Saturday, July 30, 2016

50th Anniversary of the premiere of Adam West's "Batman" here in sunny Austin, TX

Fifty years ago today, Batman premiered at Austin's own Paramount Theatre!  Above, you can see Adam West in person addressing the crowd and Congress Avenue completely blocked (something I don't even think happens during SXSW).

The Paramount was showing the movie today, but I had something I had to do during the day and couldn't make it (and I've seen it about 7 times, at least).

Here's a write-up from when I went to see the movie at the Paramount in June of 2010.

Here's a video you can watch at the Texas Archive of the Moving Image of Jean Boone interviewing actors from the movie inside The Paramount.

The Batboat - which appears in this movie, was also manufactured right here in Austin by Glastron Industries.

I didn't learn of Batman's Austin history until about 2009, and I am certain, had I known about all the bat-ties to Austin as a kid, it would have melted by brain and I would have seen way, waaaaayyy too much symbolism in Austin's gigantic bat population.

What's perhaps strangest is that Monday, two days from now, is the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower shootings.  The UT Tower sits at about 23rd Street, about 15 streets away as the crow flies (the Capitol and several other obstructions mean you can't drive straight through).

Kind of freaky.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Supergirl's cousin is gonna show up on "Supergirl"

I pulled this image from Birth.Movies.Death.

As far as how this could have gone - I can't complain, really.  I have no idea what DC's deal is with the classic costume or how they think continually messing around with elements of the visual iconography of one of their most famous properties is somehow a good idea.  But, no one is asking me.  Red boots and cape.  Yellow in the "S".  No mandarin collar.

Sigh.  Look, I'm a red trunks guy, and the fact that DC can't seem to make the suit work correctly either here or in Man of Steel (piping and stippling is all just a bit much, especially with a useless belly-button belt-buckle) without an awkward red belt-to-nowhere is just maybe a sign we throw in the towel and go back to the red trunks look.

But, man, that dude ALSO looks like Superman, doesn't he?  You'll never hear me complain about Cavill, but so many folks have drawn Superman in so many ways over the years, and between Reeves, Reeve, Alyn, Cain and Cavill...  Well, I don't necessarily have a particular face I identify with Superman.  Just a certain presence, and I think this dude has it, just as Melissa Benoist doesn't look like Silver Age or Bronze Age Kara, but she sure has that same vibe.

I have never seen actor Tyler Hoechlin in anything, but so as long as he doesn't have a voice like Peter Lorre, I want to give him a shot.  So far so good with Supergirl defying expectations and beating the odds for what it seemed they'd do - and the energy the actors have brought to the show.

Look, I planned to hate-watch Supergirl, but I became a fan.  I am always excited to see what they'll try to do next with a character I have a little affection for.  Now we've got Superman, Martian Manhunter and Lynda Carter as POTUS.  I mean, OBVIOUSLY I'll be watching.

And if, you know, they want to one day do a Superman show or TV movie or ten, I won't complain.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Faux-80's Watch: Stranger Things (Season 1, 2016)

There's an argument to be made that Stranger Things, 2016 (8 episodes, Season 1 on Netflix) is a rip off and riff on popular and cult media of the 1980's and that we should be suspicious of it's desire to emulate the stylings, feel and sensibilities of the era.  The show trades in nostalgia for Gen-X'ers (and likely Millennials, whom, it seems, grew up on the media of Gen-X), from font type to musical selection to references to kid culture of the time to conspicuously placed posters of influential films of the era.*

That it does these things is unquestionable - this is not convergent evolution.  But with 1983 (the year the story takes place) now 30-odd years in the rear-view mirror, it's also a period piece (I'll just let that sink in, 40-somethings.) just as much as Grease was in the late 70's, or 90% of the output of Martin Scorsese.  That the Duffer Brothers, show runners who wrote and directed a huge portion of the 8 episodes, chose this period to mine is not a huge surprise.  We're still working our way through Star Wars sequels and Ghostbusters relaunches.  We can casually drop an E.T. or Poltergeist reference and expect to be understood.  In perhaps more self-selective circles, we can do same with The Thing or Evil Dead.

Anyway, something happened in the 1980's that was not entirely of the era, but it showed up like an open wound in our media of the era in a way that movies have forgotten how to do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Friday Night: Let's Watch and Live Tweet "The Rocketeer"

I don't remember exactly where we came down on the vote, but on Friday night I'm going to watch the 1990's Disney live-action classic The Rocketeer.

Time:  9:15 Central huddle time with a 9:20 start
Runtime:  about 2 hours (we'll take a potty break)
Where to watch:  Amazon Options including streaming
Twitter Hashtag:  #bettyteers
I'm at:  @melbotis
Cocktail of Choice:

Cliff's Undrinkable Rocketfuel

  •      1 part vodka
  •      1 parts gin
  •      1/2 part dry vermouth
  •      twist of lemon

1.  Add liquid to shaker with ice
2.  Shake for five seconds
3.  Pour into class (without the ice, you heathen)
4.  Add lemon twist
5.  Stop complaining, it's good for you

Trek Watch: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

No big secret to anyone with whom I talk Star Trek, but I hated Star Trek: Into Darkness.  That's not a term I use lightly.  Generally, I "didn't like" a movie, it "wasn't aimed at me", "wasn't my cup of tea" or I might have believed "it sucked".  But, nope, I hated Into Darkness.

The movie, which could and should have been about the launch of the Enterprise and establishing the universe around the characters set up in the first movie (which, in many ways, was a glorified version of Space Camp), didn't just feel like a betrayal to the spirit and (pardon the pun) enterprise of the Star Trek universe I've enjoyed as both an avid enthusiast and sometimes occasional fan, depending on which incarnation of Trek we're discussing.  Into Darkness felt like it was picking the bones of a better, much-loved franchise to tell a lousy story and try to steal some of the gravitas along the way rather than creating anything of its own or lending anything new and not doing anything compelling with what bit of novelty it did contain.

With this third installment, Paramount does a yeoman's job of righting the ship and getting it back on course.  I won't try to oversell the movie - it's far from a perfect film (but name the Citizen Kane of Star Trek movies, I dare you), but for the first time in three movies, it feels like Trek.  And, man, that is actually terribly important.  Not only does this installment understand the universe of Trek better than its forebears, it does that thing of spiffying it up and adds some new bits along the way.

I hadn't actually planned to see the movie.  The first trailer I saw alongside The Force Awakens was so cringe-inducing and tone deaf (and, as it turns out, a bad representation of the actual film), that I just laughed it off and decided I'd get back to Star Trek at some other point with some other relaunch after the public wrote off this series for good.

The Star Trek reboot, in my opinion, was a failure.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy Belated Birthday to Ms. Lynda Carter

Yesterday Ms. Lynda Carter turned 65.  Happy Birthday to our ideal Wonder Woman.

Some folks may not know that Carter is a vocalist with several albums out there in the ether.  Carter is currently performing with a band where she sings both original songs and some covers.  She also appears as voice talent in several videogames, including Fallout 4, where she contributed a song or two as a lounge singer.

Earlier this year she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Gracies.

This fall, Carter is scheduled to appear as POTUS on CW's Supergirl TV series.

If you aren't following her on social media, we highly recommend doing so.  Her account is a lot of fun.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Comic-Con Trailer Discussion! DC, Marvel, Kong!

Randy suggested I take a look at the trailers that came out during Comic-Con, and while I haven't looked at every one of them, and some of them I have no opinion on in general (like the new Harry Potter), I guess I can do this fairly quickly and painlessly.


Wonder Woman

I've already been asked how accurate this is to the original comics, but as one always has to say with DC comics and characters, in particular, the specifics aren't that important.  Especially trying to bring the character to the big screen in 2017 versus what the characters were like in their 1941 original first appearance.

The question needs to be:  how did they handle the origin in general (do the producers understand the character well enough to understand the importance and resonance of the most important details of the character), and what did they do to demonstrate that the character is not a new character masquerading as the titular character?

I am not expecting the poly-sexual, bdsm subliminal antics of the original comics to ever make the big screen (we can make arguments about Season 1 of the Lynda Carter show some other time).  This is the Wonder Woman of the Greg Rucka era, who still carries the lasso, but is like to pick up a sword and shield.  To avoid comparisons to her contemporary creation, Captain America, the origin story has been transported to WWI instead of WWII, a change which I feel doesn't exactly make sense for a downed aviator to find Themyscira by accident (the range on those flyers was not putting them out over the mid-Atlantic, and aircraft carriers barely existed at the time).

But, ignoring the logistics of aviation history, I have to say I'm as excited by this trailer as I likely am to be about anything spinning out of DC/WB's theatrical efforts.  Gadot isn't my first choice, but she seems fine in the part.  The action looks like it's not softened in the slightest and the Amazons are living up to their potential from the comics if this trailer is to be believed.

Like Captain America, the action is likely to move to the modern era for any sequels, which kind of begs the question "why set it in WWI when it's going to draw so many comparisons to Captain America?"  It's not like we've lacked for military conflict in the past 20 years.