Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Superman Says, "Buy Acme Brand Products!"

So, we've all seen this Stride Gum ad where the long-lasting flavor bring sales to a stand still.

Not a bad series of TV spots; funny, ironic, and they even have one ad exploring a character's deja vu of being stuck in the ad cycle.

But now they have really done it. Last, Thursday's Smallville was one long Stride ad. See, Smallville likes to have s little fun playing around with some origins--often fake-outs that geeks may enjoy or groan at. So, they whip out a little diddy about "plastic man" (who isn't the well-known one) tying in with the return of Pete Ross, and--trumpets--Stride gum. Ross chews some kryptonite infused Stride gum and, of course, becomes stretchy (a trans-flesh in Ultimate-U parlance). He found it in an abandoned Stride factory where a band he was roadying for was playing.
Clark: "That place is closed down already?!"
Chloe: "Maybe next time they won't make the flavor last so long."
I. Kid. You. Not.

As Ross departed, he pops one more piece of gum into his gob, holds the product face-out like it was a pack of Mentos, and heaves it at a smiling pretty girl. I like to think of the ad men that came up with this as floating leg-crossed around board room table in a Zen-like peace. This is one of those things that so transcends retarded that it comes out the other end as genius. Retarded? Retarded like a fox.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A+ B Movies

The Last Boy Scout is a "love it or hate it" kind of movie. But, whether one of the Die Hard sequel scripts that didn't make it or just a zany buddy cop movie, this movie has nothing if not great lines. Somebody had to watch this before Die Hard 3, because the banter is like some beta-rough draft. Halle Berry, Damon Wayans, and Bruce Willis turn in a classic that is so "B" it can break most rules.

So, Willis is a private detective and former Secret Service agent that got canned for hitting a congressman. He's hired by a former pro-football player's stripper girlfriend (Berry) for protection. Turns out she was messing around with the team owner who was doing dirty deals with said congressman.

6 or 7 murders later, one committed by Willis, the game's afoot at a the football stadium. But the real greatness lies in the concept of the man against a world of evil. Willis is from a different world--a world of honor and duty--but we meet him after the real world has broken him and his family. Perhaps some conservative fantasy, the violent action strips away the modern baggage and reconnects him with his family on the basic level of protector. It is vintage, world weary anti-hero Willis wrapped in a twisting, crazy plot. It ain't Shakespeare, but hits with two fists of action and comedy in the head and the gut.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Can't Resist . . .

posting this picture, mostly because I can imagine this conversation actually taking place:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geek Parodies

Parody of geek favorites has maybe hit an all time high these days. On Adult Swim you have the Venture Brothers and Robot Chicken hammering out laughs about everything from the Fantastic Four to He-Man. Recently, Family Guy did an hour long parody of Star Wars: A New Hope. Truly, you can find many parodies on-line, but let's take a second to look at two geeky parodies that are better than good.

First up, Seanbaby.com; this little site is pretty R-rated, dirty but also very funny.
Think David Spade or Dennis Miller ripping on the Superfriends.He's got about three sections on comic stuff and some more on video games. One section focuses on those old Hostess Fruit Pie ads that use to be in comic books. In the ads, some hero would defeat some villain in a couple of panels by occupying them and their murderous urges with the irresistible taste of jelly filled pastries. To the right of the bit-o-seventies-craziness is Seanbaby's commentary. Here's a chime-in from Doom himself, which nails these strange ads:

"Doom admits he cannot conceive of how the Trapster's plan failed. It had all things necessary - a nondescript henchman who is distracted with food, a metal base with no personnel or defenses, and doors that are easily punched off their hinges. Doom feels the only thing missing from its perfection was an air vent leading from the outside directly to the central control room. Oh yes-- a tiny flying robot who beeps hello and occasionally bonks into walls and makes weeping sounds might be nice."

If that's not enough, Seanbaby.com has a section on old, insane, racist, or just plain dumb ads from comic book yore with commentary and ratings. But the best is the SuperFriends page. He has video clips and funny character profiles, plus little one panel strips made from screen captures. One goes something like:

Lex Luthor: I have just invented the bathrobe!

Grodd: Bathrobe? What does it do?

Lex: When worn by gorillas the bathrobe renders them not (bleep)ing naked! Just look at you! Sitting there all naked!

Good stuff!

Another parody is a bit more esoteric. Calls for Cthulu is a YouTube show and blog. It's based on the fiction of guy named H. P. Lovecraft. If you don't know of him you've probably at least seen horror films deeply influenced by his work like In the Mouth of Madness. Cthulu is an "alien god,” and giant monster with an octopus face. He’s sleeping under most of the Pacific Ocean and he wants to eat your soul! Well, sort of, that’s the dime version.

In Calls, Cthulu runs a call-in talk show. The whole premise is that this inescapable horror is a dishing out advice and answering questions for average joes. He slips from ranting madly about rivers running red with blood and madness engulfing humanity to breaking down how long to wait to call girl you met. He also bags on the evil god of Scientology who video links in to take his abuse.

You kind of have to have met a Cult of Cthulu role playing freak to understand what a great send up these videos makes. Cthulu is an unfathomable “elder god” whose rise means the complete destruction of mankind and he’s giving out T-Shirts for any of us that make past the first wave. Calls takes a deep, rich mythology and brilliantly applies satire. Not sure if it has legs, but this parody takes something many people take waaaayyy too seriously and craps all over it--in a manner that's fun for all concerned.

Howitshouldhaveended.com is a another video site. Their website might take awhile to load, but HISHE is on YouTube as well. It parodies a number of mainstream movies, but it also hits movies like Superman, Spider-Man 3, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. Now, one can easily find funny comic parodies on sites like YouTube or Newgrounds, but its the premise that makes parodies solid gold. In HISHE, they make fun of the entire movie by questioning the ending. Like in Superman, the movie establishes early on that he's essentially a demi-god and then Luthor threatens him with two missiles. In the HISHE version, he hilariously dispatches the danger and then spends the rest of his time having coffee with Batman. The ending is the keystone to any good movie, and by completely undermining it HISHE has a premise that seems to work as long as Hollywood keeps cranking out the movies.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nothing Racist About This

Hendrik Hertzberg:
"To deal first with the obvious: Rice may be “only” the second woman and the second African-American to be Secretary of State, but she is indisputably the highest-ranking black female official ever to have served in any branch of the United States government. Her nomination to a constitutional executive office would cost McCain the votes of his party’s hardened racists and incorrigible misogynists. They are surely fewer in number, though, than the people who would like to participate in breaking the glass ceiling of race or gender but, given the choice, would rather do so in a more timid way, and/or without abandoning their party. And with Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint."
First off, what hardened racists? I've met many a repub and they never introduced themselves as hardened racists, there are no "plantation republicans" like the log cabin republicans. But see how it is written "his party's hardened racists." Not "lose the votes of hardened racists who might otherwise vote republican," no, the GOP's full racists and misogynists, like we seat a delegation of klansmen at the convention.

But that aside what is with these lines:
"given the choice, would rather do so in a more timid way, and/or without abandoning their party. And with Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint."
So, let me get this striaght. 1) Rice is a timid breakthrough. Is this because she's some uncle tom, or does this writer wish to suggest that a VP spot is a "timid" breakthrough? Is she somehow more "safe" for us cross-burning types? 2) So, then Rice allows us to attack the black guy and the woman in ways we couldn't get away with otherwise? Something like following up a prejudiced joke with "some of my best friends are black?" Wow. Just wow. Oh. Oh, wait there more--he's got a little more bile--wait a sec.

"Choosing Rice would be a trick. Her failures would be buried in an avalanche of positive publicity... But the trick would not be an entirely cynical one. Her ascension, though nowhere near as momentous a breakthrough as the election of Obama or Clinton, would be a breakthrough all the same. In this connection, a kind word for George W. Bush may be in order. By appointing first Colin Powell and then Rice to the most senior job in the Cabinet, a job of global scope, Bush changed the way millions of white Americans think about black public officials. This may turn out to the most positive legacy of his benighted Presidency."
So, again she's not momentous, not exactly clear why, but she would be wrongly greeted as a positive when the truth is she's part of the benighted "junta." In fact, she's the only good thing Bush ever did! She's less than Hill or Obama, she's failed, she's a shield for race-baiting, but she's the best thing Bush ever did.

Dude! That was the political equivalent of kung-fu kicking five guys at once! What's a thank-you card like from this guy? "I didn't need the help, and you could have done better, but considering your retardation, this was fine work which my moron boss likes... PS: you're ugly."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Angel: After the Fall

I know I'm not the first person to point it out. But I looked for the article I read about it and couldn't find it, so I'm writing my own article.

Angel: After the Fall is pretty good. The next book's cover (one of them) will mirror the JLI number one cover. It is an interesting choice. Justice League International, as it came to be known, was an odd-ball version with a wierd humor.

Clearly, some match-ups are visual: blue Beetle's goggles and Wesley's eye-glasses, or Lorne and the Martian Manhunter because of the green skin. But there might be more. Guy Gardner and Angel, well he had to be up-front, but also Guy Gardner was one of two chosen to be earth's protector, and he kind of resented the other guy.

Take Gwen and Illyria. Both could have taken the place of Dr. Light, but Illyria stands in for the mystically powered Dr. Fate--a fit for her but not for Gwen. Dr. Light and Gwen can both control a basic force of nature. Oberon the dwarf and Gru don't really jive except they are both bit characters.

Most interestingly is Gunn as Mister Miracle. Whedon has written every issue full of twists until finally he's going to need an escape artist to get the heroes out of this one. It just screams confidence and that's good because I'll need greatness from Angel since Buffy is now gay--for like no reason what-so-ever.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh Great

So now if I have one too many arguments over whether or not I actually own the bed, need my hands while driving, or own the pizza I just paid for, I may end up not being allowed to go within 1000 feet of my own home? Oh, that's just super.

Hey, Spot, see how far that restraining order gets you when you realize I put the food in the laundry room and you don't have the opposable thumbs necessary to open the door. Yeah, that's right. Beg! Beg for me to come back.