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What I’ve Been Doing 12 Sept 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Sep 12th, 2011 by Dan

Malin Akerman

I thought about posting a picture of Rob Corddry instead, but I think we'd all much rather see Malin Åkerman. (Image used courtesy of Gage Skidmore)

Movies

The Wrong Side of Town – Danielle’s parents were watching the tail end of this terrible wrestler movie. It was pretty awful, so I read a Batman comic instead of paying that much attention.

TV

Top Gear – Two of the guys bought used luxury sports cars for under £10k and they plan to follow up on how long it takes for the cars to break down and die. Funny stuff. I found James’ trip to America where he picked up a transvestite Cher impersonator to be in poor taste (as in they were using it for humor when they shouldn’t)

Top Gear (USA) – I thought I’d check this one out to see what it was like. While it’s not as funny as the original, it’s got a handle on what it’s supposed to be and its cast has a decent rapport with each other. You’d think, given how much they seem to love America in the show, they’d still use “Jessica” as their theme, but they don’t, much to their detriment.

Childrens Hospital – I thought that this show would be too silly for its own good. One of those Adult Swim shows that’s just not as funny as people make it out to be, but this was legitimately hilarious. I’m hooked! It also helps that I find Malin Åkerman (of Watchmen fame), Lake Bell, and Erinn Hayes to be quite good looking (especially Malin Åkerman). I think that I just missed Season 3, so I’ll have to wait for the DVDs on that, but so funny!

Parks and Recreation – Watched the beginning of S3 with Min since he hadn’t seen it. Brilliant show. Absolutely fantastic. Seriously, just skip Season 1 and start watching S2 onward. I find it tough to believe that you could not like it.

Archer – Watched the Zeppelin episode with Eric. All I can say is, “M as in Mancy.” So hilarious.

Music

Neon Indian – Their album was on First Listen this week. I think I only love “Polish Girl,” but the rest of the album is decent.

More WILD FLAG – Can’t wait for the album to drop tomorrow so I can start scrobbling many, many listens.

Books

Collected Stories – Read one where a beautiful woman lost control of her corporeal self, wanted to eat an orange, and decided that the best way to do it would be to inhabit a cat. By the time she decides to do it, 3000 years have passed and she’s screwed. It was kind of weird.

(Comic books from here down. I’ve linked reviews on Comic Vine where appropriate)

Morning Glories – This story is so cool. I really dig this book, just wish it came out more often. Patience is a virtue, right?

X-23 – I liked this book more than Eric, but it remains one of the better books out there. Good writing and solid art plus the FF and I’m there.

Irredeemable – The arc moves in a surprising direction as Kaiden, Gil, and Bette Noir make their return to the strip. The part where The Plutonian traps a bunch of male models in a pool by freezing the surface was chilling mostly because I harbor a fear of drowning.

Batgirl – Barbara Gordon is no longer handicapped! Pretty good book that has a literary depth that many aren’t seeing. I have no prior history with the character, so I dug it.

Action Comics – My first Grant Morrison book and my first Superman book (I’ve ever paid for). I think that (having read a trade of his and this issue) Grant Morrison is overhyped as a genius. His stories are good/solid and well-written compared to a lot of other stuff that’s released, but I’ve yet to be really shocked by anything he does. It all feels so by the book that it’s like he’s the best at writing something conventional. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it feels like he’s being safe. Where’s the iconoclast quality that I felt when I read Alan Moore’s early work? It’s unfair to dock the book for not being overly impressed with the writer’s legend, but it’s inseparable at this point. Good read nonetheless, even if it’s almost needlessly dense.

Swamp Thing – My favorite DC book of the week. Snyder did something neat here and I really dug it. The art was also fantastic.

Batwing – Racial politics of a white man empowering a black man aside, this was a good read. I didn’t care much for the art, but I’m interested to see where it goes. The DRC is a vastly more interesting setting to me than Gotham.

X-Men – Awful book. Bad writing. Bad art. No more X-Men for me, even if the FF are hanging around.

Static Shock – I wanted to like this one more than I did. It was a little confusing because they didn’t treat it as a reintroduction to the character. I’ll give it another issue.

Casanova: Avarita – The weirdest book I read and also the most artistically interesting. I like where this is going.

Animal Man – I’m totally loving the creepy horror of this title. I hope that it ties in with Swamp Thing well, as they’ve said it would. Combining the man who has animals at his fingertips with a man who has plants would be neat.

Spider-Island: The Avengers – A tremendously silly story about Frog Man saving the day from hilariously awful villains. Great jokes and lots of fun. Spider-Island is a great event.

Mystic – Mini-series about magic. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before, but I like the Disney-style art, so I’m game.

Moon Knight – Beautiful art, as always. I really love the way this book looks.

Video Games

Team Fortress 2 – One of these days I will get 10 sentry kills. Mark my words. Until then, at least this game is super fun to play.

Gears of War 2 – Played nine hours with Min. The shooting parts are so much fun, but the vehicle sections and the really weird non-shooty parts that they feel like they have to include are much less so. Still, a stellar game. Can’t wait for part three next week. Min and I still have to beat this one though.

EDIT: David correctly pointed out that I forgot:

Left 4 Dead 2 – Played a few rounds with David, Lee, and Min, including a run of my favorite map, Hard Rain. Love that game! Sad that the last map is next, but excited to play RE5.

Blame my omission on thinking about Malin Åkerman too much.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? [Filmmakers Bleed]
Mar 10th, 2009 by Dan

Like tons of other nerds, I went and saw the Watchmen movie last weekend. It’s a divisive movie, that’s for sure, with half of the internet loving it and half of it hating it. What’s really important though is what I think of it.

SPOILERS

I’m gonna say right off the bat that I enjoyed it and felt it was about as faithful a comic book adaptation as there could have been with a few rare changes that they made, both to the movies detriment and its enhancement. Seriously, if you didn’t turn back at the last spoiler tag, it’s gonna get worse from here on out. Don’t read if you don’t want the entire movie/book spoiled for you. The most prominent of these changes involves Ozymandias’ plot to unite the world. Instead of a giant alien squid killing millions in New York, we have staged attacks in every major world city made to look like Dr. Manhattan did it as a nuclear deterrent. While some feel that the giant squid would have looked ridiculous and detracted from the movie, my friend Lee pointed out, and I agree, that an action by Dr. Manhattan would be viewed as the actions of an American, even though he exiled himself from the planet just prior to the explosions. I’m sure they would have moved past it, but not without some considerable difficulty, since the US would have to account for what it did.

The other big change that I didn’t agree with was the, possibly unintentional, trivializing of the revelation that the Comedian was the father of the Silk Spectre. By removing more of her back story from the movie, Snyder either intentionally or unintentionally made her just a sex symbol in the movie, also a side effect of several sex scenes that were just a wee bit too long and stylized to be as understated as the ones in the book.

Not that strict adherence to the book would have unequivocally improved some of the issues. There were definitely lines in the movie that just fell flat in their delivery just cause of the different medium. Comic prose is not film and the Snyder style in the movie doesn’t allow some of the serious lines to come off as lame or trying too hard. The action scenes are over-emphasized and, as mentioned, the sex scenes go on for too long. Still, there are many bright lights in this movie:

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is amazing as The Comedian. There could not have been a more brilliant portrayal of the damaged, nihilistic, and barbaric hero. He steals almost every scene he’s in, just like the actual Comedian in the book. Also greatly cast were Nite Owl and Rorschach, both looked like they should and acted precisely like they should. Dr. Manhattan’s blue penis made plenty of great appearances as did Silk Spectre II’s rack.

Also amazing and worth noting, the opening montage during the credits.

The movie was definitely hurt by the removal of the meta-fiction materials. In fact, the general shortening of it makes me wonder if the uninitiated are able to grasp all of the nuances that are present in the book. What I don’t know is if the director’s cut that will try to include more of that will be too crowded and long. At two hours, forty-three minutes, the movie definitely is a marathon session to watch. I’ll reserve judgment on that until I get my hands on the blu-ray.

Should you watch it? Experiencing one of the most incredible stories in recent literary history is something everyone should do. See it, read it if your interest is piqued, even if you think you’re unsure about whether or not it’s worth reading. I absolutely love this book and you should still experience it in some form. Alan Moore’s work is just too good.

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