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Talking DTV action with Movie Morlocks

tn_morlocksToday I’m interviewed on Movie Morlocks, the official TCM blog, about DTV action. This kicks off 3 weeks (!) of DTV action coverage by writer R. Emmet Sweeney “in the hopes of bringing more appreciative eyes to this last bastion of  the B-movie spirit.” If you read me regularly you already know what I’ll be talking about (Isaac Florentine, John Hyams, Scott Adkins, Steve Austin, the prestigious WWE Studios, action filmatism, etc.), but I’m happy to be able to share this important information with a wider audience.

A couple notes:

1. I don’t necessarily endorse the intro’s implied swipe at THE AVENGERS, which I’m excited to see this Friday

2. Whenever I see “TCM” I first think “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” before I remember it’s “Turner Classic Movies”

3. UNDISPUTED III and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION are now legally classified as Classic Movies due to their number of mentions on TCM’s blog.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 12:09 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

99 Responses to “Talking DTV action with Movie Morlocks”

  1. Nice to see that you are slowly making yourself a name in the mainstream.

    Fucking sellout. You used to be cool!

    (Just kidding, of course. I think it’s awesome.)

  2. That’s a good interview, dude. Sometimes it probably seems like you’re preaching to the choir around here. I’m glad you’re getting the message out to a wider audience. If it gets one person to watch the Samuel Beckett play about immoral cyborgs in an unending cycle of murder and rebirth that is UNISOL:REGEN then you can sell the fuck out all you want.

  3. That should have said “immortal cyborgs” but I stand by my typo. Cyborgs are often pretty immoral. Although maybe that should be amoral, since it’s not like they’re evil. They’re just tools that can be programmed to act without thought.

    See the deep shit DTV action can get you talking about?

  4. Continental Op

    May 1st, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Good interview, sir! Interesting to hear you give the views outside of the warm, comfortable confines of this sight….

  5. Rudolf Klein-Rogge

    May 1st, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Nice interview! No need to distance yourself from the swipe at THE AVENGERS. Saw it this weekend, and my god was it tedious. I think I actually prefer the other AVENGERS movie that starred Sean Connery, Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman.

    Really funny BELLY OF THE BEAST write up. Re-watched it last week, and it’s much more fun than I remembered.

  6. Mr Majestyk -The UniSols are not cyborgs, they are just expensive military soldier-zombies with better skincare than other more unfortunate zombies (the rotten flesh-eating kind)

  7. That was a great read, and yeah, here’s to it bringing in more fans to the genre.

    As the site slowly loaded on my laptop and the photo at th e top started to appear I found myself thinking, holy shit, this is a picture of Vern!

    But alas, no.

    Until that fateful day, fellas, until that fateful day.

  8. It’s a good interview, but I think you accidentally gave Belly of the Beast credit for the barber shop fight from Out for a Kill.

  9. Hey all. I just wanted to clarify that while I will be doing a three-week series on DTV, the entire Movie Morlocks site will not. There are different writers each day, and mine is Tuesday, so there will be DTV stuff for the next two Tuesdays. Sorry for any miscommunication.

    But I hope the Outlaw Vern community will stop by and read my stuff for the next two weeks. I’ll have an appreciation of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and an interview with a director for The Asylum, who recently completed ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES. I’m a DTV novice, though an enthusiastic one, so I welcome any input you may have.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  10. Any input *we* may have? You already interviewed Vern.

    That’s like training as a Navy SEAL, then asking for marksmanship tips from the local mall’s fake rent-a-cop.

    Good stuff, though, Mr. Sweeney, thank you. I wholeheartedly welcome this blog cross-pollination as long as it somehow results in better action movies being made and more DTV films being covered as Turner Classics.

  11. came to say what eddie said

  12. Outlaw Vern, megainterviewing

  13. Dude did you guys see that woman’s comment about how they should stop using profanity? Like, she’s interested in R-rated violent action films but just can’t stand an f-bomb.

    Plus she says she’s an English teacher. I guess she goes over her students’ copies of Catcher in the Rye with a black permanent marker…

  14. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 1st, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Renfield – my first thought was that she was being understatedly sarcastic, but there didn’t seem to be much point to it. Maybe she was replying to an earlier post that got deleted or something.

    Vern – I love your first two choices of superior DTV films, haven’t watched the “Undisputed” sequels yet (I’M GETTING THERE!), but “Darkman 3”? Not sure on that one… Saw it, thought it was ok, didn’t give it a second thought, so its inclusion caught me off-guard a bit. I’m glad it’s not “Marines 2” or “The Tournament”; but still… not sure. “Belly of the Beast” as well… yeah, it’s ok, but would you rank it above “Pistol-Whipped”?

    Lemme put it this way. You’re stuck on a desert island, with nothing to entertain you but some very sandy popcorn and the top five straight-to-DVD flicks of your choice. Which is kind of the position I imagine a lot of readers of that interview would be in. Would those be your picks? Or have you gone more for the less-quality-but-more-bizarre stuff to switch things up a bit? (As the resident guy-who-loves-“Hackers”, I can deal with that.)

  15. yeah, I don’t get the swipe at The Avengers either

  16. If this gets some of the pretentious “future autuers” I know that hail TCM’s word on film as law to finally sit down, watch and appreciate US: R then it’s pretty clear that Vern has indeed truly done his job. Good stuff.

  17. Oh geez, Eddie is right, I was describing BELLY OF THE BEAST overall but the wire fu fight scene I mentioned is from OUT FOR A KILL. In my defense, I have only written one book about Seagal so I can’t really be expected to–

    ah shit, I blew it. Sorry. Choked under the Ted Turner pressure.

  18. It’s okay, Vern. The beauty of being an online writer, aka web logger, aka blogger, is that you have the power of the “Update:” function, with which you can correct all wrongs and, better, garner more clicks & hits via that same “Update:” post.

    Corrections are not only journalistically good juju, they are a pathway to increased popularity & profitability.

  19. Great article, with the exception of the swipe at The Avengers. I get that the interviewer was basically just using The Avengers as an example of the anti-DTV movie, but he picked the wrong one. On the other hand If he had used Battleshit, it would have made perfect sense.

  20. I think Avengers here just stands in for all of the CGI spectacle that we get during the summer. Personally, I enjoy a little bit of the ol’ Summer blockbuster now and then, but you have to switch up your action now and again. From time to time, you just need to watch two guys beating the shit out of each other. That’s the kind of adrenaline rush you just don’t get from robots destroying a city.

    I will say that, personally, Vern has gotten me to watch more direct to video movies. It’s not that I necessarily wrote them off, but they also weren’t really on my radar until I start reading Vern’s reviews.

  21. I’ve seen THE AVENGERS and I can not remember having that much fun in the cinema for years. Great characters, great character interaction, great dialogue, clever action scenes, lots of humor – it simply isn’t a good example for the empty summer CGI spectacle.

  22. Great interview, Vern. Also, I saw the Avengers as well last night, and it was very, very good – lots of great action, acting and character work. Hell, it even fixes a lot of the issues of the last few Marvel movies retroactively; it’s that good. And not to sound overblown, but Scarlett Johannson is a revelation. It’s like they fired the Zoolander-esque zombie from Iron Man 2 and hired her talented twin sister, she doesn’t seem to be the same actress at all.

    Let me go on a rant here though – I do notice a ton of bitterness/ nerd rage now towards mainstream entertainment like the interviewer’s swipe at The Avengers. I can’t tell you how many fans at Actionfest had to prove how “hardcore” they were by talking shit about The Hunger Games or Avatar, or complaining about how CGI is the worst thing ever. I found it all kind of silly because a) of the 12 or so low-budget movies I saw there, I’d say 10 of them had “shocking” CGI exploding headshots in them (you know, like the kind Kevin Smith did about 5 times in Red State), and b) The Hunger Games ended up being better than any of the movies I saw there (and I liked most of them). But I guess since Hunger Games killed kids in a PG-13 way instead of graphically killing them onscreen (like many of the Actionfest films), it sucked I suppose.

    Rant #2 – there was a “comedy” sketch at the Actionfest award ceremony by some local guys that for some reason revolved around “Tom Cruise is short and gay” jokes. Not only was it not funny and stale, but it was incredibly antithetical to the spirit of Actionfest. The entire point of the festival was to recognize practical stuntwork and athleticism. Cruise was responsible for probably THE most talked-about practical stunt of last year with MI4, not to mention he could probably beat the shit out of everyone in the room except for Cung Le, Gina Carano, and JJ Perry. Because pretty much everyone else looked like Comic Book Guy. But oh well, Nerd Rage is basically a bastard form of hipsterism and it’s easier to make some lame “us against them/mainstream SUCKS!” statements than actually put some thought into anything.

  23. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 2nd, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Vern – personally I disagree with Mouth. I will NEVER forgive you for this unintentional slight against a movie I’ve never seen. In fact I intend to bring the point up as often as possible, whether it’s on topic or not.

    (See how I gracefully segway’d into Nerd Rage right there? Damn I’m good.)

    Neal – if it gives you any hope, I used to be one of those self-same “nerds”. Occasionally I still get attacks of nerditis. But for the most part I think I can agree or disagree with people without needing to put myself into a particular “camp” on an issue.

    I think the day you make the conscious decision to stop arguing for the “team” and start reasoning things out for yourself is the day you truly become a man. (Or woman. I guess.)

  24. I admit my DTV/summer blockbuster comparison was simplistic, but I was a little amped up and went for the hard sell.

    Anyway, I would be delighted to be wrong about THE AVENGERS. Since Joss Whedon is involved I realize I very well may be. But the recent track record of Marvel superhero movies has not been strong, at least to my mind. I do think that, generally speaking, your money is better spent on DTV movies (which end in 90 minutes and cost a rental), then the money it costs to sit through these 3-hour behemoths.

    And I’m rather looking forward to BATTLESHIP. Liam Neeson bellowing at robot aliens could be fun.

  25. @R. Emmet- I think The Avengers will surprise you. It’s easily the best Marvel movie, yes it’s better than Iron Man if for no other reason than the fights are clearly shot. As for Battleshit, Joe Carnahan made a comment during press for The Grey that the movie is being falsely advertised. He started that Liam didn’t even do a weeks worth of work on Battleshit. He will more likely be in no more than 10-20 minutes of the movie, and I’m probably overstating that. He’s the only actor in that movie that can draw a crowd, so they’re making it look like he’s the start instead of Taylor(John Carter)Kitsch. Battleshit might just be a fun stupid movie, but the tailors make it look like the guys from The Asylum won the mega millions and decided to put some real money into one of their horrible rip-offs.

  26. Damn, wrote that on my phone and the correct got me. Battleshit is the correct spelling though and the movie probably does need a tailor to fix what’s wrong with it,lol

  27. Thx for responding, Mr. Sweeney, sorry we’re giving you a hard time! And to be fair, terrible mainstream entertainment (Twilight/ Black Eyed Peas/ Michael Bay, etc..) can’t be ignored as a contributing factor to why elitist hipsterism/ nerd rage exists in the first place. And since the last few Marvel movies have ranged from OK to awful, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking Avengers will disappoint. I’m relieved to say it doesn’t and that’s coming from a non Joss Whedon fan!

  28. @neal-I’m not a Wheddon fan either but after Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers he may just convert me. He definitely seems to understand how to give the audience a good time at the movies.

  29. @R. Emmet: »And I’m rather looking forward to BATTLESHIP. Liam Neeson bellowing at robot aliens could be fun.«

    BATTLESHIP is exactly the kind of boring, stupid and empty blockbuster »entertainment« you’re comparing unfavorably to the DTV movies.

    It’s over two hours long and a terrible mixture of a badly written soap opera and a overlong effects reel, with loud sound effects and bright lens flares instead of intense action or characters.

    Therefore I hope you can also enjoy Taylor Kitsch breaking into a super market while listening to the Pink Panther theme, because that’s not only the kind of movie you’ll get, it’s an ACTUAL SCENE.

    Liam Neeson is barely in the movie. Which is a good thing because I like him.

  30. Oh I forgot to mention – There are TWO post-credits scenes after The Avengers (one in the middle, on at the very end). One is typical obscure fanboy wankery a la Green Lantern which I guess is neat but I’m also getting kind of tired of. The other one I won’t spoil but I literally laughed out loud.

  31. neal2zod – do any involve mad Germans who lack a nose?

  32. RRA – SPOILER – unfortunately no; I was kinda waiting for him too.

  33. @Neal- Damn, I missed the second after credits sequence at the screening I went to. I thought after the first reveal that was it, especially after there wasn’t anything after Captain America. Oh well, I’ll have to catch it when I go back to see it again this weekend.

  34. Man, I want to read this interview, but the site is blocked by my work computer. I am glad that Vern is getting the chance to spread the good word.

    I think it is appropriate that TCM would show love to DTV action films considering TNT the crown jewel of Turner Broadcasting was built on a foundation of Pro Wrestling programming.

    Ted loves him some wraslin’

    I am mean what is a “Turner Classic” movie? What is the criteria to be considered a “Turner Classic”? When I think of Classic Turner programming I think of THUNDER IN PARADISE staring Hulk Hogan.

  35. Vern, I am actually flying into Seattle late tomorrow night and will be in town till the 8th. If you want a free dinner, some good conversation, and a lot of gratitude for what you do, you have my email. Give me a holler. I also, am might be seeing AVENGERS while I am in town, and would be happy to take you if you’re interested & don’t already have plans to see it.

  36. Whedon’s best work is the one that didn’t make it to theatres. Perhaps if I plug DR. HORRIBLE as DTV, which it essentially is, Vern will be convinced to give it a bash.

  37. “Whenever I see “TCM” I first think “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” before I remember it’s “Turner Classic Movies””

    Me too.

  38. Mouth, SERENITY was pretty sweet, and the movie looked way more expnsive then it’s budget would had you believe. Whedon really is a talented guy, and unlike so many Tv producers turned directors, he can actually direct a movie for cinema and look like a cinema movie instead of a inflated Tv episode. Shall i name names?

  39. I saw THE AVENGERS, and let me tell you, guys, it’s a damn fun a time at the movies. A really honest, good comic book movie that hits all the right points and does all the right things.

    Some of the AICN staff have been a bit too hyperbolic about the movie, which might just be the wrong thing to do becaus eit can help build impossible expectations that cannot be delivered. The exception is one Mr Beaks, who, as usual, writes a dumbass pseudo-intellectual pile of nonsense.

    But the bottom line is, the movie is good. Really good. And while it features a massive invasion of extra-terrestrial foerces against a major american city, in this case it’s New York City that gets that honour, the movie actually bothers to give it a justification, unlike, say, what happened with TRASHFUCKMERS 3: BAYASS EVEN HARDERER.

    I’m no Whedonite (i read his script for ALIEN RESURECTION), but the man takes many so-called professional blockbuster filmmakers to school with his THE AVENGERS movie. You will like the characters, the story, the action, the whole thing. Good stuff.

  40. Wasn’t Mr. Beaks the one who coined about Michael Bay and his “evolving sensibilities” for THE ISLAND, right?

    Whether criticism that hack deserves, he deserves credit for staying put and not “evolving” or devolving*. The only thing evolving is his budgets. Mikey is Mikey.

    *=of course since he’s at the basement, how lower can you go?

  41. Asimov – yeah, I like how Beaks says Whedon “survived” Alien Resurrection, like he was just an actor or someone along for the ride, when the biggest problem with that movie is simply the terrible script. I love how the internet always has to make weird excuses for their beloved auteurs, and always put the blame on faceless suits who tinker with everything. Like how Frank Miller apparently deserves none of the blame for the mess that is Robocop 2, b/c the suits screwed him over, nevermind he still came back to do Robocop 3. (But I guess someone out there will probably say they’ve read a Miller script for Robocop 3 that’s amazing or something)

    Then again, I’ve only recently heard that Jon Favreau left Iron Man 3 b/c he was pissed off about how Marvel forced him to shoehorn all the SHIELD/Avengers stuff in Iron Man 2. I somehow never considered that IM2’s fault didn’t fall squarely on his shoulders (probably because he pulled an M. Night and gave himself a bigger role where he gets to beat the shit out of people and stick his head between women’s thighs)

  42. neal2zod- I thought Miller wrote the scripts for Robocop 2 and 3 back to back? He definitely doesn’t get cut him such slack nowadays for his stuff(even though I find his ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN a hilarious guilty pleasure), probably because of his increasing neo-con opinions(such as calling the occupy movement terrorists and rapists).

    “probably because he pulled an M. Night and gave himself a bigger role where he gets to beat the shit out of people and stick his head between women’s thighs”
    Well he only beat up ONE guy in Iron Man 2, and it was played for laughs, because while his ex-boxer bodyguard character took a while to knock out a single henchman, the superspy chick was wiping out the rest of the building’s guards. And is it really pulling an M. Night when you’re known just as much for being an actor as you are for being a director? Was Mel Gibson pulling an M. Night when he starred in BRAVEHEART? Was Clint pulling one when he starred in HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER?

  43. What happened to Frank Miller on the ROBOCOP sequels was that he wrote a giant epic screenplay and not only did it get cut in half but it also got re-written to the point of not even being the same script anymore. He later released a comic book called FRANK MILLER’S ROBOCOP which was his original concept for the sequels. With that said it was still pretty crappy in it’s own right just like the finished movies.

  44. Thanks for bringing that Frank Miller Robocop comic up, because I definitely was if nobody else did. Frank Millers vision for Robocop was terrible regardless of what the suits did to his script. That comic was terrible no matter how you look at. Robocop should have been a huge franchise, it had a great concept and some emotional weight to it if taken in the right direction. If the movie is not named Sin City 2, Frank Miller should never be let onto a movie studio again. The Spirit is one of the single worst movies I’ve ever seen and he killed the Robocop franchise.

  45. Stu – that’s a good point, M. Night’s not really a proper analogy to make in this case. I guess I just had Night’s savior-of- humanity role in Lady in the Water on my brain, and found Favreau’s expanded role in IM2 weird considering he barely said a word in the first one, and then he suddenly seemed to graduate to sidekick, (when I feel there should have been more time spent on Stark’s non-relationship with Rhodes.)

    Anyway, you guys now have me curious about the Miller Robocop comic book. If it’s true the studio pissed him off after part 2 and continued to butcher the same script for part 3, that’s cold. Almost like adding insult to injury. In fact, if there’s still any pieces left over from the script, maybe the studio can incorporate them into the upcoming reboot and give Miller a screenwriting credit yet again!

  46. RRA, ah yes, the “evolving sensebilities of Michael Bay” thingy! Mr Beaks will never live it down. Teach him right to kiss ass to hacks! Not that it has stoped him as of yet. The guy is unreal. Too often the term “pseudo-intellectual” is misused around the internet(s), but Mr Beaks is the posterchild. As a phoney he’s the real deal.

    One of Mr Beaks’s funniest moments was his list of best movies of the naughts. And he listed IRREVERSIBLE as his top best od the decade. Now, a smart person could make a compeling argument why that movie would be it. But Mr Beaks completly fucked up his atempt at explaining his reason, and it all read up as if he loved the movie because of the rape scene. We wrote it in such a way that it make it look as if he had been tintilated by the rape scene, which for anyone who has ever seen it, it’s one of the harshest, most cruel and though to watch thing ever put to celluloid. Of cours,e the geekry at AICN took him to task on it, and to this day he’s still mocked for it. Rightly so.

  47. neal2zod, thing is Favreau is an actor and a bona fide comedian on his own right. He started that way and later his career branched into directing. His fight scene in IRON MAN 2 is played entirely for laughs and as a counter-point to the Black Widows’ badassery, in that the time Lucky takes to fight one mook (and almost loses), Black Widow mannages to put down a whole gang of mook without ever breaking a sweat.

    Robocop 2 and 3 do not exist as far i’m concerned. I refuse to acknowledge their existence.

  48. Also, the Happy Hogan character had a lot more done with him in the comics than he’s had in the films so far. If Favreau was really doing an M. Night, he’d have given him a superpowered mutation and had him marry Pepper Potts(both things that happened in the source material).

  49. Stu – holy shit, in that case we probably should congratulate Favreau on his restraint!

    Asimov – this sound weird but I actually wish Favreau would act more, specifically with Vince Vaughn. They really do bring out the best in each other. And Made (which Favreau also directed) is still one of my favorite movies. It’s a great prototype in the “uncomfortable humor” genre before stuff like The Office took it mainstream.

  50. Asimov and neal2zod – “yeah, I like how Beaks says Whedon “survived” Alien Resurrection … when the biggest problem with that movie is simply the terrible script.”

    You both didn’t like the script from Whedon? I thought it was a fantastic read.

    There’s an interesting article about the huge difference between the screenplay and the movie:
    http://www.cc2konline.com/current-reviews-topmenumembers-41/115-movie-quick-takes/1801-whedon-week-the-lost-script-for-alien-resurrection

  51. My favorite thing about ALIENS RESURRECTED was the most Whedony line, delivered by Ron Perlman: “I am not the one with whom to fuck.” Not ending sentences with prepositions is fucking badass!

  52. neal2zod, not weird at all, i find Jon Favreau to be a very sympathetic screen presence. He could easily pull a Clint Easthood and star in his own direted movie easy.

    I heard a rumou that when he directed the first IRON MAN movie, Marvel was a bit nervous about him handling a big budget action movie with lots of action and SFX, so they had Michael Bay on reserve in case the task daunted Favreau. So, Favreau decided to make a really badass action movie just to spite the Marvel honchos and proved that he need to michely bay to deliver the goods. Wich he did. Favreau could had been a newbie on the action movie department,buit shr showed that he had 100 times more talent pulling the action then Bay. Well, a dog is more talent at directing action then Bay, so there’s that!

  53. Andreas, the problem of Whedon’s script for ALIEN RESSURECTION was not how it read, because it was quite a breeze reading. No, the problem was the 3rd act. The first act was the most inventive of the whole movie, the set up was almost brillant. You can read the genesis of FIREFLY from Whedon’s A:R there. The second part ws a bit too much like ALIENS, which i’m sure was something the studio pushed hard because of the then prevalent negative attitude toward ALIEN 3 (the most common complain about that movie being it wasn’t ALIENS MrK II). The 3rd part of the script, however, screamed of “i don’t know how to finish this crap”, something which seems was never resolved.

    But i di Josh Whedon. He truloy comes off as a sincere guy, and always ready with a self-deprecating quip. And unlike many of today’s hispter screenwriters (*cough*Orci*cough*Kurtzman*cough*Lidenoff*cough*Abrams*cough*), he is a genuine master of the fine art of the snark dialogue. He’s a good guy.

  54. Mr. Majestyk, personally i think the most Whedon line in the movie was when after Ripley burns all those revious clone atempts (remember she’s the 8th try), the Perlman characrtrer looks at the burning room and says “i just don’t understand what all the fuz was about”. Regardless of what one might think of the movie, that is one masterpiece of dark humour line right there.

  55. RRA once guided my attention to a TV show that Favreau once has which was called DINNER WITH JON FAVEREAU (or something alike) where he invited fellow filmmakers and other people related to cinema and music. And those shows were really great. It really was a bunh of very interesting dudes talking about their business at a real dinner. Dinner talk with interesting people. The episode dedicated to horror movie filmmakers was a standout.

  56. You know what’s a bigger dick move than cutting Miller’s script into Robocop 2 & 3? Being a fucking scab and a strike breaker. Miller wrote Robocop 2, knowing it was Robocop 2, during the 1980s writer strike. The production company claimed they wanted to make many, many Robocop movies and that Miller’s work was for Robocop 3 or 4, not for 2. Everyone knew this was bullshit, but someone Miller is still allowed to be part of the WGA.

  57. The problem with Whedon, as I see it, is he’s great with snark, and usually can be counted on for a good idea or two. But he can *only* write snark dialogue. Which means that all his characters sound the same, except for the ones without clever lines, who just sound stupid. He has his obvious strengths, but tends to be a better idea man than an auteur.

  58. I’m about to watch ALIEN RESURRECTION right now, actually. Whedon’s been responsible for 2 of my top 30 favorite movies of the last 7-8 years, and THE CABIN IN THE WOODS and THE AVENGERS are both really fucking good. I got no problem with the guy or what he’s trying to do or his execution or his snark or his cleverness or his strengths or weaknesses. Auteur? Maybe. Don’t care. He entertains. Whatever his formula is, it’s working.

    I’ll be doing more babblings at the SERENITY thread.

  59. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    May 4th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Asimov:

    “Robocop 2 and 3 do not exist as far i’m concerned. I refuse to acknowledge their existence.”

    Two things wrong with that my friend: that malfunctioning robot prototype from RC2 that shoots the two scientists, and then itself, in the head. Classic comedy moment there.

    Second thing: samurai robots. I’m sure we can all find a place in our hearts for samurai robots.

    Other than that, I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment.

    It’s been so long since I saw “Resurrection” that I don’t remember much about it. Didn’t think it was that bad back then. I’d like to see how it holds up now. Maybe if it comes on TV or something.

  60. “I got no problem with the guy or what he’s trying to do or his execution or his snark or his cleverness or his strengths or weaknesses. Auteur? Maybe. Don’t care. He entertains. Whatever his formula is, it’s working. ”

    And when he did his own M. Night it was harmless and quite entertaining:
    http://youtu.be/6XXjj0lNi48

  61. I don’t think I like the jokes in Alien: Resurrected that much. The timing’s a bit off, perhaps due to the director’s poor English, and some of them ruin the effect of what’s just happened. It’s a good enough movie, but I think it would have worked better with a more serious tone.

  62. Arrrrghh, me mateys! Funny that you should be debating the dubious merits of Whedon’s snarkitude. I was ruminating upon that as I drove to the local multiplex, percolating happy lil’ camper thoughts as I prepared for the 4:45 showing of The Avengers (playing on 4 screens there, with my choice being a non-3D screening). I arrived a good 25-30 minutes ahead of schedule, and the mothersmucker was already SOLD OUT (harrumph; eGAD!).

    Methinks this one’s gonna be the Box Office Beast #666 of the weekend, grossing just north of $170 million U.S. I’m also willing to bet that the other Master Of Snarky Dialogue Kevin Smith is stinky drunk as I type this, and gonna remain three sheets to the wind until sometime Monday, lamenting the past window of opportunity when Hollywood came calling for him to participate in comic book adaptations (Green Lantern and Superman, and who knows what else), and he wussed out.

    Bet #3 (and here’s where I roll with Mr. R Emmet Sweeney): The Avengers will be the first of two comic book adaptation equivalents of a drive-thru Mickey D’s Happy Meal. It got the job done, it filled yer belly when that was required… but an hour or so later, it’s gone & forgotten. I am quite sure The Dark Knight Rises will offer similar entertainment value, albeit with much more substance. The trailers I’ve seen for the Spiderman reboot point in the same direction.

    That, at least for me, is the paradox of comic book adaptations: the source material itself is geared towards young’uns age 6-16 (an inapproximate estimation), but the milieu of said material is often fairly serious. That’s what I so admired about The Dark Knight: even taken out of context, it succeeds very well as a straight-up drama/thriller [please refer to Vern’s well-observed review of said movie in Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!).

    To backtrack a bit: I did some recon on AICN late last night/early morning today to suss out what the hardcore fanboys who braved the midnight showings of The Avengers thought. Roughly 85% were beaming with utter joy; the collective Linus for whom the Great Pumpkin had FINALLY showed up on Halloween. 5% who thought it sucked, and the other 10% liked it, but with many and various reservations. I imagine Vern will see it this weekend, or soon thereafter, and share his thoughts with us. “Striving For Excellence” is the journey, not the destination. He knows this only too well.

    Bad move in hindsight, Silent Bob. There’s GOLD in them thar hills, and it’s far from run dry.

  63. Amazing Larry – Remember when Kevin Smith was going to do GREEN HORNET?

    After seeing it, I really believe it has a solid shot of breaking a billion.

  64. http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/marvel-has-big-plans-for-the-hulk-as-hero/

    The news was Marvel already talking up another HULK movie in ’15, but also this screwy piece:

    “The entertainment studio is also exploring ways to promote Hulk as a ‘corporate icon’ similar to MetLife’s usage of Peanuts’ Snoopy, with Hulk’s image conveying a message about channeling strength to overcome workplace challenges.””

    Yes because a green raging monster who smashes shit up in anger is a perfect role model for dealing with the workplace.

  65. is this the place for The Avengers talk?

    well I caught The Avengers today and I enjoyed it a lot, however like a lot of those Marvel comics movies the action gets pretty exhausting near the end, it’s kind of like eating a whole bag of candy, it’s almost too much

    I don’t know if it’s just me getting older or what, but I was pretty overstimulated by the end of the movie and had a headache afterwards

    still, I had a lot of fun, I enjoyed it more than Captain America and a LOT more than Thor, it truly felt fresh to see so many superheros team up for the first time in movie history

    and DAMN is ScarJo hot, especially in that tight outfit, I had to look up those leaked cell phones pics again afterwards

  66. RRA— My bad. You’re right; it WAS Smith semi-attached to the Green Hornet. Dunno how I mixed up Lantern with Hornet. Freudian slip, perhaps.

    Griff— yeah, this seems to be the Avengers gazebo until Vern builds the house (as he usually does). I still haven’t seen it, but its inexorable gravity/gravy atop the previous Marvel Superhero movies mashed potatoes will probably draw me in. For whatever reason, the AICN intelligentsia (a title they used to live up to; not so much now) seems to think that The Hulk steals the show… which, in my mind, is a pisspoor way to conduct an Avengers movie. Especially considering that SO many better players (The Scarlet Witch, The Vision, Black Panther, Wasp, Ant Man/Giant Man) were left by the wayside, for either legal or budgetary reasons.

    FUCK!! What might have been?!! [Pauses, takes a deep breath]. OK, Joss… you got your bang-up opening weekend, and greenlit sequel, and whatnot besides. Now HOP TO IT, sonny… and get it done right next time.

  67. Larry – (1) well its ok to confuse two very lame movies with the word GREEN in both titles. They both certainly made me green sick from their mediocrity!

    (2) I’m going to anti-mainstream with a sentiment: Hulk doesn’t steal the show. That’s not to say he wasn’t awesome. Remember last two movies he was in, Hulk was the star. Here he’s supporting cast, protected by the other stars and not as dramatically exposed so his money shots are much more valuable.

    As for those other Avengers, I still contend Antman/Wasp were there, but so tiny you couldn’t see them. (Unless you missed that cut away of Antman marshalling all the ants in Central Park to give one of the aliens a butt rash.) Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver aint happening because unfortunately they’re tied in with Magneto and the X-MEN film rights that Fox owns.

    Also off-topic, but personally as a kid, I always thought Black Panther sucked. Now if we’re talking Luke Cage, we can talk business.

    (But yeah, I would love mother fucking The Vision.)

  68. “Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver aint happening because unfortunately they’re tied in with Magneto and the X-MEN film rights that Fox owns. ”
    Actually, Kevin Feige stated a few weeks ago that both they and Fox could use the characters in their own ways seperately, if they wanted to.
    I doubt we’ll see Antman in anything until the Edgar Wright movie gets made, and I expect Wasp will be introduced through a connection to that character too, so ditto. Let’s hope the domestic violence aspect is kept out of an eventual depiction of them.

  69. Hank Pym is nothing without his flaws. Might as well use any other Marvel scientist in his place like Reed Richards (which I know they can’t use) or something.

  70. Stu – Wow. My mistake then. (Though Disney, don’t bring along the incest idea introduced years back. That shit was just too much.)

    Broddie – The problem with Antman, if they’re going that route, is that the nerds for weeks/months before an AVENGERS sequel release will be cracking wife beating jokes and maybe even spawn a popular meme or two. I don’t think that prospect is entertaining.

  71. RRA – It’s not like there haven’t been memes about it for years or anything. Oh wait. It’s just one of those things. You don’t even have to show it but the implication of it adds more dimension to Pym. He’s not Reed Richards or Bruce Banner he’s the most flawed but ingenius scientist in the Marvel universe of them all. To translate that over into a movie you need to at least allude at the complexities of the character. Certainly if you would like his creation of Ultron and all that to properly resonate.

    One thing THE AVENGERS pulled off well is that sometimes if it works in the comic book it also could work on screen. Pym is one of those characters and I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason Wright’s movie has taken so long is because it’s an interesting but not familiar path to thread. He’s got a lot of flaws some even deeper than just Stark being a drunk. He had a god complex after a while and it backfired. In order for that character to work he has to be less virtuous than the others in certain respects. That’s how he adds a contrast instead of a redundancy to the dynamic.

  72. “Hank Pym is nothing without his flaws. Might as well use any other Marvel scientist in his place like Reed Richards (which I know they can’t use) or something.”
    As I understand it though, he only hit Jan once in the comics, and it was under supposed extreme circumstances, but everyone still remembers it to this day. ULTIMATES took it way over the top, and I don’t expect them to go for that version. The flaws ought to just be in his poor judgement at times and maybe an inferiority complex stemming from having a power that seems lame on the surface.

  73. No not ULTIMATES stick to 616. The only bad things about the Marvel movies IMO are the ULTIMATES influence they use sometimes. The regular universe stuff works way better.

  74. Broddie – You make good points. You’re probably right in fact.

    Deadline reported about how allegedly a BLACK WIDOW spin-off might be in the cards, and I have little interest. But somebody at a board made a good point that more than likely such a movie would co-star ScarJo with Renner’s Hawkeye. That actually might work.

    Still I’ve always made this personal pitch to friends for years: A Luke Cage/Iron Fist movie, with their respective origins, team up and run their own business HEROES FOR HIRE in New York City. Real rent-a-cop low budget situation, imagine blue flyers taped to telephone poles and Coke vending machines (like pro wrestling promotions do), ads on the PennySaver and a cheesy business website and facebook page. Super badass guys with superpowers, and they’re stuck working for peanuts and always worrying about rent. They try to bump up business by filming self-made Youtube video ads and of their “exploits.” We haven’t had a good superhero buddy comedy.

    You can even imagine them running coupons too. “Family Member kidnapped? present this coupon and get 10% off the rescue!”

  75. His poor judgement stems from his egotism. Which grows after he becomes Ant-Man and overworks himself and changes identities more than a homeless man does his underwear. The Ant-Man movie should be just a nice adventure to get this super genius started. If they decide to include him in AVENGERS 2 he has to be near burnout status at some point and then work his way back from there. Certainly if they want to go into the whole Ultron thing anyway.

  76. RRA – I personally think Black Widow and Hawkeye aren’t strong enough to carry their own movie. They need to headline the S.H.I.E.L.D. movie with Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury if ya ask me. I was never a Luke Cage fan. It’s probably the only Marvel character I ever hated. Iron Fist is cool but I’d like to see if they could get Black Panther going soon.

  77. Stu – I like your point about the inferiority complex. OK I’m sold.

    Looking back at that pitch above, I didn’t meant to make it sound so Anti-AVENGERS, with SHIELD being ungodly backed by hundreds of billions of dollars and having flying carriers and nukes and shit. While HEROES FOR HIRE, they ride around in a beat up used van bought from a police auction. For some reason, I’m thinking a superhero version of BE KIND, REWIND in the hokey inventions of creativity by locals without a budget. (Not that aesthetic or narrative vibe of course, so let’s not get confused.)

  78. Broddie – I disagree, if not on the characters themselves (you’re right) but because of one simple truth: ScarJo and Renner are damn good actors. If you have two leads of that caliber, with Jackson as their M-type boss who puts boots to asses, you can write a decent movie around them.

    I mean if Stan Lee hashed out SHIELD as a response to James Bond, so why not make a spy action thriller? You can have them try to stop some bad plan by a revived Hydra or the Ten Rings or whatever the usual spy movie junk. You can even crack lame jokes by the villains about how they were afraid of having to deal with the NATO of superheroes (Avengers), and they are, except its just Iceland and Luxembourg. *Shit Blows up* “You need to retake Geography!”

    Speaking of Avengers on a budget…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE27sIid6KU

  79. You misunderstand me dude. The same things you described could be done in a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie too. With those 3 actors as the lead. I think that works better than just Black Widow and Hawkeye with Sam Jackson cameo.

    Admittedly cause I’m not a fan of Scarlett Johansson or Jeremy Renner so I’d rather not see a movie where they both take up most of the face time. We’ll see with THE BOURNE NOT A SEQUEL if Squinty McSquintface could open up a movie on his own.

  80. RRA- Sounds though like they’d be downplaying the mystical stuff from Iron Fist for a Heroes for Hire movie with your pitch though, and I want to see Danny Rand punching a dragon in the heart!

    I have been hoping that the NICK FURY movie would basically really be a SHIELD movie, cos I think Jackson’s a little old to be carrying the action scene stuff alone.

    Broddie- well Wakanda was highlighted on a map in Iron Man 2 at the end, so presumably they have plans to maybe introduce the character. I really haven’t read anything with him in it, but I’ve heard he can be a bit of a mary sue at times, so I don’t know if I’m really all that interested in seeing him.

  81. Before the whole interconnected Marvel Movie Universe got started, David Hayter(yes, the voice of Solid Snake as well as a screenwriter who worked on the X-Men movies)was going to write and direct a Black Widow movie. I wonder if Marvel Studios would give him the shot again. Also, Broddie, about you saying you dislike their use of Ultimate stuff, I have to say I don’t really see how the 616 Hawkeye would have worked in this context. I don’t see Fury personally handpicking a vigilante who’s a bit skilled with a bow to be on his elite team. It made much more sense to depict Hawkeye and Widow as “handlers” who only become Avengers due to being in the right place at the right time.

  82. Stu – I couldn’t be bothered to remember that cause I haven’t seen IM2 since it was in theaters. However I will say that the only time that character was ever a Mary Sue was when the director of HOUSE PARTY was writing his book. Most people choose to forget those comic books as they were pretty terrible.

    In a perfect world we’d have a BLACK PANTHER movie that tackles international adventure, diplomacy, royalty, the warrior spirit and technology the way Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally envisioned it with Michael Jai White in the lead. Alas it will never be a perfect world.

  83. Stu – I wouldn’t be downplaying the mystic powers. To me the charm of my HFH pitch is that these two guys are over-qualified/overpowered, but just stuck in what heroes would consider a minimum wage existence. Like a super strong unstoppable force in Cage and martial arts master, and both are rescuing pets from trees, hunting guys late on their child support payments, kids wondering if that bully jock stole their lunch money, etc.

    What inspired my lameass pitch was when that one Luke Cage comic, he did some job for Doctor Doom who stiffed him on the pay. So he hijacked* a plane from the Fantastic Four, went over to Latveria, beat the fuck out of Doom personally until he handed over the promised pay: A whooping $200. I just love that he’s willing to assault a foreign government’s head of state just out of principle.

    *=Actually, he might’ve been given that plane by Reed Richards. Can’t remember exactly.

  84. Stu – That wasn’t one of those things. For the record I’ve never liked those characters even the earth 616 ones. To me Black Widow was just that russian chick Daredevil used to bone. It’s more stuff like what was done with THOR and CAP and yes Nick Fury himself. I think those characters being closer to their comic book counterparts like THE AVENGERS version of the Hulk showed proved. SECRET WARRIORS proved that an old white badass yet somewhat out of touch Nick Fury in the modern world is more interesting as a character.

  85. Meant to type: *showed and proved; would serve them better.

  86. “In a perfect world we’d have a BLACK PANTHER movie that tackles international adventure, diplomacy, royalty, the warrior spirit and technology the way Stan Lee and Jack Kirby originally envisioned it with Michael Jai White in the lead.”
    I know MJW has said he’d like to do it, but I think he’d be far more suited to Luke Cage(Blood and Bone and Black Dynamite basically showing he could pull off either the modern version or the goofier 70s depiction), and maybe Chiwetel Ejiofor would do better with a more regal sort of role like that.
    Also, how do you do Black Panther and NOT make him seem like an african version of Batman?

  87. “how do you do Black Panther and NOT make him seem like an african version of Batman?”

    That’s like asking “how do you do Iron Man and NOT make him seem like a drunk version of Batman?”

    The answer to both questions would be: by showing why he’s NOT a version of Batman.

  88. Well you and I know that, of course, but a lot of people are just going to see a billionaire dressed in a black costume modelled off an animal, complete with a pointy-eared cowl, who fights crime using an array of advanced gadgets. Though of course, MOON KNIGHT is more of a blatant Batman ripoff, but he’s got much less of a chance of being adapted.

  89. I’m not even a professional writer and off the top of the dome I would say:

    You show how he’s closer to a tribal king than a wealthy playboy. He has a connection to tribal gods and is an expert tracker by bloodline and not because he learned it thanks to his billions of dollars and emo rage; he has super senses, he’s far more acrobatic. He’s not a wealthy man child he is a king. How do you distinguish him from Batman? highlight the points that distinguish him from Batman and also give him something Batman has never had; good action sequences :p

  90. “We’ll see with THE BOURNE NOT A SEQUEL if Squinty McSquintface could open up a movie on his own.”

    Broddie – Name a major movie Robert Downey Jr. opened on his own before IRON MAN? I think that’s the wrong approach of looking at Renner. Because guess what? Shia Lebeouf “opened” all those TRANSFORMERS movies. I mean its one of those arguments that’s usually overstretched.

    Besides in America, stars don’t seem to sell movies as much as good WOM seems to while overseas (Europe especially), starpower does matter.

    Anyway I’m not thinking of the SHIELD movie as BOURNE, no no. If BOURNE is supposed to be “real world,” and AVENGERS is utter ridiculous, then SHIELD is in the middle. More MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, just without the slight pretentious of being “realistic.” Or basically its friggin G.I. Joe.

  91. Yeah, SHIELD could basically be fighting superpowered or technologically advanced terrorist groups like a modern Hydra or AIM.
    Though speaking of Downey and films before Iron Man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1VKj1qLXOU
    Does this make Paul Bettany the Kelley LeBrock of the Iron Man movies?

  92. RRA – I brought up that dumb looking BOURNE movie not because I think you want a SHIELD movie to look like that. But because it’s the guy’s first major starring role and the real test as to whether her could maintain an audience without other supporting players around him getting a bigger billing in a hit movie. HURT LOCKER notwithstanding.

    “Name a major movie Robert Downey Jr. opened on his own before IRON MAN? I think that’s the wrong approach of looking at Renner.”

    True but by the same token the movies he did prior to IM were modestly budgeted movies. The biggest budget one he did which flopped was CHAPLIN. Outside of that all the movies he starred in from the late 80’s to the early 90’s were modest hits. Hits nonetheless.

    Hollywood is shoving Renner down our throat as the next big thing. He needs to show and prove more IMO.

    “Because guess what? Shia Lebeouf “opened” all those TRANSFORMERS movies. I mean its one of those arguments that’s usually overstretched.”

    The TRANSFORMERS opened those TRANSFORMERS movies. You could’ve had Carrot Top in the lead and it still would’ve made bank.

  93. Stu – Yes exactly. Ideally it would be, with creative thinking, a stable for those Marvel heroes/personalities who aren’t superpowered but are super assasssins or martial artists or fighters to that effect. A superhero version of a spy team movie, but without the superpowers if that makes any sense. (Or unfortunately I caught myself too late with the realization that my idea is basically fucking G.I. JOE.)

    Imagine, forget the legality, if a SHIELD movie the team got stuck dealing with a dangerous (but awesome) loose cannon. Maybe a Punisher, maybe Deadpool. Gusy who kickass but aren’t team players and will never take orders generally from others. And Punisher makes sense with his pre-vigilante background in government special ops. Hell Punisher could even be your Hulk who steals the show since he’s not overexposed in his ridiculous overkilling awesomeness.

    Or an unorthodox suggestion: Take an obscure Lee/Kirby creation from the 60s in the Two Gun Kid. But instead of an Old West gunslinger, he’s a modern day gunman.

    “Does this make Paul Bettany the Kelley LeBrock of the Iron Man movies?

    If so, then who’s the Bill Paxton in those movies?

    Broddie – I’ve must’ve not gotten memo where Hollywood declared Renner the new superstar, whether we the audience want him or not. You make him sound like what they tried several years back with Josh Lucas. Remember him? After HULK some folks thought he was an golden egg waiting to hatch. Got casted in STEALTH, even reportedly considered for Harvey Dent in TDK.

    Well by the time STEALTH did come, he wasn’t the “breakout star” the movie marketed around.

    But Renner aint Lucas. Renner was good in THE HURT LOCKER, which won the Best Picture Oscar. He was good too in THE TOWN which I enjoyed, and got him an Oscar nod. And I enjoyed his Hawkeye.

    I campaign for Renner not because I’m jumping on a bandwagon or because he’s a star-waiting, but because quite simply I think he’s a pretty good actor. I like him.

  94. RRA – That’s cool. I’m indifferent to the guy myself. I didn’t particularly think much of him in THE AVENGERS but he was serviceable. Did what he could with what he had I guess. But it kind of reminds me of the Sam Worthington thing all over again. Though I will say at least he’s objectively a better actor.

  95. I thought THE AVENGERS was great fun and totally satisfying. The best parts are when they fight each other SPOILER.

    MORE SPOILER

    Hulk vs Thor and Iron Man vs Captain America were great, a new version of the ’80s cliche where the hero bets his rival and then they shake hands and become partners. I also thought it was basically IRON MAN 3 WITH SPECIAL GUESTS.

    In terms of striving for excellence I think it could have striven farther. Fans may hate me like they hate Amy Nicholson but the plot is pretty generic. I know the fans are all happy it’s the Chitari but really it’s just an alien invasion. It would be fine if they treat it as just an excuse to get everyone together but it’s actually supposed to be a significant threat that resonates. It doesn’t.

    I’ve figured out Whedon’s formula for irreverent meta. He makes a clever reference, then he makes a joke about having made a reference. That’s cool to go to the second level but I think it’s time to aim for a third or fourth level.

    SPOILER AGAIN IF YOU’RE STILL READING. Whedon’s penchant for killing characters is hollow here. He kills the only one he can, because it’s not like one of the Avengers or Nick Fury can die. They’ll be in more movies. And it’s not even a character I think is that beloved. He’s fun and amusing but it’s hollow to play that as the motivator that brings everyone to rally for his memory.

    There’s some basic stuff too. At the end when they realize the scepter is a floor below them, then in the next scene they have it. I thought that was at least supposed to be hard to get, maybe requiring some Parkour to get down and back. I guess I read too much into the setup, but some connective tissue would be nice.

    Crosscutting is also something I’m sick of. American movies always have to show multiple things going on at once. They can’t just stay on one thing until it’s over and then show the next thing. I know it’s supposed to be simultaneous but you can still convey that without chopping it up. I’d like to see the Thor/Hulk fight in its entirety, thank you. At least it wasn’t shakeycam

  96. I put up my second DTV post, on the life and art of Stone Cold Steve Austin, if anyone would like to take a look:

    http://moviemorlocks.com/2012/05/08/dtv-action-items-part-2-intro-to-stone-cold-steve-austin-studies/

  97. R. Emmet Sweeney – Will read to support your excursion into the world of DTV because it’s pretty admirable. If only other people that wrote for more mainstream sites were as open minded; the internet film community will probably be much more balanced.

  98. Nice OutlawVern diction (“the life and art of…”), Mr. Sweeney.

    We shall read, and shall read more of your work next Tuesday as well.

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