"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Vern Takes In COMIC BOOK VILLAINS!!!

Hey folks, Harry here… I’m not allowed to say anything further about Vern, under penalty and threat of death… Knowing the rumors I’ve read about what Vern can do and organize to be done, I have great fear for the man known as Vern. Beware of Vern. Be Afraid… He’ll hurt you with laughter sometimes… sometimes with sledgehammers… You’ll see…

Dearest Harry and Moriarty,

I thought for a second there I discovered a movie you didn’t know about. But after a thorough study of your “search engine” device I found out that some other individual reviewed COMIC BOOK VILLAINS once when it played at Cannes (a popular french film festival). I read over the review though and I disagreed with almost every point he made. I’m not saying it’s BLADE 2 or even CITIZEN KANE, but it is a surprisingly good small straight to video type picture and I have reason to believe that Harry and others would enjoy it when it comes out September 3rd on the video and dvd type mediums. By others I mainly mean Moriarty, I guess. But I will get to the movie after this next paragraph which is just rambling and bullshit, etc.

Comic Book VillainsThis time by the way Harry I decided to co-address it to Moriarty. I think last time I said Harry was my only true friend and that Moriarty was a backstabbing liar and doll collector or something like that. Also didn’t I read somewhere that he was supposed to be writing Mortal Kombat 3? What the fuck was up with that man. Wanted the trilogy to go out with a bang I guess, bring it full circle to part 1, taking all the elements we loved about the first two but building on the momentum of the character growth to bring more emotional resonance to the whole deal. Then a robot dude or a crazy witch lady jumps out and fights and there is electric guitars. But you know despite all that I am an honorable man and there is room in my heart for both you boys, for occasionally giving me a worldwide audience and providing a link to my puny geocities web sight so it will get shut down for the rest of the day.

Anyway Harry, this is my point. COMIC BOOK VILLAINS is a story of two rival comic shop owners who hear a rumor about a recently deceased individual, formerly in his ’50s and living with his mother, obsessively collecting comic books since his childhood. This turns out to be a collection even more valuable than they imagine and they each bend over backwards trying to convince the mother to sell them the collection. Only thing is she doesn’t want to sell it. And they won’t take no for an answer. So things escalate, the way things do in movies. Except some of Richard Linklater’s.

Now there are a number of reasons why I believe you boys would actually enjoy this picture. The main reason, which I will refer to as reason #1, designating both its chronological type appearance and its ranking, is feel. This is just a movie that feels like they know the world they are depicting. Your previous reviewer SPY-der disagreed and said that the writers were trying to prove they knew something about comic books. Actually the movie was written and directed by James D. Robinson, who, according to my research, is some kind of famous comic book writer. Also he wrote one of the old drafts of JASON VS. FREDDY, which is my pick for most anticipated completely asinine movie, especially now that Ronny “BRIDE OF CHUCKY WITH WHITE HAIR” Yu is the skipper. Just so you know Kane Hodder is listed as a stuntman in COMIC BOOK VILLAINS so he is obviously practicing, keeping juiced in case they give him the call to play J.V. again.

Now shit Harry I wouldn’t know but this whole comic store deal seemed real to me. Like, these are the type of people you would actually meet if you were interested in reading children’s comic books. Except maybe a little more pleasant.

I liked how the two shops represent two approaches to selling comic books. Donal Logue (from BLADE) owns a shop for the real obsessives, who are passionate about comics. His store is clunky and falling apart, but filled from floor to ceiling with comics. Donal is always there, smoking a pipe, talking to his nerd minions. There are people who hang out there and have conversations about comics, with such themes as there is some superhero who is not allowed to jerk off because his sperms are little versions of him that would be set loose in the universe. These conversations take place in the background luckily because this is not a Kerwin Smith type picture.

The other shop is owned by Michael Rappaport (sadly, not from BLADE). His store is smaller and neater. He and his wife seem to think of comics less as an “art form” and more as a commodity. He makes most of his money off of “Magic cards” and the customers you see in there are mothers and sons. More a store and less a community center for people in Hellboy t-shirts.

Also it seems real because as far as I could tell all of the comics shown and mentioned in this movie are real. Now hold on, don’t get excited boys, I’m not saying that Superman is a real guy. I’m saying that in the real world there is a comic book called “Superman” which is actually published, read, etc. Don’t take me so literally please. The point is, don’t you get tired of movies where the character is really into some comic book, and it’s obviously supposed to be Superman or Batman or whatever, only they call it Fantastic Man or Amazing Man or some stupid shit like that. So we’re supposed to know that they mean Superman only they won’t give us the fucking courtesy and respect of giving it to us straight, saying the actual name Superman. And at the same time they can’t come up with a comic book that you believe a comics fan such as Harry or Moriarty would actually want to read it. Now maybe there are a few too many instances of the writer James D. Robinson a famous comic book writer mentioning the comics and artists he likes just to plug them in his movie. But for the most part it feels genuine and they also have other details like they talk about this “san diego” deal you boys are going on about.

In case you just skimmed that last paragraph, Superman is not real. You gotta read it more carefully there bud.

Now Donal (still from BLADE) is obviously set up as the good guy, since he has the passion and his friend (DJ Qualls, that weird looking kid we all know from the trailer for THE NEW GUY) is the narrator. But, and this by the way is number 2, the characters. The characters aren’t quite as TWO-DIMENSIONAL as you would expect in, say, a TWO-DIMENSIONAL COMIC BOOK. (capitalization for emphasis) In my opinion Michael turns out to be the better person even if Donal (BLADE) is the better comic book nerd. I also liked the way they depicted Carey Elwes (who I like to think of as the not as bad version of Treat Williams) mainly because of the scene that SPY-der didn’t like. There is one very effective romantic scene between Carey and his lady friend which shows that there is more to him and makes him more interesting. It also makes you share his concern for the well being of his house during a violent scene later on. Come on man Donal he worked hard on that house, why don’t you go outside and fight on the lawn or something.

Anyway that’s the scene that the executives and the test screeners would say to cut out, it is only crucial to the character and to making the film good, it is not crucial to the plot so cut it. The fact that they left it in made it a more genuine picture.

Anyway Donal is the star of the show, and he has the perfect look: long greasy hair, sweaty face, with a variety of dead-on costumes including tight cutoff sweatpants and an ugly blue coat that he probaly got when he was in high school. I have never seen a guy like this in a movie but I’ve seen him in real life over one thousand times just since I got out. My guy didn’t smoke a pipe though but chalk that one up to the artistic licensing.

I also appreciated that this is a character who does not have a car, so his mode of transportation has to be explained in various scenes. This is something you almost never see in movies and although I do not want to glorify this particular character I would encourage your readers to explore this lifestyle. For more information visit your local library or read my epic dissertation (Click) on THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

By the way Moriarty did you know that the comic book HELLBOY is being turned into a movie by one of our top directors, Guillermo Del Toro. You heard it here first Harry.

I also was surprised by the effectiveness of the style in this picture. If I were to guess I would think that comic book writers make bad filmatists just like most special effects guys or mtv directors do. But this guy mostly knows what he is doing. The picture is lit more like a drama or a thriller than a wacky comedy (which is not exactly the tone of the movie anyway). I liked this because most comedy directors, such as Kelvin Smith or Adam Sandler’s college roommates who direct his movies now, think that since it’s only a comedy it is okay for the movie to look like garbage. I also liked the method he uses of close ups on comic panels which say a little about the characters they are juxtaposed with and not usually in too literal of a way.

The movie does have its weaknesses. I think Natasha Lyonne is a little too cartoony in some of her scenes. I like the theme (again, created by a famous comic book writer) that collecting a bunch of crap can suck your life away, but I admit it gets a little corny in parts. Still, I think it’s put together real nice and it shows an understanding of you comic book people that you never get in a movie, so I hope it doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Well now that I look at the back of the screener it says it is trailered on FEDERAL PROTECTION, CROCODILE 2, PROJECT VIPER and other fine films so I’m sure it has a good chance of catching on big. Also it says it has a “SUPER-CAST!” So check it out boys.

By the way Harry don’t put any of that “redneck” or “hillbilly” shit in your intro. I am not either one of those things plus what’s with the classism there bud this is the ’90s. thanks man

your friend,

Vern

p.s. also what’s with this small wonder web sight, is this guy serious or what? “Push vicky’s little red button” – jesus! Click Here!

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/13027

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 19th, 2002 at 7:22 am and is filed under AICN, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. 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.

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