Friday, August 29, 2014

Sexism Doesn't Need to be Baited

Y'all.

Y'ALL.

Women don't self-engineer harassment and death threats on the internet.

1) What the fuck are you serious?

That's absolutely crazy. What kind of person would put themselves in danger like that?

And YES, when people take pictures of your house, like they did with Laci Green, or post the names of your family and your address, like they did with Anita Sarkeesian, or post your home address online where any asshole with a computer can get it, like they did with Zoe Quinn, that is REAL danger. You can't argue that it's just an empty threat or that no one would actually do anything with it because you don't know that. You don't leave a loaded gun in the middle of the street, either. Most people aren't going to pick it up and start shooting into the crowd...but you don't want to risk the very likely chance that there is SOMEONE just waiting for the opportunity...

And if someone is brandishing a gun at you, asking for your money, how many of would go along your merry way assuming that the person isn't serious and won't shoot you? Because I'm willing to bet the answer is zero because that would be fucking stupid.

And there's a whole extra talk we might need to have if you seriously just said, "It's an empty threat. It's not like they're going to do anything." Because, guys? THAT'S NOT FUCKING BETTER!

2) Women don't need to self-engineer harassment.

Do they have a vagina?

They've been harassed.

Or worse, do they not present female but IDENTIFY as female?

Then buddy, they're already harassed daily.

DAILY.

Thousands of awful, awful messages. They don't need to fake a scary threat, or push someone into reacting so they can point to it and say, "Here! The misogyny is here!" That shit is ever-present, like smog in LA or niceness in Canada. You can't escape it. It's like fucking poison in the air.

(More additional thoughts: if you're the type of person that CAN be pushed into reacting with misogyny or rape threats, or dead threats--YOU'RE STILL AN ASSHOLE. Should this really even be a question?)

And if you say talking about it and showing proof is just trying to whip up the controversy and make people pay more attention to you, YOU are an asshole. No debate. This is not a gray area. Women. Do not. Deserve. Death threats. End of story.

When they say a few bad apples have ruined the whole bunch, they aren't kidding.

There has been such a negative reaction to Anita Sarkeesian's series that, even if someone did have valid criticisms of her argument, it's a single grain of sugar in a swirling sea of salt water. Because we have to constantly respond to the bullshit of asshole entitled pricks, we can't actually have much of a discussion about valid criticisms, and how they fuck is she supposed to sift through thousands of rape and death threats, irrational whining, and entitled garment rending, in order to find the handful of valid criticisms to respond to them? She can't.

And Zoe Quinn? WHO THE FUCK CARES WHO SHE SLEEPS WITH? I mean, cheating is wrong, but it's also between her and the people she has sex with. Are you dating her? Or having sex with her? If not, shut the fuck up. I know celebrity culture has us thinking that we're privy to the dark details of everyone's life, but that's not actually how it works. She's allowed to date and sleep with whoever she wants.

From the Daily Beast:
In the short time between when I originally wrote this article and when it posted, Kotaku announced a policy banning all Patreon contributions among its staff in order to ensure strict neutrality. Note this is a much stricter policy than many actual journalistic outlets have for giving to actual political campaigns.
Jesus Christ, y'all.

What in the actual fuck is wrong with gaming?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Portrait of a Douchebag


Here you can behold the potential nesting ground for the virile young American Man in all it's glory.

First, on the left, you have the Vagina Original Brand window sticker. Printed, according to said sticker, by the I Love Vagina Company. Here, the male attempts to attract a mate by proudly displaying his sexual orientation. The bright red of American Male's transportation is a further attempt to draw the female's attention with eye-catching coloration, similar to the female baboon's posterior.

Next, on the top, in the middle, is another proclamation of the young American Male's sexual orientation to further cement confirmation that, in fact, this young American Male is ready and willing to engage in procreation for the sake of the species' survival.

On the far right, we have a warning to potential mates and competitors alike that loose slips sink ships. For whom is this warning intended? We do not know. However, the illustration of the nubile young woman indicates that perhaps these sexual tet-a-tets should be somewhat hush-hush, although for what reason is anyone's guess. Science can only discover so much about the inner workings of a study subject's brain.

And last we have a final alert for both potential mates and competitors: a frantic warning pertaining to the largeness of the young American Male's genitalia.

Given the alarming combination of signs, one must assume that this particular young American Male is one of a subspecies known as the Homo Douchebaggians. While technically a Homo Sapien, the Homo Douchebaggian is known for its limited brain function and its loud and ruckus social interactions. The Homo Douchebaggians stick to a strict hierarchy modeled off of the mistaken belief that wolves behave in pack fashion with alpha, beta, gamma, etc. wolves. Although this has been proven as categorically untrue, the Homo Douchebaggians cleave to this archaic social order with religious vigor. Without it, one assumes they would have no way to contextualize their existence in the wider world.

The Homo Douchebaggians often combine a noisy, boastful demeanor with an overpowering, pungent musk to ward off predators. If spotted in the wild, they are best avoided entirely. If escape is not an option, mockery and laughter are acceptable alternatives, although beware increased boastful behavior and declarations that "gammas like you just don't get it" and "lol, beta male."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Female Ghostbusters Reboot


Since everything has been basically terrible lately, let's talk about things not terrible. There's a rumor going around that Paul Feige is considering remaking Ghostbusters, but with an all-female cast.

What do I think of that?

In a word?

YES YES OH HOLY SHIT THAT SOUNDS AWESOME YES!!!!!

Ghostbusters 3 was an idea that had potential. Sequels, when not done well, can suck, but they're often better than reboots/remakes. While occasionally remakes can be good and interesting, often they either come across absolutely awful, or extremely dull.

Bob Chipman went on a bit of a rant on Twitter a while back about movies and stories. He argued that movies and stories told are reactions to the current political and sociological climate. That's why remakes don't quite feel the same, even if they're halfway decent: if the idea can't be or isn't adapted to match the new, current climate, it feels out of touch, the outdated message mismatched with the slick new visuals.

Or to put it another way, to borrow from Matt Wallace's comments on Twitter about Mad Max:

"If you're going to do more [Ghostbusters] take it further make it different or don't do it."

While a straight remake of Ghostbusters would be a terrible idea, remaking Ghostbusters around an all-female cast is fresh, interesting. There are stories and ideas that can be mixed into the story around the ghosts that the dudes didn't have to deal with. If you made a straight remake of Ghostbusters, what would four new guys bring to the table that the original didn't already have? Nothing. But like The Heat (another Paul Feige all-female action-comedy) showed, taking a premise that's normally two dudes and swapping them out for women can lead to interesting and hilarious results.

Or take Feige's Bridesmaids. That was essentially The Hangover, but done in such an interesting and clever way.

The Heat shows Feige knows how to do action. Bridesmaids shows Feige can do large casts and keep them distinct, likable, and interesting.

And can you imagine Melissa McCarthy as a Ghostbuster? Sweet Christ, if you've ever seen the outtakes of any movie she's ever been in, you know most of the shit she says is improvved, of the cuff comments, similar to Bill Murray. This movie, if it gets made, could be amazing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Crime and Punishment: Ferguson

He reminds me of my brother. Jesus...
***Warning: I discuss Mike Brown's shooting some in this post. I try not to get too graphic, but I do describe the details a bit. If that's not your thing, I understand.***

My brother is a big guy. I'm around 6' tall, and he has a few inches on me, so he's probably 6'3". He's also big, wide, built like a goddamned pickup truck. He was asked time and time again to go up for football in high school, but he was always more of a band geek. Moreover, my brother looks grumpy. He inherited my family's grumpy resting face. I don't think that I have that? No one has ever commented on it. But he's told me time and time again how many people get to know him and then say, "When I first met you, I was kind of scared of you. You just looked so mean!"

My brother has been stopped by the police a couple of times. It happens to almost everyone inevitably. Do you know what? Despite his size and his grumpy face, I was never worried that he was in danger of being killed or beaten, or really even being taken into jail. Each time I found out about it, I wasn't gripped with that heart-crushing feeling you get when you realize what a close call you just had with danger. Because my brother (and me, and basically my whole family) is white.

The words "gentle giant" have been used to describe both Eric Gardner and Mike Brown--large black men killed after being stopped and confronted by police. You could use the same term to describe my brother if you wanted to. He is a very gentle, very caring, very understanding person. But I've never heard anyone describe him that way. Because, while people suspected him of being grouchy, mean, maybe even rude, few people are actively afraid of him. They're not waiting for him to snap and do something violent or destructive.

*     *     *

I grew up in a town with a student body that was 99% white, with a handful of Mexicans, two or three Chinese students, and exactly two black students.

I remember high school. I remember going to school with some asshole people--people who lied, stole books from your locker, people who called you names and cursed a lot and drank a lot and smoked weed outside of school and carved nasty things onto desks and bathroom stalls.

I even knew some of them to be violent. They fought a lot. Threatened people with violence. "I'm going to beat your ass after school." They listened to hip hop loudly, wore saggy pants, had tattoos.

Some of them didn't dress that way, though. They were crosses. Tight denim jeans. Cowboy boots. Plaid shirts. Straw cowboy hats. They worked on farms on the weekend.

Some of them wore all black and wore satanic symbols, listened to Marilyn Manson.

Some of them wore bright, preppy collared shirts and listened to "Jesus Take the Wheel" and "Honky Tonk BaDonkaDonk" (or however the fuck you spell that song).

One of the biggest surprises in our community when I was in school was when a cop tased one of my (white) classmates. The cop stopped him one night, they got into an argument, the teen talked back, got cocky, and the cop tased him.

Parents were INCENSED. These are just kids, after all. He was only 17 or 18. He was just a baby. He hadn't even graduated high school yet. This was clearly and egregious overstep on the part of the police.

Can you imagine the outcry if he'd been shot?

If he'd been killed?

*     *     *

Mike Brown's case has a lot of unknowns presently. This is in large part because the police decided that the death of a young man at the hands of a law enforcement official was not something worthy of investigating. While there are details that are unclear, we definitely know that Mike Brown was unarmed when he was killed, and he was shot multiple times.

It's pretty much been disproved that Mike Brown had nothing to do with the robbery at the store that at first the police tried to tie him to-- even been stated by people in the Missouri government that releasing the video tapes of the robbery was a form of character assassination. But even if Mike Brown HAD robbed that store, it had nothing to do with his being shot later. Shoplifting is not a crime worthy of execution. But that's what a lot of people are arguing: because he might have had run-ins with the law, that means he deserved to die.

I went to high school with a guy that stole video games from the local Walmart pretty frequently. He knew where a blind spot for the security cameras was in the store and would go there, break the game case open, and slip it down his pants. Games were expensive, even back then.

One of my roommates in college and his friends used to go to Walmart, take a pocket knife, slit the plastic and stickers on the tops of DVD cases, pop the disc loose, and just steal the disc, leaving the empty box behind.

I have accidentally shoplifted twice. Once I accidentally walked out of Walmart with a small plastic trashcan. I put it under the basket of my cart, scanned all of my other items, but forgot about the trash can. It didn't occur to me that I hadn't actually paid for it until I got home and was unloading everything.

Another time, I had a terrible cold, and my lips were so chapped they were cracking and bleeding constantly. While shopping for groceries, I grabbed the chapstick, used it, and put it in my pocket with the thought, "I need to remember to pay for that later." And, because I have a brain that holds things like a pasta strainer, I didn't. I did go back and pay for it eventually--I felt super guilty about it.

Did my high school classmate deserve to get shot?

How about my college roommate?

What about me?

Oh, wait. We're white. Nevermind. Silly question.

*     *     *

At this point, the new autopsy has confirmed that Mike Brown was shot at least six times--two of which were in the head. He was shot through the top of his head. He was 6'4, the same height as my brother or close to it. That means he had to have been knelt down with his head bowed. That's a position of surrender.

Running, especially when unarmed, doesn't mean you should get shot and killed.

And you goddamned sure shouldn't get shot and killed after you've knelt to surrender.

Those two shots in his head, by the way, weren't the only ones shot when he was knelt. At least one other, according to CNN, went through a hand that would have to have been raised.

Hands up, don't shoot, indeed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sony's Female Superhero Movie

Marvel: Spider-Girl  # 100
According to Deadline and The Outhouse, Sony has hired someone to write the first female superheroine movie. I'm pretty sure, unless someone else manages to beat them to the punch, that this will be the first female-led superhero movie since Elektra.

It's about goddamned time somebody got around to it.

I mean, you didn't think I'd scoff at this, did you? People have been clamoring for basically any female superhero movie since Avengers when Black Widow knocked everyone on their asses. And we still got a movie about a goddamned talking raccoon and an Ent before we got a female-led superhero movie.

Yes, yes, I know that's not an original insight. But it's truthful.

But SONY has finally done it. They've confirmed that they're taking the plunge, making them the first major studio to announce that they're doing so.

It's interesting that it's Sony that got there first. I'd prefer if they weren't the first to get a movie actually out to the public. I'd like Marvel Studios to get one out there first, so we can see a really damned good one. Did I mention that that movie with the talking raccoon was probably my favorite Marvel movie so far? Yeah. It was light, and joy, and humor, and basically everything awesome about movies. Now imagine a lady-led movie like that. YES, PLEASE!

Sony's Spider-Man franchise has been decent, but not great. They keep stumbling and just falling a little short. Entertaining, but not even close to the plain that Disney has been operating on.

Which is why I'm both excited and nervous about this new superheroine movie.

The really interesting thing will be who they decide to actually make it about. The most obvious one is Black Cat, but she's not really that interesting, and I can see that just becoming another Catwoman fiasco. Silver Sable is a prominent Spider-Man character, but besides comic nerds, who the fuck knows who Silver Sable is? I mean, sure, who the fuck knows who Groot is, true, but that's Disney. This is Sony, whose track record has been a little less sparkling.

I'd love to see a Spider-Girl movie, but since Peter isn't even close to old enough to have a daughter, it'd have to be some other shenanigans pulled.

I've seen some people suggest Spider Woman, but her origins are actually totally unrelated to Peter Parkers, and while they have interacted occasionally in the past, that's mostly because Peter Parker is on the Avengers in the comics. As far as I know, she's mostly an Avengers character, which means she'd be more likely to show up in one of the Disney films, rather than the Sony films.

There is a new character that's basically supposed to be Peter Parker, but a female coming up in the comics soon, so maybe they'd do one about here, but that doesn't seem likely, as usually movies are made about heroes that at least have a bit of a history in comics. They don't usually just snatch up n00bs, y'know?

Anyway, I'm all in favor of this idea, but I'm curious how well Sony will be able to pull it off, given their shaky-at-best handling of the Spider franchise so far. But I'd love to be proven wrong.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

General Life Updatery


Images from Parks and Recreation. Owned by NBC. Via Buzzfeed.

It's been nearly a month since I updated y'all about my whole "Trying to be a competent adult" thing, so I thought I'd fill you in.

The calorie counting is going relatively well. During the week when I'm working is easier, because my breakfasts are dictated by what I have time to eat--which usually means frozen foods, which are easy to zap the barcode and enter into MyFitnessPal through my phone. The weekends are a little harder to measure. Sometimes that app can be kind of slow, and pulling up all of the stuff you want to eat and keeping meticulous track of it can be a pain in the ass. So the weekends have been hit and miss, but I'm okay with two days out of the week being a little above my goal calorie count. The point is change my eating habits over the long haul, not meticulously keeping track of every little calorie I consume. It's a broad strokes thing for me.

With that said, it's paying off. I've lost somewhere around 6 pounds doing this, which is a nice reward. I've actually probably lost closer to 8 pounds, because I didn't own a scale when I first started, so I just guess my weight. After a couple of weeks of counting calories, I finally got the money to buy a scale and...I was actually more than what I originally estimated by a couple of pounds. But whatever, six is still great, and it's not really about the weight lost, anyway, it's about health.

Speaking of health: running is a bag of syphilis-riddled dicks, y'all. I hate it.

But running has been made easier by using MediaMonkey--an iTunes-like app for Android, and Zombies, Run! 5k Trainer app. I get a bit of story line as they train me for a 5k, and then it pulls tracks from one of my MediaMonkey playlists without having to run the app in the background. I do also run Endomondo to track my distance, speed, water lost, and calories burned. Y'know, all the fun stuff. But Zombies, Run! keeps me motivated.

I've had a few physical setbacks as I do this whole running regimen. I started out running one day, walking one day. I haven't been able to stick to that exactly, though, because as the running has increased in intensity and length, my legs have started screaming. It got so bad one day that I actually took two days off any physical exercise to give myself time to recooperate. I was afraid I was going to rip or sprain something. Since then, my off days have been actually off, not just walking, most of the time. Because I don't want to over do it and hurt myself. I can't afford the doctors bills, and it seems counter-intuitive to the whole "getting healthier" thing.

In addition, I have asthma, so I have to be very careful how hard I push myself. And I've always had a problem with pushing myself too hard because I want to be like the cool, athletic boys. I'm never happy with the progress I make, I can only ever see how far what I'm currently capable of is from where I'd like to be. So last week I was out for a run. It was the first day of a new running regimen. I managed to make it to the end of my run drills. When I slowed to a walk, though, the world grew sharp, bright, extra colorful. I got light-headed. I couldn't get my breath. It's then I thought, Maybe I pushed myself too far. I got down on my knees to keep myself from throwing up or passing out. Then I thought, No, I need to get lower. I gotta get below this thing. So I laid down until the feeling past.

Which of course looked completely crazy, and I had several people stopping to ask if I was okay. I was very grateful that they were worried, but once I'd laid there for a few minutes and got my breath back, I was fresh and ready to head back home. I did end the day early, that day. I'm not an idiot.

I've also been writing relatively consistent. I finished two or three short stories. I've been hitting almost one a week, but this most recent story has slowed me significantly. I've restarted it several times, coming at it from different angles, trying different things, trying to find my in. I think I've got it now, though.

On a personal front, I started a new job a few weeks ago. Things have been going very well. It's much, much, MUCH less stressful than my previous job, and I'm hoping that once I've gotten used to the new hours, I'll get into more of a groove with writing in the evenings. I've been trying to write on my lunch breaks now, too, but it's hard to find a place where I can write without being looked at strangely, or having people constantly bothering me and breaking my concentration.

All in all, things are going really well for me lately. I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. My old job was basically killing me. I was angry all day, every day, without breaks. Doing something else is like slipping off a suit made of concrete and learning I've been full of helium this whole time. And I'm proud of myself for finally figuring out a way to exercise and eat write, and even working in writing time.

It's still early. I've only been at this for about a month, but I really like where things are heading. Maybe I can have my first fiction sale before the end of the year? Who knows? I do know if I can keep it up, this will be my healthiest, happiest, and most productive year in a long time.

So, y'know, that's nice.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams: July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014


There are no words for this one, y'all. This one hurts. A lot.

I didn't know Robin Williams personally, so I'm a little embarrassed about how sad I feel about his passing. I've been sad about celebrity deaths in the past. But this one? This one is extremely personal.

Robin Williams was an actor that dominated movies and TV from the 70s and into the 90s. I have seen so many of his movies. Growing up, there were two men that made my favorite movies. One was Bill Murray. The other was Robin Williams.

Robin Williams was a hero to me. I admired his energy, his wit, and his incrediblely sharp and quick mind. A annecdote that I'm sure everyone knows by this point: the merchant's scene at the beginning of Aladdin, where he's going through all his stuff he's selling and rattling off jokes and puns, was completely ad-libbed by Williams based on a bunch of random junk the filmmakers put on a table in the booth with him.

The only comedian I can think of that had Williams speed and wit with jokes is Groucho Marx, and he was big mostly in the 30s and 40s. That's how rare a gift like Williams' is. We'll probably not see another like him in our lifetime.

I plan to write more about Williams later, because he means a good goddamned lot to me, but right now I just wanted to mark his passing and say: Robin, you will be missed. Thank you for everything you did for me growing up. Thank you for making me laugh.

And on one final note, unfortunately, it seems that Williams killed himself this morning. He had always been open about his mental issues and his drug problems. If you feel like there's no way out, please seek help. There's another way.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
The Arkansas Crisis Center: 1-888-274-7472

They are all available 24/7.

Wonder Woman Costume Reveal


Well, I said in my last post that I'd talk about Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume in more detail, and here it is.

First reactions: my God I love it so much. I seriously spent the entire rest of the day beaming after seeing that outfit. My family was only very mildly interested when this was announced, and I kept bringing it back up because SERIOUSLY WONDER WOMAN ON THE BIG SCREEN HOLY CRAP!!!!

But let's get into more specific thoughts.

1) The design is very good. The eagle-slash-W is there. The tiara is there. The coloring is similar(ish) to the coloring of the comics. And it's not ridiculously skimpy. I mean, it's not exactly the full-body suit the guys are wearing, but it isn't half as bad as I expected.


2) I think the battle skirt is a great compromise between the swimsuit she wears in the comics, the skirt she was originally designed with, and the pants that she only briefly wore in the comics. The pants never quite looked right to a lot of people, a regular skirt would have looked ridiculous, and the swimsuit would have been just...just frickin' stupid. But a battle skirt a la Xena: Warrior Princess? Hell yes! My only critique there is that the skirt is still pretty short.

3) There should be more color. I think it looks pretty brown, but when compared to the other suits, you can tell the color is supposed to be red and blue, it's just very washed out, dark colors. Compare it to the red in Superman's S on his suit and you can see that it is supposed to be red. I think that's less of a critique of her costume, though, and more a critique of the overall look of the films, which is: too bleak, guys, c'mon!

4) Some people have complained that seeing Wonder Woman with a sword is wrong because she's a beacon of justice and peace and the Amazons were all about peace and blah-blah-blah please see the above image from the most recent comics and kindless stop with your silliness. I get that you hopes he's not just a mindless sociopath, but she definitely needs to be introduced to us with an action-y look because we already know what Superman and Batman are capable of and she's going to need to stand toe-to-toe with them.

5) Some people were complaining about Gal Gadot's size back when she was cast. She's a pretty petite woman and everyone got all pissy because "Wonder Woman's not the right size, she needs to be bigger."

Now, what I'm pretty sure 90% of those comments were directed towards were her boob size, because Wonder Woman is supposed to be busty. Because they can't possibly be aimed at her physical size. While some versions of Wonder Woman have depicted her as bigger and fuller figured--again, see the comics above as examples--she's also been drawn more petit. See: Wonder Woman from the Justice League cartoon, where Batman and Superman waaaay dwarfed her in size, but she still kicked as right next to them.


Also, Diana is a princess of a race of ancient Greek warrior women who was also either created from clay for Queen Hippolyta or the decedent of Zeus depending on which continuity you're reading. Either way, do you really think you wouldn't buy that she could knock the fuck out of someone skinny or big? Really? Did you have a hard time buying Hercules stength in the Disney cartoon? No? Then I think you should reexamine where your complaints are coming from.

And one last note on this: I can understand wanting to see fuller figured women on screen. One thing I love about the Azzarello run of Wonder Woman is Cliff Chiang's art with Wonder Woman as broad shouldered, wide-hipped, and stout as a tree trunk. This is a critique I can understand and agree with. But I don't think this is where most people are coming from. They just want all actresses to have Scarlett Johanssen's build.

6) The heels are dumb, but, again, she's a near-immortal being either created by the gods or decended from them, I can buy her fighting in heels. Do they serve any functional purpose. No. They're just there to make her legs look sexy, and that's definitely squicky, but given Hollywood's run with female superheroes, I'd say we were lucky we didn't end up with a Halle Berry's Catwoman look--especially considering Wonder Woman's kinky origins.

Bottom line: yes. This is a whole bag of yes. I'm all for this. I'm not really excited to see Superman and Batman fight. I mean, would it be neat? I guess. But I can watch the cartoon they recently did to see that. Plus, I remember Superman's fight with Zod at the end of Man of Steel, and if that movie is any indication of what this one will be like, I'm going to be bored, annoyed, and have a slight headache by the end. But I will ignore all of that to see Wonder Woman kick one bad guys ass on screen. Her and Aquaman are the only reasons I give a crap about this movie. But that said: well done, Snyder. You definitely won SDCC with that pic.

BRING ON THE WONDER WOMAN MOVIE, PLEASE!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 Comic-Con Rundown

(Sorry about the delay getting this out. It's been a busy couple of weeks with family moving, my dog stuff, and getting a new job, I've been everywhere but anywhere close to my computer. Here it is, though.)

It is time once again for Comic-Con, when people of varying stripes of geekery flock to San Diego to rub Batman memoribilia all over their bodies while whispering Scott Snyder's name quietly to themselves.

As usual, I'm going to talk about movies. I am much more into comics and comic book news this year than I was last year, but to an extent, comics are a MASSIVE medium to cover, and the news is too vast and fast to give any real thought about in a post that will already be jam packed with movie thoughts. And since they've made their big announcements before Comic-Con--black Captain America and female Thor--I don't have much to say about their new events. I don't have the money for all the stuff I want to buy as it is, and DC and Marvel's incessant insistence that I should buy THIS event comic that will TOTALLY CHANGE THE STATUS QUO, NO FOR REAL THIS TIME GUYS, HONEST is a bit tiresome.

MOVIES -- GENERAL

First let's start with the general movies.

Tusk

I am a huge fan of horror. I've been reading it and watching it basically my entire life. Lately, however, I've been suffering from ennui with the horror genre--movies, at least. I've been looking extra careful to find unique, interesting movies that play with horror. Even if a movie isn't perfect, if the movie does something
interesting and tries something, I'll give it a shot.
Photo by Michael Scott Murphy

So often the things that other people like about horror are not the things that I like about it, or the things I want to see. There's a focus on jump scares that pisses me off, but on the other end, any movie that has some halfway decent gore effects often gets praised by horror fans for being something special, but gore doesn't really make a movie for me. If I don't care about the characters, I don't give a shit how gruesome the death is, I won't care. And don't get me started on how bleak and samey-samey everything looks.

That's the mindset I was in when Kevin Smith's new horror movie Tusk caught my eye. The concept is simple: a dude gets captured by a mad scientist and undergoes involuntary surgical modifications to turn him into a walrus. The set up sounds similar to The Human Centipede, but the trailer makes it look like they put time into giving the film humor and heart and characters rather than just shock for shock's sake. The concept sounds very B-movie stupid, but the trailer honestly makes it look like they pulled the horror part off very well, without sacrificing the wit of the movie. Cool.

Horns

Speaking of unique horror movies, I talked about this film back in 2012 when it was first announced. I discovered Joe Hill that year and read the two novels out at the time. He has very quickly become one of my favorite current writers, and now that I've finished his book of short stories, now I'm moving onto his horror comic series Locke and Key.

I absolutely loved Horns. The concept was unique, and it was executed--again, as I mentioned above--with wit and heart that made the story enjoyable to read, even when things got tense and horrific. When they announced that Daniel Radcliffe would be in it, I was stoked because I knew from what I'd seen in The Woman in Black that he would do a great job. And based on the trailer, it seems like I was right.

The exciting thing about the film is it looks like they've captured the dark humor of the book, while keeping the action and tension up where it needs to be. If they have, the horror parts will work even better because of the lighter stuff from earlier. This is one I can't wait for and now it finally FINALLY has a release date of October 31st.


Sin City 2, AKA, A Dame to Kill For & Sin City 3

I decided to smoosh these two together because they basically announced a Sin City 3 if the second one does well.

I absolutely loved the first Sin City. It was an astounding work of art, mixing green screen and CG effects in a way that gave the film a unique, appropriately comic-booky style that mimicked the art of the books they were based on. The fact that it also featured some of my favorite action hero stars--Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, etc.--was just gravy. And in that regard it looks like the second movie will be just what I wanted it to be.

However.

I also am not a fan of Frank Miller really. Everyone is allowed their politics. Hell, unlike some other people, I won't complain that Miller's politics have seeped into his works--art is, by its very nature, political...it just is, guys--but that doesn't mean I have to like his politics or want to support them. Particularly, Frank Miller is an asshole, curmudgeonly and rude, racist and sexist, xenophobic and jingoistic. There were definitely problematic aspects to the first Sin City, but I'm worried that, like his comics, this film will suffer from his slow loss of common sense and reason.

And as for Sin City 3...well...I guess we'll see how the second one plays out.

Warcraft & Halo: Nightfall

I know basically nothing about World of Warcraft. I downloaded a trial version once, played for about an hour, maybe, and then turned it off. I don't write about video games often because I'm just really not that much of a gamer.

The thing that I'm watching for with Warcraft is if they try to make a Lord of the Rings knockoff in tone, or if they try to go with something a little more colorful and fun, like Thor.

At this moment, I don't have many more thoughts than that. Since it's being co-written and directed by the dude that did Moon and Source Code, I'm a little more intrigued, as that guy does interesting things with story, but...meh. I'll know more when an actual trailer comes out, rather than just saying, "Hey...here's the logo, but in motion."

Uncharted


Dude. DUDE. I fucking love me some Uncharted. That is, hands down, my favorite video game series. I don't even really know why. I recognize that it's really just an Indiana Jones clone...and yet...IT'S SO GODDAMNED FUN! And I don't just mean the gameplay. Nathan Drake is a fun, charismatic main character. He's flawed, but he's got a good heart. Also, it's nice that by "flawed" I don't mean, "he's an asshole 90% of the time." And Elena is great, like Lois Lane to his Superman. She doesn't take his shit, but she gets off on the same adventure and mystery that he does.

GOD DO I LOVE THIS GAME.

And after tons and tons of rumors and turmoil and people getting a little too freaky about Nathan Fillion playing Nathan Drake (which, yes, would be great casting, but Jesus, people), Uncharted finally has a release date: June 10th, 2016. I am nervous but eagerly looking forward to casting news.

Mad Max: Fury Road

I like Tom Hardy. I like Charlize Theron. I like Nicholas Hoult.

I do not know really anything about Mad Max. I've never seen the original movies with Mel Gibson. I mean, I guess I want to? It was just never something I was even aware of growing up.

So the posters released at Comic-Con look...interesting.

Matt Wallace seems more qualified to talk about this movie than me:



Air

This movie looks kinda cool. From what I can tell, it's a post-apocalyptic movie (of course it is), in which the world is short on air? And I'm going to guess the main characters struggle to find and retain their supply. In a way, this reminds me of Gravity, in that it's probably going to be a characters struggles to survive while grappling with things going wrong. Only here, it'll be with a lack of air and struggling to breath.

As someone with asthma, this movie both excites me and freaks me right the fuck out.

Interstellar

I didn't dislike Matthew McConaughey in the past, but Dallas Buyers Club really put him front and center as someone who could be a real contender in movies. I have to admit, after years of him playing a simple but honest country-boy, playing a genius rocket scientist type seems like they took the idea from Trans4mers and made it serious.

But, yes, this looks pretty cool, and also pretty tragic. Nolan hasn't been a perfect film maker, but certainly an interesting and entertaining one. I look forward to this.

Home


If there was one movie that I was very excited to see news about, it was Home. Do you realize there has yet to be a black main character in an animated film like this? Wylie from Coraline is that last even signifcant black character I can think of. Jesus Christ, you guys!

I wanted this to be good. Black kids need representation. It's tragic how underrepresented basically all PoC are. But this movie...yeesh. I saw the trailer. It looks like it has a tone similar to that Escape from Planet Earth animated movie...which looked pretty terrible. This, unfortunately, does too. I hope I'm wrong.

The Boxtrolls

I love Laika Studios. They have made two of my favorite kids movies in the past several years: Coraline, based on the Neil Gaiman kids book, and Paranorman, which may be my favorite kids movie since The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was just amazing. I actually don't have much to say about this movie beyond that I am stoked for it. Seriously. It looks great.

The Last of Us


Video game movies, man. They've been terrible forever. I don't know how its possible to take a thing that already has a look, a feel, an aesthetic, and a story, and then totally fuck it up, but it's been done over and over again.

I haven't played The Last of Us, yet. I want to. I plan to. But no time/no money means that I rarely play video games. But its on my list. Because it looks awesome.

And here we have yet another awesome looking game being optioned for a movie, like Uncharted above. Only this has actual casting news? Apparently, the producers have spoken to Maisie Williams (Arya Stark in Game of Thrones) about playing Ellie. I haven't seen Game of Thrones, but I know she's a pretty popular character, so, hey. Cool.

Movie looks neat is what I'm saying.

The Hobbit: Really? Are You Still Doing This?

While the first Hobbit film was flawed but enjoyable, I hated HATED second one. There were some very good elements to the film. It actually started with a ton of promise. But the longer it ran, the lower I sank into my seat. About halfway through the movie, I leaned over to my wife and asked, "Is it weird that I think this is awful?" She looked at me with wide eyes and said, "You, too?"

The action sequences went on for too long, and were so video-gamey that I didn't give a shit what happened to them. The infamous barrel riding scene is infamous for a reason. Jesus.

Even the climax with Smaug was overly long and stupid. After a conversation involving running around and sliding around on gold like Bilbo is Disney's Tarzan, I also had to deal with the main characters running away from Smaug in a series of Scooby-Doo like shenanigans. And the way they try to stop Smaug? WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???

*pant pant pant*

Anyway, my point is: I really don't give a shit about this movie. I guess I'll go see it and give Peter Jackson some more of my money so I can finish out the trilogy. But fuck, man. I'm not looking forward to it anymore.

MOVIES -- MARVEL

Ant-Man


I like Paul Rudd. And it's weird and interesting that Michael Douglas is in this movie. It's also lame that Edgar Wright is no longer working on the film--not that the new director won't be good. Just different. And it's not like Edgar Wright doesn't have stuff already set up to do. But it does say interesting things about Marvel that they've been having so much trouble with directors.

Not much happened at SDCC except to say, "Hey, Guardians of the Galaxy is getting a sequel. Oh, and Ant Man is a thing that's still happening." Which...yay? Neither of those things were particularly surprising.

I don't know. Ant-Man sounds neat, and Marvel is certainly doing interesting things with their heroes.

But we all know this isn't what people wanted Marvel to talk about at SDCC.

Avengers 2


And while I'm sure more people wanted to hear them talk about this one...I wasn't really overwhelmed with the stuff I learned either. It was mostly the actors that play the Avengers coming out and saying, "Hey...thanks." Which is nice, but not really worth a whole panel.

The one thing we did get is a series of posters that put together create a big new picture. I am definitely excited for this movie.  But honestly...this isn't what I wanted to hear about.

Black Panther and Ms. Marvel

Were not announced. We STILL have no black or female led super hero movies.* Seriously, Marvel? What the fuck?

Doctor Strange

Wasn't talked about either. Because this SDCC kind of sucked.

MOVIES -- DC

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice


There is only one thing about this movie that I really care about. At all.

GODDAMNED WONDER WOMAN COSTUME Y'ALL FOR REALZ IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!

SDCC may have sucked, but this had me beaming basically all day. She's finally going to be on the big screen, you guys. And the costume doesn't suck! I want to go into more detail about my thoughts at another time, but I will say that I love the design and, besides the heals and boob-molded armor, I am thrilled.

And look at Gal Gadot. She looks like a bad ass.

Fuck yes, I'll see this now, DC.

Now announce a Wonder Woman solo movie. DO IT!

Shazam

Was not announced. Because honestly the Big Two were kind of phoning it in, this year.

_______________________


What did you think of SDCC this year? I was sort of disappointed. No really earth-shattering announcements.

The only thing I can think of with Marvel not announcing anything cool at SDCC is that they didn't want to take away from Guardians of the Galaxy, maybe? And we might have gotten distracted from those if they'd announced Ms. Marvel or Black Panther or something like that? But honestly? It's getting pretty ri-goddamned-diculous.

*I have thoughts about recent news regarding this subject soon.