I think I bought a 100 year old Trumpet

I haven’t had a lot of time lately for hobbies, so on the weekends I usually find something that is going to keep me busy for a few hours between naps, football, and work.  As of late this has taken the form of browsing thrift shops for cool shit.  A month ago I bought a bunch of 70’s and 80s LPs (mostly Blood Sweat and Tears, and Simon and Garfunkle). Before that I bought a poker table I refinished and redecorated. Well technically I got the idea for that while at a thrift store but then found a cheaper one online.

Last weekend, I bought a trumpet/cornet from the Salvation Army.  They wanted 79 bucks for it, but I talked them down to $59.00 for it.  It looked fairly old, the vales seemed to just need a little oil, and there was section of the bell that was a little bent. Aside from those things it looked pretty good with the exception of it not having that polished shinny metal look that new instruments have. Plus it had all of the accessories in the case from what I could tell.

I got it hoe and blew a few notes and was surprised at how good it sounded. Maybe this was just me not having played a musical instrument in over a decade and being more surprised I could still blow a half decent note than it was that the horn actually sounded nice.   I read some articles on cleaning up old horns and started by giving it a bath in warm water with a little bit of CLR and Baking soda mixed in.  This seemed to do wonders and the cornet looked like this:

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It still has that old school look which I was ok with since I was planning on just hanging it on my wall over the piano I never got around to tuning or learning how to play.  But then I read an article that talked about how to polish old horns that did not have any lacquer on them.  I had always thought that the shinny look new instruments have is because of the way they are varnished or painted or plated.  Turns out that old brass instruments can look just as good, they just need to be polished.  The modern instruments get that shinny look the same way the old ones do, with the only difference is a clear seal coating is put over the outside on the newer stuff.

So I stopped at walmart on my way to the hotel and bought some all purpose metal polish from the automotive isle.  I then spent the first 2 hours at the hotel polishing my horn until it looked like this.

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Glad I decided to take a before and after.  Close up it doesn’t look quite as good as the picture does, but it is still startling how different it looks.   I also polished the accessories.

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That one mouthpiece was basically black before I polished it.

I tried to find out how old the cornet is, but I’m having a little bit of trouble with the serial number.  If you go by just the 6 digit number on the 2nd valve (122698) then based on every website I could find this horn was made between 1911 and 1912.  I don’t know enough about Conn instrument design from the turn of the century to say whether what I have could fit in the category, but one thing does give me pause.  If you look right above the serial number this is the letter “L”.

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There are a lot of models in later years like the 60’s and 70’s that begin with a letter prefix, but never an L.  Also here are some other pictures showing some of the markings.

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I did some more digging however, and I think I found evidence that this is over 100 years old.   Take a look at these model drawings I got from a Conn-Cornet fansite of sorts: 

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The horn on the bottom left is almost identical to mine from everything I can tell.  So I think I have a 1911 Perfected Wonder Solo Cornet.

Here are some more links to back that up: http://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/ConnPerfWonderC-wo-mechanism1910image.html

http://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/ConnNICircusBore1911image.html

So now the real question is, “How much is it worth?”

This listing has a starting big of $159 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Antique-CG-CONN-PERFECTED-WONDER-Cornet-100-years-old-SURVIVOR-/131670676187?hash=item1ea82f12db:g:t~cAAOSw37tWCumT but no one has bid on it yet.  Interrestingly the Serial number on that listing has an M floating above the serial number which is 6 digits and starts with a 11.

This one might be even closer to the horn I have, http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Antique-CONN-Trumpet-with-case-/262182737387?hash=item3d0b4f15eb:g:kuUAAOSwu-BWQfcE  The case is the same from what I can tell, and the serial number is a higher number than mine (starts with a 19) meaning mine would be older.  He wants $300 based on his “Buy it now amount”. He said it has been in the family probably from the 30s or earlier.

This last one is the one that is the most similar I think and the most expensive at almost $600 bucks.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Conn-81A-New-Wonder-Cornet-with-Mechanism-Gold-Plated-/271835063099?hash=item3f4aa1e33b:g:FiwAAOSwpDdVKEhc

Wait I take that back. That is a more recent model than the one I have judging by the serial number.

 

Anyways, the point is, that this is a pretty cool find!

 

Episodes that got me hooked on my favorite shows

Netflix recently announced that they had analyzed viewing habits to determine which episode of some popular TV series were the ones that got people hooked. There are a couple of ways they could have done this but I’m assuming this analysis looked at the drop off in views from one episode to the next. They probably then looked to see where the percentage in drop in viewership leveled off or decreased the least over the rest of the remaining episodes.

A lot of the results seemed to indicate episode two of a series was usually the episode that got people hooked, which makes sense. A large number will drop off after the first episode cause they don’t like it, so if you decide to watch the second episode it is a safe bet you at least like the show.  The second episode also usually is one of the better episodes since everything is still fresh but the episode isn’t restricted by needing to set up an entire Series the way the pilot is.

Outside of the 2nd episode there really wasn’t anything that made a lot of sense to me.  It wasn’t like the episodes that according to Netflix “got people hooked” were all that memorable for the most part, at least not to me. The third episode of Orange is the New Black, wasn’t that amazing to me compared to some later ones.  Madmen’s episode six had Peggy’s memorable “Basket full of kisses” line, but still seems unremarkable to me.  Daredevil episode 5 is good, just like all Daredevil episodes, but the episode before that is the amazing episode where we first meet Fisk, and the 2nd episode is the one with that crazy long tracking shot that was even better.

I think my point is that it is difficult to really pinpoint why one episode might get a large viewership to latch on to a show.  I’m thinking that some people probably take a more holistic approach and kind of just settle in once happy with the general direction and feel of a show up to that point.  Some people like me may get hooked more based on specific scenes or stories, hoping that similar levels of goodness show up in later episodes.  Other people… who knows, who cares. This blog is about me, so lets talk about what got me hooked on some of my favorite TV series. First up I am going to go through the shows that Netflix had on their list to see how mine synchs up with theirs.

Daredevil – Netflix episode 5, me episode 2 – tracking shot fight scene!!!!

Mad Men – Netflix episode 6, me S2 E 5 – We see a flashback to Don and Peggy in the hospital that shed an incredible amount of light on both people and their relationship

House of Cards – Netflix episode 3, me S1 E8 Frank returns to his alma mater, and it was cool to see him change from quasi evil Frank we know in the world of politics and show a brief but genuine human side

Breaking Bad – Netflix episode 2, me S3 E12 – Might seem odd that one of my top 3 favorite shows of all time would take towards the end of season 3 to get me hooked, but up until this episode it was a really good show that could have started to go down hill as it chugged along, but after that episode, and Mike’s speech, The show became great, borderline amazing, and actually got better from there.

Orange is the new Black – Netflix episode 3, me S1 E10, first episode I remember where the show was more than just a dark comedy and allowed itself to be heartbreaking

Dexter Netflix Episode 3, me S4 E 12, season finale that should have been the series finale. It was so good that it let me hold on through the disastrous final two seasons.

Sons of Anarchy – Netflix episode 2, me S3 E13

Better Call Saul – Netflix episode 4, me Episode 1

As I think about this, maybe some of those numbers don’t really show what episode got people hooked, as much as it showed around what episode people gave up.  Something like Better Call Saul, someone like me is going to watch every episode no mater what. They have me.  Other people might give the first few episodes a try after breaking bad just to see if they like it, but by the time episode 3 has ended they say “meh” not that into it and drop off.  Maybe episode doesn’t get people hooked, but instead separates those who like the show for the show itself, from the people who were just checking it out to see if they might like the show.

Something else that I noticed with my notations above is that with shows like Mad Men or Sons of anarchy that have been on a long time, it isn’t so much about an episode that gets me into the show, it is more about an episode that cements my love for the show so much that I know I will follow through to the end even if it starts to hit rough patches. Granted, Mad Men was never not good, but Sons of Anarchy was kind of bad over the last few seasons.  It was that last episode of season 3 though that won my loyalty and sustained me through some of the awful episodes in the later years.

A good example of this might be The killing.  Netflix had the second episode as the one that got people hooked. For me, while I really liked the killing as a show, never had a standout episode or scene that resonated with me.  That is probably a factor in why I gave up a couple episodes into the most recent season that was on Netflix.  Just so there is no misunderstanding, these “episodes that got people hooked” doesn’t mean it is the episode produced by Netflix. When Netflix says it was the second episode of the killing that got people hooked, they mean of season 1 that was on AMC originally.

Now I am going to think about some of my other all time favorite shows:

The Shield – Pilot , first show where I remember there being an anti hero that I really rooted for, and then it all got turned on its ear in the last few moments of the episode

The Wire – S1 E3, specifically the Chess scene

ER – Love’s labors lost

Justified – not sure, but this was such a money line

Californication –  S2 E 12 – The final episode of this season had a scene with more heart than I thought the show was capable of. in fact most of the episode follow suit and the non ID side of me fell in love with show. Here is the clip, but if you didn’t watch that season it won’t make sense.

True Detective – S1 E1, the ending of that episode, how Rust Cole set up the mystery surrounding the whole rest of the season “Start asking the right fucking questions” got me hooked so fierce I even watched every episode of the underwhelming 2nd season.

Archer – Skytanic – it was the first episode I saw, but on multiple viewings, I hold it up as one of, if not, the best.

There are some other long running shows that I love like Southpark, Quantum Leap, Chuck, The Walking Dead, or Star Trek TNG that I didn’t list an episode that got me hooked, because, honestly I couldn’t think of one that stood out.  Some of these episodes, really probably aren’t the episodes that “got me hooked” but they are the episodes that made me loyal and made me appreciate them more than I do most other shows.

What is Michael Jordan’s horribly depressing story arc in those Hanes commercials

I have a big issue with a lot of commercials that are on the air now a days. (or is it nowa days.., now adays?) This is probably caused in part by the fact that I mostly watch stuff online and don’t pay attention to commercials the way I use to when I had cable.  I think when I had cable I’d see so many commercials that I kind of just zoned out and shut down my critical thinking when they were on.  Now I see less commercials and I end up paying more attention to the ones I do see, and a lot of them are not so secretly sad and depressing.

Some time later I want to deconstruct how awful most vodka commercials are now a d..  currently, but for now lets focus on Michael Jordan and the Hanes commercials he has done over the last several years.  First let me state my hypothesis:

The Michael Jordan Hanes commercials are set in an alternate reality in which Jordan has been ostracized from most of society and his life is in shambles.

One major piece of evidence to support this claim is that in most of the commercials he is just wearing a Hanes shirt. In our reality, he is super rich, and probably doesn’t wear Hanes shirts on an everyday basis, or if he does he only wears them as an undershirt with some very expensive clothing being worn over top.  In the world of the Hanes commercials, he is usually wearing a plain white Hanes t shirt.  In fact in a majority of the recent commercial it is the same exact outfit.  He may in fact only have one change of clothes in the Hanes universe, which I will from here on out call the Hanesverse.

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Do all three commercials take place on the same day or is he re wearing the same outfit.

But before we go too far down the rabbit hole, lets look at where he started to try to figure out where he ended up.  These first two commercials show Jordan as he is still today; a celebrity among celebrities.  Here are commercials, one featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. and another featuring Charlie Sheen, in which both celebs kind of fall apart when Jordan is in the area.

You can see that Jordan is kind of aloof but still likes the attention in these commercials.  In fact, I feel that is the defining characteristic of the Michael Jordan in the Hanesverse. He loves the admiration and attention he gets from celebs and other people but doesn’t want show it.  He acts humble, but inside you know it is a big ego boost and it is something that he craves.

At some point however there was a seismic shift from whom Jordan is getting this much desired admiration and attention. He went from getting hugs and high fives from comedic actors whose careers have taken some odd turns in the last 10 years, and now is seen hanging out with random normal people.  There is nothing wrong with that in of itself, after all there is lots of evidence that being a celebrity doesn’t make you a more worth while human being *cough the Kardashians*.  But, it is still odd that in the next couple of advertisements below that no one is excited to see Michael Jordan.

In the first commercial we see Jordan wonder up to an office drone working in his cube and demand that he hand over the tag from his boxer shorts that is talking and apparently a sentient being that can feel pain. It is not clear if Jordan just works at this office or if he is the owner or boss, but it seems clear that having Jordan in this office is not a big deal to the man in the cubicle. In the second commercial we see Jordan at a laid back barbeque party. There isn’t a lot of context to determine if he was invited or if he just showed up like an unusually tall drifter, but I’m going to guess the former.  If I had to put money on it, I would guess it was a work colleague’s party and that Jordan showed up solo.  Why do I think he showed up by himself, without a date?  Well…

This is the commercial that first got me thinking that Jordan’s life isn’t going well.  First of all let’s cover the most obvious thing that stands out about this particular commercial; Michael Jordan is sitting alone in a mostly empty movie theater.  Maybe his date, or whoever he went with, is getting snacks or in the bathroom at the exact moment that this commercial takes place.  That could be a possibility, but I like to think that at this point in the Hanesverse Jordan has lost most of his friends and is kind of a loner.  I will explain why later, but let me quickly point out that for the third straight commercial the humans that see Jordan aren’t impressed, but the sentient clothing tags that Jordan murders are aware of who he is and seem genuinely surprised or excited.   That is until they are murdered by either drowning, being burned alive, or shredded to death.

We will see in a little bit, how far Jordan has still left to fall, but right now I want to explore the point in the Hanesverse where I believe we find out what triggered Jordan’s fall from grace.

This commercial can be summed up in one word. Hitler Mustache. Jesus, that’s two words. Anyways, this is the moment I feel that Jordan starts his fall from grace.  The guy sitting next to Jordan on the airplane is pretty excited to be sitting next to Jordan and is having a hard time keeping himself in check. This makes me think we are not too far away from the days of Jordan getting hugs from Cuba Gooding Jr and being tacitly responsible for Charlie Sheen’s car accidents.  Another piece of evidence to support this theory is that Jordan is not wearing his White shirt with blue outfit, and instead is wearing something that looks fitting a man of his socioeconomic stature.

This is the first sighting of Jordan rocking the “Hitler” mustache, or as some might call it “The Charlie Chaplain”, although I have a feeling in real life he wanted people to refer to it as the “Jordan”.  The question we have to ask ourselves is why in the Hanesverse is Jordan suddenly sporting this controversial piece of facial hair. I believe that at this moment in the Hanesverse timeline clothing tags have first begun to show their sentience and that Michael Jordan views them as something that needs to be eradicated.

Yes. Michael Jordan is sporting a Hitler mustache to show his support for the extermination of a race of sentient beings in the same way that Hitler once tried to do.  The main difference being that Hitler wanted to kill everyone that was Jewish, while Jordan wants to kill all the clothing collars, who are admittedly kind of annoying.

I know that seems like a reach, but re-watch that commercial again. Jordan is not on a private jet. He is just in first class. First class is nice, but it isn’t Michael Jordan nice.  Also, Jordan is flying solo again.  No Charles Barkley or other celeb ridding shotgun with him as he flies 15 hours to….? No idea, but that is a long ass flight so you have to assume he is flying internationally, maybe to round up support in Germany?????

So we know Jordan is on a long flight in first class and no one else on the flight is looking at him, he is still aloof and seems to smile when recognized and gets addoration, and he has a Hitler mustache. Not a lot to go on.  But check out the way the guy sitting next to him acts.  Tell me that guy doesn’t have the perfect reaction of someone who 100% agrees with Jordan’s “Kill all Tags” rhetoric but has never had the courage to say it to anyone else.  Here he is, sitting next to the only man in America brave enough to speak out against the Tags and offer a solution to the problem… a final solution.

I believe that up until this flight, Jordan had lost that feeling he would get when a celeb or random person would see him and shower him with love and praise.  Jordan spoke out against the recent emergence of these sentient Tags and was rejected by all his famous friends and most of society, but this man was finally giving him the attention he so desperately craved. Plus this man was totally on board with his hatred of Tags and Hitler mustache.

After this fateful flight, Jordan turned away from his old life and the celebs he use to pal around with and embraced like minded everyday people.  As time rolled on the general consensus of the population changed from acceptance of this new race of cloth based life, and turned into annoyance.  Fed up with the lack of action by the government and people in general, Jordan took it upon himself to destroy these creatures one by one. He even went as far as to give himself a standard outfit, or uniform, that he would wear every day as he went around convincing people to let him do what they didn’t have the heart to do; kill the annoying Tags.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been capitalizing “Tags” to make it appear that they are a recognized group with a name that is a proper noun.

There is a post script to Jordan’s crusade in the Hanesverse however. Simply put, all wars must ends. Either the Tags are erased from the face of the earth, or Jordan has given up the fight having realized that even for a great man like him, it was a futile endeavor.   Either way he is a broken man, who lost his fortune in his mad quest, and now lives a commoner’s life in a crowded apartment.

Maybe I am being to hard and Michael Jordan is not a broken man, but instead he may just be a man with a few cracks.  He is fallen so far that he is living in an apartment with three other guys half his age, one of whom brutalized adorable kittens while the rest watch on in amusement.  Jordan sees his one roommate wearing a shirt made of kittens (he’s clearly insane), and all Jordan can do is shake his head and chuckle before heading to the kitchen to get some Wheaties. At the end of the line Jordan is forced to live with people who almost mockingly refer to him by his first and last name, to shame him into remembering what he had once been.

Even his choice in clothing is telling. His signature blue windbreaker is gone, now replaced by an uninspired grey hoodie. The hoodie makes me think he is at peace with where his life ended up, knowing that it is all from his doing, and it doesn’t appear he is going to try and change it.  I know that is a lot to surmise just from a popular piece of clothing, but in context I think it is a pretty astute observation.

Alternate Theory: Michael Jordan is suffered a psychotic break and is hallucinating the talking tags and the kitten t-shirt… and also the guy on the plane who is kind of his own version of Tyler Durden.

I think this is also a possibility that could explain a lot of things like his slow slide down the economic ladder. Maybe the guy on the plane was real, but was so annoying that in just 15 hours, he drove Jordan permanently insane. Maybe all the commercials are from his perspective in which people freely hand over their “talking clothing tags” but in reality he is mumbling incoherently to people and then forcibly ripping their tags off so he can “stop the voices” that only he seems to hear.  Maybe that final commercial is when Jordan is living in a halfway house after spending time in a state mental institution, and the reason at the end he just shakes his head and says “dude” is because he didn’t take his medication and realizes he is starting to lose it again.

Let me know what evidence for against my theories you have, or if you have any competing theories.

Mad Men Spin off Ideas

AMC currently has spin off shows of two of their biggest shows ever, now ranking as two of their current biggest shows… if what I just typed made sense. Breaking Bad was amazing and gave birth to Better Call Saul which is also fairly amazing.  Walking Dead is a ratings behemoth and has given us Fear the Walking Dead which so far has also been a ratings hit, even if I can’t really get into it.

Thinking about how well these spinoffs have worked out, I wondered what other spin off opportunities there are for AMC.  Obviously the spin off would need to be off of an actual hit show, so there aren’t a lot of options for AMC to pursue. Granted Hell on Wheels seems to be getting a little more popular and The Killing  was popular enough to get a 2nd chance on Netflix, but really the only show that could offer spinoff opportunities at this point is Mad Men.

The first question is, would a Mad Men spin off want to focus on one or a few specific characters from the original the way Better Call Saul did, or just trade on the name by using the same world with some tangential connections to the original like Fear the Walking Dead.  I guess another alternative is to split the difference, and take a somewhat popular character but move them into a somewhat different setting.

First, let’s rule out some characters that I wouldn’t want to be the focus of a Mad Men spin off.  Peggy Olson is the first to go.  I think that her character arc probably still has a lot of places to go after the Mad Men finale, but unless she decides to give up on advertising and go in a very different direction in her life, I think people would just see it as a prologue to Mad Men and not something unique unto itself.  The same problem probably exists for Roger Sterling and Harry Crane as well, where having them leave the industry they are in, and do something that would be deserving of a spin off, really isn’t in their nature.

I also don’t want to see the kids of Don Draper. I’m sure there is a lot there for Sally and … the other one to deal with once their mother is dead and they are living with their cousins or something, but I don’t care about that stuff.  It isn’t interesting enough to me to be the central focus of a show.  Also, this may be obvious, but lets just assume we can ignore any crazy show ideas like Betty, Lane Pryce, and Bert hanging out in the after life, or the real Don Draper is actually living Dick Whitman’s life the whole time and we never knew it.

Also speaking of crazy, Stan Rizzo was great but after he went nuts I’m not sure what could be done with his character.  I’m assuming a lot, but one of the reasons you do a spin off is that you are trying to capitalize on the success of what came before it.  I don’t think anyone is really that interested in Stan Rizzo trying to piece his life together after getting out of a mental institution.  Maybe for an episode or two, or as a cameo appearance, but I just don’t think he was ever popular enough to carry a show.

Now lets get to one of the most obvious choices. First up is Pete and Trudy Campbell.  I think of Pete the same way I think of Prez on the wire. I loathed him, for good reason, during the first season.  As the show went on two things happened. One, you got use to him and started to over look some of the minor shitty things about the character you might not have liked at the beginning. Second, the character got better as a person. He found a better moral center to work from. I guess a third thing, is that you also find thing to like about the character that might not have been there, or maybe were not noticed before. I feel like I should give some concrete examples here, but I’m not going to cause it is more fun to just speculate wildly on what a Pete and Trudy show could entail.

When Mad Men ended he had just reunited with Trudy and taken a job with Lear Jets in Wichita.  This is fantastic obviously because not only does the job lend itself to all sort of adventures, but so does the location.  Trudy and Pete would both be fish out of water in the Midwest I would think, and since Lear Jet is a private plane company he also would end up meeting all kinds of people in all kinds of industries where the only thing the clients have in common is that they have a lot of money.  One week Pete could be dealing with a slimy oil executive while Trudy is dealing with School problems for their daughter, and the next week Pete is trying to keep up with a crazy rock and roll star while Trudy tries to ingratiate herself with the local mothers and their Midwest ideas of fun.  Maybe a Hollywood producer or actor need the service of lear jets and it turns into an adventure for both pete and Trudy as the Hollywood types make a move for Trudy since she is played by Alison Brie and she is so god damn beautiful that it makes me hate Dave Franco.

I think the the thing that would give this spin off an edge over most other ideas is that Pete has such a strong comedic presence that they could play that up and really separate itself from Mad Men which was much more serious. Similar to Breaking Bad vs. Better Call Saul if you think about it. Also, being a part of an airplane company, means that the locations from week to week, making the story much more malleable.  One week a story could take place in Kansas, the next week New York to check in on Joan Harris. Another week it is out to California to see Ken Cosgrove who has a book being turned into a motion picture in Hollywood. Then it is off to Paris where find Megan Draper doing a French TV Soup Opera.

The downside is that I am not sure what the ongoing storyline for each season would be. Granted you could argue that was kind of an issue with Mad Men.  Even as a fan of the show it is always hard for me to try and explain what the focus of each season was.  It really was all about the characters living their lives as they interconnected with each other and their job.  In fact, towards the later half of the series, you rarely worried about big picture job related stuff like if they would land a big account or not since the business year after year always seemed to find a way to succeed.  Of course this is a new show and maybe the cast of characters isn’t as big.  With Mad Men you had one on going main focus in Don and then 5 or 6 other focuses that were a couple steps below.  With this show maybe cut down on the number of ongoing storylines and really hone in on just a few people.  In fact, it would be better if every storyline has some sort of impact on Pete and Trudy, whether directly, or indirectly via it’s impact on the kid or the business.  With Mad Men I’m not sure if Rizzo cutting off his nipple ever had any affect on Don.

Oh one more thing, how awesome would it be if by some random crazy happenstance, Meredith ended up applying for, and getting a job at Lear, and ending up working with Pete.  Look, whatever happens, she needs to be in the next show.

I think I’ve made my case for the Further Adventures of Pete and Trudy Campbell, although I don’t think that would be a good name and I can’t think of a better one right now.  Regardless, what are some other ideas for a spin off?  Joan Harris and her info video company, or whatever that was she was working on at the end of the last episode, could be a spin off. It would be a good, girl power thing.  Also, she was by far one of the most popular characters on the show, even more so than Pete.  She is also moving into a new industry, but she is still in new York and I feel like she would just be too likely to bump into the same people from Mad Men.

How about someone like Salvatore, Paul, Ken, or Megan?  Salvatore could be out of the closet now. Paul is trying his hand at starting his own religion.  Ken is going to be a full time writer. Megan is an actress who has just hit it big.  There is potential for all of that, but I don’t think that any of those shows would get a big bump from the Mad Men fans like the way Fear the Walking Dead and Better Call Saul built off their pre existing fan bases.

I do have one other character that would be awesome to build a show around. Bob Benson. Seriously, what do you think happened to that guy?  I’m sure it was something crazy awesome and amazing.  Maybe we could get yahoo to do a half hour webseries where Bob tries to track down his friend who ran off with Pete Campbell’s mother.  I would watch that.  I would even watch each episode multiple times just to improve the page views for Yahoo.

One last idea. A show focused around a support group for all the women Don gave Hep C to. He didn’t know he had it, but he did, and now all these ladies get together on the third Sunday of every month to talk about the emotional and now physical pain Don’s betrayal has caused them.

Giving Fantastic Four a second look

I know I trashed the recent Fantastic Four movie, but my buddy Rocco hadn’t seen it, wanted to see it, and I decided to tag along and give it a second viewing.  Right off the bat I will say that the movie was a lot better the second time around.  I have some theories on why that is, but I think the most obvious is that on the second viewing I had already processed all the stuff that annoyed me, and now I was left to focus on the good stuff.

There were, however, a few random things that really stood out to me the 2nd time through, some good, some bad.  I will try to keep these in order, but will probably towards the end just toss random stuff up in a standard nerd rage rant. So here we go.

When Reed and Ben are in the baxter building and ben is basically saying what he thinks will be goodbye to Reed, he gives him a swiss amry knife.  It was clearly suppose to be touching and kind of a call back to when they were kids, 10 minutes earlier, and he let Reed borrow his swiss army knife. I swear I am remembering that part correct.  All I know is when I saw that flash on the screen I thought “Ok, looks like they just introduced Checkov’s Swiss army knife. Obviously Reed will use this to save his or someone’s life later on.”

I was wrong. It never came up again. I guess one of the reasons I thought this was dumb is two fold. First of all, it felt really forced and didn’t land with anything close to being sentimental probably because Ben was just like “here” and that was it. No speech really. That is all fine if they had brought the knife up later, but they didn’t.  My other reason for hating on this is that using the screw driver on a swiss army knife sucks. It’s only an emergency situation thing.  There’s no reason Reed wouldn’t have a screwdriver in his childhood garage/lab.   It’s a small thing but just felt like it was a remnant from another draft of the movie.

When we first meet dr. doom he is acting all emo at his house, sitting in the dark, doing nerd computer stuff.  They are trying to portrait him as being anti social and pessemistic, while also arogant and elitest. So of course he is listening to classical music.  If you want to make someone seem like a nihlistic self important douche, what classical music song would probably the worst to have the character listen to in this scene? If you answere the  spring by vivaldi, then you and I think alike, and we also both greatly disagree with the people who made this movie and decided to drop that track into this scene.

There is sexual tension between Johnny Storm and Sue Storm.  Granted they aren’t blood relatives, but the times they tried to show love and affection between the two of them, it came off as near strangers who kind of maybe want to bone.

On second viewing the one thing that stands out to me is that the movie has some genuinely funny lines and moments.  Not enough to make up for the scene where Sue calls Viktor “Dr. Doom”, which drives me crazy, and I spent too much time writting about in the last blog post.

I didn’t catch this the first time but at one point Reed is asleep on a lab table and sue flicks reeds ear and he awakens and on instinct almost hits her….. just like the comics. I’m sure I am exaggerating that scene but my god how awesome would it have been if in a FF movie they committed to making Reed a total dick.

A third of this movie features people putting on or taking of sunglasses.

Three grown ass men get drunk from sharing a slightly undersized flask of some type of liquor. Unless that is romulan Ale or some super powerfull space aged 400 proof science vodka, those three should not be drunk, or even buzzed.  They didn’t try to portray them as being sloppy drunk, but they still had liquid courage.  Johnny Storm is an illegal street racer in the beginning of this movie. I’m sure he has had some alcohol before and can handle a third of a flask of .. whiskey? It was Viktor’s flask so since he is so pretentious that he listens to obscure classical composers like Vivaldi, I’m guessing that flask had either Crown Royal or Absolute.

Johnny storm is afraid of heights on planet zero… why? This is never addressed again and you think it would be part of his whole learning to fly story arc.  Man they really only paid lip service to most of the characters and just barely gave them any depth.  If he is a street racer, wouldn’t it be natural for him to be more fearless than the rest?  So why make it seem like he is either afraid of what they are about to do or afraid of heights?

Science 101, don’t stick your hand into an unkown green goo. Maybe if Viktor actually was a real Dr. Doom and had a PHD, he would know that whatever that shit was, could easily just melt your hand, or cause a random chain reaction where the planet seems to attack foreign invaders. Something else crazy about this scene, is that it was kind of in the trailer and is one of the many things they changed or left out. I think in the trailer the pools of alien magic stuff was red, but in the finished movie it is green. Why make that change?  Who the fuck knows.

Dr. manhattan special effects are all over this movie. Well maybe just the part with the power outage when they first come back from the negative zone…. I’m sorry, I meant planet zero.

Why are the doctors in this movie so shitty with their bedside manner. You have four 18 year old kids who have just been turned into monsters, and when they wake up all scared, you just either ignore them in a scary dark metal room or just don’t talk to them at all and ignore their questions.  Reed and the doctos behind glass basically have this exchange:

Reed: “where are my friends?”
Doctor number 1: “He is starting to get adjitated, should we talk to him soothingly and let him know every is going to be all-”
Doctor number 2: “Sedate him.”
Doctor number 3: “We could just say something reassuring to calm him down so this doesn’t keep happening, and maybe even get some usefull information out of him to-”
Doctor number 2: “Nahhhh, just sedate him.”

Why is no one watching reed? like there should be 24 hrs surveillance on these guys.  Reed wakes up, does some mumbling, slips out of his restraints, very slowly, and slides disgustingly into the air vents cause he loves Die Hard. Were all the personnel at this highly militarized, very secure compound? Are they all out on a smoke break? Maybe they just got bored of staring at a sleeping teenager with the frightened screams of a rock monster echoing in the background, and decided “Fuck this, lets take a look at that dude who is literally constantly on fire. It is fucking sweet.”

“reeds gone your friend isn’t coming back.” wouldn’t the thing think he’s dead after hearing that? Maybe Ben would at least be confused or just not accept what he said immediately.

“I’m not going to be a tool” – sue storm. how about weapon, or tool for destruction. “I’m not going to be a tool!” She sounds like someone trying to justify their placement in their group of friends. “I’m totally kickass. Your just jelly cause I’m so awesome and sexy.”

A government guy says to Dr Storm that “Subject two is ready” when referring to Johnny storm. And Dr. Storm is like ..”Yep”.  Have some balls dude. Maybe dr. storm should have said something about subject two being his son and his son has a name, it’s johnny, and he may be afraid of heights but we don’t really know.

music to help sue concentrate during the internet search for reed is the type of music you would play in a comedy where and idiot was pretending to be a genius. I really hate this whole scene.  Why not have her find Reed but refuse to turn him in and maybe do some computer stuff to keep him hidden, and then have him get found some other way?  In the movie’s version of events, Sue uses her special gift of pattern recognition and knowledge of Reed’s favorite book to find him, thereby betraying him. What is the consequence of that? Nothing. When they meet up again for the first time, Sue is like “I had to do it” and he is like “No prob.”  It meant nothing.  They are all best friends again.  Why not use my idea, have her show her devotion to him, and thereby give the audience a legitimate reason to think of these two people as being a family, or part of a family, or maybe even being capable of loving each other one day?

I just realized it only take 10 minutes for reed to fix everything. Literally. Only 10 minutes.  He says there is a few lines of code that are in the wrong order and he can fix it in 10 minutes, or maybe less. Holy shit. There is no way the person who wrote this gave any fucks that day.  First of all, they were able to build and create everything they needed to recreate the transporter technology from what they did at the Baxter building…. except for some lines of code were out of place. Think about that.  How is that possible?  They make it sound like the only way they could get the thing working again is Reed, and when he gets there all that was wrong with everything they did, was a copy and paste error in the computer code they had copied from back up servers somewhere.

This is infuriating.  It was only the second time through this movie that I realized that when Reed returns to the group, it is literally only a matter of maybe a few hours that he is there before every conflict is resolved almost instantly.  Sue, Johnny, and Reed are all friends. Reed gets the machine working. I guess there is still the issue of fixing Ben, but… seriously, watch this again and realize how little movie time takes place from when Reed is brought back to base to when they defeat Doom and save the world. It is insane how quickly that all goes down not just in real time but also in terms of the movie.

When reed is looking at the feed from the red shirts they sent to planet zero he says the landscape has changed. A government military guys asks the reasonable question; “How?” His response: “i don’t know” ummmm maybe everything isn’t green. use your words reed. You are a god damn super genius. I’m sure you can use just a few ounces of concentration to get that big brain to remember what is different. Peoples lives may be at stake.

The slimey guy that was kind of the boss of Dr. Storm was supposed to end up being the mole man. Doom kills him Scanners style. So two of the FF’s biggest all time villains die in this movie and are given no shot at being in a sequel.  Why not at the end have Johnny Storm shoot a fire ball into the air to celebrate and have it fly off into space and hit and kill Galactus, knocking him over so that he falls down and lands on, and kills, annihlus.

I didn’t mention it before but isn’t it is kind of fucked up that dr. storm dies. Like for almost no real reason. I don’t know what it added to the story, especially at that moment. Maybe if there was another act in this movie it would have had some more impact and his children would have had a chance to react, but that’s not what happened.

Reed’s speach at the end is up there with independents day president speech.

“you always thought you were smarter than me.” “I am smarter than you.” Nice come back Reed.

One other thing I just remembered. Why is Sue holding her breath while floating in the invisible bubble at the beginning, well, middle of the movie, and then when her and Reed and Ben are in the bubble, she doesn’t say anything to them about holding their breath. It kind of seemed like it would have been a somewhat long enough journey through that worm hole that they should be informed that oxygen would be at a short supply and to breath accordingly.

Man, I just don’t know.  There are so many ways, and reasons, this could have and should have been a really good movie, but it just falls so flat. I think this one may actually be worse than rise of the silver surfer.

My own Sophie’s Choice – wallet edition

Looks like I have another big decision staring me in the face. Is it as big a decision as the one in “Sophie’s Choice”? Yes. Probably. Well maybe not. I’ll be honest, I don’t know that story very well.  I think it had something to do with a woman being forced to choose between saving her daughter’s life or her son’s life and then living with the guilt.  I’m on a computer, connected to the internet, writing a blog; I could very easily google “Sophie’s Choice” but I prefer to just have vague understandings of the literary references I make.

This is what my research came up with.

In fact, I think I’m going to make as many random, ham fisted, inaccurate literary references as possible in this post until the writing threatens to destroy the best minds of my generation by madness, starving hysterical, and naked.

So what is the major choice I have before me?  I need to decide on a new wallet.  I always hate wallet shopping because it seems odd to me that you have to spend money to buy something to then put money in, which can be a real catch 22 if you spend too much money on the wallet.

Why do I need a wallet? Well my last wallet was this sweet ass 49ers Velcro wallet that lasted about 3 years until it developed a rip and my credit card must have fallen out because when I looked, it was gone with the wind and probably lying in some leaves of grass.

I secretly called this wallet “The Panty dropper”

I tried finding a new cheap wallet that wasn’t too lame at places like Gabriel brothers and Marshalls but most of their selection was more than twelve dollars which was a bridge too far for an unimaginative leather bifold. Yeah I could see spending that on a wallet if I had Jay Gatsby money, but only if it was the one wallet to rule them all.

So like a young man I headed west, well really far west, or maybe really far east, and found a cheap wallet that I kind of liked on ebay from a seller in China.

I dub this wallet “The Lady Killer”

When I first ordered this wallet I had some great expectations, but soon I started to feel some buyers remorse.  Yes it only cost 5 bucks, but I was also ordering it from China which caused some concerns. First of all, who was making this wallet? was it some poor kids who worked in a wallet sweat shop during their down time when they weren’t building a bridge over the river Kwai, or working on an animal farm.  There’s a lot of white guilt going on knowing me and this wallet are going to be having the best of times while those kids have the worst of times.

Also it takes a long time for shipments from china to arrive as it takes that long and unexpected journey.  That is why I ended up finding and buying another wallet almost by accident while shopping at Ross’s.

I was just casually looking through their bin of wallets, and I spotted an unusual wallet that was bright and vibrant and full of colors and looked like it was something made in 1984. It was a marvel comic book wallet.  I tried to dismiss it knowing it was too childish, but the thought of that wallet hung in my mind much in the same way bricks do not hang in the sky. Plus this wallet was only ten bucks and when shopping I always consider the costs and don’t really just assume the ends will justify the means.

And you shall be called the “pussy soaker”

So I decided to forge ahead into this brave new world, bought the wallet, and we headed out on the road. But now I have two wallets which is as senseless as killing a mocking bird. So which do I choose? The lady (501 leather) or the tiger (Marvel comics).

Right now I am leaning towards the marvel comics wallet for two reasons. Number 1, it really is more representative of who I am. Number 2, all my stuff is already in it.  I think I will keep the 501 wallet on hand in case something happens like the temperature gets up to farenheit 451 and the wallet melts away, or if I have to go to the Sternwood place and I want to look neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I dodn’t care who knows it.

One thing I should mention is that the 501 wallet has a hidden zippered coin section.  It is kind of cool, but it also feels a little too European for me. Like the design is something you would see out of Paris which I am assuming is the fountainhead of men’s wallet fashion these days.

Now that I have made a decision to stick with the comic book wallet, I really do think I have found a separate peace in my selection.  True, I could get made fun of one day if I am around people that are overly critical of nerd stuff. I guess I would feel some fear and loathing in las vegas or New York or other swanky cities with active night lives where having a wallet like that is as bad as wearing a scarlet letter.

…… Catcher in the Rye.

Damn I couldn’t think of a way to work that in. I’m tired of trying to work in literary references. There were 29 above. Maybe tomorrow I will do a post where I force in a bunch of movie quotes. After all, tomorrow is another day.

“wait… that’s it?” my review of Fantastic Four

God that is a snarky title, although at least it isn’t one of the many puns I read online like “Fantastic Bore” or “Snoozetastic Snore”.

I try not to read too many reviews or watch too many previews for movies that I know for a fact I will go see in the theater.  I really think doing too much of either of those things can really prejudice your opinion of the movie and lower the amount of enjoyment you get for the movie going experience.  If I am paying 10 bucks to see a movie, then I don’t want any of the hopefully cool, exciting, or surprising parts ruined or spoiled.

Sometime however, it is hard to not catch wind of when a movie is getting dogged or praised online, especially if it comes as kind of a surprise.  Mad Max Fury Road was like this, except for the positive.  Fantastic Four is like this but in the negative.  I didn’t read any full reviews but I did see several headlines that gave a general “meh” impression of the movie.

This didn’t fill me with dread and I kept an open mind when I sat down in the theater but I did have a slight nagging feeling that I was going to be underwhelmed.  As it turns out, that nagging feeling was spot on.  Let’s try and tackle this in a linear fashion from what I can remember, and be warned there are spoilers ahead.

The movie starts out with a very young Reed Richards giving a “What I want to be when I grow up” report in class.  This scene set a really bad tone for me for several reasons.  First of all, it’s not a bad scene in of itself.  It would totally work in a lot of other movies.  My first problem though is that this is the Fantastic Four.  We are kind of beyond needing an origin story at this point for most comic book movies.  If you do need to do an origin though, make it brief unless there is something truly important or profound that needs to be relayed to the audience.

This is going to be a movie with a guy who can stretch like rubber, a girl who can turn invisible and make force fields, a dude who can light himself on fire, and a god damn rock monster.  I don’t know how nuanced of a back story we need, and especially not one that starts when a kid is 11.  That brings me to another point, and I think it is mostly a “me” thing and nothing to do with the movie.

I really struggled to figure out the age of the characters and justify it.  It started with the kid giving his presentation before Reed naming “Eli Manning” as his hero.  As he was saying this the screen says it is the year 2007.  So this would presumably be the year after the Eli won his first superbowl.  This bugged me mostly just because it made me feel old.  The idea that in an adult’s flash back to when he was an 11 year old references something that happened when I was out of college and working a full time job really depressed the hell out of me.

Ok, I really should warn you I am going to nitpick the hell out of this part of the movie.

Also, I don’t know how old 11 year olds look, but these kids looked crazy young. Ok I just looked them up… which made me feel creepy, and I guess this isn’t a phantom menace thing and they actually are about the age they are suppose to be portraying.  Still if the kids are that young (the kid playing Reed and the other playing Ben Grimm) and this scene is set in 2007 then present day the kids can only be 17, 18, or 19.  I don’t know if I want a teenage version of the Fantastic Four.

So all of those worries are floating around in my head, and then the scene continues with Reed talking in front of the class about how he wants to be the first person to teleport matter.  The kids in the class barely care enough to call him a nerd and laugh at him, so the teacher in the class instead mocks Reed in what really seemed like an attempt to get the other kids in the class to laugh and turn on Reed.  Kind of Fucked up honestly, but I got the feeling it was a public school in NYC so who knows.  BTW the teacher in the class is none other than the great Dan Castellaneta best known as the guest host of Thoughts for Your Thoughts from Parks and Recreations… or as Homer Simpson.  Either one he is probably equally well known.

So Ben Grimm walks up and peeks at Reeds notebook and sees that it is a bunch of smart nerd stuff and then we go to the next scene which features Ben living a semi rough and tumble youth where his family owns a junkyard and he catches Reed trying to steal a power converter.  Ben helps him and they go to Reeds place and do an experiment and transport a tiny matchbox car away and get a bunch of small rocks or sand in return. The experiment causes a blackout for a about a mile around the house.  His dad was watching the Jets and is heard getting annoyed at Reed although you don’t actually see any exchange between them.

Here’s the thing.  We don’t need any of this opening.  First of all, it really reminded me of movies like Project Almanac and Earth to Echo where there are some kids messing around with futuristic technology that they couldn’t possibly comprehend. Once again, this is probably just me being old, but I don’t really like movies with genius kids.  I guess it’s a combination of me being jealous of kids that are smarter than me and me wanting to call bull shit on otherwise normal kids being super geniuses as if they would be able to gain that knowledge without having to constantly be reading and actually learning.

I should also mention that I totally enjoyed both of those movies, but it’s not exactly the kind of movie I associate with the fantastic four.  Let me add another caveat, I maybe would be ok with this type of movie version of the FF but only if they went all out and made it less about action and sci fi and more about adolescence and youthful spirit and interpersonal family dynamics and all that bull shit.

So this whole opening part of the movie with 11 year olds is suppose to do a bunch of things and I think it fails at a lot of them, chief among them is giving Reed and Ben some type of life long friendship bond.  Another thing is that Reed is suppose to look like an outcast that isn’t nurtured by his real family and the same maybe for Ben which is another reason why they care so much for each other.

Fuck, just typing this pisses me off because if you look at the rest of the movie you kind of can see where they were laying the ground work for some of these story lines and themes, but they never have any resonance.  You never really feel a deep connection between Reed and Ben so when Reed kind of betrays Ben later on you don’t really feel any real tension, which is also why at the end when they don’t really have a moment of reconciliation and are kind of just buddy buddy again, you don’t really care that it isn’t earned.

I really can’t believe I’m not past the first 15 minutes of the movie, but after the stuff where they are 11 year olds in 2007 we jump ahead to them in 2014 at a science fair.  I… jesus Christ, I don’t know if this is a realistic version of a science fair in new York or not.  I always remember science fairs as being something where your project competed against kids in your same age bracket.  Well in 2014 we have the 28 year old Miles Teller playing a presumably 17 or 18 year old Reed Richards but his science fair trifold stand is right next to an 11 year old kid’s trifold science fair stand.  Once again, I’m sure if this is just something you see in NYC where it might be a regional thing with a bunch of age groups, but it seemed foreign to me.

The other thing that made this scene so weird to me is that one of the science fair judges is Dan Castellaneta again. Not the actor but him playing that same teacher that had basically made fun of Reed in the 5th grade.  So why is he judging a science fair if he is a fifth grade teacher. Ok maybe he is a fifth grade teacher but has a science background that makes him worthy of judging a high school senior. Or maybe he changed positions since 2007 and is now something else, like maybe a principle.  It doesn’t matter because whatever the circumstance his reaction to Reed and Ben’s science fair project should not have been what it was in the movie.

If Reed is a super genius then this teacher should probably know about it.  So when Reed shows how he is able to transport matter and bring it back with some sand, well the teacher shouldn’t have automatically assumed it was a god damn magic trick.  So Dan Castellaneta storms off after Reeds experiment because although it worked at transporting a small model plane (which he had to borrow from that 11 year old’s trifold display I mentioned earlier) it also caused some kind of surge that shattered a glass basketball backboard.

Seconds later Dr. Franklin Storm walks up and starts talking to Reed about how he was able to bring the mater back and that the sand isn’t from the desert but actually from another dimension.  It is almost apauling how little effort they put into the dialogue between two brilliant scientists.  Reed had solved one of the major hurtles that Dr. Storm had been struggling with and he basically just points at Reed’s machine and is like “Oh so you just added an extra coil there and you did it! That’s cool. Hey would you like a scholarship to work at a quasi school slash laboratory slash research center that I think has a bunch of other orphans like you, eventhough you aren’t an orphan at all and have a dad that we never actually get to see who is supposedly alienated by your smarts, and we only know that cause you ham fistedly mention it to Sue when you are kind of starting to get feelings for her which are never addressed later in the movie.”

Maybe only the first part of that sentence is similar to what was said in the movie and the rest was just me venting.  Either way, this whole scene really means that you don’t need the first scenes where they are 11 years old. I’m not saying the movie was too long but, man it was just an odd choice to have both of these scenes.

Let me just stop here an mention what I think is a big problem with the movie and what I have read other people mention as a big problem with the movie.  It really felt like there were large swaths of the movie that were missing.  Like they wrote the scenes and maybe shot them, but never put them in the movie for some reason.  I did read that some of the other scenes that were in the movie were reshoots that the producers had to do after the director was basically let go and a bunch of his stuff was re written.

Something else that I noticed is that some of the scenes from the trailer were not in the movie.  The first being the Thing being dropped from a stealth bomber and the second being Ben Grim hitting baseballs as a high school seniorish aged guy in his junk yard.  I don’t know what the context of those scenes were supposed to be…. Oh jesus, there also was the scene in the trailer where the Thing is raising up his fist slowly as the camera is shooting him from below almost like he is on top of someone he is about to destroy with lighting in the background I think.  also when Sue in the movie pushes the cargo containers with her force shield it only moves one but in the trailer it moves like five at once violently.  Johny in the trailer says “I’m going to need a heat resistant workspace and a big ass un roof.” That’s not in the movie from what I remember. Also Dr. Storm says some awesome voice over shit about how things are different now that they have Reed Richards, but that never gets said in the movie I don’t think.

God damn it. 21 hundred words into this review and I have barely gotten past the half hour mark. Ok I need to pick up the pace.

Next either Reed strikes up a meaningless conversation with Sue in the Library or Dr. Storm visits Dr. Doom.  I forget the order of these two things, but the Reed talk with Sue annoys me because he is trying to chat her up and it is hard to tell exactly what he is trying to do.  And by “he” I mean the movie.  It kind of seems like he is just trying to be friendly like he would with anyone whether it be a girl or boy or non gendered space alien, but we all know that this is the person he will one day marry.  So if they are trying to add some layers to Reed they could have made him nervous around her or awkward although that would be a little or cliché. But better yet they could have made him kind of arrogant in a not over the top way. He could straddle that fine line between confidence and quite arrogance.

This is emblematic of the whole problem with this movie. Reed is kind of a shitty guy, but the movie refuses to commit to it.  He lets his enthusiasm for the science blind him to the consequences.  Ben is a tragic figure in that he is an outcast that ends up being completely taken advantage of by the military after his best friend abandons him. BUT we never really get to see that.  It’s like they are just paying lip service to his feelings and motivations.  Johnny Storm is a hot head who is just about to become a military pawn, and then just kind of doesn’t cause all hell breaks loose.  Sue… has pattern recognition. Like she is really good at that and uses that to track down Reed who escapes at one point.

Christ that is another plot line that is bizarre and ultimately goes no where. So I am jumping ahead a little bit,, but after Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben get their powers they are held in a government facility where the government tries to figure out what the hell is going on.  All 4 of them are in bad shape and not yet in control of their powers.  Reed is able to sneak out of his restraints and finds Ben who is scared and alone and reed tells him he will come back for him and Ben is like “no don’t leave me” and Reed is like “peace out hommie” and runs away.  A year passes and ben becomes a weapon of the government while Sue and Johnny also work to develop their abilities.  Keep in mind we only get to see some poorly filmed viral news clips on a TV screen of Ben in action and Sue and Johnny don’t really do anything that interesting either.

During this year Reed is working on creating a machine to go back to planet zero (yes that is the stupid fucking name they gave the place that gave them their powers) so he can presumably find a cure.  Well Sue kind of betrays Reed and uses her awesome powers of pattern recognition to find out where he is hiding.  It should be noted that this betrayal has zero impact on the relationship between sue and Reed.  It also should be noted that nothing he did in that year away has any impact on the story.  It also also should be noted he puts up no fight once he is back at the military base, doesn’t really need any convincing, and immediately starts helping the government create the transportation thing like nothing happened.

Next up the government sends a bunch of redshirts over to planet zero to check it out and find a cure for the fantastic four, but not really because they want the power to make more super powered soldiers.  So when they are over there they find out that Dr. Doom is still totally alive and has been living off the planets energy or something for this whole time. ughhhhhh we should probably stop here and talk about dr. doom and how he ended up on planet zero.

So when we first find dr. doom he has shut himself away from the world and is in some home laboratory where he is controlling everything like the doors and windows with a fancy google glasses upgrade. I swear to christ I thought he had Parkinsons when we first meet him because of the way he was positioned in his chair and wasn’t moving anything other than his head and eyes.

Doom says some shit about how we as the human race keep shitting on the planet so why should he bother doing science stuff, but the dr. Storm is like “hey i found this young kid name reed richards who solved the problem you were working on.” and Doom is like “yeah that’s cool, hey is your hot daughter going to be there?” Doom and Reed and Sue get to work on the transportation thing while Johnny has the boringest street racing battle ever filmed. Seriously. It was painfully boring. Maybe the transporter and Fast and the Furious movies have spoiled us, but this street race with Johnny Storm is incredibly unexciting.  For reasons that are dumb, Johnny losing the street race means he has to help out with the Transporter thing being built by everyone in the movie except for Ben Grim who at this point is still at the junkyard although we don’t really see that.

They finsish the build and send a monkey to planet zero and bring him back and everyone is like “awesomesauce” and then the guy in charge above Dr. Storm is like, “sweet, let’s bring nasa and the evil government on board.” and everyone is like “awww hell nah, we should get to use it before them and be the first ones to go over there.”

Why am I retracing this part of the movie?  Because this part right here is so absolutely stupid I couldn’t believe it. Dr. Storm is upset because the government wants to select its own people to send over and be the first ones to walk on planet zero.  Here’s the thing; that plan makes perfect fucking sense.  You know what two things don’t make any god damn sense.  #1: Using your kids as guinea pigs and sending them to an known planet where they could fucking die horribly in an unlimited number of ways. #2: Sending the only people smart enough to create the mode of transport to this crazy dangerous planet on a journey to said dangerous unknown planet.

Doom even bitches about how Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren are remembered as the first people on the moon and no one cares about the people who built the rocket.  that kind of makes sense except for the fact that those two dudes trained specifically for that job and its not like… oh fuck it. i can’t believe i am over 3400 words on this piece of shit movie.  Ok maybe it isn’t a piece of shit, but man is it half assed.

Btw, I also take umbridge with two more things with Dr. Doom at this point. The first thing is that at one point viktor starts saying some gloomy stuff, and Sue jokingly says “wow, ok Dr. Doom.”.  Here’s the thing. It has never been established that he has a doctorate and in fact I don’t think he does.  Since he doesn’t then her comment must be a play on words or a reference to a popular saying or phrase like calling someone a “Debbie Downer”.  Well I don’t know anywhere where some one who is acting all pessimestic would be called a “Dr. Doom”.  Couple that with the fact that his last name is actually Doom, it seems like something that made sense to the writers because the character in the comic books is called Dr. Doom but they never stopped to make sure it made sense in terms of the universe the movie is set in.

It would be like if there was a movie with a guy who was really gung ho about america and he is talking about how much better the US is than every other country.  Even if the comic book person “Captain America” never existed, it would make sense to jokingly call that guy “Captain America”.  What wouldn’t make sense is calling that guy “Captain America” if he actually was in the military and had the last name “America”.  in that situation the guy would just go “umm… yeah… that  is my last name you know that right? Why didn’t you just call me ‘Captain Freedom’ or ‘Admiral liberty’ instead?”

This type of joke really only works in these movies when you have a character from the comic books where you don’t want to use their comic book name.  It would really work in a situation like if you had William Tockman hanging out with his friends and he’s like “Oh sweet I just won an ebay auction on that cool clock I wanted. And then his friend is like “Jesus Bill, you got like 20 clocks in this house. No one needs to tell time that hard or that often. Your like the god damn clock King.”  See, there we did a little wink and a nod to the audience who actual care enough to know who this guy is.  The TV show the Flash doesn’t this flawlessly.  This movie did it shitingly.

Also Doom appears at one point to get jealous of Reed chatting up Sue Storm, which leads you to think that at some point later they would have some tension revolving around that and there might be a showdown between just reed and Viktor that partially involves that love triangle in some way.  That doesn’t happen. That blip of a moment could have been taken out and it would have had no impact.

For a movie that feels too short as it is, i am amazed at how many moments there are that could have been cut and had no affect on the movie. Not only that they could have gone the other way in some of those scenes and made the movie better.  Instead of having Ben feel betrayed by Reed, Have reed feel betrayed by Ben like ben didn’t have faith Reed would be able to fix him on his own. Or like Ben goes and gets Reed cause he wanted to save him from what the military would do if he wasn’t there.  Instead of trying to cause friction in their friendship (and failing) they should have done it in a way that reinforced it and made it appear even stronger to the audience.

Let me explain what I mean. So causing a schism between Reed and Ben only really works if you really believed in this great friendship in the first place.  They don’t do that, nor do they do anything to make that falling out have any consequence.  Since drama is built on… DRAMA , it is hard to have drama, tension, excitement, betrayal, hurt, loss, and love, without high peeks and low valleys.  A symphony isn’t as good when the composer always keeps the volume of the notes between a 5 and a 7.  It gets good when there is contrast. When you have that 2 and 3 and butt it up against a crescendo going up to an 8 or 9.  Then save the ones and tens for the moments you want to have the biggest impact.  This movie is all about the 5s and 7s.

The love triangle between Viktor, Reed, and Sue, has a range of 5 to 6.  Why not take the energy wasted on Doom being a part of that dynamic and instead use it to up ramp up the egomaniacal aspect of doom from a 7 and take it up to a 9.  Johnny arguing with Sue over becoming a weapon of the government was a bland as hell 5 at best. Use that time to have Ben get down about all the death and destruction he has been doing at the governments request and how his outside form is going to start to reflect his inside. Make him a real tragic figure and take him down to a two. Give the audience a deep valley that they want to see the Thing climb out of so when he accepts what he has become and how it can be a good thing, a necessary burden, the audience actually feels like they and he went through a journey to get there.

By the way, at some point along the way, one of the worst lines in this movie was said prior to all the actual action happening.

“What if you had never come to the science fair that day” – Reed Richard to Sue Storm circa 2015.

I don’t think it would have been that bad a line if the rest of the movie wasn’t dragging scenes like that down.  In the context of the rest of the movie it was hard not to isolate that line and not laugh.

Fuck, we need to wrap this up.

So back to the time line of the movie, the red shirts help bring Doom back. Once back he starts walking around exploding heads.  I was never a big FF guy or really cared about Doom, but I was really confused about what actual power he had.  He seemed to have some kind of telekenisis and was doing a pretty good impression of the movie Scanners as he wasted every body on the military base.  He then used the transporter to go back to planet zero… ughhh, what a terrible name, … and then started some kind of space bridge death ray to destroy the earth.

At no point do we have any idea what Dr. Dooms powers are, how he is creating his giant inter dimensional suction laser using only rocks and more rocks, or if he is doing this because being on the planet by himself made him mad or if he really thinks the earth is a piece of shit using his normal logic he had earlier in the movie before being abandoned on planet…. ughhhh… zero.

The fantastic four are able to follow the laser/wormhole back to …… god damn it…. planet zero.  There they get involved in one of the most uninspired fights ever. About 2 minutes into this conflict you realize “holy shit, this is the end of the movie.  This is a comic book movie with only one god damn fight scene.”   There is a reason that most action movies have more than one fight scene.  The reason for this is because you use the or one of the earlier fight scenes to set up the final showdown.  You have the hero loose to the bad guy early in the movie to show that when he wins at the end, the hero did so by over coming some kind of great long shot odds.  Or you use an early fight scene with the hero and someone else to get a good idea on their ability or lack there of so that you can kind of get a general idea of their skill set and powers.  You also do this with an earlier scene with the bad guy so you know how bad ass he his and how scared you should be of his or her likely victory.

You could argue that this movie does this by having DR. Doom wreck shit on earth before going back …. morther fucker…. to planet zero. You could also cite how when the final battle first starts doom punks each member of the ff before they regroup and come up with some similar to a plan.  Still there was virtually no time between any of those two things and the final fight happening.  It all takes place over the course of like, 15 or 20 minutes. You really need some time in between battles so that the audience can do their own little power rankings before you move on, and also so the characters can grow or change before the final showdown.

We basically are at the end of the movie and as I hinted towards, the FF fight a s a team and beat doom.  Here’s whats fucked up.  They kill him.  Ben punches Doom into this circle of blue energy that Doom was using to vaporize all the matter that was being transported through the giant laser/warmhole thing.  We seem Doom get vaporized.  Like, he is gone.  Not defeated, or incapacitated. He is straight up disintegrated or atomized.  You can’t even look at him and think, oh I am sure he’s dead but then find out that he was only mostly dead. No there is nothing of him left to look at because every cell and atom of his body was ripped apart and spread amongst the ether.

The film makers just took the fantastic fours most important villian, and killed him off.  Any sequel couldn’t even have him. Gone. Forever.

Why not have the blue distructo disk suck out his green energy stuff that was powering him while reed held him with his stretch arms and ben held him.  Afterall Viktor wasn’t evil until he got abandoned on a hostile uninhabited planet by himself for a full year.  The “heroes” should have tried to save him especially since one of them use to date him and another work side by side with him for like 6 months to make crazy advances in science.

I am now over 5 thousand words.  This is probably the longest post I have ever made, and the movie isn’t actually terrible.  That is what actually kind of makes it extra extra terrible.  The people who made this movie had the actors, directors, special effects, source material, writers, budget, and supposed intentions to at least make a decent movie if not a great movie.  This is what worries me about the next Star Wars movies.  The previous fantastic four movie should have been a warning of how difficult the movie might be to make while all the other marvel movies could have been a road map to how to do it well.  Instead of learning from the all of this information and history, they made brand new mistakes with the movie and ensured that there won’t be a good fantastic Four movie for at least another 5 or 6 years.

i give this movie 3 out of 10 PLANET FUCKING ZEROS!!