Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 10 Least Competent Time Travelers

Futurama_Fry_Looking_Squint.jpgBy Caleb Goellner

Time travel ain't easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it. With all the paradoxes to avoid and all of the conflicting theories on just what can and cannot be altered, it's best for nerds to look past the present and into the future when it comes to their escapist fiction of choice. Guys like The Doctor and Bill and Ted's buddy Rufus make it look simple, but the very notion of traveling to another time period without undoing reality is worth a nod in itself, really. So, rather than list the most chrono-challenged voyagers, let's look at those who are simply the least good.

10) Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Rocky and Bullwinkle

The stars of the far superior half of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, Mr. Peabody and his adopted son Sherman helped mend frayed elements of the past to ensure historical accuracy. Or did they? Never mind that the principle of this show defies science, these two essentially acted as fascists! Think about it. They used their WABAC machine to shape the past how it was "supposed" to happen (i.e. however they damn well saw fit). Not content to simply shape history, Mr. Peabody was diabolical enough to summarize his efforts with bad puns and broadcast them to the world. This tyranny continued for nearly 100 segments before time was seemingly restored. We can only assume Doctor Who stopped the despots or that they were killed in a collision with Bill and Ted's phone booth.

9) Cable and Bishop, X-Men
Because X-Men comics require copious amounts of confusion to function properly, they have not one, but two gun-toting heroes sent to the present from bleak futures! The son of Cyclops and Jean Grey (or is it a clone of Jean? Or is it Phoenix? Maybe Jean's ghost?), Cable hails from a world ravaged by the villain Apocalypse and get this, he's the only one who can stop this future from coming to pass! Bishop comes from a future where mankind is at war with mutants and sentinels are everywhere and, yep, he too is the only one who can stop this nightmare from coming to pass! Since their debuts, neither character seems to have succeeded in preventing much of anything. With every passing crossover, this fact is usually blamed on chronal flux, shifting timelines, wearing too many damn pouches and other anomalies. Excuses, excuses.

8) Philip J. Fry, Futurama

Fry's slacker status is the precursor for nearly every accidental thing that happens to him. He traveled to the future via suspended animation. Once there, the first thing he does is surround himself with the delightful misfits at the Planet Express. Given the gross incompetency of the entire Planet Express crew, it's no wonder Fry would eventually succeed in traveling to the past several times. In what is perhaps his biggest time snafu, Fry travels to the year 1947 where he accidentally kills his grandfather and um…gets to know his grandmother. Like biblically. There's a lame song out there about becoming your own grandpa, but Fry actually achieved this unholy anomaly.

7) Gosalyn, Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck's daughter Gosalyn was a rather impetuous girl whose crime fighting exploits provided the "Terror that Flapped in the Night," with undo stress. After all, she usually succeeded in helping DD during his more clueless moments. However, Gosalyn's impulsive streak eventually landed her in an escaping villain's malfunctioning time machine. She arrives in a future inspired by Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns where a psychotic DarkWarrior Duck rules St. Canard with an iron fist. Awesome, right? Problem is, Gosalyn successfully navigated her way back to the past, preventing a substantially cooler future from occurring.

6) Doc Brown, Back to the Future

The inventor of several time machines, and a buyer of black market uranium, Doc Brown should have been the star of Back to the Future. Sadly, with his youth behind him, Doc became something of a mad scientist. He had the flux-capacity to build his own working time machine, just no pizzazz. That's why teenage novice Marty McFly constantly showed him up and saved the day. It also didn't hurt that Marty usually had Huey Lewis blaring in the background of his life and Doc Brown had to settle for orchestrated motifs. To his credit, Doc gets Marty out of a few scrapes in the Back to the Future trilogy, but his dementia ultimately catches up with him in the animated series that followed. Seriously. He let's his dog drive his "Time Train." Ugh.

5) Kang the Conqueror, Avengers
Kang's story is more or less a cautionary tale against spreading yourself too thin. In his efforts to, you know, conquer, Kang's most persistent threats aren't the Avengers—they're different versions of himself. Plagued by his older self, Immortus, his younger self, Iron Lad, a homoerotic Egyptian persona, Rama Tut, and a son named Marcus, Kang is a victim of nurture triumphing over nature. That's what he gets for drawing his costume inspiration from the Cyber Men.

4) Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

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Unlike a lot of time travelers, Homer Simpson responded relatively quick to being whisked away to another time by a modified toaster. Remembering the advice his father gave him on his wedding night, he's careful not to disturb the past. After a few unfortunate trips to a prehistoric age, Homer tries his hardest to avoid the butterfly effects of his actions. Sadly, his love of donuts causes him to miss his best chance for an ideal future and he settles for a reality where his family eats with reptilian tongues. Fortunately for him, this happened out-of-continuity in The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror V."

3) Dr. Doom, Fantastic Four
Instead of traveling back in time to, say, smother baby Reed Richards and the rest of the hated Fantastic Four in their cribs, Doom instead relies on his time platform to do things like attempt a Megoville takeover and romance Goth chicks from the past. In a recent Avengers story, Morgan le Fey was easy prey for Doom (chicks dig bad boys) and in exchange for his sweet Doom lovin', she instructed him in the dark arts. Picture it now, Doom cuddling after a hot, magic session. Or don’t. That's kind of why he's on this list.

2) Carmen San Diego

Not content with global crime sprees on CD-Rom, a PBS quiz show and a Fox Kids animated series, the mysterious, crimson-clad vixen hopped in a stolen time machine to commit robberies across history. Just imagine how valuable the original Liberty Bell would be! Or Cleopatra's toothbrush! Needless to say, the justice-minded ACME sent time agents to track Carmen down and track her down they did—every afternoon on PBS for two seasons. What's pathetic isn't that Carmen almost always got caught, it's that it was middle school students doing the catching. What good is a master criminal who can be stopped with history trivia? Sorry Carmen, without Rockapella on your trail, nobody gives a shit.

1) Skynet, The Terminator

This evil supercomputer proves, with all certainty, that navigating the corridors of time is a crapshoot. Case in point: its cyborg assassins. Terminators? More like Just-sort-of-delay-the-inevitable-inators. In the first Terminator film, the T-1 cyborg assassin gets sent to the past, but get's blown up and fails to prevent the conception of its future nemesis, John Connor. Terminator 2 see's Ah-Nuld save the day, but even in victory, the T-1 must meet a molten demise with the Connor's T-1000 assailant. T3 is more of the same, two of Skynet's cyborgs fight one another for the future of mankind and both go ka-splode. Essentially, Skynet is only good at achieving robotic stalemate. Why, even after activating in T3, Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles retcons those events away by existing in an alternate timeline, further delaying complete mechanical holocaust. The final nail in Skynet's coffin is none other than Batman himself, Christian Bale, who plays John Connor in the upcoming Terminator Salvation. Face it Skynet: Time is not on your shiny, metal side.

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900-Pound Giant Squid Joins Cast Of 'The View'

NEW YORK—The View, a daytime talk show featuring a panel of women who discuss current events and topical issues, has found its newest cohost—a 53-foot-long giant squid.

Enlarge Image Squid

The sea creature squares off against Whoopi in a heated round of Hot Topics.

"We feel that the squid brings a fresh new point of view to the program," said View executive producer and host Barbara Walters. "We looked at hundreds of potential candidates, but in the end, this rare and exotic creature from the darkest depths of the sea truly stood out."

"And as far as we can tell, it is a female," Walters added.

The 900-pound cephalopod from the family Architeuthidae joins cohosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd. Like many past hosts, who have come from such diverse backgrounds as law, stand-up comedy, and local news, the squid was a virtual unknown before joining the cast. Plucking it from relative obscurity, producers discovered the squid 26,000 feet below sea level in the Mariana Trench and said to themselves, "This is the perspective the show has been lacking."

Enlarge Image TV Guide

In recent weeks, the squid has graced the covers of Elle, People, and TV Guide.

"After the squid's years spent dwelling on the ocean floor, I think viewers will be interested to hear its take on the hustle and bustle lifestyle of New York City," said ABC programming director Cyndi DeHart. "And personally, I can't wait to see how the squid interacts with Whoopi. Watch out!"

"This sassy cephalopod takes no prisoners," she added.

In its debut on the show, the marine life form was very animated, thrashing wildly and whipping its clawed tentacles across the studio during a heated debate about the Iraq War. Since then, however, the squid has been quiet and largely motionless. Many critics say the squid's reserved nature provides the perfect contrast to the louder, more opinionated cohosts such as Goldberg, Behar, and Hasselbeck.

According to fans of the show, the squid's most memorable moment thus far occurred last week, when it got a little testy during a discussion on whether teenage girls are getting "too sexy too soon" and squirted 12 gallons of ink onto Sherri Shepherd. The antic was met with laughter and applause from the studio audience.

"That was the moment this squid became a star," said View co-executive producer Bill Geddie, who has already booked the multi-tentacled mollusk on The Tonight Show and Live With Regis And Kelly, and has laid the groundwork on a deal for it to take over hosting duties of the syndicated version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2010.

In addition, the squid has already netted its own weekly segment on The View, "The Giant Squid's Gourmet Corner," which features quick and easy culinary tips for viewers at home.

Fan reaction to the giant aquatic invertebrate has been mostly positive. A recent ABC poll claims that the squid is connecting well with housewives and single mothers over 35.

"I like the squid," said Chicago resident Anna Herskowitz, 46. "I really relate to it. More than I relate to Elisabeth Hasselbeck, anyway."

Some viewers, however, have complained that the squid is too conservative. During an interview last week with Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the squid sat silently sprawled across the center of the studio and didn't ask the senator a single hard-hitting question.

"That squid is there for one reason, and that's to push its right-wing conservative agenda," Denver, CO viewer Mary Foley said. "Come on, give us viewers a little credit here."

Critics have also noticed some tension between the squid and the rest of the cast. The squid has been known to start arguments with Behar by wrapping one of its 27-foot tentacles around Behar's torso, lifting her into the air, and drawing her toward its powerful beak. The producers, however, say that such spur-of-the-moment conflict is what makes The View what it is, and that the attack was not personal.

In an interview last Friday, Behar voiced her support of the creature.

"We might argue on set—I might jokingly call the squid 'disgusting' or 'decomposing' or 'stupid,' and poke fun at its awful stench, and it might sometimes try to shred my body with its razor-sharp radula—but once the show is over, we're all friends," Behar said. "The squid even came to my daughter's piano recital."

According to a network insider, the squid is planning an emotional segment that will air next Wednesday in which it reveals that it has breast cancer.

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On the road to Dr. Dre's long-awaited album, 10 tracks that show where he's been

"Detox is coming." By now, most of us should be immune to this statement about Dre's follow-up to his 1999 album, 2001 (a.k.a. Chronic 2001). But every time Dre repeats this mantra, we all get that itch. Maybe this will be the year....

Thank Dre for our constant vigil. Unlike most attention-hungry artists, Dre doesn't flood the market with material to keep his name in circulation. The security of his operation (he keeps a close circle of musicians and technicians) has led to few leaks. In fact, the lack of concrete info on Detox is reminiscent of recording sessions in the '60s. Back then the prime outlet of info was interviews; leaks happened but had nowhere near the reach of the Internet.

For the last eight years, Detox has existed in a similar information void -- and we love it. The lack of information makes the market rife for speculation. All Punxsutawney Dre needs to do is pop up once a year to remind us that the album is on the way and make some abstract comments about drums tones, and we continue spinning the wheels. However, as recently as this past weekend Dre's principle protege, Bishop Lamont, performed purported album material, which has only further stirred the rumor pot.

For those who find this an exercise in futility, despair not: Dre's been leaving clues in plain sight. Though solo material has been scant, his post-2001 output is filled with top-ten collaborations -- Eminem's "Real Slim Shady"; Eve's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind"; Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair"; 50 Cent's "In Da Club"; the Game's "How We Do" -- and in the last two years alone held notable spots on the albums of major artists including Jay-Z, Nas and 50 Cent. Furthermore, his collaborative work has been consistent in purpose and subtle in progression. Looking at this output provides a glimpse at Dre's changing values and techniques.

1. Ice Cube: "Hello" (feat. Dr. Dre and MC Ren)

The warning signs came quickly: Dre became comfortable with his 2001 success and wore the hide off those beats. Snoop's "Lay Low," Eminem's "Bitch Please II," Jay-Z's "The Watcher 2" and noticeably the NWA reunion cut "Chin Check" all conjured those spare 2001 drums, bass burps and celeste or horn counterpoint parts. Among these, 2000's "Hello" was exceptional for its literal adherence to Dre's past laurels. Over a familiar break, Dre reunited again with the NWA alum to demand their propers for "starting this gangsta shit." While all three took turns explaining their vainglorious lives and accomplishments, Dre broke from rhyming and more or less spoke his mind: "I don't need your respect/ I don't need to make another album, bitch/ I don't got to do shit." OK. Although Dre may have been off with the "Hello" beat, his verse was a necessary vent. Considering his recent success carving out an America's Worst Nightmare persona for Eminem, it made sense for him to move further behind the production board to make his statements.

2. D12: "Fight Music"

Much of Dre's success has revolved around shaping an artist's musical identity. Instead of just giving an emcee a track to spit atop, he helped shape Snoop's, Eminem's and 50's respective sound. Thus, Snoop became the '90s G; Em became the Cable Guy; and 50 became the club thug. But perhaps because Dre's sonic tutelage has been so holistic, each artist has left the nest with varying degrees of success. Snoop spent years trying to tap an empty G-Funk well before recreating himself (with notable success) as a neo-pimp. Dre has participated on every 50 album but has relinquished the job of hitmaking to other producers; most recently, Ty Fife re-upped Dre's "Outta Control" for 50's requisite annual hit "Straight to the Bank."

However, "Fight Night," a minor D12 posse cut from the group's 2001 album, Devil's Night, is an example of the recognizability and value of the good Doc's lessons. Eminem took the core of the song -- its aggressive yet droning tone -- and turned it into his own freestyle/performance anthem "Lose Yourself." Freed from the erratic contributions of his cohorts, Em used the structure of "Fight Night," "Kashimir"-like guitar riff and all, to give his 8 Mile adrenaline-pumper the necessary Cinerama drama. Whether intentional or not, Dre's lessons have allowed his proteges to graduate -- in Em's case, from a novel caricature to a VH1-worthy dramatic actor.

3. Eve: "Satisfaction"

Dre's 2001 collaboration with Eve "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" rang the alarm about his pop ambitions, but the 2002 follow-up "Satisfaction" better captured his understanding of pop's sugar-sweet aesthetics. Dre curbed the gangsta lean of "Let Me Blow" by de-emphasizing the drums and pushing up the bass. He also kept Eve's sass in the fore and the sultry femme vox in the background. In short, he played up the Pussycat-feminist appeal of "Let Me Blow." But he forgot ine major ingredient, the crossover pop-star endorsement (e.g., Gwen Stefani), which left "Satisfaction" lingering at the lower end of the charts. That said, "Satisfaction" was an excellent example of Andre's pop music education -- lessons that he has clearly shared with his studio collaborators, like Scott Storch (Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera), Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette), and later on Mark Batson (Dave Matthews Band) -- and his interest in breaking from "this gangsta shit."

4. 50 Cent: "Heat"

As mentioned above, Dre's relationship with 50 Cent has been exceptional because unlike with many of his past proteges, he has maintained a steady presence on all of 50's albums. Their musical relationship has not only built the rapper's identity but that of an entire genre. In other words: Dre helped Eminem craft specific sounds that have become unique to Eminem (who else would ride "The Real Slim Shady" or "Just Lose It"?); in the case of 50 Cent, Dre helped create sounds that signified an entire category/"tag" of hip-hop. Dre and 50 crafted the gangsta sound and image of the 2000s.

"Heat," a comparatively minor single from 50's heralded major-label debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin', was the bizarro blaze of glory that literally summarized this concept. Before M.I.A. gave the middle class the pass to point two in the air like Gene Autry (and perhaps why the "thug life" crack is still so potent), Dre and 50 paired a beat based on guns cocking and firing with ridiculously violent lyrics ("Your brain jump out the top/ like Jack-in-the-box"). Like today's shoot-'em-up video games or Hollywood action sequences, the song was an intentional embodiment of every violent gun fantasy.

Credit Dre for playing up this quality in 50: His kill-'em-all-and-let-liberal-academics-sort-it-out pose was not just spin on entertainment and media, but was being played out in the real life invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Dre and 50 recognized the necessary shift in G culture. The '90s G had the Clintonian panache to do a C-walk while plugging a cap in your ass, but today's gangsta simply killed by any means necessary -- repetitious, unflappable and mechanical. Or, as 50 intoned, "God's on your side/ Shit, I'm a'ight with that/ 'Cuz we gon' reload them clips and come right back." "Heat" became the musical equivalent.

5. The Game: "Westside Story"

So, what was Dre planning for the Game? The pitch was that Compton-bred Jayceon Taylor would "bring back" the West Coast. But Dre's introduction of the Game on the rapper's major-label debut single, "Westside Story," told a more nuanced story. Beneath the gang shot-outs, local references and choral emphasis on "Wessyde!" lurked a familiar beat. The music didn't fit any regional stereotype: It wasn't West Coast G-funk, nor was it East Coast hardcore. No, this was the sound of Dre's international pop success Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Dre seemingly opted for increasing the brand recognition of the G-Unit stable instead of branching out musically. "Westside Story" was more evidence of Dre's marketing savvy rather than musical innovation. That the relationship between Dre and the Game became estranged was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Each has since been freed of the obligation of churning out the same material for the sake of a brand.

6. Sunshine Anderson: "Problems"

Singer Truth Hurts received an unfair amount of ink in the early 2000s for being an example of the flaws in Dre's artist-centric label Aftermath Entertainment. Ironic jokes -- maybe she hurts too much -- came easily. Which was a shame because Dre made his first serious post-2001 creative breakthrough on the singer's debut, Truthfully Speaking. Though he produced relatively little of the album, his oversight led to a sonically adventurous album. The single "Addictive" responded to the then-popular interest in Bollywood samples by pairing one of the great playback singers Lata Mangeshkar with Truth Hurts' powerful voice. "Grown" and "Queen of the Ghetto" were anthems that would make Oprah bristle. And Dre's own "Push Play" added weeded sea legs to his normally glossy beats. However, perhaps because the record strayed too far from the pack, Truthfully Speaking received weak promotion and Dre's experiment fizzled out.

Fast forward to 2007 and by now Dre had refined his production approach. He focused increasingly on details and tailored his music for each voice. So in a sense Sunshine Anderson's "Problems" may have been his attempt at redeeming the Truth Hurts debacle. Granted, Anderson's smooth chops hardly compare with the rugged gospel-inflection of Truth Hurts. And Anderson was a one-off, not one of Dre's pet projects. That said, "Problems" was mutually beneficial for both singer and producer: Anderson got to show off the robust side of her voice and Dre got to revisit Truth Hurts' corner blues. The result was a compromise: Where Dre brought out the adventure and fire in Truth Hurts, he instead smoothed Sunshine Anderson's edges, while retained that blues core. The low brass stabs lent a '50s Vegas swinger quality that calmed Anderson's troubled hook, "I wish I could drink and smoke my problems away." In a sense, the song is a case of Dre learning the same lessons of past generations of black entertainers. However, Dre seems able to balance his artistic experiments with his commercial concessions.

7. Busta Rhymes: "I'm Just Getting Warm"

Most of Dre's "bangers" knocked systems out on the strength of the drums and low end, instead of a fracas of sharp sounds (think of the staccato scratches of Premier or Kanye's sped-up samples on his early works) or fat synths (like how Timbaland and Polow da Don have given many of their songs a bowling pin shape). In contrast, Dre's "The Next Episode" and "In da Club" made speakers rumble like Paul Bunyon strolling with ankle weights. Which made "I'm Just Getting Warm," a to-date unreleased Busta nugget, a curiosity on Dre's resume.

A fracas of high-pitched pings carried the song like a Swizz Beatz production. And the LL homage was an atypical nod to Dre's peer -- as opposed to his usual move to reach in the crates for an older reference. Frankly, the song made Dre sound young. The move may have suited Busta because of the rapper's constant efforts to stay on the top shelf of hip-hop stars. But the track sticks out in Dre's oeuvreas an unnecessary daliance into pop concessions.

8. Crooked I: "Say Dr. Dre"

Dre took outsourcing rhymes to a new level following his altercation at the 2006 Vibe Music Awards. He maintained his producer role and had Crooked I spit three verses on his behalf. While having others respond to one's beef was nothing new, "Say Dr. Dre" was an unusual response record because Crooked I's performance as Dre. The MC not only channeled Dre's anger but also alternately slipped in and out of Dre's voice: "I made the chronic leaf a logo for pot culture"; "I own the patent on gangsta rappin'." The beat itself was an anonymous sloth, typical of dis/response/freestyle fare. But the song as a whole acted as an unintentional metaphor for Dre's role as a producer: back in the cut, calling the shots.

9. Jay-Z: "Lost One" feat Chrisette Michele

As early as 2002, Dre expressed his uninterest in mainstream topics in rap. Though he never specified his preferred alternatives, the most distinct quality of Dre's music in the last few years has been an air of sophistication. Many of these records are better suited for a crisp fall evening with a warm glass of brandy instead of a bottle of cold Cris in a steamy club.

It is no surprise that Dre's experiments have worked mostly with seasoned artists, like Jay-Z. The seeming minimalism of 2006's "Lost Ones" -- just a piano riff, drums and bass and voice for counterpoint -- was a perfect fit for the even-headed Hov. The beat created enough emotional backdrop to add weight to Jay's stories: After all, how much could Everyman actually care about a millionaire's celebrity break-up with a business partner, GF troubles and death of his nephew?

10. Bishop Lamont: "Grow Up"

Much like "Lost Ones," Lamont's "Grow Up" illustrates Dre's greatest strength: to play up an MC's strengths. In stark contrast to his chest-beating anthems for 50 Cent, Eminem or the Game, all of which seem to compete with the MC for the listener's attention, Dre took a backseat and allowed the MC to (literally) do all the talking. Like Steve Reich performing a tight-rope act, he crafted a track that breathed so softly that it required Lamont to drive the song through lyric and performance. Instead of embracing the impersonal FedEx/file-transfer method of today's music composition, Dre makes clear that close collaboration still has a place in his art.

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Music photographer William Claxton dies at 80

LOS ANGELES - William Claxton, a celebrated photographer who worked with such entertainers as Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra and who helped establish the organization that runs the Grammy Awards, has died. He was 80.

Claxton died Saturday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications stemming from congestive heart failure, his son Christopher said.

He was best known for his soulful portraits of jazz artists such as Chet Baker, and he went on to photograph Dylan and other musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Tom Jones. His images graced the covers of numerous albums.

Claxton, a founding member of The Recording Academy, started his photography career in 1952 while a student at University of California, Los Angeles.

He also worked with Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Rebecca De Mornay, and his photographs regularly appeared in such magazines as Life, Paris Match and Vogue.

In the 1960s, Claxton collaborated with his wife, fashion model Peggy Moffitt, to create a collection of iconic images featuring Rudi Gernreich's fashion designs.

A film he directed from that era, "Basic Black," is considered by many to be the first "fashion video" and is now part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Claxton also wrote 13 books and held dozens of exhibitions of his work around the world.

In 2003, he won the Lucie award for music photography at the International Photography Awards.

"He was a great photographer and a wonderful man who touched the lives of his friends through his generosity, charm and kindness," said his publisher Benedikt Taschen, founder and owner of Taschen Publishing, in a statement. "Bill was very close to my heart and a pillar of our publishing house."

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Five Books That Need To Be Adapted Into Movies Like Right Now

Hollywood is unoriginal. We all know this. A study was recently conducted that proved that Hollywood is the second most unoriginal thing in the world (the first being Hollywood’s slightly retarded Hindi cousin Bollywood). Nowadays, nearly every new movie is either a remake or an adaptation of a book. I won’t complain. After all, tons of amazing movies are adaptations. That said, there are some books that, for some reason unknown to me, still haven’t been adapted. Following are five that need to be adapted two days before tomorrow.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

What it's about – It’s the 1840s along the Texas-Mexico border. A fourteen-year-old kid (suitably named “the kid”) is wandering around beating up bartenders, burning down hotels, filibustering, and all sorts of other wacky nonsense until he decides to join the Glanton gang – a gang that specializes in scalping injuns. From here, plenty of family-friendly hijinx occurs.

Why it needs to be adapted – Two words, one expletive: it’s fucking awesome. If that isn’t enough to convince you...well, at one part, a Delaware Indian picks up two babies (one in each hand) and bashes them against a rock in a gory mess.

Chances of it happening – Pretty good actually. With the success of No Country For Old Men and the upcoming The Road, Cormac McCarthy adaptations seem to be the cool thing to do these days. That, and the fact that IMDB has it listed as in production.

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

What it's about – In ancient Sparta, the Spartans were led by King Leonidas. The Persians come and demand Spar...okay, fuck it, it’s the same plot as 300.

Why it needs to be adapted – Because it’s everything that 300 should have been. Remember how lame it was that the Spartans went out like pussies when the Persians flanked them? Not here, they fight to the bitter end. Remember the depth that all of the characters had? Me neither, but this story had plenty of it. Remember how uncomfortable you felt when watching all those buff, shirtless men? These Spartans had our heterosexuality and sexual security in mind when they went to battle, as they wore armor.

Chances of it happening – When the book first came out, studios couldn’t wait to get the film version out of the door, but for some reason, studio buttfuckery caused it to remain in limbo. And then 300 came out. So if this DID come out, you can be sure that people would call it a ripoff.

Tick Tock by Dean Koontz

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What it's about – Some culturally confused Vietnamese-American writer is trying to come to terms with his identity. He doesn’t get a chance to mull it over too much though since some weird lizard monster thing shows up on his doorstep with one goal in mind - kill the fuck out of him.

Why it needs to be adapted – Because I’m a narcissist and every movie should be tailored to my interests and this book was one of my favourites when I was younger.

Chances of it happening – Tons of Koontz’s books have been adapted into movies, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was too. The real question is, what are the chances of it being adapted into a good movie? Well, tons of Koontz’s books have been adapted into movies, but the problem is, most of them suck to the point of starring Corey Haim. So chances of this one fulfilling my childhood desires is little.

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

What it's about – Tender Bransen is the sole survivor of a cult that committed mass suicide. He gets his rocks off from talking other people into killing themselves, and his life is turned right-side up when the powers that be decide to turn him into a media messiah. Basically, it’s the biography of Miley Cyrus if she was a Heaven’s Gate member.

Why it needs to be adapted – Because basically, it’s the biography of Miley Cyrus if she was a Heaven’s Gate member. Seriously, fuck the Berenstain Bears, this story is chock-full of lessons for children. The lesson being “fuck these people created solely by the media because chances are they get their rocks off from talking other people into killing themselves.”

Chances of it happening – Well, the background for the story is the main character hijacking a plane and crashing it into Australia. I’m not sure why, but for some reason, plane hijacking offends people. Could somebody please enlighten me as to why this is? Was there a terrorist attack I didn’t hear about or something?

Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich

What it's about – It’s the true story of a bunch of nerdy Asians at MIT led by an eccentric teacher who develop a system for winning blackjack. They go on to take Vegas and various other casinos for millions. It’s basically the movie 21 without all the SHIT.

Why it needs to be adapted – Because the movie 21 had all the SHIT. It took all the good SHIT from the book, SHIT all over it, and turned the good SHIT into bad SHIT, making the movie nothing but SHIT. Laurence Fishburne didn’t even threaten to shove a poker chip down anyone’s throat. How the fuck can you call that a worthy adaptation?

Chances of it happening – Zero, since they already fucked it up. Good game, Hollywood, see you back on the bench.

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Don Cheadle Replaces Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2

by: Peter Sciretta

It has always bothered me when a new actor is brought in to replace another actor who has already been established as a franchise character. I don’t think I’m alone in this viewpoint. The first time I noticed this occurrence was when I was a child and Sarah Chalke replaced Alicia Goranson as Becky (otherwise known as the “Two Beckys”). Sometimes the situation is forced upon a movie studio, like with Richard Harris’ untimely passing, which forced Warner Bros to recast Michael Gambon as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series of films. But other times it just comes down to a disagreement over money. And so appears to be the case with Iron Man 2.

Marvel Studios has hired Don Cheadle to replace Terrence Howard in the upcoming Iron Man sequel. Cheadle will play Jim Rhodes, Tony Stark’s best friend and future War Machine. Director Jon Favreau has made numerous hints that War Machine may play a part in the second film. The Hollywood Reporter’s sources claim it was a conflict due to financial differences. Earlier this year, it was widely speculated that Marvel was trying to low ball Favreau with an offer not much higher than his initial payday for the first film. It is not unusual for salaries to double for a sequel, especially when the first film outperformed to the level that Iron Man had. But from what I’ve heard, Marvel believes the superhero characters themselves are the real stars, and some have said that the company is being thrifty in their negotiations for their future projects.

Most people will agree, Howard and Downey Jr had incredible chemistry. Who knows if Cheadle will be able to reproduce the same magic in the sequel. That said, it is difficult to be angry with a a-level actor like Cheadle coming in for the assist.

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