Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Am Home Alone Legend

Excellent trailer mashup.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For those of you not getting enough Olympics coverage.

I especially love the cycling.  They don't have a 'degree of difficulty' component of Olympic cycling, but I'd certainly vote for this to become a part of it. - Watch more free videos

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Top Ten Summer Movies - It's All Over But the Crying

So I saw Tropic Thunder today, bringing to a close the summer movie season for 2008.  On the whole, it was a'ight.  I'll finish filling in the remaining mini-reviews for the films I've seen and then at the end, I'll rank them in the order I felt they finished. Here's a refresher on what I was hoping for going into the summer.
1) The Dark Knight - 10/10.  Nothing more really needs be said.  By the time I finish typing this, it will have moved past Star Wars into second place on the all-time domestic box office chart, trailing only Titanic, which isn't in any danger of being overtaken, even by this juggernaut.  Dark Knight was built up with an almost unprecedented amount of hype, half of which was brought on by Heath Ledger's unfortunate demise.  But it managed to not only live up to that hype, but surpass it.  Adding to it's awesomeness, it was the only place (for a while) where you could see the equally amazing Watchmen trailer.

2) Iron Man - 9/10 This movie was lots of fun. Perfect sort of superhero movie. He's not as well-established as most other superheroes that have had movies made of them, so it was easier for them to play around with the history and not have it come across as false. For 99% of the world, this will be THE Iron Man. Sequels galore are already in the works.

3) Narnia: Prince Caspian - 6.5/10 This movie left me a bit whelmed. It was good, but nothing really memorable. However, that said, I wish the first film had had this look and tone to it. Narnia is more like a real place this go-round, whereas the first movie was more like a fairy land.

4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 4/10 I was RIGHT to dread this film. What a mess. What a miscalculation. It reeks of George Lucas's myopic vision. For a really good list of what's wrong with this film, check this out.

5) Speed Racer - 0/10 Well, that's not a totally fair rating, because I didn't see it. But the closer it got, the less interested I was in seeing it. However, while waiting for Indy IV to restart (glitch in framing of the film), I wandered over to Speed Racer to catch a couple of minutes of it, just to see. The five minutes I watched were excruciating. I don't know who this film was made for. What a wreck...

6) The Happening - n/a This also looked more and more like a disaster the closer it got, and reviews have been universally bad. As I was only kinda interested in seeing it, this made my decision easier. I'll catch it on cable one day... maybe.

7) The Incredible Hulk - 7.5/10 The closer this one came to release, the more optimistic the reviews became. While the Hulk's CGI never got any better over the course of the previews, the reports were that the story and presentation were right in line with the precedent that Iron Man set earlier in the summer. And those reports were right. This was a mostly fun film, firmly set in the Iron Man version of the Marvel universe. I look forward to the next Marvel Studios film.

8) Hellboy II: The Golden Army - 6.5/10  This one had a chance to be really special, but somehow, Guellermo Del Toro opted to pull back and create a film that was ultimately pretty lazy.  The visuals of this film were second to none this summer, I'll grant it that.  I'm looking forward to watching this on DVD and freeze-framing some of the screens that were jam-packed with eye-candy.  But the story left a lot to be desired.  It just seemd to be more interested in trying to be a fun film rather than a logical one.  It missed the chance to be something really amazing. 

9) Wall*E - I still haven't seen this one.  I might try to check it out before school starts back up.  While everything about it sounds magical, I just haven't been inspired enough yet to drive down to the theater. 

10) Tropic Thunder - 5/10   Sigh...  I was really expecting this to be a minor masterpiece.  But... it really ended up missing the mark for me.  All of the best stuff was in the trailer.  Actually, if the film had been based on the trailer, it would have been an amazing film.  One thing the trailer seemed to imply was that there'd be a lot more amusing conflict surrounding Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of a black man.  But it seemed to just gloss over that for the most part.  Downey indeed plays the role of the black man for 99% of the film, and never goes out of character, but most of his lines are just regular things someone would say.  Likewise, the rest of the film was just too mainstream and by-the-numbers when it could have been really savage and insightful about Hollywood.  By the end of the film, it was just hitting all the same typical movie beats that any film that is either an action film or a comedy film is required by law to hit.     Could have been a classic...

And that's it.  For a brief period, it seemed like The Clone Wars might creep up into contention, but the reviews have been brutal.  And the ones I most respect, like Alexandra Dupont on Aint-it-Cool-News, sadly sum up for me my worst fears for the Star Wars franchise.  I'll likely see this at some point, but it pains me to not be seeing a Star Wars film on opening night... by choice. 

So, here's my final ranking of the Summer of 2008.

1) Dark Knight
2) Iron Man
3) Watchmen trailer
4) Incredible Hulk
5) Prince Caspian
6) Hellboy II
7) Wall•E (still unseen)
8) Everyting else

This fall looks to be interesting.  I'll post my preview sometime in the next few weeks.

Until then...

Watchmen movie - Commercial contest

 A couple of months ago, Zach Snyder (director of Watchmen) posted a contest on YouTube inviting everyone to create a fake commercial for one of the fake products that exists in the Watchmen universe.  These focused primarily on the products put out by Adrian Veidt, one of the main characters of Watchmen.  Veidt was a costumed adventurer named Ozymandias who got out of the hero game right before the government passed an act outlawing vigilante heroes.  Veidt proceeded to cash in on his hero fame and by the time the movie starts (about a decade after this anti-vigilante act), he's a billionaire many times over.  (this moment in Watchmen history brought to you by Irony Coast Films)

Anyway, Veidt product logos, animations and product shots were provided to everyone to facilitate creation of commercials for these products.  The winners would be put on display on a giant bank of TVs that Ozymandias watches from his secret base.  There will be dozens of TV's all flashing tons of images, so the chances of anyone actually being able to pinpoint any of these fake commercials would be remote, but that's not the point.  WE'D know we had something we created in the Watchmen, and that was all the mattered.

So I thought about what I'd produce that I didn't think everyone else would already be doing and I settled in on Veidt Sport (his line of atheletic shoes).  And since Ozymandias/Veidt's personal theme is Egyptian, and Ramses II in particular, I went along that route.

I wasn't chosen as one of the finalists, but I still had lots of fun doing it.  Congrats to the winners.  They were all very deserving. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

WATCHFRIENDS - Observations about The Dark Knight

More specifically, observations about Heath Ledger. I loved The Dark Knight and think it's an automatic nominee for Best Picture. I think one of the reasons this film has attained such lofty aspirations is the amazing performance of Heath Ledger. His amazing portrayal of the Joker has been well-documented far more eloquently than I could ever hope to match. If he doesn't got the posthumous Best Supporting Actor statue next year, it will be a crime.


I no longer buy the argument that he can't be replaced in any future Batman film.

Over the past week, I've seen a multitude of Dark Knight parody videos, all of them featuring the Joker. And what has stood out to me more than anything is that just about everyone is doing a pretty good Heath Ledger Joker. The nasally mumbling and lip-licking is apparently pretty easy to do. I like this one in particular. And I'd say more than half of them could even pass for the Ledger Joker (well... if you squint a bit, maybe).

With a bit of sloppy-applied white makeup, and smeared red lips, just about anyone can pull off a good Joker. I think it would be child's play for Hollywood, and for the production team behind what is soon to be the number two grossing film of all time (unadjusted) , to successfully install another actor into the role.

Out of respect for Ledger, no one else should ever play the role. But out of respect for the truckloads of money that a second Batman/Joker film could bring in, I think it's only a matter of time before a new Joker is cast. In fact, the controversy over such a casting would likely generate something of a similar buzz/curiosity that led to some of Dark Knight's record-setting haul.

For my money, I think there's one actor that is primed for the role, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's a fantastic up-and-coming actor, known for taking serious roles. He's about the same age as Ledger, and most importantly, he already looks a lot like Ledger.

Take a look.

I rest my case.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

WATCHFRIENDS - I'm amazed at how many really great parody videos are out there

So one of the byproducts of creating a parody video is that you start looking to see what "the other guys" are doing. Over the past week, I've seen dozens going on hundreds of parody/inspired-by videos centering around just the Watchmen and Dark Knight. In the old days (five years ago), I'd expect about 90% of them to be crap. But I have to say that only a few of them were a waste of my time.

People are REALLY creative, and the video production tools that were once totally cost-prohibitive are now readily available to anyone with a couple of hundred bucks (and they only have to pay that if they don't want to use the crappy, but functional software that was bundled with your computer).

I'm a video producer by trade, so I look at these videos with a slightly more critical eye. But more and more, I'm seeing homemade videos that look really good, with creative angles, good lighting, cool effects and tight editing. Even the videos that maybe don't have the highest production values are still impressive with the competent-to-excellent storytelling skills displayed.

It's like with the barrier to creating these things removed from their path, people are no longer telling themselves "That's too hard to do." (Professional video producer confession: It's not)

If you're someone that's always wanted to do a video of some kind, just get out there and do it. I have every reason to believe that you inherently know how to put a story together. That after a lifetime of watching movies and TV that you've absorbed by osmosis how to tell a story on a screen. Do it! And when you do, come back here and show it to me and tell me how you did it.

WATCHFRIENDS - The Side by Side Comparison

So just for the fun of it, I placed both the original trailer and the WATCHFRIENDS trailer one on top of the other.  For me, this version of the video is the preferred version.  I find WATCHFRIENDS far more absurd (my original intent) when you can contrast it with the utter seriousness of Watchmen.  To see Gleek onscreen at the same moment as Rorschach, or Zan's ice cube disentregration synced up with Dr. Manhattan, it just makes me smile. Hopefully you'll have the same reaction.

Next time, for those of you into that sort of thing, I plan on breaking down the video, explaining what I had initially wanted to do and why I ultimately chose each of the final shots.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WATCHFRIENDS - Observations in my quest to make a video someone hadn't already done

Over the last year or two, I've lost count of the number of times my friend Corey and I have come across a brilliant little video on YouTube and smacked our heads at the obviousness of it. "Why didn't we think of that?" is a commonly heard utterance.

A few years ago, a friend of mine and I thought it would be funny if there was zombie porn, and speculated on how ridiculous that might be. A Google search later than night brought no fewer than 115,000 hits for "zombie porn".

A few months back, my brother came up with what I thought was a hilarious idea for a video spoof. "Jihad Joe!" Brilliant! Al Queda toys! Later that night, I googled "Jihad Joe" and found dozens, if not hundreds of references to it. There were at least five really well done toy commercial parodies for Jihad Joe. My spirit was crushed.

Were there NO good ideas that haven't been done yet?

So last week the idea for WATCHFRIENDS struck me, and I still don't remember what the inspiration was. Maybe it was having seen the official Watchmen trailer for the hundredth time. Maybe I'd seen a reference to Hanna-Barbera earlier in the day. Who knows? But somehow the vision of the Watchmen trailer replaced with Super-Friends footage bloomed fully-formed in my brain.

And for the first time, a Google search turned up ZERO hits. I knew I had to act quickly.

The video I actually ended up creating turned out better than the one I was amusing myself with in my brain.

So, for at least this one time, I managed to be the first one with whatever stupid idea I came up with. I can rest easy... well, at least until I finish creating the first-ever WATCHSMURFS* trailer!

* There's no way I'm subjecting myself to dozens of ours of sifting through Smurfs episodes... If anyone reading this wants to attempt to do a WATCHSMURFS video, I give you my blessing... and my sympathy.

Monday, August 11, 2008


So I finally did one of those "Someone needs to make that" videos. About a week ago, I was blinded with the flash of an idea for what I thought would make a great parody video. Mashing together the Watchmen movie trailer and the Super-Friends. I could instantly see it in my mind's eye and for the next five days, it became a bit of an obsession for me.

I've always loved the Super-Friends videos that have popped up since the birth of the internet, the WASSUP?!? spot being an all-time classic, with the Office Space one coming in a close second. The first thing I did when I came up with my idea, I did a quick check to make sure no one else had already done it. Woo hoo! No matches anywhere for "Watchfriends".

I scoured dozens of hours of old Super-Friends videos and DVDs looking for imagery that could be used to recreate the amazing Watchmen trailer. It was a lot tougher than I imagined, because the Super-Friends was produced back in the dark ages of animation. There were very few shots that ventured beyond the typical sideways flying and walking. The Super-Friends sure did do a lot of walking and riding in vehicles! And it shouldn't have surprised me, but there were next to no shots of anyone punching someone else, which is a common image from the Watchmen trailer.

It took the better part of a full day to edit the video. I have to I put the finishing touches on it at 4:30AM this morning.
Be sure to check back, as I'll be posting a side-by-side comparison video that has both WATCHFRIENDS and the original Watchmen trailer lined up so you can see how closely (or not) the shots line up. In some cases, it's scary. I'll also post an annotated video that points out exactly what episodes each clip came from.

And now, I present to you my magnum opus parody trailer video. The WATCHFRIENDS.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

It Was 20 Years Ago Today...

...that the greatest hockey player of all time was traded from the greatest team of all time to the middle of the hockey wasteland, Los Angeles.

It's ironic that this anniversary is almost on the same day as another monumental trade, Brett Favre being shipped to the New York Jets after weeks of his un-retirement dominating the sports headlines.

But I remember the Gretzky trade like it was yesterday. My personal sports hero, Wayne Gretzky, fresh off of a fourth championship in five years with the Edmonton Oilers, was traded without any warning (this was back in the pre-internet days) to the Los Angeles Kings.

I was crushed!

And what made things worse was Gretzky would be donning the most hideous hockey jerseys in the league. The purple and gold of the Kings.

However, my horror turned to joy about ten hours later when I saw this image from the news conference:

That silver and black Kings jersey was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I was converted in an instant. In fact, the new Kings colors would go on to inspire the color scheme for my fantasy football team, the Dark Piranhas, who were also born in the month of August, 1988... but that's a story for another day.

A few months later, I'd buy my own Kings jersey, and a little over two years later, I'd actually met Wayne Gretzky in an amazing set of circumstances, also a story for another day.

In any event, August 9, 1988 was a monumental day in hockey history. Gretzky's presence in Los Angeles opened the doors for hockey teams to spring up all over the South, in places as diverse as Dallas, Miami, and Nashville.

So here's part of both press conferences (Edmonton and Los Angeles) from that day, followed by some twenty year later retrospectives I've found.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Venture Bros. - The Lepidopterists

Now we're talking!

After a season that has so far been very very strange (not bad, but strange), we finally get a Venture Bros. that nails it. Not the least of what kept a constant smile on my face was this:

My friends, behold Ventronic! And yes, that's an ice cream cone he has for an arm (don't the episode).

This episode focused entirely on Jonas Venture Jr., Rusty's vestigal twin brother.  In fact, we didn't see Rusty or Hank or Dean at any point in this episode.  Jonas Jr. is starting to spread his Protagonist wings more and more, leading to an epic showdown between him and The Monarch. 

Too many hilarious things to mention from this episode, but the two OSI agents, Henchman #1, and Scarantula's laser cannon discussion have all moved into the Venture Bros. hall of fame.

While a lot of this season has been somewhat uneventful, they all paid off marvelously in this episode.

Watch this week's episode right here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Have Yourself a Perry Little Christmas

More fun stuff.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Lion Cop

More amusing stuff from