Archive for: June, 2011

Imperial Trouble Episode 32: Jon Waterhouse of The Pop Culture King Show

Imperial Trouble Episode 32: Jon Waterhouse of The Pop Culture King Show

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Jon Waterhouse of The Pop Culture King Show joins Sam and Jason to discuss Van Halen, Smokey & The Bandit, Blast-Off Burlesque, the Silver Scream Spookshow and Jon’s stint as bad-guy wrestling mouthpiece The Monopoly Man. A passing thunderstorm makes a guest appearance.

The Kind Of Hot That Vanishes With Your Girlfriend: A Criticism Of “Fanboys”

One of the conceits of Fanboys is that Jay Baruchel’s nerd and Kristen Bell’s nerd are madly in love, but their nerdiness gets in the way because he’s too shy and thinks of her as one of the boys because she quotes Han Solo and wears nerdy T-shirts. So does every hot girl on the internet. If I had a midi-chlorian for every picture of a cute pixie girl with a Luke Skywalker shirt online, I’d have enough to Force Choke twenty Ewoks.

And it’s not like Jay Baruchel and Kristen Bell are believable as people  who’d have a hard time getting laid, no matter what movies they like. Jay Baruchel is the kind of hot that vanishes with your girlfriend at a Brooklyn loft party. Oh, where’s my girlfriend? I think she went on the roof with Jay Baruchel. Noooooooooo! Kristen Bell is so hot she’d make a preacher lay his bible down, to quote Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb. And then sell that bible to buy Millennium Falcon condoms.

And what the hell does Fanboys have against gay people? Everything is like, “You’re gay! That’s gay! Gay this, gay that!” I’m sure some people might say, “Thats how me and my friends talk to each other all the time and we’re Star Wars fans!” Look, nobody cares what you and your friends say to each other in the privacy of your own Chewbacca bedsheet fort. Though you should know that masturbating to a deviantART drawing of two Slave Leias making out doesn’t count as supporting gay culture. I’m just saying, why even throw gay jokes in a movie about Star Wars fans breaking into Skywalker Ranch? What the hell does Dan Fogler mincing around and lisping like a redneck at the Atlanta Pride Festival have to do with Star Wars?

Fanboys had a bunch of celebrity cameos, including William Shatner. I met William Shatner once— he even posed with Leonard Nimoy for one of the best photographs I’ve ever taken. He also managed not to make any slurs against gay people in the five minutes I spent with him, so Fanboys might want to take a leaf out of Shatner’s book. Anyway, Fanboys is like the Ocean’s Eleven of movies about liking Star Wars, if George Clooney worked at a comic book shop and was afraid of two penises touching each other. Also, Fanboys features Kristen Bell in a metal bikini, which is like Nerds candy and Dairy Queen Blizzards— you had no idea how much you liked the combination until you experienced it for yourself. Come to think of it, they should make a Star Wars Blizzard called the DQ Nerf Herder. Or the Ackbar Crunch. It’s a frap(puccino-flavored frozen treat)!

Does The Rabbit Look Nervous: “L.A. Noire” Reviewed

Does The Rabbit Look Nervous: “L.A. Noire” Reviewed

Guys in fedoras, old fashioned soda ads, bar matchbooks in elegant fonts— this game has got em’! And a mostly accurate map of 1947 Los Angeles. Rockstar also made some new face scanning technology for L.A. Noire. The faces are really lifelike! But they’re still just a little off, like if a trickster forest spirit made an enchanted mask out of river mud so he could steal human babies. As soon as he gets within ten feet you’re like, “You’re not the midwife! Get away from my baby!” Then you throw salted oak roots in his lying forest spirit face.

You’re supposed to use facial clues to figure out if people are lying in L.A. Noire. For example, if a suspect’s eyes are darting around nervously, they’re lying. If they tug at their tie like Rodney Dangerfield, they’re lying. However, if they wear their tie around their head like a headband, they’re drunk. Or civilization has collapsed and they’ve joined the resistance but didn’t have time to go home and change into shorts.

I botched a lot of interrogations because I gave people the benefit of the doubt too often. Also, every suspect had way too much damning evidence against them. It seemed like I found a bloody tire iron everywhere I went. I was starting to wonder if having a bloody tire iron in your house was fashionable in the 40’s. Hey mister where’d you get your blood-soaked tire iron? I got it on sale at Woolworth’s!

L.A. Noire is all about collecting clues at the crime scene and this is where the game really gets bogged down. The controller vibrates when you get close to a clue, and often it’s something mundane and unrelated to the crime. But I still felt compelled to pick up every clue when the controller vibrated. One time there was a bunch of carrots on a kitchen counter and the game indicated that they might be a clue. And I was thinking, really L.A. Noire? These carrots? You want this LAPD detective to walk over to a bunch of carrots and seriously consider them as part of a criminal investigation? Ok, fine— maybe one of the rabbits from Watership Down did it. Does the rabbit look nervous?

Cole Phelps certainly doesn’t mind putting his bare hands all over the corpses of murder victims. Especially the way he cups their chins and tilts their heads around and rifles through their bloody sport coats. And I know he didn’t wash his hands afterwards because I’m the one controlling him. He didn’t even bother to wipe his hands on his pants! Seems like a man who crouches over dead bodies every day and insists on direct contact with their cold, blood-spattered and lifeless skin would want to rinse up now and again.

Rockstar really seemed to want to emphasize the picking up produce and caressing dead bodies aspects of the game because you don’t have a life meter or any kind of weapons display like in Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto IV. Also, shooting suspects in the back will lose you the case. Or even shooting them in the foot. I lost a few cases where a suspect was fleeing, so I figured what the hell, I’d shoot out their ankle and then get the answers I needed. Nope— you have to run them down and tackle them. My thing is, if I ask someone a few questions about a murder and they start to run away, I’m pretty sure that’s the murderer so why can’t I put a bullet in their leg? Probably because Cole Phelps wouldn’t be able to help himself from crouching over them and running his ungloved hands all over their unconscious bleeding bodies.

So here’s a spoiler about the end of the game. I didn’t like the way you play as Cole Phelps for most of L.A. Noire and then in the game’s final cases you play as Jack Kelso the claims investigator. I understand that Rockstar was trying to purposely chip away at the connection you feel with Cole Phelps. When it’s revealed that he was cheating on his wife during the timeline of the game’s events, it’s just as surprising to the player as anyone else. And when you’re abruptly switched to playing as Kelso, the feeling of control over Phelps slips away and he becomes as unknowable as any other NPC in the game; more like a movie character with his own motivations than a video game avatar.

But because the change in characters is so sudden, it feels more like a bait and switch than an artistic statement. There’s a reason that Super Mario Bros. doesn’t have you play as Mario until World 8 and then make you play as Mario’s old plumbing partner Jeffrey Krasinski. Sure, they have history together but you just put a lot of hours into going on an adventure with Mario and now some new guy gets to knock Bowser in the lava?

Obviously, L.A. Noire is more complex than Super Mario Bros. In L.A. Noire, you throw corrupt Los Angeles government officials into lava. Ultimately, L.A. Noire is beautiful but makes strange choices, like a girl I once dated who yelled at me at a party for not having read T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’. Despite its flaws, I’m happy to pick up and closely examine the odd rutabaga if it means companies like Rockstar will keep putting out thoughtful games targeted at adults. Especially if that rutabaga is served with broiled pork chop. The end!

These Kardashians Of The Universe: A Case For Free Will
freewill

These Kardashians Of The Universe: A Case For Free Will

This essay was originally written and performed for Write Club Atlanta, a monthly competitive writing event.

Okay, so I’m here to defend free will. A lot of people have tried to crush free will throughout history, mostly so they could have more sex or live in bigger houses. In fact, if someone is trampling any of your rights, there’s usually a guy in a mansion who wants a bigger mansion at the top of the rights-crushing pyramid. Maybe with bikini girls dancing around his pool. Of course, going by that logic, MC Hammer in his video “Pumps and a Bump” wants to crush your free will more than Idi Amin ever could.

Free will is one of the most prized aspects of the human experience, and many have risen to defend it when it is threatened— Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Captain Crunch versus the soggies. And yes, I equate freedom with free will. If they are not the same cupcake, then one is surely the frosting and the other is the spongy cake beneath.

But I also think it’s free will’s fault we’re stuck on this planet. It’s right there in our origin story, if you were to count the bible as our origin story. At the very least, it’s an origin story. Of course, Batman’s parents getting shot is an origin story too, but you don’t see anyone starting a holy war over Batman except on internet message boards.

Anyway, free will being to blame for us being marooned here on Earth. You’ve got Adam and Eve, you’ve got the forbidden fruit, the knowledge of good and evil, etc., and so on. And of course the serpent, the devil with his forked tongue, because he’s a snake, the sorting hat putting him in Slytherin. Actually, there’s some Harry Potter fan fiction for you. The devil goes to Hogwart’s, gets under the Sorting Hat and the Sorting Hat yells, “Hufflepuff!” Next thing you know Professor Sprout is wearing dark eye makeup and having orgies.

Now let’s take the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as a metaphor for whatever intelligent life predated our current existence. An actual paradise full of alien life somewhere else on the other side of the universe, some other dimension, who knows. What we do know is they have free will and they’ve managed to make it work. Lush meadows, hoverships, iPads, rivers of chocolate run by Gene Wilder and no one ever, ever, ever talks or text messages in a movie theater after the trailers begin.

And let’s say these perfect creatures, these Kardashians of the universe, they invent a new form of life in their image. Similar in shape and appearance, but like children, innocent. Mouths hanging open at the wonders around them, like when you see a framed commemorative Dale Earnhardt “The Intimidator” plate at a gas station. And this new form of life, these humans, they don’t know what bad is. They don’t even know they have the choice to do bad.

So Satan, or the Morning Star, or Steve Jobs- whatever you want to call him, he exercises his own free will to give the human race a magnificent, awful gift. The same ability to choose that everyone else in the garden has. But as soon as he lifts the veil from their eyes, there’s going to be trouble. Violence, war, slavery, injustice, T.G.I. Friday’s, lapdances where the stripper doesn’t really seem that into you, the Star Wars prequels- all of these horrible things are on the table now. Suddenly, the human race has terrible, nightmarish options.

And these beautiful, wise Yoda-like aliens (or maybe just the old man with the white beard, I’m not ruling anything out), they must have looked around and seen what was coming. All the centuries of famine and brutality to come as mankind learns to keep his balance on the world’s most dangerous bicycle. And they probably said, “We’ve got to get these humans the fuck off our planet.”

So they put us here eons ago. Quarantined. Every other planet, star or black hole as hostile to our survival as the corner of Ponce and Monroe.  Absolutely no chance of us stumbling onto other intelligent life and finding out what they taste like, because let’s face it- if you’re another sentient creature on this planet and you can’t dial a telephone or pass the Iowa Test of Basic Skills we’ll probably try to turn you into food at some point.

All of that having been said, I still believe free will is the best thing that ever could have happened to us. Those wise old aliens, they probably had to be marooned on a rock for millions of years before they worked out the secret to making daiquiris actually taste like what suntan lotion smells like and making polyamorous marriages work in practice and not just on paper. Maybe once we’ve dropped the training wheels and figured it all out (world peace, jetpacks), they’ll welcome us back with open arms to the Garden of Eden. And then we will open fire with the laser guns that we’ve built into our fingertips. And it will have been our choice to have done so, thanks to our most wonderful quality— free will. Thank you, good night!

I’m Sure His Skeleton Will Have Time Lord Bones: A Review of “Doctor Who Series 6”

I’m Sure His Skeleton Will Have Time Lord Bones: A Review of “Doctor Who Series 6”

This review contains spoilers.

The Doctor is in America! He has a cowboy hat. But River Song shoots his hat off his head. This woman is so reckless with guns. I saw her shoot a dude that was just walking behind her without even looking over her shoulder. Everybody on the show just seems to accept it, like “Well she seems to know what she’s doing.” It’s like if a little kid had a flamethrower and a handwritten note that said “FLAMTHOWER XPURT” and he was lighting houses on fire but all the adults just shrugged and said, “Who are we to stop him? He has certification.”

Anyway, the Doctor gets shot in the face with a laser by a little girl in an astronaut suit and dies before he can regenerate. Man, they just let the kids run wild at Space Camp these days. But it’s a version of the Doctor from two hundred years in the future, so whatever. I’m sure his skeleton will have Time Lord bones or something and another British guy will emerge from his ribcage.

Then the current Doctor goes to the White House and meets President Nixon. He fights some aliens called the Silence because you forget them after you see them. Also, a bunch of stuff happens with River Song and Amy Pond being pregnant and the little girl in the space suit again. There was way too much going on in one episode. It was like being on the haunted house ride at the fair where things keep getting thrown out at you while you ride in a cart. Hideous aliens! Amy’s mysterious pregnancy! President Nixon played by a man who looks nothing like him! Now the little girl is a time lord?! Also, Rory! Come to think of it, things getting thrown out at you while you ride in a cart is considered a traditional wedding in my hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia.

The Doctor ends up on a pirate ship because a beautiful siren surrounded by glowing green light is luring sailors away after marking their hands with a black spot, much like the girl stamping hands for reentry at any rave near a naval base. I went to a rave on New Year’s Eve once and danced all night by myself while my friend drunkenly sat in a nearby chair. Of course, dancing all night by yourself while your friend sits drunkenly in a nearby chair is also considered a traditional wedding in my hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia.

Turns out the siren is a spaceship’s medical bay artificial intelligence and it thinks the sailors are sick or something so the Doctor says hey pirates want some advanced technology and gives them the ship even though up to this point they were the robbing and murdering kind of pirates. Then the Doctor answers a distress call on a trash planet and the TARDIS gets put inside a woman, marking the first time that phrase has been used to describe the actual transmutation of the TARDIS software into a living human’s brain and not a Doctor Who fan’s nickname for her vibrator.

Then the Doctor goes to a factory where people are having clones made of themselves and using them as avatars for dangerous factory work. But the avatars come to life! I wish my Xbox Live avatar would come to life, maybe it would justify the five dollars I spent on Mass Effect 2 dragon armor for him. Also, the two dollars I spent on the lightsaber he waves half-heartedly when I turn on my Xbox. “Oh hello! Yes, I’m…really enjoying…this lightsaber you bought for me. And the armor. There’s no one for me to fight here, but it’s nice to just…wave it. Back and forth. Whoosh. When the inevitable war against Xbox Live avatars comes, I’ll be the first line of defense.”

The mid-season finale was particularly crazy. First of all, Amy Pond has been a fake avatar Amy this whole time. Second of all, the real Amy is pregnant with a baby version of River Song. Third, the baby River Song is a Time Lord because she was conceived inside the TARDIS. Fourth, a woman with an eyepatch has stolen the baby River Song to use her as a weapon against the Doctor. It could have been worse, though— usually when an old woman missing an eye steals a baby, it’s to put in a stew.

You know, it seems like just because you conceive a baby inside a vehicle doesn’t mean the baby would take on the traits or abilities of said vehicle. But far be it from me to go against Doctor Who’s airtight baby genetics logic. See you in September, Doctor Who!

He Didn’t Even Bother To Put On His Space Boxers: Thoughts On “Super 8”

Hey it’s 1979! A kid in a Smashing Pumpkins video is rolling down a hill in a tire! I once dated a girl who was obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins. She called Billy Corgan “Billleeee” just like the mogwai Gizmo in Gremlins. I used to have a Gizmo clock with the clock face in his belly, like if you’d hunted and killed a mogwai and had a taxidermist stuff him with a clock. This is to symbolize all the time you’ll never have, Gizmo!

Joe Lamb loses his mom in a steel mill accident. His dad is the sheriff! A man with sideburns is to blame for his mother’s death, but it was an accident. Joe’s dad arrests Sideburns just for showing up to the funeral. You broke the law against hurting my feelings! Joe’s friends Glasses, Husky and Fireworks are making a movie. Sideburns’s daughter Alice is helping them make the movie, too. Because their fathers hate each other, Alice and Joe aren’t supposed to hang out together. Their dads act like somebody brought the wrong chocolates to The Ladies Auxiliary Club meeting every time they see each other.

The kids are in the middle of making an adorably amateurish zombie movie at a train station when a passing train crashes. An alien folds his copy of The New York Times, wraps up his iPod earbuds and gets off the train. Then the Air Force shows up. Oh, and it was their science teacher that ran the train off the tracks. Before he dies he’s like, you kids don’t tell anybody you saw this. Because the Air Force will kill you. Then he points a gun at them. Mixed messages, right? Seems like everybody wants to get in on the killing-kids-because-they-saw-something-they-shouldn’t-have action.

Then mysterious things start happening around town. Engines go missing from cars, lights flicker on and off and dogs run away. That happens every time I try to cook something more complicated than macaroni and cheese. You’ll notice I used the more formal title instead of just writing “mac and cheese”. Is it that much harder to say the word macaroni? Yankee Doodle didn’t seem to have a problem with it when he was describing the feather in his hat. Of course, his ability to correct identify macaroni or feathers was severely impaired.

Spoilers below.

Joe and his friends find out the alien is just trying to rebuild his ship so he can get leave this godforsaken planet. Is there anything worse than being stuck at a party you hate and you don’t have a ride? Everyone is always like, just call a cab! Do you know how long it takes for a cab to show up in Atlanta? At least half an hour. And they’re the worst drivers. They drive like they’ve got a blue turtle shell and they’re about to knock Donkey Kong out of first place with it.

I found it hard to believe a spider monster with pinchers and claws built an advanced spacefaring vessel. He doesn’t wear clothes, he crawls around on spider legs and lives in a subterranean lair. If he’s so great with technology, wouldn’t he have some other devices like a communicator on his claw or the space-horror-creature equivalent of a bluetooth earpiece? I don’t get in my car to go to the store without my cellphone and my pants on, the Super 8 alien travelled billions of miles and he didn’t even bother to put on his space boxers. I think he found some peaceful space travelers and ate them and took their ship. He’s the galactic equivalent of a naked car thief hopped up on meth with a passenger seat full of Hustlers and beef jerky.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Super 8 because it was very Spielbergian and also very J. J. Abramsian so there were kids on bikes having adventures and lens flares. I also liked the emphasis on the value of friendship and the healing power of catharsis. Oh, and kids sneaking around avoiding the military to make sure an alien gets home safely. If I was a marooned space alien, I wouldn’t contact any scientists or world leaders. I’d just find some plucky kids who believed in themselves. Sure, I’d have to wear a wig and lipstick and eat some Reese’s Pieces for a while but before you knew it I’d be rocketing off in my spaceship repaired with garbage can lids and Pepsi cola for fuel, naked as a jaybird. Whooosh the end!

A Cold Sailor’s Ghost At The Bottom Of The Ocean: Looking Back On “Dexter Season 5”

A Cold Sailor’s Ghost At The Bottom Of The Ocean: Looking Back On “Dexter Season 5”

I just ate a pint of ice cream and watched True Grit. This must be how retired newspaper comic strip character Cathy feels. Ack! I guess Cathy would never watch True Grit. She’d probably watch True Fit, a romance about two clothing designers who hate each other at first then fall in love. Man, this ice cream is sitting in my stomach like a cold sailor’s ghost at the bottom of the ocean.

I still have to write this review of the fifth season of Dexter, though. Also, if you haven’t seen season four and you don’t know what happens at the end, you should stop reading this and go eat half a pint of ice cream, because that seems to be the magic stopping point for ice cream. If you eat the whole pint I can’t speak to the sorrow you’ll feel. Anyway, season four ended with Dexter’s wife getting killed by John Lithgow and his baby crying in a pool of blood. I bet vampires say “like a baby in a pool of blood” all the time. Oh, how was your vampire softball game? We beat the Florida Fangs 14-3. They were catching like a baby in a pool of blood.

Dexter is a suspect in his wife’s killing for a little while, but then he gets cleared. Then Detective Quinn suspects him of being up to no good, so he hires a shady cop to follow Dexter. The shady cop is played by RoboCop’s Peter Weller! Between my VHS copy of RoboCop and my love of the DC comics character Cyborg, it’s no surprise I asked my mom to drive me to the doctor’s office to have half of my limbs and organs replaced with robot parts when I was nine.

I’m not sure how I expected that to go down. “Sure, I’ll turn your kid into a cyborg for you, lady. No appointment needed. I turn kids into half-machines all the time! I got all kinds of gears and wheels I can put in your child’s body. Don’t worry about the fact that his body is still growing and developing, that’s what the hydraulics are for. Want your oil changed while you wait?”

In the meantime, Quinn starts having sex with Dexter’s sister Deb and then falls in love with her. Deb acts mad and surprised at everything and she curses a lot, like if Sarge from Beetle Bailey was a sexy Miami policewoman. Dexter befriends a city roadkill worker so he can kill him. And he does kill him! But then he finds a filthy Julia Stiles locked in a closet. Dexter nurses her back to health and they become a vigilante team because there’s a whole team of rapist murderers that need to get got.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant LaGuerta and Deb are at each other’s throats. Deb is shocked…SHOCKED when LaGuerta throws her to the wolves when a case goes wrong. LaGuerta wears leopard print all the time. Once a lady in leopard print came up to me in a bar and told me I looked like a dancer because I had a tight little body. If she could only see me now, post ice cream. Dexter’s children go to live with their grandparents. Dexter has sex with Julia Stiles.

The final boss is Jordan Chase, a motivational speaker. Dexter throws a grenade and pauses the game, taking advantage of a glitch. Jordan Chase takes constant damage while the game is paused. When Dexter unpauses, Jordan Chase is dead. Wait. That’s how you cheat in the NES game Blaster Master. Dexter kills Jordan Chase the old fashioned way, by letting Julia Stiles do it. She saves the last dance for Dexter and then because her guest star run on the series is over, she says I don’t want to kill for fun anymore, see you later Dexter, say hi to Edward James Olmos for me in season six! Frak!

The Spring Can Be Tricky: A Review Of “Kinect Adventures”

The Spring Can Be Tricky: A Review Of “Kinect Adventures”

Okay. Okay. The Kinect. I finally bought one at Best Buy. The Best Buy guy was all, “You need to get the Geek Squad Black Tie Protection Plan because the spring in there can be tricky.” Really, Best Buy? The spring can be tricky? Why are you selling it to me? Let’s fix this tricky spring and then make it available for sale. Also, I got confused because I pictured a spring like in a mattress going BOING and flailing out of the Kinect, maybe with a clown puppet at the end. So I mustered up all the dignity of Patrick Henry delivering his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech and responded, “I think a product should just work when you buy it. I don’t believe in buying special plans. NO PLANS.”

The Best Buy employee said he knew where I was coming from, paused and then asked, “So…..no on the Black Tie plan?” No, Best Buy. Unless the black tie plan is to rob a casino, absolutely not. But! Now I have a Kinect. I had to rearrange my apartment to make it work. Now I can’t see the morning light coming through my window when I wake up. But I can control my Xbox 360 with my hands. I mean, I could control it with my hands before, but now I can wave at it. Hello, Xbox! Goodbye, light of dawn! Try putting two scoops of raisins in my cereal now, anthropomorphic cartoon sun.

Kinect Adventures features a man whitewater rafting on the cover wearing one regular belt and one crazy belt crossing his lower ribcage and ending in a sassy loop. Joining him on the raft is a woman in purple women’s business attire. Maybe at some point their raft drifted through a JCPenney fashion show. Kinect Adventures is mostly minigames. First I was floating in a room on a space station popping soap bubbles. For all I knew, I was destroying the crew’s oxygen supply. Then I was in a glass cube underwater plugging leaks with my hands and feet while fish rammed their heads against the glass trying to fill the cube with water and drown me. In hindsight, spare breathing or scuba equipment would have been a wise addition to my undersea journey.

After the game was over, Kinect Adventures showed me a bunch of pictures of me in my underwear that the Kinect had taken while I played, like some kind of voyeur HAL 9000. Kinect, I’m flattered. But this is the wrong kind of attention. No man has ever won a girl by slipping her a manila envelope of hidden camera glossy 8×10’s of herself in the shower. Not that I’m the girl in this situation. I’m the guy and you’re the unblinking robot eye that secretly takes photos of me whenever you want and gets off on them maybe.

Anyway, welcome to my home, machine that records my every move. I look forward to petting virtual baby tigers, swinging lightsabers and finding that you’ve uploaded nudes of me to Facebook without me ever having entered my credentials. Good night!

Imperial Trouble Episode 29: Brian Richardson of Dragon*Con TV

Imperial Trouble Episode 29: Brian Richardson of Dragon*Con TV

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Blue Harvest? Jason and Sam welcome Brian Richardson of Dragon*Con TV to the Imperial Trouble studios. The crew discusses dreams of the Dreamcast, Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors, the Hulk’s incredible stretchy underwear, and the anticipation of the 25th anniversary of Dragon*Con. Jason and Sam are also schooled on the history of blue films.

A Good Candidate For Understanding Love: A Review Of “Kung Fu Panda 2”

I was in a horrible mood watching Kung Fu Panda 2. This guy behind me wouldn’t stop kicking my seat. So I elbowed the seat whenever he did it. I probably looked like I was really into the movie and was pumping my fist back like, “Hell yeah Kung Fu Panda 2!” I never did get a good look at the seat kicker but I saw his friend, who was wearing a Super Mario Bros. shirt. What if I had finally snapped and had to fight these dudes, and now I’m looking at Luigi and Princess Peach through a haze of blood? Wow, that hypothetical fight really got out of hand. Then again, having a videogame character on your shirt does add colorful flair to otherwise dismal situations. If you’re a girl and you find out your boyfriend’s been cheating on you, but he’s wearing a Kirby shirt when you confront him- well cheer up, there’s Kirby!

In Kung Fu Panda 2, a panda uses martial arts to fight a peacock with Gary Oldman’s voice. I wish this was something that happened at the zoo all the time. “We’re going to have to keep these kung fu pandas separated from the peacocks with Gary Oldman’s voice. Why did I choose to be the supervisor at the zoo for genetically engineered animals with advanced fighting skills and human celebrity voices?”

Anyway, Kung Fu Panda 2 picks up where the first movie left off, and now Po is the Dragon Warrior. You know, Dragon Warrior on Nintendo was a pretty good game for its time. The artwork of the red-caped knight on the cartridge made me feel like I was entering a world of dragons, steel and magic and not a bunch of blocky pixels moving around. Then again, just holding a stick I found in the woods made me feel like I was entering a world of dragons, steel and magic so maybe I was predisposed to be impressed by anything even remotely dragon related.

Po’s Master Shifu is played by Dustin Hoffman. Master Shifu meditates by balancing on a stick and manipulating a drop of water to demonstrate his inner peace. There’s a bar here in Atlanta that serves cowboy sushi rolls with spicy Kobe steak and mustard sauce but caters to people I generally don’t like. One time I was eating delicious sushi and drinking beer and overheard this sorority girl at a nearby table telling her friend she liked Eat Pray Love but “didn’t go in for all that meditation shit”. I guess she must have gone in for the eating and loving parts, though to be fair I think anyone who is disgusted by the idea of meditation probably isn’t a good candidate for understanding love. I’m pretty sure Master Shifu is a red panda, so that actually makes two Kung Fu Pandas in this movie.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is mostly about martial arts versus firearms. There’s a whole side thing about Po coming to grips with whether or not he considers his adoptive father his real father but the fact that he even questions it just seems to insult the progress they made with the character relationships from the first movie. The Gary Oldman peacock uses firework powder to make cannons and everybody seems mad at him about it.

How dare you Gary Oldman peacock! You should be strutting around trying to attract a mate with your colorful plumage, not founding a military–industrial complex. Why does everybody cluck their tongues when an industrious peacock starts making gunpowder-based weapons and then cheer in every other movie when a cowboy shoots a gun or a pirate shoots a cannon? I think it’s because he tried to kill a lovable fighting panda.

This movie kept switching back and forth between hand drawn animation and 3D CGI graphics. I feel like they should have kept a consistent visual style. I’m not going to art house snob it up and suggest they change the title credits to Helvetica, but I guess I like animation to stick with one direction. You know what else? The final battle scenes didn’t feel as fun to me as the ones leading up to the climax. Maybe since there wasn’t pressure to make them feel important they got to be looser and more kinetic.

You know what, though? I’m going to go ahead and wrap this review up right here. It’s like walking away in the middle of a conversation at a party. Let’s pretend we’re at a party and we were talking about Kung Fu Panda 2 and I just said, “Excuse me” and walked over to the table with all the little cheeses and crackers and little sausages. Hmmm, that does seem rude. Okay, pretend your wife just tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to step outside. Maybe she wants to bare knuckle box you. Either way, that frees me up to go hit the meats and cheeses. Goodbye!

Imperial Trouble Episode 28: Bunny Mcintosh, Everett Steele and Beau Brown

Imperial Trouble Episode 28: Bunny Mcintosh, Everett Steele and Beau Brown

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Earmuffs! Sam and Jason record an episode live from TimeGate and boy, are their mouths tired from all the cursing. We welcome Bunny Mcintosh of Melting Dolls, Everett Steele of Baby Robot Industries and Beau Brown of The New Puppet Order and Bob and Carl: Sci-Fi Janitors to discuss tolerating Stargate, the charms of Sophie Aldred and 1980’s Doctor Who. Warning: NSFW language!