Scars and Tattoos

Some say scars are sexy, or that chicks dig scars, but I have never found that to be true in my case. Others say that scars are tattoos with interesting stories, but I happen to possess the most boring scars ever. None of my scars came from sharks, gunshots, knife fights in Detroit, of lovers.

Wait… I take that last one back. I do have leftover scars from lovers, but all of them are emotional ones.

I don’t have any tattoos, but I have thought about getting one on any number of occasions, mainly when I am sober. Obviously, I am as boring as my scars.

If I did have any tattoos they would probably distract people from my scars, not that people notice them, even though many are visible. I guess they are either a turn off or people are afraid to ask. I never ask anyone else about their scars, therefore I have never had a conversation like the ones in Jaws, Lethal Weapon 3, or Chasing Amy. For some reason, people often feel free to ask others about their tattoos, but I never do; not even my friends. Well, I did ask a friend if a particular tattoo hurt, but only after she showed it to me.

It was on her wrist. Get your mind out of the gutter.

As for my scars, the stories are as follows: The ones on the back of my left hand and right index finger are work related accidents. The left hander required eleven stitches: two inside, nine outside. It didn’t hurt, yet the doctor felt the need to give me pain pills. I guess that’s one of the Percocets of workers comp.

Actually, I don’t remember what kind of meds they were, but a co-worker said they were good ones.

The vertical scar to the left of my chin, my left, not yours, is from a childhood bicycle crash. It took eleven stitches to close: two inside, nine outside. I am nothing if not consistant.

I also have one on my right forearm near the elbow. That one came from a motorcycle crash as a teen. I didn’t go to the doctor with that one, but I probably should have. That being said, it’s not all that gnarly. In fact, it healed rather well.

If there is any scar that could be considered the least bit sexy, it’s one that isn’t noticeable, except upon close inspection. I had a boo boo when I was a toddler, and it left a scar almost dead center on my bottom lip. It looks less like a scar and more like a miniscule bump. I can feel it when I run my tongue or finger across it, rub my teeth against it, or put my lips together and wiggle them back and forth.

Hey ladies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Revisited)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released on blu-ray last Tuesday, so I decided to see if my thoughts about the film had changed since the theatrical release five months ago. I loved the film at the time, but does it still hold up?

The answer is yes.

… And no.

One thing I noticed this time around is Henry Jackman’s powerful score. I guess I was too caught up in the action and plot to pay attention to it in the theatre. There are those who say that if you are listening to the score then there is something at fault with the movie. The truth is, for the most part I subconsciously ignore the score the first time around for whatever reason, unless it is conspicuous in the mix.

The fight scenes, especially those between Captain America and the Winter Soldier, are the best in any comic book film. They are even better than those in a lot of action movies. On a somewhat smaller screen it was easier to see the intricate detail that went into the fight choreography, in particular Sebastian Stan’s knifework; he moves very swiftly with great fliudity. It’s worth the price of the blu-ray for his scenes alone.

As with a lot of films that have twists and surprises, you often feel like you should give it a second viewing in order to catch what you missed–except in this case. In The Winter Soldier the twists and surprises come as a result of events that occured in some of the previous eight films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This leads me to what The Winter Soldier is really about and it’s not James Buchannon Barnes–surprise, surprise, surprise. It seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been under the influence of Hydra for decades. Not only that, but it goes straight to the top–Alexander Pierce. Pierce is played by Robert Redford in a reversal of the sorts of roles he played in any number of films in the 1970s. It goes to show that if you live long enough you finally get to play the villain. It was inspired casting, if I say so myself.

Not only is Pierce a part of Hydra, so are a few other characters we have met along the way. If you haven’t seen Iron Man 2 you would have no clue as to why Garry Shandling was in The Winter Soldier, or what part his character, Senator Stern, has in all this. As for Agent Jasper Sitwell, who was amongst those captured on the ship by Georges Batroc, he may seem like just another person working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but he has been in a few other films and “one shots” that often appear on the blu-ray editions. There is not one on this blu-ray. *sad face*

The one thing that I had the most problem with this time around is the “Nick Fury is dead” subplot. I didn’t buy it the first time around; if they aren’t going to kill Phil Coulson, they sure as hell aren’t going to kill Fury. Maybe I’m making too big of a deal out of it.

In my recent post about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I discussed the meaningless idea of “best of” lists and how it applies to that particular film. The same goes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At the time of release, many people and critics went into hyperbolic warp speed in order to proclaim The Winter Soldier the best superhero/comic book movie of all time. Seven weeks later X-Men: Days of Future Past was the best. Ten weeks after that Guardians of the Galaxy was the new benchmark.

The truth is: Only time will tell. 2014 has been the best year for comic book films up to this point, subjectively speaking. An arguement could be made that 2008 is the most important year for comic book movies, for that was the year that gave us both Iron Man, and The Dark Knight. If those two films had failed, especially Iron Man, we wouldn’t be having this debate.

Hawkeye “Little Hits”

Okay… This looks bad.

Trust me. What I am about to say is a compliment: Hawkeye doesn’t feel like a comic book from one of the Big Two. It feels far too cool and confident. In an era where comic book publishers act more like movie studios it’s hard to believe that Harkeye slipped through the cracks.

Hawkeye is a shining example of what happens when a publisher hands creative control of a B or C-level character over to a top notch creative team. Almost everyone who gets into the comics business wants to work on one of the major titles because, more often than not, those are the characters that first drew them in and fostered their love of the medium. I can see a future where more writers and artists state that they got into the business because they loved independent comics, and I’m willing to bet there are quite a few working today for that reason. I don’t know, I haven’t read all the biographies. I do think that at least one young person reading the current run of Hawkeye will site it as an influence, and we will be better off for it.

Of course, I’ll probably be dead, ’cause I’m old.

I know that reading comics is supposed to be a monthly endeavor, but I practice the ancient Mesopotamian art of tradewaiting, which has its good and bad points. I don’t know which catagory this falls under, but I makes me look at comics as volumes which, by definition, trade paperbacks are. I also sometimes look at them as albums or seasons of a TV series.

Yes, I am easily bored.

The second album is often described as “difficult” since you have a lifetime to write the first one and two weeks to write the second. The second season of a television is where it starts to soar or where it goes completely off the rails.

*cough* Heroes *cough*

If Hawkeye were a TV series, “Little Hits” would the kind of second season that shows growth and confidence. Matt Fraction and David Aja know exactly what they are doing, and they are unafraid of going places where others dare not. How else to explain the final issue in this collection: “Pizza is my Business.” Some of you know what I am talking about, and those of you who are yet to read it are in for a real treat.

I heart Hawkguy.

The New Batmobile is Here!!!

Yeah, we saw a picture of the new Batmobile a while back, but this one is far better. As an added bonus, the Batmobile is dirty, and dirt makes things sexy.

What do I think about the Batmobile? I like it, but I am still waiting to see it in action, for that is the true test of any automobile. It’s all well and good to look nice on a poster, it’s when you actually get going that you feel a visceral response.

For years in the comics, the Batmobile was merely a standard road car with a big ass batwing welded on the back. I guess it was supposed to be intimidating or something, I always found it rather silly. It really served no other purpose than to make it easier to find in the parking lot of the Gotham Mall while Christmas shopping. Maybe it helped a slight bit with downforce, but I’m not an aerodynamicist–I just play one on the Internet.

In the Batman serials of the 1940s, Batman just cruised around in a regular car. In fact, it was Bruce Wayne’s convertible, but with the top up.

The Batmobile a lot of us first fell in love with was the one from the 1960s television series. It was tricked out like James Bond’s Aston Martin DB 7, but it always seemed more plausible somehow. Maybe it was because it didn’t look like a production car. This Batmoble was based on the Lincoln Futura concept car that made the rounds on the auto show circuit in the 50s.

The next live action Batmobile was the one in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. Yes, it it did evoke the art deco period of the 1930s, but, as far as I could tell, the film wasn’t set in the 1930s.

To me, at least, this version of the Batmobile, along with those in the Joel Schumacher helmed films seemed impractical. The wheelbase was far too long to make it maneuver the streets of Gotham. I know that it’s just a film, but I always thought there should be some semblance or reality. Maybe it’s just me.

That sort of Batmobile worked perfectly in Batman: The Animated Series. I actually prefered the series to the films. Once again: just me.

Speaking of animation, one of my favorite Batmobiles was the first one used in The Batman. It looked a bit like an Italian sports car, which is almost always a good thing. Not a lot of people liked Beware the Batman, but I kind of did. This incarnation of the Batmoble looked, to me at least, a bit like a 1980s Lancia rally car, and I was always a fan of those.

I remember thinking the first time I saw a picture of the Tumbler from Batman Begins that it looked like a Lamborghini fell on top of a Hummer. As it turns out, that was pretty much the inspiration. I was not impressed since I really didn’t see the point. Once I saw the trailer, I fully understood. This was an urban assault vehicle to be driven around the mean streets of Gotham. This was a badass mode of transport for a badass Batman.

As I previously stated I kind of like the new Batmobile. I cannot wait to see it in action so I can make a better judgement. It has a lean, minimalist look–no extraneous falderal. It reminds me of those “track day” cars built by Arial or KTM that you sometimes see on Top Gear. I do find it kind of funny that Ben Affleck is the largest Batman ever, yet he gets the smallest Batmobile. Then again, maybe it’s not that small in reality; maybe it just photographs that way.

The New Batmobile is Here!!!

Yeah, we saw a picture of the new Batmobile a while back, but this one is far better. As an added bonus, the Batmobile is dirty, and dirt makes things sexy.

What do I think about the Batmobile? I like it, but I am still waiting to see it in action, for that is the true test of any automobile. It’s all well and good to look nice on a poster, it’s when you actually get going that you feel a visceral response.

For years in the comics, the Batmobile was merely a standard road car with a big ass batwing welded on the back. I guess it was supposed to be intimidating or something, I always found it rather silly. It really served no other purpose than to make it easier to find in the parking lot of the Gotham Mall while Christmas shopping. Maybe it helped a slight bit with downforce, but I’m not an aerodynamicist–I just play one on the Internet.

In the Batman serials of the 1940s, Batman just cruised around in a regular car. In fact, it was Bruce Wayne’s convertible, but with the top up.

The Batmobile a lot of us first fell in love with was the one from the 1960s television series. It was tricked out like James Bond’s Aston Martin DB 7, but it always seemed more plausible somehow. Maybe it was because it didn’t look like a production car. This Batmoble was based on the Lincoln Futura concept car that made the rounds on the auto show circuit in the 50s.

The next live action Batmobile was the one in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. Yes, it it did evoke the art deco period of the 1930s, but, as far as I could tell, the film wasn’t set in the 1930s.

To me, at least, this version of the Batmobile, along with those in the Joel Schumacher helmed films seemed impractical. The wheelbase was far too long to make it maneuver the streets of Gotham. I know that it’s just a film, but I always thought there should be some semblance or reality. Maybe it’s just me.

That sort of Batmobile worked perfectly in Batman: The Animated Series. I actually prefered the series to the films. Once again: just me.

Speaking of animation, one of my favorite Batmobiles was the first one used in The Batman. It looked a bit like an Italian sports car, which is almost always a good thing. Not a lot of people liked Beware the Batman, but I kind of did. This incarnation of the Batmoble looked, to me at least, a bit like a 1980s Lancia rally car, and I was always a fan of those.

I remember thinking the first time I saw a picture of the Tumbler from Batman Begins that it looked like a Lamborghini fell on top of a Hummer. As it turns out, that was pretty much the inspiration. I was not impressed since I really didn’t see the point. Once I saw the trailer, I fully understood. This was an urban assault vehicle to be driven around the mean streets of Gotham. This was a badass mode of transport for a badass Batman.

As I previously stated I kind of like the new Batmobile. I cannot wait to see it in action so I can make a better judgement. It has a lean, minimalist look–no extraneous falderal. It reminds me of those “track day” cars built by Arial or KTM that you sometimes see on Top Gear. I do find it kind of funny that Ben Affleck is the largest Batman ever, yet he gets the smallest Batmobile. Then again, maybe it’s not that small in reality; maybe it just photographs that way.

Celebrities are Just Like Us

By now most of you are aware of the stolen photos that popped up online over the weekend. Some of you sought them out, and others may have had them magically appear on your timeline or in an e-mail. A few of you may have even posted a comment. I’m not here to scold or judge.

Or am I?

The bottom line is that this is an invasion of privacy; of this there can be no arguement. This is no different than someone breaking into your house and taking your private property from a safe or some other secure place. If they were taken from “the cloud,” whatever the hell that is, the analogy would be someone broke into a deposit box at the bank. In other words: they were entrusted to a facility for safe keeping.

If you believe that these celebrities shouldn’t have taken the photos in the first place, then you are blaming the victim. Yes, sometimes we should be a aware of our surroundings. If we are in a “bad neighborhood” for whatever reason, it does not mean that we should forfeit our rights to not be violated.

A popular phrase is, “That’s why we can’t have nice things,” and there is a lot of truth in that statement. If you have an expensive pair of sneakers and someone steals them, who is at fault? If you have a collection of rare vinyl records and someone breaks into your house and takes them, who is to blame?

Another factor at work here is some people have an obsession/fascination with nudity; especially when it comes to female celebrities. I don’t know who the first famous female was, but I am certain that there was a dude-bro who said, “What I wouldn’t giveth to see her breasticles,” or however they spoketh back in the day. I don’t know and my ancient history professor is on sabbatical.

To make matters worse, there were abundance of people, and I use that term with immense reservations, that felt the need, dare I say “right,” to comment on the stolen pics. If you think this is covered by the First Amendment, then you need to consult a Constitutional Law professor. If you think it’s a God given right, seek out a member of the clergy. Yeah, you can say what you want, just realize it says more about you than it does the person that you are commenting on, who, more than likely, will never read what you have written.

Three Summer Films (2014 Edition)

There have been a lot of column inches lately about how this has been a diappointing year for the film industry. Yeah, there were a lot of high profile films that were crap, yet they made their money back in the international market, if not domestically. So, it’s safe to say that there will be another Transformers film in a few years. Yippee.

We all talk about how bad the Transformers movies are, yet they keep churning them out on a regular basis, even though they are the very definition of “Sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Or maybe because of it.

The reason is they make money. I hear people say things like, “I thought this one would be good,” or “I got suckered by the trailer.” Yeah, I have seen amazing trailers for crap films; too many to mention. And I have seen poorly made trailers for films that I ended up enjoying; such as Edge of Tomorrow.

The trailers for Edge of Tomorrow made it appear as if this was a retread of Oblivion, which I still haven’t seen. I, like many others, believe that Warner Bros. should have kept the original title from the novel: All You Need is Kill. That has to be the best “Sounds like a Bond film” title ever. For the upcoming blu-ray release, the marketing wizards are promoting it with the tagline, “Live, Die, Repeat,” which also sounds like a Bond film.

The biggest surprise of the summer movie season was Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was the good kind of surprise. It exceeded expectations both in terms of quality and box office. I have watched far too many so-called comedies over the past decade or so that didn’t have as many laugh out loud moments as Guardians.

It seems that somewhere along the way, Hollywood has decided that clever is the new funny. So many comedies try to incite humor by being perceptive; it’s the old “It’s funny because it’s true” approach. When it works, it’s great, when it doesn’t…

Guardians of the Galaxy’s humorous moments come from character, not from overly elaborate set pieces or from a screenwriter desperate to prove how clever they are. Many writers toss in pop culture references in order to look cool, or hip, or whatever the word of the moment is. In Guardians, Peter Quill uses pop culture references to get a point across in the simplest way possible, and the humor comes from the fact that no one else in the movie knows that it is a pop culture reference.

Any number of people who write about movies for a living have credited the success of Guardians of the Galaxy to the fact that it was so damn funny. Some of them atribute the success to the viewers caring for, and becoming emotionally attached to, a ragtag group of space outlaws. I am not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or two while in the theatre. What really makes me sad is that more films don’t.

In a recent Facebook post, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn summed up the success of the film rather succinctly. He credits the fact that everone involved “gave a shit,” and that’s a direct quote. What makes me even sadder is that more filmmakers don’t.