Halloween Scene: Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

shaun of the dead poster

It’s funny. With a lot of movies, especially big-deal horror movies from the past decade like Shaun Of The Dead, I usually have a solid memory of the first time I saw it. In this case, I’ve got nothing. I was in college in 2004 when the film came out and was probably hearing things about it. I remember watching it at some point and loving the ending and then checking it out on DVD later on with my wife who was into it aside from the ultra gore (which I’d forgotten about for the most part). I do remember that my pal Rickey Purdin passed me the DVD copy I watched last week because he had an extra, but that’s about it.

With Edgar Wright’s latest film The World’s End hitting theaters, I figured it’d be fun to go back and watch Wright’s other movies Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, all of which happen to reside in my DVD collection. You guys, this is such a good movie, I can hardly stand it. It’s so good, I actively disliked myself for about half of it for not watching it more often. Yes, you’ve got the high quality gore effects that tend to get left behind in horror comedies and you’ve got the fantastic comedic elements, but there’s a huge, gigantic beating heart to Shaun that really drew me in this time around.

First off, you’ve got the friendship between Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost). On the surface it seems like any other dude friendship in movies, just two adult children hanging out, drinking and playing video games. But you also get that element of two friends who have been friends for ages that might be growing apart, where the friendship might actually be inhibiting one or both of the parties from evolving as individuals.

Then you’ve also got Shaun’s relationship with his mom Barbara (Penelope Winton). He loves her, but doesn’t love all of the decisions she’s made, specifically when choosing a mate. That’s a deep connection that really tugs at the heart strings when Shaun has that last moment with his stepdad Philip (Bill Nighy). I know I’m a much bigger softie these days now that I’m a parent, but that was a really amazing emotional beat in the middle of zombie movie. So good.

Finally, you’ve got Shaun’s relationship with Liz (Kate Ashfield) which is kind of a synthesis of the ones he has with Ed and his mom. They’ve been together so long that she’s starting to think he might be holding her back while at the same time, there’s a deep, emotional almost assume connection between them. Watching the movie this time around, I got a bit of a Madame Bovary vibe from Shaun. Because he’s seen so many movies and TV shows, he thinks things are going to turn out a certain way, but the real world isn’t fictional (even this one packed with undead monsters). Shaun winds up stepping up and proving that he’s the hero he always imagined himself to be, which winds up solidifying his relationship with Liz.

The beauty of this film is that it balances all of those relationships — plus more, I didn’t even get into all the stuff with Ed and Diane — with all that great humor and gore. It really is just a wonderful movie and I didn’t even talk about how well constructed the movie is. The way Wright shot Shaun’s daily routine at three different stages in the story was so great to watch, I remembered it was coming and got really excited as it unfolded. I’m sure there’s a lot more in that department that I’m missing, but I’m still kind of in a euphoric state after enjoying the film so much.

Casting Internets

Writing, writing, writing, I did lots of writing. For CBR I covered Planetoid and Enormous.

Meanwhile, for Marvel I wrote about Ryan Stegman taking over on Fantastic Four, Jamie McKelvie taking over Defenders, Fred Van Lente’s issue of Hulk Smash Avengers, a Harley Davidson Avengers comic and Stegman’s Five Favorite Avengers.

In writing-my-friends-have-done news, Sean T. Collins not only reviewed Shia LaBeouf’s minicomics for The Comics Journal, but also interview the writer and artist for Rolling Stone. I think I might download one or two of these for my Fire. Expendables MiniMates are now a thing! Think of all the customizing options now!

Beer makes men smarter. Yes. Good. (via Esquire)

THR says that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are going to be in a new comedy shooting soon called Internship. Love those guys together.

I don’t have HBO, so I won’t be seeing Girls for a while, but I’m excited to. This THR interview with Judd Apatow from last week helped.

Finally got around to reading this Rolling Stone article from 1986 about the Monkees resurgence and reunion that they posted after Davy Jones passed away. I actually saw them on that tour with my parents and remember being personally insulted that Mike Nesmith didn’t do the tour.

Rolling Stone also talked to former Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson about his upcoming poem book Letters To Kurt about Nirvana frontman Cobain. Sounds like an interesting project.

Erlandson also spoke to FuseTV and revealed that Cobain was working on a White Album-esque solo record when he died. Someone needs to get that into existence so I can hear it.

Less interesting to me than the fact that Stephen King is writing a amusement park serial killer novel called Joyland is that Neil Gaiman wrote about hanging out with him and and Joe Hill.

I really like Glen Brogan’s Where’s Waldo-inspired Jason wallpaper that you can download for free on Strange Kids Club.

Hey, remember the Hives? They have a new record coming out soon! (via RS)

I’m not the biggest fan of the name Thrillbent, but I am very excited to see what Mark Waid and John Rogers have planned for digital comics. This could be the future, folks.

In other digital comics news, DC is doing an out-of-continuity Batman comic that will be purely digital. Better yet? Jeff Parker is writing! (via Robot 6)

I’ve been enjoying the Only The Young Die Young Tumblr for a while now. So many great pictures and tracks posted on a daily basis. The guy who runs the site is in a band called The Agenda and recently posted all or most of their songs which I’ve really been digging these past few days. I don’t really care about Banshee, but I do like the idea of how crazy his family is. Therefore, I’m a fan of Luca Pizzari’s Project: Rooftop redesign of the characters.

The description for the upcoming James Bond game 007 Legends is fairly vague, even with a very long press release, but I’m still excited. (via SHH)

Casting Internets

I got to talk to Rob Liefeld about the return of Avengelyne, Eric Stephenson about the state of Image Comics and Cliff Rathburn about Reaper. It’s been a busy few weeks writing for CBR, but I feel like I’m finally getting in the swing of things.
Oh goodness, I love this werewolf/Coors Light combo that Dan Hipp created. Hipp did it again with this Dirty Harry/zombie mash-up. I would absolutely play that video game in a heartbeat.
Reading about the Beastie Boys’ new record Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 on Rolling Stone has me pretty interested in that record. Watching “Fight For Your Right Revisited” was less appealing, I saw it on Spike TV last night.

I’m really getting to like Scott Raab’s interviews on Esquire.com, this one with Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio is no exception.
In one of the worst kept secrets in comics, it was revealed this Wednesday that John Constantine would become part of the main DCU in this week’s conclusion to Brightest Day. Whatever. This just feels like a continuity headache to me. The real question, though is why he looks so damn French in this image from The Source.

My buddy Ben Morse says that Forge is the worst X-Man of all time and makes a very convincing argument for his case. I think y vote would have to go for Professor X though, he just keeps getting more dickish every year. Seems like I haven’t posted art in weeks and now this post is FULL of it. I love Planet Of The Apes, so, of course, I love Dave Perillo‘s POTA artwork. One day I hope to have an office covered in such pieces.

I waited too long to listen to this Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi and Jack White collaboration on Rolling Stone and now it’s gone, but I am definitely intrigued. Anyone know if White’s on the whole album or just a track?

Beer Review: Franziskaner Weissbier Hefe-Weissbier

Franziskaner Weissbier Hefe-Weissbier might be my favorite beer of all time. It has such a pleasant, summery smell to it that reminds me of summer. It’s a fantastic Hefeweizen, has that subtle lemon taste without being too acidic, plus a sweetness that hints at banana. It really is a delight, though the flavors never verge too far into the overly-sweet candy territory that some beers get into. I don’t generally buy this kind of beer for myself, but was lucky enough to have my father-in-law pick some up on a recent visit. I’ve been rationing them out so I can enjoy them over the maximum amount of time. I’ve also had Franziskaner Weissbier Hefe-Weissbier at a local restaurant in a town called Cornwall by the name of Painter’s Tavern. If you’re in town, I highly recommend, having a nice meal and enjoying one of my favorite beers.

Beer Review: Samuel Adams American Originals

I’m become a fan of Samuel Adams. I never had anything against the brand of beer by any means, but they’ve really been winning me over with their sampler packs. This time around, I purchased the American Originals pack which seems to be a winter-themed set that includes Boston Lager, Scotch Ale, Irish Red, Revolutionary Rye Ale, Noble Pils and White Ale. The great thing about 12-packs with six different kinds of beer is that, if you wind up hating one or two, it’s not that big of a deal. I didn’t quite hate any of these beers, but there was one that I don’t ever want to drink again. I’ll start off with the basic Sam Adams brew Boston Lager. I don’t think I’m a big fan of lagers. They’re alright, have a bit of bitterness to them, but nothing too strong. I guess there’s just not enough there for me to either be offended by or really dig into. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a Boston Lager out in a restaurant for that very reason.On the other hand, I have bought Sam Adams’ seasonal, though awkwardly named Noble Pils while out and about (actually at the wonderful Billie Joe’s Ribworks) after first having it in a multipack around Thanksgiving that I only reviewed a few beers from, including the White Ale which I still dig. Anyway, I was looking forward to the Noble Pils this time around and had even thought about picking up a 6- or 12-pack of them between first and second tastes. It’s got a tang mixed with a bitterness and some sweetness that I really enjoy. The first time around I didn’t think I’d dig this one, fearing it would be too bitter, but really, really liked it. I’d be in favor of Noble Pils sticking around for a while. I was most excited to try the Revolutionary Rye Ale because it just sounded interesting and unique. I had no idea what a Rye Ale was supposed to taste like, but it seemed like something that might be new and different, especially since it’s based on an old recipe.It’s got a mild flavor with a bit of a bitter ending, but not too bitter. Seems to have a thickness to it when drinking it from a bottle. I don’t know what I was expecting from a Rye Ale, but this isn’t really it. The label says it’s got “light pine and citrus notes” but I don’t know if I’m tasting those. I can smell the citrus when I gave it a pre-drink sniff, but am only feeling a very basic, not very pronounced tingle on my tongue from it. Reminds me of another beer I’ve had recently that I can’t quite place. Maybe the Magic Hat Encore? After sitting out for a while, the citrus notes became a lot more prominent. I still have no idea what pine in beer is supposed to taste like though.I saved the Irish Red for last because I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before and I’m a fan of other Irish reds like Killian’s or Smithwick’s. The Sam Adams version holds up pretty well against those big names in the game, but if I’m out in a bar or restaurant, I’m far more likely to get one of the other two more famous versions. It’s basically the same as trying another dry stout and digging it, but when you go out and want to drink one, you’re probably going to get a Guinness. I’m really glad I saved the Irish Red for last because it was either that or the Scotch Ale and I really didn’t like that one, so I was able to end on a good note instead of a smokey one. It wasn’t nearly as bad as Magic Hat’s Howl, which I wound up throwing away I disliked it so much, but I am just not a fan of these smoke-flavored beers. I just don’t get why that’s a flavor you want to drink. I basically chugged both of these beers just to be done with them. I’m hoping this type of beer soon finds itself out of the mix in future samplers.

Beer Review: Blue Moon Brewmaster’s Spring Sampler

I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a more unified sample pack than Blue Moon’s Brewmaster’s Spring Sampler. The 12 pack is split up into three beers Blue Moon, Pale Moon and Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale and it really tasted like three variations on a theme, which is by no means a bad thing. I’m a huge fan of regular Blue Moon, it and Coors Light are my most-ordered beers when I’m out and about, so I’m always a fan of that one. I’m not generally a fan of pale ales, but Pale Moon offers a combination of that style of beer along with some Belgian flava which makes it, basically, a slightly more bitter version of the regular Blue Moon. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but if you’re looking for a slightly more bitter Belgian white or a much less bitter pale ale, then this is the beer for you. I don’t know if I’d buy this one out and about, but I would at least think about it. Again, it’s like regular Blue Moon but with a few other notes in it. It says it’s brewed with lemon and orange which is interesting, but I think at the end of the day, I’d just as soon has a regular BM. While I appreciate Blue Moon offering a few other flavors for different tastes, for my money it’s going to be hard to beat the original.

Beer Review: Magic Hat Winterland Sampler

It’s beer time again! This time around, I gave Magic Hat’s Winterland sampler pack a try. I’ve tried a lot of their beers, including last year’s winter pack which was called Feast of Fools, but I think this might have been my least favorite of the bunch. That doesn’t mean I hated this pack, in fact, I liked two out of the four beers, don’t have much to say about the third and completely hated the fourth. As always, I love Magic Hat’s #9 and won’t be reviewing it again (if you’re interested, check out the above link). In addition to the numerical wheat beer, this pack also included new installments in the IPA on Tour and Odd Notion series and I’m pretty sure there was a change to Howl.

Kicking things off, I actually found the IPA on Tour (dubbed Encore) to be one of the most interesting beers I’ve tried in a long time. Usually I’m not a fan of the bitterness that usually comes along with an IPA, but this one had something very different that distracted be: grapefruit. I thought I might have just been making that up in my head, but then I looked at the label which confirmed the use of the citrus fruit in the beverage. I’m not a huge grapefruit fan, but I thought it really worked well with all the other flavors at play. It’s a very prominent and specific flavor that might not be great for everyone, but I enjoyed it. I’d definitely try this one on tap just to see how it plays fresh. The Winter ’10 entry in the Odd Notion series was a pretty big disappointment because it had no discernible taste. I thought I might have gotten a bum beer because I swished it around my mouth and was left with just a tingle on my tongue and no actual flavor. It’s not bitter at all, maybe a little sweet? I know I’m drinking something because it’s wet, but it’s more of a feeling than a taste. Maybe I need to drink it from a glass? Maybe there’s some citrus to it? But if so, very very little. I poured the second one into a glass and got pretty much the same experience. Not bad, but fairly unremarkable. It’s too bad because the one in this summer’s sampler was one of my favorites and I even dug last year’s Winter version. Too bad this season’s just fell flat. Woof. Howl was a real dog for me. Pretty undrinkable actually. I drank the first one and had to throw the other two out because I don’t wish them on my enemies (plus, I don’t invite my enemies over to the house). I don’t know if my tastes are changing or if Magic Hat mixes things up from year to year. When I reviewed last year’s winter pack, I noted that the Howl was thick like a Guinness, but this time around, the Howl has a smokey flavor to it that I’m not a fan of. One time, my buddy Ben bought me a beer I can’t recall the name of that was noted as having a smokey taste. It was like drinking liquid smoke. Like last year’s version, I wouldn’t buy this out and about. It’s pretty bad, just not my kind of beer at all.

Casting Internets

Haven’t seen a lot online that’s gotten me interested. Don’t really care about the X-Men: First Class images or the new Batman casting news (I’ll believe it when they start filming), so here’s what’s been on my radar lately.

Check out this list I wrote for Topless Robot about how Dark Skies is better than X-Files. I’m sure I’m getting crucified in the comments section, which is why I refuse to read them.

If you’re wondering what to watching on TV the rest of the week, check out my TV column on Maxim.com! Gotta love it when the TV Guide descriptions don’t exactly match up with the actual episode like this week’s How I Met Your Mother did.

If you haven’t been keeping up on my Tumblr you really should. Yesterday’s Ad It Up is pretty rad.

I’m in full support of collecting We3 in the Deluxe format, especially if it means including 10 new pages of story according to Vertigo. Seems like the best way to present such a visually interesting story.

Fabio Moon waxes poetic about writing and research for writing. In my experience he’s dead on.

Hey, Ricky Gervais might finally be appearing on the American Office as David Brent. Brilliant! (via TVLine)

And finally, a new way to pour beer (via Wired).

Beer Review: Newcastle Brown Ale

I’ll be completely honest, I bought the Newcastle Brown Ale on accident, thinking it was Honey Brown. Apparently I was looking at the sale price more than the actual name of the beer. Anyway, I think this was my first experience with this beer which is imported from England (according to that yellow label on the bottle). It’s not a bad beer, but I don’t think I’ll be jumping back into this particular pool for a while.

This is a funny beer. The initial taste, right when it hits my tongue, is pretty mild, but then I’m struck by a bitter almost metallic taste. But then there’s a bit of sweetness to the aftertaste. It’s a hard flavor to pin down, but I’m not in the beer drinking game to enjoy a beer AFTER I drink it. In the end none of the flavors are particularly interesting, so I don’t think I’ll be coming back.

It’s funny because the label on the back says that it’s a smooth beer that’s “full of flavor.” I completely disagree on the smoothness factor, but I guess it’s full of lots of kinds of flavors, though none that I’m particularly interested in returning to. Just like the bottle says it truly is a “one and only.”

On the plus side, in addition to coming in smaller bottles that actually fit in my refrigerator standing up, I’m pretty sure these 12 ouncers have a higher than normal alcohol content because I get a surprising buzz off of just one. So, it’s got that going for it.

Thanksgiving Leftover Beer Reviews: Sam Adams & Michelob

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the best things about having a party is spending the next week or so drinking all the leftover beer. For Thanksgiving we had both sets of parents along with my buddy Rickey in the house so we had plenty to drink between my getting a Sam Adams Winter sampler pack, my dad picking up a case of Winter Lager and Rickey bringing some Michelob Shock Top and Leinenkugel. I wasn’t able to take notes on each and every beer, but there were four that I did, so here goes.

Samuel Adams White Ale says it’s an American version of a Belgian white ale, which is a beer I tend to like. It also says it has spices, but I’m not quite sure what they are. There’s no bitterness, a little citrus flavor and definitely some sweetness. Goes down smooth. It’s pretty good and I’d actually buy one out and about, though I wouldn’t mind if it had a little bit more of a flavor kick to it. Kind of comes off as a slight variation on Blue Moon as is.

No one else really seemed interested in the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock from the sampler pack (which I recommend on the whole) but me which was fine by me. It had a thickness similar to a Guinness, but with a much more chocolaty flavor. I’m not generally a fan of thicker beers, but I actually really enjoyed this one. I think the chocolate flavor takes some of the shock out of the bitterness the usually comes with this kind of beer. I’m not much of a chocolate fan, but this is another one I would try out at a bar if it was on tap, though I don’t know if I’ll ever see it.

We had more of the Winter Lager left over than anything else because it was the back-up beer that my dad bought which we broke out the day after Thanksgiving while watching football and once again it was pretty great. Has a tiny bit of bitterness to it with a more bitter aftertaste, but it fades fast leaving a tingle on my tongue. This might be one of the more interesting beers I’ve had in a while as it’s got a spice to it as well as a hint of chocolate/sweetness. I think this was my favorite of the bunch and will probably pick up more of it during the season.

Michelob’s Shock Top is one of the best Michelob beers I’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan of this Blue Moon-like beer that actually has more of an orange flavor than that other beer (which I’m also a fan of). Shock Top has become a pretty big staple when it comes to my friends and hanging out which is aces in my book because it’s not too expensive and tastes great. I hope Michelob can make more fun beers like this instead of the junky beers in the sampler pack I had a few weeks ago.