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No, I'm not referring to the upcoming film adapted from the Marvel Comics book series directed by Kenneth Branagh and staring Chirs Hemsworth, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Natalie Portman (which is already getting overwhelmingly positive reviews even before the film officially gets released in the United States). I'm talking about one that is shamelessly trying to cash in on the action from the Asylum, the same studio that brought you such "mockbusters" like Transmorphers, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, a modern remake of Moby Dick, and an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective up against his evil mad scientist brother and his army of mechanical dinosaurs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Almighty Thor (courtesy of MTV's Splash Page):

Now, you're probably thinking this film has zero chance of ever competing against, or even being better than, the big budget one from Paramount and Marvel Studios (and you'd be right), but consider this: not only does it have former pro-wrestling champion Kevin Nash as Odin AND Richard Grieco as's got Thor...fighting crappy CGI dragons...with a friggin' UZI!!!

I mean, DAMN! Not even Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had the balls to make the Norse God of Thunder do that! (Besides, somebody else already gave Thor a BFG during those wacky 1990s):

Admit it: you're just dying to see this in all it's "so bad it's AWESOME!" glory, aren't you?

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 What do you get when you take Superman, take the musical score of the Superman movie serial from the 1940s, portray it in a style that seems like a hybrid of the old Flescher Studios cartoons and Ren and Stimpy, and with a modern sensibility?  You get this very excellent short by Disney Animator--and die-hard Superman fan--Robb Pratt, of course:

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In a sea of very--and I mean VERY--bad commercials this year that aired during Super Bowl XLV, the Force is STILL strong with this ad for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat (which first showed up on YouTube days before):

Seriously, having to endure stuff like people being beaned with PepsiMAX cans (in two separate spots no less), Joan Rivers being the "new" girl, Chevy making fun of the elderly in the most clichéd manner possible, Groupon trivializing the plight of Tibet, and creepy office-worker licking and snorting Doritos Cheese dust, it was refreshing to see such a simple, effective, heart-warming ad that was not only funny, but which touched the inner child and geek within all of us.

The Runner-Up was, interestingly enough, another car commercial.  The only reason why this didn't "win" was because it did a much better job selling the city it took place in than the actual product being advertised (seriously, when you can take what is arguably one of the worst major metropolitan cities in the United States and somehow make it synonymous with the American Spirit, you're definitely doing something right):

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Just in case you don't have 9 to 10 hours to spare, a guy named Tim McGovern decided to condense and perform Peter Jackson's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic trilogy by himself.  Forewarning: there are spoilers. :p


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1. Exercise at least three times a week.  Course I have to figure exactly what form of exercise to do, but I am open to suggestions.  The only caveat is that must not involve Richard Simmons in any way shape or form.  My ears wouldn’t be able to take it.


2. Read at least one good book a week.  Fortunately, I have a good sizeable list to work with.  Unfortunately, I have to figure out which book to start with.  Perhaps I can put up ten books at random from this list and have folks vote on which one I should start on?  Or if you really want to agonize me, put up a possible book for me to read.


3. Engage in a conversation in which there are no time-constraints at least once a month.  And not just texting or talking on the phone with someone.  I also mean actually sitting down with someone and having a genuine face-to-face conversation like a normal human being--preferably someone I haven’t seen in a long time, or even someone I just met. Not that texting or posting online isn’t fun, but I do want to rest my fingers from time to time.


4. Write down one thing I have learned from Church every week, and one thing only. At least this way, I hope to grow spiritually without having to nitpick something in return.  Not to mention try and put what I learned into practice.


5. Get the required 8 hours of sleep.  I expect this one to be especially difficult, since I tend to be a night person and don’t particularly like getting up some mornings.  But at least it will beat getting tired mid-afternoon. 


6. Finish and then publish my first novel.  This is something I’ve been making a New Year’s resolution about practically every year.  This time, much of what I have is written down, but I definitely need to organize it into some coherent shape.  I think it’s also a pretty good premise, but right now, I feel it’s in danger of becoming moldy if I down get it out of my head and completely on paper.  Course sending it out for publication is another story altogether.


7. Re-learn Spanish.  Might as well brush up on a language I supposedly already should know.  That way, I can then go on to try my hand at some other new language to clutter up my brain.  I was thinking either Latin or Japanese, which are two other languages I've tried to learn in the past.


8. Stop tying so hard to impress others. Because not only does it make me look foolish, but I find I’m not really good at it.  Besides, one of my biggest pet-peeves is someone who feels they have always have to be the center of attention and that they have to come out on top in every conversation.   You know, the ones who, after hearing a story then say “I can top that”?  And why should I be something that I myself find annoying?  This also means being sincere and speaking more from the heart, or at least the gut.


9.  Make a “to do” list every day.  Even though I like to think of myself as being flexible, I also tend to be more disorganized than most, which makes me more prone to procrastination than I already am.  So in this case, I can allow myself to have a set of personal instructions for myself to follow.  Besides, I have a habit of making lists anyway, so might as well put it to good use.    


10.  This one I leave for you.  Because this resolution is your own.  After all, I can't be the only one to have some fun now, can I?   

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Spoilers )
Looks like another dreaded sighting of THE PLOT HOLE!
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Well, folks, I'm sure some of you have been patiently waiting over the Thanksgiving Holiday to read about what I thought about Amazing Spider-Man #649. And since I've got nothing better to do after the holiday, I might well give my delayed opinion about this issue.

Read more... )
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Just when I think I'm crazy for still being a fan of comic book superheroes, I stumble across this "art imitating life" story:

Police alerted to 'superheroes' patrolling Seattle

Vigilante justice has come to Seattle, and the caped crusaders drive a Kia.

Seattle police say a group of self-described superheroes have been patrolling the streets at night trying to save people from crime. They call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement and say they're part of a nationwide movement of real-life crime fighters.

The national website -- cited in a police bulletin sent to Seattle officers Wednesday -- states "a Real Life Superhero is whoever chooses to embody the values presented in super heroic comic books, not only by donning a mask/costume, but also performing good deeds for the communitarian place whom he inhabits."

Police say the "costume-wearing complainants" are lucky they haven't been hurt.

In one instance, police say a caped crusader dressed in black was nearly shot when he came running out of a dark park. In another case, a witness on Capitol Hill saw the crusaders wearing ski masks in a car parked at a Shell station and thought they were going to rob the place.

Police got the license plate and found those masked characters drove a Kia Fate registered to one of the character's godmothers, department staff said. She told police her godson goes around doing good deeds.

The rest of the story goes on to explain in more detail about this particular superhero who goes by the moniker "Phoenix Jones," mentions some of the other members of his group, and also statements from a Seattle police officer about the obvious dangers involved. There's also this little tidbit which shows just why being a "masked superhero" has a huge disadvantage to upholding justice:

Police say another incident with the self-proclaimed superheroes came about 3 a.m. Nov. 4 at Sixth Avenue and South King Street in the International District.

Police responded to a harassment complaint and found Phoenix the Guardian of Seattle dressed in a "black colored Batman costume and a black ski mask," department spokesman Jeff Kappel said.

He was standing with four other men and one woman, all in costume with their faces covered by ski masks and bandanas. They were dealing a man making threatening statements and swinging a golf club.

Police took the golf club as evidence. The "costume-wearing complainants" refused to press charges because they didn't want to identify themselves to officers, Kappel said. So the suspect walked.

You know, I seem recall something earlier this year that was adapted from a comic book series which made a point about why being a superhero in real-life probably isn't the wisest of career options. Oh yeah...

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“I think Gatsby is insane.”
I always find it interesting getting people’s reactions to what is considered to be classic literature.  Such was the case with a book club I attended a few days ago sponsored by the public library.  The book in question was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most notable novel, The Great Gatsby, and aside from what I imagine were some flashbacks from high school English class (or in one case, their mother’s stories about the roaring 20s and prohibition), there was the usual discussion that has come up about this particular book: Is Nick Carraway a reliable narrator? Is this reflective of the time in which Fitzgerald was writing? What is the significance of the “valley of ashes” and “the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleberg?”  Is this even a book worth reading?  However, when it came to the discussion of Jay Gatsby, the titular character of the novel, it opened with the above quote by a seventy-something year-old woman.
“I think Gatsby is insane.”
Of course, the group was curious over how she came to this conclusion, and she was very happy to explain:
“Everything Gatsby did was because he loved Daisy Buchanan, but he diluted himself into thinking she loved him in return.  He gets all this wealth, throws all these elaborate and wild parties because he thinks that will impress her.  He buys a huge mansion that is directly on the opposite end and across the bay.  He asks Jordan about her, wanting to know more about Daisy’s marriage to Tom.  He gets Nick to arrange a meeting between himself and her at Nick’s house.  All this would easily make him out to be a stalker today. He manages to have an affair with her and thinks this is rekindling some lost romance they had.  And even after he gets confronted about this and that it’s clear that Daisy is not going to leave Tom--even after she commits murder--he hides outside her house to keep watch over her to make sure she’s okay.  
“I think he did everything out of love, but because he’s so wrapped up in the memory of the short summer they had together that he never considered the possibility that she may have moved on, or that her feelings for him had changed.  That‘s what makes him, in my mind, insane.”
Hearing this, my first thought was that it was an unique interpretation of the character to say the least. Gatsby, for those who don’t know, is usually regarded by some scholars and critics as a quintessential romantic, a character to embodies what we consider to be the “American Dream.” Certainly, he’s not considered to be an overly-obsessive, would-be stalker who has trouble dealing with reality. 
Then I thought how many men tried to do what Gatsby did to win the heart of those they loved?  Not to the extent and length he did with Daisy, of course, but with similar approaches?  Such as attempting to make themselves into something they are not or acting in way they think may impress a woman.  Or persuading themselves that they can get her to feel the same way about him as he does about her.  And believing that if they are together, then their lives will be just like in a dream or fairy tale, living happily ever after.  What if what we men think is romantic and sweet is not only coming across as being needy and insecure, but is actually telling women “This is guy is crazy and really creeping me out?”
We often hear, when it comes to romance, that the one we love is “the object of our affections” or a “prize to be won.”  Certainly, in The Great Gatsby itself, Fitzgerald deliberately makes Daisy Buchanan is synonymous with money and wealth.  Perhaps, instead of thinking of those we love as prizes we deserve to win--especially if they are not worth winning in the first place--we should love people for whom they really are and be willing to want the best for them, even if it‘s not with ourselves.
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So, today began Dan Slott first issue as the lone writer on Amazing Spider-Man, kicking things off with “Big Time” which promises to be the start of BIG changes to Spider-Man’s world.  So did I think the first issue delivered?  Read on.
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Crazy enough to try and get the game of Quidditch to become an official NCAA sport. All they need are at least 50 colleges with official Quidditch clubs across the country in order to submit for approval.

What's that you say? Impossible to do because Quidditch is only a fictional sport in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books that could never happen in real life since it involves flying on broomsticks? Well think again! because as this article from NPR states, a bunch of "Muggles" have come up have found a way do play this since 2005:

Next weekend, more than 60 different teams from high schools and universities across the country are expected to gather at De Witt Clinton Park in New York City for the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup.

Harvard University, M.I.T, Yale, Penn State, Duke — several prestigious universities are registered for the World Cup and count quidditch among their extracurricular activities. Not bad for a game that just a few years ago existed only in the pages of the Harry Potter series.University of Maryland student Valerie Fischman isn't satisfied with quidditch's current status, however.

She's waging a long-shot campaign for recognition from the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

"I think that having NCAA status will give it a little more credibility and help keep it around a little bit longer," Fischman says. "I'm hoping that it stays around after the Harry Potter generation leaves college."
Now, I know that, considering I'm guy who still like comic books, video games, and sci-fi well past the age were it's become an acceptable norm, I shouldn't complain, but even I have limits. I mean, I thought folks who played Live Action Role Playing were embarrassing themselves, but THIS?! Not even Trekkies or World of Warcraft addicts who dress in costume at conventions are this insane. And if you hear the audio portion of this story, you KNOW these people need serious psychological help when one of them says:

"It feels like flying except you're on the ground."

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 According the hype, this issue is the “epilogue” to “Brand New Day,” which apparently means the end of the three-times-a-month, rotating creative team format as opposed to the status quo created by “One More Day.”  Anyway, much like the issue itself, here are my rather lengthy thoughts about issue #647 as a whole. 
Read more... )Read more... )  

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