Monday, December 31, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Cosmopolis (2012)

I saw a trailer for this a few weeks ago on my Iron Sky DVD. I thought it looked like it might be really good, but I was a little unsure about the star. I mean could Count Fagula Robert Pattinson actually be in a good movie? Well, I decided I would find out.

So in this movie Robert Pattinson, who I shall henceforth refer to as Sparkles, plays Billionaire Eric Packer, who is riding accross town in his limo/office to get a hair cut. Along the way he interacts with various character, mostly employees, his wife, and the various women he's screwing on the side. It's very slow to get across town due to a visit to the city by the President. Also he is informed there has been a threat on his life. After losing a crap load of money in currency speculation he starts to become rather self destructive, killing his body guard and ultimately confronting the person who is trying to kill him in the abandoned building he is squatting in. Sparkles has a back and forth with his potential killer, played by Paul Giamatti. Sparkles doesn't seem all that concerned with whether or not Giamatti's character kills him and Giamatti doesn't seem all that sure whether he wants to kill Sparkles or himself. The final minute or so of the film features Giamatti going back and forth between pointing the gun at himself and Sparkles. The movie ends right there before we see what Giamatti decides.

This movie was....odd. It's barely a movie really. It's more just a series of scenes loosely strung together, all of which both abruptly start and abruptly stop, many of which have no real bearing on what passes for a plot in this movie. These scenes exist to spotlight the various characters in Sparkles' life and have the two of then wax philosophical. Many of them are strong interesting scenes, and most of these characters are extremely fascinating, at least for as much as we see of them, but again there just isn't really much of a point to most of it story wise. And while this movie has some flashes of genuine brilliance in it, it spends much of it's run time way too far up it's own ass, thinking it has more to say then it really does. The acting from everyone involved ranges from solid to downright spectacular, it's really the biggest redeeming quality to this movie. Amazingly enough even Sparkles really gets it done here. In fact if he keeps up performances like this I might stop calling him Sparkles.

This is hardly a great movie, in fact I'm not sure I would even call it a good movie, but it's not really a bad movie either. And it is, if nothing else, an interesting movie. I would say it's definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Villain Spotlight: Kraven the hunter

I've talked about a lot of Spidey villains in my Villain Spotlight feature, some like Demogoblin I feel are very underrated, some like Lady Octopus I feel have a lot of untapped potential, now let's look at someone who is obnoxiously overrated as a villain, Kraven.

I just do not see how Kraven is such a major Spider-man villain. Spider-man can bench press a Ford F150 and Kraven is a guy who likes to go on Safari. I can maybe see him getting the drop on Spidey once of twice out of a combination of luck and the element of surprise, but by and large I just don't see him as a credible threat. I know some writers say he has some super strength he got from 'jungle herbs'. Aside from that being a rather stupid explanation, even in the world of comics, I still don't see that putting him on Spidey's level.

I don't hate Kraven mind you. I think the motivation of sport hunting for a villain is an interesting one, just look at how popular the Predator movies are after all, but Kraven would have been better suited as a Daredevil villain or something. When Kraven first showed up in the Ultimate universe and confronted Spidey it went like this.
And then Kraven went down for the count. To me that's how every Kraven/Spidey fight should go because a dude who wrestles alligators just isn't qualified to go toe to toe with Spider-man. I really think the fact that Kraven is from the Lee and Ditko era of Spider-man is the only reason he just won't go away. I rather liked the story of his death, Fearful Symmetry. Kraven's suicide was one of the most interesting things he ever did, and I think it was a bad idea to reverse it. Especially since Kraven had like three different bastard kids that could easily fill the void of this character.

One of the things I really liked with Kraven was when he was going after the wearcat Avenger Tigra.
I'm a big fan of Tigra, she's one of my favorite C list characters. Kraven worked well against her, sure she was probably still a little more then he should have been able to handle power wise, but she was closer to his weight class than Spidey, and she was a much more appropriate opponent to him theme wise. All and all though I really wish they would have let poor Kraven rest in peace.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

Man check out that poster. I miss when movies used to get great painted movie posters like that. They were often great pieces of art especially for horror movies. You just don't see that anymore, not even for horror movies, but then who wants to create an original painting for the latest piece of unimaginative torture porn farted out by hacks like Eli Roth or Rob Zombie. Anyways enough about that, let's take a look at the second film in my favorite horror franchise, A Nightmare on Elm St 2: Freddy's Revenge.
Our story follows Jesse and his best friend/love interest Lisa, both seen here. It's 5 years after the events of the first film and Jesse and his family have recently moved to Springwood and are living in Nancy's old house from the first movie. Jesse has a problem. He is being tormented by nightmares of Freddy. He finds Nancy's old diary and him and Lisa begin reading about Freddy. It becomes apparent that Freddy is taking over Jesse's body through his dreams causing Jesse to sometimes transform into Freddy.
During his transformations into Freddy he kills his sadistic asshole of a gym coach. Then one of his friends and then he attacks a pool party Lisa is throwing in her backyard. Jesse's affections for Lisa allow him to stop Freddy from killing her and Freddy flees to the power plant Freddy apparently worked at. Lisa follow him and manages to help Jesse regain control and cast out Freddy by professing her love for him.

I didn't realize this until I did a little research on Wikipedia but this film is considered to have major homosexual undertones. There is a scene where Jesse is sorta sleep walking and he goes into a gay bar for a drink and his gym teacher catches him there. Next scene we have his gym teacher making him run laps in the gym in the middle of the night. This is apparently to punish Jesse for underage drinking but you would think the gym teacher would have been more concerned with Jesse telling everyone about his proclivities. Anyways it's at this point that Jesse transforms into Freddy and kills him. Also there is a scene where Jesse is starting to get it on with Lisa and feels himself starting to transform so he goes to his friends bedroom and tells him to watch him sleep and don't let him leave. This of course goes badly and Jesse transforms into Freddy and kills this kid. This is suppose to represent him wanting to sleep with his male friend. I guess I can see where people are coming from with that interpretation, but Freddy is ultimately defeated by Jesse's love for Lisa, so how gay could Jesse be?

Even that aside this is still an interesting chapter in the Nightmare series if for nothing else then the change in Freddy's M.O. and powers. Rather then his standard shtick of killing people through their dreams he possesses someone through his dream and kills through him. No explanation is given for the change in Freddy's powers and method, and in part 3 he's back to his old ways. Makes sense for Freddy to switch back, after all this way didn't work too well for him, he's defeated by a boys love for the girl next door, plus when he's attacking people in the real world he's not invulnerable like in the dream realm. But how did he switch powers and M.O. in this first place?

The special effects were pretty damn good for the time, and really practical effects tend to be better then modern CGI anyways. Also I thought Lisa looked pretty damn fine in a girl next door way, but then I've always had a soft spot for redheads. A few things that stood out for me was a gag at the beginning, Jesse's little sister is eating a cereal called Fu Man Chew. A pointless throw away gag sure but it made me chuckle.

There was a scene where Jesse was screaming mid transformation and we see Freddy's eye in his mouth, that was a pretty cool visual.

And when Lisa chases Freddy to the old abandoned power plant she sees two guard dogs with really creepy human faces.

I don't know why but those things creeped the shit out of me. They didn't even attack her they just growled but still.

This movie certainly had it's flaws, for one Freddy isn't all that intimidating or scary in this. This is barely a horror movie, it's almost a teen romance with horror movie elements. Also I know it's kinda nitpicking but I hate the title. Freddy's Revenge? Revenge on who? And for what? Nobody in this movie had anything to do with the events of the first movie. These are just random people who happen to live in this town, what could Freddy possibly be getting 'revenge' for? All and all though this is a solid enough slasher movie and is worth checking out. It's certainly not the worst Nightmare sequel that's for sure.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My top 10 favorite super hero video games.

I'm a pretty big comic book nerd, but I'm not much of a gamer. I mean I play video games, but for the most part I like games I had as a kid, like Mega Man or Sonic, or super hero games. There are a few exceptions to that, I got really into Saint's Row 2 for example (Saint's Row 3 was a bit of a dissapointment though). But for the most part its pretty much just Mario, Sonic, and of course super hero games. So here is my list of my top 10 favorite super hero games. These isn't meant to be any sory of difinitive 'Best' list, just the 10 I like the most.

10) Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions I love me some Spider-man, and I love me some multiverse stories, so it's pretty hard for me to not love this game where you play as Spider-men from 4 different universes. The only thing that keeps this from being higher on the list is it's not sandbox style in it's game play. I would have loved have explored the 4 different New Yorks.

9) Hulk: Ultimate Destruction A sandbox Hulk game where you can go around a city smashing things. What more could you want? I didn't play much of the story mode, once I got to the city I pretty much just did sandbox stuff from there on out. I still pop this in the old PS2 once in a while when the need to smash arises.

8) Spider-man: Separation Anxiety I talked about this game a little bit in an earlier post. This was your standard fight your way down a street or hallway Double Dragon clone that was all the rage back them, but it was still pretty sweet. You could play as Spider-man or Venom, and like most kids I always played as Venom. Only player two could be Venom so I would start the game in two player mode and just let Spider-man get killed immediately and go on as Venom.

7) Ghost Rider. This game didn't get the credit it deserved. I thought it was a damn fun game. The game play was a little repetitive but it's saved in my eyes by the simple fact that we finally had a Ghost Rider game. I really liked the level designs especially for the parts where you're in Hell. If you've never checked this out, you should give it a shot.

6) X-Men: The Arcade Game Holy crap did this game eat up a metric ton of quarters out of me as a kid. This was the standard Double Dragon clone arcade game of forever fighting your way down streets, hallways, etc but boy was it fun. I'll never forget when I beat it, I had $20 in quarters and a Saturday afternoon at my disposal. Thankfully it was a busy day when I hopped on it so various kids at various points joined the game until their quarters ran out and I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without the help. I think this is available on X-Box Live, hopefully they didn't remaster it because it should be enjoyed in all it's original glory.
Ahhh, good times.

5) Ultimate Spider-man This came out before Jeph Loeb had come around and run the Ultimate Universe into the dirt and Ultimate Spider-man was still the tits. I actually didn't have video game systems for the longest time. I went from Sega Genesis to PS2 believe it or not. My dad was always kinda anti video game, and after Genesis when N64 and Playstation was coming out he just decided he wasn't going to buy them for me, and being such a comic book nerd in my teenage years all my money I would make pretty much went to saving up for a car or comic books. After a while I was out of the loop on video games enough it was hard to hop back in. Ultimate Spider-man however seemed so awesome that in 2005 I finally broke down and got a PS2. This game impressed the hell out of me. The sandbox play is super fun, I could just swing around forever. And I'm amazed at how much it looked like Mark Bagely art and not a video game. I'm still impressed with that to this day. This game was, and still is a blast.

4) Marvel vs Capcom 2. This is another one I played a lot of in arcades. My high school sweetheart and I used to play this in the arcade every time we went to the mall together. A couple years later a roommate had it and we would play the hell out of it. This game had it's flaws, the backgrounds and music were pretty weak compared to other Capcom Marvel fighting games. But it's just hard to beat the awesome sauce that is 52 playable characters. I can't help but love a game where I can be Spider-man, Thanos, and Mega Man.

3) Lego Batman 2 This game was a blast. I talked about this a lot more in an earlier post. With so many characters, down right hilarious lego humor, and sandbox style play through Gotham, it's hard not to love this game. I do have a few complaints, mostly I wish it was longer. I beat in it two weeks and half that time was spent dicking around in sandbox play. But it's still a great game, even if it is a little too short.

2) Marvel Ultimate Alliance. What's not to love about a game with damn near every major Marvel character fighting damn near every major Marvel villain? There really isn't much I can say about this game that hasn't been said. It's just so damn much fun.

1) Spider-man (2000) This game blew me away with how good it was. The voice acting was great, the graphics were great for the time, there were so many great Spidey villains, a good chunk of guest stars (including a don't blink or you'll miss it Ghost Rider cameo) lots of alternate costumes you could unlock with different abilities, I just couldn't believe how fun it was. Like I said earlier I didn't have a video game system so I got this on the PC. I'm kinda glad because that gave me a little better graphics then the PS1 version which I got a chance to play a few years later. This game is still my all time favorite super hero game. And the final boss is Doc Ock with the Carnage symbiote, how cool is that?

So there you have it, my 10 favorite super hero games. You may have noticed what some would consider a glaring omission, Batman: Arkham Asylum. I know it was a cutting edge universally loved game, so why isn't it on here? Honestly it's just too damn hard. I'm sorry I'm just not much of a gamer and Arkham just frustrates the hell out of me.

Reason #147 why I don't like Facebook

According to Infowars, Facebook has recently started deactivating accounts for posting unacceptable speech. The speech in question, the above Gandhi quote. Wow, Gandhi quotes are evil now, I swear these gun control idiots are fucking insane. You truly can't reason with these people. Gun control doesn't work. It increases violent crime everywhere it's tried. That is a stone cold fucking fact. The only reason governments love to try and disarm citizens is to leave them defenseless against whatever tyrannical bullshit they feel like pulling.

I've always considered Facebook to be a pointless waste of time. Now I know they're also run by a bunch of leftard bullies. So that's yet another reason to hate Facebook. Take a good fucking look at yourselves liberals, you've reached the point of calling Gandhi quotes dangerous unacceptable speech. Assuming there is one ounce of sense left in your brainwashed leftard heads, that should give you what alcoholics refer to as "a moment of clarity".

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Cars 1 & 2

I'm a big fan or Pixar. I think those guys are brilliant story tellers and in an odd way the Cars films and the negative reaction to them from a lot of critics is sort of a testament to just how great Pixar is.

When Cars first came out I had very little interest in it. It looked pretty stupid, especially after the awesome sauce that was Incredibles. But my dad is a big fan of Disney and Pixar and also a mechanic and a car nut so he was reacting to the trailers like a giddy 5 year old. Now going to the movies is one of our bonding things, has been since I was a little kid, so I had to go with him. I thought I was in for 90 minutes of sheer boredom but to my surprise I liked it. The animation was smooth and cute and the visual gags were all pretty solid. Little things made me laugh, like lightning bugs that looked little little glowing Volkswagen Beetles. I can't say I loved it but I was pleasantly surprised.

What's the story to Cars? A famous race car is stuck in a little nowhere town and learns the value of hard work, the simple things in life, and all that other sentimental crap. So it's pretty much just Doc Hollywood with but with a talking race car.

So then Cars 2 came out, same deal, my dad was dieing to see it. I was even more apprehensive. I was almost certain it was going to suck. I mean Pixar might have managed to get one decent movie out of this paper thin premise, but 2? And I was wrong again, well sorta.

First we need to go on a bit of a tangent for a moment and talk about Larry the Cable Guy. A lot of people loath Larry the Cable Guy and I can kinda see why and I'm not a fan either. The odd thing is I actually thought he was pretty funny the first couple of times I saw his stuff. But boy does he wear real thin real fast. He voices the retarded redneck tow truck Tow Mater in these movies, and much like his voice actor Mater can very quickly wear out his welcome. In Cars 1 that's not too much of a problem, as Mater is a sick character, but Cars 2 is very much Mater's movie.

What's the plot to Cars 2? Basically while traveling with his race car buddy Lightning McQueen Mater is mistaken for a spy. And hi jinks ensue.

Cars 2 fails in a lot of ways. First of all it's a Larry the Cable Guy movie. I may be able to take small doses of Larry but not this much. Second of all it's full of toilet humor. Now I don't necessarily mind toilet humor, but I expect a bit more class out of Pixar then that. But also Cars 2 fails in more ways then Cars 1 because Cars 2 tries more. There is a lot of stuff going on in Cars 2 with the whole spy story, and it's kinda more stuff then this thin premise of talking cars can hold up.

So did I like Cars 2? Ehhh, I didn't dislike it. Some of the action scenes with the spy cars were pretty damn cool. It's a decent enough kids movie. I'm glad I saw it, though I don't think I would sit down and watch it again.

So why are these two movies so hated? Because they are OK movies, and Pixar is suppose to make great movies. But I think people have to remember. Cars is a merchandising machine. How much Cars stuff did you see in stores? I still see tons of Cars stuff out there. I mean you slap a cute happy face on a Matchbox car and you got a big seller in the Toys R Us. So Cars kinda helps fund other Pixar movies.

I know Cars 2 is Pixar's worst movie, and Cars 1 is in 2nd place on that list, but are they really that bad? I know they're no Toy  Story or Incredibles, but I contend they're both decent cute little kids movies. And I think it's pretty impressive Pixar took a premise that should probably only have been a 5 minute short before a Pixar movie and turned out two watchable full length movies from it. So like I said, to me the Cars movies are a testament to Pixar's greatness, because their two worst movies are still OK. And how many studios can say that?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Kwanzaa Carol

I got a great idea for a movie. OK, picture a guy, basically he's an Al Sharpton analogue. He's a tired angry old man who long ago outlived any usefulness and relevancy he might have had. He hosts a political show on an MSNBC type network , no wait even better make it like CurrentTV, that's MSNBC's trash bin. Anyways, here this guy is taking a look at his life, he used to be able to organized major protests and even riots over the most ridiculously trumped up racially charged accusations towards individuals, groups, and even corporations, forcing them to capitulate. He was a master shakedown artist, now he's on a shitty cable news show with ever dwindling ratings. It comes time to start putting together the special Kwanzaa themed episode for the year and he just can't see the point of it anymore.

Then he's visited by the ghost of his former partner, played by Ving Rhames. Maybe have him wear that outfit he had in The People Under The Stairs. Anyways you know the drill he tells him he will be visited by three ghosts. I'm not sure who should play them all, but I think maybe Obama-phone lady should play the ghost of Kwanzaa present. Seems like she could use some work.

So the ghosts try to show our main character the true meaning of Kwanzaa, highlighting it's rich and ancient traditions dating all the way back to 1966. But the more our Kwanzaa-Scrooge sees the more convinced he is that Kwanzaa is bullshit. Finally even the ghosts admit Kwanzaa is a racist pile of nonsense that has less validity then the watered down version of Wicca that emo girls experiment with when they're in the 10th grade. The end.

What do you think? I know I'd go see it.

Review of the Week: Amazing Spider-man #700

Here it is, Amazing Spider-Man #700. Pretty impressive really. Anyways a couple of issues ago it was revealed that Doc Ock had switched minds with Peter Parker using some sort of techno macguffin. Ock was in Peter's body and vise versa, each having access to the other's memories. Peter, in Ock's sick dieing body broke out of prison and tried to reverse the process. In this issue he fails and he dies. But before he does he manages to beam some more of Peter Parker back into Peter's body. Not the full thing but more them memories, more like perspective and feelings. This inspires Ock to really like up to the hero who's body he now inhabits and become the Superior Spider-man.

No surprise really, it was announced month ago Superior Spider-man would be someone other then Peter, so once issue 698 revealed the mind swap we all knew what would happen. Still this is an entertaining issue and worth checking out. The back up stories are pretty weak, all they do is pad the book and thus boost up the price which is unfortunate. As for this new status quoe, I'm sure it'll be reversed, most likely we will eventually find out Peter's mind did get through and is sitting in the back of Superior Spider-man's head and will eventually regain control. That would be my guess anyways. I do find it funny that Joe Q ended the marriage because somehow it made Peter less 'relateable' but THIS of all things doesn't? Forgive me but I had to grind that ax a little bit more.

All and all a decent anniversary issue and I'm looking forward to Superior Spider-man #1 to see where we're going with this.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It happens every year, I start off hating Christmas but by mid to late December I get into the spirit. I think I just get tired of how early it starts. Anyway, Santa was pretty good to this old nerd this year. I got, among other things, the Spider-man Chronology hardcover, which is a year by year month by month history of Spider-man comics, the complete Nightmare on Elm St. movie series (minus the recent remake) on DVD, a nice pair of thermal socks (can never have enough), the Lego Superman vs Battle Armor Lex set (Yay, Lego fun time!) and a .45 handgun with a nice leather belt holster (come and take it from me you Obama worshipping leftards). I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. -Luke 2:11 KJV

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Retro Review: Amazing Spider-man #420

Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is nearly upon us. So let's look at yet another Christmas issue, this time Spider-man and X-Man celebrate Christmas. Some of you might be wondering who the hell X-man is. Well, X-man, AKA Nate Grey, is the son of Jean Grey and Cyclops from an alternate universe where the mutant villain known as Apocalypse rules the world. He ended up in the regular Marvel Universe somehow and amazingly had a series that lasted 75 issues. That's a pretty decent run for a book that started in 1995. In the mid 90's the bottom fell out of the speculator market and a lot of good books at Marvel got the ax as Marvel went through financial problems and even bankruptcy but somehow this survived until 2001. This issue was the start of Spidey and X-Man becoming fast friends.

Our story starts out with Peter looking at a pair of boots he wants to get for MJ for Christmas. He doesn't really have the money so to make it he takes a Daily Bugle assignment of taking pics of a new street prophet that is gathering quite the following in Central Park. This turns out to Nate Grey and when Peter shows up Nate immediately senses he's Spider-man and confronts him. The two go somewhere private to chat, Peter denies he's Spidey but Nate uses his telekinesis to rip off his civilian cloths like on the cover. The two share their respective origins with each other then Spidey invites Nate over to his place to have Christmas dinner with MJ and MJ's aunt Anna. There were also some sub plots featuring the assassin Delilah fighting another assassin but they have nothing to do with the main story.

Now, I've mentioned over and over that my favorite time in Spidey history, the time right after the clone saga and right before the relaunch. That being said, of the 4 Spidey books at the time, I thought Amazing was the weakest. The art really suffered after Mark Bagely left and I've never been a very big fan of writer Tom DeFalco. This artist, Steve Skorce, had a style I found very unpleasant. Everyone looked so ugly. I often wonder if this artists new style was the reason DeFalco began shifting Delilah's personality from femme fatale to butch amazon. Also the friendship with Nate Grey was very odd to say the least. This was before Spidey became a staple of the Avengers, and other then Human Torch and Daredevil Spidey had no close relationships to any other super heroes. Sure ,Spidey would team up with anyone and everyone all the time, but he had Nate over for Christmas dinner. Spidey would appear in X-man's book a few times over the next couple of years and Nate would show up here and there in Amazing. Once the relaunch happened to the Spidey books the new creative teams forgot all about Nate Grey and this little bromance fell into obscurity. Most writers never bring it up, hell in the 2003 Spider-man Encyclopedia hardcover I got Nate Grey didn't even get an entry, and they gave Nightcrawler and entry in that.

All and all this was a decent issue. It's not great but it's worth checking out. I like how Christmas isn't a main plot point, it's just something happening in the background. That's kinda how I feel serialized fiction should handle holidays. Rather then do a full holiday themed story just have the holiday happening as life goes on. So like I said, this issue is worth checking out if you're a Spidey fan or if by some chance you're an X-Man fan.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I hate computers sometimes

Having a computer is like dating a crazy girl, and trust me I know what that's like. At first it's awesome, you can't believe how much stuff she does and how fast she is. Every day you just can't wait to get on her. But then she starts acting up. Little passive aggressive annoying shit at first. Then comes the fucking meltdown.

Last night my computer decided it was time to throw a shit fit. Thankfully I managed to get my Wednesday review of the week done first. But for a little while I won't be posting much of anything. Hopefully it will only be a few days but who knows. So bear with me my loyal readers, I shall return.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review of the Week: FF Vol 2 #2

I was rather disappointed with issue one of this series, this issue picked up a little bit. After the Fantastic Four left on the little trip through time and space they obviously didn't arrive four minutes later like they planned so this replacement FF is left holding the bag. There were a lot of solid character moments in this, She-Hulk teaching the Future Foundation children about super hero law, Medusa ringing a bell in bed, apparently expecting royal service, and the new She-Thing looking to quit at the end because she feels she has no business on this team and will probably get somebody hurt or killed. Personally I think she's right. At the end Human Torch returns through the portal the Fantastic Four left in wearing a new blue suit and exclaiming the rest of the Fantastic Four are dead.

Like I said, issue one was a bit of a let down, but issue two was much better. The art still kinda sucks, but at least the story is picking up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oobie: an example of not even trying.

Ever see something and think "What the fuck am I looking at? How is this even a real thing?" That happened to me the other day when while surfing through the channels I accidentally discovered the existence of a kids show call Oobie. This "show" and I use that word in a very lose sense, features a bunch of "puppets", another word I am using rather loosely, who babble incoherently using a combination of sentence fragments and outright gibberish, while random things happen. As you can see above the "puppets" are just hands with googly eyes on them. And that is the whole fucking show. Someone got paid for that. According to Wikipedia the show ran from 2003-2007, and is still obviously being shown in reruns today. That's a pretty impressive run for a kids show. To put that in perspective, Duck Tales, a beloved classic of a kids show, only ran for three years. And that show actually had characters and a story.

I know its just for little kids but still. Shouldn't we be teaching these young minds how to count and spell and shit in these shows. This show barely used real fucking words. This is what we fill young minds with at their most impressionable age? No wonder test scores are dropping like stones.

When I was a kid those moral crusading do gooder bitches Tipper Gore and Lynne Cheney had their panties in knots over rap music and violent video games. Shit like Oobie is what they should be railing against. At least things like this...
...can sharped a kid's hand eye coordination and prepare him to fight demons should he be left behind after the rapture. What the fuck is a kid suppose to learn from Oobie? I watched a full episode of Oobie and I can tell you, the only lesson you could possibly learn from it is there is some real money to be made in the little kid's show racket provided you have absolutely no shame.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My top 5 movies of 2012

It's the end of the year, so I guess it's time for an obligatory end of the year list. I didn't see every movie this year, but I did see quite a few. The only one I didn't see that might have been on this list was Dredd. I've heard real good things about that. Anyways these are my 5 favorite movies of 2012.
5) The Hunger Games This was a close one, there were a lot of movies that almost made my number 5 slot. What pushed this over the edge for me was I really did not expect this to be good. I'm not even entirely sure why, maybe it was just so pervasive leading up to it's release that the contrarian streak in me came to the surface. But I was very pleasantly surprised with this. The battle at the end was incredibly well done. I felt a chill seeing some of the characters kill with such glee, I felt the panic, the fear and the sadness of these deaths. What could have been a mindless orgy of violence turned out to be very emotionally powerful. This did have it's flaws, the shaky cam was extremely annoying, especially at the beginning of the movie when there was no point for it. Granted part of it might have been my low expectations, but I really enjoyed this movie. Plus you gotta love a movie aimed at young people with such a vehemently anti government message.
4) Chronicle This is the story of three teenage boys who discover what is most likely a buried alien space craft (it's never explained) and a device in it gives them all telekinetic powers. It's told through that 'found footage' style that's all the rage these days. I really enjoyed this movie. I'm a big fan of the found footage style, when done right it really sucks you into the story. This was a very interesting, more realistic take on super powers.

3) Ted This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in years. If you haven't seen this shame on you. The writing was amazing, the CGI effects on Ted were top notch, it was just great all around. Amazingly the concept on the talking teddy bear begins to take a back seat in your mind as you watch it and part of you just thinks of Ted and his buddy John as two guys talking, then some gag reminds you this is a talking Teddy bear and its just that much funnier. Kind of like the times Brian actually acts like a dog on Family Guy. This movie is destined to join the ranks of Caddy Shack and Animal House as an all time classic comedy.

2) The Cabin in the Woods There isn't really much I can say about this movie without spoiling a lot of plot points. This movie isn't really a strict horror so much as it's a horror comedy. It's not only a satire of the horror genre but also kind of a love letter to it. In fact co-writer Joss Whedon said it was "basically a very loving hate letter" to the horror genre. Any horror fan must see this movie.

1) Avengers Yes this was, by far, my favorite movie, not just this year, but in years. It still amazes me this movie even came together and got made, let alone that it was also a damn good movie. The existence of this movie is proof that God not only loves me, but also likes me. Brings a tear to my eye.

So there you have it, my 5 favorite movies this year. Don't agree? Well then make your own damn list.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Fireproof (2008)

I caught a little bit of this on TV the other day and saw some just horrendous acting. I mean just awful. Being a church goin guy I heard about this when it first came out but never bothered to see it. A Christian movie starring Kirk Cameron about a fireman who's marriage is crumbling, and let me tell you, this was all the rage in Christian circles at the time. This is from Sherwood Pictures. You see one day a Church decided to get some money scrapped together and make movies. And thus was born Sherwood Pictures. Facing the Giants was one from them you may have heard of. Anyways after seeing five minutes of the horrible acting I thought "I should review this" So I called up some people at my church to see if anyone had a copy I could borrow because I sure wasn't going to buy a copy of this piece of shit.

Kirk Cameron plays a fireman who has to come home to a bitchy wife. She hates the fact that he's never around, apparently it didn't occur to her when she married him that firemen tend to have demanding schedules. Also he's taking some of his money each check and saving up for a boat. That son of a bitch. They fight and scream and she announces she wants a divorce and he's like "Fine whatever bitch". They get divorced and then we cut to Kirk 6 months later enjoying his day off on his brand new boat finally free of that terrible terrible woman. The end.

OK, that's not what happened, that's merely the ending I found myself rooting for. I'm not fucking kidding, this wife character is just awful and somehow this movie expects me to find her sympathetic. Anyways she says she wants a divorce and then later we cut to scenes of Cameron's character getting advise from his dad and his best friend at the fire station, both Christians. Anyways Kirks dad gives him something called the 40 Day Love Dare. This is an actual self help Christian save your marriage book. In fact this movie is kinda a very well produced infomercial for that book. This might just be the first infomercial to get a theatrical release.

Anyways the Love Dare program is basically doing at least one nice thing for your spouse a day to win them back. So Cameron goes through this, reluctantly at first. But then his dad preaches to him and he becomes a Christian and puts more heart into the Love Dare program. Not that it matters though, his cunt wife keeps spitting every nice gesture back into his face. Eventually though it does win her over, she becomes a Christian too and they renew their vows.

Alright, let me first talk about the relatively minor flaws, then I'll get to the fatal flaw. This movie is made by a very armature studio. Kirk Cameron is the only person in this who is any kind of a professional when it comes to making movies. Everyone else is actors the studio recruited from the church it spawned out of or volunteers. If it's a minor part, with only one scene and a couple of lines it's probably a volunteer and boy does it show. To call it bad acting doesn't begin describe it at times. Also there were some very odd choices regarding what this movie spends time on. For example at one point we cut to a scene with two cars at a stop sign right next to each other. The group of teenagers in one car are talking to the group in the other car. We've never seen ANY of these characters before. As they're rambling on I just found myself thing "Who the fuck are they? What the fuck are they talking about? And why the fuck should I care?" They decide to race and we cut back to the fire station. A few minutes later there is an alarm and the Cameron and his fellow fire fighters are called to scene of the wreckage. One car in on a train track and they have to get them before the train comes. It's a decent enough scene but did I really need to know they were racing? Now on the other hand Cameron's wife works at a hospital and is flirting with a doctor there. At one point during this we pan over to some old nurse looking at this all pissed off. Then we don't see her for like 30 fucking minutes or so until she sits down in the hospital lunch room to deliver important "Don't leave your husband" advice to the wife. So we couldn't have established a character who delivers important advice but I needed to know those kids were racing to further establish a scene that has no real bearing on the plot other than to remind me that firemen save people.

But you know what, with a movie made by a church that's mostly volunteers, I could forgive all those amateurish flaws. In fact you kinda expect it. Like I said other then Cameron there are no professionals working on this. But the biggest problem is the wife is an absolute cunt. The audience is meant to feel so much sympathy for this poor put upon neglected wife when she is guilty of EVERYTHING Cameron's character is to an equal or greater extent. She bitches he never does anything around the house. He's fucking busy. He has a demanding job, is at the station for days at a time, and just wants to kick back a little when he gets home. Should he help out more? Probably. But she should also make sure there is some damn food in the fridge when he gets home. And the biggest area where we are meant to see Cameron's character as a shit bag is he looks at dirty pictures on the Internet. I say 'looks' because he doesn't seem to actually masturbate to them. His wife catches him and he's just staring at the computer screen like it's a magic eye poster. Doesn't even have his belt undone. Now OK fine, he probably shouldn't be doing that, but she's at the hospital damn near ready to hop on Doctor Whoever's cock. I'm sorry but isn't getting ready to start an affair a little worse than looking at a picture?

As I'm watching this, seeing her take every nice gesture of his and telling this poor guy to basically shove it up his ass I found myself thinking "OK I guess what we're going for is he's doing the right thing in spite of her. He's doing the very Christian thing of not returning evil for evil" But no, at the end he begs forgiveness and she forgives him, offering no apology of her own. What. The. FUCK?!

Also I don't know how helpful this Love Dare stuff would really be. I mean some of it is good but a lot of this White Knight bullshit would most likely come across as ass kissing groveling and make you seem like a neutered little beta male, and that's not gonna make her fall in love with you all over again.

This movie had it's moments but for the most part it was a poorly written, poorly acted, poorly paced infomercial for a questionable marriage saving system. Also it's nearly two fucking hours long. It's amazing how much time this movie wastes on characters and sub plots that go nowhere, have nothing to do with the main plot, and are for the most part completely uninteresting.

Honestly what has happened to Christendom? How did we go from story tellers like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to fucking Fireproof?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reader Mail: What about Han Solo?

Got some reader mail today. He didn't leave a name but I'm gonna call him Rod since that was part of his email address. As to what kind of Rod, well, his yahoo name would have me believe it's of higher than room temperature and is magical in nature. However I suspect those claims are greatly exaggerated. Anyways Mr Rod sent me this email, presumably regarding my Star Trek vs Star Wars post.

Only 10 year old Star Wars fans think Boba Fett is all that cool. Most Star Wars fans will tell you Han Solo is the man. Better then anything in Trek.

Oh shit. I think, wait hang on let me check, yes it appeares that it is indeed now 'on'. Last time I established that the Borg were indeed more bad ass then Boba Fett. But now a new challanger has arisen from Lucasland. Han Solo. OK then, let's take a look at Mr. Solo.
See the problem here is everyone only thinks that Han Solo is bad ass. When in reality Harrison Ford is bad ass. Put aside Ford's charisma and what do you really have here? Same thing you had with Boba Fett, all sizzle, no steak.

I mean what did Solo ever really DO? When we first meet him he's dodging creditors like a college drop out running from a student loan. His ship is a run down peice of shit held together with duct tape and a DirecTV satilete. He stumbled into helping Skywalker and bailed at the first chance he got. He returned to shoot one ship in the final battle in New Hope. Thanks Han. Hell, in Empire he unwittingly leads everybody into a trap. "No guys it's totally cool, Lando is a stand up guy, we'll be fine"

I'm sorry but if he was so awesome he wouldn't owe half the galaxy money. He would have friends who weren't ready to sell him out at a moments notice. The competent space pirate/smuggler/whatever wouldn't be running from creditors, he would be out collecting money people owe him. Han Solo was nothing but a two bit loser who lucked into being a hero. As far as I can tell Luke would have been better off hiring the proto Bucky O'Hare known as Jaxxon.
Yeah, that's a real thing in the Star Wars universe. Jaxxon the green space bunny. Another smuggler and sometimes friend, sometimes rival of Han Solo. I bet Luke and Leia never would have had to rescue him from Jaba.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Time to buy a gun while you still can.

So, by now I'm sure you've all heard about the school shooting in Connecticut. In response our slime ball Attorney General Eric Holder is hinting around that he wants to go after guns. Mr. Holder had this to say:

As a nation I think we have to ask ourselves some hard questions. We gather too often to talk about these kinds of incidents. We need to discuss who we are as a nation, talk about the freedoms that we have, the rights that we have and how those might be used in a responsible way.

I agree Eric. Questions do need to be asked. But it is you and the rest of the anti 2nd Amendment people who should be asking them.

Why do these massacres seem to always take place in "gun free zones"? Could it be that when a person is deranged or evil enough to be intend on killing shitloads of people for no good reason a cardboard sign saying "No guns on the premise" isn't much of a deterrent? Could it be that in many of these situations a competent and brave citizen with a concealed carry permit could prevent or minimized any innocent casualties? If outlawing alcohol in the 20's didn't make alcohol go away, and if the drug war hasn't made drugs go away, what possible reason do you have to assume outlawing guns will make guns go away?

These are the questions you should be asking Mr. Holder. And all you well intention morons who are all for gun control should be asking them as well.

Also one more thing, some of you jerk offs on the right will want to take this as a moment to bitch about violent movies and video games. You social conservative moral crusaders should also shut the fuck up. You can have my Grand Theft Auto IV when you pry it out of my cold dead hands.

And finally let's all remember that statistically violent crime has gone down when adjusted for population increases a great deal over the last few decades. I know it seems like it went up but that's only because of an increase in population and a 24/7 news cycle that covers the hell out of these things.

Retro Review: Superman Vol 2 #165

Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas! And to all you Obama supporters, Happy Kwanzaa! It being the holiday season and all I recently took a look at the handful of Christmas movies I actually like, as well as a special Christmas issue of Sensational Spider-man. Now let's see how every one's favorite Kryptonian celebrates Christmas.

This story takes place shortly after Lex Luthor was elected President. Superman is of course pretty pissy about it. He talks to a member of the League for a few pages, gives them a little Christmas present. Each segment has a different artist. He gives Martian Manhunter a box of the Choco cookies he loves, rubber bands for Plastic Man, ring polish for Green Lantern, tube socks for Flash, a Metropolis snow globe for Aquaman, a Mjolnir key chain for Wonder Woman, and a magnifying glass for Batman. Each League member pretty much gives him the same advise regarding Luthor, that there isn't really anything they can do until they can catch him crossing the line. Then him and Lois enjoy a little time off for Christmas in the bottle city of Kandor.

This was a pretty fun issue. It was an interesting little character study with how Superman relates to him teammates in the JLA. Each segment got a different artist and they were all pretty solid except for Rob Liefeld doing the Aquaman part.
Fuck Rob. What is up with Superman's hair. That's one hell of a widows peak there. He looks like the kid from the Munsters. So aside from Liefeld's special brand of art this is a decent enough read and if you're in the mood for a Christmas issue this month you should check it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bechtloff Movie Night: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

This is a pretty reviled movie among the nerds and the fan boys and for the life of me I don't understand why. The story here is Indiana Jones is kidnapped by Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle and her gang of Russian bad guys and forced to find a crate in a big government warehouse. Yes that warehouse, the 'top men' warehouse. It seems Indy was called in during the Roswell incident to examine the wreckage and that's what they want him to find it in here. Anyways, they find the box with the alien stuff but Indy escapes thanks to a magic refrigerator and an atomic bomb test. Long story short we gotta find an alien skull before the Russians because if the Russians get it then they will use its awesome shiny humming powers to destroy America and our beloved free market.

Oh shit. Guess they didn't need an alien skull, just a few decades worth of incrementalism and patience. Anyways Indy saves the day, discovers the son he never knew he had, and reunites with the love of his life, that chick from Scrooged.

Was this a great movie? No, it's certainly not on par with Raiders or Last Crusade. But did you really ever think it was going to be? I'll admit the fridge thing was pretty stupid, and pissed me off a little when I saw it, but was really any more far fetched then when Indy used a life raft instead of a parachute? And then there's the alien issue. A lot of people say aliens have no business in an Indy flick. I kinda see that. I think Indy should be dealing with fantasy elements not sci fi. He should be uncovering ancient curses and powerful religious artifacts, not fucking space aliens. That said I was still willing to work with it. It was the end that got me. He put the skull back on the alien skeleton and then they all came back to life somehow. Why? Weren't they fucking dead? I mean they were skeletons. And they merged into one because they were a 'hive mind'?  And then they ripped a new asshole in the fabric of space and time and left. Do you have any idea what the fuck was going on at the end? Because I sure don't. Oh well, I guess it's for the best we don't know, since when the alien telepathically explained everything to the Russian chick it made her fucking eyeballs burst into flames.
I felt like that when I watched the Star Trek remake. Also one other thing that bugged me, why was Indiana Jones called in to examine the Roswell wreckage in the first place? You think maybe they would have called an engineer to try and examine the machinery of it and a biologist or a medial doctor to examine the body. Why the fuck would you assume the guy who finds magic artifacts would be qualified to examine alien biology or technology? Were they just like "Hey that guy deals in weird shit, let's ask him."?
All that being said, it's still a fun movie, because at the end of the day, it's still Indiana fucking Jones. And it's really no worse then Temple of Doom. Also I bet you we see a 5th Indy movie. Remember, Disney bought Lucasfilms recently, which includes not only Star Wars but also Indy. And Disney is the master of unnecessary sequels.

Review(s) of the week: Marvel Universe vs the Avengers #3 and Avengers: Arena #1

This continues to be a great read. In issues 1 and 2 Doom showed up to offer the still uninfected heroes a cure, but only if they bowed to him which they eventually did. So in this issue the heroes who haven't turned yet are working for Doom, passing out 'Doomstone' necklaces which are Doom's unique blend of science and magic. The supposedly keep people from turning into the savage cannibals and those that have turned it renders them brain dead vegetables. After a while we see they wake back up, only then they are as docile as kittens. This series is told through Hawkeye's perspective and we see him and other heroes wrestle with whether they are really doing the right thing. At the end of the issue Hawkeye walking in on Doom eating Mystique, apparently he was infected this whole time.

This series, as well as the two minis that came before set in this world are great. If you're not reading this you should be.

So the story here is that the cast of the now canceled Avengers Academy as well as some other young heroes are all taken to an island run by Arcade where they will forced to fight each other to the death. I wanted to give this a fair shake, I really did, but I just fail to see how it's worth killing any of these characters just to tell a stupid Hunger Games rip off. Mettle is killed by Arcade at the end of this and it just feels so pointless. I'm not against killing characters, but if you're gonna wipe out a character it should have more meaning than this. I won't be getting anymore of this series, I don't want to encourage Marvel in this non sense.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Retro Review: Spider-man #88

This issue comes from my personal favorite time in Spidey history, right after the clone saga and right before the relaunch. This was the time that hooked me onto Spidey. One of the things I loved during this time was Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin had returned to the scene and had managed to reclaim a standing as a legitimate business man and was just relentlessly fucking with poor Peter. At one point Peter lost his temper and attacked Norman as Spider-man in his office. This was captured on security camera and Norman managed to make himself look like a victim and even put a $1million bounty on Spidey's head.

This issue starts out with some cops finding some crooks webbed to a city lamp post in the snow. When they cut them down it turns out the crooks has suffocated in the webbing. We then cut to Peter and MJ in bed. Jameson is calling Peter to take pictures of the crime scene, ecstatic that is seems he finally got Spidey dead to rights. When walking home from the crime scene Peter spots the Green Goblin on a roof top. Once he gets up there as Spider-man he finds nothing but a single pumpkin bomb. This cat and mouse continues a couple of times with Peter almost catching the Green Goblin until he finally breaks into Norman's office and drags him up on the roof. The two have an intense verbal back and forth before Norman announces Peter is not a worth opponent and without a worth opponent he has no reason to live. Norman jumps off the roof and Spidey saves him. Norman laughs at how Spidey's morality makes him weak. Then he spots the Green Goblin on another roof. But wait if it's not Norman then who is it?

This issue was great. Norman was just relentlessly fucking with Peter and there wasn't much of anything he could do about it. You could really feel the tension. The artwork by John Romita Jr. was very dark and moody and that combines with an oppressive snowstorm in the story really added to the tension. One a side note, this 5th Green Goblin, we would later find out is working for Norman to further convince people he is not the Green Goblin. A lot of people apparently thought it was Phil Urich, the hero Green Goblin but I always thought it was a clone of Harry Osborn. I turned out to be right (sorta) as when he was unmasked he looked like Harry, but then shape shifted into a bunch of other people then melted and died. Apparently he was just a genetic construct, or something. Whatever, guess I shouldn't care who he was when apparently the writers didn't. Also the person who framed Spidey for the webbing related manslaughter was the Trapster, working for Norman of course.

So back to the issue itself. This is a damn good read and a good character study of both Peter and Norman. This was a good time in the Spidey books and this was a good example of why. I would say if you see this in a back issue bin pick it up.