Friday, February 27, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

S. Darko

I refuse to have an opinion about S. Darko, because the title gives me a headache. I understand the principle that it's supposed to be short for Samantha Darko, but I keep looking for a code or a reference... "Sdarko"? "Ess Darko"?

And, no, it's not in an interesting, mysterious Donnie Darko way, like I expect they imagine it will. Just in a "Leave my brain, you bastard title before I chew off my own leg to make the pain end!" way.

I am adding director Chris Fisher and writer Nathan Atkins to the (overlong) list of people I owe a punch in the jaw if I ever meet them, though.

Red Sonya

I am, of late, re-reading Lord of Samarcand and Other Adventure Tales of the Old Orient by Robert E. Howard. Currently, I am reading "The Shadow of the Vulture".

The story tells of a siege laid across Europe by Suleyman the Magnificent to hunt down Gottfried von Kalmbach, who made an attempt on the Sultan's life.

It's a terrific yarn. Mikhal Oglu, whose demeanor defines the title, leads the burning of villages and a great siege on Vienna, seeking von Kalmbach's head.
"Before the waving vulture wings the road thronged with wailing fugitives; behind them it ran red and silent, strewn with mangled shapes that cried no more. The killers were not a half-hour behind him when Gottfried von Kalmbach rode his reeling stallion through the gates of Vienna. The people on the walls had heard the wailing for hours, rising awfully on the wind, and now afar they saw the sun flicker on the points of lances as the horsemen rode in amongst the masses of fugitives toiling down from the hills into the plain which girdles the city. They saw the play of naked steel like sickles among ripe grain."

I not only love that paragraph, I may be a little in love with it.

But on to something of a point...

I bring this up, because the story contains a character named Red Sonya of Rogatino.

In 1973, writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith would adapt this story in Conan the Barbarian #23, with Conan of Cimmeria replacing Gottfried von Kalmbach and the setting was changed accordingly. As such, Howard's Red Sonya of Rogatino would become Red Sonja of Hyrkania, who we all know and love.

This is interesting to me because a new movie Red Sonja is scheduled. Other people seem to have stronger opinions of Rose McGowan in the part than I can muster. She's such better casting - and sexier, by God! - than Brigitte Nielsen ever could have been, so it's hard for me to feel too negative, but she does seem a bit small for the role, doesn't she? Well... Movie magic, right?

The suggestion seems to be that it will be an origin story...

Always with the origin stories? Ferreal?


Had it been me, I'd have rethought both the Howard and the Thomas/Windsor-Smith versions of The Shadow of the Vulture, used the extra space in and around the 40 page story and used much of that to make the story about Red Sonja rather than Gottfried von Kalmbach or Conan... I'd fall closer to von Kalmbach for my model of the character in that role in the story, however.

It'd be a kickass movie, I swear.

Hopefully this other one will be, too.

UPDATE: For those of you interested in even more information on all of this, definitely check out Famous First Fridays: Red Sonja's Metal Bikini.

The midnight meat train

I'm a huge fan of the Books of Blood collection(s) by Clive Barker, and I'd note The Midnight Meat Train high among them.

I was not a huge fan of Versus by Ryuhei Kitamura, to say the least.

That's what I came into The Midnight Meat Train with.

Well, that and the controversial decision by Lion's Gate to pull the movie from a wide distribution in May to a very small release in August... a small bizarre release, since it wasn't given an arthouse release or a release into the kind of urban centers in which the story takes place but a very small number of suburban theaters and discount house. Frankly, it rather reeked of purposeful insult over simply lack of confidence, although I hate to speculate that far. Clive Barker Blasts Lionsgate Chief Over Midnight Meat Train by Tera Heater has some further details.

So, what did I think of the movie?

I liked it a whole lot.

I'll say that if Lion's Gate's decision had smacked of lack of confidence, say a September or October arthouse release or even a standard straight-to-DVD release, I'd understand why. Finding an audience for this, beyond those of us who were already waiting for, was going to be a challenge. A worthy challenge perhaps, but a challenge. It's a very gory horror movie designed to specifically to appeal to an older urban audience. The David Cronenberg audience in movie terms, although that is, of course, Clive Barker's traditional base as well.

Personally, it worked for me. Does it push specific buttons for me that others might miss? Possibly.

Interestingly, Kitamura discusses that the movie confesses his previous fear of committing to art/career. That probably does speak to some essential dark place inside me. I'd imagine that's hardly a unique place, though.


I don't suppose too many people were distracted from being excited about My Name is Bruce, because its title was too similar to They Call Me Bruce? Was I the only one?

Ok, my Bruce Campbell fandom may have faded slightly over the years, for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand or want to get into here.

What's important is that I actually really did dig the movie... I think more than I expected. Perhaps lowered expectations were good in this case.

Mind you, I think William Shatner did a better job of committing to the asshole version of himself in Free Enterprise than Bruce Campbell does here. I think some part of him wanted us to all never lose track of the idea that this is a fake Bruce.

Here it must be noted that I always love Ted Raimi (including his very brief part in The Midnight Meat Train, although I doubt I'll mention it when I review that movie), even when he's mugging as a racist stereotype... Oh, who am I kidding? Especially when he's mugging as a racist stereotype!

Overall, there's just something infectious about the overall spirit. Not just the movie but the whole DVD just feels like a good time.

The cast filled with local actors and Bruce-movie-veterans feels very natural and really lend to the infection of positive energy. Especially the unbelievably lovely - and frickin' hot - Grace Thorsen.

So, I don't know, it didn't make my head explode from wonderfulness, but I did genuinely enjoy the whole thing, and what more did I expect?


Sometimes a person can search and search for the creative fuel they need and stumble on it with no idea.

It was that way when I picked up Supermarket. I'm not sure what aspect exactly, but the art by Kristian Donaldson... and I think I've seen his stuff in other places at other times, but something about this book was specifically inspiring.

Alien raiders

I hope the makers of Alien Raiders will forgive me for noting that it's not as good as Alien, The Thing or your favorite adaptation of Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers...

Alright, smart ass! If your favorite is The goddamn Invasion, then, yes, it is better. There. Do you feel better now?

It is, however, much better than the kind of Sci-Fi Channel original movies that the distributor seems comfortable making it look like. It's actually a rather smart and taut thriller about a group who locks up a Supermarket, but turns out to have more complicated motivations. I'm not going to give away too much, because it is a nicely twisting and turning, if not entirely un-predictable plot.

(A brief word on surprise and predictability, since they seem important to other people. Surprise is overrated. The kinds of movies it's expected from are the kind that we describe as roller coaster rides. Unless you're blind, roller coaster rides are not actually surprising. You can see every twist, turn, climb and fall before you even get on and again long before they occur. Surprise is highly overrated as an element to a thrill. Which isn't to say I'm a fan of the wholly predictable either... it's, well, never mind this is a whole essay of its own...)

Kept within a single location, the Supermarket, it only rarely threatens to become stagey. The story moves along at a good clip and the suspense is kept nicely. Hopefully a few more people will comment on it, because it deserves to be called out as a solid sci-fi thriller.

Texas (with too many parentheticals)

I don't drive.

Yeah, I'm a suburban west coast boy, so it's pretty weird.

Most of the time, I don't have an issue with it. At least on my own. In fact, overall I prefer it that way on my own.

I do have a roaming streak of guilt over group situations, I admit.

By and large, I must say my pride at the fact that I'm not out crashing into people and things outweighs that. Seriously, I can drive. Totally. If someone needs to get to the hospital or something else, I can totally do it.

What I'm not capable of is casually driving. Day in, day out. My brain wanders off onto other things.

(Here there's someone who is thinking - and would say, if this were a conversation - "Oh, you get the habit of that..." No. You get the habit. I've had my brain, a very, very long time and I know what levels of concentration I can maintain, I do promise you that. Sigh. Fucking condescending dumbass! Did I just say that out loud?)

Back home, in Washington, that was never much of an issue. I mean, it would've been easier when it came to family events and such, because they all live in crazy ass places. But my family drove over the state when I was a kid.

In Texas, however, I can't help wish I could drive off and explore things.

Some for dumb reasons.

I'd like to go to Corpus Christi, just because I love that someone named a city Body of Christ. Religion makes people just plain kooky sometimes. Body of Christ, Texas. That's wicked retarded; a ridiculous kind of awesome. There, I expect I would just call everybody I know and say I was in Body of Christ, and cause them to roll their eyes, and think, "Why do I accept phone calls from this guy? I know that too often it will result in things just like this!"

(Admittedly, for some people this would partly be because I don't call them often enough, so if I finally bothered to be a decent person and pick up the phone, it was to make a stupid reference, it would seem particularly obnoxious, even if not entirely surprising.)

As I assume I'll eventually end up going to Houston with other people, it seems like it would be smart to go there myself first, to get the temptation to say "So, this is planet Hoo-ston" out of the way in a situation in which no one will whack me in the back of the head for it before that happens.

There's the Rolling Thunder trip, from San Antonio down to the border.

(Oddly, considering Texas's self-obsession, I Luv Video makes no reference to Texas in the blurb on their copy of the movie, which is another great choice for Jeremy Richey's M.I.A. on DVD Tribute Month. I would have to work to write a one-sentence description of this movie that didn't include a reference to Texas. Even my blurb would be "Kickass Texas revenge flick!")

Then there's the Robert E. Howard pilgrimage from Cross Plains, where he lived his adult, productive life, to Mission, where he wrote Cimmeria and, as he told it, conceived of Conan.

There is also another city a couple hundred miles north that I'm guessing if I remain here long enough an event will occur there that I will desire to attend even more than I desire to not attend it there, but it doesn't even come close to making the fantasy tour.

What's interesting is that I don't think I'd have this temptation had I moved somewhere else at all. Taking off and exploring the country in a car just has never been something that's called to me, especially not on my own. Growing in the suburbs, I always heard the call of the city with its buildings and people and filth. The highway? Yeah, nothing.

Comic books and boobs

What's up with comic book boobs?

No, not just the absurdly big ones, although they're part of it.

Are there any comic book artists out there who draw more than one kind of boobs?

There are tons of artists who draw the absurdly big ones, as I'm sure you've noted. Too many of them look remarkably like they were modeled on fake boobs, at that, but that's not the point here either.

There are a few who draw the cutesy little poky boobs.

There are the fewest still, it seems, that draw them in the average range.

But having lived a long life in which I've spent more of that time than I ought to have observing women's breasts, I have to say that if there's one thing that's clearly true. In the real world, breasts vary greatly and regularly in size and shape. It's part of what keeps them interesting to keep observing, I think...

But is there even one comic book artist that draws them with variety?

Seriously. I'd like to hear an answer of just one, and it has to be a real variety, not just someone who happens to draw Power Girl with larger breasts than Wonder Woman.

A couple of other random Friday thoughts

Siskel & Ebert Really Don't Like Friday the 13th by Marty McKee notes, "If anybody knows where to find this, I'd love to know, but reportedly Siskel was so incensed at the original Friday the 13th in 1980, he ripped actress Betsy Palmer a new one and gave out her home phone number, so outraged audience members could disturb her. It's hard to believe that could be true, but if it really happened on 'Sneak Previews' or in his Chicago Tribune review, let me know. That would have been a very gutless call on Siskel's part."

I, too, have heard this story any number of times. I seem to recall that when I first heard it, it was her agent's number. Perhaps my memory is that faulty, but this seems like a story that has grown Urban Legend style, which isn't to say there isn't an essentially true part there, but a moderate Googling of the subjects came up with no reference to it, aside from bloggers referring to it casually as established fact.

The reason the story, as told, seems suspicious, isn't the one prickly movie critic making an extreme judgment in the heat of emotion, but the fact that an editorial or producerial team, as well as their lawyers, would have been as much to blame for letting this happen. And at that time - it seems to not happen as much anymore, but maybe I'm just paying less attention - it was pretty routine to publish official contact information for actors, be it through their representation or a production company they work for.

Also, the new Friday the 13th brings up something for me.

I'm not a pot smoker. I mean, I'm not a "square", so to speak, I'm just not terribly a fan. It mostly just puts me to sleep.

But there's something cool about the way people in '70s and '80s movies just casually pulled out a joint, just like it was a package of beef jerky, "Hey, I just have this in my stuff, anybody want some?" Now, everyone seems like they have to be Cheech and Chong with a fancy-ass bong and subscription to High Times.

I guess it's something to do with Geek Chic, but maybe that's as good a reason as any that Geek Chic should be buried without ceremony frankly.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grown-up Friday thoughts?

So, Neil?


You pretend you're a grown-up, right?

Not when I don't have to, but, sure, yeah.

And you have no non-boob related thoughts on the new Friday the 13th?

What does that have to do with being a grown-up?

Fine. No thoughts at all?

Alright. Marcus Nispel's $10,000,000 remake of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was something like hearing an orchestra playing a Ramones song. The original Friday the 13th is not as good as a Ramones record.

Check Considering the Jason Voorhees Legacy by Dennis Cozzalio. I basically agree with his thoughts on the original movies. I'll add that I also agree with Friday the 13th reviewed by Marty Langford on the best ones, although I also have a soft spot in my head for Friday the 13th Part 2.

The closest I'll get to another critique is this question: Did they intend to tease that we were going to get the famous Friday the 13th Part 2/Bay of Blood moment or did they just not think of it?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Netflix reviews

I know it's an easy target, but every once in a while I'm puzzled. I'm reading the Netflix reviews for the movie Max Payne, I don't have a good excuse why.

The officially most helpful review, currently 198 out of 240 people found the review helpful, is by Wingz, and says, "Let me start by saying Max Payne is a pretty good detective thriller. That being said, it wasn’t at all what I expected. From the rather intense but somewhat misleading promo, I went to the theatre expecting a cinematic version of a graphic novel with a strong supernatural component; shades of Constantine with a battle between heaven and hell."

Really? This was helpful to somebody?

And Blackground INC wrote, "If anyone likes this movie it's because they'll truly watch anything.", which I don't know anything about, but he gave the movie Two Stars!

I don't understand the world at all!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Length and the Internet serial part II

I had previously, in Length and the Internet serial, pondered the length that works for Internet drama.

I don't know that I've fully answered the question in my own mind, but I have to say that I came across Pink - The Series, which piqued my interest a bit. But then I saw it's just dozens and dozens of 3 minute episodes and I threw up my hands and went on to something else.

Now, I think two or three 3 minute episodes as an introduction would have been great as an introduction, but I couldn't bring my to commit to dozens of them. It sounded like a headache.

Who knows, though? I'm often not representative.

Game Changed (Again): Half Life: Escape From City 17 by Bill Cunningham is another interesting and inspiring post...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Songs of innocence

I'm betting that Charles Ardai, whose first two novels were published under the name Richard Aleas, loves I, the Jury. I don't suppose on the surface that's probably an unlikely prediction to make about the founder of Hard Case Crime. One could likely as easily insert any of a number of other iconic hard boiled novels and seem as a likely a bet.

But maybe it really bugs him. I'm not sure. Maybe both.

Both Little Girl Lost and Songs of Innocence, his two novels about a young detective named John Blake, seem to echo it, to poetically reinterpret it.

Max Allan Collins says that he now sees the first two of his Nolan novels as one long novel, now published as Two For the Money, and having read it all in a sitting or two, I see why. Not that anyone couldn't tell you where one story ends and the other one started, even without the page marking the changeover.

These two Blake novels feel perhaps even more like one novel, although perhaps even more like two sides of a coin, companion pieces. My review of "Little Girl Lost" on its own was tepid.

Frankly, unlike some others, my review of The Godfather would be tepid, at least relative to current opinion. It's The Godfather Part II that places it into a perspective, comments, echoes and rephrases the original work and ideas in a way that makes it great. On its own, its still too close to the tawdry self-conscious Jacqueline Susann/Harold Robbins "bestseller" roots of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather.

"Songs of Innocence" similarly holds a mirror to its predecessor. It re-examines it, comments on it, echoes its ideas back, rephrases, rethinks and causes you to rethink the ideas. It deepens the character and his struggle and makes it both more specific and more universal. There could be no confusing this John Blake with a character who is driven by the needs of the plot. The sadness that haunts him, the regret. The drive he has to solve this crime, which while driving the plot, also unveils his basic failings as a person, to those around him and to himself.

Look, I can feel this all as oversell myself. These are books that should absolutely be picked up just to fill some time on a lazy afternoon or why ever it might be you read mysteries and thrillers. Not the least of which because they deliver on what any normal person wants from that kind of book. My further excitement and examination, well, come back when you're done and see if you don't agree... I'd be especially curious if I'm the only one with this Spillane theory...


Dave "Disasters" by Mark Evanier says all of the things I was trying to get around to writing regarding this list, except I would have made a much stronger case about how pathetic the attempt to throw the Drew Barrymore segment in there.

How insanely desperate were they for a tenth clip? I mean, it's like coming up with a list of the lowest moments on Johnny's show and including the Tomahawk Incident!


So, I watched an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century today. I have not seen it since, well, probably 1981, if not actually 1980.

I watched "Planet of the Slave Girls". It guest stars Roddy McDowall, Jack Palance and, yes, Buster Crabbe himself. Now, if you can't pull a Buck Rogers story called "Planet of the Slave Girls" with McDowall, Palance and Crabbe off than why should I bother with more?

Yeah, I won't be bothering with more.

There's a kind of '70s tone that shows like The Love Boat took, as opposed to shows like The Rockford Files. Star Wars, which the show is obviously "inspired" by, is of "The Rockford Files" school. "Buck Rogers..." is from "The Love Boat" school, which is fine for fluffy stories about former a-list and current b-list stars frolicking on a boat, but seems, well, odd, to say the least when confronted with trying to save the earth.

But the only reason I really bring this up is to ask a question. Is there a name for the arbitrary changes that creators make when adapting material? Just the random territorial pissings that change nothing of substance and serve only to annoy fans. "Anthony Rogers? Nah, let's call him William Rogers, because... Who gives a crap? Because fuck Philip Francis Nowlan! That's why! 2419? Yeah, try 2491, bitch! Will that make more sense? Probably not. In fact, if our show were good enough to last a while we'd have to deal with that century change thing and the title... But luckily we're writing crap, so it won't happen, and we can change stuff just to piss all over the place..."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Piracy ads

You know what this ad always make me want to do? Steal a car. Steal a purse. Steal a cellphone. Steal a movie.

I mean, not exactly, since I'm not really going to do any of those things, but really, they look so exciting and sexy when you're watching the ad. I'm not even sure it's really intended to convey the message it's supposedly trying to convey.

But you wanna know what really makes me want to pirate movies?

Yeah, Warner Brothers, I know you own Casablanca, but damn! I don't understand why you would desecrate something that's important to the culture and should be important to you.

Mostly I don't understand how disrespecting your intellectual property is supposed to teach us to respect your intellectual property.

Who makes these things? Are the ad makers deliberately trying to undermine their point?

Thor, Wolverine and...

Hulk vs. is an exception among recent DVD animated comic book projects in that it really makes no effort to bring the non-fan up to speed. I'm not sure either are complicated enough that they wouldn't make perfectly adequate sense to a non-fan, but I doubt they'd resonate to strongly either. But then to anyone who can go, "Hey, that shot is right out of The Incredble Hulk #181 or Weapon X!", there are some nice moments.

But frankly, I'm not here to review. Both of the short movies are entertaining and worthwhile for fans, probably more than most of the Marvel/Lion's Gate animated projects, which have been spotty in quality overall, although I liked Doctor Strange and probably would have enjoyed Ultimate Avengers 2 if they'd just called it "Black Panther featuring The Ultimates", which certainly would have been, if nothing else, more accurate.

But I have Thor issues. And they are nitpicky, but I can't help them. I grew up with people from the Old Country and these things just get to me.

Now, the fact that Americans, including me, pronounce the name of the Norse thunder god with the English soft "th" sound, doesn't make it make sense that all the inhabitants of Asgard would.

Ok, I can hear you saying that you looked it up somewhere and the soft "th" sound is correct. I can tell you that I've never heard anyone from the Old Country who could pronounce the English soft "th" sound to save their life.

But, who knows? Apparently it was a world of British Norseman, so who knows how they'd talk?

Yes, I understand that it's what people hear when they read the Lee/Kirby/Lieber style dialogue that one associates with the book, all high fallutin' and such, but I can't say it feels entirely right to me, even specifically as an interpretation of the comic Thor.

And while I'm on pronunciation, on the commentary, someone, I think Craig Kyle, makes a comment about the various ways auditioning actors would pronounce the name of Thor's Hammer, with some amusement. In his follow-up comment, the other commentator, I think Christopher Yost, then pronounces it "myol-NEAR", seeming to intend that as correct.

Ok, try this with me. Listen to the rhythm of Nordic languages in your head. It'll work even if the best you can do is hear Jamie Lee Curtis from Trading Places, "Ja, fur sure, from Sveden." Now, in that rhythm, see if it is at all humanly possible to speak a sentence which includes the word "myol-NEAR" in that rhythm.

Not, mind you, that it's entirely clear how one should pronounce it in English. The Wikipedia article Mjöllnir, on the original mythic hammer, gives "MYAWL-ner", and the article Mjolnir, on the comic book version, goes with "MYOL-ner", as does actor Graham McTavish.

Obviously, it's kind of impossible to make a perfect comparison in English, as it should be pronounced with the umlaut, which isn't quite like any English sound. "MYOL-ner" certainly sounds closest to correct to my ear, and is what I say.

And, no, I won't even touch how much Hel was designed to resemble Hell and how wrong that is... Oddly they even comment on the difference in the commentary, but make no note of their own Dante inspired imagery.

But I've gone far enough, because really... I actually really did enjoy it. I dug the obviously Walt Simonson inspired look. I thought it was a nicely told story and it was just cool all around to see Asgard with Balder, Sif, Hela, Enchantress and all of those things... Seriously, serious geeky goodness!

And that's not even starting on the stuff in "Hulk vs. Wolverine", which I already hinted at...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ladies in capes

For some reason, that title makes me giggle. Sorry. I'm not even exactly sure why.

I was reading Why the Comic-Book Movie Industry Needs a Female Superhero by Thera Pitts and What Women Want by Jennifer de Guzman, both of which I agree with, and am happy to pass along.

I will point out that the problem isn't all because of an industry bias against women or women in action. The reasons there are problems with action women are complicated, probably more complicated than I fully comprehend and certainly more complicated than I feel like getting into here.

The problem is lack of audience understanding.

Superman, Batman and Spider-Man have been relatively easy to sell studios on the promise of. Even the comic dorky among us know that these are characters that the non-comic dorky out there know the concept of. Even people who couldn't tell you why they do.

It's an easy sale.

They've tried with various levels of success, mostly not much, to pull off other superheroes.

The reasons that they've struggled with pulling together a movie of The Hulk that very many people are happy with are complicated, partly by wildly divergent hopes and expectations. If not, that would be another easy sell.

Iron Man was the first big success of a concept that not many people knew or understood on a basic level, outside of geekdom. I think that success could, if capitalized on properly - which is indeed unlikely - lead to a number of characters whose concepts aren't automatic selling points.

I know, someone is starting to say, well, Wonder Woman's concept is...

Yeah. Say it.

Then tell me Wonder Woman's concept, smart ass!

Or better yet, get your Aunt Betty to tell it.

Alright then. Let's end that.

Wonder Woman's costume is totally more famous than Iron Man's. Her concept is somewhere in that same neighborhood.

Especially if we try to wade into the convoluted mess of reboots over the years, attempting to bring her up-to-date.

Which is about where we are with most of the older superhero women with a sellable name as a solo character. They were created at a time when women were written badly and the creators who have tried to fix that over the years have made them worse as often as they've made them better.

Now, some studio that doesn't give a rat's ass about this character hires a screenwriter who probably doesn't care any more than the studio and they're stuck going through the long mess of continuity. It's no wonder they end up starting from scratch and creating nightmare scenarios like Catwoman (Oh, let me just say that a movie of Selina's Big Score would take almost no work in adaption and would be so, so sweet!).

So, while I completely agree. In fact, I couldn't possibly agree more.

Female empowerment and chicks in tight skimpy costumes. I am there!

But I admit, it makes me nervous. There's a hornet's nest there.


I got an email in my Spam folder recently informing me that "Women HATE guys with small dicks!"

Now, I understand that if you're trying to sell bullshit penis enlargement that you have to play on men's insecurity about their penis size. It is, in fact, your entire job. Well, not exactly. That's not even the hard part... I mean, just because a dude thinks his cock doesn't live up to expectations, doesn't mean he believes that the mystery substance advertised in an unsolicited email is going to change that.

But this headline fails at even the starting point, because even if I had been sitting in my little corner worrying about whether my manhood was sufficient, I'd almost be comforted by the sheer ludicrousness of this.

It doesn't even attempt "Women hate having sex with guys with small dicks!", which would probably come closer to some point, although admittedly less concisely.

(Conciseness, as you may have guessed, is not my specialty, which is probably why I don't write advertising. Now, if it were 1948 and I was assigned to write one of those 15 paragraph ads that explain how good smoking is for you or something like that, I'd kick ass! Sadly, for my employment future at least, those days have passed.)

But, no, as phrased this suggests that the women I know in non-sexual contexts could be attempting to assess my endowment not as a potential sexual partner, but even on my value as a human being to co-exist alongside. Frankly, I find that entirely implausible. I mean, could be blind to the new Holocaust that's building slowly around me, but then allow me these few last moments of believing in a world that hasn't reached that point just a little while longer...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Not on region 1

Jeremy Richey is hosting M.I.A. On Region 1 DVD Tribute Month and asked for some other choices.

Allow me to note Trouble in Mind by Alan Rudolph. I have little to say that isn't in Roger Ebert's review. I will note that the performance by Divine as Hilly Blue is sublime, and only shows the shame that Divine didn't live to work in more movies outside the John Waters oeuvre.

If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death by Gianfranco Parolini. Frankly, the whole official Sartana series should be put out in a nice box set. They're fun, slightly twisted, wholly James Bond influenced Spaghetti Westerns that could totally find an audience among genre fans.

Golden Swallow by Chang Cheh. Come Drink With Me is available now from Dragon Dynasty, so perhaps this sequel is in the works.

Naked dudes

Now, I have a question.

Tons of other dudes, who aren't me, go through a weird kind of stage show when the subject of naked dudes in movies comes up. I know they're going to insist, out loud or even silently to themselves that this isn't a hundred kinds of bullshit, but anyone bothering to think about it for, say, half a second, can tell it doesn't make a lick of sense.

I suspect out there in the world, there are actual guys who have a genuine issue with seeing naked guys, but most guys out there have seen tons of naked guys. I mean, I'm lazy and even I've been to the gym a time or two. Did you skip showering afterward? And the guys who protest the loudest, are the ones you know sit and download tons of Bukakke videos, but then suddenly one naked dude stepping out of shower somehow freaks them out.

Bullshit! Man up and cut out the theatrics!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Gratuitous Pants

A while ago, I wrote a post titled Gratuity. I'm not sure I have a lot to add, but I do want to add one point to start.

I hate when restaurants says that they require a 15% gratuity. No, you don't. You can't. Just like you can't charge me for free food. They don't match. One thing or other is wrong.

Now that the language lesson part of our evening is concluded, let me introduce my new project: Gratuitous Pants.

If other people can add up which movies do and don't have unnecessary nudity, scenes in which the dramatic or comedic value of the work as a whole wouldn't be altered if the characters weren't naked, then I can do the opposite.

We all know there are scenes in movie in which people are wearing pants and the dramatic or comedic value of the work as a whole wouldn't be altered if the characters had not been wearing pants. They are either by themselves, with an intimate partner or some other circumstance in which their lack of pants would not strike one as in any way incongruous.

This should not be confused with previous notes in which I have stated that the characters lack of nudity was itself awkward, or awkwardly handled. This is only to note that the pants weren't themselves an essential part of telling the story properly.

Assuming I don't get caught up in, y'know, the story and whatnot, I plan to examine and call out all Gratuitous Pants I see for the near future.

Be warned!

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Orleans

I love The Battle of New Orleans, and, no, not really as a novelty song, although I do get why people associate it that way. I think it was funny to find out it was written to inspire students interest in history. As soon as you know it, you can tell that its almost randomly packed with facts. You could take a quiz on the battle if you memorized it.

What's Andrew Jackson's nickname? Oh, yeah! And his rank at the time? Woohoo! I'm gonna rock this test!

This is the only clip of Johnny Horton performing I see. He died in 1960, so there likely aren't many more to be unearthed.

Can you imagine a modern pop hit performed with a ballet reenactment of the War of 1812 performed behind it? Man, today sucks!

Roger Miller

Roger Miller was amazing. I mean, I could point out the obvious sadness that haunts something like "One Dyin' and a Buryin'", which is a great record, but listen to the sadness that fills even his so-called "novelty" songs here.

Ok, not "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd", but, really, you get the idea!


There are things one forgets moving across the country. In my life, the Super Bowl is an afternoon event. Something you can finish and then relax, go on and do other things. To me, this feels entirely natural and the way things are supposed to be.

Now, I'm not sure I care for the principle of the Super Bowl as an evening event, one that you're ready to curl up at the end of and wind down.

I don't care for this change, and if this hadn't been one of the best Super Bowl games I've seen, I'd be annoyed at the whole thing.

I then went ahead and watched the episode of The Office that followed. I admit, I've only watched this show a small handful of times. The original The Office is just so, so brilliant and, well, concise. This is American TV, which means even if it doesn't suck today, it will long, long before they finally put it out of its misery.

But what struck me wasn't anything in particular about the show, but that it had just been a really long time since I've watched a TV drama series on TV. Not on a TV, but like as its broadcast with commercials and all.

Now I remember why I gave it up. I may never do it again.

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