“Live” blog of ID TV’s “The Coroner; I speak for the dead”

Wow, I really haven’t written anything on here in a while.

A woman at work told me about a show on ID TV called “The Coroner, I speak for the dead” which features the former coroner for Dauphin County, which is the county in which I live.  I never heard of him or the show before, but she had a personal connection to one of the recent episodes so I decided to check it out.  Now she was watching this show because someone she knows was involved in one of the cases.  I ended up watching it, and will now watch every episode, because I find them to be unintentionally hilarious.

Two days ago I took notes as I watched the most recent episode, which is the 7th episode of the first season, and I included them at the bottom of this post.  Right now I am going to go back and watch the very first episode and take notes on that as well…. wait, no let’s change that up.  First I will post the notes I took two days ago, since you should read those first since things I say about the first episode I watch now will probably touch on tings on the stuff I first wrote about this show which was while watching the 7the episode.

That made sense right?

Ok, Here are my notes from episode seven which you can watch online for free (http://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/the-coroner-i-speak-for-the-dead/), which I would suggest you do since reading this without watching the show is probably not going to make a lot of sense:

Everyone acting in this show is unrealistically handsome versions of their real selves similar to what conan obrien would do in a skit where he is making a documentary of himself. Imagine a skit where conan obrien is played by chris hemswoth in a flashback that is narated by conan obrien.

I keep thinking my fire alarms is going off cause of the high pitch squeal in the shows mood music.

They did the reveal of the body twice. Terrible. Dont show it the first time and let the second time be a surprise for the protagonist and the viewer alike.

At the 10minute mark a new voice over narator starts talking. I dont think he was ever heard before in this episode. I honestly thought the coroner was going to do all the naration. Its like the real narator was stuck in traffic for the first 10 min of the show and they just had the coroner read the narators lines.

He had ankle surgery and a metal implant inserted recently. The coroner via handsome actor says “this could work like a finger print for us” . No doctor. It really cant.

They just gave away that it was the daughter that killed the dad during one of the real life people’s testimonials but to keep the suspense the narrator basically was like “and by that she was refering to the death itself as being a shame and not the role the person she just named’s actions as being a shame since we totally dont know who did this crime yet, so please dont read too much into that and enjoy watching this myster unfold”

Narrator “thanks to the autopsy the murder of gary whies is starting to come into focus for the coroner.” Literally no new information has been discovered to prompt that analysis by the narator. He saw the dead body covered in stab wounds in the apartment and when he did the autopsy he just found more stab wounds. Thats it.

This coroner is so PA. He has said wershed instead of washed like 10 times now.

One of the actor detectives looks a little bit like the one real life detective but the other real life detective looks nothing like the other actor dective. Half an hour into the show i realize i had who was playing who confused and it turns out that neither actor looks like their real life counter part. … why? Why not switch up those parts and make a little more visual sense.

Narrator “gary’s death is comming to life.”   HahahahHHHHaaa.  Whoever wrote that must hate himself.

So eventhough they spoiled who the killer was through the interview with one of his friends and also showing the body of a woman washing the dead guy, they spent about 5 min building up the next door neighbor as the guy who maybe did it and then when he comes in for questioning the cop is like “yeah he was old and weak looking so i knew it wasnt him.” Really? Thats all it takes?  They said some furniture was moved (a coffee table) and the body was drugged intothe bathroom so your saying no way a , according to the reinactor playing the role, mid 50s skinny guy could pull that off over the course of two or three days?

Narrator “the brutallity and nature of the crime had the entire city on edge.”. No. No it wasnt. That is a lie ID tv.

What the fuck. So the police question two guys who live in an apartment a floor above the victim and find a pair of shorts in their apartment with what looks like blood stains and then the narator does a big build up and says the shorts are at the lab for a couple of days and then swelling music followed by dramatic pause and the coroner says it wasnt blood very matter of factly. You know what it actually was?  Seriously, do you know, cause i dont know cause the show doesnt say. How can you build that up and then not say what it actually was. Bull shit.

I bet it was pizza sauce and there is a missing scene where a lab tech holds up the shorts and sniffs the stain and then licks it as a horrified coworkers gasps before the fun loving care free lab tech says “pizza sauce” with a smile as the coworker gives an “ohhhh you” half hearted frown.

Also i love that the detective is like “i still like these guys for the murder” and the coroner is like ” its not them. This was personal”  then the detective says ” yeah ok” .

If that is at all an acurate representation of their investigation work then i am kind of horrified.  This is how that conversation should have gone down in real life:

Detective “i still like them for the murder”

Coroner: ” it wasnt them. It was too personal.”

Detective: “im sorry, what was that? The fuck did you just say?Oh for a moment there it sounded like you forgot you are just a god damn coroner tasked with determining scientifically how the murder took place by applying the scientific method in the form of standard forensic practices rellying heavily on imperical evidence and not just anecdotal observations and assumptions. How about you stick to the science stuff and leave the detecting to me?”

Coroner: “jesus christ im sorry but your the one who just uttered the cliche ‘i like these guys for the murder’. Maybe you should let the totality of evidence guide you towards a suspect instead of using what many would call instinct or intuition which has repeadetly been shown to be slightly less reliable than flipping a coin in most criminal investigations. ”

Detective: *exasperated sigh* ” your right. Im sorry. That was harsh. Im just under a lot of stress.”

Coroner”i know. We all are. After all, the entire city is on edge because of the nature and brutality of this crime.”

End scene….. i also thought it would be funny if that scene ended with them realizing their anger and frustration was just misplaced feeling of lust for each other and they just start making out. But they are both dudes so i dont feel comfortable writing that.

Real life detective: “so i said why dont you give me all the names of everyone involved and then i ran them through the police computer.”. Hahahah “the police computer” ?!?!!!?!  Are you sure it doesnt have a more professional, or official sounding name? Maybe you ran it through a criminal database?  Or any kind of database? “Police computer”. Get the fuck out of here.

Goddamn f****** fire alarm mood music.

The coroner just said nothing could prepare the trooper for what he was about to find in that trunk. First of all why isn’t the narrator saying that and why is the corner saying that and also why does the coroner know that nothing would prepare him for what he’s about to see. It just went to a commercial before showing what was in the trunk but the car that was being opened was in a completely empty parking lot not parked in a parking space but placed in the driving aisle right in the center of this empty parking lot for full dramatic effect.

I honestly can’t wait to see what is in the trunk unfortunately the ID channel app has two and a half minutes of commercials between segments. This is b*******.

Back from commercial and we find out that in the trunk the thing that  the trooper was in no way shape or form prepared to find was just a pink bag with a bloody knife in it.

I’m not an expert on law enforcement but I really hope that most members of law enforcement can handle such a sight. In fact if a woman says she cut herself on purpose and that the knife she used to cut herself is in the trunk of her car, guess what you should be prepared to see when opening that trunk? A fucking bloody knife.

If he had opened the trunk to find a real life baby unicorn painting a unicorn version of the mona lisa with his tiny baby unicorn horn, that woul be somehing he couldnt possibly be prepared to see.

Girl: “The knife i used to cut myself is in the trunk”
Trooper: *opens trunk sees the knife and screams* “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!!!?!!! Nooooooooo. I am totally unprepared to see the very thing i was told i would see.O H GOD WHY” *trooper sobs and then takes his own life so he doesnt have to live anymore in a world with so much uncertainty*

Also, and i know this is mean, but the physical disimilarity between the actor playing the trooper and his real life counterpart is jarring. Im sure he is a great guy but he looks like farva from super troopers and is played by an actor who looks like scott cann from varsity blues and hawaii 5 0.

I will admit having the actual audio confession played as the reenactors go out it was pretty cool.

He said wershed again.

Ihave so many issues with the final scene where the coroner gives a voice over while his comidically young and handsome actor counter part stands in the distance at a cemetary on a beautiful spring day. he is watching the three also comedically young actors, who played the only three people mentioned by name during the show as having known the departed, share an unrealistically close hug.  Just so we are on the same page the three people hugging are the victim’s mom, the victims “friend”  and the victims landlord.  Their three person hug with no one else around except for the coroner (why is he there) is the kind of hug that would only be shared with close family members immediartly after a natural disaster.  No landlord has ever hugged a near stranger with the much affection in the entire history of the world.

This scene appears to not be at a funeral but just at a time they went to the grave possibly after the trial was over. The coroner should not be there. It is really weird. He also is dreased in white and slowly gives a “finally my long journey is complete” nod of the head and shrug before turning away in slow motion and walking away as the camera starts to lose focus on him and he becomes artistically blurry with the rest of the background. If he had then walked into a blinding white light as if he was an angel returning to heaven, it would have perfectly fit with the rest of this scene.

This is my new favorite tv show of all time.

 

That’s  a lot of notes.  Ok, lets get into the next episode… which is the first episode:

I noticed this in the other episode I watched but didn’t mention it, but now that I’m seeing it again, in the opening to the show that is the same each week for the most part, it ends with coroner doing some narration, then he stands thoughtfully in a dimly lit morgue, and the title card for the show comes up, and then inexplicably you hear whispers.  Like ghost whispers.  This show is not at all a show that deals with the supernatural.  Those type of sound effects are not in the show anywhere else from I can tell.

Maye the ghost were whispering “hey don’t watch this show, check out strange things on netflix instead.”.

I mentioned in the previous recap that the actors look nothing like the real life people and I kind of wondered if they have the same actors every week and just match people up the best they can. Well no, these are all new actors, and they also aren’t that close. Btw, I think they may have a black actor playing a white guy at this moment.  That is pretty progressive and will probably piss off Rush Limbaugh.

Maybe I’m wrong about the actor and the real life counterpart having drastically different skin colors.  They really do a horrible job of letting you know if the real life person doing an interview is suppose to be the person on the screen at the moment doing the re-enacting.

HAHAHAHAHAH  I love the little things that are wrong with this show.  So the coroner says “I was having lunch when I got a call about a signal 12.”  The re-enactor playing him is eating a meal of food in his lab and you hear a buzzing, he then picks up a pager and reads it.  I know it is kind of a small shitty thing for me to focus on, but you didn’t get a phone call, you got a page. Why show a pager if your going to say you got a phone call.  If you show a pager, you have to say you got paged.  If someone sent me a telegram and I had an actor acting it out and he is holding up a western union telegram, it would be insane for me in a voice over to say “I got a letter”.  There’s no truth to this art.

Narrator in a deep and ominous tone: “Death doesn’t stop. Not even for Christmas”  That could be the tagline for so many horror movies set around what us liberals call the winter holiday season.  To be fair, in addition to death, there are many other things that don’t shut down on Christmas.  You have most emergency personnel as well as many health care workers. Convenience stores and gas stations remain open. Baby’s are born which means that Life also doesn’t stop for Christmas.  Many might be surprised to learn that many Muslims celebrate Christmas since Jesus is one of their Profits. Jews on the other hand, yeah, they don’t take off for Christmas either.

There is so much needless dialog on this show.

Detective: “The vic upstairs, the boyfriend came home and discovered her.”
Coroner: “So, the boyfriend found the body.”

In the show the detective just continues on about the brother showing up a moment later or something, but he really should have been like “yeah.. I just said that. You ok?  If you are having trouble keeping up already then maybe you need to take some time off. After all it is almost Christmas and even death could probably stop for Christmas.”

Real life Coroner: “by the refrigerator I noticed what they call a scrunchie.”

Who is “They”?  isn’t that what everyone calls it?  Don’t make it sound like it is one of those african neck rings that some people wear to make their necks long that the average person in America doesn’t know the name of, including me cause I’m too lazy to google it.  “And next to the stove is what some people refer to as a spork, but we in the CSI community refer to as a runcible spoon. Oh and here is one of those meat daggers that I’ve heard the lay person call a Knife”

So the coroner walks into the bedroom where the dead body is and the actor pauses like his character has never seen a body before.  It wasn’t a pause like, holy shit look at the brutality on display here. It was a pause like hospice just told him his mom passed away and that he should go in there to say goodbye and maybe pick out a dress for her funeral.

I know I am shitting on this show somewhat unfairly, but when the real life coroner explains the science behind something, he does a great job of it.  That stuff is on point.

Narrator: “From appearances, Iris has likely been violated in every possible way.”

Jesus christ dude. Not sure you needed to say that in such a dramatic fashion. Maybe don’t say it at all.  Just let the real life detective do a matter of fact run down like “The victim was sexually assulted and shot multiple times resulting in her death.”  See.  If you do it like that you don’t sound like a creep who is totally stoked about this woman’s agonizing last moments.

they just said the victims’s full name so i paused it because I wanted to find out when this happened ever since a scene with the coroner using a pager was followed by him talking to a cop in parking lot that had a prius.  I had a feeling the timeline might be off and, yep, this took place in 1996.  Still no truth in this art. Come one guys.

ahhhhh god damn it.  I just looked online and turns out the prius was first produced in 1997.  I didn’t know it was around that long.  Granted it still isn’t old enough to be on the show, but it isn’t as bad as if they had some dude at the crime scene playing angry birds.  In my defense, it was a newer looking prius model.

The actress playing Britney and the actress playing Britney’s mom are indistinguishable from each other.  I don’t know if that is a result of poor casting, or the fact that I’m watching this on my tiny laptop screen, or maybe I’m racists and never knew it until just now. I hope it is the first one.

 

I need to take a break, but I’ll finish this up later.

real life coroner: “That means there was probably an attempt to strangle her.” The show then queues up noticeably loud “Deal or no Deal” moment of truth music. The show then continues on.  It’s like the music guy did this in real time and thought he was just about to go to a commercial and then was like “god damnit, ok, back to the quasi spooky mood music. I hate my life.”

coroner assistant: “But why two shots? That seems like over kill.”  not it doesn’t.  Not at all really.  That seems like the exact number if you want to efficiently make sure someone is dead. In fact I think “two shots to the back of the head” has probably been a phrase used in multiple tv shows and movies where one character wants to let another character know how to assassinate someone.  If it had been 5 or 6 shots. Sure. Overkill. But two shots. Nope. I’m guessing we are going to find out soon that her murder was personal.

HAHAHHA OMG, the coroner just said that she was still alive after the first gun shot. So IN YO FACE attractive nameless coroner’s assistant.

Narator: “Nobody knew Iris better than her boyfriend and her brother, and both somehow managed to beat the cops to the crime scene.”

?????

Aren’t the cops almost always beaten to the crime scene by someone, usually the person who discovers the crime and calls the cops so that they know to go to the crime scene.  That is how cause and effect works.  I think in the beginning of the episode it was the brother and the boyfriend who saw smoke coming from the house and then found her body. Does this show not know how cause and effect works?

I’ve listened to the first question the detective asked the brother like 5 times and I think he says “Zach, I’ll be honest with you, it doesn’t sound good; you finding your sister’s body before the cops do.”

Do cops do this to all people who report a crime?  “John, i’ll be honest, it doesn’t look good, you finding your car first thing this morning in your drive way with a broken window and the stereo missing, BEFORE the cops found it.”

I seriously love the dramatic creative license they take with the re-enactments.  So first they showed the boyfriend as this horn rimmed glasses frail nerd doubling over coughing from the smoke in the apartment.  Now they show the same guy standing in the smoke, stoic, unwavering, and steadfast, with a creepy smile on his face.  Fucking aces.

So for the second episode in a row (well in the order I watched them) they built up suspects as being the killer with just a lot of innuendo, wild speculation, irrational assumptions, and bull shit foreshadowing. Then after they milked all the possible drama they could from it, they reveal that there is an alibi or proof it isn’t that person. These are alibi’s that would have been revealed, like right away.  If this was a law and order episode they wouldn’t even spend time investigating these guys. Instead the show would let the viewer know to not suspect them because it would have Brisco say a single line of dialogue to Jesse Martin like “Well the brother was out of town that night, and the supposed good guy boy friend spent the evening at the house of some lady he met at the bar. So their alibis check out. ”

Not this show.  I feel like for each episode they want to do at least one or two misdirections on who the killer was, and because there are so few people involved they really got to stretch character descriptions to build the drama. “Now the mail man never had worked that route before that day, and had no connection to either of the victims, or their friends, or family, or neighbors, or business associates, and was actually 80 years old and incapable of physically committing the crime… but, he did have a tattoo on his arm, kind of like how many gang members have tattoos on their arms, and as I know from my 30 years of police work, gang members often have to commit random murders as part of an initiation. [5 min later] Well it turns out that tattoo was something he got in the navy 60 years ago, and actually lived in a different state that happened to have a city with the same name, oh and he also died 15 years before this murder took place. So it looks like we were back to square one, but that’s when we decided to look into a new suspect, this was a man who was found at the crime scene standing over the body, covered in the victims blood, holding a meat cleaver, and screaming ‘I did it, I killed her’. This is when the investigation took an unexpected turn.”

Ok, my mind was just blown. Not by something truly surprising taking place in this murder investigation, but because just two completely independent, but hilariously dumb thing happened at the same time.  First the voice over guy just revealed that the coroner was ” one day into his investigation, when a new suspect has been revealed.” I’ll go back to that, but while that was being said, they did a montage of the investigation so far and they showed a smudge of blood on the fridge that was shown earlier in this episode, but this time they did this random bubble warp special effect to the smudge. It looked like something either from a horror movie or start trek.  I have no idea why they did it, and I don’t think they ever did anything like that before.

Going back to the narrator’s quote, if this is the first day of an investigation, you can’t get excited that a new suspect has been found and say it in a way that is similar to when you catch a big break on a decades old cold case.  It’s day 1. Everyone is a suspect, and they are all new suspects.  Settle the fuck down ID TV.

Narrator:  “Every cop in the region was put on high alert”  No they weren’t.  it was one day into the investigation into a solitary incident of murder.  Don’t make it sound like it was the aftermath of a terror attack.

The aerial shots of Harrisburg are pretty good.

So they just reenacted the murder and wow, they didn’t hold anything back. They kind of just allude to the violence in the rest of the show and use blurry slow mo reenactments, but with this one scene they really showed basically every moment of it in real time.  Kind of jarring and unnecessary.  I really think the actors portraying the murderer and the victim are good. Like I was totally into that scene, in a good way because of their acting.  Granted I still think it was a weird choice by the show to go that route and make it seem so real, but hey, good acting guys and gals.

Ok the coroner is at the cemetery again. Once again, not at the funeral, but years later, just timed perfectly to when the family goes there to place flowers on the grave. aaaannnnnddddd another slow mo walk away ending.  How does the coroner know when to go to the grave site?  Is he stalking the families of the victims he investigates?  Maybe he’s the real killer of all of these people and he uses his job to cover his tracks so he can go to cemeteries to watch grieving family members cause that overly complicated act is the only way he can get an erection.

I ended that on a weird note.

I have so many shows that I need to finish watching like Orange is the new black, or Hell on Wheels, or Halt and Catch Fire, and Ray Donovan.  So i’m not sure if this will become a regular thing.  Maybe it will just be a late at night on the weekends thing.  Maybe I will do it when I’m drunk in the future.

ohhhhhh, I bet I could make a podcast out of this.  Wait that is a terrible idea.  In my mind for a moment I thought it could work since I live where all these stories take place so I have a connection and could do more research into the stories so I offer the listeners more than just me shitting on a show that a lot of talented people put a lot of effort into making.  But then I thought “That’s a terrible idea. These are stories where real people in the area I live have lost loved ones.”  Maybe I shouldn’t even do these reviews.

Nah, too much fun.  So yea to live blogs, nay to podcast.

Who is in the mask Flash?

So tonight is the season finale of the flash for season 2, and while there are a lot of story lines and cliff hangers that need to be resolved, the thing I find the most interesting and mysterious is who the man in the iron mask is.

I thought it was probably just some random good guy or bad guy’s earth two counter part, but last week Jay Garek / Zoom, said that if he told barry who was in the mask, he wouldn’t believe him.  So that makes me think it is someone awesome.  He can’t say “You wouldn’t believe me” and then an episode later reveal, it is Earth 2 diggle.  Jesus that would be lame.

So below are all of my predictions on who is under that metal mask in the glass cage of emotion.

 

barrys dad

This would be cool, but I don’t think would really work with the whole “You wouldn’t believe me.”  After all, capturing Barry’s dad would totally be a believable bad guy move.

 

barrys dad the original TV flash

This would be amazing if some how the man in the iron mask is played buy the guy playing Barry’s dad who happens to be the guy who played the flash when it was first on TV back in the 90s.  It was a decent show and wasn’t given a fair chance.  I don’t know where they could go with that story line though, so I think it is highly unlikely.

 

ronnie

This is another guess that makes a lot of sense as long as you ignore the “You wouldn’t believe me” line.  That guy being ronnie is so crazy believeable that it can’t be him.

 

oliver

There are a lot of these that will fall under the “That would be cool and make sense, but is totally believeable and therefore doesn’t make sense given what Zoom said.”  Maybe Im putting too much weight into the whole “You wouldn’t believe it”, and need to think of it not as the viewing audience not believing it but instead something Zoom finds unbelievable.

 

smallville

This would be bat shit bannans crazy.  HAving Clark Kent from Smallville played by Tom Willig under the mask would fucking blow my god damn mind. I wouldn’t want to see any kind of spinoffs or additional episodes involving him, but god that would be a mind blowing moment.

 

earth 3 barry

Obviously there are more Barry’s out there.  There could be one from the Supergirl universe we don’t know about but I’m guessing this would be a barry from a another undocumented earth we haven’t seen yet. I give this one a half decent chance espesically if they set him up as the bad guy for season 3.

 

hal jordan

No chance. This would be great, but no chance.  Odds would be better for Kyle Rainer or Guy Gardner, but Hal Jordan and John Stewart are too big to just show up trapped in a glass booth.

 

eobart thawn

Meh.  This does nothing for me, especially since he already came back once in this season.

 

eddie thawn

This is my number one vote on who I think it will be. Once again it is believable, but slightly less believeable than the other options that I said were believable since the dude actually died right in front of everyone.

 

Jay Garick

I like this idea.  Like this is the Jay Garick that is another remenant that is actually a good guy, or maybe he is the real Jay Garick whose identity zoom stole when he got his powers.  Maybe it could be another earth’s Jay Garick who is actually a hero like the original old school flash was.

 

barry and iris son from future

Ok, this is my number 1 vote now that I think about it. It would fit the story well, and would be a great twist and something you wouldn’t believe, plus it could be used as a great plot device in the 2nd act when Barry has to now save his son.

 

Booster Gold

I want to rank this high on likelyhood just because I had heard they are doing a booster gold show at some point, but I really think that whoever is in the mask has to be known to the majority of the audience either by being crazy famous like batman or being mentioned int he show previously. Still I rank this as third most likely.

 

Batman or some other big time DC hero.

Just not likely because of a lot of reasons.

 

Blue Beetle or some other not big time DC Hero

Once again, not likely but more because like I mentioned for booster, I don’t think the man in the mask can be an unkown figure.

 

Anyone from the Marvel Universe

There is no chance of this happening, but if it did, Holy shit, I would have the biggest nerd boner in the history of ner boners.  If it was Darkhawk my nerd boner would probably jump off my body and fly circles around the moon.

 

stan lee

This might legit make me cry if they were able to do this.  There is no way DC would be able to do this while he is alive, but I’m sure when Stan Lee does pass away, hopefully not for another 20 years or more, there will be touching tributes from DC and every other comic book related entity regardless of any direct influence he might have had with them.

SPOILERS! Batman V Superman review

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while but I saw Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice on opening night, and I really wanted to write about it.  Obviously I don’t want to spoil any of the movie for anyone so if you haven’t seen it and want to go see it, Stop reading now.  If you aren’t sure if you are going to go see it and want to get some general non spoilerly info on the film, I will try to make more broad sweeping generalizations in the beginning of this blog post and then post an additional warning once we start to get into any of the real specifics.

So here we go.

When it comes to big blockbuster movies, especially of the nerdy variety, I think one of the clearest signs that I really liked the movie is if I did or will see it in a movie theater multiple times.  I’m a big proponent of seeing a movie you really like multiple times at the theater. The more money the studios make the more likely they are to make more in a similar vein or fashion. Granted, the difference between me as an individual going out and spending only $10, or going multiple times and spending a total of $30 won’t make an impact to any studio head when he is trying to decide whether to green-light a movie. Still it is a physiological thing to me that makes me feel like I’m making a positive differenct.

I should make clear that just because I see a movie only once, it doesn’t mean it is bad.  It just might not be good enough to see multiple times.  Star Wars the Force Awakens I think I saw 4 times, and may see a few more now that it is at the cheap theater near my house.  Deadpool I saw twice and have considered seeing it again. Batman V Superman however is probably going to be a one time theater viewing.  It is not bad. I just don’t think there is anything in the movie that makes me really want to go see it again right away.  Subsequent viewings are going to be DVD based.

Before I go to much farther, let me correct something quick.  There are two things I would like to really see again from Batman V Superman.  They are Amy Adams boobs. Technically you don’t see anything, but there is a scene near the beginning of the movie where she is in a bathtub, and I have no idea what her and Clark were talking about because I spent the entire scene trying to tell if I could see her nipples.  Maybe that is a failing on my part as a human being, but I also think it is a failing on the part of the film makers.  The reason being is that having her in the tub, clearly buck ass naked, was not needed.  It didn’t add to the story at all, and in fact was a bit distracting.  Instead of watching a scene where we are suppose to be gaining insight to Superman’s relationship with Lois and framing how we are suppose to view him as a “human”, we are instead sitting in a theater wondering “Hey are we about to see this hot red heads soapy wet boobs in a comic book movie that is PG-13 and not marketed solely to adults?”

Once again, maybe I was the only one thinking that exact thought, or thoughts along those same lines, but I still think there were probably a lot of people watching the movie who were taken out of the moment by the sultry manner of the scene.  There are so many ways they could have accomplished what they were trying to accomplished without having a Lois in the bathtub scene.  Hell, even put some bubbles in the water so pervs like me know that there won’t be any nips and you might as well focus on what is being said. Or have the same nearly see through water but have her sitting further down in the tub so only her head is poking out.  Or don’t have her move around and change position so that you get a super cleavage shot.

If you haven’t seen the movie than you are probably thinking that me spending two paragraphs talking about this scene is bizarre, but if you watch the movie you will probably point to a scene like this and think of it as emblematic of large parts of the movie.  This scene had the wrong tone, felt out of place, was distracting, didn’t really add to the story, and felt like it really would have worked well in a completely different movie. It is that last bit that I think really stuck out to me during the first third of the movie.  There were scenes that if put in another movie, would be decent or even really good scenes. This Lois in the tub scene would be good in a Nicholas sparks movie.  And I’m not saying a Lois in the tub scene can’t work in a comic book movie, because it totally can.  They just didn’t do a good job.

I do have some other non spoiler observations about the movie that don’t involve a naked Amy Adams, so why don’t I move on to a few of those.

  • I really hate that I saw the 2nd or 3rd trailer that basically spoils some of the big plot points and action sequences.  Going into the movie you kind of figure what happens is going to happen, but you don’t really know…. but if you watched that one trailer, then yeah. you know.
  • The dream sequences were really distracting and I think they could have been cut without loosing anything.  I know they were suppose to give an insight into the psyche of the main characters, but there was plenty of exposition outside of those dream sequences that did the job already.
  • The coolest parts of the movie really weren’t in the movie.  There are hints at future movies scattered throughout this movie that were fun and exciting to see and gives me hope for whatever comes next.
  • I really really don’t understand why they portrayed Lex Luther the way they did.  He was more like a Lex Luthor that was partially brainwashed by the Joker.  A cool idea if they had actually done that but, Spoilers, he wasn’t being mind controlled by the joker.
  • There was a couple of product placements early in the movie, that were terribly obvious. It felt like a Michael Bay movie early on.
  • The movie has a lot of parallels with Batman Returns which is a comic where Batman is older and fights Superman, but one of the coolest parts of the movie that surprised me was when the entire movie kind of turned on a dime and started to parallel another big comic moment / story line.  I’ll explain more further below in the spoiler heavy section.
  • The last half of the movie really picks up steam and there is a section of fight scenes that is genuinely gripping.
  • The third character that is in the movie, that was spoiled in the previews, but I won’t name now since some people might not know, is awesome.  I’m not even really a fan of that character but the person who played her was fan fucking tastic and stole the movie in all honesty.
  • There was also a lot of stuff that the characters knew about each other that is never specifically referenced or explained, but that is a good thing.  I won’t say who knows who is who or when they find out who is who or how they find it out, but the fact that they didn’t do some big reveal where the person is like “Ha HA, I know you are ________  because I __________ and then __________. .” is refreshing.  The audience should have been smart enough to read between the lines.
  • I loved all the random TV personality cameos, and I have a feeling that Neil Degras Tyson either wrote his dialog himself or just said that off the cuff cause it sounded exactly like what he would say if there was a superman.
  • The music was kind of bad in a few spots.  There were some musical stings that were so obvious that it seemed almost like the MST3k “Normal Viewwwww”

In summation for the non super spoilerly section of the movie It could have been better and it should have been better.  All the complaints people have about Zach Snyder and Christopher Nolan that I usually can ignore, were out in full force in this movie, especially in the first third.  That didn’t tip the scales into this being a not good movie, and I will absolutely see it again, I just don’t think this is as much of a home run as Warner Brothers was hoping it to be.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS BELOW!!!!!

Now let’s get into the specifics.I won’t get into any of the overall big idea stuff here for the most part since I covered it above and instead look at things more on a glandular level. I do however want to start off by going back to my non spoilers summation and talk about one some of the complaints people had about the other Nolan and Snyder movies that I for once really didn’t like in this movie.

  • There’s no joy.  While batman and Wonder Woman had a cute little back and forth, that was about the only part of the movie that seemed at all fun.
  • Superman isn’t Superman.  I don’t get hung up on changes to characters and their tone for the most part, and I was ok with Sups killing Zod in the last movie, but I was kind of ok with that version of Superman with the assumption that he would in the subsequent movies start to be more inspiring. The true defining characteristic of superman is not his amazing powers but his ability to be that shinning beacon and to always do what is right and honorable.  Yeah he is a boy scout but in the best way possible. In this movie he doesn’t really inspire people to be better, he is just seen as being a better being and therefore worthy of praise. Sups needed to have more outward humility.
  • Even more superman not being superman, the very beginning of the movie has superman let a bunch of people get killed before he decides to show up and save Lois.  These movies really aren’t about saving lives and really are just about minimizing damages and losses.
  • Batman isn’t Batman.  there were a lot of things to love about this Batman and I am totally ok with them going with the more Frank Miller version of him.  My issue is that he totally kills a bunch of people in this movie and that he is constantly using guns in this movie.  those are two of Batman’s biggest no nos. i can almost forgive the parts where he uses guns, but only as part of a bigger machine like the batmobile, the batwing, or automated gun turrets while fighting superman. Fine. What I hated was all the other times he is holding a gun, where what he was doing could have been accomplished using a batarang.  Even in his dreams he is using guns A LOT.
  • Batman wasn’t the world’s greatest detective. In fact batman gets played big time in this movie.  There really was nothing in this movie where batman used that great tactician brain of his. Lex knew who Batman was. Superman knew who Batman was. Batman knew nothing. He is Jon Snow in this movie.
  • Batman was Batman big time, but only once.  Near the end when Batman visits Lex in Jail, is a totally classic badass Batman scene, and there should have been way more of that.
  • Batman actually wanted to kill Superman.  If I remember the comics correctly, in Batman returns, when he fights Superman he does so with the intention of just proving a point. In this movie, he was just about to kill superman, but Lois got in the way and saved the day. Speaking of which.

One cool moment was when superman asked batman to save his mom.  He called her Martha. Up until that moment, I don’t think I ever realized that both Batman and Superman’s moms had the same name.  I’m guessing that has been referenced in the comics before, maybe in an almost identical situation, but I don’t remember it.  For me it was a fantastic moment.

Speaking of fantastic moments. Everything with wonder woman was great. I will say however that I wish that she had been in mortal danger right before superman killed Doomsday.  The way it played out it kind of made Superman’s sacrifice kind of needless. If he had just had some patience and let WW or Bats go get the staff from Lois while he kept doomsday occupied, things would have worked out fine.

What the fuck was up with those dream sequences?  It didn’t feel like a long movie so were they just filler?  Also, I feel like the Flash going back in time part was actually real and not purely a dream, but… why did they make it seem like a dream?  Like can it both be a dream and something that happens in a future movie?

On the topic of the other Meta-humans, I was kind of excited to see cyborg even though I don’t really care much about him.  I knew about Aquaman and the Flash and WW already, so seeing Cyborg was a cool little reveal.

Did Perry White know that Clark is Superman?  When Lois asks for the chopper there is a moment where they communicated without saying anything that implied that he knew she needed the chopper to go save superman/clark.  Am I right on this or reading too much into it?

The bombing at the capital completely took me by surprise in a good way, and having superman stand there in the flames completely disappointed was a nice shot.  Once again though. Superman didn’t save the day at all.

and finally….

Seriously, what was up with Amy Adams getting all sexy wet in that tub?  Maybe not the way I should end this post, but God Damn that was distracting.

 

Goodbye dear sweet… car

I just realized I never named my gold 2006 grand prix. Well it’s totaled.  I got rear ended by a lady (grrrrooowwlllll) who did not see my 4 ways were on and brake lights were on while I waited for a broke down car in front of me to move off the road.

I’m a very very tough man so despite the carnage of my car pictured below, I walked away just with a scratch on my one leg and some general stiffness (grrrooowwwlll).  I have no idea what that meant.

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How awesome would it be if the people working on my galaxie had just finished getting my muscle car up and running. Well Guess what ?!?!?!?!?!?  … it’s not.  Maybe by april it will be driveable, but for now I need to find another ride.

I think i might go back to my roots and get a 1993 blue cavalier station wagon which is the car I learned to drive on.

A game I’m making for the superbowl party

Who remembers playing this game when they were a kid?

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This is going to sound sad but I remember playing this shit out of that game despite the fact that i never had anyone to play it with me.  While I’m on the subject of sad things I did as a kid relating to football, I use to buy those nfl mini mini helmets you could get in the gumball machines for a quarter, and then stick them on top of asprin bottles and use electrical tape and metal fasteners to try and make them look similar to the Bud Bowl teams. Remember the bud bowl?

Jesus Christ did I get a nostalgia boner watching that.

Let’s get back on track. I found the VHS game from my youth the other day at the salvation army for an insanely cheap price and I bought it and thought it would be fun to play at the superbowl party. But then I thought, “I can make it better.”  After all, technology has changed a lot over the past 30 years and the nfl has changed some too.

My goal is now to make a game, with a similar premise, that utilizes some of the game board, but also incorporates a few wrinkles that I think my buddies will love.  I want to play up some of the nostalgia, but also keep some of it relevant.

Speaking of nostalgia, let’s watch some more bud bowl.

I swear that is Terry Bradshaw playing the part of the one color commentator. I should look that up but I won’t.

Back to my game; let’s start with the central selling point of the game, the video plays.  Now in the original game you would start the tape at the begining and then there was probably 40 videos in a row of single NFL plays, mostly from unimportant games.  None of the plays were famous plays like “The Catch” or the “Immaculate Reception”.  Instead you might see a hand off to John Riggins for a short game, and then the screen would say something like “4 Yard Gain”.

Most of your movement up and down the game board/field came from rolling dice and drawing cards or something like that.  You only played the VHS tape a couple of times during a drive.

In my version all of the movement up and down the field will come from the videos… hopefully.  Let’s be straight about something.  I have the best intentions with stuff like this, but my follow through is sometimes lacking.     Maybe I would be better at completing little projects like this if I wasn’t constantly getting distracted by awesome videos like this one about bud bowl III.

I completely forgot about bud dry.

My plan for the videos is to download from youtube and some other sites, a bunch of famous plays, especially ones that are memorable for me and my friends, and then also some full games featuring teams we root for like the niners, vikes, fins, eagles, and Washington. (I’m not going to use the team name cause I’m a bleeding heart liberal).  Cutting up the videos will be easy, especially the ones from youtube, but the real problem I think I’ll have is finding a place to download full games so that I can get enough 3 yard runs and 6 yard middle of the field pass plays.  Luckily a lot of complete superbowls are online, so I should be able to steal …errr ummm borrow those for my personal use.

I could go all out and try to create something where each video clip is coded so that it would match where the player is on the field. That is way too much work for what I am doing.  Instead if someone is on the one yard line, clicks for the next video, it might play a video where someone runs for a 32 yard gain only to be tackled at the 1 yard line, and the player gets a TD.  I’m fine with that.  The original game basically worked the same way.

Making the individual video clips will be the most time consuming part and if I want to do it right, I think I want to have over 400 clips.  That might seem like over kill since the original game only had 30 or 40, but there is wrinkle I want to add that I haven’t reveal yet.  I want the game to videos to be skewed in favor of one player or the other based on who has the momentum.  How do you determine who has momentum?  Excellent question. I’ll answer it after this brief advertisement.

Hey….. WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE FOOTBALL PLAYING BOTTLES OF BEER!!!!!  Also, who is that guy. I know him. He has been in a ton of stuff as a character actor, but I can’t figure it out. Maybe I’ll figure it out when I watch part 2 which hopefully WILL HAVE SOME GOD DAMN STOP MOTION ANIMATED BOTTLES OF BEER PLAYING A HIGH STAKES GAME OF FOOTBALL.

To answer the question posed a little bit ago, I am going to have the two players draw trading cards at regular intervals to help determine the momentum.  I have a ton of old football trading cards and I plan on separating them into piles of QBs, RBs, WRs, Defensive players, and Kickers.  I will then put each pile into one of those black jack shoes that they draw the cards from at casinos. If you don’t konw what i’m talking about, just google it you lazy fuck.

Every time there is a stoppage of play the two players will draw one card from each of the shoes.  They will then compare the cards of the same position to see who has the better player. Who ever has the most “better players” out of the 5, gets the momentum until the next stoppage of play.  I know that might raise a lot of questions, but let me explain some of this.

Each position will be judged by one statistic to determine which is better and that statistic is always the career total.  For QBs it is the quarter back rating.  RB = rush yards. WR = rec yards. Def = tackles. Kickers = FG made. Make sense so far? ok good.

Stoppage of play where momentum is determined happens once during pregame, before the kickoff. It happens again at halftime and the end of the first and third quarter.  Each coach also gets three time outs per half to change the momentum as well.   Speaking of timeouts, lets take one now and see how Bud Bowl IV is going.

MOTHERFUCKERS DIDN’T EVEN USE NEW BUD BOWL FOOTAGE. I think they just used shots from previous bud bowls and made up a new score. FUCK YOU CHRIS BERMAN YOU PIECE OF SHIT. GIVE ME BACK MY FOOTBALL PLAYING BEER BOTTLES.

You might be asking how I will get the video to play differently based on momentum.  Well, a lot of you probably don’t care, but I’m sure the more nerdy of you do. I thought about trying to develop code that would handle this and maybe play videos at random through the use of a random number generator, but i think I’m going to go the easy route and just use simple HTML and some iframes.  I think that each iframe will be set up to play a video clip that can be stopped and started, just like the old vhs game.  Each iframe will also be dedicated to a certain type of video.  1 will be for offensive plays when you have the momentum. one will be for when you don’t have the momentum, and one will be for field goals.

I guess I could add a fourth for punts and kickoffs, but fuck that noise. That’s too much work.  There will be one extra section to the website (which will just be a local PC stored uninspired HTML page), and that section is for challenges.  I’m really excited about this idea.  Obviously you won’t be challenging the actual video that was just played, but you can use the challenge flag as kind of do over when you really don’t want a play to stand.

Let me give  you an example.  In the videos among all the random non spectacular plays, there will be some famous plays. Lets use the butt fumble for instance. Oh and if you don’t remember the butt fumble, I’ll post it below.

amazing.

In this scenario if you are the team on offense and this video plays you obviously would want to challenge this since if you let it stand, your opponent will get 7 points (there’s no extra point attempts in this game.  That would be lame.)  To determine if you win a challenge you will be asked a crazy NFL trivia question where you have to pick higher or lower based on the supplied number.  For instance you could ask “In superbowl 49, did Tom Brady throw for more or less than 328 yards?”  If the challenging player guesses correctly, then they get to replay the down by playing the next video.

Each player, or I guess I should say coach will have two physical challenge flags they can throw, and if they win both challenges, they will get a third challenge.  Just like the NFL if you lose a challenge, you lose a timeout and momentum is automatically shifted to the other team/player/coach. Also, we aren’t going to worry about that nonsense about not being able to throw a challenge if you don’t have any timeouts, or all challenges inside of two minutes come from the booth.

Speaking of two minute warnings, I think we are at ours right now. Let’s see what is happening in Bud Bowl V.

holy shit is that a trip down memory lane of which I have no real memories. Ok, I’ll talk about my game in a second but I have so many questions. First of all Ahmad Rashad. I haven’t thought of him since I finally realized he didn’t know how to ask questions when interviewing NBA players after games and just made factual statements instead.  Second, who is the hot chick with the short hair. I know I should know her cause… well she’s hot, and I am shallow.  She looks like a way less intense version of Gina Carano.  What was up with the truck turning into a can of beer / robot monster hybrid? This was made in 93, but has the feel of a coked up 80’s idea.  (that is coke like cocain, not coca cola.)  Next, does Joe Namath have a perm?  And that is Roger Dorn playing the Bud Light Coach.  I get that having sentient beer bottle playing football isn’t that realistic, but where I can’t suspend disbelief was when that giant claw came down from the blimp.  And who the fuck was that woman who looked like a house wife from a far side cartoon who said “NOT!!!”  That had to been a catchphrase from something, but I don’t remember it at all.

I know this post was suppose to be about the game I want to set up for the superbowl party, but now I just need to watch the final bud bowl advertisement, and then probably end up going down a rabbit hole of random 80s commercials on youtube.  I predict that after this clip I will at some point be watching the Centurions on youtube tonight.

Ok that one really tried to deliver the funny and I appreciate the effort.  Let’s see what Bud Bowl VII brings us.

God damn it.  They did it again.  They did a stupid advertisement with no new football playing beer bottle animation. Horse shit.  Let’s see what I can find on youtube for the final Bud Bowl according to Wikipedia, Bud bowl 8.

What the fuck is that.  Ok That was weird and awkward.

After a lot of searching, I have found no video on the internet for Bud Bowl 8 that supposedly features Ronnie Lott and Howie Long.  That is so incredibly disappointing to me.  Luckily, i guess, Mentalfloss has an entire history of the Bud Bowl, and this is their description of number 8.

After a one-year hiatus, Bud Bowl VIII returned with another single, forgettable spot. Howie Long and Ronnie Lott provided coverage, holding Fox Sports microphones no less, from a bar in the Louisana bayou. After a fan stole his microphone and opened a fridge to reveal the Bud Bowl in action, Lott threw him out of a bar window and into a swamp. Lott proceeded to reveal the final score before the spot ended with a familiar refrain from the fan, who was sharing space in the swamp with an alligator: “I love you, man.”

I…. maybe it makes more sense and seems much much much less random if you actually got to see it.

ok, to send you out, here’s the Centurions:

 

Ok, I lied, I’m ending this post with the link to the youtube page where you can watch the entire two hours of the VHS tape. This is perfect for what I want to do. Whoooooo!!! makes things way easier for me. (skip the first like minute cause it is a weird intro to a game.)

 

Marvel Comic’s Heros Anonymous

A.k.a Super Hero Underground, A.K.A League of Losers.

I went and saw The Force Awakens again today, and I really want to write about it, but I think I need to give it some time and perspective before I write another 3000 word blog post.  Instead I am going to write a quick post about one of my other favorite topics on this blog; Marvel Comic’s Darkhawk.

I live in this fantasy world where I am creative and talented and hardworking enough that if given a chance I could show run an amazing Netflix style Marvel show featuring some of their least popular and marketable characters.  I honestly spent hours in bed before I fall asleep each day (well, more like over the course of a month really) day dreaming about how you could make a TV show with characters like Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, Night Thrasher, etc… that would be entertaining and just popular enough to be worth everyone’s effort.

I think the reason I like to day dream about this is that it isn’t so much an exercise in pure creativity and storytelling, but instead is more of a logistical puzzle for me.   It is one thing to imagine what you could do if you were given free reign to make the next Iron Man film with a near unlimited budget and no real restrictions on which characters you would have access to.  This is a different animal completely.

First off, you would have to find a streaming service like Yahoo or maybe Overstock.com who want something popular like the Marvel Netflix shows, but know they can’t spend that kind of capital on rights or to license premier IP like daredevil.  Instead they would have to be convinced that there is a lot of upside since it is a marvel property, but Marvel will let you have it for cheap cause no one cares about heroes like US1 and his telepathically controlled big rig.

Part of my pitch would go something like this: “Come on, please! Just let me make the show. Yeah I know you never heard of Dark Hawk before, but who the F ever heard of Groot before Marvel made the Guardian’s of the Galaxy movie?”  It’s a good honest heartfelt pitch.

Next you have to figure out how to do the show cheaply, without a ton of special effects and expensive locations that can eat up budgets.  I guess you would also have to find some up and coming actors who are cheap and hungry.  Yeah it would be awesome to get a Charlie Cox, but you will probably have to go with someone who is even less well known than he was when he took the job.

I spend a lot of time while day dreaming trying to figure out how the structure of the show and story lines could help keep the show lean, but usually end up imagining impossible to get actors for all the parts. And speaking of impossible to get actors for the parts I would like, I’m just going to throw out some characters and the acting counterparts I would like in this fantasy world I hope to one day live.

Darkhawk – Karl Urban (or a younger version)
Sleepwalker – Aaron Paul
Dagger – Alice Eve
Night Thrasher – Donald Glover
Combo Man – Jake McDorman (that guy from TV show limitless)
Mr. Imortal – J.D Williams (Bodie from the wire)
US1 – Brian Van Holt (or an older version)
Lace – Merritt Weave (new lady doctor on the walking dead)

Lace, as far as I know, would be a new character and is the Felicity Smoak type role for this group of heroes. I would try to make her ability with machines/computers actually come from a super power and the name Lace was chosen by her to pay tribute to Ada Lovelace.  It… Arrow is good, not as good as The Flash is in my opinion, but one thing I hate is that the smart characters can do whatever needs to be done with science at that moment even if it has never been established that they know how to do whatever they are doing.  There’s no consistency from one week to another as to which smart people have expertise in which field and are smarter or dumber than anyone else in those fields.

In this season of Arrow Felicity has, who I assume is Mr. Terrific, clean up some transmission that Ray Palmer is sending her phone so that it can be watched. She doesn’t need his help based on all the shit she’s done in previous seasons.  I like his character, but …, I don’t know, I think my point is obvious, but the lesson for this show would be that, yes there is a person who can do amazing things with computers and electronics, but that’s because she has an actual super power, it’s not just a way to move from scene to scene. If Lace isn’t around, and something fancy with computers or electronics needs done, well, it probably isn’t getting done. Or if it is done, it is done really really shittely.

The rest of the characters I listed above are existing Marvel characters that aren’t all that popular, except for maybe Dagger, that could be changed to suit the shows restraints without too much bitching from fans. I was also thinking about squirrel girl, but she is actually kind of popular with a cult following from what I’ve been told, so not a good fit.  I also figure there would be some additional randoms that could drop in from time to time like Demolition Man, or Starfox, or All Pro.  Yeah the NFL might not allow their logo on this All Pro, but I’m sure there is something fun you could do with him as a former pro football player turned part time hero.

I think that would be part of the appeal of the show if done well. These are all part time super heroes.  Yes, so is Matt Murdoch the attorney and Jessica Jones the PI, but I want to see these heroes have to try and juggle superheroing with jobs that don’t allow the type of autonomy that those other character’s jobs allow.  What happens when Chris Powel (Darkhawk) gets fired from his help desk call center position cause he missed too many days of work?

I imagine a scene where Chris Powel’s alarm on his phone goes off, he slowly rolls out of bed, all sore and bruised.  He goes through his morning routine and get’s into work and sees all his stuff has been boxed up at his cube.  His boss comes over and says he’s sorry but he had no choice after he no showed yesterday. Chris is like “I had yesterday off, I put in a request for Monday off three weeks ago.”  And his Boss would say “It’s Wednesday.  You were off Monday and just never showed up yesterday… which was Tuesday…. Please don’t use me as a reference.”

That’s what I have been doing a lot of lately. Imagining individual scenes and the trying to build out a story around it.  Although I love Darkhawk… for some reason, the show would have to work as an ensemble. Kind of like the Wire. Probably a little better really. Like, twice as good as the wire by the time I’m done with it. In fact, I’m calling it right now, no 2nd season of this show.  It will go right from season 1 to season 3. That way I won’t have to listen to fan’s bitch about the story lines involving Sleepwalker and Dagger investigating shipping containers down at the docks.

How about an opening scene where the camera slowly moves around a somewhat empty or abandoned warehouse place and as we move we get closer and closer to loud music and flashing lights.  As we get closer and closer we can hear the music is violent fast and overbearing in its volume. The lights are partially strobe and painfully bright.  You see that they are all emanating from one glassed in room where a man is hunched in a corner trying to cover his eyes and ears from the onslaught.  It is Sleepwalker’s host Rick Sheridan, and it is apparent someone is holding him against his will and making sure to keep him awake.

Maybe something more light hearted like at the end of an episode recreate the hallway fight scene from the second episode of daredevil, but this time instead of the hero taking on all comers, Night Thrasher just sneaks by the other rooms and heads straight for the back and just sucker punches one of the henchmen leaving the back room.  Then grabs the hostage and sprints out before anyone in the other rooms notices what has happened.

Individual, out of context scenes are fun to dream up, but what about the connective tissue?  To have an ensemble show you need something to connect the characters together. That’s why I thought it would be kind of cool if this group came together originally as part of a support group for unknown heroes. That at least could be the backstory for how they all know each other and have come to support each other.  They started meeting a few years back to share their experiences and they soon discovered that their powers didn’t have to be a burden they carried alone.  They not only got the emotional support they needed from the meetings, but also in time they got logistical support to help with both their daily lives and their super hero activities.

So how would each character fit into this setup. Well someone has to have been the original organizer. I think that should be Night Thrasher.  I don’t know much about his character’s backstory in the comics outside of him being one of the rash of black teenagers who roller skate super heroes that kept popping up in the 90s.  I know he comes from money but doesn’t have any super powers.  So, I envision him as having money left to him from his parents.  Not bruce wayne money, but still, multi millions, never have to really work and can live off interest money.  He won’t be buyin private planes and re purposing them for fighting crime, but I’m ok with him owning an apartment building that has a basement with one of those security doors with sliding view finder thing where they can hold their meetings.  Remember the Chesterfield club in rounders.  Something like that set up, but instead of a card room it is like a low key headquarters where they can every Wednesday night do the circle of metal chairs and talk about their feelings, and then other days they can use it for training and stuff.

No one is the leader of the group but Night Thrasher would be the closest thing since he is very gung ho about helping everyone and being a benefactor to them, and since he has martial arts training he can be kind of a teacher for those who need to learn to hone their skills for combat purposes.  He may also be the person to go to if you are looking for employment since he owns a few small companies as part of his estate. I kind of like an idea of having a temp agency for these guys where if someone can’t make it to their job because they got messed up fighting crime the night before, someone else would fill in.  I haven’t fully thought that part out though.

US1, which may be one of the lamest heroes in Marvel History, is someone I think of as the wise O G of the group.  He’s been in the game a long time and seen some shit, but he’s always been in the background, mostly forgotten, and he is happy with that.  He gives everyone perspective when they are about to take on a challenge.  Everything that Night Thrasher lacks in terms of maturity and actual leadership qualities, US Archer more than has in spades. The only reason he isn’t their leader is because he is on the back end of his career and doesn’t want to risk the chance of being forced into the limelight.  He wants to sit in the shadows, but help if he can.  He is low key and nothing really phases him as he has seen it all before, or at least acts like he has.

Sleepwalker is kind of the last line of defense, or maybe the back up plan.  He is only able to go out fighting crime when his human host Rick is asleep so I’m thinking that it would be good to show Rick as someone who is always tired because he is always trying to stay awake until Sleepy is really needed. That’s when it is heavy duty ambian time. I see Rick as maybe more tragic than all the others since he has some of the same responsibilities but even less control.  He will never get recognition except as part of what sleepwalker did. Even then in everyone’s minds all rick did to help save the day was to take a nap.

Outside of Sleepwalker, or maybe even including him, Darkhawk is the most powerful of the super heroes in this group.  While Chris isn’t reluctant to be a super hero, he is reluctant to take on a greater roll.  Someone like Night Thrasher is really only good against low level villains with un amazing powers.  Darkhawk on the other hand has a ton of power  but isn’t comfortable to let it all loose. He doesn’t have the required confidence to take on a higher level of villains. He views himself the same way the world views US 1, but there will have to come times when he tries to rise above those self imposed limitations.

I think that brings us to an important topic. If this is a world with Thor and Ironman and other Heroes who are insanely powerful, why do you need a Night Thrasher or a Mr. Immortal. My contention is that there is a lot of crime and a lot of bad guys that the Captain Americas and Hulks of this world could easily defeat without much effort. The reason you need someone like Sleepwalker to fight someone like 8ball is because heroes need to take on real challenges. If Iron Man is spending all of his time easily defeating lame super villains after lame super villains, then he isn’t going to be ready to take on a real challenge like the Mandarin or Fing Fang Foom.  The heroes in this group fight these fights so that other heroes don’t have to.  Darkhawk will never defeat Thanos in a fight, but because he is willing to take on Tombstone and Savage Steel, the avengers will be able to battle and defeat Thanos.

So who else? Dagger probably would be impossible to get, but if we did get her I think it would be awesome since we could have a distractingly sexy woman who has some health capabilities. I know it is kind of shitty to put someone in the hot lady that causes love triangles departments, but I think you could do something grown up that isn’t mysoginistic.  Have her be confident in her sexuality and sexually aggressive and unapologetic about it. And then let that cause some heart ache for the dudes and make some drama in the form of “I don’t like you for playing with my heart strings but i need your healing powers cause i got the shit kicked out of me last night.” It’s a tough tight rope to walk trying to not make her a sexy kitten cliche but also not feel like your pandering to any specific group or message.

Mr. immortal would just be a fun character since as I would imagine him being used anytime there is a dangerous situation you are unsure of, you just send him in to see what’s up and then a few moments later he shows back up coming from somewhere else and letting everyone know that, yep, it’s really dangerous in there.

Combo man would be the best cause he wouldn’t be like he was in the comics, which was just an amalgamation of other characters that was basically a paid advertisement by Combos.  This would be a regular dude who wants to be the first super hero that is sponsored, so he walks around eating combos and tries to be a super hero even though no one in the group wants him.  He would kind of have that Booster Gold feel, and I would love an episode where after half a season of no one taking him seriously, he some how saves everyone’s ass, probably by borrowing some of their equipment to get it done.

Shit I need to add some images to this post. Meh, maybe later.

Star Wars the Force Awakens review … with and without spoilers

I’m going to write the first half of this review spoiler free, and then the second half will be just loaded with spoilers and near random conjecture on the next two movies.  If you are planning on seeing it, and are like me and don’t want to be influenced at all before you see it, then don’t read this.  I always find that when you read a bunch of spoiler free reviews or hear a bunch of headlines that say a movie is either really good or really bad it can really affect your enjoyment.  Instead of going into those movies with a clean slate, you instead go in tying to compare it to the rating you have come up with in your mind.

I heard mad max fury road was amazing, and when I saw it I was underwhelmed.  I heard National Lampoons Vacation with Ed helms tanked, I was really surprised with how much I liked it when I went and saw it.

What i’m trying to say is… go see the movie.  If you are going to see it in the next couple days or couple weeks.  Just skip this.  If you are going to wait a few weeks or a month to see it, then I doubt what I say in the spoiler free section will have much impact.

Either way, if you are going to see it, and haven’t yet, don’t read the spoilers section.  That’s lame and you are robbing yourself of a few surprises.

So… here we go with the spoiler free review…

I went and saw The Force Awakens Thursday night at the 11:00 pm showing.  There was an early showing, well several really, starting at 7:00 that featured a ton of people dressed up in all manner of Star Wars themed garb.  That’s fine. I’m a nerd, and I appreciate that stuff, but I don’t want too be in a movie theater full of those people.  The 11:00 pm showing had a hand full which is just fine for me.

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none looked like that… i know i should find a star wars cosplay image, but look, this is what google image search gave me when I typed in “cosplay” and now I’m in love

I know I might sound like a hypocrite since I am a huge nerd, but there is something about cosplay that doesn’t involve hot ladies in skin tight outfits that just reeks of sadness and desperation.  If I think of it logically of course, I know the exact opposite is true. Those people are full of joy and are comfortable in their skin and environment.  I just know that if I dressed up, I’d feel way too self conscious, and I project a lot of my shortcomings on other people. But enough of the self diagnosis, let’s talk about the movie.

I want to say something where I would use the phrase “It wasn’t a perfect move..” but I think that would give off the wrong impression.  Usually when someone says that, they aren’t talking about a movie that they ever had any thoughts of it being perfect.  Usually the phrase is used on a movie like Jurassic World or the next James Bond movie.  With those movies there is a lot of expectation and excitement, but at no point do you really expect or even hope for it to be perfect.  For a new star wars movie, that is the unrealistic bar that some people have in their heads.  So when I say it “wasn’t a perfect movie” understand that I think of this star wars movie the same way I would think of an all time great athlete. Tom Brady isn’t the greatest athlete ever, but holy shit is he fantastic. He maybe isn’t the best QB ever, but I would never turn down an opportunity to have him on my team.

I may be mixing metaphors, so let me try to be a little more concrete while still not delivering any spoilers.

I had a few fears going into this movie, a lot of the stemming from the prequels.  I was afraid they would shoe horn in references and connections to the other movies where they weren’t needed and were actually distracting.  I was afraid it would pander.  I was afraid it wouldn’t have the right feel.  I was afraid it would over explain, and leave no mystery.  I was afraid it would feel like fan fiction, or worse yet, like a reboot from someone who didn’t love the source material.  I was afraid there would be no sense of wonder.

I’m happy to say that all of my fears were unfounded.  Yes it isn’t perfect, and maybe there is a better star wars movie out there that could have been made, but here is the important thing; THIS IS A STAR WARS MOVIE!!!

That is something I could never say about the prequels. When I watched those movies, to me,  it had a completely different feel from the original trilogy. This movie feels like a natural extension.  Best of all, that extension isn’t obvious.

One of the things I loved about this movie is that it doesn’t pick up 30 years after return of the Jedi with all the characters where you expected them. That’s not how real life works, and it was brave for the makers of The Force Awakens, to not just go with the obvious scenarios.  I’m sure if you asked fans of the original trilogy, what would have happened to each character, 90% would not have guessed accurately with any of the main characters.

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That isn’t to say that what was done was a departure and out of character.  It was just unexpected, which is good. The choices they made help create a rich backstory, that is mysterious, honest, dynamic, and intriguing.

Speaking of the intrigue, I love that the new characters seem to fit in perfectly with the Star Wars universe but are still unique unto themselves.  Each one has a bit of mystery, and the fact that they didn’t come out and give the complete history of each new character through forced dialogue should be commended.

As far as the winks and nods to the original trilogy… there weren’t any winks or nods in my opinion. Everything that could have come across in a wink or nod fashion really just felt like it was at home in this star wars universe of movies. When you are watching a TV show like Breaking Bad or the Shield, and something happens in season 3 that relates back to something in season 1, you don’t think to your self “Oh isn’t that a cute little thing they put in for the fans of season 1.”  No, that’s just how natural story telling is done.  Now when you have a TV show like Castle (which I’ve never actually watched) and the titular character is played by the same guy who was the main protagonist in Firefly, dressing him up as his Firefly character on Halloween episodes and having him say that he is dressed up as a “space Cowboy”, is a totally fun little wink to people who watched that other completely different unrelated show.

Maybe I’m over explaining what I consider to be a wink and a nod and why they fit in some mediums and stories, and not in others. My point is, anything referencing the original trilogy, never takes you out of the moment like a wink and a nod moment would.  I know the term “organic” is overused, but I think it applies with this movie in many ways.

Pretty soon I am going to have to talk about specifics that are also spoilers, but one of the things I wanted to mention before I get to that is that I loved the locations and settings and sets.  I know I am beating a dead… horse, I’m not going to say bantha or tantan or jarjar, look I’m not that much of a nerd and that is cheesy. So yea, I’m not trying to beat a dead horse when I compare things to the stuff I disliked in the the prequels, but man the look and feel of this movie is so on point.  I hated how polished and sterile so much of episodes I, II, and III looked.  There was no grit and grime, and I guess the stories were supposed to take place somewhere that was suppose to be elegant before the ravages of war took their toll.  Still, having what looked like real sets, with limited CGI, with more rust than chrome, gave it all the right feel.

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Ok Now I’m Going to Get Into The Spoilers.

So…..

SPOILERS!!!!!

GO BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING SPOILED

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This section is going to be more linear, and starts with the opening crawl.  Honestly, most of the crawls in the past have done almost nothing to set up the movie outside of the first one.  I guess wit this movie you still don’t need it, but seeing the line about Luke being missing really connected with me.  Maybe that’s because there were a lot of rumors about Kylo Ren being Luke, but I was trying to convince myself all week that those rumors were BS so that if it did happen I would still be surprised. (yes we will get to all that later).

The first scene where poe gives bb8 secret information to keep safe before the empire captures him kind of made me feel uneasy. It wasn’t bad, but i was just kind of worried that since it was basically the same set up as a new hope that the rest of the movie would be like this. Turns out it wasn’t, but i’ll admit to some trepidation.

The Introduction of Kylo Ren freezing blaster fire in mid air was a pretty bad ass way to introduce him.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about him being a knock off Darth Vader, but now that I know some of his back story, it is clear he is not a knock off in terms of the film makers trying to intimidate what has worked before, but instead we have Kylo as an almost king joffrey type character. Not a perfect analogy, but I think anyone who has seen both things will kind of understand what I am getting at.  It was great watching Kylo transition within the film to this Vader like badass, and into a wannabe almost poser whose warped misguided hero worship/obsession makes him seem sympathetic only because his motivations seem sad and pathetic.   He seems like a teenager who as an adult was an outcast and latched on to something that he could claim as his own, mostly because everyone else saw it as evil, but he liked it because whatever it was is an outcast like what he imagined he was in his mind.

I should really retype that last couple of sentences so it is more coherent, but i’m not going to.  How about this.  Kylo Ren is a sad emo kid grown up and with power that has corrupted him.

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Let’s just get to the first of what I felt were the two big moments with him. First, the reveal by the supreme leader that he is in fact Han and Leia’s kid. That kind of stunned me.  I knew the general outline of some of the post Return of the Jedi comics and paper back books, and this is kind of a departure, although it may borrow some elements as well.

We will get to the other big thing that happened with Kylo, but lets get back to the rest of the movie, and talk about the two other main characters, Fin and Rey. In the previews I assumed Rey was Han and Leia’s kid, and maybe she is.  They put a ton of work into making her seem like Han with all the stuff happening on the falcon, and she obviously has the force like Leia’s side of the family does. Still, is she Han and Leia’s kid?  Is she Kylo Ren’s sister.

We don’t know what caused Kylo to go to the dark side, and I’m guessing it had something to do with her.  Yes they say that the supreme leader corrupted Kylo, but there has to be more to it.

As the movie went on, I was getting more convinced that she was Kylo’s brother, but all that changed at the very end of the movie when she tracked down Luke and handed him the lightsaber that he lost back on bespin. I really think that she is Luke’s daughter, and that she was hidden away on jukku just like he was hidden away on Tatooine. Maybe her arrival caused Kylo’s spiral into jealousy at the Jedi Academy when Luke was trying to rebuild the Jedi knights.

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I hate myself for having read all of these

I think the biggest hint that she is his daughter is that her introduction as his child would fit perfectly with that voice over that sounds like Luke that was in the one teaser that talks about how the force is strong in his family.

BTW, that speach wasn’t in the movie.  There are a few little things that were in the previews that weren’t in the movie.  Also not in the movie; Luke doing anything other than standing on a mountain top and slowly turning towards the camera.  That’s all he did in this movie. I’m ok with it though.  This is a trilogy and I like the idea of a slow burn with his character.  This movie was really all about Han and that was awesome.

Before we get to Han and his big moment in this movie, let’s talk about Fin since he is the other new character that really shines and takes center stage.

Having him be so like-able and funny, while at the same time mysterious and almost selfish was a real feat to pull off. I’m amazed at how much I rooted for his character while at the same time also thinking “That guy is hiding something”.  I heard a wild theory that he might be a clone or decendant of Mace Windu.  I just don’t think that is true.  It would be cool, but more in a fan fiction way than in a real big time star wars movie kind of way.  I really hop that doesn’t turn out to be the case.

Speaking of mysterious new characters, the tiny lady who knows about the force but isn’t a jedi, and had luke’s lightsabre and had those giant glasses… what’s up with her.  I have a feeling she was Yoda’s home slice or something.  There has to be something to her beyond just what was in this movie.  Hopefully she survived and will be coming back.  In the same vein, I’m excited to find out more about the Supreme leader. Maybe it would be cool if it turns out he is a character from one of the previous movies, but they would have to be very careful with that. If done right it could be cool. If done wrong it would be sooooooo dumb. Like Jengo Fett is the main clone for all the storm troopers dumb.  I think he is somehow connected to Luke and the Jedi training and Kylo and that he looks all fucked up because of whatever falling out there was.

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Not going to lie, I also wondered about how cool it might be if Jar Jar was Snoke.

Anyways, moving on, The rest of the movie is great and doesn’t need a lot of dissection really except for the showdown between Han and his son.

Seriously… don’t read this if you don’t want spoilers.

just go find something else on the internet to keep you busy.

There’s thechive.com

or theonion.com

I’m a big fan of uproxx.com

Or if you hadn’t heard, the new season of serial launched a couple weeks ago so go check that out. I think the website is serialpodcast.com

But if you are ready for huge spoilers here we go.

The moment Han walked towards that bridge I knew he was dead in the same way I knew Ned Stark was dead as soon as Joffrey gave him the executioner the order to kill him.  There is enough time inetween the deciding moment and the act itself that you are able to think of a thousand scenarios where the person you love will live.  But you also know that everyone of those thousand scenarios is a cop out and that the film maker wouldn’t have done a great job up to this point and then written themselves into a position where they had to use a terrible cop out.

Here’s the part that really got to me. I think Han didn’t call him Ren. I think he called him Ben. Like, his name was Ben, and maybe that was Han naming him after Obi Wan Kenobi.  I have no idea. Maybe I misheard it, but when I heard what I think was “Ben” it was magical.  I can’t explain why, but something about it was perfect. It was great that Han had a name to call him that wasn’t the one being used by everyone else. That it was something a father could call a son. It was a name that was a reference that didn’t seem too obvious.  If he had named the kid Lando, for instance, or anakin, it wouldn’t have felt right.  Naming his son Ben was just so god damn perfect.

I don’t know if Han’s death at his son’s hand was perfect, but damn did it get to me. It wasn’t really overly sad, but it just made me realize, that these guys made a real movie. Obi Won died in the first movie. yoda dies in the third movie.  Star wars isn’t a movie franchise where everyone you like lives. People die. There are real stakes. Good job J. J.

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No, that’s not how he died. It was via lightsaber.

I could go on, but it is late and I have to get some work done. I’m about 2 hours behind schedule right now cause I love talking / writting / typing about this movie.  I’m sure I will have follow up posts after my next visit to the theater to see The Force Awakens. I put the over under on the number of times I see it in the theater at 4.  Seems kind of low honestly.

later.