Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And I'm Off!

I've been busy getting ready to send Kris off to Vegas for his future brother-in-law's bachelor party weekend.  He leaves Thursday, but I won't get a chance to rest because I'm leaving later that afternoon to spend a day with my dad and then I'm off again - headed to Nebraska to see my mom for a week.  I'm taking the week off from blogging, but I'll be back to my regular schedule on Sunday, June 5th.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Heart: The Frozen in Carbonite Edition


The CDC acknowledges the inevitability of the zombie apocalypse. (Or it's a fun marketing ploy - either way, it's awesome.)  It attracted so much attention that the site still hasn't recovered.  ThinkGeek has provided a supplement, complete with a supply list.

Artist Rahzzah's mashup of X-Men and the Muppets, entitled "X-Muppets".

ThinkGeek's new superhero tees for women.  I'm a big fan of the hockey stripes and the 3/4 sleeves.  Choose from Batman, Green Lantern (my fav), Superman, and The Flash.

This adorable short/potential Meetup ad from Eric B. Shanks.  (Robots need friends, too!)


Han in carbonite ice trays - I love a good silicone ice tray (I have Space Invaders, brains, and Pi shaped trays, and I'm planning to get the robot tray very soon.), so I was super excited to see these amazing ice trays coming soon to the Star Wars Shop.

Adorable bookworm cake toppers - This handmade cake topper couple shows the bride and groom's love of books.

Don't worry about coming up with the best proposal ever, because this guy's already got it covered. (Bonus: Taking the time to get popcorn on the way.  I would totally do that.):


Meghan Draws Weird - Meghan Murphy's Tumblr blog of pencil sketches.  She takes requests from followers - my favorite is this sketch of the "IT Crowd" guys and gal).  Be sure to check out her hilarious cartoon site Kawaii Not as well.

Wizards & Warriors Camp - A summer camp in Burlington, MA for 7-12 year old fantasy fans.  Similar to LARP play, the camp also introduces kids to history, literature, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, and archeology - all taught in the context of the fantasy world of Sidleterra.  Professional actors interact with the campers to enhance the ongoing story.  (Who else wishes they were 12 right about now?)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Geek of the Week: Grant Imahara

Grant Imahara (found here)
Grant Imahara is best known for his work on the "Mythbusters" team, but he is also a talented robotics engineer with a super cool resume.  After graduating from the University of Southern California, he worked for Industrial Light and Magic for nine years.  His work can be seen in several films, including the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the Matrix sequels.  He has also competed on Battlebots (with his bot Deadblow) and created Craig Ferguson's robot sidekick Geoff Peterson for "The Late Late Show".

Follow Imahara on Twitter (@grantimahara) and catch him on "Mythbusters" - Wednesdays at 9:00 PM (Eastern) on Discovery Channel.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Danger of Remakes

Filmmakers who decide to make remakes seem to do so at their peril.  They walk a very fine line - too close to the source material and they are deemed derivative; if they stray too far, they risk the ire of the original's fans.  Here are some common problems:

Some Movies Shouldn't be Remade
 
Some films are so iconic and rooted in our culture that it would be a crime to remake them.  (Can you imagine Citizen Kane or The Godfather being remade?)  Occasionally, the subject matter makes the film almost impossible to recreate (Freaks).

There are also films that are so unique that they can't be replicated. An excellent example of this is Wes Craven's first film, The Last House on the Left.  Based on a Swedish ballad (which also spawned the Ingmar Bergman film The Virgin Spring), made in 1972, and shot in a grainy, realistic fashion, the movie was Craven's commentary on the Vietnam war.  It is a raw and incredibly violent film and it culls a visceral reaction from the viewer.  Rob Zombie, a horror flick director and gorehound, said, "It feels like you're watching a snuff film."  Clearly, it's not a movie for people who get grossed out easily, but according to the filmmakers, the gore had a purpose.  This was not the case with the 2009 remake.  Although Craven produced the new version, it had neither the sucker punch effect of the original, nor the gritty, realistic feel.  It was just another slick, big budget slasher flick with a story line that vaguely resembled the original film.  The biggest mistake:  Remaking the film in the first place.  The Last House on the Left is a seminal horror film and it's virtually impossible to recapture the essence of the original movie.  The filmmakers would have been better off creating a completely new storyline and just making a standard horror flick.




Some Remakes are Just Bad

The best example of this is Frank Oz's disastrous version of The Stepford Wives.  The original film, made in 1975 and adapted from Ira Levin's short novel of the same name, has become a sci-fi classic.  Oz intended to make an updated version of the film to appeal to modern audiences, and by his own admission, got carried away by the big budget and star-studded cast.  Several changes were made throughout production and the story was transformed from a subtle domestic sci-fi thriller to an overly stylized farce with ridiculous gaping plot holes.  The biggest mistake:  Producers disliked the 1975 film's original dystopic ending, despite it being chiefly responsible for the flick's creepy atmosphere and lasting effect on audiences.  As a result, the 2004 version's muddled happy ending made Oz's film all the more laughable.




Few Remakes Add Anything Substantial to the Story

Even when remakes are decently made, they very rarely add anything of value to the pre-existing story.  This is especially true of shot-for-shot remakes, which I have never understood.  Do we really need to see Psycho done exactly like Hitchcock did it, but in color and with Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn? (The answer is "No".)  

Take A Nightmare On Elm Street, for example.  I thought Jackie Earle Haley did a good job as Freddy, but there wasn't anything that made the film stand out from the original version.  In fact, all the remake made me want to do was go back and watch the original.  The filmmakers of the 2010 version told the media they wanted to make a "darker" version of the franchise.  The biggest mistake:  They focused more on Freddy's back story as a child molester to give him a clearer motive for killing the teenagers, which to me, seems unnecessary, given that Freddy Krueger is a dream figure.  I'd argue that the film didn't need to be remade in the first place, but their best opportunity for making the newer version stand out wasn't motive, it was bigger and better kills.




Everyone Has a Different Opinion

Movie watching is, at its core, subjective.  Films are intended to evoke an emotional reaction and it can be difficult to be objective about something you connect with.  This usually translates into an overwhelming preference for the original film.  

On the other hand, just because the original is a classic, it doesn't necessarily mean that everyone likes it better.  I'll use myself as an example in this instance.  I would venture to say that most people, particularly in my age range, prefer Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) to the more recent Tim Burton revamp Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2005).  Not me.  Other than the bizarre Willy Wonka back story, I like Burton's version better.  

You're probably thinking, "Isn't Charlie & the Chocolate Factory the epitome of the slick, big-budget remakes you were just complaining about?"  It absolutely is, but my preference isn't based on an objective opinion; it's rooted in my feeling about the book both films were based on.  Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors as a kid, so my first exposure to the story was his book and, when I was younger, I was very adamant that film adaptations of books should be exactly like the source material.  While I liked Gene Wilder's performance as Willy Wonka, I wasn't a big fan of the movie itself because it wasn't enough like the book.  

In contrast, watching Charlie & the Chocolate Factory as an adult brought back vivid memories of reading the book in the back seat of the car as my parents ran errands and laughing at the hilariously twisted Oompa Loompa songs.  I was ecstatic that I could pick out lines of dialogue and song in the film that came directly from the text, despite not having read the book for over fifteen years.

The more recent version does have its problem.  Burton's directing and visual style tend to overshadow his actual films; the viewer is keenly aware that it is a "Tim Burton Film" while watching one of his movies (especially his more recent films).  The Willy Wonka in the 2005 version, while funny, is a creation of Burton and Depp and hardly resembles Dahl's character.  (Wilder's performance is actually closer.)  None of that matters to me, though.  The core of the film and the way it makes me feel is closer to Dahl's book than the 1971 version, and therefore, I like it better.  Objectivity often takes a back seat when emotions are involved.





Good Remakes are the Exception, Not the Rule

Two of my favorite sci-fi films are remakes - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Thing (1982).  Invasion of the Body Snatchers was based on the 1956 movie of the same name, and has been remade twice since - once in 1993 as Body Snatchers, and again in 2007 as The Invasion (starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig).  The 1978 version was very well received after its release and remains the most popular of the Invasion films.  The Thing was a remake of The Thing From Another World (1951), which was adapted from John W. Campbell, Jr.'s novella "Who Goes There?"  During it's initial release, The Thing was not a success, but has become known as a sci-fi classic and has achieved cult status.  A prequel, also called The Thing, was made in 2010 and is scheduled to be released in October 2011, after its April 2011 release date was pushed back for reshoots (not a good sign).

These two films are both excellent examples of good remakes.  I am not a film expert by any means, but here are my ideas on what can make a quality remake:

1.  The film is well-cast.
As we've learned from Frank Oz, you can stuff all the big-name actors you want in your movie, if they're not right for the parts, it's going to suck.  Both Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing have excellent casts and each cast member is extremely effective in his or her role.

2.  The film has something that sets it apart from the original.
W. D. Richter's screenplay for Invasion of the Body Snatchers used the source material to create an allegory for the social construct of the "Me Generation" that was so prevalent during the early 70s.  He added another layer to the original story that made it especially relevant to the time in which it was released.  With The Thing, it was Rob Bottin's amazing special effects that made the remake stand out from the original.  (The Norris Thing has become an iconic image in sci-fi cinema.)

3.  The filmmakers have their own clear, unique vision.
While I think it's important to acknowledge the source material, it's equally important to set your film apart from it's predecessor.  There's no point in remaking a film if it's just going to be a rehash of the original.  

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is both paranoia-inducing and disturbingly realistic.  Little things in the film let you know that things are getting steadily worse and one of the most effective is the subtle substitution of mechanical noises for natural ones as the invasion progresses.  This, and the decision to go with a dystopic ending (rather than the original's more optimistic one) makes this film remain effective.



Taking the setting of The Thing back to the uber-isolated Antarctica of the original novella was a brilliant move and John Carpenter's directing style is tailor-made for the kind of suspense building needed to make this story come alive.  Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro says of Carpenter's work on The Thing, "The way Carpenter shoots it is so smart . . . he's extremely spare with his camera.  He just makes it almost a mathematical type of montage, where you're feeling relatively secure and then, BAM!"




Remakes will continue to be made, to varying degrees of success.  They seem to have become more prevalent in recent years, probably because the popularity of the original films ensures an audience and that means more money and less risk for producers.

One upcoming remake that looks like it could be promising (despite having many of Hollywood's remake cliches) is Craig Gillespie's Fright Night, starring Anton Yelchin, Toni Colette, David Tennant (of "Doctor Who" fame), and Colin Farrell.  The original Fright Night was made in 1985 and is a well-loved horror-comedy classic. 



What do you think of remakes?  What are some of your favorites?  Which ones do you not enjoy?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Top Five . . . Television Show Openings

5.  "Tales From the Darkside"

This anthology show was produced by Stephen King and George Romero after their success with Creepshow.  The show's short opening is one of the most frightening in television history.


4.  "Dead Like Me"

The best openings give you a window into what the show is about.  I love that the intro for "Dead Like Me" is able to convey the show's black humor in a unique way (and without using recycled clips).



3.  "The Twilight Zone"

Rod Serling's narration over surreal imagery makes this opening remain iconic and effective today.


2.  "Game of Thrones"


I haven't been able to watch "Game of Thrones" yet since we don't have HBO, but if the intro is any indication, the series is excellent and worth the high praise it's received from critics.


1.  "Carnivale"

You very rarely see an opening that is able to encapsulate a show as well as this.  "Carnivale's" opening perfectly depicts the blend of religion, magic, and 1930s life that made the show so unique.


Honorable Mentions:

"Unsolved Mysteries" - for scaring the bejeebers out of me on a weekly basis throughout my childhood



"Mystery Science Theater 3000" - for an extremely catchy theme song that I sang ad nauseum growing up and still know all the words to as an adult.  (I can sing all the versions, too!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Heart: The "Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?" Edition


 "Tales From the Darkside" mini-marathon - It's happening today, right now on Sci-Fi Channel!  Go watch it!

Chris O'Dowd (Roy from "The IT Crowd") will be on "Conan" on Wednesday, May 18th!

Star Wars Art Show - a blog that features amazing fan art, especially this Cinco De Mayo contribution

Free Comic Book Day Wedding - I'm a big fan of casual and very personal weddings (probably because I had one myself!).  How cute is this couple who got married at their local comic shop on Free Comic Book Day?

Dear Girls Above Me - Charlie McDowell's (son of actor and icon Malcom McDowell and actress Mary Steenburgen) blog/Twitter archive of his responses to the two inane and incredibly loud girls who live above him.  It's hilarious and completely relevant to anyone who has lived in an apartment with loud neighbors.  Follow McDowell on Twitter (@Charliemcdowell)

Icons of the Twilight Zone Bobblehead - If you're lucky enough to be going to Comic-Con, you can pick this amazing thing up directly at the Bif Bang Pow! booth.  If not, you can still buy yours from Entertainment Earth - if you can stand the wait until November, that is.  (It's available to pre-order now!)

The Dark Crystal graphic novel series - This highly anticipated adaptation will be art directed by Brian Froud (the original designer).  The series details the origins of the crystal and is slated to be published at the end of this year.

The character trailers for X-Men: First Class (I am SO excited about this flick!):




Sunday, May 15, 2011

Geek of The Week: Monday

On her Tumblr blog 6s & 7s, Monday shows off her knitting, needlework, and drawing projects and occasionally posts random pictures that amuse her.  She recently got a lot of attention (and rightly so!) for her adorable Companion Cube sweater.  She's also a comic book and anime fan, plays WOW, and is a major Trekkie, (She's got a "Next Generation" sweater in the works.)  I highly suggest following her blog, especially if you are geeky and crafty.  (Her ability to knit, cross stitch, and draw makes me very, very jealous.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Saturday Review: Bossypants

Bossypants
Tina Fey
Published in 2011

Tina Fey, known for her work on "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" recently published her first book, a memoir called Bossypants. Fey writes about her first forays into entertainment, especially her job with a local children's theater and doing improv with Chicago's elite group, Second City.  She tells brief but significant stories about her time at "SNL" and describes her awkward transition to fame and becoming the boss at "30 Rock".  There are a few funny anecdotes about her personal life (snapshots from her childhood and adolescence, her disastrous honeymoon, the struggles of being a late-in-life working mom, treks between families at Christmastime) and the less fun parts of being in the public eye (magazine photo shoots and reading about yourself on the internet). 

I heard good things about Bossypants, and when faced with a ridiculously small audiobook selection, my road trip travel companions and I decided to give it a whirl.  We were pleased by the results, and it made an otherwise long car ride go very quickly.  The sections were short and punchy, with funny asides.  Fey writes about herself in an off-hand, self-deprecating way and doesn't shy away from describing her less-flattering attributes.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed her personal stories about her awkward maturation and current personal life more than the stories about working in television, which was the initial draw.  Women will identify with her social ineptitude and self-consciousness about her looks, but her stories are universally funny.

Fey reads the auidobook, so you can hear her words in her voice, how she intends it to be read.  If you regularly listen to audiobooks, this is a good one to add to your collection.  The book is well-written and funny, but like most autobiographies, your enjoyment of the book will directly correlate with your feelings about the author.  I would definitely suggest this book for fans of Fey, "SNL", or "30 Rock".

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spectacular!

Thanks to my awesome mom's early birthday gift, I was finally able to get some new glasses. 

The side of my red & black square frames
The front of my red & black square frames.

The side of my black rhinestone frames.
The front of my black rhinestone frames.
And, as a bonus . . .


Kris and I like to come up with odd band names.  We laughed about this one for hours, so I decided to create the album cover as a surprise for him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Top Five . . . Current Crushes

Hamish Linklater
5.  Hamish Linklater

Linklater is a classically trained actor who has appeared in several Shakespearean plays, but he is probably best known as Christine Campbell's sweetly sarcastic brother, Matthew, on "The New Adventures of Old Christine".  He also appeared in one of my favorite episodes of "Pushing Daisies".  Although he's gangly and a bit goofy-looking, he's funny and self-effacing, which pretty much makes him adorable.  (He also has excellent timing on "Old Christine".)  My favorite line:  "Are they still making floozies?  I thought they discontinued floozies in the '40s."


Alan Tudyk as Wash on "Firefly"
4.  Alan Tudyk

Tudyk is recognizable from roles in several films, including Simon in the original British version of Death at a Funeral and Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, but to geeks, he will always be Wash in Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and the subsequent movie Serenity.  I first saw him in A Knight's Tale as Wat, the grouchy and perpetually hungry squire to Heath Ledger's Sir Ulrich.  Tudyk is an excellent comedic actor and has a hard-to-name endearing quality that makes him especially appealing.


Lee Pace as Ned on "Pushing Daisies
3.  Lee Pace

Pace is best known as Ned the Pie Man from "Pushing Daisies".  He usually appears in small supporting roles, but he did star in the gorgeous and cinematic film by Tarsem Singh, The Fall.  He has upcoming parts in the eagerly awaited films Breaking Dawn (as Garrett) and (yay!) The Hobbit (as Thranduil, the Elven king)


Paul Bettany
2.  Paul Bettany

In addition to being married to one of the most gorgeous women in the world, Jennifer Connelly (I always wanted to look like her after seeing Labyrinth), Bettany is a fabulous actor who can do both drama and comedy.  I loved him as Charles Herman in A Beautiful Mind, but I first saw him in A Knight's Tale (with Alan Tudyk!) playing the celebrated author Geoffrey Chaucer.  The word that comes to mind when I think about Bettany is "charming" and he makes any movie he's in infinitely better.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt
1.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Gordon-Levitt started out as a child actor, best known for playing Tommy in "3rd Rock From the Sun".  He took a break from acting to attend Columbia University, but reemerged in several indie films, including the adorable 500 Days of Summer, which all but relaunched his career.  He then appeared as Arthur in the Oscar-nominated and critically lauded Inception and was recently cast in Christopher Nolan's newest installment of his Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises.




Of course, my favorite crush will always be Heath Ledger, who I've loved since Ten Things I Hate About You.  I was so sad when I heard he died, especially since he had such a promising career ahead of him.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Heart: The Wheaton's Law Edition

Portal 2 advises how not to be a D-bag during co-play:


This geek girl's awesome Etsy store takes computer parts and makes them into amazing jewelry.  Follow her @CloneHardware - she gives updates about new merchandise.

Roger Hargreaves -
The man who wrote the popular Mr. Men and Little Miss series would have been 76 yesterday.  Hargreaves died in 1988 due to stroke complications.  His son, Adam, took over writing the series after his death.

My favorite of the Little Miss series

Something we should all remember.

The trailer for Coleridge Cook's new take on Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis":



Fango's May issue -
I am utterly powerless to resist the lure of a Thing/John Carpenter cover.


Fangoria, May 2011 (found here)

In honor of Star Wars Day (May 4th), I give you these adorable crocheted Star Wars figures!  (Yet another reason that I wish I was crafty.)

Mother's Day may be over, but it's not too early to start planning for next year.  May I suggest this hilarious and appropriate card?

Moral of the story: Math geek girls rule.

Restropect Dry Goods in Monument, CO - This awesome store has everything from classic monster movie collectibles to gorgeous Bettie Page clothing.  If you live in Colorado and love retro, this shop is definitely worth the trip!  Follow them on Twitter (@RetrospectDG) and/or "like" them on Facebook to get news about new merch and deals.

Neil Gaiman's response to Minnesota Representative Matt Dean's name-calling - If you follow Gaiman on Twitter (@neilhimself) or read his blog, you know about the surprising controversy he has caused in Minnesota's legislature.  When interviewed about cutting "legacy" funds that go to promote arts and culture in the state, Dean lashed out at Gaiman for being paid a $40,000 speaker's fee.  He said he "hate[d]" the author, called him a "pencil-necked weasel", and accused him of stealing the money from Minnesota tax payers.  Gaiman took the diatribe in stride and, way back in May of 2010, had even taken the extra step of explaining the fee and what was done with it.  Dean gamely apologized for calling the author a "pencil-necked weasel", but said nothing of the theft accusation.  I applaud Mr. Gaiman for his mature, level-headed response.  You, sir, are a better person than I.  #TeamGaiman

Monday, May 9, 2011

Five Film Questions

Film blog Kid in the Front Row* recently posed some interesting questions:

1. Has a film storyline or character ever inspired you to say or do something in your life that, otherwise, you wouldn't have said or done?

Yes, constantly.  The first instance I can consciously remember would be begging my mom to buy me a stuffed white owl so that I could reenact Labyrinth in my backyard.

2. Artists die, but their work stays, as long as we keep viewing it. Why is the past important? Where do Chaplin, Capra and Hepburn fit into a world of iPhones and social networks?

The past, especially film's past, is so vital because it influences everything that comes after it.  Where would horror films be today without F.W. Murnau's camera work and lighting in Nosferatu or Hitchcock's amazing suspense building?  Tarantino wouldn't even have a career without martial arts flicks and exploitation films.  No director works today without being influenced by someone that came before and good actors take cues from their predecessors.


3. What do you dislike most about movies?

I don't know if there's anything I dislike about movies themselves.  I dislike how producers/studios seem to favor remakes and rehashes over creativity and unique filmmaking.  I have seen some gorgeous, amazing films that are produced as indies because the major studios didn't have enough faith in them.  Although independent films are wonderful, they miss the huge audience afforded to mainstream movies.

4. Please sum up in only ONE word, what you are looking when you watch a film.

This one was really hard.  I would have to say "magic".  Obviously, I'm not talking about literal Harry Potter magic.  The flick has to suck me in.  It has to be believable, even if it is about something that could never happen.  It has to dazzle me, even if it's intended to be realistic.

5.  When you think of your love for movies, what one image comes to mind? (could be an image from a movie, could be a flashback of you as a kid eating popcorn, could be anything!)

For me, it is the dark theater with the bright, flickering screen.  The room is hushed, but not completely quiet and you can just make out the outlines of empty seats and the heads of the other moviegoers.

* Kid in the Front Row is an awesome film-related blog.  The Kid is very knowledgeable, extremely prolific as far as blogging goes (I am SO jealous), and not afraid to share his opinion.  I highly suggest taking a look if you're a film lover or if you're looking to break into any aspect of the movie-making business.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Geek(s) of the Week: The Flying Monkeys

The Flying Monkeys of Ames, Iowa (found here)
Let's hear it for mad scientist girls!  A Girl Scout sponsored robotics team (made up of sixth and seventh grade girls) in Iowa invented a prosthetic device that allows three year old Danielle to write with her fingerless right hand for the first time!  Their invention, which they call Bob-1, was entered in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition and worked so well, they won $20,000 to secure a patent!

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Embrace Your Weirdness!

"I want to go back to being weird.  I like being weird; weird's all I've got.  That, and my sweet style!" - Maurice Moss, "The IT Crowd"
I was a weird little kid who grew into a weird adult.  As a kid, I was obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, Victorian and Medieval England, sci-fi, fantasy, and true crime.  I loved watching old movies and wore out my Les Miserables cast recording tape.  I played pretend way longer than I should have and spent most of my time with books, rather than other kids.  If I ever wanted to be like others, it never stuck; my natural proclivities won out in the end.

My mom had a lot to do with this.  She always encouraged my creativity.  She indulged my interests and never told me the things I liked were unusual.  As a result, I thought all kids were fascinated with dragons and spaceships and the French revolution.

When I got older, I was lucky enough to find people like me.  I made it through high school thanks to a tight group of friends who were all a little left of center and I married a weirdo goofball (who also happens to be one of the sweetest guys on earth).

The oddballs, freaks, and weirdos are always more interesting than the people who conform.  The people who truly love you will always accept you for you are, not try to change you to who they want you to be.  They will introduce you to awesome things you never knew you loved (sushi, the adorableness of cats, etc.) and they will support every harebrained scheme you come up with.

We're often rewarded for conforming to expectations with praise, admirers, and success, but if you aren't being true to yourself, that can all ring a little hollow.  Like what you like, do what you want to do, and be you are - the rest will fall into place naturally.

Please watch this beautifully moving scene from Phoebe in Wonderland.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Star Wars Day!



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Not This Again

After the brouhaha with Ginia Bellafante, you'd think this whole "Do girl geeks exist?" issue would be over and done with.  Well, you'd be wrong.

The latest commentary on girl geekery comes from Vince Mancini, writer and editor of FilmDrunk.  Mancini takes issue with "hot women pandering to nerds".  By this, he means attractive female celebrities who assert their geek cred on late night talk shows.  In particular, he uses the example of Rosario Dawson speaking in Klingon on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien".  Of course, he immediately contradicts himself by saying she sounds "genuine".  (Can someone explain how you can "pander" and sound "genuine" at the same time?)

Of course, the only reason female celebs (particularly the pretty ones) would deign to admit they like geeky stuff like Star Wars is so male fans will drool over them.  It couldn't possibly be because they actually enjoy it.*

The particular comment that really raises my ire is this one:  "And if a pretty girl is into geek stuff, let’s stop demanding that they prove it.  Go ahead, be girly, we don’t mind. No harm, no foul."  Listen bud, we can be "girly" and like geeky stuff ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  I know it sounds like it takes immense talent, but somehow we manage.

These women, like their male counterparts, are on a talk show to promote their movies and share a piece of their lives.  Occasionally, they may talk about liking geeky stuff . . . because they like it.  Not because they want guys to think they're hot - they've already got that covered.  Do you assume Seth Green is "pandering" when he talks about Star Wars or video games or comic books?  I'm guessing not.

And, by the way, I don't care if liking Star Wars isn't "even nerdy anymore", it still freakin' rocks.

Want to share a piece of your mind with Mr. Mancini?  Head over to Twitter and give it to him. (@Filmdrunk)

*Obviously dripping with sarcasm

I Heart: The Sweet Geek Edition


Mothers' Day is coming - May the last-minute scrambling for presents commence.  May I suggest this awesome shirt?

YouTube channel YourFavoriteMartian - Their videos for "Zombie Love Song" and "Club Villain" are especially good. (Thanks to Sarah for finding these!)



Remember when I talked about "Jem"?  The Hub just announced that the truly, truly, truly outrageous singer will be added to their retrotastic lineup (joining fellow '80s alum "Doogie Howser, M.D.") on May 31st, with a sneak preview on May 28th.

Adorable video game-based proposals - the only thing better than a geek is a romantic geek!



Susan Beal's World of Geekcraft - A book of crafts that will appeal to geeks of all ages.  It includes things like Super Mario cross-stitch and cosplay sewing instructions.  Star Wars fans should also check out Bonnie Burton's The Star Wars Craft Book.

World of Geekcraft Harry Potter and solar system projects (found here)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Geek of the Week: Seth Green

Actor Seth Green is a geek from way back.  Early roles included Fred Glass in My Stepmother is an Alien and the young Richie Tozier in Stephen King's It.  Playing teen werewolf Daniel "Oz" Osbourne in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" earned him some serious geek cred and allowed him to go on to his most well-known role as Chris Griffin on "Family Guy" and to create his popular stop-motion animation show "Robot Chicken" for Cartoon Network.

Green is an avid gamer and has lent his voice to the Mass Effect game series as pilot Jeff "Joker" Moreau.  He is married to fellow gamer Clare Grant, a member of the geek girl group Team Unicorn.  Recently, Green was invited to attend the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour.  Although the launch was delayed because of mechanical issues, he was excited to meet astronauts and to get the chance to participate in the historic scientific event.

Follow Green on Twitter (@SethGreen)