Saturday, December 06, 2003

Another Marathon Post About A Totally Asinine Topic

Cinema Fact: At the current rate of expansion, all films released in the year 2018 will be adaptations of comic books. Okay, so maybe that’s not actually a fact, but only because I’m too tired right now to break down the math and figure out the rate of expansion versus the total number of films released in a year. But it really seems like there are more and more comic book adaptations coming out every year. It seems that way, basically, because it’s absolutely true.

After all, in 2005 we’ve got at least two that I know of: The (very obvious) Spider Man sequel, which will no doubt make obscene amounts of money, which Fox will then filter around in such a manner as to disguise any profit and prevent Stan Lee from enjoying royalties. Yes, those monkey-fucks at Fox tried to screw over Stan “The Man” Lee in much the same manner as… why, I do believe it was Fox who released Forrest Gump and then claimed it didn’t make any profits and therefore Winston Groom (author of the book) wasn’t entitled to his back-end royalties. And, in both cases, the creators of the source material sued, and I have no idea how either trial came out. How, exactly, a film can come out and gross Star Wars kind of money and then claim to still not have made profit is completely beyond me. But that’s Hollywood for you.

Before I get to the next movie, I’m going to plug a couple of books. The first is “Milk It!” by Jim DeRogatis, rock critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, and the world’s definitive source on Lester Bangs (which is why Cameron Crowe thanked him something like three times during the commentary track on the Almost Famous Bootleg Edition DVD). In any case, “Milk It!” which is named for a song off of In Utero (if you have to ask, you weren’t listening to rock ten years ago), and goes over the alternative rock evolution, revolution and devolution of the 1990’s. It’s an absolutely fantastic book in which Courtney Love’s insanity is dwarfed by the idiocy of the singer from Third Eye Blind.

The other book, well, I’m not actually sure if the book’s any good because I haven’t had a chance to drive out to the mall and pick up a copy, but the book-jacket description was pretty good. Apparently, Jamie Kennedy has written his memoirs, so I’ll give ‘em a read. After all, here’s a guy who created the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, which was soon ripped off by Ashton Kutcher, whose spin was pranking (I’m sorry, but I refuse to call it ‘punking’) celebrities. Oh, sure, Kennedy’s ripping off Candid Camera, but the difference is that he takes an active part in each prank, and no one ever seems to notice. I’m sure people would recognize him more often if his show was anywhere but the WB.

The other comic book movie I’m sure is slated for next year is Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic book, Hellboy. I’ve never, ever liked Mignola’s artwork, since I think he relies way too much on thick shadows and puts way too much black on the page, as though he’s trying to draw a comic book with a Magnum 44 marker (the fumes from which would be the only way I’d ever be able to enjoy his artwork). However, I have to say that I like what I’ve seen of Guillermo del Toro. I don’t love it, exactly, but it’s alright: Cronos, Mimic, Blade II… I think I’m probably missing one, but I’m not sure. (Actually, that was all of them. -Ed.) Anyway, the trailer for Hellboy is up in various places (notably the Apple Quicktime trailer site), and it looks fantastic. Ron Perlman looks exactly like a comic book character, and not even exactly the way Mignola would’ve drawn him, which put me over the top in wanting to go see it.

In other comic book adaptation news, I noticed on the IMDB (if you don’t know, why are you reading my site?) that Nicolas Cage is slated to play Johnny Blaze, and I went, “Huh?” I mean, shit, first he signs up to be Superman, and then that falls through, so he marries Elvis’s daughter, divorces her, and now he’s going to be fucking Ghost Rider? I mean, give me a break. Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh because Ghost Rider hasn’t been good since the late-70’s or early-80’s. I mean, Marvel tried to make him cool again in the early 90’s, but Blaze wasn’t Ghost Rider anymore, so I didn’t catch on. Then they brought back Blaze along with Ghost Rider in the same book, but it was absolute shit-to-the-Nth-degree in a year that the vast majority of Marvel books were merely floundering in shit. Not surprisingly, that was right around the year that the execs at Marvel decided that it would be a good idea to hop in bed with Fleer… which also happened to be the same year baseball players went on strike and just about killed the baseball card market. The only good thing to come out of that was a 1-800-Collect commercial with Larry “Bud” Melman as one of the replacement players.

But I digress. There’s another Batman movie on the way, and I don’t mean the vaunted Batman vs. Superman project that made all the headlines a couple of years back. Congratulations, Wolfgang Petersen, you now have another film to join Ender’s Game in development hell! My friend Scott said it best: “Batman versus Superman? That movie will last all of five fucking minutes.” But, no, I’m not talking about that movie. The next Batman film is supposedly going darker in tone, like a sort of Frank Miller kind of Batman: Year One kind of thing. Yes, more Frank Miller than Tim Burton did.

Now, if they could just go for that “R” rating, then we’d all be good to go. Put it this way: Stack a PG-13 superhero movie against an R-rated superhero movie and see which one wins. … Daredevil versus Blade. Not even a fucking contest. Okay, I’ll grant that X2 was a pretty darn good movie and had an opening sequence that played on the big screen almost as well as Blade’s opening (that rave ranks as the best opening scene ever)… okay, actually Blade ends up losing that contest because I love making fun of Kris Kristofferson’s death scene. Seriously, though, think of how good all of these movies could have been with an R-rating. Or how good the Superman films could have been if they’d just not done the third and fourth installments!

New Superman film. I gotta say this: As long as it doesn’t have any of the putzes from Smallville, I’ll go see the movie. Okay, actually, it could have Bo Duke, but that’s just for kitsch value, and only on the requirement that he drives for at least one scene in the General Lee. Yes, he has to honk the horn. -- I’m starting to wig out now, because I’ve been awake for twenty-two hours and all I’ve had to eat in that time is cake. But the report must go on! –- I mean, I actually do like the show Smallville, but I can’t stand any of the characters, except for probably Lex Luthor, since it’s just a nice little spin to have Lex and Clark Kent as friends. Yeah, so it’s a two-year investment for the inevitable payoff that they will become mortal enemies, but that’s okay, because the show’s written fairly smartly, except for whatever deus ex machina they bring in every week to keep Clark’s secret identity (or lack thereof) … well, a secret.

Seriously, why does the Incredible Hulk get a movie, and probably a sequel, when the Silver Surfer gets absolutely nothing? I mean, okay, so the notion of a butt-nekkid, anatomically-incorrect silver, very reflective dude flying through the cosmos on a surfboard…. so that might not be the coolest idea in the world, but the comic book was always really good. … Okay, so it was pretty much only good when either Jack Kirby was drawing or when Jim Starlin was writing and Ron Lim was drawing. But he’s a really great character with powers on the cosmic scale! Try to measure up to that, Wolverine! Honestly, now that I’ve described the Silver Surfer as I just did, now I want to burn all of his comic books and forgot that I ever read them.

And then you’ve got another X-Men movie going into production next year for release in 2005. They’ll probably throw Gambit into this one, just to give every 90’s X-Men fanboy a wet dream that will last for two whole hours. I’ve never understood the fanboys’ thing for Gambit. I just don’t get it. The dude’s French or something, which gets points off right there, he throws energized cards at people (ooh, what a power) and he smokes fuckin’ Virginia Slims. Seriously, you look at him smoking in the comic book, and they’re those toothpicky little cigarettes. And the only reason why he claims to want to fuck Rogue is because everyone knows he can’t, and that’s how he can stay in the closet, because –even if he gets the girl- everyone would understand why he’s not fucking her.

I mean, seriously, what the fuck? Howard the Duck got a movie back in the 80’s, which happens to be easily one of the WORST films of all time, and all the Fantastic Four can get is the Roger Corman treatment. I have to get out to the Comicon next year to catch that one. But, why can’t they give a movie to Iron Man or something? I mean, other than the fact that his best enemy was the Mandarin, a bad guy who might just be classified as politically incorrect in this day and age. And, if not, at least worthy of a name-change, given that China’s got a lot of money to spend at the box-office for those twenty-three seconds before the bootleg hits the streets. Or an Avengers movie, since the closest they ever got to the big screen was Thor’s appearance in, I think, the “Death of the Incredible Hulk” TV-movie, and he didn’t even say, “I say thee nay!!!” in that one, so I felt cheated.

I think that I’m now going to cut this one off and start working on my next post, but that one requires a bit of research... That is, if I actually end up going with the topic I’m planning, which is, “Villains To NOT Feature In A Superhero Movie.” And now that I look at the title, I’m thinking that this is going to be a very long list, because I’m going to have to make separate lists for the real ones and the ones I make up. I think a screenplay snippet is also in order, but that’s really asking a whole lot, though I’m chuckling to myself as I think of one.

AIM: therbmcc71
ICQ, MSN, Yahoo: Yeah, right, like I use those.

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