Bat-Motion

Day 4 of Batman Week!

Guys, doing a themed week is hard, I was having trouble coming up with new topics. Luckily when I got home from work last night, two of my post adolescent male cousins were sitting on my parent’s couch, Johnny, who’s entering his 3rd year at the Naval Academy, and Jake, who just finished up his freshman year at James Madison University. If you want to talk pop culture, these are two of the guys you want to talk to.

So after a little while, I said, “I don’t know what to post tomorrow. Guys! Shout Batman things at me.”

They were already a little put out because I hadn’t included Darkwing Duck and Batmonk on my parodies list, but came at me with quite a few awesome suggestions.

But Johnny was the one who said, “Rank Batmobiles!”

I’m not going to rank Batmobiles. I am going to talk about Batmobiles though. It’s on my about page, but a few years ago I got to be near one of the 60’s Batmobiles, I even sat in it.

This remains one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. Like right after graduating from college.

When the early designs for “The Tumbler” the Batmobile from Batman Begins came out, there was a lot of talk about it. I remember one reporter or blogger (this was before I kept track of these things) saying the design made perfect sense for our times. The Batmobile has always been an amped up version of whatever car is considered “cool” in that time period.

The 60’s Batmobile was a racing hotrod, but longer and Bat themed. The Burton and Schumaker Batmobiles were slick and cleanly designed and made the much desired sports cars of that era look clumsy. Nolan’s Batmobile, is cool and functional and looks a lot like the Hummer, which in 2005, was the coolest of the cool.

Batman is constantly evolving, and one of the easiest ways to point to that evolution is through the Batmobile, it’s the first clue to the overall tone of a Batman flick.

Also, Jake wanted everyone to know, that when he was 8 and it first came out, he thought that Batman and Robin was the greatest movie ever. He has never rewatched it, because he doesn’t want to ruin the magic. (I’m very proud of the little freak I helped turn him in to.)

Because Even Batman Laughs (Batman doesn’t laugh!)

Day 3 of Batman Week!

When a character is as old and iconic and Batman, they become a bigger part of the cultural conversation, and when you’re a big, recognizable part of the cultural conversation, you’re bound to be parodied in a big way. And a well done parody is often times as good as the real thing (I’m looking at you Blazing Saddles!) This list contains an inordinate number of children’s cartoons…and I know that they are others, these are my favorites. Comment with yours!

5. The Amiguously Gay Duo, Saturday Night Live

BEST SNL CARTOON EVER

Ace and Gary fight crime and are put in to homoerotic situations. That’s basically the entire point of this animated sketch. Other people argue about whether they are gay or not. The sketch tends to go heavy on the parody of the 60’s Adam West Batman, and does it very well. Plus they’re voiced by Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert, so you know, win!

4. The Crimson Chin, The Fairly Odd Parents

Did you guys know they had “The Fairly Oddparents” in France? I didn’t!

The Crimson Chin is Timmy Turner’s favorite superhero. And when Timmy asks his Fairy Godparents to turn him in to a superhero he becomes “Cleft, the Boy Chin Wonder.” The Crimson Chin’s origin story is that he was an average late night television host (this is funny, as The Chin is voiced by Jay Leno), who got bitten by a radioactive actor and then becomes a superhero. Cleft is really just Timmy, running around with The Crimson Chin. Visually, the Crimson Chin episodes resemble Batman: The Animated Series, but relies on the utility belt type crime fighting of The 60’s, and is endlessly funny (if you like the manic style of Nicktoons.)

3. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, Spongebob Squarepants

RIP Mr. Borgnine

Spongebob’s favorite superheroes keep Bikini Bottom safe from, um…I guess from um…I don’t really know. But by the time Spongebob comes upon them, they’re living in a nursing home and Mermaidman is completely senile. Barnacle Boy, in the meantime is resentful of the fact that he never got to grow up to be Barnacle Man. Like most parodies, it hangs on to the 60’s camp Batman, but also satirizes fanboy and girling better than most things, as it’s Spongebob’s devotion that brings this duo out of retirement.

2. Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism, Community Season 3, Episode 8

I am Batman…Or am I?

Community never shies away from a parody, and this episode was no exception. This was the second time that ultimate fanboy Abed Nadeer dressed up as Batman, but it’s also the best one. When poor Annie breaks Abed’s special edition of  The Dark Knight (With new commentary by Christopher Nolan and signed by Christian Bale), she stages a break in so that Abed won’t get mad at her. (Troy thinks this is a terrible idea.) When the police say that it was probably an inside job, Abed resorts to Batman tactics to recover the DVD. Once he shakes down their landlord, Annie confesses and they’re all friends again. Danny Pudi’s pitch perfect Batman impression lands this one.

1. The Fearless Ferret, Kim Possible, Season 2, Episode 9

AND WONDER WEASEL!

When I was talking about this post with people, no one could believe this was my number one pick. But it is for a couple of reasons…none of the others on this list offer as many layers of satire as this one does. The idea here is that while volunteering for a hospital Candy Striper type program, Ron Stoppable visits the home of wealthy shut in Oliver North. While there, Ron learns that Mr. North used to be “The Fearless Ferret,” a vigilante superhero. Ron takes up the mantle, his trusty naked mole rat, Rufus becoming Wonder Weasel. In the end it is revealed that The Fearless Ferret was actually a TV show, North is a deranged ex actor, and Ron should go back to side kicking. Here’s why it’s brilliant. 1. Kim Possible was the most awesome show ever. (That’s another post for another day. 2. Timothy North was actually voiced by Adam West. 3. Ron Stoppable was voiced by Will Friedle, who was best known for playing Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World, but also voiced Terry McGinnis on Batman Beyond.

I love Batman, and I love good comedy, and when those things are put together, well, it’s hard to lose.

Bats And Cats

It’s Day 2 of Batman Week!

And today we’re talking about the weird and awesome relationship between Batman and Catwoman.

It looks like this is an element of Bat-Mythos  Christopher Nolan has decided to keep…

What I’ve always found interesting about the Batman/Catwoman dynamic (and yes, I will slash the HELL out of them. Look at the masthead people!) is that they’re working under the same MO, but with different goals. Selina Kyle is a bored socialite/animal right’s activist who decides to become a cat burglar and does it in the most literal way possible.

Bruce Wayne is a mal adjusted billionaire playboy who saw his parents killed in front of him and then got attacked by a bat or something (it varies version to version) and decided to eliminate crime by dressing up as a bat and fighting crime.

They’re occasionally on the same side of things, and are totally in to each other (both as Batman/Catwoman and as Bruce/Selina, thank you very much), because they’re the same. Their relationship is so complex and fetishy, it’s no surprise that every version has covered it. Even campy 60’s Batman, which had like six different Catwomen, always dealt with the weird attraction between them. Hell, in one version of “future Gotham” they have a kid (Helena Wayne: The Huntress, I don’t actually read comics, but I DO MY HOMEWORK! Also, I watched that god awful Birds of Prey TV show. I don’t remember anything except thinking it was stupid, and I was a ten year old nerd.)

So basically, what I’m saying is that Batman and Catwoman are soulmates.

Plus, you know he likes the whip.

Mr. Wayne

I’ve decided that I’m going to post something everyday this week. And I’ve decided to do it for one reason, and one reason only:

IT’S COMING!

Unless you live under some kind of rock, you must be aware of the fact the The Dark Knight Rises , the third and probably final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series is opening on Friday. I’m really excited, but I’m trying to temper that excitement, since A) I have a job and I doubt that my coworkers would appreciate me talking about it incessantly, and B) I’m really busy this weekend so I probably won’t get to see it right away and I don’t want to bother the people I’m with constant whining that I’m hanging out with them and not seeing The Dark Knight Rises. 

So I’m going to get all of my excitement out watching Season One of Batman: The Animated Series, on TheWB.com, and writing lots of blog posts about Batman in general.

Today, I’m not going to talk about Batman, except that I am. I’m going to talk about Bruce Wayne.

Again, in case you live under a rock, Bruce Wayne is Batman’s true identity (or is Batman Bruce Wayne’s, it’s a little confusing…), billionaire playboy, who runs Wayne Enterprises, and I don’t know, is generally awesome.

One of the things that a lot of bloggers are going to this week is rank Batmen. (Bale Good, Clooney Bad) but I think what a lot of people don’t think about, is that playing Batman isn’t just playing Batman, it’s also playing Bruce Wayne. That’s not to say that an actor’s Batmanning isn’t the most important part, but there has to be a balance. So I’m going to discuss the interpretations of Bruce Wayne in the various film versions (not The Animated Series, because, well, I don’t really remember it well enough to do it justice…)

5. Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)

He’s dangerous, he doesn’t like Batman because he’s UNSAFE…

While I actually think that Batman Forever is the most underrated of the Batman films, Val Kilmer was a terrible Bruce Wayne. He’s a really good Batman. Like really good, all stoic and tall, and whatnot. However, Mr. Kilmer lacks the charisma and charm to make the whole billionaire playboy thing work.

4. Michael Keaton (Batman, Batman Returns)

Yeah, I don’t have anything witty to say…

I’m still convinced the only reason why Michael Keaton even got to play Batman is because Tim Burton hadn’t fallen in love with Johnny Depp yet, and people like Beetlejuice. (I am one of these people, that movie is AWESOME!) But he’s serviceable as the Dark Knight, with his own brand of broody sarcasm working, but he just isn’t suave enough to pull of Bruce Wayne.

3. Adam West (Batman: The Movie)

The ascot is what does it

Adam West, TV’s Batman, also got a feature film shot at it, and he gets major points, because well, he’s pure 60’s campy suave-ness. I buy every bit of him as a “billionare play boy with a secret” and it fits in to the vision of Batman presented so perfectly.

2. Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises)

It’s not who he is, it’s his tuxedo that defines him

This is a controversial choice, but please note that I purely ranking Bruce Wayne here, not the balance, which Bale wins with a bullet! But Bale’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne seems too reliant on Batman, and he’s such a g-d douchebag it’s hard to remember that he’s the good guy.

Which leaves…

1. George Clooney (Batman and Robin)

I don’t know if this is a picture of him as Bruce Wayne or just a picture of him…

Batman and Robin is a terrible movie. It really is. I’d never defend it. I will defend the casting of George Clooney however. Because it’s not George Clooney’s fault that he was given the worst Batman movie ever to star in. Because Clooney was born to play Bruce Wayne. Which is why he went on to play him, just not Batman in a different series of movies. Except he changed the name to Danny Ocean.

So those are my opinions…agree, disagree? Let me know!

Children of The Fence Rejoice! (Or Despair)

It was announced today at Comic-Con, and reported here on Variety.com, that Leverage Productions, owned by Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg, best known for producing Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, and for being Mark effing Wahlberg, purchased the film rights to The Amory Wars graphic novel series.

This is amazing and perplexing news. Becuase The Amory Wars aren’t exactly standard, even for comics and sci-fi fare. They’re the elaborate imagining of this man:

I wish God dam it, we’ll make it if you believe!

That’s Claudio Sanchez, front man of the best band to come out of the Emo scene, Coheed & Cambria. I love Coheed & Cambria, more than is probably healthy, but that’s what happens when you fall in love with a band during adolescence, you never let them go.

Currently, Coheed has released four studio albums, all of which connect in the epic story of the Kilgannon family, who’s eldest son Claudio is the savior of a group of planets called Heaven’s Fence, held together by a mystical energy, called The Keywork. I think, I don’t know, I haven’t read the novels yet, and with just the music the details get a little sketchy.

The Keywork, my sister’s boyfriend wants to get this tatooed on himself…that’s how much we all love this band.

I’m a huge fan of Wahlberg’s, and I think that both Boardwalk Empire and Entourage are exceptional pieces of work. But I’m not exactly sure if I trust him and Levinson to translate my favorite band’s work in to film.

However, I am choosing to be optimistic. Because if it means that Coheed & Cambria are going to get mind explodingly huge, and I can be smug and say “pfft, I’ve loved Coheed for ten years, what’s yours point?” I’ll be thoroughly satisfied.

But if Johnny Drama shows up, I’m boycotting…

I like ’em bad (fictionally)

So tonight, while watching Dallas, I fell head over heels, in the way that only true fangirls can, with John Ross Ewing, played by Josh Henderson.

Seriously…I mean LOOK at him

And here’s why. He’s beautiful, he’s ruthless, but regrets it. And he’s totally, totally damaged.

I’ve talked a little bit about how much I root for the other guy. I’ve talked about how I fantasize about Norse Gods…

Thor…

Sorry, I’m back now…but what I haven’t talked about my bad boy thing.

It’s completely irrational. I don’t actually want a bad boy…not that I’ve known that many in my life, but I imagine in real life I would mostly find them irritating and whiny, or be totally intimidated by them. (In high school, I was in love with a chubby theater geek, who had something like a 3.7 GPA and who’s younger sister was his best friend…he was like the opposite of a bad boy…)

But from the safety of my couch, or when they’re confined to a written page, I can’t get enough of them!

I shouted and pulled my hair out for that entire season that Rory Gilmore decided to date that stupid milquetoast Dean over Jess Mariano. I loved that in the end Joey Potter picked Pacey Whitter over whiny Dawson Leary (who wasn’t? That’s what I’d like to know!). I freak out every time that Blair Waldorf is with a guy that isn’t Chuck Bass. While most of my dorky girl friends are hoping to find their Mr. Darcy, I’d rather have Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind. I’m Team Jacob, love Spike from Buffy, harbor a deep seeded love for Don Draper, wish more people knew who Logan Eccols was, still hold out hope for Puckleberry (Finnchel is BOOORRRINNGGG!) and dream about being trapped on The Island with Sawyer.

There are exceptions. I’m all about Brandon Walsh, love the honorable Jon Snow, and picked Peeta over Gale at first glance. (I don’t care, Gale was a DICK!)  But for the most part, I love to watch and think about the bad boys.

And so, John Ross Ewing, welcome to the brotherhood!

A Leader For Us All

I have this tee-shirt, that I’d forgotten about until I wore it to the gym today. (I joined a gym…and I got a job. My life is turning around here folks.)

It’s one of those “Junk Food” brand tee shirts that you used to see all over the mall. (You may still see the all over the mall…I work in the mall now, but I don’t explore it that often.) It’s plain white, with a big blue Barbie profile and “Vote For Barbie” stamped on it in pink. Then the back says, “A Leader for Us All.”

She hasn’t been released yet, but I want her…

Much like I hate the third wave feminist demonization of the so called “princess complex,” I’m also all about taking back Barbie. Look, yes, her body proportions are crazy, but if we’ve decided that a doll is the reason that girls have low self esteem, we’ve shifted the blame so far from where it belongs…

Anyway, I’ve always loved this shirt because when you think about it Barbie would be an excellent President. She’s had so many careers. She’s been a flight attendant, and then a pilot. She’s been a vet, and a regular doctor. She’s been a successful business woman, I mean, I assume, at least she owns several blue suits. She has proved to be a responsible guardian to her younger sisters, Skipper, Kelly, and the other one who’s name I can’t remember, and has maintained a relationship with the same man for over sixty years.

She also has a great deal of leadership experience, due to her tenure as a princess. She understands how the environment works because she was once a mermaid. And she could deal with the country’s obesity issues by teaching an aerobics class! We know she is deeply disciplined, because one does not become a Prima Ballerina without working really hard and being super dedicated.

Anyway, the point is, if Barbie were a real person, not only would she be too tall, with too small a waist and giant boobs. But she’d also be a hell of a political candidate.

So that’s why this election year, when I make jokes about who I’m voting for, I’m voting for Barbie.

A Leader for Us All!

An Epic of Epic Epicness

There are certain pieces of work that just hit their niche perfectly. They speak to their audiences so clearly, provide such a clear picture of what they want to say, that it becomes eerie and they rise above mere fiction or even and become defining factors for generations that look back one them.

The Great Gatsby is that for the Roaring 20’s, On The Road did it for the beat generation, Wall Street was the one that did it for the 80’s.

For Millenials, for Generation Y, I really and truly believe that our piece of time capsule fiction, is going to be Scott Pilgrim.

I don’t just mean the brilliantly underrated film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, although I love it very much. I mean the entire graphic novel series. (I always want to call them comics, but they aren’t really, they’re somewhere in between traditional English language comics and Japanese Manga…) Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott Pilgrim and The Infinite Sadness, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, and Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour all by Brian Lee O’Malley tell a story unique to this generation. 

Why do I think that it’s really going to be Scott and his friends that define our generation? They’re are a couple of reasons.

Like any story that employs any kind of ensemble cast, I think that people see themselves in the characters. (I’m a Julie, who wishes she was  Kim, which is slightly less obscure than my friend Matt who when I mentioned this post stated that the character he related to the most was Michael Comeau, a minor character who’s main function is introducing new characters.) But everything in Scott Pilgrim’s world is painted in a thick coat of irony.

If there’s one thing that our generation has decided to let the world know, it’s that we love, love, love all things ironic. We’re the generation that made hate watching a thing, that patronized the NKOTB/BSB super boy band tour, we watched Rebecca Black’s “Friday”(at the time of this writing) 34,544,878 times on YouTube.  So of course, a sort of manga series and then movie about a bunch of hipsters from Toronto who fight video game style battles and dead pan sarcastic comments at each other, is going to touch a nerve.

Then you have the hero himself, Scott Pilgrim. Scott is us. He’s unfocused, a little bit selfish, lost and working out his shit. He’s working it out a bit unconventionally (fighting epic battles with his girlfriend’s exes) to be sure, but still…He’s friends with his high school girlfriend, thinks his college girlfriend is the devil and lives with a slutty gay dude. He loves Tex-Mex food, and doesn’t drink (much, there are exceptions!) He’s hiding from adulthood by dating a 17 year old Chinese girl, until he meets Ramona Flowers.

Ramona is another element that is specifically Generation Y. She’s the ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a term coined to describe these girls, who are hipper, more fun and free spirited than everyone else and for some reason fall for schlubby everyman types. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a Millenial Fantasy. The men want to date one, and the women want to be one. Ramona roller blades, she lived in New York, she changes her hair “like every week and a half,” she calls her boyfriend “dude.” (I also call everyone “dude.”) She also has ninja powers, because this is Scott Pilgrim, not a Cameron Crowe movie.

Then there’s “the gang.” Scott’s high school girlfriend, Kim Pine, is sarcasm wrapped in a delightful tortilla of scorn, she’s the one who utters my favorite line of all time, “Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it.” Steven Stills, who is in the band Sex Bomb-om with Scott and Kim, he is obsessed with their band. Young Neil is Steven’s roommate, who is 20 to everyone else’s 23-25, hence his name (he reminds me of my friend Joanna…she is also younger than us.) Scott’s younger sister Stacey who is more competent than he is at everything, Steven’s sometimes girlfriend Julie who throws lots of parties and really hates Scott, Knives Chau the aforementioned 17 year old who is in love with Scott. And there is also Wallace Wells, Scott’s roommate and best friend (besides Kim) and his revolving door of boyfriends.

Like any gang they’re archetypes, but they’re specific to this generation. Scott and Kim reconnected, I like to imagine via social network, after University, when they both moved to Toronto. They bum around talking about Nintendo and Anime. Then there are the evil exes. Matthew Patel is the first, and he’s a Bollywood cliche, then there’s Lucas Lee, a professional skateboarder turned actor. After Lucas is Todd Ingram, a vegan psychic who is now dating Scott’s evil college ex Envy Adams (who turns out to not really be evil at all, just kind of a bitch), and the Kataynagi twins, Japanese party planners (DJ’s in the movie).

The final evil ex is Gideon Gordon Graves, who is identified as 31 years old, and is the mastermind of the league. This is where I think the whole metaphor for a generation thing comes full circle. Gideon is older, and is manipulating the millenials in the story to his needs and will. He preys on Ramona’s insecurities about herself, erases Scott’s memories of his years before Ramona and puts together a group of kids to fight each other for no reason other than his own opinion. Gideon is the established half a generation above us. The people who just missed Generation X classification, but don’t quite have the same worries as we in Gen Y do. The people who we idolized, wanted to be like and then exploited us. The people who still have their entry level jobs in this economy so we can’t get to them. The metaphor falls apart a little when the only way to overcome that is by Scott and Ramona cutting him up with a Katana and collecting the $70,000 (Canadian) in change that comes out.

All in all it’s the attitude that makes it feel like the ultimate millenial tale. The irony, but also the belief that we’ll get past it. This whole thing is just a phase, and we’re self aware enough as a generation to know that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be at the party.

Even if it’s just so that we have something to complain about…