Year End Round-Up

Things That Everybody Liked

Here’s a look at the ten images that received the most clicks this year. A few of them have consistently been in my Top Ten each year, but a few newer images cracked the list as well. Following the photo list is a brief look at my blog’s performance for the year. I want to thank each and every person that has visited my blog, commented, liked, shared, or clicked links or images in my posts. I hope to make even more posts in 2021 and I hope that all of you continue to follow my meanderings!

The most clicked image on my blog this year: the Batman logo. This was the first year that this particular photo cracked the Top Ten, and it went all the way to number one.

The second most clicked photo of 2020 is this wallpaper from Star Trek Continues. It has consistently been a Top Ten photo since I originally posted it five years ago!

The first newcomer to the Top Ten list is this photo of Ivy Doomkitty which was published last month!

Coming in at #4 on my list is this photo from five years ago of the women of Star Trek Continues. It has consistently been in my Top Ten since I originally posted it.

Screeching into fifth place is a surprising newcomer, a photo of an Arzon action figure from a Visionaries post I made in 2018!

Published earlier this month, this photo of Remi d’Arda landed in the sixth spot on my list. Her sister made the list as well.

In seventh place we have this pair of Chernabog reference photos from October of this year. Wilfred Jackson gives us two reference poses for the legendary Disney villain.

In eighth place is Noelle d’Arda as Supergirl. Her sister, Remi, and the Chernabog reference photos beat her by three and two points, respectively.

Also from earlier this year, this photo of Superman flew to the nine spot on my list.

Showing up for a second time on my list is the wonderful Ivy Doomkitty. She rounds out the Top Ten for 2020!

I had a record 123 posts this year. That’s twenty five more posts than last year, which was my previous record and is the third year in a row that my post count increased. I hope to keep that streak going! December of this year was also my biggest month for views with 863. That’s not a very big number for most folks, but for me it’s absolutely awesome! I hope to reach 1,000 views in at least one month in 2021! My most viewed post for this year was actually a post from 2018 about 3-2-1 Contact! That post has slowly built up an audience over the years. My most viewed post actually created in 2020 itself was a shocker, as my Wizards of Waverly Place post from October saw a huge jump in views throughout November and December and became my biggest post blogged this year.

This year saw me add a few new features to my blog. One last minute addition that has proven to be very popular was Dime Store Reads. Despite being only two days old, my The Predator post has proven to be very popular and has received many views and likes. Look for more Dime Store Reads in the near future. My Cosplay Break posts have also proven to be very popular and I’ll be doing more of them next year as well!

Photo by Vapor Photography

I truly do appreciate each and every one of you for checking out my blog. My views have steadily increased over the years and my content output directly correlates to the number of views that I receive. That means that with more posts come more views and I don’t want to disappoint any of you by backing off of my content production. Please share my posts, comment on them, and like them if you feel compelled to do so. Not only does it widen the reach of my posts, it fuels me to write more for all of you. I am considering taking the plunge and starting a legitimate pay blog where I won’t be limited on what I can do in my posts. I may pull the trigger on the idea in 2021.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Despite some crazy things happening in my life this year, this has been my blog’s most successful year and I really appreciate all of the support that you have all given me. I’ll see you in 2021!

Election Day 2020

Make your choice!

Today is Election Day in the United States of America. While there are a number of things that voters will be deciding today at the local, state, and federal level, the focus will obviously be on the presidential election. Please know that I will never try to sway anybody that visits this blog to vote one way or the other. Voting is a personal matter and it is each individual’s duty to seek out information on all of the candidates running for a specific office.

With that being said, I hope that everyone takes this election and any other election seriously. Don’t simply waltz into the voting booth and check off the candidates that have the same letter after their name that you have after your name. Study each candidate. If you have the chance, visit a rally even if it’s for a candidate that you don’t support. Cherish your right to vote.

I plan on voting later this afternoon whenever I get off of work. I’ve never been a fan of early voting because candidates will often change their tune just a few days prior to election day. I’ve seen it a million times over and I’m sure that it will continue long after I am gone.

I have friends that span the entire voting spectrum. We don’t always agree on politics, but we remain friends. No matter who wins the election today, I hope that most Americans will remain friendly with one another. Let’s all agree to disagree and get on with our lives.

If you do live in the United States of America, I hope that you exercise your right to vote. Again, I’m not going to sway you one way or the other, but I do hope that you get out and make your voice heard!

Thanks for reading my post. There will be more nerdy goodness coming soon!

They’re Both Wrong (Super Bowl Stuff)!

Miami Gardens, FL

I rarely mention professional sports such as football, baseball, hockey, and basketball in my blog. They really don’t have a lot to do with what this blog is all about so their exclusion makes perfect sense. I have covered these events on at least one occasion that I can remember, though, but that was primarily because of the halftime show. This post will focus on the halftime show as well, but not in a way that I normally cover such things.

I’m also going to rock the boat a bit, which is something that I always try to avoid.

Before I go on my little rant, the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a fourth quarter comeback. The final score was 31-20. The game itself, what parts I saw of it, was pretty interesting, but I really didn’t care who won. I tuned in just before halftime and then watched the third and most of the fourth quarter.

But here’s the thing: Apparently a lot of people were offended by the halftime show.

Headlined by Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, the actual halftime show wasn’t that great. It wasn’t boring, mind you, as both Shakira and Jennifer Lopez did what they do best on a grand scale. It just wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen before on any stage no matter the size.

Of the two ladies that performed, Shakira definitely appeared to be both the most seasoned and most prepared performer. She danced, wiggled, sang, and commanded the crowd quite well. Lopez, who I remember from her days as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, couldn’t keep up with the energy that Shakira brought to the show. I’ve never really understood the appeal of Lopez as a musical artist, and I honestly didn’t see the necessity of her as part of the show. She definitely has a large fanbase, though, so I can’t fault the NFL for capitalizing on her popularity.

For those of you waiting for me to get to my rant, here it is.

After the halftime show concluded, I hopped onto social media as any good nerd would do after such an event. There were immediately two things that I noticed trending on the web. One, apparently a lot of people were offended by Shakira and Lopez’ attire and their gyration-filled performance that included a stripper pole, a Puerto Rico flag that appeared opposite of a USA flag, Spanish being spoken in songs, and kids in what appeared to be cages to some viewers. Secondly, many people believed that this was one of the best halftime shows in history.

Both groups have me a tad confused.

For starters, not one single thing that either of these ladies did on the stage was a surprise. If you’ve ever watched a music video or performance by either of these ladies, you’d be well aware that they both wear clothing that shows off their assets. Plus, none of the dance moves that they pulled off were that provocative when compared to the moves pulled off by young girls on the popular Dance Moms “reality” show and other shows like it. Plus, if you’ve ever had a child in dance at any stage in their life (My daughter has been in dance for sixteen years now), you’ve seen young ladies do moves that were much more suggestive than anything that either Shakira or Jennifer Lopez did during the halftime performance.

Why complain about them now?

That Puerto Rican flag offended you? Why? Jennifer Lopez might be a New Yorker, but her roots are Puerto Rican. Plus, here’s a newsflash guys: Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. It’s part of our country! There’s nothing anti-American about that flag at all! Let it be known that if I ever make it to the halftime show of any Super Bowl, I plan on proudly waving my Acadiana flag and a French flag because they are part of my roots and my culture. I’m Cajun French, among other things, and I have every right to be proud about my heritage. Why can’t Jennifer Lopez celebrate her own heritage?

As far as the kids in cages controversy goes, I didn’t even pick up on that. I believe that people saw what they wanted to see, as you can make pretty much any situation good or bad.

Oh, and folks, please remember that there are some people in this country that do speak Spanish. There are also folks here that speak French, German, Mandarin, Italian, and tons of other languages. Why complain about the Spanish language now???

For those folks that believe that this was one of the best halftime shows ever, where have you been over the last twenty or so years???? People complained for many years that the NFL used too many classic rock bands for the halftime performances, stating that they were boring. In order to fix this, the NFL started adding different acts to the program. In recent memory, I can say that Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Prince all had performances that easily blew the Shakira/Lopez performance out of the water. As far as the classic rock shows go, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers all gave excellent performances that outshined the 2020 offering. Petty’s performance was even nominated for an Emmy.

To top it all off, Shakira injected a little Kashmir by Led Zeppelin into her performance and sampled I Like It Like That by Pete Rodriguez. Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen was also tossed in for good measure when Shakira and Lopez took the stage together. That’s two classic rock songs and one classic boogaloo track in a modern music performance. Apparently classic rock and pop aren’t too boring for today’s music scene!

While there were definitely some cool moments in the show and it wasn’t bad, it does not, at least in my humble opinion, rank as one of the best halftime performances in history. It was good, but not great.

People need to quit looking for controversy and scandal in everything that they watch. If things upset you that much, don’t watch them. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez did a good job of entertaining the crowd and didn’t stir up anything at all. If you were bothered by the performance, you could have turned it off. We all know that in today’s world, ratings are more important than ever, so boycott whatever it is you want to boycott and leave the rest of the people that enjoy things that you dislike alone.

Rant over. I promise not to do this very often. Thanks for reading my post.

Throwback Thursday: Universal Monsters

Before Shared Universes Were Cool

I’ve been watching a lot of classic Universal Monsters films in recent weeks. I own all of the Legacy Collections that have been released so far except for The Invisible Man set. The recently released (August, 2018) Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30 Film Collection features all of the films and special features that I already own but also comes with a collector’s book and The Phantom of the Opera from 1943 starring Claude Rains. I can live without the book, but I really do need to pick up a copy of Phantom.

The earliest Universal Monsters films have been around for nearly a century. The silent version of The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney was released in 1925. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which also starred Chaney, was released in 1923. Hunchback is generally considered the first true Universal Monsters film, although an argument could be made for 1913’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which was distributed by Universal. In any case, fans almost universally agree that the most memorable monsters didn’t start arriving until the 1930’s.

Beginning with Bela Lugosi’s performance as the title character in February 1931’s Dracula, Universal started cranking out a ton of popular monster-based films. Frankenstein (November, 1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939) are just a few of the many films released during this time that drew crowds to the theater.

The 1940’s saw an even larger number of films released, albeit with fewer quality stories. Some of the films were sequels or what we now call “soft reboots” of films from the 1930’s. One such soft reboot was 1940’s The Mummy’s Hand, which was essentially the same tale as it’s 1932 predecessor but with western and serial actor Tom Tyler as the Mummy and a lot more humor injected into the script. Some of the sequels included Son of Dracula (1943) and The Invisible Woman (1940). The Phantom of the Opera was remade as a talkie featuring Claude Rains in the lead role.

The shining star of the 1940’s was Lon Chaney, Jr.’s turn as The Wolf Man in 1941. In a sea of mostly forgettable films and ensemble movies such as House of Frankenstein (1944) and numerous Abbott and Costello Meet…. flicks that closed out the decade and opened up the 1950’s, The Wolf Man instantly became one of the most recognized and beloved films of all time. Chaney gave a commanding performance and the story still holds up well to this day. The movie has been so well received that 1935’s Werewolf of London, which was a fine film in its own right, has been forgotten by many self-proclaimed Universal Monster fans.

The 1950’s saw fewer films released and the quality continued to degrade. The only real shining moment in the decade was 1954’s The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Released in 3D in order to cash in on that new-at-the-time technology, Creature is considered by many to be the last of the classic Universal Monsters movies. The film was such a success that two forgettable sequels were released back to back in 1955 and 1956.

The 1950’s marked the end of the Universal Monsters era. Universal has tried on a few occasions to revive the properties and have done so to varying degrees of success. A string of popular The Mummy films starring Brendan Fraser began in 1999 that would eventually spawn a spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson as The Scorpion King in 2002. That film would have multiple direct-to-DVD sequels. In 2010, The Wolfman attempted to update the classic tale of Lon Chaney, Jr.’s werewolf with modern special effects and changes to the original story that expanded the role of Larry Talbot’s father. I enjoyed the film, but it was ill-received by most audiences. Van Helsing (2004) was a visual feast and a love letter to the most popular classic monsters, but it was ultimately a stinker that never found the traction that Universal was hoping for in order to revive a dead tent pole franchise.

Universal’s boldest move to cash in on the success of their classic monsters came in 2017 whenever their Dark Universe was announced with the release of The Mummy. Starring Tom Cruise and a female version of the classic monster (portrayed by Sofia Boutella), the film was met with poor reviews from critics and, more importantly, little reaction from audiences. I liked the film as an action yarn, but found it weak as a true horror film. It did do a fine job of setting the stage for future films, but it doesn’t look like the Dark Universe will continue any time soon. As of this writing, the Dark Universe is in limbo and possibly dead.

So what keeps me coming back to the classic films? I don’t really know. Sure, I own the Brendan Fraser films and the Benicio del Toro starring The Wolfman remake, but I don’t watch them nearly as much as I do the original films. I will often have mini marathons of specific classic monsters throughout the year. At the moment I am watching all of the Gillman films and The Mummy films and I plan on revisiting Dracula once I’ve completed my current classic viewings.

Despite better special effects and makeup and, to a certain degree, better stories, I still think back on Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Boris Karloff whenever someone mentions Dracula, werewolves, or Frankenstein’s Monster. The characters that these actors portrayed are imprinted in my brain in a way that not even Jason Voorhies or Freddy Krueger, characters that I grew up with, can compare. I appreciate contemporary horror icons, but I love the classics.

I do hope that Universal attempts to revive their Dark Universe. If done right, their classic monsters will live again and terrorize new audiences. While Marvel has definitely cornered the market on shared universes at the moment, I’m starting to suffer from superhero fatigue. The monsters need to make a return to the big screen in a big way, and I believe that Universal can make that happen.

Thanks for reading. I hope that you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. Who is your favorite Universal Monster? Did you like the latest Mummy flick? Let me know in the comments.

A New Who???

In The TARDIS

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!  There was an extremely huge announcement the other day about the newest incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who.  Stop now if you haven’t heard/don’t want to hear about who the next Doctor will be!!!

Unless you’re the type of Doctor Who fan that avoids the series like the plague, you probably heard a major announcement on July 15, 2017.

Full disclosure:  I personally haven’t watched the last two series of Capaldi’s run as the Doctor.  The stories have been terrible in my opinion and I just lost interest.  With that being said, even I know that a new Doctor has arrived.  There has been a lot of speculation as to who would become the newest face of everybody’s favorite Time Lord.  Numerous actors and actresses were rumored to be taking over the role.  Tilda Swinton and Kris Marshall were two names that popped up more often than others.  Neither one of them was chosen, though, and fans learned on Sunday that the new Doctor would be:

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Jodie Whittaker

Now, I must admit that I am not familiar with Whittaker’s work in other programs.  Her most prominent work appears to have been on Broadchurch along with another former Doctor, David Tennant.  I never watched that show, so I can’t gauge how she’ll do in her new role.

What I can say is that as is typical with every single Doctor that has ever been announced (even before the age of the internet), there is a lot of controversy surrounding the newest actor in the role.  Of course, the internet makes reactions to the announcement immediate, and in many cases, extremely nasty.  I remember quite well how people ranted that Matt Smith was too young for the role and that Peter Capaldi was too old.  The same holds true with Whittaker, but not because she’s too old or too young or too attractive or too unattractive.

It’s because she’s a woman.

In all honesty, I’m neither here nor there about the announcement. I hope that Whittaker does a good job. More importantly, I hope that the writing improves. Matt Smith was saddled down with some terrible stories near the end of his run, but I enjoyed him in the role enough to stick with the show through the bad times. Capaldi never captured me and his stories were atrocious. I quickly lost interest in the show during his first series and have only sporadically watched it since that time.

With that being said, the thing that bothers me most about the announcement of Whittaker isn’t that a woman has taken over the role, it’s that so many people lash out against those who are negative about the change.

Some of the complaints come from men.  Some of them come from women.  Many men who complain that the Doctor shouldn’t be a woman are often on the receiving end of nasty comments that call them misogynists, bigots, “broflakes,” and male chauvinists.  The reaction to women with negative opinions of the casting weren’t as harsh, but still pretty nasty.

There’s also a lot of positive reaction to the announcement.  Many men and women are happy to see a woman in the role of the Doctor.  People are saying that a gender change in the character has long been overdue.  Others say that it’s about time that a female was placed into the lead role of a science fiction franchise.  Star Trek: Voyager fans have been very vocal about the fact that their franchise had a female lead first with Kate Mulgrew’s portrayal of Captain Janeway.

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Outside of the series revival, I am not aware of any precedent set about the character changing gender.  It has only recently been mentioned with characters such as the Corsair and with Missy, who was once the male Time Lord known as the Master.  The General also regenerated into a female form.  There’s also mention of the Doctor being able to change gender in the Paul McGann short, The Night Of The Doctor, in which the eighth Doctor is told by the Sisterhood of Planet Karn that the regenerative powers of the Time Lords is enhanced on their planet, allowing one to choose what they regenerate into, including man or woman.

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In the classic series, females from Gallifrey were referred to as Time Ladies.  Romana was prominently featured in the show and was portrayed by Lala Ward and Mary Tamm.  Another Time Lady, the sinister (but oh, so wonderful) Rani, portrayed by Kate O’Mara, never regenerated on the show, but showed no inkling of becoming a male that I’m aware of.  There were a few other Time Ladies that popped up in episodes as well, but no hints were made about their gender in past regenerations.

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Here lies the problem.

While many people have no issues with Whittaker taking over the role of the Doctor (including myself), especially since the revival of the series has made the gender changing regeneration canon, I do see the point that many people, men and women, are making about why the Doctor should remain male. Yes, I’m pretty sure that there are a bunch of broflakes out there who simply can’t stand seeing a woman in the role, but I also believe that many men and women are standing behind the basis of Time Lords and Time Ladies that was established during the classic series.

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It seems that many people are too caught up in the man versus woman scenario and do not want to listen to legitimate reasons from some fans for keeping the Doctor male.  I would really love to see these people take a step back and simply listen to the reasons that some are against the gender change.  I hated John Simm as the Master, but I got over it.  I hated Michelle Gomez in the role as well (what little I saw of her).  He was too hyper and psychotic.  She was annoying.   Does that make me a misogynist?  No, it just means that I didn’t like either actor in the role and/or the way the character was written.

It’s true that we haven’t seen Whittaker in action in the role yet, and after an episode or two, many opinions will change.  Some men might like her more than they did when she was announced.  Some women who loved the announcement will be screaming for a change.  Basically what I am saying is that it’s okay to love the new Doctor and it’s okay to dislike the new Doctor.  If you dislike the change because you can’t stand a woman in a prominent role then I really can’t defend you.  However, if you dislike the change due to the precedent established in the classic series, I fully support your opinion.

Don’t let people push you around.  If they bring up other gender swaps in characters, remind them that the character of the Doctor hasn’t been rewritten.  The character has regenerated.  One popular argument is that of Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica.  While the character was male (portrayed by Dirk Benedict) in the original series, the reimagined series made the character female (portrayed by Katee Sackhoff).  The problem with this argument is that the new series didn’t pick up where the original left off.  It was basically a reboot of the old series with different actors in the classic roles.  Yes, the gender changed (as it did for other characters in the show), but Benedict’s character didn’t morph into Sackhoff’s character.  They are essentially two different characters in different timelines.  Fans of the classic BSG might not have liked the gender change, but they had the option to look at the new Starbuck as a different character engaging in different stories.  Fans of the new version of the character could simply ignore the classic series.

With the Doctor, however, the character regenerates into a wholly new being that carries with it the baggage of its past lives.  Each time the character regenerates, the dynamic changes but the history is still there.  Add to that the fact that the first two showrunners for the revived Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat, added a little romance and/or flirtation between the Doctor and some of his companions, and you really have a changed dynamic.  Will the new Doctor fall for male companions?  Female companions?  Alien companions?  Will the new Doctor be stand offish with new companions?  “Who” knows?!?!?

Oh, and that whole argument where Tom Baker made a joke about wishing his successor in the role good luck no matter who he or she is doesn’t fly because it’s his opinion, and not canon.  As much as I enjoyed Tom Baker in the role, he definitely cannot change canon at will.

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Imagine Whittaker’s Doctor interacting with Tegan and Turlough.   Would Tegan be as snappy with a female Doctor as she was with Peter Davison’s Doctor?  Would Turlough decide not to kill the Doctor because he grows to admire her as a protector of the innocent as he did with No. 5 or does he decide not to kill her because he is attracted to her or possibly believes that she doesn’t deserve to be the leader of their traveling party because she’s a woman (I can totally see Turlough being threatened by the fact that a woman is in charge)?  The dynamics can and probably will get crazy, and I have to admit that I’m pretty excited to see what direction this new regeneration will take the character and the series as a whole.

In conclusion, I welcome Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor.  I can’t wait to see where the show goes from this point.  New showrunner Chris Chibnall definitely has a mess to clean up with Moffat’s work in my opinion.

Here’s to better stories and a good run as the Doctor for Whittaker.  Let’s play nice, folks, and hear out all opinions before we judge people for disliking a change.  Remember that change is always difficult, and we need to be understanding with each other.

As always, thanks for reading.  Let me know what you think about the new Doctor in the comments section.

 

 

 

Our Princess

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

On December 27th of last year, Carrie Fisher, perhaps best known as Princess Leia from the Star Wars franchise, left this mortal world.  She appeared in nearly fifty feature films, and had almost fifty starring and guest roles on television.  She also authored multiple fiction and non-fiction books including Postcards From The Edge and The Princess Diarist.  She was a playwright, screenplay writer, and script doctor.  Fisher was also very vocal about her struggles with drug abuse and bipolar disorder.

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Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher

She also came from a famous family.  Her father, Eddie Fisher, was an extremely popular singer who charted multiple hits in the 1950’s.  Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, was an actor, singer, film historian and preservationist, and a businesswoman.  Reynolds’ acting career spanned almost seventy years.  She tragically died the day after Carrie on December 28th.

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Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher

As stated before, Fisher had roles in nearly one hundred films and television programs, but it was her role as Princess Leia (later to be known as General Leia) that put her into the hearts of nerds and geeks the world over.

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With the announcement of her death, fan and professional tributes took over social media, television, and radio.  The bulk of these tributes focused on her role as Leia and her outspokenness on the topics of mental disorders and drug addiction.  Some of them focused on her many relationships over the years.  A few even went so far as to say that we needed to forget the princess version of her and focus on the hardened general that she portrayed in Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  Obviously those people knew her as a princess in title only, as Princess Leia was definitely one of the toughest, bravest characters in all of Star Wars canon and in the expanded universe as well.

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Sure, General Leia was a strong character, but Princess Leia, OUR Princess Leia, was the character that stood up to Darth Vader, called the mighty Chewbacca a “walking carpet” with absolutely zero fear, and took control of her own rescue as well.  Princess Leia stole the heart of a “scruffy-looking nerf herder” named Han Solo, and led the Rebellion and the Resistance in their darkest hours.  Without our Princess Leia, General Leia would have never been created.

Please, never, ever forget the princess version of Leia.  The character shows young girls and young boys that just because you might be a pretty little princess in name, you can be a fearless warrior in action.

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Carrie Fisher was a lovely woman both inside and out.  She was raw, honest, and exceptionally humorous as well.  Fisher’s death brought a tear to my eye.  Not because the world lost an actress that portrayed a beloved character, but like Leonard Nimoy, she was a  beloved human being, warts and all.

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Carrie Fisher will be sorely missed.  Few actors and actresses live lives that are bolder than those of the characters that they portray.  For a woman that portrayed the daughter of one of the most feared Sith Lords of all time and the brother of the Jedi that brought balance back to the Force, Fisher was truly a bold person in reality.

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May the Force be with you Carrie Fisher.  Rest in peace.

Haven’t I Seen This Before?

Again…And One More Time

I recently posed a question to my readers via Facebook asking them what topics they would like me to blog about.  Of the thousands of requests (okay, just two) that I received, I decided to go with Hollywood’s recent surplus of reboots, rewrites, re-imagined stories (my personal favorite), and updated versions of classic tales.

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Two films immediately came to mind:  Ghostbusters (2016) and the upcoming Skull Island film featuring Tom Hiddleston of Thor fame.  While I don’t know much about the latter just yet, we all know how lukewarm the reception was of the recent paranormal reboot starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.  I found the film somewhat lacking, and praised Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon for saving the film from being terrible.

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But whenever these films popped into my brain, it made me realize something that I’ve always apparently known but never put much thought into over the years:

Hollywood has been rebooting films, franchises, characters, and shows from the beginning.

Think about it.  How many films have been produced over the years that either feature the character of King Kong or happen to be spin-offs of the character?  Most people recognize and/or remember the classic 1933 film, the 1976 remake featuring Jeff Bridges, and the long, drawn out reboot from Peter Jackson in 2005, but how many of you knew that there have been at least nine major films released featuring King Kong?  How many of you knew that Kong was also the inspiration for Mighty Joe Young (which has also been rebooted) and other giant gorilla films?  Also, there have been cartoons, books, etc. that keep regurgitating the same general man vs. monster tale over and over and over.

If that doesn’t convince you that Hollywood keeps using the same characters (and stories) over and over, let’s look at just one of the Universal Monsters.  The Wolf Man (1941) is my favorite classic horror film.  It spawned a number of sequels and wasn’t actually the first film from Universal that featured a werewolf (that would be 1935’s Werewolf Of London).  A 2010 remake of the classic was released and starred Benicio del Toro.  While I enjoyed the remake, it couldn’t beat the original.  Audiences were mixed on the film and a sequel was put to rest.

Prior to this, Universal threw the Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein into 2004’s Van Helsing as an attempt to revive interest in the classic characters.  The film was a financial success, but didn’t stick with most audiences.  Universal is once again trying to revive their classic monsters in a new shared universe similar to the Marvel cinematic universe that will supposedly start with the release of The Mummy in 2017 (but Universal had shared universes featuring their classic monsters WAY before Marvel ever did).  The star of The Mummy (which Universal has already successfully rebooted with four films featuring Brendan Fraser starting in 1999) will be Tom Cruise, who is no stranger to reboots himself.  Cruise has been part of the successful Mission: Impossible film series based upon the hit TV series (which itself was rebooted on the small screen) and a remake of the classic War of the Worlds which has been remade multiple times as well.

A number of television shows have been rebooted and/or remade as well.  Along with Mission: Impossible, the 1970’s classic Battlestar Galactica was reimagined into a highly successful series in 2004 that lasted for four seasons and spawned Caprica and Blood and ChromeKnight Rider, The Odd Couple, and even Full House are just a few of the television series that have been revived or rebooted over the years.  Heck, I don’t even want to start talking about films that were spawned from classic television shows such as Lost in Space, The Flintstones, and The Twilight Zone.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is another film that was rebooted, albeit with a very, very bizarre take on the H.G. Wells classic.  Heck, H.G. Wells’ work alone has spawned multiple remakes and reboots.  War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man have all been remade multiple times and have also been used as the basis for other films as well.

Then there are the superheroes. Tons…..of….superheroes.  In the last fourteen years there have been three different actors (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland) portraying Spider-Man in six different films.  The seventh film is on the way in the near future.

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Eric Bana, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo have turned green as the Hulk in four films (a fifth is on the way) since 2003.  There have been three Fantastic Four films since 2005 featuring two sets of actors as the first family of comics.  Since 1989 (and not including animated stories), Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck have all donned the cape and cowl of Batman, all in stand alone films (excepting Affleck, who shared a title with Henry Cavill’s Superman but, you guessed it, his stand alone film is coming soon).

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Hollywood is superhero crazy at the moment, and while the characters may change, the source material doesn’t.  I see no end in sight for the multiple comic-based superhero films out there.

In short, there is nothing new under the Hollywood sign.  It is, was, and always will be the home of remakes, reboots, rebrands, and re-imaginings.  Hollywood has borrowed, stolen, and transferred stories from other films, television, books, and even amusement park rides (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, The Country Bear Jamboree, and Tomorrowland, to name a few).

Reboots are nothing new, and they’ll be here long after I’m gone.

As always, thanks for reading.  This is just a small sampling of reboots and remakes.  Feel free to add your own to the list in the comments section below.

 

Saa-Winggg, Battahh, Battahh!

Pee-Pee Pants City

Unless you’ve been under a massive rock for the last six months, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about a dude named Negan and his girlfriend, Lucille (she’s not really his girlfriend, for you non-TWD fans).  You might not even be a fan of The Walking Dead, but I’m sure that you have at least one friend who is that hasn’t shut up about it recently.

In any case, let me get you up to speed if you don’t know what is going on with the TWD season opener.  Basically, last season ended with a cliffhanger.  It was a glorious cliffhanger in my opinion because it baited folks for the season seven opener.  That’s what cliffhangers do.  Despite no new shows (unless you count the forgettable Fear The Walking Dead), TWD stayed in the headlines on a lot of social media and entertainment pages because everybody was trying to figure out who met the business end of Negan’s barbed-wire wrapped bat, Lucille.  There were a lot of other people (products of the instant gratification age) griping that the cliffhanger was the worst possible way to end the season because they didn’t know who died.  Yet I’m pretty sure that all of them showed up on Sunday night to find out what really went down.

Well, Sunday night finally arrived and we all got the answer.  Sure, folks who’ve read the comics had a pretty good idea about who might meet their demise, but the show has been known to go off on wild tangents in the past just to keep things interesting.  There are characters that have died early on in the series that are either still alive or died later in the comics and a few characters have been knocked off in place of other characters.

Warning:  Reading beyond this point means spoilers await you.  STOP READING NOW if you do not wish to find out who died in the season seven opener!!!

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The latest episode brought us back to Negan’s world, where he has a whole bunch of Rick’s group on their knees.  Some are scared, some defiant, and none of them knowing what to do.  Negan is pacing in front of the group and explaining to them in fairly clear terms that he must punish one of them for stepping out of line in his world.  In his hand is Lucille, his beloved dealer of punishment, and he begins to play a game of Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo with the group (just like at the end of last season).  He points his bat at each member of the group and finally makes his selection.  He swings, compliments his victim for taking it like a champ, and then swings some more.  Crunches, screams, tears, groans.  All are present while the beating is going down.

The show managed to carry out the suspense for a bit longer thanks to flashbacks to the events that lead up to the thrashing.  We also see Rick tell Negan that he is going to kill him…..eventually.  This leads Negan to take Rick for a ride in the RV and then proceed to verbally and mentally torture him throughout the rest of the episode.  This particular string of events has become quite controversial, as well as the violence shown on screen during the beatings, but I’ll get to both later.

The victim, if you don’t already know, is Abraham.  Before his untimely demise, he manages to flash a peace sign at Sasha, which makes her break down into even more tears.  Negan proceeds to pound in Abraham’s skull.  We are only shown a couple of the whacks on Abe’s noggin before they cut to Negan’s face and an occasional glimpse of Lucille as she becomes laced with gore.  The production uses sounds to deliver the gruesomeness of the scene, and they do so with perfection.

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But wait!  There’s more!

Whenever Abraham goes down, a lot of people are understandably upset.  The character has quickly become a fan favorite during his run on the show, and Michael Cudlitz has given us more one-liners in his time with the cast than pretty much all of the others combined.  Cudlitz also seems to be a genuinely cool dude in real life, so seeing his character go was tough.

However, The Walking Dead has always killed off fan favorites.  This is nothing new.  It’s the nature of the show and I highly doubt that it’s going to change any time soon.  Yes, Abraham and his brilliant “dolphin smooth” phrases are gone, but life goes on.

After Abraham’s death, many folks gave out sighs of relief because their favorite, whether it was Daryl, Carl, Maggie, or one of the other members of Rick’s crew, were still breathing.  But Negan wasn’t finished with them yet.

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We bounce back to Negan’s torture of Rick for a little bit and we witness him break down everybody’s favorite zombie apocalypse deputy even more.  Negan is relentless, forcing Rick to go after his ax amongst a horde of walkers engulfed in fog.

Then we cut back to the lineup and we find Negan realizing that he just pounded in the skull of Rosita’s former lover.  He begins to taunt her and this pushes Daryl to the limit.  He jumps at Negan but is quickly subdued.  Negan’s men hold Daryl down and Dwight aims Daryl’s crossbow at him.  But Daryl lives to fight another day as Negan tells his men to put Daryl back in the lineup.

That’s when the shocker happens.

Negan reminds the group that he let the first attack on him slide because it was a very emotional time for the group.  But this second attack would not go unpunished.  Negan pontificates a little bit more about his rules and then, out of nowhere, he pops Glenn in the noggin.  This actually caught me off guard.  I wasn’t expecting a second death (despite having caught wind that multiple cast members might be dying in the season opener.

Negan continues to pound on poor Glenn, even making one of his eyes pop out of the socket.  Glenn tells Maggie that he’ll find her and then he succumbs to the multiple swings of Lucille.

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But that’s STILL not all!

Negan continues his torture of Rick.  He forces Carl to the ground and draws a line across  the arm of Rick’s son.  He then gives Rick his ax and tells him to cut off Carl’s arm at the line.  Rick is at a loss.  We get to see him fall to pieces and beg Negan to let him cut his own arm off (hinting at a moment in the comic that involved the Governor).  Negan pushes on, demanding that Rick do it or he’ll bash in Carl’s head with Lucille.  Carl tells his father to “just do it” and Rick lifts the ax, only to be stopped by Negan at the last moment.

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I immediately thought of the Old Testament story of Abraham and his son, Isaac.  For those of you who don’t know, Abraham’s faith is being tested by God, and He asks Abraham to kill his own son when no other sacrificial animal is available.  Abraham then proceeds to bind Isaac and is about to kill him whenever an angel stops him.

Perhaps this event during the show was meant to show the god-like power that Negan held over not only Rick, but his entire group.  It also could have been meant as a nod to the Biblical story and Abraham, who had been killed by Negan.  Perhaps it was just director Greg Nicotero’s way of making people talk even more about a show that seemingly everyone is talking about????

In any case, Rick is broken, Glenn and Abraham are dead, and the group finds themselves at a point where they have no plan of action and no real way of winning….at the moment.  Maggie, despite just witnessing the death of a friend and of the father of her child and being sick due to complications with her pregnancy, picks herself up and tells Rick that they have to go back to Alexandria and figure out a way to fight Negan.  The group carries off their deceased friends, and the episode ends.

The Aftermath (And My Two Cents)

I know of no other episode that has caused as much friction with the fans as this one.  Many people have publicly decried the episode for its violence despite the fact that there have been decapitations, people ripped apart while alive, machetes through skulls, the shooting of children, and many other violent acts throughout the entirety of the series.  Others have complained that the payoff for the cliffhanger wasn’t satisfactory because (all of a sudden) they knew who was going to die in the first place and that the last six months of speculation were wasted.  Some have even gone so far as to say that the show has become a “kill of the week” series, where character development has died and gore and violence have become to focus.

To all of those people I say, “Where have you been?”

From the beginning this series has been about the living characters (the real Walking Dead).  We’ve witnessed Rick go from being an honest and ethical man to a person who is forced to do things that he doesn’t want to do but must in order to survive.  We’ve seen him make good choices, bad choices, and a few stupid moves as well.  He’s learned from all of them.  He’s gone a bit crazy at times as well, but who can really blame him?

We’ve seen Carol go from a meek, domestically abused mother to the literal mother of all butt kickers.  She, too, went a little crazy, but I’m sure she’s going to be back on track soon enough.

Carl, Abraham, T-Dogg, Merle, Maggie, Daryl, Glenn, Beth, Eugene, Lori, Andrea, Morgan, Deanna, Lizzie, and almost every other character that had any decent amount of screen time was changed in some way.  That’s still happening with characters like Enid, Gabriel, and even Dwight.  If you don’t see these characters developing, you’re looking in the wrong direction and focusing on the violence.

For those of you that feel cheated by the cliffhanger ending and/or the cliffhanger payoff, I have to ask you what did you really expect?  The cliffhanger was meant to force you to talk about the series while it was on its break.  You say that you felt manipulated?  Yep, you were.  That’s what cliffhangers do.  You felt like something bigger should have happened?  Exactly how many skulls did Negan need to bash in to get his point across to you that he is a bad man?  Why did Glenn or Abraham have to die?  Hello!  Zombie apocalypse where all sense of order has broken down?!?!?!?

Yes, the episode was extremely violent, but I’d bet you ten dollars that the people griping about the lack of character development were also the same ones griping that episodes that focused on one character (like the Morgan episode) weren’t violent enough.  Also, Negan’s character developed more and more with each swing of the bat.  It was violent character development, and I’m pretty sure that we all now know just how nasty Negan can be without a doubt!

Also, for all of those people that instantly claimed that they called the death of two characters, I highly doubt that you actually picked them both.  Sure, you might have called Glenn’s death or Abraham’s death, but I seriously doubt that many people actually thought that Negan was going to kill two people from the lineup.  Sheesh, the interwebz can fluster me so easily sometimes!

I’m sorry.  I had to get on my soapbox for a bit there.  I promise that I’m finished for the moment.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Well, once the dust settles on this latest season opener of The Walking Dead, we have this guy to look forward to:

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You see?  That’s how this show has always worked.  Characters live.  Characters die.  New characters arrive to add to the story.  The season opener was pretty good, but I definitely think that the rest of this season of The Walking Dead has a whole lot more surprises waiting for us.

Are you ready?

As always, thanks for reading.  Comment below if you disagree with me (and I bet that a few of you do) and feel free to share this post with your friends.  Oh, and here’s a photo of me and Steven Yeun from a few years ago.  He was a cool dude and I’ll miss him on the show.  Thanks for being a great part of the show, Steven!

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Rank: Top Ten Film Portrayals of Superheroes

From The Page To The Screen

The greatest time to be a fan of comics and film is right now.  There is a plethora of excellent comic stories to flesh out on the big screen, but it has only been within the last fifteen or so years that special effects companies have figured out how to imitate the brilliant (and expensive to duplicate) powers of heroes and villains.  CGI has helped greatly, but practical effects are still a very much needed tool in the process of creating believable heroes and their abilities.

Another key element to creating a believable hero or villain is the actor behind the mask or under the cape.  There have been plenty of actors that have tried their hand at being superheroes, and while many of them are excellent (Robert Downey, Jr., Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and Michael Keaton), many more have been weighed down by bad writing, directing, or acting skills in general (Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney, Halle Berry, Henry Cavill).

This list will rank my personal top ten favorite actors and the heroes that they portray.  Some of the criteria for this list includes:

  1. Actors who can work out of their comfort zone.
  2. Physically look like the character they are portraying.
  3. If they can make a film better than it really is (or at least tolerable).
  4. Pull off excellent performances in roles that they were supposedly miscast for.
  5. I’m only using films from my lifetime (1970s to present).

This criteria means that Robert Downey, Jr. (despite being enormously popular as Iron Man) is out of the running due to the fact that playing an alcohol-swilling playboy isn’t that much of a stretch for him.  Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are also off the list because those guys have a solid track record of delivering brilliant performances again and again.  We EXPECTED them to do great as Professor X and Magneto, and they did just that.

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Now, before all of you Deadpool fans go into cardiac arrest, Ryan Reynolds isn’t on this list because, and let’s be honest here, Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds in every movie that Ryan Reynolds is in.  He didn’t have to try very hard to portray Deadpool, so it was never really much of a challenge for him.  Plus, he royally sucked as Hannibal King and couldn’t act his way out of Green Lantern (although I actually sort of liked that film).

Also, I’m sure that I missed a few of your favorites on this list and I know that I’ll probably tick off a few people for some of the folks listed here, but this is strictly my opinion.  If you have a different opinion, feel free to let me know in the comments.  Oh, and none of the actors from the X-men films made the list, so you can go ahead and get angry about the lack of Hugh Jackman.

Let’s get started.

ray_stevenson_the_punisherNumber Ten:  Ray Stevenson as The Punisher

Okay, right off the bat you’re going to say that playing Frank Castle isn’t that big of a stretch for Ray Stevenson.  He’s the silent, angry type and that’s pretty much Stevenson’s MO in every film.  However, you’d be wrong.  Remember Volstagg in the Thor films?  That was the same guy.  He was hilarious.  He was also in Rome and King Arthur and many more films.  Yes, he almost always plays the muscle, but he also has a heart.  In Rome, his portrayal of Titus Pullo showed us that he could switch from violent warrior to father figure in an instant.  Stevenson has a very strong fatherly quality that played out well in Punisher:  War Zone as well, especially whenever dealing with the daughter of the agent he mistakenly kills at the beginning of the film.

Also, War Zone wasn’t the greatest Punisher flick around (the Tom Jane film was superior in my opinion), but Stevenson kept things interesting throughout and was believable as Castle.  While Tom Jane did a brilliant job (I highly recommend the indie Punisher short Laundry Day on YouTube), Ray Stevenson LOOKED like Frank Castle more than Jane or Dolph Lundgren.

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Number Nine:  Michael Chiklis as Thing

Although I found the Tim Story-directed Fantastic Four films to be very good (but in no way great), the popular consensus is that both films were severely lacking.  I thought that all of the cast did a great job except for Jessica Alba, who was lacking as Sue Storm.  Michael Chiklis had the wonderful duty of portraying Thing.  He was under a ton of prosthetics and had to convince the world that he was a rock man.  Chiklis did a great job.  He provided humor, action, and emotion as Ben Grimm.  Up until this film came out, he was best known as the pudgy commissioner on The Commish.  Fantastic Four allowed him to flesh out his dramatic and comedic acting chops.

As Grimm came to terms with the fact that he would probably never be normal again, Chiklis had to show range emotionally with nothing but his eyes, voice, and, to a lesser degree, body language to deliver his performance.  He did a great job, and kept the story interesting as well.

Most recently Chiklis played the commissioner on another show that’s (sort of) about Batman, Gotham.  His turn on that show was very dramatic, and he played a tough-nosed boss perfectly.

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Number Eight:  Paul Rudd as Ant-Man

Much like another actor on this list, when it was announced that Paul Rudd would be portraying a Marvel hero, specifically a Marvel hero named Ant-Man, the general public was hesitant.  How was an actor known for his comedic work going to pull off Hank Pym?  Well, he didn’t have to pull off Hank Pym because he portrayed the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang.  This made fans of the hero a bit more relaxed (and Michael Douglas killed it as Hank), and Rudd put on a performance that made me put Ant-Man in my Top Five favorite Marvel films (that list is on the way, BTW).

While Rudd did rely heavily on his comedic chops, he did a brilliant job as a man that was desperate to win back at least a little bit of respect from his ex-wife and her soon-to-be new husband, and to make his daughter proud of him.  Top that off with an excellent script, solid directing, and a great supporting cast, and Paul Rudd easily slips onto this list.

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Number Seven:  Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Marvel Studios took a big risk with their first cinematic production, Iron Man, especially considering the fact that Iron Man was at best a second tier character in the Marvel Universe.  Sure, he has had multiple solo story lines and has been a part of many great teams, but prior to this film’s release, few people outside of comic book circles would mention Tony Stark as one of the favorite characters.  Many years later, Iron Man has been plastered all over the place and has been used to carry other heroes as well.

Thor was in a similar boat whenever that film was released.  While the character had a following in the comic book world, not many people claimed him to be a favorite.  Also, despite the fact that two massively successful Iron Man films and a well-received Incredible Hulk movie had been released and plans were laid out to the public about the expansion of the MCU, Thor could have been the film to make or break Marvel’s success.

Enter Chris Hemsworth who, basically, was another risk for Marvel Studios.  While Robert Downey, Jr. was on the rebound as an actor in Iron Man, he had an established fanbase (albeit not in the comic book world) and was known for delivering some great performances.

Hemsworth wasn’t very well known outside of his home in Australia.  Despite this, he successfully brought the crucial swagger that makes Thor the god that he is and his comedic range as well.  Top that off with his performance in the lackluster second Thor film and both Avengers films, and we saw how well Hemsworth could develop Thor with each release.

One could argue that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is what made the Thor films and the first Avengers film great and I definitely agree, but Hemsworth’s brash and cocky Thor was an excellent foil to his wicked “adopted” brother.

Also, Hemsworth bulked up big time for the role.  He LOOKED like Thor, and he has kept that physique across all of the films.

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Number Six:  Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

Much like Chris Hemsworth, Andrew Garfield wasn’t much of a household name.  Sure, he had a bit part in Doctor Who and was part of the sci-fi drama Never Let Me Go, and he also had a major role in The Social Network, but nobody batted an eye whenever you mentioned his name.

When he took on the role of Peter Parker, many had their doubts (including yours truly).  However, Garfield did a brilliant job as everybody’s favorite wallcrawler.  He personified the nerdy/socially-awkward-but-still-a-bit-cocky attitude of Peter Parker.  The first film was very good in my opinion, but the second film was bad.  Despite this, Garfield managed to rise above the weak story of the second film and delivered a powerful performance in the death sequence of a particular character (I know it has been a while, but I’m not going to spoil the death).

He looked like Peter and delivered one of my favorite superhero performances.  I was honestly perturbed whenever it was announced that he would not be reprising the role in Captain America:  Civil War.  While Tom Holland definitely owned his brief screen time as Spidey, he still has a long way to go before he bumps Garfield off of the top of my Spider-Man list.

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Number Five:  Michael Keaton as Batman

The top five of my list starts off with the actor least likely to be believable as a superhero, Michael Keaton.  Prior to 1989’s Batman, Keaton was mainly known for his comedic roles in films like Mr. Mom, Night Shift, and the wonderful Beetlejuice.  Whenever director Tim Burton announced that the cape and cowl would be donned by Beetlejuice, crowds recoiled in horror.  How could you cast an actor known for his laugh-inducing work to portray the Dark Knight Detective?????

Jack Nicholson was cast as the Joker, and Warner Bros. wisely used his star power to promote the film.  Once it was released, however, just as many people were talking about Keaton’s powerful performance as they were about Nicholson’s portrayal of the clown prince of crime.

Keaton proved everybody wrong with his portrayal of BOTH Bruce Wayne and Batman.  He was believable as the billionaire playboy and as a fear-inducing vigilante out to stop Gotham’s worst criminals.  While the story did play a little bit to Tim Burton’s quirky stylings, Keaton managed to keep the serious tone of Batman alive.

The second film, Batman Returns, was, at least in my opinion, a much weaker film that the first one, but Keaton still delivered a great performance.  I’m glad that both he and Burton walked away after the second film, because we all know how much of a train wreck the franchise became once Joel Schumacher took over.

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Number Four:  Ben Affleck as Batman

Okay, I might be cheating a bit by having two people on this list that portray the same character, but Ben Affleck’s Batman is completely different from Michael Keaton’s.  Affleck was written off as a bad choice to play Batman before he could even find the keys to the Batmobile based primarily on his work as Daredevil.  I enjoyed that film, but recognize that it was lacking overall.  However, I was very interested to see how Affleck’s turn as the caped crusader would be in comparison to other men that have played the character.

What audiences got in Bruce Wayne was a smooth playboy who was older, wiser, and angrier.  Batman was violent, vengeful, and bloodthirsty.  If you haven’t seen Batman Vs. Superman:  Dawn of Justice yet, I highly recommend that you see it as soon as possible.  Whenever we are first introduced to Batman in the film, it’s one of the most brilliantly frightening moments in all of comic film history.  The people he saves ARE SCARED OF HIM!  They call him a demon!  Affleck gives us a SCARY Batman, which is something we haven’t ever truly seen on the big screen.

Also, Ben Affleck packed on muscle for the role and cast a massive shadow over Henry Cavill’s Superman both figuratively and literally.  Affleck was massive, and I’m glad that he played my favorite superhero.

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Number Three:  Wesley Snipes as Blade

When it comes to the “hero landing,” nobody does it better than Wesley Snipes.  I’ll be honest and say that prior to the first Blade film’s release, I didn’t know much about the character outside of a few action figures and the rare cartoon appearance.  When I saw Snipes on the screen, though, he won me over to the Daywalker.

Every single move that Snipes made in the first two Blade films was deliberate and screamed “hero” every time.  He demanded your attention whenever he entered the scene.

Also, considering the fact that Blade was basically a third tier Marvel character and not even as popular as Iron Man, the success of the first two films and the making of a third (albeit mediocre) film, proved that a great actor can draw crowds no matter what the subject might be.

Yes, the third film, Blade: Trinity, was terrible, but Snipes made it ten times better than it was despite the nonstop motormouth of Ryan Reynolds.

Oh, and Blade was rated R before being rated R was cool.

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Number Two:  Chris Evans as Captain America

I’m not going to lie.  I honestly did not believe that Chris Evans (of Not Another Teen Movie fame) could pull off the true blue, God bless America, eagle-winged Captain America.  But, surprise, surprise, the guy knocked his performance out of the park.  He IS Captain America.  I can’t see anybody else as the the Star-Spangled Man With A Plan.

Evans plays the role to perfection.  I cheered on Cap in his first film even though I felt that it was more of a “Hey, let’s hurry up and get to the Avengers film” film.  There was something extremely patriotic about the whole movie as it played out in front of me.

I can pinpoint the moment in the film that completely sold me on Evans.  It was the moment when Cap and the Howling Commandos stormed a Hydra facility.  The doors blew open and as the smoke cleared, the first thing your eyes hit is that shield, that red, white, and blue wonderful shield.  Cap walks in from behind it and takes charge of the situation.

Then Evans gave one of the best performances in the highly anticipated The Avengers.  I never doubted his leadership abilities for a second, and even though the film had a few rocky moments, Cap kept everything under control.

Then came my favorite Marvel film of all time, Captain America:  The Winter Soldier.  It was an espionage game supreme, and relied on fewer special effects than every other Marvel flick up to that moment. The story drove the film. It is still the most intelligent Marvel film I’ve seen so far.

Finally, Evans managed to do a great job in the lackluster Avengers:  Age of Ultron and the very good, but not great Captain America:  Civil War.

Evans is it, and I can’t stop bragging about him, but he isn’t number one on my list.  Whoever that is must be something very special…….

The Number One Actor To Best Portray A Superhero is…….

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Christopher Reeve.

Superman isn’t even my favorite superhero, but Christopher Reeve definitely put Supes higher on my list with his performance as the Big Blue Boy Scout.  Reeve bungled around like an idiot while portraying Clark Kent.  He personified the “Aw, shucks” attitude of middle America.  He wreaked of wholesomeness and purity, something that almost all of today’s heroes (including Superman) lack.

While under the red cape, Reeve made a larger than life character come to life.  He joked with Lois Lane, showed a great range of emotions, didn’t swear, and did his best to make sure that no one got hurt except for the baddies (and even then he had a heart).

Each one of Reeve’s performances was excellent (even in the terrible third and fourth films), and I have to give a nod to Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh for doing a bang up job in attempting to capture some of Reeve’s magic with Superman Returns.  Singer and Routh knew that they couldn’t top the original, but they did an excellent homage to Reeve with their film.

Christopher Reeve is going to remain at the top of this list indefinitely.  Those below him will most likely change as more time passes, but I seriously doubt that anybody will portray a character as perfectly as Reeve portrayed Superman.

So, there you have it.  My Top Ten list of actors who best portrayed superheroes on the big screen.  I plan on doing a Top Ten for comic book films in the very near future.  I might break it down into two posts.

I know that pretty much everybody will disagree with on this list, so be sure to drop a comment of your own Top Ten below.

As always, thanks for reading.  Be sure to share this post if you’d like.

Ten Burning Questions III!!!!!

Filmmaker On Fire!

It has been a little while since my last post, but this one, another one of the highly popular Ten Burning Questions posts, will melt your face!  Today’s brave soul is Patrick Shawn Bennett, an indie filmmaker who has his hands in all sorts of cookie jars.  I’m proud to call him a friend, and hope that you enjoy reading his answers to some pretty hot questions.

Highlighted words in this post will lead to links.  Be sure to check them out!

1. What nerdy hobbies or jobs do you have?

My hobbies are: making movies, running a pop culture website (popninja.net, putting on a couple of annual film festivals (Lake Charles Film Festival & Calcasieu Serialfest), collecting comics / action figures/ movie prop replicas/ posters/ celebrity autographs, and watching movies and tv shows. Oh, I dabble in screenwriting and old school RPG’s too.

2. Who is you favorite comic book character? It’s changed over the years… when I was a kid I was really into war comics and I would have answered this question with 3 characters: SGT Rock, Blackhawk & The Unknown Soldier (both DC comics.) Right now I would answer it: Green Arrow & The Punisher.

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3. What was the last nerdy thing you did? Shot some new scenes on my new superhero web series called “Stretch.” It’s about a girl that gains super powers and is now being hunted by a covert organization that wants to exploit her powers. I’m making the series as original content for my website popninja.net. I also have a Facebook page for it called “Stretch – The Series.”  Check it out.

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4. Is there a specific film director or writer that you draw inspiration from? My favorite director is Robert Rodriguez. I like his range. He can do family films like Spy Kids and then turn around a give you a gem like Planet Terror.

5. Are you a member of any nerdy or geeky clubs? Tell me about them.  Just the Lake Area Film Group in Lake Charles and the Lake Area Film Scribes. Sometimes we geek out.

The film group is made up of production geeks who help each other with film projects by giving of their time or equipment to help make films. We have actors, directors, writers, camera operators, lighting technicians, and much more. The film scribes are made up of aspiring screen writers and we write and critique each other’s work.

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6. Who’s better with a lightsaber, Count Dooku or Kylo Ren? I would have to say Kylo Ren… because I’m one of those prequel haters and I would have to say who’s Count Dooku? Wasn’t he a vampire duck?

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7. Froot Loops or Frosted Flakes? I’m a looper!

8. What, if anything, do you collect, and how big is your collection? I answered some of this earlier. But the biggest part of my collection is vintage action figures and movie/TV memorabilia. I have tons of stuff. So much that I have two storage units to hold it all. Surrounding my computer desk right now is a vintage Evel Knievel figure on a motorcycle, and Evel bobble head, figures of the fFlash and Arrow from the CW shows, a laser cut miniature of myself frozen in carbonate, a Reaction figure of The Rocketeer, a miniature Evel Knievel pinball machine, a life-size full head mask of the Creature of the Black Lagoon (autographed by the guy who played him,) a 12” figure of Chris Reeves as Superman, a vintage Star Wars At-At Walker, a figure of Twiki from “Buck Rogers” and figures of the Super Friends’ Wonder Twins and their pet monkey.

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9. Do you identify with any specific characters from literature or film? If so, which ones and how do you identify with them?  Yep.

Indiana Jones, Doc Savage, Tarzan, and Allan Quartermaine. These guys are adventure personified and I love a good adventure. Fortune and Glory, kid. Fortune and glory!

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10. Which convention is your favorite and why? I have always liked the Dallas Comicon, but I stopped going for a few years now because it has grown so big that it’s more hassle to me than it’s worth. I mainly stick to the two local cons in Lake Charles now… CyphaCon and Bayoucon.

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Super Mega Bonus Question 11: Do you have a website, Facebook page, email address, or any other type of info that you’d like to share with my readers?

Popninja.net , facebook.com/popninja , lakecharlesfilmfestival.com , facebook.com/lcfilmfest , facebook.com/gorillabob , also you can check blogger for “Movies by the Slice”, “Sci-Fi 100” and “The Adventures of Louisiana Bennett.”

Well, that’s all for this week, folks.  Thanks for reading.  Also, if you happen to be in southwest Louisiana on July 16th, be sure to check out Calcasieu Serialfest.  It’s a FREE event and everybody is welcomed!

Coming up in the next few weeks, I’ll have a few more Ten Burning Questions and my views on all sorts of nerdy things.  Keep in touch!