Friday, February 25, 2011

My Issue With Spider-Man

No, it has nothing to do with the character, the comic, any of the stories, or even the movies. (Although that third one has taken less than its fair share of criticism...Venom as a 70s emo wuss? Who booked this crap?)

No, my issue is with Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. The musical. Just one question...a request, really...

Can we pull the plug on this thing’s life support already and just let it die? Honestly, this thing has “destined to fail” written all over it. And yet, the producers march on like General Custer.

Alan Cumming (known for several cool roles, but the one closest to this would be Nightcrawler in the second X-Men movie) was set to be a part of this thing before he grew a brain. No, that’s not a knock - hell, even he feels that way about it (edited for language):

He explained, "My GOD, that was a lucky escape...Talk about dodging a bullet there! …it just %#@!ed me about. It kept getting delayed and delayed, and so I was like, 'OK, time to move on.' Yeah, it was a bit awkward. She [Director Julie Taymor] wasn't best pleased when I quit. But the thing about Julie is that she's very blinkered about her work, and then things go into the ether. So the next time I saw her for The Tempest, it was like it never happened."

Need to know more? Okay, sure!

Four actors have been injured during production, including lead actress Natalie Mendoza. The original actors for two main roles - Mary Jane and the Green Goblin - have split. It’s been delayed several dozen times - at first for funding issues before racking up a $60 million production price tag. They’ve had to bring in another director and damn good comic scribe Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to save their collective fat. And THAT was because the first preview featured several technical glitches, more delays, and generally sucked so bad that a few critics broke an unspoken rule just to let the world know how abominable this show is.

On top of all that, do you remember the last time someone got the bright idea to put a super-hero musical on Broadway? Yeah, neither does anyone else - because it sucked so bad the first seven rows passed out from lack of oxygen (thank you, Jim Cornette)! It’s A Bird... It’s A Plane...It’s Superman! is now 45 years old and it lasted less than four months before closing doors. That should tell you how terrific it was. And yet, someone’s willing to try this again.

Of course, comic movies are all the rage now. The nerds are coming out of the closet and geek chic is all the rage. There’s a great market out there to be had, but it’s still no reason for this. $60 million dollars later, this thing has almost no chance of making its money back, much less turning a profit.

Even after all the evidence above, there are three simple reasons why this show is a reason that Roe Vs. Wade was passed in to legislation (I know it’s not the first time I’ve used that line, but this actually fits better.).

It’s a musical. About Spider-Man. With music by Bono and The Edge.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Examining the future of comic book movies, part 04: X-Men - First Class - Orlando Comic Books |

X-Men: First Class could arguably be the biggest wild card out of all of the comic book movies in 2011.

Sure, I would like to throw in some added commentary here - but, really, that's what the article is.

It's all true, though. Personally, I did think the trailer looked pretty good. Confusing, but pretty good. I'm pretty sold on checking it out - which, I'm sure because this was a trailer - was the idea.

Still, the Cuban Missile Crisis thing has me thrown off. Off the top of my head, there's no other national incident that would fit something like this better. At the same time, that's now a fifty-year gap between then and now. If you want to go back to the original movie, we'll be generous and call it 40.

Nothing to do now but wait for another preview or three and wait to see how all this turns out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DJ Caruso signed on to direct "Preacher" - Orlando Comic Books |

It was announced yesterday that director DJ Caruso has been signed to direct an adaptation of the popular - and controversial - Preacher.

Oh, no - this ain't gonna be no one-liner with some fleeting commentary. This is a subject near and dear to my heart.

Now that the news has been “broken”, it’s time for, “Good Idea, Bad Idea”.

Good Idea: Turning Garth Ennis’s seminal Vertigo series “Preacher” in to an HBO serial, which was the plan up until three years ago.

Bad Idea: Turning Garth Ennis’s seminal Vertigo series “Preacher” in to a feature film all its own, which now seems to be the plan.

Caruso is the next in a long line of adaptations set for the film that have never panned out. Ennis first sold the rights to Electric Entertainment around 1998. Since then, several names have been involved with bringing the comic to life, including Rachel Talalay, Bob Weinstein, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, James Marsden, Mark Steven Johnson, and Sam Mendes, among others. HBO - of all outlets - pulled the plug on the project when the network decided that the subject matter of “Preacher” was “just too dark and too violent and too controversial,” according to Johnson.

“Too dark...too violent...too controversial”...for HBO? Really? The home of “The Sopranos”, “Deadwood”, and a score of other series that regular TV wouldn’t go near with a 40’ pole and a HazMat suit? That should say something in and of itself.

While Caruso’s track record could considered somewhat suspect for such a project (although I have seen approximately zero of his movies), it is the project itself that seems doomed as far as a Hollywood adaptation. While a great story when fully revealed, asking people to spend in upwards of $15 to suspend disbelief in the philosophy that God could very well be a self-centered asshole* in an age of extreme Political Correctness seems a bit much to ask.

Plenty of people would want to see this done right. I’m certainly among them. Unfortunately, the fear that more people will turn on this project faster than a Vince Russo-scripted heel turn far outweighs any joy this news should normally bring.

* - Hey, if WWE can ditch their ”PG” rating for a couple weeks, then I can get away with a one-off now and again.

The. Final. Word. On the Grammys.

Since I’m already in a bad mood about Dwayne McDuffie, I may as well do this once and for all.

There’s a reason I steered clear of the Grammys. There’s nothing about them that I haven’t said already. Numerous times. It was time to let it go and move.

And then Steve Stoute had to go and open his yap.

There’s no way I’m reprinting his entire open letter to Grammy organizers (you can do that here, if you feel so inclined). There are a couple points I may quote, but I have to start with the beginning. One of the very first things out of his mouth. One that says what I’ve been saying in much more sarcastic tones publicly for seven years:

I have come to the conclusion that the Grammy Awards have clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture.

Where. On God’s green earth. Have you been?

Here’s the problem, Steve - it’s easily arguable that the Grammys never had touch with contemporary popular culture in the first place. The Grammys are actually one of the reasons this Blog - or at least its name - exists in the first place.

The Grammys, moreso than the Oscars or any other awards show, are a sign of corporate marketing at its most prominent. They always have been. You can cite Steeley Dan beating Eminem for Album of the Year or even Jethro Tull ousting Metallica for Best Metal performance all you want - the fact is, the Grammys have always been shallow, weak, and not worth the attention, venom, and vigor they receive for all the blown spots year in and year out.

Although, of all the years to point this out, you had to choose this one? The same year the only act to actually play their own instruments and attempt to sound original - The Arcade Fire - won Album of the year? The one good call the Grammys have made in years? Did you stop and think for a moment, Steve, that maybe the Grammys actually awarded talent and originality this year? I know, it’s a novel idea. Even I’m amazed!

To add ignorance to insult, you had to use Justin Beiber as your primary example. The same kid whose fans brutalized Esperanza Spalding's WikiPedia page in retaliation for their prepubescent god of shallow teen dreams not winning the same award. Real classy. If this is what represents “an artist that defines what it means to be a modern artist”, it’s comforting to know that mommy and daddy didn’t give in to junior’s tantrums this time.

Other than that, Steve, I have to congratulate you on beating a dead horse. Then having your way with the corpse before shooting it in the head one more time. Great job on being so topical and with the times. Not to mention revolutionary.

One last thing, now that I mention revolutionary: Lady GaGa pops out of an egg and people flip out over this like it’s never been done? Honey, Spinal Tap has you beat by 27 years. Hell, WWE has you beat by 21.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011 - Sunday Morning Coming Down 02.13.11: Death of a (Guitar) Hero

Activision declares the music video game genre dead? Not so fast.

Yeah, you'll see a column staple butchered right off the bat. That will be...slightly fixed from here on out thanks to one of BC's editors not knowing what was going on with that and pissing himself over a fear of being sued for "plagiarism". *Sigh.*

Sunday, February 6, 2011