The departure of David Letterman from the late night broadcast airwaves has generated much online comment and many nostalgia-driven puff pieces, and I’ll try not to add too much to that burgeoning heap. But a few points before the gap-toothed one rides off into the sunset: One, it’s easy to forget how big a deal Letterman’s move to CBS was, and how it was one of the bigger things to happen in television history — in a TV landscape where the big three networks were still the Big Three Networks. I mean, it was HUGE. Two, we should all thank Mr. Letterman for his contributions to the comic book medium, both his The Dark Knight Returns doppelganger, David Endocrine, and his Avengers-loving self. Three, twenty-two years sure goes fast. I don’t feel old, but I’m sure as hell not a teenager anymore, taping the first Late Show on my VCR. Time flies, folks.
I realize I’m not really the target demographic for this show, but yeah, this looks kind of pointless and terrible. At least there’s the oddness of Calista Flockhart’s plastic surgeried face, though. Tune in, true believers!
When I was a mid-1980s kid I was utterly flabbergasted that my parents balked at buying each and every Transformers VHS tape that Family Home Entertainment released. How dare they, you know? Read more…
The public image United States presidents tend to project is one of considered reserve. They may raise the tone of their voice when out on the stump, but they always try to keep things on a generally even keel. This is what made the Nixon tapes so startling. It was jarring to hear the Chief Executive cussing and swearing like some old sod shooting the breeze on a rickety chair in front of the general store.
Nixon’s downfall was what did away with the idea of presidents recording their Oval Office conversations, but we still have his predecessors’ tapes to clue us in on both important moments in history and the amusing minutiae that might concern a head of state. And there’s no more entertaining minutiae than the time Jack Kennedy got all riled up over a dopey picture in the paper. Read more…
Asteroids? Yeah, maybe Asteroids would work kids up into such a frenzy that they’d levitate in front of the TV. But Reactor, you’re no Asteroids. And thus Jack Davis’s talents, once deployed to depict no lesser figures than Dr. J and Rick Barry, were utterly wasted here.
You know you’re back in video game pre-history when the Sears Video Arcade is mentioned.
The don’t make them like that anymore. This is one of the oldest clichés in the movie world, so ancient it almost stretches back to the beginning of the motion picture industry, when the business was measured in years, not in decades. It’s used to wistfully harken to a somewhat fuzzy film paradise of yore, when movies were better, where the glow of nostalgia now infuses everything with a patina of quality that the cold, harsh realities of the present can never ever reproduce. And, like all clichés, there often isn’t a lot of truth to it. Movies are movies, always have been, good and bad have been constant parts of the equation, and there really isn’t a proverbial, monolithic “they” doing anything wrong. This is more empty psychological yearning than genuine commentary.
But there are rare films that are the very embodiment of those words. And when you’re talking about a richly conceived fantasy epic starring puppets that brought together the fertile minds behind Kermit the Frog and a little movie called Star Wars, they seem more than applicable.
The Dark Crystal, ladies and gentlemen. They don’t make them like that anymore. Read more…
Let’s be honest, when the animal revolution comes, it’s going to be the raccoons in the vanguard of creatures that overthrow humanity. Yes, they’ll be backed by other mail order “pets” — like monkeys, hamsters and skunks — but the huge, masked prowlers of suburbia will lead the charge. So you have to take this teeny ad’s copy about raccoons always being “America’s favorite pet” with not just a grain of salt, but a whole shaker of it. They aren’t all cute, gun-wielding, wisecracking, bipedal companions, kids.
I just like the fact that Hialeah Pets asks you to let them know your nearest airport — so that they can dump these rabid beasts on the tarmac and hightail it out of there.
Steve Garvey had a great baseball career and a not-so-great career playing the field, if you know what I mean, but it was the former that was relevant to this old Quik ad campaign. Drink your chocolate milk kids, and you too might grow up to be a fabulously wealthy professional athlete. Though, yeah, you’ll most likely just be a fat slob brushing Dorito dust off your stretched XXL t-shirt. But you’ll have a free baseball!
Memo to the Quik Bunny: Always make sure your giant Q bling is in the shot, and isn’t blocked — not even by the delicious(?) product that is your raison d’être.
Ever since the credits rolled on 2012’s Avengers — or to be more precise, when the shawarma scene faded to black — there’s been no more anticipated sequel than its followup. The original was one of those rare movies that sends audiences out of a theater talking and feeling good and making plans to see it again, and the mid-credits Thanos tease, which I kid you not almost sent the fat guy sitting next to me into a rapturous heart attack, was like throwing gas on a rampaging fire. Marvel took a risk by trailblazing a shared universe, something now all the rage in Hollywood, and it paid off for them (and their Disney overlords) big-time, with a gold standard movie brand the likes of which we haven’t seen since a little something called Star Wars. (Old good Star Wars, not newer crappy Star Wars — though the most recent trailer holds promise.) We were all left salivating for the next installment. True, the movies for the individual characters during the intervening years have tided us over (Thor and Captain America’s were pretty good, Iron Man’s was insulting), and we even got a brief Thanos turn in last year’s breakout Guardians of the Galaxy. But they don’t quite cut the mustard — we want all these icons back in the same frame, side by side and occasionally clouting each other with hammer, fist and shield. Cameos do not suffice.
Enter Age of Ultron, a massively budgeted ready-made blockbuster which hurls a classic Avengers foe at our heroes and serves as a bridge to the eventual Infinity War two-parter, which will make heads explode in three years. Let’s be honest: it’s hard to screw up the formula at this point, but AofU wouldn’t be the first sequel to crap the bed. So what’s the verdict — are we dazzled again, or painfully underwhelmed? Has Joss Whedon triumphed once more, or botched it? Read more…
To help us all get ginned up for this weekend’s U.S release of Age of Ultron (review forthcoming), let’s delve into one of the goofier (mis)adventures for the Asgardian component of the Avengers superteam: Thor, the Goldilocks lunk. And just to be clear, when you’re talking about a character who’s spent time as the Frog of Thunder, “goofy” is really saying something. Granted, nothing can top Thor’s sojourn as a tiny Central Park amphibian, or its What If? permutations, but this earlier comic, from back in the misty 15 cent cover price days of yore, makes a game effort.
Thor against the United Nations! It’s a John Birch Society dream! Read more…
Glad to see that Warner Bros. is going the subtle route with the Jared Leto Joker aesthetics. Really, how does he look any different from anyone under the age of 25 nowadays? Get off my lawn!
If pro wrestler Al Snow taught is anything, it’s that forehead tattoos should always be written backwards.
We’ve seen the Spider-Man and Conan medallion/coins before — sometimes both in the same ad — but the Hulk iteration is a new wrinkle. Shouldn’t they simply have recycled the venerable “Here Comes the Hulk/There Goes the Hulk” shirt design?
I’ve never really investigated the quotes on the reverse of these things, and they aren’t easy to read in this ad, but the Hulk’s is “Within each of us, ofttimes, there dwells a mighty raging fury” — from his first mag. So the very archaic and seldom used “ofttimes” gets some love on a coin. E Pluribus Excelsior!
Usually these things pump the product offered up in the copy headline, but this ad cuts right to the chase. And you know what, it has a point. So get your Kal-X tablets (will they turn you into a mutant Superman?), maybe pair them with your Kelpidine pep pills, and start on your way to a lithe, healthy physique. Like the two people in the ad, who may or may not be nude.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is pretty much the exact opposite of what you’d want it to be!
It’s not this trailer’s fault that it leaked in the wake of the sunny, nostalgia-laden promo for The Force Awakens, forcing Warner Bros. to put it online ahead of the dopey IMAX screening. But the juxtaposition is unfortunate, to say the least, and it’s taken a few days to process its underwhelmingness. Read more…