Monday, December 17, 2007

Reactions to The Dark Knight trailer

So we just got the first full trailer for The Dark Knight.

For the most part, the movie looks amazing. That said, I don't understand what they're doing with the Joker. I'm not a Heath Ledger hater, but the character in this trailer doesn't seem like the Joker at all. His voice is low, gravelly, and without a hint of psychotic fancy. His makeup looks like makeup. (Which, I guess that's supposed to be more realistic-looking scarring. But it sure doesn't look like the Joker). Most importantly, though -

He isn't smiling.

The entire thing with the Joker is that he's a homicidal clown with a smile literally frozen on his face. In the movie, he has a completely sober face. He just looks like a dour-faced hobo with too much makeup on. He says "Why so serious?" and "Let's put a smile on that face" to Commissioner Gordon and to Batman, but he could just as well be talking to himself.

That's not to say I'm not excited for the movie, because I am. I'll be there opening day. But the Joker means a lot to me, and that guy isn't him.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Am Your Nemesis!

So I was thinking about Superboy Prime today (Yeah, yeah. SuperMAN Prime. Whatever. You either know who I mean or you don't care).

Anyway, I realized something -

A whiny fanboy who idolizes superheroes as a kid . . .

Finds out his heroes aren't as ideal as he thought they were . . .

And swears to become the greatest hero of all by killing people . . .

Is hardly an original idea.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knowledge-Filled Clash!

Did anyone else see Jeopardy today? It was nuts!

It's the Tournament of Champions, and today was the last semi-final round. In an amazing coincidence, two of the contestants were as follows:

Craig Westphal: Stoic EMT who always seemed kind of amazed and kind of worried that he was winning money on television. Six-time champion, and my all-time favorite Jeopardy contestant. I always wanted to shake his hand and congratulate him.

Paul Glaser: Smug, pompous physicist who isn't nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Four-time champion, and my all-time LEAST favorite Jeopardy contestant. I always wanted to punch his face.

The third contestant was Cliff Galiher, 2007 College Champion. He seems like an okay fellow.

So today, at 5:00 PM, I sat in front of my TV as an epic battle between good and evil was waged before my very eyes. The Righteous Forces of Craig took an early lead, up $1600 over Paul at the first commercial break. Paul's filthy smirk made a comeback in Double Jeopardy, however, by the end of that round he had a lead of over $8000 over Craig's $4000.

All looked hopeless, but young underdog Cliff correctly answered Final Jeopardy ("Who is Nellie Bly?") to win! Ha ha! True light may not have triumphed, but at least darkness was vanquished. For the record, Craig also answered correctly in Final Jeopardy to double his score. Paul said "Who is Dix?" What a fool. Like that even means anything.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Viewing Fun

So I finished writing up the list of everything Halloween themed and/or spooky that I'm going to watch or have on while working over the next few days. Here it is:

Most Importantly
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Bride of Frankenstein
Son of Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
The Invisible Man
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ichabod & Mr. Toad

TV shows
Buffy - Halloween
Buffy – Fear Itself
Buffy – All the Way
The Muppet Show – Vincent Price
Fraggle Rock – Scared Silly
Pete & Pete - Halloweenie

Animated Shorts
Looney Tunes
Scaredy Cat
Hare-Raising Hare
Broomstick Bunny
Hyde & Hare
Pigs is Pigs
Claws for Alarm
The Case of the Stutteing Pig
A-Haunting We Will Go
The Skeleton Dance
The Mad Doctor
Runaway Brain
The Haunted House
Duck Pimples
Hell’s Bells
Lonesome Ghosts
Night on Bald Mountain
Other Shorts
Graveyard Jamboree with Mysterious Mose
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Mouse (Tom & Jerry)

Am I forgetting anything important that I probably own? Are there other Buffy Halloween episodes? Did Batman: The Animated Series or Justice League ever do a Halloween episode?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comedy Tonight

All airtimes Central Standard Time

Tonight is the season premiere of Scrubs on NBC (can it really be season 7 already?), meaning that NBC's Thursday Night Comedy Lineup is now intact:

7:00 - My Name is Earl
7:30 - 30 Rock
8:00 - The Office
8:30 - Scrubs

Now, I'm no fan of My Name is Earl, but the other three are all pretty great television. So to have them all back-to-back is a great gift, and one that nearly lives up to my most prominent TV-related desire. I'm speaking, of course, about a block of comedy as great as the 1973-1974 CBS Saturday Night lineup.

7:00 - All in the Family
7:30 - M*A*S*H
8:00 - The Mary Tyler Moore Show
8:30 - The Bob Newhart Show

Wow. Four masterpieces in a row. Not two great shows and two good ones, like NBC's 1984-87 Thursday lineup of The Cosby Show/Family Ties/Cheers/Night Court. Not one terrific show holding up an over-promoted night of crap, like that same network's Seinfeld-centric Thursday through the mid-90s. Four shows that are as near to perfection as the situation comedy has ever come. In two hours. On the same TV channel.

As a child, I used to dream that something like that would happen in my lifetime. We aren't quite there yet, but we're close. The shows in each lineup even share many similarities. They don't compare perfectly, of course, but here's how I see it:

30 Rock = The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This is the obvious one. I'm hardly the first person to notice that they're both sitcoms about single career-minded 30-something women working in television and having misadventures in dating (Mary/Liz). Both women have a gruff boss who acts as a mentor (Lou/Jack), a bald and married confidant working behind the scenes (Murray/Pete), and an egotistical on-camera personality to deal with (Ted/Tracy). It's not much of a stretch.

Scrubs = M*A*S*H. Again, this is fairly obvious. Both are shows about a wisecracking doctor (Hawkeye/JD) who loves to joke around with his best friend (Either Trapper or BJ/Turk). Dr. Cox is a crotchety superior who really has a warm heart, much like Col. Potter, and both shows frequently mix emotional drama in with the hijinx.

The Office = The Bob Newhart Show. This one doesn't work as well. I admit that. But I think the similarities are there. Both shows started out with small casts of 5 main characters (Bob, Carol, Howard, Emily & Jerry/Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam & Ryan) and then grew to include a huge stable of recurring players (Bob's patients/Everyone working at Dunder-Mifflin). Both casts consist of eccentric people, but they always play it completely straight. They're exaggerated, but they never feel forced or artificially. Most importantly, in both series much of the humor comes from those characters showing up each week and doing a new twist on the same shtick, and doing it perfectly.

My Name is Earl is not All in the Family in any way, except maybe that both shows have a main character who is "conservative". It might be Sanford & Son, though.

If only NBC had picked up Arrested Development to air at 7:00! Not only would it make a lineup of four great shows, AD could even have worked as an analogue for All in the Family. Both shows were about the dysfunctional ways the members of one family relates to each other. They also were both known for pushing the envelope of what could be done on network TV, but they always put the comedy, not the shock value, first. They are also my favorite sitcoms of their respective decades, but that's neither here nor there.

Of course, I neglected to mention that the CBS lineup was followed by The Carol Burnett Show and the current NBC one airs before ER. Those two shows have very little in common, although the later seasons of ER might be funnier than the later seasons of Carol Burnett.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hobbit

So now they're talking again about making The Hobbit. You know who'd be a good Bilbo if it happens?

Martin Freeman (Tim from the original Office). Am I off-base with that? True, I've never seen him in anything serious, but the Hobbit isn't exactly a realistic drama. And Freeman's great at playing grumpy and befuddled by his surroundings, two things necessary to The Hobbit's take on Bilbo. Also, the dude looks like a Hobbit. I mean, really - look at him.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm old. I hate everything but Matlock. Ooh, it's on now.

Hard to believe it's been ten years since The Simpsons left the air.

After 8 seasons and 178 episodes, the Simpsons closed up shop in 1997 at the top of its game. The series went out in signature offbeat fashion with "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase". That memorable show offered a hysterical look at the various awful ways the show could have tried to carry on, such as a comedy-variety show and an action series starring Chief Wiggum in New Orleans. "Be happy we're saying good-bye," the show seemed to be saying. "You don't want this."

Still, it was a bittersweet finale, and fans have mourned the loss of their favorite family ever since. Sure, FOX gave a huge promotional push to Matt Groening's new project, Futurama, now heading into its 10th immensely popular season. Some enthusiasts say the show had explored everything it could without becoming tired. Some point to the untimely death of voice actor Phil Hartman a year after the series ended, saying that may have triggered a decline of its own. But many fans would have preferred more seasons of The Simpsons, insisting there was still several seasons' worth of good stories to be mined from the residents of Springfield.

These fans have spent the last decade pleading for the characters to return in some form, whether that be new episodes, web-cartoons starring the Comic Book Guy, or even (gasp!) a movie. Today, they finally get their wish, as The Simpsons Movie opens in theaters nationwide. Can it live up to the highs of a series that rarely had a subpar episode? Will this, after eight years of perfection, finally be the "shark jumping moment" for the series? Movie-goers hungry for a return to Springfield will find out tonight.

First Post

Hey, gang. It's me, Anthony. I've had a LiveJournal for a while, but I've also been posting comments on a variety of comics blogs. So I decided that if anyone clicked on my name in a comments section, I'd give them something to read. I'll be talking mostly about TV, movies and comics.

This is my obligatory first post. Those that follow will be better.