A perfectly reasonable question

July 18, 2017 at 10:02 am (The Movie I'm not Seeing this Weekend) ()

Exactly how many Spider-Man movies do we need, anyway?

“At least seven. Now shut up and give us your money.” — Hollywood

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Digging too deeply: Spiderman Theme

January 8, 2015 at 10:58 am (I Overanalyze Song Lyrics) (, , )

The important thing to remember about Peter Parker (also known as The Amazing Spiderman) is that one time his Uncle Ben told him, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and also that one time his Uncle Ben got murdered, and it was totally Peter Parker’s fault.

The takeaway here is always trip any criminals who happen to be running past you.

The takeaway here is always trip any criminals who happen to be running past you.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s what the Spiderman Theme really means.

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size.
Catches thieves- just like flies.
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman.

The theme song opens by telling us that Spiderman does whatever a spider can, especially fighting crime, because spiders do that all the time.

Gah! It's a spider! Quick, smash it good!

Gah! It’s a spider! Quick, smash it good!

Is he strong? Listen, bud.
He’s got radioactive blood.
Can he swing, from a thread?
Take a look overhead.
Hey, there! There goes the Spiderman!

The theme song goes on to query, “Is Spiderman strong?” The answer is: “Listen, bud. He’s got radioactive blood.” That’s an interesting way of dodging a simple yes-or-no question, but it tells us more than the lyricist really intends I think: “He’s got radioactive blood.” You know who else has radioactive blood? People who have been exposed to atomic bombs. This includes not only The Incredible Hulk, but also a lot of cancer patients. Which explains why Spiderman can swing from a thread — due to his debilitating illness, he’s obviously not very heavy.

Atomic bombs: ruining jokes since 1946.

Atomic bombs: ruining jokes since 1945.

In the chill of night, at the scene of a crime,
like a streak of light,
he arrives, just in time!

Spiders do that, right? Arrive like streaks of light, just in time?

"Oh, I do. All the time."

“Oh, I do. Constantly.”

Spiderman, Spiderman,
friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Wealth and fame? He’s ignored.
Action is his reward.
Look out! There goes the Spiderman!

This verse gives us some insight into Spiderman’s psyche: “Wealth and fame? He’s ignored. Action is his reward.” What this is telling us is that Spiderman is an adrenaline junkie.



Spiderman, Spiderman,
friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Wealth and fame? He’s ignored
(He’s Ignored)
Action is his reward.
Look out! (LOOK OUT!)
Here comes the Spiderman!

We got it the first time, Spiderman theme.

Here's a gratuitous photo of JK Simmons, because we love him.

Here’s a gratuitous photo of JK Simmons, because we love him.

In the chill of night, at the scene of a crime,
like a streak of light,
he arrives, just in time!

Does Spidey not fight crime in the heat of the day?

"Nah, that radioactive blood makes it tough to be outdoors in the heat."

“Nah, that radioactive blood makes it tough to be outdoors in the heat.”

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size.
Catches thieves- just like flies.
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman.

Look out! It’s Spiderman!

Gah! It's a spiderman! Quick, smash it good!

Gah! It’s a spiderman! Quick, smash it good!

Spiderman, Spiderman,
friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Wealth and fame? He’s ignored.
Action is his reward.
Look out!
Here comes the Spiderman!!!!!!!!

I want you to know that I didn’t add all those exclamation points; they were in the original lyrics. I think that’s just lovely.

And what we’ve learned about the Spiderman theme today is that it’s a song about a guy who gotten bitten by a radioactive spider and fights crime. So, basically, with the Spiderman theme, what you see is what you get.

... Sometimes I'm ashamed I like comic books.

… Sometimes I’m ashamed I like comic books.

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Spiderman vs. Robin

August 31, 2010 at 11:35 am (Fictional Character Battles) (, , , )

It’s a battle of the boy wieners!

(That came out dirtier than I intended.)

Spiderman's a little on the nose, but at least he didn't use "lad" in there somewhere.

Run, Boy Wonder, run!

Anyway, I’m none too fond of either Spiderman or Robin, but I thought, hey, let’s tally things up and see which one I’m slightly less less fond of. To write that in a manner that has fewer repeated words: Which one do I hate the least?

On to the slapfest!

(C’mon, you know they’re both slappers.)

Physicality. Spiderman is the teenaged/middle-aged/it depends on who’s writing-aged Peter Parker, who was played by Toby Maguire in the films, and Andrew Garfield in the reboot, because why not do a reboot already. Also, who the hell is Andrew Garfield? Anyway, they’re both brunettes who aren’t hideously ugly, but they’re certainly not my cup of tea, so meh. Robin is the teenaged five or six different people, and I can’t ever keep track of them all (because I don’t care), so we’ll go with the Dick Grayson version, who is actually Nightwing now. That name still doesn’t make sense to me. Whatever. Dick Grayson was played by Chris O’Donnell in that abomination unto the Lord, Batman Forever. Chris O’Donnell isn’t bad-looking, I guess. Winner? Andrew Garfield, for not having been in a comic book sequel yet.

Good news, everybody! I want to slap Andrew Garfield as much as I want to slap Spiderman himself. It's perfect casting!

Has superpowers for some reason. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and, rather than succumbing to cancer like any of the rest of us would, mutated into a superhuman with ridiculous powers like “spider sense.” If spiders are so sensitive, why don’t they cry when I squash their friends, huh? Robin has no superpowers, and would probably just get a rash if a radioactive spider bit him. Winner? Spiderman.

Trained with a much more awesome superhero. A lot of people say Batman shouldn’t be called a “superhero” because he doesn’t have superpowers, but those people are jackasses, because Batman’s superpower is being the goddamned Batman. He trained Robin, because being the Dark Knight gets lonely, and sometimes you need the companionship of a teenage boy. Also, a more visible target.

"That's right, Boy Wonder, stand slightly in front of me."

Spiderman lives in the Marvel Universe, which has never been exposed to the awesome that is Batman, so he missed out. Also, he got superpowers, so he didn’t need to train with anybody. Winner? Robin.

Is in a movie series with cameo appearances by the great, godlike Bruce Campbell? Thanks to Sam Raimi, creator of the Evil Dead franchise, being good buddies with the very excellent Bruce Campbell, the man himself has had a cameo appearance in every Spiderman movie that I’ve ever seen, and possibly also the third one. Robin’s only been in one Batman movie that I’m aware of (So lazy! So apathetic! Refuse to research older Batman movies!), and even Bruce Campbell at his slummingest wouldn’t be involved with that stinkbomb. Winner? Spiderman.

It's been a while since I've had an excuse to remind you people that Bruce Campbell is a god.

Later became Nightwing? As I mentioned before, Dick Grayson went on to become Nightwing, and dated some hot alien spacechick because being Batman’s apprentice is a total aphrodisiac. Winner? Robin.

None of us could say we wouldn't sleep with Robin if we thought it would get us closer to Batman.

Suffered the loss of parents/parental figure(s) as part of a tragic, tragic backstory? What comic book is complete without a tragic backstory? Not even Lone Wolf and Cub, dammit. Spiderman is an orphan being raised by Aunt May and Uncle Ben until he gets bitten by a radioactive spider and decides to become a wrestler because that’s totally logical. Although I guess I do like that he wasn’t immediately: “Hey! I have superpowers! Time to fight crime!” like everybody else except the supervillains. So he’s got that going for him. Anyway, as a result of his wrestling, some guy killed his Uncle Ben. The moral here is to never join the wrestling team. Dick Grayson worked in a traveling carnival as part of a family of acrobats because screw child labor laws, that’s why. His acrobat parents were totally murdered in front of him, just like a young Batman’s (Batboy’s?) parents were before him. It’s so goddamned tragic up in here, you guys, I just can’t stand it. Winner? Spiderman, for losing slightly more relatives to tragic circumstances.

Has a better costume? Spiderman has a red and blue costume so he looks exactly like a spider.

Just like this one! ... Wait, are those beads?

Robin has a red, green and yellow costume because there can only be one dark knight, dammit, so someone has to be the almost-primary-colors knight. Winner? Nobody. Their costumes both suck. Although at least Spiderman’s doesn’t have a ridiculous cape, so maybe … nah. Still stupid.

Has a hotter wife? Well, Peter Parker used to have a hot wife until he sold his marriage to the devil, because … wait, what? This happened? Gods, no wonder I’ve been sticking to small press stuff lately. Jesus. I mean, shit. Who sells their marriage to the devil? And what kind of half-assed devil buys that sort of thing? I don’t think Robin ever married. Well, this category would’ve gone to Spiderman, because redheads are hot, but whatever. Winner? Nobody.

Dear Hollywood: as long as you're re-casting, please cast an actual redhead as Mary Jane Watson. Or at least a hotter blonde than Kristen Dunst.

Overall winner, because I’m sick of these two guys already? Spiderman, for causing slightly fewer gay jokes than Robin.

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Songs to woo your superpowered lover by

June 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm (Top Ten) (, , , , , , , , , )

It’s hard finding the right way to let your superhero significant other know you’re thinking of them (in a super way). But I feel your pain, and I am here to help.

Through the power … of music!

Here’s a list of 10 songs that kind of maybe have something to do with superheroes, or I like to think that a superhero would like them.

1. Four Color Love Story by The Metasciences. OK, this song is actually from the point of view of the superhero, but I still think it’s a great way to acknowledge that you’re living in a comic book, and you’re in love.

Sample line: “If you’ll keep my identity a secret, then you will know the touch beneath my glove. I may go out every night and risk my life for strangers, but you’re the only girl I’ll ever love.”

Bonus points for: listing super significant others, like Elektra, Lois Lane, Gwen Stacy and Sue Dibney. (She’s Elongated Man’s wife. Please pick up a DC comic book.)

Don't say, "But who's the Elongated Man?" Now you're just trying to piss me off.

2. Sunshine Superman by Donovan. Sometimes we all feel a little insecure. Donovan did. But you need to let your superlover know that you are awesome, and here’s a good groovy way to do it.

Sample line: “Superman and Green Lantern ain’t got nothing on me.”

Bonus points for: “I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind.” That Donovan had some sexifyin’ goin’ on, baby.

3. Jimmy Olsen’s Blues by Spin Doctors. Sometimes, you just need to let your lover know you’re willing to go the extra distance to win her over, and that includes incapacitating the competition with their only weakness.

Sample line: “Come on downtown and stay with me tonight. I have got a pocketful of kryptonite.”

I don't know. Kryptonian or no, having this stuff in your pocket doesn't seem like it would do wonders for your sperm count there, Jimmy.

Bonus points for: the goofy beards.

4. Back Before We were Brittle by Say Hi. Boy, it’s sure been a long time since I mentioned Eric Elbogen (marry me, Eric! I love you!!). This song is for when you and your superspouse have hung up the capes for good, and need to reminisce.

Sample line: “Remember when we could save kittens from trees? Have lunch on skyscrapers? Bring the villains to their knees? Maybe we should move someplace new and build a time machine to to go and get us back. Back before we were brittle.”

Bonus points for: Being a song by the perfect man, Eric Elbogen. (Call me!)

I mean it, Eric Elbogen, I think we would be great friends.

5. Spiderman by The Ramones. OK, this song works best if you’re specifically dating Spiderman, so you could be all like, “Look what happens when your theme song is in the right hands?” But it also works for anyone who loves The Ramones. (That’s everybody, right?)

Sample lyric: “Spiderman, Spiderman, friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Is he strong? Listen, bud: he’s got radioactive blood.”

Bonus points for: I miss The Ramones. How many are left? Two? One? Is it one?

A moment of silence for the dead Ramones and the ones that I can't remember if they're dead or not.

6. Birdman Kicked My Ass by Wesley Willis. If your super loved one is being tormented by a supervillain, or is just on their merry way to a psychotic break (like the very excellent Mssr. Willis), this is the song for them.

Sample line: “Birdman caught me on his property. He saw me trespassing his real estate. He reached in his pocket for a pistol. He came after me and pistol-whipped my behind. Birdman kicked my ass.”

Bonus points for: The Power of Awesome.

Wesley wielded it like none before and none since.

7. I Am Superman by R.E.M. Eh, your super significant other will like this song because “Superman” and “R.E.M.”

Sample line: “I am, I am, I am Superman, and I know what’s happening.”

Bonus points: For being one of the few R.E.M. songs from that era where you can mostly understand what Michael Stipe is saying.

8. Batdance by Prince. Sometimes, you just need to find out if the superhero you’re dating is funky. This is the best way.

Sample line: “Stop the press, who is that?”

Bonus points for: Doing a whole album of music for the Tim Burton film. Also, for being Prince.

God bless Purple Rain.

9. “Heroes” by David Bowie. This song lets your caped crusading darling know that, even though you’re not out there fighting crime too, the both of you are heroes.

Sample line: “We can be heroes. Just for one day.”

Bonus points for: Hello, it’s Bowie!

10. My Hero by Foo Fighters. Hey, maybe the one you love doesn’t actually have superpowers. Or an arsenal of bat-themed weapons. Or the build to wear a spandex or leather suit. This song lets them know that’s OK.

Sample line: “There goes my hero. Watch him as he goes. There goes my hero. He’s ordinary.”

Bonus points: for having a kickass video, just like all the Foo ones. It makes me miss the days of music videos.

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The least likely ways I will escape all this

April 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm (Top Ten) (, , , , , )

I’ve always dreamed of making the big time. Or at least, being fabulously, fabulously wealthy. Like my hero Dorothy Parker said, “I hate rich people. But I think I’d be darling at it.” She was a wise woman, she was.

Anyway, here’s a list of the ways I won’t being making the big time whatsoever.

1. Selling my screenplay about ninja who are also zombies (or vice versa). For one thing, I’d have to write my screenplay about ninja who are also zombies (or vice versa) and I just don’t see that happening.

It's just that I suck at writing stage directions, you know?

2. Eccentric millionaire falls for me. “Hey, baby, I love comic books and the flat-chested, tattooed chicks who love them too.”

If any of you reading this post happen to fit this description, CALL ME!

3. Getting bitten by a radioactive spider and going into pro wrestling. I’d probably just die of cancer. Or not trip a robber or something, and then he’d go and shoot my Uncle Ben. Not Uncle Ben! NOOOOOOOOO!

Peter Parker has really let himself go. Yes, I went with the obvious joke. Sometimes it's just easier that way.

4. Getting “discovered.” I’m getting a little old for it now, and I think if I had any talents that were “discovered”-worthy, they would have shown up at this point.

5. Winning the lottery. My dream is to someday be that person who’s like, “I never bought a lottery ticket before. I can’t believe I won the $100 million jackpot!” And then not get murdered by my coworkers who buy tickets weekly.


6. Through perseverance and hard work. Sometimes I laugh hysterically at myself for even thinking that’s a possibility.

7. My acting career taking off. Once, I was in a play in college and somebody flubbed a line, so I ad-libbed in response. That is the best acting thing I have ever, or will ever, do. Done. Crap.

8. A wealthy relative suddenly dying and inexplicably leaving everything to me. Actually, I do have some wealthy relatives, but they’ve all got kids of their own. Plus they like my brother better.

9. Becoming a high-paid assassin. First, I’d have to get in shape. Then, I’d have to train. Then, I’d have to get past the whole empathy thing. Plus the “I hate blood” thing. Maybe I’ll just be that assassin who quietly poisons people and runs away.

It's especially unlikely that I'll become a Ninja Assassin.

10. Inventing something awesome. I just thought of this great invention: the “phone signal.” It would be like the bat signal, except the spotlight would shine on my hand in a fist with the thumb and the pinky sticking out. “You have a call!”


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Non-romances that are actually quite romantic (but probably not)

February 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm (Top Ten) (, , , , , )

Valentine’s week continues! And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s watching romantic movies. Also dramas. Actually, anything where something doesn’t blow up or get attacked by zombies occasionally. Or ninja. Attacked by ninja is also good.

So instead of a list of great romantic movies, I’m making a list of movies that aren’t romances, but have romance, but when you think about it, maybe they’re not so romantic after all.

1. The Terminator.

I like that in the second one, they drop all pretense of romance and just get down to the shootin'.

Why it’s romantic: John Connor sends his father back from the future to meet his mother, protect her from the big bad Terminator and also woo her. It’s a beautiful love story!

Oh, but wait: But the only reason John Connor did all that was so that he could be born and fight the machines in the future. Not so much to contribute to his mother’s great romance. It’s actually much less romantic and much more clinical, if you think about it.

2. Returner

Someone, please, please, please make more movies where Takeshi Kaneshiro is an action hero.

Why it’s romantic: After Takeshi Kaneshiro and the time-traveling girl save the world, she comes back in time once more to save his life. There’s a tender goodbye scene when she goes back to her own time and even a transformation bit, where she looks cute in a skirt and new haircut.

Oh, but wait: Errr, the time traveling girl is probably 15 or so, and there’s never any actual overt romance shown between them, only a friendship. So, while it sounds like it borders on the nasty, it’s all completely innocent. I assume.

3. 12 Monkeys (I swear, this is the last entry in the time travel genre)

I hope I'm never trapped in a time loop. That seems like it would suck.

Why it’s romantic: Bruce Willis convinces Madeleine Stowe that he is a time traveler and that the future of the world is in jeopardy! Also, they fall in love.

Oh, but wait: Really, it sounds more like a rampant case of Stockholm Syndrome at work here. I mean, Bruce Willis just keeps kidnapping Madeleine Stowe. Also, he basically got her stuck in a time loop where she will keep witnessing his death. Also, he’s stuck in that time loop, where he witnesses his own death as a child. That’s not romantic at all, actually.

4. Death Note

There's definitely a bit of a bromance between Light Yagami and L, if that also counts.

Why it’s romantic: High school student Light Yagami’s girlfriend is kidnapped by Naomi Misora, who holds the girl hostage to prove that Light Yagami is the supernatural serial killer Kira. Light Yagami goes to save his girlfriend and prove his own innocence, and his girlfriend breaks free and runs to him. Naomi fires a wild shot, which Light’s girlfriend throws herself in front of to protect Light, and then dies in his arms, just as every teenage girl ever has dreamed of doing.

Oh, but wait: Actually, Light Yagami is the supernatural serial killer Kira, possessor of the Death Note, in which he wrote that his girlfriend would be struck and killed by a bullet at that exact time. So, she not only didn’t save his life, she was murdered by him. That’s, um, well, really goddamned evil.

5. X-Men 3

The first two were so good, but ... this happened.

Why it’s romantic: With Cyclops out of the way, the romance between Jean Grey and Wolverine is free to bloom! And bloom it does, until she turns evil, and he is the only one who can stop her. Hey! Guess what? She dies in his arms. Totally romantic.

Oh, but wait: X-Men 3 was a really bad movie. Also, Cyclops is out of the way because Jean Grey killed him. Also, her hair is really nasty in the film.

6. Memento

I love movies about avenging guys with amnesia. That is, guys who have amnesia and are avenging someone, not someone who is avenging amnesia guy here.

Why it’s romantic: A man with anterograde amnesia is seeking revenge by tracking down his wife’s murderer. It’s love even after death! Even after brain damage! What. Could. Be. More. Romantic?

Oh, but wait: Actually, it turns out that amnesia guy’s wife survived the attack that gave him brain damage. And, in fact, he was the one that killed her by giving her an overdose of insulin. Which he didn’t remember doing, because anterograde amnesia is the kind where you can’t form any new memories, so any time you do something seems like the first time you did something. Also, he killed his wife’s rapist ages ago, and now he’s just randomly murdering people.

7. Spiderman

I've never cared much for Spiderman, the damn weiner.

Why it’s romantic: Hey, right off the bat, Peter Parker tells us this is a story about a girl. A girl named Mary Jane Watson. That’s romantic! Plus it’s got the whole upside down kiss and he saves her life. Romantic.

Oh, but wait: Yeah, whatever, Peter Parker. “This is a story about a girl, by which I mean, I get bitten by a radioactive spider, my uncle dies and I fight a super-powered bad guy and there’s a girl in it briefly. Also, I dump her. Because I’m Spiderman.”

8. Vertigo

Also, the characters in 12 Monkeys go see this film, which makes 12 Monkeys even MORE awesome.

Why it’s romantic: Jimmy Stewart is hired to protect a beautiful woman and falls in love with her, and she with him. Tragically, she falls to her death. But the love story’s not over yet! After spending time in some sort of asylum, Jimmy Stewart comes across a girl on the street … who’s the spitting image of his lost love!

Oh, but wait: OK, this is when the crazy really starts. Jimmy Stewart takes this girl and remakes her in the image of the woman he lost. Also, it turns out the girl was actually the woman he loved and she still loves him, which is why she’s letting him make her dye her hair and wear dresses. Oh, and she’s actually the woman he loved because she was hired to impersonate the real woman for convoluted reason I can’t remember, and so she was involved in a conspiracy to murder that woman! Also, she falls to her death, and it’s totally Jimmy Stewart’s fault, so … not all that romantic.

9. Last Night

This was a really cool, albeit depressing, movie.

Why it’s romantic: Don McKellar, having trouble getting over his lost love (she died of cancer or something) meets a beautiful woman (Sandra Oh) and the movie ends with their passionate kiss.

Oh, but wait: Why is this movie called “Last Night”? Oh, because it’s the last night the earth will exist, you say? This is a movie about the end of the world, you say? That’s … well, it’s still kind of romantic, right? I mean, it ends with a kiss! Oh, Don McKellar meets Sandra Oh while she’s trying to return home to her husband? Who is brutally murdered by some kids who are terrified of the end of the world? And Sandra Oh and Don McKellar were going to shoot each other in the head before deciding to go for a kiss? That’s … less romantic. Yeah. A lot less.

10. Hot Fuzz

Exploding things and shooting them! This is one of the best movies ever!

Why it’s romantic: A supercop is transferred to a small town in England, where he meets a slacker cop, helps him change his ways and fights a council of evil villagers, all while featuring some of the most longing gazes in the history of cinema ever.

Oh, but wait: So Simon Pegg and Nick Frost aren’t supposed to be falling in love in this movie? Look, seriously, people, are we sure? I mean, did you see those longing gazes??

They are just so damned cute together.

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