Rank: Top Ten Favorite TV Vehicles

Nope, Automan didn’t make the list, but this was a sweet ride!

Full Disclosure: I totally ripped off this idea from Jamie Ray’s Fave Five From Fans podcast. Be sure to check out his podcast and let him know that yours truly sent him your way! Click this link to find out more!

“Chicks dig the car.”

Okay, so “chicks” might not be the proper term to use these days but it’s a well known fact that back in the day, plenty of chicks were attracted to certain vehicles on television. Some of those vehicles were actual cars and trucks that you could buy off of a lot (so long as you had a ton of money in hand) and some were either customized stock vehicles or entirely new fabrications for a series.

In this list I’ll be ranking my top ten favorite vehicles from television. I’m limiting myself to vehicles on television, so no 1989 Batmobiles or Christines. I’m also limiting myself to vehicles that actually have wheels. This eliminates the awesomeness that is Airwolf and the Riptide boat. I’m also not what you’d call a “car guy,” so I’m not getting into the technical aspects of the vehicles. With that in mind, let’s waste no more time and get to the list!

Number Ten: 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTB/4

Sure, this ride wasn’t actually a Ferrari, but it looked awesome and was, at least in my opinion, the coolest car on Miami Vice. The exterior panels were Ferrari, but the engine was from a Chevrolet Corvette. This replica vehicle infuriated Ferrari, and they ended up giving the series two brand-spanking new 1986 Ferrari Testarossas. Popular Mechanics has an awesome article about this and many of the other vehicles used in the series here. I always preferred this black Daytona Spyder over the Testarossa and hated to see it destroyed on the show.

Number Nine: The General Lee

I spent many hours of my childhood pretending to be Luke Duke (I always thought that he was cooler than Bo). I rode all over my yard and used any and every piece of wood, clump of dirt, or any other items as a launching point for my bicycle which I pretended was the 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee. Dukes of Hazzard was one of my favorite shows as a very young child and Daisy Duke was one of my earliest crushes. With the rebel flag on top and that orange paint all over, I thought that this was the baddest vehicle on the planet. I understand that this vehicle has become somewhat controversial over the years but for its time, nothing could beat the General Lee.

Number Eight: 1983 GMC Vandura

Let’s be honest, outside of the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo, vans haven’t been sought out that much for transportation on television. While the Mystery Machine didn’t make my list, the coolest van in the history of television did: The A-Team‘s GMC Vandura. Sure, it had a ton of gadgets and weapons in the back, and always the right ones for whatever job the gang was working, but this van is cool because it was black, had a red stripe on it, was almost always driven by B.A. Baracus (Mr. T), and had a freaking spoiler on top! A van with a FREAKING SPOILER ON TOP! If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is!

Number Seven: Black Beauty

The blacked out, souped up 1966 Chrysler Imperial Crown that is best known as Black Beauty from The Green Hornet series is exactly that, a black beauty. When I first saw this vehicle in reruns of the classic Hornet series, I immediately fell in love. The dark coloring made the green headlights pierce the night and it just screamed “cool.” Throw in all of the weapons that were in the vehicle and you’ve got the sweetest superhero ride on the block that is second only to the iconic Batmobile.

Number Six: The Highwayman Truck

The short-lived 1987 series The Highwayman is just one of a long list of shows that were cancelled too soon in my opinion. It starred Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) and “Jacko” Jackson (Energizer Battery commercial star in the U.S.) as a duo of crime fighters in the near future. The Highwayman rolled around a very Mad Max like desert area battling bad guys in a heavily modified 1980 Kenworth cab-over. When I say highly modified, I meant it. The “cab” of the truck was actually a helicopter that could be used for aerial assaults. The vehicle had a number of impressive weapons, a handy car stowed away in the rear, and could also become invisible when needed. The Highwayman’s buddy, Jetto, also had a cool ride that included an awesome car, but that truck didn’t make this list.

Number Five: 1973 Dodge Open Road

Batman has the Batmobile. The Green Hornet has Black Beauty. Panthro has the Thunder Tank. So what stylish ride would you expect one of the most powerful superheroes of all time to roll around in fighting crime? If your answer was a 1973 Dodge Open Road, you’re correct! From 1974 to 1976, Billy Batson, who with one magic word would become Captain Marvel, and Billy’s mentor named….um….Mentor, would travel from town to town looking to right wrongs. Outside of the sweet lightning bolt on the front and a tricked out communicator that allowed Billy and Mentor to speak with the mystical elders, there’s nothing special about this vehicle. It’s just really cool and deserves the five spot on my list.

Number Four: Magnum, P.I. Ferrari 308 GTSi

Tom Selleck actually drove three versions of the Ferrari 308 GTSi during Magnum, P.I.’s eight season run. The 1981 version was used the longest, seasons 2-6, with the 1979 card being used only in the first season and a 1984 model used in the final two seasons. All three of the cars were gorgeous and looked great while cruising around Hawaii. Of course, Thomas Magnum is an iconic character, so he deserved an iconic car.

Number Three: 1951 Ford F1

On the surface it doesn’t look like much, but the red 1951 Ford F1 pickup truck was used by a great “collector” and his “coordinator,” Lamont and Fred Sanford of Sanford & Son Salvage. Fred is the “Sanford” and Lamont is the “Son” if you weren’t already aware. I always loved this beat up old truck because I grew up around a lot of folks that drove beat up old trucks. This pickup cruises into the three spot on my list simply because I love Redd Foxx and Sanford & Son so much. It appeared in the opening credits of every episode and was shown during almost every episode, usually parked and always full of junk.

Number Two: The Batmobile

No vehicle is as iconic as the Batmobile. Whether it’s the 1989 version, the “tumbler” from the Dark Knight trilogy, or any other version of this car, there’s simply no other ride on the planet that is memorable as the Batmobile. Outside of the 1989 Michael Keaton Batmobile, the best known version of the car is the heavily modified 1955 Ford Futura concept car used by Adam West in the classic 60’s Batman TV series. It was teeming with amazing gadgets that included the Bat-magnet, Bat-scope, Bat-phone, Bat-ray, Bat…..well, you get the picture. It even had an inflatable decoy! This car is simply amazing and it definitely deserves the top spot on my list…..except one vehicle outshines it in my sweet little 1980’s heart. That vehicle is……..

Number One: KITT

KITT easily tops this list as the most iconic TV vehicle of all time. Only the Batmobile comes remotely close to KITT’s awesomeness. Driven by the always-cooler-than-you Michael Knight (an icon himself, David Hasselhoff), KITT was a self-aware vehicle that could speak, drive itself, and do a ton of other things. KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) had a medical scanner, a chemical analyzer, flame throwers, a nearly indestructible body, oil squirters, and so much, much more. In Knight Rider‘s fourth and final season, KITT received an update that added even more gadgets and weapons to his arsenal.

KITT was sarcastically voiced by William Daniels. You might know him from St. Elsewhere, but younger generations will know him as Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. KITT had an evil twin named KARR (Knight Automated Roving Robot) who was originally voiced by Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime. Both vehicles were 1982 Pontiac Trans Ams.

I had the opportunity of seeing a replica of KITT on two occasions. I simply love this vehicle. KITT is amazing. He showed up in my life at just the right time to captivate me and I love that car with all of my heart. I hope to one day meet David Hasselhoff, William Daniels, and Peter Cullen. As a child I wanted to be Michael Knight and as an adult I STILL want to be Michael Knight!

I hope that you enjoyed my list. Let me know some of your favorite vehicles in the comments section. Thanks for reading my post!

Rank: Top Ten Favorite Tag Teams

“Ohhhh, you didn’t know?????”

Professional wrestling tag teams don’t seem to get nearly as much emphasis these days as they did back in the 1970’s and 80’s. Even with electrifying performers such as the Hardy Boyz, the Young Bucks, and Edge and Christian making an impact in the 2000’s, most modern tag teams are packaged together for a brief stint and then busted up for individual runs at wrestling gold. There are very few teams that stand the test of time. For that reason, the majority of my favorite tag teams are from the 1980’s and 90’s, with just a few exceptions.

As with my previous list, the only criteria that I have for making this list is how much I personally enjoy the wrestlers and how much of an impact they had on my life. Here ya go…..

#10: Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss

Although it currently looks like this duo might be separating soon, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross have been a surprisingly enjoyable tag team to watch. I love the chemistry between them, with Cross becoming unhinged during matches and Bliss pushing all of the right buttons against their competitors. Bliss has had quite a bit of success on her own, and it looks like Cross might be about to get a singles push, hopefully for the Women’s title.

#9: The Fabulous Freebirds

Inventors of the “Freebird Rule,” which allowed any two members of the Freebird stable to defend the tag titles at any time, the trio of Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and Buddy “Jack” Roberts were definitely trailblazers in the world of tag team wrestling. Hayes loved running his mouth and excelled at agitating audiences and other wrestlers. Their feuds with other stables such as the Von Erichs are the stuff of legend. Other members rotated in and out, but the trio that I fell in love with was that of Hayes, Gordy, and Roberts.

#8: The New Age Outlaws

The “Road Dogg” Jesse James and the “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn formed the New Age Outlaws in the late 90’s as a part of the D-Generation X stable. They were an integral part of my jumping ship from WCW to WWF. James had a mouth on him that few wrestlers can match and Gunn provided the muscle for the duo. After exiting from WWF, the duo would find themselves either at odds with one another or reuniting as the James Gang or the Voodoo Kin Mafia. The pair had a solid run as tag team champions in multiple promotions and also had excellent careers as singles competitors and with other tag team members. They definitely deserve their spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.

#7: The Lucha Bros

One of the few modern tag teams that connects with the crowd on a level similar to legends like the Rock N’ Roll Express, the Lucha Bros (Pentagon, Jr. and Fenix) are simply amazing to watch. Whether it’s Fenix flying through the air or walking the ropes to execute a move or Pentagon locking up opponents in submissions, this team is a one-two punch of excitement. Both wrestlers have lengthy and successful singles careers, but their tag team success has been limited to single runs except for their AAA two-time (and current) reign. Hopefully AEW will put the belts on these guys soon!

#6: The Brain Busters

Quite possibly the two toughest guys on this list, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson were essentially a pair of powerhouses that pummeled their opponents into submission. Originating in the NWA and founding members of the legendary Four Horsemen stable, Blanchard and Anderson only held championships on three occasions (twice in the NWA and once in the WWF) but were extremely popular and had feuds with other legendary tag teams like the Midnight Express. Anderson would win numerous tag titles with other wrestlers as wold Blanchard, with Blanchard having more success as a singles competitor. Simply put, when you talk about legends, these two guys should come to mind.

#5 Edge and Christian

With seven WWE Tag Team title reigns and numerous singles championships across multiple promotions, Edge and Christian are two of the most decorated guys on this list. Along with the New Age Outlaws, the Hardy Boyz, and Harlem Heat, E&C were one of the final duos to find major success as an established tag team and not just as a couple of wrestlers thrown together to have a title run. With their “Five Second Poses” and the Con-Chair-To, the duo entertained crowds for many years. They also achieved legendary status with the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz in mulitple TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) matches.

#4: Harlem Heat

Although Booker T is probably best known for his singles success, he and Stevie Ray ruled WCW as Harlem Heat. With a record ten WCW Tag Title reigns under their belts, it’s hard to argue that they weren’t the promotion’s greatest tag team. Stevie Ray was the enforcer and Booker T would hit the high spots. They worked in perfect unison and the crowd loved them.

#3: The Hardy Boyz

One of the last pure tag teams in professional wrestling in my opinion, the Hardy Boyz (collectively known as Team Xtreme with Lita), have held no less than twelve tag team titles across multiple promotions. Jeff was the flyer and the innovator while Matt was the stronger wrestler on the ground. They’ve broken up and reunited multiple times over the years and both Matt and Jeff have had massive success as singles competitors, but I’ll always prefer them as a tag team. Lita has also had multiple successful runs as a singles competitor, with four women’s title reigns under her belt.

#2: The Midnight Express

The only reason that these guys are number two on my list is because the number one team were such awesome faces against them. The Midnight Express was the first heel team that I ever loved to hate. There have been numerous members on the team over the years, but the duo of “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey and “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton were my favorites. Their feud with the Rock N’ Roll Express is my favorite feud of all time. With their manager, the legendary Jim Cornette, singing their praises and often interfering in matches, these guys were simply amazing. I really hated these guys, but they were so much fun to watch!

#1: The Rock N’ Roll Express

No team in the history of professional wrestling had as much of an impact on my childhood as the Rock N’ Roll Express did. Sure, other teams might have won more titles, but none of them ever triggered waves of excitement in me like Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton did. I watched their matches religiously and cheered them on as they battled teams like the Midnight Express and the Fantastics. They were literally legends fighting legends in their heyday. The duo are still active on the wrestling circuit, most recently being a part of the new Billy Corgan version of the NWA (and winning the tag titles for a ninth time). They were innovators, high flyers, and the precursor to future flyers like The Rockers, the Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian, and the Young Bucks. Modern tag team wrestling owes these guys everything!

Honorable mentions:

Like my previous list, there are plenty of other tag teams that I could have listed in this ranking. Honorable mentions go out to the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane), the Road Warriors, the Fantastics, the Dudley Boyz, the Motor City Machine Guns, and the Rock n’ Sock Connection.

Let me know who you’re favorite tag teams are in the comments section. There’s no wrong answer, so don’t be afraid to list any teams that might not be that well known. Heck, I could have listed a few independent teams such as the Pump Patrol and Hawkx Aerie, so feel free to list all of your favorites.

As always, thanks for reading my post. I’ll have another one coming up real soon!

Rank: Top Ten Favorite Professional Wrestlers

Are you ready???

This is one of the toughest lists that I’ve ever had to put together. I grew up with professional wrestling on the family television every Sunday morning and/or afternoon and watched it religiously. Mid-South Wrestling introduced me to some of the greatest heels and faces in professional wrestling. Ric Flair, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Junkyard Dog, One Man Gang, Kamala, Eddie Gilbert, and Koko B. Ware are just a few of the wrestlers that stepped into the ring for Mid-South.

In college, the Monday Night Wars were at their peak, and myself and a number of friends were firmly in the WCW Monday Nitro camp, only flipping over to WWF during commercial breaks or during dull moments on Nitro. Eventually, WWF Monday Night Raw won me over and I began watching that program regularly. My interest in WWE has waned over the years (although I still enjoy it from time to time) and I often find myself watching other wrestling programs such as NWA Powerrr, Impact, and Reality Of Wrestling.

Throughout my life I have attended live professional wrestling events. From independent shows in high school gyms to WCW house shows and even a few live Raw events, I’ve seen wrestling on every level in person. I’ve met a few wrestlers over the years as well including Lita, Brutus Beefcake, Thunder Rosa, the Bushwhackers, Public Enemy, and multiple independent wrestlers. I’ve also read numerous issues of wrestling publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the now defunct WOW (World Of Wrestling).

Basically, I love professional wrestling and everything good and bad about it. With that being said, I struggled to figure out exactly who I should put on this list. I decided that I wouldn’t establish any specific criteria for putting wrestlers on my list. Instead, I’d go with how much I personally love each wrestler and their impact on me. This means that my list will include wrestlers from the independent circuit all the way up to the major league stars of WWE, WCW, NWA, etc. and most people will not agree with my list. This isn’t a popularity list. It’s a personal list and a love letter to all of my favorite wrestlers over the years.

The List:

#10: Isaiah “Izzy” James

Along with his valet, the Insidious One (more on her later), Isaiah James has ripped his way through a number of independent wrestling promotions. I was first introduced to him and “Sid” at a Hurricane Pro Wrestling show in Beaumont, TX. At the time he was billed as The Unholy One, and I bought his gimmick completely. I’ve been a fan ever since and see nothing but good things ahead for him and Sid.

#9: Diamond Dallas Page

Diamond Dallas Page’s rise to fame is an inspirational story. He fought tooth and nail to make it to the top and never let any setbacks, including destroying his back, stop him. Today he is the face and founder of DDP Yoga, an exercise program that I am currently using to better myself. Say what you want about Randy Orton’s RKO, but the Diamond Cutter will always be one of the greatest finishers in the business!

#8: Rick Steiner

The Dog-Faced Gremlin, Rick Steiner, was and always will be my favorite Steiner brother. Much like DDP, Rick Steiner comes across as a workhorse. It always seemed that Rick was in his brother’s shadow despite, at least in my opinion, being a better worker and a more interesting personality. I wish that Rick Steiner could have achieved bigger and better things, but he’s tops in my heart.

#7: Lance Storm

Much like a number of other wrestlers on this list, Lance Storm never seemed to get the push that he deserved. Definitely one of the most technically proficient wrestlers in the business, Storm found success in ECW and eventually some solid recognition in WCW. He started off the WCW takeover of WWE whenever Vince bought out WCW, and he was put on the backburner for pretty much the rest of his in-ring career. Lance Storm definitely deserved better, no matter how serious he might be in the ring.

#6: Shawn Michaels

Say what you want about the Heartbreak Kid’s attitude and his behind-the-scenes politics, you cannot deny that he knew how to fire up a crowd. Controversial, cocky, and seemingly having too much fun in the ring, HBK’s Sweet Chin Music was nothing more than a superkick, but it got a pop every single time he applied it to his opponents. Along with Triple H, HBK ignited the Monday Night Wars with D-Generation X, a faction that continued to flourish even after his exit from the ring.

#5: Triple H

Whether it was the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Orton, or whoever else was at the top of the WWE charts, Triple H managed to be a massive thorn in their side. Like DDP, Triple H has come back more than once from career-ending injuries. Whether you like him or not, you cannot deny how much work the guy put in night after night to get to the top of the WWE roster. Triple H was and still is a beast, and his wrestling pedigree is definitely not in question.

#4: Thunder Rosa

The NWA’s current women’s champion has a special place in my heart. I found her on the independent circuit as Thunder Rosa, but she also found success in the ring for Lucha Underground as Kobra Moon and as Serpentine. I’ve met Thunder Rosa on a couple of occasions and she is not only one of the friendliest professional wrestlers that you’ll ever meet, she’s also very interactive with her fans on social media. Her match with Mercedes Martinez at the second Hurricane Pro Ladies Night Out event is one of the greatest matches that I’ve ever witnessed live or on television. She’s going places, and I wish her the best of luck.

#3: Junkyard Dog

This is where things start to get tough. JYD could be number one on this list any day of the week, but there are a couple of other wrestlers that he has to compete with for that top spot in my heart. I used to imitate JYD as a child while wrestling with my father in the living room (much to my mother’s dismay). From what I’ve learned over the years, JYD had a massive heart to go along with all of those muscles, and he’ll always be one of my favorite faces.

#2: Sting

I grew up watching the multi-colored face of Sting every Sunday. He was the young upstart that grabbed the attention of the audience. Established stars battled him day in and day out but had a hard time winning over the fans against him. In his later years with WCW, Sting would take on the Crow paint and hang out in the rafters. This version of Sting was still great, but my favorite version will always be the one with the loud paint and brightly colored tights.

#1: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

I met this “Tough Guy” when I was eight years old. I shook Hacksaw’s massive hand and walked back to my chair starstruck. Hacksaw always came across as the regular guy who became a massive star. He looked like the fellows that my dad worked with every day. He’s an every man and I love that fact. Hacksaw is my champion and he always will be my champion. Even when he joined up with Team Canada, I loved the guy. Hacksaw could do no wrong, and I hope to meet him again soon in order to get a photo and an autograph.

Honorable mentions:

Like I said, this list was tough to create, and I left a few people out of my list that definitely deserve a spot in my Top Twenty. The Insidious One, Izzy James’ valet, has one of the coolest entrances in the business, crawling around like a spider into the ring. I’ve never witnessed her in a match live, but I’ve watched plenty of her matches on the web.

Other honorable mentions include Lita, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Kane, Willie Mack, and Terry Taylor.

I could list more, but I would never be able to find a stopping point. Let me know some of your favorite wrestlers in the comments section!

I’m thinking about creating another list featuring my favorite tag teams. That one should be a lot easier to build as there have only been a few tag teams that really had any impact on me.

As always, thanks for reading. I’ve got a couple of toy reviews coming up soon and maybe a comic review as well.

Rank: Top Ten Most Clicked Pics

No Pacific Rim Uprising Yet….

But I do still plan to see the film as soon as possible.  While I’m waiting for a chance to see the film (and review it), I thought that it would be interesting to take a look at the ten most clicked photos from my blog since I first started posting over four years ago!  I’ll give a brief comment for each photo and I’ve also included five honorable mentions that just missed the cut.  I hope you enjoy!

#1–Star Trek Continues Wallpaper

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It’s no surprise that a Star Trek Continues wallpaper is my most clicked image.  All but one of my most viewed posts has something to do with STC.  It’s one of my favorite shows and it always will be.

#2–The Discount Dark Knight and Jinx (Curry Time Cosplay)

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I’m absolutely, one hundred percent, tee totally sure that the reason that this is my second most viewed photo is because my alter ego, DDK, is in the photo.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the very lovely Curry Time Cosplay is in this photo…at….all.

In all honesty, this is just one of multiple photos from my post that highlighted a wonderful weekend at CoastCon in Biloxi, MS.  It’s my second most viewed post of all time, and this photo can attest to that!

#3–Another STC photo

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Featuring four of the lovely ladies that were part of the STC crew, it’s no shocker that this photo was my third most clicked pic! (L to R: Kim Stinger, Kipleigh Brown, Michele Specht, and Cat Roberts).

#4–CoastCon Strikes Again!!!

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DDK took a ton of photos at CoastCon a few years ago and once again, he’s pretty sure that the reason that everybody clicked on this photo is because he’s in it.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the lovely Wonder Woman cosplayer in the photo.  Oh, and if anyone knows her, let me know so that I can list her name and/or cosplay page if she has one.

#5–Jinkies!  CoastCon is dominating this list!top5

Velma never looked better than she did here at CoastCon.  If you know who this person is, let me know so that I can give her credit.  Based on the number of clicks on the photo, she was a hit with my readers.

#6–The Amorettes

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Truth be told, I could have made a list entirely of photos of the Amorettes.  All of their photos that I have featured have been clicked multiple times, but this one surged into sixth place on my list.

#7–HaberPhototop7

Todd Haberkorn has a lot of fans, so it’s not a big surprise to see that my photo that I took with him a couple of years ago made my Top Ten list.  Between his massive anime following and his loyal Star Trek Continues fans, it’s no wonder that plenty of people have clicked this pic….or because I’m in it.

#8–Mechacon’s Mascots, Jett & Zee

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I’ve taken plenty of photos with Jett & Zee over the years, but this particular photo, taken at CyPhaCon a few years ago, obviously impressed my readers.  It zooms in at number eight on my list.

#9–You can’t keep CoastCon down!

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CoastCon is back on the list in the nine hole with this photo of myself, Awkward Cosplay Girl and another wonderful cosplayer that I don’t have a name for at the moment.  Let me know who she is and I’ll give her full credit.

#10–Surprise, Surprise: CoastCon closes out the Top Ten

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My good friend, Nick Foreman, better known as Toad Sage Cosplay, rounds out the Top Ten with yet another CoastCon photo.  Here he is as the good Doctor from Doctor Who, (#7 to be exact).  That means that five out of ten of my top photos come from my second most viewed post.

CoastCon obviously has some loyal fans….or they like to click on photos of me with lovely ladies, Scooby-Doo lady friends, or the Doctor!

Here are my next five honorable mentions in order by the number of views:

1-Me with the very lovely and extremely cool, Michele Specht, from Star Trek Continues.

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2-Bryce Dallas Howard, probably because of her hair.

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3-CoastCon still going strong with Lego Wonder Woman.

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4-My favorite group of green ladies, Orion’s Envy, and myself.

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5-The dashingly handsome Chris Doohan from Star Trek Continues.

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I hope that you enjoyed this little break from my standard posts.  I plan on making a few more lists in the near future.  Thanks for reading!!!

 

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.