The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for October, 2016

526

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

526

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The Case Against The Big Bang Theory

case againstthe-big-bang-theory_SatanismoYou would think that I would like the big bang theory. I mean it on the surface it bigbangtheory__120612235742seems like it’s marketed toward me, or people like me. The problem is, even while they’re trying to court us into watching, even while they promise that this is OUR show (“Smart is the new sexy!” one ad declares), they are spending most of thier time on the show making fun of us.

That’s my real dilemma, I never quite feel comfortable watching the it – I feel like I straddle the line between being in on the joke, and being the butt of the joke, and far too often, they cross over on to the side of me feeling like I’m being made fun of. It’s an exaggerated parody of course, but nevertheless it still feels insulting.

Where this really shows, is in the “control” character. Perhaps we should refer to her as the “normal “character. Penny is supposed to be the Every-man that people can big-bang-theory-penny-2relate to, the one who helps the average viewer enter into this world. The thing is, Penny is a horrible person. I’m going to come right out and unapologeticly slut shame here, because quite frankly Penny deserves it. She’s been ridden more times than a second-hand Harley and this is portrayed as normal and acceptable behavior. Please don’t give me any nonsense about her being an empowered free spirit who takes control of her own sexuality and can make whatever choices she wishes. Her behavior is unhealthy from an emotional standpoint and she’s outright admitted it. And this is an issue for me because she actually IS the one being held up as the positive role model – and if not that, then at least she’s portrayed as the ideal the rest of the characters wish to strive for.

There’s more to Penny that bothers me though. We don’t really ever come out and say it, but watch the show – Penny is an alcoholic. What we see isn’t just social big-bang-theory-girls-in-comic-shopdrinking, it’s compulsive. It’s rooted in a deep self loathing, and part of that can probably be traced back to not being made to feel worthwhile by her father. I get that, but this is supposed to be the sympathetic character that everybody relates to. This is supposed to be the “normal character” Occasionally she’s called out for her bad behavior, but it’s defended or shrugged off. It’s never consequential. If there’s any humor to be found in it, it may be in her lack of intellect especially in comparison to The other girls in their show that are smarter than her, but even then it’s portrayed as the preferred state. Better to be pretty and popular than an egghead. Bernadette and Amy are portrayed as outcasts and abnormal. 7

I don’t like this I still feel like I’m being made fun of, and that the stereotypes presented are not being betrayed in a positive light that and you know what, that’s the heart of the problem. Back in the day, the “revenge of the nerds” movies may have made you root for the nerds, but they never made you feel like it was okay to be one of them. I have no problems with stereotypes on screen, the stereotypes exist for a reason – because people like this exist in great numbers. But if the stereotypes you are displaying are the nucleus of both your program and its audience, you owe it to yourself to make sure they come off well, and that’s just not the case here. Big Bang Theory could be a fun show, often it is. But I can’t recommend it, because to often I feel like I’m being made fun off in it, and that’s not who I want to be or what I want out of my entertainment.

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525

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

525


Thank You Jamie Oliver

Autographs

I admit, this thing I have for celebrity chefs is just the weirdest thing. I don’t know. I kind of miss the lunch breaks at Tecnifab where I would discuss food with Lou Applby. Anyhow, Thanks Jamie for responding to my email!

Jamie Oliver


Lets do the Time Warp Again

Movie banneralbum-cover-2It’s been a few days now, and I’ve had time to sit and think about it.

See, when Friday arrived I was inundated by hordes of people declaring the new production of Rocky sucked, was a pretender, an  imposter, flat and unbearable.

Here’s the thing, I’m not really a fan. I’ve seen it three times in the theater with a live shadow cast. I’ve also seen a production of the stage show (the Rocky Horror Show – minus the “Picture” element) that the film was based on. I’m okay with it, but Rocky isn’t the sacred cow to me that it is to some people, and my milage may vary. But it also means I come at it with a very different perspective, and perhaps a different set of expectations.

First and foremost, it bears noting that this was NOT a remake. That was marketing not really knowing what to call it. I’m not sure myself. It’s not a remake or a reimagining, it’s more akin to a broadway revival with a new cast. It’s a companion. It would be a marvelous special feature on a  Rocky Blu Ray, but whatever it is – this version of Rocky is not the thing itself. It’s a reaction, a homage pointing towards the original. This is important to understand. This production was never meant to replace or usurp the original, but rather to honor it.

The broadway revival metaphor is significant as well because this really isn’t a film. It’s theater. I’ve caught some flack for this statement because it wasn’t shot live with a three camera set up. It’s got film cutting techniques in it. Yeah, that’s true, but I’d say the same is true of that Jesus Christ Superstar revival about ten years ago, as well as the Joseph on with Donny Osmand. Both had film production qualities for their releases, but were still obviously theater productions. So is this. Watching the performances, the staging of the dances and the costuming…these people are playing the roles broad. Big. They’re trying to reach the back rows of the theater. It’s more of an homage to the stage show than the film really…but it’s going to be recorded so why not take advantage of that and use different angles and special effects? Still the lights on the sets, and the generally two dimensional nature of them (you can absolutely tell where that stage would end in most cases) convinces me this is a theater production, not a film one. It’s also relevant because Rocky has always been meant to be viewed with others. Most people were watching (or half-watching by a lot of accounts) this at home. I headed out to the Cedar Lee Theater to see it on the big screen with a hundred other people. The group dynamic at a venue that has hosted Rocky for over 20 years makes a difference.

So does that make things bulletproof? Not at all. There’s still flaws here, but I think a lot of the disdain comes from people expecting a very different kind of show…either a straightforward remake or a very film centric version…that’s always going to lead to disappointment. When I go to see Briagadoon at Huron Playhouse, I’m not expecting ti to be the same as the production I saw a few years ago at Stocker Center. Different cast, rockyhorror0040different director, but the same music. The same story. That’s a lot of what this is.

And how does that different cast fare?

I actually like Reeve Carney as RiffRaff. It’s a logical update with a slightly more modern look while not losing any of Richard O’Brian’s creepiness. His sister Magenta is actually a very different character here – perhaps that has to do with the original being a little underdeveloped. Christina Milian is trying to do some thing new with the role, but she quickly slides into Disney channel mode, giving a perky, co3rtfqvuam2i2rsqueaky Raven Simone type of performance. It distinguishes her from the original, and it’s an interesting contrast to the stage version I saw, where Magenta was played VERY sensual. I think it’s an interesting take and fun to see how varied the character can be.

Columbia. This has always been my favorite character in the story – she’s always been fun and hyper while still managing to give a maniacal and spooky edge at moments. Annaleigh Ashford‘s update has gone less glam and more punk (but broadyway punk so it’s still pretty glam). She feels like a reaction to 83366-0the popularity of characters like Harley Quinn. Still, I recognize Columbia there and she’s absolutely delightfull in the role. I love the added sight gag of her constantly having a sucker in her hand or mouth (a gag they play with several times) giving her a perpetually blue tongue.  It’s a charming touch. It’s a shame her boyfriend Eddie dosen’t fare as well. Adam Lambert tries his best to do Meatloaf, but it’s never enough. He’s a diffrent kind of voice and he never quite manages to infuse the song with the soul that Meatloaf did. It would have been better off if he had played the role in a different manner rather than trying to merely imitate Meatloaf. Imitation works for Brad and Janet – those are meant to be one note characters, but Eddie needed to be more.

rocky-horror-picture-show-fox-adam-lambert.jpg

So what of the main character? What of Frank-N-Furter?

I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s a revival after all, and Tim Curry will never play the role again. I was interested in seeing the new take. the stage Frank I saw years ago was even more over the top that Curry and it really worked. I was interested in seeing how the gender swap would play as well (yes, I know – and it’s irrelevant to this discussion, really.), because Frank was always androgynous (But not rocky-horror-picture-show-2016truly – it was always leaning one way or the other) I didn’t expect it to change the dynamic that much, and I don’t think it did.

The real issue here is Laverne Cox’s voice. It’s not so much about strength as it is inflection. Curry had an impish quality about him. Flirting with femininity to contrast his obvious masculinity. He’d lower his voice to a throaty feminine timber for certain verses – a parody of the seductress that came off as comical. Cox is already at a lower range and while masculine playing up feminine works as comedy, it doesn’t really work the other way around. Cox knows this so she dosen’t go there, but insted comes off as exaggerated and a bit hollow. The only time I really recognized Frank-N-Furter in her was during the screen with Adam Lambert where she stares angrily at Eddie.

I’m not sure what would have fixed this. I like the costumes, but I think I needed wilder hair like Curry’s. If someone had slapped a Phyllis Diller wig on her, maybe a black one, it would have worked better for me visually. If she’d tried to go a different direction with the character…committed to those differences instead of vacillating between her own take and a Tim Curry imitation, I might had accepted it better. I don’t know. I only know that I  had a very hard time accepting her as the character, despite being interested in seeing what she would do with the part.

I like some of the songs. I like some of the changes – it’s expected for a revival with different voices and different takes. But there are some bits – like Science Fiction Double Feature, where the pauses are held out too long and it throws me off (I must say, I loved the ticket taker though). rhps-day30_scn21_jm-012607_hires11

Finally, there’s Tim Curry. I’m of two minds about his appearance which is more than a cameo, but less than a full fledged role. I love how this honer’s his involvement- he deserves that. I’m happy he’s gotten back on the horse so to speak, and put forth the obviously massive effort it took to be a part of this. that makes me happy.

But his condition makes me sad.

You can see how ravaged he has been by his stroke, and how he struggles with his line tim-curry-rocky-horror-remake-castreadings. It’s a bit disheartening to see him in this state….but then again, look in his eyes. It’s there, particularly when his assistant does  a pratfall or something equally ludicrous.. there’s a light and a rascally sarcasm there. Tim Curry is still there, no matter how his body may hinder him.

In the end, this feels like something you’d put on in the background to listen to as you get ready to go out and see the original movie at a midnight showing. It gets you in the mood and the soundtrack works as well as any of those studio cover band Halloween CDs you see littering the shelves every October. It doesn’t deserve the hate it’s gotten, but it’s certifiably not the main feature it was billed as.


524

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

524


Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window

techtipsWhen I’m not writing comics or watching terrible films I also work as an IT consultant. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the last 17 years.Outlook will not load

Problem:

When trying to start Outlook, you recieve the error :

This error shows up because something has redirected or courrupted your user profile.

Solution:

Go to the Start menu. Hit run..then type the following;  Outlook.exe /resetnavpane
This clears and regenerates the Navigation Pane for the current profile


523

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

523


Enterprise

remakesstar_trek_enterprise-showEnterprise almost seems like one of the series that should be in the the case against category. It’s well-known that I’m not a fan. But it does have its admirers and rightly so. Enterprise came at a time when Star Trek was on it’s last legs. The horse was almost dead by the time Enterprise arrived and there was no way it was going to breathe life back into it. But it might have stopped the bleeding if it had been handled differently. I was there the beginning, for the Premier. We made a party out of it, and when everything was said and done it was an adequate. What it really was however, was a good two hour television movie. This is something that might have worked fine, but this is where it was hamstrung by the television model of the day, and the formula that the producers of Star Trek refused to deviate from. Everything interesting about Star Trek enterprise was pretty much wrapped up in the first month or two, leaving them with at least 10-16 episodes to pad out the rest of the season. Today it would be done a bit differently perhaps the way agent Carter was, in a eight episode miniseries. But back in 2001 it was demanded that it be a full 26 episode season period and quite frankly even watching that pilot I knew it couldn’t sustain that much time. By the time we had finished the first month or two, all the interesting part of the premises had been hammered out period the crew was getting along we mastered the tech and we had settled into the groove and exploring new world every week. It had evolved into just another Star Trek series that sounded the same as every other Star Trek series because the same writers were involved. It looked like every other Star Trek series because the same production people were involved and it felt like every other Star Trek series because the same producers were still at the helm. Back in 2001 my opinion was still the same as it is today; Enterprise could’ve worked, but it should’ve been done as a series of two hour television movies. Two, maybe three year. It could have keep Star Trek going while not being on every week, makeing it an event. In this way we could still hit key events, important stories and keep the fire burning. Just as importantly, it was time for a change. Doctor Who seems to understand this, that you need to change the producers once in awhile every several years to keep things fresh, to keep things going. Rick Berman had been at the helm of Star Trek for over a decade at this point and his style and sensibilities permeated every version of Star Trek at this juncture . Enterprise desperately needed an infusion of fresh eyes and didn’t get it. If I were doing this again I would have radically change production team and tried to hit some truly important stories that would set up the events we would see in the original series without being a slave to them. Indeed it might have saved us from the lens flare heavy reboot that we would get in 2009.


Curse of the Blair witch

14590432_1295032847207802_5943825983260043799_nWhat’s interesting about the Blair Witch Project is that it’s didn’t have any proper sequels until the recent Adam Wingard film. Sidequels swarmed around it though, sidesteps and sister films that didn’t directly descended from the original but were inextricably connected to the source material.

In a very real way, Curse of the Blair witch is a truer sequel to the film then Book of Shadows (I know, I said this on Tuesday, and it’ll probably come up again before this article is done….). then again, you might consider it a prequel, considering that it premiered before the film… but it can’t be a prequel can it? The events in the documentary happen after the Blair Witch Project, it’s an analysis… an addendum.

See where that gets confusing?

Curse of the Blair Witch premiered on the SyFy channel in the upcoming months that preceded the release of the Blair Witch Project in July 1999. Like the Blair Witch Project, it’s also presented in a documentary style – but it’s a different kind of documentary. Not the feature length art house kind of film that the Project is presented as, this is done more as a television news documentary – a Hard Copy kind of show rather than a high mystic_occurrencesproduction Michael Moore film. What is striking about Curse of the Blair Witch is that it’s so convincing.They’ve taken their time and studied the documentary form. It goes beyond having a couple of interviews or people dressed up in suits. We get talking heads intercut with news bulletins and clips from faux old television shows – frequent bits from an supposed Mystic Occurrences show allegedly broadcast in 1971… complete with lo-res, bright colors, and rainy film.They’ve included the experts who believe, and the experts who are skeptics. We have friends and family speaking, we have documents that are slowly and over while people speak about The subject matter.it’s perfect.if you wern’t already aware that The Blair Witch Project was fiction (Fiction, not a hoax… Too many people have got angry at this over the years, but no one ever stated that these events or anything less than fiction), if you weren’t sure or were on the fence… I could see how this documentary might have pushed you over the edge; it’s that well done. On the other hand, it did there on the Syfy channel and not on CNN – that should’ve been a clue.

14484992_1295032927207794_670354707381042166_nI stand by my earlier statement that this is, in many ways, a superior sequel to Book of Shadows. However, if one were to attempt to stretch this out to the feature length… you’d have to effectively double it’s running time, and I think it would have lost a lot of its credibility. You’d have to drop too much filler into the movie and it would have started to drag. Indeed, that’s why this was created, so the Blair Witch Project didn’t get too bogged down with all this extra exposition.45 minutes running time works perfectly and conveys the back story effectively. It’s an important piece of support as well, I don’t think we necessarily hear enough about the Witch and the legend in the Blair Witch Project. When I first watched the movie, I felt a way greater connection to Ruskin Parr… And was convinced that it was his ghost hunting in the woods – that the which was nearly a red herring. Watching curse of the Blair witch later, I felt like I understood more of what was going on and build a better connection with the witch yourself – it changed my perspective 14522935_1295032867207800_8533293054281066752_non the movie.

Back in the days of the VHS, this was available to rent at blockbuster video. I eventually bought a copy, probably on sale either there or at a used movie store. When the Blair Witch Project was released on DVD, this was included on the desk.it is one of the best special features I could imagine for this film. It’s a necessary bit of supplemental material, and it works even if you’re not a fan of the Blair Witch…and for those who are, it’s a perfect way to just dip your toe in that world for a short while.

Indeed, when the new Adam Wingard Blair witch film is released on DVD and Blu-ray, I hope that this documentary will still be included on that desk as a special feature as well – it’s still relevant to the story and would provide a marvelous new perspective on the legend that film perpetuates.

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