October 3, 2015

I don’t know what I expected when I added Zombeavers to my list on Netflix. I think I was expecting a Sharknado type experience which seems fair since SyFy movies and psuedo-SyFy movies are big again. For some reason I was dreading something akin to Eli Roth’s lazy movie making, like a low-budget muppet Cabin Fever. Mixing funny and scary is a difficul proposition. Once again, I point to Evil Bong and Cabin Fever. The first failed because it had bad acting and was lazily written. Cabin Fever failed because it had too much gross out humor and used non sequitirs instead of actual humor. It’s a delicate balance and I’ve seen a lot of movies fail at being scary, being funny or both.

The movie follows three 24 year old girls who journey out to a cabin (cliche alert) because one of them was cheated on and they’re trying to help her get over it. The trip is quickly crashed by their three significant others and then it is crashed again by zombeavers. The six people try to survive and escape the woods. It’s the usual scenario but there are a few twists.

Zombeavers mostly succeeds where a lot of horror movies fail. There’s plenty of suspense as most of the movie is spent the way most zombie movies are spent. You get a lot of footage of the main characters trapped in one place and having to deal with each other. Thankfully the movie moves faster than most zombie movies because honestly, I don’t want to hear these people talk too much. There’s an offbeat humor throughout but within two minutes I decided that I would not mind if these characters died. As the action and gore overtook the suspense I found myself actually being afraid for the characters. I respect that a lot. Sure it was kind of cheesy but alot of the good horror films are cheesy.

Overall, the movie succceeded in being an over-the-top horror/monster movie. It felt like a 70’s horror film blended with a more modern feel. Like Evil Dead mixed with Ghost Shark, maybe. It avoided a lot of the obvious jokes that I was expecting. That’s not to say it didn’t hit certain jokes and cliches hard to get them out of the way. Honestly, the movie goes right along basically as I expected it to go and then just drives hard into left field. It goes from zombie muppets to full horror including quite a bit of body horror that tied my stomach into knots. At 77 minutes it’s also very short and fast-paced. It’s not a perfect horror movie but it’s worth a watch if you’re in the mood.

Aftershocks Pt 1

October 2, 2015

Lydia Brewster got up from her seat in History class when the bell rang and rubbed her eyes. It was tough trying to adjust to a new town and a new school but after a while it had been necessary. After fighting off a demon and dealing with a semi-related haunting, it had been hard to sleep at night. She had found ways to cope. Her first thought had been alcohol and pills but that’s what her mother did and she wasn’t going to be her mother. The only option was to learn how to fight back in the future and not rely on dumb luck. By day she was a relatively attentive high school student, by night she was an amateur witch. The magical arts were starting to feel natural like a nice, warm security blanket.

She turned the last digit on her locker combination and opend it up to change out books for the next class. She was in a daze, tired from a late night of reading and trying out some new defensive spells. Thankfully her goth look covered up the dark circles under her eyes. She barely reacted when Nancy thrust her head from the shadows deep in Lydia’s locker.

“Good Morning, Lyds!” She said, a little too energetic for Lydia’s taste.

“I told you not to call me that. Also it’s afternoon, Nancy.”

“I know, I just like saying ‘Good Morning’ a lot”

Nancy’s bright blonde locks and blue eyes and tendency to wear actual colors made her quite the contrast from Lydia. Her personality was also way sunnier than Lydia could ever muster even on her best day. However, the two of them stil had a lot in common. Both of them had had brushes with demonic entities and both of them had magical skill. Of course, Nancy had a tendency to flaunt hers without realizing it such as teleporting into Lydia’s locker instead of waiting next to it like a normal person. Lydia grabbed her arm, squishing against that same ratty striped sweater she always wore, and pulled her out of the locker before anybody could see.

“It’s no use arguing with you. What’s going on, Nancy?” Lydia proceeded to change her books out as she intended now that the obstacle was removed.

“Dreams. Nightmares.” Nancy replied, suddenly serious.

It was always dreams and nightmares with Nancy. Ever since Nancy’s defeat of an evil demon, she had manifested magical abilities and nagging prophetic dreams. In the short time that the two had known each other, they had learned to take the dreams seriously. Nightmares could only mean something bad on the horizon.

“What are we dealing with? It’s not one of them, right?” Lydia asked.

“No. It’s not both of them either.” She looked around, as if anybody would pay attention to the two of them. They were usually ignored and usually liked it that way.

“Cute. That’s what it isn’t. What is it?”

“Demons are coming. Demons plural, Lyds. What are we going to do?” Nancy asked, desperation in her eyes.

“We fight them, Nancy. Like before. When are they coming?”

“Um… 6 o’clock, I think. The gym.” Nancy said

“Then I’ll see you at 6 o’clock. Be ready to rumble.” Lydia said and turned to walk to class, slamming her locker before walking away. She could feel the warmth of Nancy’s smile behind her and she coudln’t help but smile too. Demons coming and the the only two people who could save the day were smiling. It must be a ridiculous amount of brain damage.


October 1, 2015

I have heard over and over that this movie is part of a rash of films that came out in response to Gremlins. Gremlins is a great little movie but it’s hardly very scary even when I was a little kid. It happens to be a pretty good movie because of the great direction and the good actors who help form fun characters. It’s good campy fun from beginning to end partly because it’s written by an earl of schlock named Chris Colombus. I never really watched Ghoulies or Critters because of this, although I did see Hobgoblins much to my regret. In fact, I forgot that the movie existed which is easy to do when you’re three years old when it came out. Also, it was free from Comcast OnDemand.

I had not realized the movie is made by Empire Pictures, a company founded by Charles Band. Charles Band is sort of like Roger Corman if he pretty much only focussed on horror. I have a history with Charles Band’s Fool Moon Productions. Last year I named one of their movies (Puppet Master) in my Top 11 and another of their movies (Evil Bong) in my Bottom 11. I’m not sure if he sets out to rip things off but the argument could be made. Whether this is his intention or not, he does it with enough new thought that he makes new franchises. Sure, they’re cheap and inferior, but they have a strange kind of heart. Of course, some of them have a lot of heart and no brains but we’ve all seen a lot of those kinds of horror movies anyway.

The movie follows a young man who gets sucked into the occult and starts summoning little monsters or demons. It’s not really clear. The titular “ghoulies” were created by Stan Winston, a legendary special FX artist. They look good, with plenty of slime and drool to let you suspend your disbelief and see them as real enough. Of course, I find the puppets both inherently funny and inherently creepy but that’s the danger of puppets. At least the puppets in Puppetmaster didn’t make noise which is for the best because hearing them giggle and growl makes them decidedly less scary.

As with any horror movie focused on monsters, you’re really only there for the monsters. However, monsters need victims so let’s discuss them. Usually, by the time the killing starts, you hate the victims and can’t wait for them to die. This was true of the people in this cast because from the first time they were on frame I was ready to write them off. Well, the female protagonist was a little less annoying. Also, Mariska Hargitay (of Law and Order: SVU fame) made her film debut in this long before busting perps in New York City.

Most of the humans get a sum total of seven lines each. The bulk of the movie is acted by Peter Liapis who portrays Jonathan. His dad was a generic Satanist wizard and now he has inherited the power. He’s a good enough actor as he portrays a young man whose curiosity makes him an easy target for the seductive abilities of forbidden power and knowledge. His power grows as he fights with his girlfriend who is confused as to what is going on with her boyfriend.

The main complaint I have is that the movie is exceptionally slow. In a movie about killer puppet monsters, you expect it to be almost wall to wall monsters. The movie is 81 minutes long with credits and, although they make appearances, the monsters only gear up in the third act. However, if you can hang in there until the end, the movie gets really goofy and creepy in a fun way. It may be a crappy horror film but that’s what I grew up with anyway. Give it a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

Media Update 10/1/2015

October 1, 2015


I’ve made no secret how much a fan of Game Grumps I am but let’s move past that because they’re friends with Rooster Teeth. It was through this association that I first heard about RWBY. In fact I think it was from a t-shirt Ross O’Donovan was wearing. The show popped up on Netflix so I decided to look into it. The description used a magic word when it comes to me picking what to read or watch. The word was “Grimm”. If you’ve read this blog enough, you know that I like the works and imagery of the Brothers Grimm. Aside from some heavy imagery at the very beginning of the series, they don’t really use Brothers Grimm. Grimm are evil monsters that Hunters are trained to battle and destroy. The show is very anime-inspired and visually exciting. I love the idea of color-coding characters and giving them a distinct visual style which raises them above and makes them look like superheroes. The animation takes a bit of getting used to but the movement is beautiful, especially the magical weapons the heroes use. Definitely check it out if you like a good action anime with a bit of drama thrown in.

Person of Interest

I have several friends who have watched this show and recommended it. I finally got around to checking it out because it’s on Netflix now. I really got sucked into it. The show (six episodes in) is about a billionaire named Finch who has invented a vast software network that tracks human behavior and movement and spits out a social security number. That social security number is either the perpetrator or victim of a deadly crime and it’s up to Reese to stop it before it happens. The show is filled with ways that technology can betray us as it is used to spy on us even if the spy has noble intentions. Reese and Finch investigate people without their knowledge in order to get close to them. What I really like about the show is the action and the characters. Each episode you get to know new characters who are written to be very human. You also get to learn a little bit more about Reese and Finch and why they’re so determined to save these people’s lives. Definitely check it out. I hear it gets even better during the second season.

Sons of Anarchy

I started to watch Sons of Anarchy again today (Wednesday) and I forgot how much I like the show. I started up season two after a long, long break and I wasn’t disappointed. The show, of course, is about a motorcycle gang operating in a fictional California town. The show came out the same year as Breaking Bad and the two ruled basic cable together for a while. The two also both center around main characters involved in criminal conspiracies. However, I’d say Sons of Anarchy is a much more enjoyable show. The show really has interesting characters who get themselves into fixes that are fun to watch them get out of. The show also has two of my favorite actors in Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman and I’m really getting to like relative unknown Charlie Hunnam. I’ll keep watching this new (to me) season where they’re apparently fighting nazis.

The Fontanelles – Kiss Kicker ’99
It’s Still Good!
The Warning – Exterminated
Key and Peele – Gremlins 2
Panic at the Disco – This is Halloween

– I finished Gotham Season One and it was really, really good
– Finally caught the first two Doctor Who episodes of the new season. Wow.
– I will be talking about Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah soon
– I know what I said yesterday but there’s still glorious Halloween work to do

Let the Countdown Begin!

September 30, 2015


Tomorrow is the first of October in the year two thousand and fifteen. This officially marks the countdown of 31 days until Halloween. Therefore it is crucial that I finally let you know what I’ve been working on for a while as I get into the Halloween spirit. For the next 30 days there will be thirteen movie reviews leading up to the release of three movie reviews on Halloween itself. There will also be a couple installments of an original story I’m working on with somewhat appropriated characters. I’m not going to make it obvious, you see if you can tell what I’m doing with that. Media Updates will continue as normal because of all the work I’ve done ahead of time. Anything else I come up with will simply be a bonus. If you’re reading this, thanks for coming by. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I hope it shows. I leave you with this year’s Halloween song.

Media Update 9/24/2015

September 24, 2015

A Night at the Museum 2

At one point Ben Stiller was certainly a big thing in Hollywood. His star has cooled as of late but I remember a time when it felt like he was in everything. A lot of it sucked but some of it was decent. He also helped introduce us to a lot of quality actors and comedy writers. I remember seeing A Night at the Museum and being charmed by it. It mostly involved Ben Stiller being exasperated and sarcastic while dealing with exhibits coming to life after dark in a museum in New York City. It allowed them to cast big name actors as historical figures. The movie was funny enough where a guy rises to the occasion and saves the day against seemingly impossible odds. In the sequel, they up the ante by having the whole Smithsonian come alive. From ten minutes in until the end, the movie races along to solve a conflict. However, the pacing is really weird. At multiple points in the movie there is a deadline and the characters treat this as urgent until they need to stop and do a comedy bit. As the movie goes on, the stops and starts get a little annoying. However, most of it is pretty good and anything that includes Amy Adams and Robin Williams can’t be too bad. Although, points off for another cartoonish Hank Azaria villain. If you’ve got a lazy Sunday afternoon, give it a try but otherwise you can give it a pass.

The Muppets (2015 ABC Show)

I was a huge fan of reruns of the Muppet Show and I loved a lot of the old Muppets movies and liked some of the others. I actually loved Muppets Tonight, especially the appearances of Garth Brooks and Penn and Teller. When The Muppets (2011) came out, I loved it instantly. It felt like they had taken the old, zany joy of the show and brought it into the new century. It was what stuff like Muppet Wizard of Oz failed to do. Muppets Most Wanted was good but not as good as The Muppets but still definitely good. Then I heard that people were boycotting the new show because it was “lewd”. It was time to definitely check it out. The show follows the Muppets backstage at a fictional show and in their personal lives. It’s shot documentary style which I guess is similar to The Office even though I never really watched that show. It feels more like 30 Rock actually. The show is good. It made me laugh out loud which is exactly what I wanted from it. I’m also interested to see the Muppets have a plot beyond the running time of a movie too. I got oddly invested in these puppets social lives mostly because the people behind the Muppets have always been really good at imbuing the characters with life. I’d recommend you check it out.


I can’t remember if I’ve spoken about Gotham before or not. I know I have spoken about how I saw Batman (1989) at age 7 and it most likely altered what I liked for the rest of my life. I will be a lifetime fan of Batman even if they stop producing Batman stuff at some point. I’ve spoken about all the great Batman stuff I’ve seen and consumed. With all that said, it was a no-brainer that I would check out Gotham. I have to admit I was a little skeptical of a Batman show set before Batman. The show primarily follows Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock trying to solve crimes in Gotham City. The show also follows Bruce Wayne trying to find out who killed his parents as he didn’t get a good look at them in that alleyway. There is a third storyline that follows organized crime in Gotham. The breakout character is that of The Penguin, a young man who is slowly climbing up in the city. The acting is really good. Donal Logue (Bullock) and Robin Lord Taylor (Penguin) are definitely the standout actors but kudos to every single person I’ve seen on the show. The writers sprinkle a lot of fun stuff for the die hard fans while also taking it in a new direction that pretty much everyone can enjoy. Check it out.

Awesome Links:
You Made A Dinosaur, Morty!
Dredd Savage: Igcognito
Tupperware Remix Party – Take On Me
Dokken – Dream Warriors

– More Halloween is in place. I must consume more Halloween.
– I saw the new Crimson Peak trailer. I will consume this also.
– I’m saddened that both Silent Hills and Pacific Rim 2 are canceled. Poor Guillermo.
– Youtube’s new Gaming section is brilliant and providing great new livestreams
– Batman v. Superman will probably be the first Batman thing I don’t see

The Dislike Button

September 18, 2015

If you had not heard the news lately, the grand muckeymucks at Facebook have announced that they are working on finally adding a dislike button to Facebook’s user interface. Facebook has had a “Like” button attached to each and every post you, your friends or companies make. By clicking “Like” you indicate your support for the post or the person who posted it. I only explain this because I know for a fact I have a reader or two who don’t know this information. A lot of sites have similar buttons allowing friends and fans to show their support without having to think up a clever comment. I’ve clicked these buttons on both Facebook, Tumblr and even right here on WordPress. The dislike button would allow people to voice their displeasure with a post, subject matter, etc.

When I first got into the groove of using Facebook I joined the crowd in calling for a dislike button. There are some situations where clicking a like button just doesn’t cut it, such as when people announce a personal tragedy. However, now I’m not so sure about wanting to install that dislike button. When I wanted the dislike button it was at a angrier time in my life. I loved to rail against what I couldn’t stand and I relished the chance at giving a big thumbs down to whatever I wanted. I was into punk, heavy metal and wearing a long black coat that scared the bejeezus out of some of my teachers and classmates. I like to believe I’ve changed but I do understand that the world doesn’t change like that.

The reason I object to the “Dislike” button is that I feel that the internet, or at least my corner of it, has become uncomfortably negative. I already deal with avoiding a lot of bile in my daily commute through the internet that the thought of any more fills me with dread. Sure, it’s low level dread but it is dread all the same.

For instance, I have mentioned in my Media Update posts that I have taken to absorbing a lot of my entertainment through Netflix and Youtube. Youtube is a great place to catch original programming largely from self-made content producers who built their operation from the ground up. It’s actually pretty uplifting. If you want to continue to be uplifted, do not scroll down. A large part of the comments under a video on youtube are full of gnashing of teeth and a lot of trolling. Some of it is simple button-pushing but a lot of it seems to be actual hate. It’s hard to read it without having a visceral reaction.

I have recently discovered Reddit. I really only visit one fandom’s Reddit and it was recently named as one of the most toxic communities on Reddit. I’m talking about the Game Grumps Sub-Reddit. The community is extremely divided to ridiculous degree. Everything is written as either black or white. They are divided over whether the old co-host is better than the new co-host. They’re divided over whether the recurring female co-host is awful or great. They’re divided over how you should be a fan of something I find entertaining and kind of inspiring.

The two sites I just mentioned have dislike buttons. In Reddit, the button is actually a “downvote” button which is a term that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t disagree with a downvote or dislike button’s purpose in voicing your opinion on what somebody else has posted on the internet. It just feels like the internet has become a very negative place where we assume things of one another and we are quick to judge. Hitting the dislike button is too easy. Voicing our concerns or putting out content with a counterargument is too hard or at least that’s what I’m seeing.

Will installing another dislike button really cause much more negativity in the internet? Probably not. I’ve seen it misused to crush other people’s fun but I’ve also seen it used to crush internet trolls. It’s a double-edged sword. I just feel like there’s a lot of negativity already and the dislike button was like a beacon to me. I realize that negative energy has its proper place such as comedy or self-defense but not when it comes to responding what a person has created. I just want more constructive criticism out there as I’ve grown tired of being negative for the sake of being negative.

Media Update 9/16/2015

September 17, 2015


So I love tabletop roleplaying. I’m currently in a group but I loved it even before I was able to play anything because the mechanics are fun, the writing can be awesome and anything can happen. My love of the games was heightened when I discovered people putting podcasts and videos of their adventures online. Wil Wheaton used to be a part of my favorite D&D podcast as Aoefel, the high elf avenger. When he joined the podcast he impressed me with how much homework he had done, almost rivalling the gamemaster himself. Now he has started his own tabletop rpg show on Youtube which is pretty awesome. The show is shot on a stage where the four players and gamemaster can be shot as they roleplay, roll dice and crack jokes. This footage is blended with concept art, animation and post-production on some voice effects. The result is the closest thing I’ve seen to stepping into somebody else’s game. You really get a feel for the action, the story and the characters as if you were right there. It’s the first polished show I’ve seen done with tabletop gaming and it’s really beautiful and fun.

Hurricane of Fun

Speaking of fun, I finally finished watching the Wet Hot American Summer prequel this week. The prequel and the original movie are insane but also insanely hilarious. The prequel fleshed out an already surprisingly dense web of plot from the first movie and was full of amazing moments, some of which surprised me and some that I happily anticipated. The foundation of both the movie and the mini-series is built from the comedy troupe known as The State. I somehow missed The State when they were on television but I love a lot of their alumni. I’m particularly fond of Ken Marino who ended up as a memorable part of the Veronica Mars recurring cast. The documentary in question is pretty awesome. There are no voiceovers and the editor was obviously trying to reduce their voice. They focused on showing a lot of footage of the cast bonding behind the scenes. Immediately it’s clear that the cast shanghaied the camera man a lot to use for their own purposes. As everyone involved is a improv comedian in the middle of improv comedians, they did a lot of fake interviews, impromptu skits and trolling each other. In fact, they play an improv game throughout that I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist and was created only to troll people who don’t know its secret. Definitely a good watch.

Kickass Links:
Higher and Higher – Chris Pine
Carry On Wayward Son – GWAR
Acquisitions Inc. PAX 2015 Opening Animation
Paul and Storm Sing Live D&D

– I’m finishing seasons left and right which leaves me at a loss
– I am still really excited about Halloween and it’s getting bigger as I go
– I am skipping the second Republican debate because I was frothing at the mouth last time
– I definitely notice if I feel tired that I don’t want to try anything new
– Accordingly, I should try to get more sleep

Felix Graham: Osaka Adventure 2

September 15, 2015

“You know, you didn’t have to take a plane, right?” May asked as they got into the elevator. She reached for the button that nobody else could see. She had a nice little, self-satisfied smirk on her face.

“What?” Felix asked.

“Don’t tell me you’ve never taken the portals, Lucky.” She said, using that old family nickname.

“I hate you.” Felix said with a sigh and then a smile that took the truth from the words. “I’ve never had a reason to take one of those things and you know how much I hate flying.”

“Yeah, that’s why Ren bought the tickets. I love my husband, but he’s a bit of a prankster sometimes.”

“I’ll be on my guard in the future.”

The elevator doors opened and they walked toward the victim’s hospital rooms. Felix pulled the first chart down from the wall and started to flip through it. This was easy, this had become routine the last few years but here he was doing it in Japan. He went from room to room, chart to chart. He studied numbers, statements, x-rays, diagnostics. He set the last chart back in its bin.

“So what’s the word, dear cousin? You’re the expert.” May asked, her four foot sword had disappeared into a satchel at her side. There was no need to show the blade off in the middle of a hospital. If that need arose then they would be in a very bad place indeed.

“Well, I’m almost disappointed, May. The charts only show injuries from mundane explosions. These are aware doctors, I think they would have found more magical wounds. Don’t get me wrong, they’re in bad shape but even a first year med student could bring these people through the woods.”

“That certainly doesn’t get us any leads but I guess it makes these people lucky.”

“Well, bombing victims are rarely called lucky. However, I can let my light shine and they’ll be a little luckier.”

“Harsh truth, cousin. I’ll leave you to that while I check in with my husband.”

Felix walked past his cousin and into the first room. He focused his will and a circle of light formed on his chest, shining through his shirt. A beam of light stretched out to the first patient and he could feel wounds knit, bones heal and burns reverse. He smiled and took a deep breath to recover his will and moved to check the monitors attached to the patient’s body. The young elf looked better than her chart depicted now and he was pleased. He moved to do the same with the next four patients. He hadn’t had enough energy to bring them all to one hundred percent but they were in for a much better time of it now.

May was off the phone again in the hallway but there was a young girl talking to her. “Is this is one of the patients’ family members? Look, they’re all going to be ok. It’s not going to be easy but they won’t suffer as much now.”

The girl looked up at him. “That’s great. I actually work with your cousin and the Sentinel. We need to solve this problem.” The girl replied which brought a laugh from May which quickly became a poorly faked cough when the girl looked at her.

The girl had the fiercest eyes that Felix had ever seen, they were at once annoyed and proud. He thought at first that they were an elf trait but it was just the force of the girl’s personality. She was short and Felix guessed she might be a gnome but he didn’t want to assume. She wore professional clothes for a teenager and glasses with no lenses in them. She had a backpack slung over one shoulder.

“I’m not a stranger to having my foot in my mouth. I sincerely apologize.” Felix said. Sometimes he wasn’t able to catch words before he left his mouth and he had needed to apologize in the past. However, the apology here was mostly political as he couldn’t have known the girl was a Legend although he could see it now.

“I accept your apology.” The girl said, waving away the offense with a gesture.

I know you didn’t ask for me but I’d like to continue to help if I can.”

“You offer to help defend my native land along with your gaijin cousin? How can I refuse?” The girl smirked. “I am Makoto Hino. You could call me a private detective.”

“What are you? 15?”

“I am sixteen and I guarantee I’m smarter than you. Now, shall we adjourn to May’s car so we can meet up with the rest of our team?” The girl tossed her hair and gave Felix an impatient look. May continued to be unhelpful with a big grin on her face behind Makoto.

“You’re the boss. I’m just a guest here.” Felix responded and they headed back down to the parking lot.

Top 11 Annoying Sidekicks

September 14, 2015

So, I came up with this post while thinking about Tom Kenny. To be fair, I hold no ill will for Tom Kenny but he does voice one of the most annoying characters I have encountered in all of the fiction I have consumed. Thinking of him made me remember that he has worked on other projects and isn’t always paid to be annoying. I thought about all the “annoying sidekick” characters and I started to feel disgust. Then I thought of all the ones I liked anyway and I smiled. I had made a promise to myself recently to try and keep this blog positive. If I have a negative review that’s fine. I can’t help but share that with the world. Still, I think when it comes to fiction I tend to make a positive out of a negative so why shouldn’t I try that here?

I decided to limit the list only to the mediums where I could hear the character. In books and comic books, the character’s voice comes partly from my own head. Also, I couldn’t really think of any annoying characters in comics and books that would end up on this list. The list is full of characters who were annoying but somehow redeemed themselves enough or otherwise wormed their way into my heart.

11 Hannibal King (from Blade: Trinity)

I have spoken of Blade: Trinity before in my Blade Retrospective and I mostly hold with what I said about it over 7 months ago. The movie is the third time we follow Wesley Snipes as Blade as he tries to kill off hordes of vampires and stop a vampire plot to take over the world. Blade is a character of few words and therefore the characters around him often have to fill in the dialogue around him. Except, Ryan Reynolds won’t shut up. Seriously, he just keeps talking and talking and telling jokes to absolutely no reaction from the rest of the cast of characters. At some point, it starts feeling hollow and lame. How did it get better? He got no reaction from the rest of the cast because of the laziness of the lead actor. Snipes was often not on set so Ryan Reynolds often improved a lot of these jokes to thin air. I also noticed that beneath the character’s glib delivery, there is a bitter, world weariness to the character. When I learned all of that I respected Reynolds as an actor a bit more.

10 Nate Westen (from Burn Notice)

A friend of mine back in New Jersey introduced me to Burn Notice. When I checked the show out it was a mini-rennaisance for the USA Network where all sorts of great shows were coming out. I was lured into watching the show because of Bruce Campbell and the promise of fairly MacGuyver-esque chicanery going on weekly. The only warning I received was that the main characters brother is annoying but not to worry too much about that. My friend was right. Nate Westen is every deadbeat brother combined with every character who gets into dumb trouble and must ask the hero for help. The character is pretty selfish but also has a chip on his shoulder about Michael and their combined father issues. He does all this while brother is struggling through problems with criminals, black ops intelligence and all sorts of dangerous characters. How does it get better? The character grows up. He struggles and finally admits his faults and tries to improve. He becomes a family man and a stable ally for his family, choosing to set aside the past and look toward the future.

9 Ruby Rhod (from The Fifth Element)

When the Fifth Element came out, I instantly fell in love with it. Everything about it interested me. In my opinion, the movie has a great marriage of many excellent elements. The amazing soundtrack, the quirky characters, the extensive world-building, the beautiful art direction and even the somewhat cheesy dialogue. Chris Tucker bursts into the movie like a wrecking ball swinging from a speeding bullet train. He portrays a futuristic show host/reality radio star. He uses a high pitched, high speed delivery that is full of very strange slang. He instantly annoys the main character and probably every single person who ever saw the movie. How did it get better? Beyond his strange behavior, he’s actually pretty human. He’s terrified in terrifying situations and acts like every spoiled celebrity we’ve ever seen. By the end of the movie it’s strangely endearing because I realize that it’s not an act. He is as excited, anxious and crazy as he acts.

8 Robin the “Boy” Wonder (Batman ’66)

Don’t get me wrong, I watched he hell out of Batman ’66 during afternoons after school where my brothers and I could watch all the Biffs and Bams happen. I hadn’t even read any Batman comics yet but I had seen Batman (1989). I knew that Batman and comedy could work together. I also knew that Batman worked with Robin the Boy Wonder. However, Robin was pretty annoying. He was an insufferable know it all. I particularly hated how Robin reacted in the presence of one of the Riddler’s riddles. Somehow he knew the complicated answers and it made no sense. He also had none of the style, charm or (strangely) intelligence of Robins in the comic books. How did it get better? I realized that those moments I hated were the writer’s fault and the fault of 60’s love affair with camp. I learned to embrace how wrong he was.

7 The Mayor (from Nightmare Before Christmas)

Politicians are hard to portray in television, movies and such. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered from all I’ve seen so far. Politicians seem to be portrayed as either corrupt devils or perfect political beings that please everybody and even sometimes fight off terrorists or alien invasions. The Mayor of Halloweentown has such an annoying voice and is almost constantly whining throughout the movie. He is constantly pestering the main character who has more than enough problems thank you very much! He does nothing, he says nothing of value. How did it get better? I grew up. I realized that the Mayor is just trying to be the best politician he can be. He is a parody of how a lot of us see politicians. He is literally two-faced and spends most of his time in a black and white world. He knowingly hitches his wagon to the hottest celebrity in town and relies on everybody else to do all of the work. Taken that way, it’s actually pretty funny and biting commentary.

6 Claptrap (Borderlands series)

I’ve spoken about the Borderlands series of video games on a couple of occasions. The video games tell the story of a post-apocalyptic future of a planet named Pandora. The characters meet a lot of weird characters who either help or harm them. In the first game, they are confronted by a model of robot called Claptraps who are mostly there to access door panels and other electronics. They speak with a high-pitched robot voice and are highly excitable. They were universally hated. In fact, they were so universally hated that when people found out that they were almost exterminated between games, they were happy. When they made the Claptrap into a character class in the third game, there are a series of four prompts when you try to select it that ask if you are really, really sure. How did it get better? It’s supposed to be annoying. What finally made me accept that completely is seeing how annoyed Handsome Jack is when he encounters Claptraps. If the horrible villain hates it, how can I?

5 Scrappy Doo (from Scooby Doo)

Scrappy is one of the most universally hated characters that I have ever experienced. In fact, he has a trope named after him. Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc. travelled around the country and exposed all sorts of fake ghost and monster sightings. They revealed the “hauntings” as pretty contrived and pathetic felonies. Scooby was the token talking dog whose cowardice somehow always saved the day against all odds. At some point, the gang was joined by Scooby’s pint-size nephew Scrappy and we learned that Doo is apparently a surname. Scrappy was brave to a fault. He was constantly touting his “puppy power” and had to be stopped from charging after dangerous monsters. Of course, being a youngster he was given a confident and somewhat annoying voice. How did it get better? He charged at dangerous criminals while everyone else cowered. That takes bravery. Also, the character was basically a kid and can’t we allow him to be a little stupid? It’s admirable that he thought he could take on the world at his size even if it was a little unrealistic. If the grownups had been as brave as Scrappy then maybe they could have rushed the unarmed criminals and saved us a half hour.

4 Wesley Crusher (from Star Trek TNG)

My first exposure to the Star Trek universe was Star Trek: The Next Generation. I will always hold a place in my heart for the crew of the USS Enterprise-D and its journeys of exploration. The Enterprise-D was primarily a vessel for exploration and was built large enough to bring the families of crewmembers to ease the long tours of duty. So it was that we were introduced to the young son of the resident Chief Medical Officer, Wesley Crusher. Wesley was brilliant and knew it. He always found himself underfoot when it came to the crew, usually in the engineering section. In a crisis, he pushed his way into the conversation and solved the problem in the place of grown up individuals who were being paid to solve these problems. I hate to borrow a term from online jerks but he was definitely a tryhard. How did it get better? Several different things happened. Wesley started to grow up and distinguished himself as an exceptionally intelligent young man. He also proved how loyal he was to the staff of engineering and the ships captain. He proved himself to be serious and more mature than other kids his age or at least far more mature than I was.  The writers actually tried harder too.

3 Dawn Summers (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

I watched Buffy a lot later than most fans of the show but I had somehow insulated myself from a lot of the more terrible spoilers. When I arrived at the fourth season, I was especially surprised and startled by the spoiler that I will relate next. In the first episode of season 5, Buffy is annoyed by her younger sister Dawn. Unfortunately, this also confused all of the fans at home. See, for four seasons Buffy was explicitly an only child and now she had a younger sister to contend with. The show refused to explain it for a while until we found out that Dawn was created by a spell in order to protect the world and everyone’s memories were changed. In the meantime, we experienced Dawn being a little bratty sister. She got in the way, she got in danger and was mostly a device for Buffy and her friends to protect. How did it get better? Dawn grew up. She formed relationships beyond her sister. Through those relationships she discovered a personality of her own. She reconciled with her sister and accepted how screwed up their life was. At times she even became a voice of reason when Buffy and her friends got turned around.

2 Olaf (from Frozen)

The first trailer for Frozen did not inspire confidence. You can actually see it above. It features a living snowman wrestling with a moose over a carrot which is supposed to be the snowman’s nose. There is little dialogue in the trailer and very few cues on what the movie is actually about. There’s no hint of of the brilliant performances from Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell just a dorky snowman and a confused moose. At the time I had become fed up with pointless sidekicks, especially in animated movies. I had just experienced the stupid slugs in Epic and I had shut that movie off. I was disappointed as the animal sidekicks in Tangled had been tolerable and here was a whole teaser devoted to the dumb sidekicks. I had only heard Olaf say one word but I knew he had a dorky voice and he would be in almost every shot and the whole thing would be ruined. How did it get better? He wasn’t actually all that different from what I expected when I saw the movie. However, he wasn’t as dumb and omnipresent as I thought he would be. He was naive but optimistic and actually a character I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. He also had several, pardon the pun, heart-warming moments that made him more than just the comic relief.

1 Mr. Meeseeks (from Rick and Morty)

This is probably the most obscure name on the list. It’s also the first character I thought of for this list because I mistakenly remembered that he was voiced by Tom Kenny. In the episode he appeared, copies of Mr. Meeseeks are summoned to help various characters accomplish tasks. They yearn to complete their task so that they can return to oblivion as every moment is agony for them. However, because of their horrible voices, every moment they are on screen is agony for the audience. Every single word is spoken in the same slightly raspy, high pitched squeal without exception and without mercy. They also all constantly spout the same catchphrase “I’m Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!” How did it get better? The voice never gets better. However, the instant one of the Meeseeks starts speaking intelligently and eloquently in that annoying voice I couldn’t help but laugh. They each have so much insight into psychology, sociology and any other school of thought. From there the concept of the Meeseeks as a species became more interesting and their existential crisis became far more compelling than their horrible voice. They were the anti-Spongebobs and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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