I won’t feel a thing

DR. HORRIBLE IS GOING TO BE ON TV!

OK, let’s not get too excited. It’s just been announced that for the first time the the brilliant web musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long Blog, created by Joss Whedon, and written by Joss, his brothers Jed and Zach and his sister in law Marissa, and starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion is going to air on The CW, the first time it’s ever being shown on TV.

This…just this!

Since I own it on DVD this isn’t a huge deal for me, but it’s got me excited none the less. It also got me thinking about the long awaited Doctor Horrible sequel that I’m pretty sure everyone in the world wants to see.

I understand that it’s hard for Joss Whedon to get it together on a sequel to Dr. Horrible. Joss is a busy dude, he has Avengers movies to make, and incomprehensible Buffy comics to write and an entire fanbase of crazed Firefly fans to keep appeasing. Also, Nathan Fillion has murders to solve, Felicia Day’s character died, plus she’s busy being adorable on the internet, and NPH has to continue trying to take over the world with high fives and suits.

Wait, that’s not what How I Met Your Mother is about?

But seriously, man, get it together. You’re the guy who NEVER LETS ANYTHING GO. It’s been 10 years, and you’re still writing Buffy comics, for God’s sake. (I’m sorry, I know it seems like I harp on that, but I don’t really get it…I mean, for a year or so, maybe, but 10? 10 years, it’s a long time, is what I’m saying.) You changed the way people looked at internet content (not to mention musicals and Neil Patrick Harris) with Dr. Horrible, and you’re just going to, what? Let it lie?

Would Tony Stark let it lie? I think you proved to us in The Avengers that no, he would not. He would take that nuke by the tail, fly it up in to a portal full of armored lizard people and DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! Would Captain Mal Reynold let it lie? No! He would get in his ship fly out against those Reavers and stand up, even if it means killing the most likable member of his crew! (Wash, tied with Kayleigh, but only Wash died.) Would Buffy let it lie? OK, Buffy might, because she tended to get really emo and whiny about stuff, but then Giles, or Faith, or Willow or Xander would convince her NOT TO.

Oh we get it. You hate this. Now say something sassy and use your super powers to kill some demons. That’s what the people came to see.

So, Mr. Whedon, I guess what I’m saying is do what your characters would do, and step up. Give us a Dr. Horrible sequel.

The Man of Steel and The First Avenger

Last night I got really excited because Captain America: The First Avenger was added to Netflix instant.

I’m going to watch it all of the times!

In case I didn’t make it clear in my multiple reviews of The Avengers, I really love the Marvel Film Universe. I think it’s probably the most brilliantly executed large scale marketing plan in history, and at that, is a group of incredibly entertaining movies.

And aside from Ironman, which is in a league of its own, I think Captain America is the best of the bunch. Chris Evans is perfectly cast as Steve Rogers, Hugh Weaving creates another memorable villain with The Red Skull and Tommy Lee Jones is in the movie. (Tommy Lee Jones is one of those “bacon” actors. He just makes everything better.) And most importantly, they made sure that it was a Captain America movie…it had all of the wholesome cheesiness and wide eyed naivete that you need to make Cap work.

While I was watching it again, I started thinking about the trailer for Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel, the newest attempt at a Superman film. (And rumor has it, the start of a DC Film Universe, which…if it means we get to actually see Adrian Grenier play Aquaman I’m down for.) I really want this movie to be good. I’m not a huge Superman fan, I’ve always liked Batman more. Although I was really in to Smallville, and I have spent an inordinate amount of time dressed up as Supergirl.

These pictures were taken 20 years apart from each other. I jumped off couches pretending to fly in both of these costumes.

I also love Richard Donner’s original film. Because as I have explained, I’m not a robot and Richard Donner’s Superman is one of those movies that all people who aren’t robots love. And if Snyder used the same approach as Joe Johnston used for Captain America: The First Avenger I think we’re in for a good ride.

And what I mean by that, is if Snyder and David S. Goyer, who wrote the screenplay, let Superman be Superman and not, whatever Brian Singer and the people involved with Superman Returns did, we’re in for a good ride.

Although I’m still not sure I’ll ever forgive them for casting an actor who isn’t Jon Hamm as Supes. I’m just not sure I have that in me.

Cracking Up

An alternate title for this post:

“I need to find more shit to do during the days so I can stop having a crush on Daniel O’Brien.”

If you don’t know who Daniel O’Brien is, congratulations! You’re probably a more highly functioning member of society than I am. Good for you!

If you do know who Daniel O’Brien is, also congratulations! We should be friends. What’s your favorite episode of AoC? I like the one where Dan and Michael switch personalities.

Anyway, I should explain. Daniel O’Brien is a the senior writer for Cracked.com. Cracked is an awesome comedy website that talks a lot about pop culture and comic books. They do these hilarious list based articles. They also have these video web series that are also hilarious.

When I was out of work, I spent a lot of time clicking around the internet. I’d been casually popping by Cracked for a while. But one of the problems with Cracked is that it’s designed a little like a Casino…once you get in, there’s little motivation to get out and it’s kind of hard, and one day I found myself literally blowing my whole morning reading Cracked articles.

Then I started watching the videos, because, well, I didn’t have a job to go to, and one of the best ways to stave off depression is by laughing really hard. (This is also a good way to have your mom come in to your room and ask if you’re OK, because you’re laughing a lot and she doesn’t hear the TV…) and I started with Cracked: After Hours, which is where 4 of the Cracked writers sit around in a diner talking about Pop Culture stuff (I once wrote a screen play like that). I watched them ALL. It was a little sad.

Then I got a job…but my job is part time. I only work 20 hours a week. That leaves plenty of time for me to shit around the internet, and I still spend wayyyy too much time reading Cracked. One day, I realized that I was really enjoying the articles written by Daniel O’Brien, who I also found kind of adorable in the After Hours sketches. So I clicked on his profile on the site.

really shouldn’t have done that. His “personal tag line” is “There really is no place in America for a celebrity of the first rank.” This is a line from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. I have made my thoughts on that piece of work pretty clear. I started thinking in my warped little fangirl brain, “what if Daniel O’Brien is my soul mate?” (This is the type of thought that occurs to lots of different kinds of people, I’m sure, but only the fangirls among us dedicate anything more than the passing thought to it. It’s kind of like how my brother spent a good six months referring to Pippa Middleton as “my future wife.” One does not have to be female to be a fangirl.)

Anyway, then I watched Agents of Cracked, which is another one of the web series. In that one, he and Michael Swaim (another Cracked writer) are secret agents, but they still write for the website. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s still funny. Anyway, this is all coming together to make you understand that I currently have a weird little crush on Daniel O’Brien. This is NOT my weirdest random crush on a stranger who I will probably never ever meet, by a long shot.

This one was way weirder.

So yeah, currently, I am fangirling over an internet comedy writer, who’s main schtick is fanboying over Spider Man. And I kind of don’t know what to do about it, beyond finding more things to do so that I can stop having so much time to read his articles and watch videos of him and stuff.

Or, Dan, if for some reason you wind up reading this, you could email me and be a dick or something. Then I might get over it. (Also, if you’re reading this, that’s really cool, and I apologize if I came off as creepy. And I really like this article where you wrote about Bruce Wayne getting turned down by a girl at a bar. It’s very funny.)

The Island is Full of Noises

No this post is not about Lost.

Sorry, we’re not going back. I’m still not ready for that.

It’s about last night’s opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics! I love the Olympics. I love the pageantry, I love the spontaneous burst of patriotism that inevitably follows in it’s wake. I love Michael Phelps.

I was really psyched for the London Opening Ceremonies because I’m also a huge Anglophile. (One who loves things related to England)

An Anglo I would like to phile

So I was hoping that the whole weird cultural performance art piece that always opens the games would really speak to me this year. Also it was being directed by Danny Boyle, who is 100% the man. It did speak to me. I loved the agrarian opening, and having Kenneth Branagh deliver a speech from The Tempest was great. (I ❤ Kenneth Branagh.)

I’m not saying it all made a whole lot of sense. But James Bond and The Queen parachuting out of a helicopter was pretty epic. I still don’t quite know if I buy that Mary Poppins could kill Voldemort.

Unnecessary, a spoonful of sugar would have done it

But in general, I really liked the whole thing. It was all very, very British. And I totally dug it. I did expect to see David Tennant light the torch though, like in that one Doctor Who episode where he lights the torch. I’ll settle for those seven young athletes though. It was pretty cool.

Of course, now I don’t really care. I really don’t, my Brit love fangirling is over. Now the only thing I care about is how many gold medals Michael Phelps brings home (if its 0, then they all should go to Ryan Lochte), and whether the Fab 5 should be triumphant.

Look how cute and tiny they are!

Go Team USA!

Confessions of a Recovered Twi-hard

It all started in the summer of 2008, in my parent’s living room. I was sitting with my friend Courtney, talking about books, TV shows and what we were going to do now that there was no more new Harry Potters coming out. And Courtney said this.

“Oh my God! You like Buffy, right?”

“Um, yeah,” I said. This was a fairly obvious question, since the only people who don’t like Buffy The Vampire Slayer are robots (probably).

“You should read Twilight,” she said simply, “It’s like Buffy meets Jane Austen.” (I may be paraphrasing, there had been drinking happening and it was four years ago.)

This feels like such a long time ago

Guys, my friend Courtney is a liar.

Regardless, I went out and bought Twilight. It wasn’t actually anything like Buffy, but I still thought it was pretty good. I also thought it was kind of cool that there was this whole cult following for this series that I didn’t know anything about. There were teams and tee shirts. It was like Harry Potter but without the fear of being stampeded.

Please remember that this was 2008, before the 4th book, just after they announced that a movie was happening, and also, I was busy being a college student and intern, so I didn’t quite conceive of the scope of this whole thing. So in spite of Courtney’s lies, my complete ignorance of the level of this thing I was throwing myself in to, and the knowledge that it was all kind of stupid, I jumped on the Twilight bandwagon.

Here’s something that people who haven’t read Twilight and who aren’t obsessive fangirls don’t understand. Twi-harding, as I later learned it was called, is completely addictive, it’s like crack. And in the summer and fall of 2008, it was like the whole world was my crack dealer.

SO MUCH MERCHANDISE TO BUY!

Within six months of Courtney mentioning I should pick up the book, I had read all four Twilight books twice, followed the casting, filming and release hype for the first movie, declared myself as staunchly Team Jacob (with Emmet leanings), and started a countdown to Taylor Lautner’s 18th birthday.

I’m not proud of any of this. Just for the record.

I Twi-harded for nearly two years. In that time I think I read the series six times. I had desktop backgrounds and long boring conversations with people about whether we thought Rennesme was a stupid name (I was at least always sane enough to say that it was.) I bought “The Short Second Life of Bree” and the graphic novel. I read The Host, I downloaded the playlists from Stephenie Meyer’s website. I betrayed my sister by finally listening to Muse, because she’d been telling me to for years, and I did it because of Twilight. 

What finally snapped me out of it was the film version of Eclipse (part 3). I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was seeing how boring the stories were when you took away the inner monologue (I still maintain that Twilight contains some damn well drawn characters and when you actually see her point of view Bella is way less annoying), maybe it was because I was finally fed up with Kristen Stewart, but I walked out of that theater and went Cold Turkey.

Seriously, since then, I haven’t reread the books. I haven’t watched any of the movies or parts of the movies, not even the parts where Taylor runs shirtless in the rain.

That might be the hardest part. I miss Taylor

I haven’t gone on Stephenie Meyers’s website.

This week though, it’s tough not to relapse. Now that we’ve learned Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson with a married guy…I’ve been thinking about Twilight, and well, it’s hard not to want to pluck out my books, reread and start wishing that ANY OTHER ACTRESS IN THE WORLD had been cast as Bella.

Not because that’s super slutty (it is) but because it’s just a reminder of how she’s a really bad actress.

Call Her, Beep Her

So during last week’s Bat-SPLOSION (Also, I’m still totally in Batman mode, y’all…watched Begins yesterday and The Dark Knight today, and I’m still lovin hard on The Animated Series) I started talking about Disney’s Kim Possible. I could have written pages upon pages just about that one little episode, let alone the full fledged thesis I could do on the show as a whole.

I’ll try to keep it brief.

What’s the sitch?

Kim Possible was a totally amazing animated series on The Disney Channel in the mid 00’s. It told the story of a normal teenage girl, who occasionally saved the world, with the help her bumbling best friend (later boyfriend) Ron Stoppable, his trusty naked mole rat Rufus, and an agoraphobic computer genius, Wade.

Kim Possible was a super hero in a crop top and we loved her for it. And of course she wasn’t exactly average, even before she took on world saving. Kim, voiced by Christy Carlson Ramano (Where did you go Ren Stevens? Girls need your example more than ever now!) was the daughter of a brain surgeon and rocket scientist. She was head cheerleader (at least for the first two seasons, then she lost the post to long time High School nemesis and frequent kidnapping victim, Bonnie), a straight A student (though she struggled with Home Ec), and generally rocked things at Middleton High School where she attended.

Slightly more average, KP had annoying younger twin brothers (Jim and Tim, referred to as “The Tweebs)

Pictured, Tweebs, also pictured my friends Matt and Tim, I’ve always thought they could push for a lawsuit

A gabby female best friend, named Monique (voiced by Miss “It’s the future she can see” Raven Symone), and until her erstwhile relationship with Ron, a hopeless crush on the coolest senior in school, Josh (voiced by Ryder Strong, because being Kim Possible is my fantasy for sooo many reasons…getting to date Shawn Hunter is a big part of it though)

A huge part of the draw to Kim Possible came from her foes. Kim had a rogues gallery to rival The Bats. Her arch nemesis was the evil Doctor Draken. Draken was a pretty terrible evil scientist, and wasn’t actually much of a match for Kim, but his wise cracking and bad ass side kick Shego completely was. Shego had some kind of weird glowing green fighting power, which she got when she and her four brothers (Hego, Mego and twins Wego) got hit by a multi colored asteroid. They became Team Go (a hysterical send up of The Fantastic 4, The Avengers and The Justice League) and Shego eventually got bored and went evil. Shego was awesome.

Shego saying something sarcastic to Draken, as she was wont to do. (AWESOME)

Some of Kim’s other foes included Lord Monkey Fist (guess what he did), Duff Killigan (A mad Scotsman who committed golf themed crimes), and Senor Senior Sr. and Senor Senior Jr (bored billionaires who turned to super villainy because Ron once suggested that they were in a good situation for that.)

Now let’s talk about Ron Stoppable and Rufus. Ron is Kim’s best friend, and in many ways her exact opposite. Clumsy where Kim is smooth, silly where she’s serious, etc. But he’s also fiercely loyal, to his friends (Kim, Wade, Monique, and other assorted) to his pet the beloved Rufus, to his hang out (Bueno Nacho), and to his catch phrase “BOO YA!” Also, he’s voiced by Will Friedle, who I think I made it clear I love last week.

Rufus was a naked mole rat. That’s about it. He was sassy though, and quite often saved the day.

Kim, Rufus and Ron. They’re awesome

I don’t exactly know what it was about this show, but in high school my friends and I were really in to it. Yeah, I”m not talking about little kids, we were well past 16 and still totally obsessed. Actually for my friend Ali’s Sweet 16 present I went to Build A Bear and built her a KP Bear. (I give really good presents, it’s like one of the top 5 reasons people should be friends with me.)

I reread this post and realized that I used the word “awesome” a lot. But that’s because it’s the perfect word for this show. It was awesome. Like all of the best “kids stuff” it had hilarious jokes for adult mixed in.

Anyone Can Be Batman

OK, so after giving it some thought, I’m managing to piece together coherence about The Dark Knight Rises. 

Because for about 2 hours after the movie ended, I had 3 thoughts.

1. Christopher Nolan was able to create a non supernatural version of a Lazarus Pit, and that’s amazing.

2. Christopher Nolan set himself (or someone else) up to make a Nightwing movie, and this is also amazing.

and

3. HOLY SHIT THE BATMOBILE CAN FLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FLYING BATMOBILE!

Now that I’ve had time to process and put my thoughts together, I have a few more.

From the very beginning Christopher Nolan created a different kind of Batman than anyone had ever seen before. He was free of camp, and free of the necessary trappings of a traditional comic book universe (in which there must also be a Superman, a Flash, etc.), and he was definitely going to be taken seriously.

And this was something, that while I loved and applauded the films, bothered me a little. On my old blog, while reviewing Captain America, I pointed out that a lot of the fun of a comic book story got lost in the Nolan films.

Turns out he was saving all the fun for part 3. And fun it was. But it managed to be fun without distinctly losing the dark, serious tone of the other 2 movies.

Let’s start with the villain choices. A lot of people didn’t expect Bane to come within 10 feet of these movies. I was one of them, mostly because in the “realistic” universe that Nolan created, Bane was an impractical and largely impossible villain to use. Because the whole point of Bane is that he breaks Batman’s back, and then Batman is healed in a Lazarus pit, which was, I thought, impossible to pull off. I am clearly not as awesome as Christopher Nolan.

I did expect Talia Al Ghoul, and I was thrilled at her inclusion. Talia is an enigmatic figure in the Bat-mythos. She, like Selina Kyle (more on Selina later!), is less of a straight up villain and more of a foil for Bruce. However, Nolan made her a straight villain, which was so incredibly perfect. In this universe, because Ra’s Al Ghoul can’t be immortal, even at her most ambiguous, Talia would want to avenge him. And I can be proud that I guessed her identity fairly early on. Once Bruce stated, “I assumed your family was wealthy,” and she responded, “not always,” I actually gasped, “Talia!” My friend Emili looked at me strangely, because the casual Batman fan is not aware of who Talia is.

Then there was Catwoman, who was played perfectly by Anne Hathaway. She retained her ambiguity. Initially, it was her catburglary that piqued Bruce’s interest (and got him back in to the Batcave, after 8 years of retirement), but she quickly becomes an ally, when she realizes how much the world needs Batman. And then they runaway together, because Christopher Nolan is awesome.

Also, there was a small role played by Scarecrow, and Cillian Murphy became the first Batman villain to ever make it through an entire series…except maybe Mark Hamill…

Anyway, on to Batman’s friends. Although their roles were minimized this time around, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were spot on (as usual) as Alfred Pennyworth and Lucius Fox. Caine in particular gave a banner performance, that included something I didn’t ever expect to see in a mainstream Batman story, Alfred abandoning Bruce, when he decides to become Batman again. Lucius on the other hand, is ready for this return and provides him with a GODDAMNED FLYING BATMOBILE! I cannot stress enough how awesome this is.

Jim Gordon has assumed his mantle as Commissioner by this point, although we’re told within twenty minutes of the start time, that he’s about to be pushed in to retirement, stating simply “He’s a war hero, and it’s peacetime.” I spent a lot of time missing my beloved New York during this movie, and none more when Gordon and the older cops talked about how much the city had changed. Gordon is a pre Giuliani era New Yorker. And this is Gotham after Disney bought Times Square. I don’t remember the city much then (and even what I do remember is still the cusp of everything being gentrified), but I remember not being allowed near it, except in very specific ways, with my parents, when we were parked in a 1 black radius of where we were ending up. This also may have been because I was a child, but I often wonder. Gary Oldman plays him as a man broken by his secret, and plans on his retirement to reveal it.

New to the team is John Blake, a young beat cop, raised in an orphanage who guessed Batman’s identity as a child. Which of course, makes him exactly who I thought he was. Kind of. Because when he introduced himself as “Office Blake” I thought I misheard and he said “Drake.” Which would have made him Tim Drake, the 3rd Robin. But he wasn’t, but he was still Robin. As it turns out, John is his middle name, Robin is his first. In the end, he finds the Batcave, and is staring up, ready to take on the mantle…I don’t think he will be Batman, to be honest. I think he’s going to be Nightwing, the persona that Dick Grayson took on as an adult. And I think that that would be amazing.

Finally, there’s Bruce himself. I owe Mr. Bale a BIG apology. He was incredible. The events of The Dark Knight left Bruce broken, physically and mentally. He gave up Batman, and began living as a shut in. The film opens with a fundraiser at Wayne Manor, where we learn this information. Also this is where Bruce meets Selina, as she breaks in to his safe (disguised as a maid) and steals a set of his mother’s pearls, and dusts for his finger prints. He figures out what she’s doing within seconds of seeing her, (because he’s Batman!) and decides to stalk her to figure out why she needed his finger prints. Alfred does not approve, and wants Bruce to get back to running Wayne Enterprises and go on a date with Miranda Tate (which is stupid, because she’s actually Talia…but Alfred couldn’t know that). Instead, Bane shows up, Bruce decides he needs to fight him, and gets his back broken and sent to “The Pit” (which again, people who know Batman know that it’s The Lazarus Pit). While down there, Bruce watches as Bane causes his city to burn, and finds his drive to be Batman again. He rises (Get it? That’s the title). Then he comes back and kicks ALL KINDS OF ASS.

There were several small roles that made me happy. Aside from Murphy coming back as Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow, there was Burn Gorman (Owen Harper from Torchwood) as a League of Shadows spy in Gotham, Daniel Sanjata (Franco from Rescue Me) as a Captain who sneaks in to Gotham to free it from Bane, and Will Estes (JJ Pryor from American Dreams, and Jamie Reagan from Blue Bloods) as um, well, a rookie cop who spots Batman during a car chase…this is not really a stretch for Estes, who plays wide eyed guys who notice things a lot. (Except for that time he played Lucy Camden’s boyfriend who got a french girl pregnant, or something…)

The plot centered around Bane and Talia stealing a nuclear reactor that they turn in to a bomb saying that “one Gothamite has the trigger” (that Gothamite is Talia) and create an upside down order, pulling the mighty from their pedestals. What they don’t share with the class is that the bomb will go off in 5 months, regardless of the trigger. So for five months, Gotham becomes a post apocalyptic wasteland, because they blew up the bridges and blocked the tunnels. And all this time, Bruce is trapped in a pit, with a broken back. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon and John Blake are funneling in supplies, trying to free the cops who are trapped in the subway system, and drawing chalk Batsymbols all over everything. If this sounds stupid, it isn’t, it’s awesome! Also, it reminds me of Son of a Witch, Gregory Maguire’s sequel to Wicked, when an underground revolutionary group scrawled “Elphaba Lives” graffiti all over the Emerald City, which made me happy because when I think about Gregory Maguire’s awesome Oz series I get all tingly.

Bruce returns, and rallies Blake, the cops, and Selina to open the tunnels and fights hard for Gotham. Then he tows the bomb with his Goddamn Flying Batmobile, and takes it out to sea. But not before revealing his identity to Gordon, and making out with Selina for a bit.

Then they bury Bruce in an empty grave, Blake turns Wayne Manor into an orphanage and sets himself up to become Nightwing. And then Alfred goes to Florence…but I don’t have time to get in to that.

My cousin Jake put it in a succinct way, that I totally agree with, “It was like Return of The Jedi, some people are going to like it better than the second one, but either way it served the trilogy.”