Archive for January, 2017
January 30, 2017
I was digging through my files to look for some drafts to post today and I found some very old stuff. I put a lot of work into writing all sorts of stuff about a sports entertainment company that I invented. I put a lot of work into it and I thought I would post a sample of some of the booking for the first two shows. I am not sure it makes sense but I have always wanted to do something with this since I put so much work into this on lunch hours. I may do a little more with this at some point but I am not sure.
10 Man Half and Half Battle Royal
for First Contender’s spot for the Heavyweight Championship
Paul Manning (w/ Missy Clarke), Billy Washington, Leo Knight,
Johnny Tsunami and Miller Sinclair.
“Cowboy” Carver, Judge Soren, Tigre Puro, The Void (w/ Raven)
and Tom Morris
– Comes down to Paul Manning vs. Judge Soren – Victory: Paul Manning
– Paul Manning nearly breaks Johnny Tsunami’s back- Out for three weeks
– The Judge eliminates the Void – Starting their feud
– Leo Knight eliminates Miller Sinclair – Setting up claim for Impact Championship
Heavyweight Championship Match
Adam the Wolf vs. Sylvester Storm (c) (w/ Diana Covington)
-Diana intercedes with the Dotted Line
-Up until then Adam had it sewed up with the Wolfcry
-Afterward, he receives the 300 dollar kick to the back of the head
“Smashing” Sammy Burke and “Flying” Fred Donner vs.
The Brothers of Sorrow (w/ Natasha)
– Short-ish match that shows the ferocity of Burke and Donner
– Fred counters the Zero Point into a small package
– Ends with the Power Plant followed by the Sky Dive on Omen
“Stunning” Libby Sawyer vs. Raven (w/ The Void)
– Raven tries to bring The Void with her but the ref sends him back
– Raven almost pulls out a win with the help of her cane but Libby kicks out
– Libby hits the Tornado DDT for the win
Match for the Anything Goes Championship
Anything Goes Rules
Tommy Turino vs. Caleb Calloway
– Tommy Turino is outclassed through most of the match
– Tommy hits Calloway with a chair three times but Calloway keeps coming
– Calloway Delivers a Gorilla Press Slam into the chair
– He hits Turino five times with the chair
– Finally, he launches him through a table with a Release German Supplex for the pin
Show Two, Cycle A
Tigre Puro vs. Mark Hawthorne
Roberto Malone Kevin Crystal (w/ “Cowboy” Carver)
– Debut Match for Mark Hawthorne and Kevin Crystal
– Debut of The South together as a team
– Tiger Cutter from Tigre Puro on Mark
– South Ride on Tigre Puro and Dismissal on Malone for win
Burke and Donner vs. LePage and Domser
Tag Team Championship Match
– Burke and Donner play it clean while the Corporate Tag Team cheats when possible
– Burke nearly gets murdered in a double team outside of the ring
– Donner faces off alone against LePage and Domser
– In the end, Burke manages to get back for the hot tag only to get destroyed for the pin
Billy Washington vs. “Cowboy” Carver
Anything Goes Rules
– Classic Speed vs Power bout
– Washington dominates the bout
– Carver makes a comeback and nails Washington with the Overeasy
Adam the Wolf (w/Fairy) vs. Paul Manning (w/Missy Clarke)
First Contender’s Match
– Spear following communication snafu between Missy and Paul
– Missy slaps Adam to set up German Power
– Adam reverses it to a sunset flip
– Fairy superkicks Missy off the apron
– Adam hits the Wolfcry twice for the win
The Void (w/ Raven) vs. Judge Soren
– The Void throws Soren around in the early outset
– Soren is the more technically capable
– He blocks the Darkshot and turns it into the Execution
– After the match Void puts him through the announcer table
– Through another table
– Then finally the Chains of Fear mid-ring
Leo Knight vs. Miller Sinclair (W/ Diana Covington)
– Miller gets the upper hand when Knight misses with the Knight Kick
– Miller hits the Power Play but only for a two count
– Knight pulls off a chop block followed by a german suplex
– Miller tries to reverse it for the Contract Play
– After suspenseful minute Knight reverses it to the London Cross
– Ed LePage distracts ref for Diana to hit the Dotted Line on Knight
– Miller rolls up Knight for the finish
January 28, 2017
This is the type of match that sparked this blog post. The 2017 Royal Rumble takes place tomorrow (1/29) and I am excited. The rules of the Rumble is that every 90 seconds a new superstar enters the ring and the last man who did not get thrown over the top rope wins. I have never watched a bad Royal Rumble match. Some have been better than others but most are full of some awesome moments and great surprises. The Royal Rumble is not really a great place for good technical wrestling but there are some fun high spots. Also, the match is tailor made to highlight a lot of the roster and it has moments for character spotlights. For example, the 1998 Royal Rumble saw Mick Foley enter three times under all three of his personas which made a clear statement that they were separate people. The 1999 Royal Rumble had Vince McMahon spending most of the match cowering or on commentary instead of competing which showed him as a cowardly authority figure. It is so much better than a normal Battle Royal. Lately, I have been loving Lucha Underground’s variation called Aztec Warfare where opponents either pin or submit rather than getting thrown over the top rope. Aztec Warfare feels a lot more kinetic than the Royal Rumble but also feels a little more chaotic.
Invented in 2002, this match owes a lot of its origin to the Royal Rumble and the Hell in a Cell match types. In this type of match, a high enclosed cage surrounds the ring and four pods feed into the cage. Like the Rumble, two superstars start in the ring and at timed intervals, the pods are opened one by one which lets a new competitor into the match. Performers are eliminated by pinfall or submission until there is only one remaining. I would say ‘last man standing’ but they are rarely standing very well at the end of these matches. The pods are opened at random which makes each entrance a bit of a surprise. It also changes the makeup of the match as each performer gets to enter. This match is extremely brutal as the cage’s walls are made up of chains and the floor around the ring looks like subway grating. The plexiglass pods can also be used as weapons. Unlike a lot of match types with multiple people, the matches have been really good at putting a limit on rest spots and some of the best multi-person sequences I’ve seen have been in these matches. The only thing I have seen remotely like it elsewhere is the King of the Mountain match which involves competitors getting locked in a shark cage. It also has a lot of elements of the next match type…
Money in the Bank
This match was invented in 2005 by Chris Jericho who came with an awesome idea. At the turn of the century, ladder matches really picked up a lot of popularity in the tag team division. By the mid-2000s, they needed to come up with a new innovation. In the match, there are five to ten participants who all enter the ring at the same time. Hanging high above the ring is a contract for a championship match that can be cashed in at any time. There is a mad scramble up ladders to get at the briefcase hanging there and there is always a very brutal fight among the competitors to get at it. The match is probably career shortening so I am glad they do not do it more than once a year. Brutal attacks from ladders, with ladders or on ladders are what this match is about. Every single competitor gets to do their finisher and signature moves, often with the aid of a ladder. It has all the anticipation of a normal ladder match but it adds in a lot more chaos and there is a lot less time between high spots. The other aspect, the contract that can be used anytime, is incredibly intriguing and adds an air of anticipation to every event afterward. The only other place I have seen this match type was in the first episode of Wrestling Society X which had two contracts above the ring for their Heavyweight Championship.
Iron Man/2 out of 3 Falls
An Iron Man match is a match where two competitors face off against each other and try to accumulate the most victories in a set time period which is usually 30 or 60 minutes. A 2 out of 3 falls match is where the competitors must win two out of three matches that are immediately consecutive. Both match types allow for multiple finishes without ending the match which gives you the satisfaction of the ending of the match multiple times. The first Iron Man match I saw was Brett Hart vs. Shawn Michaels which saw no falls during a 60 minute period and had to go into overtime. A more normal version happened recently in an awesome match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. It is a match that shows how much conditioning the wrestlers have and how much abuse they can take. It is kind of like watching a good hockey game as you watch the score go back and forth and wonder who will come out on top. The two out of falls match is similar but is definitely shorter. At NXT Takeover Toronto, we saw a 2 out of 3 falls match between my current favorite tag team #DIY and The Revival (who used to be my favorite at one point). The match was so good that I am voting for it as NXT Match of the Year for 2016 because it easily stole the show. Having to beat your opponent and then get up and beat them again is such an interesting concept that it leads to some awesome matches.
January 26, 2017
Florence Foster Jenkins
This was a movie that I knew I might watch eventually but I was hanging out with my mom who is on a kick watching movies based on real events. This movie had every possibility of being painful to watch. Hugh Grant almost always walks a thin line between being charming and annoying. The third-billed actor is on The Big Bang Theory. Also, I never really got into making fun of bad singers behind their backs (i.e. William Hung and Rebecca Black). The movie is really well-crafted. Hugh Grant is very charming and is very good at portraying a man in a difficult position that he created for himself out of love. Meryl Streep plays a very fragile but positive character who makes you want to cheer on and not laugh at. From my research, the movie seems to be pretty accurate to the true events and they are pretty amazing. The story shows the good will that being a good person and a valiant defender of the arts gets you. As for Simon Helberg, he was alright but often a little over the top in his portrayal. Still, some of the laughs in the movie come from his reaction to the proceedings. I definitely recommend this one as it was a pleasant surprise.
I have stated again and again how much a fan I am of Tim Burton but how leery I am of his later work. However, watching Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children gave me hope that he may have rediscovered a little bit of subtlety. When I found out that this movie starred Amy Adams, I was on board in half a second. I have been in love with Amy Adams since watching Enchanted and I have loved her career since. As the opening credits rolled, I saw such great names as Krysten Ritter, Christoph Waltz, Jason Schwartzman and Terrance Stamp. This is another movie based off of a story in the real world. Margaret Keane was apparently an artist in the fifties and sixties who painted big-eyed portraits (among some other styles) that are pretty stunning pieces of artwork. I had no idea her artwork existed but the artist certainly had an interesting story. The story is one of mankind trying to control and manipulate a talented woman and that woman finding her strength. Amy Adams is brilliant as always as a passionate yet insecure woman Christoph Waltz is magnetic and unsettling all at the same time. This was the fifties, with the rise of modern art which is still kind of baffling to me but there is no accounting for taste. The movie is bouncy and happy but with a shadowy undertone that left me wondering what was going to happen next. I definitely recommend it.
The Girl on the Train
I had not heard of this one but the blurb describing the plot interested me. Of course, the description does not do the whole plot justice but that is par for the course for a mystery. In this movie, we follow a normal woman who turns herself into a detective (hmm familiar) in order to solve a mystery. In a lot of ways, the movie reminded me somewhat of the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. It especially reminded me of Rear Window and Vertigo. I love a good mystery story and this movie did not disappoint. Of course, there is so much I want to say about how it all fits together but I also do not want to give it all away. That is what makes talking about mysteries so difficult. Emily Blunt is, of course, the strongest thing about the movie as she is a great actress and every seen with her felt strong and on message. The movie is also really well-shot and every shot was full of the blend of dark emotions that pretty much every scene had. Pretty much my only two gripes are that the pacing felt slow in places and there are just a few too many exploitative ‘sexy’ shots. I recommend it but I have a feeling this one is not for everyone.
– This week’s theme is “Women Overcome”
– I watched more of Season 3 of The Following
– I am now on Season 7 of The Office
– I am on Season 5 of Parks and Rec
– I am nearly finished watching Season 3 of Haven
– I finished Season 1 of A Series of Unfortunate Events
– Fun fact: Margaret Keane’s art inspired The Powerpuff Girls
January 23, 2017
Felix carefully placed the jar on a shelf in his office and fastened the plastic display case over top of it. He wanted to make sure that it could never fall and break. It might be needed sometime in the future. It was not one of the enchanted ones. During his second adventure in Japan, Felix and his new friends had used a jar just like this one to trap a god. Felix had carried a back up enchanted jar just in case but Plan A had worked. Before departing for Columbia, Felix had traded the enchanted jar for one of the decoys as a souvenir. There it stood in his office but it could be enchanted just as the others had been and there were a lot of gods out there that could go rogue.
The adventure had certainly taken its toll. Before, Felix had only been on short missions that had not taken him far from Maryland. The first mission had caught him by surprise in Osaka and he had learned a lot from his cousin and her seasoned team of Legends. This latest mission had taken him around the world several times. Baltimore, North Carolina, Haiti, Ireland and finally Japan again of all places. Felix felt proud that he had constantly run into battle but to heal, not to hurt. He felt proud of stopping a zombie crisis in Haiti, animal poaching in North Carolina and rogue weather gods around the world. They had done a lot of good together and he hoped they would work together again.
They were not without their problems. He still wished he could have resolved Bartholomew’s problems especially. Bart was addicted to every drug known to man and probably a lot of drugs that were only available to the Aware community. Time and time again, he had wondered whether he was endangering Bartholomew’s health for the sake of the mission. After all, there was no time for an intervention was there? The truth was that Felix could only help the elf if he was receptive to it and the guy never hit rock bottom. In fact, he seemed to thrive on drugs. The end was coming and Felix felt he should visit the estate soon to check in on the rock star who had saved the world. Checking in on all his new friends would probably be a good idea anyway or at least the ones still in town.
There was a knock on the door and Felix was broken from his thoughts and brought back to Columbia, Maryland. “Come in!” He called out.
The door opened and Grace stood there and smiled. “I still can’t believe you are here. Welcome back, Doctor.”
“I can hardly believe it myself,” Felix said with a smile. “You held down the fort well. The place is still standing. In fact, it kind of looks even tidier than I remember it.”
“I try my best,” Grace said. She bowed her head in a gesture that clearly meant she was glad for the praise. “You have over three thousand messages, by the way.”
Felix’ heart skipped a beat. “That few, huh?” It served him right, thinking he could run a private practice and still go globe hopping to save the day.
“I’m kidding, boss,” Grace said with a smirk. “There are a few messages from family and a few recent issues but Dr. Henry covered things well.”
“I need to take him out to dinner. Probably several dinners,” Felix said.
“I’m sure he’s just happy to be retired again,” Grace said.
“At least until the next crisis. I’m afraid that’s a strong possibility,” Felix said.
“I’m proud to have a Legend as my boss. You know you have plenty of support around here.”
“I’m proud to be here,” Felix said. “Thanks, Grace.”
“You’re welcome, boss,” She said and went back to her reception area.
Felix leaned back at his little desk and hit the flashing button on his phone.
The voice that came from the phone belonged to his cousin May. “It was good to see you again, Lucky. Congratulations on saving the world and thanks for inviting us along. I’m sorry we couldn’t stay. We had our own little issue with Makoto turning into a dragon. Also, I wanted to kiss my daughter before she went to bed for the night. Your niece says hello, of course. You owe her a birthday party appearance coming up. We’ll make it easier and hold it halfway between where we’re each saving the world. Rest easy, Cous, because you might not get to rest for long.”
Felix knew it did not matter whether there was a thank you or a pat on the back or not but it was nice to have the camaraderie of his cousin and other experienced Legends. He would have liked to have a moment to talk to Jun in person but they had exchanged quite a few e-mails and phone calls since Osaka. Daisuke Inoki had been happy to see Felix again when Felix personally checked him out for injuries. Considering Felix had basically seen him come back from the dead, Felix had a feeling Daisuke would make it through the battle. You cannot keep the Lion of Osaka down for long. Everybody had checked out medically but Felix had recommended plenty of bed rest for everybody who could manage it. It was hard work being the doctor but Felix would not have given it up for the world.
January 21, 2017
Gaelle’s shift at the diner was over and as she grabbed her coat, she realized that there was a fancy-looking brooch on the counter. A customer must have left it behind because they were in a rush to leave after eating. Gaelle picked the broach up and examined it. The shiny bauble was not a brooch at all. She was not sure what it was but it looked like a pendant that had something to do with the city police department. Her boss was out on business so Gaelle decided to take the initiative and return the pendant to the nearest police station on her own. It was only a few blocks and it was hardly out of her way. She slipped the pendant into her coat pocket and then she took her share of the tips and put them away.
She walked down the street and took a deep breath of city air. Everything around her was moving so fast and just teeming with life and it made her feel restless. She spent most of her days inside the restaurant. The job was hectic but lately, it had made her feel unfulfilled and completely unexcited. There was always some large party that undertipped her, some handsy guy who hit on her and a whole host of spills and messes that were always an emergency. To top it off, she was really good at the job so even the hardest days were not even challenging anymore. Her tips reflected that and for once, she was actually ahead of her bills.
She walked into the police station and it was dead quiet, a far cry from the bustling streets outside. The desk sergeant was not paying attention when Gaelle put the pendant down on the desk. She felt they would be able to figure out what it was and who it belonged to without her help. Always do good without expecting a reward. At least, that is what Gaelle’s grandmother had always said. As she turned, a man in a long, tan trench coat bore down on her. Just as Gaelle was about to step aside so he could pass, he spoke to her.
“Are you Karen Capelli?” The man said, his voice hoarse from either smoking or a lot of shouting.
Gaelle would wonder for a long time what caused the next impulse. Her lips curled into a smile and she nodded. “Yes. That’s me.”
“Good,” The man said. “I’m Sargeant Harrison. Nice to meet the new transfer. We seem to be short on detectives and we could use a new hand here, Capelli.”
Gaelle blinked. What she had intended as a funny joke to lighten her mood was quickly turning into something else. “Oh? Have things gotten that bad?”
“I am not going to lie, Capelli,” Harrison said. “It has gotten worse. It’s a war zone out there and we need all hands on deck. What do you say, new partner?” He walked over to a desk, opened the drawer and pulled out a badge and a gun. He tossed the badge to her and she caught it and it felt good in her hand. She had to tell him this was a mistake, right?
“Where do we start?” She asked. She clipped the badge to her coat and then pinned her hair back and tried to look a little tougher.
Yelling suddenly came from a radio on the desk and the voice yelled out some numbers that Gaelle did not understand and an address. Gaelle looked at Harrison and he looked very alarmed.
“Come on, Capelli. That shootout is for us,” He said. “We’re probably the closest cops to this thing.” He held out the gun to Gaelle and she watched her hand reach out and clutch the handle. She popped the chamber open like they did in the movies and looked down at what she assumed were bullets. She slammed it shut and nodded like that was exactly what she should be looking at.
“You got it, partner!” She said. “But my friends call me Gaelle. Um, it’s my middle name.”
“Guile is your middle name?” Harrison said. He laughed as they headed out the door past a tough-looking woman. Gaelle held her breath as they passed her and walked toward a beat-up muscle car. Harrison hurriedly got into the driver’s seat and Gaelle scrambled into the passenger seat. This had to be a very vivid dream that Gaelle was having. There was no way that she was carrying a gun and a badge on her way to what Harrison had said was a shootout.
“Buckle up, Guile,” Harrison said. “They don’ teach my kind of driving at the academy.”
Gaelle buckled up and shivered as the car lurched forward. She had never been in a vehicle going that fast before. Thankfully, Harrison slapped a siren onto the top of his car and everybody started to get out of their way. Her heart was beating out of her chest and she would actually welcome a shootout over the crippling panic of Harrison’s driving. At least with a shootout, she could run away. Finally, the car skidded to a stop sideways in the middle of Barclay street. Harrison reached across her and opened her door and pushed her out as he climbed out her side.
Gaelle peered out from behind the car and she could see two factions who looked like they had actually been shooting at each other. The air smelled like burning and there were actual dead people on the ground. Gaelle gripped her new gun tight and shook and trembled.
“Police! Everybody freeze!” Harrison shouted. Somehow, those words made Gaelle bold and she nodded at Harrison in solidarity and waited to see what would happen.
January 19, 2017
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)
I have never read the books by “Lemony Snicket” because I did not hear about them until well after they were released. I think I might have liked them if I had had the chance but instead, my introduction to the franchise (because it is a franchise now) was the 2004 movie. When I was growing up, I was a huge Jim Carrey fan. The 2004 movie was something I watched in 2006, while in the wilds of New Jersey and affirmed that Jim Carrey had grown up a little bit. I thought it was a good movie. This series is so much better. They replaced Carrey with Neil Patrick Harris who knows when to ham it up and when to play it darkly serious. As a result, the whole production shifts into something darker and more disorienting. Even knowing the rough plots of the first three books, I felt like I might not know what was happening next. On top of that, the kids playing the Baudelaire Orphans are awesome. The character actor’s playing Count Olaf’s acting troupe/henchpeople are really brilliant. There are a ton of great actors swooping in and making great cameos or two episode runs. Patrick Warburton (as Lemony Snicket) is the best I have ever heard or seen from him and that includes The Tick. There is a weird rhythm to the show which is both funny and unsettling and they lean into the gimmick hard. I definitely recommend this one.
When I first saw the posters for this movie, I thought it was a cheap kids movie with some bland yet whimsical premise and moved on. However, I have discovered a regularly updated list called 1001 Movies to See Before You Die and this movie made the list in 2011. When I found out that it was on Netflix, I decided to check it out. The Netflix description is horribly bland and would have confirmed my suspicions but thankfully I pressed on. This movie is actually a bit of historical fiction based on a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is set in the early 1930s in Paris, France. Like most parts of Europe, many adults were still rattled by the Great War but were enjoying a period of relative peace. The movie actually took a while to get into but after a bit, the movie grabbed me and never let go. The movie concerns itself with the early film industry (predating movie stars and the glitz and glamor of Hollywood) and specifically Georges Melies who directed silent films and worked with Houdini’s mentor Robert Houdin. The movie is directed by Martin Scorsese and it shows. The thing is put together in such a way that it builds and builds into an emotional crescendo at the end. I have to give all the credit in the world to Ben Kingsley and the legendary Christopher Lee. Sascha Baron Cohen appears and actually delivers a pretty subtle performance that I did not think he was capable of. I recommend this as it surprised me although be warned that it is a bit long.
I believe I have spoken here about my love for Guillermo Del Toro and the intricate worlds he crafts. He is one of the best writer/creators at building worlds simply by including a lot of background detail and creating beautiful/horrifying imagery. I was surprised when I found out that he had teamed up with Dreamworks to create an all ages show. When I found out what the show was, it made more sense. If you take the Troll Market scenes out of Hellboy 2 and extrapolate that into an animated television show then you can see where Trollhunters comes from. Of course, that is not the whole story. Del Toro is also good at creating relatable characters who talk to each other like human beings. We get a lot of story about the main character’s life as a middle schooler (I assume) who is living with his single mom. His story is actually kind of touching. The other aspect of the show is what made me jump at watching this show this week. The main character’s story is basically the same as a magical girl story (from anime) but he is male. The main character uses magic to transform into fighting form and has to deal with self-doubt, fear and a whole list of swirling emotions so that he can stay in fighting form. I am interested to see where this one goes as I have not watched the entire first part yet but I will. If you like Del Toro and you like stuff similar to How to Train Your Dragon then I recommend this one.
Music of the Week:
– This week’s theme is “Kid Power”
– I am onto Season 6 of The Office
– I am into Season 4 of Parks and Rec
– I am halfway through Season 4 of Arrested Development
– I am still watching Season 2 of Dusk Till Dawn
– I want to see Hidden Figures so bad
– I’m looking forward to pulling from the 1001 list more and more
January 16, 2017
I like to think of myself as a good writer. Of course, that is all subjective but many people have told me that I am a good writer and that is what I try to be both here and in my professional life. However, I got way too into a game with friends over the weekend and I thought that I would bring it here. My friend launched us into a game of “Explain a Movie Badly” which is the kind of thing I have seen as a hashtag on twitter. So how about I engage in a little purposefully bad writing? I will put a whole bunch of movies here and you can try and guess them from my horrible descriptions. I have found that the game brings out details from movies that people may have forgotten or never even noticed before. All the movies will be ones I have reviewed in one way or another on this blog and there will be a link to the answer below each bad explanation.
A voice actress saves a movie studio.
Can you guess it?
Don’t look at the answer below if you are still thinking.
The answer is Singin’ in the Rain
A job is vacated due to a death and a woman pushes to be the first to claim it.
A young girl becomes clinically depressed.
A man struggles to save Halloween from robots and magic.
A zombie travels a long way for revenge
Three brothers fight off a colorful home invasion.
A high schooler manipulates a girl into changing for him.
Television kills an entire family and a tv star.
A woman fights the effects of aging.
An author hates his past works.
A loser fails his way into a successful nightclub.
January 14, 2017
These are a few characters or teams that I feel could use their own show or movie. Some of them have already been animated and some of them already have a television show but they could use more. I purposely left out characters who are confirmed to already have a movie or show in the works.
There have already been some allusions to Deadman’s origins when Nanda Parbat was mentioned on Arrow. Boston Brand is a deceased circus performer who clings to the land of the living in order to right wrongs and save the day. While I have really only experienced the character during crossover events, I feel like a lot could be done with this character. In death, he is merely a spirit but he has the power to possess people to use their bodies to accomplish his tasks. He is also often a conduit between the lands of the dead and the living. The problem with putting this on screen is how to depict the possession. Frankly, it could be fun to see a bunch of different actors doing an impression of whoever is playing Deadman. I am not sure if the character could carry a movie on his own but a movie teaming up with somebody like Zatanna or some other mystical DC Comics characters could be fun. It looks like he will be in the upcoming Justice League Dark but that is one animated feature. He could also be in a television show with a whole bunch of guest stars standing in for him in each episode.
10 The Shadowpact
While they were not around for long, I always liked the Shadowpact. They were a ragtag group of mystical heroes and anti-heroes who confronted mystical threats. They always kind of struck me as kind of a blue collar superhero team. They all met each other at a magical bar that exists beyond space and time that is owned by formerly retired leader Nightmaster. Probably the most famous character is Blue Devil, a guy who sold his soul for demonic powers and fame. He struggles with the decision and how it might inspire others to sell their soul too. My favorite character from the issues I have read was Detective Chimp. He is an actual chimpanzee who can talk and was also a very intelligent, chain-smoking detective. In fact, two reboots ago, he was somebody that Batman would consult with to help the World’s Greatest Detective figure out tougher mysteries. The problem here is that the team also had The Enchantress in it and Suicide Squad kind of screwed that up. She is not very necessary and Nightshade (another magician) can easily fill her role since she is already on the team. I won’t go into everyone on the team but they would make a good movie.
The Runaways were a breakout success in comic books that seemed to come out of nowhere not long before the Civil War storyline in Marvel Comics. The Runaways were young superheroes who were struggling with a very difficult truth. Their parents were some of the most powerful yet relatively unknown supervillains in the world. While villains like Doctor Doom and Loki were tearing down cities while loudly proclaiming their intentions, the Pride were villains that controlled things more from the shadows similar to the early days of the Mafia. They were grooming their kids to take over the family business but the kids had different ideas and ran away from home, struggling with not wanting to be villains but also not really wanting to fight their parents. The series deals a lot with dealing with the strong emotions that come with youth and being on the lam with superpowers and/or superweapons. There were also some very interesting gay, lesbian and transgender themes which we haven’t really seen a whole of in superhero stuff so far. There were so many interesting concepts in this book that would be amazing adapted on screen.
8 Green Arrow
A long time ago (at least a decade), a movie was announced as being in development. This was long before press conferences where the big two revealed their movie schedules for the next four years. DC Comics revealed a potential movie that at the time was simply called Supermax. In reality, the movie was a vehicle for the Green Arrow. In it, Green Arrow would be imprisoned in a new state of the art prison for high-profile lawbreakers and would have to escape to survive. It would have had cameos from a whole bunch of DC Comics villains who would be imprisoned alongside him and thirsting for superhero blood. I really wanted that movie to happen but it was canceled a while ago with the new darker and edgier concept that DC has going on. Green Arrow always felt like a more lighthearted superhero. Like Batman, he was a rich man who combatted crime in a costume but he was always a little more snarky. He is also one of the most liberal superheroes around and that is not bad in my book. Of course, we already have the fantastic show Arrow so nothing like Supermax will probably be made but I would actually love to merge the two ideas at some point and allow Steven Amell to have a movie under his belt.
7. The Outsiders
This was a short-lived offshoot of the Teen Titans (who will probably get a movie eventually). Nightwing and Arsenal (two former sidekicks) put together a more pro-active superhero team. They hunt down supervillains before they finish putting their master plan together instead of waiting for them to attack Metropolis or Gotham and having to scramble to defeat them before stuff really hits the fan. It was a cool concept to see these characters not only react to situations but also try and track down villains before their plans were made. That way, the innocent bystanders of the DC Universe were not in danger as much. When the battle occurs in a remote supervillain hideout, the characters can be more free with their wanton destruction. I am sure Lex Luthor probably insures his hideouts anyway. Along with Nightwing and Arsenal there were plenty of young heroes just trying to figure things out. Metamorpho is basically a walking chemistry set. Grace Choi (no superhero codename) is a super strong bartender who does not take any crap from anybody. Thunder could manipulate her density to cause all sorts of havoc. Then there’s a super powerful android named Indigo and Jade who is basically a Green Lantern. The comic also had a positive outlook toward LGBTQ issues and had a fairly light tone. I cannot stress enough how much DC Movies need a lighter tone here and there.
6 Sandman (Wesley Dodds)
Soon there might be a movie based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and if it makes it through Development Hell, then I think I will be in love with it. However, there is another character involved with DC Comics with the same name who is actually connected. Wesley Dodds is a rich inventor who lives in the roaring twenties. Wesley’s problem is that every night he cannot sleep because of horrible prophetic dreams connected to the Dreaming from Neil Gaiman’s series. These dreams may keep him up but they also push him toward solving or preventing horrible crimes. He wears a suit, a World War I gas mask and uses a gas gun to put his enemies to sleep. In the Sandman Mystery Theater series, he fights extremely evil people. Dodds himself is a quiet mouse of a man but when he dons his mask, he is confident and ready to risk his body and freedom to bring criminals to justice. Along the way, he is helped and hindered by a party girl/flapper named Dian who is often able to figure out a lot of the mystery without Wesley’s help. Together, they are a formidable force. If Warner Brothers wants to go dark and gritty, they should do it with characters and situations built for it instead of tarnishing their bright, shiny symbols of justice.
5 Blue Beetle and Booster Gold
This is pretty much the opposite of the above entry. There is a time for things to get dark and edgy but if Warner Brothers keeps playing the same song, then people are going to leave the party. Suicide Squad attempted to be more lighthearted but it still had muted colors and struggled with portraying villains vs. having characters save the day. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are two heroes who bring both the best and worst out of each other. A movie starring the two of them has a lot of potential to be very funny while also adding a little variety to the DC Movie universe. Booster Gold is a man from the future who stole a bunch of equipment and traveled to our time to become famous and a superhero in that order. Blue Beetle is an inventor superhero who has a tendency to be a little too serious. Put them together and they are a formidable team that is constantly cracking jokes on each other like a buddy cop movie. Something in the vein of I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League would work. It would be kind of a gentle parody of Batman v. Superman and other offerings in that universe mashed together with an almost improv style of comedy.
4 Squirrel Girl
Squirrel Girl kind of became a meme a couple of years ago as writers dug through the archives and realized that this minor hero had beaten a lot of Marvel’s biggest villains. She has defeated Doctor Doom, Galactus and several more heroes with determination, smarts and being underestimated. The character has a lot of charisma as seen in her own book recently. She has been a babysitter for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s baby (spoiler maybe?) and has been an asset to a couple of different superhero situations. Lately, she has been going on her own adventures as she has tried to figure out who she is and where the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl fits in. Her character has a similar can-do spirit to Kimmy Schmidt and actually has a similar disconnect from the way things really work. She also regularly breaks the fourth wall in her adventures and pokes fun at a lot of superhero tropes and other things we take for granted. In fact, she literally takes some of this from Deadpool who gifted her a set of flashcards which explain most of the characters in the Marvel Universe. Her movie or television show could be kind of like a PG Deadpool. We all know that the reason Deadpool worked was not because of its rating. A similar thing with the same fast-paced, cartoony action with smart dialogue would definitely work.
I was just old enough to be able to watch the animated show Static Shock when I was a kid. I would love to see them reexamine that character since there are tons of issues around starring the character. Static comics put a spotlight on what it is to be a black kid in American cities while also showing what it is like to be a young superhero. Power over electricity and electromagnetism is a powerful ability and I was always impressed with the different ways the character could use that power. He wasn’t like most characters with energy-based abilities which includes the similar Black Lightning. He did not always zap his problems away and instead either used his powers indirectly or thought his way out of a problem. Virgil Hawkins was an inspiration, especially to young black Americans who wanted a hero who looked like them. In addition, his villains were people you would actually meet walking around a city who just happened to have superpowers. Deciding what cause to further through use of those powers was a big theme in the cartoon and, from I’ve read, the comic. Apparently, there is a live action television show that may or may not be happening and I hope that it stays true to the spirit of the character. Also, please do not cast Jaden Smith.
2 Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
I fell in love with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series. Not only does it portray Hawkeye in a very human and relatable way, it really does a lot of good for his protege Kate Bishop. Kate took over the mantle of Hawkeye for a while for Clint Barton, especially why she teamed with the Young Avengers. She is younger and just as good a shot as Clint is but she comes from an entirely different background. She comes from wealth but tends to shrug off her birthright more often than not. I would love to see something with Kate in it because she is a pretty complicated character in her own right. Also, Hawkeye gets a lot of crap from fans of the Avengers series of movies. I love Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, the kind of blue collar/military hero that is just trying to survive while more powerful heroes rage around him. I would love to see a Hawkeye movie where he mentors Kate and they fight villains together. We already saw a little bit of Hawkeye’s urge to mentor during Avengers II And Civil War with Scarlet Witch but Kate would be snarkier yet more receptive. To me, that would be the best way to do a Hawkeye movie which could lead into a Young Avengers movie or just stand on its own.
Please. Please. PLEASE give me a She-Hulk movie or television show. Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner’s cousin and she accidentally gets transformed into She-Hulk through a blood transfusion needed to save her life. Unlike Bruce, she does not need to be angry to transform but being angry definitely will transform her more easily. She also is not the bottomless pit of rage and self-loathing that Bruce is and actually becomes a better person through being She-Hulk. Hands down the best part of her is that she is a working lawyer more than she is a superhero. My favorite stories about Jen are when she is actually trying cases and researching the law and making closing arguments and getting this done legally. Punching somebody is at the bottom of her list to do when she can simply get an injunction and end the fight before it even begins. I want to see her try some superpowered cases and deal with villains with legal skills. She could bring in Patsy Walker (from Jessica Jones) as her investigator and there could be cameos from all sorts of great characters. This is probably the whole reason I wrote this list. Give me a She-Hulk show or movie or both.
January 12, 2017
Swiss Army Man
I am definitely a Daniel Radcliffe fan and I have loved everything I have seen him do. In 2015, I watched an independent movie called Horns which made me even more of a fan of his. His stances on feminism and humble interviews also really sold me. During one of those interviews, he mentioned working on this movie and I was intrigued. He does not seem to pick normal movies anymore and I am totally alright with that. This movie is absolutely surreal and I am pretty sure you are not expecting where it goes. Whatever you are thinking, you are probably wrong. I like being surprised by things and this was definitely a good surprise. The movie is definitely not a light subject but there is a great dark comedy to it. The movie is wonderfully shot. Just about every frame could be printed out and framed on a wall. There is not much dialogue in parts of the movie but body language and little sounds tell us all the story we need. There is a morbid, cartoon-like quality to the movie that I fell in love with almost immediately. Paul Dano is great as a half-crazed but optimistic survivor and Radcliffe is… well I do not want to spoil it. Let us just say that he is the title character and the trailer above will tell you. The movie has some of the best physical work that I have seen in a while and Radcliffe is growing by leaps and bounds in his acting skills. I definitely recommend this weird movie.
I have watched a few shows from England but most of them have been from the BBC because the BBC is really good at partnering with American distribution methods. As Netflix grows more powerful, it seems to be reaching out to more foreign markets much to the benefit of subscribers. I have not watched any television across the bond since over twenty years ago so I had not heard of E4. This show is a supernatural comedy/adventure story about two women in their twenties trying to figure things out. Oh, and they can also see the demons that walk among us and have taken it upon themselves to act as demon hunters. I like the more relatable reactions to somebody telling you that you really can see demons and that you are not crazy. The show feels kind of like a blend of Shaun of the Dead and Being Human (the UK version) with the two female leads in way over their heads. I have only watched a bit of the show but I am intrigued by the way the demons work and how much magic actually exists in their world. The two actresses (Cara Theobold, Susan Wokoma) who are the leads play off each other really well as one is fully weird and somewhat crazy and the other is just trying to keep up. The main villain is played by Tony Curran who played Datak Tarr on Defiance and is great at playing an evil jerk who is still kind of charming and interesting. I definitely recommend this one as it is interesting and is not very long.
A friend of mine from my game group suggested that I watch this and I was intrigued enough by her explanation of the show that I wanted to check it out. Basically, the future is apparently horrible enough for them to develop a form of time travel technology to try and change things for the better. They choose people who are about to die and they rewrite their brain with a consciousness from the future. These people take over their host bodies and carry out missions in tightly knit cells that have no idea what the mission is or what other teams are doing. It is weird. Most of the show is the team trying to complete missions while stumbling through their hosts’ normal lives. I am on episode five and the show is pretty interesting. Everybody is dealing with a lot of crap and they are all horrible at living in the 20th Century. The mystery of what is happening in the future and what this Traveler organization is actually doing is the driving force of the show. There are a lot of ethical dilemmas that spring from the time travel technology. Uploading your mind into somebody else’s life is confusing for everybody involved and you have no idea what that person’s life was really like if you are only going off historical documents and social media. I recommend the show but I do not know how long I will watch it myself.
Music of the Week:
– This week’s theme is “Teamwork”
– I watched more of season 2 of Dusk Till Dawn
– I finished Season 3 of Arrested Development
– I am halfway through Season 4 of Parks and Recreation
– I am halfway through Season 5 of The Office
– I loved Season 1 of The Magicians
– I watched more of Season 3 of The Following
– I attended King Ubu at Pointless Theater on Saturday
January 9, 2017
So, my birthday happened recently. As I have explained previously, it is the 29th of December which is a very awkward time which means that it has rarely been celebrated by friends. I received a portable cell phone charger as a gift for Christmas so I decided to go into the woods on a long walk to test it out, get some exercise and catch some Pokemon. I took a trip down the familiar Mountain Pass Road. There are no mountains in Baltimore but these roads certainly feel like mountains as they are long and steep. As usual, I started to cast my eyes around to entertain myself. I mean, Pokemon Go is interesting but there is a whole world out there which is way more interesting. Once again, I slipped around the backside of the Maryland Zoo and that is when things got interesting.
Do you see that? Do you see that!? I just happened upon that broken fence and my first thought was that I could easily get onto Zoo property and poke around. Then I quieted that part of me that I have not indulged since middle school when I learned to pick locks. My second thought was that maybe something had escaped. Some new breed of lion that can tear metal and leap fences. I looked around but there was only an old man walking his dog and he seemed unconcerned. So, maybe something had not escaped or at least not recently. Then I started to wonder if something had maybe broken in. Some animal liberator from some idiot group like PETA gets it in their head to release some creatures to prove some point. I know it’s mysterious and totally a sign that something is going on with the zoo.
I tried to shake off the whole fence thing as I walked on. It is not my business to police the zoo or fight rogue animals in the middle of Druid Hill Park. I’ll leave that to zoo security or whatever bounty hunters they might hire. I rounded a few more corners and then I saw something else that freaked me out even more. That is a Device with a capital D. That is not a normal piece of equipment. The first thing I thought was that it was some kind of hydrogen bomb but I bet they make those smaller now. Technology is getting smaller and smaller. Then I wondered what it might actually be. My best guess is that it is a bit of technology that they put near the road so it can be picked up and repaired by their overseers. I think it is some sort of Doctor Moreau-ish equipment for experiments on animals.
Of course, this is not that strange. The current site of the Maryland Zoo is only Site B. I have talked about Three Sisters Pond before but I was shocked to discover the origin of one of my favorite spots to visit. I had always wondered where the actual pond was that the Pokestop described. There is no water. There is not even the sound of water. There is nothing but trees but this week I saw it from a different angle thanks to the vegetation going dormant for winter. The perfect ridges and oval shape of the “pond” proved one thing. It is a sea lion pool or at least it was. What happened to the sea lions? Sacrificed to someone? Something?
There’s nothing I can do. The authorities probably would not believe me. Hell, you probably don’t believe me as you’re reading this. That is alright. I know how to protect myself and ward my house against evil animal experiments that might try to destroy me. In the end, this is Baltimore and whatever it is probably is not tougher than this city. We will be fine.