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Thursday, June 5, 2008

TBS and their annoying interstitial commericials

Last night I was watching a rerun of Family Guy on TBS and right before the show went to commercial, this happened:

See what they did there? They paused the TV show, ran a little mini-commercial for some show that no one cares about, and then returned to the last two seconds of the segment before going to commercial. Jesus Christ. I realize that Time Warner doesn't actually care about the people who watch their shows and that television programs are just the networks' way of getting people to watch advertising, but this is too much. Do these things actually work or just piss people off in droves? Is there some marketing hot dog at Time Warner who thinks that Family Guy viewers want to watch the blue collar comedy stylings of Bill Engvall? I'm sorry that the DVR is ruining your business model, but can you kick the bucket a little more gracefully?
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Seven Things We Want From The Avengers Movie

Well, first of all, The Avengers movie HAS to feature the return of Sean Connery as the iconic Sir August de Wynter and further develop the relationship between Uma Peel and Ralph Steed... oh wait, that's not the Avengers movie you're talking about, is it? Film-flop humor aside, if you put your ear to the internet lately, you can almost hear Hollywood insiders and comic nerds alike drooling over the prospect of a big-screen version of The Avengers, Marvel Comics' iconic superhero team that's been kicking bad-guy ass since 1963. And while the idea of an Avengers movie has just been fanboy fantasy fodder in the past, it looks like the team might actually be assembling at your local multiplex some time in the near future.

The ball got rolling back in late 2005 when Marvel, riding high off the box office successes of the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises, announced that it had secured funding to independently produce movies based on some of their most famous comic characters (well, at least the ones that hadn't already been sold to Sony or Fox). Marvel quickly went about regaining the film rights to such characters as Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, and Thor (i.e. the core Avengers), and began developing their own slate of in-house blockbuster hopefuls. Their first independently produced effort was this summer's Iron Man, which, as you and everyone else knows, made eleventy-jillion dollars (figures may be adjusted due to inflation and/or reality).

But before Tony Stark broke the box office in his shiny suit, Marvel Studios had already decided to lay the foundation for a cohesive "Marvel Film Universe" in Iron Man by inserting references to SHIELD (Marvel's metahuman CIA-esque organization) and an appearance by Samuel L. Jackson as SHIELD head Nick Fury (honestly, if you didn't stay after the credits for that scene, you must never even walk past a computer with an internet connection). This foundation building continues with next week's The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, which, allegedly, contains more SHIELD references and a confirmed Robert Downey Jr. cameo. This is all apparently establishing an infrastructure that will eventually pay off with an Avengers movie, a film that Marvel claims will be released in July 2011 (don't get your hopes up too soon - remember, George Miller's Justice League was days away from filming before it got canned).

In terms of building their Avengers roster before cameras roll on the team-up movie, Marvel now has their Iron Man and Hulk, a Thor movie is scheduled for July 4, 2010 (I Am Legend's Mark Protosevich is writing the script, Stardust's Matthew Vaughn is no longer attached to direct), an Ant-Man film is being developed by Hot Fuzz's Edgar Wright, and a Captain America movie (subtitled "First Avenger") is scheduled to be released on May 6, 2011, just two months before the announced Avengers premiere (more on that later).

So, with Marvel continuing to tease fans about the project and the (hopefully) continued rosy box office future of Marvel's upcoming development state, it's not so much a question of IF an Avengers movie will happen, but rather WHAT will it look like when it hits the big screen. Being the opinionated, rant-prone geeks that we are (and closeted Marvel Zombies from way back), we here at The Deadbolt have our own meager wish list for what we want to see in a big-budget Avengers movie. So, just in time for the release of The Incredible Hulk
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Five Questions Not Answered In ‘Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’





Week of Geek: Indiana Jones

Spoiler Alert: This article will deal with details about the plot of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, reader beware. You might learn some things you don’t want to know just yet.

For Indiana Jones fans, a new movie has been a long time in coming. A fourth film was originally suggested by George Lucas nearly 18 years ago. The idea has re-surfaced several times since then but the principal creative partners (Mr. Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford) could not agree on a script until David Koepp completed a version sometime around 2005. Other screen writers attached to the project over the years include Jeffery Boam, M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Darabont, and Jeff Nathanson. Drafts by all these writers have centered around the idea of Indy searching for crystal skulls.

Given the time in development and the abundance of top-notch screenwriting talent, it is surprising that the screenplay of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is a bit of a mess. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is far from awful. Parts of the movie play out simply as set pieces however, in part because of a lack of tight internal logic in the script. The movie left me asking questions about how or why certain things happened. After 18 years and several screenwriters, shouldn’t all these questions be answered?

Here’s the top five unanswered questions from Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

  1. How did we get to a happy ending? I don’t understand how Indy not only gets his job back, but a promotion at the end of the film. He’s forced out of his job for suspicions about his loyalty because he’s been in contact with both Russian commandos and a Russian secret agent. He then shakes his FBI tail, leaves the country for South America, and meets up with both the Russians and the Russian agent. This is what the FBI might call “suspicious behavior.” When the city of Akator is finally destroyed, anyone/anything he might be able to bring back to placate the FBI (e.g., Irina Spalko or Mac McHale) is lost or killed. Does he return the alien body to the government or something? How does he prove his loyalty?
  2. Is Irina Spalko really psychic or merely crazy? At the start of the film, Irina Spalko seems to attempt to read Indy’s mind and apparently fails (with comment “Your will is very strong.”) Does she really have psychic abilities or not? We never see her attempt to do this again anywhere during the film. She babbles on a lot about how Oxley’s mind has been warped by the skull and is unreadable, but we never establish that she can successfully read another mind.
  3. Where did all the roads in the middle of the jungle come from? When Indy, Mac, and Mutt set off with the Russians through the un-mapped jungle, they are following what can only be called the “Model 37 ‘Josef Stalin’ Glorious People’s Jungle Road Maker and Farming Collective Grain Harvester.” This is making the road they are driving on. Indy destroys this vehicle with an anti-tank weapon (an always useful item to bring to the jungle). A protracted high-speed car chase follows where, a) cars and trucks are able to travel two abreast, and even along the edge of a cliff, and b) they are able to travel pretty much where they want to go. This makes less than no sense.
  4. Had anybody heard of the term “multi-dimensional beings” in 1957? Once Oxley regains his sanity in the temple of Akator, he says “they are multi-dimensional beings.” This is a pretty standard science fiction term in the 21st century, but the notion of parallel universes had just been proposed in quantum mechanics in 1957 by Hugh Everett. Fictional notions of parallel universes had been around since 1941, but were still only infrequently mentioned in sci-fi stories of the 1950s. The explanation sticks out like a sore thumb.
  5. Why bother with the Akator natives? They appear. They are afraid of the crystal skull. They get machine-gunned off screen by the Russians. Why bother? You might as well at least make a joke of it and give them all red shirts or something.

I liked a lot of things about the movie, I really did. I think Harrison Ford was great in it. It was certainly lovely to see Karen Allen return as Marion Ravenwood. The visual of Indy confronted by the mushroom cloud is one that will stay with me for quite a while. It’s just that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg claimed to be in search of the right script. Would it have killed them to take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out if they had missed any holes in the plot?

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Famous People Who Would Have No Friends In Real Life

There are some people whose very existence makes you want to punch them in the face. Everything about them screams 'Kick Me' or 'Mock Me Incessantly.' It's an indefinable quality really. Usually, these people either smarten up and start behaving in a more socially acceptable manner (i.e. less knob-like), or they manage to band together with similar asshat types. Unfortunately for the rest of us, a few of them manage to reach the highest pinnacle of their hopes and become celebrities, thus subjecting the rest of us to their utter tooliness with nary a word ever being said to them about said tool-like qualities. The following is a list of famous people who we all know, deep down in our hearts, wouldn't have any friends in real life.

Avril Lavigne

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God. Avril is such a downright wang that I don't even know where to start. Of course there's her "I'm a rock chick" persona, which makes real rockers cringe everywhere. There's her total lack of humility and modesty which leads her to say things like "Girl's just want to copy me." (Um, nooooooo.) And finally, there's her song Sk8er Boi which makes me want to scratch my eyes out with a rusty fork. (Note to Avril: The way you spelled Skater Boy makes me hate you even more. Also, rhyming boi with boi makes you incompetent.) All extremely good reasons why she's lucky she's a celebrity and has enough money to pay people to hang out with her.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Is there anyone smarmier than Philip Seymour Hoffman? He's what they call an actor's actor, which basically means he sucks up to other actors and talks continually about how "hard their jobs are" and how "acting is a difficult craft." Dude, you play make believe for a living, it's not exactly the bastion of difficulty. P.S. Using your middle name just makes you sound pretentious. And it makes me think of Little Shop of Horrors.

Tom Cruise

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Wait, I was wrong; Tom Cruise is smarmier than Philip Seymour Hoffman. I love how the excuses for his bizarre behaviour were that it was because he was in love. What. Ever. Think about it like this: Tom Cruise is forty-blinking-five years old. Do you know of any other self-respecting forty-five year olds who would hang out with him if he was just a regular guy? (He's what MY forty-five year old dad would call a Dorkius Maximus.) (Which is dorky in itself, but hey, leave my dad alone!) Also, way to be a crybaby about the whole water gun incident. Crybaby.

Lindsay Lohan

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Self explanatory.

Kanye West

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What? Huh? But, I love Kanye. Why is he on this list? Okay, sure, the guy has a modicum of talent, but we're not rating people on whether or not they can write catchy little ditties, are we? And let's face it, he's a total douche. What with his huge ego and silly hissy fits, we're surprised he has any friends at all (even with his celebrity status). He should really try something I like to call: Being a Man. (As opposed to a giant assface. In case that wasn't clear.)

Courtney Love

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Courtney Love's addition to our list is sort of an odd one, as she actually doesn't have any friends in real life. This is because she just kind of sucks. Like, really, really sucks. Also, if she was your friend, she'd probably steal your money and sleep with your dad.

Puff Daddy

(First of all, I refuse to figure out what he's calling himself now. It's annoying, extremely self-absorbed and very wang-like to (a.) continually change your name and (b.) expect people to care. News flash: We don't.)

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There are many, many reasons that Puffy wouldn't have any friends in real life: his continual stealing of other people's music when he samples them in songs, the way he dresses and 'blings' himself out, and the fact that he styles himself as 'Daddy.' (And Puffy. And Diddy. All equally vomit inducing.)

Mariah Carey

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I'm pretty sure that if Mariah Carey were to have any friends in real life, they'd be the friends who only kept her around so they could endlessly make fun of her. Like her obnoxious policy of only allowing photographers from snapping pictures of her from one angle, or the hand fluttery thing she does when she sings, or the slut-tastic way that she dresses. All good, nonstop opportunities for mockery.

Sean Penn

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Being friends with Sean Penn wouldn't be too bad, as long as you like chilling out with a pompous imbecile. I think that having a conversation with him would be like taking a first class trip to Idiot Island where he rules as king.

Ashlee Simpson

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All together now:

"You make me wanna vomit
In my mouth, on my hair
You may just be the dumbest person
Who has songs on the air
You're a Phony McPhonerson
With the clothes that you wear
You make me wanna
You make me wanna...
actually, you don't make me "wanna" do anything. I'm pretty sure that I want to go to my grave solid in the knowledge that I was in no way, shape or form influenced by Ashlee Simpson. It's my own private mission.

The Hills Cast

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These people make me weep for the future. Has a more self-involved, sniveling bunch of sycophants ever existed? Here's how we know they wouldn't have any friends in real life: They're on a "reality" show that focuses on their friendships, aaaaaannd they aren't really friends with each other. Le sigh.

Madonna

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She's mean, rude, greedy, and vain and speaks in a fake British accent. Enough said.

I think that there are a lot of famous people who would be alone in their apartments with, like, 50 cats if they hadn't hit the big time. But, alas, some spawn-of-Satan "talent" agent decided to inflict them on the rest of us leading them to all glory in their employees friends and narcissism popularity.

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