Casting Internets

It’s been way too long since I’ve done one of these, so I’ve got a few old links in here. Ah well, I think they’re still worth checking out.

First off, I’m sad to hear about Steve Jobs passing away. To my mind he was the Walt Disney of our generation. He might not have build the iPad or MacBook Air with his own hands, but he amassed an amazing crew of people, gave them some ideas and let them invent to the utmost of their ability. Same goes for Walt. My thoughts go out to his family.

Onto a few more light links. A few folks got drawn onto variant covers of Amazing Spider-Man #669, check out the story I did on them over at Marvel.com. I also wrote about Beast’s many costumes for the site and my monthly Earth’s Mightiest Costumes feature!

For CBR, I talked to Frank Cho about Guns & Dinoes, Nathan Edmondson about The Activity, Jon Goff about Blood Red Dragon, Jim Zubkavich about Skullkickers, Denton & Keene about Pilot Season: Fleshdigger and Doug TenNapel about Ratfist.

I also did a list for Topless Robot, this one about the nerdiest set decorations found on The IT Crowd, a show I quite liked.

Speaking of Topless Robot, my pal Rob Bricken wrote a pretty amazing and hilarious FAQ for the Star Wars Blu-ray you should absolutely read.

I saw the following N64 commercial a ton of times while watching my tape of Real World: Boston. It’s quite strange, to say the least.

I’ve been a Red Hot Chili Peppers since 7th grade and never read a solo Chad Smith until this super entertaining Rolling Stone one.Dan Hipp mashed up Willy Wonka and the Fantastic Four. Beauty.

X-Men Destiny looks kinda awesome. My interest will depend on how much RPG stuff is in there. The less the better. (via CBR)

As a novice food blogger over on Monkeying Around The Kitchen, I found this Will Write For Food list of ways bloggers have changed food reviewing to be pretty darn interesting.

Ript Apparel‘s Mad Men/80s slasher mash-up was pretty amazing today. In fact, I liked it so much, I bought it! (via Shirtoid)

Casting Internets

Whew, it’s good to be back, but I do admit, I skipped a lot of the news I missed while on our journey to Ohio. I’ve gotten mostly caught up, but here’s the things I saw today that interested me.

First up, some self promotion. I did a piece for Marvel.com about giant collectibles called Muckle Mannequins.

There’s a new teaser for Wimpy Kid 2! (via /Film)

I am very excited about this collection of Carl Banks Disney duck comics I read about on Robot 6. I’ve never read any of that stuff, but have heard great things.

Robot 6 also informed me that Stan Lee got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congrats to him!
Stacie Ponder recaps Friday the 13th parts one and two. Great stuff.

It’s about damn time.

CliqueClack noticed a 50 to 1 countdown on last night’s How I Met Your Mother which had one of the saddest moments I’ve seen on TV in a long time. I didn’t notice the number aspect of the show whatsoever. (via Pop Candy)

Go check out the custom Medusa over on The Fwoosh. You won’t be disappointed.

Nerdy Double Feature: Spring Break (1983) & Revenge of the Nerds III The Next Generation (1993)

That’s just a delightfully weird movie poster isn’t it? I remember seeing this box at the video store back when they still rented videos and I was a kid. It seemed pretty scandalous at the time and I probably thought it was about shrinking kids or monstrously huge women. Now, I know that it’s a simple spring break comedy directed by Sean S. Cunningham, the man who birthed the Jason franchise. I’ll admit, my curiosity was piqued as I’d never seen a non-horror film by the man and I appreciate when directors have the ability to bounce between genres.

I kind of loved this movie with all its unexpected weirdness. The story follows these two nerdy guys heady to spring break who want to let loose and meet women, even though the one kid’s step dad is a politician and wants him to not cause trouble. That’s pretty normal enough, but then two other guys from NYC show up (one carrying a potted plant for some reason) and they end up being in the same room. You think it’s going to turn into an “us vs. them” movie between the nerds and the cooler guys, but instead they join forces and become friends!

Even though you’d assume a movie like this would seem like the prototypical spring break movie, it offered up a lot of surprises and uniqueness that I really liked. Though, something was nagging me while watching it. The plot started feeling familiar, especially the political parent involvement. It wasn’t until talk to Rickey later that he reminded me of the lame straight-to-DVD movie Spring Breakdown starring Parker Posey, Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch which seems to have stolen a fair number of plot points from this flick. Not cool, especially considering no credit is given.

Spring Break is a fantastically fun movie that I recommend to anyone looking for a fun, upbeat movie to watch this Labor Day weekend. Spring, summer, what’s the difference?

Up next on my nerdy double feature was Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation, an installment of the four-part epic I’d never seen before. I am a gigantic fan of the first movie and it’s message of being yourself. Damn, I feel all pumped up every time I watch it! Anyway, this third installment was…interesting. It’s 1993 and Adams College has been taken over by nerds, which drives some mean old Alpha Beta alumn to hatch a plan to get Stan Gable (the quarterback from the original movie) put in place as the dean to get the power back in the bully AB hands. Somehow it works. We also get introduced to a new generation of nerds, specifically Harold, the nephew of Lewis from the original (he played by Gregg Binkley who played Kenny on My Name Is Earl). As it turns out, Lewis has turned into a yuppie douche who stifles that signature laugh of his and has a douchey ponytail even though he’s happily married to Betty (the girl he banged dressed as Darth Vader in the original). It’s your typical “fallen hero” story and, I know this sounds stupid, but it made me MAD to see him like that.

Anyway, the movie’s got some fun nods to early 90s geekery like the current students laughing at the tech their predecessors had and the doorbell of the TriLamb house playing the Super Mario 3 music (I geeked out pretty hard at that).

This might sound weird, but I wish the movie had taken itself a little bit more seriously. The young nerds do a good job as do most of the returning actors and characters, the real problem lies in the character of the older alumn and some of the directing choices which just goes way over the top into cartoon territory at times. His scenes take you out of the story, which is too bad because otherwise this could have been a really solid made for TV sequel. Still worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series, though, especially with the awesome musical numbers (nowhere near as good as the originals, but still fun, especially the early 90s rap. Fun stuff.

UPDATE: I forgot, Clancy Brown has a small role as a gas station attendant, check it out!

Halloween Scene: Jason Goes To Hell (1993)

Wow, the 90s really weren’t a good time for horror franchises were they? It seems like the studios decided that their slashers needed more mystical and weird stories to capture imaginations of audiences, but what really happened is they killed the franchises and alienated fans. Take Jason Goes To Hell for example. I’d never seen the movie before (it was my last holdout in the Friday The 13th series so I watched it on Instant Netflix the other night). Instead of watching our beloved Jason running around and cutting peoples’ heads off, we’re treated to a slug-thing coming out of Jason, infusing itself with other people and then going on mini killing sprees. What? How does taking the one element of the films that everyone loves (who even got top billing in the title for once) out of the movie make sense to anyone?

I really tried to go into the movie with an open mind even though I’ve never heard a good thing about it. “Maybe I’ll like this new take on the franchise,” I thought to myself. I even liked how the SWAT team captured him with a female cop/soldier as bait at the very beginning. “Maybe this isn’t so bad, after all.” It went downhill from there and fast. There’s a lot of nonsense spouted by Creighton Duke (Steven Williams of 21 Jump Street fame) about Jason having an evil inside of him that’s moving around to other people now and that only a relative can kill him (by the way, Jason also has a sister). So Mrs. Voorhees had another kid to look after while losing her mind and killing campers? Sure, sure. Also, how did Jason get from NYC in Jason Takes Manhattan back to Crystal Lake? I hear it’s explained in a comic or something, but did they really think that wasn’t a necessary piece of information to pass along to the audience? And how did Jason’s body get under the Voorhees homestead? I admit I wasn’t paying the movie a lot of attention, but I don’t remember anything about that happening, then you see him burst through the floor. Shitty storytelling mixed with shitty executive decisions equaled a shitty movie.

Now that I’ve seen it, I’m glad Jason Goes To Hell isn’t included in the Friday The 13th box set I have. The set covers 1-8, I’ve already got Jason X and Freddy Vs. Jason and JGTH sucks pretty hard, so I’m good with not having it. It’s kind of like my Halloween collection which stops at 5 because 6 is another crappy 90s entry in a slasher franchise that I don’t need to see again. Though, I would be far more likely to watch Halloween 6 again just to see a young Paul Rudd playing against Loomis. There’s nothing in JGTH that makes me want to watch it again. At least the poster looks badass.

Halloween Scene: Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

I really can’t tell you how much I want to LOVE Jason Takes Manhattan. I’ve seen it a few times now, but this was probably the most dissapointing time ever. Why? Well, because I worked in NYC for a few months and there’s nothing I’d like to see more than a slasher taking apart all the assholes I had to deal with on a daily basis from the people who stopped at the top of escalators in the middle of Penn Station to the people who stopped every three feet to take a picture of some huge building that no one cares about, even my 15 minute walk to work from Penn could be a nightmare depending on who else was around. Those are the kinds of people you want to see Jason tear into in a movie called Jason Takes Manhattan. He should be in the middle of Time Square just annihilating everyone from the people trying to get smoking taken out of all movies to the tourists who put their cameras on the table and jump in the air at just the right time for a family photo. Mind you, I used to love walking to Time Square just to swim in the sea of humanity, but that’s exactly what makes it the perfect horror attack spot.

Anyway, as most horror fans know, the F13 8 script was greatly truncated to fit the budget which allowed for more scenes on a cruise boat and less scenes in Madison Square Garden. I will admit that the stuff on the boat is pretty creepy, like the guitar chick down in the guts of the boat getting killed by her own guitar, but the movie really suffers from Jason’s inexplicable tracking and teleportation skills. One minute he’s behind you, then you run down and away from him, then he’s in front of you? Wait how did that–SMASH. You’re dead. All of this gets way worse when the remaining people finally get to NYC and proceed to get annihilatied by a Jason who seems dead set on killing only a handful of people instead of tourist trap fodder and a subway car filled with innocents who deserve his specific brand of supernatural crazy person justice.

See, that’s my other big problem with the movie. Why doesn’t he kill any of those New York people? It’s not like the Crystal Lake kids on the boat did anything specific to him, so he should just be burning off that anit-fun, -drugs, -drinking, -sex thing right? Well you shouldn’t be able to walk a millimeter in NYC without fulfilling that urge to kill, masked man. Instead he zeroes in on the poor kids who have already seen their friends mutilated and murdered.

There is one interesting scene where a kid gets to fight back. We see that he’s a boxer earlier in the flick so he gets  to make it to New York and box Jason on a rooftop. Now, don’t get a Rocky image in your mind as Jason–for some inexplicable reason–allows this kid to pummel him for minutes and just takes it. That is until Jason punches the kid’s head off. It’s a weird little scene that I assume is supposed to seep hope out of the audience, but really just makes you wonder when the brash kid’s gonna get the axe.

Aside from that brief moment of fighting back and some pretty cool kills, the overall movie feels like a complete misstep. If you don’t have the money to really set the movie in NYC (and a brief scene in Times Square and some alley and subway scenes do not cut it), then just keep the movie on the boat and go all out. This is the one movie from the original series that I’d like to see get remade the most because there could be nothing crazier or scarier then a full on supernatural slasher movie in the middle of a major city. I know slasher movies aren’t in vogue right now aside from mostly-shitty remakes, but this is the next thing I want to see. Slasher vs. City. Someone needs to make it happen. If you’re interested, I have a few pitches in mind.

Halloween Scene: Friday The 13th Part VI Jason Lives (1986)

As faithful readers might remember from my review of Friday The 13th Part VII, I’d never seen Part VI even though I’d seen the next two and the previous installments. I can’t really account for this occurrence aside from guessing that my local Family Video didn’t have all the movies (I’ve also never seen Jason Goes To Hell, but that’s on the Netflix list for when I finish what’s in the box set).

Anyway, I remedied this embarrassing oversight last night after realizing the copy of Near Dark I got from Netflix was cracked (it looked like someone hit it with a ball peen hammer) and Battle Royale only came with subtitles (I can’t write and read a movie at the same time, so back it went). I really dug this installment in the F13 franchise. It starts off with TV’s Horshack which is already a step in the right direction (Welcome Back Kotter is one of my all time favorite sitcoms). We then get a series of kills that don’t really matter because they’re just random people who happen to be hanging out in the woods for the most part, many of which take place during the day which is kind of a nice change of pace.

Story wise, we’re back at Crystal Lake, though it’s been renamed to try and put the Camp Blood era in the past. There’s a lot of people hanging around without fear. Jason’s been dead for a while, but the timing for these movies has always been really wonky, so I’m not sure exactly how long it’s been. Horshack and Tommy Jarvis head to the graveyard to make sure Jason is dead and inadvertently bring him back to life (which is kind of a classic part of a hero’s journey). Jarvis spends the rest of the movie trying to warn the cops who don’t take him seriously (you’d think they would considering the kid has put Jason down more times than anyone else). The plot revolves around the newly opened camp (not a good idea) and the counselors there trying to make things work even though the bosses haven’t shown up (Jason killed them in an awesome scene early on). For the most part, they’re a very likable group who doesn’t completely treat the campers (yes, there’s actually campers in this one) like a disease. I especially like Cort, a dude who’s never without his walkman and ripped jeans (unless he’s having sex in a camper–the vehicle). His explanation of Native American tracking methods is hilarious. Sure he’s vapid and stupid, but in a likable way.

Though I dug the movie overall, I guess it could have been more violent. I read that there were some more violent scenes filmed but not put into the movie (or at least the box set version I have). Does anyone know if the latest Jason Lives DVD has those scenes added back in? That could make an already solid slasher even better.