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Showing posts from March, 2017

It Came From the '90s: Weezer's Geek Rock

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.

The X-Men references in Weezer's "In the Garage" resonated with me when I first heard the song in 1994. I'd grown up on a steady diet of comics and rock and pop music at that point, so Rivers Cuomo and the gang were landing squarely in my wheelhouse.

I've got a Dungeon Master's Guide I've got a 12-sided die I've got Kitty Pryde And Nightcrawler too Waiting there for me Yes I do, I do

Uncanny X-Men comic books changed my life. I was just a bit younger than Kitty Pryde when I first read her introduction to the series. She was a lot of readers' surrogate back then, acting as our introduction to the colorful, surrealist, and expansive world of Marvel's mutants. She and the X-Men gave voice to our own struggles with fitting in at school. Years later, the music on the Blue Album had a different, yet still measurable impact on me. With …

This is not my beautiful blog

Sometimes I think this blog has multiple personalities.

Other times I think I have multiple personalities.

Synergy!


Every now and then I have a moment of cognitive dissonance around here: wait, wasn't I going to use the blog as therapy? Why am I writing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then? And not even the beloved series, but the film no one cares about!

Writing about yourself has its limits. I've done it a lot here, but usually filtered through popular culture musings. That's how I'm most comfortable doing it, I suppose. Sometimes those reflections turn further inward. Things get real, as we used to say in the '90s. Mostly though, this space is for enthusing about books and movies and music and whatever else I'm hooked on at the moment, or have been hooked on at some point in my life.

I've started some recurring features in the last year in order to help organize my thoughts and provide a rough outline for future posts. "It Came From the '90s&qu…

Moonglow

I read Moonglow in January, then wrote up a very short review. Forgot about it until recently. Might as well share it now.

Released last November, Moonglow is the latest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. Except it's a bit more and a bit less than that; a hybrid of sorts. The publisher calls it, "an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir." The book begins with a bang, then takes some time introducing characters and concepts that will play important roles in the book's narrative. The narration is by a character named Michael Chabon, a barely fictionalized analog of the author, but is not explicitly about him. The story is based loosely on Chabon's own family history, except with plenty of deviations, artistic license, and other influences woven in to create a novelistic memoir of slyly epic proportions.

Our narrator acts as our conduit to the story of his family tree. His grandfather is seriously ill and nearing the end of lif…

Leftover Thoughts on the Films of Paul Verhoeven

I'm on Paul Verhoeven overload, or, Verhoeven-load, lately.

After revisiting some of his films and reading Paul Verhoeven: Interviews for an article at Sequart I've had his films on the brain. Here are a few leftover odds 'n' sods, just some random observations about an underrated filmmaker. 
A recurring theme throughout his career is how often critics seem to misinterpret his work. This seems an especially common reaction to his Hollywood films. How did so many critics miss the point of the scathing satire in Starship Troopers? Some even deemed it a pro-fascist work. I suppose when you skewer fascism and the military industrial complex as well as Verhoeven does here, many viewers will simply take it too literally.

Similarly, Showgirls was panned during initial release and dismissed as trash. If they'd looked any deeper than the film's surface aesthetic—past all of the nudity—they'd see it's an age-old cautionary tale that somehow avoids passing judgme…

Logan is the best superhero film ever made

When I reviewed Logan last week for FanSided I tried to reign in my fanboy gushing and keep it spoiler free. But there was a lot more I wanted to say about the film. This being my blog, where I'm free to let the fanboy freak fly and get spoilery, I'm about to do just that. I'm a huge X-Men fan. Like many of us, I've been waiting years for a truly great film in the franchise (besides X2, which is a very good movie). Logan is the film we've all been waiting for. So you've been warned: excessive geeking out and spoilers lie ahead. 

With Logan, director James Mangold has given us one of the most visually stunning films the superhero genre has ever seen. The cinematography beautifully reflects the film's themes and tone. More than a week after seeing it, I still can't get certain scenes and images out of my head. These are just a few:

The first of several brutally graphic fight scenes that made it clear this would be the most R-rated and unleashed cinematic…

It Came From the '90s: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.

Just the idea of a blonde-bimbo-teenage-cheerleader as vampire hunter is so ludicrously over the top that you can't help but love it. However, when the Joss Whedon-penned Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit theaters in 1992, audiences were probably not prepared for this concept. It's bizarre, subversive, and just weird enough to turn off the masses.

Years later, Whedon massaged, expanded, and improved on the Buffy mythos in his long-running television series of the same name, relegating the movie that spawned the series to a footnote. Many fans of the series don't even acknowledge the film's existence. That seems harsh. While it doesn't compare in quality or lasting impact to the series, it's still worth revisiting.

When I first saw it I thought, "What the hell is this?" It's rare for Hollywood to create a truly original concepts, but Whed…

Barely Making a Dent: March 2017 Books

In which our narrator tries to read his way through the endless stacks of books that are slowly overtaking both his bookshelves and his life.

Writing about books and working in publishing both make it far too easy—you might say even dangerously easy—to acquire more books than I can read at any given time. That's the reason for the name of this recurring series.

Guess what? It's happened again: I've recently received several review copies and became the proud owner of a mammoth set of books that I've wanted for awhile now. The shelves are filling up fast.

Recently acquired

Love and Rockets, by Los Bros Hernandez. My editor at Sequart has been unloading some of his collection, so I was able to snag these for a song. This is quite a windfall: five thick paperback collections and the Fantagraphics reprint of the very first issue of the series.

I'm most excited to read Jaime Hernandez's "Locas" trilogy of books, all of which I know own. I've always gravit…