Casting Internets

I haven’t done this in a while, but I think you should check out something I wrote. I did a list for Topless Robot called Ten More Marvel Shows We Want To See Besides Agents of SHIELD!

Two guys dressed up like Mario and Luigi to do parkour. Apparently, I’m a big fan of themed parkour videos because this is awesome. (via Topless Robot)eboy ATM-Atlanta-Coca-Colonization-15t

eBoy art really draws me in. It’s like a Where’s Waldo detail-wise, but you’re just enjoying all the scenery instead of looking for a stripe-loving goofball. I could lose myself in this Coke piece of his for days, if I wasn’t careful.dead weather

The Dead Weather is the Jack White project I’m least familiar with, but I’m glad to hear he’s recording more music with them through his own Third Man label. More bluesy, dirty rock can never be a bad thing. (via Rolling Stone)shivers poster

Just the other day I was thinking to myself, “Boy, I sure would like to watch Cornenberg’s Shivers.” Little did I know that sites like TheWrap would be reporting a remake in the works the next day.

I haven’t seen the un-aired Locke & Key pilot written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, but I heard good things. It’s exciting to hear about them moving forward with the project as a series of movies, as Kurtzman told Collider.

Bob Burnquist is awesome. Want proof? Watch this video about the skateboarding tricks he does on his big air ramp that include a HELICOPTER.

Alec Baldwin did a great interview with Chris Columbus on Baldwin’s podcast Here’s The Thing spanning the writer and director’s career. Man, that guy’s helped created some of the greatest films around.happy-endings-abc-tv-show-4

Like a lot of Happy Endings fans, I was sad to see that show go away, but it’s cool that Damon Wayans Jr. will return to New Girl and Adam Pally’s becoming a regular on The Mindy Project. I can’t find my links to these stories, so you’ll just have to trust me.

This New York Times article about the world of 20-somethings in the professional world is impressive because it shows how hard kids are working, but also sad because it seems excessive. Maybe I’m just lazy.nirvana in utero

I’ve been trying not to spend much money lately, but I feel drawn to the 20th anniversary release of Nirvana’s In Utero. Speaking of which, Pat Smear talked to Rolling Stone about the last years of the band.

As a big fan of both The League and the How Did This Get Made podcast, I’m really excited to hear from Deadline that Paul Scheer’s got a show in the works at ABC according to Deadline.EC_Tales-DigitalPostcardFinal

I actually gasped with delighted exasperation when I saw that Mondo is doing a Tales From The Crypt art show. That show shaped me as a kid and the comics are some of the most beautiful looking around. So awesome.

Casting Internets

shootfirstIf you don’t buy my friend Justin Aclin‘s upcoming Dark Horse comic S.H.O.O.T. First, you suck.

I recently discovered a site called Humans Of New York that I can’t get enough of. A photographer walks around NYC, snapping pictures of people and asking them questions then presenting them on the site. Sounds simple, but that’s why it’s so interesting.

Oh my goodness, you guys, this Screen Junkies Honest Trailer for Batman & Robin is super-great-fantastic. Thanks to The Mary Sue for bringing it to my attention!

As a kid, I read The Giver more than any other book. The adaptation is shaping up to be quite a film. Jeff Bridges is in it and according to Deadline, Meryl Streep’s on board too. I will certainly see this flick.

Not quite sure what to think about the CBGB movie. If it’s got even a fraction of Please Kill Me in it, it should be alright. The Ramones look like gods in the first trailer over on THR, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Variety‘s telling me that there’s going to be a Disney Imagineering documentary. I went on the Behind the Magic tour at Disney World which was fascinating, so this should be even better.ace mccloud centurions custom

Not too long ago, I talked about how much I enjoyed the concept of Centurions and wondered why it never made a comeback. Now there’s a killer custom of Ace McCloud by Hemblecreations as posted on ToyNewsI that looks all kinds of rad. That’s internet synergy, yawl.

Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer is hilarious, you should check it out. I will definitely check out her Judd Apatow-produced film, Deadline reports.

Transworld Business, an action sports website I recently discovered, tells me that Oakley’s doing a 6-part web series featuring skateboarder Bob Burnquist showing off his own personal skatepark. The part where he skates around a helicopter made me super nervous.

Right after the X-Games, Nyjah Huston wrote this fantastic column for THR about the greatness of his sport and its potential for inclusion in the Olympics. I’ll throw my vote in for that idea right now.

Danny Way told ESPN might return to the X-Games, bringing a whole new gigantic ramp thing to the proceedings. Yes, make this happen.

I’ve always been interested in how Alice Cooper balances his normal life with his stage one, something he talked to Esquire about recently.walmart-library-5

Web Urbanist posted these amazing pictures of a Texas Walmart that was converted into the largest single floor library in the country.

I picked up The Tom Tom Clubs’ latest record Downtown Rockers this year and have really grown to dig it, so I’m glad to hear they told Rolling Stone they’re likely to get back together and record later this year.

Brilliant physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about science and how it needs to be more prevalent during SDCC. (via Spinoff).

If you’re like me and wondered why the producers on Real World and The Challenge don’t seem to be interfering as much when things get violent, Variety did an interesting write-up on why.sam bosma-lisbon

Finally, go check out the larger version of Sam Bosma‘s Lisbon drawing. It’s wallpaper-worthy, no doubt.

To My Mind, Amazing Spider-Man Is Superior

amazing spider-man poster

Like a lot of people, I was dubious when I head about plans to reboot the Spider-Man film franchise so quickly after the previous installment (there’s only 5 years between Spider-Man 3 and Amazing). I’m also about the only person on Earth who doesn’t like Spider-Man 2 (too overwrought) and one of the many people who actively disliked Spider-Man 3, so more Spidey on the big screen wasn’t something I was interested in whatsoever. So, why’d I wind up watching it last night? Pretty simple: we’ve got a Starz’ family movie channel replacing the absent CBS on our cable and it happened to be on. With a general feeling of, “Eh, why not?” and our daughter loving Spider-Man, my wife and I figured we’d give it a shot.

And, you know what? I really enjoyed this movie. I’ll say right now that it’s been years since I watched Spider-Man and my memories of that film have absolutely been tarnished by the sequels, but Amazing compared favorably to that other film as far as I’m concerned. I liked the “figuring out his powers” scene a lot for instance and not just because it included skateboarding.

While still doing the origin thing (which I actually missed as we turned the movie on about 10 or 15 minutes late) the movie focused more on Peter Parker as a high school kid. Before Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) inevitably passes away, but after Peter discovers his powers, he embraces his new abilities as well as the scientific projects he gets to work on with the one-armed Dr. Connors. They’re working on a limb regeneration experiment that Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) winds up using on himself, which turns him into the Lizard, a process that drove him so crazy that he utilized a device to try and spread the lizard-izing chemicals all over NYC. Meanwhile, Peter’s flirting with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and meeting her dad (Denis Leary) who doesn’t like the vigilante running around his city.

First and foremost, I adored Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I’d only ever saw him in The Social Network and wasn’t sure how he’d play as one of the world’s most iconic superheroes, but I thought he killed it. He nailed the darkness that comes from the loss of a loved one along with the general high school angst. This isn’t just the story of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man, but the story of a boy dealing with the loss of his father figure while also working through actual parental issues and you feel that throughout the film. Then, a few minutes later, he’s doing the whole jokey thing which is clearly his way of embracing his new life. Some people complained that there wasn’t enough joking around, but that made sense with this story which gets pretty intense pretty quickly.

I also appreciated what they didn’t do in this movie. There’s no “With great power comes great responsibility” or wrestling match or Mary Jane or J. Jonah Jameson or Norman Osborn. Those elements are there in various forms, but after seeing those things done already, it was nice to see them skipped over this time around. My biggest concern going into Amazing was that it would be far too much of a rehash. Sure, director Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) makes nods to the comic book and movie origins but also puts a spin on them that makes sense within the context of this film.

amazing spider-man poster 2

I should also note that I’ve never read Spider-Man comics aside from an Ultimate Spider-Man binge-read I did years ago that got me up to around the #100 mark (I didn’t dig it). So, while watching this version of the story I wasn’t concerned with “Hey, that’s not like the comic” or constantly comparing it to the hundreds of comics I’ve read (like I did with Dark Knight Rises and Man Of Steel). Thanks to that disconnect I was able to just sit back and enjoy the film.

Oh, the special effects are rad too. I know they did as much practically as they could, but even the super CGI-y scenes made sense and looked pretty good on my TV. I’d still like to watch the movie on Blu-ray at some point to really see how good or bad it looks.

I dug the movie and so did my kid actually. It’s funny the little things here and there that she picks up on. There’s a part where Peter’s supposed to pick up eggs but gets sidetracked. My wife and I both joked that he forgot the eggs when he got back to the house and our daughter kept asking about the eggs throughout the movie. Unfortunately, she fell asleep before that was all wrapped up at the end of the movie, yet another reason to watch the movie again!

I STILL Think The X-Games Is Awesome

x-games sloan big airTwo years ago I wrote a post about how I thought the X-Games is awesome. I still agree with everything I wrote there, but have found a completely new and different reason to love these games: inspiration. I find it amazing how men and women can devote themselves to any particular activity, hone themselves into machines and perform that activity to the best of their ability. I appreciate that level of skill in everything from football and film to singing and skateboarding. Plus, what better expression of independence is there than rocketing down a ramp and doing flips in the air?

When I watch the X-Games, as I did this past weekend when the now-touring event hit Munich, I was constantly amazed at the level of skill these people achieved to do amazing things, conquering previously held rules in the process. Humans aren’t supposed to launch themselves dozens of feet in the air and land safely. They’re even less likely to do the same thing, not land correctly and walk away alive. These are people who see a challenge and attack it with everything they have until they either conquer it or, well, break.

I’ve done my best to catch the last few X-Games contests and the event that I love the most is called Big Air. This is when a skateboarder or BMX rider comes down a gigantic slope, hits one of three ramps, flies over a big gap while doing a trick, lands on another ramp and then hits a half pipe that’s also gigantic only to throw a second trick. Above you can see Chad Kagy’s Gold Medal-winning run from this year’s BMX Big Air contest (for a first person POV view of the whole thing go here). But, the guy who’s really captured my imagination during the past two games has been skateboarder Bob Burnquist, who’s 36 and not only still winning Gold Medals, but also beating kids, half and two-thirds his age (Munich Bronze winner Tom Schaar is 14 while fourth place winner Jagger Eaton is only 12!).

The fact that Burnquist has stayed healthy enough to keep competing consistently in a sport he loves is inspiring to me as is just about everything I saw everyone do during Big Air. It’s basically humanity saying, “Forget you, nature, I’m going to figure out a way to fly.” I love that spirit and have tried using it as a way of driving me to do the things I love. I currently have the image at the top of this post as my desktop wallpaper because it makes me think, “If this dude can do something crazy like that, I can write a few pages today.” Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s better than one of those “Hang in there” posters with a cat, right?

Doc Review: Skatopia – 88 Acres Of Anarchy (2007)

skatopia When I saw Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Anarchy pop up on Netflix, I was intrigued. I’ve watched plenty of movies about skateboarding, both fictional and documentary, so when I saw this thing about a dude whose been building a huge skatepark on his property for years, I figured it was worth a look. I had no idea the rollercoaster of emotions I’d feel while watching, though.

First, the basics. Brewce Martin is a skater who tried for years to build a place where he could skate and enjoy himself, but kept finding static until he moved to a southeastern part of Ohio (my home state) where he bought the titular 88 acres and started building. Far from being wealthy, or great at paying his bills, Martin has made the creation of Skatopia a group effort, allowing people to stay on his property in everything from old trailers to lean-tos. The concept is pretty simple, they do work and they get to not only stay there but also skate the place. It’s become a kind of Mecca for skaters as one of the many transients says during the film. To help keep things rolling, Brewce holds a few annual parties to help bolster income which he then puts back into the park. One of the main points of interest and conflict comes from the 60 day prison term Martin winds up serving to take care of an assault and battery charge that he says was actually an attack on himself where he was simply defending himself.

From watching the film I feel like I got a pretty good sense of who Brewce is as a person, partially because he lays a lot of things out on the table, but also from watching him interact with people. He just wants to live his life how he wants to live it which mostly includes skating, partying and fooling around, none of which is bad on its own. But, he’s got a toddler daughter with his girlfriend and that’s one of the main sources of discomfort and worry for me as a viewer throughout this film, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. He freely admits to having problems with fidelity, authority and rage, all of which are hinted at or overtly shown in the film. But he’s also a control freak, which is interesting considering he doesn’t want anyone telling him what to do. The subtitle of the film — 88 Acres Of Anarchy — is actually bullshit. Skatopia is a dictatorship, run by Brewce. He’s got a solid set of rules that might have a lot of bend to them and space for individuality, but if you cross him, he will come down on you, either with violence or expelling you from the kingdom.

And, to a certain extent, he has to be like that. He’s dealing with a group of individuals who have basically shrugged off the regular working world. They just want to skate. Some of them are jazzed about actually being a part of building up Skatopia, which is fantastic, but others look like they’re just there to drink a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon and possibly partake in various illegal narcotics (nothing’s overtly shown, but if there aren’t at least a half dozen meth heads in this film, I’m one of the Z-Boys). When he’s locked up, things just don’t get done. Partially because his minions don’t want to work, partially because their king isn’t pushing them to get things done and partially because he is the wheeling, dealing brains behind the entire operation. Still, he gets out in time to finish enough of something to throw a party that seems like a success.

So that’s all well and good. I’m not the type that wants to tell adults how to live their lives (though I’m fairly certain some of the Skatopia inhabitants were under age). My only real problems with this guy revolve around his young daughter. My kid’s about as old as she is in the film and I just can’t help but feel sorry for her. It’s great that her dad is a free thinker, but he also throws a party that involves drinking, drugs, fire, fireworks, explosions and all manner of other craziness. Where’s she in all that? Who’s looking out for her? There’s a scene where her mom brings her to visit her dad in prison that broke my heart. That’s where I think I turned on Brewce as a character. For me, a person’s number one priority should be protecting their children and I worry that she’s in an unsafe environment without much supervision. There’s also the seemingly looming threat of all the things Brewce has specifically told us viewers about himself that keep gnawing in my brain when it comes to his daughter: he’s violent, irresponsible, bad with money, all things that tick in the negative when it comes to fatherhood.

And yet, I find myself agreeing with a lot of what Brewce has to say. He pulled his older son — who’s 20 in the film — out of traditional schools because he doesn’t like how they indoctrinate people. I can relate to that. He thinks that all people need a balance in their lives between the negative and positive, searching for that thing that makes them feel good. Yeah, I’m on board with that too. However, while I agree with him on many things, I personally wouldn’t let those ideas supersede my role as a father, which I think is where there’s a disconnect for me when it comes to the man.

It doesn’t help that this is a strange, meandering documentary with characters coming and going without notice or follow-up. You see Brewce, his minions and their exploits for an extended period of time to get an idea of what life at Skatopia is like, but it feels like there might have been some kind of director- or editor-driven message behind the whole thing that isn’t quite clear. For instance, there’s an entire scene where Brewce and the boys invite some strippers over to the place to hang out the night before he goes to court. There’s absolutely no point to this scene and yet it goes on for quite a while and really skeeved me out when it came to Brewce and his people. I’m not sure if that was the filmmakers’ intent or not, but I kind of think it might be. Otherwise, why not show other footage of more interesting things happening? You could have used that time to give a little bit more context to what the heck was happening during the party, which could probably have its own doc all to itself.

SKATOPIA DVDI did a little looking around after watching this movie and came to understand that Brewce was actually pretty drastically injured in a 2010 explosion at a tire factory that put him in a coma for a while. There’s not a ton of information on Wikipidea about what’s happened since then (Brewce himself doesn’t have a page, but the park does), but I get the idea he’s doing alright and Skatopia is still going strong.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure if I’d recommend this movie. On one hand, it certainly immerses you in a lifestyle you may or may not be familiar with. On the other, it’s oddly put together and features people who range from soft and cuddly to worrisome and troubling which might turn you off. I say give it a shot and see what’s going on in a place that some consider heaven and others would avoid like hell.

Casting Internets

If you want to see what I’ve been working on lately, head on over to my author page on CBR. I talked to Paul Pope and John McLaughlin and also did another installment of my collectible column Toying Around!justin aclin's star wars comic

My pal, one time boss and all around rad dude Justin Aclin talked about writing a Star Wars OGN for Dark Horse over on his blog. As you  might expect, I’m super proud of him and super jealous at the same time.

Karen Burger leaving Vertigo is pretty huge when you think about all the amazing series’ she helped foster. Good luck to her! (via The Mary Sue)

Everyone interested in comics and comic production should read Jim Zub’s breakdown of costs and profits for such books. Then he wrote about digital comics. Eye-opening stuff.

I fell in love with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere when I first read it. I’m very excited about the BBC radioplay version that will include James McAvoy, Anthony Head, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee! (via Hypable)phil noto 70s storm

I love Phil Noto‘s series of original art pieces that are supposed to be photos from Hank Pym’s collection. Dig this Storm he posted.

Esquire scored an interview with June Diane Raphael, the wonderfully funny co-host of one of my favorite podcasts How Did This Get Made and a  recurring player on the equally wonderful New Girl.experiencing nirvanaI’m pretty curious about Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt’s e-book about Kurt Cobain and Nirvana in Europe in 1989. $5 isn’t too steep, but is it only available on the iPad? That’s no good. (via Rolling Stone)

Billy Corgan talked to Rolling Stone about my first ever Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Rolling Stone talked to Jimmy Page about his days in the Yardbirds. I’m sure I knew most of this stuff from Hammer of the Gods, but it was still a nice read.

Speaking of music, I discovered The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” by way of a cover and fell in love with it. This Guardian story about the song’s origins are pretty interesting.

Whoa, this skateboarding video posted over on One Cool Thing A Day is AMAZING. Tricks you’ve never seen before, guaranteed.

I hope you’re enjoying 25 days of Doctor Who goodness over on the BBC’s Adventure Calendar.

I’m pretty excited about Comedy Central giving shows to Nick Kroll, Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik. Here’s hoping I’ll actually know when they’re on. (via THR)

Speaking of funny people, Louis CK answered the Proust Questionnaire over at Vanity Fair.

Lastly, I’m grown to really love Judd Apatow’s movies. I always liked them, but as I get a little older I can relate to the truth and honesty in them a lot more. As such, I’m very excited for This Is 40, though I have no idea when I will see it. Until then, I’m happy reading interviews about him and Leslie Mann from The Chicago Tribune.

Quick Camp Movie Review: Dishdogz (2006)

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.