Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Welcome Coach Rodriguez

I don't see how the spread offense will work at Michigan, but hey, I am willing to give Rich Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt.

Five wide receivers, a mobile quarterback and no-huddle are just about what Bill Callahan and his West Coast offense were to Nebraska's one wide receiver option QB offense.

Michigan football is much like Oakland Raider football: power running, deep strike passing, look for the tight end or the full back in the flat on the third down. Our QB of the future, Ryan Mallett, is a big, lumbering QB with a strong arm. Michigan doesn't recruit skinny little quarterbacks like Oregon's Dennis Dixon or that Mighty Mouse from Apalachian State.

It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the Wolverines to adapt to Rich Rodriguez ... or perhaps how quickly Rich Rodriguez will adapt to the offensive philosophy at Michigan. One thing's for sure: the sweater-vested Jim Tressel is on high alert.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Batman 2: The Dark Knight

Holy Smokes, Batman! The Dark Knight is gonna rule. The trailer, the teaser, the IMAX thing ... it all points to 4-star comic book movie. I have to say, I wasn't too thrilled about Heath Ledger as The Joker ... but the wardrobe and make up job I've seen, plus his performance, all look very promising.

My 10 Favorite Movies of All Time

I just caught 3 O'Clock High on HBO for the first time in a long time. Man, I forgot how much I love that movie - I am totally mezmorized by Casey Siemaszko's performance as Jerry Mitchell and the drama of his comic encounter against the Great Buddy Revell. Truly a tale of David & Goliath ... 80s style.

3 O'Clock' has inspired me to publish my 10 favorite flicks of all time:

Star Wars (all of them, yes, I am counting all six as one movie)
Blade Runner
3 O'Clock High
Pee Wee's Big Adventure
True Romance
Shawshank Redemption

Honorable Mention:

2001: A Space Odyssey
The Matrix
Pulp Fiction
Superman The Movie
Spider-Man 2
The Crow
Children of Men
Nacho Libre

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

2007: A Birth Odyssey

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house ...

OK, it wasn't the night before Christmas. It was the night before my son would be born on Friday, Oct. 5th. Two days earlier, I had started watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time in my life. I was blown away. I stopped at the old-school intermission break and finished it up on Thursday. Still enthralled, I went back and reviewed key scenes, thanks to magic of DVR technology.

As a Star Wars fanatic, I was really impressed by the quality of the special effects that were 10 years OLDER than George Lucas' SciFi follow up to THX 1138 - a little movie he called "Star Wars: Episode IV." As a writer/editor, I was even more engaged by the deep philosophical and symbolic meaning in 2001, a movie with almost no dialogue and minimal editing.

I marvelled as I went to sleep that night and pondered the meaning of life. Then my wife's water broke. Hours later, there I was, watching her deliver our son at 9 a.m. the next morning.

All I could think of was that her birth canal was like the alien monolith that would deliver "the Star Child" seen at the end of 2001. My son popped out and as the doctor held him up, I was paralyzed with awe: there he was, Master of this new world he would survey for the first time, just like the Star Child, my Star Child.

He had travelled through space (the womb) and time (9 months of pregnancy) and come into this Earth with a hope that he would be 10 times the man that I am. I truly hope he is a more evolved version of me and my ancestors.

Nonetheless, it's funny to see some of his more cavemanish tendencies: his aggressive nursing habits and his propensity for whining, eating and sleeping. Alas, my furry little guy with his head full of hair will have to evolve, just as Man himself has. Let's just hope he evolves much faster than the 4 million years it took Man in 2001.

Regardless, I thank God for delivering another miracle into my life.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I will buy a new game console just for this game

LucasArts' latest and greatest Star Wars offering will get my ass into a retail store to buy an Xbox 360 or a Nintento Wii ... I just know it.

When LucasArts launched Rogue Leader, I snatched it up along with a GameCube the very day it was available. No regrets to this day - and I can feel it in my bones with this new game that promises to let you "kick someone's ass with the Force." I'm leaning toward a Wii for the fanboy wish fullfilment of waving the wand around to simulate lightsaber combat.

Although the 360 is now mod-able and could give me great flexibility with burned games and software/hardware applications, "Unleashed" is one of those games that is worth buying a console for even if it was the ONLY game available for that platform. I give the Wii the edge due to the wand-ability. I think of it as buying a full-size arcade game for my garage - totally worth it!

For years and years I thought Lucasfilm was making a big mistake by not exploring the fertile storyline of Darth Vader between Ep. III and Ep. IV. This game addresses some of that gap in time with another of my musings: a secret apprentice for the iconic man in black.

BTW, a Google search for TFU offers some pretty racey CG pix of a woman (Avalon) that I will assume will show up in the game. Let's hope she has more clothes on when she does make her appearance in this next-gen gem.

I'll stop now: this game will deliver all that I need from a TOTAL entertainment perspective. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I've said before: Cap movie needs to be realistic

The more I think about this, the more I think the Cap movie has to seperate itself from recent offerings like Fantastic Four/Surfer, 300, Ghost Rider, Elektra, X-Men 3, Hulk and so on. The general public seems to be getting tired of the fancy opening credits, fantastic accidents that give heroes super powers and thin stories or complex plots.

Spider-Man 3 was criticized for having too much going on at once - same for Pirates of the Carribean 3. Transformers is being praised for its action, but reviled for some cheesiness.

What made Batman Begins so delicously good was how grounded it was in reality. You could say the NBC Show "Heroes" has characters grounded in reality, even if their powers are way out of whack. That's where USA's "The 4400" falls a little short of "Heroes" - the characters aren't as developed.

What I am driving at is this: why not make the Cap movie a military movie? Separate it from what people will expect: a guy in tights with a CGI shield that bounces around in unbelievable richochet patterns.

The first act should be a period piece about the origin of Steve Rogers and WWII. The second act is about the complications of waking up in a post-9/11 America that is mired in an Iraq war it can't seem to win, while al Qaeda and even the Taliban have regrouped all over the Middle East. The third act is all about what Cap is asked to do about it: does he fight without question, does he fight and come back with questions, does he question the decision to fight in Iraq versus Afghanistan, Syria or Iran?

Consider the following things that can be done to make a Cap movie that is not your typical CGI superhero fantasy flick:

Cap takes super soldier serum & exposure to vita rays
Cap is treated for his illness for weeks and takes early versions of human growth hormone and steroids all while training and eating complex proteins/carbs - an homage to the pulp novel "Captain America & The Great Gold Steal"

A CGI Shield that magically hits every bad guy and flies back into his hand - it is never even scratched and remains glossy
A real shield shot with practical in-camera special effects, he hits one bad guy at a time and has to chase after his shield to retrieve it - and it can sustain scratches and paint wear & tear

Cap fights a hackneyed super villain like Batrock or Baron Zemo
Cap fights a Nazi with an irradiated, disfigured, burned face codenamed "Red Skull" along with other regular old Nazis - and then he wakes up to fight regular old al Qaeda terrorists all over the Middle East

Cap flies a super jet or rides a super motorcyle
Cap rides a chopper in civilian life, but drives a military-grad hummer in battle tgat us equiped with guns, rockets and grenades

Cap in short-shorts, buccaneer boots, chain mail and wings on his mask
Cap looks more like a soldier as he does in Ultimates 2 with the helmet/mask with chinstrap - but he needs a kevlar vest and baggy cargo pants to go along with his lace-up combat boots.

Way too much CGI and digital backgrounds
Shot in real locations with tons of extras, ala Saving Private Ryan & Pearl Harbor

Cap talks like Optimus Prime: "One shall stand, one shall fall."
CAP talks like a soldier and uses military language and jargon

Cap is a mindless, jingoistic patriot
Cap loves America and serves for the freedom of its people, but is not afraid to question its government and its decisions

An alternative rock soundtrack
An original score by an orchestra

Bucky Barnes in a domino mask and shorts
Sam Jackson as Nick Fury in camoflauge fatigues

Cap doesn't notice the erosion of American values and the raging debates about gay marriage, stem cell research, selling ports to Dubai companies
Cap has a hard time with modern-day America and broods over his inability to relate as a man-out-of-time

Steve Rogers is a blonde-blue eyed cardboard cut out
Steve Rogers is the irresistable driving force behind Captain America and the reason people discover or fall in love with this awesome character all over again

Are you with me? Reality over fantasy! Say it loud, say it proud, true believers. 'Nuff said.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

R.I.P. Captain America? I think not.

Most of you know I'm a huge Captain America fan. Marvel Comics is trying to get fans to believe that he died in the last issue. I don't buy it. He's shot several times and it ends on a cliff-hanger where we see the star spangled Avenger laying lifeless and bloody in a hospital.

But no one ever dies in comics. Cap has the super soldier serum running through his veins, so I'm sure he'll find a way out of it. A world without Captain America is like a world without Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald, or Al Davis ... they will NEVER die.

You don't kill off Uncle Sam and his ridiculous hat. You don't kill of Captain America.

Take that to the bank, true believers. Cap Forever ...

Read my Captain America movie idea: