Monday, April 30, 2012

SpringCon is coming!

SpringCon 2012 is hitting the Twin Cities in a couple of weeks and I'll be there as usual. Will definitely have some Kill All Monsters ashcans and Cownt stickers, but I'll see if I can't find something new to bring as well. I'll probably have David with me for some of the time, so if you want to talk dinosaurs or Godzilla (or Pokemon), he's your man.

The full guest list is up at the Midwest Comic Book Association website and it includes some awesome names as usual. In addition to the many friends I love seeing at that show, the MCBA does an especially great job at bringing in and honoring classic comic book creators. This year they've got Allen Bellman (The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner Comics), Jose Delbo (Jimmy Olsen, Wonder Woman), Bob McLeod (Action Comics, Conan the Barbarian), and Don Rosa (The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck).

They've also got other creators making their appearance for the first time this year: artist Jamal Igle (Supergirl, Zatanna), animator Joel Seibel (A Pup Named Scooby DooThe Angry Beavers), and writer Bill Willingham (Fables, Fairest). I have no idea how I'm going to meet Willingham without geeking out, but I'm definitely going to ask him to sign my copy of Fables, Volume 2 (the one that quotes a review I wrote on the back cover).

If you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by my table and say "hi."

Friday, April 27, 2012

The obsolescence of geeks and nerds

Image via Fresh Cargo

It’s apparent to everyone at this point that the geeks have inherited the earth, right? I mean, no one doubts that anymore. When I was a kid, it was an unthinkable concept. Sure, everyone loved Star Wars, but not everyone was obsessed with it. Reading comics or playing role-playing games had all sorts of social stigma that you didn’t want to deal with unless you were so into those things that loving them was worth the dishonor. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the war Star Trek fans waged to be known as “Trekkers” instead of “Trekkies,” as if that was somehow cooler. We don’t have to deal with any of that anymore. But in a world where liking geeky things is the norm, what does the “geek” label (or “nerd,” if you prefer; I use them interchangeably) mean anymore?

The Mary Sue ran an article on this, which is part of why I’m writing this. I was already thinking about it, but it was the Mary Sue piece (written by Becky Chambers) that pushed me toward my own keyboard. In it, Chambers decides that geekdom is defined by being interested in details. “All of these things are chock-full of tiny little details,” she writes, “just waiting for a curious mind to patiently examine them. Want to write code? Mind the details. Want to develop a good strategy in a game? Pay attention to the details. Really like that sci-fi book you just read? You’ll enjoy it even more when you look at the glossary and the galaxy map. They’ve got tons of details.” And she’s right of course, but I also think that she’s missing part of the picture.

Chambers is still focused on traditionally geeky stuff: science, genre fiction, role-playing, etc. The truth though is that everyone is geeky about something. This is an old observation, but sports fans are total nerds. I’m not just talking about the ones who join fantasy leagues either, but the ones who follow all the teams, know all the players, and can quote all the stats. I’ve felt a lot of social pressure over the years to be “into” sports, but have resisted because I just couldn’t get into the detailed minutia the way my sports-geek friends were. Going to a ball game with them was like going to the comic book store with That Guy; the one who wears the Captain America T-shirt and will not stop talking about which Green Lantern is the best. Chambers is correct that it’s all about the details, it’s just that everyone obsesses about something: comics, sports, movies, or scrapbooking.

Knowing that, I wonder if it’s not time to retire these terms as identifiers. Rick Remember recently tweeted, “I'm calling overdone on comic folks self-applying ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’.” I think I agree. When everyone is a thing, does that thing even need a label anymore?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ocean Beach tourists hate cephalopods

[IMP Awards]

Guest-blogging | That F'ing Monkey

I've been wanting to try guest-blogging at some other blogs for a couple of months now, but hadn't gotten around to seriously thinking about it or approaching anyone yet before my buddy Ken from That F'ing Monkey asked if I wanted to chip in for three posts. Ken and his wife just had a baby boy and he knew that when his son arrived he'd need a break from the blog to focus on being a new dad. It was awesome timing, but I would have agreed even if I hadn't already been thinking about it.

Ken's idea was for me and him and Brandon (the other regular TFM contributor) to imagine that we were guest programmers on Turner Classic Movies and pick three films to talk about. We'd introduce them, talk about why we liked them, and give some background information and trivia if we wanted. I was totally into it.

I'll let you visit TFM to read my posts (and Ken's and Brandon's), but the films I picked were Alfred Hitchcock's silent version of The Lodger, the under-appreciated British horror classic Night of the Demon, and Tom Berenger's hilarious Western parody Rustlers' Rhapsody. Click the links or each picture below to go to the appropriate post.

My main criterion at first was simply that I wanted to choose from three different movie eras, but I ended up finding a recurring theme that tied them all together. I explain more about that in the Rustlers' Rhapsody entry.

Anyway, thanks so much to Ken for asking me to participate. It was a lot of fun and I'd love to do it again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Land of the Lost episode guide

Remember when I spent all that time talking about Land of the Lost episodes? Pop Apostle has spent even more time than that and the results are fantastic. Seriously, this is the user-friendly resource you've been waiting for.

LXB | Baseball Season

First of all, I'm sorry I've been a bad blogger the last two days. There's no drama and I'm still employed, but I'm looking for a new day job and that's taking up quite a bit of time. I love my current gig, but it's not going to turn into what I hoped it would, so with the complete blessing and support of my awesome boss, I need to find something else. I'm going to try to double up on posts today and tomorrow to make up for Monday and Tuesday.

I'm still catching up to the League of Extraordinary Bloggers and my next late assignment is an open-ended one about baseball:

Take me out to the ball game! America’s past time has been prominently featured in pop culture for over a century, so this week, we’re talking baseball!

I've probably mentioned this before, but I'm not a big sports fan. I grew up in Tallahassee, so I have very fond memories of going to Florida State football games with my friends, but I haven't stayed motivated to keep up with the Seminoles in a serious way since I moved from there. Now that I live in Minnesota, I've been to a handful of Twins and Saints games, several Wild games, and a Timberwolves game, but that's about the atmosphere and hanging out with people I like. I understand the rules and cheer loudly for the home team, but I can't get into the players and the stats. In other words, I'm a casual sports watcher.

That said, I do love me a sports movie and that includes baseball. Favorites include Major League, A League of Their Own, and Bull Durham. But really, when I think about baseball and pop culture, I always go first to good ol' Charlie Brown. The Peanuts defined Americana for me as a kid and their neighborhood games romanticized baseball more than any film ever could.


The next thing I think of in reference to baseball is always the last 1:10 of Chuck Jones and Co.'s "Duck! Rabbit, Duck!"


Some of the other League members came up with some baseball references I can relate to. Team Hellions talked about a baseball-themed West Coast Avengers comic and reminded me of all those fun baseball games the X-Men used to play between epic story arcs. I used to love those issues where the team would try (and fail) to play without using their powers. Cavalcade of Awesome and Red-Headed Mule both put together dream teams of movie baseball players; an awesome idea. And Lair of the Dork Horde reminded me of the batting helmet ice cream bowls we used to get and collect in the '80s (and those awesome-at-the-time handheld baseball video games).

How about you? What - if anything - does baseball mean to you?

Friday, April 20, 2012

LXB | What can Michael Bay make better?

This League of Extraordinary Bloggers assignment is from a couple of weeks ago (I'm catching up!).

Brian from Cool and Collected said: We can all agree that Michael Bay makes everything better. After he’s done with the Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles movie, what should Michael Bay blow up next?

I love Brian, but I reject that premise so hard. With the exception of The Rock, which I loved, there's not a Michael Bay movie that I care to rewatch and I can't imagine a situation in which I'd ever go see a movie with his name on it again. His films are boring and they don't make any sense.

I was never a huge fan of the Transformers cartoon, so I don't have any complaints about his messing up my childhood or anything. I just know that I got distracted by my own thoughts during the climactic battle in the first one and if you can bore me while giant robots are punching each other...there's something wrong with you.

There's only one movie that I can think of that Michael Bay would improve and that's Battlefield Earth. Because there's no possible way to make it worse.

The rest of the League tends to like Bay more than I do, but I admit that curiosity would get me into the theater to see a Bay remake of Plan 9 from Outer Space or a Bay adaptation of A Button for Corduroy. Those are awesome ideas. My favorite suggestion though is from Freak Studios, who shares my opinion of Bay and thinks that his perfect genre is war porn.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kill All Monsters is returning

I don't have any details for you yet, but plans are made and they're really cool ones. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

LXB | Zombie Apocalypse Buddies

Still trying to catch up to the rest of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers.

Which TV or movie hero do you want beside you when the zombie apocalypse arrives?

I hate zombies. I don't want to hide from them. I don't want to kill them. I don't want anything to do with them. So this might be cheating, but my perfect companion for the zombie apocalypse is someone with a spaceship to get me the heck off Earth. And I can't think of any spaceship I'd rather travel in than the Millenium Falcon or any crew I'd rather hang out with than Han and Chewie.

Besides, I bet blasters and bowcasters make great zombie killing weapons while we escape.

The rest of the League is way tougher than I am and chose to stay and fight it out with a wide range of capable pals from Charlton Heston in The Omega Man (Geek Chunks) to Wonder Woman (Siftin'). A couple of them got creative and picked people who know a lot about zombies (Team Hellions) or were just slower than they are (Freak Studios). "I don't have to outrun the zombie; I just have to outrun you." I have questions about the long-run sustainability of that strategy, but it's funny.

My favorite of the League's picks is Life With Fandom's selection of the Doctor. I still prefer Han and Chewie who would be all for selfishly running away, because of course the Doctor would want to stay and fix things as long as possible. But I can get behind the Doctor as long as he lets me hide out in the TARDIS and if things get really bad, a time machine makes an excellent escape route.

What about you? Fighter or runner? Who would you pick to help you survive?

Monday, April 16, 2012

From C2E2 with love

I'm back from C2E2 and it was a great trip. I blogged most of it at Robot 6 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), but here are some things that didn't make my official report:
  • Hyatt, I love you so much, but your conditioner sucks. Could not get my hair under control all weekend.
  • Your view, on the other hand, is awesome.
  • I roomed with Grant Gould and Anton Peck. Grant's an old friend and convention buddy; Anton's a new friend and talented photographer/drawer of robots.
  • When ordering Chicago pizza in the future, I need to remember that one stuffed Chicago pizza = two of any other kind of pizza.
  • I came away from the convention with three more writing jobs than I had when I got there. 
  • I affirmed that I suck at maintaining long-distance relationships. There are so many people that I only see once a year at these shows - people whom I love and love talking to - and with all the communications tools at my disposal there's really no reason that I shouldn't do a much better job keeping up with them the rest of the year. I need to do a better job at that. 
  • It was one of the few conventions where I wasn't completely ready to go home once it was over. Not that I wasn't excited to see my family; that's not it. It's related to that last bullet point about friendship. I don't know what's changed between this year and previous conventions, but for whatever reason I felt more connected to the comics community this time. Less like we are all isolated contributors and more like we were all family. Not that everyone knows everyone - or even likes everyone else. Large families don't always. But I felt more at home than ever before and wasn't quite ready for that to end.
  • Having said that, it's really good to be home.

Friday, April 13, 2012

At C2E2. BRB

I'm at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. You can follow my adventures on Robot 6.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chuck vs. Downton Abbey

Throwing timeliness to the wind, I'm here to talk about the series finale of Chuck and the Season 2 finale of Downton Abbey. If you're as behind as I was and don't want to hear about them, you won't hurt my feelings by skipping this post. But if you're into it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on either or both.

Obviously, SPOILERS FOLLOW. First for Chuck, then - following the picture of Mary and Matthew - for Downton Abbey.

So, Chuck. Shame on you. Not the character. He remained affable and charming right up to the end. It's the last season of the show that was disappointing.

One of the coolest things about the series is how it took the constant threat of cancellation and turned it into a strength. Every season - heck, every half a season - the show would wrap itself up in a way that was emotionally satisfying (in case that was the last episode) while leaving just enough hook to hang another season on if it was granted. It was genius how the writers kept doing that. It kept the show constantly evolving; always changing directions and moving forward in unexpected ways.

So what went wrong in the last season when the writers knew they needed to wrap things up? Instead of building to a satisfying conclusion, they brought the show to an end about five episodes too early and then spun their wheels for the last month by dragging out the One Last Mission, culminating in an ambiguous ending that undermines the central relationship that's driven the show from the beginning.

The end doesn't destroy that relationship. There's still hope that the kiss will magically restore Sarah's memories, and even if it doesn't, it sure looks like she's open to falling in love with him all over again. But seriously? Why do I want to leave this show - that's worked so hard to get me invested in this couple - with the feeling that Chuck and Sarah have to start over? That Chuck's going to have to continue with the frustration of emotionally being five years ahead of his... What is she? Is she even really his wife anymore?

The reason ambiguous endings sometimes work is that it forces the audience to bring their own ideas to the story; to think about the story's themes and how they connect with the viewer. What kind of ideas are we supposed to bring to the Chuck finale? Am I way off base in thinking that every single Chuck fan was rooting for Chuck and Sarah to end Happily Ever After? Did anyone watch the finale and decide that the best ending is for Sarah not to regain her memory? And if not, why is that even an option? Why not just show Sarah remembering? How is it better or more thought-provoking to leave it ambiguous? Seriously, what the hell?

It's not fair to contrast the series finale of Chuck with Downton Abbey, a show that's not done yet and could conceivably - at some future point - go off the rails as much as Chuck ultimately did. It's just coincidence that I caught up with both shows around the same time and that the final scene in Downton Abbey's second season finale gave me everything that Chuck failed to.

For me, Downton Abbey begins and ends with Mary. Yes, yes, I love Bates and hate how life conspires against him and Anna. I admire the Earl and hated when he stumbled. I hiss at Thomas and am appropriately dumbfounded by O'Brien. I laugh every time Maggie Smith opens her mouth or gives a look and I'm heavily invested in Daisy's character development. But Mary has my heart completely.

Maybe it's an Oldest Child thing and I just relate to her on that level. Lord knows I began the first season thinking that she was a selfish witch, but I quickly and irrevocably got on board with wanting to see her happy. That's what the show's about for me; everything else is absolutely gorgeous and impeccably acted window-dressing. So at the last scene of the season finale, I literally, audibly cheered and tried not to cry in front of my wife. I'm not sure how successful I was at that second part.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'll be at C2E2 this weekend

I won't have a table or anything, but I'll be wandering around the show all weekend and occasionally table-sitting for Grant Gould (table H9 in Artist Alley). My usual schedule involves a lot of visiting Artist Alley and publishers on Friday, panels on Saturday, and using Sunday to finish up whatever I missed the other two days. This year, there are way more panels I want to see than I'll ever get to, so I could easily spend all my time just going to those.

Archaia's upcoming releases panel is always something I want to check out, so that makes my list for Friday afternoon. I'd attend Dark Horse's panel too if it didn't overlap with one on how the Cold War shaped morality and gender roles in comics. I always have some of those cool, weird, academic panels on my wish list, but rarely get to them. I'd like to change that this year. The Cold War panel also overlaps with DC's first panel and comiXology's, so I'll skip those too. That's a little disappointing about comiXology's since I'm interested in digital comics. They make my head hurt trying to figure out what they're going to look like in five years, but that's why I'm curious about their evolution.

Also Friday evening is an academic panel on the depictions of children, women, and racial diversity in comics. That sounds cool too, especially since one of the comics it will use to discuss gender is Wapsi Square, the webcomic by my friend Paul Taylor. Following that is just enough time to grab a quick dinner and then four, simultaneous panels that I'll have to pick between.

 Mark Waid's offering a second chance to learn about digital comics, there's a discussion of the four types of superhero origins, there's a panel on women's perspectives of geek culture, and a creative process panel about storytelling. The superhero one sounds interesting, but miss-able in comparison to the others. (I've already categorized superheroes to death in my spare time, so I don't need to hear how someone else does it.) The Geek Girl panel is also something I can skip without dying. I'm always fascinated by hearing that perspective, but  my female friends who like geeky things are already keeping me up to date. The storytelling panel is focused mostly on superheroes and manga, which sounds more limited than I want, so I think I'll end up listening to Mark Waid. I've been following his blog about digital comics and - as I expect from Mark Waid - he has some thoughtful ideas about the medium and how to make it work for creators.

Saturday morning begins with the AV Club panel on the future of the superhero genre. After that, DC has a New 52 panel, but it overlaps two other interesting panels: one on creating and marketing independent comics; the other on upcoming releases from IDW. It's a tough call between DC and IDW, so I'll save myself the decision by skipping them both for the How To. I've studied enough of that kind of advice that I'm not expecting much new from this one, but if nothing else it'll be good to reinforce what I've already learned. Plus, it's by the guys who created Kill Shakespeare and they sound like interesting cats.

After that it's a choice between Dynamite's upcoming releases and Marvel's TV shows. I tend to love Marvel cartoons, but I'd rather just watch them than hear about them. Dynamite is an always fascinating company, so they win.

After that are four more panels that overlap each other to one degree or another: one on LGBT characters in comics, one on the Valiant relaunch, one on Vertigo, and Marvel's "Cup O' Joe" panel. The LGBT panel is at the top of my list and it's also the earliest of these four. That means that if I feel like joining the massive crowd that'll be there, I'll have time to listen to Joe Quesada. I'll keep that on the schedule, but I imagine that dinner will take priority. I'll just have to skip Valiant and Vertigo and catch up with their announcements online.

Sunday morning has another opportunity to learn about storytelling; this time thanks to Archaia and three of their creators: David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl), and Sean Rubin (Redwall). Fortunately, there are no overlapping panels I want to see that day, so if I want, I can also get a make-up panel on women and geek culture with Chicks Dig Comics, hear about Marvel's "Next Big Thing," and finish up the con with a discussion of disabilities in comics.

That's a full schedule and I know right now that I'll never stick to it. Except for Friday morning and early afternoon, it leaves no time for walking around, visiting, or any kind of spontaneity. There'll be way too much to look at and people I want to talk to, so I'll probably cut out about half of those panels. I just won't know which ones until it's fifteen minutes before the panel starts and I have to decide whether going is worth missing out on whatever just popped into my head that I want to do. But it's good to have a plan.

Anyone reading this going to C2E2? If so, let me know. I'd love to meet up.

Monday, April 09, 2012

LXB | My Hollywood blockbuster

I'm still catching up to the rest of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, so here's what I would do with the following assignment:

You are a big shot Hollywood movie producer with an unlimited budget. You need to assemble the ultimate ensemble cast for a movie that is sure to fill every movie theater seat around the world. Who do you hire and what kind of film are you going to make?

First, I'd buy my way into the head seat at the Pirates of the Caribbean table and hire Brad Bird to write and direct the next sequel with the following input from me. It would be called Pirates of the Caribbean: The Lost Colony and would have Jack Sparrow team up with my 17th century version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to find out what happened to the lost colony on Roanoke. (I know that Alan Moore already created a 17th century LXG, but mine's designed to be more commercial than Captain Owe-much and Amber St Clair. I totally stole my villains from his version though. And mine wouldn't actually be called the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; it's just a collection of famous fictional characters from a particular period in history.)

Joining Captain Jack Sparrow would be the Three Musketeers, played by their 1993 versions: Oliver Platt, Charlie Sheen, and Kiefer Sutherland. Platt's always awesome, but Sheen and Sutherland are especially interesting to audiences right now (though for very different reasons).

Then we'd have Viggo Mortensen reprising his role as Captain Alatriste (which I still can't find in the US, dadgummit).

And Emma Stone as a sarcastic version of Hector Prynne from The Scarlet Letter.

Joining her would be a trio of Salem witches played by Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror), Molly Quinn (Castle), and Gabriella Wilde (last year's Three Musketeers).

So those are our good guys. What they learn is that the Roanoke colony disappeared as part of a scheme by Shakespeare's Prospero from The Tempest, played by Ian McKellen.

And of course Prospero is in partnership with supernatural forces led by the air spirit, Ariel (Devon Aoki).

Now...wouldn't you want to see that?

The rest of the LXB came up with some awesome movies that I'd want to see too.

  • Life With Fandom developed the ultimate space opera starring (amongst others) Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, and The Rock against Ian McKellen and Karen Gillen. 
  • Team Hellions created an all-female Expendables starring fifteen different butt-kicking women including some of my favorites like Angelina Jolie, Lucy Lawless, Chloe Moretz, Milla Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, and Gina Carano.
  • LXB-host Brian put together the ultimate Western starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford (I agree that he needs a do-over), Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Lane, and Kate Beckinsale.
Check out Cool and Collected to see the rest of the dream blockbusters including a hackers flick, a live-action adaptation of the '80s Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, a Community movie that replaces the TV actors with movie stars, a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle buddy movie, and an all-new Cannonball Run.

Friday, April 06, 2012

You should look into Mirror Mirror

I wouldn’t blame you if you thought someone paid me off to write a positive review of Mirror Mirror. I get it. I wouldn't trust me either. In fact, I only even went to it as lesser-among-evils choice.

My brother-in-law and I are fortunate (or smart) enough to have married two, extremely cool women and so we have a standing Guys’ Night Out every week where we go to the movies. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. This week: I was this close to calling it off. I actually recommended at one point that we go back and watch a movie at my brother-in-law’s place because there was absolutely nothing in the theaters that didn’t make me want to stab my own eyes out rather than think about seeing it. (I probably could have sat through The Hunger Games again, but it may say something about that movie that I really didn’t want to, as much as I enjoyed it the first two times.)

My problem with Mirror Mirror had to do with two things. First: the marketing is all very focused on Julia Roberts. I don’t have a problem with Julia Roberts in principle, but I do have a problem with her and Nathan Lane hamming up one of my favorite fairy tales for two hours. The trailers had Nathan Lane acting very Nathan Laney while Julia Roberts cracked bad jokes and whined a lot. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, does have a problem with Julia Roberts, so he was even more reluctant than I was.

My second problem with Mirror Mirror was that it was directed by Tarsem Singh (Immortals), a guy who’s shown a few times that he’s much more interested in presenting beautiful images on screen than with telling a story that makes any sense. Fortunately, he had a smart, funny script this time, written by Melisa Wallack (Meet Bill) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher).

We have another buddy who sometimes joins us for the movie, so when my brother-in-law called him to tell him what we’re seeing, the message he left was that we were going to see the Snow White film. “Not the good one that’s coming out later. The crappy one with Julia Roberts.” We came out of the theater shocked that we’d enjoyed ourselves so much.

I’m not going to lie. Julia Roberts does whine and tell bad jokes in this movie. Nathan Lane does Nathan Lane his way through it. And they are in it quite a bit, but they are not the focus of the film. This is a Snow White movie and it stays a Snow White movie; a funny, gorgeous one that tells the story from a modern, feminist perspective. Not stridently feminist, but humorously. Like when Snow White locks up the Prince and tells him that she’s going to go fight the monster to protect him because letting him do it is out of date. He protests that the traditional way of letting the Prince go save the day is a great idea. “It’s been focus-grouped and it works!” That could be a bad joke if Armie Hammer didn’t deliver it as well as he does and if he and Lily Collins didn’t convince you that this wasn’t actually about feminism, but that each actually cared about and wanted to protect the other. The feminism is incidental and kind of taken for granted. I loved that.

The rest of the film is like that too. The seven dwarfs are awesome, having more in common with Time Bandits than Disney (though you will see winks toward Grumpy and Dopey in a couple of characters). These guys all have great comic timing and when they’re interacting with Snow White, which is quite a lot, it’s a wonderful film. So wonderful that I quite willingly forgave it for Nathan Lane. Julia Roberts – it turned out – didn’t need much forgiveness for. She’s playing exactly the role she needed to play: a vain, selfish ruler who doesn’t get pleasure from harming others because she doesn’t consider other people worth thinking about in the first place.

So we came out of the theater saying, “Wow! I really liked that!” So much so that it actually makes me less excited to see Snow White and the Huntsman, a movie that looks really great in so many ways, but will suffer for not starring Lily Collins and these particular dwarfs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mighty Morphin' Pirate Rangers

Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger Intro by OtakuNerd1983

Via the resourceful Erik Johnson, here's a longer sample of those Power Rangers pirates from a month ago. Why do they finally make a Power Rangers show that I want to watch and then make it unavailable in the US?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

LXB | Things that make you go, "Whoah."

Having spent three weeks on one LXB assignment, I'm really behind the rest of the League. Gonna get caught up by doing two League posts a week, starting with this one:

What media announcement had you throwing fist pumps and doing roundhouse kicks in the air? Did the final result live up to your dreams?

Every generation has a legend…
Every journey has a first step…
Every saga has a beginning…

In retrospect, there's no way Phantom Menace could have lived up to my expectations of it. To be fair though, in retrospect, I'd already outgrown the series by Return of the Jedi and just didn't know it yet. But not knowing it, when the first trailers for Phantom Menace came out, I couldn't sit still for them. I was so excited about new Star Wars movies that I wiggled in my chair like a three-year-old on Christmas morning.

I camped out for tickets, which turned out to be unnecessary. Since Star Wars had always been a family event for us and not all of my family could handle being out until 2:00 in the morning for a midnight show, we decided to take Opening Day off work and go to the earliest matinee we could. For Empire and Jedi, Opening Day meant long lines and sold-out shows, so I thought I'd still need to camp out for tickets, not realizing that everyone else was grabbing midnight passes. Our Opening Day matinee was mostly empty except for me and my family.

I don't remember being disappointed by the small crowd, but I wonder how much that affected the experience. I know I didn't hate the movie. I probably saw it five or six times in the theater, taking Menace virgins with me each time to re-experience it through their eyes.

I remember deciding that it felt like a Star Wars movie thanks to the John Williams score, the title crawl, and the inclusion of "I have a bad feeling about this." I remember thinking that Jar Jar Binks was silly, but he didn't ruin the movie for me and actually made me laugh a couple of times. I remember being underwhelmed by Jake Lloyd's performance, but convincing myself that it was balanced out by Liam Neeson's. I remember being confused about the Trade Federation's scheme, but deciding that I'd figured out enough of what was going on that I could let that go. I also remember being confused about just what Obi Wan Kenobi felt about Anakin Skywalker and whether that confusion was a problem with the script, Ewan McGregor, or both. In short, I remember being critical of a lot of things, but trying to make myself believe that compared to the pod race, Darth Maul, and just seeing R2 and Tatooine again, my criticisms weren't that important. So no, it didn't live up to my expectations, but I didn't dislike it either.

I should end this post right there having answered the question, but I feel like adding that my opinion of the film hasn't really altered in the last thirteen years. I still really like the parts I liked before and still have the same criticisms of what I didn't. I relate to the fans who were disappointed by it, but totally don't get the attitude that it's unwatchable.

The other League members have long since chimed in on the "Whoah" topic and a couple of others talked about Star Wars, but not the prequels. Chris Tupa talked about being excited for the theatrical release of the Special Editions and AEIOU and Sometimes Why mentioned some deleted scenes he got to see at Star Wars Celebration V. Chris' post reminds me how excited I was for those Special Editions and how I had to camp out for those tickets too because they were selling out Opening Day. Back in those days, we were so excited to see those movies on the big screen again that we didn't care about stuff like Han Shot First. It wasn't until later that we got upset, because we realized that a) Lucas intended these versions to replace and not supplement the originals, and b) that he wasn't nearly done tinkering.

Other League members who looked forward to the same stuff I did were Lair of the Dork Horde (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Double Dumbass on You (Iron Man, or - specifically for me - the Return of Robert Downey Jr), and Sideshow Cinema (Alien vs Predator).

Monday, April 02, 2012

I'm on Pinterest

I used to post a lot of art to this blog, but it got to be too time consuming, so I joined Tumblr. Which was awesome and much easier, especially for reblogging images from other Tumblr accounts. There were still a couple of problems though:

  1. Unless the image was already on Tumblr, I still had to download it and re-upload it. That's time consuming and I was building up a huge folder of images (and links, because I think it's important to attribute where I get everything), because I couldn't get through the process as quickly as I could find cool stuff.
  2. My love of organization and categories was making me start multiple Tumblrs with different themes. Which only made the process that much more complicated.
Enter Pinterest, a site where I can share images from anywhere on the Internet with the click of a button, show different categories on the same page, and have the attributions show up automatically. It's a freaking answer to prayer.

I'll still keep the Tumblr account, but I've already started using it mostly for capturing quotes that I want to remember. I see it becoming a place to catch miscellania that doesn't fit anywhere else. If you like the art that I've been sharing there, I hope you'll check out my Pinterest page. It's pretty awesome.


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