Quick Hits: The Quickening

A heap of miscellany to share tonight — or whatever the heck day and time this post ends up sticking — much of it finally getting moved out of the clearinghouse...

Batman ® and artwork © 2009 DC.

I have an essay on Batman going, but my stack of comics and news about DC's plans for the Dark Knight are outpacing it. The latest word is that the "main" universe's Bruce Wayne is not dead (big shock) and that, while his adventures in the timestream are being told by Grant Morrison, a new series of graphic novels aimed at casual readers will be launched by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank under the rubric Earth One, unencumbered by the continuity of things like Batman: RIP, Final Crisis, and Blackest Night. Superman will be getting similar treatment at the hands of J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis. More Batman later.

Still © 2009 Disney.

Due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that everyone else in the multiplex was there to see Avatar on opening night, the handful of us taking in The Princess and the Frog had the screening room almost entirely to ourselves. It was magical. The Nine Old Men would be proud of this return to "2D" fairy-tale charm, and for it to be overlooked amidst the year-end onslaught of tent-pole spectacles and Oscar bait — worthy as those might be, too — would be a tragedy.

Pipe-wrench fight! Screencap from the "Take On Me" video, directed by
Steve Barron, © 1985 Warner Music, with caption © 2008 Dustin McLean.

I'd be surprised if most of you haven't experienced the Literal Videos phenomenon by now. Dustin McLean began the trend with his take on A-Ha's "Take On Me", and others ran with the idea.

The main reason why I haven't linked to these sooner is that periodically I look for a better one than "Total Eclipse of the Heart" — 'cause while it's a pitch-perfect example of the form (lyrically, not musically), it also uses one of the few '80s tunes for which I feel the exact opposite of nostalgia. Time has since ranked this video #6 on its list of the the year's viral videos, however, so for you, Dear Reader, I give up, type its name, and allow a little piece of my soul to die, comforting myself with the knowledge that at least it's not a Peter Cetera song. Also recommended are the literal videos of "Love Is a Battlefield" and "Safety Dance"; I haven't seen 'em all, though, so let me know your own favorites.

Screencap © 2009 whomever.

Auto-Tune the News does just what it says. Well, I guess not just: Its producers manipulate audio and video clips, set them to music, and chime in with their own commentary. Episodes tend to have a "liberal" bent and may, like the installment linked above, contain language on the order of a bleeped F-word.

In the immortal words of Marv Albert, "Not what they had in mind!"
Screencap © 2009 MSNBC, taken from the website Probably Bad News via the link below.

This list of 21 News-Caption Fails at BuzzFeed is even more self-explanatory — although for the less Web-culture savvy, I should clarify that the phrase fail or epic fail is slang used to either subjectively judge something poorly or, in this case, indicate major objective (and often humorous) oops. Some off-color material is included.

Our next few items involve explicit cussing and "balloon" animals having sex. If you'd like to avoid them completely, skip down to Batman eating popcorn.


Cold, snowed in, or otherwise fed up with the forecast in your area? Mixing scatology and meteorology at The F---ing Weather might take the edge off the bad news.

While I'm not big on swearing myself, by the way, I find that whole
dash-dash-dash deal pretty disingenuous. At the same time, I know that some people are totally thrown for a loop by such language. So just to be clear: The above website and an unaffiliated spinoff offering one-line movie reviews spell things out, no fudging, flaming, flipping, frigging, freaking, fricking, frakking substitutes, dashes, or dingbats (the kind of typographical symbols seen above).

The most-innocuous-at-a-glance still that I could find from the commercial
linked below, via an article at Animation Magazine's website, © 2008 Durex.

Those of you who can handle animated condom creatures getting it on must check out this award-winning Durex commercial (which even comes with faux outtakes). It garnered production company Superfad a pair of Clios for excellence in advertising. Maybe the Durex folks can help solve the problem that dooms the stick people to extinction, first brought to my attention years ago by my sister and still dang funny.

Batman and The Joker enjoy some sherry with Alfred and ask the musical questions,"When
did you have time to rig up both of those boats?" "Does talking that way ever damage your
throat?" Characters ® DC. Screencap © 2009 its creators or some affiliated entity.

The latest installment in a video series called The Key of Awesome has Batman rapping about plot points from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight that don't quite hold together for him. It's good stuff that got me to try their take on Dracula's lament over "emo vampires"; not bad, but I've seen better Twilight parodies.

Screencap from Jason Segel's bravura performance
in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, © 2008 Universal.

I've also seen better laments from Dracula, including "Dracula's Lament" — the song written and performed by Jason Segel for his character's vampire-puppet rock opera in last year's film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Segel, who plays the chart-addicted Marshall Eriksen on How I Met Your Mother and has been a member of Judd Apatow's repertory company since Freaks and Geeks, reprised the number in a highlight of the puppetastic 1,000th episode of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, backed by The Broken West. The Jim Henson Company created the puppets for Marshall, incidentally, and were impressed enough with Segel's creativity to ask him and the film's director to tackle the next Muppet movie.

Batman symbol ® DC and packaging © 2009 Warner Bros. Entertainment.

This was supposed to be up much earlier, but it turns out that Amazon still has Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology on sale for less than twenty bucks. The DVD set includes two-disc Special Editions of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin, the first two directed by Tim Burton and the latter two by Joel Schumacher. Some of them have their admirers, all of them have their detractors, with the last pretty much indefensible. I still don't think that George Clooney was an inherently bad choice, though; he's closer to the familiar suave, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne than was Michael Keaton, and had the film called for him to explore the Dark Knight angle its legacy could have been very different.

Screencap © 1977 DePatie-Freleng or ABC.

I'm wrapping things up with a commercial that I didn't mention in my earlier reverie on Saturday mornings but have since tracked down. Many ads during my formative years were insanely catchy; nothing's been lodged in my mind for the past three decades, though, quite like "Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese". You're either about my age and your nostalgia neurons are about to go into overdrive or you're not and you have no earthly idea why this would mean anything to anybody. There's solid background on the Time for Timer segments on Wikipedia.

1 comment:

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I've been dying to see the Princess and the Frog since I saw the advertisement. Haven't made it yet, but a friend gave me a "coupon" for a movie night out to a show of my choice, so maybe I'll do that one.