hart1000 asked: Currently, what is your favorite TV show (non-HBO, non-Showtime, etc.)?
I honestly think the two best shows currently on television are cartoons - but then, hey, you get to set your own boundaries with cartoons, so that lends more creative liberty to the brains behind it all.
Anyway, Rick and Morty is astonishing, I thought it was just a straight-up Adult Swim comedy at first, but from the “Mazzy Star” episode on (if you know what I mean) it’s become something altogether transcendent.
And then Adventure Time, a show I wish had been around when I was an adolescent, no show I’ve ever seen has managed to capture all the confusion and seeming importance about sex, identity and relationships as that show. It’s going to be single-handedly (or multi-handedly, I suppose, there are a lot of talented people at work on that show) responsible for a generation of well-balanced kids…
drlarrysalt asked: Which do you think is gonna hit a majority of states first: legalized weed or legalized gay marriage?
I think I mentioned this before, but when Washington simultaneously legalized gay marriage and legal weed, it was something like 60% of voters in favor of legal weed and only 56% of voters approving gay marriage. Who the hell are these 4% of weed-smoking homophobes?
tehawesomeness asked: Which Coen brothers movie is your favorite?
Ohhhhh the Coens! I feel like this is maybe a trite answer - because in a lot of ways this is the most Wes Anderson-y of the Coen Brothers movies - but it’s O Brother Where Art Thou, hands down. Cinematography, set design, prop manufacture and framing alone would make this a spectacle to behold, plus the music is possibly the greatest film soundtrack yet assembled, but then the performances and the pacing … lord, just a perfectly assembled film, a moving dream.
Second to that is A Serious Man, that thing is a masterpiece, and then I can never get enough of Raising Arizona. Cage’s monologue at the end just reduces me to tears.
“This whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I’m liable to do? But me and Ed, we can be good too. And it seemed real. It seemed like us and it seemed like, well, our home. If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. I don’t know. Maybe it was Utah.”
jwolman asked: Hi Jon. What's your ideal breakfast?
I can never remember what that movie is, it’s got a female character saying “All men like their eggs scrambled” or something like that.
I do love scrambled eggs. Took the time last year to learn how to make scrambled eggs in a restaurant style, it was the most worthwhile thing I’ve learned how to cook except for that gnocchi class I took a couple months back.
Here we go, lads:
drlarrysalt asked: Assuming you watched HBO's True Detective: in what ways did it and did it not work for you?
You know, I ain’t seen True Detective yet, but I will admit that I was mildly annoyed at the folks who responded to Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey turning in affecting performances with genuine surprise. Both of those actors have a lot of cred under their belts - are they still judging Woody for White Men Can’t Jump or something?
Also found it a little annoying that so many folks called it noir when it appears to be pulp, but maybe the association’ll become clearer when I finally watch it and also that’s a losing battle anyway.
Wanna see a collaboration between comic master Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, whose dynamic, lovingly illustrated figurework is the stuff of legend, and Mike Royer, the bold brush best known for embellishing Kirby’s Fourth World work? Well, here it is, Adventure Comics vol.1 No.442, a Vigilante back-up which was part of an inventory Seven Solders of Victory story which was dug up, finally illustrated, and ran as a serialized backup across several issues (Howard Chaykin did an amazing job emulating Frazetta’s work on the Shining Knight chapter).
JLGL and Royer is a BEE. ZARR. combination, there are points when it almost works, but for the most part Garcia-Lopez’s subtlety and Royer’s boldness do not play well together.
(The story was the work of Joe Samachson, co-creator of the Martian Manhunter and long-time journeyman writer at National - also a biochemist and a researcher into bone diseases! Amazing lives these fellas led…)
Anonymous asked: The title of your Winter Soldier post summed up my thoughts exactly. Holy fuck but it literally looks like a cable drama (Joss Whedon needs to be strung up for allowing that lighting to become a thing). You're wrong about Iron Man 3, though; it's totally a Shane Black movie, just not enough of/a particularly good one. Still the most watchable of the new batch.
The thing I like about Shane Black movies (and some other 80’s action movies to a lesser extent; but at least Die Hard, which is perfect)— and I think what modern blockbusters have strayed from to their detriment— is the heroes are Messed Up. They’re not okay; society doesn’t really have a place for them— Geena Davis in Long Kiss Goodnight can’t be a homemaker because she’s a killer, Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon can’t be a family man like Danny Glover because he’s lethal and also a weapon, Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has one of my favorite things where he says something like, “I’m not saying it’s normal— I’m not saying I’m normal”; etc. Modern special effects blockbusters don’t have those kinds of characters— it’s all Chosen Ones and prophecies and all that crap, instead of Bill Murray in Meatballs. I don’t know why— this country got more evangelical? People got less accepting of actual outcasts (the nerds never won)? No clue.
I identify with fuck-ups lots, for obvious reasons, so that is the kinda stuff I’m into. And so, Iron Man 3— if it had any of that to it, I missed it. The fact it was set at Christmas didn’t mean much when fundamentally, I felt like the stuff I think of as being his real hallmarks wasn’t there, the stuff I get into. Downey Jr. had a “nervous condition”, they tried to jam in a neuroses, but it never felt all that real and I don’t remember it getting resolved in any meaningful way…
And the ending, I just remember it all being special effects and Gwyneth Paltrow’s weird stomach. The idea of the main character having to defeat the bad guys in order to be in some way healed wasn’t there (which I think is how his other movies have ended, the healing power of violence— Bruce Willis being gloomy all movie and then finally being happy enough to dance a jig because he threw a guy onto helicopter blades). Take away the main character healing and/or coming to grips with his world (e.g. Mel Gibson having to beat up Gary Busey outside the family home) and it’s just… What’s there to root for without that stuff? I don’t know. Not much. So for me it always felt authored and muddled by executives, and consultants, and whatever, more than anything, like with all those movies. For me, it’s not a “real Shane Black” thing in the ways that count. It’s just the movie I’m hoping helps him get to make real Shane Black things again because … The Nice Guys is a pretty fun script that’s just lying on a shelf somewhere, so…
I really appreciate this sentiment being put into words - I didn’t particularly enjoy the Marvel Comics movies, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on why (or cared to, they’re pretty fluffy movies. I don’t analyze chicken mcnuggets either), excepting that I find them dull overall and over-reliant on that “member dis!” key-jangling they do with background props (Some day there’s gonna be the Wand of Watoomb propping up a door marked, like, “D. Ormammu, Magic Expert” or something in the back of a Pepper Potts DVD extra where they introduce the guy who ends up playing Dreadknight in Iron Man 7 and fiolks are gonna go nuts. I’m not saying I don’t recognize that booshwah, I’m just saying it’s overvalued).
I mean, Iron Man had fun bits with Robert Downey Jr playing the cute version of Nicolas Cage and Captain America had loads of charm and that Ed Norton Hulk movie had a couple of scenes that were very serious acting happening, but overall my mind was wandering during most of the films, and the climactic battles in particular, and I think the above sentiment captures the actual “why” - you get a whole movie of Tony Stark suffering some kind of giddy PTSD and taking a consciously insincere appraisal of his life but in the end the way we wrap up the movie is he fights the other big iron armor guy and we just close the file on all his faults (or, shall we say, “character”). They purge these guys of all of their interesting flaws, shortcomings and neuroses so all that left is some sort of cuddly adolescent, made of hairless muscles, gif sets and memes and shwarmas - Thor beats up all of the evil mythological strongmen, Captain America beats up the guys who represent the bad ideology, Hulk beats up Bad Hulk, and then they become capital-H-Heroes and are washed clean of flaws and failings.
I dunno, I haven’t seen the sequels to most of these things, maybe they find new nooks and crannies to exploit. I think I did watch Iron Man 2 and they made the alcoholism thing sort of a fun dance party? Like a “whoops, that was dumb, no more alcoholism for me!” kind of slip-up, like it was no more serious than he accidentally wore two different colors of socks. And then, again, beat up bad armor guys I think.
All my favorite Marvel superheroes are majorly fucked-up. The Thing is always going to be a sad rock-guy, there’s no “Evil Thing” for him to beat and wash himself clean. Daredevil! There’s a guy, fuckin’ Daredevil, you remember one time that guy almost threw a baby off a ledge? He is not well, the constant struggle against going flat-out murder-nuts made him interesting - I tried reading this new volume, this flippant “fun” book where he wisecracks and his best friend gets cancer but spends all his cancer therapy time going “My superhero friend is the best guy!”, just this guy with no conflicts who never really loses any fight and is handsome, smart, rich, successful, combin’ pussy out of his beard, leapin’ over buildings, is allegedly super-cool even though he sounds and behaves like he’s scripted by a mildly-bright fourteen-year old, what was the point? It was “fun” … I got a dog, man, I own a kite, I can have fun on my own, stories should be interesting.