Saturday, December 1, 2012

Justice League Movie Should Not Be An Origin Story

The Summer of 2015 is the release date of The Justice League movie.  DC, creator of the legendary group, is hoping to create a movie that will move Heaven and Earth and fill fanboy pants with joy (or at least compete with The Avengers).

Joss Whedon was the wise choice for The Avengers and Marvel will be holding on to that gem of a writer for as long as humanly possible.  The simple let's-get-together-and-fight-evil model blended well with Whedon's humor and the creative use of the fan service.  But enough about them.  We have Justice League to talk about and I am certain DC is going to follow this similar story route.

Montage of Each Hero --->  Heroes Clash Relationally --->  Huge Evil That Threatens The World ---> Heroes Join Together and a Huge Fight Breaks Out

It's basically an origin story, which seems to be the only kind of super hero plot line we have been getting for the past five years.  But the question remains: do we really need to know the story of how they all came together?  I think we only care about these two elements.

Huge Evil That Threatens The World --->  Heroes Join Together and a Huge Fight Breaks Out

Let's be honest, everyone knows the story or at least can guess what is going to happen.  The characters meet, they clash with each other's personalities, but they find common ground to defeat the greater evil.  Marvel at least padded the painfully obvious plot progression with humor and epic hero moments.  DC might not have that luxury.  So here is another option.

Throw away the origin story

Do we really need to start on day one?  Other movie genres are not obligated by origin stories so why live by that rule?  Origin stories are very cookie cutter and make a very easy framework that builds up to a sequel, but they aren't imperative to the audience.  If you take into account that the audience wants to see each hero personality richly intertwining and interacting throughout the plot and a barrel load of epic fight scenes you don't need an origin story to pull that off.  In fact, origin stories try so hard to make sure you know where everything starts that it gets in the way of the character development.  Origin stories have kept Peter Parker from being witty and clever, Batman from being dark and brooding, Punisher from being merciless and Green Lantern from being...well that was just a bad movie.  It's not fun to watch your favorite hero personality slowly develop and not reach their character when you already expect them to be it.

So why not get there already?

Imagine a Justice League movie that starts five years into its story.  The Justice League has already formed and they know each other quite well.  We can catch the audience up to speed with some short montages about how they met and how Martian Manhunter formed the group, but nothing longer than ten minutes of back story.  The world already is familiar with them, the JLA are kicking serious butt and having moon base meetings.  I just saved the audience an hour of meaningless reactions and stupid introductions that would have been predictable anyway.

NOW...we can get into the meat of the issue and see how Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Batman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman work together since they are already deeply invested in one another.  The movie could jump right into the politics of maintaining a super group, the egos of each character and stress of being a world power.  If the movie assumes that they are already friends (Super Friends?) the relationships can build and reveal much quicker than if they had to introduce each other and focus on reactions.  The story arc would look like this.

Back Story of Rich History Between The Heroes  -->  The Relationship Struggle and Stress of the Team  --> The Mastermind Working Against The Team --> The World Loses Hope--> The Eventual Resolution

The big difference is that you can have some epic fight scenes anywhere within that story arc because the team is already together.  Also, this plays to DC's strength because the JLA story is all about super heroes thinking they are gods amid a helpless world and theweight of each ego struggling for leadership.  You will never get Batman's lectures to Superman about him not manning up to responsibility in an origin story.  At least not as deep.

As they say in my improv class: "don't try to get there...get there."  Origin movies are always trying to get there, but it's the sequel that gets there.  Tony Stark wasn't fully the Tony Stark we loved till Iron Man 2.

How cool would it be if the writer/director assumed you knew everything and treated you like you could figure it out (which is not too farfetched considering the fanboy following)?

But no! DC is never going to take this route.  Why?  Because an origin story is sooooooo easy.  It writes itself.  Most likely we have to sit through an hour of characters introducing themselves to other characters, characters reacting to characters for the first time and the super group introducing themselves to the world.  Then in the last twenty minutes we will see the big fight between Brainiac/Darkseid and then we can wait for the sequel where everything is setup.  This is all done so some fanboy's girlfriend doesn't feel left out.

Tell me what you think.    

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Walking Dead: Gripping Saga or Getting Silly?

It's not hard to see why The Walking Dead is getting nominated for all these TV awards.  It's an Indy science fiction TV show that takes itself very seriously without any hint low budget B acting.  Not to mention that people are in love with zombies.

But as the show jumps into season 3, I am beginning to see some themes and routines that are raising a few eyebrows.  This is an otherwise great show, but if these themes took over it could ruin the credibility of the series.  For example...

1. Trying So Hard To Be Graphic

We get it.  Zombies are supposed to bleed and dismember everything.  We also get that killing a zombie results in lots of brains getting splattered.  There is no competition--The Walking Dead is the most violent show on TV.  I still can't figure out why my cable company rates it at TV-14, when clearly the show is an R-Rated series where no one uses the F-word.

Gore and blood is supposed to elicit a shock response.  But I think AMC is starting to realize that their audiences are becoming desensitized.  No longer does it phase anyone that a horse is getting de-gutted.  So what do the writers do...find new ways to be overly graphic.  The new season has Carol performing a C-section on a female zombie for practice later.  A good way to solve a plot problem?  Maybe.  Totally disgusting?  Oh yea.  But don't worry, we will get desensitized to on air C-sections and the writers will have to try again to get us to be squeamish.  I'm sure they have lots of fun things for Michonne to do that will fill the disgust quota.

Don't worry dad I am a Master level Ninja with Expert Stealth powers!

2.  Easy Zombies

Do you remember the first episode where seeing a pack of walkers was a big deal?  You were like, "Oh crap, that guy is doomed."  Now when you see a bunch of walkers it's like watching a video game.  The crack team of zombie destroyers are amazing at perfect head shots regardless of distance or type of weapon and the zombies almost seem effortless to kill.  The justification is that Rick's survival party spends all time mastering the skill of zombie hunting.  The problem with that is that the zombies are no longer a threat.  Even the prepubescent Carl is a crackshot who can take down zombies with a pistol from a tower.  You can also get some perfect noggin shots from a speeding car and a shotgun.  The walkers are a hindrance at best.  I am starting to think that I would be a great zombie hunter.  Not only does this effortless task take away the horror element of the show, but I am starting to wonder if the zombie element is just to prove that the show is for adults.  So when are we going to see dangerous zombies again?  When are we going to see the survivors tortured by this endless threat?  How did our military fall to this simple hurdle?

At the jerk auditions!

3.  The Selfish Jerk Plot

Every season has one.  In the first season we had the racist hillbilly on the rooftop.  In season 2 we had Shane being a jealous lover with ego issues.  In the third one I think Rick is filling the shoes of the egotistical jack donkey who is giving his wife a cold shoulder.  Every zombie movie is required by law to have the reckless zealous male and the heartless selfish female in the cast of survivors, but in The Walking Dead it is a hat that gets passed around the cast.  Now add that to the fact that killing a human being has become as popular as greeting them and you have this cycle:

 Jerk irritates protagonist --->  Protagonist stabs Jerk  ---->  Protagonist becomes Jerk

I have to cut The Walking Dead some slack.  This is a brand new genre to TV and the Walking Dead is doing phenomenal at keeping everyone hooked.  But when Rick can just kill anyone that irritates him slightly then you start to get a bit predictable.

I don't want people to think I loathe the show.  It is actually one of the few shows that has a chance to survive mediocrity and boredom.  I also want to note that this show deserves all its accolades.  But this is what I don't want to happen.

1.  The show becoming a violent video game with a side of great character development

Personally, I am just waiting for the zombie fad to die out so TV can start something fresh.  (I am surprised we haven't cashed in on a show about ninjas or bacon)      

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things I Expected In Online Christian Dating (But Never Got)

Take God's favorite pastime,getting people married, and mix it with the internet.  It almost seems flawless and well executed.  The power of the global community and Christian values mixing together should make the most awesome display of true love.  But, sadly, this was more of a wake up call than a triumphant victory.

I expected:

1.  Tons of Opportunities

I met hundreds of girls that were both church oriented and searching wholeheartedly for a good Christian man.  The odds were in my favor completely.  I started locally and met at least thirty girls who did not bow the knee to false idols.  Three ghost towns later--nothing.  I went a bit further into some surrounding cities to see if they could spare a cup of Christian girl.  Zilch.  Then I started to see what other states had holy women of the Lord to fulfill.  It's like they smell the rejection on me.  Finally, I started to consider long and hard what other countries I would dare visit in order to find someone who would reply to my emails.  I hit rock bottom when I was trying to raise airfare for Abu Dhabi because I swear someone gave me eye contact.  The reality is that you can get a lot of nothing.  There's no guarantee.  The temptation is to start sacrificing your core beliefs in order to widen the playing field.  What does that really accomplish, but remind us that we are acting out of desperation?

2.  Authentic Christianity

On some websites the term Christian means about the same thing as saying you wrote your name on the organ donor line on the back of your drivers' license.  I can't tell you how many websites that boast in their quantity of God fearing women actually has very few that are actual practicing.  It's not like these girls are confessing to heroin parties and full time work at the orphanage bombing centers.  In fact some of them are pretty decent.  My biggest beef is that the almighty creator of the universe has called them to help build his kingdom at the mercy and expense of his historical son, Jesus Christ and they would rather share how motivated they are about pony breeding.  I guess I just didn't prepare myself for the word Christian to be passed around so loosely like the words organic, swagger, yoga or epic.  On the flipside, you can always bet on atheists being passionate about what they don't believe.

3.   Reciprocation

I would rather have some girl honestly tell me to drop dead than to meet another tumbleweed girl.  A tumble weed girl is someone who responds to your message over internet dating mail.  They strike up a conversation and happily oblige to all your questions.  Then you start to notice that you are the primary CEO of keeping the fires alive with conversation.  After a day or so the word reciprocation has no meaning at all.  And with a gentle gust of wind she drifts off into the background of nothingness like fading from a dream.  I am completely baffled by this.  Girls have tumbled away mid instant messenger sentence.  In some respects I completely get it.  These ladies are making judgements that I am not cut out for them.  I don't mind being fired from their affection.  But stop pretending that I am a bear that if you hold real still I won't see you.  Have the decency to swat me away like a fly you don't want in your house.  Anything else is just bad friendship.

This is a message that I understand

4.  To be polite to everyone

I met a girl who decided that I was worth her time.  She had to answer questions about me, discover my likes and dislikes, write an essay about her dreams.  Then finally, eHarmony gave us permission to talk to one another.  That was the same time she said she just wanted to be friendly and she already had a boyfriend.  The hardest riddle was trying to decipher if she was just ignorant or cruel.  But the fact of the matter is that she thought she was being friendly. Being polite on a Christian dating site is very deceiving and inappropriate.  First of all, there is no small talk and simple chit chat.  Virtually everyone who takes it seriously has the agenda to find a relationship.  With that in mind,  ignore people you don't want to spend time with.  Block people you don't want to notice you.  Don't smile back or answer any questions from anyone you don't want to engage with.  Break friendships and ties with people that you can't/won't reciprocate with.  In the real world we need to be polite, friendly and be civil with everyone to treat them like a human.  In the online dating world you need to give constantly give the cold shoulder.  This is one of the reasons why I hate online dating.

I told you I was freaky!

5. To have God in the backseat

I realize that I am the freakish outcast in this story.  I have had no luck with Christian Mingle, eHarmony, Match, Christian Dating For Free, Chemistry and Christian Cafe.  Now I have put myself directly into Sodom and Gomorrah with Ok Cupid.  I don't mean to be explicit, but Ok Cupid is like trying to find a Veggie Tales DVD in an adult shop.  Realizing that the romance story that I will share with my kids is that I had a choice between the self-proclaimed transgender pirate who makes scarves from sheded kitten fur and my wife sets off a few alarms for me.  I am starting to realize how important it is to let God write my story of love.  It involves looking at myself and realizing if I am mature enough for the fragility of a relationship (that is difficult).  It also desires the sensitivity to let God act.  I have a theory that a great number of us are posting profiles online because we are afraid that God said "wait" when we asked for a significant other.  I am not one of those sentimental suckers who believes in the stop-looking-and-someone-will-magically-appear idea, but I do believe in taking direction from someone who knows me better than myself.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Updated Christian Guide to Voting (or ushering in the apocalypse)

Caution: Takes this article with a grain of salt and try not to put that grain near an open wound.

The primaries are creeping up on us and ranking a close second to Jordyn Wieber's Olympic gymnastic performance on the list of things we should care about.  We live in America so the following must be true: we can vote for anybody and we can worship anybody.  So how does the Christian American treat the primaries?

1. Try to Trigger the Apocalypse

As a Christian, America is not our true home so why not help nudge Revelations a bit further?  Just because The New JerUSAalem has USA in it, does not mean we have reached Heaven.  When you hit the polls, remember that you are aiming for the candidate that is going to unite the world into one secular nation that welcomes the Woman Who Rides The Beast.  Besides,  we are overdue for some serious persecution (your office mates snickering about your virginity vows does not count).  It was the early church fathers who said, "the church is built on the blood of the martyrs."  Would it not be truly ideal to step your faith up a notch by being captured, tortured and forced to kiss Barack Romney's loafers while declaring him the true Cesar?  If we brighten up the place with a little fire and brimstone, surely the seven plagues, bowls and four riders will give us confirmation that we made the right decision.  Vote for the guy who is going to create a secret police that will put a gun to your head, while you are forced to perform your first abortion on a clone baby who is bred only for wars  in Afghanistan.  Who knows, the end might be right around the corner.


Seeking the servant attitude and trying to make this place better.  Christians are unique in that we are the only people group who preserve things to be holy.  We are the priests of our nation who answer to one person and in return we try to make America the clean bride for her groom.  What does that mean?  We don't fret over food stamps and unemployment, but we do help people find their purpose in serving.  We don't want anyone to terminate a human life in any stage and that is why we educate on the sanctity of life.  We want America to be a hero, not a comfortable pigpen.

2.  Your Friends

Asking Facebook about a fair pros and cons discussion about politics is like asking a racist about his thoughts on equality.  Your friends have probably posted posters trying to compare the rival candidate to an inept monkey who drowns inconveniently when it rains or a super Nazi baby killer who eats kittens with cyanide.  When confronted with their bulverism they will stand on their soapbox and declare that they "Love America Too Much."  Let's face the facts, those displays of sarcastic patriotism was never meant to teach any opposing view and the author is hoping to receive some undeserved pats on the back.  But deep inside everyone knows that being president is about making people happy who voted for you.  Meanwhile the other half is stabbing voodoo dolls of your likeness because nothing you say/do/mime will EVER be good enough.  That's why I think we need another Civil War.  One side versus the death.  When the North dominated the South, the South eventually lost and muttered nasty things under their breath.  Imagine Democrats and Republicans musketing each other to smithereens.  We've been doing it in our heads, moving to action should not be so hard.  The winners could always remind the losers that might actually did make right.  I know I have the Republicans on my side.


Reading your Bible.  It's not popular or fun, but there's definitely a promise for those who seek the wisdom of God.  Somewhere, we as Christians have not put any faith that the life God has for us is for the prospering of humanity.  Strangely,  the things we care so much about in politics are all answered by followers of God who obey.  Americas greatness has been built on the backs of healers, prophets, educators, comforters and anyone who said yes to God.  Also, Christian apologists should be studied as well because A) they are way less caustic than your friends B) they help give perspective to scripture.  May I suggest politically passionate preachers like Rick Warren?

3.  The Chosen One

Who will save America.  It wasn't the last guy.  We have used that line over forty times.  Obama is the worst president since Bush.  Bush is the worst president since Clinton.  It's a vicious circle, but I have good news.  This new guy is the one.  He is doing things that everyone in the past hasn't done yet.  He is the one who has the answers that no one has thought yet.  But if my guy doesn't get in then I will automatically guarantee you that my comfortable American life will turn into me eating cat food, begging for prescription drugs from pimps and selling condoms so I can afford a trailer home.  So that is why I am starting early with the worship.  I have sent my candidate love letters with the words "save me" written in my own blood.  Every morning I sacrifice a picture of Mel Gibson on an altar to make sure that John the Baptist will make clear his path.  I buy my candidate sandals just to remind him that I am unworthy to velcro them.  After many rejected offers, my candidate will not allow me to wash his feet with my hair and perfumes.  On any CNBC press talk you can see me in the background trying to grab hold of his white cloak for inner healing.  My faith is unshakeable and I can build my house on every promise that escapes his mouth.  Fox News is my Bible and John Stewart is his prophet.  I'm not a betting man, but I think everything is going to work out.


Jesus.  That wasn't a swear word I just yelled out--it's a person.  The way I see it, Romans says that God appoints all leaders and makes them his servant (I prefer the term tool).  Our God asks us to trust him for all anxieties and personal problems.  I don't have to worry about deathly chaos because my unemployment benefits ran out nor do I have any right to worry about how I run my Christian chicken food chain.  And here is the shocker.  God asks us to respect (not necessarily agree with) anyone who is in office.  The early Christians were currently under the murderous bigot Cesar, but I am sure they totally understand that our situation is different.  I don't have to worry that my guy didn't get in because in the end I know that my Lord got in and has stayed in for a very long time.  When it is put in perspective, we start to see that the office of president is no different from being a servant.  Maybe you are the president...the president of being God's tool.    

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forget 3D! Movie Experiences I would Actually Pay For!

Nothing makes movies more modern and technological than Hollywood offering technology from the 50's at extortionist prices.  I don't understand 3D and I really could care less about the IMAX experience.  I am baffled as to why movie makers are using images that "pop out a little" as the marketing scheme to revolutionize the cinema watching experience.  It almost sounds like an organized crime protection service.  If you pay an extra 3 dollars, the crime lords will give you special glasses so that the movie doesn't look blurry.

Now I have listed some services that movies could offer that I would actually pay for.  These would actually make a little bit more sense to me.

1.  Better Acting

Imagine, if you will, getting a choice to see Spiderman with Tobey Macguire or if you paid an extra 3 dollars you would get to see Spiderman with James Garfield.  Countless movie fans would gladly chip in the few extra bucks to see a less painful exchange of drama from James Garfield.  I paid thirteen dollars to see Will Smith sloppy his way through Men In Black 3.  Not once did I say, "oh my goodness, the 3D made up for the paper thin plot and underwhelming fun!"  Now if you offered the Men In Black 3: Acting Coaches and Script Editors Edition, I could see tossing a few bucks.

2. Adjust the Fight Scenes (So we actually know what is going on)

There's a theme among action movies, where the camera man and the editor will give you the perspective of someone having a violent spasm in the dark during a fight scene.  Every movie that claims to have good fisticuffs has had this editing style of extremely close up fights, one millisecond shots and horrible lighting.  The Dark Knight Trilogy is riddled with shoddy action scenes because at no time did the director ever want you to enjoy the fight.  I would pay an extra five dollars to rewind these indiscernible fight scenes, slow them down and add lighting.  Each person who paid the extra fee would get to choose options like, "slow motion," "add lighting" and "add Jackie Chan." Imagine a brawl that looked more like Morpheus' and Neo's exhibition and less like Batman's epileptic rave sessions.

3.  Hilarious Commentary

The girlfriend wants you to see some sappy Zac Effron movie where he rolls shirtless into puppies for two and a half hours, while he macs on a chick who cries all the time.  Instead of groaning painfully to the female pornography that you have to endure, you can order the hilarious commentary headphones.  For an extra ten bucks you can have members of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or some sarcastic comedian rip the movie apart, while your significant other commits mental adultery.  I would relish the part where Conan O' Brien compares Gerard Butler's romantic comedy to a Justin Beiber song.  So while Zac Effron is stumbling over a love scene, you can laugh hysterically knowing that you are sharing this movie with a loved one.

4.  The Comment Box

This one is a bit pricey, but I know that it will sell in droves.  This is for anyone who put high expectations into a movie that clearly let them down.  We call it Spiderman Syndrome and it happens every ten years.  After the movie is finished, the ushers bring out a comment box where you can fill in criticisms and direction to make the movie better.  The comment box is shipped directly to the script writer and producer, who are contracted by law to obey the majority criticisms of the movie.  Let's envision a world that won't get another Marvel reboot or how about sleeping peacefully at night knowing that Anne Hathaway won't be in the sequel.  The service would cost about $100 dollars, but I would gladly chip in to have the safety of the comment box.

5.  Professional Probation For Directors

Whenever a business man wastes tons of money or a politician makes a stupid law, they potentially lose their job in some way.  Not true for movie directors.  They can dump out endless movies and still make a profit overseas.  What if we could pay an extra few dollars to determine the director's career at the end of a bad flick?  If a movie sucked, the audience could vote and the majority would count as a strike against them.  One strike and the director would have to make an apology blog.  Two strikes and the director goes on professional probation, where they are required to take three classes at the New York School of the Arts.  If they get three strikes they must leave the movie business.  This kind of movie fan input would seriously make Sam Raimi consider his next artistic choices more carefully.  Consider a world where the movie visioneers of the cinema wouldn't jump to Tom Cruise so readily.  I would gladly pay for those features.

6.  Artistic Discussions

Have you ever seen a great movie and wanted to talk about it after?  But usually your friends want to go home and get some sleep.  For an extra five dollars, the movie does not end with the credits, but with a serious panel discussion with a movie critic, a theologian and an expert in the field of whatever the movie was based on.    You could wittle away hours explaining how Batman's cape was not exactly like Frank Miller's vision. Serious philosophers could explain the messiah complex of Sucker Punch as they pertain to the Christian Gospel.  Meanwhile, your girlfriend would be pulling on your arm saying, "I'm bored!  Why didn't we see the Zac Effron movie?"

7.  Sex Scene Distractions

There is not much you can do during a movie sex scene.   I mean really, you can watch it and look like some perv who is taking notes.  You can turn to your parents and explain that you didn't know Natalie Portman would perform such a rude act.  You can't really announce to the audience how the inclusion of the sex scene helped you understand that Adrian Brody actually had feelings for Keira Knightley.  But, for an extra five dollars, a professional juggler and balloon artist will perform during the whole awkward scene.  It helps conservative parents and makes that awkward romantic date seem a little more bearable.  How many of you would have rather seen a professional sword swallower rather than see King Leonidas teach your 5 year old brother what one does with a wife before battle 300?

This is....awkward!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Six Most Bizarre Artistic Decisions For The Dark Knight Trilogy

Christopher Nolan gave the Batman franchise a dignified, ethical and serious reboot that supplied audience members a reason to believe that super hero franchises can be incredibly awesome.  I have sat in theaters, mesmerized by the sheer workmanship of the Dark Knight trilogy.  But amid the powerful and provocative styles of the Nolan think tank, there are somethings that bother me greatly about this movie.  If you think of the Batman movie as a beautiful collage painting, there are some places that have cheesy stick figures.  The number one obstacle is taking a man wrapped in hard plastic with bat ears and making him look credible.  For the most part, Nolan did a great job, but here is where I cringed a little.  [Caution!  Contains spoilers for the new movie]

6.  World's Silliest Batman Voice

Everyone knows that Batman's voice is silly.  It's so silly that everything the caped crusader says fills us with tiny lightning bolts of corny sensations.  It's almost as if Nolan could see his movie dominating box offices so he put a fail safe in to make sure it didn't collapse the economy.  To have a character who is written so serious and troubled and to give him a voice that sounds like some kid's dad trying to dress up as Batman as a party favor is just truckloads of sillyosity.  How can any director sit through one of Christian Bale's cigarette induced raspy rants and think, "I made a healthy choice today?" They were obviously trying to go for intimidating, but somehow they took a page out of the Nicholas Cage school of overacting.  It's not quite as bad as bat nipples on the suit, which is a decision that sends my whacky meter off the Richter scale into lockdown mode.

5. Anne Hathaway

I get it, Nolan!  You wanted a chick that was fresh and unexpected.  Who better than the girl who melted our Disney hearts with Ella Enchanted and Princess Diaries?   She was a credible Cat Woman and a decent actress.  But for some reason, poor Anne can't shake the fact that she is cradle robber bait.  Forty year old men love to be her love interest in movies.  She was the love interest of Steve Carell in Get Smart and now she was shacking up with Christian Bale. She is a twenty something bombshell actress who deserves to girlishly giggle in the arms of Thor or Spider-man.  She shouldn't be wooing Liam Neeson type characters.  Is there a creepy relationship clause in her contract?  Luckily there was no intimacy parts or real on screen chemistry, but the implication was there.

4.  The Marvel Ending

The difference between Batman and a Marvel movie is that Marvel cannot break the barrier of "pop culture good time adolescent fun."  The most serious and film noir Marvel has every gotten is on par with Disney's  John Carter.  This is why I think Marvel could also name their movies, The Marvel Fun Times Awesome Hour For Kids.  Marvel loves the sappy hero cliches, safe story telling and foreshadow that is so obvious that you might as well have Stan Lee text you spoilers.  You can't really blame them because God forbid we get another Hulk movie.  Dark Knight Rises jumps on that territory with no shame at all.  Gotham has a nuclear bomb with a textbook 5 minute countdown.  This gives Batman just enough time to kiss the damsel in distress and fly off over the bay to sacrifice himself.  They even include overused movie slapstick lines like "There must be another way!" and "There is no other way."  Now, I believe that Christopher Nolan had an urgent potty break and in his desperation told the intern to take over for him because there is no way in Hades that he would direct that.  I half expected Captain America to fall in the same bay and get frozen.

3.  This is not the Batman Universe

  I will admit that Nolan has adapted his Batman characters based on pivotal comic books in the series.  But for the most part this Batman is an exception to the rule rather than the rule.  Nolan's Batman is super detailed and drained of all fantasy to the point where every character is tethered to drama, realistic and completely adaptable to real life.  Basically, these movies are a view of what Batman would look like if he lived in Chicago and had heavy violin music follow him constantly.  Nolan killed the fictional suspended belief of Batman by removing the Batmobile, nixing any science fiction elements from the bad guys, and making Gotham into virtually any city in the US.  In actuality, the Gotham universe is rich with fantasy.  This is a place where freaks grow organically, villains murder without ideology and personalities are rich with crazy.  The whole point of Batman's crazy world is that he fits in with the psychopaths who dress up as The Mad Hatter.  I'm probably going to get hate bombs for this, but Tim Burton's portrayal of Batman's world is more faithful to the comics.  His doses of macabre, mixed with outlandish landscapes is more fitting for a man who dresses like a bat.  Nolan makes a great movie about Batman, but he didn't necessarily make a Batman movie.  Which brings me to my next point...

2.  This is Not a Batman Movie

The best Batman movie barely has Batman in it.  I'm referring to Dark Knight Rises where Bruce Wayne gets more screen time than the actual Batman.  Now let us add the fact that Batman is crippled, disinterested in detective work and does most of his scenes in vehicles.  Seems like Nolan views Batman as a dessert part of the meal and his focus is clearly on the dinner.  The main focus of the movie is Gotham and it's well being in the face of passionate villains.  What did we come to see?  We came to see Batman kick the ever loving crap out of thugs in amazing ways with technology and martial arts.  What we got was a great coming of age story with Bruce Wayne as he fights his morals to find the best way to save a city.  Batman is the whipped cream on the sundae, but if you watch carefully the actual costumed character is not the ice cream.  Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were great portrayals of Batman, but The Dark Knight Rises merely lets Batman tag along just so they could fulfill it as an action movie.

1.  Stupid Final Fights

You have the Scarecrow and Bane in your movie and you've spent the greater portion of the story building up their evilness.  Now one would expect a huge final brawl where Batman gets the upper hand and sends them on a one-way ticket to dream land.  Not true.  Scarecrow is defeated by Katie Holmes with a taser and Bane gets shot right out of the film by Cat Woman.  I know we are dealing with a very cerebral and deep Batman, but at least give us a sweet action scene.  This is equivalent to the Hulk not saying "smash!" or Wolverine having a sit down talk to resolve his issues with bad guys.  Batman had a great fight with the Joker so it is not like Nolan is completely inept in the field of standoffs.  Even George Lucas will get off his golden fan boy throne to deliver a lightsaber battle between two guys.  I feel robbed that Batman never gets to be the one who finishes his evil thugs.  I have to give kudos to Marvel.  The Avengers clearly had some sweet chin music with Loki and not once did an audience member yell, "get back to the deep convicted discussions between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark!"


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Preview: A Military Shooter 2k12

The latest installment of A Military Shooter just came out.  This is hard hitting, realistic war FPS that puts you smack dab in war torn Middle East and Russia.

The latest sequel involves:

30% More slow motion door opening scenes where you have to shoot everyone

20% more getting blown up in slow motion and then someone tossing you a pistol

50% more monotonous corridor shooting

80% more mindless explosions disguised as story

Endless ways to play: duck and shoot, shoot and duck, take cover and shoot, shoot and take cover.

All of the realism of war (except the auto regeneration, unlimited ammo, bullet proof skin, respawning and complete lack of mourning and war trauma)

We insure that every multiplayer map will have at least 3 smash mouth ten year-olds who think they are better than you

Free US Army registration form in each game

Also stay tuned for our Extra Shotgun DLC, Add Some Zombies DLC, War Tug Boats DLC, Bastrop Texas Map DLC, Batman Skins DLC, Boring Desert DLC, Six Extra Bullets DLC, Optimus Prime Challenge DLC, Aflec Duck Character Add-on DLC,  Far Quarters DLC, Change the Color of Your Gun DLC, Crappy Maps DLC and other add-ons that you must buy to have a complete game

War is fun!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Letters from a sidekick: The Amazing Spiderman

Dear Spiderman,

I am thrilled that I am your new partner in crime.  I was looking over your backstory and I had a few questions.  Did you think it was weird that Oscorp just had a random division where radiated spiders and thin metal cables were made in conjunction?  Did they tell you why they were making those?  Seems a little convenient that they build up two of your best weapons so close to each other and not have a reason for them.  It was also nice of that scientist friend to let you take home an unlimited supply of metal cable shooters.

Your pal,
Spider Boy

Dear Spiderman,

I thank you for accepting me, Spider Boy, as your new side kick.  I know that you are having a long blonde haired, Polish and scruffy looking vigilante phase.  I had no idea that every long blonde haired, Polish and scruffy looking man was actually a criminal.  That kind of works out in your favor.  

Your pal,
Spider Boy

Dear Spiderman,

I am a little confused.  You don't want people to know who you are, but you keep taking your mask off.  So far children, people you love and people who want to capture you know who you are.  I'm just wondering if revealing your identity to the people you want to protect and the people who want to hurt those you want to protect is a good idea.  Anyways, I followed in your footsteps and showed some bank robbers my face.  They in turn slaughtered my family as revenge.  I was hoping you had a backup family

Your pal,
Spider Boy

Dear Spiderman,

You are really good at fighting and parkour, but I think you need some assistance in rescuing.  You were saving a child from a burning car that was hanging from a bridge.  For no good reason you made the kid put on your vision deterring mask.  was that symbolism?  If that was symbolism it was not very effective.  No one knew who you were so giving children your mask to wear did not really help the situation. Did you mean to make it that much harder for the kid to escape?  Thank God you helped the one kid whose father can own and manipulate all construction vehicles to his will.

Your pal,
Spider Boy

Dear Spiderman,

I just heard that the Lizard is going to spread horrible mutating gases all over New York City to transform the whole population.  But I don't think you should worry.  I did some research and it looks like the lizard dude has to inject himself daily just to continue being the lizard.  So even if the lizard can infect the population they will only be lizards for two hours tops.  Maybe you don't need to put this so high on the priority list.  It would suck if someone got killed for trying to stop such an ineffective plot.

Your pal,
Spider Boy

Dear Spiderman,

I am officially resigning from the position of being your sidekick.  You actually don't have any attributes that make you a hero.  Don't get me wrong, you are amazing at hurting long haired Polish men, but you kind of suck at everything else.  I think I was incredibly disappointed when Gwen stacy's father made you promise to stay away from his daughter.  This promise you complied with...for about 1 day.  It's kind of a jerk move to desecrate the wishes of a dying man (with his daughter no less).  Remind me to accept your vows as absolute crap.  I hope the eventual slaughter of all your loved ones is worth that extra make out time you get with that leggy blonde.  I'm sure she will appreciate the vow you made with her father a little more as a super villain is disemboweling her.

Screw you,
Tim Drake

Dear Spiderman,

I've been looking at your exploits from zero to super hero and made a few connections.  Your entire life is modeled after Batman Begins.  Take a look at this chart I made.









Technically, you didn't make this promise last very long.  If your rule is that you can go back on your promises as long as the promise maker is dead, than you should really think about stabbing Uncle Ben in the back and not becoming a super hero.

You are a turd,
Robin (formerly Spider Boy)  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Xbox Throwdown 2K12

This looks amazing.  Finally you can pit Alan Wake versus Master Chief versus that guy from Amped 3.

Does anyone remember Blinx, Azurik or that girl from Jade Empire.  I have a feeling it is just going to be a lot of Master Chief battles against Gears of War.

This game is too awesome to exist sadly.  I also forgot to add Fusion Frenzy to the list.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weirdest Video Game Genre Crossovers

Call of Duty: Point and Click
Pros: Maybe with less repetitive run and gun action they can worry about the story a little more.
Cons:  You really only need the Duck and Shoot commands  

Grand Theft RPG
Pros: You can finally level up bats, guns, and  knives.  Also the healing spell comes in real handy when the army comes.
Cons:  Every two steps you take you encounter a pedestrian.  

Madden Fighters
Pros: Finally a sports game where I might win.
Cons:  Story mode always has the same ending: "I'm going to Disney World"

Mass Effectville
Pros:  Let's face it, you spent two hours on the story and sixteen on collecting junk.  This game was made for you.
Cons: You might have to milk a Volus!  

 Pong FPS
Pros:  Killing raging Hell Beasts in Pong just feels natural.
Con:  The realism of ping-pong might be slightly diminished by the inclusion of a BFG.

Rockband Adventures
Pros:  The Bon Jovi Forest and Journey Castle are amazing levels!
Cons:  The Mastodon Dungeon and Amy Winehouse Village are such a pain to play through!  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jesus = Doctor Who: The Amazing List of Reasons

I'm surprised I have not seen more articles describing the connection, but one is a time lord who helps people and the other is a time Lord who helps people.

My Tardis has many rooms.  I am preparing a place for you!

Let's start with the obvious:

1. The Title

The Doctor calls himself The Doctor because he fixes things*

Jesus' ministry was primarily healing others and fixing the lives of others

Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Also consider that both live up to the name "Wonderful Counselor" as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6

* Nerd Rebuttal:  Some alien colonies consider the word doctor to mean warrior, but for the most part it's generally referred to as a guy who helps people

Now the next obvious:

2. The Company They Keep

Jesus and His bride

Ephesians 5:25   " Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

Rev 19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."

The Doctor also has his bride:

The story is that The Doctor always finds a female compatriot to tag along on his adventures.  Although, sometimes reluctant to add a young female on board, the doctor bonds with them almost immediately.  The result is a promise of adventure, miracle, fellowship and protection.

Jesus explains in John 10:10 that his life is an adventure that he is willing to take any one who listens to him.  The presence of Jesus generally attracted fishermen, tax collectors, women and Roman guards because they knew that the life of Jesus was incredibly different than the mundane life.

The only separation between The Doctor's "brides" and Jesus' brides is that the doctor's women usually separate from the adventure due to some tragedy or unforeseen circumstance.  Jesus has a more stable program that means eternity.

Interesting Tid-bit:  Does anyone else get a messianic chill in the episode "The Time Of Angels" when The Doctor tells Amy to trust him.  Amy says that the Doctor doesn't always tell the truth and he replies, "If I always told the truth you wouldn't need to trust me." 

Just for the record, Jesus does not lie, but he doesn't always reveal what is going to happen to his followers.  It's for the same reason The Doctor does--a way of letting his followers trust in times of uncertainty.

Fish fingers and custard as far as the eyes can see

3. Both Have a TARDIS

The Doctor owns a large blue police box that controls time, space and life.  In the season finale "The Parting of Ways", Rose consumes the power of the Tardis and uses it to bring Jack back to life. Whenever there is a problem the Tardis is usually the answer.

Jesus' Tardis

He doesn't call it a Tardis and it doesn't have time changing capabilities, but, the Holy Spirit has some similarities.  The Tardis and the Holy Spirit are both credited for helping travellers speak foreign languages and understand them (See the Book of Acts).  The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life and rebirth to the soul.  Romans 8:11 refers to the literal resurrection of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the episode "The Doctor and His Wife," The Tardis takes on human form and gets into a very romantic relationship with the Doctor.  They considered each other equals.  This echoes back to the trinity where Jesus and the Holy Spirit are equal partners. 

Also the Holy Spirit has no form or body so it can travel anywhere in the universe.  It's a personal living force that has cosmic powers.  The Holy Spirit has been known to teleport people (Acts 8:39).

4.  Stopping Enemies With Words

You never see any gun battles or sword fights with The Doctor, but he is still considered a great warrior.  Why?  He is known for instilling fear in the hearts of his enemies with just words.  In the episode, "Forest of the Dead," The Doctor is getting trailed by the Vashta Nerada, he is able to tell them to back off because of his powerful name.  In the episode, "The Pandorica Opens," The Doctor scares away every alien threat with just a promise that he will do whatever it takes to protect the Pandorica.

Jesus has the same powers.  Just using his name and his authority alone, he is able to command demons to stop, winds to die down and sickness to disappear (Matthew 8).  I have to give the advantage to Jesus in this one because he uses less words and effects way more elements of nature.

Europe, I had no idea you had people this beautiful!

5.  Regeneration is a Cinch for Both

The branding of Doctor Who always has The Doctor dying and coming back as a new person.  It keeps things fresh and chronologically progressive.  It's the power of the Tardis and the position of Time Lord that helps the change occur.

Jesus is no stranger to death, rebirth and transformation:

Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you."

Luke 9 talks about Jesus unzipping his humanity and showing what he looks like in full glory.

When the mortal Jesus dies in the Gospels, he gets revealed as the holy and cosmic Jesus.  None of his friends recognize him (as if he was a new Time Lord) and he won't allow one of his mourners, Mary Magdalene, to touch him.

The major difference is that the flesh Christ and the transformed Christ are one in the same.  Jesus still bears the marks of his crucifixion and he never had to earn his cosmic title (it was always with him).

6.  The Cosmic Screw Driver = Jesus' Finger

The Doctor can melt aliens, fix people, analyze schematics, open doors, control electronics and do whatever the writers want him to do with his cosmic screwdriver.

Jesus is able to heal leprosy, death, headaches, paralysis, internal bleeding and any tragedy with just his touch.

And he said unto her, "This time travel will not end in death"
7.   Same Purpose

No one ever gets a good grasp of why The Doctor does what he does.  He just appears in one time or another and automatically assumes the role of helper.  It doesn't take a genius to discern that he is led to danger for the sole purpose of fixing it.  Furthermore, The Doctor loves very hard tasks and does not believe in the word impossible.  In the episode, "The Curse of the Black Spot," the Doctor is adamant that they don't use the word curse because it implies helplessness.

Jesus is lead by the Spirit in his ministry to visit certain towns.  There is no such thing as a coincidence in his ministry.  Jesus is more verbal in his purpose when he states, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34).  Jesus had a beginning, a middle and an end to his ministry, which led him to the cross where he would take the place of sinners for the salvation of all mankind.

The Tardis would sometimes take control and take Tthe Doctor to a place of its choosing.  Only near the end of the episode would he understand that it was for a good reason.

He doesn't really need it, but it makes healing look cooler!

8.   Warrior

The Doctor is not a person you want to be against.  He is considered a weapon to all aliens and he uses some brilliant military strategy to stop wars.  He also had the misfortune of destroying all the Time Lords on his planet to stop the Daleks.  Even though he comes off as peace seeking and pacifistic, he has a very dangerous war history.

Jesus is quite the war bringer for this life as well.  In Revelations 19 he comes riding a white horse (a symbol for war), wears a crown, made of blazing fire and has a sword.  His primary purpose is to kill off The Beast and The False Prophet that are controlling the world.  He has his own army.  A little spoiler here: Jesus wins!

I believe that the episode, "A Good Man Goes To War" is a reflection of Revelations 19:11-21.

Come on, Britain.  You pretend to be a country filled with Atheists and non-believers, but your number 1 TV show has a Messiah in it.  It's also a miracle that Doctor Who is the only syndicated TV show to last many seasons and have a super high budget for a BBC show.  I'm curious to know if God has his name written on the show's contract.

Which brings me to the next point.  We love Doctor Who?  Why?  Maybe because we love characters who are quirky, loveable and highly invincible.  The show created a good guy who is so good at his job that you are mesmerized to follow his every move.

Jesus is that model.  He is the good guy who attracts and amazes the crowd.  The problem is that people don't know the historical Jesus and his amazing responsibility in history.  Not only that, but this Jesus is alive and still doing things worthy of a hero.  Ponder this, if Jesus could bring you on the same life changing adventure that The Doctor could, would you consider it?

But maybe this is just all a coincidence.

Wait a minute, The Doctor has a name that no one knows (except River Song).

Revelations 19:12 "His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself."

I'm an allegory?

I need to leave the room.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What if Real Life Was Like Teenager Fiction?

Here's a glimpse at what real life would look like if we were authored by a teenage fiction writer.

(Sitting in his oval office, Obama reads over his reports.  His assistant watches over nervously)

Obama:  Jenkins, get over here.

Jenkins:  What is it, sir?

Obama:  These debt numbers are atrocious.  We will die if this continues.

Jenkins:  All your best money counters have been working on this.  There is nothing we can do.

Obama:  Looks like we are doomed....unless.

Jenkins:  Unless what?

Obama:  We need kids!  Kids can save us!

Jenkins:  Kids, sir?

 Obama:  About five of them between the ages of 11 and 18.  All of them must have secret math powers that they are just discovering.

Jenkins:  What can kids do?

Obama:  Make the group co-ed, Jenkins.  I want at least one pair to fall in love.  Make sure it's the outcast kid and the quirky girl.

Jenkins: (starts writing down notes)

Obama: I want a rich kid, a black kid and a kid that gets into fights.  Also, lots of emotional girls that make horribly rash decisions.

Jenkins:  Really?  

Obama:  Absolutely, this will be the only way that these kids can show the power of trust, unite and beat the  dark country of china, which has a debt team owned by the evil Lord Snicklesnap.

Jenkins:  That is a bit of a stretch...

Obama:  Pay attention!  Make sure all these kids either hate their parents, are orphans or have parents that never question their independence.  These kids will be out late with absolutely no accountability.

Jenkins:  Sir, will this be an educational book or a goth book?

Obama:  Educational, of course!  As these kids raise the debt ceiling, I want them to learn that warm fuzzy love and loyalty to friends beats out all other morals and priorities.  Also, make sure the leader of the team is condescending and self debasing throughout the entire process of leadership.  No confidence in himself is a must!

Jenkins:  And you really believe that this will solve our debt problem?

Obama:  It will take about three to four books to solve it, but we can expand the last book into three parts for the movie.  That way we can make more money.

Jenkins:  I already have Chris Hemmsworth and Kristen Stewart on the phone!

Obama:  Excellent.  I am also resigning, effective immediately.  I will be replaced by the loner kid that no one really believed in, but has great potential.

Jenkins:  Aim higher, sir.  The Republicans just got a sexy vampire that doesn't talk to anyone to run against you.

Obama:  Darn you Romney!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Video Game Genres that Game Companies are too Afraid to Make

 All these genres mentioned once had great fame in their time, but now that we are infatuated with military shooters, 2D brawlers, casual puzzles and RPG clones you don't see these games any more.  I'm waiting for the day that these games rise from their ashes and dominate the systems again.

3D Fictional Fighters

Examples:  Tekken, Virtua Fighter, DOA
Description:  Two combatants fight within a 3D realm, battling each other with tons of combos that are difficult to master.
Afraid Because:  The resurgence of Street Fighter has made a boom in the 2D button basher industry.  Even Tekken has forsaken its 3D roots.  Also fighting games are abandoning their realism with fighting styles and moves and replacing them with explosions and missiles.  3D fighters focus on high resolution battle arenas and complex fighting styles, which is harder to make than Anime based sprites with outlandish attacks.  We are more likely to see a Blazblue than a Bloody Roar.

Skateboarding Games

ExamplesTony Hawk, EA Skate, Shaun White Skateboarding, Skateboarding Evolution
Description:  Pick or create a pro skateboarder and net together tricks in a skate park.
Afraid Because:  Before the Kinect changed all sports games, skateboard games were all about button bashing, high scores and balance.  With the creation of Kinect and different peripherals, gamers wanted more realism and hands-on approaches to skateboarding.  That plan failed miserably due to paper thin gameplay and high peripheral cost.  No one dares go back to the Tony Hawk and Skate days.

High Quality Android Exclusive Games

Examples:  Monster Shooter
Description:  High spec addicting games for the Android
Afraid Because:  Google's OS is not much competition for Apples iOS and one of the main reasons is because of bad third party support in games.  The iPhone gets perfect compatibility with Modern Combat, Mortal Kombat, Battlefield 2, Super Street Fighter Volt, Soul Calibur, Simpsons Arcade and Star Wars Arcade.  The Android only gets 10% of those games and not all phones and tablets can handle the high end specs.  The Android is like the neighborhood OS and any piece of hardware can use it (imperfectly) thus making it almost impossible to make games exclusive to it.  Now add to the fact that gamers are more likely to use the free ad-supported games and you have little reason for high end developers to put much focus on the Android.

A Quality Non-WWE Wrestling Game

Examples:  WCW Vs. NWO Revenge, TNA Impact, Ultimate Muscle, AAA Heroes Del Ring
Description:  A high quality and addicting wrestling game that is actually competitive to WWE games
Afraid BecauseWWE owns the pro wrestling game genre and everyone else believes that fact.  WCW rarely got a playable game and other tributes to pro wrestling were either Japanese or very unplayable.  This is another example of a genre that needs to be beautiful, complex, easy to execute and have loads of detail in order to be successful.  On the flipside, everyone is taking a stab at the MMA franchise, but little is given to pro wrestling.  Any company worth its salt could easily dethrone WWE if they just put in a little time and effort. 

Adventure/ Survival FPS


Example:  Half-Life, Geist, and Call of Cthulu, Singularity
Description:  A first person perspective game that focuses on collecting items, solving puzzles and survival.
Afraid Because:  Due to today's audience, games are more like 90's action movies than slower paced and dramatic shooters.  The Battlefield and Call of Duty band wagon has ensured that easy money comes from huge explosions, wacky plots and multiplayer.  A game that makes players explore and survive is rare because of our need for instant gratification. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Popular Star Wars Quotes (W/ TMI)

Brevity is the soul of wit, but what would happen if we took Star Wars movie quotes and made them long winded and too personal.

"Luke, I am your male DNA donor who participated in producing you in the womb."  Darth Vader

"May the global network of telekinetic powers and psychic manipulation support you figuratively."  Obi Wan Kenobi

"I inquire as to why your height requirement is not the proper height for a Stormtrooper which averages between 5 feet 9 inches." Princess Leia

" Assist me Obi Wan Kenobi in recruiting the son of Darth Vader, training him up in the force, losing your life to a lightsaber duel, using your dead etheral spirit to command him and letting Yoda finish the training, you're my only hope." Princess Leia

"Perform the action or do not perform the action, there is no blind attempt with probability of failure."  Yoda

 "It's a well devised, pre-planned, contraption intended for capturing by use of illusion." Admiral Ackbar 

"Aggressive gurgle!  Aggressive gurgle!"  Chewbacca
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