The greatest tribute in Presidential history:
The first Fantastic Four movie was sheeeeeeeiiiiiit. I walked out of the theater a satisfied viewer, in a kind of Movie Mirth (it’s the rare movie that I’m unhappy having seen, in the first hours after seeing it), but the bad qualities eventually outweighed the good qualities in my mind, and I saw it for what it was.
They got the family nature of the Four, and it came through on the screen, but nearly everything else was garbage.
They botched the Thing’s look (they apparently wanted The Commish so badly that they gave into his demand to have the Thing be a rubber suit instead of a much more sensible CGI creation), Jessica Alba is only good when she plays strippers, and Doctor Doom was somehow made lame.
But the sequel is coming out next year, and the teaser trailer is available here.
The Silver Surfer is one of those characters that’s going to be really tough to translate to the screen. See, he was created to cash in on the surfing craze a few decades ago. He’s called the Silver Surfer because he’s silver and he rides a silver surf board. In space. It’s easy to see him as a silly, crass construction.
But if you read enough comics with him in them, you quickly forget about the silliness of it, and see the character for who he is. I’m very, very tempted to go through the whole history of Silver Surfer, because I’m geeky like that, but I’ll save you the tedium (especially when you can just go read it here).
Quick version: Silver Surfer is a dude from another planet who saved his people from certain destruction by agreeing to become the Herald of the being bent on doing the destroying. This being is Galactus. He’s so powerful he’s more like a cosmic force than a monster or something. You can get an idea of his scale in this picture. Oh yeah, and he eats planets. Surfer’s job is to find planets for Galactus to eat. He finds Earth, and tells Galactus where the buffet line starts (somewhere near Neptune). In the beginning of the Surfer’s story, he’s a nice guy trying to solve his own planet. In the end, he goes back to being that nice guy, but there’s a lot of genocide there in the middle (but it wasn’t really his fault, as Galactus was somehow supressing his Herald’s morality). The Fantastic Four are in there, too, right before he goes back to being a good guy.
Spider-Man beats up crooks, rescues people from burning buildings, stops muggers, that sort of thing. He’s a tactical superhero. On a really good day, he might save the city, but usually he’s just helping out individuals.
The Fantastic Four are constantly saving the entire goddamn planet. It’s what they do. Any decent Fantastic Four movie is going to depict just that, a cosmic-level event that requires a solution only they can provide.
If this movie gets that part right, then it has the potential to be a decent film. I’m not getting my hopes up.
Also, a few things to note:
- I don’t think Surfer ever had the power depicted in the trailer. It’s entirely possible that they’re melding his character with Vision, a robot who has that power exactly (well, he actually has the power to control the molecular density of his body, which lets him be as, well, hard as he wants, or to pass through matter). Surfer IS one of the most powerful heroes in comics, with an indestructible body, the power to shoot beams out of his hands and almost complete control of all forms of energy. What he does to dispatch the Human Torch in the trailer is pretty much exactly as the Surfer of the comics would do it.
- I think that’s Brian Posehn as the wedding officiant.
…photographs will be taken.
And, of course, posted by her older brother for the entire world to see.
So you might have seen Penn Jillette, my personal savior, on his show Identity. Please do not judge Penn by this show.
Penn needs to be unleashed, not chained to a podium.
The excerpt from his radio show (in MP3 form) is available here. You need know only this:
1) this was recorded around the time that David Blaine was in that ball of water in Times Square a few months ago.
2) Penn and his guest Criss Angel had spent much of the show saying that while David Blaine had a lot of great qualities, he is famous because a) of his famous girlfriends b) he is good looking.
3) Penn also observed, earlier in the show, that David Blaine was not very good at card tricks.
4) This comment caused a few people to call into his radio show and complain that he was bad mouthing David Blaine.
The excerpt I posted is Penn’s rather…er…explosive reaction to the David Blaine cultists apparently not understanding what he was trying to say.
This is Penn at his best. He’s rarely as boring as he is on his new game show.
All hail the Komodo Dragon Messiah (and his six siblings)!
He is come, and He is a lizard!
The King of Kings of Reptiles!
And the Lord said, let there be moulting!
“My country is still at war. I need an American identification card to get anywhere in my own city. Now, for some reason, men with machine guns have placed two rows of jingling antlered pigs on the roof of our house. This is insane.”
A few months ago, I went on a miniature adventure. I walked to Market Square and sat on a bench. I opened my notebook and began to write. I had an iced chai from Starbucks, a pack of smokes, my iPod and plenty of things to write about.
Five minutes after settling in, I was joined by an older man who looked remarkably like Tom Waits.
This is what I wrote:
I’m writing this so this guy stops talking to me – maybe if I stop talking, he’ll stop talking. Somehow I doubt it.
He’s mumbling something about drugs and market square. Now he’s talking about the bus. Wants to know where streets are. Little does he know.
This place is scaring me, but in a good way.
I bet there’s a story him him, but I don’t want to encourage him by asking about it. Maybe he’ll just get bored and walk away.
I have visions of him killing me. A struggle. He’s wiry and muscular and he has tattoos. I’m doughy and out of shape. He’d take me. I bet I could outrun him though, if I drank this iced chai first.
I want to mitigate the insensitivity expressed in this story by relating my most recent adventure, wherein I dragged a drunken homeless guy out of Forbes Avenue traffic while buses whizzed by students blared their horns at us, but I won’t.
Judge me as you will.
The first time I encountered Tom Waits was while he was apparently playing a homeless man living in Wheeling, West Virginia. I don’t know if it was for a movie or what, but he looked just like he did in Ironwood. I didn’t see any cameras or anything, but I swear it was him. He even sounded like him.
There’s not much to say about our encounter. Again, I was sitting, but at a bus stop this time, and he was sitting next to me. He asked me for a smoke, and I gave him one, and he started making creepy suggestions about my age.
“What are you, about 18, maybe? You look like you might be a teenager. Maybe even younger than that. Do you have a girlfriend?”
I was 23.
Ok, since that story went nowhere, you can watch Tom himself (the real one) tell way better stories than mine.
I went through a period in my adolescence that I call the Age of Sandwich Deconstruction.
I knew the ingredients of the sandwiches I liked. I knew how to make them, and the order in which one applied said ingredients. But it always seemed like too much work, and it relied on the presence of highly-perishable components (for example, bologna or turkey).
So, I slowly reverse-engineered my sandwiches until I had precisely the ingredients that I enjoyed and nothing else. It’s sort of an omnivorous cutting out of the middle meat, like making sandwiches wholesale.
By the end of it, I was eating dill pickle slices and mayo on toasted white bread.
Don’t knock it ’til you try it.