The return

So, I've managed to make my way back up to Amherst, with only a huge gap in my writing to show for it.

Recently, my focus on pop culture has been somewhat usurped by my investment in the current Presidential race - which is not going well. My only recent obsessions have been Project Runway, Sun Kil Moon's new album, and The Daily Show.

In case you haven't been watching The Daily Show during the conventions, you have really missed out. My favorite moment so far was when Jon Stewart referred to Dick Morris as a "lying sack of shit." Which he is. Duh.

Well, here's hoping the school year bring more productive internet time.



Best moment of the campaign so far...

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

"old enough to remember when dancing was a sin"


This video was enough to bring me out of hibernation.



Christian Bale's Batman voice is kinda goofy


The Dark Knight is good...but it's not the second coming. Heath Ledger is pretty darned good though. I feel as though Aaron Eckhart could have added some darker shades to Harvey Dent.

WALL*E was better.





Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nathan Fillion (all of whom I love) bring you the world's first internet-based "supervillian musical."

Oh hells yeah.



TV...pop-cult's red-headed stepchild

So, the Emmy's have decided to officially reveal their Top Tens in the two big categories, Best Comedy & Drama. I'm not a TV fanatic, but I dabble, and these lists seem...somewhat boring, somewhat awesome.

The Emmys changed their voting system a whole helluva lot over the past ten years. Nowadays, actors submit one episode to represent their entire season performance (a limiting practice sadly, many of television's great performances reveal themselves over the course of the entire season...plus, a bad choice of episodes can kill an actor's chances, no matter how deserving), and voters have this initil round of voting to limit the pool of candidates. I'm sort-of a fan of this second process, because it forces voters to watch shows they might otherwise pass over. Thanks to AwardsDaily, here are the lists:

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
The Office
Pushing Daisies
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty

Boston Legal
Friday Night Lights
Grey’s Anatomy
Mad Men
The Tudors
The Wire

Now, I haven't seen most of these, but I will comment on the ones I have.

Family Guy/Flight of the Conchords - The two biggest surprises on either list. Family Guy's inclusion isn't THAT surprising, as voters tend to go for quantity, not quality, in their yucks, plus they vote immediately after screenings, which favors shows with overactive funny bones, while doing a disservice to subtle, affecting work. Flight of the Conchords, on the other hand, is a very, very welcome surprise. I don't know a single person who hates this show (that may sound like a back-handed compliment, but television is a polarizing medium, and universal acceptance is damned near impossible), and it's nice to see a show that doesn't follow any established formula getting attention. I think that FoC has a real shot at a nomination this year, riding a wave of "new guy" enthusiasm. Plus, the actors on the show are very likeable, which helps.

The Wire -
I'm not sure it's gonna make it past this stage, but it's nice to see that it has made it this far. Best show I've ever seen, and there are many that would agree. Too bad this didn't happen for its superior 4th season.

LOST - Hopefully, voters won't be turned-off by just how sci-fi everything has gotten, but knowing them, they'll ignore this show's rejuvenation in favor of new blood like Dexter or Mad Men.


why hello!

Hello everybody, I'm back!

Yes, I have been on a bit of a hiatus from the pop-cult these days, but only officially. In spirit, I've been here all along.

A few things to catch up on:

-I finally got around to watching the first and second seasons of Battlestar Galactica, and all I can say is...frack ("fuck" in BSG lingo), this stuff is golden. But, you've all probably heard that before. My favorite elements of the show are kinda typical, but I can't help it. I just plain old love Mary McDonnell as President Roslyn. It's truly shameful that she hasn't gotten an Emmy nom yet. And Katee Sackhoff and Edward James Olmos are also dead-on as Starbuck and Adama, respectively. The show is smart, thrilling, and surprising. I found myself tearing-up during Season 1's "Flesh and Bone". What an unparalleled success this show has turned into. I'm in the middle of the Third Season, so don't spoil me...either of you.

- I also decided to heard over to the multiplexes to check out The Incredible Hulk, and I was not entirely impressed. To be 100% honest, I am not exactly an unbiased judge of comic book movies; I'm a huge Marvel fan. The comic book geek in me knows that TIH is a far more accurate and loyal adaptation of the comic's mythos, but I found myself longing for Ang Lee's bizarre stylings. There is evidently 70 minutes of character development strewn about the editing room floor, and I completely believe it. To tell the truth, I barely remember Edward Norton being in the film. He did what he could, but the film seemed to be bored with Bruce Banner, greatly favoring his green alter-ego. Tim Roth and Tim Blake Nelson were both fun as hell in their somewhat villainous roles, but I wish William Hurt had gone a little bit more over-the-top with Thunderbolt Ross. I know the studio wanted to erase memories of Hulk, but I really missed Sam Elliott's interpretation from that first film; he was the stand-out in that movie, and he would've really livened things up here. Overall: C+/C

- I'm going to go on record as being one of the few (sorta) proponents of The Happening. I'm not a fan of the characters, dialogue, or exposition, but the sheer cinematic bravado of the first half of the film was just breathtaking. I know that this is a very unpopular opinion, but I think critics dogpiled on the film because of Shyamalan's ego (which is very annoying, and still very present), but I think they missed the point of this project. The performances are terribly uneven, and the character development is laughable (John Leguizamo's character just plain makes no sense), but Mark Whalberg and Zooey Deschanel know when to go for laughs, and this redeems certain bizarre moments. M. Night could be one of the greats, but he needs to stop writing his own scripts. Concept work is fine, but he should definitely become more of a collaborator. Overall: B-



Late December, 1963...

What a very special time for me...

A friend on the SOMB message board reminded me of how much I love this song.


I've read those Englsh dramas to-OO, they're Cru-OO-l

Lou Reed is a very grumpy dude when it comes to money vs. art. Understandably so.

I went and saw him on 4/20 in Northampton, and he did a GREAT job.


I'm hypothetically on Spike's side in the Clint vs. Spike debate, but I'm not sure he needed to point to Clint's films to explain his own. Eastwood's films did focus on the white-only battalions, which were still segregated during WWII, but I'm not sure that the law of "presence of an absence" so much applies to Clint's film as it does to the photography of the War, which is what Clint's first of the two films (Flags of Our Fathers, that is) was inspired by.

I'm in favor of free speech and artistic dialogue, so Spike's my man. Plus, it's not like Clint has been especially gracious about other people's films.

Remember when he criticized Peter Jackson for using special effects in a FANTASY film? And when he tried to act as though Mystic River, as a star-studded melodrama, was somehow handicapped at the Oscars? PUH-LEEZ.

Just a thought.


"If Obama can reach me he can reach anyone."

The Huffington Post doesn't need my help, but here is a fantastic piece written by a 55-Year-Old Republican about why he supports Obama. He pretty much sums Obama's basic appeal up.


We can make it better, tell me (readers) wouldn't that be sweet?

It's time for me to admit something to all of you...

I really enjoy "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani.

I'm so, so sorry. Akon & T-Pain have control of my heart, and I just can't help it.

Nate "Dawg" Tyson

Mr. Carter, tell me where you been

Two thoughts...

1) Obama/Clinton. If you care about this at all, please visit VOTEBOTH to sign your support for a "unity ticket." Unlike many young liberals, I did not cannibalize Hilary at the first opportunity, I believe that she could be one of the great modern statesmen, and the backlash against her is both unfair and unwarranted. I supported Obama's nomination, but not at the expense of Clinton's presence in the campaign. Please sign if this matters to you at all.

2) Just got Lil Wayne's Tha Carter 3, like all college-age white kids, and it is awesome, as expected. After Da Drought 3 last year, as well as an entire aborted version of this LP, Weezy still's got shit to surprise us. He's really awesome. Just admit it.



a WWII medal of honor at age 17...no wonder they complain about kids these days

For your enjoyment, here's the obituary for a real-life Captain America. I may not be a fan of war, but stories like this are sort of undeniably...heroic.

Nate Tyson

PS: I'm watching Braveheart at the moment, and its interesting that 5 year later, the opening battle of Gladiator would totally reverse the aesthetics of good and evil. William Wallace's men completely mirror the barbarians from the opening battle of that film.
Also, isn't Maximus' aide, who gets hung towards the end, also the guy whose wife gets royally screwed in the first act of Braveheart?

PPS: I, myself, enjoy the phrase "Knuckle Bump to the face."

Idi Amin had a funny eye

Watching Last King of Scotland (2006), I am struck with very mixed emotions.

On the one side, I feel the the film barely skims the surface of African identity, heritage, and life.

But, I am tempted to read the film as an anti-colonial narrative, with Idi Amin turning colonial practice against the British, and therefore, setting up an anti-British allegory. But to only use the country of Uganda and Amin's regime as a storytelling tool to criticize Britain degrades the worth and importance of Uganda as a country. Plus, how many movies depict multiple interracial romantic entanglements?

(BTW, Gillian Anderson looks like Virginia Madsen when she bleaches her hair.)

But, the hero still has to rely on the British, and then himself for rescue.


Ah, the travails of the modern day left-wing liberal film critic.

THAT SAID, both Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy are wonderful in this. McAvoy got a BAFTA nom, but was pretty much ignored otherwise. I am here to tell you that this is some horse-shit; McAvoy may be a pretty boy, but he also happens to be a great actor.

(Ultimately, I feel that the film is flawed, and deserves a B-, with the storytelling skills getting most of the credit. I still recommend a viewing. McAvoy and Whitaker each earn an A. Whitaker is awesome - truly awesome - but McAvoy has the harder task.)

Personally, I would list Whitaker as a Supporting Actor.


Uh oh! Impromptu list time!


05. Jeff Bridges
He may not be as traditionally handsome as the other men on this list, but Jeff Bridges has been making acting look easy since he was born. With the one exception of the 1970s King Kong. Hasn't won an Oscar, and has only been nommed for one. But, c'mon, I mean...he was The Dude, dude.

04. Hugh Jackman
Bro played Liza Minelli's husband AND Wolverine convincingly, and totally carried The Fountain. Not to mention besting Christian Bale in The Prestige. Oscar nomination-less, Golden Globe nomination-less. However, he has won a Tony, and has hosted it multiple times.

03. Brad Pitt
I need only point at his cameo on Jackass, plus all of his film appearances as proof.

02. James Marsden
Listen. I've never disliked him, DESPITE the fact that he was given the absolutely shit role of Cyclops in the X-Men films. But his good-sport showing in Enchanted was enough to endear him to me. His sportsmanship in Hairspray is only additional.

01. Tom Cruise
Before you jump down my throat, admit this: Tom Cruise can be extremely charismatic in the right role. Magnolia tops my list.

Nate Tyson

PS: This is pretty funny.

My favorite is "When Obama wins...people will stop making bad remixes of Billy Jean."

My hypothetical contribution...

"When Obama wins...Chuck Norris jokes will be made illegal."


walk of dignity

I really like the new Amp'd commercials. I know, they're cheesy, but something about the "hair smells like a bar" and "got real far" actors really, really cracks me up.

I also LOVE the new Fuze commercial's use of Holy Fuck's "Lovely Allen". What a fantastic song, no?



So, we've already determined that Bruce Skaug is a brave, anonymous gay basher, but did you know that he finds cancer les threatening than homosexuality?

Here is the Family Crusader himself in an article from 2006:

"'I'd rather my 9-year-old take up smoking than see the pictures in this book,' Skaug said."

He also lists his Jaguar automobile as a member of his family on his official gov't bio.

What an ambulance-chasing, ignorant shithead.

Nate Tyson (because I sign my name to things I write on the internet...unlike a certain Mr. Skaug.)



Here's a refreshingly straight-forward (and brief) interview with Harold Perrineau about his time on LOST. I enjoy reading how much he was invested in Michael as a character, because I felt like the writers DID kinda shaft him on his big scene in the finale. Christian's appearance was much more the focus than Michael's sacrifice.


I'm sorry I made your life so miserable

Oh yeah, by the way...this ruled.


PS: I can't wait to see Sun vs. Jack.

thousands of frogs sound like thousands of demons

Night time in Florida is still humid.


"I hassled the old jews...my work here is done."

So, I'm watching HBO's Recount at the moment, and I have a few thoughts:

+ Tom Wilkinson has become the go-to over-40 character actor. His work as James Baker is a little overwrought, but he seems to capture the man rather well.

+ Casting for this film was pretty wonderful. Just saying.

+ Everything you've heard about Laura Dern's performance is true. Her Katherine Karris is too, too wonderful. It's a work of strange art. What an underused talent she is. (Her makeup at the first press conference is just marvelous.)

+ It's really sad when Kevin Spacey talks about how the recount has reinvigorated Gore. I noticed it at the time, and it's just sad to think of what could have been. I'm sad he's disappeared during primary season. I wonder what he would have done.

+ I have a friend working for William Daley these days. Just wanted to say.



sharon stone is stupid

Sharon Stone, ladies and gentlemen, is really, really, really stupid and insensitive. But that probably comes as no surprise.

I don't disagree that the treatment of Tibet is shameful, but to blame working-class Chinese citizens for Tibet is like blaming me for the Shaw of Iran.


PS: That annoying new Coldplay song sounds EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY like U2. Deny it! I dare you!


happy post-memorial day weekend

POST #100!!!

This is a whole lot longer than I thought I would last.



Dominic West (McNulty of The Wire) has made the list of the top ten British actors with unconvincing American accents. Now, while there was a moment or two of unconvincing Baltimore drawl, the accent wasn't that bad overall. I guess the Brits can tell. Stringer Bell on the other hand...he's gravy.


looks very good.

Here's a cool-looking trailer for the new J.J. Abrams show, coming in August.

The best part? Lt. Daniels/Matthew Abaddon (Lance Reddick) is in it!

It's nice to catch J.J.'s eye. Once there, you're always there. The Wire's cast is everywhere these days.


PS: I would be nervous about Joshua Jackson's involvement, except that J.J. made Matt Fox cool. I trust him.


beautiful site, eh?


duh nu nu nu nuNUH du nu nu nu nu nu NUH DuNUhNUHNUH...that's the original animated series' theme song, by the way

I haven't been excited about an animated series in years, but next year's Wolverine and the X-Men is going to rule. I'm excited that the writers appear to be exploring the recent developments in the X-Men, and actually making use of the comics' extensive ensemble. In the trailer, we can see Emma Frost, Polaris, Scarlet Witch, Domino, and several others that never played big roles in the original series.

Hell yeah. Can't wait.



Nates on a Plane

I'm watching Snakes on a Plane, and I have to applaud it for actually including a heroic gay character. It's only half-way through, so they could fuck this up. But he totally just microwaved a cobra. It was awesome.

In fact, the film also includes heroic women, asians, and old people. Hell, this is kinda cool.


EDIT: Yeah, they just made a pretty horrible gay joke. Guess it's never easy for social progress in action films.

EDIT #2: WAIT. The dude wasn't gay. It was a running joke. That's pretty stupid.

I'm gonna eat your fucking daughter, Ben.

So, the casting for the upcoming Wolverine film is actually rather interesting. For instance, I think Ryan Reynolds will make a fantastic Deadpool.

But, the really funny thing is that Kevin Durand (pictured) who plays Keamy on this season of LOST, will be playing...THE BLOB.

Isn't that awesome? Durand makes for fantastic evil as Keamy, so I'm looking forward to this.



Domick Monaghan, Charlie on LOST, will be playing Beak...the ugliest X-Man ever.

Evidently, the filmmakers have a boner for LOST.


Vern and FL

I'm now alone in Florida.

Pray for me.

I'm already on "Tricia Tanaka is Dead", and that means LOST Season 3 has approximately 24 hours until I devour the rest of it. I'll have the individual reviews up soon.


finally started experimenting with the self-timer



just watch it, please

MGMT - "Time to Pretend"

This is the second best single of the year, behind "Hitten".


"A Tale of Two Cities"

Lost: “A Tale of Two Cities” (Season 3, Episode 1)

Not a terrible episode, but ultimately rather unproductive. The main points seemed to be to introduce Juliet, establish the Hydra Sation’s complex workings, and display the real capabilities of the Others. Juliet’s final conversation with Jack is heartbreaking, and should’ve been a good indicator that she was going to prove to be a great character. Her opening scene is also rather cool.

By the way, Jack’s wife is really rather cruel, isn’t she? Jack may be an asshole, but she is really not very sympathetic at all. Her final words to Jack (“Look on the bright side, now you have something to fix.”) were rather caustic, weren’t they?

This episode does much to deepen Jack's thematic troubles, and I have to be thankful for that. Otherwise, Jack would just completely suck.

Best Line(s): Ben's "Then you don't get any coffee." and Tom's "It only took the bears two hours."

Best Moment: A tie between Juliet punching Jack in the face after they close the emergency door, and Jack tackling his Dad at his AA meeting.

Grade: B-


we're fated to pretend

I just picked up the DVDs of the 3rd Season of LOST. I'm very excited, despite the fact that Season 3 is my least favorite of the seasons so far.

I'm watching "A Tale of Two Cities" right now. Man, Elizabeth Mitchell & Michael Emerson were great additions, weren't they? Only Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) comes close as far as new characters go.

Maybe I'll do an episode-by-episode review.



I'm watching Gladiator right now, and it's much, much better than I remembered. I also rewatched X-Men: The Last Stand, and my feelings are less hateful, but no less disappointed.


Tonight, I watched two episodes of Two and a Half Men, and the season finale of How I Met Your Mother. I thought that Two and a Half Men was going to be quite terrible, but it was actually quite funny. Charlie Sheen, Blythe Danner, and whoever the other guy is (he played Ducky in Pretty in Pink) are all really, genuinely funny.

Plus, Jane Lynch was totally in one of the episodes. She's side-splitting as Charlie's psychiatrist. I love her so, so much. Funniest lady in Hollywood.


oh alright...

Glance at the Sky in Florida.
By the Pool in Florida.
Jeff's Robotic Creation.
Coca Cola Goes Green.

I like these guys too. My digital camera was the best gift I ever got.


real simple-like

I just like this picture. It took it, and it's of my friend Jeff.


PS: I'm in Palm Coast, Florida now.


It was always worth it...that's the part I tried to hide.

Later today, I am heading down to Florida for the Summer. (Long story, don't ask.)

I'll be alone down there for a bit, so there might be a noticeable uptick in my updates.

Re: LOST as of late.

Keamy is a really good villain in that I want him to die so fucking badly it hurts me physically. If he doesn't bite it in parts 2 & 3 of the season finale, I may scream. Does anybody know when the show is coming back after this?

Also, I see one of these three dying in the next episode (pray I'm wrong). I'm thinking we're gonna lose either Sawyer, Jin, or Bernard. Bernard is something of a long shot, but he got some unusually plentiful face time this season, and he's always showing up out of obscurity when the shit hits the fan.

I figure somebody has to die next episode. It just seems like with the whole "Oceanic 6" story going forward, I think we're gonna find out why they had to claim that two people made it to the island and then died. Who will they be? Not Jin; last episode made that clear. So, Sawyer and Desmond? Not Claire; her mum would've said something. Maybe Bernard or Rose?

Who knows.


If you see the cause of what you've done, feel free to do it all undone

Today I made a mix of some of my favorite songs of 2008 so far. Here's a tracklist for y'all curious little buggers.

Nate's (Practically) the End of the 1st Qtr of 2008 Mix

01. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - "Cold Son"
02. Holy Fuck - "Lovely Allen" (album version)
03. High Places - "Hello"
04. The Mountain Goats - "San Bernardino"
05. Dodos - "Ashley"
06. The Notwist - "The Devil, You + Me"
07. No Age - "Sleeper Hold"
08. Fleet Foxes - "Your Protector"
09. Boris - "となりのサターン"
10. Blank Dogs - "RCD Song"
11. Animal Collective - "Cobwebs"
12. Cornelius - "Gum " (Prefuse 73 Flavor Burst Gum Rock Remix)
13. Mount Eerie - "Domesticated Dog"
14. High Places - "Sandy Feat"
15. MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
16. Kelley Polar - "Entropy Reins (in the Celestial City)"
17. The Mai Shi - "I Get Almost Eveything"
18. The National Bank - "Taste of Me"
19. Hercules & Love Affair - "Hercules' Theme"

It's a pretty good mix, if I do say so myself. The end is rather catchy.



robins in spring


(all pictures are my original photography, please do not use without asking, thank you.)

This Spring, outside of my family's kitchen window, two robins made a nest in the holly.

One day, these two robins had four eggs, and eventually, four little chicks.

I took a few pictures of the robins and their babies. The babies were the ugliest things I had ever seen, but I fell in love. I was hoping to take pictures throughout the next two weeks as they grew.

Today, a snake scaled the holly outside our kitchen window, killed Mama robin, and ate all four chicks.

My dad saw the entire thing, and even tried to chase the snake away with a broken golf club. My mom and sister almost cried when I gave them the news.

My mom said it was all "just really sad."

I would have to agree with her.



a link you guys will like

Okay. This is the best gimmicky blog since Stuff White People Like.

It's Things Younger Than John McCain.



It is YOUR Government...I suppose that is a small consolation

I watched Stephen Frears' The Queen earlier today, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to check it out. It is quite an interesting production, both artistically, and politically.

Obviously, Helen Mirren was fantastic, but I was equally taken with Martin Sheen's Tony Blair throughout the film. While Mirren was allowed a certain amount of artistic leeway - there are very little public preconceptions about the Queen's private demeanor compared to Blair's - Martin Sheen was given the role of a very public, over-scrutinized politician in his first week in office. Considering that the film was made and released toward the end of Tony Blair's political fall from grace - directly due to his support of Bush's War in Iraq - one can't help but see the depiction of Blair's early days as somewhat bittersweet.

In the film's last scene, Queen Elizabeth warns Blair that the British people will one day turn on him, without notice. Of course, we, as viewers, know that this has already happened. Over the course of the film, Blair is repeatedly accused of snuggling up to the establishment, despite his reputation as a reformer. This, along with that line of dialogue from Mirren's Queen Elizabeth, seem to create a second, sub-textual narrative to the film: The Tragic Fall of Tony Blair.

Looking for the script online, I discovered that the aforementioned line spoken by the Queen was NOT in the original script. Hmmm...this just leads me to believe that this sub-text was very purposefully established by Mr. Frears.



The films I've watched in the past 24 hours:

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer

I feel my brain rotting away. However, none of them were as bad as I expected.



A belated "Happy Cinco de Mayo!" to everybody

And now, a message from The Family Circus:

It kind of seems like he's questioning what she just told him:
"Mommy, do we hafta have a reason for a hug? I mean, are you sure? You know, I asked around, and nobody else's mommy have a four hug per year limit. Mommy? Mommy?"

(all appropriate credit due to The Comics Curmudgeon, whose bit I'm stealing here.)


A monthly feature? Say it ain't so: 5 Things I'm Digging This Month

5 Things I'm Digging in May of 2008

[For fan's of my early LJ work, this might remind some of the monthly "Cool List" I used to do...basically, you're on-the-nose with that one. But back then, Woody Allen, Lou Reed, and David Bowie had permanent joint-residence at the top of my lists. That is no longer true, because this list is only in reference to RECENT pop culture happenings. I'm sorry for any disappointment this may cause any old school fans of my internet ramblings {i.e. Marj}]

5. Wolf Parade - "Grey Estates"/"Kissing the Beehive"
Both of these are tracks from the upcoming Wolf Parade LP, At Mount Zoomer. Krug's stuff tends to catch me quicker than Boekner's contributions, but Boekner's "Grey Estates" was the first song to truly catch my ear on my first listen-through the whole album. Both songs are great, but the whole album strikes me as more of a grower than their debut, so we'll see what my favorites are by December/January come EOY-list-Season. "Grey Estates" is a more familiar-sounding song than "Kissing the Beehive," but both show the growth of the band's songwriters. Spencer Krug always gets the credit between the two, with Dan Boekner's songs usually sidelined. But, for me, Boekner's tendency toward urban epics [I'm thinking "Grey Estates," "This Heart's on Fire," and "Shine a Light", specifically] in conjunction with Krug's freak-pop sensibilities [I'm thinking "Fancy Claps," "I'll Believe in Anything," and his side-project Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up I am Dreaming, among other things] define Wolf Parade's sound and "feel".

4. Iron Man doing so damned well at the box office
Well, Iron Man did better this weekend than (almost certainly) anybody expected. What does this mean for me? Robert Downey Jr. is fucking back for good! Woo! No more "what if he snorts all my coke" from movie execs when his name comes up. Way to go Robby.
Ahem. And, you know...other things excite me about this too. I'm not a huge fan of the comic book, but Marvel's recent Civil War storyline has gotten me somewhat familiar with his paper and ink incarnation. The HUGE financial success of this movie just makes it more likely that The Incredible Hulk will do well, and, regardless of quality, both films' success would make large cinematice comic book cross-overs more likely. You know we've all been waiting for someone to pull this off right, and if Marvel makes the studios enough money, they'll eventually let them cross-over profitable franchises. As I understand it, there are cross-overs between Iron Man, Hulk, and the rumored/upcoming Nick Fury film; what with Tony Stark (IM's alter-ego) appearing in Hulk, Nick Fury (in the form of Samuel L. Jackson) appearing [and firmly introducing the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D. to movie-goers...finally] in Iron Man, and god-knows-what going down during the possible Nick Fury or Avengers flicks.
I think that this creation of a cohesive cinematic Marvel universe is a GREAT move, mostly because it [hopefully] will create a somewhat measurable standard of quality for Marvel's future films (good-bye throwaway shit like Daredevil and Ghost Rider?) and allow for more substantial cinematic adaptations of comic book sagas without having to tie them to specific actors or characters [especially useful in the case of contract/continuance disputes]. If Marvel can get over the hump (and Iron Man's success may indicate that it has) of having to sell specific characters in their films (i.e., running the risk of running out of recognizable/profitable faces), then they can really let the story-telling creativity flow in the future.
Imagine a world in which comic book movie franchises don't have to start with stangnant origin stories, and can instead develop characters already "created" onscreen. We've seen this done woefully with Elektra, but Daredevil isn't much to start with. Hopefully, these theoretical spin-offs would fit into larger, multi-film, intercinematic story arcs. Cross-overs that are not framed simply as X vs. Y, but have complex, involved storylines, could sustain the popularity and creative juices of comic book films as a genre well past this or the next decade.
Of course, Iron Man's success could be more of an indicator of Marvel's newly minted cinematic Brand Name. Maybe I can look forward to having the annual BIG MARVEL MOVIE(S) usher me into old age.

[PS: The only problem with all this is that X-Men: The Last Stand blew so goddamned hard it fucking hurts every-single-time-I-think-about-it...oh God, my eyes are bleeding from sheer X-Men fanboy fury. I know that Magneto and Wolverine spin-offs are lined up for 2009, but the whole franchise seems tainted. I can't trust future films within this franchise after Last Stand ignored almost every character's established traits and personality. And I'm not talking established in the comics, I mean character stuff set up within the first two films. Brett Ratner, the film's director, expects me to accept that Rogue was put through all the henious shit of the first two films only to voluntarily give up her powers cuz she doesn't want to blue ball Iceman? {no pun intended} Really? Thanks, I'm glad that was the character arc of one of comic history's greatest heroines. Don't even get me started on the unnecessary sidelining of Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops {permanently, in this case}, Jean Grey (well, sorta necessary here and in Magneto's case, kinda), and Mystique by film's end. I would have loved to see Rebbecca Romijn's Mystique lead an incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants in future spin-offs, or perhaps just generally achieve the same level of canonized awesomeness as her comic counterpart. Not to hate in RR's portrayal in any way; I am a big fan. {Oh, and for the haters, yes, RR was PERFORMING. People get nominated for/win Oscars for playing mutes, and they don't have to communicate through a second skin of make-up. I was more impressed with Rebecca Romijn's performances in the X-Men films and Femme Fatale than either of Charlize Theron or Halle Berry's Oscar-winning de-glams.} I'm hoping that there are more spin-offs of the X-Men franchise coming down the pipe, assuming the success of the not-yet-named Magneto project and the un-cinematically titled X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What's frustrating about those two films is that they are exploring the early years/non-X-Men time for each character, which means that the narrative of the central films will not continue until another, non-Origin spin-off. That is somewhat annoying, considering the heavy/nearly invsible teasing at the very end of Ratner's film {his occasionally successful use of tiny comic book references was his one saving grace as a director, he also, unfortunately, didn't know when to quit} that hints at Xavier surviving Jean's deadly telekinetic-exfoliation and Magneto regaining his powers {though I do wonder where Magnus got the metal chess pieces he was using in the park; I have yet to run into a set of those.})

[PPS: On the subject of Samuel L. Jackson's rumored casting as the titular character in the upcoming Nick Fury film: I am fully in favor of it. Like 100% awesome, in my book. You see, I am actually far more familiar with the "Ultimate" version of Nick Fury than I am with the traditional Fury, who is a crotchety old white man. Some fans are calling shenanigans on the casting, but I don't have any true affection for Caucasian Nick Fury, and Sam Jackson needs an action role that isn't literally written for him to flesh out. My phrasing there is a bit ironic, considering the main reason that I agree with the casting: the Ultimate Marvel version of Nick Fury is visually based on Jackson, and in an issue of The Ultimates {the "Ultimate" Avengers, basically}, Fury says he would want Jackson to play him in a film adaptation of The Ultimates' exploits. This may seem corny, but it is enough to settle the matter for me. Besides, I'm not sure we'll be seeing this Nick Fury film in its current rumored form. I think we're gonna end up with a film adaptation of either The Avengers or The Ultimates. I think Marvel may be wiser to use The Ultimates, and try to tie their new franchises close together, and to their current, fresh line of comics. This way, as Marvel's sales rise, the distinction between the original and Ultimate versions will become public common knowledge, and then the film's may be granted more experimental breathing room with characters. Besides, the cinematic Marvel universe more resembles Ultimate Marvel in its modern origins. Of course, with the retconning of Ang Lee's Hulk with Edward Norton's least-favorite-movie-to-promote-of-all-time, and the possible future retconning of the Spider-Man and X-Men films to explain the absence/change of characters/actors, the cinematic Marvel universe will have more "alternate versions" than the comic book world. Of course, that is not true. NOTHING will ever contain more alternate universes than the Marvel Comics multiverse...except, possibly, the theoretical real-life multiverse, String Theory and whatnot.]

3. Earth's The Bees Make Honey in the Lion's Skull, The Notwist's The Devil, You + Me, & El Guincho's Alegranza!; 3 great essay-writing albums.
Evidently, Earth's earlier albums were heavier and more, you know, lively. Or so says this markedly subpar review of the band's show in Chicago this past Friday. I haven't heard their back catalog (just got a couple of older albums, tho...I am muy, muy siced to listen) but I'm willing to bet that they haven't just decided to start sucking, just for the Hell of it. Either way, their 2008 release, The Bees Make Honey in the Lion's Skull has been played on my iTunes somewhere near 60 times in the past two months; so I'm a big fan of this album. It's melodic, long-winded, and really charming. Out of all the albums I play when people are studying in my room, this one has earned the most fans outside of academia. It's 7 tracks long, but every track is decently long, falling in the middle ground between 5 and 10 minutes, and every note seems to come at just the right moment. It's definitely my favorite Spacey Stoner music of the moment.
However, The Notwist and El Guincho's new albums have also wrapped themselves around my brain, especially due to their heavy rotation during the last month of school, and all the study sessions therein. The Notwist's album isn't particularly ground-breaking, and they don't really show any intentions of adapting their sound based on current fads in music. They still sound a little bit like a more optimistic, organic Radiohead [I am not implying that Radiohead is "inorganic", but their take on a similar mix of rock and electronic influences is a lot colder, less rooted in familiar territory than The Notwist's], but they have not diminished in creativity or listenablity as far as these ears can tell. This album is a lot more guitar/instrument based than Neon Golden, but it maintains the same mood as that earlier album.
El Guincho, according to AllMusic, is Pablo Díaz-Reixa, who ran away from home at age 14 to pursue a career in sports, but ended up an internet success story. Or that's how NBC4 would begin things. It seems that this kid ended up becoming a musician, and joined his cousin's band, Coconut. Díaz-Reixa was "inspired while on tour", code for "saw someone else do it first", to blend samples of psychedelic, calypso and tropilcalia from older South American records with his own percussion. This stuff is like Panda Bear's secret party time side-project, which makes sense, seeing as Person Pitch, the album this most sounds like, was made after Panda Bear moved to Portugal. Whatever cultural appropriation is going on here, it sounds fantastic.
Checking these albums out is a requirement for friends of mine from now on.

02. Studying Angels in America; or just the looming shadow of my future academic work in general
Having studied the play all-too-briefly in my US Lit Since 1960 course this semester, I was immediately taken with the academic dissection of Tony Kushner's play. I already have pages upon pages of notes on this play, and I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take notes on anything. Long story short, I can see myself becoming a scholar of the play, or at least writing a dissertation on it for a Graduate degree. Maybe I should become a Doctor of American Theater.
Anyways, the play is just brilliant, and every glance I take at its pages just makes me want to write another thirty or forty pages about it. Unfortunately, I have never seen it performed, and have no intentions on doing so until a particular professional production tickles my fancy. Ah well. At least I have a pretty-darned-good (but juuuust shy of great) movie adaptation to fall back on. Besides, I'm not sure any interpretation of the diner scene between Belize and Louis would do justice to my love for Kushner's writing itself.
I hope that I end up writing things that people want to read. New things. New thoughts. Or at least, new angles on things. That would be nice. Kushner's got that down.

01. Academic Journal Articles, especially my access to them through the school
I'm tired, so I won't say much, but I will leave you with a few titles to ponder. Keep in mind, I used 3 out of four of these as sources on my final papers this semester:
Clover - "Her Body, Himself - Gender in the Slasher Film" - 1987
Bishop - "Raising the Dead - Unearthing the non-literary origins of zombie cinema" - 2006
Hesmondhalgh - "Post-Punk's Attempt to Democratise the Music Industry - The Success and Failure of Rough Trade" - 1997
David & Munoz - "Heads and Freaks - Patterns and Meanings of Drug Use Among Hippies" - 1968

My conclusion? I am a nerd. Thank you.