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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michael Crichton - RIP

According to the author's website, Michael Crichton has passed away after a "courageous and private battle against cancer". He was 66 years old.

Crichton first gained fame with his classic sci-fi novel The Andromeda Strain, although he had written several earlier novels under different pen names. He would go on to continued success with such novels as The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery and Congo, but would reach his greatest success as a novelist with Jurassic Park.

In the world of film, he directed the sci-fi classic Westworld, as well as Coma, The Great Rain Robbery, Looker and Runaway. He also created the hit television series ER.

Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States!!

Okay, so, even though this is a US election, and I live in Canada, this is still a great day for me. And yeah, this is a pop culture site and not a political one, but still, this news is bigger than that.

Not only was this a moment when history was made with the election of the first African-American US President, but it was also a startlingly loud repudiation of eight years of policies that have led to an America in serious trouble. Obama thumped McCain in the Electoral College (349 to 163), as well as in the popular vote. He even won in Indiana, a state that hasn't gone Democrat in a national election since 1964.

In the Senate races, the Dems added five seats to their total of 51, bringing them up to 56 seats. However, four seats remain too close to call at this time, including in Minnesota, where Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has been in a particularly tough battle against Democratic candidate and former Saturday Night Live writer/performer Al Franken.

So, the Dems now control the House, the Senate and soon, the White House. What an incredible message the people have sent; it's time for a new broom.

Now, President-Elect Obama must be feeling the largest pressure of all; that of huge expectations. But for the first time in a long time, I think there's a fighting chance to meet them.