Today’s comic takes a complicated issue and forces it through a prisim where things are black and white. I suppose those are the limitations of a four panel strip. Concordantly, I know the punchline isn’t exactly “LMAO.”

But sometimes an issue kind of sticks in your brain and you tackle it the best way you know how. Thank goodness there is a blog to accompany things. Otherwise, I fear you might be left adrift.

I was thinking about The Kingdom being released on Friday and how it’s one of only a handful of post 9/11 movies that treats the conflict in the middle east as action movie fodder. More often than not, movies about the war on terror have centered around the politics that got us there like Syriana, the misgivings of war through parabal like Jarhead or the aftermath and heartbreak of war like A Mighty Heart or The Valley of Eljah. That’s fine. I understand where these films are coming from. They’re holding up a mirror to our times. I get it.

That’s why it’s interesting to me that director Peter Berg is approaching this powder keg with guns blazing and as pure action movie entertainment. I can hardly recall any movie that has put the crosshairs so squarely on “the enemy” in the middle east. No movie leaps to mind with a “Give ’em hell!” gung ho spirit in this regard. It’s like when John Wayne made the only pro-Vietnam movie with The Green Berets, or something. Granted, I haven’t seen The Kingdom yet. It’s very possible that the first two acts are a thoughtful dissertation of our presence in the region and what a quagmire it’s become.

But I’ve also read enough advanced reviews to know that there is supposedly a “kick ass” shootout at the end of the movie. One so poetic in it’s violence, that will be the reason people go to see it because that will be the last impression that’s been made on the people leaving the theaters. I can almost promise anything that comes before the third act will blow away like sand over a dune.

I’m not trying to make a political statement. I’m not trying to make a statement about art. But I am asking questions about us – the audience – and our taste for these sorts of things. As far as I know, the war on terror is still happening. Is it right to digest this kind of thing as entertainment when there are men and women dying in another country? I mean, I never really got over the fact that Medal of Honor was such a popular video game because it allowed you to recreate The Battle of Normandy in shocking, realistic detail. That was a historical event. It actually happened. Tens of thousands died. And it’s entertainment?

Maybe I’m not one to talk. After all, I’m running a contest where I’m giving away prizes to help promote The Kingdom. Am I being completely hypocritical? Possibly.

But I’m not here to solve the problem. I’m just posing the question.

Speaking of which…


First of all apologies to anyone who tried to participate in or download last night’s Triple Feature talkcast. Gordon and I ran into some technical difficulties around the 15 minute mark and decided to scrap the show after neither of us could log back in. You wouldn’t have missed much. Joe was M.I.A. because he got to attend an early screening of American Gangster and neither Gordon or I had much to talk about. We were pretty much going to wing it. There weren’t that many people in the chat field, either. I think everyone was off watching the premiere of Heroes, or something.

At any rate, you don’t have to worry about getting one half of the code from the talkcast and the other here today. I’m just going to give you the whole thing right now: “KING’S RANSOM”

So now all you have to do is e-mail me the code along with your name and mailing address and you’ll be enterted for a chance to win a prize package for The Kingdom that includes full-sized poster, hat, t-shirt, mini notepad, and jacket. Winners will be chosen at random. Good luck everyone!

I also have another contest running at the moment. I posted it yesterday along with my 30 Rock: Season One DVD review, but I’m worried a few of you missed it – so I’m posting it again.

Stargate Atlantis: Season Three

I have two copies of Stargate Atlantis: Season Three to give away and I’m going to make you work a little bit to be eligible to win.

All I need you to do is pick your favorite three Theater Hopper strips (use the archive to help you find them) and submit them to your favorite social bookmarking site. It could be StumbleUpon, it could be Reddit, it could be Digg. Whatever works best for you.

If you’re new to social bookmarking, you can use the handy little drop down at the bottom of this post. Be sure you’re on the individual page you want to bookmark before tagging it.

Once you’ve bookmarked your three favorite strips to the social bookmarking site of your choice, send a screen shot or a link to your profile page so I can see your entries to me at along with your name and mailing address. You have until this Friday to enter. From the entries, two winners will be chosen at random.

Hopefully you guys appreciate that I’m just trying to drum up some interest in the site and it’s really not that much effort for a chance to win something cool. Your efforts help promote the site and ,when that happens, everyone wins!

Get bookmarking and good luck!

↓ Transcript
Explain to me again why you want to see The Kingdom? Don’t we see enough of Iraq on the news?

Nevermind those ponderous, heavy handed dramas like A Mighty Heart and The Valley of Eljah tackling the aftermath of war.

It’s too much!

I dunno! I heard there was a kick-ass shootout in the last 30 minutes and they shoot a lot of terrorists! Okay?

You’re a real diplomat for peace, you know that?