Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mr. North Goes to New York

Okay, New Yorkers, what do you think?

Of all the Chicago radio hosts, Mike North fits in best with what I perceive s the New York mentality. He is purposely in-your-face, he is armed with arguments honed from the bar rails of Chicago, and he is fearless, as shown in his now infamous press conference appearance with Pat Riley.

On the other hand, if you ask around, nobody here likes him. Somehow, some way, he just keeps upping the ante on his radio career, now playing a two day gig in Don Imus' old slot on WFAN in New York. Nobody likes him, but he gravitated to the number one slot on the Score. Nobody likes him, but he gets on TV on a regular basis and has been bringing in some high profile radio lately, thanks to Jesse Jackson and Ozzie Guillen's potty mouth.

Yesterday, I listened to the Score, where his old partner Dan Jiggetts is filling in, pulling in clips from Mike's New York adventure. This morning, I went for the straight stream off of WFAN's web page. What I hear is a Chicago guy going out of his way to step on New York's toes. He is attacking their conventions and beliefs, and not apologizing for it. In an interview last week he said outright that he knows he's not the right guy for the job in New York because he is SUCH a Chicago guy.

By the way, this is not the way Mike North acts 100% of the time on the air. He is on some sort of caffeinated tear. Yes, he often says things just to incite, even in Chicago, yes, he is bombastic, but in the end, after all the production, he is a real guy. Any person on the radio eventually reveals what they are beneath, many of them displaying ugly ego's and tastelessness in the constant conversations.

Chicago's sports radio hosts have all set their own tones, and most of them, all but one, have shown themselves at one time or another to be snobs. I have no respect or time for someone that thinks they are better than their listeners. Mike North doesn't talk down to anyone.

That why I like him, and that must be why he continues to prosper.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Assessing the TriUmvirate of Triquels

I had yet another epiphany, this time it worked it's way into my mind slowly, because I surely always knew it. I always knew that I was being lead by my nose to the theater this summer, back again for the third installments of three different movie franchises, Spiderman, Shrek, and Pirate's of the Carribean. I knew it when I saw the way they were laid out this summer, carefully stepping over each other's toes.

I should have seen it in the careful way things were spun by the movie industry, bemoaning slow weeks early in the spring, as if it is our duty to go see their products in the theaters. Yet it all came together, there waiting to get into Pirates 3. You see, so eager they were to cash in this last chip, they must have had such a short turnover time in their allotted theaters that they couldn't even let us in. Then, the Popcorn was cold.

That was it, treat me like a robot, herd me to the side like livestock, but at least make the popcorn you sell me that is so expensive it should be dipped in gold, warm and palatable. Assholes!

The movie, like I said, it was the last chip, and I'm not a huge fan of that particular franchise. It reminds me of a really bad televison serial called "Danger Island" or something like that. It was on another cartoon show called "Banana Splits" and I am sure I have read the comparison before, as well as to the before-my-time movie serials. The comparison is an accurate one, but the Pirate franchise is born in an era with much better effects, nuch like the superhero genre. Still, with all the effects and the cast which clearly enjoys what it is doing, it's everything disappointing that was supposed to be in Spiderman3.

I imagine Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom sitting around after wrapping up Pirate's 2 and deciding to order another keg and case of whiskey, to stick around another week and film their parts of Pirate's 3.

"Fruck it, let's stay another weeek, film the third part, and then let the CGI crew do the rest. We'll make another fifty bajillion and take next summer off."

Really, the fact that this cast is having a good time filming this comes through clear as a bell, until it gets a bit annoying. Like the sense I got from the Ocean's Eleven-12-13 franchise, you start feeling like you're sitting in on these guy's vacation pics. Fun, but after an hour, anything can get old.

How can I be so into Spiderman and Shrek and fall asleep in Pirate's?

So, to summarize my blind following through the turnstiles for the Summer Blockbuster TriUmvirate of Tri-quels:
Spiderman3 - Not as bad as everyone says, maybe the best of the three
Shrek the Third - Still Funny, and piling it on.
Pirate's of the Carribean - At World's End - Tedious, soon to be a drinking game.

So, I'm done with the theater this year, you hear me Carmike Cinema's? I'm not eating any more shitty $12 popcorn combo's or waiting in line for anything. The most you're getting out of me might be a Tuesday matinee for Fantastic Four, but I'm going to fight the urge for that one too.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spiderman 3 Doesn't Jump the Shark

I had a moment during the "coming attractions movie previews" of Spiderman 3, in between the multiplying regular commercials. I realized that Marvel is a movie brand name now. Oh, I've seen the Marvel scroll before, I haven't really missed one of the movies about Marvel characters yet,(I did wait until DVD and cable late night to watch The Fantastic Four and The Hulk respectively), but it had always been a novelty to me. When they rolled that Marvel brand scroll during the preview of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I realized that this whole making my old favorite comic books and characters into movies had outlasted novelty and fad status.

Yeah, I know, so what. Pretty quick on the uptake there, dumbass. This has been going on for a while. Next realization: Pretty soon they're going to screw it up. Maybe calling it Jumping the Shark is behind the times a little too, hell, maybe saying behind the times is out of style now. I can go on...

This movie, Spiderman 3, I've been reading about it for what seems like years now. And it wasn't just the network hype. Now, everywhere on the blogosphere, someone is taking a shot at it for various reasons. Let me name the main ones, plot too cluttered with super-villains and a budget higher than the entire south American peninsula governments combined.

As far as the first complaint, about too many super-villains, I say, so what. Yes, he ripped through most of the great Spiderman plotlines, Green Goblin, Mary-Jane, Uncle Ben's murderer twice, and Venom. So. What.

The script winds around the three different villains just fine. Oh yeah, I didn't mention the Sandman, Flint Marko, because he never really seemed as major a character as some others. Also, I thought that devoting all of Spiderman 2 to Doc Ock was stretching it a bit. This one felt right. Because of the negative comments about this movie, I went in prepared for the worst, for it to be so full of CGI and superfighting as to be unenjoyable, like T3, or Robocop2, losing all the appeal of the first two Spiderman installments, but it was nothing like that. In fact, I think this might be the best of them all.

The effects are ground-breaking, seamless, done so well that you forget they ignore most laws of nature and physics. This movie just doesn't deserve the roasting it is getting from reviewers. Somewhere out there, either being filmed or in planning stages or just in line to be made, is that stinker movie made out of a Marvel character and storyline that are going to soil the name and brand of Marvel so much that they will not be cool anymore, and the kids that make them so lucrative will quit going to see them. Even though movies like the Punisher, Daredevil, Elektra, and the Hulk are arguments that we might have already seen the worst of them and still keep waiting for the next one, because when they get it right, well, it's undeniable fun at the theater.

Sitting at keyboards and sniping at Spiderman3 is almost villainous, but until they make a movie where he comes after the blogosphere, it's unwarranted. Like it or not, Spidey has broken through, the bad reviews had no effect on the record breaking opening weekend receipts. They will make another, and this is not a movie we will look back and laugh at ourselves for enjoying, or watching.

For example, take the Batman series, also highly profitable and popular when it started, bringing in top notch cast and directors, which might have also been it's downfall. After Tim Burton turned the Penguin and Batman into his own personal nightmare, the whole franchise spun out of control. Subsequent movies were silly, unwatchable, and with the George Clooney one, offensive. With "Batman Begins", they might have begun to right the ship, but there are two or three movies there that knocked DC and it's own movie brand on it's heels.

With Spiderman 3, Marvel has yet another success to hang on the wall, and the once nearly bankrupt company is riding high, at least until everyone gets sick of superhero movies, I probably never will, but normal people might.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Guest writing on Moviesnooneshouldsee

I appeared now for a second time on the site Movies No One Should See reviewing the movie Grindhouse , as a guest writer. I even have my own header!