Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Diary of Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise's innermost thoughts are known to no man, thanks to his religious intolerance of psychology, but what if someone were to get their hands on his secret set diary from Valkyrie? Why, Cruise's opinions on Nazis, the media and eyepatches would be laid bare! Check out the most entertaining diary since Anne Frank's at MoviesWithoutPity.com.

Valkyrie: Tom Cruise's Secret Set Diary

Monday, December 22, 2008

2009: A Space Odyssey

Man, there are a ton of sci-fi movies coming out next year, not to mention fantasy and horror. I just wrote up January through April, and it's already a pretty sizable list, including such biggies as Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, the next Underworld and, of course, Watchmen. And I haven't even hit summer yet! Check out my list of this spring's genre movies at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Winter 2009 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Preview

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Golden Globes Have Brass Balls

The Golden Globe nominees are out, and frankly, I'm a little disappointed. While the Globes are smart enough to have separate categories for comedic and dramatic performances in movies, they only gave one nomination to Dark Knight and no nominations to Iron Man, and those were two of the greatest movies I've ever seen. Why must superhero movies be treated like second-class citizens? The Globes' other oversights are equally unforgiveable, and you can read my lengthy list at MoviesWithoutPity.com.

Golden Globes: Overlooked Movies

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Would Like to Feed My Fingertips to the Wolverine Trailer

The new X-Men Origins: Wolverine trailer is awesome! It's got everything I could possibly want! New mutants like the Blob and Deadpool! Logan all sideburned and angsty! An actual, trained actor playing Sabretooth! (Suck it, Tyler Mane!) That said, it's not perfect, but it's close! Go to MoviesWithoutPity.com and check out my five fave things about the trailer, and my five least fave.

The 5 Best (and Worst) Things About the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Trailer

The Spirit: Some People Fear It

I'm a little nervous about the bad reviews coming out for The Spirit. Of course, the trailers have made it look bad for a while, but I was willing to wait to see them all edited together before I made a judgment. I'm still going to see it, but I'm worried no one else will, because nobody knows who the Spirit is. (And now, thanks to this movie, they won't know who he really was, because this movie seems to take a lot of liberties.) I wrote a guide to the characters for Movies Without Pity -- check it out.

Who the Hell is The Spirit?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Keanu Reeves: Loving the Alien

I don't know about you, but I really like Keanu Reeves. The Matrix, Speed, Thumbsucker, Point Break, Johnny Mnemonic, Bil & Ted, Freaked... Hell, I saw A Walk in the Clouds in the theater. But I can no longer like him, because he is not of this world. I used to think he was just a bit of a dunderhead, but now I know he's really an alien. The Day the Earth Stood Still has shown me the light, and now his super-secret set diary has revealed his plot to conquer the world and/or kill Kathy Bates. Check out his diary at MoviesWithoutPity.com.

The Day the Earth Stood Still: Keanu's Secret Set Diary

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Movie Merch Holiday Gift Guide

Wondering what to get the movie buff in your life for the holidays? And by "movie buff in your life," I of course mean me? Then check out the Holiday Buyer's Guide I wrote for MoviesWithoutPity.com -- it's chock-full of awesome movie merchandise (mostly cool toys) that any movie fan would love to own. But mostly me. When you get to the end, check out the book guides I wrote, too!

Movie Merch Holiday Gift Guide

Punisher vs. Iron Man: Now THAT'S a War Zone!

Is anyone really that interested in seeing Punisher: War Zone? After being unable to make it through the last Punisher movie, this looks like, if not more of the same, exactly, then definitely more of the similar. More bloodshed is good, and Jigsaw as the bad guy is good, but why not mix it up with some of the Marvel superheroes, since they're all that separate the Punisher from every other revenge shoot-'em-up movie ever made? Check out my gallery of Punisher movie crossovers I'd like to see at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Punisher: Which Marvel Superheroes Need Punishing?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quantum of Solace: A Bullet-Riddled Review

I saw the new James Bond movie last night, and I loved it. I went in with low expectations -- thanks to a disappointed friend who saw it two weeks ago (while he was England, no less!) -- and was pleasantly surprised. The movie was the proverbial action-packed thrill ride, and made Casino Royale (which it is a DIRECT sequel to) look like a boring old card game movie. The director called it his "James Bond art film" but only if your art is death. Check out my review at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Quantum of Solace provides Quantity of 'Splosions

Primeval DVD Review

I really have no idea how many people watch Primeval on BBC America. I probably wouldn't even know what it was if I hadn't seen a banner on the side of a city bus, and subsequently gotten in touch with someone at BBC America to get me some episodes on DVD, because I don't get the channel at home. But I'm glad I did, because it's a lot of fun, and probably has the biggest budget of any British television show, except maybe Doctor Who. The effects are pretty great, the actors aren't bad at all, and the stories are only mildly ridiculous. I reviewed the Volume 1 DVD set, with Series 1 and 2 on it, for TelevisionWithoutPity.com.

I Sing the Extras Primeval

Law & Order SVU: Sullen, Vicious and Unemployable

Y'know, I have a love-hate relationship with Law & Order: SVU. While Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Richard Belzer and Ice-T are great actors, the sexual perversions and child endangerment going on always skeeve me out. Luckily, this season has taken a turn for the ridiculous, so I will probably not keep watching, but the show should have ended ages ago, because these guys violate the law left and right. You can read my breakdown of their misbehavior at TelevisionWithoutPity.com.

The Special Victims Squad's Firing Offenses

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is Kevin Smith Afraid of Sex?

Looking back at all of the Kevin Smith films I've seen, I realize that each time I've come away from them feeling kinda uncomfortable. Not because of how much he talks about sex, but because sex seems to lead to terrible situations and relationship-ending trauma. Now, he says sex is funny, which is why he just made Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which is a whole movie about sex, but I think maybe there's more going on there than meets the eye. Read my theories at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Sex and the Smitty, or Kevin Can Wait

Back to the Futurama

I'm a huge Futurama fan, so when I found out I could get someone to send me the new DVD movie, Bender's Game, by offering to review it for MoviesWithoutPity.com, I was super-psyched. I only got the disk in a little sleeve, and not the awesome box seen above, but the extras packed into that little disk are still amazing, and the movie is hilarious. Lovers of Dungeons & Dragons or Mazes and Monsters or Lord of the Rings must buy this movie. But you can check out my review of the extras at MWOP if you're still not sure!
Futurama: Bender's Game DVD Review

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Smith Must Be Proud

Well, Kevin Smith has finally crossed the line. By putting his characters' endless discussions of pornography right in the title of his new movie, he has caused himself no end of censorship and free publicity. Speaking of free publicity, I wrote an article explaining how Smith has embraced his new, "Porno"-less title by rewriting the entire film to remove any references to pornography. Check it out at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Zack and Miri: Porno Not Included

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fly the Unfriendly Skies

That Passengers movie looks pretty interesting. Not because of the plot, which seems like a fairly straightforward "there's more here than meets the eye" conspiracy tale, but because of the cast. Besides Anne Hathaway's Oscar buzz-slash-romantic woes and Patrick Wilson's impending Watchmenization, the supporting cast is a veritable who's who of journeyman actors from both the big and small screens. Check out the earliest and most embarrassing roles on everyone's resume at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Passengers: The Cast's Rockiest Flights

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changeling: Creature from Beyond!

So you've heard about this movie Changeling, right? No, not the George C. Scott movie from 1980 -- the one starring Angelina Jolie as a mother who loses her son. This one totally isn't a horror film in the traditional sense, but it is written by Babylon 5 creator and He-Man writer J. Michael Straczynski, so I rewrote the movie as if it was one of his science-fiction stories, about a shape-shifting alien on the loose. Check it out at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Who Changes the Changeling?

Raargh! Hulk DVD Smash Expectations!

After seeing Iron Man, my already-low expectations for The Incredible Hulk dropped a little bit more. How could anything possibly be as good as Iron Man? Well, the commercials don't lie -- the new Hulk is every bit as good as Iron Man, and the DVD set ain't bad either. Read about the Captain America cameo, the deleted scenes, and the Tim Roth commentary at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

My Incredible Hulk DVD Review

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alan Moore of 20 Years Ago is Okay With Watchmen Movie

So, you know how Alan Moore hates the fact that there's a Watchmen movie? Or any movie based on any comic he's ever done? Well, apparently, back when Watchmen had just come out, he was not only totally down with a movie version, he didn't seem to mind if the writer took a few liberties. Hmm... what could have possibly happened that would have changed his mind? Read all about it at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Alan Moore Endorsed Watchmen Movie... in 1987

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone

I'm not a very political guy, nor am I an Oliver Stone fan. But some part of me wants to see his new movie, W., when it comes out this weekend. Another part of me feels bad that I poke fun at him a little with my new gallery, the supposed "conspiracy diary" of Stone as he worked on the film. I tried to paint a humorous picture of a man descending into paranoid madness. When that happens, can Noah Wyle survive?

W.: Oliver Stone's Conspiracy Notebook

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Watchmen Movie

So I told you what happened in the 25 minutes of Watchmen footage I saw, but I didn't tell you how I felt about it. My boss at Movies Without Pity, Dan Manu, and I sat down and talked about our feelings, and then we talked about Watchmen. This is the Watchmen part.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Watchmen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why My Wife is Awesome

...Okay, she's awesome for a lot of reasons. She makes me laugh, she's incredibly crafty, and she's having my baby. But today she made me pretty happy with what she considers a pretty small thing, but what an obsessive toy collector and Hellboy fan would call a pretty big thing. She said I could have the top of the two bookshelves to display my Hellboy collection. It's not even a very big collection, but it's there on display in the living room, and it's the first time I've been able to display all of my HB pieces together (including my Hellboy and Lobster Johnson statues, sculpted by my good friend Ruben Procopio for the fine folks at Electric Tiki). It means a lot to me, since I've loved Hellboy since before his first issue came out, and once dressed up like him for a Wizard magazine costume contest. I even have two Hellboy pieces that nobody (or few, anyway) will ever own: A Playmobil Hellboy made by my good friend Robert "Tothiro" Martin, and a Hellboy head sculpted years ago by my brother, Ash Oat. A third piece, a Mego-style Hellboy also by Robert, is locked away with all of my Megos, along with an Abe Sapien head that is patiently waiting for me to buy and decapitate a Talosian Keeper for parts. Someday they'll join the ranks, and until then I plan to do lots of nice things for my very pregnant wife, because she's been so good to me. Also, so she doesn't change her mind.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sex Talk With Quentin Tarantino

Did you know that Sex Drive was written by Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino? It's true! Except they took his awesome script, full of violent shootouts, vehicular homicides and intercourse with tigers, and turned it into your standard teen sex romp. Is it any wonder he had his name taken off of it? Well, I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Tarantino and get all the details about his original script and how it was driven into the ground. [Okay, not really, but play along.] Read all about it at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Sex Drive: The Quentin Tarantino Commentary Track

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Watches the Watchmen Movie

I don't know how this happened, or what I did to deserve it, but on Monday night, I got to go see 25 minutes of the upcoming Watchmen movie in New York. Director Zack Snyder and original comic artist Dave Gibbons were both in attendance, and the footage they dropped on us was unbelievable. I've spoken to people who were less-than-thrilled with it, but as long as you accept the differences of the mediums, I don't see how anyone could really be disappointed. Check out my detailed (seriously) description of all 25 minutes at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

We Watches Some of the Watchmen

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stereophonic Soul Manure

I have a confession to make. I really want to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. It looks fun and silly, and Michael Cera is a funny guy, and Kat Dennings was good in 40 Year Old Virgin, and I'm totally not the target audience, which means I'm not allowed to go see it. Of course, if this movie had been made in the 1970s, I could watch it all day long and buy the 30th Anniversary Special Edition, and everything would be fine, but no, it had to be made now. Well, I've got news for you -- the movie could very well have been made in the 1970s, because that's when it was written! I've recently discovered that the screenplay was lost for three decades, and it was only updated this year to be a precious look at today's youth culture. Or, I could be making this all up. Read my story at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist: 1970s Edition

Friday, September 26, 2008

Have You Gone Mental?

What do you get if you take the popular basic-cable sitcom Psych, about a fake psychic who aids the police in solving crimes, then make it twice as long and half as funny? You get The Mentalist, the new CBS show about a former fake psychic who uses his observational skills to track down criminals. If my description of it as a longer, less funny Psych seems negative, it's not meant to be. The show is actually pretty awesome, and I summarized the entire first episode for TelevisionWithoutPity.com!

The Mentalist: A Full Mental Recap

Free the Beef!

We've all joked about Shia LaBeouf's run-ins with the law (the Walgreen's incident, the roll-over), but have you ever noticed that he runs afoul of the cops in most of his movies? Transformers, Holes, Disturbia... he spends half of his time in the legal system. Granted, run-ins with the law make for great cinema, but it seems like LaBeouf gets busted by the fuzz more often than not. With his new frame-up conspiracy movie Eagle Eye out in theatres, I hypothesized that, like in Eagle Eye, Shia had been framed all of those other times. Check out the police reports for all of Shia's movies at MoviesWithoutPity.com!

Shia LaBeouf: Suitable for Framing

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Stripping of Heidi Klum by William Shatner, and Other Amazing Stories

I've been working for Television Without Pity for over four months now, and we've already reached the biggest event of the year for us: the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy awards! Now, I'm not usually an Emmy guy, but I've been watching (and reading the recaps of) a lot more TV lately, and as one of the site's editors I was given the task of recapping the Emmys as they happened. Not by myself, of course -- that would be cruel and unusual. So my co-worker Mindy Monez and I traded off every half-hour, chronicling the bad jokes, the technical difficulties and the simply unbelievable victories of the three-hour telecast. To read the fruits of our labors, check out the live recap at TelevisionWithoutPity.com!

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards: Every Ridonculous Minute

Steven Seagal is... Hard to Interview!

Recently, Best Buy introduced their new Black Tie Protection service, an extension of the Geek Squad, at a press event in New York. To get the media to pay attention to this, they invited three famous "protectors" to come say nice things about them: Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver, Stargate: SG-1), Tanya Roberts (Charlie's Angels, A View to a Kill) and Steven Seagal (Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice... the list goes on and on). And pay attention I did: not only did I get to interview two of them, but I also got to witness one of the most bizarre celebrity freakouts I've ever seen, and the start of a possible Seagal/Roberts feud. Check out my articles at TelevisionWithoutPity.com!

Seagal: The Man, the Myth, the Interview

Touched by a Charlie's Angel: The Tanya Roberts Experience

Seagal vs. Roberts: The Fighting Over Lighting

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Love is in the Air

I am not a fan of romance movies. If there's love story mixed in with other good stuff, like a sci-fi story (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) or a quirky bit of French surrealism (Amelie), then that's cool, but a straight-up romance like Atonement I just can't take. So, of course, I drew the short straw to write about this fall's new romance movies, and whether they were going to be worth seeing or total stinkers. I may have been a little biased towards the latter, but since only a few of them are straight-up romances, there are a few I wouldn't mind seeing, including, believe it or not, the next Kevin Smith movie. Check out my rundown at TelevisionWithoutPity.com:

Fall Movies: The Game of Love

Full Mental Jacket #5: Are Those Kids Yours?

If not for its subtitle, "American Families With Children Adopted from Other Countries," the title "Are Those Kids Yours?" could have gone in several different directions. Here are some of the subtitles I would not have been surprised to see on this book:

"A Bobbsey Twins Mystery"

"The Unauthorized Biography of Brangelina"

"A Journal of Three Years Raising Goats in Northern Scotland"

"My Life as a Child Molester"

"...And Other Questions Fathers With Creepy Mustaches Get Asked, by Dave Barry"

It's just so wonderfully blunt, I can't stand it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Only Human Resources

I recently got the chance to participate in a conference call for one of my favorite TV shows, The Office, and the interview subjects were none other than show writer/producer Paul Lieberstein, who also plays HR moper Toby, and Academy Award winner Amy Ryan, who plays Toby's temporary HR replacement Holly. They were both super-nice, and while I only asked a couple of questions, there were some interesting facts about next season that came out. Read all about it at Television Without Pity:

Human Resources: Toby and Holly Talk Season 5 of The Office

Do Not Disturb? More like "Do Not Watch," Am I Right?

I have a confession to make. I have never watched an episode of Arrested Development. But, having since discovered Michael Cera, rediscovered Jason Bateman and discovered that David Cross was actually on the show, I really want to go back and watch it. But after seeing the latest brainchild of the AD writers and producers, I don't know if I should. Do Not Disturb is one of the cheesiest, most stereotypical sitcoms I've seen in a long time. It has a few more gay characters in it, but it's still grade-A cheese. Want to read a summary of the Jason Bateman-directed premiere episode, with my commentary, in probably one-third the time it would take you to watch the thing? Then check out my recap at Television Without Pity:

Do Not Disturb: An Objector's Commentary

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Full Mental Jacket #4: The Super Cops

I was tempted to open -- and actually read -- The Super Cops, billed as "the true story of the cops called Batman & Robin," on more than one occasion. However, I was fairly positive that no matter how much they tried to make the cover look like a comic book, it would probably be fairly straightforward 1970s cop stories, none of which were interesting enough to get made into a movie starring Jackie Chan. Also, I'm pretty sure that Robin never had such a spectacular mustache.
The book did its best, though, even going so far as to make the back cover a collage of photos of the "Super Cops" in action, climbing fire escapes and jumping from rooftops, in what looks like a sequence straight out of the Beastie Boys' music video for "Sabotage." However, the publishers underestimated how little love I actually have for the Beastie Boys, as un-American as that may sound. In fact, "Sabotage" is the only thing they've ever done that I really enjoy -- plus, my friends used to call my 1981 Cadillac "the Sabotagemobile" because it looked like it belonged in that video. If they really wanted to get me, they would have showed the Super Cops climbing Bat-ropes up the side of a fake building, possibly with Sammy Davis Jr. peeking out the window in disbelief.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm Super, Thanks For Asking

I stopped watching "Smallville" a long time ago, but I recently got an assignment to write an article about all of the comic-based superheroes and villains who have appeared on the show. I knew there were a few, since DC Direct was making action figures of some of them, but upon doing a little research, there are a hell of a lot! Now that it's entering its eighth season, they've dipped so deep into the well that thy've used Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Martian Manhunter. Check out my gallery of the show's costumed (more or less), comic-created characters at Television Without Pity.

Smallville: Real American Heroes (and Villains)

Bangkok Hilarious!

I know it's a remake of a 1999 Thai movie, but not being familiar with the original, I was only introduced to the film title Bangkok Dangerous this past year, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. Why? Because the word "Bangkok" sounds dirty, and the phrase "Bangkok dangerous" sounds like pidgin English for "hot penile action might be hazardous to your health." And it got me thinking about other movie titles that sound dirty, in a "What are you, 12 years old?" kind of way. And, as further proof that I have the best job ever, I got paid to write about it. Check out my list at Movies Without Pity:

The Dirtiest Non-Porn Movie Titles

Sunday, August 31, 2008

How I Met My Mother Tongue

This past season, I really got into "How I Met Your Mother." Despite the presence of Neil Patrick Harris and one "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" cast member, I had originally dismissed it at face value as a seemingly unoriginal sitcom. (Ditto "Scrubs," which I eventually grew to love, and then hate.) I don't hate HIMYM yet, but I am only now finishing up the first season, and I've only seen bits and pieces of the second season, so give it time. I get a twinge of nostalgia every time I see Ted's Wesleyan T-shirt (my alma mater, as well as that of co-creator Carter Bays), and I love the extensive use of the word "awesome," which I also say a lot. In fact, the show's catchphrases are the subject of my most recent gallery at TelevisionWithout Pity.com, which you can read here:

How I Met Your Mother: The New Verbiage

Enjoy! - Z

Full Mental Jacket #3: Foundations of Experimental Research

In Robert Plutchik's seminal work, "Foundations of Experimental Research," he discusses several important case studies that influenced the course of experimental research in the 1980s. One of the most important was a case in which a test subject was placed in a completely dark labyrinth with no food or water, but was told that he could find food (cherries, strawberries, bananas, pretzels) in the four corners of the maze. While he sought out these food items, four lab assistants in photoluminescent cloaks -- nicknamed "ghosts" -- were released into the labyrinth with orders to chase the subject down, thereby triggering both panic and alarm in the subject. However, the "ghosts" were ordered to back off whenever the subject ate anything. The ultimate point of the test was to prove that by triggering a "panic/alarm combination," the researchers could cause the test subject to eat more pretzels, and therefore gain weight. The "PAC-Man" tests never proved anything, but later versions of the test performed with female test subjects yielded much more tangible results.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ben Stiller is Awful

Hey, all -

Now, I'm really looking forward to "Tropic Thunder," but this is the first Ben Stiller movie I've felt even the slightest desire to see in years. Most of the movies he does bore the hell out of me, or worse, make me incredibly uncomfortable -- I can't stand to see stupid people making stupid mistakes or telling stupid lies. "Mystery Men" and "Zoolander" are great, but the rest... (Shudder.) Anyway, here's my article on the worst Ben Stiller movies of his career:

Tropic Thunder: The First Good Ben Stiller Movie?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Zach's Writin' Roundup

Hey, all -

I haven't been posting any links to my TWoP.com writing since I started there in May, but I thought you all might be interested in my latest gallery, which is breakdown of all of the movies that The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor seems to rip off. Check it out here, then check out these other galleries:

The Dark Knight: Which Bad Guys Should Batman Fight Next, And Who Should Play Them?

Hancock: Greatest Movie Superhero Ever? We Compare Him to the Rest

Hellboy: Who's Your Daddy? The Most Likely Movie Mephistos

G.I. Joe: I Irresponsibly Pre-Judge the Movie Based on Photos of the Cast in Costume

The Love Guru: Ten Mike Myers Characters that Deserve Movies More

The Incredible Hulk: Edward Norton's Top-Secret Set Diary

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: What Really Went Down on Set

Lost: The Ten Best Castaway Backstories

It's a lot to take in, but pick, choose and enjoy!

Full Mental Jacket #2: Clown

I guess I'd always thought that professional clowns delusionally believed themselves to be entertainers of children, who always put a smile on their faces. If the cover (and back cover) of Emmett Kelly's autobiography is any indication, Mr. Kelly -- the godfather of circus clowns -- knew exactly what he was: an unholy monster. Clown: My Life in Tatters and Smiles shows Kelly in full-on sad hobo clown mode on the front cover, then again on the back, where he's terrifying the crap out of a small child. He even seems bored with the whole scenario, as if it's happened to him a thousand times before, and the screams of a boy are only the background noise to the career path he's chosen.

Now, I couldn't bring myself to read the autobiography of a frightener of children, but I imagine this book is required reading in clown college courses across America. But after looking at the back cover -- or, let's be honest, the front -- who in their right mind would choose to become a clown? Someone who hates children and wants to see them miserable? If so, I think that might explain the continuing existence of a clown industry, and it might be something that the police want to look into. That is, if they aren't profiling clowns for all serial killings and kidnappings already.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roy Scheider R.I.P.

I was stunned to find out tonight that Roy Scheider is dead. I've enjoyed the actor in many movies, specifically "Jaws," "The French Connection" and, of course, "Jaws 2." But it was the movie "Blue Thunder" that earned him a special place in my heart. Screw Airwolf, Blue Thunder was the coolest helicopter of my childhood, and Scheider was the helicopter-flying cop father I never had. (I mean, I had a dad, but he didn't fly a helicopter.)

While the world is a little darker without him in it, I like to think that he's gone on to that bigger boat in the sky.

- Z

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Zach's Writin' Roundup

Hey, all -

I've been dying to get another Full Mental Jacket up on the site, but I've been busy writing stuff for ToplessRobot.com, a pop-culture comedy/commentary blog run by my good friend Rob Bricken. Here are a few of the stories I've written:

The 10 Most Disturbing Smurfs

Know Your Drunken Damage: Iron Man or Robert Downey Jr.?

10 Star Wars Toys that Look Like Celebrities

Check them out and leave your comments with the rest of the world -- some hate them, some love them. (The Smurf one has actually been making the rounds of some of the bigger blogs.)

- Z

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Full Mental Jacket #1: A Tale of Two Vikings

So one of the things I wanted to do on this blog was show off some books jackets from my collection of oddly titled, poorly illustrated or otherwise unintentionally hilarious book jackets. This week, I thought I'd start off with…A TALE OF TWO VIKINGS!

Aside from the book's obvious homage to Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" (I have no idea if the story is similar -- I have read neither), I just think it's hysterical what passes for a Viking on a romance novel cover these days. Granted, an actual, realistic Viking is probably not what women want to see when they're thinking about a nice, candlelight dinner, but if that's the case, why write about Vikings in the first place? The fact that they gave him black, pleated pants and a gold arm bracelet and called it a day is kind of insulting to Vikings. The best part about this book may be the fact that the two vikings in question are actually identical Viking twins, which is why THE EXACT SAME NON-VIKING DUDE APPEARS ON THE BACK COVER!

The summary on the back tries to draw comparisons between Vikings and today's men by saying that even Vikings won't pull over their longship and ask for directions. (I guess it's common knowledge that Vikings were always getting lost, which explains how they found America.) I will admit to not pulling over to ask directions, but unlike Toste and Vagn Ivarsson, I didn't "ride my first horse at the age of seven, and my first maid during my thirteenth summer." As the tagline on the front cover -- and the Saga of Eric the Red, if I'm not mistaken -- says, "Double the sizzle, twice the fun!"