Home Is Where The Weird Is

It’s been a weird couple of weeks for my various hometowns.

Today, while we were working hard of course, my boss, who also lives in the illustrious Orange County (the one with motorcycles, not real housewives), saw a link about Jon from that awful awful show Jon & Kate Plus 8. He was apparently seen in a nearby town called Newburgh with two ladies. I just thought that was funny. If I can offer Jon one piece of advice, stick it out till they’re 18 and THEN bounce, otherwise that’s a hell of a lot of child support homey.

Also, last week I was listening to NPR on my way to the train station (cause I like to be cultured for no less than 5 minutes a day when I’m not listening to Fall Out Boy CDs) and heard about the super crazy mayor of Toledo Carty Finkbeiner. He apparently asked people to mow the area parks with their own mowers. Hey not so crazy right? Here’s the video.

Not only is it awesome that the much younger dude is walking next to the old man while he mows the lawn, but how does the mayor have time to go out and mow the grass every week? Fix the town! I mean it’s not like the economy has shit the bed, the automotive crisis is having any repercussions or Toledo was voted THE worst medium sized city to try and find a job in! Goddammit! I feel my inner Lewis Black coming out.

Now, if this is your only experience with Finkbeiner I can hear you wondering “Why’d you call him crazy? This isn’t so bad.” Well, my ignorant friend, listen up. In his first term as mayor of Toledo, a city of over 300,000 people, Carty made headlines with two ridiculous statements. First up, he went on record saying that deaf people should all move out near the airport because they can’t hear the planes anyway. Hey, maybe that’s not so bad. Think again. This statement immortalized Toledo in the boardgame Trivial Pursuit. I tried figuring out which card it is to scan for you fine readers, but I couldn’t nail it down. If any fellow Toledoians are reading this and now, please let me.

The other point of national infamy brought on my hometown thanks to Carty stems from an appearance he did on the Daily Show. This was back in the mid 90s when they would routinely search out politicians from podunk towns with crazy ideas. Well, it seems Carty wanted to convince the world that Toledo was the Hollywood of the midwest. Oh how I wish this clip was floating around the internet. Instead, more ridicule. On national television. Thanks Carty.

If these sound like isolated incidents, please click to the 20 or so controversies on his Wikipedia Page which include maybe roughing someone up!

Halloween Scene: Seeing Halloweeners

Much like spying Lost cast members, I love seeing folks from the Halloween movies (well, the ones I’ve seen and liked at least) in other flicks. I’ve recently had the pleasure and surprise of seeing Danielle Harris and Donald Pleasence in various flicks I didn’t even know they were in.

Danielle Harris popped up as a kid in two flicks about dads she doesn’t really like who get into some crazy situations. First up, I watched a movie called Back to Back (1996) starring her and Michael Rooker (who I’ve only seen in Mallrats, he looks kinda funny with hair). Oh, Bobcat Goldthwait is in it too and is super annoying, but don’t worry, he gets blown up pretty good.

Back to Back is not a good movie. It’s not altogether bad, it’s just kind of unremarkable. Rooker and Harris get kidnapped by this guy who has a score to settle with someone for some reason, so he escapes from a police station and blah blah blah. I guarantee you’ve seen this kind of movie before done better. But, if you’re like me and you’re looking for something to watch on Netflix Instant, you can probably do worse.

Harris also appeared as the angry daughter in The Last Boy Scout (1991). I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in the movie and still haven’t finished it from early last week (I had pretty bad luck picking movies as I’m sure I’ll get to in further detail in upcoming posts). I’m sure there’s some good stuff in there, I just need to finish it out. Thanks to this commute, though, it’ll be rough. Anyone want to give me one of those plug-in internet things? I’d greatly appreciate it and even plug the heck outta you, for what it’s worth.

On the Donald Pleasence front, I peeped him in two movies as well, first up the Sean Connery James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967). In it, Pleasence plays Blofeld, the big villain for the early Bond flicks. Pleasence was the first guy to play Blofeld in person (you saw him petting his cat a lot and feeding fish before this) and boy does he look crazy nutso, but in a good way. It’s pretty clear that Donnie here was the inspiration for Dr. Evil in Austin Powers (down to the suit and even some of the mannerisms).

Pleasence also appeared in the 1979 version of Dracula starring Skeletor-Nixon himself Frank Langella as Drac. I read about the movie on Horror Movie A Day and thought it sounded pretty good. I was bored to tears for most of it, but Pleasence played a mental institute-running Dr. Jack Seward. He didn’t do much but be a dad for the parts I saw (this was another movie I couldn’t get through, even being a captive audience on a train. Ah well, you can’t go wrong with crazy Pleasance, though he still, in my opinion, never topped the upper echelon’s of crazy-old-guy he reached in Halloween 6.

Live Blogging From Russia With Love (1963)

For Christmas I bought my dad and I the complete James Bond Box Set (up to that time at least, it doesn’t have Quantum of Solace in it, which I still haven’t seen yet). Dad and I used to rent various Bond movies and we’d always enjoy watching when (I think) TNT would do their Bond marathons. So, like with Saturday Night Live, I’m a fan because of that, but also because these are some of the craziest, coolest, most over the top and gadget filled movies of all time and, of course, I love all that stuff.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into From Russia With Love, the 2nd Bond movie, and, of course, stars Sean Connery.

*I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one all the way through.

*You can’t take Bond out that easily…oh, okay.

*Can’t go wrong with projecting the credits onto hot lady parts.

*Looks fantastic on this TV.

*Hehe, I like the gigantic chess board so people in the crowd can watch. I can’t think of a more boring “sport” to watch.

*Message in the water glass, nice way to get your point across. Oh man, I thought he’d have to throw the game, but he put that nerd DOWN! WHAT WHAT!

*Blofeld? Yup. How can such an evil man have such an adorable kitty? Unfortunately, the cat is almost always looking at the camera, very unprofessional.

*Nice, they referenced the previous movie.

*Why HELLO there sun bathing beauty. Yeah, you better take off your skirt and blouse to massage that guy on the blanket outside.

*Dude, SPECTRE has their own island? Jealous.

*Hot damn, I love a good “walking through a training/testing area” shot and no one does it better than Bond filmmakers.

*Woah, that is a tiny towel Mr. Badguy. He totally passes the “get punched in the gut with brass knuckles by a creepy old woman” test.

*Blondy likes Klebb’s riding crop me thinks.

*We still haven’t seen the real Bond yet. Ah, there he is, making out with a hottie in a boat.

*I think Moneypenny would do a threeway with James and any other broad.

*Q!!! With the super briefcase (gun, knife, sniper rifle, gold, tear gas and a secret way of opening). Score!

*Invoking the title! By writing it on a picture no less.

*Who’s this goober in a mustache and beret?

*They’re trying to bug him, but you can’t fool James Bond. Fools.

*Wowzers, who is THAT? Woman in orange. The 60s were awesome!

*Underground river? Super cool.

*Gypsy’s know how to party. Gypsy cat fight? Hahaha, awesome.

*Who’s the blonde guy with the mustache? Why are people attacking the gypsies? I should be paying better attention.

*Bond asks to stop the girl fight? WHAT? Oh, he gets to decide, so I assume he boned them both. Yup.

*”Oh James will you make love to me every day in England?” “All day and all night.”

*Aw, the funny guy died.

*No, James, that’s the bad guy!

*See, I think Bond should be a much more formidable foe.

*Heh, he’s gonna get gassed!

*Cool train fight.

*You can’t take the real Bond out like you did in the beginning you punk!

*Klebb’s back-up plan was to kill Bond with a shoe-knife? Seriously?

*James Bond is a literer AND he did that stupid wave.

Don’t Worry, I’m Back

Hey Gang, I’m sure some of you were wondering where I disappeared to since my last post on Thursday. Well, I went back home to Toledo for my cousin Bryan’s wedding (to Megan, the latest addition to the Dietsch clan, welcome!). It was a lot of fun seeing family I hadn’t seen for quite awhile and finally being able to tell people I actually work in NYC now (for YEARS, I had to explain that I did not work in the city and did not actually make comic books, oi). After that we spent some time at my parents’ cottage where we saw some of those same family members again and we got visits from some friends from home. It was great seeing everyone and getting the chance to relax sans internet, but I’m back (though my laptop doesn’t seem to have faired so well thanks to the trip, I’m hoping the Mac Geniuses can fix it).

Anyway, I’m back, look for new posts soon (like in 5 minutes).

Dapper Dan Is Awesome

I recently received a critique saying I used the word “awesome” too much. While that may be, I’m not gonna stop, especially when I come across an artists like Dapper Dan whose pop culture-inspired art blows me away so thoroughly.



Thanks to a post on /Film about his recent Back to the Future piece, I found my way to Dapper Dan’s Deviant Art page and spent a good deal of the day going through it. I’m a big fan of artists who take the time to create pieces of art using their favorite characters from comics, TV, movies, video games and anything else (especially if they’re all thrown together). Between his page and Gallery1988, I’ve got plenty to pour over.

But if you’re too lazy to click over to the link, feel free to browse his images in the gallery below, though these are only a few of his albums and you’re definitely missing out if you don’t check everything out.

Here’s his DC album.

And here’s his Ghostbusters album.


Season Premier: Glee (kinda)

So, now that just about everything we watch has season finaled, Em and I were pretty excited to see an ad for a new show called Glee on Fox that premiered after American Idol last night. Well, we tuned in, but it turns out it wasn’t really a season premiere.

Well, I guess technically it was because it’s the first episode of a season, but the actual weekly show doesn’t start until the fall. I can understand wanting to get as many of those American Idol viewers as you can, but is it wise to show this thing and then wait for three months? Will people even remember it? I dunno.

I liked a good deal of the show. The premise is this teacher who used to be in the glee club starts it back up or takes it over or something, getting a rag tag group of outcasts together who sing like champs (even though they look different!). He’s also married to a character I hated by her second scene and has Charlie the Waitress from Heroes (hey, I used to like the show before I hated it) who is super cute and obviously a better choice for him as a mate.

Here’s the problem with the show. I’m bored with the above premise of the cool guy being with a crappy girl while there’s a much cooler girl right there. It’s one thing if it’s in a movie where you know things will get better (or not) within an hour or two, but here you have no idea how long it’ll last. Will it be a Niles and Daphne situation? A Ross and Rachel? I’m good on that, thanks.

I also wasn’t very impressed with the background characters, especially the d-bag football players. There’s one dude on the team who’s also in the glee club and, of COURSE, his teammates (who also pick on the other geeks in the glee club) give him a hard time about it. The thing is, these guys just come off as one dimensional, overly-threatening menaces. I’m not sure what it was, but these guys felt like actual bad dudes because they never did anything okay.

Now, I know it’s maybe not fair to judge an entire show based on one hour of television, but that’s what they want us to do right? That’s the whole point of this early, early viewing. That’s another problem, the show should be (and hopefully will be) just a half hour.

All that being said, it did have it’s good parts. I liked all of the main cast, including the glee club weirdos, Jane Lynch and Stephen Tobolowsky. And, of course, the song numbers were pretty sick. I liked the rival team’s rendition of “Rehab” and then, of course, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at the end was rad. It was good enough to get me to come back in the fall (if I remember AND it’s not opposite something we regularly watch).

Haha, oh, that reminds me of one other thing that left me scratching my head. They did a “next time on Glee” kind of thing the previews the season or whatever where they completely SPOILED what seems like a major plot point. SPOILER. One of the problems in the pilot is that the main guy’s wife (who, remember, I hate as a character) is pregnant. Well, she’s a shady lady so I figured something was up. Well, if you saw the “next time” thing, you know that she’s not really pregnant, but having a Hysterical pregnancy. I kind of think they threw it in to be like “Hey, he might not be with her forever!” Eh.

OH! It also takes place in Ohio, so it gets points for that. I can’t quite place where they are, though they say that Arkon is south and they’re near Carmel. I think that’s near Cleveland? I dunno, until proven otherwise, I’m gonna say it’s Toledo. Yeah Toledo!

I Am So Psyched For The Hangover

For me, the current wave of awesome comedy flicks didn’t start with Judd Apatow (though much respect him as he’s done most of the heavy lifting). No, comedy started getting awesome for me again (like the previous golden age thanks to the National Lampoon/SNL/SCTV folks in the late 70s and early 80s that I grew up on) in 2003 with the release of Old School, which I’ve talked about before.

Well, Todd Phillips, the mastermind behind Old School, along with Road Trip (2000), Starsky & Hutch (2004) and School for Scoundrels (2006) which I didn’t love, has a new movie coming out soon called The Hangover about three dudes (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) who wake up Dude Where’s My Car-style in Vegas missing the their buddy the groom. You know what else it has? Mike Tyson and Phil Collins together! (kinda). I laughed so hard the very first time I saw the first trailer, I almost couldn’t stop. i then showed it to everyone int he office and laughed as much every time. It’s the one with Tyson punching a dude, amazing. Well, I’m so enthused about this flick I thought I’d provide you with every trailer I could find with a basic search on YouTube. Enjoy!

Haha, of course, I write this whole thing only to find that most of the trailers on YouTube have had embedding turned off. Well, here’s the one I could find, check for links below.

I

Can’t

Wait!

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Are Awesome!

Damn, these guys are awesome. For those of you who might not know, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are the screenwriters behind Transformers, it’s upcoming sequel (which I’m very excited about), The Legend of Zorro, Mission Impossible III, Fringe, Star Trek and The Island, the last two I watched recently.

Right off the bat, I’ve got to admit that I don’t really remember Legend of Zorro or MI3, so I can’t speak to their ability writing those or for shows like Xena, Hercules, Jack Of All Trades and Alias, but everything else I’ve seen that they’re written has been rad. As you might have noticed, Kurtzman and Orci have a history of working with producer, writer and director extraordinaire J.J. Abrams (Alias, Fringe and Trek). Not shabby company to keep if you ask me.

What I love about these guys is how thoroughly they think through genre stories that, a few years ago, would have probably been tossed to guys who were just looking to get a paycheck. Transformers didn’t have to be a good movie (and many of you might disagree with me on this), but it was. It was also full of crazy fun action scenes. Aside from the incredible stories you see on the screen, I’ve heard a number of interviews with the writing duo thanks to the Creative Screenwriting Podcast. Most recently I listened to the Star Trek one and it blew me away at how well they were able to address and answer logically many of the geek and logic-based questions. A few holes in the movie were filled in the original writing stage, but were later cut and there’s all kinds of other information they have to offer in these interviews. I highly recommend them.

Like I said, I watched The Island (2005) and Star Trek (2009) last week. I’m thinking of going back and listening to the Island podcast interview actually because I’m curious to hear what they have to say about their first original movie, which ended up getting directed by Michael Bay (who I’ve gone on record as loving). The Island is a very cool movie though it seems at first to have a ton of plot holes (how do they go from naive teenage-level beings to pulling off this crazy scheme?). But, the more I think about the various apparent holes, the more I can explain them. Ewan McGregor’s character is growing memories right? So maybe he’s growing a few character traits here and there. It’s these kinds of questions I think would be addressed in the podcast, which I will, now that I think about it, definitely be downloading from iTunes tomorrow.

What I do know just from watching the movie without any background is that it was clearly influenced by some of the classic 70s sci-fi flicks I watched back in January. It was fun watching the movie, kind of knowing what the twist was, but not really knowing how completely it would flip. SPOILER: I knew they were clones, but I didn’t know the details, like that they were living in a complex created by someone who saw Logan’s Run a time or two too many. Even knowing what I knew, I still couldn’t figure how it would be revealed, so that’s a testament to the writing.

I definitely recommend The Island to anyone. It’s got the assumed Michael Bay chases and explosions. Even a car chase with a truck dropping big scary things while being chased by a smaller vehicle (cars in Bad Boys II, train wheels here). Plus you get McGregor, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi who are always good, and Scarlett Johansson who’s at least nice to look at. Plus if you like their later movies, I think it’s always cool to go back and see how they broke into the movie business.

So, from their first to their latest, I have to throw my hat in with just about everyone else in the world and say I really dug Star Trek. I didn’t come out of it feeling like I did when I left Iron Man (PUMPED!), but I still really enjoyed it. It might be because I’m not a Star Trek fan. Before trying to tackle the Original Series this past year, I had seen only a handful of episodes from any of the series’ (that one episode of DS9 where they Tag and Bink their way through the Tribble episode) and the movies starring the original cast. I knew the basics, it’s hard not to when you’ve worked for some of the geekiest magazines in the world (don’t forget, I was in the research department while InQuest was still around). But, even not knowing much, I had no problem watching this flick, which was great, but I still got some of the nods to past stories.

I appreciate the amount of thought that Kurtzman and Orci along with director J.J. Abrams and producer Damon Lindelof put into this epic story, especially the way they made everything you know still make sense while starting this new continuity. Honestly, I really wish this cast would get together and just do a TV series. How cool would that be? Just forget about Heroes (I dislike that show so much that I actually wanted to hate Zachary Quinto as Spock, but he was so damn good I just couldn’t) and fly Simon Pegg and John Cho in between movie roles and get that DONE!

Also, how cool was that drill scene? I started laughing as soon as the guy in the red suit showed up while Sulu and Kirk were wearing different colors. Em asked me what I was laughing at and I whispered “That guy’s gonna die.” She asked me how I knew and I told her just to watch and, man, they did NOT disappoint with that moment. Even better, though, was how Sulu and Kirk handled themselves given a crappy situation. I love how Chris Pine perfectly embodies that “never say die no matter how bad things look” mentality. Obviously, I’d like to see everyone return for a sequel, but I really hope Pine does a superhero movie. He could do justice to a bunch of heroes.

So, next up from Kurtzman and Orci will be Transformers: Rise of the Fallen and the last two episodes of Fringe that I missed and I’m pretty psyched about both.

Seanson Finales: How I Met Your Mother

So, as Ben so astutely pointed out last week, this week actually had the How I Met Your Mother season finale (hey, we all make mistakes, right?).

So, we got the full cast back for the season finale which actually didn’t deal with Ted’s search/discovery of his future childrens’ mother, but on the other characters. We had Barney and Robin dealing with their potentially budding relationship, Ted trying to design a BBQ restaurant, Marshall wanting to take a literal leap of faith, Ted fighting a goat and, most importantly, Ted deciding to take on a new career, a career we are promised will lead directly to meeting the woman he will marry.

I liked the season finale because I like all these characters (Marshall really got to shine in my opinion) and it even referred back to its own continuity (the goat and Ted’s birthday). I do feel a little peeved at the fact that we’re kind of left at the same place we were last season. Last season they showed us that Ted’s future wife would be sporting a yellow umbrella like his. Then we got teased with Stella coming back, but she doesn’t have the right umbrella. So now, we end another season by showing us a big space and telling us that the mother is in the group.

It’s not a huge deal, and like I said I really like the show, but I hope they actually introduce the mother early next season. I’ve talked to some people who say that that will be the end of the show, but come on, it’s just the basic premise and that can change. As a fan, I’d have no problem watching Ted and his future wife go through all the bullshit that couples do, especially if the writing stays consistent and we get to see even more development with all the characters. I’ve got faith because I think these guys put on a really good, well-thought-out show. In a weird way, it’s actually kind of like Lost because you’re got these interesting ways of telling a story and playing with structure telling a long-term story with an end goal in mind that will take some twists and turns along the way, while always remember where it came from. Good stuff.