That said – Saw gets a pretty bad wrap. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘murder porn’ and I use the term myself, just because it is a great definer for the genre. Saw, Hostel, Final Destination.. movies where there is less focus on the murderer (Jason, Freddie, etc) and more on the vehicle of demise.
At its heart though, Saw has a grander story to tell – that if they knew it was going to be such a success beyond its first and second installments, I’d like to believe they would have secured that vision tightly. Since, though, there was a period of time in the late 00’s where a new Saw film was as regular as the sun rising – some corners were cut and opportunities missed. I do understand that there are some holes in the following logic because of actions that occur throughout the series, but it is my headcannon for Saw, and I think it elevates it beyond the ‘Cool Death Simulator’ we see it is.
John Kramer was a man with a string of bad luck. Doctors who didn’t care about him. Insurance that wouldn’t back him. A wife that was trying to change the world, who because of of her work, lost a child. The world spit on John and cast him aside at every turn, and he was going to find a way to get revenge. Each of the initial murders was, albeit impossibly difficult and with some amount of pain and disfigurement, escapable. We even learn that more than one person has not only escaped, but followed Jigsaw’s ethos and joined in his cause.
Of course, great power, great responsibility – and not all of Jigsaw’s converts are fighting for the forces of (exceptionally deadly) light. Detective Hoffman becomes the anti-version of Jigsaw’s vision, killing out of sociopathy versus method. Amanda, Jigsaw’s most dedicated apostle, and his ex-wife who was both estranged but also sympathetic to John’s fight – are left to stop him.
At its heart, when John Kramer is doing the killing – there should be a method – a vehicle – an answer – and a punishment that fits the crime. When Hoffman acts as Jigsaw, that should be a perverted and near always unwinnable challenge. Yes, this is all concerning the methodology of two murderers.. but, if you remove the bodycount of exploded limbs, John Kramer made the people that survive rethink their lives and reconsider what living is. He is obviously not a hero, but in terms of roleplaying games, John should always be Lawful Evil and Hoffman should always be Neutral Evil — but both will always think they are doing good.
What do you think of the Saw franchise? Do you think there is a moral component beneath the reverse bear traps and the pits full of hypodermic needles? Let us know!
Since ‘This is the May’ or ‘The Fourth Be With You’ or ‘Revenge of the Sith’ or ‘Bleep Bloop BawThirteeneep’ month, we decided to not just give you ONE episode of a galaxy far far away, but a couple of them!
This one was live on Twitch on May 4th, so go sign-up so you don’t miss next month’s. We could have talked Mando again.. we could have talked Battle of Endor – we decided to go back and check to see if the Star Wars from a decade ago holds up. Does the Trade Alliance negotiations make a good story? What about a 3 hour podrace? And love stories abound…. that’s right, it’s the heel turn of Anakin himself, the Star Wars Prequels.
So settle in as we dive into 6+ hours of everyone’s life that has been hotly debated since the’sa come out to the biggum movie screens.
Ok here we go!
A Long Time Ago… On A Podcast Far Far Away…
The Somethings are getting in on all of the May the Fourth fun, jumping parsecs ahead of all of the other podcasts and discussing some of their favorite toys of the Star Wars universe. From blasters to droids to ships to those cool binocular things – Hatton and PCR are breaking down some of the coolest toys from the universe of the light and dark sides.
And if you happen to be seeing this the day it posts, the boys will be live on Twitch tonight with another sojourn into a particular star war – some come hang out!
So sith right back… ok, here we Grogu…
WHEEL! OF! TOPICS!
That’s right Somethings, it’s time for everyone’s favorite piece of radio flair, The Wheel – filled with a whole bevy of options for the guys to answer over… this one – well, this one needs your help.
At the end of this episode you will have the chance to make a decision as to who won… and we will reveal the results on our next Wheel episode.
But first, you have to hear about two forces of robotic supremacy… the lines in the sand have been drawn and only one team will stand tall at the end. From films across the genre spectrum, what would YOUR robot team be?
After listening, not before – click here to make your vote!
Ok, here we bidibidibidibidigo!
Hey all, PCR here.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the MCU. Going all the way back to our Year 1 celebration we’ve talked about it, hypothesized about it, fawned over it and reviewed aspects of it. Today, I’m going to dive a bit deeper into the “why” I enjoy it so much, and some things they do that I’m not fond of.
First, the Infinity Gauntlet comic crossover is, by far, my favorite comic crossover. End of story. Was it perfect? No… most huge comic crossover events tend to start amazingly, then seem to have a hard time finding a way to finish, but it still struck a chord with me and has stuck with me since my comic-collecting days… so when Marvel teased at the end of Avengers that we were getting Thanos, I was in. I felt “there’s no WAY they would do Thanos and NOT do Infinity Gauntlet!” and I was pleased to be correct on that count.
One of the most amazing things in my opinion that the MCU gets right is casting. I have not found one instance of casting.. hero or villain.. that I’ve been against. Now, have I thought some were ‘meh’? Sure, but in those instances it’s more of a “I don’t hate it” and much less of a “They missed the boat..So and so would have been MUCH better!” (looking at Corey Stoll as Yellowjacket here and to a larger extent Anthony Mackie as Falcon). Those examples aside (I’ll get into the Mackie thing later), from hero to villain to supporting role, the casting in MCU movies and shows has been amazingly spot on.
Another thing I absolutely love about the MCU as a whole, is how they set precedent for future endeavors. “Ok, we got you to understand The Convergence and The Nine Realms? Good, here’s The Quantum realm and Dr. Strange” “You good with multiple suits of Iron Man armor flying around on their own? Awesome, here’s Ultron and his army” just to use two examples. It’s brilliant storytelling in my opinion, and makes it easier for those who *aren’t* huge comic fans to digest what they’ve been seeing on the screen.
I’ll call it “loyalty to the source material”. Civil War was a great comic series (not Infinity Gauntlet great, and fell off with a much weaker finish, but still a great concept). The movie we got, while entertaining and giving us some great fan service in scenes, was not the story told in the comics. Now, I get it. It couldn’t be. Civil War comic run was a huge crossover event in and of itself. There’s no way to effectively condense that down into one movie…and I also know the MCU shouldn’t be a slave to the source material in a way that doesn’t allow for moving the MCU plot along. That being said, to me, there’s something about a movie using source material so loosely that it almost retcons and makes the original source material irrelevant. This isn’t just an MCU flaw, this is a movie flaw in general, but it’s one the MCU and Marvel doesn’t do better on. Is there a way for them to? I’m not sure, but it stands out to me nonetheless.
And finally, let’s talk about the Netflix shows.
Overall, I enjoyed them. Daredevil was spot on. Jessica Jones wasn’t my kind of show, but I found value in watching it. Luke Cage season 2 was far better than season 1. Iron Fist …well… was necessary for The Defenders to work (which, to me, it did) and Punisher was amazing.
None of them (to date) have ever been ‘shouted up’ to the greater MCU movieverse, and there’s an easy way they could have been in Infinity War.
When Thanos snaps, there could have been a montage scene (much like they had in the comic) of scenes from around the world of people disappearing. Imagine, Thanos snaps, and we cut to Hell’s Kitchen and see Matt talking to Foggy and Foggy dusts… Jessica and Trish both dust mid conversation…Luke watching people in Harlem suddenly dust away… it could have taken them… 2-3 minutes of movie time to intersperse something like that, and it would have paid the TV shows respect for carrying on the MCU torch in other media.
That’s it for me for now, Hatton’s up next week!
If you haven’t followed along the last few months, we’ve talked a lot about the MCU’s TV outing WandaVision – and for good reason.. whether you dug it or not, it was a fresh take on a story that really felt beyond the scope of what DizMarv would try and pull off. The concept of the show isn’t precisely a straight from comics series, but it does take some points from the comic and the on-again off-again low bubble story of the Scarlet Witch’s tragedies. The on-again / off-again aspect is very much because comic writers sometimes pick up a character where they want them to be and another character sees where they should be differently, so you end up with disparate versions of the same character… but since it’s comics, it’s usually begrudgingly accepted.
That said – Wanda is, quite literally, my least favorite Avenger… and it is mostly because her power set is so vaguely ‘chaos magic/hex powers/mutant ability/reality warping/etc’ that she has become the go-to on how to get into a bad situation or out of one. So why don’t we take a look at the reason the Scarlet Witch has the power to disassemble how much great stuff the MCU has done…
First – let’s take a look at Wanda in the early years of Avengers…
Using her mutant ‘Hex Power’ she basically had telekinesis that only worked half the time. If the villain was too strong, too not-human enough, too aware, too magic, or too advanced.. there was a lot of this sort of ‘OH IF ONLY…’ But from this issue above (Avengers #99, 1972) to this panel from (West Coast Avengers, #56, 1989) she has fallen in love with Vision, he’s been taken apart by the government and replaced with an emotional white husk of his former self (sound familiar) and has been corrupted by an evil something er another…
And just like that – Wanda’s powerset has grown exponentially and is never reined in again. It just continues to morph and grow and get bigger and dumber and more unwieldly. All the while she ends up being the go-to damsel in countless stories. Wanda’s been brainwiped. Wanda’s in a coma. Wanda’s been kidnapped. Brainwiped again. She gets over the Vision. She’s not over the Vision. She has moved on to become a better person. She can’t handle the Avengers. Just non-stop using her as a foil and a victim and a catalyst when honestly, all she really needs is some good head meds and a shrink.
Then….. in the 2000’s – literal hundreds of comics later.. she becomes enraged about her kids and takes down the Avengers. She’s locked up and the Marvel heroes are legitimately contemplating killing her. Yes, there’s a lot of handwringing and ‘we can’t do that’ talk, but the fact is – the idea pops up and is considered… so when Xavier and her comic dad, Magneto, show up at her cell. She does this:
She creates an entire reality where mutants never existed and her dad is the king and everyone is happy. (House of M) — When we break out of that alternate world, no more mutants are being born… like she literally altered the DNA of the world. All the while she continues to disappear for a while, come back and be forgiven, or atone, or have her powers changed yet again — the cycle continues on. When there is an unstoppable unbeatable villain? Who do writers call on… whatever version of Wanda is useful for them. No reason to explain it – just call it ‘Untapped Remarkable Powers’ and it’ll do just fine. When Wanda can’t do it.. just have someone photocopy Wanda’s powers so DOUBLE WANDA can do it. (Avengers v. X-Men #12, below)
I’m thrilled that Wandavision was so good. I just hope that the movie writers don’t fall into the same pit that the comic writers have for years – that by not defining the Scarlet Witch, you leave her available as a crutch to lean on whenever you didn’t have a better ending in mind.
This week, I want to dive into a part of one of my all-time favorite film franchises… James Bond.
Bond films have set a high bar for fight scenes, chase scenes, cinematic excellence, and, what I’ll touch on this week… stunts. So join me as I run through my top 3 favorite stunts in James Bond Movies!
3 – Corkscrew Car
In “The Man With The Golden Gun”, we get a comical sequence where Bond ‘reunites’ with a character from a former movie, J. W. Pepper. As the duo chases Scaramanga, they come across a broken bridge over a river. Flooring it, Bond drives his red AMC Hornet X Hatchback at the broken bridge, which corkscrews the car through midair, landing safely on the other side. It was stuntman Loren “Bumps” Willert’s first time doing the stunt, and he pulled it off in one take. (Check it out here)
2 – Boat Jump
“Live and Let Die” was Roger Moore’s first Bond film, and the first time he encounters Sheriff J. W. Pepper. In this scene, Bond is being chased by Kananga’s men through the bayous of Louisiana. Running out of water, Bond races his boat at an embankment alongside a highway where Pepper and his men are waiting for him. Hitting the embankment, Bond’s boat sails over 100 feet in the air before landing in the water on the other side of the highway. (Check it out here)
1 – Dam Jump
“Goldeneye” marks Bond’s first return to the screen after a 6 year hiatus, and the first time Pierce Brosnan takes up the title role. In the pre-title scene, we see Bond running along the top of the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland. In a wide, panoramic shot, after securing a cable, Bond dives off the top of the dam in a makeshift bungee escape. The leap set a world record for stuntman Wayne Michaels, which was done in one take. The scenery, the epicness of the cinematography, and the fact the jump was done in silence just emphasizes the immensity of it all, and puts this stunt at the top of my list. (Check it out here)
Hey hey Somethings! PCR here, and today I’m listing out my “Top 5 Favorite Swords”! These could be from movies, TV, Comics, Video Games… not limiting myself here. I am also grouping “Lightsabers” as an honorable mention as a whole.
On to the list in no particular order!
5 – D’Artagnan’s/Top Dollar’s/Inigo Montoya’s Rapier
While not the same prop, they all have an amazingly similar style and look to them. The large, swept-hilted basket hilt is very distinctive and back in my Ren-Faire days, it was my favorite kind of weapon to wield.
4 – Highlander’s Ivory Katana
While there should have been only one (movie), this sword quickly became iconic. I know when that movie came out, if you picked up *any* katana, you were immediately acting out one of the many scenes from “Highlander”
The title character from First Comic’s “Dreadstar”, Vanth’s weapon was more than just a sword, it was a part of him. Made of energy, he could manifest the sword as a weapon of unbelievable power, or he could absorb it into himself to become nigh invulnerable.
Forged by legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo from 1000 layered Japanese steel, this sword was able to dispatch the Crazy 88, O-Ren Ishii, and undoubtedly been able to, as Hanzo stated when presenting it to her… cut God himself.
1 – Sword of Omens
Able to grant “sight beyond sight”, Lion-O’s sword.. containing the Eye of Thundera was more than just a mere sword. Nearly a sentient being in it’s own right, The Sword of Omens was instrumental in defeating Mumm-Ra on many occasions, as well as summoning the ThunderCats to Lion-O’s side when needed.
- Kurgan’s Sword
Were you aware that it is Women’s History Month?
Well it is, and to celebrate that the way the Somethings do.. we are talking about our favorite badass women from movies! Now, of course, you are already concocting a list in your head of your favorites, and I assure you – some of them are mentioned – but we also are diving into some of our favorites from movies you might have missed! Oh, and they aren’t all heroes, to be certain…
So if you are ready for some ass-kicking ladies, some gun-toting gals, some name-takin’ dames – settle in and get ready because we’re ready to rock.
And one last time, we would like to thank Quixotic Games for sponsoring these last few episodes. You have one more chance to get your copies of Core Worlds: Empires & Nemesis as they accept late pledges for their successful Kickstarter campaign! Don’t miss your window, the offer will only be open while supplies last.
Ok, here she goes!
How many movies have you seen the past year? If you are anything like good ol’ Hatton here, you have probably seen a lot. I have been getting annoyed with myself at just how many damned movies I’ve digested in the last year because.. honestly, why the hell shouldn’t I? I’ve found in recent months that it is harder to settle in to a television show (although I most certainly have), but I can convince myself to give up 2 hours to movies about almost anything. So here are a few of the movies I’ve watched that I’ve loved, and also a couple that I’ve hated. If you have any interest you can read my shorter reviews on these and every movie I watch over on Letterboxd (which is basically like GoodReads, but for movies (which is basically Raveller, but with books (which is basically … ok, I’ve run out, but about yarn).
SOUL – Yeah, there was no way that Pixar’s journey into the afterlife, what it means to live, the soul, and jazz wasn’t going to make a list of movies I enjoyed. It’s just rich in color and tone, it makes the music feel like a living and breathing character while the performances of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are so emotional in both the good and the bad, I would believe that they are best friends outside of work. I also would watch that talk show. Anyway, Soul is beautiful and the music, from a genre that I don’t usually have anything to say, makes the world live.
VFW – In the ‘weird subgenre’ tropes that exist out there, the ‘a group have to defend their place from evil’ is one you don’t hear a lot from. Things like Breakin‘ 2 or Revenge of the Nerds, obviously 1980’s fair and Home Alone being the most famous. (I do hope you are now sitting there and trying to find the connection between those 3 movies, and I assure you.. it’s there. They’re movies about a group of like-minded people defending a THING, a PLACE, an IDEA from evil. Well, in VFW it’s a bunch of veterans defending their watering hole from evil drugged out punks. It’s an action movie riot – and stars so many actors you know from that action movie thing they did that time. The film looks dated, the locales look old… this movie could be from 1993 Cinemax and you wouldn’t know the damned difference. It’s brilliant.
SPONTANEOUS – This is, by far, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I wasn’t expecting it. The premise is that there are kids in a high school that occasionally blow up, so the rest of the class has to deal with it. It sounded like it was going to be a perfect little silly horror comedy, but it isn’t what I got. It is a movie with humor that actually made me laugh out loud, and the emotional weight of a Heathers or a Pump Up The Volume. The movie is a breakdown of the modern teenage experience in ways I can’t empathize, but I certainly can sympathize. If you go look up one thing on this blog post today – This should be the one.
GIRLS WITH BALLS – A weird French Canadian film about a volleyball team fighting deliverance style backwoods types that turn out to be a cult? I mean, it isn’t the worst premise in the world… sadly, the movie it got is just a series of scenes that may have had plots, but somehow they don’t now. The same 5 bad guys dying over and over again due to, I am sure, budget reasons. Moments of suspense ruined by these girls yelling at each other over their status in the team, but the comedy being ruined by not having a punchline. This movie fails at fundamentally everything, it doesn’t even fit the mark for a ‘so bad its good’ because it knows its bad… so there is intent, which makes it even dumber. The poster is actually much cooler than the movie
STARFISH – The world is ending and this girl may or may not have the answer to fix it? I mean, that feels like a good slug line for a reasonable film… but this movie just.. walks around. Takes a nap. Reads a book. Feeds the fish. Ignores the monster outside. Doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on. Takes another nap. Ends. Seriously, won’t lie, that’s pretty much the whole thing. The worst kind of ‘horror as art’ and ‘I don’t have to explain it to you, Warren…
30 MILES FROM NOWHERE – A bunch of 30 – 40 somethings all meet in the woods after one of their own’s funeral. I actually am most disappointed by this one, as I find the premise is wonderful. It is the sort of premise you hear about a great play… there is a history the viewer isn’t aware of, tensions we can’t see, there is so much that could be happening before the story even starts that it is rife with things to reveal — but 30 Miles just starts the film with everyone acting nice, but hating each other. It is less ‘Friends reconnected’ and more ‘We have to do this’ – which would be fine, that is a reasonable direction, but none of them respond to anything reasonably. They just do dumb plot-pushing things and yell at each other!
That’s that! A few movies to tide you over until we’re allowed outside – I mean, even the bad ones take up time… it’s an angry, want to crush and destroy, time.. but it’s time.
So what have you seen during the world of lockdown? What great or horrible thing had you previously missed? Let us know!
Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!