Posts Tagged ‘TWS’

This Week in Steves 7

March 25, 2015

TWS


Steven Segal

During the late eighties and early nineties, there was a glut of action movies that were cranked out at an enormous rate. With the advent of better technology for stunts and practical special effects, action movies got bigger and badder. These action movies and their stars were a little campy and very cheesy while simultaneously being pretty awesome. We got stuff like Die Hard, Total Recall, Universal Soldier, Escape from New York and Demolition Man and plenty of other loud popcorn movies. A lot of them weren’t masterpieces but a lot of us loved them for what they were anyway.

Along came Steven Segal, a truly prolific action star who operated for decades whether anybody wanted him to or not. To be fair, his movies always sold well even though a large percentage of them were released straight to home video. I was never really impressed with Steven Segal which I always assumed was a pretty widespread opinion. Segal is interesting because he is an authentic martial artist but his acting is wooden and the movies he starred in were never well written or directed. After that he got fatter and slower and never cut off that ridiculous looking ponytail. I hope that whatever I’m passionate about, I won’t be ok with coasting and putting out bad or mediocre work.


Steve Trevor

I have to be honest and say that I was not the biggest Wonder Woman reader growing up and even now I haven’t read much of any of her solo runs. I did like the character in several Justice League incarnations that I read through the years but when it came to Wonder Woman, I subscribed to strict gender roles. Wonder Woman was the heroine for girls and I was way more into Batman, The Flash and Green Lantern (at least on the DC side). I do have two Wonder Woman collections now and I loved her on Justice League Unlimted. I was excited about the potential Joss Whedon movie but now I’m cautiously optimistic about the potential new movie in the works. I’m a little wary because of how poorly they portrayed Lois Lane in Man of Steel.

Wonder Woman has been around for a long time since she was created by a psychologist with a few issues in the 40’s. Pretty early in her history, she was joined by Steve Trevor, a military liason to Diana since she was technically a foreign diplomat fighting crime or nazis alongside American forces. I’ve always been impressed by normal human characters who can legitimately hang with the superpowered characters. From what I saw, Steve always seemed to be impressed with Wonder Woman but was always there to do his duty, fighting right alongside her. Later they became romantically linked while still working together which is impressive in itself. Like Steve Trevor I’m definitely a fan of strong women and getting things done even if you’re working through disadvantages.


Steve Austin, the 6 million dollar man

Television was kind of tough when I was a little kid and I say that with full awareness that my generation had it pretty good when it came to television. However, like any generation, we were stuck between the new and shiny and the television our parents watched. The new and shiny was not always the best entertainment and while it was hard to connect to our parent’s shows, they weren’t always bad. Also, you tended to watch what everybody else wanted to watch especially if you have two brothers. I was lucky in that there was a lot of synchronization when it came to my brothers and I and our parents could be pretty agreeable as well. Our heroes were largely confined to Saturday Mornings while more mundane heroes like Andy Griffith or Lucille Ball took up primetime.

I don’t know who made the decision to watch The 6 Million Dollar Man but I remember being pretty fascinated with it. I was seeing a lot of things that I saw in comic books and cartoons being done by a live action hero. I got into the show and also The Bionic Woman in a way that I could never really get into The Incredible Hulk. The idea of two government agents being able to do all sorts of superhuman things in live action stunts was amazing. It wasn’t unprecedented but it was the most interesting at the time in my memory. (Although Green Hornet comes to mind now that I think about it) Steve Austin was a guy who didn’t quit and used bravery and bionics to save the day. I can’t really remember the plot since there was a lot of talking and that bored the hell out of me but I remember the stunt sequences and the combat.

This Week in Steves 6

March 18, 2015

TWS


Steve Buscemi

Strangely enough, the first movie I saw Steve Buscemi in was probably Airheads which was not the best movie to be his first impression. Not long after that, I saw him in the beginning of Desperado which was a movie that really captured my imagination as a kid. Unfortunately, a lot of his early movies were a little too adult than I was allowed. That actually worked out fine because I was able to catch up later on in life and really enjoy his career. I adore Reservoir Dogs for the simple, cool movie that it is. Buscemi as Mr. Pink is an interesting, believable villain who you kind of like even though he’s an asshole. After that I finally saw Fargo which is a similar role but a lot funnier in a twisted way.

He reunited with Robert Rodriguez to do the Spy Kids movies which I’m not embarassed to say I liked (until the fourth one). This started a trend where he did some kids movies including Pixar’s Monster’s Inc and Monster House which I thought were both good. Unfortunately, he hooked up with Adam Sandler at some point and has been in a lot of piss poor movies. Hopefully, those movies probably paid really well. I don’t really see myself too much in the roles of Steve Buscemi or in the man himself. Buscemi has done quite a few movies he has admitted to doing only for the money. I hope that it never comes to that for me, though if it does I hope I have enough dignity to get through it.

Steve Carell

The Daily Show has been one of my favorite shows for a very long time and I have been watching it since before John Stewart took over hosting duties. The show strikes just the right balance between insight and comedy that sometimes makes me laugh and sometimes makes me want to tear out my hair in frustration at the human race. This is strangely a good mix and I am an avid fan of the show. It’s true my viewership has ebbed and flowed in recent years but this is more due to not having a DVR or time than it is lack of love for the show. The point I’m coming around to is that Steve Carrell was awesome as a correspondent on the Daily Show especially paired with a certain Colbert.

Of course, eventually correspondents leave the Daily Show and try to strike out on their own. I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t really liked a lot of the stuff he’s done since. Not all of them can be Stephen Colbert or Jon Oliver who are two former correspondents I still love. He unfortunately made a lot of movies that I didn’t really like and a very popular sitcom that I didn’t really get into. I did really like Despicable Me and (for some reason) Get Smart and I also got a kick out of Anchorman. Yet another successful person who does the kind of work that he wants. I wish I could see myself in him.

Steven Moffat

I freely admit that I am a late comer to the Doctor Who fandom which easily happens when you are born nearly 20 years after the first episode premieres. The show is a British science fiction staple and therefore was not really popular among my friends growing up. What did we need with the Doctor when we had Star Trek? Every so often I would see Tom Baker’s face splashed on a magazine cover and I wondered who this man with the long scarf was. I had no idea what I was missing and I had absolutely nobody to tell me about it. Back in the day, if it wasn’t on cable then it often wasn’t on our radar. The show went away when I was seven and it became a semi-obscure reference in pop culture. 2005 came and went and I didn’t jump on the revival.

Honestly, I don’t remember when I finally started to watch Doctor Who. By the time I started to watch, Doctor Who had become more of a household name (among geeks). I thought “What the hell?” and I watched the 10th Doctor romp around in Shakespearean times. I was pretty much hooked from there. I went back and watched the revival from the beginning and I loved it even more. By far my favorite writer from the Tennant era was Steven Moffat who wrote Girl in the Fireplace among other good episodes. Later he took over as showrunner for the Matt Smith and the Capaldi eras. He gets a lot of criticism but I’ve loved every step of the revival. Obviously I’m happy to share my name with somebody so passionate about Doctor Who and good sci-fi television that has made me laugh, cry and think.

This Week in Steves 5

March 11, 2015

TWS


Steve, the Eddie Izzard Extra

I love Eddie Izzard as a comedian and an actor. He has a lackadaisical delivery that almost sounds like he’s making it up as he goes along. The thing is, I know he plans his act to minute detail because he has translated it into other languages and performed it in front of non-english crowds. One moment he’s casual about things and then the next he’s really excited but always there’s an improv kind of feeling, like he’s experiencing it for the first time with us. He tends to cover a lot from the bible and history more than stories from his own life. He wore a dress and make up on stage and it was cool. It was no big deal.

I noticed a while ago that whenever Izzard needed a name of a character he leapt on the name Steve. I had listened to and watched plenty of his stand up routines to come to this conclusion but I thought I might be hearing things since it is my name and I might be blowing it out of proportion. After a little research, I found that I was correct. He more often uses the names Steve and Jeff when he needs to name a character or extra in his stories. Not much to say about that but I like that my name is constantly honored or shamed by one of my favorite comedians.

Steve Borden aka the Man Called Sting

As I’ve said before, I was not as big a fan of WCW when I was growing up because DVR didn’t exist yet and brand loyalty kept me from changing channels. What I did see was because of the US Open or the Westminster Dog Show and it was interesting but I was kind of lost except for the ex-WWF guys. Some stuff started to filter to me about the real WCW guys by reading wrestling magazines a little so I started to learn more about Flair, the Steiners and a few others but really I was totally in the dark. It wasn’t until after WCW fell apart that I got introduced to some of their talent. The rise of the internet and specifically Youtube did a lot to educate me about how the other half lived.

This brings us to a guy who was one of the crown jewels of WCW, the man they call Sting. He first caught people’s eye as the more skilled and more succesful partner of the Ultimate Warrior. He went on to be a hero to the people, borrowing from and learning a lot from Ric Flair while remaining a good guy. He spent quite a while as a guy who beat the odds and killed monster heels dead. His matches with Ric Flair are legendary and definitely elevated Steve to star status. Eventually, he took a cue from the nineties fascination with The Crow and changed his look and never looked back. He stuck with WCW until the end and then vanished. He reappeared in TNA and arguably became even better on the mic and gained superior acting skills. I would have to sell my soul to Satan to get his physique at his prime but I’m glad to share his creativity.

Steve Martin

I have also talked before about my love of Steve Martin as a stand up comedian. Of course, as a performer he was actually one of the most guarded about his personal life that I remember seeing. While other stand up comedians were going into great detail about their lives, he was basically a cartoon character being silly on stage. I loved the guy but I really knew nothing about him for most of my life because his work only reflected so little of the real him. I was pleased when I saw his play Picasso at the Lapin Agile because it showed a more subtle, less silly side to him. Likewise, his serious music pursuits showed a passion for a form of music I had kind of dismissed. His further writing showed a sensitivity that wasn’t visible before.

Recently, I read his autobiography and I was completely blown away. It shows how the wild and crazy guy has been in show business most of his life. From working at Disney into his teens and then working at Knotsberry Farms and then hitting the club scene as a young magician/comedian. There was so much I did not know and so much that had been kept hidden from me. I learned a lot more about his anxieties and his humanity that I ever thought was possible. I’m proud to be a complex onion just like Steve Martin and I hope that I have even a fifth of his comedic talent.

This Week in Steves 4

March 4, 2015

TWS


Steve Ditko

I love comic books and have since I discovered the Avengers, the X-Men, Batman, The Flash and Spider-Man at a pretty young age. Wait, what was that last one? Oh right it’s Spider-Man and I’m talking about his co-creator, Steve Ditko. He was the artist to Stan Lee’s writer although he has proven to be a pretty good writer as well. I loved Spider-Man comics for a long time until Quesada decided to torch the whole thing. I liked the silver age and I liked the comics into the late nineties. I even liked parts of Maximum Clonage. However, Ditko created more than just that. He also created or helped to create awesome characters like Doctor Strange, The Creeper, Hawk, Dove, Captain Atom and The Question. For some reason I always liked the Question even though I still haven’t read all of the back issues. He’s a hardline hero who has a cool look.

I would kill to be as good at drawing as Ditko is as I could work on putting my own comics out right here on the internet. I am not a horrible artist but it would take me a long time to get to the level that Ditko was when he broke into the business. His art style helped form the basis for new worlds and the images I see in my mind are as vivid as the ones he drew. However, I will always keep writing as long as I have the ability to do so and I hope to hone my craft so that others enjoy it. On the other hand, I enjoy what I’m writing right now and I will enjoy it even if nobody ever reads it. The clear way that I’m not like Steve Ditko is that he is an adherent of objectivism. I agree somewhat with some of the tenets of objectivism but only somewhat.


Steven Universe

I was skeptical of Steven Universe before it came out because it looked kind of goofy and annoying and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. However, that describes pretty much everything on Cartoon Network that I liked in the past 7 years. Cartoon Network is currently putting out a lot of quality stuff under the guise that it’s all zany and silly and weird. However, a lot of it actually has some intelligence and emotion under the surface. I watched the Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack because behind the silliness there was a surrealness that was sometimes weird and sometimes frightening and often both. That led me to Adventure Time which, while being often silly, is also one of the deepest cartoons I’ve ever watched and has fantastic world building.

Which brings us back to Steven Universe because it was created by a lady who was a writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time. Her name is Rebecca Sugar. When I first saw the teaser trailer for Steven Universe, I was still kind of wary even though they did hint at character work and world building to rival Adventure Time. I was captivated by the phrase “Believe in Steven” that they flashed up on screen. It was such a simple little phrase but it actually made me feel good about myself so I had to see the show now. I haven’t seen a lot of the show but I have seen a couple episodes and I like it and will probably binge watch it at some point. I wish I had Steven’s energy and ability to make fast friendships but anxiety gets in the way sometimes.

Steve Irwin
(The below is from someone who was not a fan and is largely specualting)

Steve Irwin was often treated like a joke or a cartoon when ever I heard about him when I was younger. People would give a hearty “By Crikey!” or something similar and move on with their lives, confident that they had pegged the guy as a lunatic who handled reptiles. However, he was a lunatic handling reptiles and other animals. He constantly put himself in danger for the sake of a television nature show. He often sounded stupid and somehow unaware or uncaring of the danger he was putting himself in. That was probably why so many people made fun of him. It’s strange behavior and I can’t exactly disapprove of people being shocked and amused by a human being throwing themselves into such situations. The edges of him and all of the parodies of him seemed to bleed together. In a way, it was easy to believe that he would eventually die at the hand of an animal and he eventually did.

However, maybe he was not as stupid as people took him to be. He had a thick Australian accent and I know from my mother’s experiences that people tend to look down on people with strong, colorful accents. The Australian accent often sounds jokey and silly and far too casual to our ears. So maybe there was more intelligence to the man than there seemed to be on the surface. He still put himself in danger but a lot of people have dangerous professions because they feel that they need the money or they are helping a cause. From what I can tell, he felt he was helping the cause of conservation and environmentalism by showcasing some amazing creatures. I can definitely respect someone so dedicated to a worthy cause.

This Week in Steves

February 11, 2015

TWS

I was given the name of Steven when I was born.  It’s a Greek name even though I don’t have a drop of Greek blood in me.  It means “crown” or “victorious” which are two words that never really applied to my life much.  Well, like most humans I’m occasionally victorious, of course, but I was never royal.  Names are our birthright but they really don’t mean anything but I find it fun whenever I find another Steven or Steve.  So I thought I’d explore different characters or real people who share my name.  For now, this does not include Stephen because I don’t belong to that rival tribe.


Steve the Monkey from the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies

I remember reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as a kid and the book was definitely surreal and fun but it was more of a  poem than a story.  I have to hand it to the makers of the movies who completely spun straw into gold.  They took a very simple story and made it into a great animated movie.  Not only that but they filled it with puns (the lowest form of comedy) and it ended up being hilarious and not annoying.  Truly there was some dark magic involved there.

The character of Steve is a Vervet monkey and lab assistant who talks through an altered speak and spell (performed by Neil Patrick Harris).  I specifically chose to talk about him because a friend of mine often does an impression of him when somebody says my name.  Now, Steve mostly wears his heart on his sleeve, literally saying his emotions, his desires, what he’s doing at the moment or his own name.  That’s not me.  I tend to keep a lot of things to myself and I’m less impulsive unless I let my rage problem get the best of me.  In some ways I try to be a little more like Steve the Monkey by joking a little more and hanging out with people more.


Steve Urkel from Family Matters

I haven’t met somebody from my generation who hasn’t heard of Family Matters yet.  We pretty much all watched it along with the other shows on ABC’s TGIF line up.  It was a wholesome show that had a semi-realistic depiction of a family.  The Winslows loved each other and looked out for each other but they weren’t afraid to show the parents yelling at their kids for doing the wrong thing.  They also weren’t afraid to show the members of the family making fun of each other which is something my family does as well.  Sure it was a sitcom so everything was often exaggerated and more extreme than anything I experienced.  Still, it was pretty relateable and it gave us a handful of jokes when we watch Die Hard each year.

Now, before anyone called me Harry Potter (ok it happened once), I hated sharing a name with Steve Urkel.  Urkel was a character that exploded pretty soon after his first appearance and is probably the primary reason that Jaleel White primarily did voice acting for a while.  Urkel was a technophile with poor coordination and low social skills.  He didn’t care about being cool, being a nerd was cool to him and he loved being himself.  However, when people compared my name to his it was an insult.  Urkel was an outcast on the show who none of the Winslows wanted around because, frankly, he was annoying.  However, eventually his good qualities won over his annoying ones and he wormed his way into the hearts of everyone.  Urkel probably was the first time that I started to embrace my nerdy side and not care so much what people think.


Steven Stone from the Pokemon games

I love Pokemon.  I first experienced Pokemon as a video game as most people did but it wasn’t long before I was exposed to the anime.  I got to see the adventures of Ash Ketchum and then my brothers and I could strive to become Pokemon masters ourselves.  My brothers had Red and Blue and I got Yellow as soon as it came out which was more like the anime.  I loved battling Team Rocket and putting together effective and dominating teams.  I favored fire and electric types most.  I eventually graduated to Pokemon Gold and I check in on the anime to this day but I never did play any games.  If I had, I would have found about Steven Stone before this past weekend.

In current Pokemon game continuity, Steven Stone was the champion of the Hoenn region and thus the main boss of the Ruby/Sapphire games.  He is a trainer who specializes in Steel-type pokemon, a type I hadn’t really mastered until lately.  Now that I see them in action, Steel-type pokemon are hard hitting and formidable in battle and some of them look awesome.  Steven Stone is a champion and is very intelligent in the anime (which isn’t saying much when compared to Ash Ketchum).  Where he really shines is the Mega Evolution special (see above video).  There’s not really enough character to compare myself to but at least there’s a Steven like me in the Pokemon world.


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