What’s Wrong With Movies: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice


(Some spoilers)

It is time.

In a dank corner of my Boise apartment, the timing finally felt right to brush off the thick layer of dust from my laptop, crack my knuckles, and post again.

Why, you may ask?

Batman.  And also Superman.  I guess.

Monday afternoon I saw Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I was in the theater alone, taking notes with reckless abandon and loudly voicing my critiques over rows of empty seats.

My opinion?

The movie, while undoubtedly entertaining and beautiful, implodes under its immense aspirations.  Aspirations to not only establish the DC Universe, but to also bring it up to speed with Marvel.  In a word, the goal is Herculean.  Trying to catch up is one thing, but trying to do so in one movie is impossible.

I left the theater feeling shortchanged.


Here was a prize-fight between the two most storied superheroes in history with arguably the largest cumulative volume of plot options to choose from, yet we are given a skeleton with lipstick, all the looks without the guts.

From the nonsensical and obligatory Bruce’s-parents-being-murdered opener, whose sole purpose is to set up the cinematically beautiful, but logically confusing, slow-mo shot of the pearl necklace, we are rushed through a slipshod plot to get to the next preordained Zack Snyder shot (director of 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch) .  Herein lies the problem.

It’s like Snyder signed on to direct, gave the screenwriters five or six shots that were non-negotiable, and said fill in the blanks, I don’t care.

That is the only way a $250,000,000 movie uses something as asinine as Superman’s mother’s name to affect the film in such a drastic way.

Instead of exposing the harsh emotional environment both heroes are in, we get (essentially) “Wait! Your mom’s name is my mom’s name… this changes everything!  We’re bros now, bro!” The matching names is simply convenience, it cannot be the vehicle for resolution, but it is.  And we’re supposed to accept that.

Consider this.

We can see Ben Affleck’s take on Batman is a brutal and visceral evolution from Christian Bale’s.  He treads the moral gray area with criminals and completely throws out the no killing rule for Superman.  Robin’s death (implied by his graffitied suit displayed in the Batcave) has brought him dangerously close to the line between hero and villain.

On the other side, Superman’s planet is destroyed, his adopted father is dead, and his mother has been kidnapped.  He’s protecting an ungrateful world that is not his own.  His efforts have become meaningless.

How much more emotionally moving would it be if, with Batman’s foot on his neck, Superman begs Batman to end his life, to give the mantle to someone else.  Batman, now caught in a moment of mutual despair, realizes they share a common goal.  Resolution ensues.  Then you can throw in the whole “Martha” thing, maybe.

However, there is a great film buried somewhere in the rubble of this mess, and it gives hope to the future of the franchise and the DC Universe.  They might have fallen short here, but if Zack Snyder focuses as much energy on the script as he does on his incredibly beautiful, trailer-bait moments, we will be in for a great decade of superhero films.

Stay Thirsty My Friends,


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America: Where We Live: The Final Stretch

“Journey’s are tough, espeshully when that journey is becoming the president of the united states.”

Those words looped across the side of a men’s bathroom stall in what mysteriously appeared to be lipstick during one of our many gas station stops between Greasy Corner, Arkansas and Bucksnort, Tennesse.  I had purposely paid our trip planner to reroute through the funniest named towns in America, a veteran move on my part, though, some of the more timid immune systems on our campaign had come down with several cases of food poisoning.  And today, those smeared words ring truer than ever, even with the questionable comma usage and general lack of proper spelling. I think that now, without a doubt, I finally have a firm stranglehold on the pulse of the nation.

This journey has not been an easy one, the journey to become to first Canadian to become the President of the United States.  Many have told me it’s downright impossible, against the rules.  Those rules, I say, need not apply.  And tomorrow, millions of voters will go to make the decision that will shape the future of our nation.  And as voters head to the polls, think of this, is a politician really the one you want leading the nation?

And while the road has been eternally rewarding, it has been filled with its share of obstacles.  The Jesus, Apple Pie, and Baseball Mobile, still a pillar of vehicular inspiration, has gone through two transmissions, a couple sets of brake pads, and countless new paint jobs (thanks in part to the mysterious keying it received whilst travelling through rural Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.)  On top of that, some people have grown wary of my new social media policies.   I would just like to take this opportunity to say that my “Feed the Homeless to the Hungry” policy was actually created because I lost a bet with one-eyed Cajun man in line for Montage.

However, there have been the good times.  My new social media policies have been garnering the majority of my success.  As president I promise to raise the character limit in tweets from 140 to 175 to allow for more in-depth articulation of America’s needs.  I’m ordering Mark Zuckerberg to explain why Facebook seems to change my profile right when I start to get used to the new one.

But I’d have to say that my biggest positive response has been from being the first openly zombie-apocalypse-ready president.  My stance on this nation’s awareness of the undead masses has been paramount.  This is why I am already in process of forming the “America’s Heroes: Zombie Force”, one of a variety of “America’s Heroes” groups to go along with “America’s Heroes: Finding Bigfoot” and “America’s Heroes: Bear Riders of America”.   This Zombie Force will function as our first response team in the case of a virus/outbreak/bio attack.  I’m also encouraging American families to build their own ZO kit.  The kit goes as follows.

–          Gun(s)

–          Ammo

–          Crossbow

–          Proper tools required in fitting your Ford Windstar with a Gatling gun.

–          Knives and a length of rope.

–          A heroic friend that will sacrifice himself for the betterment of the group when the plot calls of it.

Newly named Vice-President Batman has yet to make an appearance even with the $30,000 Authentic Bat Signal I had installed on the roof of the bus two months ago.  Which normally would have caused a bigger stir in the elections except for the fact that every VP debate has been mysteriously sabotaged.  Which, subsequently, would have caused an equally bigger stir if it didn’t seem that I am the only one aware of it.  Speaking of debates, it’s come to my attention that my recent performance in the final presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, was removed from the final cut.  So, with much chagrin, I present to you the real transcript from that evening.


SCHIEFFER: Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in Boca Raton, Florida. This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates.  This one’s on foreign policy. I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates or their aides.  The audience has taken a vow of silence — no applause, no reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

*Audience erupts in applause as the two candidates walk out onto the stage, shake hands, and take their seats behind the desk.  The crowd settles, Mr. Schieffer calmly organizes his notes, dies a little inside, and mumbles*

SCHIEFFER: …and Independent Candidate Taylor Peters.

*A slight murmur permeates the crowd, confusion settles on the faces of the two candidates already seated at the table as Bob Schieffer slowly massages the bridge of his nose.  From the dark silence, a single chord is struck on a keytar. Onto the stage walks the third candidate in the debate, instrument slung around his shoulder.  Another chord.  Someone in the back starts clapping with the rhythm*

PETERS: *pointing out at the crowd and periodically at the two candidates*

We’ve been travelling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

*at this point the candidate forgets the rest of the words and resorts to a 3-minute long keytar solo*

SCHIEFFER: Candidate Peters, may we begin.

PETERS: Of course Bobby, *shaking his hand* what’s a guy gotta do to get a chair around here?!
*a man wearing all black and an earpiece rushes a chair onto the stage.*
Thank you.

*the two candidates smile curiously at the new situations.  Schieffer resettles his cards and the debate begins once again.*

SCHIEFFER:  Gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They’ve asked me to divide the evening into segments. I’ll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment.

*A second man wearing all black hands Schieffer a note and whispers into his ear*

SCHIEFFER: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve just been informed that the Independent party has requested a second mediator to be present in the favor of unbiased representation.  Allow me to introduce former NBA player and current CBS Sports Analyst, Mr. Clark Kellogg.

*A tall African-American man slowly approaches the mediator’s table, immaculately dressed.  Applause spread through the crowd as he takes his seat alongside Bob Schieffer.*

KELLOGG: Hello Bob, electoral candidates, Barack.

OBAMA: *chuckling* Still sore after that game of H.O.R.S.E.?


ROMNEY: Ah, sports, that reminds me of my old Polo days at the estate.

*Schieffer, realizing he’s losing control of the situation, retakes the group.*

SCHIEFFER: Gentlemen, we have a debate to attend to.  Candidate Peters, you clearly rigged the coin toss so the first question on foreign policy goes to you.

*Peters does a small but clearly visible fist pump*

SCHIEFFER:  What is your take on our current foreign policy?

PETERS: *shifting confidently*
Well Bob, my policy goes like this.

*Peters raises four fingers in the air*
Nationalism, Nigeria, NATO, and…

*pausing, waving his pinky finger around above his head*
Nationalism a second time.  That’s my Four N policies, Bob.

*Peters sits down confidently, smiling at the two candidates beside him*

SCHIEFFER: You have another minute and a half if you’d like

PETERS: I’ve said all I’ve needed to say.

ROMNEY:  Bob, if I may.


ROMNEY:  I realize this doesn’t exactly go with the question here, but Candidate Peters is meeting the bare minimum requirement of the question!  Can we really trust him to lead our nation through a time of crisis?  I mean, he’s not even American.

*Peters reels back in his chair*

KELLOGG:  Awe man, this guy is like a leaf!

ROMNEY: Read ‘em an weap. Kid.

Five N’s, Bob

Most of the debate carried on the same way and it was up until a point where the three were tied.  We fast forward now to a later moment in the debate.

ROMNEY: Our Navy is old — excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.

I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.

We’ve changed for the first time since FDR — since FDR we had the — we’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.

And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making — is making our future less certain and less secure.

OBAMA: Bob, I just need to comment on this.

PETERS: Me too, Bob.

OBAMA: First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.

The budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. It is maintaining it.

But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.

*Peters leans over to President Obama excitedly, taps him on the shoulder and whispers something inaudible into his ear.  The President hesitates for a moment, nods, and begins again*

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

KELLOGG: AH! Somebody just went to get some ice cream. Two scoops!

PETERS:  *pulling out iPhone* Hashtag….horses…and bayonets.

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This Is Our Game

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What’s Wrong With Movies: The Dark Knight Rises (Now With Spoilers)

What’s Wrong With Movies: The Dark Knight Rises (Now With Spoilers)

10 days ago, The Dark Knight Rises was launched to the acclaim of millions of viewers around the globe.   Nerds and Batman enthusiasts lined the streets at a chance to see the Caped Crusader’s final hurrah in the last installment of the Christopher Nolan trilogy.  It was a fantastic wrap up to the reboot, being equal parts emotion and action.  It took watchers to the edge of their seats with excitement, and into the depths of despair and empathy.  It’s an amazing film, written and directed by a very talented Chris Nolan, and acted out by very talented actors.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I wrote a spoiler-less post here.  If you have, let us begin.

TDKR had everything, the metaphors, the sub-plots, and the epic dialogue.  We feared Bane not only for his physical strength, but at his menacing intellect as well.  We saw Bruce Wayne as a recluse; bearded and walking with a cane, living as the byproduct of a heroic career.  He wasn’t the Batman that took down the Joker eight years ago.  He was a shadow of his old self.  Frail.

But lo and behold, the cries of Gotham did not fall upon deaf ears.  For as the need manifested, Bruce Wayne donned the black suit and became the hero they needed once again.  If only to fall.  Bane, as in the comics, was the only villain that “broke his body.”

Look familiar?

There was a collective swell in our hearts as the broken Batman recovered (I’ll turn a blind eye on the fact that the doctor explicitly said the he had no cartilage in either knee, which means he was doing literally everything bone on bone.)  He realized the necessity for fear of death and leapt to freedom.

Insert long action scene.

For me, and thousands others, the last half hour of TDKR was glorious cinematic gold.  I’m not going to make any outlandish statements but it was definitely top ten endings.  Or should I say, would have been top ten endings hadn’t Nolan succumb to the pressure of delivering what he knew the audience wanted.  A storybook happy ending.

I’ll say it right now, I wanted Bruce Wayne to die.  The whole movie played on the theme of sacrifice.  Bruce Wayne has sacrificed his illustrious life in the public eye to become a recluse receiving food on trays.  He’s given up on finding a wife and a family.  He has committed to something of a higher order and has paid the price.  To draw from the dialogue.

Catwoman: “You don’t owe these people any more! You’ve given them everything!”
Batman: “Not everything. Not yet.”

Those are the words of the man ready to give his life for the safety of the people of Gotham.   You can even go back to The Dark Knight when Harvey Dent (Two-Face) goes on to say.

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

So when Batman gets into “The Bat” and flies off into the horizon, he should have died.  Here’s how it goes.

Batman’s final conversation with Commissioner Gordon before flying off is about how the man behind the mask isn’t important.  It’s the idea of having a man for the people.  It’s the idea that never dies while the body fades away.  It was about how Bruce Wayne could die but Batman would remain.

So now, instead of forcing the Robin line, have the movie reveal that Josephy Gordon-Levitt’s character is actually named Terry McGinnis, the name of the man behind the mask in Batman Beyond.


Stay Thirsty My Friends,

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Do It For Us: A Fan’s Plea

Let’s face it, with the looming season shrouded with the uncertainty of a lockout, no true hockey fan can sleep easy. Anyone who experienced the ’04-’05 lockout still has fresh scars from going more than a year without a decent hockey fix. It’s a tragic slap to the face of the most important part of the game; the fans. The loyal and steadfast fans; buying tickets, jerseys, shirts, and hats to cheer on their favorite team, donate their time and money to do what they love. And I realize that the lockout is the least thing either side of the argument wants, but it’s more than just losing a season, a lot more.

The real loss from scratching the season can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Player’s and owner’s will carry on their seven figure lifestyles without us. The real loss is on the kids that miss a year of watching SportsCenter highights ten times in a row to see Malkin dance around an entire team. There’s a knife lodged into a fan’s loyalty with their favorite pastime. It’s the heated battles friends will get into over whose team is better. Without the season to draw from, it just doesn’t feel the same.

Not to be out done, the real hockey fan, tried and tested from experience, doesn’t waiver at the sound of a lockout. It’s the new fans, the tens of thousands of people that jump on the bandwagon for playoffs in non-hockey markets, the fans that need convincing, they’re the ones lost. Especially for a sport that is still expanding overseas. In 2010, six teams travelled all over Europe to promote not only the NHL, but the game in general. It’s common sense that a lockout would be a profound step in the wrong direction.

Financially, of course it’s terrible for the league, but any news report mentioning the possibility of a lockout will draw from a pretty frequent theme; businesses bank on the NHL. Bars and restaurants within walking distance from any arena braces for fan loads every game night. One Columbus news story went on to say that the hotels have been booked for the 2012 All-Star Game an entire year in advance.

As one of the boys, consider this my plea to you, the NHL, to stick around. We need our lightning fast, bone crunching, hockey fix. We need those magical moves so we can try endlessly to copy them in practice. We need something to bring us together. Impossible plays immortalized in Youtube clips, passed around the locker room on a smartphone. We need hits, we need fights, we need to see players block shots. You are the example we set our standards too. When we see a guy being stitched up on the bench, only to play the next shift, a fire burns in our chest. We need that culture to be passed on to our younger players. We need our fearless heroes to burn across the screen and light it up. Because when you’re gone, more than just the game is gone. There is no evolving hockey culture, no loyalty, no passion. It’s a one-way relationship when you’re gone and here’s hoping you hold up your end.

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What’s Wrong With Movies: The Dark Knight Rises

Batman.  The Caped Crusader.  The Dark Knight.

It doesn’t matter what you call him, the guy brings a lot to the table.  And thanks to a few good connections and a whole lot of lucky bounces, I found myself walking into TDKR two and a half days before it comes out in theaters.  With expectations high I buckled in for what I can only describe as, a thrill ride.

In my circles, the hype over the movie has come to a fever pitch.  I’ve already been bombarded by desperate requests for me not to spoil the ending in this post.  By any means I wish to entice the appetite and not to taint the surprise.

Coming into the film I had a few concerns.  Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman was an odd choice in my mind.  Catwoman in general seemed almost forced into the movie just for the sake of having the character in there.  It seemed like the had come to a decision a long time ago that they couldn’t have a Batman trilogy and not have Catwoman make an appearance.

From what I’ve heard, other people share the same worries.


But then again, there’s that

Thankfully, the addition of Catwoman in TDKR doesn’t conflict with the feeling the first two movies have already set in place.  Hathway plays a double-crossing, romantic, thief with a fierce self motivated demeanour.  It provides an interesting contrast to the “city comes first” mentality that Batman exudes.  In the end, the relationship gives meaningful insight and logical plot points to the film.  Moving on.

Bane, a character I’d never even heard of before seeing the first TDKR trailer, blew my mind.  Finally, a menacing villain who exhibits equal parts brawn and brain.  He represents a formidable foe, smart as the Riddler, but as mighty as Killer Croc.  Bane, like all those before him, passionately encompassed by his belief in the cause at hand, is terrifying.  His heavy-handed, brutally violent approach is made even more disturbing by the contrite eloquence of his dialogue.  Bane is a chess-master, existing only to manipulate the board to his will, thinking fifteen moves ahead.

Batman, our misunderstood hero, eight years removed from the events of the second movie.  Has changed.  Grief, anger, passion, regret, and a deep-seeded sense of duty are all so perfectly articulated.  The terrors of the unseen side of a hero have caught up with him.  I could write entire articles on it, but nothing would compare to seeing the film.

Christopher Nolan is a genius.

Stay Thirsty My Friends,


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What’s Wrong With Movies: The Amazing Spiderman

Before I get to our regularly scheduled program, Id like to thank the Florida Panthers and the San Jose Sharks for bringing me to their respective development camps.  Both were a blast.  Lots of memories and great people.

I grew up with the first Spiderman reboot series.  It’s a phrase I tread lightly because of the vast history associated with this particular character.  To specify, I grew up with the Tobey Maguire as Spiderman.  The first Spiderman still sticks out in my mind as the first grown-up movie I saw in the theater.  The scene where Maguire daftly flips over the Green Goblins glider, impaling Willem Dafoe in the process, still remains etched in my mind.  It’s the moment I lost my cinematic innocence.

You can’t un-see that


If you’re like me, and your previously untarnished views of Spidey were ruined by a forced trilogy of Spiderman movies.  You can rejoice in this reboot.  “The Amazing Spiderman” offers more than just a new story line.  To sum it up in a word, it was more natural.  Elements flowed with a smooth yet unpredictable cadence.  The revamped story line offers a new and improved story line involving the origin of Peter Parker’s parents.  It was one of the unanswered questions that bubbled up from the previous three films.  While it still remains unanswered after the film, the movies are definitely leaning toward eventually uncovering an answer in a future film.  Let’s move to the main course.  Spidey himself.

If you saw the first Spiderman movie like I did years ago, you can remember the process of nerd-spidey transformation.  He’s bitten, goes to bed skinny, wakes up jacked and can see without glasses.  Looking at the two in comparison, the “original” doesn’t properly articulate the way such a transformation would take place.  The new Spiderman, whose powers do not include natural web-shooting, focuses more on the “Spidey-sense” and super human strength/agility traits.  The end result is a more entertaining background to the well known superhero’s abilities.  Instead of seeing Tobey Maguire awkwardly spray webs all over his room, we have Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) apologetically assaulting subway passengers.

The new version of Peter Parker/Spiderman came across in a much more relatable way.  Being a guy who has seen enough of Spidey outside of the movie franchise, I’d like to think I know what he should come across as, a wise-cracking teenager.


Spiderman. You’re doing it wrong.


From previous films, you can tell that the producers wanted to make sure that this Spiderman was more in-tune with those traits. Sure, there was just as much emotional turmoil as in any of the first three, but this one didn’t have Peter Parker going the way of eye liner and black clothes to relate it to the crowd.

On a lighter note, there are a few scenes when Peter Parker exhibits other-worldly abilities at school.  He catches a rogue football and while tossing it back, overthrows and dents the uprights.  Kind of the way the iceberg dented the titanic.  Knowing the limitations of athletes in this day and age, I think Spidey fans should be looking forward to 10+ hours of extra footage on the DVD set where Peter Parker has to constantly turn down offers to Div.  1 schools and NFL Contracts.

Also Emma Stone.


Stay Thirsty My Friends,

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