Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sunday Weepies: The Most Depressed Cartoon Characters

By Cory Cavin

Cathy-AckAs a wee child I remember spending every Sunday poring over the lively colored newspaper, reading up on my kid comedy that was ‘the funny papers’. As an obsessive compulsive lad I forced myself to read all the hilarity laden newsprint, (and still in my childhood mind wondered why I was reading every episode of the Family Circus…possibly the most uneventful comic on the planet). Still those stories stick in my mind today and color the fabric of our society more than we know - how many Dilbert calendars have you seen posted in an office to boost morale? Wow, his life really is like ours. Oh man, how booooring! Water cooler anyone?

But just as we’ve lauged with these cartoon characters in their lives, so we must cry with the reality that they live in in their little watercolored worlds. (Or waterCOOLERED worlds - Dilbert again anyone?) So we here at present to you our SHORT LIST OF DEPRESSED COMIC CHARACTERS:

Cartoon 2.jpg5. Andy Capp

Andy Capp is not so much depressed as he is a drunk. That is actually the entire concept of this comic strip. Andy, who is Irish of course, is a lovable old drunk who misses appointments, falls down, steals drinks from friends, and ends up being a loveable screw up. Just like that show Intervention but a little more kid friendly. The only way Andy can possibly keep up this life of drinking, burping, and wandering about with stars circling his head is by the residuals that his Andy Capp’s Hot Fries fortune must be generating in snack machines all over 1987.

Cartoon 3.jpg4. The Lockhorns

Continuing the Sunday laugh ride is colored newsprints’ most disfunctional couple. I remember wondering when to laugh as I read through their trainwreck relationship as Leroy would smugly comment on how Loretta “burned the roast again” and then eye a blonde at the bar who had no eyes because her bangs were drawn over them. Comically frumpy Loretta would scour Leroy with burning looks as they openly talked about divorce and how marriage is a better option because it’s cheaper. Wow can I go out and play baseball? And never get married when I grow up to avoid this sadness?

Cartoon 7.jpg3. Ziggy

Ziggy is on the other side of depression and probably on some sort of anti-depressant. He hangs out with a dog and goes from confusion to tame smile. In some comics he was even visited by aliens. Clearly this was all in his lithium soaked mind. Also, he looks like Uncle Fester. Or a young Matt Pinfield. Clearly, crazy.

Cartoon 6.jpg2. Cathy

Poor woman. Cathy is an early 30’s single cat-lady, addicted to chocolate, and a knack for screaming her frustrated catchphrase, “Ack!” Probably best portrayed by Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, Cathy would be seen today sprucing up her Facebook page with self descriptions like “crazy!”, and “random”, but not “prone to falling asleep face down in a bag of Hershey’s Pot o’ Gold”.

JonArbuckle1. John Arbuckle

Maybe the worst of the list, Arbuckle spends most of his time in his home suffering through failed relationships, a dead end job, and moaning to his two closest friends, a dim dog and the world’s snarkiest cat, Garfield (Garfield could possibly win his own spot on the list for his massive addiction to comfort food). Arbuckle is the scariest on the list because he represents what lurks in apartments all over America - the young defeated single male. It’s like Edward Norton in Fight Club - except instead of talking to and slugging it out with a soap making Brad Pitt, Jon is arguing with and losing to a fat lasagna throwing cat. I’m sorry, Jon. See the depths of a crazed and alone Jon Arbuckle at Garfield Minus Garfield - a genius blog that removes Garfield and leaves Jon on his own to show how crazy he can look. And leave us any other emotionally wrecked comic strip characters in the comments!

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Battlestar Galactica vs. Star Trek

Galactica.jpg“It isn’t enough to survive. We have to be worthy of surviving.”
—Adm. Bill Adama, Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica presents a problem for me and my Star Trek-fan friends. Why do we love it so much? We call each other up after each new episode and ramble in nervous high-pitched voices, batting back and forth theories and questions and “OH MY GOD” moments… all the while feeling vaguely guilty that no Star Trek clash with the Borg or tampering with the time-space continuum ever engaged and obsessed and haunted us to such a profound extent.

Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica have wildly different aesthetics and ideologies, and both aspire to very different goals. Fundamentally, it boils down to this: Star Trek is about who we want to be, and Battlestar Galactica is about who we are.

Star Trek takes place in a world where all the ugly things about human existence have been erased. Interstellar globalization has brought us new technologies to make transportation and translation effortless. Machines called replicators can produce absolutely anything you want, so the economics of inequity are gone. The injuries of race and class and gender have been surmounted, if not forgotten altogether. Scarcity, borders, money, and culture have all ceased to exist. Interpersonal tensions are relics of a more savage age. No destructive love affairs, no chafing under authority, minimal arrogance to put your fellow crew members at risk. There’s something nice about visiting a world like that—just like it’s nice to pretend that institutional racism and violence against women and poverty are getting better instead of worse. Much of mainstream fiction is built on this kind of wish-fulfillment.

That’s why the world of Battlestar Galactica feels so fresh, and so challenging. People still drink too much, and beat their spouses, and work too hard, and hate their bosses, and distrust the government, and fear death. The crew of the Galactica is not boldly exploring the universe for exploring’s sake, learning about fascinating new cultures and inviting alien species to join the benevolent Federation of Planets. It’s running away from a race of genocidal robots bent on their complete annihilation, while trying to maintain some shred of humanity and civilization.

Star Trek revels in its geekiness. Physicist in-jokes and gleefully incomprehensible technobabble are found in every episode. People say things like “The secondary gyrodyne relays in the propulsion field matrix have just depolarized.”

As a nerd, I find this fun. It’s part of Star Trek’s fantasy appeal. It’s part of the idea that science and reason and the intellect will prevail. But we’ve been telling ourselves that lie for a long time now.

In a very concrete sense, Battlestar Galactica descends from the sci-fi community’s realization that darker and more complex times demand darker and more complex science fiction. Ronald Moore, the developer/writer/executive producer of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, has a Star Trek pedigree that makes him the idol of Trekkies everywhere. He scripted 27 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was promoted to co-producer and later to producer. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he was a supervising producer and a co-executive producer, writing several of the series’ most controversial episodes. He co-wrote the scripts for the films Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact. And while he was hired as a producer of Star Trek: Voyager, he left after only two episodes. In a January 2000 interview with Cinescape magazine, he outlined some of the frustrations with that show:

“I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. Voyager is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spic-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bullshitting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldn’t act like this.”

Galactica is sci-fi without that BS. Sci-fi with all the anger and stupidity and sadness that real people experience. Sci-fi without the conviction that we will conquer our own ugliness. Sci-fi for the age of peak oil and 9/11 and natural disasters compounded by climate change to the point where they can completely destroy major cities. Galactica’s message is that unless we come to terms with our own history, we are doomed. Mankind created the Cylons to fight our wars and to do our grunt work for us. Eventually they rose up and wiped out 99.999% of us. This basic lesson is one we still haven’t learned: that exploitation leads to exploitation, that if you oppress someone you sow the seeds of your own oppression. “You can’t play God and then wash your hands of the things you’ve created,” says the Galactica’s commander, William Adama. “Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.”
* * * * *
The apocalypse obsesses us. These days, the idea of society’s total collapse has broad traction across the political spectrum. Even Oprah’s worried—that’s why she picked Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for her book club. No getting around it: we’re afraid. We want to prepare ourselves mentally. We buy batteries. We lap up every new zombies-destroy-humanity movie. All of a sudden, it’s disturbingly easy to imagine the human race reduced from billions of people to tens of thousands. These days, Battlestar Galactica’s warning that technology and progress will bring us to the brink of total annihilation is far more resonant than Star Trek’s hope that technology and progress will solve all of our problems.

Star Trek doesn’t pretend that human beings are perfect—prior to the discovery of the Warp Engine, Earth had been brought back to the edge of the Stone Age by the “Eugenics Wars”—but it does take for granted that human beings are good, and that history represents a fumbling messy sort of progress towards perfection. What makes Battlestar Galactica so haunting is the existential question it poses to all of us: “Do we deserve to exist?” In light of Auschwitz and Darfur and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, Tibet and 9/11 and Abu Ghraib and global warming, can we honestly say we don’t deserve total destruction? That we’ll learn? That we’ll change? Early on, Galactica’s commander wonders: “When we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question Why? Why are we as a people worth saving?” And while Star Trek plotlines frequently boil down to a search for the best solution to a problem, the “best solution” on Battlestar Galactica is likely to raise all sorts of thorny moral questions. Is it acceptable to rig an election, because you know that your opponent’s policies will lead to disaster? Can we assassinate a rival officer whose actions put the fleet at risk? Where is the line between a mob and a society?

I wish I could see the show as a clear sign that we’re ready to own up to the narratives of hate and violence and oppression that comprise our history, but that feels like a stretch. At the very least, I think Battlestar Galactica has been an overwhelming critical and popular success because we’re ready to be challenged. Midway through the final season, the survival of the human race clearly hinges on whether mankind will come to terms with what it has done. And while it’s simplistic to reduce the Cylons to an allegory for racism, or our oil addiction, BSG offers us a rare opportunity to examine our own culpability, and our own power to change.

Sam J. Miller is a writer and community organizer. His work has appeared in numerous zines, anthologies, and print and online journals. He lives in the Bronx with his partner of six years. Visit him at and/or drop him a line at

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How to Learn What You Need to Know About HD Radio

By TheSeeker

How to Learn What You Need to Know About HD Radio How to Learn What You Need to Know About HD Radio

Rate: (21 Ratings)

This article gives you a overview of the HD radio technology and why it might be an important upgrade for you and your family.

Things You’ll Need:

  • A few minutes to read this article
What is HD radio? HD radio is an advanced version of the regular radio we all know and love. The advanced technology of HD radio is comparable to high definition TV or HDTV. The HD radio AM stations sound as good as the regular FM stations of today, and the HD radio FM stations sound good enough to where you would swear your listening to a CD.
The sound quality of HD radio is clean, broad, and deep with no static to speak of. The high sound quality is not the only thing that makes HD radio a superior choice for your listening pleasure. HD radio also allows broadcasters to do what is called multicasting. Multicasting is broadcasting more than one station on a single frequency. If you have ever wished your favorite radio station was playing something different then your going to love HD radio for that reason alone. Most of the HD radio stations are using this extra capacity to offer a broader range of alternative music genres that have never been popular enough to warrant a station of their own in their territories. More options lead to more listeners which leads to more revenue opportunities for broadcaster so they have been happy to adopt this wonderful new system.
Another got-to-have feature of HD radio is its ability to stream messages to a display on your radio. If you have ever wondered what band was playing on the radio while your listening, or what the name of that awesome song is, you'll probably be able to find out because most stations are now using this ability to stream the names of the band and song. Others are broadcasting local news and traffic reports. One thing I must point out that unlike the forced transition we face with HDTV, HD radio will be a side offering in addition to regular radio programming. If you choose not to get a HD radio receiver you will still be able to receive your regular radio programming in the foreseeable future
According to Wikipedia, HD radio is available to eighty-three percent of the listening population with over 1600 combined AM and FM stations broadcasting in this new format. HD radio sets are available in a wide array of formats. You can get a HD radio for your home stereo system, your portable radio needs and your vehicle all if you choose to. Over 60 models of radio receivers made by Sony have the HD radio technology. Many other manufacturers have jumped on the band wagon as well. Consumer views have been luke warm up to this point because many have already found other ways to access their musical media and only use radio for traffic, news, and weather. The technology is still worth a look and I'd suggest you give it a try before shrugging it off as a fad.

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Ten Movie Superheroes Who Could Take on The Hulk

Posted by Fat Guys at the Movies (

It is well known that is the strongest superhero out there. But could he win a fight with anyone? It’s been contemplated in the comics for years, with the Hulk going up against some of the most powerful superheroes.

But let’s talk movies. Would Brandon Routh’s stand a chance against the green giant? What about Christian Bale’s ? Here who we think might actually stand a chance against from the new film.

Flame on!

Marv from Sin City

10. Marv from

He’s not really a superhero, but he’s probably the only regular human who would be stubborn enough to give it a try. Sure, he would lose in the end, but he’d put up a hell of a fight.

Hellboy from the Hellboy series

9. from the series

Like Marv from , would probably end up losing, but he’d get some good licks in. Plus, he’s got the whole devil-as-his-father thing going on, so might be able to go the distance.

Rogue from the X-Men series

8. Rogue from the series

You can’t exactly call the Hulk a mutant, but if Rogue would be able to steal his powers, it would leave Bruce Banner alone and almost naked with a new She-Hulk to deal with.

Batman from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight

7. from Begins and The Dark Knight

First, let me say that we’re talking about Christian Bale’s here. Sure, Michael Keaton could have a go, but the Val Kilmer or George Clooney versions would get completely trounced. But the “good” , being the world’s greatest detective, would be able to figure out a way to beat the Hulk… we would think.

The Fantastic Four from The Fantastic Four series

6. from series

They’ve gone head to head with the Hulk in the comics as well as in the various animated series. Everyone always wants to see a face-off between the big green guy and the Thing, but it would take all four of them to even think about beating the Hulk.

Superman from Superman and Superman II

5. from and II

Like our entry, we have the caveat that it would be Christopher Reeves’ that could stand a chance. The Brandon Routh version was too much of a perv and a bit of a pansy.

Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen

4. Dr. Manhattan from

Here’s where the real contenders start. Dr. Manhattan is able to manipulate matter on an atomic level. That would give him the winning edge over the Hulk’s brute strength.

The Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

3. The Silver Surfer from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It’s the board that would help this guy. Not only could he physically move through the Hulk’s punches, he would be able to tow the green giant into space and drop him into Galactus’s gullet. After all, if the planet eater could destroy entire worlds, we think he’d be able to destroy the Hulk.

Jean Gray from the X-Men series

2. Jean Gray from the series

If her powers from : The Last Stand are any indication, we think Jean Gray would be a shoe-in to beat the Hulk. After all, wouldn’t she just be able to make him disintegrate like she did to Professor Xavier?

Syndrome from The Incredibles

1. Syndrome from

Here’s a ringer that not everyone would have thought of, but the villain from the Pixar classic (voiced by Jason Lee) was able to completely immobilize Mr. Incredible with his zero-point energy. Who’s to say he couldn’t do the same to the Hulk and just left him drift off into space.


The Waffler from Mystery Men

The Waffler from Mystery Men

If you remember the audition scene from Mystery Men, then you remember a little-known comedian at the time named Dane Cook giving his all as the Waffler. It’s not that we think the Waffler would stand a chance. We’d just love to watch Dane Cook be squished like a rotten grape by Bruce Banner’s alter ego.

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5 Marvel Super Hero Movies We Want to See (and 5 We Don't)

Must be a nice time to work at Marvel Studios, wouldn't you say, True Believers? I mean, sure, you might have to occasionally talk your boss out of doing something stupid like not bringing Jon Favreau back for Iron Man 2 or keeping Edward Norton from Hulking out in the lobby after he realizes that you cut out the "Bruce Banner sings karaoke with his rabbi best friend" scene in The Incredible Hulk - someone has to give the Marvel boy some perspective. But, all in all, Marvel has had a nice recent lucky streak when it comes to turning their roster of super heroes into summer-movie tentpoles. Forgetting Iron Man and the Hulk (a certified hit and a new release with halfway decent tracking numbers), Marvel's made a mint off of the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises, and they've more than broken even with some of their lesser releases (Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four movies, Blade, etc). In other words, unless the Hulk tanks hardcore and the cast of the Avengers is arrested for treason, expect lots and lots of Marvel super hero-based films to hit your local movie theatre in the very near future.

However, just because Marvel now has the cache to turn even their most obscure characters into the stars of $60-100 million dollar, FX-heavy action epics, it doesn't mean they necessarily should. Not every super hero is destined to hang upside down in New York and make out with Kristen Dunst and, as such, Marvel needs to look really, really hard at their upcoming development slate and decide whether or not a Magneto movie is actually a good idea (we're leaning towards "No").

So, as a service to Marvel Studios and the hordes of Marvel Zombies everywhere, (and with the release of The Incredible Hulk hitting this weekend), we here at The Deadbolt have assembled a list of five Marvel super hero movies we definitely, no questions asked, want to see in active development and five that we think should be banished to the Negative Zone. A few of our choices are deep in pre-production, others have merely been announced as TBA, and others are just a gleam in our nerdy capes-and-tights-lovin' eyes.

For a one-page version of the article, click here.


Movie: Captain America
Release Date: May 6, 2011
Talent Attached:
David Self was hired to write a draft in July 2006; Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, debunked a rumor that Matthew McConaughey was being pursued to play the Captain

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because, without a doubt, this might be the hardest Marvel character to adapt for film. Yes, Captain America has decades of history, an impressive rogues gallery, and some fantastic storylines aching for a film version, but he also has the potential to look almost criminally silly - in his less-subtle-than-Uncle-Sam's red, white, and blue costume with the big white "A" in the center of his head - especially in the hands of the wrong filmmaker. The Captain is one of Marvel's most A-list heroes, but he comes with SO much baggage since, by his very design, he's a symbol of American nationalism. That might help a Cap film break the bank in Salt Lake City, but don't expect the London, Paris, or Baghdad premieres to be very well attended. This movie is going to NEED an amazing filmmaker to bring it to life, and if they find the right director, it'll be brilliant.

Aside from the fact that Cap is a much more challenging character to adapt than, say, Ghost Rider, we also desperately want to see a Captain America movie because Kevin Feige confirmed that the film would be a period piece set in World War II. Maybe it's just all the Call of Duty that we've been playing recently or the fact that we're still miffed that we'll never get a Rocketeer sequel, but the idea of super heroes and Army grunts throwing down against Nazi supermen in a Captain America film makes our pulses race with nerd euphoria. Plus the Cap movie is allegedly one big set-up for an all-out Avengers movie, so there's definitely a lot to be excited about, regardless of whether or not you're proud to be an American.

Movie: Ant-Man
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
Director/co-writer of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright, is attached to direct and is co-writing the script with English comic Joe Cornish

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Two words - Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of the best written, best directed, nerd-friendly action comedies of the past twenty years, and Spaced, the BBC sitcom he co-created with Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, is so hilariously awesome and packed with comic book references that it could make Joss Whedon blush with envy (it FINALLY hits Region 1 DVD in July). So the fact that Marvel has turned over the reins of one of their most famously odd heroes to such a creative genius... it just has so much potential for coolness. In March, Wright told Empire Online, that the movie would star both Hank Pym and Scott Lang (who both took up the Ant-mantle) and that the film is "going to be less overtly comedic than anything else I’ve ever done. It’s more of a full-on action adventure sci-fi film but with a comedic element – in the same spirit of a lot of escapist fare like that. It’s certainly not a super hero spoof or pastiche and it certainly isn’t a sort of Honey I Shrunk the Kids endeavor at all."

And Wright's words make us all kinds of happy. We love that he's trying to make the film a kick-ass adventure film rather than just a comic book movie (perhaps because Ant-Man doesn't really have any "classic" stories to adapt), we love that he knows the character well enough to include both Pym and Lang, and we love that, while the movie won't be a Shrunk-the-Kids riff, it will get into the cool sci-fi elements of Ant-Man's shrinking powers, which should give the film a totally unique visual palette - which will be a welcome change from all the gritty downtown skyscraper backdrops that every other super hero flick has beaten into our retinas. All that, and Ant-Man is one of the original Avengers, so, hopefully, since Marvel is jonesing to team up all of their big movie heroes soon, that will help the producers fast-track Ant-Man and get us a new Edgar Wright movie sooner than later.

Movie: Runaways
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
It was announced in May 2008 that series creator Brian K. Vaughn would be writing the Runaways adaptation with Kevin Feige producing.

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Have you read the comic? It's amazing. Funny, action-packed, and heart-breaking - all in the perfect balance. It's not surprisingly that the series came from the mind of Brian K. Vaughn (who co-created the series with artist Adrian Alphona), since, aside from being on the writing staff of ABC's Lost, Vaughn has authored some of the hands-down best comic books in recent memory, including Y the Last Man and Ex Machina. And the premise is a killer - a group of teenagers realize that their parents are, in fact, super-villains, running a crime syndicate in Los Angeles, so the angsty avengers use their newly discovered "abilities" to team up to bring down their naughty mothers and fathers and try to right some of the wrongs that their families have been responsible for. Forget Doc Ock or Venom. When mom and dad are your arch-enemies, that makes for some mind-blowing drama. And Vaughn's characterizations are so dead-on and engaging that you'll immediately find yourself loving Molly, Gertie, and all the rest, completely giving into the concept and not even blinking about the genetically-engineered dinosaur on the team (too hard to explain now).

Aside from the fantastically cool premise, one of our favorite things about Runaways is that it only takes place within the Marvel Universe tangentially. Don't get us wrong, they are Marvel super heroes, but Wolverine doesn't show up every issue and Doctor Doom and Mole Man aren't the kid's parents. Runaways just dips its toe into the larger Marvel 'verse, which gives it access to all of the good stuff with none of the bad (continuity problems, crossovers, clones, etc). So, with such a universally accessible premise (kids vs. the legacy of their parents) and the fact that the series isn't mired down with continuity - Runaways has a great chance to be a big crossover hit... if it's done right, that is. (Admit it, teen super heroes could turn into Gamma-Irradiated Gossip Girl way, WAY too easily.)

Movie: Doctor Strange
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
In February 2008, Guillermo Del Toro told Empire Online that he was considering directing a Dr. Strange movie and had approached Neil Gaiman to write it. Of course, thanks to the Hobbit movies, that probably wouldn't happen now until 2027

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because, in the age of Criss Angel and Celeb-Cadabra, we really, really need a Sorcerer Supreme to show up and kick a little magical ass. Doctor Strange is one of the coolest/most perpetually misused characters in Marvel's entire publishing line. Stephen Strange was an expert surgeon until a car accident robbed him of the use of his hands. Searching the ends of the Earth for a cure to his condition, Strange meets a guru named The Ancient One, who takes Strange on as a student of the mystical arts. Learning of the vast number of otherworldly threats to humanity, Strange takes his new magical knowledge back to his tricked-out Sanctum Sanctorum pad in Greenwich Village and fights a variety of fiendishly magical foes like Baron Mordo, Dormammu, and David Blaine (OK, we made that last one up). Strange is a great character - he's like the lone sheriff in Marvel's wild west world of magic - but a lot of comic writers have always written him as this stiff stage magician who shows up at the last minute and saves the day with an overly convenient save-all spell. (Fortunately, more recent writers like the aforementioned Brian K. Vaughn and Brian Michael Bendis have done a terrific job at turning the good Doctor into a multidimensional character.)

Doctor Strange just has a lot of qualities that would make for a bad-ass movie. Del Toro called Strange "an interesting character because you can definitely make him more in the pulpy occult detective/magician mould and formula than was done in the Weird Tales, for example...the idea of a character that really dabbles in the occult in a way that’s not X-Filey, where the supernatural is taken for granted." Doesn't that sound awesome? DAMN YOU, Hobbit, for keeping us from a Doctor Strange movie! Hopefully, Marvel will keep Neil Gaiman on as the screenwriter and realize the potential of a new super hero franchise that has nothing to do with mutants or spandex, but rather pits one man against the unstoppable hordes of the demon dimensions. It's part Harry Potter, part High Noon, part X-Files... how can that not outgross Ghost Rider?

Movie: Damage Control
Release Date: TBA
Talent Attached:
Honestly, this movie will probably never be made.

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DO WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Because at least 70% of you are now scratching your heads, thinking, "What the hell is Damage Control?" For those who don't know, Damage Control is one of Marvel's funniest concepts that has never, ever gotten it's due. Kicked off back in 1989, DC (whoops, bad initials for a Marvel book) follows those poor bastards who have to clean up after super heroes and villains after they decide to throw down in the middle of a crowded city street. They're a larger-than-life construction company that, after years of having to rebuild New York again and again, have found themselves intimately (and often hilariously) entwined with the personal affairs of Marvel's wide fraternity of superpowered good and bad guys. Damage Control's co-creator Dwayne McDuffie described the concept as something akin to a sitcom taking place in the Marvel Universe - you can read his original pitch for the series right here.

So, why do we want a Damage Control movie? First, we adored the original Damage Control series (which, admittedly, were never huge hits, though the company did show up during Marvel's recent Civil War event), and there is so much potential in the concept. The insurance adjuster scenes in The Incredibles were funny enough, but the idea of exploring how exactly you rebuild the Empire State Building after it was attacked by Doombots has so much comedy potential, it's scary (think of the contractors on the Death Star scene in Clerks). Plus, now that Marvel is working to interconnect their films with SHIELD and all of those other Easter eggs in Iron Man and Hulk, the DC concept could really work into that infrastructure easily. Fine, it's obscure and it probably won't happen, but a Damage Control movie could have a lot of fun taking the piss out of the traditional super hero movie and in a much more intelligent way than lame-ass spoofs like Superhero Movie and X-Men: Last Stand (that was supposed to be a comedy, right?).


Movie: Namor the Sub-Mariner

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DON'T WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Namor is a big gun in the Marvel Universe, but in Hollywood, he's just the poor nerd's Aquaman. Watching a dude in a Speedo command fish and fight Mermen just sounds like a lame way to spend two hours, and we're not even convinced that the technology is there to make a Namor movie yet. Unless James Cameron really did figure out how to make Vinnie Chase believable as Aquaman during a lunch break on the Entourage set, how the hell do you film actors interacting underwater without it looking... um... what's the word... stupid?

Movie: Fantastic Four 3

WHY DON'T WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Did you see Fantastic Four 1 and 2? Oh, you did? Then we don't need to explain any further.

Movie: Hawkeye

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DON'T WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Here's the thing - we love Hawkeye as a comic book character, but unless he's pre-established as a badass Jack Sparrow-ish rogue in an Avengers movie, there is no reason why anyone, except the nerdiest nerds, would go see a Hawkeye movie. We're not trying to pick on ol' Clint Barton, but Hawkeye was listed as one of the ten properties that Marvel Studios was actively developing when they first obtaining their independent funding back in 2005. But, like we said, unless he has an amazing supporting turn in The Avengers, let's not tempt fate by making a super hero movie about a dude in purple tights fighting crime with a bow and arrow, OK?

Movie: Young X-Men

WHY DON'T WE WANT TO SEE IT?: Mostly because X-Men 3 left such a bad taste in our mouths. But it doesn't help that Josh Schwartz, creator of Gossip Girl, is writing the screenplay for this teen-focused continuation of the floundering Fox X-Men franchise. Fine, we had friends that dug The OC and everything, but the idea of a young team of mutants, text-messaging each other "OMFG" while they fight teenage Magneto, just turns our stomachs.

Movie: Deadpool

Copyright (c) 2008 Marvel Comics/ All Rights ReservedWHY DON'T WE WANT TO SEE IT?: This is probably going to piss off some fanboys, but we've never really liked Marvel's "Merc with the Mouth". He's the poor man's Lobo and he's a stupid relic of the Rob Liefield era of bad comics you wish you could forget. (For those who don't know, Liefield is the Steven Seagal of comic book creators who, for some reason we have yet to figure out how or why, was really popular for a few years in the 1990s.) Ryan Reynolds, who has long petitioned for the role of the unkillable, amoral assassin, is playing Deadpool in a cameo in Hugh Jackman's stand-alone Wolverine movie. Let's all hope that the 'Pool just shows up in flashback set during the nineties (Logan battles the boom) and that's where he remains.

-- Tom Burns

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FW FEATURE: Movies that peaked in the first ten minutes

Call it premature cinematic ejaculation. Those films that, for one reason or another, have their best scenes far too soon and thus make the film slightly underwhelming on a first viewing (as we assume the rest of the film will be as incredible) and impossible to finish on a second.

The first rule of storytelling, chronologically speaking, is that your opening scene has to be incredibly interesting so as to draw your audience in. Unfortunately, these five films forgot the second rule: the rest of your film has to be just as good.


The bar shootout in Desperado is not only the best action scene in the film, but also one of the best gunfights ever made. This is, to say the least, problematic.

While the rest of the flick is decently interesting -- Salma Hayek's body double gets nekkid -- the film eventually collapses under the weight of its own action. At the film's climax, we aren't even shown the brutal gunfight between the Mariachi and Bucho's men: given how cool the very first gunfight is, the audience already understands that the Mariachi probably kills everyone and makes it out alive. It's a pretty unusual ending, but not a particularly satisfying one. Desperado opens with its greatest gunfight and continues on with action that gets progressively less and less intense.

You're probably better off just watching this gunfight, then popping in Once Upon a Time in Mexico.


Swordfish, unlike Desperado, is not an otherwise enjoyable film which happens to be overshadowed by its great opening scene. Swordfish is a bad film (the kind that treats hacking like some sort of tech-driven form of sex), and its incredibly badass opening scene only exists to distract us from that fact.

Suspenseful, disturbing, and visually spectacular, the opening to Swordfish is everything the rest of the movie isn't. In a way, this makes the opening scene a relief; after watching the above video, one can live content that you really don't ever need to watch the rest of the movie.

Way of the Gun

The last gunfight is admittedly pretty damned cool, but you just can't top a profanity-spewing Sarah Silverman getting her face punched in for sheer badassity.

This opening, which has absolutely nothing to do with the film's plot other than showing Parker and Longbaugh to be total badasses, is one of the few outwardly hilarious moments in Christopher McQuarrie's otherwise straightfaced crime flick.

The rest of the film is good enough that it's still worth watching even after Sarah Silverman walks offscreen with blood streaming down her face ("You look beautiful! More beautiful than ever!"), but the movie never manages to truly outdo its totally pointless, totally kickass opening scene.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy's disturbing, unusual, provocative opening scenes serve two purposes, one intentional and the other not. Firstly, the viewer is meant to feel disturbed, concerned, and conflicted as the wide-eyed Ellen Page seduces and is seduced by Patrick Wilson; this confusion serves to make the film's big first-act twist (surprise -- it's a revenge flick!) even more shocking. The unintentional, but far more prescient side effect of this is that the rest of the film is never as confusing, disturbing, or downright unusual as it was during its first fifteen minutes.

A revenge film is pretty simple for an audience to digest, even if it comes equipped with some baggage about the nature of morality and character identification. Flirtation between a 15-year-old and a 30-year-old, however, is a hell of a lot harder for an audience to pin down or deal with. Thus making it infinitely more interesting to watch.

Saving Private Ryan

Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan can be accused of many things: sentimentality, hypocrisy, heavy-handedness. None of these complaints, however, can be accurately aimed at the film's horrifying Omaha Beach opening.

Spielberg spends almost three hours convincing the audience that "War is Hell," but he really needn't have gone beyond this terrifying opening scene, which says all that really needs to be said. Without the hackneyed dialogue or overtly coincidental plotting, the massacre of hundreds of Allied soldiers without rhyme or reason really informs the audience as to what war is really like.

Ideally, one would watch the Omaha Beach scene, then leave before Tom Hanks can eventually be shot by the one Nazi he lets go free, or at least before the sappy "tell me I've lived a good life" epilogue.

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The 'Indy 4' That Never Was? We Compare 'Crystal Skull' To 'City Of The Gods' Script Leaked Online

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

An alternate version of the script, possibly written by Frank Darabont, was (briefly) posted on the Internet.

What would movie fans give to read every draft of "Indy 4" — especially Frank Darabont's? Well, the wait is over: That very version popped up online late Wednesday.

At least we think it did. Titled "Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods," the version of the script (before it was taken down by legal eagles) is either the Darabont version or the most authentic, beautifully written fake we've ever seen. (Calls to Paramount and Lucasfilm were unreturned at press time.)

And, make no mistake about it, there are moments of real beauty in this thing. So what's the biggest difference between the two versions?

The overall arc of the film more or less follows that of "Crystal Skull," with the adventure beginning at a desert military base/ warehouse, continuing at Marshall College, and ending with Indy and company deep in the jungles of South America searching for skulls.

But the four biggest differences in this draft also double as the four best: No Mutt Williams; no Mac; a tougher, more "Raiders"-esque Marion; and a climax that not only gives Indy something to do (how in the world did David Koepp think to give Indy nothing?) but forces him to make a decision that rivals the end of "Crusade" (the cup or a father's love?), crystallizing the character and his history into one momentous singularity. Bravo!

So how good is Marion, really? Great. The first time we see her onscreen, she literally punches Indy in the face. She's also married, and not to Dr. Jones, but to a rival archaeologist turned communist spy. The banter between the two old lovers sparkles, a lot of it recalling dialogue from "Raiders." For example:

Marion: "What's the matter, Jones? Mileage finally catching up with you?"

Indy: "It ain't the mileage, sweetheart. It's the years!"

A "Raiders" reference! Are there any more? Lots and lots.

We don't see the Ark in this movie, though we can assume from the description that we're in the same warehouse. We also see Sallah (briefly), a play on Indy's fear of snakes, repeated references in the dialogue (Indy: "Marion Ravenwood. I always knew someday you'd come walking back through my door"), and even the golden fertility idol.

Are the groan-inducing moments from "Crystal Skull" in here too? Surviving a nuclear blast in a fridge? A rubber tree that supports a car? Man-eating ants? A character swinging through the trees like Tarzan? Yeah, they're all here, as well as some even sillier stuff, like an "Anaconda"-esque snake that devours Indy whole and a cameo for Henry Jones Sr. that has him singing — singing — Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." Also, there's this dialogue:

Marion: "Oh yeah, what about that glamour gal you spent time with?"

Indy: "She moved out to Hollywood to be a star. Last I heard, she fell in love and married some big-shot director."

(In real life, Kate Capshaw, who played Willie Scott in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," is married to Steven Spielberg. Indefensible.)

Is the silly stuff still as silly? Not really. That's the thing. We can't believe we're going to defend a refrigerator ride on a nuclear wave, but we're going to. For one, the conversation after the event is much more pointed — Indy actually talks about nuclear weapons with his interrogators, telling them that he doesn't think anybody should have that much power. And that exchange, that line, means so much to this film, especially to the climax, that it's easy to say it works better. The film also ends not with a spaceship flying away into space, but a spaceship trying to fly away into space, only to crash-land and explode in a second nuclear inferno. So it's a silly setup that has a serious and poignant payoff. Nobody should have that much power. Not even the aliens.

Oh yeah, there are still aliens. Well, one alien. He talks this time, specifically calling himself a being worthy of worship. We see scenes of primitive man mistaking them for gods. (The red-staters would have a hemorrhage.)

So this climax we keep talking about. What is it?

Indy, Marion, Oxley (yeah, he's here), Marion's husband (the rival archaeologist) and a few others deliver the crystal skull to the temple, placing it on the head of a crystal skeleton. Soon, five members of the group are lifted into the air and offered anything their hearts desire. One wishes for ultimate power. One for ultimate wisdom. Another to be the deadliest creature alive. Indy? We'll let Marion ask:

Marion: "Back in the Lost City. When you were in the dream cloud, what did you see?"

Indy: "It was like ... seeing everything in the universe all at once. Like suddenly knowing all the secrets there are to know. The meaning of it all."

Marion: "So why didn't you take it? All that fortune and glory?"

Indy: "I did."

And then they kiss. Good line. After falling from the cloud, Indy shoots the skull, destroying the entire temple — again, denying any creature that much power. We call that a climax in this business. Scratch that: We call that an awesome climax.

And the action scenes? Some really good ones, including a rooftop fight between Indy and a Russian assassin, and a midair plane fight in which Indy battles his rival from the wings of a biplane.

Final verdict?

A million times better than "Crystal Skull." Not perfect. Not "Raiders." But it's got its moments of pure Indy magic. Darabont obviously loves the character, and more than anything else, his passion is evident in each and every scene. If made, it could have been a welcome addition to the Indy cannon and easily earned a place alongside the other sequels.

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