Category Archives: Nostalgia

No girls allowed!

I’m kinda steamed, kids. I’m annoyed, I need my fangs milked (not a sexual innuendo…this time), and I’m about to start pointing fingers. If you’re the reactionary type, maybe skip this one…

 

DC Comics is doing a line of Joker-themed variant covers for their books in June. The cover to Batgirl #41, has been cancelled. It was cancelled because of whining. Take a look.

jokerPersonally, I think it’s pretty great. For long-time fans, it’s instantly evocative of Alan Moore’s classic story The Killing Joke, a story that was extremely important for Batgirl. It provided something that most comic book characters never get; character progression. After The Killing Joke, Batgirl as we knew her was gone for decades, and Barbara Gordon was forced to find a new niche in the DC Universe as Oracle, a character that was interesting and popular.

Even if you’re not familiar with this story, the cover is visually striking. The mind immediately begins to wonder what’s going on. It’s sinister in a way that’s so playful as to make it more sinister. It makes the viewer concerned for Batgirl’s welfare, wondering how she’ll overcome this situation. It accomplishes what art is supposed to; it makes you feel something.

Just kidding, it glorifies violence against women.

Seriously, people were so incensed by this one simple image, that letters had to be written, tweets had to be tweeted, shitty blog posts were posted (ooh, how meta), all about how misogynistic this was. It should be noted that it was also pointed out how awful it was that Joker’s gun is pointing downward, further hinting that maybe Barbara was molested during The Killing Joke…because it couldn’t possibly be just how a pistol would happen to hang if the hand holding it was draped over someone’s shoulder. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Are we supposed to pretend that in the gritty, violent world of costumed weirdos who live for little else than beating each other senseless, that women are somehow safe from all harm now? It kid of solidifies The Joker’s status as a villain if he can just show up and torment anyone he wants, doesn’t it? No, he can only get into fistfights with Batman. That’s safe an inoffensive. He can also cave in the occasional Robin’s skull with a crowbar, so long as said Boy Wonder is, in fact, a boy. Come on people, when did we decide that villains have to be politically correct?

Well, congratulations, idiots, the cover has been cancelled, you can go about your fantasy life that bad things in fiction only happen to people you want it to.

And while I’m working so hard at alienating fifty percent of the world’s population, I want to touch on something else. Ghostbusters.

It seems that humanity has collectively given up on Bill Murray agreeing to do Ghostbusters 3. That’s a shame, but something we all have to deal with, and we dealt with it in a pretty okay way; it was announced that a new, all-female cast would be rebooting the franchise. My sphincter immediately tensed up at the thought of another reboot, but I was impressed by the cast, so I made peace with it. Funny ladies are funny ladies, I wasn’t really looking at it as any kind of progressive thing, other than progress for the Ghostbusters franchise. Then the unspeakable happened…which I’ll speak of now.

It was announced that a second Ghostbusters movie was being produced, with Channing Tatum and probably Chris Pratt attached. Wow, thought my simple and terrible man-brain, Twenty-five years of no Ghostbusters, and now we get two? That’s great, right? No, it’s apparently awful! How dare men get to be Ghostbusters too! Internet opinion-spewers like charming Nerdist spokesbeing Jessica Chobot expressed their disdain at this terrible act of male oppression. Speaking of which, I’d just like to compare credentials here for a second…

Eat your heart out

Eat your heart out

I don’t get it. How is everyone getting something a bad thing? I understand how women should be happy that they’re getting represented in this, but then why are men not allowed to want that too? Sounds to me like equality isn’t equal. All this ballyhoo is really getting us nowhere.

Recently, on aintitcool.com, contributor Jeremy Smith wrote an article about Neil Blomkamp’s upcoming Alien sequel. He criticized Blomkamp for having reservations about his qualifications. Good for him. If you’re as much of a rookie as he is, approaching a beloved franchise like this should be a humbling and nerve-wracking proposition. It’s nice to see an artist not approaching their craft like a damn narcissist for a change. But Smith bellyaches that the task wasn’t given to a woman filmmaker. I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was an issue here. Blomkamp did some sketches, the studio was blown away by them and quickly contracted him to make something out of it. Should they have instead said “This Alien concept art is brilliant, too bad they weren’t done by a woman, then we could make a movie!” If you think the answer is “yes”, go away.

So what’s the takeaway from this? Well, probably that I’m some sort of cro-magnon man. But if you’re of rational mind and not tragically brain-damaged, it’s that none of this shit matters. Art should be shocking sometimes, otherwise it’s not art. Two Ghostbusters movies? Two Ghostbusters movies, people, that’s awesome! A new Alien movie that could be really cool? I don’t care who makes it, that’s great too! I’m not saying I don’t want movies starring or made by women, just the opposite, they recently announced a new Star Wars movie entitled Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones. That sounds like a movie about a female X-Wing pilot, and that sounds amazing. I can’t wait for that. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is, we should all unbunch our panties, and stop listening to bloggers.

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Beloved franchises…that actually mostly suck

We have a lot of long-running entertainment franchises these days that have developed rabid fan followings. With increasing frequency, these franchises crap out sequel after dreadful sequel that are instantly thrown on the pile of loathsome offerings that make us wonder why we ever liked this shit. This usually occurs with film franchises, television tends to get cancelled quickly when it goes to seed, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs within other media. Here now, I take a look at some of these franchises that were terrible far longer than they were good.

HELLRAISER

Look, an Ouya!

Look, an Ouya!

I loves me some Hellraiser, it was one of the most innovative and imaginatively brutal horror series around…briefly. There are nine Hellraiser movies. The first one is great. The second one is quite good. The third one…happened. The fourth one was better than it should have been. The rest were a dumpster fire. Cenobites that throw CDs, kung-fu cowboy demons, and scripts that had Hellraiser stuff hastily tacked on in order to retain the license have made this franchise a fucked-out shell of the genius it once was. One of the sequels even involves Hellraiser being just a big video game…that’s clever, sadly Frankie Munez must’ve been been too busy to be in that one. Too bad Lance Henriksen wasn’t. It’s ok Lance, we still love you.

This series is set for a reboot soon, under the guidance of creator Clive Barker. This is one of the few times I’ve been looking forward to a reboot. Seriously, CDs? Who throws CDs? Maybe the reboot will have a guy throw MP3s…not sure how that would kill people.

Play Freebird...you piece of shit.

Play Freebird…you piece of shit.

HIGHLANDER

I can't find it in myself to make fun of this, it's just too cool.

I can’t find it in myself to make fun of this, it’s just too cool.

Highlander was awesome. It had a rockin’ Queen soundtrack, cool swordfights, and an interesting concept that stirred the imagination. Then Highlander 2 happened. Then everything else Highlander happened. That was a shame. The Highlander sequels involved aliens, wizards, time travel, the Syfy Channel, all kinds of horseshit that’s known to ruin franchises. There have been 4 theatrical releases, a made for tv movie, two television series, an animated series, and an anime movie. Also, the first movie was good.

Some people really liked the TV series, well, the first one, not “The Raven”, but there are also people who enjoy having entire fists shoved up their assholes. Seriously, look it up. Whole human fists.

Just like a fist up the ass, Highlander well overstayed its welcome and ruined all the goodwill it had earned, making us wonder why we ever liked it in the first place. Oh yeah, the Queen soundtrack.

THIS, on the other hand...

THIS, on the other hand…

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Radical!

Radical!

Man, Sonic the Hedgehog was cool. The running fast, the loop-de-loops, the snarky attitude, the…blast processing, it was great. Then the 90’s ended. Sonic hasn’t had a really good game since Sonic and Knuckles, once the days of 2D platformers ended, Sonic found himself a man without a country. Unable to hang in an era of 3D games and polygons, Sonic hasn’t fared well, yet we just can’t seem to stop making bad attempts to make him seem relevant again, despite more failures than successes.  As painful as it is, it may be time for Sonic to hang up his red sneakers. There’s a farm upstate he could go live on. There’s room to run around there, and other hedgehogs to play with…he’ll be much happier.

Yeah...shit got weird.

Yeah…shit got weird.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

Yaaay!

Yaaay!

Pirates of the Caribbean was a great movie. It was a fun, lighthearted adventure full of interesting characters and cool action. Then they made more of them, and Johnny Depp owes me six hours of my life back. The first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, wasn’t too bad, but then At World’s End happened, and we were subjected to what felt like days of Jack Sparrow looking for a fucking peanut, and the filmmakers desperately trying to make Elizabeth Swan seem like a likable and important main character, as opposed to an insufferable bag of shit. I had actually forgotten about the latest entry in the series, and I paid money to see it in a theatre, which means I left my house at some point. 25% success rate is not a good number to base your series on.

When I said "grow a personality",  you didn't have to be a dick about it!

When I said “grow a personality”, you didn’t have to be a dick about it!

These are just some of examples that jumped to mind in my sweaty, gravy-induced stupor. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that eluded me. I contemplated Heroes, but since I haven’t finished it yet, it’d be based on hearsay, and that’s just unamerican, so sound off and tell me some franchises you think were more shit than shinola!

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How one fat nerd equates D&D to marital infidelity

Imagine if you will; you and your squeeze are together for a while now, and you have a great time together. But over the years she changes. It’s ok, everyone changes, and it happens slowly at first, but over time she becomes someone you don’t exactly enjoy anymore. It’s not that she got super fat, or got her face and tits mangled in some kind of industrial accident, she’s just…different. Perfectly capable in her own right, you suppose, but not quite the same. And it’s not just you that notices, your friends notice too, they may be afraid to mention it until you bring it up, because your friends always liked her too, that was another point in her favor. Now imagine you meet someone else. You weren’t really looking, you’re a faithful kind of guy, but you just kind of ran into her along the way and, to your horror and guilty delight, she stirs something in you. It feels fun again. You get that same feeling you had with your first love. It’s not that she’s some kind of supermodel, though she’s certainly attractive, if maybe a bit thick around the middle, but in that good way that Sir Mix-A-Lot would approve of. No, she’s just fun to be around. It’s like old times. So you make the hardest choice of your life, and you and your old lady part ways, and this new cutie embark on a whirlwind of fun times. Your friends like her, you have fun together, all is great. Then, one fateful day, your run into your ex. You engage in awkward small talk for a bit, give her the old scrutinizing eyeball, and you realize that she’s different again. She’s fun again. In new ways, but ways that remind you of why you fell in love with her in the first place. You agree to hang out casually, and you find yourself falling back in love with her. Now you have another painful choice to make. Do you rekindle this old flame, or do you stick it out with the chubby cutie that you left her for?

More of you to love...

More of you to love…

Friends, thus is the conundrum with Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition. And for clarity’s sake, Pathfinder is the fun, big-hipped lass you ran off with. Yes, a new edition is here, and it reads like an apology for everything D&D related since 2007.

Baby, is that you?

Baby, is that you?

5E, formerly known as D&D Next, trims so much of the fat that’s been heaped on in the past two editions that it feels like a breath of fresh air. Gone are the gratuitous modifiers for every little thing, and the overactive skill system, replacing it with simple over-the-board proficiency bonuses and advantage/disadvantage systems. Gone is most of the creepy shit added in 4E, that it feels like D&D again…although the Dragonborn are still oddly present. It reminds me a lot of Second Edition, but in all the right ways. The Player’s Handbook’s cover is even done in the same color scheme, which makes me wonder if that was in any way intentional. The power gamer elements are all but stripped clean, making a game that seems fast to learn, and legitimately streamlined, as much as that word gets thrown around.

My gaming group and I have had pretty much the same sentiment when looking over this new thing; deep personal conflict. We made the jump to Pathfinder years ago and haven’t looked back, and now D&D is looking like a very attractive option again. If only there was  some reason to keep those Pathfinder books on the shelf, and not dump and run. If only.

Stay tuned…

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The unnecessary but tolerable return of RobertCop

I ventured of out the safety and comfort of my lair today, dear readers, to see the Robocop remake. Now let me make something abundantly clear, Robocop, the original, that is, is one of my all-time favorite movies. I first saw it when I was like nine years old. It was on ABC, and my dad taped it on the VCR. if you’re so young that you have no fond memories of VCR’s and taping things off of the TV, then you’re too young for me to classify as a human being and should probably go on some kind of traumatic vision quest until you’re mature enough for Daddy’s sweet wisdom. As an aside, I watched that tape so many times that I practically had it memorized. It wasn’t until much later in life, I think I was in my twenties, that I saw the unedited, full-flavored theatrical version. Boy, was that an eye-opener.

Aw yeah, that's my jam!

Aw yeah, that’s my jam!

I’m going to try to keep this relatively spoiler-free, but if you want to go into it knowing nothing, stop reading until you’ve seen it.

When I first heard there was a remake in the works, I was naturally a bit upset. Over the couple of years that the film was in production and tidbits were leaked out, I went through my five stages of nerd grief until settling on “I’ll see it, I kind of hope it sucks so I can move on with my life with a sense of smug superiority”. The concept sketches leaked, and we all groaned. Then set photos of the new look leaked, and we groaned more. Everything was pointing toward another forgettable remake. Then the trailer came out. And it looked…how do I even say this…not terrible.

So how does the actual movie hold up? Well, that’s a real tough question. If judged on it’s own merits, this new Robocop might actually be a pretty cool thing. The issue with that is I don’t know if it’s possible to do that. The movie is full of little nods to it’s source material. The old theme song is played right from the getgo. There are lines straight out of the original (sadly, “bitches, leave!” isn’t one of them). And for those of you who got butthurt that OCP was renamed Omnicorp…they’ve got you covered too. Some of the things included in this movie seem a little fanservicey, but I’m ok with that, because I think this movie was made for Robocop fans. They even kind of show how this Robocop “poops”.

The movie is visually quite nice, there’s a higher budget, so we see more robots, more explosions, and a particularly gruesome scene where we get to see just what Roboop is made of. This was an uncomfortable scene, and was a nice inclusion. The new Robocop is sleeker, more agile, and doesn’t move like a stereotypical sci-fi robot. Well, not all the time. ED-209 is back, and the redesign is very modern and intimidating, even if it doesn’t squeal like a pig when it’s distressed this time around. That never made a whole lot of sense, what function does that serve? Whoever programmed that thing has some serious issues.

The black is more slimming, at least.

The black is more slimming, at least.

As for the story, well, it’s Robocop. It feels a little flatter this time. It hits many of the same beats, just switched up in places. Robocop’s wife doesn’t hate him this time, and Lewis is a dude, many of the characters from the old film have analogues in the remake, but few can compare to the classic versions. The character that fills the Clarence Boddicker role (though he’s not called that this time) can’t hold a candle to Kurtwood Smith’s portrayal. A friend of mine said he likes to imagine that Robocop is an epilogue to That 70’s Show, and Red Forman has finally gotten fed up and started acting out. I like that theory.

Dumbass!

Dumbass!

As with the original version, this movie is very much a product of it’s time. Whereas the old version held it’s tongue firmly in cheek about the issues of the time, satirizing the concerns of the late 80’s, this movie takes a less comedic approach, but still offers some commentary about things like the use of drones, privacy issues, and just what America is. It may not hold up as the brilliant political satire that the old one did in twenty years, but it’s certainly there.

All in all, it’s not a perfect movie, and probably won’t create a new generation of diehard Robocop fans, like the old version did. More likely, it’ll be consumed by those existing fans, who will watch it, proclaim it to be “not bad”, and then they’ll go home and watch their copies of the classic film and be filled with those warm, fuzzy feelings that Peter Weller imbued us with all those years ago.

Not Robocop 3 though...just...no.

Not Robocop 3 though…just…no.

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It all turns to crap…

Hello readers. Tonight, I think I’ll scream and swear about things. You may be familiar with this concept. If so, then it won’t come as too much of a shock.

First off though, the obligatory picture of Katherine Heigl in a bra…this time with real-time bouncing action!

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for me to go all old-man crazy. You see, it seems that the world is conspiring to take everything I love and make me hate it. I know things change sometimes, but this should be a subtle and painless process. It should not involve violently shitting on the target audience. Allow me to explain.

Star Wars

Now I know it’s become a national pastime to crap on Star Wars, what with all the “wah wah George Lucas raped my childhood” bullshit. I’ve always defended the prequels, even though they weren’t as good as the original trilogy, I thought they were fun movies, and good enough to not accuse the director of sexual abuse. I’ve even enjoyed the Clone Wars cartoon, that is, until halfway through the third season.

Halfway through the third season, they introduced a new character (though that’s a stretch) called Savage Opress. Yes, dumb name, I know. Savage was Darth Maul’s brother, you could tell because he’s basically Darth Maul, only yellow instead of red.

Super fucking creative.

At the end of the season, it is hinted that Darth Maul is still alive, and Savage must go on a quest to find him. We are then left with an entire season to try to forget about this before it’s resolved. Now I’ve not always been the biggest fans of where they’ve taken the Star Wars continuity with the prequel era stuff, but I’ve been ok with it, this though…oy. It’s as if the writers saw that George Lucas took a shit on the floor, so they tried to clean the shit by pissing on it. It’s pretty much a unanimous opinion that Darth Maul was handled badly in Phantom Menace and had too little screen time, but was done was done. That was the thing I always liked about Star Wars (the movies, not the Expanded Universe), dead was dead.

Ok...but how does it poop?

So after what was a mostly painful to watch season, we’re treated with the season finale that involves Savage finding his brother, now crazy with a robot spider body (at least it wasn’t a centipede I guess…), and taking them back to their denmonther who fixes his brain and makes him a pair of cyber legs…WITH MAGIC.

Lieutenant Dan, you got new legs!

I don’t get it, I really don’t.

Comics

I’m a big comic book fan, always have been. My local comic shop recently stopped carrying single issues, in favor of more gaming stuff (more on this later) and graphic novels, and since then I’ve given up cold turkey. Let’s talk about why.

Spider-Man has always been one of my all-time favorite superheroes, and of his supporting cast, Venom was by and large my favorite. This is a common feeling as he’s probably the most popular spider-villain of all time…so Marvel decided to fuck with him. Now, I understand that things change and characters have to evolve, but what a ridiculous back-and-forth Venom has gotten. Eddie Brock, the human half of Venom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he sold the Venom symbiote. This led to Mac Gargan, formerly known as the Scorpion, becoming the new Venom for several years. Naturally, the fans still loved Eddie, so what does Marvel do? They put him in a reverse colored costume, and called him Anti-Venom. Stop laughing, I’m not kidding!

Stupid, lazy, or clever? You decide!

But people still wanted Venom, so what does Marvel, in their infinite wisdom do? They put the Venom symbiote on long-time supporting cast member Flash Thompson, who becomes black-ops army Venom…still not kidding.

Hey Spidey, wanna play Call of Duty?

I liked this at first, because I thought it’d go away, but it’s still going! Anyway, this is all personal opinion, at least they didn’t mess with an icon like Superman, right?

Popped collar too? Why, Superman, why?

Superman was a timeless character, and his costume and his personality reflected this.  But somehow DC decided that they wanted a more modern look without the red trunks, and a more cynical attitude. A Superman that took no shit and was willing to kill. They might as well just call him XTREME Superman and have him chugging Red Bull and rocking out to dubstep.

Fuck it, I’ll just go play some D&D…

Dungeons & Dragons

Shit! This too?!? Great. So not long ago, Hasbro released a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons. And edition that wiped the slate clean. An edition that replaced some of the old standbys with stuff that seemed straight out of World of Warcraft. An edition that nobody wanted. Along the way, someone decided that about half of the stuff that everyone knew and loved would be left out and, feeling so distraught without it, the players would shell out additional money to get it back in future supplement books. Pretty sneaky, sis. But for the main book, they had to fill the gaps with something…whhat’s a good replacement for the good old Gnomes…

That dragon has boobs, the nerds will love it!

The backlash on this was enormous, so much so that the previous edition was cleaned up, polished, and released by another company under the name Pathfinder and, in a shocking turn of events that has never happened in the five decades of Dungeons and Dragons, has replaced it in popularity.

But when I play it, I always hear "Careless Whisper" in my head.

That’s enough for now, I’m feeling old and tired, and should probably take my Geritol, so until next time, get off of my lawn!

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