Fly casual.

Found this online today:

Even I get boarded sometimes.

God bless the internet.

If you’ve been listening to Greedo Shot First or Time Travel Murder Mystery then you know that I’m definite supporters of Idris Elba as Han Solo (in a remake) or to be involved in some kind of capacity in the new Star Wars.

Podcasts!

In the last episode of Greedo Shot First we discussed the latest rumors about the next episode of Star Wars and then revisited The Phantom Menace, and in the latest episode of TTMM, we talked about the latest episode of Homeland and the end of Veronica Mars‘ second season and after that, Benjie took his pants down and squatted down and took a ripe hot shit on Peter Jackson and The Return Of The King, all in eager anticipation of The Hobbit. You can check out both shows in iTunes, of course.

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Greedo Shot First.

So I’ve done a lot of posts here hyping our podcast – Time Travel Murder Mystery – and this post won’t be any different, except I want to talk about how Benjie and I have another podcast that we’re doing, Greedo Shot First.

This is us getting out all of our hardcore old school Star Wars nerdery and kind of bullshitting around with it and looking at the hype and speculation and strangely shaped observances that come with the upcoming Episode VII. I can’t promise that this podcast is any less dorky than other Star Wars podcasts, but I can tell you that ours is far more mean spirited and foul mouthed.

Anyway, I’m especially excited to share with you some art we have for the podcast…

…provided for us by our good friend, Michael Manuel, whom you may or may not have heard of us talk about on the podcast sometimes, usually referred to as “Erotikus.” Mike has sometimes referred to our podcast as being “A Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans,” and I think you could say that’s about half right. Anyway. Say hey to Mike and give him money to do art and check out our podcast in iTunes or keep track of it either here, or at the Time Travel Murder Mystery site. May the Force be with you.

Also, big Star Wars news today.

We’re talking about it in the latest Time Travel Murder Mystery episode. In short: We’re excited.

This image is a funny internet joke, but as Benjie Light just pointed out to me, it’s nothing compared to this…

Updated to add: The latest report (as of the day after this big announcement) is that the story will “all original,” whatever the hell that means.

Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.

Also:

“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

(of Mars.)

I didn’t see John Carter, the long burning adaption of the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books, on its opening weekend.

But neither did you. And neither did a large chunk of the rest of North America.

I saw it today though, two weeks (perhaps?) or so into its run.

I’m going to wax ineloquently about its pros and cons, if you will, and I’ll do it as briefly as I can. I can already suspect that very little of what I’m going to say will be about the film itself.

PRO: The film is good. It is strong, and solid, and good. It is enjoyable, especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon, in the movie theater.

CON: It’s long. Not super long, no, but they could’ve cut about twenty minutes or so down and it would’ve felt like a sharper bullet fired at the audience (in the hopes of making a trilogy-sized wound?).

A somewhat similarly related CON: Another light breeze through the script could’ve helped. Michael Chabon does a decent job, definitely, but they should’ve brought in a seasoned script doctor (like Joss Whedon from the late 90s) and let them punch up the dialogue a little more, toss in a few more one liners.

Neither a PRO, nor a CON: It’s just funny to see McNulty in this movie. Does he only play incredibly sleazy bad dudes in his film work? I would’ve killed for a “What the fuck did I do?”

Also, neither a PRO, nor a CON: CiarĂ¡n Hinds and James Purefoy, reunited. Interesting. I wanted to scream, “CAESAR, LOOK OUT!” Purefoy’s only in the movie for about five and a half minutes, but he’s the only character really having a lot of fun, it seemed like. Which is weird because, at the same time, given the kind of characters that Purefoy usually plays, or doesn’t, I felt like he was ready and willing to take over Dominic West’s role in a heartbeat should he have felt ill or something.

Also, Polly Walker’s in the mix too. What a weird Rome reunion.

Related, but neither a PRO or a CON: You really could’ve unleashed this story as an HBO show, especially in light of success with properties like A Song Of Ice And Fire on HBO and Spartacus on Starz. Everything seen here in this movie would’ve made for a very strong first season.

PRO (obviously): Andrew Stanton. The guy’s good.

I remember going into the theater to see the last Mission: Impossible film, humorously subtitled Ghost Protocol, with no real expectations at all, mostly because the trailers and advertising were so sub par. Obviously I liked The Incredibles and Brad Bird’s talent there was undeniable, but there was no real clear indication in the advertising for Ghost Protocol as to what that would look like in Bird’s live action debut.

Long story short, Ghost Protocol was good. A real solid, fun popcorn flick. Definitely worth watching. I walked out of that thinking that, rather than jerking us or themselves around, Tom Cruise and J. J. Abrams and their associates might as well just lock Brad Bird down for another Mission: Impossible film. Will they? Who knows. Probably not. He’ll probably return as a “producer,” but they should.

PRO (continued): A little of that though, that ambivalence, is why I just wasn’t jazzed to see John Carter. I read more good reviews than negative ones, but nothing in that trailer was making my cock stand up, you know what I mean? I mean, I’ll probably go and see The Hunger Games, and I’ll most likely hate it and curse Gary Ross’ name in the dark, but I’ll see it out of obligation. The flat out suck is more than apparent already in The Hunger Games‘ trailers. I’m going to go out on a limb and say right now that Gary Ross will probably have spent more time obsessing over weird costume designs and facial hair and shit than developing strong stories, interesting action sequences, or interesting characterizations.

The difference between that instance and the one I’m somewhat talking about here in this post is simple: Gary Ross is a fucking hack and Andrew Stanton is the real deal.

Spoiler for all The CONS listed in this post: The marketing and advertising for this movie is fucking terrible and all the blame for the film’s poor Box Office performance should reside squarely on their shoulders.

PRO: There’s about ten minutes of this film set in the Old West, and every bit of it was more exciting than the entirety of Cowboys And Aliens. I’m very glad that Jon Favreau got shown the door from this production.

PRO: You get the sense that Stanton gets film, gets how it should flow and feel, especially the big popcorn munching blockbuster, in a way that can only be viewed in another modern filmmaker in the likes of someone like the aforementioned J. J. Abrams. Their style is original, using the tools of today, but it also feels like a respectful homage to a 70s style as well, something from George Lucas or Spielberg. I don’t say that in a bad way though. They’re not like the average Tarantino beast, inserting 13% original creativity into a mutant wearing a t-shirt that says “BIG SLOPPY HOMAGE” on it. But I feel like Super 8 was just Abrams addressing the fact that he knew what he was doing, where his style was born. I feel like John Carter is doing that too, but in a much more quiet voice.

Thesis Statement of the PROs: About half way through the viewing of this movie I started to wonder if this film was the closet that I would get to watching the original Star Wars film as a kid.

Perhaps it was thinking that that completely kicked me into a higher gear of of enjoying this film. I mean, I have nitpicks, yeah.

Tons of them, in fact: Starting with cutting this film down a little bit, not in the editing room, but at the drawing board stage, just tightening some things up, some of the chases and what have you, and punching up some of the dialogue. Some diversification of the character designs, especially the warring civilizations, and primarily the “red people,” the humanoids from the warring city-states. There should’ve been a mindset in place for the fact that this movie should be for KIDS, and also adults who accompany them. And more of a mindset than just slapping the tiny little Disney logo on top of the posters.

I mean… Right?

PRO: Taylor Kitsch doesn’t seem like a very interesting entity to be pushing upon filmgoers, but I guess I like him better than Sam Worthington. That said, Kitsch (Sorry, that’s a terrible last name for an actor) does a fine job in this film, but the rest of its cast is fascinatingly seasoned:

Lynne Collins as Dejah Thoris, as well as Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, David Schwimmer, and Art Malik are in there with the aforementioned Hinds, Purefoy, Polly Walker, and Dominic West. And with a cameo by Jon Favreau. And thankfully no cameos whatsoever by Harry Knowles (taking the cheapest of shots here: we would’ve needed something a little bigger than IMAX for that).

Taking a smart note from the original Star Wars there is that you have a unique mixture of British pedigree there, all chewing on that Martian scenery.

CON: The shortened title. I get Stanton’s reasoning, that this film is about John Carter becoming of Mars. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah blah. But still. I don’t know how many Tarzan and/or John Carter and/or lovers of old pulpy sci fi were out there, horny with desire at the thought of this finally coming to the big screen, but still. The OF MARS at the end of the title would’ve really clued you into something going on there. Something different. Simply titling the film John Carter tells me one thing about this movie: I don’t know what this is. Is it a film about a high school basketball coach who applies tough love to his students? Is it about a guy who starts his own company and starts a relationship with a receptionist and also has cancer? Is this a lawyer and/or a doctor flick?

CON, continuing: Leaving the “Of Mars” at the end of the title should’ve lit a fire under the advertising people’s asses too. And perhaps the production design as well. No one on this production should’ve been afraid to go weird here. Obviously they weren’t too precious about the original source material (who is these days?)(other than the people adapting Game Of Thrones), which is fine, because there was nothing too precious in Burroughs’ source material, but there should’ve been some steps outside of the box.

Interlude to this CON: An example of them not being terribly, painfully faithful to the source material: the (would be titular) princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris.

from here.

I like Lynn Collins, and I’m glad with how they reinvented her character for this story. The original idea of Dejah Thoris in the books seems like a castoff wet dream from Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales, and can rightfully belong in the wet dream and basement apartments of fan boys. This is the real world. “Tits” and “Ridiculous nudity” are not character qualities.

The princess of Mars, by Bruce Timm, from here.

Sorry, CON, continued: There should’ve been more steps outside the box in every aspect of this film’s production, really.

There’s no denying that filmmaking has gotten so much lazier since the late 90s, but that goes hand in hand with how much lazier advertising these films has gotten since then. And yet, the advertising budgets for studios is getting bigger and bigger, going through the roof, even when they’re seemingly returning less and less profits. The budget for John Carter is supposedly $250 million dollars, which really means that it’s total budget with the marketing is, what, a minimum of $350 million? Ugh. I’m sure they’ll make that back, but not quickly enough.

But I guess you could say that the film was doomed by the time its first teaser was released.

CON, still continuing, becoming more and more of a bitch session about modern movie marketing and more of a circle jerk over the original Star Wars: The beauty of the original Star Wars as that, to then modern cinema-going audience, it was new. Sure, all that Joseph Campbell shit was old, but they didn’t know that, not consciously. All the fat little nerds weren’t sitting in movie theater lines in 1977 waxing poetic over the hero’s journey. No, they wanted to see a good story and some cool shit, and the film fucking delivered. George Lucas took stuff from primal storytelling archetypes and he took a little from classic pulpy sci fi and he managed to remix it into a very new style.

I’m guess I’m telling you that John Carter has a little of that (but not enough). I guess I’m telling you that we desperately need more of that. We need that potential and we need marketing that delivers the suggestion of a little of that to audiences.

PRO: Again, the movie just solid, and fun. Not perfect. Not a home run, but better than a lot of the shit that you could end up seeing in theaters these days. I’m going on and on about the sins of films these days and how they’re slaves to the advertising departments, but the thing I really want you to take from this is that John Carter is a pretty good movie, even if the trailer would’ve lead you to that assumption, or to any kind of assumption of what kind of movie it is.

One last CON: The ending. It ends somewhat ambiguously, but in a happy way. It wraps this story up in a way that works, even if it means that there will never be a sequel, which could very well be the case. I was somewhat reminded of the adaptation of The Golden Compass from a few years ago, which was not great. I’m a huge lover of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, of which The Golden Compass was the first entry, and I was ready to forgive a lot of the sins of that film adaptation, of which there were so fucking many, but the one I could never forgive was that they cut off the last thirty pages’ worth of the story’s ending, which they had filmed, with the intention of moving it to the beginning of the proposed sequel, which never happened.

Similar to what they did with the ending of The Two Towers, and how they moved its ending to the start of The Return Of The King.

And they did that because I guess they were afraid to end the film on a slightly downer of a cliffhanger. The fools. They needed that cliffhanger so badly. And The Golden Compass was edited like they weren’t expecting to be filming the follow up any time ever, so why not go for broke?

I’m not saying that John Carter needed to do that. They could’ve though. Rather than tying up the one last lingering plot point, such as they did, they could’ve thrown a mystery into your face. That’s another lesson Star Wars that a lot of the so called modern myth makers seem to not see: If you want to have a nice, large tapestry, it better have a lot of complex threads in it, any one of which could produce an interesting story. You walked out of A New Hope not quite sure of what was going on with that Darth Vader dude, or Luke’s dad, but you knew there would be an interesting story there if someone ever brought the story back to the movie theater near you…

Easter ha ha.

from here and Underpants Jail.

from here.

Suck it, bloggery.

My two favorite quotes of the day:

“Having a free online ‘printing press’ doesn’t turn you into a journalist anymore than your laser printer did.”

and

“Citizen journalists are almost as good as citizen dentists.”

…both come from a funny little thing here about “saving journalism,” and while I don’t fully agree with the criticism of bloggers/blogging/bloggery, I do find it funny. Personally, an insecure girl in middle America who takes naughty photos of herself and writes online about her secret fantasies and finds that her medium is the internet, not verbal communication with the “real world,” is just as worthy of internetting as a licensed and certifiable hipster who writes about bands that have more novelty value than listenability. But everything is different for everyone and the world/the internet/reality is a big enough sandbox for all. If you read the internet, read what you read. If you write on the internet, write what you write. Journalism will live or die as it needs to.

Though that “citizen dentists” line is still hilarious to me, sorry.

You know, I pretty much slept through the entire balloon boy story today, but it sounds like it was really interesting for a few minutes. Like a childhood fantasy gone crraazzzy. For the kid, I mean. As a new story, it seems kind of annoying.

What Whoopi Goldberg, Harvey Weinstein, etc. are saying in their outrage over the arrest of Roman Polanski.

Oh, and following in the illustrious footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and… Ben Affleck, the new Captain Kirk is Jack Ryan.

from here.