Army of the Dead: What Kind of Monster??

Thanks, EW. Tig doesn’t look Photoshopped in there at all.

ZACK SNYDER: I am SUPER STOKED about the new monsters in ARMY OF THE DEAD.

WARNER BROTHERS: Yeah, well you literally reinvented the zombie genre with that profitable 2004 movie that made fast zombies popular. Can’t wait to see how you turn another old favorite on its head and make it your own this time.

ZS: I KNOW, RIGHT?! But this time, we’re upping the game by like a lot and this monster will be EPIC. They are fast, fierce, can leap tens of feet into the air and trot on all fours along the walls and over debris.

WB: Very “World War Z”

ZS: But better because I’m Zack Snyder.

WB: Go on.

ZS: AND, the BEST part. They are cunning hunters that live as a family inside a Vegas casino. They hunt by scent. AND they have social…things.

WB: ….morals, mores, and folkways?

ZS: SURE! They have an honor system. Like, if you want them to leave you alone in their territory, you have to sacrifice someone.

WB: Wait, you have to kill a person and the bloodthirsty flesh eaters won’t kill anyone else?

ZS: Right, cuz they have a CODE. And an ALPHA male that takes a mate and everyone follows them.

WB: Right. Um. These monsters…

ZS: ARE COOL, right?

WB: Are they werewolves?

ZS: … nnnoooo?

WB: Because they seem a lot like werewolves.

ZS: No! They’re zombies! I’m the “Dawn of the Dead” fast zombie guy!

WB: Sure sure. But. They are pack animals that hunt by scent. Alpha male dominance… they are fast and strong and agile…

ZS: And they GROWL and crawl along the ground on all fours like contortionists on cocaine…

WB: So….werewolves.

ZS: BITCH THERE AIN’T NO FULL MOON!

WB: Yeah, I know, but…in terms of stretching the mythology of the monster, I get making them fast and fierce because that’s scary but its’ still in the general wheelhouse of flesh-chewing dead people with no self-awareness, just unrelenting hunger.

ZS: Isn’t that exactly what I just fucking said?

WB: No. What you’ve done is cross over into a different, existing monster that has all the traits you describe.

ZS: Super Zombies?

WB: No. Werewolf.

ZS: AGAIN! NO FULL MOON, JACK! HOW CAN THEY BE WEREWOLVES IF THERE’S NO FULL MOON?! IT’S NOT CREATIVELY POSSIBLE TO DEVIATE THAT FAR FROM THE MONSTER’S ORIGINS!!!

WB: Make them Man-Wolves, then. They hunt in packs, they are smart, hella more dangerous with teeth and claws…and they have social customs that would justify calling them an “army”…just not of the dead.

ZS: But, there’s this whole thing about having to evacuate Las Vegas and zombie strippers eating fat gamblers and Liberace impersonators, Elvises shambling up Freemont…

WB: Wouldn’t it be more fitting for wolves to be the monster consuming everything glitzy and glam? It’s like the perfect metaphor for…

ZS: ZOMBIES! Marketing agrees with me!

MARKETING GOON: Yeah. Target demo shows +20% visibility for Snyder and zombies versus any kind of where-the-wolf thing, so we don’t give two shits about mythology or monsters.

WB: Wow. We’ll work on that. So, what’s the story?

ZS: (It’s an elevator pitch for a ride in a skyscraper)

WB: So it’s Resident Evil meets Three Kings meets The Dirty Dozen with Ocean’s Eleven.

ZS: Like…all of them?

WB: Oh, and Peninsula.

ZS: What’s that?

WB: The sequel to Train to Busan?

ZS: Not sure I…

WB: Peninsula was also a heist picture inside a zombie-clogged city. And a LOT of CGI.

ZS: Is the Peninsula a monster like a zombie?

WB: And you made me want to go watch Aliens again based on all the notes and beats that…well…were from Aliens.

MG: YES! MARKETING! Don’t make them think it’s new, make them think it is something they already LIKE!

WB: Yes, but…

ZS: You describe the movie like…like this isn’t a totally original and fresh take on the zombie-action genre.

WB: Well, It sounds like the log line on Rotten Tomatoes will read, “It’s a lot of dumb fun. I think if you keep it around the ninety minute mark, it’ll be a great popcorn movie for late summ-

ZS: LESS THAN 2 HOURS?! Maybe if I ran all the slow-mo shots at regular speed. I’m Zack-friggin-Snyder, people want to count the bullet casings falling to the floor. They want to marvel in the splash pattern of a single tear while listening to two verses of a folk song! And my movies have HEART. There has to be a subplot of family disfunction to relate to my core audience!

WB: “family disfunction” is “heart”?

ZS: Real human conflict to anchor the fantastical world I’m weaving for audiences, like that talk between Lois Lane and Martha Kent in Justice League.

WB: Sure. Whatever.

ZS: And I’m gonna shoot it in these cool, old lenses that make everything look like we’re all out in the desert with near-sightedness and dry-eye – a TRUE immersive experience. And 4:3 aspect ratio.

WB: What?

ZS: My true IMAX vision is 4:3.

WB: This concept ain’t IMAX money material, babe. Sorry. How about $50 million and we let you have total control?

ZS: Fifty. For the effects budget, or…?

WB: Total.

ZS: I don’t understand.

WB: We’re throwing you high seven figures to jerk off all over Justice League again, aren’t we?

ZS: Oh, I don’t think.

WB: Take it or leave it.

NETFLIX: Oh hai, guys. You has movie idea?

WB: How the hell did you get in here?

NETFLIX: I live in all your devices. Hey, Zack…let’s chat.

Anne Beatts (1947-2021)

Anne Beatts was a legend. There’s not a lot of talk about her passing. In fact, I am late in learning about her death on April 7th. And that’s a fucking shame.

I did not know her. Never met the woman. And I’ll admit that if someone stopped me on the street to quickly name comedy writers who changed the industry, she probably would not have rolled off my tongue among the likes of Doug Kenny and Michael O’Donoghue at National Lampoon, but she was right there with them, the FIRST woman in the bullpen.

She helped write the infamous Volkswagen ad that parodied both the innovate car print ad campaign but also Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal. She was the among three female writers at Saturday Night Live in 1975 and fought for roles and sketches and to give good material to Gilda, Laraine, and Jane to counterbalance the predominantly male-driven show. She fought with John Belushi over the material she wrote specifically for them and advocated to present sketches presenting the three women in roles that let them shine.

Anne Beatts was a pioneer and champion for women in comedy with an impact being felt to this day.

“Them” is Torture Porn Disguised as Racial Commentary

It’s not how you hit, just hit them hard.

Amazon Prime is offering the first season of what it describes as an anthology series “that explores terror in America.” Following the success of supernatural series laced with effective commentary on American racism (Watchmen and Lovecraft Country on HBO) Prime brings us the story of the Emory family led by Lucky and Henry (played expertly by Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas, respectively) as they leave the Deep South of the 1950s for the promise of inclusion and prosperity in Compton, California.

Them is not a sequel to Jordan Peele’s Us, though you could be forgiven for assuming it based on the marketing AND the fact that Shahadi Wright Joseph is in both Us and Them.

It is a miserable experience that I gave up on* when it decided to stop thinking about HOW to hit me with its message but focused on how HARD.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

(*Update: I decided to work through it all and amended my review.)

Continue reading ““Them” is Torture Porn Disguised as Racial Commentary”

The Making of “The Snyder Cut” in Dialogue

“Now just stare that way for, I dunno, ten-twenty minutes.”

ZS: I want to make a 4-hour Justice League movie.

WB: No.

ZS: Okay, let’s make it two movies.

WB: Bro, we just want a taste of that Disney/Marvel $$$. Make a movie we can show five times a day in 3D, 2D, and IMAX.

ZS: But I’m Zack Snyder.

WB: Yeah, that’s why we’re not giving you four hours to show CGI superheroes fighting in slo-mo to emo-folk songs.

Continue reading “The Making of “The Snyder Cut” in Dialogue”

Mouth for Money: No Experience Required

Tucker Carlson.

Never served. Never worked a real job in his life. Inherited his wealth and security. Talks for a living. Holds a Bachelor’s degree in History. Never built anything. Never solved a major problem. He has essentially the same qualifications as a film critic for a newspaper owned by his parents.

Why, exactly, do we pay any attention to him?

Final Days in the Trump Cabinet.

(A young, confused-looking man enters a long room full of other confused-looking people mutter to one another. He spots an empty chair next to a young man who is staring at the far wall, head cradled in his hands.)

ED: Hey, do you know where, like, the cabinet is?

Secretary of Beans: What?

ED: A cabinet? Some guy ran out of here with a fist full of crushed papers. He pinned this thing on my shirt and told me to take over for him in the cabinet. Sounds sus, but I’m just an intern, so.

SOB: Oh, right. Welcome to the cabinet. According to your pin, you are….Acting Secretary of Defense. Congratulations on your promotion.

Continue reading “Final Days in the Trump Cabinet.”

The Mandalorian, Chapter 17 (Alternate Ending) [SPOILERS]

INTERIOR: BRIDGE: MOFF GIDEON’S CRUISER

After destroying a platoon of Imperial Dark Troopers single-handedly (literally), a Jedi appears on the bridge of Gideon’s cruiser. He is drawn by the Force to young Grogu. He lowers his hood to reveal himself as LUKE EFFING SKYWALKER. Somehow, no one seems to recognize him, other than Moff Gideon who seems to evacuating in his suit. Cara Dune looks puzzled and curious.

Hey. Thanks for the assist. I was going to take the whole crew out myself. I need the steps.

Din: You’re a Jedi?

Luke: I am. Did you see the big green sword I used to slice and crush like 40 Doombots?

Din: Yeah, well, that guy isn’t a Jedi and he has a fancy sword, too.

Gideon: (mutters) Oh, shit.

Luke: What “fancy sword”?

Bo-Katan: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, JEDI! I mean, “hi!”

Cara: Wait…I know you. Didn’t you..?

Continue reading “The Mandalorian, Chapter 17 (Alternate Ending) [SPOILERS]”

Where Do We Go from Here? 71 Million Americans Still Love A Fascist

The election is over. While I am heartened that Trump was defeated (though he is still contesting the results as of Veterans Day) I am disappointed that it took the highest voter turnout in history and Biden’s victory was less than ten points. Trump earned the SECOND highest voter count in American history with 71 million people or nine million more than showed up for him four years ago.

To me, that number is horrifying and I thank everyone who met that challenge by voting and getting others to exceed that unsettling total by over five million votes. It was the greatest Presidential election drive in history to defeat the growing cancer of white fascism across the nation.

And those 71 million people who affirmed their support for this would-be dictator will milk this last gasp for relevance until adult professionals finally put it down. In the week following the election, Trump supporters deflected their candidates sins, failures, mistakes, and general unpleasantness by picking items from Joe Biden’s political career and in one case, I was informed that Kamala Harris was unsuited for the office of Vice-President because some blogger on a conservative website called her a whore in an op-ed piece which was later amplified as a fact by noted oxygen-thief Rush Limbaugh.

This is not a matter of Republicans saying this is their guy so they will be loyal to the party. No, this is an awakening of an extreme socially conservative beast born from the resistance to the civil rights movement and a denial of social injustice in this country.

I have listened to and read opinions about Biden and his family that could swap out the surname Trump and be as accurate as the court records that factualize opposition’s fantasies.

Essentially, Trump supporters could only defend their choice by claiming that Biden’s entire career of gaffes and bad judgement equates to Trump’s four years of abject failure, poor character, infidelity, predatory behavior, disloyalty, lies, fiscal irresponsibility, and gross incompetence.

71 million Americans felt he is the best option we have to lead because while he used a beauty pageant for underage girls as his personal pedophile sex gallery and admitted on tape to using his power to sexually assault women, here’s a video of Joe Biden being weird with kids. They deny Trump’s racism even though he blanketed all Mexicans as criminals and rapists. He pursued a ban on Muslims. His supporters are so ignorant of their own racism that they don’t see banning all of one race, nationality, or faith because some might be bad people is the basic, most understandable definition of that term. They don’t understand that Americans pay the tariffs imposed on China, not the Chinese. They don’t see Executive Orders as despotic so long as they agree with what’s being ordered. What they see is an old man who doesn’t care who he insults, doesn’t bother with people who see the world differently, and does not have to worry about being held accountable for lies, ignorance, or failure because he’s doing right by those who believe and act as he does.

This is the America Trump supporters still want. And they hold the Senate. And they have the Supreme Court. And they have many state governors and legislatures, courtrooms, commissions, and school boards. If that doesn’t frighten you, you’re not paying attention.

Meanwhile, the US House of Represented lost seats to Republicans, though kept the majority. The Senate is, as of this date, divided 48-48 with two run-off elections scheduled in Georgia.

Local and state elections were not a mandate to oust the worst President of the Modern Era(tm). There is so much to be done and, frankly, undone. There was no blue wave. The queen has been wounded, but the hive is still active. The worm has not yet turned among the Republicans in Congress who have excused and defended this President for his actions, the least of which would have been an outrage had Trump been elected as a Democrat.

I am heartened if only because the voting patterns tell me that, in the privacy of the voting booth, Republicans joined Democrats and Independents in record numbers to record their conscience. They voted for their state and local Republicans, but chose not to renew their support for Donald Trump. Enough Republicans chose against straight party lines this time to put their trust in Joe Biden to restore dignity and confidence in the Office of the President of the United States. Some, perhaps most, held their nose making this choice, so I applaud their courage of conviction. I know they will not go easy on Biden in his term. Nor should they. The point is that they put country over party and those Lincoln Republicans are the anonymous heroes of this election.

We always focus on the big ticket elections and turnout for state and local elections benefitted from this additional attention. Off-year elections are often ignored to the benefit of the incumbents. The lack of a “blue wave” in this election in the US House and Senate shows that we have a lot of work to do to escape this trend toward a selfish, isolationist, and darker America.

So, we take a breath. The battle’s done and we kinda won, so we sound our victory cheer.

Edit: Shortly after revising this entry, I came across this video blog from YouTuber Steve Shives that shares many of these ideas along with the specific song that’s been playing in my head since Saturday’s projected victory. Check him out.