Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of the year (2010)

Alrighty then, so here we are again, the end of another year, the closing of another chapter, stick a fork in 2010, folks, it is done. We are mere hours from a new year and only 724 days until the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and with it, the world as we know it.


It's been an up and down year, some good, some bad, but more good than bad, I think, so I guess that's a win for me.

On the blog front, this post will put me at 80 posts this year. That's about 6 or 7 posts a month, on the average, and about 30 posts less than last year. I've had a lot less of Le Sexy Ladies posts, though, so that's probably where that drop-off comes from.

Looking ahead, my dear and gentle Readers, in the coming weeks you should be on the lookout for my end-of-the-year lists to start making their annual appearances. I'm planning on a Best/Worst movie list (...surprise, surprise), once I catch up on a couple films I've missed, and I might just put up a best comic book list too, for the whole two of you out there that not only read this blog, but might actually be interested as well, depending on the wild hairs in my butt.

(Is it hairs or hares? Are you saying: "There's an ingrown hair in my butt making me do things" or are you saying: "There's feral bunnies in my butt making me do things"? Which one would Richard Gere choose, do you think?)

ANYWAY, I'm also thinking I'll put something up at the Scribblerati blog, probably in the next couple of days or so, just to put a nice little bow on things, you know? In a nutshell, keep an eye out for that shit...

On the writing front, this year has been a quiet year, a year of rejections, a year of edits. I have finished Gunslingers of the Apocalypse pretty much for good (give or take). I've also recently updated the spread sheet. I've got six queries out currently. Two are probably dead. Two are at the point of re-querying or soon will be. Two of them are still current. So, by the middle of the month, I plan on sending out a couple of new queries, while dealing with the aforementioned re-queries, as well as dig up a few more names for future use.

People should be back in the office by then.

And yeah, my stuff will end up lumped in with the post-holiday deluge of everyone else, but... que sera, sera. Meanwhile, The Little Things waits patiently for a final tweak while I finish up Monster, which should be this week. Then Monster will get trunked for a bit to percolate while The Little Things starts going back out again. Then it's back to short stories. My plan is to have six to eight of them done or very nearly almost done by spring. The ideas are lining up and I'm feeling positive about them, so we'll see. After that... I'll either get back on Bastard out of Minnesota or I'll be starting something else I've been back-burner-ing for awhile now. Either way: Stop! Novel time!

Basically, to sum up: this is a year where there will be less editing, more writing and more querying... at least, that's my plan. Also, I bought P90x... so in 90 days... look the fuck out.

All in all, I am ready for 2011, how about you?

Jon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another sweet poster


Battle: Los Angeles. Supposedly it's like ID4 meets Blackhawk Down, with the story following one squad of soldiers in one battle during an alien invasion of our world. That battle, obviously, is for Los Angeles. The trailer looks great and now the poster looks great too. This one is on my list, despite the fact that Michelle Rodriquez is in it, most likely with her mouth hanging partially open the entire time...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Posters

Here's the poster for the film Black Swan. I'm really looking forward to the film and this is a fantastic image for the poster, I love the use of negative space. The more I think about it, I think I'm also really drawn to it, because it looks like the sigil of the Rebel Alliance.  Hmmm... Anyway, it looks great and just makes me want to see it all the more. I hope the film holds up.


Next we have a trilogy of images for a famous trilogy of movies. These posters were created by the artist Olly Moss. Apparently they're gonna be on sale at some point on the 20th, limited edition, highly collectable, super in-the-know secret sale, know what I mean? Yeah, you do. I ran across the information here, but you can buy them here when they finally go on ultra double top secret sale.

EDIT: Sold out, baby. Sold out like a motherfucker.

These are amazing. Amazing. I totally want them, but they're expensive. God damn, I wish I was a sexy camgirl. Well, sexier, that is...

Anyway, gaze upon the awesome...






Love 'em. Incredible. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Walking Dead: A recap of Season One, Episodes 4 – 6


Here we are again, standing at the precipice of the second half of my review of the first season of the Walking Dead TV show. Last time we were here, we heard way too much about Meryl and Daryl and not enough about anything else. Blame Darabont. Now, I’ll admit, I was a bit harsh last time out, true, true, all very true. What can I say? I roll with the snark. You can read it here.

Ok, let’s get two things straight here, right off the bat:
1. I like the show. I do. In broad general terms, I like it. I just have a few issues with it close up.
2. Yes, you are right, the comic isn’t literature, not by any stretch, but it’s good enough that I figured some pros could polish it up enough to shine on the TV, you know? There’s some good action and drama there. The story itself is strong; it really is, but the first half of the season? What’s my overview? It was just alright. I expected better.

So, how does the second half go, you ask? Do they get better?

Read on, gentle readers. (No, no they don’t.)


Episode 4: “Vatos

Written by Robert Kirkman, directed by Johan Renck

In this episode, we follow the four idiots as they search for Meryl One-handed, the strongest, most ornery sumbitch alive, not only has Meryl cut off his own hand, but he’s also killed three zombies and then cauterized the wound with sterno cans! He’s like the Davy Crockett of the zombie apocalypse. The four idiots lose Meryl at a broken window and decide to completely forget about him forever or at least until season 2, we’ll see… Back at Camp Stupid, previously unremarkable survivor Jim is digging holes. Shane tells him to quit, but Jim says no way and then they wrestle and then Shane ties Jim to a tree. Back in Atlanta, the four idiots turn their focus on the big bag of guns that Rick left in the street at the end of Episode 1, the same guns that then got rained on in Episode 2…. Moving on! They enact a plan to get the guns, only to be jumped by the feared Latino gang: the Sharks from West Side Story! The Sharks kidnap Glenn and they want to exchange him for the guns, they then back away to the sound of slow choreographed snapping… Soon everyone is pointing guns at each other, it’s a stand-off (a Mexican stand-off, if you will… ah-ha, ah-hahaha… oh, how droll) and oh how the tension is a’rising. But wait! PLOT TWIST! The Sharks are actually protecting an old folk’s home filled with old folks! Head idiot Rick takes pity on them and hands over some guns and everyone parts ways, having learned a little bit about each other… and themselves. But wait! PLOT TWIST NUMERO DOUS! Their van is gone! Oh, that Meryl! He is one ornery sumbitch! The idiots think Meryl might return to camp and One-hand the fuck outta everybody, so they start running back to camp, but it turns out he didn’t. Meanwhile, back at Camp Stupid… They’re throwing a party! Fish fry, baby! Here’s to good friends… tonight is kinda speci—AH ZOMBIES! CHOMP! CHOMP! EAT! AHHHH! LOUD NOISES! BLOOD-BLOOD-BLOOD!

I just… I mean… sigh… come on, man! I can’t even talk about the stupid gang-banger plot, it’s as stupid and as complete a waste of time as you would assume… And again, Meryl… he will not go quietly into that good night. They pretend like he’s a plot point, but he’s really not. It doesn’t really matter though, because this is the last time you really ever hear him mentioned… Three of the six episodes are practically focused like a laser on the guy and for what? Nothing.

What are they doing? Did they not realize they only had a little less than six hours with which to tell a whole story with a beginning, middle, and end? What if they hadn’t gotten a season 2? Yes, this episode was written by series creator Robert Kirkman, I know and I hear, for all intents and purposes, he’s a real nice guy, but this episode? Weak sauce, sister. This is the low point of the season…

Also, Shane is once again the only person in the entire group without his head firmly up his ass. Every time someone wants to do something stupid, who is it that tells them that it is stupid and then turns out to be right? Shane. Who took care of his buddy’s family after he was unable to save that buddy from the zombie apocalypse (or so he thought)? Shane. And the worst part is… I’m pretty sure they mean for the audience to be feeling this way about Rick, head idiot and a big time Mr. Weepy-pants. Also, did they insinuate that Jim was psychic? Ugh… Let’s move on…

This was a poorly done, poorly written episode.


Episode 5: “Wildfire”

Written by Glen Mazzara, directed by Ernest Dickerson

In this episode, we see that it can sometimes take hours for a dead person to change into a zombie… HOURS… Clean-up from the previous night’s party is the focus of most of the first third of the episode. While sweeping, it is discovered that Jim was bitten during the night’s festivities. Rick takes action. “To the CDC,” he says “they may have a cure for Jim.” Shane says, “That’s a dumb idea” and the two almost slap fight. Then he and Rick go hunting and Shane does his imitation of Dick Cheney, but he’s just pretending. Rick never gets to see the impersonation though, but Dale, the wise old man of the group (you can tell by the beard), sees this and gives Shane a disapproving look. As a result, Shane feels guilty and agrees to Rick’s plan. No one else gets a say. So the survivors take as many vehicles as possible, instead of conserving fuel and having everyone pile into one or two, and head off down the road… minus a few more Red shirts. You see, unbeknownst to the viewing audience, there was a really nice family of Mexican Redshirts among the survivors at the camp. Thinking back, I do remember seeing them in the background once or twice. What a bunch of nice Redshirts. So anyway, instead of going to the CDC, they decide to go their own way (go their own waaaaaay) and the viewing audience barely notices or cares. Back to the road, the survivors are trucking along, but Jim is turning too quick and he wants to be left behind. So they leave him, and despite the fact that without Jim they don’t really have a reason to go to the one place in America guaranteed to have the zombie virus present, they keep going. Meanwhile, in the CDC, Dr. Scientist is doing his best impression of Charlton Heston as the Omega man. He is interrupted by Rick and the others banging on his door. At the last moment, he lets them in.

This episode wasn’t bad, although admittedly I don’t remember much of my reaction toward it, so maybe that’s the most telling part right there. Ambivalence, they name is Episode 5: “Wildfire”.

The journey to the CDC is the biggest divergence from the book so far, maybe not thematically, but at least setting wise. I think if there was anything I’d point out as not liking, it would be a few missed opportunities, both new ones and the results of previous ones. Take Dale and Andrea, for instance… please. (ba-dum-bum tssch! I’ll be here all week!) Dale, you may recall is the old guy with the beard, so he’s wise. He’s got a special bond with the sisters: college age and now dead and zombified Amy and her older sister, sad and not zombified Andrea. Of course, you wouldn’t really know about their bond unless you read the comics, as they’ve spent more time with Meryl, Daryl, and T Dog (the name of my next band BTW) then they have on this trio, but they act like this isn’t the case in the script. What you get is a “touching” scene between two characters that haven’t really interacted before this, but are both acting like they have. A little bit of character building might have lent some more emotional weight to the moment… Missed opportunity. I also had a little trouble with the beginnings of the “Shane is not just a mega-jerk, but he might be ca-ca-ca-crazy” storyline. Of course, I had the same problems with the abruptness of that storyline in the comic too, so maybe that’s a different issue and not really the show’s fault.

Also, Amy’s turning took forever.


Episode 6: “TS-19”

Written by Adam Fierro and Frank Darabont, directed by Guy Ferland

In this episode we see a flashback to Shane’s attempted rescue of Rick from the hospital as it is being overrun. The military is shooting everything that moves, the Dead are everywhere and they are biting people like crazy. Gunshots. Explosions. Smoke. The chaos is too much and Shane is forced to leave Rick, blocking off his room before fleeing the hospital. He tries. He really tries. Back to the present with our survivors in the CDC and it looks like it’s about that time… That’s right. P-A-R-T… Y? Because they gotta! They’re drinking and eating and laughing and showering! It’s like college. But every party has a Debbie downer and this party’s Debbie downer is named Shane. Still visibly upset over his new lack of access to Lori’s Va-jayjay, he gets drunk in the shower, then he pees on everyone’s parade at dinner and then he tries to force himself on Lori. She bitchslaps him. The next day everyone is hung over, so Dr. Scientist explains how the infection works and then lets it slip that the CDC will be blowing up in less than an hour…ah… WHA!?!? That’s right, blowing up in less than an hour. The survivors get upset at this. Really upset. Dr. Scientist thinks it will be better if they all just blow up. Rick eventually convinces him that that is not in their best interest, so Dr. Scientist releases them and then whispers a secret in Rick’s ear. As the CDC explodes, the survivors realize that one of their last Redshirts has stayed behind: Skinny black lady is dead. The survivors pause briefly and then drive off into the unknown…

Thematically, this episode was important. You’ll hear some people out there gripe about the show not doing the “Wiltshire Estates” storyline, but that’s just fan-wank. “Wiltshire Estates” is a story arc where the survivors attempt to occupy an abandoned gated community only to find out the place is already occupied… BY THE DEAD… and this CDC storyline covers the same ground. Basically, they both teach our heroes that the old world is gone and that nowhere is safe. And that’s important for them to realize, because it changes them from being refuges hoping for rescue, to survivors looking to build a new life. It’s also the final culling, where the folks who were hoping for rescue give up. The people who make it through that realization have their own reasons to live and keep on surviving.

This episode also explained the zombie infection, not where it comes from, but how it works, which is alright, I guess. Personally, I feel like the information is mostly unimportant and a narrative waste, because it doesn’t change anything about the survivors’ daily reality. Knowing how the virus works doesn’t mean you don’t have to run as fast anymore. I mean, I guess I don’t mind the virus explanation, if they must, because how it works is obvious, I’m just glad they avoided explaining the origin. I like it better as a massive cosmic side-swiping rather than… you know, a space virus or a lab accident or toxic waste or whatever. It’s better when there is no meaning and no one to blame. It’s better when it just is and the survivors have to deal or die. Once you define it, it’s lessened, you know?

Otherwise… a lot of fake tension. I mean, what the fuck? A ticking clock? Oh no, will they all blow up? What will they do? I’m so unsure… PPPPHhhhhhhbbbbbbtttttttttt! Fuck that shit; it’s like bad star trek writing. How stupid. Also, here we get more Dale and Andrea acting as if this bond they have isn’t brand new to viewing audience as Andrea gives up and decides to stay at the CDC until convinced by Dale that she should keep fighting to live, so she agrees and they run off, jumping toward the camera as the CDC CGI explodes. The funniest part was Skinny black lady was all like: “I’m staying.” And everyone is like, “Cool, later.” Then Andrea goes: “I’m staying too.” And everyone is like: “NOOOOOOOO!” Yeah, in your face, Skinny black lady, we hate you, go blow up.

I’m torn on the Shane rape scene; I think it came off awkward. Kind of like that sentence...He definitely assaulted her (which is definitely bad), but I don’t think he intended to "rape" her, I think the character was supposed to be drunkenly convinced that if he could just get her to kiss him, she’d admit her love for him. It’s the same thing, but I think the intent comes from a different place, which makes Shane a deeply flawed character instead of sudden Snidely Whiplash out of nowhere bad guy… Maybe this scene is a good example of how the show just fell short of pulling off the little details and nuances that really kept it from being a great show.

Like, Rick is the new guy, right? In the show, he’s been awake for about a week, give or take. Everyone else has been living in the zombie apocalypse for 5 weeks, give or take. So how come everybody seems just as clueless as Rick? How come they all act like they’re just experiencing all of this for the first time? They were there for the end of the world; they saw it and they survived. Why aren’t they a little more hardened? The way this season went, I fell like the writers never even considered this. I mean, wouldn’t the survivors all know about the CDC? If a zombie virus was tearing up the world, wouldn’t you think the CDC would be the center of the Universe, the last hope, and on TV constantly before the power goes out? Wouldn’t you think everyone would know about the place? Wouldn’t the pictures of the zombies hanging out there at the end have been flashed around the world? Wouldn’t everyone know to stay away? You'd would think so, wouldn't you? A nit, sure, but still... going to the CDC after a plague based apocalyopse would be like robbing a bank and then deciding to hide out at the police station.

But then, that’s the show in a nutshell, there were so many broad strokes requiring a caring audience to fill in the gaps, so much time wasted on characters that didn’t matter. It wasn’t that they were new and not in the comic, it was that they did nothing except take up valuable space and now… pretty much all of them are dead. What a waste of narrative time. The good news is: there is one redshirt character left (Daryl), and at least he was a 3-D character for awhile, until he faded away in the background for the past two episodes. Of course, this probably means they’ll meet a busload of redshirts in the first five minutes of next season’s premiere. “Hi, I’m Ted, I’m a dentist. I’ll just stand over here…” “Hi, I’m Julie, I was a housewife who lost her family, I plan on flipping out and letting zombies into our camp.” “Hi, mi nombre es Tito, man, I ain’t a Meican’t, I’m a Mexican AND comic relief, vato! Wacky!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

So, what was the secret Dr. Scientist whispered in Rick’s ear? Do you want to know?

Do you really want to know…?

Ok, so it was either 1 of 3 things or a combination.

1. Lori’s pregnant (who’s baby is it?)

2. Everyone is already infected, so everyone will eventually become a zombie when they die, no matter what. Which would make the survivors… wait for it… the Walking Dead (oh, so clever).

3. He tells Rick where he has been sending his video transmissions to (most likely a government bunker or something like that.)

I lean toward 1 or 2.

Overall, yeah, I liked the show, but it comes with too many caveats and addendums for me to really feel good about recommending it to anyone who isn’t into the same shit as me.

There’s too many issues. What was this season about? Where was the realization? Yes, I said the CDC arc is all about showing the survivors that the old world is gone, that no help is coming and that they must start building and defining their new world on their own, but when did we get to SEE that realization happen? I’ll tell you when… we didn’t.

So what was the point?

The problems with this show start at the writing and end at the writing, let’s hope the rumors are true, because as a standalone mini-series, from a story point of view, I gotta say this show was a failure. Whose story was told? How did they change? These are basic questions. Does “story” really matter there, AMC? Prove it. You can’t write toward a series you don’t have yet, you have to tell a complete story in the time frame you are given, the pilot, the first six episodes… This is where the story was supposed to be. All those strings leading off into possible future story lines are extra, they’re secondary and to my mind, much like a Receiver running before the ball is in his hands, this is where the show fumbles, this is why this show was ultimately subpar… But then, what do I know, the thing just got a WGA nomination, so… ppphhbbttt.

In the end, yeah, I’ll tune in next season. Definitely. Like I said, the show wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good. Besides, I love me a good apocalypse. So, I’ll tune and hope for focus. Focus on character. Focus on story. We’ll see.

There are others discussing this show. Be sure to swing by Io9 and Badass Digest, if you’re interested.


Fuck that guy…

Jon

The Thunderer

Here's the first teaser poster for Thor. It's alright, could've been worse, could've been better. The armor looks more like armor at least, instead of molded plastic. I love Mjolnir. At this point, who knows how this film is going to turn out, I go back and forth on it. Some of the things I've seen I love, some things... worry me... Either way, I am past ready for the trailer to hit.


Edit:
Hmmm... ask and you shall receive, I guess. The trailer is up, but youtube won't let me embed it, the bastards. I'll put it up when I can, until then it's here. My intitial thoughts? I think it's gonna turn out to be fun, but it's definitely won't hit like Iron Man, even if you don't count Rober Downey Jr. I'm going to have to watch it a few more times before I can really decide, although honestly, that probably says quite a bit on how it ranks on the "blow my skirt up" meter. I totally nailed the plot though, check it out here.

Later,
Jon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Walking Dead: A recap of Season One, Episodes 1 - 3


So, I know I’ve talked about how I generally prefer to distance myself from this property and why, but in case you missed it, it is mostly due to the fact that I don’t want people to get the wrong impressions of my motives. If you want to read me ramble on about it a little bit more, you can find the whole thing here. So, yeah, anyway, this is normally my policy, but since the first season just wrapped up, I figured, everyone else is talking about it, why shouldn’t I?

So let’s do it.

Ok so, for the new kids and first timers, The Walking Dead is a comic by Robert Kirkman about a group of survivors in a world overrun by zombies. The book is pretty good, if somewhat overly expository on occasion, and it tends to explore more of a “realistic”, less flashy type of setting. It's generally a pretty good read. Kirkman has said that his intention was to make a never ending zombie movie. Your approval may vary, but I’m all on board for that. Anyway, along came Frank Darabont and AMC and together they have made a show.

This is what I’ll be blathering on about…

Now, keep in mind, I like the show. I do. Especially in the broad sense, but I’ve definitely got some issues with it and some nits too, all of which I will expound upon at length momentarily, but before we get started, I just wanted to be clear: over all… I like it. Also, this blog turned into a long one, so I’m breaking it up into two parts. First up, as evidenced by this blog’s title, Episodes 1 - 3.

So…



Episode 1: “Days Gone By”

Written and directed by Frank Darabont

In this episode we meet our hero, Rick. Rick’s a cop. Rick got shot. Rick woke up from a coma to find… ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE… always a hazard. Anyway, as Rick stumbles about, slack jawed, trying to piece together just what in the bloody blue fuck is going on, he meets Morgan and Dwayne, fellow survivors who explain the status quo a bit, before Rick sets off alone to find his family, hoping against hope that they’re still alive (they are). In the end, we leave Rick the dumbass trapped inside a tank, out of ammo, and surrounded by zombies.

This is the episode that most closely adhered to the source material and is probably the best example of how adding things to the already established story really brought the show up a notch in terms of quality. It was a real “showcaser” of an episode. Good effects, nice pacing, excellent tension and art direction, it set a good tone and a high bar for the rest of the season to follow (and usually just miss…), especially in terms of “fixing” some the comic’s issues, i.e. the padding to Morgan and Dwayne’s story… the inclusion of Morgan’s zombie wife trying the door knob on the house… it was all great stuff. An all together great start. Well done.

If there was one thing I didn’t like, it would be this one zombie extra. He’s wearing a suit, has stringy hair, he stumbles off the bus in downtown Atlanta… He sucks. You can tell that he’s playing his zombie as really “evil” and he just ends up looking like an over-the-hill metalhead doing scary-Satan guy while working behind the counter at Brueggers, it’s lame… I hate that guy and I hope he knows it.

Is that a nit?


fuck this guy...

Episode 2: “Guts”

Written and directed by Frank Darabont

In this episode, due to some fancy footwork and his poor, poor, really dead horsey, Rick is able to duck out of the tank and slip past the ravenous Dead. He meets new survivor Glenn, who is scavenging a department store in Atlanta, with some other folks, for a larger group that is camped and waiting outside the city. One of their group is a dangerous hothead and he’s on the roof just a’shootin and a’shootin. His name’s Meryl and yes, he hates the colored folks. YEE-HA!!! Rick handcuffs him to the roof of the department store after they wrestle for a bit. But they’ve made a lot of noise and soon the zombies outside are going crazy with the idea of getting in and eating the hell out of everybody. Meanwhile, the group outside the city (including Rick’s wife Lori, son Carl, and his former police partner Shane, who is now boning Lori) all decide that the group in the city is “f” to the “u” to “c.k.e.d.”, so they do other stuff to pass the time. This means Rick and the others are on their own and must attempt a desperate and super gross plan in order to escape… which they then do.

I was a little disappointed in this episode. This is mostly due to the fact that it features my least favorite moment from the comic. I’m referring of course, to the titular “guts”, where Rick and Glenn must douse themselves in zombie in order to walk among the Dead and steal a few cars so they can pick up the others and hi-tail it out of Atlanta. You see this occasionally in the genre and I think it is one of the stupidest ideas out there. Here’s why: First of all, you’re insinuating zombies recognize each other by smell… dumb, but let’s address it anyway. What about fresh zombies? They’re not all gross and rotty, does that confuse older zombies? Also, there is too much thought process involved when you have a zombie sniff Rick and then decide that, since he stinks, he must be a zombie, you know? Deductive reasoning? Come on, it’s stupid… unless the film is Shaun of the Dead, then it’s hilarious. Also, would a zombie who lost his sense of smell in life be effectively blind in undeath? Stupid and problematic. Then, for a big stupid cherry on top of a big stupid sundae… it rains and washes Rick and Glenn completely clean, clean as a whistle in fact, and all the zombies are like: “WTF?!?! What’s that delicious smell?!?!? Humans!?!? Amongst us!?!?!” I mean… come on…

Another thing I noticed in this episode is that this is where you can really see the beginnings of a greater problem. Namely: there are a lot of Red shirts hanging out. This is a problem for two reasons.

1. Red shirts and what inevitably happens to them is never surprising or touching, it’s always expected and therefore lame.

2. These Red shirts seem to be taking center stage to the detriment of several main characters from the book. I’m not saying you’re missing out on anything “amazing” or whatever, but spending time on the Red shirts INSTEAD of the real characters, means we’re missing out on the nascent bonding that will provide the foundation for believable later interactions between the main characters. This is one of those situations where you have to ask: Why? Why toss out a good (or eventually good character) for a 2-D one that doesn’t survive the next couple of episodes? Waste of time. You only get six episodes. Case in point: Meryl. He’s a little bit more than a Red shirt, but he’s not quite a character. He’s also kind of pointless. I mean, he might come back later on in the story at a point that is obvious to fans, but he wasn’t needed in the book for that story to happen, so he isn’t needed now. He is superfluous. And of course, he is also the most 2-D of the 2-D. He’s the racist redneck. Now, I don’t deny their existence, if we learned one thing since Obama was elected, it’s that this country has no end to 2-D racists, but still… it’s poorly done and worst of all… overly familiar.

Basically, after the strong showing of the first episode, this episode was a more than a bit of a letdown and sadly, much more representative of the average episode’s quality level than I’d like.


Episode 3: “Tell it to the Frogs”

Written by Charles Eglee and Jack LoGiudice, directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

In this episode we finally see the tearful reunion of Rick and Lori and Carl, a family re-united after so many arduous and terrible days apart, days filled with blood and guts and terror and death and nightmares given flesh, days now finally over, because our hero has found that which he sought so hard to find… his family… and then he ditches them to go back into Atlanta and save the crazy red-neck Meryl they had accidentally left handcuffed to the department store roof. We also meet Meryl’s other brother: Daryl, proving that not only is Meryl an unoriginal cliché, but so were his parents. Daryl is a wee bit upset at them forgetting Meryl, so Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog (… sigh… really? T-Dog?) go traipsing back off to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Lori tells Shane that she is no longer interested in doggy-styling in the woods due to the fact that her husband is alive. Shane is visibly upset. Later, the women-folk are busy doing the laundry when fellow survivor and tank top wearing douchebag Ed decides to smack his wife around. Still visibly upset Shane happens upon this and then pounds the unholy shit out of Ed; however, this is presented to the audience as if it were bad thing. Meanwhile in Atlanta, The four idiots discover that Meryl has sawed his own hand off and disappeared from the entire storyline.

Problems abound and compound here, folks. First off, there’s more Red shirt nonsense than you can shake a stick at and it’s been awhile since the add-ins and divergences from the source material, that I had previously praised, had actually added anything good. Okay, to be fair, I make fun of Daryl, but he actually very briefly turns into one of the more rounded characters, AND I have to admit, he actually is a welcome addition to the group, a distinct voice that I hadn’t realized was missing, but he doesn’t do anything and then kind of fades away into the scenery. Here’s the big problem with him. It’s obvious that they wrote the first two episodes as the series pilot, right, and that they added Meryl to the mix for two reasons.

1. The group needed a little more overt tension (read: more filmable and also more easily understandable by the wider TV viewing audience) within the group.

2. The writers are all from California and only know about the south from TV and those Brad Pitt hurricane house infomercials, so they read the comic and was like: “Where’s the redneck racists?”

Anyway, so at the end of Ep. 2, they had left Meryl on the roof, he’s done. But that’s alright, this is only the pilot, they’ll worry about later episodes later, right? Problem. Then they got picked up for a season. And they realized they need Meryl; they must rescue him so they can continue to use him for group tension! But what do they do until then…? Eureka! Use a brother who is essentially the same character! Brilliant! Uh-oh, but wait, by the time the episode is going, they like Daryl better than Meryl, so they decide they don’t actually need Meryl anymore, so they write him out of the show (maybe we can use him later? Brilliant! It’ll look like we planned it all along.). But wait a minute more… if they’re writing off Meryl, because they now have Daryl, why even bother with this rescue storyline at all…?

Problem.

There are others, true, like how we’re seeing an accidental (I believe) rise of Shane’s character into a sympathetic, understandable, root-able character, which means they have to scramble to make him more hate-able later on, but really Meryl and Daryl is the big issue, both in and of themselves and in what they represent toward the greater storyline as a whole.

So basically, much like Episode 2, I liked this episode, but I’m beginning to realize that I like it more because of the “what if” factor zombie apocalypse stuff brings to the table for me, more than anything that is actually happening on-screen. It’s not bad; it’s just not that good or more appropriately, all that well-executed.

I expected a better, tighter focus... especially judging by AMC's other TV offerings.


Ok, so that’s episodes 1 through 3.

It was real strong out of the gate, then it faltered a bit. I think the good is still outweighing the bad at this point, but that the show is definitely angling off in the wrong direction, and I’m really disappointed in the lack of a cohesive story arc being built to span these initial six episodes. Yes, they’re dealing with the immediate fall out of a zombie apocalypse, but what are they doing? Who are they? Where are they going? What’s the point of these six episodes? What’s the realization? It’s hard to identify at this point just where exactly the creators of this show are aiming and it’s becoming more and more apparent that they just might be doing nothing more than shooting blindly in the dark.

Tomorrow: Episodes 4-6

Jon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Scribblerati


Hey there, folks. I don't know if any of you out there are aware or not, but my fellow Scribblerati Agent Shawn has been keeping busy by blogging up a storm as part of the #Reverb10 project. It's a blog-a-day end-of-the-year thing.

You should swing by and read up: The Scribblerati Blog. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What the fuck is with The Littles?

Ok, so you long time readers out there, you'll probably recall how I decided to try to increase my hit-count about a year or so ago, so I posted a now somewhat infamous post entitled: "Beautiful boobs braless and bouncing and bigger than your head". It was an experiment and let me tell you... it fucking worked. It is the call of the titty, my friends, I sounded its barbaric yawp across the rooftops of the world and pervos from all over the globe came a'runnin'.

And then they quickly left somewhat disappointed.

But whatever, like I said, it was funny to watch the keyword search tracker switch over from things like: "Billy Joel Vienna", "Natalie Portman's butt" or "Nathan Fillion" to such mind-boggling on and on ad infinitum gems like: "bouncing braless", "boobs bigger than your head", "braless nipples bouncing", "braless bouncing", "bra-less bouncey", "braless bouncy boobies", all the way up to the recent big winner piece of awesome: "fuc wife". Yeah, it was funny then, an experiment run wild and grown beyond my control, but now it's just a fact of life and what did we learn from the facts of life, kids? You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life. Basically what I'm saying is that at this point, I don't even notice anymore.

Oh, some dude from Fort Meyer, Kentucky was looking for beautiful braless boobs? Sorry, soldier... And there's a guy from Tempe, Arizona looking for some beautiful boobies... that makes sense, Arizona sucks... it's hot there... Wow, here's someone from Islamabad, Pakistan who wants nothing more than some beautiful boobs braless and bouncing... sorry, Charlie. Hey, and here's some guy from Cork, Ireland who wanted to see Scarlet Johansson in fishnet knee socks? I get that, my man, I get that, truly, she is an international language of brotherhood all her own...


Tá fáilte romhat, brotha.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that it's par for the course now, just part of the white noise in the background of my site. In a word or two: It's common. I'm used to it. In fact, as I'm writing this very blog, right now, some guy from Mukwonago, Wisconsin just buzzed my site, "Boobies? Hello? Hello? There some boobies here? I was told... No? Alright then, bye." It's regular, cats and kittens, it's like clockwork.

But then... then in the last few days, there's been an upset from out of nowhere, a disturbance in the force as if thousands (or dozens) of voices called out a new name and then fell silent... It's pure craziness, folks, but in the past week, I've had over a dozen separate searches, from Louisiana to the Netherlands, from deep in the heart of Texas, on out to the golden sands of sunny California, and all the way across the face of the spinning planet to Kuala Lumpur...

The Littles.

I'll say that again: The Littles. And all because I posted a link to a tiny ass picture buried in an unrelated post here. I mean, there's always been a few every now and then, head scratchers, you know, but a dozen? In the last week? From all over the World? For this?


Hey you! Yeah, you, the dude from the Netherlands... What the fuck, man? Seriously. Help a brother out, because boobies? I get it, man, I get it, but the Littles? And why so many of you so suddenly? What the fuck, man?

What the fuck?
Jon

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky is a director who either amazes me (The Wrestler) or bores me (The Fountain). This one looks like it will be amazing. I love the very subtle creep of weird into her normal world, slow and unnoticed until it is too late and then it has her by the throat... Fantastic and creepy.



Love it. I can't wait.

So anyway, while I freely acknowledge that it's more than a little bit premature to start talking about end of the year lists when there is still a whole month left, not to mention all the "slipped in right at the end of the year for Oscar consideration" films, but it's about that time again, and with two movies coming soon that I'm excited to see, I've started thinking about what I liked this year, so here you go.

I expect this film and True Grit to both end up highly placed on my favorites of the year list, along with Winter's Bone, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, Inception, Scott Pilgrim, and Iron Man 2 (shocker). Sure, that's not quite a top ten, but then the year isn't over yet and I still have things I need to watch, plus things I have to remember that I watched and liked (I watch a lot of movies, they blend sometimes...).

For the curious, here's some of the potential honorable mentions that may round out the list eventually, depending on how slow this somewhat crappy year actually turns out to be: Kick-Ass, How to Train Your Dragon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

I'll put out the final list next year, sometime mid-Janurary most likely.

Stay tuned...
Jon