Friday, October 30, 2009

Violence In Movies and TV


Has violence gone overboard in movies and television, or even comic books for that matter? Uh, yeah I think so.

Even John Wayne who wasn't a stranger to violence in movies said about a popular movie of the day, "To me, The Wild Bunch (1969) was distasteful. It would have been a good picture without the gore. Pictures go too far when they use that kind of realism, when they have shots of blood spurting out and teeth flying, and when they throw liver out to make it look like people`s insides. "The Wild Bunch" was one of the first to go that far in realism, and the curious went to see it. That may make the bankers and stock promoters think that it is a necessary ingredient for successful motion pictures. They seem to forget the one basic principle of our business - illusion. We`re in the business of magic. I don`t think it hurts a child to see anything that has the illusion of violence in it. All our fairy tales have some kind of violence - the good knight riding to kill the dragon, etc. Why do we have to show the knight spreading the serpent`s guts all over the candy mountain? "

To me the Duke really summed it up pretty well. There is a huge difference between cartoon violence, or just an illusion of violence where a villain gets shot falls down and that's all we see of him, and some horror movie where internal organs are displayed for some sort of psychopathic fantasy. Seeing people torn and dismembered in graphic details can only lead to a person becoming hardened to real life suffering of other human beings. Seeing a cartoon coyote fall down a cliff, and get up again is about as harmful as looking a Christmas tree, but there has been more complaints about cartoon violence over the years than the violence depicted on horror movies like Saw. For that matter they've been more complaints about Christmas trees than movies like Saw where humans are tortured and mutilated for entertainment purposes.

Even the Simpsons cartoon violence goes too far these days. I watched a recent Halloween episode that featured several instances of characters literally bleeding to death on screen. Cartoon characters don't bleed! That's why cartoon characters are normally funny. They fall. They explode. They get back up. We laugh just the way we sometimes laugh when someone falls and gets back up with no injury in real life.

What's the really big difference in my mind to old action movie and cartoon violence to modern day horror pictures? Getting entertained by an action scene is one thing. The mind is being entertained by the adventure of a scene not the human suffering, but to be entertained by the torture of another human being is like training the mind to be a Nazi. People should be skittish to pain, blood, and suffering of others unless they are planning on a career in the medical field, and if so I hope they don't get their training from Saw movies.

Halloween doesn't have to be gorey to be fun. I much rather see an old Frankenstein movie, or maybe Van Helsing, or even better an old monsters meet Abbott and Costello type film for the Halloween season.

Another aspect of horror movies that bugs me is that it's not about being scared anymore. It's about being shocked out of your mind. There's no suspense to knowing everybody is going to die. After a while they've shocked their audience to not even care if the characters in the movie die anyway. You want to scare an audience then make them care about the characters, and relate to them before putting the character up against some unseen danger the audience can only imagine. Now hidden terror is much more scarier than in your face nonsense.

So here's a thought Hollywood. Get some writers that you know can actually write stories to go along with your movies.

I know it's easy money to make slasher films. These slasher horror movies are the cheapest thing they can make for the bucks they bring in, but you'd hope that little thing called a conscience would bother somebody out there in Hollywood at some point.

And comic book violence is getting a little too much to be, you know, comic books. It's nothing to see somebody get an arm ripped off in superhero fight anymore. Don't they know superheroes don't lose arms in fights. They are supposed to be superheroes.

Have a heart people for your fellow man people, and I don't mean that in the literal sense.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Comic Books Have Changed!

Maybe you don't need a history lesson to realize how much comics have changed in the last couple of decades. I still remember those first few comic books I found in my grandma's garbage can. If she hadn't decided to throw them away, I would have never found out just how much I'd love to read and collect them. That was back in the early 70's, and those comics were a collection of Superman, Batman, and various Walt Disney Comics.

Grandma would not only throw away comics they have today. She'd burn them. Heck, some of them I'm not willing to pay any money for. Back in the 70's and 80's most comic book heroes faced modern day problems to be sure. Iron Man faced alcoholism for example, but these days in a drive to make stories more for adults, a kid can't read the main lines of comics anymore. Not unless you don't care what your kid reads or thinks. Today's heroes sometimes face issues over sexual identity as much as their secret identity. I'm old fashioned I admit, but superheroes ought to be worrying more about saving the world from being destroyed by a power mad super villain than soap opera antics best left to daytime talk shows.

Personally, my favorite comic stories were those that relied on a science fiction elements like all the Earth 2 stories that featured the JLA's alternate universe counterpart the JSA. I loved to read the old stories of Superman drawn by Curt Swan. Those days Superman had to use his wits as well as his super strength to defeat his enemies. It was always so fascinating to find out what he was going to do next. Books like the Hulk were just plain fun to read. Who could go wrong with, "Hulk smash"? These days that's not sophisticated enough though. Unless they've changed it in the last few issues that I've missed the Hulk these days tends to speak like you or I. Boring if you ask me. What kind of super gamma radiated monster talks just like everybody else? Why take what's unique about a character and make it just like all the other characters?

And don't get me started on Superman Returns the movie taking out the phrase, "The American way". What was that about? What's next Captain America changing his name to Captain UN?

Other huge changes in comics these days is the paper. I'm of a mixed view of this. I like the glossy stuff, but I'm not sure it's worth it if it's causing the price to be as high as comics are these days. I remember when 50 cents was starting to push it for me. Now you see books that are all the way up to 5 bucks, and you can only get them at comic book shops. Come on give me a break would you. I'll take the old days, cheap paper, and easy access at the local drug store, thank you very much, to having to drive to the city and not being to afford the extra gas money and the books. And back to my kid suitability point. The next generation of readers isn't going to be large enough to support printing comics. At this point it's all about the movie and TV deals anyway. The current comic buyer is getting older and older. I'd say a lot of the big collectors, the ones that buy and read comics year to year are over 30 years old at least. They got started by reading those old comics at the drug store back when they were still affordable. Sure maybe a lot of those guys are unlike me. Maybe they dig having exclusive comic shops, and heck, I love to go to comic shops don't get me wrong, but I still miss having quick and affordable access to comics I loved to read as a child.

And Marvel why you want to destroy Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane? In the comics Peter makes a deal with the devil to save Aunt May and lose his marriage to Mary Jane as if it never happened at all. Does anybody else see a problem here? A hero making a deal with the devil to end his marriage. First of all a heroes word is his bond. He made a vow till death do us part. Second, heroes have to learn that unfortunately death is a part of life that even Superman can't stop. Heck, they might as well write that Spider-man would release Hitler from hell if it would mean adding a few more years to Aunt May's life.

And let's talk politics. Never before has comic companies went out of their way to endorse a President more than this past year. I'm not against a current President appearing in a title. I thought it was cool back in the 80's when Reagan walked with Superman during the Legends mini series, but talk about going over board these days. Obama hadn't been in office more than a week and all of a sudden he's on the cover of Spider-man.

Gee whiz, let's be a little considerate of those that might have dared vote for the other guy would you.

Personally, I would have liked to read another What If Captain America had became President book instead. Now that was a classic issue. See a writer can get away with expressing their view points rather easily in a story, but a really good story teller should be subtle enough that the average reader isn't turned off if he happens to disagree with said writer. In fact I've read some stories in the past that were written in a way that I agreed with the writer until I found out what they actually believed. Come on guys why don't you just say vote for my guy if you like Spider-man on the cover, or vote for my guy if you're not a super villain.

Oh well make mine Marvel and DC till comics cost 50 cents, the Hulk smashes the Fortress of Solitude, and Superman realizes he's wearing his underwear on the outside all on the same day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Best TV Dads of All Time

1. John Schneider as Jonathan Kent on Smallville.
You just can't get any better than the dad of Superman. I mean come on. He raised Superman the defender of truth, justice, and the American way. I'm still upset they killed him off in season 5. Did they not realize Jonathan Kent was still alive on Lois and Clark and in the comics? The last time Jonathan Kent died early was Superman the movie. Discuss Smallville at SupermanTV.net

2. Jim Anderson from Father Knows Best played by Robert Young. I'm sure even if you haven't seen this great show from the 1950's, available on Hulu.com free of charge, you are aware of the phrase, "Father knows best". Where do you think it came from?

3.Ward Cleaver played by Hugh Beaumont on Leave It to Beaver. This mega series has been running over and over again for years thanks to one man's determination to put up with a kid named Beaver. Usually runs on the Retro Channel or TVland.

4. Herman Munster played by Fred Gwynne on the Munsters. Maybe he get's in here because it's Halloween, but seriously wouldn't you have loved to have a dad that could singlehandedly destroy a baseball team or a basketball court without even trying. The man could tame a giant dragon and call him Spot. What kind of kid wouldn't love growing up in the Munsters household?

5. Andy Taylor played by Andy Griffith on the Andy Griffith Show gets in here easy. If you can watch the bird episode where Opie learns his lesson on killing a bird without crying, you probably don't like birds, at all. A classic you should probably require your kids to watch just for the moral lessons. Of course remember the color episodes just aren't as good as the black and white ones.

Post your top picks for TV dads at Tvcrazy.net

Monday, October 19, 2009

Save Money on TV Viewing

These days we are all looking for ways to save money. I am no exception. I've done everything I can lately to watch the money. I even almost got rid of my phone and just used my cell phone, but the phone company cut me a cheaper rate for a few months if I'd wait.

The biggest thing I did was cut out my satellite dish bill. That's a savings of 60 dollars a month, and I know that's probably nothing for what some people spend. Yet, I still have more TV shows to watch than I have time to watch.

All I did was get a PC to TV converter and hooked up my laptop to my TV. Then I simply go to TV sites where full episodes of old and new shows are available click a couple of times and sit back and watch. List of sites with free TV shows. If you haven't heard about this, you might think it's illegal or something crazy, but it's not because CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, Cartoon Network, etc etc are all offering their programs online now. They stick a few commercials in there of course, but thankfully they usually run only about 30 seconds at a time at normal commercial breaks, which is not even enough time to go to the bathroom or to raid the refrigerator.

Of course you have to have a fast connection, which most people do these days anyway. A good computer is important, but it doesn't have to be top of the line. Mine is a cheap Acer laptop about a year old. I think it ran about 400 and something. Any trouble I might get comes in the form of choppy movement which 9 times out of 10 can be fixed by just deleting cache from the browser. I think the last time I had to update my browser and I haven't had hardly any issues at all really to speak of since then. For more details on setup.

It's really cool. Now I save 720 dollars a year and I still watch everything I want. Don't miss a thing. In fact I've got more shows to watch than I have time. I especially like the old classics like Newhart, Dick Van Dyke, Bionic Woman, Father Knows Best, and then the new stuff like Eureka, Psych, Monk, and so on. I'm really big into superheroes so I've also enjoyed watching all the new Marvel Comics cartoon shows like Wolverine and the X-men, Spectacular Spider-man, Fantastic Four and so on. I made a list to help find the locations of these shows here.

Now to address the issue of local channels I simply put up an antenna, with digital TV now available you get a very clear picture. If you are fortunate to live close to town you should definitely get an antenna. As it stands for me, I get all my local channels living about 60 miles away, but some channels have spells where the reception isn't as constant as I'd like.

If you are like me and really want to save as much as possible then this is really a smart route to go. There really isn't any reason to spend so much on cable and satellite anymore not unless you are loaded with dough of course. It's funny cause we sometimes get lulled into thinking some things are just a necessity when they aren't. Even if I couldn't pick up all these shows I'm not sure it would be worth 60 dollars a month. For that you could buy enough complete TV DVD sets of your favorite shows to keep you busy every month and then you'd have something solid to collect you could look at whenever you wanted.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fan Boys Are Way Too Serious

Have you ever went browsing around looking at superhero movies sites like say superherohype.com and read the comments under the news posts? Boy to read the comments you'd think the fan boys hated every superhero movie ever made, or every movie that is being made except for the Dark Knight.

Despite the fact it made millions of dollars Spider-man 3 is deemed by some as the worst movie of all time. I guess they've never watched the Sy Fy channel's Saturday night movie line up very often. True I found a couple of spots that made no sense, like the butler waiting till Osborne Jr. got his face blowed off to tell him Spider-man never killed his father. Still it was a fun movie.

After Raimi recently said he was going to get back to basics on the next Spider-man the enraged fan boys said things like:

"keep telling yourself that, Raimi."

"the movie sucked!"

Some guy compared it to Superman II and called it a piece of garbage. Geez, that movie was my childhood favorite.

"Avi Arad stay the hell out of the mix"

"Raimi is incompetent."

That's just the usual for basically every superhero movie except for like I said before, Dark Knight.

Man these guys must have just been born in like the last 15 years because superhero movies these days are so far advanced in the effects department compared to the old days. Of course I still love the old George Reeves TV show and Adam West Batman I watched in reruns as a kid. I just couldn't dream of bashing shows and movies of characters I supposedly was a big fan of.

And you don't want to see what 50 percent of them think about Hugh Jackman the man that basically made the X-men movies the success they are today.

I think today's fans are spoiled. Maybe they should make the next Spider-man movie with the same technology as the TV series from the 70's.

These guys should be called, "hate boys" instead of "fan boys". I guess they miss the most important part of comic book movies. It's supposed to be fun. After all there's nothing inherently realistic about guys in costumes or super powers. If it's not for fun, then everyone who reads comics and pays money to see superheroes on the big screen has got some issues that need ironing out.

So fan boys relax. Remember it could be worse. There could be no superhero movies, TV shows, or even comics. Then what would you have to complain about?

Superhero Fitness Tips That Don't Work!

Just for fun I thought of all the ways I've tried to be more like a superhero.

1. Tried gamma radiation like the Incredible Hulk. Got the green glow like I'd been exposed to too much Kryptonite, but after several weeks my bench press refused to increase. Lost a couple of teeth that week for some reason.

2. A radioactive spider bite failed as well. Had to go to the doctor for the bite and didn't gain anything but a strange look from my doctor. Plus, do you know how hard it is to get a radioactive spider to stay alive long enough to bite you? How did Spider-man do it?

3. Still trying to go the billionaire playboy route so I can afford various fight training from around the world, and all those wonderful toys superhero rich guys like Bruce Wayne can afford, but still poorer than Job's turkey at this point.

4. Would like to try being rocketed from the planet Krypton, but I hear it's already exploded.

5. My wife refuses to let me travel to Paradise Island to learn Wonder Woman's secret.

6. Tried getting my hands on a super soldier serum, but the Pentagon frowned on that.

7. Tried rocketing into space with less than stellar shields in hopes of hitting a cosmic ray storm, but again the money got in the way. My home made rocketship blew up before I made it over the trees. That one cost me 2 weeks at the hospital.

So far I've managed to accumulate more doctor bills than Tim "The Tool Man Taylor on Home Improvement, but still no super powers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Workout Inspirations From the 80's

I sure do miss the 80's. Remember those days? Back in those days everybody seemed to be into fitness. There was no Biggest Loser show back then. No sir, back then everybody on TV was fit or getting fit. Remember the Lee Majors diet ads? How about the Rocky movies?

Those old TV and movie heroes like Lee Majors, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mr. T gave me a lot of inspiration to work out. When I was a young kid I loved to run around play fighting in slow motion like the Six Million Dollar Man, and then when Spider-man and his Amazing Friends debuted I hung a rubber water hose to a tree to swing over a small cliff like Spidey. I think I was the world's first bungee jumper. I can't forget all the flexing I did as a miniature Hulk, imitating Lou Ferrigno.

But without a doubt it was when I first saw the Rocky movies that I gained an obsession for physical fitness specifically weight training, and while I'm not exactly Lou Ferrigno or Arnold, I quote Rocky, "It ain't over till it's over". Look at Sly even today. He's, of this writing, 63 years old and about to debut his new action movie, "The Expendables" with co-stars Jet Li and Jason Statham. If he can keep going at that age, I can keep at it in my late 30's.

Funny though, as many times as I have watched Rocky over and over again, I never got into boxing.

I hope fitness comes back into style again, and I really hope something is done about the foods we eat. Take the high fructose corn syrup that's basically in 90 percent of all processed foods, if Sly spent his life eating what most of us today eat he'd be the Italian blimp.

Healthcare is being debated across the land, but nobody really wants to address the easy things we can do to save money on healthcare, like stop eating crap. Do you ever remember seeing people as heavy in the 80's as you do today? It's the food and lack of movement.

What's the moral here? Do research on the foods you eat. Eat better, and stick a Rocky movie in your DVD player before heading off to the gym. Pretend like you're training to fight Mr. T. That ought to motivate you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sites to Watch Free Superhero Cartoons On

Here is a list of places to catch all the new superhero cartoons out there that are scattered on several networks, some of which you might be missing just because you don't have that particular channel on your satellite service or cable plan.

Disney XD for the Spectacular Spider-man

Cartoon Network click on shows and find DC Comics' Batman Brave and the Bold. They seem to keep 2-3 episodes in at a time changing week to week. They also have Marvel's Superhero Squad.

Nick They've got the new Iron Man series and the Fantastic Four.

Marvel.com For older Spider-man series from the 60's, 90's Fox Spider-man, X-men, X-men Evolution, and the new Wolverine and the X-men.

For more about watching TV free online and doing it from your television set Free TV

For Superhero fans

Friday, October 9, 2009

Does Biggest Loser Have the Right Idea About Weight Loss?

Does the Biggest Loser have the right idea about how to lose weight? Well that's a good question. Personally, I used to be of the mind the harder the training the better. I grew up on Rocky movies and have been thus inspired to push my training exercises to the limit as I grew up. But as I have grown older and wished to continue to live healthy, while avoiding constant muscle tears and injuries, I found that moderate exercise and healthy diet to be the corner stones of my personal health plan. I still like to push my limits occasionally, but longevity trumps burning out any day.

Now you take the first episode of this season's Biggest Loser. One older man has to see a doctor, and one lady is rushed to the hospital after they are told to take off running, I think it was a mile or more. At any rate these people were on the Biggest Loser for a reason. They hadn't exercised or eaten proper meals for years. You know somebody is going to pass out or worse, die of a heart attack.

So you know it's entertaining to watch these folks push themselves to their limits and hopefully overcome, but is it realistic for the average person at home to jump off the couch and start running a mile as hard as they can after years of sitting still and eating pizza, ice cream, french fries, and the Lord only knows what else? No, not really.

If I were to train this folks the first thing I'd do is change their diet which is what they do on the show. That's the biggest part of losing weight and being healthy, but exercise is something you have to work up to. This week you walk a mile. In a couple of days maybe walk a mile and a half. Do a few sit ups, and push ups, and gradually increase the reps or weight as the days and weeks go by. Healthy living is a life style not a race. Even the greatest athletes end up with injuries that slow their progress or halt it altogether as far as being the best that they can be physically. Athletes train hard. They have to, to beat the competition. But if your goal is to be healthy and fit then don't shoot yourself in the leg before you reach your goal. Every injury slows your progress down considerably and causes you to lose more ground than you gain. So try to know your own body. Work into it.

Now everybody gets injured from time to time especially as we get older. The trick is to work around with it without causing the injury to increase. I'm still going to play basketball and push those weights to the limit as I grow older, just not everyday. It's not about killing yourself. It's about getting healthy over time. Just once you get started don't ever stop. Keep on going like Sly Stallone in the Rocky movies.

Having said that the wife and I do like to do some of those Biggest Loser workouts on DVD. They are challenging. Just got to know when to stop and when to keep going, and put down that ice cream!

Is Playing Curly Worth Jim Carrey's Health?

Have you heard? Jim Carrey is gaining a lot of extra weight to play curly in the upcoming Three Stooges movie. I love the Three Stooges, and I'll be hoping for the best, but although I think Carrey is a great actor I have never imagined him as Curly. Have to see it to believe it.

Question I have is though as hard as it is to lose weight, why does Carrey want this role bad enough to gain 50 lbs or more? Heck, you know extensive weight gain has consequences that may never be gotten rid of like saggy skin, clogged arteries, etc. Sure it's never too late to lose weight for your health, but why gain it on purpose. It's not like he needs the money.

Now you take Stallone he gained a lot of weight for his movie Cop Land, but I've noticed the man has got all kinds of blood veins all over which is a sign of extreme weight loss. But don't get me wrong Stallone is in great shape especially for his age in this day and time.

I just don't get why guys that have millions of dollars already would want to risk their most priceless possession, their health, for any particular role, but actors do it all the time.

Let me know what you think on my TVcrazy.net Stooges Forum