Saturday, October 09, 2010

NY Comic Con

A friend and I hit up the con yesterday (taking the day off work) and today. We split up seeing as his interests lie primarily in the panels and mine in the purchasing. I had an absolute blast though my legs and feet are aching. I spent 6 hours on Friday walking the floor, seeing what there was to see & buying various things.

Here are a few things of note. I signed up for the Avatar VIP Package which net me a sweet Freakangels bag, 5 Freakangels prints & a dozen graphic novels (only 2 repeats). The bag is awesome. I made a hefty purchase from the illustrious Mr. Ben Templesmith. He's an odd sort, and I see his career growing every year, though he's been unassuming and down to earth the two times I've seen him. He seemed honestly surprised by my purchase, double checking that I heard him correctly when he said the comic books were $5 each. An awesome fellow. I bought some prints from Chrissie Zullo, including this sweet Star Wars one with all these mini shots of characters.

I attended a few panels today: one for The Thing; one on the women of Battlestar Galactica and one on Vertigo's upcoming lineup. All enjoyable. The BSG panel was awesome. You get a real feel that these are excellent actors who are dedicated to their craft. Plus they're amusing. The Vertigo one was nice, and I'm glad I caught it because their floor presence was nonexistent. The one for The Thing I sat in on in order to have a seat for the BSG panel, but it was cool. I guess I really have to see the John Carpenter movie.

All in all, a great time. Lots of fun and lots of booty, primarily in the form of graphic novels. (Basically I don't have to buy any more to read for at least the next few months... unless they're part of any series that I'm following, of course.) Met up with my friend & his wife for dinner on Friday night. Saw Stan Lee in passing. Amazing outfits that people wore. Saw Scott Kurtz, Brad Guigar & a host of other artists and writers. Good stuff. I'll definitely be back there next year.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Embrace Honesty

I don't think the title has much to do with the content of this post, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

(1) Certain songs are associated with certain memories for me. I had my first kiss while "Today" by The Smashing Pumpkins was playing. For some reason, I had "Mysterious Ways" by U2 in my head while skiing once and forever after it has become associated with skiing for me. I remember when "Under the Bridge" played during the '92 NOAC in Tennessee and thousands of us sung along. I remember learning of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and Queen while serving as a lifeguard at a BSA summer camp in Cape Cod.

I suspect I've written on that before, but too bad. It was in my head and it bears repeating.

(2) When do you update your profile for online dating sites? I completely forget to do so when I'm not using them, and then when I am using them to communicate with someone I refuse to update my profile. I know I'd be a little suspicious if the person with whom I were communicating changed their profile mid-conversation.

(3) I am registered on a few online dating sites. These are holdovers and remnants from my past efforts. Occasionally someone will try to contact me on one of these sites. I'm of two minds when this happens. First, assuming I am interested in them, I am a little excited and intrigued. Second, I am hesitant. I still live at home with my mom. I'm still (sort of) trying to figure things out. I don't think I'm ready to meet someone and settle down. And even if I did meet someone cool, she'd have to be pretty understanding and patient. But I'm also not about to let something get past me, so, assuming I am interested, I do respond, which engenders the above-noted dichotomy.

(4) I want to get a tattoo. For a long time, I've wanted one. However, there are two obstacles. First, I'm not sure what it will be. Second, I'm not sure where it will go. As to the first, it would have to be something purposeful, something meaningful (to me), something I want on me. As to the second, I would not want it too visible and my skin isn't the best.

(5) I'm tired. Yes, I don't go to bed early enough during the week. Yes, I stay up too late playing computer games. No, I don't sleep in on the weekends as much as I used to. In any case, I'm tired. I feel it, it slows me down, it affects my work and my attitude.

Easy A is Easily Excellent

"Easy A" stars Emma Stone as a would-be harlot that dons a scarlet A after faking her way into high school notoriety. Oh sure, the initial accusation stems from an enemy overhearing a small lie, but she then encourages the rumors and plays to them.

There are two things that stand out – the writing and Ms. Stone.

(a) The writing is absolutely delightful through and through. The verbal repartee is well done and well delivered. There are plenty of witty one-liners and comebacks, quotable to no end. The writing is also self-aware and pays homage to some of the great romcoms, including Say Anything, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, to name a few. One of the nice things is that while the heroine delivers many of these verbal barbs, plenty of the other characters chime in. It's refreshing.

(b) Ms. Stone. Oh my, Ms. Stone. An excellent job acting. She owns the role as it must be owned to successfully sell it. Plus, her outfits are eye-catchingly pleasing. (A hopefully-nice way of saying "o_O".) I've enjoyed her other movies, but it's nice to see her in a leading role and, more importantly, carrying the movie in a spectacular manner.

(c) The other characters deserve a nod, too. This is more in league with the writing, but there really isn't a weak character in the story. Sure, there are minor characters or underdeveloped characters or unexplored ones, but the actors and actresses are great and they all should be background noise around Ms. Stone, which they are. I liked the little touches of characterization that pervade the film, hints of underlying traits and deeper backgrounds.

Notwithstanding the above, there are a few issues with the movie.

(i) The movie doesn't know what it's trying to say. If there had been some bigger message or direction, that would have been nice. In the end, the most you can pull from it is "my sex life is my business"? Or "beware the rumor mill"? Huh? The writer could have imbued the story with something more, but he didn't. And so it languishes, just a bit.

(ii) The lack of a message is further punctuated by the ties to The Scarlet Letter. While I can see the parallels and appreciate that some of the themes are similar, I'm still not sure how they truly mesh. Ostracized by the community, branded a harlot, wearing a scarlet A – fine. But this isn't colonial times and attitudes towards sex have changed since then. I'm not sure how relevant Hawthorne's work remains in view of modern attitudes. And if that is the case, that The Scarlet A is less relevant or at least its message is, then how does the movie develop any of that while retaining the broad ties to Hawthorne's novel? I don't know.

(iii) The ending, as well as other parts of the move, is too neat. There's a bow on the damned thing, and it didn't need one. The movie could have remained a great comedy and been slightly less happy-go-lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion that if the movie had turned slightly darker or been slightly more depressing or slightly less pretty, it could have become one of those amazing underground/cult movies. The potential was there, it just pushed it aside in favor of a mass market happy ending. This also ties in with the message criticism above.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one. I wouldn't say it's a "must see" for anyone and everyone, but it's a well done, well written comedy that keeps you interested. There aren't a ton of twists or surprises, but there's enough there to flush out the story. I would say that if you like romantic comedies or Ms. Stone, check this one out. Definitely worth watching, in the theater or at home.