Man of Steel

Recently Man of Steel director Zack Snyder made a comment about how some fans still “cling” on to the Christopher Reeve Superman fillms. I don’t know if that was the wisest thing for him to say.

But I totally agree with him.

I knew that this would happen. I thought about saying something similar before Man of Steel was released, but I didn’t want to upset the vast majority if the people going to see the film. Then again, no one actually reads this, so there was never any danger of me being accused of feeding the trolls.

I am sure that a lot of parents who took their children to see Superman in 1978 grew up watching the TV series that starred George Reeves. Some kids, such as myself, watched the reruns every afternoon. I am also sure that a lot of those parents were hoping to recapture happy moments of their youth.

In a lot of ways, Superman was a bit of a throwback to the 50s era of comics and the TV version of the character. We kind of needed that optimism and hopefulness instilled by Superman since we weren’t that far removed from Vietnam and Watergate. Much like Star Wars the previous year, it was a case of the right movie at the right time.

As a fan of comics and comic book films, I owe a lot to Superman for not only making me believe a man could fly, but also for kickstarting the big budget superhero film genre.

That being said, that era has passed us by. If people really wanted that type of Superman film they would have gone to see Superman Returns. But then again, it wasn’t a very good film. Brandon Routh made a very good Superman, in my opinion, but the script let him down. The basic idea for this film was to continue the Superman story that was started in the films oh so many years ago. Pardon the pun: it didn’t fly. It was a bit too old fashioned. It was also a Superman film where he didn’t punch anything.

Then everyone complained that in Man of Steel Superman punched everything. There were complaints that the fictional city of Metropolis was almost totally destroyed, and yet no one seemed to care about the destruction of Manhatten in Avengers.

I’ll let you ponder that one a moment.

Then there was a huge outcry when Superman killed Zod in Man of Steel, yet no one seemed to mind when Superman killed Zod, without remorse, in Superman II.

Remember that?

Some people complained that Man of Steel was a bit dark–I disagree with that assertion. If anything it was realistic. If you see realism as pessimism that is your problem. How would you expect the general population, much less the government and the military, to react to an alien coming to Earth demanding that they hand over the alien that has been living here for over thirty years?

The idea that at any point in time the US government would be happy to an alien be its defender is Pollyannaish at best, and delusional at worst. If you have read Flashpoint, or have watched the animated film The Flashpoint Paradox you know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven’t, here come the spoilers: In an alternate timeline Kal-El’s spaceship wasn’t found by the Kents, it was found by the US Army. They then locked him away in an underground bunker, where he stayed until some of the other heroes broke him out. It’s one of the best parts of the story.

Think about this for a minute: Superman first appeared in Action Comics in 1938. So, let’s say he was in his early thirties, that would mean that Ma and Pa Kent found Kal-El just after the the Twentieth Century began. They would have had a horse and buggy. I don’t even know if they would have had electricity.

In Man of Steel, Clark was said to be thirty-three years old, so the Kents would have found him around 1990. He would have been eleven or so on September 11, 2001, and knowing all we know now, can you blame Jonathan Kent for wanting Clark to keep his abilities a secret for as long as possible?

Another thing to think about is that Man of Steel wasn’t really a Superman film; in a way it was “Superman Begins.” He was more or less Clark Kent in Kryptonian clothing battling against soldiers who have been trained since birth.

When the 1989 Batman film was announced a lot of fans were overjoyed that we were finally getting the live action Batman we needed. In my opinion it took until the Dark Knight Trilogy before we got the films we actually deserved. But that’s another story. So why is it that so many Superman fans beholden to an old TV series and film series when so many Batman fans want to see the comic books come to life?

In the interview, Zack Snyder went on to say that there is nothing that Superman did in Man of Steel that he hasn’t done in the comics. The thing is that the vast majority of the people who go to the movies don’t read the comics, which is kind of sad.

A lot of these same people who complained loudly about Man of Steel are the first to blow up Twitter when someone drops a spoiler from the Game of Thrones books which were written years before the television series, but they haven’t bothered to read them. Then there are those who have read the books and get upset when the TV series makes changes as with last Sunday’s episode, which I will not spoil for those who haven’t had the chance to catch up.

It’s a doozy.

I say all that to say this: if Game of Thrones is supposed to remain faithful to the source material, then what is the source material for Man of Steel if not the comics? Yes, in a way, the Superman TV series of the 50s was faithful to the comic books, although I somehow doubt that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster ever included a panel that showed Superman ducking when the bad guy threw a gun at him.

But I could be wrong.

Mad Men “A Day’s Work”

Some people on Twitter seemed a bit confused about tonight’s episode of Mad Men. I think it was one of those episodes that sets up things to come. The episode didn’t seem to move foward establised storylines as much as it seemed to foreshadow where some characters are going.

Or, I could be wrong.

I do know one thing: the last time I saw 7:30 in the morning during the week it was a mistake.

Don is using Dawn to keep tabs on what is going on at the office. I don’t know what his ultimate plan is yet. I wonder if he is going to try one of his famous last second Hail Mary plays to try and save the day, and get his job back.

I do know that Don is throwing money around like he’s Bruce Wayne or something. Hey… I got an idea…

At least Pete is getting some. Good for him. On the other hand, I cannot believe that someone wants him that badly. Maybe even I have a shot with someone.

Anyone?

Bueller?

Pete and Ted had the conference call from hell. And you think Skyping has its drawbacks? Then Pete tries to pull a Don by telling Ted that they should set up their own shop. That would be interesting. They could be the new Odd Couple.

I loved Ginsberg’s line to Peggy in the elevator; “February Fourteen: Masturbate gloomily.” As opposed to what, happily? Some say that women masturbate out of defiance, and men masturbate out of desperation and/or loneliness. I cannot comment about the former, and I refuse to comment about the latter.

What the hell is Peggy’s deal anyway? There was a time that everyone thought that she was going to be the next Don, but lately she has been on track to be the next Pete. Well, except that Pete is getting some, and Peggy is, well…

The whole mix up with the flowers and blaming everyone else is a total Pete move. Then that set up the musical chairs with the secretaries, which caused Bert to ask that they be moved around yet again so that no one will see an African-American when they first walk into the office, all the while playing the “I’m totally not a racist” card. I best leave this one alone before I get myself into trouble.

When Don and Mike were sitting in the booth did anyone else get a Superman and Batman in the coffee shop vibe? Just me? Okay.

Then there was Sally with the whole “I’m going to a funeral in the city, but while I am here I might as well get some shopping done.” We’ve all done that.

At least Don came clean to her about his job, or lack thereof. He has pretty much told her everything. Well, not everything, but a lot of the big stuff.

I know that in the past a lot of people, myself included, liked to make fun of Sally. There were a lot of jokes made about what was going to happen to her in the future. I’m not going to say that I am going to stop, but I am not going to say anything derogatory about her today. I know that her parents have made a mess of her life, but I hope things turn out well for her.

Yes, I do know she’s a fictional character, but I still care.

WTF Critics?

When I first saw the trailer for Sucker Punch I was interested. I’m a guy so… Then when the release date was imminent I started reading the reviews and the film was almost universally panned. I thought, “Oh well. Maybe I’ll catch it on TNT.”

A while later I stumbled upon a video by Movie Bob of escapistmagazine.com about how some people don’t understand the meaning of Sucker Punch. As a fan of Bob’s I was intrigued as to what his take is. I don’t always agree with him, but I do respect his intelligence. He proclaimed that the film was actually pro-female, and had a lot to say about feminist theory.

Huh?

I started to have a bit of a rethink. Then I started Googling “Sucker Punch pro feminist” and came upon a rather large number of articles and blog posts, such as the one at lunalindsey.com that said pretty much the same thing as Movie Bob. This was far more than mere coincidence–this was a full blown pattern.

My rethink turned into curiousity.

So, I bought it on blu-ray since it contains both the extended cut and the theatrical versions. As I watched the film I started to see what everyone was saying–the critics missed the boat.

First of all let me say that the extended cut makes all the difference in the world. I won’t spoil it for you, I may do a spoiler filled review later, but the theatrical version is missing a key scene, and one scene isn’t shown until the credits. There are some that say that by moving the scene to the credits it kind of puts a definitive period on the film, and I can see what they are saying, however I prefer it in the main body of the film. That being said, I read a recent interview with director Zack Snyder where he said that he wants to release his original cut of the movie, and I for one want to see that. Make it so, Warner Bros.

I was one of those people who grew up watching Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on TV. I already had a love of movies and they pointed me in the direction of many independent, foreign, and smaller films that I would never have heard of. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

As I got older I started searching out other critics and film criticism. I learned a lot about films and film theory. I admit that most of it went over my head, but I tried to learn as much as possible.

I didn’t always agree with the critics, but I trusted them. If they liked something I didn’t, or vice versa, they usually had a well thought out reason.

Sometimes all the critics would seem to love a film and I would watch it and sit there scratching my head. Such was the case with The Cook, The Theif, His Wife & Her Lover. Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video guide says this about the film: “This parable about love, revenge, and, most of all, greed is both funny and horrifying–and right on target.” I’ll take your word for it, Leonard.

Back in the Ninties there was a term called “crit rock.” It was used as a term for critically lauded artists that had poor record sales. It almost seemed as some of the critics were chiding the public for not recognizing the genius that they all seemed to see. I’m not saying that popularity equals excellence, it fact it almost always equals mediocrity. What I am saying is that I don’t like being lectured to.

You see it in book criticism as well. Someone is always proclaiming something as “The novel of our time,” or some other such nonsense. It seems like they all say the same thing and no one wants to swim against the tide. I’m not one to go with the flow, but if something is good I will say so no matter what the general concensus is.

Critics by nature are intelligent. Well, most of them are. They tend to be college educated in whatever field they are reviewing. Me? I’m just another idiot with a blog. Why should you listen to me?

Logan’s Run

Logan’s Run is one of those movies that I had seen any number of times on television, but until recently I had never watched the theatrical version. I could have rented it any number of times during the 80s or 90s but I never got around to it since there were any number of films I hadn’t seen at all. Recently I was in Best Buy and saw that it was $6.99 for the blu-ray and I couldn’t pass that up.

It was pretty much as I remembered it–except for the nudity, of course–not that I mind. It’s just that this was a PG rated film released in 1976. There wasn’t a lot of nudity, but far more than you would find in a PG-13 film today.

The times they are a-changing.

Being a child of the 70s I had a thing for Farrah Fawcett-Majors. She wasn’t my first celebrity crush; as far as I can remember that would have been Barbara Eden. But Farrah was the one that I really fell for hard at a time in my life when I kind of, sort of, knew what was going on. That being said, I was only eight years old in 1976. You think kids grow up fast these days.

As with a lot of films of the era, the story of Logan’s Run holds up far better than the special effects. Some effects, such as the holograms of Logan in the interogation scene were ahead of their time. Others, such as in the “frozen room,” or whatever it was called, wouldn’t have been out of place on Doctor Who… In the late 80s.

It’s interesting to look back at older films and TV series to see how they depict future life. For the most part they get a lot wrong. But then again, Logan’s Run is set in the year 2274, which is a long way off, unless of course you are reading this in the future. If so, “Hello!”

One the the things that the filmmakers got right was the depiction of Arcade. It looked like every shopping mall in the 1980s.

For all the talk of living in a hedonistic society, there were only a few scenes where this was evident. One was when Logan and Jessica made their escape through the Love Shop. This was a very short scene, and I wish that they had stuck around another six or seven minutes.

Then there was the scene where Logan called up Jessica on something called the “Circuit.” It’s a bit like “Dial-A-Date” except the companion arrives via a sort of Star Trek transporter beam. It’s not prostitution, but more like an online “hook up” site. Or so I’ve been told. Just because you make a booty call is no guarantee you will get a booty call.

Story of my life.

In this world everone resides beneath a protective bubble, I guess to protect them from nuclear fallout or something. The one thing everyone remembers about Logan’s Run is that when you turn thirty years old you must submit to “Carrousel” for a trip to eternity, and hopefully you will be reborn.

The title character, Logan, (Michael York) is a Sandman, whose job it is to track down Runners–those who try to escape Carrousel.

Logan is ordered by his supervisor, which happens to be a computer, to find a place called “Sanctuary” which is supposedly the Runner hideout. To make his story believable, the computer causes Logan’s life crystal to blink, which is the warning sign that you are to go to Carrousel.

Logan asks Jessica (Jenny Agutter) for help in reaching Sanctuary. Stuff happens, and they make their way outside. Instead of finding Sanctuary they discover an old man (Peter Ustinov) holed up in what used to be the US Capitol building, although no one, including the old man has any clue as to what the buildings history is.

Logan decides to forget about finding Sanctuary and instead, bring the old man back to the city in order to prove that Carrousel is a lie, and that it is possible to live past thirty.

Of course it is possible to live past thirty. That is unless you overdo it. Some say that life begins at thirty, or even forty. All I know is I hope it begins soon before it pases me by.

New Club

I guess by now most of have heard that Atlanta is getting a MLS team.

(This space intentionally left blank)

Use it to place all the jokes.

Finished?

I’m moving on now.

It seems that all the Internet trolls were out in full force today. Some jokes were good natured and kind of funny. It’s the half truths and flat out lies that bother me. I really shouldn’t be upset with people who spend all their time on the Internet believing everything they read.

Why should I bother with people who live in places without any professional teams and are so filled with jealousy they cannot see straight. Or if they do have a pro sports team their owner is far too concerned with the amount of tattoos the players have.

Then there are those who like nothing more than to bore their friends with their extensive knowledge of handcrafted beer. Or those who scan trending hashtags on Twitter so they can fire off a comment and pray that it is retweeted so they can boost their precious Klout score. They are like those guys who hit on every woman in Johnny’s Takeaway in the desperate hopes of a handjob in the parking lot so that they can lord it over their chat room buddies who extol the virtues of the Fleshlight.

That’s why I don’t feed the trolls.

Yes, I do have concerns about the new MLS club in Atlanta. I would like a soccer specific stadium, but I understand why they will play in the new Falcons stadium, whatever it is to be called. I like going to Atlanta; I even like riding MARTA… To a certain extent.

Yes, the Braves are moving out of the city and into Cobb County, but in some ways I don’t see this as a bad thing. I don’t like it when sports teams hold cities hostage; that’s how we ended up with the Georgia Dome, which isn’t so bad. The previous owner of the Falcons, Rankin Smith, threatened to move the team to Jacksonville. I offered to help load the truck.

Of course now the Falcons are owned by Arthur Blank, who will also own the MLS team. For the most part he has gotten things right since he has talen control. I still have no clue as to why he hired Bobby Petrino in the first place. I’m glad he’s gone and taken his motorcycle with him. Could you imagine the uproar if that had happened while he was coaching the Falcons? ESPN would play that clip of him in the neckbrace on a twenty-four hour loop.

At least the MLS team won’t have any garishly colored uniforms. I like the red, gold, and white colors–very stylish, and I look good in them. But then again I look good in most colors.

Except for brown.

As for the team’s name that is yet to be chosen. Apparently is is up to the fans to pick, which could be a good or bad thing. I hope it’s not one of those name that is similar to a famous club like with Sporting KC, or Houston Dynamo. Someone suggested “ATLetico” as in the other club from Madrid. It’s not bad and it does fit, but no.

A lot of people want “Terminus” in the name because of the supporters club, and that was also the former name for Atlanta. My friend who is a big fan of football and The Walking Dead pointed out that the name would make for a very interesting tailgate party.

Anyone for barbecued troll?

Same Club, New Kit

A few days after my birthday it was announced that after nearly twenty years with Nike, Arsenal’s kit would now be supplied by Puma.

Blurgh.

For most of my life I have been a Nike guy. I am actually older than Nike, but that is neither here nor there. I, and those who buy me Christmas and birthday gifts, have invested quite a bit in Arsenal gear over the years. Now, most of the stuff I have is out of fashion. On the bright side, in a few years it will be considered retro.

So at least I have that going for me.

A few years ago I stopped getting Arsenal jerseys; partly because they are so bloody expensive, and partly because I am getting far to old to wear them. I don’t want to be that guy. Then again, I have never cared what people thought about me.

But there are more reasons than that. I was a big fan of Cesc Fabregas from the moment I first saw him play as a teen. I got one of his shirts in 2004 with his name and the number 15 on the back. It wasn’t long after that his number switched to 4.

Blurgh.

The same thing happened a few years later when Robin van Persie went from 11 to 10. If that wasn’t bad enough, both eventually left the club. So did Emmanual Adebayor, and Sol Campbell. Eduardo was severly injured and was never the same again.

Blurgh.

Players change clubs; it’s a fact of life. You get used to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. The reason for the exodus from Arsenal was because they weren’t winning any trophies and it didn’t look like they were going to win any in the near future.

News flash! They didn’t.

Quite obviously I got sick and tired of owning shirts that had a short shelf life, so I switched to T-shirts, hoodies, and other items that weren’t tied to a specific player. Then there were the ubiquitous scarves. Most of these items were emblazoned with the Nike swoosh.

After a while I got a bit tired of supporting a club that seemed satisfied with barely making the top four. Yes, I do know that there are millions of supporters of other clubs that would be happy just to be in the Premiership, and maybe to make a decent run in the FA Cup now and then. In that sense us Gooners are a bit spoiled. However, it does get a bit tiring to listen to commentators and fans of other clubs constantly dismiss, or flat out make fun of, Arsenal. I am also a bit sick and tired of complaining about the club as well.

I have gone from being a supporter who would proudly wear Arsenal gear to the pub to watch a match looking for someone, anyone, to say something, to someone who hides in the corner hoping that no one notices me, because humiliation is a visual medium.

It’s that bad.

I still wear Arsenal gear to the pub, but it’s stuff that I have had for quite a while. Now that Arsenal is swapping kit makers I really should get new stuff just so I don’t look like yet another fan that is holding on to the good old days.

Part of me is a bit excited by the change. I really like Puma–always have. I owned two pairs of Puma shoes prior to the announcement, and since then I have gone on a bit of a buying spree. My Amazon wish list is loaded with Puma gear, and the Arsenal stuff doen’t go on sale for a few more months.

I have it that bad.

I need help.

I’m not expecting a new kit supplier to cause Arsenal to have a resurgence. I even think that making this years FA Cup Final is an anomaly. I just don’t want to be that sad, old man at the end of the bar who talks about the good old days.

But if that is my fate, I want to look stylish while doing it.

I Once Dated a Married Woman

I knew that would get your attention. Like a lot of things in my life this isn’t a straightforward story.

Note: Names have been changed.

Years ago my friend Jack and I would carpool to work. Another co-worker, Lisa, who lived along the way, had to ride with us for a few days while her car was in the shop. She offered to pay for gas, but Jack suggested that she take us out to eat after work Friday afternoon.

Jack had the “brilliant” idea of going to Ryan’s because of the all you can eat buffet. I’ll admit at the time I thought it was a pretty good idea. Then again a lot of stuff looks good in retrospect.

As it so happened, another co-worker, Amelia, had recently seperated from her husband. She was feeling down in the dumps, as one would, so Lisa invited her along in the hopes that it might cheer her up.

At this point you would be wise to ask, “When has a trip to Ryan’s cheered anyone up?” It’s a valid question. The idea of all you can eat seems like a good idea at the time, but as with most things one can carry things a bit far.

So, knowing that we would be overindulging later in the week, Jack and I went into “training.” Basically what that entails is eating as little in possible in the days leading up to the meal so that we could have a litte bit of everything. Or a lot, as the case may be.

So, the day arrives and the four of go out to eat, and eat we did. I am ashamed to say that I did make a bit of a pig of myself. If I had known what was going on behind the scenes I would have done things differently.

You see, I once had a bit of a thing for Amelia. I never told anyone because I knew better. Then one day I found out she had a boyfriend so I never pursued things. Also, I knew it was a bad idea to date a co-worker because things can get messy. There were stories about stuff that happened before I started working there. They never did fix the hole in the wall.

Back to the story…

If it were possible to makes matters any worse I probably did it during dessert. Let’s just say it involved blueberry cobbler, ice cream, and sprinkles. Yes, the sprinkles were taking things a bit too far, but hey… I like sprinkles.

As we were leaving I noticed the Lisa and Amelia were acting a bit odd. We were standing in the vestibule by the gumball machines, near the restrooms when the two of them did that thing where women look at one another, give a silent signal, and then say, “We’re going to the ladies room.”

We were like, “Okay. We’ll meet you outside.” That’s when it hit me. I knew that something was up and it didn’t take long for me to figure it out.

Then again it could have been my paranoia getting the best of me. Wouldn’t be the first time. Nor the last. Part of me wishes I would have been given a heads up, but that would have matters even worse. I would have been nervous and self conscious. I would have tried far too hard. In short, I wouldn’t have been myself. Not that being myself, whoever that is, has ever worked for me.

Anyway, not long after that Amelia and her husband got back together. About a year or so later they had a baby. I may not be a father, but in a way I am responsible for bringing a life into this world. That’s something I guess.

Then again, maybe I’m making all this up.