Documentary Review: The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? (2015)

Release Date: April 30th, 2015 (limited)
Directed by: Jon Schnepp
Written by: Jon Schnepp
Music by: Frederick William Scott
Cast: Nicolas Cage (archive footage), Tim Burton, Kevin Smith

Super Skull Ship, 104 Minutes

Review:

Superman Lives was a film that never happened but I have always been intrigued by what it could have been.

Years ago, there was a picture of a long haired Nicolas Cage in a Superman costume with his eyes half shut; it looked really bizarre. Most fans of superhero films have probably seen this famous picture at some point or another. But that really set the stage for what this bizarre interpretation of Superman was.

Hearing that Tim Burton was working on the movie and that Kevin Smith had written a script for it, made this project even more bizarre. Burton had a falling out with the studio after issues arose during the production of what would have been his third Batman movie and Smith was a comic book fanboy that was mostly known for his stoner comedies that featured Jay and Silent Bob.

No one seemed to know much else about this strange project though. So once I heard about this documentary, I had a very strong desire to check it out, especially since we got to hear the details from the mouths of Burton and Smith.

On one hand, this was a truly strange motion picture but on the other hand, it wasn’t as insane as one might think if they saw that photo of Nic Cage.

This documentary was pretty solid and it covered a lot of ground from a lot of different angles. Everyone has their own version of the events and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle but this was an interesting story, nonetheless.

I’m actually glad that the film didn’t get made and that we got Superman Returns instead of this, even if it’s far from a perfect film. Superman Lives wasn’t really in tune with what Superman is. It could have been an insane and awesome motion picture in its own way and maybe the creators should revisit this concept as a movie for a new character that isn’t one that already comes with 80 years of his own lore built in.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about superhero filmmaking or films that never materialized: Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four or Jodorowsky’s Dune for instance.

Axe Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2014.

There is an epidemic going on in America. Come to think of it, as far as I know, it could be crossing over our borders and seeping into the rest of the world. An epidemic of monolithic proportions that is rewriting human history and destroying our future.

While people worry about climate change, rising seas, nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, radioactive tsunamis, alien invasion, kaiju attacks, zombies and haunted VHS tapes, there is a much bigger and more sinister threat that must be dealt with. Something that is comprised of pure evil, which needs immediate attention because in all actuality, it is probably already too late to stop it. The threat I am talking about is Axe body spray.

Interestingly, Axe isn’t even made in America. It comes from the British-Dutch company Unilever, who make food, beverages, cleaning agents and other personal care products. In the UK, Axe exists under the brand name of Lynx. In America it is called Axe because it is actually an acronym that means “America X-terminated Exactingly”. The acronym is of course not publicly disclosed and just adds to the mystique of this evil anti-American conspiracy. The thing is, we are America, we are the best and the rest of the world is mad because they want to win their fair share of blue ribbons. Sorry world, America wins. It is also believed that it is a half-British company who manufactures this because they still harbor a lot of animosity and anger after losing the Revolutionary War over two-hundred years ago.

Men, teens and young boys need to stop buying this stuff – especially men. Their ads sell you on the idea that if you drench yourself in this toxic waste, supermodel bitches will chase you down in an attempt to take your seed. Somehow this magic spray has some mystical element that turns women into lust-driven hyenas that will stop at nothing to tie you down and smother you to death with primal sex moves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have yet to meet a woman that has turned into a slut zombie by whiffing this stuff. The results I’ve seen have actually been the opposite. I can’t tell you how many sad saps I’ve seen walk into a bar saturated in Axe body spray in an attempt to stir up a maniacal orgy only to have the women flee to the other end of the bar: huddled up and giggling at the poor idiot.

The truth behind this stuff is eerie, as they are convincing dudes to buy it like it’s sexual crack rock when in fact it is a lie created to implement population control. If guys think it works, they put it on. When women flee, men can’t have sex with them and thus population is controlled, as babies can’t be made. It’s a pretty fucked up situation but with America out of the way, the British Empire can move back in and start taxing the crap out of our tea. I’m not completely sure why they’re selling it to their own people though, other than it is usually bought by people on the lower end of the social and economic scales and thus, the Royal Family can flush out all the poor people and have more money to buy jewels and scepters.

Regardless of whether or not you believe in crazy conspiracy theories doesn’t really matter. The proof is in the pudding and the proof is that Axe will do the exact opposite of getting you laid. Also, it is probably made with Smile-X and may turn you into some Jack Nicholson-looking Joker person. Plus the packaging looks like an energy drink; do you want to dump energy drink all over your body?

Man up and buy some goddamned cologne. Even cheap real cologne from CVS is better than this aerosol gamma radiation.

Book Review: ‘Comic Wars: How Two Tycoons Battled Over the Marvel Comics Empire–And Both Lost’ by Dan Raviv

Comic Wars was a pretty interesting read, as I’ve always liked books about business and corporate histories. What made it even more interesting was that it covered a really dark time in the history of Marvel Comics.

The gist of this tale is told around Marvel Entertainment’s bankruptcy near the turn of the century. It goes through all of the steps, bad business decisions and market changes that led to shit figuratively hitting the fan at the “House of Ideas”.

Being that I was a huge fan of Marvel’s toyline done by Toy Biz, I found all that stuff really interesting. Also, this was cool to read because when Marvel really started to suffer, I was actually at a place in my life where I wasn’t reading comics very often and I had no idea that the industry, as a whole, was struggling. As far as I knew, everything was still booming and it wasn’t until a few years later when Marvel started selling off the film rights of their flagship characters that I saw the writing on the wall.

This book is thorough, captivating and damn informative.

This would actually be a great documentary if someone decided to adapt this true tale into a film with interviews featuring all the key players in the story.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other books about the comic industry from the last few decades.

Retro Relapse: Men Who Drink Mic Ultra Are Missing the Point

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There is a class of male out there that is far and away the most emasculated and douchebaggy of all others you will find at your local watering hole. They are the Mic Ultra drinker. Granted, there are other beers that fit this template but Mic Ultra is the most popular. Bud 66 is probably the second most popular of these bottles full of ass swill. Really though, any light beer or mega light beer should be included here. If you drink beer infused with lime or some other bullshit, you might as well make an appointment with the vet to finalize your neutering and go to the surgeon and have your taste buds removed because you aren’t deserving of them.

Beer is something to be enjoyed, something to savor, something to remind us of our manly passions and reinvigorate our masculinity. It’s not something a man should drink just for a quick buzz while trying to cut back on calories and carbohydrates. Beer is calories and carbohydrates. Calories and carbohydrates are energy. Beer is the essential energy we need to build massive warehouses to hold more beer! It is a divine cycle, one that powers us, empowers us and makes our taste buds and stomachs reach monolithic levels of ecstasy and heavenly bliss! Beer is the most romantic thing in our lives. Well, ribeye, whiskey and camping are pretty romantic too.

The guy who drinks Michelob Ultra is one of these seven things:

Number One: He is a guy who doesn’t make his own decisions because the love of his life is a dictator and he’s too afraid to man up. Reason being, he really enjoys the privilege of going down on her once a year on her birthday and the rare times she schedules for him to look at the closest thing to porn he is allowed to see, the underwear section of her Spiegel catalog.

Number Two: He is a trendy fuck and has no idea what tastes good and follows the crowd. Since he’s trying to socialize with boring one-dimensional women at the bar, he unknowingly mimics them and walks around sipping Mic Ultras like a twat. This guy drank Zima in high school and Smirnoff Ice in college. He has a collection of Hpnotiq bottles on his fridge at home. He is also a really shitty tipper but portrays himself as a baller.

Number Three: He is actually worried about his caloric intake. Yet he ate a triple bacon cheeseburger for lunch, had a monstrous breakfast burrito before work and is probably going to hit the drive-thru on the way home from the bar or gorge on some Entenmann’s in bed while watching The Colbert Report. He is the guy that orders a Biggie-sized number two and a large Frosty but asks for a Diet Coke to drink. He thinks that the five minutes he spent on the elliptical last week accomplished something.

Number Four: He is a guy who is completely susceptible. He sees the Mic Ultra billboards and trucks everywhere, so he just mindlessly orders one because his environment tells him to. He probably wears khakis for every occasion and owns a “man bag”. He also can’t figure out why he’s held an entry level position going on five years. He participates in “Movember” and hopes no one notices his shit mustache and can’t wait to shave it. He has a closet at home full of “As Seen On TV” products that he has never opened.

Number Five: He is a man that is completely lost. I use the word “man” very loosely. He could be a man, deep down inside. However, he needs to find a respectable beer or a good whiskey, pound it and let his nuts drop like a Dutch oven! He tries really hard to be one of the guys but finds that “harder” beer to be unpalatable. He doesn’t realize that a guy drinking Mic Ultra doesn’t have the right to his opinion about palatability. He’s the type of guy that asks others if they want to split a dessert at a nice restaurant.

Number Six: He is just a total fucking douche. He thinks he is the king of the bar, the grand puba of style and usually hits on women with insults. He subscribes to Maxim and heeds the advice of the headlines at face value because he doesn’t actually read the magazine. He argues with bouncers for no reason, pushes his way through a crowd to cop feels and usually has an entourage of just as douchey males. He buys Mic Ultra because it’s cheap and he’s used to stealing it from his older sister when she’s at work because he is unemployed and doesn’t have his own place.

Number Seven: He is actually a real manly motherfucker and he likes Mic Ultra, embraces its shittiness and doesn’t give a shit what you or I think about it. He drinks it like a champion and scans the bar ready to throw a tomahawk at anyone challenging his awful taste for ultra-light piss lager. He knows it’s bad, he doesn’t care, he drinks it, he likes it and fuck guys like me with our pretentious beverages and lifelong journeys to expand and mature our palates. There is nothing you can say to this savage wildebeest that will get him to try something else. I actually respect him for this. Although, I’d respect him more if he chugged 10W-30.

What all seven of these types of guys have in common, is the fact that they don’t know anything better than the absolute worst. They are like soldiers who get home from war and don’t stop eating crappy MREs. They’re an adult who grew to full maturity physically but still has a diet of just Gerber baby food. They’re like an adult that chooses to stay seated at the kiddie table, eating Spaghetti-Os over prime rib. There is a whole world full of options and to not exercise that and take a leap and develop a sense of adventure is the antithesis of manliness.

Life is about new experiences, new adventures and seeking out the best this world has to offer. To the dudes drinking Michelob Ultra, come out of your fucking shell! Grasp the best that this world has to offer and enjoy the fuck out of it. Stop tip-toeing through life like a bitch and start stomping your feet like a beastly fucking orc! Or keep drinking your sad excuse for a beer and wonder why everyone else’s lives seem so much more awesome than yours.

I can’t tell you what beers to try, as everyone has different tastes and a palate grows and changes with time and experience. But you can’t expand your palate sucking on sand and shit.

Documentary Review: The Lost Arcade (2015)

Also known as: Arcade (working title)
Release Date: November 14th, 2015 (DOC NYC)
Directed by: Kurt Vincent
Written by: Irene Chin
Music by: Gil Talmi

26 Aries, Wheelhouse Creative, 79 Minutes

Review:

I had a high school friend that used to talk about all the great video game arcades in New York City. By the mid-’90s, he was living in Southwest Florida but his stories of these really cool and iconic places always made me want to go check them out. I never got to though, as they started shutting down, one after the other. But at least the Chinatown Fair was going strong. But then a few years ago, it had to shut its doors and I never got that authentic NYC arcade experience.

This documentary covers the ’80s and ’90s NYC arcade scene but mostly focuses on the Chinatown Fair and the love that the local gamers had for the last real bastion of coin-op gaming culture.

Several people are interviewed for this documentary and it does a great job of telling their stories and showing their love for the Chinatown Fair.

I didn’t go into this documentary expecting much, I just wanted to feel a little bit of nostalgia for old school arcade gaming and I was hoping that people’s love for this iconic spot would at least tell an interesting story.

It really hits you in the feels though, as everyone’s passion comes through the screen. I think that anyone that used to have a special place that used to make them feel great can relate to the film. Most of us have lost something from our youth that truly made us happy. This film is more about coping with that loss and trying to move past it than it is just about the great Chinatown Fair.

This is an engaging documentary. It pulls you in and makes you see things through the eyes and experiences of its subjects. That’s really what any good documentary should do and this succeeds at just that.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other video game documentaries from recent years: The King of Kong, Chasing Ghosts, The Art of the Game, Indie Game: The Movie, Free to Play, Ecstasy of Order, Special When Lit, etc.

Zubaz Are Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2014.

Zubaz. God, just the name of these atrocious pants sends a tsunami-like wave of horror and nausea down my spine. Born in the late ’80s and popularized in the early ’90s, these ugly, baggy, zebra vomit covered polyester/cotton blended abominations have been in my nightmares since I first saw some idiot in my middle school walking around the cafeteria in them. They’re worse than a fucking eyesore and have been known to induce migraines and instantaneous diarrhea in those with just little-to-moderate fashion sense. There is nothing good that has ever come from these fluorescent parachute faux animal pelts.

To give a bit of history on these awful things, they were invented by the mega-successful wrestling tag team the Road Warriors a.k.a. the Legion of Doom. For those who don’t know or remember, these were the big meathead guys who ran around with mohawks and spiked football pads. While quite alpha and intimidating in their appearance, they probably shouldn’t be designing fashion for the general public. In doing so, they have created the worst fashion statement possible in an era that can only be described as the worst fashion era in the history of the world.

Go back to the late ’80s and early ’90s and check out what people were wearing. Look at the bullshit that was the most popular: Hypercolor t-shirts, Baja hoodies, Z. Cavariccis, Skidz, No Fear shirts, overalls with one strap down, Cross Colours gear, hip-hop Looney Toons shirts, Starter jackets, Mossimo shit, Stüssy shit, patterned vests over t-shirts, Blossom hats, sweaters as hip-warmers, Bugle Boy, denim button down shirts, the list goes on and on. However, if you put all that shit in a big cauldron and mix them into a big horrible fashion stew, they still wouldn’t be as bad as Zubaz.

Zubaz were designed by big meathead guys with no fashion sense for other big meathead guys with no fashion sense, all in an effort to give them fashion sense while still feeling alpha badass and cool. Well, from a fashion stance they failed… miserably.

That doesn’t mean that dude brahs all over didn’t rush out and buy these things like they were a guaranteed golden ticket to alpha eliteness. These horrible pants were hugely successful as far as sales go but then, so is Nickleback. Despite looking like a Tiger Force G.I. Joe toy, gym rats and middle school boys had to have them and couldn’t get enough.

In fact, Zubaz started producing pants in every sports team color combination available. When that wasn’t enough, they evolved from zebra and tiger stripes to even more atrocious designs. Within a few short years, males and even females were walking around with puffy pants that looked like magic eye posters (another horrible ’90s cultural turd).

Luckily, Zubaz died out not too long after they peaked and were washed away like other fashion disasters from that era. All was fine with the world and I was sure that I’d never have to see them again. Then some sort of weird resurgence happened. Sports teams started resurrecting them and had Zubaz nights. Even my beloved Chicago Cubs had a night last season celebrating these horrible fucking pants. The Cubs even gave them away! What the fuck is wrong with the world?

I’d like to state that I feel like the resurrection of Zubaz in sports is a curse to those who buy into it. In 2008, independent baseball team the St. Paul Saints wore Zubaz during a game. They were shutout by the Sioux City Explorers. The Russian curling team wore Zubaz in the 2014 Winter Olympics. They finished 7th out of 10 with a record of 3-6. This year the Detroit Tigers were dominating the American League, then they wore not just Zubaz pants but Zubaz jackets. They are now in 5th place overall in the AL and 2nd in their division behind the Kansas City Royals. Going back to last year’s Cubs team, they weren’t great when they celebrated Zubaz night but they were improving. As soon as they gave Zubaz away at Wrigley Field, the Cubs plummeted for the remainder of the season. The proof is in the pudding and sports teams should steer clear of the Zubaz Curse.

I hope that this Zubaz resurgence stays small and quickly fades away. I don’t need my favorite athletes looking like cougars wearing leopard print hoochie dresses out on the prowl for young meat. Essentially, that is what Zubaz are. They don’t make a man look tough and badass, they make him look like a sloppy man cougar who doesn’t understand fashion expiration dates. Besides that, no one has ever said, “Damn, that motherfucker looks sexy in his Zubaz.” And no one ever will.

TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 8 – Spotlight on the Romitas (1992)

Released: 1992
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr.

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 50 Minutes

Review:

The eighth episode of The Comic Book Greats was really cool as it focused on the great father and son duo, John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr.

Both men are favorite artists of mine and what’s intriguing about them other than being father and son, is that both have very different art styles.

I loved Romita Sr. when he was doing a lot of classic Marvel titles, especially his run on The Amazing Spider-Man and early Daredevil.

Romita Jr. was one of the first artists that I admired back when I was too young to care about comic credits and artist’s names. His work during the Ann Nocenti run on Daredevil is still, to this day, some of my favorite work. I still go back and revisit the Nocenti/Romita Jr. era because it really contributed to my love of comic books as a creative medium.

This was just a really fun episode and Stan Lee showed that he had a lot of love for the Romita boys.

Like other episodes featuring artists, this one went to the drawing table and we got to see both Romitas work on some really good pieces.

This is an entertaining chapter in The Comic Book Greats and it was really cool seeing two different generations sit down and work their creative magic together.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.