I’m kind of conflicted about putting Final Destination 2I’ve spoken before about how an R rating is treated like the kiss of death (no pun). I say good for Final Destination 2 for not pulling any punches.
I guess I’m curious to see the film partly because of the Rube-Goldbergian methods of destruction the writers foist upon unsuspecting teenyboppers, But mostly, I wouldn’t mind poking my head inside the theater because I am a fan of the original. Anything written by two former X-Files scribes usually gets a pass in my book.
The first Final Destination was a good movie because it avoided all of the cliches of “new horror” while they were in the thick of the trend. Ever since Scream, it’s been hip to be self-referential or flippant about the truly horrible events surrounding the characters.
The first Final Destination spun that on its head by making the killer not a campsite recluse or dream-stalking bogeyman, but Death itself. There was no physical form to defeat or run away from, but you could still detect the machinations set into play by and unseen force with wholly unforeseen results. They could have made the film with adult actors and gotten away with it. The script was that good.
And that’s why I shudder at the idea of a sequel. They should have left it alone. I feel strongly that the first Final Destination could have gone on to be one of the great cult classics of horror/suspense. You could stand it up the the genre-redefining Scream or Halloween and I wouldn’t take issue with it. To peddle out a sequel makes me concerned that some of the power behind the original will diminish. The fact that they’re releasing a horror film in the beginning of February doesn’t bode well, either.
But then, what I am talking about? Both Scream and Halloween released several inferior follow-ups and it hasn’t taken the tarnish off of the originals. An amazing feat when you consider the 20 plus years Halloween has been with us. I guess I forget about the loyalty fans of this genre exhibit.
We’ll have to wait for the weekend box office tallies before we have the final say.
Sorry I didn’t come back and finish my thoughts on Jersey Girl and The Ladykillers like I said I would on Monday. I came home that evening and was feeling really sick. I think it was the weather screwing with me. Can barometric pressure DO that?
Anyway, to make up for things (in a typical, American half-ass way), I thought I would give you a quick synopsis of both films.
Jersey Girl: A fine romantic comedy by most standards, but because it was penned and directed by Kevin Smith, I judge it by a different set of standards. Smith betrays his talent for dialogue by using cheap cliche’s throughout the movie. There are scenes in the movie that feel tossed in to help retain Smith’s edge, but he should stop trying to play to two audiences. He could really do anything he wants, but he shouldn’t compromise. Jersey Girl feels like a compromise.
Liv Tyler comes off well. So does George Carlin. But this will not be the hit – or the performance – that will save Ben Affleck’s floundering career.
The Ladykillers: Typical Coen Brother’s fare. A kind of mash-up of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Intolerable Cruelty. A southern-fried caper flick filled with untrustworthy people. The humor is very black and the overall message is very cynical. Tom Hanks delivers a very fine performance, but it’s all “actory” twitches and gimmicks. Nothing substantial. One character suffers from I.B.S. – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – and it manifests during unfortunate times. Since when did the Coen’s have to resort to toilet humor?
Hmm… those short recaps were a little longer than I thought. Anyway, those were my takes on this weekend’s cineplex fodder.
Lots of good stuff coming out this weekend. Hellboy and Walking Tall being the two I’m most interested. I’ll have more to say about Hellboy on Friday, but I’m thinking of renting The Rundown before seeing Walking Tall as a kind of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson action movie primer. I never saw it in the theater and regretted it. I’ve heard nothing but good things. Walking Tall seems to play in a similar vein and it looks really good to me. Is it odd that Cami agreed to see Walking Tall and not Hellboy with me this weekend?
I’ll probably have to end up seeing The Prince and Me at some point, so I guess fair is fair.
I was hoping to have some big news for you associated with today’s post, but it’s been postponed a little while. If I can get my business together, you should be hearing something about it relatively soon. Sooner, at least, than my Jersey Girl/Ladykillers reviews.
Trust me. It’s a big deal. You’ll want to keep checking this space to find out what I have in store.
You would have to be living under a pretty formidable rock to be unaware that actor Christopher Reeve passed away this weekend from hear failure. Some of you may have wondered why I’ve been relatively quiet on the subject until now.
Mostly it was because the news of his death didn’t enter the news cycle until Monday morning after that day’s comic had already been posted. I also didn’t want to mention it into the blog like it was some kind of historical footnote. I knew a comic strip dedicated to his memory was the only way to go. Being a site about movies, it should be expected. I know I certainly expected it of myself.
The reason behind the kind of confrontational attitude in the comic had a lot to do with the opinions I’ve been collecting since Monday. Trolling the internet as I do, you’ll see a pretty wide variety of reactions to Mr. Reeve’s passing. By in large, I would say the response has been shock and sadness. But every so often, you encounter a bitter soul that can’t seem to find anything positive to say about a man that left behind a legacy of inspiration and lobbied tirelessly for the advancement of research for the paraplegic.
I was particularly emboldened to go ahead with today’s strip after reading comments left by Absath over at Ctrl+Alt+Del. An unfortunately uneducated reader sent him an e-mail calling Reeve selfish for trying to find a cure for his paralysis only after suffering the affliction himself…
# THE REST OF THIS BLOG POST WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN JANUARY 2009 #
There’s usually not a lot of argument as to the question of mortality when one is struck broadside by an eighteen-wheeler. But if you need further evidence of David’s untimely demise, vote for Theater Hopper at Web Comics List for the proof.
After "outting" the erstwhile David as a device to lampoon wacky secondary characters, there was no choice left but to kill him. I had pretty much rendered him impotent at that moment, so why not go out with a bang, yes?
That was pretty much the plan all along. Establish a new character, reveal him as a tool designed to deconstruct conventional storytelling approaches, kill him off. I’m begining to worry this might be a theme for me. The killing off of characters, at least. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Dewey met his end at the top of the Empire State Building.
I don’t have much more to say about the arc than that. I feel I’ve pretty much left everything I wanted to say in the strip. I was happy how the art turned out on this last strip. It’s good to go out on a high note, but I’ll be happy to going back to making fun of new movie releases. I say that every time, don’t I?
Sales are going strong on the great apparel liquidation of ’06. I’m not going to beat you over the head about it. After all, it’s the weekend. We could do without the extra shilling.
Okay, one last shill. The sale ends February 6.
Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend!
Have you ever heard the expression "If not for bad publicity, we’d have no publicity at all?" I have to imagine that the producers of Curious George are thinking they could do without this kind of publicity…
Allan Shalleck ,a collaborator on the children’s book series Curious George has been found dead on the driveway of his mobile home in Florida. Police say Allen Shalleck’s body was covered in black garbage bags. Neighbors had passed by for a least a day, thinking it was just trash. He was 76 years-old.
The world is pretty screwed up, isn’t it?
I think any movie fan worth their salt is familiar with Movie Law #948: Sean Bean Dies In Every Movie He’s In. I don’t care if the punchline of this strip falls a little flat. I just feel better broadcasting Movie Law #948 to the world so that we may all recognize it an celebrate it.
Of course there is a web site dedicated to all things Sean Bean and it keeps a running tally of the movies in which he bites it and the movies where he lives to see another day. For a career as long and varied as Bean’s, his batting average of deaths-per-film isn’t as high as you might expect. But it seems idiosyncratic that the more high-profile Bean becomes, the more often he dies on screen. I was almost tempted to make a chart.
You have to wonder if it’s some kind of movie star reverse psychology. Kind of like how Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp almost pathologically INSIST on having their good looks mangled for their performances, perhaps Bean’s commitment to a perpetual on-screen demise is his way to make the audience invest in his work – make people care about him more? Who is this man who insists on dying in every single movie? Can I join his fan club? Is there a mailing list?"
Incidentally, Sean Bean and The Hitcher were topics discussed between myself Joe Dunn from Joe Loves Crappy Movies and Goron McAlpin from Multiplex in our weekly talkcast The Triple Feature on Monday night. If you missed it, you can download a copy of the broadcast from iTunes and listen to it in your free time. It’s only an hour long. Listen to it while you’re folding laundry.
In addition to The Hitcher, we also talked about Mike Judge’s Idiocracy and the career of Wes Anderson. We also discussed Monday night’s broadcast of The Golden Globes and I totally predicted Babel winning Best Motion Picture – Drama moments before it happened. That’s a feather in my cap. It was particularly funny because right before they read the winner, Joe said Babel was the one film he knew WOULDN’T win. Just goes to show who you should talk to about picking your lottery numbers!
There wasn’t really anything during the broadcast which surprised me except Forest Whitaker winning for The Last King of Scotland. I’m a big Forest Whitaker fan, but I’m not used to him winning anything. Beyond that, several safe choices. Could mean that we’re in for a very boring Oscar telecast this year. We’ll see.
The one thing I thought was kind of shocking reading all the awards show recaps was the subtle level of outrage and shock that Cars won Best Animated Feature. When your competition is Happy Feet and Monster House, what do you expect? I mean Monster House was good. Really good, in fact. But it’s not "Best" anything material. Pixar has shored up so much positive collateral, they can nearly do no wrong. Was Cars the best movie Pixar every produces. Plainly, no. But it’s still a heck of a lot better than Happy Feet.
Was there anything from The Golden Globes this week that surprised you? Any of your favorite movies or performers you feel were robbed? Leave your comments!
“Popcorn safety goggles?!” Oh, man! Where do I come up with this stuff?
I cop to a continuation of the joke from Monday’s strip, but I don’t feel bad about it. I have a joke in mind for Friday’s comic that I think will wrap this little arc up into a nice, neat package. Besides, it’s not like there’s anything else besides Premonition coming out this weekend.
Sure, there’s lots of advertising around Dead Silence, but I find I don’t have much to say about horror movies because they’re all pretty much the same. And then there’s Chris Rock’s directorial debut I Think I Love My Wife. Which to me looks like some kind of 1980’s situational comedy about the differences between men and women. I’m pretty sure I can’t make a joke there without getting in trouble with Cami.
So Premonition is the gravy train I’m riding for material this week. If you don’t like it, hang tight. TMNT comes out next week. I’m sure I’ll have some nostalgia-laced commentary for that little time warp.
Incidentally, the lack of interesting movies this week was something Gordon, Joe and I talked about in our weekly talkcast, The Triple Feature this past Monday at 9:00 PM. If you missed it, you can always download it from iTunes. We also talked about 300 and how it’s unprecedented success (the largest opening for film in March ever) might affect the production of the graphic novel gold standard, Watchmen. I thought it was a really good show. Check it out!
And while I’m slingin’ links, I have to give both Gordon and Joe props for their excellent 300-themed comics. You can view their respective efforts here and here. To be honest, I was jealous I didn’t come up with either joke myself. But it’s the kind of writing that would have required me to actually *ahem* see the movie. So I’m kind of wringing my hands over that one. By the way, did you know these comics were Multiplex’s 125th and Joe Loves Crappy Movies 300th? Milestones all around!
Switching gears for a second… I made a post on Monday that seemed to generate a lot of interest. Basically, I posted a drawing that I did of Sean Bean, but didn’t share that fact with you guys. I asked you to guess who it was because I was going to use the rendering as part of a t-shirt design that referenced an earlier comic and I wanted to make sure people could identify who it was supposed to be without being prompted.
The responses were really interesting. Some people knew right away that it was Bean. Others thought it looked like Ben Affleck or Ben Affleck (which was weird). Other people couldn’t make a guess because they’re really not familiar with Sean Bean’s body of work. A fair assessment. He’s not all that well-known.
So what did I learn from this feedback? I learned that if I produced the shirt, the majority of you would get the reference and that’s a good thing. But I also learned that because I used Bean’s IMDB publicity photo, I might be making myself vulnerable to some legal action. So what do we do?
Well, this brought to the fore something I’ve been thinking about for a while and that’s my caricature skills. They’re kind of bad. I mean, does this look like Samuel L. Jackson to you? Yeah, me neither. So I’ve decided to do something about it.
Yesterday I ordered a couple of caricature books from Amazon and I’m going to work on developing this skill. I mean, it’s kind of shameful for an artist whose work centers around pop cultures and celebrities to be deficient in this manner. With any luck, I’ll get a little better and it might help my art in other areas as well. Who knows? When it’s all said and done, maybe I can do a little work on the site at a county fair, or something!
At any rate, I was really pleased to see the level of participation in the comments area from Monday’s post so I think I’m going to continue posting caricatures and let you guys guess who the person is supposed to be as a regular thing. It’s fun, it gives you guys something to talk about and it’ll help me improve my art. Sound like a plan? Let me know what you think in the comments! Natch!
What about the shirt design? I think I might still go ahead and finish it just because it was a very rich vision in my head and I’d like to see it completed. That doesn’t mean I’ll produce that version of the shirt. I might swap out the image of Bean from Monday’s post with another once I start to get a little better with the caricature. We’ll see. In the meantime, I have other designs I want to try. So it’s no big deal.
That’s it for today! See you Friday!
He’s dodged meat cleavers, exploding popcorn kernels and strangulation by 35mm film. Let’s face it – The Movie Gods want Tom to live! Either that, or Cami’s ESP needs a tune-up.
I know some people get confused about where the line blurs between real-life Tom and comic Tom. So that I don’t have to field a bunch of questions about it later, my real-life Dad is very much alive and well and was not strangled by any film that crashed through the projection booth window. That probably sounds silly to most of you, but you’d be amazed at how literal some people can be. Yup, today’s punchline was a tip of the hat to The Naked Gun. Nothing more, nothing less.
I don’t have much more to say about this weekend’s movie offerings, but I am curious if anyone saw Andy Barker P.I. on NBC last night? Tony Hale from Arrested Development is a video store clerk in the strip mall where Andy Richter’s character works. He shows him a Sandra Bullock doll from Miss Congeniality he made himself to make fun of the movie. "Oh, Sandra. Why do you make such confusing movie choices? he asked.
Anyway, I have some site news to share and I’m also looking for a little bit of help.
I’m finally starting to get around to adding back some of the links that have been missing since the redesign. It’s been almost three months and it really should have happened sooner, but the advertising page and the press page are now in production. If you’re interested in advertising in either one of the huge ad bars on the site, the advertising place is where you can get set up. Incidentally, my friends from Alma Mater stumbled onto the page on the server, even though there was no direct link to it and made a purchase. So you should check out their comic and reward their ingenuity.
The press page pretty much speaks for itself. It has links to all the interviews I’ve done along with all the profiles, site and book reviews related to Theater Hopper. I like to consider it my little digital Fortress of Solitude where I keep all my trophies. I thought you guys would get a kick out of reading some of that stuff if you missed it the first time around. It’s also a way to say thanks to the publications that actually gave me the time of day.
The tour page has been in production a while and is also fairly self-explanatory. I’m just reminding you of it because it’s been floating out there by itself for a while and you might not have checked into it. I had to drop Kansas City’s Planet Comicon. No one else I knew was going to be there and that’s too long to be away from Cami and Henry. So, your best bet this year is going to be seeing me at Wizard World Chicago. I wish I could go to some of the bigger shows like the San Diego Comicon or whatever. But I just don’t have the money to fly anywhere. Oh, well.
Anyway – the part I need your help with!…
I’m working on the FAQ page and I’m curious what you guys want to know about me or about the site? I don’t want to slap a bunch of fake “questions” onto the page and answer them in some kind of removed, third person fashion. I’d really like to include you guys in the process. So, if there’s something you want to know about Theater Hopper – how long it takes me to make a comic, what materials I use – or anything about me, like how long I’ve been cartooning, what my favorite movie is or how do I come up with strip ideas – leave them in the comments section of this blog. I’ll take the best questions any build the page out. Hopefully in the next couple of days, you’ll see your question answered and will have provided a great service to the other readers!
So, fire away and have a great weekend!
“Why did you draw yourself like Gollum?”
That was the first question Cami asked me when I showed her the artwork for today’s strip. I noticed it myself after I inked it and I think it works! Old Tom should look like of goblin-like, don’t you think?
I’m really happy with the way this comic turned out. Pretty much once I decided that future-Tom should live in an environment reminiscent of The Jetsons, things started falling into place. Sometimes I think of a point I want to make first and then wrap a joke around it. This is me just being silly. It feels good.
Of course you know I had to throw in a Futurama reference for good measure.
As for The Bucket List? I don’t know. In real-life, I’m not all that excited about it. While I’m attracted to any movie that stars Jack Nicholson or Morgan Freeman, I’m not attracted to a film whose main conceit is “Hey! These guys are gonna die soon!” I don’t need to be reminded of that. Basically, to me, The Bucket List looks like Grumpy Old Men with a mortality twist and I don’t trust director Rob Riener to be capable enough of reigning in the schmaltz.
That’s it for now. I know I talked about getting you my Best of 2007 list today and I still want to make that a reality. I just have to delay it for the time being. I’m going to try and get it done over my lunch hour, though. So come back this afternoon!
See you then!
When I learned Charlton Heston had passed away over the weekend, I was kind of shocked. I don’t know why. After all, it’s perfectly within the scope of reason that an 84 year-old man suffering the later stages of Alzheimer’s might be lost to us at some point.
Yet, when confronted with the reality of the situation, it’s tough to accept. It seems that in some for or another, Charlton Heston had always been known to me. Admittedly, as little time as I spend thinking about Heston specifically, you never really prepare yourself for the idea of a world without the guy.
Depending on your own beliefs, it could be easy to characterize Heston as a villian for his gun control stance in his later years. Personally, I never agreed with it and found his appearance with the NRA in town days after the Columbine massacre tasteless. How much of that was actually Heston’s idea versus the NRA pulling his strings, I suppose we’ll never know. Unfortunately, he might be as well known for his podium posturing and “…from my cold, dead hands!” speech than for any of the famous roles he played.
It’s particularly difficult for me to reconcile Heston’s pro-gun ownership position considering his history as a civil rights activist in the ’60’s. Here’s someone who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. – a strong proponent of NON violence. Where’d the gun thing come from?
I suppose you could say it was all about freedom. Freedom between men, freedom to arm yourself if you so choose, freedom from the hands of others that would try to steer your course in life. That aligns much more with my vision of who Heston was as a man.
Of course Heston leaves behind and amazing legacy in film as well. From Ben Hur to The Ten Commandments to Planet of the Apes, this guy was in more iconic movies than you can shake a stick at. Also, let’s not forget The Omega Man because The Omega Man is awesome. He makes Will Smith in I Am Legend look like a total pansy.
So, here’s to Charlton Heston. May he rest in peace.
I’m sure Heston’s passing is something we’ll be discussing tonight on The Triple Feature – as well as the weekend’s new releases. Curious that 21 held onto the top spot against George Clooney in Leatherheads and Jodie Foster in Nim’s Island. Two Oscar winners can’t take down a movie about some Dawson’s Creek rejects counting cards?
We’ll be discussing all that and more tonight at 9:00 PM CST over at TalkShoe. Be sure to listen to the broadcast live and submit your questions to the chat field. We took a few calls last week and that was a good time. We’d love to do it again!