Showing posts from July, 2013

In Defense of Bad Genre Fiction, or why I like The Mummy 3

I love bad genre fiction. I enjoy movies like National Treasure and the Mummy franchise, as well as the subpar movies based on comic books and other big-budget, low-rent script CGI-fests. I also like the purple prose of stories from the pulp era of the 1930's and '40's that are long on action and short on logic.
By all rights, this shouldn't be the case. My degree is in film and television production, and I enjoyed classes in film and television criticism.  But I still loves me some low-brow entertainment.
Why is that so? That's a valid question and one I really couldn't answer exactly until after the premiere of the third Mummy movie with Brendan Fraser.  Then, someone who I don't normally agree with actually helped me crystallize my thinking. To be clear, I don't agree with his conclusions, but in modifying his approach, I came up with the following theory: we were wired to enjoy a little visual junk food every now and again.
My theory is based on th…

Accountability update

So I'm a little late in my quarterly review of the resolutions I made on New Year's 2013.  But I haven't given up, and again, I want to be accountable, so here we go.  For review's sake, Here is the original post of my Goals and Resolutions, and my first update.
1.  Lose at least 15 pounds. There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is that I didn't really begin walking like I said I would a few months ago, and as a result, I'm not nearer my 15 pound loss goal.  The good news is that I did begin this past week, and I have refined my reasons for pursuing fitness as a goal:

In my everyday life, we move every 3-5 years. We are in year 4. I want to be stronger for the next time we move, and therefore better able to lift boxes without doing myself potential harm.We are planning an educational tour to the Holy Land in early 2014. I want to have stamina while on the tour so that I can enjoy what I'm learning.I want to look a little more like the guy my wif…

Thoughts on Podcasting

I love podcasts.

There. I said it.

I enjoy listening to other people's thoughts on subjects near and dear to my geeky little heart. I am thrilled when I agree with them, and disappointed (and occasionally nerdraged) when I don't.

I listen to podcasts when I travel in my car. They have taken the place of traditional radio when I drive anywhere for the most part. I do have a musical playlist of tunes that I love, but I don't listen to them as often as I used to.  In all fairness, I have a pretty good collection of Old Time Radio (OTR) shows I love as well, but its the podcasts that have pretty much locked up pride of place in my listening habits.

I once tried podcasting myself, back in 2007. I produced two episodes of what I called the Geek Orthodoxy podcast, which was designed to explore geek entertainment through the lens of faith.  I had some good ideas, and had basically plotted out a third episode, but Everyday Life interfered with my lofty goals and I let it slide by t…

[Review] The Lone Ranger

On the 237th anniversary of American Independence, my wife (who I lovingly refer to as the Princess Bride) and I saw The Lone Ranger.  I had very high hopes for this film, based on the articles I had read and the trailers and other promotional items available.  There were a couple of things I wasn't crazy about prior to the film (like the scene with Silver in a tree wearing the Lone Ranger's hat, and Tonto saying "Something very wrong with that horse"), but for the most part, I was excited.
In a previous post, I discussed the idea of the Western as an "American Fantasy genre," (an idea I credit to the guys at the Strangers and Aliens podcast) and I consider the Lone Ranger character as a highly venerated member of that pantheon.  
A little history is in order at this point. The Lone Ranger began life on the radio. in 1933, on radio station WXYZ in Detroit, The Lone Ranger debuted. It was part of a trio of radio adventure series developed by Fran Striker and G…

[REVIEW] Nickel Children

(Note: this is a review I previously recorded for The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast with Paeter Frandsen)

The Western has been considered by many people as an American mythology.  It features very archetypal tropes like good versus evil and law and order versus crime and chaos. 

In 2010, writer director Kevin Eslinger produced the 16 minute short film titled Nickel Children (not to be confused with the 2005 feature film The Nickel Children), which could be variously called a steampunk or a weird western film.  

The basic plot is that in the late 1800's Kansas, a young orphaned boy is held captive with other children for the pleasure of adults. The boys are forced to fight each other while the grown ups bet on the winners and losers; the girls dance with heavily made up faces to entertain the men.

For a 16-minute indie film shot in only five days, Nickel Children has a lot of promise.  The costuming, sets and effects place it squarely in the steampunk/weird Western realm. Acting is …

Westerns as American Fantasy

(NOTE: I previously recorded this as a response to the "Westerns: The Original American Fantasy Genre" episode of the Strangers and Aliens Podcast)

I never thought much about it before listening to the episode. As a Texan, I grew up with a great appreciation for the Western as a genre; that probably started with reruns of The Lone Ranger and other shows on TV.

Speaking of The Lone Ranger, it started off as an Old Time Radio program. The creators also launched another  OTR program that featured the great grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger: Brit Reid, also known as the Green Hornet

As an adult, I've developed a fondness for the "Weird Westerns," which are Westerns that have been "nerd-troped" by taking the classic Western and adding supernatural, horror, sci-fi and straight up fantasy elements. The best examples of this are The Wild, Wild West TV show and Cowboys and Aliens.

Looking at Western movies, especially those of John Ford, they emphasized the mythic n…