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Writing Update – September 3rd, 2011

I really have to admit that I have not done any work on the rewrite.  Not one bit.  I could argue that it’s been busy at work or that we had a hurricane hit, but that really isn’t the case.  I’ve just been slacking off.

I have posted a few entries on the fiction blog I’ve been working on, but I’ve been getting the feeling that it should be less blog entries and more actual prose.

I have done a little bit of world building for this year’s NaNoWriMo, but nothing actually written down.  This is actually pretty much par for the course for how I approach my NaNoWriMos.  Most all of these projects tend to be a bit more organic in nature.  The best way to read that statement is that they tend to grow uncontrollably without any sort of structure.  It’s probably why the last one added several more encounters that I had not originally thought were going to be a part of the story.  Honestly, I probably put more thought into how I’m going to work in a mention of the romance novel Bedded By Her Lord more than anything else.  For the record, I have no idea how it’s getting into this year’s project yet.

This weekend is actually very busy.  I have my normal work shift Saturday, and I’m working on location for the MDA telethon, which is pretty much an all day event.  Hopefully I will be able to write down some ideas for November if and when I get some free time.

Writing Update – August 21, 2011

Did not do much work on either the rewrite or the world building.  But then, world building for my stories is not really my thing.

I did post the 9th installment of my fiction blog, tentatively titled Coverage of the Dead.  I posted the link to that blog here, and it is on my side panel as well.

Writing Update – 8/17/2011

I actually got a another chapter written in my NaNoWriMo rewrite.  I’m a bit shocked by it myself.  Even more surprising is that it is almost the same page length as the original, which included a prologue (I dropped it for the rewrite).

I also posted another part on my fiction blog, making a grand total of six parts.  I also made it searchable for the first time (before you could only get to it through this site).

I still need to do a bit of world building for my 2011 NaNoWriMo.  And, really, by a bit, I mean I need to start.  Granted, in previous years I pretty much just started writing and hoped it was coherent.  This would probably explain why I don’t really have an end for the 2010 project (the one I’m rewriting).  If I can figure out how to work in by writing “in-joke” then I should be fine.

Writing Update

After taking a week or so to step back from the rewrite (mostly goofing off, partially added work loads), I think I’m about ready to actually begin the rewrite.  I think I am definitely going to go with the initial ambush I mentioned before since it will give some scope as to how powerful the main villain is.  I’ve also have added limitations in mind for a few of the characters (one character will be unfamiliar with his powers, another character who happens to be a power duplicator can only “store” five powers, and one of them keeps being a problem).

I’ve also begun formulating a side project which would be a blog style piece of fiction, though I am a bit unthrilled by the leading concept.  Hopefully it will gel better.

And, as always, I have begun collecting ideas for November’s National Novel Writing Month.  Hopefully whichever one I pick will be able to last for the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo set as the minimum.

The Best Celebrity Voiceover in an Animated Movie

Mark Hamill at the Main Event

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Mark Hamill was the perfect voice for the Joker in the Batman animated series. He managed to capture the maniacal psychotic so well that they have returned to Hamill over and over whenever they have needed a voice artist for the clown prince of crime.

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Up For Consideration

During the day, while I was avoiding the idea of editing anything I’ve worked on already, I thought of an idea.  The concept would basically be just a fun exercise to keep my mine working, creatively. It would basically require me to create a second blog and post fictional entries on it.

The concept would be the blog entries of an individual who loves in a world that’s undergoing a supernatural event.  Granted, the suspension of disbelief would be in the fact that if all Hell’s breaking loose, who exactly would take the time to post a blog about it.

What I can’t decide on is what the event in question should be.  I have a few ideas, but am not quite sure which would be the best one to pursue.

I could always do zombies, but then, just about everyone does zombies.  Even my third National Novel Writing Month project dealt with zombies.  But, it’s still in consideration because you can see how the situation gets worse and worse as the blog goes along.

Vampires and werewolves also crossed my mind, though I sort of moved them down on the potential scale.  It seems less likely that there would be a national situation involving either.  If I scale it down, there is still something there.

The idea I am leaning towards the most is a Godzilla/Cloverfield concept, since it seems that giant monster rampages are not highly represented in literature.  I also see an angle to such a story that would make a personal blog a little more acceptable.

I have eliminated alien invasion as a possibility.  The concept covers far too much of the world for me to want to tackle, even keeping it close.  But, spawning from the alien invasion idea is one of first contact.

Anyhow, does anyone know if something like this had been attempted before?  If it has, do you happen to remember a link so that I can check it out to see what others have done?

Bad Movies

There are bad movies, and there are really bad movies, movies so bad that they actually physically hurt to watch them.  Unfortunately, like a bad car accident, sometimes you just have to see how bad they really are.

Case in point, last weekend I watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  I had sort of seen it before, but in that case, it had been Elvira-ized.  I had seen and heard so much about how bad this movie was, from tv shows, books, web sites.  Yet, for some strange reason, I had to see for myself exactly how bad it was in its original, unmocked form.

It was bad.  It was really bad.  It was unbelievably bad.  It was obvious that the filmmakers were trying to make a parody of bad giant monster movies (not the Godzilla ones, the [insert animal] grows big and rampages ones), but just failed at every turn.  The jokes were horrible and the acting hideous.  Yet, I had to watch it all the way through, like some sort of horrible self-torture that I needed to endure.  It is easy to see why it became a cult classic because there is just so much to mock in the movie.  Even more shocking is that it spawned sequels.  That’s right, someone thought it would be a good idea to actually make a sequel of this movie… and cast George Clooney in it.

Having watched this movie… intentionally… made me realize that I have seen a lot of bad movies in my life, many of which I actually chose to watch.  Tank Girl, seen it, in theatres.  I’ve even seen a movie with an Alan Smithee movie a theatre (Hellraiser: Bloodline) to be exact.  I’ve even seen Spacehunter: Adventures of the Forbidden Zone, Jaws 3 and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn in theatres… in 3D no less (sorry for the link fest).

Personally, I think everyone should watch a bad movie every now and then.  And by that I mean intentionally, not in “This is going to be so cool…. wait a minute, this stinks!” way either.  Watching bad movies is a  good thing.  Communally, it can provide a great source of entertainment when you watch a movie and everyone in the room gives it their MST3K best.  At the very least, a bad movie will make you better appreciate the good ones that much more.

Now if you will excuse me, I hear the original version of Piranha calling my name.

The Best 10 of the Last 10

Standard “10 in the 10” rules apply.  I had to have seen the movie, and it had to have had a theatrical release, and it had to have been released in the last 10 years.

Remember, the Best 10 is subject to personal tastes, and thus, it may not match any list that you may compile yourself.

The Best 10 in the Last 10 (as always, in no particular order)

1)  Sin City 2005 – A throwback to the film noir of old Hollywood with a modern slant.  What makes this film one of the best is not only it’s highly stylized look (black and white with highlighting color), but it’s adherence to the original source material (Frank Miller’s Sin City graphic novels).

2)  Batman Begins 2005 – Who would have thought that a reboot of a series would be so… wow.  Batman Begins goes past the action and adventure of the caped crusader and analyzes the psyche that makes of the Dark Knight.  Use of “second tier” villains (Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul) help make the film a spectacle while still leaving ground to explore.

3)  The Dark Knight 2008 – A lot of initial buz for this movie was generated by the sudden and tragic death of Heath Ledger.  Still, even if Ledger had not died, his performance as the Joker would have been phenomenal, throwing back to the origins of the Joker while still putting a severely twisted spin on the character.

4) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 – I have to admit I did not expect much of this movie going in.  In fact, I was seeing it because I had gotten a movie pass in a pirate themes video game.  Now having seeing this film, I would have paid full price.  A true swashbuckling adventure.

5) The 40 Year Old Virgin 2005 – It’s been a long time since a movie made me laugh, really laugh, and even longer when I still laugh at movie even after repeated viewings.  Airplane does this, and so does The 40 Year Old Virgin.  Steve Carell is hilarious.

6)  Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 2003 – The final chapter in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and truly worthy of the Oscar that it won for best picture.

7)  Iron Man 2008 – I’ve never really been an Iron Man fan, except for a brief period of time when James Rhodes was Iron Man after Tony Stark “died” (lasted all of two months, but spun off War Machine).  So, a movie has to be good for me to change my opinion of a character than I never really cared all that much about.

8)  The Incredibles 2004 – Probably the best Pixar movie I’ve seen, mostly because I am a comic book fan.  It is a fun trip watching the fall and rise of a superhero.

9)  300 2006 – An adventure following the same adherence to the original source material as Sin City (also based on a Frank Miller graphic novel), even if the story if told through an unreliable narrator.

10)  Phantom of the Opera 2004– I’ll admit it, I’m a Phantom mark.  I’ve read the book… repeatedly, seen the musical traveling show, and seen a number of the movies (the original 1925 Lon Chaney version is still the best).  This version captures the majesty and wonder of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway smash.

Guilty 10 on DVD

I modification of my Guilty 10 concept.  This time, the list is open to anything on DVD and not just movies that saw cinematic release.  It is also open to movies that were not necessarily released in the last ten years.  There will not be a lot of duplication from this list and the guilty 10 in the last 10 list.

As always, I’m still working on my Best 10 in the Last 10 list

The Guilty 10 on DVD

1) Godzilla Final Wars – Supposedly the last Godzilla movie (just as Godzilla vs Destroyah was supposed to be the last Godzilla movie), Final Wars throws in everything to make one Hell of a roller coaster ride.  Not only do we have the king of monsters, but just about every other monster Toho ever released (even the American Godzilla), but a human storyline draws upon a lot of the stunts that The Matrix movies used.  On second thought, don’t really pay attention to the story, just watch Godzilla beat up on a lot of monsters.

2) Destroy All Monsters – Going retro with this Godzilla flick.  Like the later Godzilla: Final Wars, Destroy All Monsters features a monster cast of Toho’s giant monsters in a Battle Royale against Ghidorah.

3)  Five Deadly Venoms – Cheesy martial arts flick that is truly a master of cheesy martial arts clicks.  The story centers around five martial arts masters (the titular Venoms), one apprentice trying to find who’s good and who’s bad, and a lost treasure.  Granted, the treasure is almost secondary to watching the five Venoms introduce themselves to each other (“You’re Number One, the Centipede”) and fight, naturally.

4)  Tarzan – I refer to the Disney version of the movie.  A fun romp that brings the character of Tarzan to a new generation without losing a lot of what makes Tarzan, well, Tarzan.

5)  The Phantom – One of those comic book adventure movies I know I shouldn’t like, but always enjoy watching whenever it’s on.  Billy Zane is actually entertaining as the Phantom.

6)  Doctor Who: The 5 Doctors – Not a movie, per se, but many of the DVDs out there stitch together this anniversary Doctor Who series into one mini epic.  Even without a prominent presence of Tom Baker, the DVD is a fun adventure that pulls together not only the Doctors, but many of their most popular companions.

7)  Cowboy Bebop – Anime series that is sharp, stylish, hip, and so well produced.  Interesting characters and a hip non-anime style soundtrack help to make this a fan favorite in the U.S.

8)  Final Fantasy: Advent Children – Similar in style to Final Fantasy: Spirits Within (well produced computer generated animation), only with the characters that those of you familiar to the Final Fantasy storylines will recognize.

9)  The 40 Year Old Virgin – I have not laughed so much as when I watched this movie.  Steve Carell is hilarious as the titular character, as are his friends that try to help him with his “situation.”

10)  Godzilla – The original.  A recent DVD release has on it the American version with Raymond Burr as Steve Martin (yes, that’s right, Steve Martin), as well as the original Japanese release of the film.  Watch the original with subtitles to see the real themes of the movie come through.

Guilty 10 in the Last 10

Following the same guidelines set in my previous post Worst 10 in the Last 10, here are the 10 movies in the last 10 years that I like in spite of themselves (and other people).

I’m still working on the Best 10 list.

The Guilty 10…

1) Daredevil (2003) – There is just something about this movie that just clicked for me. Maybe it was Colin Farrell as Bullseye, or the really cool explanation (and effects) of how Daredevil’s radar sense worked, I don’t know, but I usually end up watching this movie whenever it’s on. Check out the Director’s cut, it actually added a lot to the movie.

2) Punisher (2004) – Granted, Rebecca Romijn is way too good-looking to be Joan (who was a bit mousey in the original story), but Thomas Jane is spot on as Frank Castle. Even better, we do see him wear the Punisher’s iconic skull in this movie, unlike the Dolph Lundgren version.

3) National Treasure (2004) – This one I saw on DVD because my dad wanted to see it. I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by this neat little adventure movie.

4) Snakes on a Plane (2006) – In another decade, this movie would have been late night theatre fare much, much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, with all the audience interaction of Rocky Horror. Still, it’s just a fun movie to watch, especially on commercial cable (“I am tired of these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!“).

5) Silent Hill (2006) – I loved the creepy video games. And this movie managed to capture the same creepiness.

6) Slither (2006) – I love old horror movies, the Universal monster movies, Them, Hammer horror. Slither manages to play into the who B-movie/alien invasion movie while keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing.

7) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) – This movie captures the feel of the old serials.

8 ) Hellboy (2004) – a decent job bringing Mike Mignola’s comic icon to the big screen. Ron Perlman is perfect as Hellboy.

9) Blade: Trinity (2004) – The last of the Blade movies, but it is Ryan Reynolds that shines as vampire-hunting wiseass Hannibal King.

10) DOA: Dead or Alive(2006) – This is the epitome of the guilty pleasure. It’s not well acted in general, and the story is, well, it’s based off a video game where the principle premise is that scantily clad women fight each other. Regardless, I still have fun watching it, sort of like the fun you have when you watch an old kung fu movie.

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