Batman

What do you write about during the summer when you don’t really do a whole lot?  The past 6 weeks for example, have been full of kid swim lessons, a wedding of people you’ve never heard of, a bachelor party for which I will not write about… and… that’s about it.  The previous six weeks of summer… not a whole lot happened there either.

I saw Captain America: Civil War.  It was good.  What do you want me to say?  It was pretty much what the previews showed.  If you saw the previews, you saw 90% of the important parts of the movie.  The end was a little bit different than I expected, but I had some problems with the ending.  Like what happens if Iron Man doesn’t go after Captain America and The Winter Soldier?  The whole premise of the movie hinges on that one event happening.  If it doesn’t?  Then they just sit around staring at each other.  Super fun movie.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you didn’t see the movie.  If you saw the movie, you get it.

So over the past few days, I saw two different Batman movies.  I finally saw Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I also so Batman: The Killing Joke.  I’m not sure which was more surprising.  That I didn’t hate BVS as much as I thought I would, or that I didn’t like TKJ as much as I thought I would.

I know I am way behind the curve here on Batman V. Superman.  But it just looked terrible.  So I waited till it was on DVD to watch it.  I couldn’t justify spending ticket prices on this movie.  It wasn’t as bad as I assumed it would be.  It’s still not good.  The film is two and a half damn hours.  The first hour or so is just them standing around meeting each other.  LET’S GO!!!  I get it, gotta set up the trinity and all that.  But geezus, row across lake point!!  Move it along!  The worst part of the movie was the casting of Jesse Eisenberg.  I am not a huge fan to start with, but I would like to see who didn’t get the role.  A dog?  Phil?  There had to be someone better.  And maybe he will be better in Justice League.  Who knows.  But he was dreadful.

The thing I find most interesting about BVS happened in the aftermath of the film.  It was such a critical disaster that Warner Bros. decided to move people around on Justice League.  Ben Affleck is now an executive producer.  The obvious choice to make is the one that they refuse to actually make.  The reason BVS was so terrible, and the reason Justice League is going to suck beyond belief, is Zack Snyder.  The director needs to go.  But WB probably has too much money invested in him to replace him at this point.  Chicken sh*ts.  Snyder ruined this movie.  If WB and DC wonder why they are so far behind Marvel in their cinematic universe, they need to look no further than Snyder.

I was so excited to see The Killing Joke.  And it was such a letdown.  The second half of the movie is great.  It is very true to the graphic novel on which it is based.  I didn’t know what to expect, really.  I had heard rumors about a scene between Batman and Batgirl.  The internet went ape sh*t.  Apparently people have a huge problem with the two of them… being intimate.  I get that there is a huge age difference, and she was involved with Robin at one point in history.  But whatever, it didn’t bother me that much.  It was the aftermath that bugged me.  They turned her into this whiny, damsel in distress character that just wasn’t Batgirl for me.  To be fair, I haven’t read a lot of Batgirl books, so I am not as familiar with her history as others, and maybe this is true to her.  It just didn’t work for me.  Once they switched to the Batman/Joker dynamic, the movie got a lot better.  If you’re a fan of this particular book, it is worth checking out.  Just don’t have high expectations.

Robin Williams 1951-2014

I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen since late last night wondering how to write this post.  I hate seeing people die.  It makes me sad.  It makes me even sadder when people choose to take their own life.  On Twitter, everyone is posting YouTube clips of their favorite Robin Williams movies, which I thought was great.  I am a firm believer in celebrating someones life, not mourning their death.  I do not like being sad.  Everyone mourns differently.  I choose to tell funny stories, or try to lighten the mood.  That works for me.  Doesn’t work for everyone.  But showing movie clips is a great way to remember how Williams made other people happy.

I remember the first time I saw Good Will Hunting.  Surprisingly enough, as a HUGE fan of Matt Damon and The Batfleck, I had no desire to see the movie.  I didn’t see it right away, and felt the hype for it was way too over the top.  My friend Patrick and I were on a road trip and were staying with my friend Marissa.  They convinced me that it actually was good.  It was.  It was so damn good.  I was mad at myself for not seeing it sooner.  Williams was brilliant.  I saw Toys with my Aunt and Uncle in the theater when I was younger.  They took me when I was staying with them after my cool older cousin took me to my first Kings game.  When I went to Boy Scout camp, one of the other guys had the soundtrack to Good Morning, Vietnam.  I had never seen the movie at that point, as I was only 9 when it came out.  But after a week of listening to nothing but that tape, I HAD to see this movie.

I still have my copy of Popeye on VHS, and even though it’s not very highly rated, I love it to this day.  My sister and I used to watch it when we were children.  The one that I still think is my favorite though is What Dreams May Come.  It’s a little heavy today, and I don’t think it did very well at the theaters, but I really love it.  It’s on the darker side of Williams’ roles and just showed how far someone would be willing to go for the one they loved.  I remember seeing this movie in the theater all by myself.  I couldn’t have loved it more.

That doesn’t even begin to cover his body of work, like Mork and Mindy or what is for me, and incredibly difficult role, Peter Pan.  Peter Pan is in my top 5 all-time favorite movies.  TinkerBell is my favorite Disney character.  The way he was able to  play Peter at his age in Hook was awesome.  If you didn’t read what Dante Basco had to say about Robin’s passing, you really should.

I remember so many specific moments about Robin Williams’ movies and where I was when I saw them.  That’s what I will remember most about him.  I am going to see my friend Patrick in 3 weeks in Portland.  If the subject comes up, I will be able to say, “Hey remember the trip in college when we drove to L.A. and did all the big theme parks?  Then stopped in San Luis Obispo and saw Ryan on the way back?  I saw GWH during that trip.”

The other part I’ve seen is people questioning how someone who seemed to have it all could do something like this.  It is so hard to try and explain to someone who has never dealt with depression.  For those who have gone through it, or know someone who has, it can be a life long struggle.  It can also seemingly come out of nowhere.  As it appeared to in this case.  As someone who has dealt with it for nearly 20 years now, it really breaks my heart when someone loses their battle.  Mine started in college.  It’s the reason I never finished.  It almost got the best of me, but thankfully I had the right support around me.  I feel terrible for Robin.  Most times, people feel like they are going through this alone and have no one.  I feel just as bad for his friends and family.  Those who knew he was dealing with this and those who didn’t.  They will spend the rest of their lives wondering what they could have done to help and why they didn’t see it coming.  And that’s a horrible empty feeling.

I ask you take two things from this tragedy.  Remember Robin Williams for the wonderful comic he was, and all the great movies he made.  And please look to your friends and family and look for the signs of depression.  If you see someone that needs help, speak up.  Try to do something.  Everyone needs a friend.  And if you’re the one going through it, there is always another solution.  I’ve found the hardest part is the embarrassment of asking for help.  But, it’s better than the alternative.  Here is the link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  There is lots of good information.

Argo (2012)

I normally hate movies that are nominated for Best Picture.  I hardly ever watch the Oscars.  My buddy Mike has Oscar pools where you can pick the winners with big cash prizes.  I never play because I never pay attention enough.  It’s so boring.  Every now and then I will check one out, but normally, the best picture nominees are saved for piece of garbage movies that dumb dumbs like me refuse to spend their money on.

I really wanted to see Argo when it came out in theaters.  Two things I love in a movie are “based on a true story,” and all the Affleck I can get.  What has two thumbs and loves him some Affleck?  This guy.  Don’t even get me started on how excited I am that he is going to be Batman.  I don’t even hate Daredevil.  Unfortunately, the movie came out 2 weeks before my second daughter was born.  Leaving the family to go see a movie at that point really wasn’t an option.  And it took this long to rent it.  I’m not really sure why.

Argo, as I said, is based on the real Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970’s, in which six Americans were rescued from Tehran after being held for over a year.  Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA specialist who comes up with the idea to make a fake movie based out of Canada and pretend the hostages are part of the crew.  He starts a production company, buys a script for a science fiction movie called Argo, and plans to fly to Iran and simply walk the hostages out of the country.

For someone like me, this movie is amazing.  I love historical shows or movies.  Unfortunately, this is filled with inaccuracies.  Luckily, if you’re like me, and are vaguely educated on the crisis, you won’t notice where the true story ends, and the Hollywood starts.  I had to know, and looked up how much they changed the truth though.  I won’t spoil anything here, but many of the changes are obvious when watching the film.  So it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.  Unless you’re Canadian.  Then I’d suspect you have a reason to be a little pissed off.

I’m guessing everyone who wanted to see this movie has seen this movie by now.  So there’s really no spoiling anything.  But for a movie that was nominated for a best picture, usually a clear indication that I want nothing to do with the film, this was brilliant.  I would have liked it more had it been more historically accurate, but I guess that’s what documentaries are for.  I don’t think the drama would have been as high had the story been told accurately.  It’s kind of like The Perfect Storm.  This movie was based on a true story as well.  But all we know for sure is the boat went out to sea and never came back.  Not really all that thrilling.  But that movie has George Clooney, so of course it made a gazillion dollars.