Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Past Is Gone

"Everytime I look in the mirror,
All these lines in my face gettin' clearer;
The past is gone,
It went by, like dusk to dawn."

So, yesterday, a ghastly thing happened to me.

No, not realizing I would die alone--that was long ago--but something along those lines.

I was standing at the checkout line, buying a pair of AVENGERS figures and a DARK KNIGHT RISES figure, and the guy running the register was a young man. He looked like a regular guy, though, and I figured he was about my age, or a couple years younger, like my cousin. A peer, in other words.

He made a comment about the toys I was buying ("Guess you like those movies a lot") and I said I did, then made the mistake of asking if he was a fan.

"Well, my mom and dad are really strict about movies," he said. "They wouldn't let me see them."

I'm not sure I could've been more shocked if he had said, "Instead of movies, I like to take a shovel to the cemetery and dig up some grub."

Rish "Sucks Getting Old" Outfield

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Go, Joe!

This week, Paramount Pictures announced they were pulling G.I. JOE 2 from the summer schedule, and instead will release it in March of next year.  They're doing it, say they, to convert it to 3-D so they can make a lot more overseas, where people are apparently not yet sick of the phenomenon.

But now the conspiracy theories are flying.  Some say Paramount did it because they saw how poorly BATTLESHIP did (also an action movie based on a Hasbro property).  Some say they did it because AMAZING SPIDER-MAN comes out a week later, and they figured they'd compete better in the springtime than the jam-packed summer season.  Some say that test screenings went so poorly, they need time to fix it.  Some say love, it is a river, and you, its only shore.

There may actually be truth to the negative screenings rumor, since they're apparently going to do reshoots between now and the new release date.  And one dude claimed that they were doing what was done with the G.I.JOE movie in the Eighties (where they killed Duke, and then decided it decided it would upset children like in the Transformers movie, and rewrote it so he lived), and are making it so Channing Tatum gets to survive and be in more of the movie.  After all, he's pretty hot right now (even if his last movie's leading lady was Jonah Hill).

I don't know who to side with.  In a world with the Michael Bay "Unrecognizable Shaky-cam Robots" franchise, it surprises me that a studio would even care whether their movie is bad or not, since it's a franchise film, and all they care about is the opening weekend take anyway.  Genre films and sequels tend to open without screenings for critics, because they know the target audience won't read the reviews before going, and like we've noticed more and more often lately (even though the theatrical market share gets smaller and smaller), they don't give a crap if you liked the movie or not, as long as they got your money.

The funny thing is, with the loss of toy sales, and whatever the 3-D conversion and reshoots do to the budget, C.G.I.JOE: RETALIATION will have to make even more money next year than it would have this year.

Rish "Lady Jaye" Outfield

P.S. All this for a movie I wasn't even planning to see.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"E-5." "Miss!"

Funny, of all the movies coming out this summer (heck, maybe this year), the one I least wanted to see was the TRANSFORMERS-esque BATTLESHIP.  There was absolutely nothing in the soulless, shitty trailer I responded to.  Well, not in a positive way.

I was so dead-set against seeing BATTLESHIP, I think I said I wouldn't go to it for a night with 1990's-era Kristy Swanson. But then I went anyway.

And I didn't hate it.

Sucks to get old.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Loss To The Entire Community

Yesterday, NBC fired Dan Harmon, showrunner of "Community." He was pretty vocal about it (saying there was no warning, no mutual agreement, and the statements that he is still a part of the show are lies), and the conspiracies are a'flyin (some say NBC thought it too much of a fringe show and new producers would attract a wider audience, some say it was due to the rivalry between Harmon and Chevy Chase, and some say Harmon was too hard to work with according to the studio and they wanted more of a yes-man in charge).

I'd just like to say this: "Community" has pretty consistently had a unique tone, voice, and charm on network television. It was a geek-friendly show, instead of a point-at-geeks-and-laugh kind of show, which a lot of people can't seem to see the difference between. And while there were a couple of stinkers, literally every episode made me laugh out loud. My guess is, Dan Harmon was the guiding force behind all that, and the show won't be the same without him. 

Part of me wants to simply quit watching, in a statement not unlike the thousands who refused to see Fox's new BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER movie if Joss Whedon was not involved.  I don't know, though, if I'll be able to stay away, when the show comes back in the fall (which NBC did not have to do, since the ratings have never been all that great, and "Community" costs a heck of a lot more than a season of "Do You Think Paraplegics Can Dance?" and "Sing-off or Get-off."

I raise my glass to Mr. Harmon, in thanks for the joy his hard work gave me.  His job was not easy, as a couple of new guys are about to find out.

Also, to Brian Saur, who suggested I watch the show, and Jeff who made me watch every damn episode, even when I didn't want to.
Little Rishy Aderol

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stupid Thing of the Week

So, the toys for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN flick started to hit in stores this week.  I was with my nephew when I found some Super Hero Squad figurines featuring the new movie costume.  He looked at one and said, "What's wrong with his eyes?"

The boy is four. 

He's f***ing four, and he noticed it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Saw You Standing Alone

Because of my various failures taking pictures at Comic-Con, I decided to ask people to pool their money to buy me a nice camera this past Christmas.  I even tossed some money into the pile, to ensure that the new picher-taker suited my needs.

Well, we had some kind of crazy full moon the other night, and I thought, "Wow, this is a perfect opportunity to see if my camera was worth the money!"  Then, I promptly forgot about it.

But, as crazy coincidence would have it, the next night, there was also a full moon, and that time I remembered.

The above is the absolute best picture I've ever taken of the moon with my old camera:

And these I took with the new one:

If man ever travels to the moon, I hope somebody takes a decent camera.

Rish "Peter Parker" Outfield

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Whedon The Impossible

I don't know how much or how little to say about THE AVENGERS, which I saw on Friday and then again today. It's already the record-holder for the biggest opening weekend ever (though those stats seem to change with the seasons), and people are saying it might end up being the best movie of the summer, even though it pretty much started the summer.

So, I'll just talk for a couple of minutes and leave it at that.

I've been a writer for pretty much all my life, and an editor of a fiction market for going on four years. And one thing that reading for pleasure and for the Dunesteef has showed me is that a really, truly gifted writer can make their work look easy. Often I'll read a short story submitted to us and think, "Dang, that's good stuff, but look how simple it would have been to write that little tale. Why don't I do that more often?"

The truth is, it's not easy. I absolutely despise the kinds of writers who say that it is (and they're out there, and they may be telling their own version of the truth, but it doesn't make me hate them any less), because that's saying that talent is more important than work, and the thought of that frightens me, as talented as my mother told Little Kid Me I was.

A good writer can make everything look flowing and simple, and almost pre-ordained, as though they're retelling a story that existed since time immemorial, and there's no other way the story could go. And I appreciate those who can do that.

THE AVENGERS, written and directed by Joss Whedon is not one of those stories. When it was over, I was amazed, even flabbergasted at how great the movie was. But I never once, not even for a moment, thought it would've been easy. The sheer effort it would take to make a movie with, what, eight lead characters, and give every single one of them a good line, something fun to do, and an emotional arc would be hard to pull off in a mini-series, let alone in a stand-alone film. "Star Trek" feature films have shown us time and time again that one or two of these characters are going to get the short shrift, or have nothing to do but stand around, or appear solely for comic relief or muscle or exposition.

But Joss somehow gives Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Nick Fury plenty of action, dialogue, and personal growth, but manages to give Loki and Bruce Banner more to do than in their own movies. Then you've got Black Widow and Hawkeye, who get highs and lows, laughter and tears, and enough depth that they're as memorable and important to the film as the big stars. Plus, Agent Coulson, Pepper Potts, and Maria Hill all get plenty too.

I'm not going to talk about the amount of stunts, fights, and special effects in the movie, because I don't care about those as much. Except I will say that there was a lot of it, all done well, all filmed so you could follow it, and most of it as clever and thoughtful as the dialogue.

I don't know how a person could pull something like that off. We've seen entire teams of writers, producers, and directors fail at that (talented ones, with really good movies under their belts). But Joss did it, almost as though he were a hungry kid, eager to prove himself in the world. Big and I have joked about the vast amounts of pressure causing Joss's hair to fall out these past three years . . . and maybe that's the evidence right there, that he didn't draw it all from the ether fully-formed, exactly-as-it-was-ordained, with no sweat and no strain. Maybe he struggled with not only every character and every setpiece, but every take and every line.

Maybe he exhausted himself during the day, and at night was too worried about the next day to get any sleep. I don't know how he did it, because I couldn't even begin to pull that off.

Joss Whedon made me care about Scarlett Johansson. Bravo, sir.

"We've done the impossible. And that makes us mighty."

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Because He Demanded It!

So, it's late Monday night, and I'm at home. Normally, I'd be over at Big's house, and we'd be recording. We usually go reaaaaaally late because, well, 1) we have so much to do for our podcast and others' that we can never get to everything, and 2) we live so far apart that we try to make the times we get together really productive.

But not tonight. We spent most of the evening recording two interview shows for the Roundtable Podcast, which was even more enjoyable than it was time-consuming. The other reason, though, was that because of a change in work schedule, Big told me to hit the road about two and a half hours earlier than usual. Sure, it's still later than anyone who doesn't sleep in a coffin during daylight would be up, but for me, it was an early night, and I've still got some energy left.

Also, before I drove home, Big mentioned that I never write in my blog anymore, yet I'm always bringing up movie updates and sharing my opinion about new developments with people . . . why don't I use my blog for that?*

So, okay. I can write in my blog for a few more minutes, if that is a productive use of my pre-dawn time. So here's three possible topics:


2. Interview on Roundtable about Renee Chambliss's superhero story.

3. The red hair in the movie BRAVE really disturbs me.

Let's see if they're worth exploring.


So, there's a movie based on the Hasbro game Battleship coming out in theaters in two weeks. In the U.S., that is. It's already been released in overseas markets, making over two hundred thousand dollars. It was directed by Peter Berg (HANCOCK, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), and stars Liam Neeson, the guy who played John Carter and Gambit**, and Rihanna.

Wait, Rihanna? What the fuck?

I just can't get my head around the idea that somebody made a feature-length tentpole blockbuster about the Battleship game. "G-7, miss. B-2, hit."

Oh, and I have no idea why I typed $200,000. It's two hundred million that it's made so far. There's every indication it'll make way more in the United States, and will probably end up with half a billion dollars in the end.

And in a world where there's a movie franchise (franchise, mind you) about The Smurfs, a "Sherlock Holmes" series where Watson is played by Lucy Liu, a fourth CHIPMUNKS film is on the way, and yet no sequel to the fuggin' INCREDIBLES, I should not be surprised. And yet I still am.

Big proposed that the two of us go see the movie when it opens, and actually see it in that D-Box format where the seats shake and rock in synch to the action of the movie. I proposed that we create a Kickstarter campaign where listeners can pay for our trip. I think we were both only half-joking.

If you don't mind, can we take a peek into an alternate reality for a moment? This is Parallel Earth 325. In it, I was up for screenwriter of this BATTLESHIP movie (I use all caps because I have apparently never heard of italics). I address the Hasbro studio board, and smile big.

"Gentlemen, when I was given the chance to pitch you my take on Battleship, really only three words came to mind: Wrath . . . Of . . . Khan.

"The greatest of the ‘Star Trek' movies was, in effect, the perfect adaptation of the Battleship game. A disgraced-but-brilliant enemy commander, one with a deep-seeded hatred of our hero, a beloved-and-brilliant ship commander, manages to steal a state-of-the-art ship, using it against our own fleet. And it's up to our battleship commander to stop him, in a cat and mouse game throughout the world's oceans."

I give the board members a moment to process this (I nearly said, "For it to sink in," but it sounded like a pun), then go on, explaining how it might work if our hero used to be good friends with–and perhaps even trained–the evil battleship commander. And how in the end, just like James T. Kirk, he uses an obscure bit of knowledge the evil captain doesn't know to defeat him in the ship battle.***

"Perhaps," I end with, "Our villain may actually say those iconic words, as the torpedo, missile, or shockwave is about to take him out: ‘You sunk my battleship.'"

I thank the board for their time, a bit nervous, but certain my pitch went well, and stand aside as the next team, the guys who made WHITEOUT, enter and do their presentation.

"Gentlemen," the guys begin, "there is a battleship at sea. Something pings their radar. The XO can't make out what it is, but it's approaching fast. The captain gives the order for everybody to man their battle stations. Up ahead, a huge, crazy-looking CGI ship bursts forth from the water, and flies up into the air. All mouths drop open, as the enemy ship . . . becomes a mother-fucking Transformer."

The eyes of the Hasbro board widen as one.

"Thank you," the WHITEOUT guys say.

Everyone in the Hasbro board begin to applaud, as they have never clapped before. Many tears are shed. One of the executives begins to furiously masturbate.

I am shown to the door.


The Roundtable Podcast is an interview show where two hosts get writers together to talk about their ideas. It's unique (to my ears, anyway) because they get a writer on each episode, have them talk about a story/novel/script/series/origami idea with the hosts, and a guest host, who is a writer, publisher, or editor of some sort. They brainstorm and discuss the merits and potential of the concept, and then the writer is free to leave the conversation and take all those suggestions into consideration . . . or simply dismiss them.

It's the second time in as many weeks that we've been interviewed, and both times were really great experiences (as well as insanely long). I quite enjoy flapping my jaw, as you know, so I could easily have gone even longer. I don't know if people listening will get as much out of it.

But the thing that I took away with from tonight's conversation, was how thrilling it was to be in a (virtual) room with other creative minds, in a brainstorming session, with everybody throwing a couple ideas around and commenting on the others' ideas. It was what my conception of working on "Saturday Night Live" or "The Simpsons" always was, and it had been a long time since I'd done it with anybody other than myself or Big.

That sounds sexual. For that, it's been even longer.

But there's something quite magical about being at a table with creative types, tossing ideas back and forth. The way you can come up with something by being prompted by something somebody else says you would never have come up with on your own. The way it can be almost infectious, and often hilarious, coming up with new scenarios or twists on the old ones, or running gags, or disturbing twists. The way the heart gets racing and you get excited not only by what you're writing about, but by what somebody else is working on.

But you shouldn't start a paragraph with the word "but." Let alone three.

I am a writer, through and through. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of a story idea, or consider the project I'm currently pursuing, or think about an old abandoned story, or mutter, "To hell with writing, I'm going to Wikipedia instead!" And being with other writers, just itching to jump in and talk (and boy, I was like a little boy tonight, unable to wait for the starting pistol at an Easter Egg hunt), and content that it was all worthwhile, even if the writing isn't mine. Or indeed, is in competition with mine.

It was a good time, and made me proud to have a mind that continues to give me nightmares and make me a weirdo who adds voices to the "Clash of Kings" characters.


Did you hear about that guy who got mugged and beaten by a bunch of street toughs, and then suddenly, he became some kind of mathematical genius, able to create visual representations of pi out of Lincoln Logs or Pickup Sticks that work in three dimensions to the four hundredth decimal?

The idea of that frightens the hell out of me. But not nearly as much as looking at the red hair on the twins and main character of Pixar's newest film, BRAVE.

Okay, perhaps this wasn't the best use of my time. I don't know what my friend had in mind when he asked why I didn't post in my blog anymore. Not this, I'm sure.

But the alternative, boys and girls, was sleep.

Rish "Not Even A Yawn" Outfield

*And I may have totally misunderstood his message. He may have been saying that I should share my blog with more people, or simply to write more posts. Or he might possibly even have been saying that he wishes I would write all my feelings in my blog instead of bothering him about them. Hopefully not that last one.

**Taylor Kitsch, his name is. Sadly, I had to look it up.

***Yes, this one was a pun.