Friday, May 21, 2010

Iron Man 2: Demon in a Bottle

I gotta say, I loved Iron Man 2.

I'm glad Marvel kept Favreau as the director. Unlike Michael Bay, who tries to emulate the "actors talking over each others' lines because that is how people talk in real life" style of acting, Favreau does it right and it doesn't seem too fake. It only seems fake in that nobody is that witty that much of the time. It's not as bad as a Kevin Smith movie, I mean.

The sequel avoids the pitfalls of some super-hero genre, wherein there are simply too many villains. In fact, I think there's a perfect proportion of villains... the Whiplash Drones and Whiplash himself. I guess Justin Hammer can also be considered a villain, buthe's not suited up, so he doesn't really count.

They did, however, go kind of overboard with the heroes. Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Sgt. Fury... the thing they did well to balance this is avoid having to really explain the characters. Even if you didn't see the first Iron Man, Nick Fury's character explains himself through his actions. Black Widow does as well... in fact, I don't think they ever really use her code name, do they? You don't need to know her comic book history to know she's a fucking badass chick who will eff your ess up if you're in her way.

But what I loved most about IM2 was, in fact, it's portrayal of Tony Stark's alcoholism. It was so hysterical.

I should perhaps at this point say that Stark didn't seem like an alcoholic so much as a drunk, to me. And there is a big difference. I should know, because I wanted to get treated for alcoholism at one time, convinced I was one, until they started questioning me. it was pretty funny. I was in the hospital to have my gall bladder taken out, when I was asked if I had any other problems they should know about. I said immediately, alcoholism and depression.

Well, first they started asking me about my depression. How often do I hear voices talking to me? Telling me to do things I know are wrong? Uh, none. What? And then things like, do you ever harm yourself on purpose, like cutting yourself with a razor? --Really? No. I don't do that. I pick at scabs but that's as bad as I try to hurt myself, and I'm really not trying to hurt myself there, they just fucking itch. Anyway, all the depression questions went along this line, making me realize that people with depression are fucking crazy, God bless them and all and I hope they get the help they need. I wasn't one of them.

Then came the alcoholic portion of my treatment. They told the nurses to be prepared for when I get "the shakes." The what? Shakes. You start to shake uncontrollably from withdrawing from alcohol. I do? Yes, when did you last drink? Uh, a week ago, before this gall bladder shit started up. You've not drank in a week and you're not having withdrawal? I guess not. Do you want a drink now? Not especially.

So I came to realize that I wasn't an alcoholic, and that I was just stupid and didn't know when I'd had enough to drink. That's a drunk. And I feel now that you really should pity alcoholics. True alcoholics really can't go without a drink... believe me, if the way they described the symptoms, I'd keep a bottle on hand for emergencies too. They're not getting a real choice to drink. Drunks, however, always choose to drink. They know they might have a hangover, or puke, or something the next day. They choose to do that.

Anyway, this is all backstory to talk about how I love how they displayed Tony Stark's drinking problem. I say this because I think drunks are a more widespread problem than alcoholism. I only know like one real alcoholic. He literally can't function without drinking, or at least, he used to not be able to. Now drunks? I know drunks. I grew up in Kentucky, after all.

Tony Stark had a battle with the bottle, and they laid the groundwork for that in this film with the scene with DJ/AM. In the above shot, you can see a clearly disheveled Tony Stark with the DT's, sweating like he's in Hotlanta during sweat season, unshaven, and worried about something. Is this an alcoholic, as they're trying to portray with the whiskey bottle next to his left hand? No, it is not. If he was alcoholic, that bottle wouldn't be nearly as full. And he wouldn't be worried about whether his multinational is going to collapse from his drunken neglect (after all, he does still have Pepper Potts to run the thing). No, he's a drunk, realizing that he's really fucking his life up getting so drunk all the time. Big difference.

Anyway, I've always wanted to see the scene that regular people see with the drunks in their lives, regarding Iron Man, which they showed as Stark doing all sorts of repulsor stuff while intoxicated. That was awesome... that's exactly how it would be. An alcoholic? God, Stark would kill himself after one week in the armor. But a drunk? Yeah he'll be repulsoring expensive champagne thrown into the air by chesty babes, trying to dance to DJ/AM's phat beats, etc. This is what he was... Stark was a drunk, NOT an alcoholic. An alcoholic would only look that way if the whiskey bottle was nearly empty and the stores were all closed.

But it could get a lot more realistic than that... like, he shows up to a fight with Kang The Conqueror, the time travel terrorist, he's LATE and besides that flying erratic with only one boot jet working because he's still too drunk from the night before to lace the other one up properly. And everybody on the Avengers team just GROANS knowing that he's three sheets.

"Oh, Gods," Thor would say, praying to the one-father Odin for an intervention. Captain America would simply shake his head in disapproval, being the epitome of a Boy Scout. The Wasp would make some quip, "Really, Tony, again?" And Kang would be all tough and shit. "Drunken sow! You complete my ultimate plan! Now I will use you for my foil to undo the" blah blah blah, whatever Kang, you always lose.

Or... Stark showing up in the Iron Man armor on top of the Golden Gate Bridge's arches, repulsoring pigeons and peeing on the cars below.

Or Stark standing down The Mandarin and his ten rings, only to puke in his own helmet uncontrollably as Mandy gets away. "Just... glug... just give me a minute... oh gawd..."

Anyway, the movie was awesome, you should go see it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Lost Did Tonight

So just imagine you're hanging out in Hollywood or something, celebrity-spotting, when up walks your favorite, LOST. "Oh, hi LOST, I love your show, I can't wait to see how it ends!"

LOST smiles at you and nods and is very nice in general. "What are you looking forward to the most?" he asks.

"Oh, I just can't wait until you explain the mysteries. I know you're not going to explain everything, but I just can't wait to find out the backstory on Jacob or Smokey or the island..."

And LOST says, "Hey that's great." He shuffles a little closer and whispers, "Would you like a preview of it?"

"WOULD I? OMG I have to tweet this," you say, and in your hurry to Tweet "Met MiB in Pinkberry's, getting dish on next ep now," you fail to notice that he's leading you into the bathroom. "Lay down on the floor please," he says, holding a medical chair that looks suspiciously like something an infant would toilet-train with, only adult sized.


"Come on, don't be a spoil sport. Just lie in the floor." Not being a fool, you are able to put some puzzle pieces together and you say:

"I don't think you're going to explain anything. I think you're just trying to shit on my face."

LOST looks at you, aghast. "Shit on your face? Pishtosh, nothing of the sort. Now come on, lie on the floor." And so, you lie on the floor, because you REALLY want to know about the number sequence and what about the sideways universe anyway. And when you're lying on the floor, he puts the toilet trainer right over your face.

"Wait a minute! You're trying to shit on my face!"

LOST's face comes into view of the toilet seat, saying "Nothing of the sort! Don't be silly. Now close your eyes." You close your eyes and you hear the curious sound of a belt buckle being undone and pants being unzipped.

"HEY! You're about to shit on my face!" "Nothing of the sort! I'm just getting comfy. Why are you so jumpy?" "Because you want to shit on my face, you do!" "Nonsense, I've put on weight and just need to adjust my pants is all." And then LOST sits on the toilet-trainer seat, his naked, hairy and smelly ass mere inches from your face.

"You ARE trying to shit on my face! I can smell your ass!"

"My goodness, you simply have no patience do you! Does little baby want his bottle?" LOST continues to tease you until you're embarrassed into silence, reminding you that all your LOST friends are going to ridicule you when they find out you met LOST in Pinkberry's and you could have learned all the important secrets but you couldn't keep quiet. You acquiesce, and lay in wait for the knowledge to flow.


As LOST leaves the bathroom you yell at him, "Hey, no fair! You said you weren't going to shit on my face! Well what do you call that?"

And LOST replies, "The Aristocrats!" *snaps fingers*

That's what LOST did tonight.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Doctor Who Two

Woo hoo! "Common / People" is a finalist for the CJA's! I feel a little down that the Body/Buffy mashup didn't make it, but okay. It's an honor to be nominated, I guess...

...except that, if this musical Dr. Who video is any indication of the rest of the entrants, I don't think I have a chance...

I especially love the Weeping Angels/Madonna bit at the end. I mean, I like my little animated slashfilm, but damn, THAT was a lot of work. Somebody's got a TB drive to rip stuff to.

But I digress, this post was really just an excuse to not strut about with my chest puffed out like a rooster showing off his feathers, but to talk about how deliriously much I love the new take on Doctor Who by Stephen Moffat.

See that promo? It's kind of crap. It didn't really inspire me to think we'd be seeing anything worth paying attention to, not after David Tennant's incredible run as the tenth Doctor. But after just one episode, I was won over.

Of course, I immediately had to download it as soon as it was available, like many here in the States. The thought of waiting two weeks to see how absolutely horribly they'd screwed up the Doctor was like a death sentence. No, we needed to know NOW how bad it was. And then the reviews came out.

"Pretty good" and "Fantastic" and "Totally won me over" were common phrases, with a few die-hards moaning about the theme music ("They've ruined a classic," please, it's not like they got Lady Gaga to remix it or something... hmmm now there's a thought) or just spoil-sports all around about how things just haven't been the same since Pertwee or Baker or whoever your favorite Doctor was.

I expect every time they change actors, you have to deal with this, but when the original Doctor Who's run stopped you had to actually listen to these people in person at the comic book shop or at the science fiction convention you were attending and what not. Now it's all-pervasive... you can't log on to one of your sci-fi interest sites without a deafening din of outraged or delighted fanboys/girls demanding justice and/or squeeing messily about how great/awful the new thing you used to like is.

So I admit, Matt Smith, in promo pics, wasn't doing it for me. He looked too strange. Out of a lineup of possible Doctors, I doubt I would have picked him. But the first episode, "The Eleventh Hour," hooked me from the very beginning of the show, and never let go.

I won't recap it, because if you care you've seen it and already dismissed or lauded it as a failure/success. I loved it. Sure, the next couple of episodes were kind of light... Starship UK was kind of a so-so mediocore DW ep, and the new Daleks were obviously just a setup for something further down the road. But then "Time of the Angels" aired, and anything I might have been holding back, dreading, were all let go.

I make no apologies that my favorite episodes of the new run of Doctor Who are the more silly ones, totally deus ex machina at the end and such. But my favorite episode so far? "Blink," with the Weeping Angels, a new and terrifying enemy who, by their nature, will probably always lend themselves to thrilling episodes, as long as they're not overused (I'm looking at you, Daleks).

"Blink" was not only one of the best Doctor Who episodes, but it was one of the best time travel stories I've ever watched. While Time Travel is at the core of the Doctor Who mythology, it's not really used all that much except to set up each story, but in this one it was woven into the story perfectly. The Doctor and Martha, trapped in the past without their Tardis, must set up a series of events to give a message to a person in the future that will ensure that the person not only escapes a nasty fate, but provides them with information about the very event they're warning her about somewhere in their past timeline. Genius.

Anyway, the two parter reintroducing the Weeping Angels to DW was simply phenomenal, although I think Brits liked part two a little more than I did. In a very weird turn, I think part two needed more obvious explanation about how things happened, but it was great. And I take back what I said about Matt Smith before; he may be weird looking, but he is an awesome Doctor Who.

Although I still think he has awful hair.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Creative Junkyard Awards

Hoping that one of my two mashups will win something in an online competition...

Of course there's the Common People one...

And then there's the Buffy/Sheryl Crow mashup...