Because I am actually a 12-year-old boy, when I saw the sign on my drive home last night advertising “Steel Erection,” I immediately thought of Superman.
The thing about the new Superman movie is it looks just DULL. Like SO BORING. Like I literally find myself nodding off during the 30-second TV spots because YAWN.
I don’t blame the actors for this (although both Affleck and Cavill come off a little wooden). I’m not sure I even blame Zack Snyder (although he really does beat a dead horse, stylistically). I kind of blame the studio (because Nolan’s Dark Knight movies were successful, so they’re like: “Dark! Darker! The Darkest!”). But mostly, I blame us. Because some of us went to see Man of Steel, even though it looked like poo and Superman was a big whiny baby, “boo-hoo, I am like a god to you people, it’s so HARD to fit in,” and he murdered civilians and Zod (but who cares if Zod isn’t Terence Stamp, you know?).
I blame you people. You people, of whom there were enough who watched Man of Steel that they went ahead and made a sequel.
I hope you’ve learned your lesson.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a big ol’ post like this, and I apologize. You guys deserve better. We all deserve better. Especially since we’re probably dating evil aliens, and we don’t even know for sure which ones.
Well I can tell you, through the power of making a list! The excitement of a list! Who’s with me? Here’s a list of aliens you could be dating, were you to be dating an evil alien!
1. Alien. The best way to tell if you’re dating the Alien from Alien is if she bleeds acid and eats everyone except Ripley.
But is she so bad? She bleeds acid, eats everyone except Ripley, and lays eggs in your face.
2. The Thing. It would be hard to know if you’re dating The Thing from John Carpenter’s The Thing, because The Thing is a shapeshifter and, thus, could look like anybody.
But how evil is The Thing? The Thing murders innocent little doggies and wants to take over the planet.
3. Alf. If you never watched a sitcom in the 1980s, you wouldn’t know if you’re dating this Alien Life Form (see? clever!) or not. Alias Gordon Schumway, which I don’t remember how to spell, Alf is a hairy little bastard who boards with the whitest family ever and likes to eat cats.
Is he really evil, though? It depends on your stance on housecats, I suppose.
4. Superman. Superman is an alien from the planet Krypton who’s just like a human, except he’s super.
But he’s a good guy, isn’t he? Eh, if you look at some of the stuff he got up to in the ’50s, it’s hard to be sure.
5. J’onn J’onzz. This guy is a Martian who probably pals around with Superman from time to time.
I thought he was a good guy too. He probably is, but I now realize going into this list with a meager grasp on sci-fi was a terrible, terrible idea.
6. A Skrull. Skrulls are aliens in the Marvel universe. They also can, I think, shapeshift. Seriously, I should’ve thought this through harder.
Skrulls are pretty bad, right? I think so? Usually they’re bad guys, maybe?
7. E.T. This Extra Terrestrial (see? Clever again!) looks like a wrinkled, monster turnip, and loves Reece’s Pieces.
But he’s totally not evil, though. It’s sweet that you’re so trusting.
8. Spock. Good news! I just remembered that Mr. Spock exists, and he’s an alien! You can tell it’s him if he resembles the late Leonard Nimoy (or, I suppose, Sylar from Heroes), and he’s got pointy ears and is very logical.
Now, Spock’s definitely not evil. Only when it’s logical, baby. Only when it’s logical.
9. Chewbacca. The funny thing about Chewbacca is that my spellchecker really thinks I’m trying to write “backache.” With this most famous of the Wookiees, you can tell you’re dating him if he’s seven feet tall and really hairy. It’s either him, or a tall dude with a hair growth issue, I guess.
But is he evil? Just let him win at space chess, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
10. An illegal immigrant. If your significant other is here to steal our jobs, rape our women and other things Donald Trump might say, you’re dating an illegal alien.
All that work for an immigration joke? So it turns out I’m the real evil.
Lately, you’ve decided you want to fight crime and battle evil, but you know you haven’t got the chutzpah to manage solo. Luckily for you, there’s a whole, wonderful world of sidekickery to satisfy your vigilante needs!
So who should you team up with? Well, good news! I’ve made a list of heroes who tend to work in duos or would, at least, be amenable to that sort of thing.
1. Batman. The Dark Knight seems like the kind of guy who’d prefer working solo, so he can brood and stuff, but it turns out he doesn’t mind spending time with pubescent boys! The plus side is you’d get to work with Batman. The negative side is he’d want you to wear that outfit.
2. Sherlock Holmes. Another loner type, it turns out Holmes is happiest when he has someone stupider than him hanging about so he can show off his marvelous intellect. Luckily for Holmes, everyone is stupider than him, so it’s not like he needs to slum. The plus side is now you’re John Watson! The negative side is if you’re not actually John Watson, you don’t really get to spend time with Sherlock Holmes.
3. Captain America. Captain America had Buddy, which, as a superhero sidekick name, is even worse than Robin. The plus side is Buddy totally turned evil, so Captain America is absolutely in the market for a new sidekick. The other, even better plus side is that Captain America looks like Chris Evans now. The negative side is there is no negative side. Run to him! Run to Captain America!
4. Green Arrow. Green Arrow is like Robin Hood, but he wears even more green than a man trying to blend into a forest landscape. He’s worked with Speedy and, apparently, Speedy II, because why shouldn’t sidekicks have sequels, right? The negative side is you’d probably be stuck lugging all his arrows around. I can’t think of a plus side.
5. The Green Hornet. The Green Hornet is another guy who wears green to fight crime. I’m not sure why this is a thing. I don’t know much about him, except that Bruce Lee was really great. So, actually, I don’t know anything about the Green Hornet, except that Kato was his sidekick, and Kato was great. The plus side is you’d be the new Kato. The negative side is we live in a world without Bruce Lee.
6. Superman. I know it seems like Superman works alone, because, seriously, who can keep up with a demigod who has all the superpowers? But you’re forgetting the plucky Jimmy Olsen, who is absolutely useless, but never gets laser-visioned by Supes! The plus side is you’d probably never be in danger because of your association with Superman, as you would be like a gnat compared to the monstrous villains he faces. The negative side is gnats get squished.
7. Archie. I’m just putting Archie here because I found Jughead on a list of sidekicks. They probably fight crime sometimes, I don’t know.
8. Iron Man. Iron Man is a guy who wears, like, a robot to fight crime. As War Machine, you would also get to wear a robot, and you would have an even cooler name. The plus side is those things I just listed. The negative side is wearing a robot sounds heavy.
9. The Flash. The Flash’s sidekick is Kid Flash, although I think maybe Kid Flash is the Flash now, and has a new Kid Flash? Also, doesn’t it seem like Speedy should be the Flash’s sidekick, and not Green Arrow’s? The plus side is you’d get to move at speeds that are fatal to most mortals. The negative side is you probably have to have some kind of mysterious accident, like getting struck by lightning while petting a cheetah, to gain that ability.
10. Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman doesn’t need a sidekick. Wonder Woman works alone. Wonder Woman is an Amazon goddess, and she can kick ass all on her own, unlike the boys here. The plus side is that Wonder Woman seems nice, so she’d probably let you hang around and pretend like you’re sidekicking. The negative side is seriously, kid, she can handle this on her own, so why don’t you just step out of the way?
Because I already saw one whole movie this summer, which is more than my yearly quota of getting my ass out of the house and facing humanity, I have no plans to watch Man of Steel. Since refusing to go see a Superman movie, however, doesn’t meet my need to actually watch a Superman movie, my daughter and I sat down to watch Superman I. And then Superman II. And I suspect she’s probably going to talk me into Superman III, but I refuse to ever watch Superman IV again, I don’t care how round she can make her adorable little eyes.
Anyhow, I’m advising you to pick up a 9-year-old child and have them watch Superman with you, because it is so much better that way. Like, when you’re going, “Man, these special effects haven’t aged very well,” they’re going, “Wow! Superman’s flying!” And when you’re all, jaded grownup-like, bitching about the bullshit going-back-in-time-to-prevent-Lois’s-death bit, they’re going, “Superman sure can fly fast!” And little by little, you start feeling the magic of the original Superman and you fall back in love with Christopher Reeve (yeah, right, like you ever fell out of love with Christopher Reeve), and then you spend the rest of the night shouting “Kneel Before Zod.”
Because watching Superman with a 9-year-old is the best thing ever.
You guys, I really wish new Sherlock episodes would start airing soon.
Anyway, here’s a fictional character battle between two criminal masterminds, because while the boss’s away, the mice will update their blogs.
In one corner, we have Lex Luthor, the nemesis of Superman, a super-powered alien being who happens to look like a person. In the other corner we have James “Jim” Moriarty, the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, a regular human being who has the superpower of being a crime-solving machine.
Who shall win? We’ll find out … once I come up with some categories.
Let’s rock and roll!
Physicality. Lex Luthor is a very, very bald man. I have nothing against very, very bald men, unless they have funny-shaped heads, I guess, but then I’d still blame that on a tiny birth canal or an overeager doctor with a nasty pair of forceps. Still, Lex Luthor is super bald. James Moriarty is sometimes an evil old man in disguise as a math professor, and other times he’s a flamboyant, well-dressed kind of freaky-looking guy.
Winner? Ummmm … Moriarty?
Has a superior nemesis? You’d think Lex Luthor, the guy with the super-powered alien being to … is there a verb form of nemesis? Nemesate? … anyway, you’d think the guy going up against the invincible superhero would have a leg up in the “superior nemesis” portion of this competition, but here’s the thing: Superman is no Sherlock Holmes, am I right?
Is more evil? Lex Luthor is pretty evil, although he’d never admit it. Well, I guess he might, if it was one of those campy Superman comics from the olden days. He does all sorts of evil things that I can’t think of because … I don’t really read Superman comics, I guess. Oooh, but in one of the Superman movies, he wants to flood half of America so he can sell beachfront property in Arizona or someplace. That’s pretty evil. Moriarty also is rather evil, because Sherlock Holmes told me so. He calls him the “Napoleon of Crime,” even! Now, that’s either a dig at his height or he’s a 19th-century supervillain.
Winner? It’s a tie.
Gets elected president? I’m pretty sure, in some story arc, Lex Luthor gets elected president. Also, they don’t have presidents in England.
Winner? Lex Luthor.
Has a cooler ringtone? I don’t know what Lex Luthor’s ringtone is, but I can’t imagine it’s cooler than the Bee Gees, amiright?
Faces his nemesis in mano-a-mano battle and dies? The thing about Superman is that he doesn’t kill people.
Sherlock Holmes hardly ever does it either, but he does seem totally willing to toss you over the side of a waterfall if that’s what’ll stop your evil works.
Winner of this oddly specific category? Moriarty.
Balder? Hey, have I mentioned that Lex Luthor is a very, very bald man?
Winner? Lex Luthor.
Overall winner? Yeah, I gotta wrap this thing up before the boss comes back. The winner, by virtue of proximity to Sherlock Holmes: Professor Moriarty!
“Honey, you’re so sweet, I’d turn back time for you.”
Remember the Superman movies? (The good ones, I mean, not that tedious reboot by Bryan Singer.) (And by the good ones, I mean the first two and parts of the third one, but only for the nostalgia value.)
They told us we would believe a man could fly, and they were right.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Or read about. Or whatever. No, we’re here for Jimmy Olsen, also known as the actor Marc McClure, who was also in Back to the Future, which I don’t remember at all.
McClure’s career started in 1975 with a guest shot on the television series Emergency!, which I can only assume was an awesome show because of the exclamation point! It’s not just an emergency, it’s an Emergency! Moving right along, his next role was on The Cop and The Kid, which was either about a scrappy orphan and his policeman buddy, or a cop who owns a goat. Of course, then you’d’ve thunk they’d have gone with the more insulting The Pig and The Goat, so it’s probably the first one.
He also had a role in the movie Freaky Friday, and I guess I didn’t realize that movie was older than me. But it is. Good to know.
Other notable roles in the 1970s included guest spots on Happy Days and Eight is Enough. OK, maybe not so much “notable roles” as just plain old “roles,” but the important thing is, in 1978, McClure was cast as the photographer friend of the man of steel in Superman.
That plum role was enough to get him … oh. More roles intelevision movies. Well, shoot. Ooooh, ooooh, but in 1979, he had a starring role in a TV series called California Fever as a teenager enjoying the Southern California lifestyle. If it was a reality show, it would still be airing today, but it wasn’t, so it only ran for 10 episodes.
But that’s OK, because Superman II!
And then moving right along to 1981’s Strange Behavior, which is about a scientist turning good kids into murderers, because there just weren’t enough teen killers in the early ’80s, apparently. Then ’82’s Pandemonium, which is about a Mountie tracking a killer at a cheerleading camp. Phil Hartman was in that one, too, but I still wouldn’t recommend it.
Then Superman III! And Supergirl! McClure was the only actor from the Superman films to appear in Supergirl, which was awfully nice of him.
He then went on to a guest role on Trapper John, MD, which I only mention because the character’s name was Luther, which is probably some sort of homage to Lex Luthor, but who knows.
Then he played Dave McFly in Back to the Future. Was Dave McFly Marty’s cousin or something? I seriously can’t remember this character at all.
Oooh, then he was on a couple of episodes of Hunter, and does anyone else remember that show? I loved that show when I was a kid.
Then between Superman IV and Back to the Future III, there was something called Amazon Women on the Moon, as well as several other movies that I don’t feel like mentioning.
The ’90s brought him a guest-starring role heyday, with appearances on Beverly Hills, 90210; Sister, Sister; and Nash Bridges. I never watched any of those shows, but good for them for employing Jimmy Olsen. He also had roles in Apollo 13 and That Thing You Do!, both of which were popular movies at the time and I also didn’t see.
In 2003, he was in Freaky Friday, so I guess that was the remake or something? I didn’t realize Lindsay Lohan was that old. I mean, she looks haggard and all, but I always assumed that was the rampant drug abuse.
Anyway, he continued his guest-starring streak, with roles on The Shield, ER and Cold Case, as well as Smallville in 2008, which always did like throwing fans a bone and giving roles to the old movie cast.
(What do you mean it’s still not canceled? Are you sure?)
Also in 2008, he had a role in Proud American and in Frost/Nixon.
And what’s he been doing since then?
Well, that’s a good question, because I don’t know. He does appear to be alive, but that’s really all I know. I’m sorry I have failed you all.
The heavens rejoiced and a chorus of angels went “Ahhhhhhhh” because, you guys, I totally finally went to the movies for the first time in over a year this weekend!
And, yes, I saw The Warrior’s Way because what else was I going to see? Tron hasn’t opened yet!
So here’s my impressions, a.k.a. an actual movie review!
First off: I love Dong-Gun Jang a little. Especially when he’s wearing old-fashioned pinstriped pants, a trenchcoat and slaying his enemies with a sword. (Even if my friend I went to the movie with suffers from Asian-man blindness: he thought we were watching a Jackie Chan flick the whole time. “I wondered why he looked so good for his age,” he said.)
Secondly: The action scenes were exactly as awesome as I thought they would be, and some of them were, in fact, quite beautiful. I especially liked the way they would speed up some scenes to emphasize how fast our hero the master warrior was.
Thirdly: Holy cow, the baby in that film is totally the cutest baby ever. (“They probably grew it in a lab,” my friend said.)
Fourthly: I finally remembered who Kate Bosworth (the movie’s romantic interest/token fighter chick) is, and it is best explained via anecdote.
One day, at work, the telephone rang, and it was Margo Kidder on the line.
“This is Margo Kidder from Livingston,” she said.
“You mean Margo Kidder from Superman,” I corrected her.
Margo Kidder: “Yeah, sure, whatever.”
Me: “You’re Lois Lane! Superman’s girlfriend!”
Margo Kidder: “Er, yes.”
Me: “You were a much better Lois Lane than Kate Bosworth.” (I didn’t actually say it in bold, though, I just put it in bold so you guys would get that was the point of this anecdote.)
Margo Kidder: “That’s very sweet.”
Me: “And true!”
Margo Kidder: “Anyway, I was calling about this editorial your paper ran…”
Me: “So is it true you’ve gone completely wacko?”
Margo Kidder: “… Can I speak to your supervisor?”
(Note: portions of this conversation, mostly that last bit, were probably made up for dramatic purposes. Especially that last bit, ’cause I would never insult Lois Lane on the phone, unless it was the Kate Bosworth one. Then she deserves it, ’cause she sucked.)
Fiftly: There was, I thought, a lot of unnecessary exposition and dialogue. (“Less talkin’ and more stabbin’,” I said to my friend.)
Sixthly: They totally cut the “Ninjas. Damn.” line, so don’t go in expecting to see that part. ‘Cause you won’t.
My overall impression is that it was a good movie, but would’ve been better served by being watched at home so I could fast-forward past the boring, boring talking scenes and repeated the pretty, pretty fight scenes.
So Bad Ash is like the bad version of Evil Dead Ash, who isn’t really all that good when you think about it. And Bizarro was conceived as the mirror image of Superman, because someone had been reading a lot of Jung at the time.
Which alternate version of a hero will come out on top?
And do you even care?
(Of course you do.)
On to the battle!
Physicality: Bad Ash looks a lot like Bruce Campbell until he gets boomsticked to death and then re-animated by an incorrect reading of the Necronomicon.
(I’m just going to call it Book of the Dead from now on, ’cause screw Latin.) Then he looks more like a zombie. Bizarro looks like if Superman was in a really bad fire and had the world’s worst plastic surgeon try to repair his skin, using the skin of an albino who is also made of glass. Winner? Bad Ash, for at least looking like Bruce Campbell for a few minutes.
Wreaks more havoc? I feel like this is a category in a lot of these things, but I find havoc-wreaking to be an awesome quality in a fictional character. (It’s a much less awesome quality in a politician, but they all seem to possess it to some degree. Ha, ha, political jokes — over.) Bad Ash sends the Deadites to attack the village that Ash is protecting, and I’m not sure why we stopped calling them Candarian demons in Army of Darkness, but whatever. However, his plans are thwarted because Ash has a chainsaw hand. Well, he has some sort of robotic armor hand in Army of Darkness, which is cool, but the chainsaw hand is cooler. Bizarro wreaks all sorts of havoc, whether on purpose or by trying to imitate Superman. Winner? Bizarro, because have you seen what he’s done to grammar??
More evil? Bad Ash is so evil he’s got “Bad” in his name, and not like “Bad” when people mean “good.” More like “just plain mean” bad. Bizarro is just a confused, tragic character who mangles grammar. (I really can’t forgive him for that.) Winner? Bad Ash.
Leads a legion of the undead? Hey, they don’t call it “Army of Darkness” for nothing. Winner? Bad Ash.
Is a more sympathetic character? Bad Ash, evil though he is, is mostly played for laughs because, by Army of Darkness, everyone realized the Evil Dead franchise was actually a comedic series. Bizarro has been created by, like, every Superman villain out there, because when they came up with the concept for Superman, they forgot that having an all-powerful hero makes for some pretty anti-climactic fight scenes, so all the villains are kind of wimptacular next to the world’s biggest boy scout. Thus, Bizarro, who has all of Superman’s powers and none of his good qualities, is born. The poor, sympathetic bastard. He didn’t even ask to be born! No one asked him! Winner? Bizarro.
Dies a more spectacular death? First, Bad Ash gets shot and buried and then resurrected. Then, he gets torched. Then, he gets his hand chopped off. Even more then, he gets catapulted into the air and blown up with a sackful of gunpowder. Explode-y! Bizarro has been offed in a variety of ways, one of which includes a midair collision with Superman. But was there an explosion? Science says no. Winner? Bad Ash.
Is played by Bruce Campbell in a film? Winner? Bad Ash.
The overall winner in this (slightly) (biased) battle? Bad Ash.