Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Scribblerati


Howdy, howdy, my friends. It's that time again, I'm over at the Scribblerati blog today with a post about a pair of comics I like: Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja and Avengers Arena by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker. Swing by and let me know what you think. Are there any other titles you might recommend?

Jon

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The World's End

Oh boy.

Have you seen the trailer for The World's End?

I am so excited. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. I'm a big fan. You've seen their stuff, right? If not, you need to get on that, because they make good stuff. Really good stuff. Smart and funny stuff. Clever and hilarious stuff. Stuff that somehow walks the line between both being a really funny homage/parody of a certain type of movie and at the same time, a really good example of that particular genre. Shaun of the Dead, for instance, is both a great send-up of the many familiar tropes of zombie films, but also an excellent zombie movie in its own right. Hot Fuzz is a hilarious mish-mash of the type of classic 80s/90s flicks like Lethal Weapon or Point Break that we all know and love, and yet it is also a really entertaining action-comedy. Just take a look at their legendary BBC series about roomies sharing a flat: Spaced. It is hilarious, self-aware, and riff-tastic. It is also filled to the brim with references and hidden easter eggs and secret handshakes galore. The long and the short of it is, they know the language, people, the language of film and comics and TV.

To put it more succinctly:


Gooble, Gobble indeed... One of us. One of us. We accept you.

But even better than knowing the language, they're smart. Because all that geek stuff is great, right? The secret words, the funny handshakes, the little easter eggs hidden about for the well versed and deeply initiated to stumble upon? It's all great. But if that's all you've got, then you don't really have much. No. No, sir. The really good part about these guys is that there's always more. Shaun of the Dead isn't just a comedy about a zombie apocalypse, it's about being stuck in a rut and deciding to grow up. Sounds odd, right? It's really well done. Hot Fuzz? You could say Hot Fuzz is about finding your place in the world, about accepting who you are and embracing it. You could also say it's also about kicking ass... And as for World's End? Well, time will tell, but after watching the trailer I'd say that it's about the danger of spending too much time looking back and dwelling on the past.

The World's End is the third film in their Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (also known as the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy). Why is it called the Three Flavours of Cornetto? Well, in a reference to Krzysztof Kieslowski's Red, White, and Blue films, the Three Flavours films are apparently all connected to a flavor of Cornetto Ice Cream. It's a thing. Anyway, each film features a scene of someone purchasing the appropriate flavor. Strawberry in Shaun of the Dead (Red for Blood). The original Blue flavor in Hot Fuzz to signify the Police. And in The World's End it will be mint chocolate chip. I would think the green is to signify aliens. How about you?

Check out the trailer and let me know.



I love the continuation of the garden fence joke.

Jon

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Last Bookshop

I don't know much about where this little short film entitled The Last Bookshop comes from, besides perhaps England, obviously. And sure, sure, it's a little twee and self-righteous and the script is more than a little stained with the terrified griping of a Luddite trapped in amber and yeah, maybe the acting is... well... a bit community-theatre-ish, but still... in the end, it's a nice little dystopian sci-fi, magical fairy-tale, love letter to a lost time mash-up that really kind of encapsulates what it is that I want from my writing career and why exactly e-publishing holds absolutely no interest for me.

Check it out.



Ah... books. Books good, yes? Yes, books good. Honestly, there's nothing better than a new stack. Or an old stack either, amirite? Here's my current To-Be-Read pile. My reading partner demanded to appear in the picture.


He was very insistent.

Reading,
Jon

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Updates: New beginnings

One of the first classes I took at the Loft here in Minneapolis--I guess it's probably been seven years now--was a nuts and bolts craft of writing course taught by David Housewright. It was good. I'd really recommend it. It was an introductory novel type of class, a lot of basic info mostly, the type of stuff you probably already know, but it was really nice to kind of work through it all out loud. And one of the main things that really stuck with me was to always know where your story is going before you start and that way, should you ever get stuck, you can simply jump ahead and still keep writing. Instead of thinking of it as some kind of block, you think of it as if happening upon a sudden gorge, a big open empty space between what you have written and what you are planning on writing.


The idea, should you find yourself standing at the edge of one of these metaphorical gorges, is if you jump to the other side and keep going, eventually you'll be able to see both sides of your issue--both sides of the gorge--and then you can easily build a bridge between the sides. 

Or something like that. Whatever. Maybe it didn't stick with me quite as well as I remember.

You get the idea.

Somewhat apropos, you long time readers will probably remember I've been working on my latest writing project for a couple of months now. It's not a book yet, until it's actually finished and becomes a For Real First Draft, you can really only call them a WIP, or Work In Progress, to be fair. I think I may have mentioned this before... Anyway, to say that this current project is a work in progress is a bit of an understatement. I write, it grows, it changes. It changes a lot. It's definitely not in the same place now as where it was when I first envisioned it. I mean, I still know where it's going, but like I said: Work in progress.

And that's exactly what I was doing: Working. Progressing. 

 

But then my laptop died and everything ground to a halt.


The next month or so was a lot of wasted time. Idle. Waiting. Contemplating. Procrastinating. The minutes were like hours, the hours like days. It was endless, worse than the god damn airport.


Stupid airport.

The only upside is that during those endless hours, I was able to examine what I was working on. I dug into my notes a bit and asked myself some story questions and the end result was, by the time my new laptop finally arrived--finally--I was honestly a little unsure of where I was with my WIP. What did I really want to say and was the work actually saying that? Was it going where I wanted? And if not, what options did I have? In the end, there was only one that I could see.


It was the only way to be sure.

I jumped ahead. I jumped ahead to the next section of the book, basically two... three, maybe four chapters, by my reckoning. I jumped ahead... or I started over. Maybe I started over. I'm still deciding. It could definitely be a starting-over point, maybe. I'm leaning that way at the moment, but... we'll see, either way, I'm moving on. Working.

Speaking of, I have switched to a new working title. The old working title was: Rebel Clever Girl. The new working title is: The Impossible Virginia Dare.

So that's where I'm at; I'm moving forward.

Writing,
Jon

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Patton Oswalt is a funny guy

His stand-up is fucking hilarious. The long-form of his Stars Wars filibuster on Parks & Rec recently was incredible. And he was awesome in this last season of Justified, right? So awesome. He writes essays on Geek Culture and Pop Culture that are insightful and funny. Plus, he uses his platform to generally spread a good message. Here is a picture of him with his daughter on Halloween:


He's a good guy. And as a result, he gets to do cool stuff. In the video below, he plays the villainous Penguin in a Funny or Die skit skewering one tiny facet of the rampant and ridiculous boobism that permeates the Nolan Batman series. It's pretty funny. Watch away.



Hilarious,
Jon

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

I have been sick as a dog these last few days, kids, but now I am slowly clawing my way back. As a result, I'm going to continue trailer time here at This is Mine. It's fun and quick and easy and it takes very little effort on my part, so... yay! Plus, honestly, I have a little bit of a backlog of short films and trailers saved up here, so its just that time, y'know?

Onward!

The first Thor was... all right, I guess. And that's me being pretty generous. It was actually not that great. I'm not a fan of the type of film where you have your hero and they can do this cool thing, but the majority of the film is mostly them not being able to do whatever that cool thing is, at least until the very end, that is, after having their ass kicked by the main bad guy for a while. Then the hero will suddenly learn a lesson or whatever or find their magic whatchamadigger and then rock-em-sock-em-bing-bang-boom, big action set piece and roll credits. It's really pretty predictable and tired.

Well, that was the first Thor.

The saving grace of the film was the cast. And some of the jokes.

The weird thing is, the regular folks loved it. Loved it. I assume it was due to half-naked Thor and the general smooshing that went on between Black Swan and Thor. In fact, they loved it enough to make it a successful, viable property. Suddenly Thor is a household name. Of course, The Avengers being the third highest grossing film ever helps, but still... This floors me. If you had told 10 years ago that super crazy-ass, sci-fi space god Thor would be known by the Normal Folk out there, I wouldn't have believed it. It's just too weird a property. Do you understand? You might not. Trust me. Thor was once turned into a frog, people, for awhile too, a magic-hammer-wielding, winged-helmet-wearing super frog. There's a Space Horse flying around in space named Beta Ray Bill who once filled in for him. Beta Ray Bill. Google it. It's weird.

And now the second film is on its way.



The franchise takes a sudden left turn. Out of nowhere, Thor 2 looks surprisingly epic. It looks like it takes place less on Earth and more in Asgard and it really looks like it fully embraces the book's odd-ball space god, Jack Kirby genius/Ancient Myth mash-up roots. It's like the Powers-That-Be realized that they somehow managed to sell this crazy property to the public and now they're just gonna take the brakes off and really put the hammer down...

Ahem, my apologies...

But it does look like it might be kind of cool, huh?

Adding it to the list,
Jon