Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Papa, Please Don't 'Preacher'

I would like nothing more than to be filled with joy at the news that Preacher—Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's seminal mid-90s comic series, about the wandering mission of a man of the cloth who is given the power of the word of God—is in development as an HBO series. Really, I would. I've always thought that HBO needed to get in the comic book property business, and Preacher, with it's language, nudity, and vampire content, couldn't be done anywhere else as a TV series...and there's plenty enough story to sustain five 13-episodes seasons, at least. (I've also thought that the only way to do The Sandman justice would be as an HBO miniseries, a la Band of Brothers.)

But Mark Steven Johnson? The guy who gathered the forces of mediocrity to ruin Daredevil? The guy who probably destroyed Ghost Rider? (I say probably, because I haven't seen it in its entirety, but the fact that I've sat through two underwhelming presentations at two separate Comic-Cons does not bode well.) He's the guy who gets to write the pilot script and executive produce? Really? And they get Howard Deutch to direct, he who has demonstrated his visual flair and character acumen with films like Grumpier Old Men, The Whole Ten Yards, and the pilot for Melrose Place?

Could they have found two people less suited for this? You want a project like this to be in the hands of someone with a relentless intelligence as well as an unbridled geek creativity, like Ron Moore, or Damon Lindelof, or John Rogers, or Gough/Millar. Not these guys. One hopes that the underlying material is strong enough to shine through whatever gloss of shite this lot coats it with. And maybe the casting will help to steady the ship.

But, right now, it looks like Preacher would probably be better served by never being a TV series at all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dear Famous People...

Put on your fucking underwear.

How hard is that? You know you're leaving the house, you know there will be people with cameras...put on your drawers. Regardless of how ugly your grann-ties may be, or how uncomfortable a thin layer of cotton/silk may be against your nethers, it's gotta be preferable to having your cooch plastered on every website known to man, right? (Yes, including this one...because I, actually, am in favor of female nudity, just not stupidity.) There are only two jobs where having no underwear is acceptible: prostitute and two-year old.

I mean, Jesus...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Things I Know

I've got a birthday coming up in a couple of days. Turning 35. A friend of mine got herself in a bit of a tizzy when she hit that mark...apparently, that's how old Jesus was when he died. (Or was it 33? Or is that the number on Rolling Rock bottles? Amazing how often Christ and beer appear in the same sentence.) And she started tallying her life achievements—a futile endeavor, comparing one's life's work to JC's, unless a paralyzing depression is what you're after.

But there are some things that I've come to realize about myself, settling into my thirty-fifth year:

I am probably always going to be a shade of fat. Just the way I was built. Honestly. I've got shoulders the width of a subway door...and I haven't worked out once this century. I was always a heavy kid, but that was ameliorated by an abundance of physical activity. Now, the genes–and my jeans—are having their revenge. I am simply not gonna get down to my football weight of 180, not without a tapeworm, and I'm starting to come to grips with that.

I am not the writer I could be. Part of this is just because I don't do it enough. There are people out there who live, breathe, sweat writing. I'm not that person. I like it, and think I'm good at it, but it is not what sustains me, and so I'm not driven to do it every waking moment. And because I don't do it as often as I could, I'm not improving as rapidly as I could be. My writing partner, Adam, wisely pointed out that I lean too heavy on the one-liner, the too-cool-for-school characters that allow me to crack wise with a hint of satire. All my protagonists are like James Bond if he grew up with a subscription to MAD. So far, it hasn't hurt. People seem to like that. But they won't forever.

I will always be the parent of an autistic child. The hardest part about learning that your kid is handicapped, for me anyway, was the revision of expectations. In all likelihood, I'm paying into a college fund that she won't get to use. My wife and I may never experience empty-nest syndrome. Yes, it is absolutely possible that she'll make remarkable, astonishing progress and can eventually be mainstreamed back into the regular school system and go on to lead a fulfilling life. But she will always be autistic. And I will always be her dad.

I don't like roller-coasters. I just don't. If I'm gonna be going that fast, I want control, dammit. Same reason I don't like skiing: No friggin' brakes. (Plus, it's too cold.) My wife is a nut for roller-coasters (and skiing) and because of me, she's cut back severly on both. C'est l'amour.

I'm not leaving EW any time soon. Because it is, for lack of a better word, easy. I know the people. I know the system. I know the subject matter. Yes, it can be a grind, but I know how it's done. And I'm good at it. With rare exceptions, it doesn't hurt my brain to do my job. It leaves me with enough mental hard-drive space to do what little writing I do (see above). They pay pretty well and have a very generous benefits package. And I get six weeks of vacation. So why the hell would I want to leave?

I don't ever want to eat Indian food again. I had a bad experience when I was 13 years old that involved roti on the island of Trinidad. Today, the smell of curry makes me throw up in my mouth a little. My wife is a recent convert to the wonders of Indian cuisine. If you like it, too, give her a call. You can eat it with her. Not me. I'm done.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thank You, Fox...

For not letting OJ send himself to hell.

Dear Orenthal...

Now I, like many other black folks, have been willing to extend you the benefit of the doubt (even though, rationally, I know there's not a lot of doubt left). A court of law found you not guilty of killing your ex and her boyfriend.

But if you go on TV and do this thing, you're going to hell. I'm just saying.

If you're a Hall of Fame football player and you're dead-set on embarassing yourself and tarnishing your reputation, at least go on Dancing with the Stars. Emmett's not going to go to hell for that. He's just gonna look back at it and be a little sad. You...well, you're going to hell.


Friday, November 17, 2006

That 'Thing' You Do

While I'm not normally a big fan of remakes, especially horror remakes (not that I'm some kind of over-the-moon horror nut; it's just that, Zack Snyder's phenomenal Dawn of the Dead redux aside, most horror remakes forget to include what made the concepts scary to begin with, and don't replace that with anything new), I'm kind of jazzed by the news that Universal's taking another whack at John Carpenter's The Thing. And the only reason I'm jazzed is that Battlestar Galactica alcalde Ron Moore is writing the script. Because, aside from the "Black Market" episode in Season 2, he's been pretty bang-on.

See, I love The Thing. It is, hands down, Carpenter's best film. While I have a very, very soft spot in my heart for Big Trouble in Little China and do think that the first and last 20 minutes of Escape from New York are positively adrenal, neither holds a candle to The Thing, which saw Carpenter squeezing every last drop of talent from his rock of a brain. (Carpenter is a walking proof of the idea that a director should know when he's lost it and walk off into the sunset before sullying his reputation with things like Ghosts of Mars and In the Mouth of Madness and—damn his eyes—Escape from LA.)

I always thought there should've been sequels to The Thing, or maybe even a TV series (that probably would've sucked). There was so much more you could've done with that concept. Maybe, today, in a world of terrorism and suicide bombers, the idea of a homicidal alien shapshifter would actually play better. And maybe this remake is just the ignition cap for a franchise. I could swing with that.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Coolest Hotel Room Ever

The "Comic" room at the Arte Luise Kunsthotel in Berlin. All of the edges of the walls, furniture, everything, were outlined with hand-drawn black lines. It's like you're living inside a comic panel.

(Found via The Engine)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Roughing the Passer

No, that title isn't an allusion to something writer-y, or even something naughty. This is gonna be a sports post, folks. Probably the only one you'll ever read here. (Of course, that statement is, like every other statement on this blog, a blatant lie. Including this one. Oh, what a tangled web I weave.)

Roughing the passer may be one of the dumbest, incongruent penalties ever. In case you're not clear on what this penalty's about, here's the textbook definition:
"Flagrantly running into or hitting the quarterback after the ball has been released. Can also be called when a defender hits the quarterback in the head."
Now, the reason I call bullshit on this penalty is because it singles out the quarterback as, essentially, the single most precious player on the field. He is to be protected at all times. Now, as a matter of course, that's correct. The purpose of the offensive line is to either create holes for the running back to shoot through, or to give the quaterback time to pass the ball. To protect him from the defense, who would like nothing more than to pulverize him. Fair enough.

But this penalty is saying that in the process of trying to flatten a QB, the defensive player cannot touch him in any real way after he's thrown the ball. They're saying that a 220-lb. guy, running flat-out, has to be able to pivot like a ballerina to avoid hitting a guy—and here's the crux of it—who is willingly playing a game where people get hit.

That bears repeating: football is a full-contact sport. Since when do quarterbacks get to pretend they're playing in a separate, partial-contact arena? If you strap on those pads and put on that helmet, you should be prepared to get hit as hard and as often as anyone else on that field. (And the I-can't-touch-his-head thing is ridiculous. I absolutely agree that the face-mask penalty is necessary to avoid, you know, snapping players' necks. But to claim that just touching his helmet is a violation is just silly.)

It would be like an accountant for the local volunteer fire company donning all the gear and going to a two-alarm blaze and then getting pissed off he got burned. Because the fire should know that he's precious.

If you talk the talk, then you gotta walk the walk.

Sports tirade over. We now return you to your irregularly scheduled broadcast, already in progress.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Fountain of Youth

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. A little skeeved, I think. But it's also a little cool. (Only a little.)

But you'd have to think that Connery's still got Bond money coming in.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How Did We Ever...

...fall out of love with outer space? When I was a kid, going into outer space was the paragon of cool. Maybe it was because we didn't know any better, but movies like Star Wars and Flash Gordon and TV shows like Star Trek and Buck Rogers totally inflamed desires to travel in the great beyond. And, even though we were idiots, we knew that astronauts were the guys who really got to blast off. So, when we weren't dressed up as Superman or indians or inmates for Halloween, we were spacemen. (At least those of us whose parents kept a bolt of aluminum foil and an empty goldfish bowl handy did.)

But as I was out this past Halloween, trick or treating with my kids, I saw nary an astronaut. (And Anakin frakkin' Skywalker does not count.) For further proof, I went to the internets and found these lists, of the top 20 costumes for 2006 and 2005:

1. Princess
2. Pirate
3. Witch
4. Spider-Man
5. Superman
6. Disney Princess
7. Power Ranger
8. Pumpkin
9. Cat
10. Vampire
11. Angel
12. Fairy
13. Ninja
14. SpongeBob SquarePants
15. Batman
16. Cheerleader
17. Football Player
18. Tinkerbell
19. Monster
20. Star Wars Character

1. Princess
2. Witch
3. Spider-Man
4. Monster
5. Darth Vader
6. Superhero
7. Star Wars Character
8. Batman
9. Ninja
10. Clown
11. Pirate
12. Angel
13. Pumpkin
14. Power Rangers
15. Cinderella
16. Vampire
17. Cheerleader
18. Cat
19. Ghost/Ghoul
20. Soldier/Sailor

No astronauts. What the hell happened?

It's tempting to blame Republicans. For almost everything. But, while the manned space program was kick-started by Kennedy, it was carried out, by and large, by Republicans. (Back then, they were the good Republicans.)

I think we just got bored, as a culture, with the idea of going into space. Especially since no one ever brought anything cool back down with them.

I was watching this Discovery Channel special on the unmanned probes and it mentioned something that just completely stunned me and reminded how much I too have given up on the dream:

Voyager has, most likely, crossed into interstellar space. It's out there, where no man has gone before. It has left home.

Suddenly, I wanna be a kid again, flush with dreams of distant exploration and currently up to my pits in tin foil.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006