I wanted to extol the virtues of Wanda Vision this week. Truly. I wanted to expound and extrapolate vividly how Marvel was able to slow down their relentless phase-after-phase serial storytelling to truly stop and explore the power of grief in the superhuman world. It was 9 episodes of brilliance capped off with a decent-if-by-the-numbers finish. Ultimately though, I made the mistake of following the zeitgeist over the last two nights and watched Justice League, as envisioned by its original helmsman, Zack Snyder. And now, all I desire to share… is my snark and malaise. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #072: The Good, The Bad, and the Synder Cut”
So that statuesque, raven-haired beauty makes the leap from comics to a big time movie! And the leap, by most accounts, lands with a resounding thud. How could it be? The actress was perfect for the part. The public adores her. The camera loves her too. And there’s a real fondness for the comic/source material. But still fans are unhappy with it.
I’m talking, of course about the comic-to-cinema movie, Tamara Drewe. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t remember this picture.
A decade ago, I wasn’t familiar with the UK strip, Tamara Drewe or the creator Posy Simmonds. But Simmonds’ art looked engaging and I thought the movie might have a Love, Actually vibe to it all. Meaning: both my wife, Kathe, and I might enjoy it. Inviting her to see a comic movie that is kind of like Love, Actually is easier than dragging her to…for example…Marvel’s Captain Marvel. Although she’s patient and open-minded, I remember her eyes glazing over when I tried to explain, in preparation for Captain Marvel, about the Skrulls and the Kree. Continue reading “With Further Ado #128: That Comic Book Movie Starring That Statuesque Raven-Haired Beauty That Stumbled”
A while back, I’d admitted to having never seen Top Gun. I was commanded to rectify the situation. I did, and capturing my hot takes on a virgin viewing. I presented said takes here on Pop Culture Squad. My friends? I’ve never seen a bigger reaction to my reactions. I’ve written a few pieces on the ole’ interwebs over the last decade or so I’ve been truly proud of. Pieces that unearthed old friends, made me new friends, or defriended bad friends. Well, none of those pieces apparently came close to the engagement gained over declaring:
I love how Johnny Exposition sets us up about a dozen times throughout the movie. “Welcome, all you Top Gun Fighter Pilots, today is day 4 of your 12 day schooling. It’s clear that Maverick is in second place to Iceman because he’s just too cocky for his own damn good. Today your assignment will be to fly planes again, but this time Maverick needs to be a team player, except when the mission demands he become a cocky cock-sure cock who’d cock up the mission to see us win. America!”
Well, the interwebs demanded I deep dive into the litany of flicks I’ve yet to see, due to my sheltered suburbanite over-protective-Jewish-mom-upbringing. So here goes. My hot takes on Caddyshack. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #055: Hole In Won”
Arthur Fleck has been through some shit, kiddos. And any of it — had it happened to you — might be enough to drive you insane. But if you already suffered from any number of mental disorders, well, it’d be enough to push you into a realm beyond insanity. Poor schmuck Fleck, for those not in-the-know, is the titular protagonist of Todd Phillips’ Joker. While a large part of me wants to dive deep into a nuanced spoiler-filled review of the film, it’s still fresh off its debut. I’d rather pivot to discuss some specific bits of internet-debate over the film instead. So, let me get this out of the way:
Joker is an amazing film. I would feign perhaps only to compare it to Logan; in so much that it’s a film first, and its roots to pulp and paper serve merely to enhance the final product. Remove a detail or two, and frankly neither film should be name-dropped alongside any other movie tepidly denoted as a comic book movie — which itself is becoming shorthand for flicks that are somehow less than, in spite of them largely being truly awesome entertainment. But, as usual for me, I digress. Joker was jaw-dropping. I suggest you catch it. Cool? Cool. Moving on. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #049: “Am I a Joke(r) to you?””
Every other Tuesday, I’ve been hosting the Screams & Screens movie series locally at Auburn Public Theater. We celebrate B-movies that are so bad they’re good. To be fair, some of the movies we show really are good, or actually have a few good parts to them.
We’re wrapping up our summer season with The Giant Claw. It’s a curious movie that epitomizes the whole “so bad it’s good” charm of these flicks. Continue reading “With Further Ado #055: So Bad It’s Good”
You probably heard about the mass shootings in a El Paso Texas Walmart and in Northeast Ohio this weekend. Maybe not; these two were the third and fourth such slaughter this week, and we’re getting accustomed to it. As of this writing – Sunday evening – 29 bodies have been found and several dozen have been hospitalized. The alleged shooter in Texas is in custody., the alleged shooter in Ohio was killed at the scene.
Right now we have endured 2,191 mass shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders that happened on December 14, 2012. That was less than seven years ago. If that hasn’t provided us with sufficient warning, and even if they have, I would like to direct your attention to an amazingly prescient movie made in 1971, based upon a play that opened on Broadway four years earlier. Both were labelled as “black comedies” but that exposes the downside of prescience: what was black comedy a half-century ago has evolved into a documentary. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #046: Prescient Murders”
Warning: the following article is about a piece of old pop culture that I have only recently absorbed for the first time. As such, much of this article will find you asking yourself “Wait, seriously, he’s never seen Top Gun before now?” and I’m making it clear from the get go:
I literally watched Top Gun for the first time, ever, a few days ago.
And I did it because, I kid you not, a would-be investor in Unshaven Comics outright refused to even be pitched to until I did. To be clear: it’s not that I wasn’t familiar with the movie. But when the movie came out, I was 5 years old. My family didn’t go to the movies, and I was never much into military stuff (Like G.I. Joe and the like). I knew Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer were in it. I know the soundtrack was Loggins heavy. And I recalled once asking Unshaven Kyle about the climax of the movie (when it happened to be on in our apartment at the time) and he told me “eh, the whole movie is just about fancy maneuvers.” Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #043: Top Gun Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”
Note: This is a SPOILER-FREE column that celebrates Spider-Man: Intro the Spider-Verse
This past weekend I took my son (in conjunction with my brother-from-another-mother taking his son who is my son’s bff… you dig?) to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It was, to sum up succinctly, all the things. It was a visual spectacle. It was deeply diverse in the on-screen cast. It was kinetic in its action sequences. It was heavy on emotional growth. It was a nearly perfect example of what a comic book film could truly be.
As comic book films have grown from niche to the mainstream, my fear has been a dulling of the medium in the macro. Look only to the house of Mouse and Marvel’s 4 phase plan that started with plucky films like Iron Man and period-pieces like Captain America: The First Avenger, all leading to the beautifully bloated Avengers: Infinity War — which itself relies on the eighteen feeder films before it. And with Spider-Man specifically… the Spider-Verse would be (to a degree) the fourth version of the brand in less than 16 years.
But my fears scattered like Thanos-born ashes mere seconds after the glitchy-twitchy introduction of Spider-Verse’s mix-n-match animated style. Brilliantly bright colors build a stylized version of New York that took 180 animators to build. And it absolutely shows. Each of the varied Spider-People that eventually populate the film are rendered hilariously in homage to the worlds that they hail from. Be it the Manga-inspired Peni Parker being animated within the confines of an anime-palette, or Nic Cage’s turn as the monochromatic Spider-Man Noir… there’s a serendipitous presentation here that boasts to the millennial set that style is only surface-deep. And that plays heavily into the story. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #019: Into the Fishmanverse”
With a horrifically long queue already in place, I hate when Netflix tries to shove their shows at me. I’m also a little embarrassed by the suggestions. It’s one thing to watch the crap I watch, but it’s another thing to have the algorithm so ruthlessly regurgitate my viewing patterns back at me. But this week, they nailed it with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Based on the 2014 YA novel by Janny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is your basic PG-rated High School rom com, or essentially a non-Disney Disney Channel Original Movie. And that is fine because, I love a good DCOM off-brand or not. We can blame this on my exceptional parenting skills, but really it was more of a perk than a burden for me to watch these gems over and over with my kids. They are the modern ABC Afterschool Specials without too heavy-handed a message. They are like Hallmark movies with younger, better looking actors. Don’t judge me! Continue reading “Beat JENeration #005: John Corbett is the Ultimate Hot Dad”
It had been my intention to write this week’s column about how Christopher Robin had my teenage daughters sobbing for hours, but then we saw Crazy Rich Asians on Wednesday night and well, it’s all I can think about. It is, and I do not say this lightly, the best studio movie you will probably see in 2018.
Better than Black Panther, you say? Um, yes, I will say that — though I’m speaking to that specific audience base who is equally passionate about MCU offerings and Rom Coms. You know, MY PEOPLE! Continue reading “Beat JENeration #003: Crazy About Crazy Rich Asians”