Adam Dietz is a regular contributor to Filmophilia. He’s graciously agreed to chronicle his The Wire-watching experiences here on Gentlemen, Behold!!
I don’t feel well, blogosphere. Things are not right in the world of your (noble, handsome, humble) narrator.
My current state of dissatisfaction has two contributing factors that have brought me to where I currently am. The first involves a weekend of debauchery in the windiest of cities. CHI-town (as the locals call it) has me in a state of zombie like benevolence. The establishments I frequented last evening ate me alive, and I was all too happy to supply the required utensils. It’s been the kind of day where you realize that you’ve put your shirt on inside out, but the prospect of turning it the right seems too exhausting to consider.
The second, and far more relevant, cause of my grief is not an ailment, per se, but is an experience that I have deprived myself from. As a (self-proclaimed) television aficionado, I take pride in my knowledge of current and past television shows and genuinely enjoy the experience of watching episodes, seasons, and entire series of shows. With all of this said, I am missing an important piece to the popular culture puzzle. It seems that through inexplicable circumstances, I have not tasted the sweet dish that is/was HBO’s The Wire. How is it possible that a man with such love for television and popular culture hasn’t seen a show of such high acclaim? I have decided to right this wrong and cure this injustice. Tonight and for many days and nights to follow, I will be watching this former premium cable darling and writing posts that will detail my journey.
Skyfall, the 23rd entry into the James Bond film franchise, had a rough development initially, due to MGM’s bankruptcy. More than that, though, it followed the comparatively poorly-received Quantum of Solace. Skepticism abounded after rumors of Bond forgoing a medium dry vodka martini for Heineken. What was Sam Mendes thinking? But thankfully (so, so thankfully), Skyfall is another entry into the core Bond canon, one that understands and respects the character and franchise’s lineage as it goes forward.
James Bond was created out of Ian Fleming’s military experience as a superman to fight the Russians on the stage of popular culture. He is the quintessential secret agent, defined as much by his tastes and his proclivities as his actions. The tuxedo, the martinis, the women and the quips; these are James Bond in the same way Connery or Moore or anyone else is. It’s the trappings of the story that capture our imagination. The sexy, smooth secret agent fighting the bad guys.
Readers, you may have noticed that I haven’t recapped an episode of Grimm in a long time. I could give a number of reasons for that. I could tell you that I’m writing for the Kalamazoo Gazette, and that they keep me pretty busy over there. I could tell you that a feature film my friends produced, The Day Job, premiered and that setting all that up took a significant amount of my energies. I could tell you that I competed in, and won, a stand up comedy competition. These are all elements. But the truth is that I stopped recapping Grimm because it’s just not a very good show. It’s not a very good show, no one’s paying me to recap it, and the time I spend taking notes on episodes and writing about them is better spent doing a number of other things.
Every year Syfy (formerly Sci-fi Channel) airs a Twilight Zone marathon for New Year’s. For those who don’t know, The Twilight Zone is a 1960s anthology series which focused on science fiction, fantasy and horror elements in its stories. It’s often brought up when strange or unfortunate coincidences occur, generally by those who grew up with the show. But speaking as someone who’s memorized almost every episode of The Twilight Zone, I have to say, it doesn’t seem like such a bad place to live (spoilers for a couple of episodes follow).
Merry Christmas!! The Yuletide is one of my favorite seasons. The caroling, the presents, the repetitive television specials, I love all of it. But the joy of Christmas hides a darker, more dangerous element, an element which threatens the lives of people around the world. Most people are sadly unaware these dangers, so I’ve taken it upon myself to educate the general public. I’m referring, of course, to the Krampus, the monster of Christmas.
It’s a common practice. You meet someone and discover he or she reads comic books. You ask about which of the big two publishers, Marvel Comics or DC Comics, he or she prefers. If you agree, you have a lot to talk about. If you don’t, you have even more. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the idea of one company being inherently “better” than the other, and the idea that you have to pick a side, is flawed, and when people take it too seriously, they cheat themselves out of a lot of good stuff.
I apologize for being a little bit late to the party on this one. Producer Mitchell Hurwitz recently announced at the Arrested Development cast reunion that not only is a movie follow-up to the critically acclaimed series in the works, there’s also a plan to make a miniseries which catches up with the characters since the show’s cancellation. It would run for about 8-10 episodes and lead up to the film’s theatrical release. Awesome, right?
But wait, didn’t Jeffrey Tambor say the movie was about to start production back in April? And didn’t Jason Bateman say that the script was written back in 2010? And didn’t Hurwitz say that “the wheels were in motion” in early 2008?
So there’s a new Spider-Man in town. His name’s Miles Morales, he’s got a new costume, and he’s biracial, half-black and half-Hispanic. This is a good thing, and one that’s long overdue.
Before I go any further, here’s two important pieces of background information, to provide some context. The new Spider-Man is appearing in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, part of a smaller shared universe Marvel set up about ten years ago to provide more contemporary takes on classic characters (incidentally, it’s also where the idea to use Samuel L. Jackson came from). Earlier this summer, the Ultimate universe’s Peter Parker died in a climactic battle against Norman Osborn (don’t worry, he won). This doesn’t affect mainstream Marvel continuity (termed “Earth-616″), where the Peter Parker most people are familiar with is still having the same webslinging adventures he’s been in since 1962.
This is something that’s been kicking around in my head for a while, and some recent articles I’ve read have brought it to mind again.
Pixar recently released Cars 2, a sequel to their 2006 film Cars, about the adventures of a group of anthropomorphic automobiles voiced by Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy, among others. Now, I haven’t seen Cars 2, although I probably will eventually. I found the first one to be a bit stock and uninspired, plotwise, although there were some genuinely clever puns and sight gags using the car theme. But I’ve already been reading review after review slamming Cars 2 for being a sellout, crappy Larry the Cable Guy vehicle (no pun intended) which “threatened to break Pixar’s quality streak” and “feels like a betrayal.” The thing is, I’ve been seeing these same thoughts for months, long before the movie even hit preview screens. It seems like a fair amount of people decided a long time ago that the inclusion of Larry the Cable Guy was an unforgivable offense.
Several weeks ago, DC Comics announced that beginning in September, all of their titles would be relauched at #1, with some current titles being cancelled and others being heavily retooled or rebooted. Additionally, all DC titles will be available digitally the same day they hit stores. 52 titles have been announced so far, with more to debut next year.
Reaction was mixed when the news broke. A lot of fans applauded the move as one of the Big Two publishers finally moving into the 21st century, but there was also some apprehension in terms of rebooting some series and erasing stories-and characters- from continuity. Over the past few weeks, the covers and solicits for the new DC Universe have been released, and it’s kind of hit or miss. I’ve collected some of the titles I’ll be picking up, as well as a couple I think will be stinkers and a few which are just plain odd.