(While we did find 12 movies that can be considered "bad" or "awful" in some sense of the word, we randomly mixed them up and put them in no particular order. I think this made for a much more scientific presentation of the facts.)
MOVIE #1 - THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN, or LXG
10:34am IT BEGINS. Jacob brewed a pot of Trader Joe's 5 Country Espresso Blend while I stuck with my ever present beverage of choice these days, Diet Pepsi. LXG was a comic book put out by Alan Moore's ABC imprint, a division of Wildstorm, a division of DC Comics. Goddard and I are both fans of the comic book series which ran 6 issues (there have been 2 subsequent mini-series following the original series but the movie was based on the 1st series alone). James Robinson wrote the screenplay for the film - he is a well respected comic book writer known for his Starman series. So this would potentially lead to a good movie right? So. So. wrong.
I had seen the movie before and knew what I was getting into. Goddard had not seen it but was still able to discern the end of the movie not even halfway through the film. Now you would think this would be easy considering he had read the series but characters were added and the plot was rearranged to add certain elements that the producers deemed "essential" for American audiences. Like adding Tom Sawyer (how are them dum Americans going go be able to follow around a team of foreigners?) and the rather Johnny Depp-ish looking Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray. Mina Harker (from Bram Stoker's Dracula) was the leader of the League in the comics, but no way was a girl gonna lead the LXG! Nah, Sean Connery as Quartermain is the obvious leader of the group. After all, he is old enough to be every one's great grandfather. But Mina needs to be sexy guys! So let's make her a vampire! Hilarity ensues. This movie was more annoying than anything else for Goddard and myself as we felt the book was bloody great and the movie was just plain stupid. I know I shouldn't blame Mr. Moore for the outcome of other people adapting his comic book work to films...but dammit! Tom Sawyer doesn't even fit into the time period! I hate the misconception that it needs to be violent, bloody and American for the US to understand or like something.
MOVIE #2 FANTASTIC FOUR 2 : THE RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
12:26pm. It now being lunch time, Goddard and I order Dominoes pizza and get to watching the sequel to FANTASTIC FOUR, which was actually a movie I liked. What can I say? Johnny Storm is hot and the film was fun. I have always said that the Fantastic Four are the lamest Super-hero team ever - just a bunch of nerdy scientists and a guy that says "Flame on"? Utter silliness. But nevertheless I was a fan of the 1st film and was actually looking forward to the sequel.
The fun first part, where the Silver Surfer is cruising around ze earth, wreaking havoc and messing with Mr. Storm's powers is like watching a sitcom. A pretty funny one too. Then it has to get all serious and the Fantasticar has to show up. Why doesn't Victor Von Doom have an accent? Isn't Latveria a foreign country? The biggest disappointment of this film is Galactus whom I've grown to have an increasing fondness for over the past year. If you know anything about Galactus, then you know he is this HUGE bloke with a silly purple helmet that devours planets. Silver Surfer is his "herald" that prepares the planets for Galactus' ravenous appetite. The Fantastic Four need to stop the planet from being eaten, and as Galactus approaches Earth, there is a shadow of his helmet on Saturn as he inches closer to our world. But then he arrives...and he's JUST A STUPID CLOUD!!!! WTF?? Things get serious, Silver Surfer loses his illustrious shine and helps the nerdy 4 save the day simply because Invisible Girl is hot and kinda reminds him of his gal back home. Awww....how terribly cute. I swear to god if I hear "It Clobberin' Time" ever again (even if darling Johnny Storm says it!) then I might just lose it.
NOTE : 1st appearance of blind character, Ben Grimm's girlfriend. Also 1st appearance of Stan Lee, who may be dressed in a tuxedo but still is stumbling drunk and couldn't put his toupee on straight.
MOVIE # 3 - DAREDEVIL -- aka DD (or as I like to call it "my own personal Hell")
2:09pm Oh how I regret not starting to drink during this film. At least I could've laughed a little bit at the absolute absurdity put before me in the shape of a movie. I have never read Daredevil before and after seeing this movie, I will run screaming at the thought of Ben Affleck in tight red leather. This movie wins for number of name drops alone. Quesada, Miller, Mack, Bendis, Romita, Lee, Kirby. But nobody really wins with a movie like this. There is only pain.
So Ben Affleck is blinded by some hazardous chemicals (2nd occurrence of blindness) and hones his other senses with the help of a montage (you gotta have a montage!) so much that he actually saves Stan Lee (2nd occurrence of Stan) because Lee is too drunk to realize he's walking into oncoming traffic. And yes, Lee's toupee was still crooked. DD is a bit bitter when it comes to criminals and uses snappy one-liners ("Half a Nice Day" before pushing a low-life named Quesada onto subway tracks where he is cut in half) and has the foresight to write his initials in lighter fluid on the off-chance that news reporter Ben Urich will throw his match onto it, igniting the flaming "DD" with such dramatic stupidity that I felt myself getting dizzy.
It's pretty cool when you have a pal like Batman to build your apartment for you. I don't know how much Daredevil paid the Dark Knight but it was worth every penny. The best part of DD's pad is his water isolation tank that he sleeps in to block out all the noises he can't help but hear because of his heightened senses. Funnily enough, DD doesn't wake up as a prune-man every morning, and still takes a shower after spending the entire night in water.
And what about that snappy soundtrack? All the main characters get their own type of music. Daredevil has that angst-ridden generic rock so popular with teenage boys these days. Bullseye (Irish!) has House of Pain to herald him in. The Kingpin has N.E.R.D. to illustrate to the viewer of his status, and Elektra gets the sweet Evanesence for her tunes of both anger and sadness.
Bullseye needs to get revenge on DD because as our Irish dead-aim so eloquently puts: "He...made...me...miss." Spoken like a true William Shatner student. Bullseye requires one thing from the Kingpin to accomplish this revenge kill. Why - a costume of course!
To pay homage to Batman for tricking out DD's apartment, bats inexplicably fly out of a huge pipe organ during one fight scene, and somehow Bullseye makes it all the way to the end to ensure a funny "after the credits start rolling" scene. If only this film was mocking Daredevil. Nay, they were trying to be absolutely serious. And that's what makes me ill.
MOVIE #4 - THE PUNISHER
4:10pm. This movie wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected. Except for John Travolta and his toupee (3rd toupee of the day kittlings!) and an inexplicable R rating. I mean, they really could've shown Frank Castle just getting medieval on plenty of people. Instead, he's really a bit of a nice guy, but with that "revenge" thing that most all those super-hero guys have got going for them. His mastermind plot to seek vengeance? A fake fire hydrant. Brilliant? - maybe. Exciting or inherent to the character of The Punisher? - no way. Seems the R rating was to show one pair of Bazooms and drop the F-bomb a bit. Although I gotta give big props to the 2 assassin scenes featuring the musician/killer Harry Heck and an unnamed Russian bloke that doesn't say a damn word (moral of that story: people in glass bathrooms shouldn't throw grenades).
MOVIE #4 - GHOST RIDER
6:30pm. I'm not gonna lie. I have despised Nic Cage for a long time now. I hate the way he talks. There are 2 movies that I like that he is in (Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas) and that's it. He bothers me. The previews for this movie bothered me. And after seeing Daredevil, I was just horrified that the next thing I would be watching was a Nic Cage movie. But that was how the chips fell, and I had to bite the bullet.
So Ghost Rider signs his soul away to Mephistopheles, or Mephisto, or some dark demon lord played by Peter Fonda, who made a good motorcycle film. He tries to save his dad, but then that mean old devil dude kills his father anyway! How rude! Then some other demons come out (element demons, the main one played by American Beauty weirdo Wes Bentley) and Ghost Rider must do away with them because he's under contract to Mephisto. At night he becomes a demon rider and must perform Mephisto's will. Along the way he meets grizzled old gravedigger dude played by Sam Eliot that gives the Ghost Rider the know-how on what he is and what he has to do.
I find it utterly laughable we are meant to believe as an audience that Nic Cage and Eva Longoria are the same age. I also found the "Penance Stare" more annoying than Nic Cage himself. Donal Logue saves this pic somewhat...but not really. The worst part this film? The video game element that Ghost Rider must beat all the "level bosses" to make it to the "head boss." I probably would've hated this movie more but Daredevil saved it.
MOVIE #6 - ELEKTRA
8:45pm. It was during this movie that Goddard made a SPARKS alcoholic energy drink run and we commenced watching Elektra, the Daredevil spin-off starring Jennifer Garner with (thankfully) no Ben Affleck or DD to be found. I couldn't really place the time of this movie but I feel that it was after the DD flick because she talks about dying and being brought back to life. This is a power that certain ninjas known as "The Hand" possess. We get some background knowledge on Elektra's training, Terrance Stamp plays Stick, who trained DD in the comic books but does not make an appearance or get a mention in the DD film.
Apparently Elektra has a killing problem, she's more like The Punisher than The Punisher is in his movie. Elektra is a paid assassin, and I guess is so high-profile that she needs an agent to handle all her jobs. In this movie Garner's character is fleshed out more, so we get some flashbacks, we get to see her set up her bathroom which reveals her OCD. Elektra is sent to some location to do some killing, but before she gets her assignment she makes nice with the neighbors down the street. Oh snap! Those are the peeps she has to kill. I mean, she's a stone cold assassin with a "killing problem," does dinner really make it that hard for her to finish her mission? You bet it does. She can't do it and actually ends up saving the man and daughter she was sent to murder.
Some cool team (reminded me of the villains from Ninja Scroll) from The Hand sets out to find Elektra and the family she is protecting...and you know, action and adventure ensues.
Oh yeah, and Stick is blind. That's the 3rd blind character. And the 2nd grizzled old man that helps the super-hero overcome some obstacle or issue (Remember Sam Eliot in Ghost Rider?). This movie was silly, but still not nearly as lame as Daredevil.
End of PT 1. Stay tuned next week for PT 2!!!!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.
The movie starts out with a young Dewey Cox accidentally chopping his much more talented brother in half with a machete. The brother’s dying wish is that Dewey become “double good” for both of them, and Dewey swiftly promises to make his brother proud. Blessed with “the blues” at such a young age gives Dewey the talent he needs to get the attention of not only the African-American patrons of the general store in which he belts out his first blues…but also the high school talent show where the girls rip off shirts and the guys punch out older folks proclaiming Dewey’s song as “The Devil’s Music.”
DEWEY COX is played throughout his life by JOHN C. REILLY from the age of 14 to the age of 75. It’s a great gag that rings true of other biopics that show the “young” musicians looking not really young at all. No attempt is made to make him look younger, his pock-marked haggard face is just a great visual. After his 1st talent show appearance, Dewey stands up to his father who believes “the wrong son died,” grabs the first girl he spotted in the audience, and heads out on his own to “make it.”
What ensues is a Pop Culture fanatic’s dream team of cameos. It's not just the REALLY famous people but the people that have starred in previous APATOW films. Paul Rudd as John Lennon? Check. Jack Black as Paul McCartney? Check. But there were some great random musical cameos as well. Besides Jewel, Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, and Eddie Vedder playing themselves, my personal favorite of the entire film - Jack White played KARATE/SWITCHBLADE Elvis!!!! And no surprise there...he was brilliant!!!!! Perhaps the funniest part of the movie and honestly, cannot wait for the DVD to see the extra/deleted/extended scenes so I can only hope that I get more Jack White for my buck!While the movie can be quite slow in parts, the funny moments do a great deal of making up for the dragging within the story. If you like TALLADEGA NIGHTS and ANCHORMAN, then you are going to dig on this film more than you can realize. Dewey Cox learns the true meaning of family and love after many many many failures, which follow a similar path of the typical musician's explicit drug use, experimentation with different types of songs, groupies, and the like. While it may seem cruel to those that find the lives of Ray Charles or Johnny Cash as tragic, it really is a great spoof of their films rather than a mocking of the people themselves.
And the songs themselves are pretty damn funny too - with my personal favorite being the song that runs during the end credits, Dewey Cox singing about his own death. "Did you hear the news today? / Dewey Cox has died." Classic.
MR. JONES and ME.
BY JD LOMBARDI
DC Comics’ superstar artist isn’t like most of us who are here on the internet. You won’t find him blogging away about his life and you won’t find him on myspace. The only forum he has been seen posting on with anything resembling regularity is his own, which is located on PaperFilms. The best place to find J.G. Jones though, is on the shelves. Whether he is creating gorgeous covers for Wonder Woman or 52 or currently doing full art chores on Grant Morrison’s latest mega-crossover epic Final Crisis, one thing is sure; the man’s word commands mass attention. He doesn’t need to seek anymore via the internet.
Usually I’ll drop my friends an email when I haven’t seen or heard from them for a while. Since J.G. is mostly persona non grata from his fans as well, I thought I’d switch it up. Instead of seeing what my pal was doing privately, I thought I’d just interview him so that his fans could find out what the reclusive artist is up to as well. Here is what transpired:
J.D. Lombardi: Admittedly, I’ve never read your and Mark Millar’s “Wanted” mini-series (don’t kill me), but I just saw the movie trailer and well…that movie looks pretty damned good. How did you feel that first time you watched it?
J.G. Jones: The first time I saw the WANTED trailer, it made me want to kill something; and seeing as you never read the book…It was actually a thrill to see the trailer. I first saw it online, and then when I went to see American Gangster, there it was on the big screen, larger than life. What a kick! The opening scene where Fox find Wesley in the store is lifted straight out of the comic, so that was really fun to see on the screen.
J.D.: I swear I’m going to read it; really wanted to, but I since I don’t buy trades, I’m hunting down the individual issues at the moment. Gotta support your friends, right? But I saw it with a buddy before American Gangster too. When I told him that it was based on a comic book, he was stunned. For the life of me, I can’t believe that so many people think comics equal superheroes….didja like American Gangster?
J.G.: I did like American Gangster. It had a nice, slow burn throughout the whole picture. Ridley Scott is a master of the filmmaker’s craft, and he proves that you don’t need fifty car chases and multiple explosions and gun battles to make a good crime movie. I liked the way it was photographed, as well…nice looking film.
J.D.: Did Universal come to you at all for input? Maybe consult you for movie poster advice?
J.G.: Come on, seriously. Universal paid for the rights to do whatever they wanted (sorry) with the story. They didn’t need me to tell Timur how to direct a film. I’m sure that they found a real artist to do the movie poster. I’m just a comic book artist, after all.
J.D.: Buzz on the internet for the film naturally shoots both ways. People seem to be really pumped to go see the movie, regardless of how it was adapted to the big screen while others rant and rave how it supposedly isn’t anything like the initial concept. As a co-creator of the series, do you think the screenwriters did a good job adapting the book?
J.G.: From what I’ve seen, it is a lot like the original concept. The bones are all there, although the costumes and junk have been given the heave-ho. I think that was a good decision, given that Universal, who plunked down a major budget for this film, was going for a hard ‘R’ rating. The kid and teen crowd are already shut out, so they need an older audience to make their money back.
The first couple of scripts that I saw drifted far from the source material, but at some point, Timur decided to bring it back to the core story, leaving out all of the comic book in-jokes, of course.
J.D.: I’ll bet you didn’t know that you’re now a searchable entity on the Internet Movie Database. Can you believe that currently, your “Star-meter” on the site has risen a whopping 585% from the previous week that I searched you? Soon you’ll be too good for us.
J.G. That’s because I received my Fraternity pin and now I can do whatever I want with impunity.
J.D..: What really impressed me about “Wanted” becoming a film was the relative speed that it all came to fruition. This went from a book with the last issue hitting stands in 2005 to a feature film starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman in 2008. Unofficially speaking, that has gotta be the fastest comic-to-film adaptation in history. Was there a particular driving force behind all this that made it come together so quick?
J.G.: Pretty good, eh? Top Cow and Kickstart really pushed this thing through, and Universal picked it up almost immediately. I was not surprised that the rights sold, but I was stunned that it actually made it to film so quickly.
J.D.: Will you be hanging out with Angelina Jolie at any upcoming comic cons? Maybe escorting her to the big Hollywood premiere?
J.G.: Not if Brad Pitt is as ripped as he was in Fight Club. And remember that crazy eye he had in Twelve Monkeys? I ain’t going anywhere near that guy’s wife. Forget it.
J.D.: On the print-side of things, will there be a new trade or hardcover collection of the series to coincide with the release of the film? More importantly, will you be contributing any new cover art if there is?
J.G.: Yeah, Top Cow is putting out a new edition of WANTED in time for the film. They needed to at least do another printing of the first edition, since it all sold out. I won’t be adding anything new to the book because Top Cow did not give me enough notice that they needed a new cover. I’m grinding away on my DC project, Final Crisis, and I would have needed more that the week and a half notice I was given to slot another piece into my schedule. Unfortunate. I think that there will be some new material in this edition, though. Mark and I both did new interviews for inclusion, for whatever that’s worth.
J.D.: Has Mark ever tossed out the idea to you of doing a comic sequel?
J.G.: Hah, Mark tossed out the idea every time Top Cow asked him to do one. He had no intention of doing a follow up or sequel or prequel or anything like that. He had this one concise story to tell and then just let it stand or fall on its own.
J.D.: You’ve mentioned doing this little mini-series over at DC Comics that is being promoted for release in May 2008 with writer Grant Morrison. How are things progressing on the Final Crisis?
J.G.: I hope that it really is the Final Crisis. The story is great and I’m thrilled to be working with Grant again. I can’t believe what just happened on the page I just finished. Holy Crow!
J.D.: Yeah, like you’re going to tell me. Tease! How many characters were on the page? That won’t really give anything away, right?
J.G.: You gotta be able to tease if you wanna be a playa.’ I would say, ‘several.’
J.D.: Can we expect to see anymore teaser/promo images from you in the near future?
J.G.: I’m doing a Final Crisis cover for Wizard Magazine at this very moment.
J.D.: Is this series the whole of your output for the foreseeable future?
J.G.: Oh God yes! These issues are all oversized. I’ve never drawn more than six issues of twenty-two pages of anything in my entire career. It’s intimidating enough without adding more output. I’m putting everything I have into these pages. It’s exhausting.
J.D.: When all is said and done on Final Crisis, who will have drawn more characters in a single series; you or George Perez?
J.G.: Oh, George wins hands down. George always wins.
J.D.: Your work at DC has been pretty prolific. You did 52 consecutive covers for a year-long weekly series and then followed that up by doing what, an 8-issue series featuring nearly every character in the DC Universe. What in the world do you do to follow this up?
J.G.: I’m going to take two weeks off, lol! I have the next few years mapped out. I’m writing a graphic novel that I want to begin drawing when Final Crisis is done. In fact, I’ve been sitting on a number of story ideas for years that I’ve been too busy to work on. I’d like to begin a series of my own books after this.
J.D.: Does this mean you may not re-up with DC when your current deal is up?
J.G.: I’ll have to see how things go, but the current plan is to publish my own stories with my own characters. I’m sure I will continue to do mainstream work as well.
J.D.: All-Star Batgirl. Is that one still going to happen?
J.G.: Could be, but I won’t be drawing it.
J.D.: You’ve worked at Marvel and DC as well as having worked at a decent number of smaller studios across the industry. Even with what you’ve just said in reference to working on your own projects in the near future…is there one character out there that you’d still really like to get your hands on?
J.G.: I was always a Spider-man junkie, and I love The Thing and the rest of the FF. Wolverine is a kick to draw, too. I would like to write and draw a book with all those characters in it; oh and maybe throw in the Silver Surfer and Galactus, just fort the hell of it.
I’d like to thank Mary for posting this here in her blog, as I didn’t quite have a home for it. While I love interviewing friends and others, it just isn’t something I’ve got time or desire to do full-time here on the web anymore. Now that this “chat” with J.G. has finished, I’ll humbly go back into my own self-imposed exile and get back to focusing upon my fiction writing, which looks like I shall have a book or few out soon myself. Thanks gang and see you on the comic shelves!
~Till Next Time Kittlings!