused by the bad acting as we are.



Now, we are suddenly in some metal lair that looks like the inside of the Technodrome and Black Dad and Asian Mom are there where they are welcomed by Zarm, and none at all bother to point out the stupid outfit he wears. Zarm tells them their exceptional children (Lee and Michelle) are being used in an experiment using CGI (on loan from George Lucas) they will create a world of their dreams. They will see which child is the most talented. Black Dad and Asian Mom start arguing over which one of their kids does not take the short special bus to the special school. Zarm just stands back and grins. This is Zarm's masterplan. Once again, I remind you that he is a War God. Bah fire this War God and replace him with Donald Rumsfeld.

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The Planeteers find themselves in a fog and naturally, Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong does not know where they are. Lee and Michelle appear and are King Kong sized in comparison to the Tree Huggers. Zarm does his best Ronald McDonald impression and tells the kids to play a game. Zarm tells them all they need to do is wave their hands and they can create anything... and I suddenly wish the two kids were Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflowski.

The Planeteers try to warn them, but the kids think they're dolls. Tiny, talking, really annoying dolls. Okay, these kids have to be at least eight, you'd think they'd wonder about why the dolls are talking and at least hear what they have to say, at least for the novelty but again I remind you that Kit Marlowe wrote this script. Zarm tells them not to listen to the talking dolls, but to make the world of their dreams.

So, the kids create something that looks something like the Smurf village and a stream separating their sides. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong ends up stuck on a giant flower and says he now knows how ants feel. Um, no you don't. Ants climb plants larger than them all the time and don't cry about it. But then, that's why you're Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong. Gi creates a geyser to get her and Ma-Ti off their giant flower, never mind that geysers can't be used as elevators.

The kids make a bridge so they can crossover and play with each other and Lee creates a pet cat for himself named Boots and Michelle creates a pet bulldog pup named Buster. Stupid Bitch Gi comments that on their own, the children would create a world of peace and beauty. Linka admits that she was being an anal retentive bitch before and Gi was right. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong shouts that Zarm is wrong, now you know it will blow up. "Not yet, Planeteenies," Zarm the War God retorts. Again, I reiterate, Kit Marlowe helped write this.

Black Dad and Asian Mom are astounded by what their kids have accomplished and Zarm nudges them into an argument, because he is just so subtle. So Black Dad and Asian Mom start shouting at each other again, and Zarm stands back grinning like John McCain must have been doing as Hillary and Obama destroyed each other. The kids are trying to play, but can somehow hear Black Dad yelling at how bad Asian Mom's cooking smells. Black Dad shouts "I can't stand you people!" ...

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Ma-Ti is able to hear Black Dad and Asian Mom shouting each other through his stupid Heart Ring, and apparently Gi is so stupid, she's shocked that Zarm would ever possibly cheat. Joke's on you Gi, Zarm will be eating sushi off your tits before the night is over.

The kids start arguing and as they argue, they begin to age... I'm guessing Marlowe is trying to send a message. Lee turns Boots into a ferocious alley cat Michelle turns Buster into an angry Doberman Pinscher. The pissing contest has begun. Naturally, the two animals try to eat the Planeteers, but as we all know, as long as Ted Turner draws breath, we shan't be so lucky. The kids now won't play with each other and are staying on their side of the river.

Black Dad and Asian Mom express concern, but Zarm tells them to relax and says both kids are doing very well. Oh, Mal... how low you've sunk. You were Caligula, then you killed Picard, and now you're stuck doing this crap. Even "Jezebel's Kiss" was a better career move than this.

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So the kids turn the Smurf village into an industrial wasteland, and are shouting and screaming at each other, and I still wish it was Kyle and Cartman. Both of them barricade the bridge. The Planeteers decide to talk sense into these kids. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong is afraid of their pets. But the kids seem to be getting over it and ready to just play but up in Zarm's control room, the parents are still arguing, and Zarm is still grinning and encouraging them to keep it up. Hey, War God... you are aware there's a war in Iraq, right?

So, the kids fight about who's side to play in as both deem theirs better. The kids then grow into surly teenagers, Buster goes from Doberman to wolf and Boots turns into a couger (he will later find work on 24 chasing Kim Bauer). Lee creates a weapon and destroys the bridge... ooh, metaphors. Michelle creates her own weapon and the two kids start blasting each other's sides of the stream.

Gi does not understand as the thought that unsupervised children are monsters just doesn't occur to her. Kwami theorizes that the more the parents argue, the worse the kids get... so, we're pinning this on the parents, I see. Since Ma-Ti can hear the parents with his Heart Ring, the kids can hear their parents with their hearts... again Kit Marlowe and William Faulkner wrote this!

"The only way to stop the children from hating is to change the parents." says Gi. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong says they need to find Zarm, but he has no clue where to find him. Duh. Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong knows nothing about nothing. The parents demand to know who's winning, but Zarm just stands there like a prick and the parents keep arguing.

The world has now turned into an industrial wasteland. The kids look like Radical Punk Rock adults, and Boots is now a winged Sabertooth Tiger and Buster a winged wolf. The two pets fight while the Planeteers approach Zarm's control room, hidden in the moon in the tree... Zarm urges the kids to sic the pets on the Planeteers. Cue the action sequence.

Gi: "We're really in harm's way!"
Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong: "Worse, we're in Zarm's way!"

I totally did not get that title. Wow great work Stephen King.

Kwami says "Let our powers combine." It's the only thing he's allowed to say, so, here comes Captain Planet. Gah, that title is so misleading, these are not his adventures. So here he is, the green haired, blue skinned, halter top wearing captain of puns himself. So, while Captain Planet keeps the brats and their pets busy, the Planeteers scale the tree, climb into the moon to face Zarm himself.

Zarm greets Gi as his newest helper and asks if she's ready for work. Okay, turns out I was wrong. The way he says that line, he doesn't want his own Asian concubine, he's after a janitor. I guess he thinks that Water Ring will help clean his lair.

So, the Planeteers tell the parents to get along, because their kids are imitating them, Zarm calls them "whining wimps," obviously a Chomsky line. Black Dad and Asian Mom apologize to each other and Zarm starts throwing a hissy fit, I guess his golden panties are in a twist. It's funny to see a War God bite his lower lip. So, Captain Planet projects the parents' apology out of the glowing globe on his chest at the kids, to get them to stop fighting.

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I'm just going to pretend generic Asian Mom there is in a wheelchair, and that the whole lot of them are putting on a performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Zarm is clearly Rocky given the golden panties, and Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong, being the only red head, must be Columbia. I guess that makes Linka Meatloaf.

Zarm shouts "No fair," which Wheeler The Dumb White American Who Says And Does Everything Wrong calls him on. The parents preach from some after school special about creating a better world, the kids come around and everything fades. The Smurf Village has returned!

The Planeteers tell Zarm that he loses, but since he is not only a War God, he is also a five year old boy, he shouts "Not gracefully!" and proceeds to teleport Captain Planet and his hippie groupies back to Vegan Island, while the kids are teleported back in front of the on coming truck. COULD THIS BE THE END OF LEE AND MICHELLE!!!!

Have no fear, Black Dad pulled the children both out of the way! Yay! Vote Obama!

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Black Dad tells the kids never to play in the street and Asian Mom brings out a box with something they can play with. Inside are none other than Buster and Boots, who up until now existed only as polygon graphics in Zarm's Windows 2000 run porn machine. Both kids giggle like idiots and we fade to black.

... and that's the end of "In Zarm's Way." I doubt I did anywhere near as good a job of lampooning this as Robby would have. But I had fun.

So, what did we learn? Not a damn thing. Captain Planet weighed in on Nature versus Nurture and Nurture won. So remember, the next time you feel like cracking a dirty joke, or driving five miles over the speed limit or cheating on your taxes, your kids are watching and will imitate you.

Thank you, and good night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Twenty Favorite Comic Book Villains

This isn't a list of the twenty greatest comic book villains, because it would be slightly different, but just my personal favorites. As such, this is my opinion and is completely subjective.

20. Shari

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Every other character on this list predates her, and she has only a handful of comic book appearances so far. But she intrigues me. There's a nice sense of mystery about her that has catapulted her to my twentieth favorite comic book villain. Now, other villains that appear in the "Gargoyles" comic book are better villains and have earned a spot on this list over her, but they were first introduced in the animated series, and I did not think it would be fair to include them in this list.

Still, while most of us have probably correctly guessed Shari's identity, the more intriguing mystery is why is she doing all of this? Why did the Illuminati assign her to be Thailog's new executive assistant? She clearly outranks him. What exactly is going on. I hope that eventually we'll get the answers. Either way, Shari remains an original and intriguing character.

19. Scarecrow

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I've always felt that Batman had one of the best rogues galleries in comic books, and the Scarecrow has long been a favorite of mine. As Batman exists to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, Dr. Jonathan Crane, as the Scarecrow, strikes fear into innocent people for his own ends. I've always preferred him to characters like Killer Croc, Bane, and the Penguin.

18. Harry Osborn

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Sigh... I can relate to Harry Osborn more than I'd care to admit. A lot of people like to blame their problems on "daddy didn't love me." But Harry is one of the few people who can legitimately do it. His mother died while he was very young. His father was distant and abusive. His best friend never made time to actually be there for him. And to top it all off, the only woman who he ever really loved was murdered by the very father who's approval he could never get. Throw in his drug problem and the fact that his father was a supervillain and this kid never had a chance.

In the comics, he recently stood up to his father for the first time, and was disowned and disinherited. One hopes that he'll make his own future now, and finally free himself from the Osborn family curse. But we'll see.

17. Bullseye

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Sometimes it's fun to have a character who is a homicidal psychopath. Bullseye fits that very well as one of the world's greatest assassins. Whether he's working for the Kingpin, or masquerading as Hawkeye while working for Norman Osborn, Bullsye is in it for the kill. Hell, when assigned by Osborn to kill Deadpool, and failing spectacularly, he paid Deadpool to just disappear for a while because the money in his accounts meant squat to him, he's in it for the kill. He also killed two of Daredevil's greatest loves. Elektra and Karen Page. Good for Bullseye that Daredevil is a devout Catholic, I guess.

16. Red Skull

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What happens when Adolph Hitler, while berating his generals, says he could take an ordinary bellhop at a hotel and turn him into a better Nazi than they? You get the Red Skull. Quite possibly the most evil villain in Marvel's pantheon of supervillainy. The Skull is someone most other supervillains won't work with because of his Nazi past. Of course, he has abandoned National Socialism in general because he is driven by hate. Pure, unbridled hate. Of course, he recently was killed and it appears his daughter Sin will become the next Red Skull... she already has the mug to match it. We'll see how she compares to her father.

15. Darkseid

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If you exit the realm of Vertigo, Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips is, quite possibly, the DC Universe's version of Satan. Hundreds of thousands of years old, and evil beyond measure. Marvel Comics doesn't have anyone like this, although they once made an attempt with Thanos. Darkseid commands legions and rules through fear. The entire universe fears him, and, more than that, he was the one creature who forced Batman to break his unbreakable vow... Batman kills him. Or at least mortally wounds him.

14. Galvatron

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If Unicron is the Satan of the Transformers, then Galvatron is definitely their Antichrist. His former identity means nothing now, as he was born anew in the fires of Unicron to herald the destruction of Cybertron. Cold, calculating and insane, he was one of the few beings that forced the Autobots and Decepticons to put aside their differences when he came along attempting to conquer and destroy both sides. Why, he even once managed to con god himself... well, their god anyway. With no loyalty to his master and all quaking in fear of him, Galvatron, should he ever wrest leadership of the Decepticons away would truly conquer the galaxy. In an alternate future, he did quite easily.

13. Mystique

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Mother (or father) of Nightcrawler, foster-mother of Rogue, terrorist, and shape-shifter. But more than that, I tend to think that Raven Darkholme is less about an agenda and more about fucking with everyone around her and getting away with it. She is older than she appears, far older, and has been around for many turning points in mutant history. Unlike Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister, she has been used to great affect, and she always makes things personal.

12. Two Face

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Harvey here was flipping coins decades before Anton Chigurh. The best friend turned enemy motif is very popular in the realm of storytelling. Two-Face isn't the first on this list to fill the "enemy mine" trope, and he won't be the last. But Two-Face isn't just a faceless (pardon the pun) character filling in a cliche, he's also one of Batman's greatest enemies. Depending on who you ask, he'd rank right below the Joker. Now, the one thing that would improve the character for me is that I wish we had a sense of who Harvey Dent was before his disfigurement. He was Bruce Wayne's best friend, but we never saw much of their friendship to my recollection. It's an avenue I hope we see get explored some day.

11. The Hobgoblin

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Oh what a tangled web we weave. Roderick Kingsley is a great villain. Just how great? He managed to survive editorial incompetence. For years, he tormented Spider-Man and made him second guess everyone around him. No one knew who he was. No one. And Kingsley made damn sure no one would find out. Whether he got his callow twin brother, Daniel to pose as him in public, or whether he used his brainwashed dupes to appear in costume, the Hobgoblin covered his tracks. And he got away with it, and is in retirement on a tropical island with no extradition treaty with the U.S.. Also, unlike the Green Goblin, the Hobgoblin was stone cold sane. Michael Corleone in a costume.

Just pay no attention to the joke that was Jason Macendale.

10. Ra's al Ghul

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His very name means "the demon's head." Six hundred years old, and a skilled enough alchemist to extend his life, Ra's al Ghul is Batman to the nth degree. Like Batman, he also strives to bring order... but through tyrannical means and genocide. Ra's is a great villain because he forces Batman out of Gotham City and their entire world is their chessboard. Not to mention Ra's has a beautiful daughter that he wants Batman to marry. If things were different, Ra's al Ghul could have easily become Batman's surrogate father.

9. Adrian Veidt

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What is the goal of a superhero? They want to save the world. But is beating up supervillains and fighting bank robbers really going to make a difference? Adrian Veidt believed he could save the world, and did with a very dark, but coldly logical methodology. Was he right? No sane person would agree. But he is a shining example of what could happen if Superman decided he wasn't doing enough.

8. The Kingpin

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Quite possibly the most iconic mobster in all of comics, and the most feared. Ironically, his rise to power would have been impossible if the superheroes like Spider-Man, Daredevil, and other crime fighters didn't bring down so many old school mafiosos. Naturally, the underworld needed a leader who could match them, and we got Wilson Fisk. Publicly, he's a spice trader and philanthropist, but in reality he's a dangerous criminal mastermind. His resources are almost unlimited, and he's got supervillains on his payroll as well as a network so vast, Karen Page selling Daredevil's real name in Mexico reached him in a matter of hours. He has since proceeded to make Daredevil's life a living Hell.

7. Loki

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Foster brother of Thor, and Norse God of Lies. Loki has but one goal, to bring about Ragnarok. And to piss off Thor while he's at it. Most recently, he was re-incarnated possessing the body of Thor's great love, Sif. And he made the most of it... also using the truth as his weapon rather than lies, he was able to depose Thor and has become the architect of the Siege of Asgard. In 1963, the Avengers assembled to battle Loki and now they are re-assembling to defeat him.

6. Doctor Octopus

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The mad scientist is a timeless archetype, but few of them are as interesting as Otto Octavius. Few other villains personify the trope of science run amok. A brilliant scientist but a troll of a human being. His tentacles are as iconic as they are deadly. He formed the Sinister Six, he nearly nuked Manhattan just because he was pissed off, he tried to seize control of the underworld, and he has been a thorn in Spider-Man's side since the beginning of the webhead's career. He'd be the most likely suspect to peg as Spidey's arch-nemesis... if someone else hadn't come along.

5. Lucifer Morningstar

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He's the Devil. 'Nuff said.

... okay, I'll say more. Lucifer is everything Mephisto should be. Clever, cunning, scheming, and the ultimate rebel. He gave up the throne of Hell and handed the key to Dream of the Endless just to screw with him. He created his own existence so Yahweh would no longer have the monopoly on creation with only one rule, worship nothing. Ultimately, he's a conceited prick rebelling against his conceited father.

As David Easterman, a character who sees himself as a victim of Lucifer, puts it: "when the devil wants you to do something, he doesn't lie at all. He tells you the exact, literal truth. And he lets you find your own way to hell"

4. Doctor Doom

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If this were a less subjective list, Doom would be #1. But I love the character anyway. The archetypical supervillain, and definitely the biggest gun in Marvel's pantheon of villainy. Doom is arrogant beyond all measure, and as smart as anyone you'll ever meet. He is so prideful he always keeps his word... as he interprets it. Ruler of the tiny nation of Latveria, and recognized by the world abroad... his enemies can't just send him to prison. But more than that is his fascinating backstory, and his desire to save his mother's soul from Mephisto and bring peace to the world... under his iron rule.

Doom might be the leader the world needs. If we were willing to part with our freedom. But he'll always set that aside because he cannot live with the fact that just for one moment, Reed Richards was smarter than him.

3. The Joker

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While Loki may be the archetypal evil trickster, the Joker, dare I say it, runs rings around him. Like Doom before him, if this were less subjective, Joker would be a contender for the #1 spot. A homicidal maniac who can make you laugh before he sticks a knife in you. The most dangerously unpredictable villain in the realm of comics, and Batman's arch-nemesis. His past is unknown, as he always changes his story... but it doesn't matter, because we have evil personified in the face of this cruel clown. As long as Batman exists, there will be a Joker... at this point they are a yin and yang and one cannot exist without the other.

2. Magneto

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Thank Kirby for Claremont, or the Master of Magnetism might never have made this list. Magneto is the villain you can't help but agree with. A survivor of the Holocaust, and a victim of bigotry, Max Eisenhardt will stop at nothing to prevent a second Holocaust from taking place. In the process he has lost friends, alienated his children, and has become the boogieman that humans use to justify their fear of mutants. If that irony wasn't enough, Magneto walks a fine line between being a mutant Malcolm X, and becoming that which he hates most... a mutant Adolf Hitler.

Remember how I said that Doom was at the top of Marvel's supervillain pantheon? Well, Magneto would easily challenge him for that spot, and some might say he's long ago won it. And for good reason. Magneto has a great, compelling story that you can understand and relate to. He has creative and innovative powers. And there are so many stories you can tell about him, from the big grand epics, to the intimate character studies.

1. The Green Goblin/Norman Osborn

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Yes, Norman Osborn is my favorite villain in all of comics. The guy is an undeniable bastard. A terrible father. Some like to blame the accident that gave him super strength for the monster he became, but the evil was always there. Unlike others, Norman wasn't a good man gone bad, he was a bad man gone nuts. As smart as he is insane, the Green Goblin is the monster that walks among us. Norman Osborn is the mask he wears to blend in with us. Power hungry beyond measure, and obsessed with destroying Spider-Man... just killing him is not enough. The Goblin makes it personal... all of Spider-Man's family and friends are fair games and as long as the Goblin lives, they may as well have bulls-eyes painted on them.

Recently, Norman Osborn succeeded in becoming the most powerful man in the world, and he wielded that power to haunt anyone who would oppose him, but is now on the verge of a big fall. While the nature of that fall has yet to be revealed, I hope the character takes a long rest soon... and then I look forward to his return.

Also, the Goblin holds the distinct honor of ending the Silver Age of comic books. When he killed Gwen Stacy, he killed the genre's innocence as well. Suddenly heroes could fail, people were mortal. No one was safe. He ushered in a new age and forced comic books to grow up with their fans. I have no doubt he'll haunt the pages of Marvel Comics long after I've gone to the grave.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why did the late 80's/90's suck so much?

I already explained in my previous post that I am not much of a fan of Venom. But, I think right now I'll look at the X-Men's rogues' gallery and explain why I dislike two fan favorites.

I know I'm in the minority on this, but I think characters like Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister are really, really lame villains.

It took over a decade for either of them to be defined at all. Apocalypse was a great big powerful uber mutant who had this ill defined survival of the fittest thing going. Sinister, we didn't know what he was about for over a decade, then they connected him with Apocalypse, which came out of no where.

The problem was, they were both introduced as "mysterious" villains, and nothing was revealed about them, hints that went no where, it was dragged out, creative teams changed, new ideas were added, and what we got was a jumbled mess.

I think the X-Men films did the right thing by sticking with Magneto for all three films. He is a compelling character, and he's not entirely wrong. And you know what, it has always made for fascinating debates on morality and ethics when one is discussing Xavier and Magneto. Personally, I think making nice with those who are trying to kill you is stupid at best.

The thing about Apocalypse is, pretty much every plan he's ever tried to enact (with the possible exception of his first appearance) has been complete crap. He's got a killer rep, but you have to look beneath the surface: is he actually an interesting character? Has he really done anything too villainous? His greatest success has been in an alternate reality, for crying out loud... what's our Poccy ever done? And sadly, the answer is: not much. We're told frequently that his power is immense... but again, when is that evidenced? He doesn't fight hand-to-hand too often. His powers are entirely generic- shape-changing, getting bigger, super-strong, fire energy blasts.

Just as an exercise, stack Apocalypse up against Magneto: Mags has interesting, innovative powers; a deep, nuanced backstory; a philosophical stance that you can actually relate to, sometimes even support; and actual character development on his side. Poccy has none of those things, with the arguable exception of a mildly interesting backstory. It's just not enough. When Apocalypse is due to appear, I roll my eyes and think, "Oh crap, three months of bellowing about 'Survival of the fittest!' and world-shattering events, at the end of which absolutely nothing will be different."

Which, frankly, is Apocalypse's other problem as a character- his rep is such that every appearance has to be a MEGA HUGE EVENT, after which the X-Men's lives "will never be the same!" And then the story comes and goes, and the status quo is exactly the same, except Cyclops is dead for three months or Wolverine is evil but will probably be good again in the other five books he appears in this month. You can do a one-off issue with Magneto, you can do a story investigating Mystique's past, or Sebastian Shaw's motivations for what he does. You try to do anything less than an ultra-big life-altering story with Apocalypse, it ain't happening. He's the summer blockbuster of X-Men villains... and like most summer blockbusters, the first one was pretty fun but most of the sequels have sucked, and sucked hard.

So, yeah, keep the big, convoluted "OMG! KEWL MYSTERIOUS!" characters away. The long dragged out, often changing the mind mystery didn't make them cool, it made them dull.

Which is why I thought Colonal Stryker was a great choice for the villain in X2. He represented what the worst of human kind would do to mutants. He was the face of human bigotry. Which is really what these movies, and what X-Men are about. Mutants and humans. Bigotry, tolerance and understanding.

X-Men is not about cosmic entities, aliens, and ancient Egyptian all powerful beings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Okay, this is retarded.

I am no fan of Superman. Never really have been. I am no fan of Venom either. So, what happens when the two meet? I think we can all agree that it's not this:

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I am sorry, but this here sums up why crossovers of this nature do not appeal to me. You see, Venom was at the height of his popularity during this period. So, they decided to let him actually beat up Superman in one of their asinine cross-company crossovers. I don't mean to get fanboy here, but there is no way in hell this encounter would ever go down like this.

This is what happens when a character's popularity trumps all logic.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey, that was pretty good.

Recently, I was asked about movies I expected to hate and was pleasantly surprised by. It was a topic I didn't think to write myself, but it's a good one. So, I've been thinking about it, and decided to list five movies I was very stubborn in seeing.

"Kill Bill" - I loved "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction." However, I hated "Jackie Brown," and I despised "From Dusk Till Dawn." When I first saw the trailer for "Kill Bill" I thought it looked stupid. Not to mention I am not a fan of the Kung-Fu genre. Nor did I much like Uma Thurman (even though I loved her in "Pulp Fiction."

Then the movie came out, it got rave reviews, so I went to see it. I absolutely loved it. It was fun, it was suspenseful, it was fulfilling. Uma was great, the cast was wonderful. It became one of my favorite movies. Not in the Top Twenty, but definitely in the Top Thirty.

"Gangs of New York" - It was late December, 2002. I had no interest in seeing this. Why? Leonardo DiCaprio. I still thought of his overhyped appearance in "Titanic" when I hears his name. Also, I wanted to go see "The Two Towers" again, and "Gangs" was competing against it. So, I was already prejudiced.

But, I went and saw it... and I loved it. DiCaprio was great, but I was especially struck by Daniel Day-Lewis as William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting. The movie made a huge impression on me, and I started tracking down and watching every single Martin Scorsese movie I could find. Over the next couple of months, Marty became my all time favorite director and remains so to this day. Hell, I was even rooting for "Gangs" to win Best Picture over "Two Towers" which surprised everyone around me considering how obsessed with "Rings" I was.

"Lost In Translation" - I was just beyond skeptical when I heard about this. I wasn't sure if Bill Murray could do drama. I had no idea how Sofia Coppola would do as a director. She was a prime example of nepotism in "The Godfather Part III." And the trailer looked like the movie would put me to sleep. I was pleasantly surprised by a thoughtful and moving picture I can watch again and again.

"The Usual Suspects" - I resisted this one for one reason: my father liked it. My father and I had... issues. We didn't see eye to eye on anything, and that was the nicer part of our relationship. But when I was fourteen, he shoved the VHS of this movie into my hands and told me to watch it. Six months later, I did. It blew me away. It was brilliant, and to this day, it remains one of my favorite mysteries.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" - I'm sorry, I thought the trailer looked stupid. The commercials looked stupid. I had no idea why an actor like Johnny Depp agreed to be in it. And, it was based on a theme park ride! Seriously, how lame is that? While the movie is far from perfect (see my entry on Orlando Bloom), I enjoyed it a lot. It was better than it had any right to be. Depp created a wonderfully iconic character, and I really enjoyed Geoffrey Rush's performance. Sadly, the two sequels descended into the inane tripe that I feared the first one would be. Still, the first one remains highly enjoyable, and I really should pick up the Blu-ray.

"Chinatown" - I refused to see this movie for so long. Why? Because the director is a child rapist. Well, after being urged to see the movie anyway, it was one of the most brilliant pieces of cinema I have ever watched. Everyone should see this movie. Most of Roman Polanski's movies are gold, and he is a brilliant artist. What this here taught me is that I can enjoy brilliant works of art even if the artist is someone I hold in contempt. It didn't make my Top Twenty Favorite movies, but trust me when I say that it is #21.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Avatar

So, I was supplied with a copy of this turd, and I watched it. That turd immediately was sent to my recycling bin.

I am sure some will say I went in with a chip on my shoulder about it, and that I didn't see it as it was meant to be seen. I have seen a lot of movies I was pre-disposed to hate, and wound up being pleasantly surprised. Yes, a bootleg is not the ideal way to watch this, but considering that this is an Oscar contender, the story should still hold up. It doesn't. There is no story to speak of.

What we have here is manipulative tripe that resorted to every cheap trick in the book, and the whole thing rang hollow. To make matters worse, it would never end. It just kept on going, and going, and going, and going. If it was a good movie, the length wouldn't have been a problem. I love when a great movie is long and gives me so much more to savor.

How the hell did this thing become the number one blockbuster of all time? How?

Cameron has discovered the formula for successful movies. Make the audience believe they are thinking without actually making them think. If you fool people into believing they're thinking, they'll love you. If you actually make them think, they'll hate you.

I have my fingers crossed that the Academy will do the right thing and not give this the big gold statue.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My apologies for the lack of updates. I've just been occupied with personal issues. Something will come soon, I promise.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Symbol

When I first heard about a new "Captain America" movie being in the works, I was both excited and skeptical. Skeptical because this is an easy character to screw up, and given the current climate in international politics, I don't think it will sell overseas. But I was excited because a superhero film in World War II would be awesome if done right.

But now more than ever, I believe this movie is going to suck. Read this article.


"The costume is a flag, but the way we're getting around that is we have Steve Rogers forced into the USO circuit. After he's made into this super-soldier, they decide they can't send him into combat and risk him getting killed. He's the only one and they can't make more. So they say, 'You're going to be in this USO show' and they give him a flag suit. He can't wait to get out of it."

That's a whole new concept and it's one that sounds pretty promising. "It was never in the comics," Johnston said, "because they didn't really need it. In comics, he puts on the costume and the reader just justifies because of the nature of the medium."


How about "he wears a flag cuz he's a fucking United States super soldier and they want the krauts to know who made the ubermensch that just killed the shit out of their front line?" Seriously. This is World War II. You don't need some cutesy subplot about him working at the USO to excuse his costume. Just send him into action!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Animation Realities 101

So, I wrote this up almost two years ago. It was after "The Spectacular Spider-Man" premiered on KidsWB, and when people were complaining about the animation. Every now and then, I find myself having to repost it, so I think I'll keep it here too.

Mostly because I am tired of having to constantly type and re-type this in various threads. I have studied the animation industry for some time, and more than that, I have contacts in the industry who have been working there for decades. Writers, producers, story board artists and even voice actors. I don't work there myself, but I consider myself as much of an expert as one can be without actually working in it, though I hope that eventually changes.

Why does "The Spectacular Spider-Man" look the way it does? Why are the models so streamlined and stylized when we grew up with cartoons where the character models were very detailed?

The answer is this, it is easier to animate and to animate well. To those who keep on citing shows like "G.I. Joe", "He-Man", and other shows from that era, take off the nostalgia tinted glasses and go back and actually look at them. The character models look good when they are static, but the animation is really slow and lousy.

When Bruce Timm first set out to produce "Batman: The Animated Series", people complained about his streamlined character models, I know it might not seem like it considering how universally praised he is today, but it was not the case. Why did he do that? Because he knew you got better animation out of it. Less lines to draw means less lines to animate, especially on a TV budget.

If you want those detailed models and good animation, you need the budget of a feature length Disney movie, and even then it's still not a good idea.

When "Gargoyles" was in production, the character models were a lot more detailed. Frank Paur came in and streamlined them with artists in Japan, and the result was something beautiful. But, to those who still complain about "The Spectacular Spider-Man" not looking like this, I can guarantee you that "Gargoyles" had a much higher budget than "Spidey" does. Hell, look what happened in the third season when the budget was slashed, the models were the same, but the animation was painfully ugly to watch.

Now, Spider-Man is a character that moves. The fights are fast paced, the web slinging is fast paced, and the animation on this show is just fluid, fast and gorgeous. The aerial battle with the Vulture was breathtaking, especially for TV. Now, some will point out the Fox Kids series, but, well, honestly, look at it again. It was not all that well animated. It was full of bad CGI backgrounds, the color palette was not working, and the show was mostly stock footage. It just did not look good.

When you draw a comic book, you are drawing still images that don't have to move. You can add all the detail you want, as long as you meet your deadline. Animation doesn't have that luxury. Thousands of cels go into animating a twenty-two minute production. It is a long and grueling process, and the schedule is very tight.

It is easy to be an arm chair animation producer. Just because you watch a lot of it doesn't make you an expert. I've seen so many statements made on animation and "today's technology" coming from people who just don't know what they're talking about. It's not about being lazy. It's not about dumbing animation down. It's about producing the best animation they possibly can on a budget.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still no interest...

I'm sorry, but I have not seen "Avatar" and I have no desire to see it. As juvenile as it sounds, I've reached a point where I take pride in having not seen it. This hasn't happened since "Titanic," ironically enough. I can't really afford to get to the movies these days, so when I do it's got to be something I am sure will be worth my while.

First of all, all the comparisons are to "Dances With Wolves." A movie I despised.

Second, this 3D thing sounds awfully stupid, and I've been told, "if you see it, see the 3D" which to me is code for "this movie has nothing going for it outside the special effects."

Third, everyone and everyone raving about it has killed my interest completely. Just like "Titanic."

Maybe I'll see "Avatar" when it's out on Blu-ray. I'll watch it in 2D and see if it actually has a story.

Now, there is a movie coming up that I really want to see. Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" is coming out on February 19th. I cannot wait to see it. As far as I'm concerned, Martin Scorsese is the Pope of Hollywood. Everything this man touches is solid gold. He's never made a bad movie. While he doesn't always hit homeruns with me, at worst he'll hit a double. Even a mediocre Scorsese movie is great.

So, with this coming out, why should I waste my time and money on "Avatar" when there is a sure bet coming out?



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Oscar Nominees

Here are this year's Oscar nominees, and I am bolding my picks. If I leave a category unbolded, it's because I either have no opinion, or I haven't seen any of the nominated movies.

Best Picture

* “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
* “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
* “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
* “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
* “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
* “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
* “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
* “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
* “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Directing

* “Avatar” James Cameron
* “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
* “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
* “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Actor in a Leading Role

* Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
* George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
* Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
* Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
* Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

* Matt Damon in “Invictus”
* Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
* Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
* Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
* Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

* Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
* Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
* Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
* Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
* Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

* Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
* Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
* Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
* Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
* Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

* “Coraline” Henry Selick
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
* “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
* “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
* “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

* “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
* “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
* “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
* “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography

* “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
* “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
* “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
* “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
* “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

* “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
* “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
* “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
* “Nine” Colleen Atwood
* “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Documentary (Feature)

* “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
* “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
* “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
* “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
* “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

* “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
* “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
* “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
* “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
* “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

* “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
* “District 9” Julian Clarke
* “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
* “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

* “Ajami” Israel
* “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
* “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
* “Un Prophète” France
* “The White Ribbon” Germany

Makeup

* “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
* “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
* “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

* “Avatar” James Horner
* “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
* “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
* “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
* “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

* “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
* “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
* “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
* “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Short Film (Animated)

* “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
* “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
* “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
* “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
* “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

* “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
* “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
* “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
* “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
* “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
* “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
* “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
* “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

* “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
* “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
* “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
* “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
* “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

* “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
* “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
* “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

* “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
* “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
* “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
* “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

* “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
* “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
* “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
* “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
* “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Greatest American Alive That Ever That Ever Lived...

... at least that's how his staff introduced him.

So, last November I ordered free tickets to a recording of "The Colbert Report." I'm a long time fan, and I've anticipated this for a while. I've actually met Stephen once before, he was doing a signing at New York Comic Con in 2007. It was brief, but fun. And I have a photograph from the event.

Anyway, we arrived at the studio at around 4:15, and waited on line. Thankfully it wasn't that cold, because the doors didn't open until 5:30. Once we got in, we went through a screening like an airport... except we got to keep our shoes on, and his security knew what they were doing better than airport security. So, we waited in the waiting room for another half hour and were entertained by a monitor playing some of Stephen's highlights.

Finally, the doors opened and we were let in. We were lucky to get some decent seats, with a nice view of Captain America's shield on his wall (I'm assuming Bucky is running around with a copy of the shield). A comedian named Dominic came out and entertained us for about fifteen minutes before introducing Stephen Colbert.

Stephen ran out, ran around his desk a few times (thankfully, he didn't trip and break his wrist again ;)), and tossed his mic into the air, catching it, before doing an out of character Q&A.

He was asked about Grammy night, and yeah, he is very happy to have that thing.

But my favorite part was when he was asked what he would do if he were caught between a grizzly bear and Nancy Pelosi. He said he would duck and let Nancy Pelosi hypnotize the bear with her crazy eyes, before telling a very unflattering story about the Speaker of the House. He didn't say anything nasty, but you could tell that even out of character, he really does not like the woman. At all.

The story was that he was selected to present her an award at the Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year Awards. And he did, if only to get Pelosi to stop pressuring Congressman to not come on his show. So, when he presented the award, he decided to give a friendly hug as you'll often see at these things, but she just grabbed it from his hand, quite rudely. Afterward, he was in an elevator with his publicist, Pelosi, and an aide of Pelosi. Just the four of them, no one else. And he, trying to be nice, congratulated her on her award. And she didn't respond so much as make a speech about "all the fine women" to the walls, not even looking at him. Needless to say, he thinks she's nuts.

Then, the Q&A came to an end, and he launched into his show. He had to do three takes on his "Tonight!" which was hilarious, and then it was like watching the show live. I spent most of the time looking at him instead of the monitors, except for when we for to "The Word" because, well, had to laugh at the text. LOL.

Following that, he did his segment on the death of J. D. Salinger, which if you watch the episode, he was very in-character, calling "The Catcher In the Rye" a crummy book.

By the way, there is a break in the studio during what will be the commercial break, which mostly consists of Stephen getting his makeup reapplied, and dancing to the music that is played to keep us entertained.

Finally, it was time for the interview with former New York governor, Elliot Spitzer. It was a lot of fun to watch. Stephen didn't go easy on him over his, ahem, throwing his career away with hookers. But it was also a serious, and very good interview. Spitzer understands what's wrong with the economy better than anyone Obama's appointed, and there was some criticism of the president. Spitzer definitely reminded Alex, my friend Nick, and I of why we originally liked him. Which makes what he did even more upsetting, because New York's current governor, Patterson, is terrible.

After the show ended, Stephen tossed out a few Wriststrong bracelets. I'm very happy to say I ended up going home with one. In fact, I'm wearing it right now. Not bad considering they're $7.50 on the website... but most of the proceeds are donated to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, so it's a good cause. He also assured us that he likes Salinger's writing.



It was a fun evening, and next month we're going to see "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." I, for one, cannot wait.

Monday, February 1, 2010

So, the Razzie Nominations just came out, and I'm going to bold my picks:

WORST PICTURE of 2009

"All About Steve"
"G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra"
"Land of the Lost"
"Old Dogs"
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

WORST ACTOR of 2009

All three Jonas Brothers / "Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience"
Will Ferrell / "Land of the Lost"
Steve Martin / "Pink Panther 2"
Eddie Murphy / "Imagine That"
John Travolta / "Old Dogs"

WORST ACTRESS of 2009

Beyonce / "Obsessed"
Sandra Bullock / "All About Steve"
Miley Cyrus / "Hannah Montana: The Movie"
Megan Fox / "Jennifer's Body" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Sarah Jessica Parker / "Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

WORST SCREEN COUPLE of 2009

Any two (or more) Jonas Brothers / "The Jonas Brothers: 3-D Concert Experience"
Sandra Bullock & Bradley Cooper / "All About Steve"
Will Ferrell & Any Co-Star, Creature or "Comic Riff" / "Land of the Lost"
Shia LaBeouf & either Megan Fox or any Transformer / "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Kristin Stewart & either Robert Pattinson or Taylor Whatz-His-Fang / "Twilight Saga: New Moon"

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS of 2009

Candice Bergen / "Bride Wars"
Ali Larter / "Obsessed"
Sienna Miller / "G.I. Joe"
Kelly Preston / "Old Dogs"
Julie White (as Mom) / "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR of 2009

Billy Ray Cyrus / "Hannah Montana: The Movie:
Hugh Heffner (as himself) / "Miss March"
Robert Pattinson / "Twilight Saga: New Moon"
Jorma Taccone (as Cha-Ka) / "Land of the Lost"
Marlon Wayans / "G.I. Joe"

WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL (Combined Category for 2009)

"G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra"
"Land of the Lost"
"Pink Panther 2" (A rip-off of a sequel to a remake)
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
"Twilight Saga: New Moon"

WORST DIRECTOR of 2009

Michael Bay / "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Walt Becker / "Old Dogs"
Brad Silberling / "Land of the Lost"
Stephen Sommers / "G.I. Joe"
Phil Traill / "All About Steve"

WORST SCREENPLAY of 2009

"All About Steve" / Screenplay by Kim Barker
"G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra" / Screenplay by Stuart Beattie and David Elliot & Paul Lovett
"Land of the Lost" / Written by Chris Henchy & Dennis McNicholas
"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" Written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
"Twilight Saga: New Moon" / Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg

WORST PICTURE of the DECADE

"Battlefield Earth" (2000) Nominated for 10 RAZZIES / "Winner" of 8 (including worst drama of our first 25 years)

"Freddy Got Fingered" (2001) Nominated for 9 RAZZIES / "Winner" of 5

"Gigli" (2003) Nominated for 10 RAZZIES® / "Winner" of 7 (including worst comedy of our first 25 years)

"I Know Who Killed Me" (2007) Nominated for 9 RAZZIES / "Winner" of 8

"Swept Away" (2002) Nominated for 9 RAZZIES / "Winner" of 5

WORST ACTOR of the DECADE

Ben Affleck (nominated for 9 "Achievements," "Winner" of 2 RAZZIES for his roles in "Daredevil," "Gigli," "Jersey Girl," "Paycheck," "Pearl Harbor" and "Surviving Christmas")

Eddie Murphy (nominated for 12 "Achievements," "Winner" of 3 RAZZIES for his roles in "Adventures of Pluto Nash," "I Spy," "Imagine That," "Meet Dave," "Norbit" and "Showtime")

Mike Myers (nominated for 4 "Achievements," "Winner" of 2 RAZZIES for his roles in "Cat in the Hat," "The Love Guru")

Rob Schneider (nominated for 6 "Achievements," "Winner" of 1 RAZZIE for his roles in "The Animal," "Benchwarmers," "Deuce Bigalo: European Gigolo," "Grandma's Boy," "The Hot Chick," "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry," "Little Man" and "Little Nicky")

John Travolta (nominated for 6 "Achievements," "Winner" of 3 RAZZIES for his roles in "Battlefield Earth," "Domestic Disturbance," "Lucky Numbers," "Old Dogs" and "Swordfish")

WORST ACTRESS of the DECADE

Mariah Carey (the single biggest individual vote getter of the decade with 70+ percent of ALL votes for worst actress of 2001 for her role in "Glitter")

Paris Hilton (nominated for 5 "Achievements," "Winner" of 4 RAZZIES for her roles in "The Hottie & The Nottie," "House of Whacks" and "Repo: The Genetic Opera")

Lindsay Lohan (nominated for 5 "Achievements," "Winner" of 3 RAZZIES for her roles in "Herbie Fully Loaded," "I Know Who Killed Me" and "Just My Luck")

Jennifer Lopez (nominated for 9 "Achievements," "Winner" of 2 RAZZIES for her roles in "Angel Eyes," "Enough," "Gigli," "Jersey Girl," "Maid in Manhattan," "Monster-in-Law" and "The Wedding Planner")

Madonna (nominated for 6 "Achievements,""Winner" of 4 RAZZIES for her roles in "Die Another Day," "The Next Best Thing" and "Swept Away")