Casting Internets

I’ve been doing more off-line reading lately (hence today’s About A Boy review) and the kid’s been exploring her sleeping options lately, so I haven’t been sitting down and reading things on the computer as much lately. Anyway, here’s the things I dug from the past few weeks.

First of all, my wife made a fantastic photo collage for our daughter’s first birthday. I warn you, it’s 16 minutes. I won’t feel bad if you don’t watch…much.

I talked to Robert Kirkman about the 100th issue of Walking Dead, Geoff Johns and Jim Fletcher about DC Collectibles and Steven T. Seagle about Batula. My dude Rickey Purdin did such an awesome job with this Street Fighter piece over on the Sketch Attack job that I want it on my wall.

I enjoyed this Robot 6 interview with Kevin Huizenga.

Rolling Stone posted this 2006 feature about Fall Out Boy talking about them rising to stardom. That’s about the time I started listening to it, so it was fun reading it, especially now that they’ve broken up.

Chris Cornell talked to Rolling Stone recently about the upcoming Soundgarden record and the song they created for The Avengers. I really, really like this James Bond 50th Anniversary poster by Max Dalton (who sounds like a Bond character himself).

Get yourself frozen in Carbonite at this year’s Star Wars Weekend!

I’ve been catching up on every episode of The Nerdist Writer’s Panel which focuses on TV writers, so this THR photo batch about show runners was very interesting. Lots of crossover.

I just heard today that Van Halen cancelled the rest of their tour mysteriously. Glad my dad and I saw them when we did. Anyway, before all that Esquire did interviews with Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen that I found enjoyable. I love these OMFG figures from October Toys.

I have a lot of ideas for a post about MCA’s passing, but while I’m still organizing all those thoughts, I really enjoyed Perry Farrell’s take on things for Rolling Stone. I am fascinated by that late 80s heavy LA club scene, man.

I’m not what you’d call a Gin Blossoms fan by any means, but I found lead singer Robin Wilson’s very realistic and honest take on the 90s nostalgia that he’s a part of refreshing (via Rolling Stone).

One more Rolling Stone link, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid started a jazz fusion supergroup with Jack Bruce, John Medeski and Cindy Blackman Santana. This makes me VERY excited. Oh goodness, Joao Carlos Vieira’s Spaceman Spiff drawing for Ashcan Allstars was AMAAAAAAAZING.

Wired‘s look at an old school fortune cookie factory was pretty darn interesting.

Neil Marshall is great, so I’m excited that he’s working on something called The Last Voyage Of The Demeter, which is about the boat that Dracula rode in to get from Transylvania! Sounds rad.  (via THR)

I will be studying Esquire‘s list of six summer cocktails, but I’ll probably just wind up drinking strange mixtures of whatever I have on hand.

Oops, here’s one more Rolling Stone link, apparently there’s a whole album of Joey Ramone tracks ready to be released called …ya know? I really like Don’t Worry About Me and of course everything Ramones, so this should be interesting.

Finally, Louis CK has some more awesome stuff on sale for $5, check it out!

Ambitious Summer Reading List 2012

Longtime readers might remember that I tried to tackle a large stack of classic books for my Ambitious Summer Reading List last year. Well, that wound up spreading into the beginning of this year and wound up not being a whole lot of fun. So, this summer, I wanted to try something different and finally read some of the books that have been sitting under my bed for ages. This is a mix of autobiography, mystery, psychological thriller/horror, slice of life, drama, food, music and just about everything else. I started off with Nick Hornby’s About A Boy (review coming soon because I finished it today), but don’t have an order figured out (last year’s was chronological).

The pile includes another Fletch book by Gregory McDonald (Fletch And The Man Who), Stephen King’s Misery, the aforementioned Boy, an oral history of the punk rock and new wave movements called Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Anthony Bourdain’s follow-up to Kitchen Confidential called Medium Raw, Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake (I loved her book An Invisible Sing Of My Own), Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon which I know nothing about but liked The Lovely Bones, the latest Diary Of A Wimpy Kid installment which doesn’t really count but I want to finally read it, Steve Martin’s autobio Born Standing Up, actor George Hamilton’s autobiography Don’t Mind If I Do, a book about a band I’ve never heard of called Petal Pusher by Laurie Lindeen and Erik Larson’s historical thriller The Devil In The White City.

It’s a pretty eclectic mix, but also a pretty apt representation of the kinds of books I’ve been wanting to read for a while, found for a few bucks at various places or both. I’m hoping that by choosing books I’m interested in, I’ll stick with them a little better. I also admit that the idea of actually focusing on getting through a dozen of the books I’ve been collecting for more years than I can count and either put them on a shelve (or more likely a box in storage) or give away to someone else. I’d much rather store books I’ve read and liked than ones I’m still waiting to get to.

Casting Internets

I still write lots of things for fun and profit. Check out this story I did for Marvel.com about Marvel Zombies Destroy.

Over on CBR, I wrote about Kurtis J. Wiebe’s Debris and the 20 year anniversary of Spawn.

Mark Waid’s Thrillbent is live! Time to check things out. I love Adventure Time, but most of the fan art for the show I’ve seen doesn’t do much for me. I do however very much like this Glen Brogan piece that shows Marceline hanging out with Kim Pine from Scott Pilgrim. Speaking of Adventure Time art, check out all these crazy-awesome pieces from the Mondo art show.
Speaking of artwork, I really like this Admiral Ackbar painting. Click through and check out more Star Wars Celebration art.

I quite enjoyed this list of geeky kitchen equipment over on Topless Robot. That’s another one I wish I had thought of…

I haven’t read through all of Geek Dad‘s list of books every geek should read to their kids before age 10 just yet, but I’m excited to.

I still haven’t gotten Jack White’s new record Blunderbuss in my ears just yet, but I’m glad to hear that he has a-whole-nother album’s worth of material he just needs to put the finishing touches on. (via Rolling Stone)

Comedian Steven Wright talked to Esquire, check it out.

I really enjoyed Cullen Bunn‘s post about not wanting to get too complacent when it comes to his writing.

Dammit! TVLine says HBO balked on making The Corrections. I was really curious to see how that turned out. Maybe someone else will pick it up?This season’s CustomCon — where toy customizers present their imaginary toy lines — finished up today and was pretty damn enjoyable. My personal favorite group was the 80s Toys as MiniMates. This not only makes me want to work on my next customizing project, but also create a 6-inch scale Karate Kommandoes Chuck Norris.

I Watch A Lot Of TV & Movies: Nic Cage, Downton Abbey, Stand-Up & More

I’m trying out a new format for these I Watch A Lot Of ____  posts. The problem with using the posters is that I feel like I need to fill in all the space on the right hand side, but I don’t always have that much to say. So, I’m going to go with showing a trailer and then giving my thoughts. Hope it works out. Let me know if one format works better than another for you.

Snake Eyes (1998)

On the Nic Cage scale of craziness, Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes lands in a nice sweet spot. He’s playing an eccentric cop who’s trying to figure out who shot a government official while attending a boxing match in Atlantic City. He’s also trying to help his pal Gary Sinese and the bodacious looking Carla Gugino, but this is the type of movie where no one is what they seem and everyone has ulterior motives. The story itself is the kind of thing you wouldn’t be surprised to see as an episode of your favorite procedural show, but De Palma does some fun stuff, putting his own spin on it by playing with perspective, showing scenes from different angles and even doing some nice camera work like showing an entire scene from a boxer’s perspective and then moving out of it to reveal him in a mirror. Where’d the camera go?! Those tricks plus the performances make it worth a watch.

Return To Horror High (1987)

To be completely honest, I was doing some work while watching Return To Horror High, so I missed a lot of details. At first I thought it was a legit sequel to a movie called Horror High thanks to the title and the premise that posits a film crew is making a movie at the exact location that an actual slasher struck. But that’s all in the fiction of the movie. By the way, I thought of this while watching Scream 3, I’m actually surprised the Hollywood version of Hollywood is more callous than actual Hollywood when it comes to these kinds of things. I mean, it’s not like there’s been a fictional Columbine movie shot in the school. Anyway, the film is super confusing because it bounced between the movie we’re watching and the movie they’re making. And then there’s an ending that I missed the set up to but completely bewildered me. SPOILER Was the whole thing a setup? Why? You might have heard of this movie for being an early appearance of George Clooney who plays an actor wanting to go off and get super famous (but everyone laughs at him, which is funny) as well as an appearance by Maureen McCormick of Brady Bunch fame. She’s way over the top, but is still cute and adorable.

Janeane Garofalo: If You Will (2010)

Janeane Garofalo is one of those stand-ups that I feel like I’ve known about as long as I’ve known about stand-up comedy. She was very popular in the early days of Comedy Central and I’ve fallowed her career to some extent since then, though I wouldn’t say I’m a super fan because I don’t necessarily actively seek out her stuff. A week or two back I listened to an episode of WTF with her and then noticed that this stand-up special was on the NetBox (lots of good stand-up on Instant) and gave it a watch. I assumed it was going to be much more political than it actually was because of how passionate she was on certain issues when talking to Marc Maron. She definitely gets into some of that stuff, but she makes sure to keep it funny and joke based, which made this a really enjoyable hour of stand-up. Even if you don’t think you like her comedy, give this one a look.

Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-Up (2011)

I loved Norm MacDonald on Saturday Night Live and that love easily transferred over to his movie Dirty Work, but not much past that. So, I was excited to watch this stand-up and it was another solid hour. It starts off pretty dark with his thoughts on death, but they’re both honest and funny, so you can’t go wrong there in book. Gets a little filthy (okay, a lot filthy) at the end, but it made for great background while I was working. This is a great way of listening to stand-up without having to buy records.

Skyline (2010)

I added Skyline to my NetBox queue when I first saw it on there, but I moved it to the top after listening to the How Did This Get Made? episode focusing on it. I actually expected it to be a lot worse than it turned out to be. Yeah, there are problems with the script and editing, but I didn’t find it nearly as ridiculous as those guys did, though maybe I was primed for a lot more than anything could have lived up to. I actually give the filmmakers a lot of credit for putting together such a good looking movie by basically shooting in one guy’s apartment and doing a few set pieces. All that being said, I don’t think it’s a great movie by any means. A good effort with great effects, but it certainly has its problems.

Downton Abbey Season One (2010)

There is no reason on paper that I should like Downton Abbey. It’s based in an era and place (1920s England) that I’m not super duper interested in. It’s based on a class structure that enrages the part of me still susceptible to rage. And, it’s packed with the kind of scheming you only usually find in soap operas (I assume). However, this show is so amazingly well written and the characters are so well put together that I can’t help but get absorbed. The key, I think, is that, the writers give almost every main character an interesting bit of business, but without shoehorning them in. Plus, how can you not love Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess? By the way, I still have no idea what it means to be a count or an earl and yet it has not impeded me whatsoever. All you need to know is that it’s very important to Robert Crawley who might be the best, most awesome dude in the history of television. How long until the second season hits NetBox?

Trespass (2011)

Trespass is not only another Nic Cage movie, but also one that I watched because it was going to be covered on How Did This Get Made? so it’s double related! This is the first HDTGM? movie that I actually watched in preparation for the podcast and it worked out a lot better than my experience with Skyline. It helped that the movie starts off as one thing and keeps changing with every lie and nearly everything that every character says is a lie. It’s ridiculous on so many levels that it’s almost hard to keep track. Cage looks bonkers with his hair and glasses, the pace keeps changing (first they have 20 minutes to get in and out then they spend hours there) and nearly all of the robbers are idiotic drug addicts or psychos making them one of the worst possible crews around to pull of a diamond heist. Even with how bad the movie is, I’m shocked it wasn’t in theaters. Between the big stars and director Joel Schumacher who must have some cred left, right? Maybe not. That’s a lot of supposed star power with very little faith from the studio. In fact, this movie holds the record for least amount of time between it’s opening release (on only 10 screens) and coming out on DVD. Also, it only made $16,816 in its short time in theaters. Wow.

Casting Internets

Goodness gracious, I really do have the best intentions when it comes to these Casting Internets posts. I save all kinds of good links and want to do them on a more regular basis, but then I get tired of sitting in front of my computer and wind up with six or seven pages of Read It Later links. Sometimes I wish the internet would all collectively take a few days off so we can catch up. Now that I think about it, that’s what the weekend is, but who wants to sit on the computer over the weekend?! Anyway, here goes.

Jeez, I’m still catching up on NYCC stories! I believe this is the last one for CBR, but I covered the Robert Kirkman spotlight panel. For Marvel.com I did pieces on Scarlet Spider and Deadpool!

In other Marvel.com assignment news, I talked to awesome dude and fellow Ohioan James Asmus about his Five Favorite Avengers!

Back over on CBR I did a piece calling out the five creepiest moments from Image’s excellent Severed for Halloween!

My pal Sean T. Collins annotated A Game Of Thrones! He also wrote a story in Spider-Man Marvel Adventures #19 that I greatly enjoyed.

Sean also gave me a shout out in one of his Mad Men posts. I’m flattered and glad I could help solidify an idea or two!

My former professor Dr. Rebecca Steinitz has written a book called Time, Space and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century British Diary. I would buy it but it costs nearly $70 on Amazon! TVLine showed this pic of chefs on The Simpsons! Has this episode aired yet? I have no idea how behind the times I am anymore.

Tony Iommi talked to Rolling Stone about his upcoming autobiography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath and now I want to read said book. I also want to know if that Sabbath/Led Zeppelin jam session was caught on tape!

Speaking of Black Sabbath, I had no idea that Ronnie James Dio and his band put together a supergroup charity disc that Dio’s widow will be releasing. Not much of an 80s metal fan, but I’ll check that out. (via Rolling Stone)

I dug Lucy Knisley’s two part Halloween strip! That second installment is a great design.

If you’re like me, you’ll open this post where Kurt Busiek answers questions, do a search for “Astro City” and get some good news!The Vertigo blog revealed the cover to the upcoming Flex Mentallo collection by Frank Quitely. Can’t wait to read this one again.

Really glad to hear that DC and Mattel have extended their toy-making relationship!

I love that the people of Detroit are angry that Nickleback will be playing the annual Thanksgiving game. I went to that game one year, I think 3 Doors Down or some such band played. (via Rolling Stone)

My pal Kiel documented the Halloween adventures of many of my other pals over on the Cool Kids Table, give it a read!

This video of two people dance/sword/knife fighting is almost Lynchian. Do you think it ends so abruptly because one of them stabbed the other? (via IHC)

As a fan of The Wallflower’s Bringing Down The Horse, I’m glad to hear they’re getting back together. (via Rolling Stone)These TARDIS and Dalek ornaments are wonderful. (via Doctor Who Merch)

The new Bond movie is called Skyfall and will star Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, Spinoff has the rest of the deets. I am quite excited about this movie.

Spin did a list of the 40 Greatest Comedy Albums of all time. I want to own them all, but I actually own four of them, but at least I’ve got #1.

Speaking of comedy, THR announced that Shout Factory will have a new Richard Pryor CD/DVD set that will include his comedy records, concert films and “TV special highlights.” Color me excited.

Stephen Merchant wrote a piece for Esquire about eating on the road throughout the world.

If this Wired headline doesn’t grab you, I don’t know what will: There is a Real-Life Jet Pack School Where You Can Learn to Fly.

The Prop Store has some amazing Return of the Jedi behind the scenes pics taken by a fan who camped out near the Tatooine set. Awesome. My pal Ryan Penago posted this awesome original costume Daredevil piece by the amazing Rafael Grampa. That guy should draw everything. Speaking of Marvel art, I haven’t read Secret Avengers, but that Rick Remender sure knows how to write good comics. And with covers by the glorious Art Adams, that book is even more appealing. (via CBR)

Finally, this CBR article I just read said that the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man game will be more like the Spider-Man 2 game for PS2. As that is my all time favorite latter gen video game, I am excited about these developments and hope they can live up to the growing hype inside my brain.

Doc Double Feature: Too Tough To Die (2006) & Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (2011)

After watching roughly a metric butt-ton of horror movies and almost nothing else in the month of October, I was looking forward to watching something a little different. While scanning my Netflix Instant queue I came across a movie that caught my attention: Too Tough To Die: A Tribute To Johnny Ramone. The second part of the title didn’t come through on my screen or maybe I just missed it, but I was sold anyway. You could show me pretty much any picture of Johnny playing guitar in one of his awesome stances and I’d bite. As it turns out, TTTD is equal parts tribute concert for a man about to pass away and brief biography of one of the greatest bands of all time as told by famous fans and the people who were there to see it happen.

Basically, before passing away from pancreatic cancer in 2004, Johnny Ramone planned a tribute concert to his already fallen bandmates Johnny and Dee Dee to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. He himself couldn’t make it, but he had a hand in nearly every detail from asking his pal Rob Zombie to MC the whole thing to getting bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dickies and X to perform and even guys like Henry Rollins, Steve Jones, Eddie Vedder, Pete Yorn and others to get together and play some of the Ramones greatest hits along with some deep cuts. The concert was a lot of fun, though I don’t see the appeal of X (maybe they didn’t age well) and I’m always a huge fan of seeing seemingly disparate musicians coming together to share their influences. Would you have thought Yorn was a fan? Maybe not, but hearing him sing “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” made perfect sense (though he looked a little funny playing one of the Ramones signature style guitars).

Between songs, the performers along with others like Debbie Harry and the Ramones’ original managers talked about the band coming together and the impact they had on music. I’m by no means a Ramones expert, but the movie does a good job of filling in the basic details. I knew most of them going in, so I followed along nicely, but I’m not sure if the same could be said for someone completely unfamiliar with the band. Still, you should watch this flick to get an idea.

Johnny passed away two days after the tribute concert and many of the people interviewed think he hung on just to make sure the show went off without a hitch. It was really touching seeing many of the people interviewed in the movie eulogize Johnny. It wound up being an interesting doc because, even though he was the main focus of the discussion, Johnny only showed up in archival interviews and recordings, so you wind up completely seeing this man through the eyes of his friends and family, even though he was alive for at least part of the filming.

After being really bummed out all over again by Johnny’s passing, I grabbed my electric guitar and started wailing on it. I played a few songs that I’ve had in my head forever in a power chord, punk rock tempo and by the end of a quick session my hands hurt, I was sweating and my heart was racing. It felt good. I imagine Johnny and the Ramones felt something similar but magnified a million times on stage. That’s why punk rock is awesome, anyone can do it with a guitar and a few chords.

Moving from the Ramones to Conan O’Brien might seem kind of strange, but the two movies shared not only a thematic relationship, but also a common guest in the form of Eddie Vedder. Basically, Conan was totally punk rock last year. He not only turned down a multimillion dollar deal to move his show back an hour, but after he did so, he went on a DIY tour of the country with a band, skits and guest spots. Sure, he had a team behind him, but he was loyal to them throughout the entire thing and vice versa. It’s not exactly the same as The Ramones slogging through the mean streets of NYC, but it took a lot of integrity and hard work to make it happen.

Can’t Stop follows Conan from the end of his stint on the Tonight Show through the announcement of his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour and all the dates. You actually get to see the moment he sent out the tweet announcing the tour, which was pretty cool to see from the opposite end of things. I followed Conan throughout these days, so now I feel like I know what was going on on his end but also what he was going through.

The real meat of the documentary isn’t seeing Conan and his crew of writers figure out the jokes or him working out and playing songs with the band, but what the tour, being funny and leaving the Tonight Show really mean to the funny man. I heard Conan interviewed by Marc Maron on his wonderful WTF Podcast, so I kind of had a preview of the man behind the smile on TV, so it wasn’t as much of a surprise to see him freaked out after a show or having trouble with certain members of his staff. You tend to think of Conan as a guy who’s always smiling and making jokes, but that’s not the case. If you want to get a real look at the man, watch this movie and then check out the WTF episode…and then all the others, that’s the best damn podcast around.

Casting Internets

I’ve been holding on to these links for WAY too long. Like, back to NYCC long, so let’s get these out and move on.

As I mentioned in a previous Casting, I’m writing for Spinoff Online now, you can check out all those posts here.

For CBR, I wrote a ton of stuff including this Commentary with Ron Marz and Filip Sablik about Artifacts Volume 2, the Image creator owned comics panel at NYCC, David Hine about taking over The Darkness, the NYCC announcement that Extreme Studios is coming back, Dark Horse‘s NYCC panel, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound panel and the McFarlane panel.

Speaking of CBR, I was in the room for this interview with Patton Oswalt and had to stifle myself from laughing too loud. It’s weird seeing video of a memory but from a different angle. That Roots bit at the end was genius.

My pal and brand new member of the CBR family Brett White wrote a killer column about new Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales. It’s been out for awhile, but I finally had a chance to read.

Speaking of Brett, check out his Tumblr now for the amazing sketches he got at NYCC. I am jealous of his ability to talk to artists. Dorkly‘s graphic of Fifteen People You’ll See At Every Con is pretty accurate. I’d add “Adventure Time Cross Dressers,” “Dead-Eyed Journalists” and “Skanky Costume Chicks” to the list. (via IHC)

Dan Trachtenberg of Totally Rad Show fame will be directing his first feature called Crime Of The Century. I know I don’t actually know him, but I feel like one of my pals has made good. (via /Film)Mondo’s Trick r Treat, The Burning and Sleepaway Camp posters look amazing. I’ll take one of each. (via /Film)

TLo wrote about the first episode of the second season of Work Of Art on Bravo which features Sucklord, a toy customizer/kitbasher who used to get covered in ToyFare all the time. It’s awesome to see him on TV and I think TLo’s take on his performance in the first ep was pretty spot on.

Conan O’Brien sold a sitcom to TBS called Fat Chance according to THR. Nuff said.

The possibility of a Cannonball Run remake by Guy Ritchie starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney is a remake I could get behind. (via /Film)

I can’t believe I just discovered Jay Mohr had been blogging about Real Housewives of New Jersey recently! I could have been enjoying this Bravo blog all season!