So it’s been awhile.
I could launch into a myriad of excuses. Some of them would even be legitimate, but the main reason I haven’t written anything lately is I’m lazy and I’d much rather be enjoying the media I adore than writing about it.Every once in awhile though, I do get a wild hair and so here I am.
Thing is though, there’s no one film or show I’m ready to really focus on and dissect. So a traditional review post is pretty much out the window. Also, I haven’t had any strong feelings one way or another on a lot of things lately, which makes writing a review for me difficult. See, I know all 11 of our readers will find this difficult to believe, but since we’re not paid reviewers, it’s kinda pointless to waste hobby time on stuff you’re indifferent to. The simple fact that I’m not paid to watch and write about crap makes it unnecessary to review every movie I watch.
So instead, I’ll employ gimmickry. Gimmicks work for me. They provide structure and focus to a mind that is hella scatalogical most times. Basically, I made a list of all the shit I’ve been enjoying or hating lately and organized it A to Z. Should be fairly easy for even the most brain dead amongst us to follow, yes? And we’re off….
A=America, Captain – Full disclosure here. Captain America is my favorite superhero of all time. Yes, he’s uber-cheesy at times and he’s rather limited in the types of stories you can tell with the character, but he is and always has been my favorite. I’ve waited my whole life for a watchable Cap movie and it looks like we’re about to get it. The trailers hit all the right notes and I like that they’re focusing on the fact that Cap is a motherfucking soldier first and foremost, something a lot of writers tend to forget when they take him on. Tick told me once that Captain America is fool’s gold, meaning that the nature of the character restricts you when you’re writing him and there’s only so much you can do with him. That is true to an extent, but out of all the Marvel roster, Captain America is probably the simplest to bring to the big screen. I’m crossing my fingers that the film turns out all right, but the fanboy in me is going to geek out regardless. Fair warning for when my five star review comes across the pike…
B=Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Long Road Home – This is Volume One of Buffy: Season 8, “But wait Pi, you fucking retard. There were only 7 seasons of Buffy!” you might be saying and I of all people, know that better than you. These are comic books written by the show’s creator Joss Whedon that pick up right where Season 7 left off. This has been out for years, but I’ve avoided it for several reasons. One, Dark Horse comics suck. Two, the art on the Buffy comics has always blown (holds true in this book too) and Three, I knew I would be voracious once I got ahold of it, so I wanted to wait until they were all done (they finally fucking are!). This first story arc shows that Joss is having a field day doing things he would have never been able to do on the show due to budget and content. I won’t spoil it for fellow Whedonites out there, but there’s some nice surprises here and the way the Scooby gang is introduced over the first 2 chapters hits all the right notes that the show always did when starting a new season. Plus, Dawn is NOT annoying. Color me amazed.
C=CM Punk – I’m writing this on June 28th. If you didn’t see Punk’s promo on the June 27th episode of Raw, you missed the best worked shoot promo I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked Punk ever since he showed up in WWE. He really is the whole package. He can work the stick, he’s as technically solid as Bret Hart and he’s that perfect heel that manages to hit the crowd where they live. Little things like totally disrespecting tradition and sitting down crosslegged in the ring or on the ramp to cut a promo, Punk pulls off effortlessly. I’m really hoping that he just needs to recharge, that this is all just a hiatus and he’ll be back in 6 months or so, because hands down, CM Punk has been the only reason to watch WWE in a year.
D=DC Comics – For those of you not in the know, come September, DC is relaunching all their titles at number one. When you think that Action Comics and Detective Comics are almost at 1000 and have been on the same volume since the 40s, this is pretty fucking huge desperation. I’ve never really understood how this company has such a wealth of great characters on it’s roster and continually finds ways to botch everything up and piss off fans. This relaunch could go either way, if and ONLY if, they had a cohesive plan for it. But they don’t! Some titles are starting all over with “modern takes”, a la the Ultimate Universe at Marvel and some are going to keep current continuity and storylines. Already you’re fucking it up, DC. Pick one or the other. Let’s take Batman for example. You’re going to have current developments like Batman Inc and Damian Wayne as Robin, but Dick Grayson is back to being Nightwing and Barbara Gordon is back to being Batgirl. WHAT THE FUCK? First off, I am RIDICULOUSLY pissed about Babs being back in the costume. She has become ten times more vital to the Bat family since she was crippled and became Oracle. Not to mention how Dick’s getting sent back to the minors. He’s been wearing the Bat costume the past three years and now he’s back to Nightwing? And what about Stephanie/Spoiler or Cassandra Cain? Where the Hell are they? Despite the smell of monumental failure, I’m fascinated by this relaunch and it’ll hook me in for an issue or three. Whether I stay is an entirely different tale.
E=Ex Machina – I’m realizing this post has a lot of comic book stuff and I promise, we will get to some movies soon, but while we’re still on comics, Ex Machina is pretty fucking dope. It’s written by Brian K. Vaughn who wrote Y: The Last Man, which is one of the best series of the past decade and it’s really a great little book. It tells the tale of a guy who acquires superpowers and tries out the superhero thing for awhile, then parlays it into becoming the mayor of New York City. The book mixes current events (from 2002 when it began) with fantasy seamlessly and when you add political intrigue in with the other elements of a traditional comic book, it’s an engaging read. Pick up the first Trade if you’re interested.
F=Five Guys – I’m obsessed with this place. Five Guys is a burger place that started in Washington D.C., but has been spreading quickly across the country over the past couple of years. Before I go any further, let me clarify. I am a SoCal kid, born and bred. My allegiance will always be to In-N-Out, but Five Guys is damn good. The burger is thick and tasty, but the fries? My God, the fries are absolutely ridiculously awesome, in particular the Cajun fries. Plus, ordering the regular size gets you a shitload of them, way more than you could possibly eat. Five Guys are cropping up all over the place, so if one opens near you, don’t even hesitate. Just fucking go.
G=Green Lantern – Like a comic book movie was gonna get released that I didn’t see. Upfront, I gotta say I was never a Lantern fan. I always thought it was kinda gay, even though there’s a lot of things about the Corps that appeal to me. I could just never buy in, but I had a grasp of the character going into the movie and you know what? I don’t understand the criticism. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have been skewered for their acting, but what were you people expecting? They delivered the lines that were written for them well. You can’t fault them for the simplistic dialogue. While I felt that Reynolds was playing more Kyle than Hal, what do you expect when you cast Ryan fucking Reynolds? My favorite shitty criticism is “there was too much CGI”. Again, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? It’s a movie about a guy who’s a Space Cop, who meets with other Space Cops from other galaxies and jizzes green spunk out of a ring that he uses his imagination to form into things. You tell me how to do that with practical effects and we can talk. Until then critics, shut the fuck up. This ain’t Black Swan. It’s Green Lantern and while I wouldn’t award it any Oscars, I enjoyed my time at the movies and felt no urge to burn anything down. That’s high fucking praise from me.
H=Hash House-A-Go-Go – If you ever find yourself in my fair city and you ever find yourself out late at night and looking for some good food, go to Hash House. Hell, you can go there any time of the day, but there’s specials late night. While they’re famous for their breakfast, Hash House has a wide, varied menu and is open 24/7. There’s a couple locations, but my favorite is the one in the M Resort, on the far South side of the city and one of Vegas’ best kept secrets from you tourists. Seek it out and thank me later.
I=Infamous 2 – My latest video game obsession. The first Infamous was life absorbing for a month or so. You’re this guy who gets the power of electricity. The first game put you in a New York/Chicago type city, lots of tall buildings to traverse and a great playground to discover and learn your powers. Infamous 2 takes place in a New Orleans-like city and while I was skeptical of losing all the height of Empire City, it’s fucking great. First off, they let you keep most of your powers from the first game from the outset. That in itself is noteworthy, because most games come up with stupid contrivances to weaken you when starting a new game. The new powers are awesome, the game is fluid as Hell and so many aspects of the game have been built upon and improved. I still think the story writing is a little weak, but it’s far from horrible. If a super hero sandbox game sounds like it appeals to you, this one gets my highest recommendation.
J=Justice League Dark – Okay, I was pretty critical about the DC relaunch earlier, but like I said, there’s some intriguing stuff in there too. This is one of them. When most people think Justice League, it’s the Big 3. Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman. How about this for a team; John Constantine, Deadman, Shade The Changing Man and Madame Xanadu? I know your supernatural geekiness is getting all excited. Add on the fact that Peter Milligan is writing this and it just seems unfair. For those of you unfamiliar with these characters, this will basically be the team traversing spiritual planes, mucking about with magicks and demons. I have high hopes for this one.
K=Kutcher, Ashton – I actually saw a movie he was in that I not only enjoyed, but I enjoyed him in it. The movie was No Strings Attached. Feel free to murder me now. I feel filthy and unclean.
L=Locke And Key – Another comic, but one that I know will appeal to just about everyone here. Written by Joe Hill, who just happens to be Stephen King’s son, Locke and Key is about a family that has a tragic death, so they move from the Bay Area (where everything is tragic) to the East. Here’s what will tell you all you need to know. The town they move to is called LOVECRAFT, Mass. Interested? You should be. This is good old-fashioned, evil demons and ghosts, Haunted House type shit. I just read the first Trade, entitled Welcome To Lovecraft and I honestly haven’t read a better comic in a long time. It’s paced perfectly, it’s suspenseful, but slowly gives you reveals when the time is right. The art style fits the mood and writing well and I gotta admit, when I first flipped through it, the art didn’t really strike me as Lovecraftian horror, but when you actually read it, it works. They filmed a TV pilot for this show that every major network turned down. It must be great.
M=Mass Effect 3 – Holy shit! Did you see the trailers from E3? My dick is hard. Kiss me goodbye when this comes out. I’ll be saving the galaxy for at least a month and hopefully, 20 of those days won’t be spent mining planets.
N=Netflix – Why doesn’t everyone in the world have Netflix? I resisted for a long time. I always liked going to the video store and browsing, but fuck that. Not getting dressed and most of all NOT FEELING BAD about turning off a movie after 30 minutes because you didn’t just spend 5 bucks to rent it, is awesome. Most of all though, the TV shows. Not having to drop 60 bucks for a season set is just awesome. It’s only going to get better too. Once Blockbuster finally emits it’s death rattle, most of those exclusives are gonna end up on Netflix. If Netflix was a person, I would hug it.
O=One Hundred Bullets – I love the comic, but that’s not why it’s fresh in my mind. Showtime is developing it as a series and all I have to say to that is FUCK YEAH! It’s about time. I’ve always thought that certain comics just don’t work as movies, but would work amazingly well as cable series. 100 Bullets is always the one I thought would translate the best. There’s no superpowers or special effects. It’s guns and noir-cool. Let the fantasy casting begin and let me begin by saying Cameron Diaz is NOT right for Megan Dietrich, but Skeet Ulrich is for Cole Cash and while Michelle Rodriguez is the easy choice for Dizzy Cordova, somehow I don’t want that.
P=Plus, Hulu – Remember everything I said about Netflix? Hulu Plus is pretty much in the same boat, sans movies. My PS3 runs pretty much 24/7 and games is it’s third function. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Games + Blu-Rays, in that order. I hate watching live TV and I currently don’t have a DVR, so Hulu Plus is a Godsend for keeping up with the latest shows. It’s a great app and it’s amazing to me that the Networks fought it so long. They’re essentially charging for shows that normally they’d give away free and once you get accustomed to it, you stick with it. It’s win win.
Q=Quick Time Events – I hate them. They were cool in God Of War when they first came out, but now it seems like any boss fight in a video game turns into a Quick Time Event. I’m just fucking sick of them. I don’t wanna play Rock Band rhythm games when I’m in the middle of hacking up legions of creatures. It’s a gimmick that’s run it’s course. Ditch it.
R=Rocksteady Games – The promotional campaign they’re running for Batman: Arkham City is great. First off, the game sells itself. It’s Batman and it’s the sequel to THE best Batman game ever, hands down. They release a few little tidbits and pieces of art every couple of months and it’s all devoured up voraciously by those of us waiting for the game. I seriously cannot wait for this game and I’m okay with it being a single player experience. Co-op would have been cool, but I’d rather the team spend more time making the best game possible, then tacking on some bullshit multiplayer mode and devoting time to all the balancing issues created by doing so. This is another game that is going to send me into hybernation. I was obsessed with finding every little Riddler trophy and Arkham history recordings in Arkham Asylum. I’m sure Arkham City will feed the same need.
S=Starbuck – So I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix a lot lately. It’s a great show and while it has it’s stumbles, for the most part, the writing is pretty solid and I buy into the whole story. There’s a few standout performances amongst a pretty good cast, but number one has to be Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. Starbuck could be a walking cliche’. Tough exterior, vulnerable on the inside, but Sackhoff adds layers to the character beyond that. The look in her eyes in a tough dogfight, all balls and psychosis rolled into one. The sadness, terror and despair that she so rarely displays except when alone and the way she pulls herself together and reins herself in when necessary. Starbuck is almost always the best part of the show and never disappoints.
T=Tinie Tempah – He’s getting mad radio play right now with “Written On The Stars” and they played it to death to promote Wrestlemania, but if you get a chance, download “Frisky”. Sterile, dark, electronic beats, a grimy rhyme style and a great keyboard riff. The best English Hip Hop artist to come out since Tricky and I’m enjoying hearing an updated Brixton sound.
U=Unstoppable – I have a soft spot for Tony Scott. He makes GREAT popcorn films. Spy Game, Enemy Of The State, True Romance, Top fucking Gun… the list goes on and on. He and Denzel Washington seem to work well together, as evidenced by Man On Fire, an awesome revenge flick that you should see. I wasn’t sold on this flick though. Runaway train didn’t really spark an interest. I shouldn’t have doubted it though. It’s a solid popcorn flick with good pacing and it’s totally watchable. Chris Pine was servicable and Rosario Dawson was in it. While she’ll never top dancing to the Jackson 5 braless, she’ll always be a favorite.
V=Village Pub – Just a quick plug for Village Pub, a chain of bars here in Vegas. They have the thickest fucking fried mozzarella I’ve ever seen. Seriously, like baby’s arms. Also.. Stella Artois on tap.
W=Walking Dead, The – I finally got my hands on the Blu-Rays. Words and reviews did not do this shit justice. The simple fact that they’re getting away with this madness on AMC is amazing to me. Season 2 can’t come fast enough.
X=X-Men: First Class – There’s a lot of venom being spewed in the direction of this film. Some of it is justified. Yes, January Jones does emote like a block of wood. Yes, Kevin Bacon is kind of ridiculous as Sebastian Shaw. Yes, most of the mutants in this film are underdeveloped as characters. Let me tell you what this film does right though. Professor X and Magneto, which is what the whole movie is about anyway! I had my doubts that Kid From Wanted and Azazel From Hex were going to be able to do these two iconic characters justice, but I loved it. They had a natural chemistry and they were my favorite part of the film. As the fanboys cry about filmmakers shitting on source material, allow me to point out that NO comic has ever done as good a job showing the friendship of Xavier and Magneto as this film did. And on that same subject, the X-books don’t even respect themselves. How can you expect filmmakers too? Comic books continually shit on their own history and continuity. I’m all for a filmmaker changing shit around to make a better film. As long as the core values of the characters involved remain the same, who fucking cares? On First Class though, if I had my way, the split between Xavier and Magneto wouldn’t have happened yet. I would have had them argue over the differences in philosophy and still remain friends in the first film. I wouldn’t have done the split until film 2. That’s me though. I know they are already talking a Green Lantern sequel. A sequel to First Class was hinted at before the film was released and I haven’t heard about it since. I hope it does get a sequel and I hope in that one, they do spend more time developing the characters on the respective teams. Ditch the Evil Red Nightcrawler though.
Y=Yesterday – I don’t know what the issue is between Harmonix and Guns n’ Roses. I’m sure it has something to do with Axl being a jerkoff, but seeing as how there’s keyboards now in Rock Band 3, there are some choice cuts off the Use Your Illusion albums that can utilize all 5 instruments in interesting ways. Yesterday would be a keyboard tour de force. Once you get the licensing for the Illusions, get Appetite. The whole fucking album.
Z=Zookeeper, The – Please write down these names. Frank Coraci, Nick Bakay, Rock Reuben, Barry Benardi, Jennifer Eatz, Gino Falsetto, Todd Garner and Jack Giarraputo. These are the people responsible for bringing yet another shitty Kevin James movie to your local cineplex. Please purify these infidels if you find them and send them to Allah’s loving embrace. A special, torturous, painful end for one Justine Baddeley. This is the fiend responsible for defiling Rosario Dawson by casting her in this atrocity. Is there nothing sacred?