Canon is a touchy subject for nerds. Fundamentalists loathe when their beloved sci-fi and fantasy properties are taken in different directions by creators of non-canonical works. Others appreciate when established properties are taken in all-new, all-different directions. Today I want to talk about a few nerd-specific cases of canon and hear your feelings on the matter.
Star Wars: Let’s kick things of with one of the hugest nerd properties in existence. Many Star Wars fans were delighted by tales of the Expanded Universe (EU). The EU had several excellent Star Wars books written by several great authors. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, it wiped out the existing EU and rebranded it as Star Wars Legends. Shortly after that decision was made, Disney created its own EU.
Many Star Wars fans were outraged by the move. They loved the books and felt robbed that they were no longer part of the proper Star Wars universe. While I empathize with that point of view, killing the previous EU didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the many Star Wars books I read and nothing can take that away. It doesn’t matter that these stories are no longer “official.” They entertained me and that hasn’t changed.
Gotham: Yesterday in the RPadTV Google Hangout, the Gotham television show was briefly discussed. This reimagining of a pre-Batman Gotham is controversial among nerds. Some people hate that Batman’s rogues gallery was up and operating well before the Dark Knight arrived to Gotham. I believe it was RPadholic Smartguy that said that having Joker without Batman doesn’t make any sense.
I definitely agree with the sentiment that having most of Batman’s villains in pre-Batman Gotham is silly. Like many comic-book fanboys, I am of the opinion that superheroes and villains fit into a nerdy chicken-and-egg scenario. Gotham is full of weird villains because some rich guy in a bat costume started being a vigilante there. Having these colorful criminals established in Gotham before his arrival doesn’t make sense to me.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t bother me that Gotham isn’t canon. What bothers me is that it’s a crappy show. The writing is trite and the acting is mediocre to poor. Bruce Wayne once said that criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Apparently they’re middling television actors too.
Marvel Secret Wars: Closing things out is Marvel’s Secret Wars crossover series. Due to a confluence of ridiculous events, the Marvel multiverse has become a singular mashup. The past few months of Marvel stories featured reimagined worlds and reimagined characters. All of this will lead up to the all-new, all-different Marvel Universe.
I have a few problems with the Secret Wars. The obvious one is that most of the stories aren’t very good. The secondary problem is that the crossover event interrupted several books that I was enjoying. Lastly, none of these stories matter in a canonical sense. The Marvel Universe is going to reboot and my time has been wasted with months of filler stories. While part of my problem with Secret Wars has to do with canon, most of it is that the damn thing is taking too long and most of the writing has been forgettable.
Your Take: Looking back at what I just wrote, I suppose canon doesn’t matter much to me. A good story is a good story, whether it’s official or not. Naturally, I want to hear your thoughts on nerd canon. Feel free to use the examples above or bring up any of your own. Do you place a high value on canon? Or is something entertaining simply entertaining?
Yesterday was a good day, mostly because my friend Andy told me that Jeff Smisek resigned as CEO of United Airlines. As many of you know, I loathe that man. He holds the distinction of being the only executive in corporate America that I actively, physically hate. Early in his United career, he promised customers that many changes were coming and labeled them as “changes I think you’ll like.” While he certainly made many changes, most of them sucked. Whether you were a United employee or a United customer, most agree that Jeff Smisek changed the airline for the worse.
Earlier in the year, Bloomberg reported that United was being investigated for a scandal involving Port Authority chairman David Samson. The rumor was that United would be given favorable options by the Port Authority in exchange for reestablishing a route between Newark, New Jersey and Columbia, South Carolina. Samson has a weekend home in nearby Aiken, South Carolina. While the route was initially cancelled due poor revenue, United reinstated the route…which mysteriously disappeared three days after Samson resigned from the Port Authority. The recent resignations by Jeff Smisek and other executives are believed to be related.
That’s a helluva a story, but I only have superficial knowledge of the situation. What I know firsthand is that I used to love flying United. The service was very good (though still behind top Asian airlines) and the frequent flyer benefits were excellent. Jeff Smisek cut numerous benefits to frequent flyers, made several benefits available to credit card holders, implemented a disgraceful upgrade system, made miles harder to earn, and made mileage awards more difficult to obtain. United’s service has declined, both in terms of operations and politeness. The company has cancelled service to BKK airport in Thailand and will cancel service to JFK in New York — two destinations that I frequent. In the past, I loved flying United. Now it feels like a burden that I pay for. Here’s a nice article that contains a list of the many things Smisek and his regime did wrong.
The good news is that Jeff Smisek is out. The bad news is that the damage he did to the airline could be irreparable. Certainly new United CEO Oscar Munoz has a chance to make things better, but I doubt he can return United to its glory days. Oh well, I’ll just dream of Jeff Smisek getting sentenced to 15-20 years in Federal Pound-Jeff-in-the-Ass Prison (as seen in Office Space).
You’ve been thrilled by the adventures of African-American Captain America. You’ve journeyed into mystery with the mysterious female Thor. In December, you’ll be getting a Korean-American Hulk when Totally Awesome Hulk hits shelves. Ethnic and sexual diversification in Marvel Comics is an ongoing process — one that Marvel seems to be keen on pursuing. It also seems to be a process that some readers are against. How do you feel about diversification in the Marvel Universe? Is it necessary? Is it being forced? Let’s examine the issue and discuss (please).
There are many longtime Marvel Comics readers that don’t like their icons being altered. They want Steve Rogers as Captain America, not Sam Wilson. They want the son of Odin to be Thor, not a women with a secret identity (for seven issues, anyway). Lastly, they want Bruce Banner as the Hulk, not Amadeus Cho. These readers are traditionalists that prefer stories about characters they’ve known and loved for decades. Changing the identity, ethnicity, or sex of an iconic character is jarring to these readers. Staying true to years of material is more important than diversification to these guys and gals, which is completely understandable since this is entertainment.
There’s a subsection of the readers mentioned in the last paragraph that claim they want to see a more diverse Marvel Universe, but would prefer diversification through new characters. They want their icons to stay as they are, but wouldn’t mind if they were joined by all-new, all-different characters that represent various ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations, etc.
For reasons that escape me, there are some readers that are fine with the majority of superheroes in the Marvel Universe being white males. For my part, I feel that diversity is overdue, but shouldn’t be forced. That said, diversity in the Marvel Universe has been silly for decades. Most of the action takes place in Manhattan, arguably the most diverse city in the world. Similar to how Friends — a show about six white people that only have white friends — was a ridiculous representation of New York life, Marvel has done a poor job depicting the diversity of New York through its heroes.
At the end of the day, I don’t care that Sam Wilson is Captain America. I care that his costume sucks and his stories have been boring. I don’t care that the new Thor is a woman. I care that she’s being written by Jason Aaron, one of my favorite comics writers of the last ten years. I’m not particularly enthused that the Hulk will be Korean-American. I’m terribly excited that Greg Pak will be writing the stories and that they’ll feature Amadeus Cho, a character that I love.
Would I like to see more diversity in the Marvel Universe? Of course I would, but I understand that it’s a process and things are moving in the right direction. For the most part, I enjoy comics that entertain me with writing. It doesn’t matter if they’re about Filipino-American heroines with cosmic powers or homosexual ice mutants that have arrived from the past. If the writing is great, make mine Marvel.
Naturally, I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. How do you feel about diversification in the Marvel Universe? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).
Another E3 Expo is in the books! Since we’re a few years removed from console launches, E3 2015 was gloriously software heavy. That said, virtual reality hardware was huge at this year’s show and generated lots of excitement. There were tons of great games on the show floor and behind closed doors. Special thanks to old friends and new friends that let me cut lines and sneak into demos that I didn’t have appointments for. Now here are some random thoughts on E3 2015.
Console Press Conferences: Sony crushed it. The company had lots of great original content and showed off juicy timed exclusives. The Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy VII announcements won the hearts of millions of old-school gamers. Sony has come a long way with presentation too (remember those old Kaz Hirai PowerPoint slides?), largely because Microsoft raised the bar for E3 press conference theatricality. Microsoft put on a good show, but I found Sony’s press conference far more exciting. As for Nintendo’s latest direct-to-video presentation, the company had lots of games that I’m excited for…but the Nintendo executive muppets will haunt my dreams for the next few months (the Satoru Iwata muppet is terrifying).
Publisher Press Conferences: I’m probably in the minority here, but I was more impressed with Square Enix’s presser than EA’s or Ubisoft’s. While Square Enix’s presentation was flat and the company didn’t have the celebrity star power its competitors flaunted, the games were excellent. Square Enix simply had more games that I wanted to play. While many of my friends loved Ubisoft’s lineup, it didn’t do much for me, save for South Park: The Fractured But Whole. Ubisoft gets bonus points for Aisha Tyler hosting and for Angela Bassett’s appearance. As for EA, it had frickin’ Pele — one of the coolest and most legendary single-name celebrities ever. EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst had me amped, but not as much Kingdom Hearts 3, World of Final Fantasy, Life is Strange, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy VII (more on that in a bit).
Virtual Reality: I played a bunch of VR games/demos and totally understand why so many people are excited about this type of gaming. It feels fresh and exciting. When VR works, it’s amazing and makes you feel like you’re playing a game from the future. When the frame rates are clunky, VR games give you a headache. What I’m unsure about is the business model. From what several people told me, making a VR game is very expensive. Gamers will need expensive hardware for the best VR experience. From the (admittedly limited) information I gathered, Valve has the best plans for making VR accessible for developers and consumers. I’m curious to see what the other VR companies will do to help make VR affordable for creators and gamers alike.
Wattam: Going into the show, I was certain that I’d be charmed by Funomena’sWattam. The creation of Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy) and Robin Hunicke (Journey), Wattam is wonderfully creative — a game that’s simple, but with complexity that makes it difficult to describe. Some people are calling it a puzzle game, while others feel it’s adventure, and some are calling it a platformer. Check out the trailer below and see for yourself. Whatever category you think Wattam fits in, there’s no denying that the graphics are cute, the gameplay is creative, and the sound design is adorable. I love that Sony publishes atypically delightful games like Wattam.
Final Fantasy VII: Some gamers feel that FFVII is the best game in the series. Others feel that it’s the most overrated. Either way, it’s a huge deal that the game is being remade and coming to PlayStation 4 (initially). While I enjoyed the original game, it’s not in my top five for the Final Fantasy series. Having said that, I’m a big fan of FFVII world, since Crisis Core and Advent Children helped make sense of everything. I’m going to dedicate a full topic to this column next week. No matter how good or bad the FFVII remake ends up being, I’m excited to watch the process and listen to the debates. I expect full fanboy fury over FFVII and gamers better not disappoint me.
Mario Tennis: I “accidentally” spent more than hour playing Mario Tennis Ultra Smash at Nintendo’s booth. I’m a longtime fan of the Mario Tennis games, both on home and handheld consoles. Even though the game is early and there were only two playable characters, I had a blast with Mario Tennis Ultra Smash. The core gameplay is tight, while the addition of power-ups gives it a wackier feel that make sense in the context of the Mario universe. I’ll give this one a full preview in a bit.
Sword Coast Legends: As a huge fan of the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games, I was really looking forward to learning more about Sword Coast Legends. After getting a demo and playing the game, my expectations were exceeded. It will surely satisfy fans of the isometric PC RPGs that I mentioned, but should also satisfy fans of pen-and-paper RPGs. The dungeon master features look awesome, powerful, and fun. While most of the game will have professional voice acting, I was delighted to learn that there will be opportunities for live action role-playing. I vow to make a character based on Azrael Abyss from Saturday Night Live and annoy the hell out of anyone foolish enough to let me be a dungeon master. I’ll be giving Sword Coast Legends a full preview too.
Your Take: Naturally, I didn’t get to play or see everything I wanted to. This is where you come in! I’d love to get your take on E3 2015. How did it play from home? What games are you excited for? Who do you think “won” the press conferences? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.
E3 2015 is next week! It kind of crept on me there — totally forgot it was this close. As always, I’m excited to see lots of great games, watch the console manufacturers try to outdo each other, and catch up with longtime videogame industry friends. This year, I’ll have a bunch more “me” time at the show. At E3 2014 I made the mistake of working for two companies that wanted full-time efforts out of one person. While I enjoyed the show, it was tiring and I didn’t have the exploration time that I love (I also missed my annual Hooter’s lunch with my dear friend, AIAS Debby). E3 2015 will be different! I have some light freelance work and a bunch of meetings, but will certainly have lots of time to check out games.
I tried to load up as many E3 2015 meetings as I could on Tuesday (day one of the show). In years past, some of the best games I’ve seen were ones that I looked at because friends and respected colleagues told me to check them out. Bumping into someone between appointments and asking, “So what have you seen that’s cool?” has lead to some amazing revelations. I’ll rely heavily on that technique at E3 2015.
Some of my industry friends have been making fun of me and asking, “So? What indie game are you going to fall in love with this year?” Yeah, yeah, yeah — that’s totally deserved after being smitten with games like Journey, The Unfinished Swan and Sound Shapes during previous E3 shows. While I’m looking forward to the spectacle of big-budget games and the unique charm of indies, the game I’m looking forward to the most doesn’t fit into either category — Sword Coast Legends. As a huge mark for the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games, I can’t wait to learn more about this one.
As longtime RPadholics, I want to know what you want me to check out on your behalf. If I have access to the game and time allows, you’ll get your own personal preview. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you’d like me to check out at E3 2015.
Big Trouble in Little China is one of my all-time favorite movies (I’m talking top three). As a lifelong fan of pro-wrestling, I vowed to support any movie Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is involved with. When the rumor of The Rock starring in a remake of Big Trouble in Little China broke, I was immensely excited…and more than a little bit scared. On paper, it should be a movie that I love, but John Carpenter’s 1986 classic has elements that I expect a 2015 movie studio to completely miss.
You see, I have no doubt that The Rock would be brilliant as a modern day Jack Burton. Kurt Russell was fantastic in that role, playing the overconfident (wannabe) hero that thinks way too highly of his abilities and completely overestimates his prowess with the ladies. While I don’t think The Rock would be able to achieve the mesmerizingly charming dopiness that Russell pulled off, he’d be able to bring more physicality to the role, allowing the movie’s action to reach new heights (for the Jack Burton character, anyway).
The reason why Jack Burton is such a wonderful character is that he absolutely thinks he’s the hero, but is most certainly not. The true hero of Big Trouble in Little China is Wang Chi, subtly and expertly played by Dennis Dun. Dun’s Wang Chi has a quiet confidence; he’s much more capable than Jack Burton could ever be, but you’ll never hear him brag about that fact.
Should the Big Trouble in Little China remake happen, I completely expect Hollywood to fail in the casting of Wang Chi. I expect the studio to cast someone that’s too pretty and too willing to take a back seat to The Rock. With the way Hollywood has been casting Asian-Americans lately, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Wang Chi rewritten as 1/8th Chinese so that some caucasian pretty boy can play the role. As much as Jack Burton’s character made the original Big Trouble in Little China, Wang Chi was equally vital to the mix. The two characters and two actors complemented each other perfectly, in a way that few pairs in other buddy movies ever have.
So while I’m terribly excited for a Big Trouble in Little China remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m going to temper my expectations. I fully expect The Rock to make a kick-ass Jack Burton, but I’m worried about what Hollywood will do with Wang Chi. I fear that the new version of the character will lack the strength the original had and I fear that he won’t be the true hero of the story.
What do you guys and gals think? Are you amped for a Big Trouble in Little China remake? Any casting ideas for Wang Chi? Kindly share all your thoughts in the comments section, lest you be doomed to the hell of the upside down sinners. (The Chinese have a lot of hells.)
Last night’s boxing match (hard to call it a “fight”) between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was disappointing. The most lucrative bout in the sport’s history, it was pugilistic clinic by Mayweather that didn’t exactly electrify the crowd. While Manny had a few moments of flashy offense and stunned Mayweather a few times, “Money” dominated the fight. For various reasons, many Pacquiao fans aren’t giving Mayweather the credit he deserves. As a hardcore boxing fan, I find all the talk of “all Mayweather did was run” and “Mayweather was holding all night” incredibly annoying; it shows that many Filipino boxing fans — especially the ones that only watch Pacquiao fights — don’t understand the sport at all. Before I rant more about that, let’s get to the official particulars.
Judge Dave Moretti scored it 118-110, while judges Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements had it 116-112. I was scoring the fight and gave Pacquiao two rounds, matching Moretti’s score. I also put an asterisk next to two rounds, noting that they were tough to score, so the 116-112 scores seem reasonable to me.
According to CompuBox, Mayweather landed 148 of 435 punches (34 percent), while Pacquiao landed 81 of 429 punches (19 percent). With those numbers in mind, I find it hilarious that ignorant fans have accused Mayweather of “only” holding and running. While he certainly held more than ever before and fought backwards for the majority of the fight, he also landed 67 more punches than Pacquiao and was the more accurate fighter.
Clean Punching — Mayweather landed more shots and cleaner shots. He was accurate with his jab, straight counter-right, and check hook. Even when Manny managed to land combinations, many of his punches were partially blocked.
Effective Aggression — Many Pacquiao supporters claim that Manny should have gotten more credit for being the aggressor. While it’s obvious to anyone that Pacquiao was pushing the pace, he wasn’t aggressive in an effective manner. His low connect percentage reflects his ineffective aggression.
Ring Generalship — This is where Mayweather excelled and this is what’s lost on many Pacquiao fans. For the majority of the fight, Mayweather controlled the pace and distance. Again, the numbers support this. This was Pacquiao’s lowest and least accurate output for a 12-round fight; it had everything to do with Mayweather’s fantastic ability to control other fighters.
Keep in mind that I’m not a fan of Mayweather’s personality at all. I was rooting for Pacquiao and hoped that the God he prays to would bless him with a miracle. Even though I think Mayweather is a woman-beating piece-of-crap, his boxing ability is undeniably spectacular. The fight went pretty much how I thought it would — a dominant but unexciting boxing clinic by Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Many fans are denying Mayweather’s dominance of Pacquiao due to ignorance. They simply don’t understand the sport of boxing and their whining is irritating me. It makes it look like Filipinos are homers that have no idea what boxing is about — they just complain about holding and running, while ignoring punch output and ring generalship. If you judged the fight logically and objectively, the only reasonable conclusion is that Mayweather thoroughly outboxed Pacquiao.
Anyway, that’s my take on the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match and how some stupid fans have reacted to it. What did you think of the fight? Yeah, it was a snoozer, but I don’t see how anyone could deny Mayweather’s performance. If you watched the fight, please share your thoughts on it in the comments section.
After a trio of binge-watching sessions, I finally got around to finishing Daredevil on Netflix. The first of several direct-to-Netflix series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), all 13 episodes of Daredevil were released on the streaming service on April 10, 2015. A few of you RPadholics and many of my friends binge-watched the show over the release weekend, but I spaced out my viewing sessions (partially to savor it and partially due to other commitments). After finishing Daredevil and thinking about it for a day, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really, really enjoyed the series, but absolutely love what it does for the MCU. I’ll break down my likes and dislikes below, but first a bit on why I love what Daredevil means for the future of the MCU.
As I mentioned, Daredevil is the first of several Marvel series coming to Netflix. For various reasons, the company chose Netflix to highlight its “street level” superheroes. Following Daredevil, Netflix will have shows starring Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First. While the Avengers combat alien invasions, Captain America battles giant Nazi organizations, and Thor faces off against demigods, the street level heroes fight everyday crime. Daredevil beats on muggers, Luke Cage fights gangs, Jessica Jones has a private investigation firm, and Iron First has girly yellow slippers. I love that this facet of Marvel is being explored. While these heroes aren’t as powerful as a Norse god or a man in billion-dollar armor, they’re easier to relate to and arguably more interesting because of their vulnerabilities. The street level heroes are a brilliant contrast to the Avengers and help diversify the MCU.
I also love that all 13 episodes were released at once on Netflix. Yeah, you don’t have the weekly water-cooler chats about the show, but I love that I can watch as much Daredevil as I please whenever I please. People love to binge-watch these days and being able to binge-watch a brand new show is very, very cool.
Now let’s move on to some random thoughts (binary style!) about Daredevil. I know that many of you have finished the show already and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please share them in the comments section. Now activating binary mode. (Activate your spoiler shields!)
Good: I’m sure some parents’ and/or Christian groups will be appalled that I’m celebrating Daredevil’s violence, but that aspect of the show was unique compared to the violence in the MCU movies. Sure, Cap, Thor, and the gang take their fair share of punches, but the violence in Daredevil is far more bone-crunching. There are several episodes where you think the hero’s powers aren’t enhanced senses, but the ability to absorb a decade’s worth of ass-kicking in 30 minutes or less. Daredevil takes several beatings throughout the 13 episodes and unlike a Norse god getting smacked by a frost giant, you can imagine what those beatings were like.
Daredevil gives as good as he gets too (otherwise, he’d be dead after two episodes). The beatings Daredevil doles out are straight-up nasty and Kingpin’s use of a car door makes me a little bit scared of my Ford Focus Electric. Appropriately, the street level heroes face street level violence.
Bad: Television shows have a certain rhythm, usually planned around commercial breaks. Since direct-to-Netflix shows don’t have such annoyances, the directors are liberated. In some cases, the unusual pacing can be pleasantly surprising. In others, there are dull stretches. While I liked Daredevil’s lack of predictable beats, there were several episodes that could have been better with more traditional pacing. Sometimes giving directors and editors freedom isn’t the best.
Good: Kingpin absolutely ruled. Between Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance and the material he had to work with, this version of Kingpin is my favorite live-action portrayal of a comic-book villain ever. I’ve never watched a villain so nuanced and layered. D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was powerful, gentle, ruthless, caring, maniacal, child like, romantic, and sadistic. Sure, he had 13 episodes to develop the character, but his performance was flat-out impressive no matter how you slice it. It’s awesome how you can find be terrified of Kingpin in one scene and feel sorry him in a scene where he’s on an awkward date.
Bad: While Kingpin owned and the supporting cast was strong, I found Charlie Cox a little bland. In the comics, I enjoy reading as much about Matt Murdock as I do his alter ego. In the show, I couldn’t wait for Murdock to put on his costume and kick some ass. Part of it has to do with Cox’s stupid grin, which is just asking to be smacked. It’s not that he was bad; I just found the rest of the cast more entertaining.
Good: As I mentioned in the last paragraph, the supporting cast was strong. My favorite episode was probably the seventh, which featured Daredevil’s trainer Stick. I love this character in the comics and was thrilled to see him on television. Scott Glenn’s interpretation of stick was lots of fun.
A close second was the tenth episode, “Nelson vs. Murdock.” In the previous episodes, I enjoyed Elden Henson’s version of Foggy Nelson, but he killed it in this one. It would have been easy and lazy to rely on Foggy purely as comic relief. Having him challenge Matt — questioning his existence as Daredevil and their decades-long friendship — made for a powerful episode.
Good: There were lots of cute nods to fans of the comics. I loved the crack about Vanessa dating a guy that wore white suits with purple cravats (Kingpin’s traditional outfit in the comics). Mentions of the Greek girl Matt dated in college set the ground for a future appearance by Elektra. While Karen Page was victimized throughout the series, the use of heroin in the show made me worry that the writers will follow the books and make her an addict in the future. While they were forgettable asides for people new to Daredevil, they were also nice bits for longtime fans of the character to hear.
Bad: As expected, Daredevil took a few episodes to come together. The first few episodes ranged from decent to good. It wasn’t until the fifth episode that Daredevil really took off.
Good: Rosario Dawson is amazingly sexy.
Bad: Poor Ben Urich. I was hoping to see him in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, but his MCU version is no more. (Note to RPadholic Smartguy: Why aren’t you complaining about Daredevil Ben Urich being black?!? :p)
Good: I loved the way that the first season ended. Ultimately, it was about Wilson Fisk throwing away his altruistic (though misguided) side and truly becoming the Kingpin, just as much as it was about Matt Murdock finding his way (and an honest tailor) and fully becoming Daredevil. It was a great build that left me wanting more. On a side note, I’ve always wondered why other superheroes never messed with Daredevil on April 1, replacing his red costume with a turquoise and fuchsia getup…but perhaps that’s just me.
Good: While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Daredevil is the best part of the MCU (which some others have proclaimed), I very much enjoyed the show and love that it laid the groundwork for future street level exploits. Bring on Jewel Jessica Jones!
Last week, I made the decision to cut the cord and cancel my AT&T U-Verse TV service. The recent launch of HBO Now and the fairly recent launch of Sling TV precipitated the change. With those two streaming television services, I have access to Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, ESPN, and the first few rounds of the NBA playoffs — vital parts of my TV consumption. My existing Netflix (comp account) and Amazon Prime subscriptions already provide a great selection of movie and television content. HBO Now and Sling TV give me even more to choose from — certainly more than I need. When you add up all the subs, it’s still cheaper than my monthly U-Verse TV package.
One week in and I’m a happy camper. The Game of Thrones premiere streamed without a hitch, I’ve got my weekly dose of John Oliver, my lunchtime break of Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption continues, and I get to watch NBA games. While people had problems with Sling TV during March Madness and some people had issues with Game of Thrones on HBO Now last night, those services have been working flawlessly for me. I’m getting almost all the content I want and saving money!
Of course there are things that I’ll miss. Chief among them is live boxing. Unfortunately, HBO Now doesn’t feature the network’s live sports broadcasts. Showtime also has a bunch of live fights that I’d like to see. Since I’m no longer a U-Verse subscriber, I won’t have access to boxing pay-per-view events. Hopefully a solution will present itself in the future. For now, I’ll just have to go to bars or make drop-in visits to friends with cable in order to enjoy boxing. Keep in mind that all of this was expected. Being a hardcore boxing fan is really expensive. You need a cable or satellite subscription, premium networks, and pay-per-view to follow the sport live.
Cutting the cord has been liberating. It’s cheaper and (for the way I like to watch television) better. Yeah, I’ll be lumped in with those Silver Lake hipsters that love to brag about how they cut the cord years ago, but it only made sense for me now. Game of Thrones has been my favorite TV show for the last four years and there’s a bunch of other HBO content that I love (despite the presence of the wretched Olivia Munn). HBO Now gives me all of that. With baseball kicking off and the NBA playoffs starting, this is my favorite time of the year for sports. Sling TV has me covered. Watching TV solely through streaming services is less expensive and kind of cool in that “Hey, look at me! I’m a futurist!” way. For my television habits, Netflix and Amazon Prime were a great start, but HBO Now and Sling TV sealed the deal.
I know that RPadholic Smartguy has cut the cord. Care to give an update on how your experience is going? For you other guys and dolls, what would it take for you to cancel your traditional cable service and go full streaming? Leave a comment and let me know (please)!
The surprise was on a couple of levels. While I’m a fan of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Brian Michael Bendis), I didn’t think these characters were mainstream enough for a mass hit. Despite the monosyllabic talking tree and the haughty talking raccoon, that’s exactly what happened. Guardians slaughtered the box office and was generally well reviewed by mainstream media outlets.
The other surprise was Dave Bautista. As a longtime pro-wrestling fan that prefers skilled technicians over musclebound oafs, I’ve loathed Bautista for more than a decade. He sucked in the ring and on the mic for the WWE. I was certain that he’d suck in Guardians of the Galaxy. His performance was…shocking. Obviously Big Dave was made for action scenes, but I was astounded by his comedic timing. He delivered some great lines in the movie and I’m still astounded that his acting was entertaining.
As I’ve written a few times in the past, I believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior movie from technical and writing standpoints. That said, Guardians is way more fun and re-watchable. Since their digital releases, I’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice and…you know, I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve watched Guardians, but it’s definitely more than 10.
With its fantastic special effects, outstanding use of music, and fun performances, Guardians of the Galaxy gets my pick as nerd movie of the year.
The LEGO Movie — This one was a surprise. I was expecting a saccharine movie for kids, but got a clever and heartfelt film. LEGO Batman ruled. “Everything is Awesome” ruled. The LEGO Movie was a smart and funny movie that’s great for children of all ages, and one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in years.
Birdman — I need to watch this movie again…several times. The writing and performances were great, but the camerawork was mesmerizing. The way the movie was filmed, it looks like a couple of really long tracking shots. Some have argued that it appears to be one tracking shot. Birdman is strange, powerful, and dazzling…but I’m still not sure what I saw. This movie definitely needs repeat viewings.
Your Turn — As always, I want to hear about your favorite movies of 2014. Fire away in the comments section (please!).