I believe in my heart that this ad would have blown my mind had I seen it as a kid. Why? Because I never read ad text and just looked at pictures. As such, I would have thought that there was some insane video game coming out featuring a skater kid, the Ninja Turtles AND a knight! Of course, that’s not really the case. This is an ad from Ultra Games showing off their upcoming games Skate Or Die, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Defender Of The Crown. I never played Defender, but I remember being disappointed by both Skate and TMNT. I loved the idea of both games, but they never lived up to what I wanted from games like that. I remember the Skate Or Die controls being really sensitive and tough to master — even more so because I didn’t own the game — and that first TMNT game was just kind of a mess. You spend half the time in a top-down driving thing and then pop down into the sewers where you’ve got some stiff side scrolling action. Ah well, both games acted as stepping stones that lead to some amazing games later on down the line like the TMNT arcade game and the Skate series.
So behind on links again, but after a few trips, I think I’m going to be back on point (I hope).
I’ve done lots and lots of writing lately. I wrote about Nowhere Men, Point of Impact, Where Is Jake Ellis?, Star Bright and the Looking Glass, Multiple Warheads and Black Kiss II! Whew, that was a lot of writing.
Do yourself a favor and check out my pal Rickey Purdin’s new blog VHS Notebook. He watches movies, takes notes and draws, it’s a wonderful thing.
The question at the center of my pal Sean T. Collins’ review of Earth One: Batman over on TCJ is an important one that more comics need to ask: Why does this comic exist?
I don’t truly know what it means to be discriminated against or outwardly hated, but I do completely agree with this editorial by Lucas Grindley over on The Advocate when he says that homophobia is not a political issue, but one that can threaten a person and their families. People need to stop worrying about what’s going on in their neighbors’ bedrooms and start worrying about the starving, dying people all over the world.
Okay, on to less serious stuff. Everyone saw the BBC‘s latest preview of Doctor Who Series 7, right? It looks raaaaaaaaad.
I’ve been watching a ton of Olympics this week and will most likely do so next week as well. As such, I found this AP article about the decaying structures built for the Athens games to be quite interesting. What DO you do with an outdoor Olympic pool when all the people go home?
Oh man, there’s gonna be color versions of Scott Pilgrim? Oni‘s trying to get more of my money!
Flea released a digital EP of all original, weird, emotional soundscapes? Yeah, I downloaded that, now I just gotta listen to it. (Rolling Stone)
The possibilities of DreamWorks buying Classic Media are close to endless and very, very exciting. (THR)
I love reading interviews with Pat Carney from The Black Keys, like this one on Rolling Stone. I like how that dude doesn’t buy into the fame.
I’ve been slow on the uptake when it comes to Wreck-It Ralph, that is until I read this LA Times article about how the filmmakers scored rights to all those classic video game characters.
Denis Medri’s Steampunk Spider-Man characters look so cool, it would potentially get me to read something about Steampunk. (via Project: Rooftop)
Beau Smith suggests more comics have a little fun with their books. I agree their needs to be more humor in comics.Final Girl Stacie Ponder created this fantastic Casual Friday Jason Voorhees shirt. I like it very much.
Speaking of Final Girl, her next FG Film Club selection is Deadly Blessing which is great because it’s on Netflix Instant AND already in my queue. Now I just need to 1. remember, 2. find time to watch it and 3. write about it by August 13th. I CAN DO IT!
Finally, I was really saddened to hear about Tom Davis’ passing. He was such a huge part of SNL, one of the pillars of my concept of comedy. (THR)
Thanks to a vacation last week I got way behind in both blogging and reading links. I got caught up recently and here’s what I found interesting.
As always, I will hype my own stuff. Before SDCC got underway I talked to Brandon Graham about his amazing series Prophet, Jamie S. Rich about the upcoming It Girl series and wrote up a Dark Knight Rises press conference without even attending. Yes, I’m that good.
SDCC really kept me busy the week leading up to the convention. I wrote about the Cyber Force Kickstarter campaign, Brandon Seifert’s upcoming Hellraiser comic, Ales Kot’s new book Change, Whilce Portacio and Glen Brunswick’s Non-Humans, Top Cow’s other panel announcements and Oliver by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson.
Speaking of the con, my pal Kiel Phegley got interviewed for his hometown paper in Flint. It’s a good piece except the dude misspelled Spider-Man, one of my biggest pet peeves.
Forget comics news, I’m super psyched that Marvel’s characters will be teaming up with Phineas & Ferb, that show is fantastic. (via CBR)
Still on the subject of SDCC, I thought this THR piece about whether presenting at Comic-Con is actually worth it to studios or not. My guess is it’s not, but it definitely earns good will.
These minor league baseball jerseys made to look like Chewbacca are fantastic. How far away do I live from Rochester, NY? (via MPN Now)
I’m not quite sure what I think of Billy Corgan or the new Smashing Pumpkins because I haven’t heard any of it, but this Rolling Stone interview with him was pretty interesting.
I was a huge fan of Ron Marz’s Green Lantern, much of which was drawn by the rad Darryl Banks. Marz’s most recent Shelf Life Column on CBR caught up with him. Gabriel Hardman did a Dr. Phibes piece. I will now follow his blog forever.
I can really relate to Alex Noriega’s latest Stuff No One Told Me called Everybody Else.
I was bummed out to read that Krist Novoselic doesn’t play bass much anymore, but then at the end of this Rolling Stone piece he hints at getting back together with Dave Grohl. I like the sound of that very much.
After watching and really enjoying Bikini Beach, I’ve been on an Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon kick. Pajama Game is not part of the surf movie series as Annette plays a different character and Frankie’s barely in it. However, the motorcycle gang called The Rats does show up, so maybe this is a Mallrats/Chasing Amy kind of thing and different actors just play different characters in the same universe. Anyway, this time around, a group of kids hang out at the beach and at nice houses with pools. Anette’s boyfriend is more interested in volleyball than anything else (clearly asexual) so she winds up falling for a new boy in town named George. Meanwhile, a neighbor wants to break into a widow’s house and steal all the money her husband left, so he convinces her to have a pajama party to cause a distraction.
Oh, by the way, George is actually a Martian played by Tommy Kirk who also played Biff in The Absent Minded Professor (an often played film in my house growing up, his dad in that movie was the old guy in Bikini Beach!). He’s supposed to be paving the way for an alien invasion, but winds up falling for Annette which works out fine because her boyfriend would rather bump balls.
Oddly, the trailer for the film isn’t on YouTube, so here’s one of the musical numbers:
This movie was very high on fun and hijinks. I love the elaborate way the widow has to go about getting her money. I love the low tech way they set up a teleporter to bring in more Martians for the invasion. I love how instead of relying on either one of the two storylines (breaking into the old lady’s house, alien invasion) they went with both of them along with all the teen drama that usually surrounds these story. I love the cameos by Dorothy Lamour, Buster Keaton, Avalon, Don Rickles and a couple of background dancers/actresses better known as Teri Garr and Toni Basil. Really, I just loved this movie.
In the following year’s Ski Party, Annette plays a cameo as a professor while Frankie and a fellow college student pal go off to a ski resort to pick up chicks. To get really close to the ladies, they decide to dress in drag to infiltrate their ski class…and maybe learn a little something along the way.
While this film might have been far less complicated than the previous one, I was impressed with how funny it was. Sure there’s the goofy, campy stuff like Frankie inflating his ski coat to go further on a ski jump and accidentally flying all over the place, but there were also some really funny jokes that are still funny today.
One the stereotypes people might have about these kinds of films is that they’re tame by today’s standards. And yeah, that’s true from an on-the-nose perspective. You’re not going to see any topless women or kids randomly hooking up, but that’s more because that kind of stuff wasn’t sold in teen films back then. But all that stuff is still there below the surface. I was surprised with the use of the word “sex” in these movies because it was like they were actually admitting the teenagers want to have sex (shocking!). A lot of creative types say that rules and regulations actually push them to be more creative when it comes to bawdy jokes and dealing with sex and I think that shows in these movies.
Oh, that reminds me of something. As you might expect, homosexuality isn’t mentioned whatsoever in these movies, but I think elements of it can definitely be seen on screen. Pajama had the boyfriend who was more interested in volleyball, which doesn’t really mean anything, but in this one, Frankie’s pal dresses up like a girl and it actually works for him. When, as his guy self, he calls up a girl and gets shot down, he dresses up like his girl self again, calls up a boy who was flirting with him earlier and they go out. And have a wonderful time. Heck, he spends the rest of the movie talking about how great this guy is and that he things he can make a marriage work with him, forget about that whole being a man thing. I guess you could argue this was played for laughs (“This would NEVER happen, so it’s funny!”) or if something got slipped past the censors. I can’t remember how Frankie’s pal ended the movie, but I thought that was a really interesting subplot. For what it’s worth, Frankie did not support his friend.
Another great thing about these movies is the music. While Pajama Party didn’t have anyone I recognized, Ski Party featured none other than the God Father of Soul, The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, Mr. James Brown! AS A SNOW RESCUE GUY! He literally rolls into a lodge on skis with cocktail carrying German shepherds, says a few jokes and busts into “I Got You (I Feel Good).” Holy poop! Oh, Leslie Gore sings “Sunshine, Rainbows and Lollipops” too, but that’s nowhere near as cool as James Brown. Double oh, Yvonne Craig — TV’s Batgirl — stars as one of the objects of affection. I think she was my first ever crush.
So, I just spent a great deal of time bestowing the virtues of these films, but I think the most important thing to take away is that they are silly fun with a real “Up With Kids” vibe to them. It’s funny to think that, right now as I watch these movies, I’m older than the characters in the film (though probably the same age as some of the actors). Even as a burgeoning fogey, I still relate to the themes in these flicks and can’t imagine living in an even more buttoned-up society. Remember, the sexual revolution was still a few years away from really blowing up, so this was the best kids had of seeing even the remotest, nicest form of rebellion on screen (I haven no idea if this is completely factual but it sounds good, doesn’t it?).
Last week I heard that Anthony Bourdain’s novel was getting turned into movie, now I hear he’s going to have a show on CNN? Very, very interesting. This THR piece clarifies that he will be leaving Travel Channel to do the new show, but it will be produced by the same company, so it probably won’t be too different.
I keep slowly reading articles about Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. This one with Mike D on Rolling Stone was another emotional one. I really need to organize my thoughts on the band in a post. Maybe this week.
Toy fans, head on over to Marvel.com to vote for some characters to appear in the 50th wave of Marvel MiniMates from Diamond Select Toys. This reminds me of the good ol’ ToyFare days when we used to do the same thing. Speaking of toys, I love that McFarlane did this Hines Wards Dark Knight Rises figure in their football figure line. (via Toynewsi)
I really need to get some bitters so I can try this cocktail called The Darcy Farrow I saw over on Esquire.com. All that ginger sounds tasty.
FirstShowing posted this interesting theory from Reddit (still don’t know what that is) about the connection between Quentin Tarantino movies and how the events of Inglourious Basterds lead to the violence and pop culture obsessed world we’ve seen in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, etc. I think it’s an interesting look at the material but don’t actually think it was something Tarantino planned.
Simon Pegg talked to The Telegraph about, well, everything and as you’d expect from the chap, it’s all quite interesting.
I’m not much of a fighting game fan, but I am always interesting in comic-based games…until I hear they’re terrible. This new one, Injustice, seems a little too plot-y already, but who knows? (via Topless Robot)
This HuffPo thing where they talked to different directors and writers about how Star Wars changed their view of movies was pretty fun, especially Eli Roth’s childhood drawings.
Hey, John Frusciante has a new pair of solo things coming out, an EP and a full album. I’ll give them a shot, he’s always good for some technically interesting weirdness. (via Rolling Stone)
The Alamo Drafthouse will be distributing a film called Miami Connection that involves a good guy rock band fighting motorcycle ninjas. I’ll take seven.
Lastly, I thought this GQ interview with Christina Hendricks about the week before last’s episode of Mad Men was very interesting. She really seems to dig into that character.
There are three types of movies I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of: coming of age stories featuring nervous young men, anything set in a camp and movies featuring any of the “extreme” sports. So, when I came across Dishdogz on Netflix Instant and saw that it included all of those themes and included Marshall Allman (AJ from my beloved Prison Break), Luke Perry and Haylie Duff who wound up being pretty charismatic, much like she was in Backwoods, I was sold.
The story is that Allman finds his way out west and winds up working at a camp for extreme sports kids (skateboarding, BMX bike riding and even rollerblading which I didn’t think was cool anymore back in 2006, but what do I know?). Allman works in the kitchen where he has to earn the respect of his new co-workers and also discovers that Perry SPOILER used to be a skater in the Lords of Dogtown era. He also falls for Duff who also works there and also skates, making her essentially perfect except for the fact that she has a dickish ex who goes to the camp and gives Allman trouble. So, as you can tell, it really hits all the notes for this kind of thing.
I’m no expert on skating in the 70s and 80s when it was the most popular thing around, but Perry’s dialog seemed to reflect it accurately to the best of my knowledge. The film also boasts a guest spot by Tony Alva who was part of that whole Dogtown & Z-Boys movement. Speaking of cameos, Ryan Sheckler popped up too and looked so young. I remember him looking young when he had that MTV show, but he’s 14 here and looks like a fetus.
At the end of the day, the movie gets a little melodramatic at times and might feel like a rehash if you’ve seen pretty much any camp, coming of age or extreme sports movie, but I enjoyed seeing them all together and performed by these actors. Perry comes off a little too “zen master” at times, but he pulls off the “I used to be somebody” schtick well, while Allman does the same for his “good guy just wants to get the girl and be good” character. All in all, fun stuff.
My video game habits greatly depend on how I’m feeling any given day, how lucky I’ve been in choosing cheap used games to play and whether I’ve decided to write or waste time with digital tasks to complete. I looked back and realized I haven’t talked about a video game since last summer, but I’ve still been playing, just not writing about them as much. I figured this would be a good way to catch up a bit.
One of the longest and best gaming experiences I had came from playing Skate 3. Skate 2 was a game I got sent for free way back in 2008 or 2009 when I worked at Wizard. Video game companies would send a bunch of games to the office every now and then and they’d get disseminated throughout the office. I was lucky enough to get a copy and even reviewed it on the old ToyFare blog, but that no longer exists and thus can not be referred to. So, I’ll summarize and say that I really liked the teleport function on the map, enjoyed getting better and better bit by bit at the various challenges and greatly appreciated the variety of said challenges. I did have some trouble getting the hang of some of the controls, but it wasn’t so bad.
I felt very much the same way about Skate 3. I haven’t played a lot of sequels to Xbox games I’ve enjoyed — Crackdown 2 is about the only one I can think of and that was a huge gigantic disappointment — but I’m glad they were able to keep the same quality, not mess with the difficulty level too much and still give me a game that lasted me quite a while and remained enjoyable the whole time. I even finished all the challenges but one and have even gone back to play a few things again when I’m bored or just want to have some fun flying through the air. I’ve never been a skater, but I like how this game makes me feel like I could possibly do it.
It looks like I didn’t actually write about the first Gears Of War game, but I did enjoy it. I can get a little tired of the whole “space soliders” game (yeah, I know they’re on Earth in GOW, but it’s the same idea), but they gave me just the right about of actual game to play without feeling too long or boring. It took me a while to the hang of whole duck-and-cover game play mechanic, but once I did things moved along pretty smoothly.
I had a very similar experience with GOW 2, making it the second 360 sequel in this post that I not only liked but had a lot of fun with. I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to finish the game, but I don’t think it was very long. Since I only pay around $20 for a game, I don’t mind if it doesn’t give me 60 hours of gameplay. It’d be different if I was paying $60, but I’m not, so I’m okay with a fun, quick and concise game.
There were some pretty intense moments and a few interesting boards. I didn’t have too much trouble with any of the levels or bad guys which I also like. I play these games to have fun and relieve stress, not challenge myself for days to kill one dumb alien. So far, GOW has been the series that I’m most excited about catching up on when it comes to 360 games, but only because I don’t think there’s going to be another Skate game in the near future.
I had a very similar experience with Madden 2011 that I did with Skate 2. I’ve been playing it for quite a while and enjoyed all the challenges therein. I played a few random games then started a franchise and won the Super Bowl after an undefeated season as the Steelers.
After that, I went and moved up to the next difficulty level. Man, there is a huge difference between the two. Like I said, I won every single game on one level, then could not win a game on the next. I’m not sure what the deal was. I could not complete a pass or get more than a few yards on the run. I was hoping for more of a challenge, but not the cold, hard realization that I might suck incredibly bad at this game.
So, what did I do? Instead of completely giving up and moving on to another game, noting that I had gotten plenty of fun out of whatever the used price was, I switched teams. To the Lions. I’m still undefeated with them, but it doesn’t feel like as much of a gimme because it’s the Lions and they hadn’t had their great season when this game was made. I know that’ silly, but it works for me.
I don’t know about you guys, but I collected sports cards before I got into comics. In fact, reading comics directly resulted in the dropping of cards from my childhood budget. Why would you pay for something you just look at and put in a binder when you can spend a similar amount of money on something you can read over and over again (or look at once and put in a bag and board)? To be honest, I was always more a fan of the cards themselves, the thrill of the hunt and going to card shows than the sports themselves. I wouldn’t get into football until college, so there was quite a gap there where my only sports experiences were going to a few Detroit games with my dad and going to football and basketball games in high school. Anyway, even not being a die hard baseball fan, I know how important Joe DiMaggio was to the game and can not imagine being the one to open a pack of baseball cards in 1992 and seeing his signature. It’d be like getting Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket, man. (Scanned from Punisher #59, 1992).
Here’s how I started watching FX’s The League, don’t worry it’s not a long story, but I think it’s interesting how we come to certain blocks of entertainment. I had heard that show about a group of friends in a fantasy football league existed, but didn’t know anything about it aside from the fact that Paul Scheer was in it. Then I started hearing the hilarious Nick Kroll on various episodes of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast (here’s my previous post about the podcast, and here’s the official site). After that I watched and loved the first season of Louis CK’s Louie on FX. Then I finished watching Party Down and Xbox Instant recommended The League. With the combination of FX’s new-found in my headspace, a desire to see Kroll in action and the desire to simply watch another fun comedy, I was in. Boy, I’m glad I did because this show is fantastically funny, honest and often terrible all in wonderful ways.
Like I said, the idea is that these five high school friends (well four high school friends and a brother of one of the guys) are in a league. Much of the humor comes from the ins and outs of their relationship and the pressure that get to fantasy fans, but there’s also a lot of relationship stuff going on that is right on the money. Kroll plays a lawyer whose married to the maid from My Name Is Earl and has a young son. He’s kind of a jerk and overly intense about things he shouldn’t be (like fantasy football of course). Scheer is rich, but super gullible and mostly terrible in the league while Mark Duplass is the lovably ass-ish Pete. Then you’ve got Kevin who’s married to Jenny who actually runs his team. They have about the cutest little girl on TV and she is utilized perfectly from the episodes I’ve seen. Finally, you’ve got Kevin’s stoner brother Taco who is incredibly stupid, but also comes up with some great songs throughout the series.
Personally, I’m not a fantasy footballer. I tend to like doing, watching or experiencing things without feeling the need to get much deeper than that. With comics, I just read comics and now write about them on here, I don’t need to go all over the internet telling everyone what I think and why they’re dumb. When it comes to football, I just want to watch games, get into them and then move on to other stuff. I don’t mean to disparage people who do like fantasy leagues, it’s just not my thing. However, I get the intensity that comes with being a big fan of something and I’ve been watching a lot of Mike & Mike on ESPN 2 in the mornings, so I’ve got enough knowledge to laugh when they’re talking about playing or benching certain players even if I’m not really sure what half of the fantasy league jargon even means. Not a big deal.
Like the other shows on FX that I’ve liked, like Louie or It’s Always Sunny which I’m way behind on, The League revolves around realistic characters who maybe don’t have to deal with the consequences of some of their jerkier actions which makes it a great kind of release for regular people. Pete might be the biggest jerk on television, but he’s got that boyish charm that you just can’t stay mad at.
I don’t know if I’d want to be friends with guys like these because of the huge amount of ball busting going on at all times, but I love watching them in their natural habitat. I don’t think I’ve laughed louder or harder at a comedy in quite a while and the best part is that there is a whole third season not yet on Netflix Instant that I can look forward to watching.
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.
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)
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)
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.