Monday, December 29, 2008

It's official; Watchmen is f*#%ed.

I first reported on Watchmen's legal troubles back in August, then opined on its voyage towards clusterfuckery in September. You'd think, that as its March 6 release date comes ever closer, 20th Century Fox and Warners would stop biting each other in the sandbox and play nice, but apparently, these multi-million dollar companies truly are run by children.

Recent news means, my fellow nerds, that Watchmen may be totally fucked. At the very least, short of a miracle, we won't be seeing it in March. Last week, the judge in the case handed down a preliminary ruling that states that Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture. According to an article in the Hollywood reporter, this ruling could force Warners to settle for a hefty payday. Ouch.

But is that really the outcome Fox is looking for? Look, if Warners has to settle, then it coughs up a bunch of dough to Fox. Alternatively, if Fox holds out for actual distribution rights, then, should the film be a hit, Fox stands to reap a ton of dough.

But, according to an article in today's New York Times, neither side is considering settling. Now, while Warners is being a little douchey in not offering a quick solution to this mess, they have sunk a huge amount of moolah into this film, and it's only reasonable that they'd be reluctant to give up any amount of profit to a company that had the project in their hands for a decade, and couldn't make it work. Fox passed on the project, it was shopped around to other studios for almost five years, and then Warners actually made a movie.

So, Fox had it, gave it up, waited a few years while other studios tried to make it, watched Warners develop it, go into pre-production, start shooting, finish shooting, go into post-production and then release a trailer and announce a release date. That's when Fox filed suit. So, you know, as I've said before, fuck Fox.

This only shows a ton of disrespect to fans, Zack Snyder and the cast and crew that worked their asses off to make a movie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

TR2N just got cooler.....which wouldn't be too hard, really

They are planning a sequel to Tron. Okay, first things first: Tron kicked fucking ass. Anyone who says otherwise probably molests collies. I'm just saying. Hating Tron means the terrorists win.

, then I heard that they were going to make a sequel. Hmm, totally uncalled for, but okay. As long as they don't make it completely lame and retarded. Oh, they're going to call it TR2N? Well, those expectations were dashed pretty fuckin' quickly, weren't they?

I was five years old when Tron came out. I loved it. I'm pretty sure that if a sequel came out the very next year, I would have lost my little six year old mind. 'Cause six year olds don't know shit. But if that sequel had been called TR2N, my six year old self would have turned to my mom and said, "That's bullshit, mommy."

First off, TR2N is not even a word. And the number 2 does not sound like an O (in case you're aiming for a 2 Fast 2 Furious type of thing). Nor does the number 2 look like an O. Basically it's a title that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. How do you buy a ticket for this thing at the box office? "One for Tr-two-en, please" because that's how it reads phonetically.

Well, Tr-two-en just got exponentially cooler. Bruce Boxleitner, it has just been announced over Aint it Cool, has signed on. Who's Bruce Boxleitner, you may ask? Well, for those that don't know, he was muthafuckin' Tron, bitches. Also, he was Scarecrow.

So, you know, it's edging closer to obtaining my interest. If they get Jeff Bridges, then I'll be sold. I just really hope they don't get this guy:

If Star Wars somehow got involved, this would be the nerdiest thing ever...

So, yeah, came across this on the interwebs. While I sincerely applaud the technical prowess on display here, I have to say, without reservation or equivocation: this is the geekiest thing I have ever seen.

This doesn't mean I don't like it. I mean the footage from Doctor Who is inserted a tad awkwardly, but it's kind of eerie how well the Star Trek stuff fits into the story they're telling. Well done sirs.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

RIP - Majel Barrett-Roddenberry

Sad news in the entertainment world today, as news comes that Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Star Trek actress and widow of creator Gene Roddenberry, passed away at the age of 76 following a battle with leukemia.

Barrett first appeared in the original Star Trek pilot, 1964's The Cage, as the first officer known only as Number One. When NBC commissioned a second pilot for the series, the cast was significantly retooled, and although Barrett's character was jettisoned, she would appear regularly on the series as Nurse Christine Chapel. She also provided the voice of Starfleet computers from the original series on throughout all subsequent series.

When Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted, Barrett took on the recurring role as Counselor Deanna Troi's exuberant and somewhat brassy mother, Lwaxana.

At the time of her death, Barrett had just completed voiceover work for the upcoming Star Trek film, once again providing the voice of the Enterprise computer.

Rest In Peace, Mrs. Barrett Roddenberry.

Avengers Assemble - Casting Call - And the Rest!

For those of you that don't get the reference in the title, go here, and watch that clip till the end. Now, that's a slap in the face to two cast members! They list every frickin' person in the show, and then you get an "And the Rest!"

, a while back, I posted my thoughts on who should be cast as Captain America. I still stand by Leo. Marvel's also announced the Mighty Thor as the next hero to get the big screen treatment, and made plans for an Ant-Man film, though whether the latter will debut before the Avengers flick is doubtful.

, the founding members of the Avengers were Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Captain America joined soon after, and is considered a founder. So, we know Robert Downey Jr. will play Iron Man. I'm fairly certain the Hulk will appear, with Edward Norton putting in some sort of cameo. I've already put forth DiCaprio. So, who will play the rest?

The Mighty Thor

This might be one of the toughest roles to cast. Thor is supposed to be a frickin' god, after all. The way he's depicted in the comics is as an immensely powerful and almost ridiculously lofty character, spouting pseudo-Shakespearen dialogue and fighting frost giants, evil gods and trolls. Now imagine that dude hanging out with Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark. Hard, huh? Marvel made a brilliant move in hiring Shakespearean genius Kenneth Branagh to direct, but whoever they cast has to have enough chops to pull off the majesty and ass-kicking power without looking fucking ridiculous.

I vote for the current odds-on favourite, Kevin McKidd:

First off, the dude has the intense look Thor needs. Also he's blonde. I'm not that much of a stickler on actors having to look exactly like the character, but the guy's a Norse god, so blonde is kind of a must. Most importantly, he's got the chops. In Rome, he played Lucius and was great, successfully managing to feel modern and visceral while retaining the ancient feel of the story. He could very well be one of the few actors out there who could pull the part off, both physically and talent-wise.

The Wasp

She can shrink down to the size of her namesake, fly around and possesses a "sting" that is a blast of energy. Like many female characters created by men, she's a little lame and weak. Still, who would you get to play Janet Van Dyne, super-hero, fashion designer and socialite heiress?

Okay, I know that I posted earlier this year that Eva Longoria was in the running for the role. But I really have not enjoyed anything I've ever seen her in, so I'm not picking her. I'd go for Michelle Monaghan:

She's got some recognition, having appeared in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Gone Baby Gone, Mission Impossible III and most recently, Eagle Eye. But she hasn't broken wide yet. Yet. She probably won't ask for as much as Longoria, and she's definitely got the talent to pull off all of the Wasp's personality, and make something more of the admittedly under-developed character.


He can shrink down to the size of an ant! He can grow super-tall! Dr. Henry Pym is a genius who created Pym Particles, which allow both he and his fiance Janet Van Dyne to change their size. He's also an insecure mess of neuroses who accidentally created the villanous robot Ultron, has had more nervous breakdowns than Montgomery Clift and once actually struck Janet, his then-wife.

Whoever you get to play him must be someone who doesn't look like your typical super-hero. He has to be a geeky lab rat who somehow stumbled into the whole hero thing. So, I'm picking a guy who looks like, well, a skinny little geek, David Tennant:

I know, I know, my Doctor Who obsession is showing. Still, he's a great actor, he can sput the technobabble, and even though he doesn't look a whole lot like Pym does in the comic, he does exude geek chic and a certain nebbishy neurotic quality. After playing the Doctor, he's also ready for a little American exposure.

So, there are my choices for the Avengers. I think that if they assemble this cast (plus Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle, of course) you could have quite a fun little flick.

How could this movie be anything less than awesome?

Okay, here is a link to a movie that is absolutely certain to be filled to the brim with awesome. It is called Samurai Zombie.

Ahhhhh, Asia. I love how only your film industry can combine samurai, zombies, Pulp Fiction-like gunplay, anime, ridiculous violence and cosplay into a plot that will undoubtedly make no sense and yet still shake the pillars of heaven and hell with its sheer balls-to-the-wall awesomeness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sexiest Man Alive to host Self-Congratulatoriest Night Alive

Breaking News: Hugh Jackman, recently named sexiest man alive by People Magazine, is set to host the 81st Annual Academy Awards this February.

Now, in the past, comedians have hosted the Oscars, but with the exception of Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal, none have well and truly clicked. The edgier, hipper comedians (David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart) have come off as uncomfortable, neutered and/or inappropriate. The safer choices (Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg) seemed too eager to please.

Jackman, as an actor, may seem to be an odd choice, but over the years many actors have hosted. David Niven and Jack Lemmon both hosted numerous times, and both probably were great. Jackman has already hosted the Tony awards a few times to great acclaim, and as a singing, dancing and charming fellow, I bet he'll be the breath of fresh air they're looking for.

I had thought that Ricky Gervias was going to get the gig, but I'm actually pleasantly surprised by this choice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Avengers Assemble! - Casting Call - Captain America

Okay, over the last little while, I've been reading at more than a few comic book and film sites about who fans think should play some of the big roles coming up in the next Marvel Films.

Just to review, go here to learn about Marvel Studios' upcoming plans to recreate the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Also, waaaay back I posted about Eva Longoria purportedly being up for the role of The Wasp in The Avengers. Personally, she seems like a rocky choice to me, even if she does look like the character.

But back to the fans. At Newsarama, a poll just concluded that saw Fringe's Mark Valley the most popular choice for the role. Look, I don't mind Valley, but this vote seems to be totally about the fact that he superficially looks like Steve Rogers rather than any confidence in his ability to actually carry an entire film franchise on his back. This is what irritates me about these kinds of polls. No one thinks like you would have to when actually casting one of these things; namely that the person has to be capable of drawing some sort of audience, and he has to have the chops and the confidence to carry a whole franchise. You know why Iron Man worked? Because Robert Downey not only fit the part but also elevated the material beyond its comic book roots.

So, Nerdlinger (you may be saying), put your money where your mouth is and give us your pick.

Okay, here is my choice for Captain America: Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now some of you may be rolling your eyes right now, but listen to my reasoning here. First off, when Marvel took a chance and cast Robert Downey Jr, it was far from a sure bet. Downey was a well-respected, Academy Award nominated actor, yes, but he was not necessarily an A-list movie star. He was missing that big money-making crowd-pleasing blockbuster. Therefore, he was not crazily expensive like Tom Cruise, a level of movie star that can overwhelm both the budget and the character. But, what got people excited was that Downey had chops. Serious acting chops. No one doubted that whatever he did with the role of Tony Stark, it would not be a cheesy shallow interpretation. And it wasn't.

DiCaprio is sort of in the same boat. Yeah, yeah, he was in Titanic, but he's spent most of his career since then running away from that film as hard as he can. So, while he's a movie star, and a big one, his more artistic sensibility has kept him from attaining the same level as say, George Clooney or Brad Pitt. However, he might be ready to dive into a franchise comic book film, provided it's the right kind of role, and Steve Rogers (sickly depression era kid who becomes WWII super-soldier and then is frozen for the rest of the decade, waking up as a man out of time) provides more dramatic meat than most comic book roles. Look at that picture above. That's pretty damn close to 1940s Steve Rogers, isn't it?

Some of you might claim he's too much of a pretty boy. Well, I thought the same thing. Until Blood Diamond. That was the first film where I thought I was watching a man, not a very good looking young man. Even in The Departed, he had a "youthful" quality. But in Blood Diamond, I completely bought him as a badass ex-soldier. and you'd think he'd be psyched to appear as an icon alongside such quality actors as Downey and Edward Norton.

DiCaprio for Cap. That's my choice. What about Thor? Or Ant-Man and the Wasp? Check out a future post for my picks there.

Friday, December 5, 2008

RIP - Forrest J Ackerman

More sad news, though it was not unexpected given his health; legendary genre icon Forrest J Ackerman has passed away. He was 92 years old.

Ackerman created the legendary magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1958, perhaps the first and best publication devoted to genre films. It was hugely influential, counting such future horror and science-fiction luminaries as Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Landis and others as fans. During his lifetime he amassed the largest and greatest collection of genre memorabilia in the world, including Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape, Mr. Spock's ears, and Lon Chaney's makeup kit, along with a staggering amount of photos and other items. Perhaps most impressively, he actually coined the phrase "sci-fi".

He interviewed legends like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. He introduced countless youngsters to old genre classics. He was among the first to suggest that these types of films and stories were even worth serious scholarship and appreciation. Here's a wonderful obit.

Rest in peace, Uncle Forry. And hopefully, you'll come back the way you'd want, as a terrifying creature of the night.

RIP - Paul Benedict

Back in 1996, I was in my first year of theatre school at New York's Circle in the Square. If attending theatre school in Manhattan three blocks from Times Square wasn't cool enough, the professional Broadway theatre attached to my school was putting on production of Eugene O'Neil's Hughie, directed by and starring Al Pacino.

It's a two-man show, with Pacino playing a down-and-out gambler, dreamer and liar named Eerie, who spends a long, exhausted night talking to the night clerk at the flophouse he stays at. That clerk was played by Paul Benedict. Mr. Benedict passed away on Monday. He was 70 years old.

Though I did once almost literally run into Pacino in the halls (that's another story), I actually met and spoke with Paul a few times, and he was a kind and funny man. He was amazing in the paly, delivering wonderfully funny stream of conciousness monologues and more than standing up to the powerhouse that is Pacino.

Of course, Benedict was most famous for his wonderful portrayal of Mr. Bentley, the neighbour, on The Jeffersons. He also was the first director of the classic play Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune. The LA Times has a nice obit here.

Rest in Peace, Paul, I'm glad to have met you.

I'm pretty sure I enjoyed "Synecdoche, New York"...

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that Synecdoche, New York was a brilliant movie. At least, what I understood, I liked, but there was a whole lot of the movie that reminded me of taking mind-altering chemicals. Not in a trippy way, but in the way that, while on drugs, even the most ordinary of things take on the quality of the surreal.

First off, the acting was universally amazing, starting with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is just fucking great in this role. He anchors the film with his deeply flawed but deeply human Caden Cotard. I recognized people I know personally in him, and even saw myself there. I felt for the guy, even when he behaved in a pretty horrible manner. Hoffman is one of the few "great actors" that is not overrated.

Secondly, the huge amount of great roles for women was pretty awesome. I won't list how many amazing actresses were in this thing, but it was pretty incredible, and they all do great work. Special shout-outs must go to Samantha Morton (who is criminally underrated, actually) and Emily Watson.

What I liked about it where the qualities I understood. The interconnectedness of humanity; the way that one person is everyone. The overarching theme of accepting that we all will someday die, and coming to terms with the fact that from the day we're born, we're dying. The way that human relationships can lead to disappointment and regret.

But there's so much going on here, so many surreal touches and narrative twists, that it all begins to feel like there's simply too much going on to absorb. By the end of the film, I was convinced that it was the work of a genius, but a genius in need of guidance. There are a lot of elements that could have been cut from the film, not because they're bad per se, but because they simply cram too much into the piece and take the whole film off point, causing it to meander and feel unfocused.

Still, it's nice to have the complaint that a film tries to be too rich and complex and innovative. What a contrast to the empty, facile, vapid experiences films all too often offer up. I'm going to watch this film again, and maybe it will come together for me more. I hope so. It's a film that I really think is almost a masterpiece.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hilarious clip.....awesome

This clip kills me every time. Also, Bowie is so cool.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Image Search : "Horrible Album Covers"

Here's a feature I haven't done in a while. Hope you enjoy some of the results that pop up when I type "horrible album covers" into Google Image Search.

Where are you now, Devastatin' Dave, a man so bad he has no use for "g"s on the end of words? Have you been emancipated as a turntable slave? Will your crotch still electrocute people?

What happens to defrocked Catholic priests? Well, some of them get record deals.

Sweet Jesus, how did this get by the A&R guy?

This is why I'm an atheist. They say that we're all made in God's image, but I refuse to believe he'd dress like this. The women are apparently dressed in what my mother used to line her kitchen shelves in 1975. Whenever I see an insanely wholesome Christian act like The Simmons family, I prefer to imagine that they actually live a Charles Bukowski/Brett Easton Ellis type of life, doing blow of stripper's asses and drinking Jim Beam straight from the bottle.

What's more disturbing: the frozen look of placidity on everyone's face, their Herb Tarlek wardrobe, or the fact that apparently, only one of these kids is God's child? Do they know which one it is, or do they all have to compete for the holiest position in some sort of Christian version of America's Next Top Model? Because if you ain't God's child, you know what you are? That's right; Satan's Bastard.

And we finally know where Dustin Hoffman got the inspiration for Tootsie.

Batman, RIP.....WTF?

Okay, so the final issue of Batman R.I.P. came out yesterday. For those of you that don't read Batman, this was the culmination of a long storyline where a mysterious organization called the Black Glove dedicated themselves to destroying Batman through both physical and pyschological means. For those looking for a detailed summary, here's the Wikipedia entry. Frankly, the plot is waaaaaay too weird for me to summarize in any way that makes sense.

So, it's ended, and I've got to say........what the fuck?

Bruce Wayne is clearly not dead, and I never thought he would be. He's Batman, for the love of mike, there's no way DC was going to kill him off. That would be like Marvel killing off Captain America. Wait.......bad example.

Look, I like Grant Morrison, the writer behind this story. I think he's pretty much one of the few truly big talents in comics, alongside Alan Moore and Geoff Johns. He wrote the best Justice League series ever. His weirder stuff, like Animal Man and Doom Patrol and The Invisibles, is justly legendary. He just finished writing the best Superman story in twenty years or so.

But the resolution of this story is frustratingly vague. We've spent the better part of a year reading a very difficult story, with numerous references to decades old continuity and strange stream of conciousness segues. It was as filled with Grant Morrison wackiness as his mainstream stuff can get, and that made for a sometimes frustrating read, as you had to simply absorb the elements that didn't make any sense, and hope it would work out in the end.

Well, in the end, the story simply ends. We get no revelations, really. The main villain, the mysterious Doctor Hurt, is never fully explained. The revelations about Bruce Wayne's parents are never fully confirmed or denied. Worst of all, Batman simply disappears at the end, seemingly dead, but I'm convinced he's merely decided to go into hiding. The Joker refers to apophenia, a disorder that causes one to see patterns in unrelated data, but that's a pretty unsatisfying concept upon which to hang a story this supposedly meaningful.

I hope things will soon all be made clear, but I have a feeling we'll be treated to Dick Grayson and others battling to take up the Bat-mantle until Wayne finally returns a year or so from now. Lame.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Doctor Who (Belated)! Pt 2

Continuing on from my previous post, I'm moving onto the five most recent incarnations of the Doctor, in celebration of the series' recent 45th anniversary.

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) - No relation to Tom, Colin Baker took over the role in 1985 in a bold fashion to say the least. The regeneration was the most violent and troubled to date, with the Sixth Doctor acting in a deranged and confused manner going so far as trying to strangle his companion! Subsequently, the Sixth Doctor revealed himself to be a bombastic and arrogant figure, a portentous yet eloquent egotist who wore a garish motley wardrobe. While this approach returned the character to his more anti-heroic roots, Baker's more challenging Doctor required strong writing in order to work. Sadly, this era was fraught with ever-shrinking budgets, formulaic, tacky scripts and rising levels of violence. The series was placed on hiatus for almost a year, then returned for one more season before Baker was unceremoniously fired by the BBC, which was a shabby way to treat the actor; his performance was often the best thing about the stories.

The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) - Initially, the Seventh Doctor's era seemed to be as doomed as his predecessor's. The Seventh Doctor was written as a buffoonish cypher with a penchant for malapropisms. In his second season, however, the generic clown persona was phased out in favour of depicting him as scheming master-planner that constantly hid his true motives and intentions. McCoy brilliantly played the Doctor as an increasingly dark and melancholy figure, with the weight of the universe on his shoulders and a willingness to deceive and manipulate even his companion, Ace. This resulted in his final season being among one of the best seasons in the show's history, although sadly, it was also its last. The series was cancelled by the BBC after 26 years on the air.

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) - After the cancellation of the classic series in 1989, viewers would have to waitseven years for the Doctor's return to television. Following the Seventh Doctor's regernation, Paul McGann took over as the Eighth Doctor in a TV movie produced by the BBC and Fox. The resulting hybrid of British and American sensibilities did not mesh well, with concessions made to the American side that wreaked havoc with established continuity. However, McGann put in a lovely performance. After the dark and melancholic Seventh Doctor, this incarnation was a more Byronic figure. He exhibited a passion for life and the little things, with a more openly romantic and expansive personality. He was the first Doctor to share a kiss with a companion, and he also claimed to be half-human, although this was never definitively proven. Sadly, he would only make one appearance as the character, but McGann proved that the character could be revived.

The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccelston) - In 2005, the series returned once more, this time in a relaunch that effectively merged the classic series with modern sensibilites. Eccelston's Ninth Doctor was seemingly radically different from all of his predecessors; he was decidedly more working-class and gritty, favouring a low-key wardrobe and a more casual, familiar tone. However, he was still the Doctor. Like many of his predecessors, he exhibited manic mood swings and a propensity for joking in the face of danger. He was an improviser at heart, rather than a planner, and though he retained a sense of joy and wonder at his travels, he also hid a deep sense of melancholy and sadness. In the time between the TV movie and the relaunch, the Doctor had fought in a Time War alongside his people, which resulted in the extinction of the Time Lord race save for himself. Eccleston allowed a haunted sense of loss to permeate his performance, giving the character a weight and emotional resonance.

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) - After Eccelston's short tenure, Tennant stepped into the role with great confidence, making it his own. On the surface, the Tenth Doctor appears to be an eccentric crackpot with a light-hearted, talkative, cheekily rude manner. But Tennant also emphasizes the lonely and remote qualities of the Doctor, resulting in a somewhat ruthless and dangerous character. Being the last Time Lord, it's clear that he has an absolute moral certainty, one that sometimes causes him to go too far in punishing his enemies. Still, his Doctor is one of the most nakedly emotional, conveying a deep sense of loss following Rose's departure, and openly weeping over the Master's body. Tennant will leave the role soon, and it is clear he will be missed, as he has given one of the most fully realized and popular interpretations of the character.

Happy Birthday, Doctor, here's to 45 more years.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Doctor Who (Belated)! Part 1

On Nov. 23, 1963, Doctor Who debuted on the BBC, making this past Sunday its 45th anniversary!

As my favourite science-fiction television series of all time, I've got to give the show its props as it heads into middle-age. Time for it to buy a sports-car, grow a pony-tail and start dating a younger genre franchise - maybe Firefly or Lost.

In honour of the franchise, we're going to salute all the Doctors, from William Hartnell to David Tennant. We'll look at the first five Doctors in Part One.

The First Doctor (William Hartnell) - The guv'ner. The guy who started it all. When the series debuted, viewers knew almost nothing about the Doctor save that he was from another planet and traveled in time and space in his TARDIS. He began as more of a slightly sinister selfish anti-hero, but soon evolved into a irascible wiardly eccentric with a steadfast dedication to righting wrongs wherever he found them. From him came a lot of the traits still seen in the character today; the mood swings, the mystery and the moral authority.

The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) - Stories vary as to exactly why Hartnell left the series in 1966; some say his worsening health made the punishing shooting schedule too demanding while others claim he wanted too much input into the series and was becoming difficult. The production team came up with the original concept of the Doctor regenerating and this allowed Troughton to step into the role. His Doctor is my fave; a scruffy anarchic "cosmic hobo" that improvised his way out of scrapes, he often seemed almost overwhelmed by the situations he finds himself in. Troughton's so much fun to watch, even if his era is mostly missing, junked by the BBC's criminally short-sighted technique of wiping old episodes from their archives.

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) - Pertwee took over in 1970, during a time of upheaval for the series. In Troughton's final story, the Doctor is finally caught by his own people, the Time Lords, and tried for violating their law of non-interference. He is sentenced to exile on the planet Earth in the late 20th century, and is forcibly regenerated. The Third Doctor worked with a paramilitary organization called UNIT, investigating alien menaces. He was more dashing and physical than his predecessors, employing alien forms of martial arts and numerous gadgets to subdue foes. Although he was still anti-authority, the Third Doctor was much more authoritative, and he exhibited a higher degree of arrogance and self-rightousness than before; traits that would remain to greater or lesser degrees in most subsequent incarnations.

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) - In 1974, Baker took over the role, beginning a seven year stint as the character. During his tenure the show would become a world-wide success thanksgreatly to his wonderfully eccentric and distinctive take. He played the Doctor as a strange traveling bohemian, subject to incredible mood swings and possesing an indefatigable wit. Funny, eccentric and totally original, the Fourth Doctor was the most alien of all the Doctors. Baker's portrayal was so iconic that each actor that subsequently took on the role had to emerge from his shadow.

The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) - After seven years of the aloof, alien, eccentric Fourth Doctor, Davison chose to make his Doctor more approachable, creating a vulnerable, more sensitive and relatable Doctor. Drawing primarily from Troughton as his inspriation, Davison's Fifth Doctor was an improvisor more than capable of seeming over his head when battling enemies. He wasn't too nice, however, he was still quick to anger when dealing with fools, bullies and annoying companions.

In our next post, we'll move on to the most recent Doctors!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Watchmen" will NOT Feature World's Deadliest Calamari

I'm not putting a spoiler warning on this, because Watchmen the novel has been out since 1986, and there's a statute of limitations on these things. I mean, would I have to put a spoiler warning on a post discussing the ending of Ghoulies? No, but I'd probably have to explain why I was writing about Ghoulies in the first place.

Over at Aint It Cool News, they've got a story about a UK screening of 30 minutes of Watchmen footage. This screening is the latest in a small series of screenings where Zack Snyder (the director) has shown some footage and occasionally answered some questions. The guy who sent in this story is actually the bes tof the various posters. He seems to be a big fan of the novel, but not so much that he's completely unaware of the realities of making films, and he can also write well, which believe me is a plus.

No matter that every single one of these I've read has praised the footage screened, what a lot of rabid fans want to know is will the film feature the novel's ending of the giant squid? There's been some back and forth about this, but Zack has set the record straight, and given a pretty damn good reason for changing the ending that makes total sense to me:

Zack came out with a good summary for its exclusion. He only has a finite amount of time to play this thing out in cinemas… roughly 2.5 hours. Now to include the squid would have meant sacrificing a lot of the character to story, there’s just not enough time to play it both ways. And Watchmen lives and dies by its characters… it’s the dilemmas that they face and the decisions they make… it’s what they come to learn about the world & their place within it… that helps make the novel what it is. The essence of the ending is still intact… the characters still go through more or less the same progressions that they did in the novel. At the end of the day the ‘squid’ is a means to an end… the filmmakers have gone down a slightly different route, but the overall picture is still the same.

I agree with this. I also agree with the poster's next point, that the squid ending, while cool for us nerds, might not be so cool to the average movie-goer, and this thing has to appeal to wide audience without losing any of what makes it special. Hard job, but I have a good feeling.

John Hughes misled me....

So, The Nerdlinger family moved domiciles this weekend, and this explains why the postings have been so infrequent over the last little while, and for that, I apologize. I'll get back to posting regularly just as soon as can be.

In the meantime, during our epic packing, we were looking for something on the TV to distract us from the boredom of packing endless boxes. We came across Pretty in Pink.

Now, I would like to pause for a moment to make an admission. Along with each and every Smiths album, the films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe helped get me through my adolescent angst. I could watch his flicks and identify with the teens struggling through their trials and tribulations. I thought that Hughes and Judd Nelson really "got" me.

Pretty in Pink was one of the darker films in the Hughes ouevre. Like a lot of these movies, it deals primarily with two things; unrequited love and the pressures of fitting in to a clique structure. When I was a young teen, who else would I identify with but Duckie as played by Jon Cryer? Duckie was awkward and nerdy and totally in love with best friend Andie (Molly Ringwald), and if she could only see that he was funny and offbeat and unique and devoted to her, they would live happily ever after, right? I mean, what teen hasn't been there? And then at the end, she chooses that douchebag Blaine (Andrew McCarthy).

Except that, watching it as an adult, an odd thing happened. I came to a shocking realization:

Duckie is a stalker. Oh yes. Duckie is one firm rejection away from killing Andie's cat. There's a scene where he phones her like, twelve times in one night. He's constantly creeping in through the back door at her work without telling her he's there. She knows how the Duckmeister feels, and she's not into him in that way. But Duckie can't let go, and has deluded himself into thinking there's a future. When that's threatened, he jealously freaks out and sits on a mailbox in the pouring rain.

And he's annoying. He dresses like an idiot (even for the eighties), he badly lip-synchs to songs for no apparent reason, and he touches the tapedeck in other people's cars, which is a fucking faux pas.

And you know what? Andrew McCarthy is not so much a douchebag anymore. Yeah, he dresses like a preppie moron, but at least he doesn't look like he's from Mars a la Duckie. Blaine's geniunely trying to break free of his clique restrictions, as is Andie, and while he'll probably dump Andie once he goes to Yale and starts banging coeds, at least he won't write her letters in his own blood like Duckie might.

Wow. You know you've officially left your rebellious teen years behind when you sympathise more with Andrew McCarthy than Jon Cryer.

Lloyd Dobler still fucking rules, though.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm posting way more Star Trek stuff than I ever intended...

Okay, so this isn't a Star Trek blog. Seriously. I am not a Trekkie (Or a Trekker. Or a virgin). As I have explained before, I liked the original 1960s series a whole lot, but liked each subsequent iteration of the franchise less and less until basically I considered the whole thing as silly as most regular people do.

Still, the new movie has
me. I'm excited. I'm psyched. Every new photo and detail looks retro-cool and so much fun. And recently, there's been a whole bunch more new stuff hitting the Interwebs about the flick.

Take this photo of the new Enterprise from Entertainment Weekly, for instance:

It's pretty awesome. It looks like the Enterprise, but it has a jaunty flair to it.

Meanwhile, over in the UK, director JJ Abrams has screened a few scenes of the flick to some lucky audience members, and you'll find some blow by blow, spoiler heavy descriptions here, and here.

Look, I think that personally, long-time fans might not love every single thing about this film, and if there's one thing fans do, it's find one completely insignificant continuity mistake or change and harp about until the end of time. However, for an audience of newbies, and people who don't give a crap and just want a good time, this could be a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My First Fictional Crushes

Like most nerds of today, I was raised predominantly by television. No matter how much my mom and dad prodded me to go outside and play, how could anything outside top what was going to happen on Transformers? Seriously. The best sunny day in the world could not compete with watching Optimus Prime give Megatron the beatdown that prick deserved.

As a result, many of the enduring life lessons were taught to me through the virtual reality of television. I'm not entirely sure that that isn't the most pathetic thing I could possibly admit, but TV is not wholly to blame. I read a lot of comic books too, so Stan Lee probably shares some culpability.

So, it only makes sense that before I became entranced by girls that actually existed in real life, I was first smitten with some damsels on TV. The following is a nostalgic shoutout to the first women who ever gave me, as Adam West might have put it, "strange stirrings in my utility belt".

10 - "Samantha" from Bewitched - First off, she was a witch, which was awesome. Secondly, look at that photo. She was also funny and kinda cool in a down to earth way. She seemed attainable too, mostly because Darren (whoever was playing him) was a complete dweeb. Some may prefer Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, but I'd rather hook up with Sam. Jeannie seemed too ditzy and sophmoric to have a conversation with, and besides, being with Sam might also mean that Paul Lynde would come to visit, and that cat was hilarious.

9 - "Laura Petrie" from The Dick Van Dyke Show - The very first MILF ever. The proto-MILF, if you will. What made her so attractive? Was it the sexy early 60s hairstyle? The turtelneck sweaters? The impeccable comic timing? The form-fitted capri pants? Yeah, probably the capris. In any case, she was the kookiest, sexiest, funniest young mom on TV.

8 - "Nurse Margie Cutler" from M*A*S*H - I'm reasonably confident this is the one crush on this list that will belong only to me. Marcia Strassman played Nurse Cutler in the first six episodes of the sitcom, and I guess was supposed to be Hawkeye's main love interest. She was quickly dropped in favour of playing Hawkeye up as a womanizer. Too bad, because I was totally smitten with Margie when I was kid, and unlike a lot of the crushes on this list, I still kinda have the crush. Look how adorable she is. She looks like an indie chick but from 1972. Oddly, Strassman never did it for me in Welcome Back, Kotter or any other of the shows she appeared in after this. It was Margie Cutler I crushed on.

7 - Meg Tilly - A few months back, Mrs. Nerdlinger and I were at our local Wingnuts, getting wings and whatnot. Who should be sitting across from us but a former crush of my youth, Ms. Meg Tilly? I know she's a celebrated author who has some bitter feelings regarding her past as an actress, so I didn't go over to her and inform her that the scene in The Big Chill where she wears a leotard and does yoga was an early sexual experience for me. That....would have been.....awkward. From Psycho II and Masquerade, I have endured some pretty crappy movies for you, Meg. I still haven't read your novel, though. Sorry. By the way, that photo there is of her in the infamous leotard.

6 - Bebe Neuwirth - This one is a little odd, perhaps, but I make no apologies for my pre-pubescent self. Yes, I had a crush on Lilith Sternin-Crane from Cheers. What saves me from total oddness is the fact that, when she is not playing Lilith, Neuwirth is amazingly hot. For a woman far older than me, that is. Oh, hell, for any woman really. See Summer of Sam and you'll get what I mean. She was also immeasurably hot as the cool guidance counselor in Say Anything.

5 - "Wonder Woman" - Lynda Carter actually pulled off that costume with such unfettered awesomeness that a show that is probably nearly unwatchable is still talked about today. Even as a kid, I watched this show for pretty much one reason, and I'm a comic book geek. Basically I would wait for her to spin around and turn into Wonder Woman, watch her run around, wonder why I was all sweaty and dizzy, and then go back to watching CHiPs.

4 - "Emma Peel" from The Avengers - The archetypal ass-kicking, cool as ice, super-hot female action hero. First off, this show was so awesome; it was funny and sophisticated and kitchy cool. Patrick Macnee was the epitome of stuffy cool as John Steed, and Diana Rigg radiated sexy as the cat-suited superspy Emma Peel. She was also smoking hot in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, too.

3 - Julie Newmar as "Catwoman" on Batman - Now we're getting into the all-time classic women of "first crush" stories. In her slinky outfit that was so tight that it defies hyperbole, and a portrayal that was overtly sexual, Newmar was the instigator of many kids' first awareness of sex at all. I posted this picture because it showed off Julie's face the best, but there's another shot floating around on the net that is from behind and waaaaay more indicative of a precise moment where a little kid might get a "funny feeling". Do an image search, and you'll find it.

2 - "Batgirl" on Batman - She was a goody-goody librarian and also a crime-fighter dressed in a skin tight costume. She was a brunette and a redhead. In short, she was hot. Craig also gets special marks for appearing as a green Orion slave girl in an episode of Star Trek.

1 -"Wilma Deering" on Buck Rogers - Sweet Fancy Moses, so very, very awesome. You have to love the seventies, because every single costume Erin Gray wore on this show was made of skin tight spandex. This might have been the very first girl who I ever thought was not yucky. She could pilot a space ship, fire a laser gun and wore those suits all the time. Watching the show now reveals how cheesy it was, but Erin Gray remains stunning in every way. Once again, like a lot of women on this list, it's only in this role that Gray really did it for me. On Silver Spoons, she was somehow un-sexy, which would seem impossible, but true.

So those are the first crushes, a mere slice of the many life lessons offered to me by television and movies while growing up. I'm not going to go into the other life concepts it taught me, such as mortality (thank you, Transformers the Movie) or disappointment (thank you, GI Joe the Movie), but I hope you had fun going down memory lane with me.