Thursday, November 01, 2012

Nintendohemian Rhapsody

By Brentalfloss and Pat the NES Punk. I totally needed this today.

My Favorite Part of the Lucasfilm Sale

Disney paid George Lucas $4 billion for Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. Of all the hypocritical fan whines possible, the last one I expected to hear was people calling George Lucas--the grand merchandiser of Star Wars--a sellout. That one was totally bizarre. Especially after all of the shit they called him because they still can't get over not being 6 when the Prequels came out. Every time I think the fanboys have given me enough reason to really despise them, they do something even dumber. I think Hank Hill said it best: "Every time I think you've said the dumbest thing ever, you keep talking." Sellout? The guy who's been making money off of Star Wars bedspreads for almost 40 years is a sell-out now?

(And not that I really accuse him of that because, let's face it, things like bedspreads are what made Star Wars an institution of our childhoods, if you're the right age. The guy's not a sell-out, he's just canny and knows how to make money. But, once again, that money's given him independence, an opportunity to stay true to his vision--even if you don't like that vision--and the ability to invest in the kind of technological research that's made Pixar and The Lord of the Rings possible. Then, as he's retiring, he makes sure to place the grand institution that is Star Wars with people who will see it carries on, which is what the same people screaming "sellout" now have been whining about since they made that idiot petition almost a decade ago to take Star Wars out of George Lucas's hands and give it to Peter Jackson instead. You're lucky you're even getting an Episode VII, because you sure as hell don't deserve one, you ingrates.)


My favorite part of this is yesterday's announcement that George Lucas would be giving the majority to charity. Most likely his educational foundation. So George Lucas has enjoyed the fruits of his labors and creativity for many years, given countless filmmakers opportunities to do work of their own, started a number of careers, made technological R&D possible in ways no one else in Hollywood was willing to do, made Star Wars as much a part of your American childhood as Disney and the Muppets, helped set Pixar on the path to revolutionizing the world of animation, notably shared a lot of the money he made off of Star Wars with the people who actually worked on the movies themselves, then finally decided he had enough money, sold his creations to people he hopes will shepherd them for generations to come, and is now giving away most of that money to education?

Yeah, guys, what a sellout.

UPDATE 2:05 PM: Two more favorites today. First, that Disney will somehow make Star Wars movies that are more mature and adult. "Remember when the Star Wars movies weren't made for 8 year olds?" one blogger asks, to which I have to answer, no, I don't remember that ever being the case. They were always family movies and you're just going to have to get over that because you're too old to be whining about this. My other favorite is the idea that a non-George Lucas Star Wars movie at Disney means that some director is going to do without so much CGI. I think it's naively cute that someone thinks this is just going to happen, especially because Disney is involved. Disney has always been an innovator of special effects, and just earlier this year made John Carter. So good luck with your cute fantasies.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween: The Nightmare Before Christmas Read by Christopher Lee!

This has been kicking around for a few years, apparently, but I've never seen it before and I'm thrilled to see it now. The Nightmare Before Christmas was, famously, based on a poem Tim Burton wrote in 1982. That was released as a book, illustrated by Burton himself, and it's probably my favorite thing Burton has ever done. Here is a video, a partial animation of Burton's illustrations, with the poem itself read by Christopher Lee. Was this some kind of DVD extra, or something? Whatever it is, it's purely wonderful, and I'm thrilled to finally be seeing it. (And hearing it!)

Happy Halloween!

The big day is here. Whatever you're doing tonight--trick or treating, partying, staying in and watch TV, or dealing with the aftermath of Sandy--please be safe.

:: Vanity Scare
:: My Top 5 Favorite Halloween Foods
:: Frankenweenie Monster Posters
:: The Great Pumpkin Returns!
:: October Weird Creepy Crap is Back!
:: Hallow-meme 2012?
:: The 100 Greatest Horror Movie Quotes of All Time
:: Tumblr Finds I
:: Diet Coke Ghost!
:: Peanuts, 1961
:: Doesn't It Kind of Look Like Kermit Is Eating a Baby?
:: Ranking the Funko Pop Vinyl Horror Characters
:: Donald's Halloween Scare
:: Garfield
:: Tumblr Finds II
:: My Little Maddie
:: Peanuts, 1962
:: My Top 25 Muppet Monsters
:: Seriously, Where Were These Cute Muppet Costumes When I Was an Adorable Toddler?
:: Principal Skeleton
:: "Performance"
:: Tumblr Finds III
:: V Day
:: Pumpkins, Part I
:: Peanuts, 1963
:: The Maker
:: Pumpkins, Part II
:: My First Two Halloweens
:: Tumblr Finds IV
:: Pumpkins, Part III
:: Happy Halloween from Sam!
:: Peanuts
:: My Three Favorite Pumpkins of 2012
:: Jack O' Lantern 2012!
:: The Nightmare Before Christmas Read by Christopher Lee!
(That's 8 years of Halloweens now.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jack O' Lantern 2012!

It was down to the wire. I admit, I wasn't sure I was even going to get to carve a pumpkin this year. But then Becca passed a farm yesterday offering three pumpkins for five bucks, and she brought some little pumpkins home. And when I say little... well, they're about a foot tall, but they were on the thick side and narrow. It killed my hands carving this thing, and then I couldn't even get my hand inside through the top. Becca helped me with some of the scooping and then we had to light a pencil on fire so we could light the candle inside with it, but god damn it, that pumpkin got carved.

So this is my 2012 jack of the lantern, Danforth Remington de la Guerre. Of the New Orleans de la Guerres. His family was old money in generations past, but now the family is dirt poor. As you can see, Danforth has crossed, Muppet-like eyes. He can only see from one of them anymore, but I'm not going to tell you which one. Look at his dull, unhappy mouth and the scar on his head. Old Danforth was lobotomized years ago. No one can remember why, but I have a feeling that he's got a secret that someone wants him to take to his grave. Look at the way his mouth is strained... he wants to say something, but he can't remember what, and it haunts him to this very day. What did you witness, Danforth? Who wanted to silence you?

Alas, it's not for us to know... Danforth will haunt the night, a flicker of life glowing from within, until he rots in the cold on my balcony. Poor Danforth. The old liveliness is in there somewhere, but one day he just saw too much.

Becca's pumpkin? Amazing, of course.

Whereas my pumpkins are blunt, abstract and tragic, hers are artistic. She's been doing this for several years now, and she's getting better and better. This is clearly her best one yet.

This is an update of a pumpkin she did back in 2008. If you look at the two, you can see how far she's come in her decorative skills. I love how ornate and stylized this one is. My favorite details are the sort of wisps and tendrils from the witch's skirt and hair, whipping in the wind. She managed to get some really nice detail in there. I am absolutely impressed with this. This is some great Halloween here.

And there's another year of jack o' lanterns. Just beautiful.

Initial Thoughts on Disney Buying Lucasfilm

1. It's surprising, but also seems inevitable, given how much of an attraction Star Tours is. I think 90% of the theme park advertising I've seen in the last few years has been Darth Vader-related.

2. Damn: Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, the Incredible Hulk and Artoo Detoo all live under the same roof, so to speak. It somehow seems so right.

3. How many inevitable hypocritical fanboy laments will I see? And will they all be from the same people who have wanted nothing more than to take Star Wars away from George Lucas for the past decade?

4. I'll believe this Episode 7 stuff when it actually happens. Though I'm sure Disney wants it more than anything they hope to gain from this purchase, that seems like a long shot. Unless all of this Star Wars TV show preparation has really been development for Episode 7. And I really want George Lucas to be heavily involved. I'm just not ready to see someone else start shepherding the whole thing, unless he's actually ready for that. But seriously, I'm not holding my breath on this one actually happening by 2015. Not that I wouldn't be happy to be wrong...

5. How are we doing on making another Muppet movie, anyway?

6. I like George Lucas. He's one of my heroes. Filmmaking owes him a debt. He changed the very nature, process, and technology of filmmaking. I hope he gets to do what he wants to do and can make smaller, more experimental movies and just tinker around however the hell he wants in his retirement. He's more than earned that. But seeing someone else in charge of the whole thing just makes me feel a little bit like I did when Jim Henson died. Like it's really the end of an era, of an important piece of my childhood. I don't think it's overdramatic to say that.

Still, the Muppets have done a lot of good things since 1990. I'm sure there can be good Star Wars things, too. I'll keep an open mind as a fan.

But wow, does this feel weird.

Halloween: My Three Favorite Pumpkins of 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zomney 2012

Halloween: Peanuts

Happy Halloween from Sam!

Happy Birthday, Winona Ryder

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Song of the Week: "Since You've Been Gone"

Russ Ballard, 1976. There are some great covers of this, of course, by Rainbow and Cherie Currie, but I just love the glam tint of the original.

Halloween: Pumpkins, Part III