Back when I worked at a different magazine (no longer in business) we always did that thing that magazines do to fill space to inform the reader: the year-end review. I miss those halcyon days of arguing whether the year’s “Worst Plot Twist” was a child a woman didn’t remember giving birth to, or a the latest perfect doppelganger in town. So I’m going to indulge a little a make up a Best/Worst List of Stuff I’m Interested In – which, if you’ve been reading along at home, could be just about anything.
Worst Stalled Negotiations: Forget the so-called “fiscal cliff” – we still haven’t had any NHL hockey! I hope the league owners will realize what greedy idiots they have been in the coming days and back the hell off their unreasonable demands. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is the devil.
My beloved New York Football Giants won their last game of the season today, but were eliminated from playoff contention when Chicago defeated Detroit. (Also, Minnesota beat Green Bay, but that was just overkill.) My brother and I were at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., this afternoon, cheering with our applause muffled by gloves as Big Blue plucked the hated Philadelphia Eagles, 42-7.
Of course the Giants were the defending Super Bowl champions, and now will not get a chance to repeat last year’s exciting run to the Lombardi Trophy. They just did not play well enough.
This is an amusing little animated mash-up of DOCTOR WHO and the Back to the Future franchise. It doesn’t really make much sense, but the cartooning style is fun and dynamic, and the little touches – like the Adipose, the (I suppose) Judoon Biff, “Auton Detailing,” the “Save the Clock Tower” badge on the Angel and the absolutely badass final image of the TARDIS team on the train (with K9 motoring alongside) goes a long way toward salvaging the whole enterprise.
The Dark Knight Rises really was not at the top of my must-see list for 2012 — it was closer the to the middle of the pack — but that’s no excuse for the film to be more disappointing than any other feature I screened this year. It’s particularly bad because the superhero flicks The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man turned out far better than I had anticipated.
This video clip sums up the more obvious sins of TDKR in about 3 minutes.
Gerry Anderson with his pals, the Thunderbirds
It just keeps getting worse as entertainment legends continue to die. I don’t want to write another one of these. On the heels of the deaths of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning comes word that Gerry Anderson — creator of SPACE: 1999, UFO, THUNDERBIRDS and so many more science fiction TV series — died Dec. 26 at age 83 after a battling Alzheimer’s disease.
Anderson created the instantly recognizable Supermarionation process, using stiff, jerky puppets on strings to bring to life such shows as FIREBALL XL-5 and CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERONS. Anderson embraced the limits of his inanimate “actors” and made many of the storylines as outrageous as the puppets themselves. Somehow, the wacky stories made more sense with puppets; it was almost like winking at the audience.
They say celebrity deaths come in threes, but when it comes to the passing of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning on Dec. 24, two is way more than enough for me. Both character actors were invaluable to Hollywood, and I loved the work each of them did.
Klugman’s was probably the more recognizable name, and he had more success on the small screen, as sloppy Oscar Madison on THE ODD COUPLE and as the dogged medical examiner on QUINCY, M.E. Durning’s most enduring movie moment was playing the scoundrel governor in film adaptation of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Durning’s show-stopping song-and-dance was so impressive it must be seen to be appreciated:
We were treated to one of the rarest of events here in the hollowed-out volcano stronghold of “Read at Joe’s” — a white Christmas! Yes, it’s not much (and the evidence was disappearing before my eyes), but it’s something.
It snowed very lightly late last night — so lightly that I could not capture an effective image of it — but I was glad to see that at least some of the snow survived the dawn.
Happy Christmas to all!
The modern version of Santa Claus derives a lot of its imagery from Clement C. Moore’s 1822 poem, “The Visit From St. Nicholas” (known today as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”), and one of the enduring images of Santa is “a right jolly old elf” who smokes: “a stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth/ And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.”
St. Nick’s association with tobacco goes back a long way, and is even more closely linked to cigarettes than pipes; good ol’ Santa has long been an advertising icon for coffin nails in the USA.
AMC has ordered a fourth season of the zombie thriller THE WALKING DEAD, but Glen Mazzara, the executive producer who took over the series early in the second season and guided it to unprecedented ratings this season, will not be back next year.
This despite the fact that TWD won the adults 18-49 demo over every other show (cable and broadcast) on TV this fall. In fact, TWD is the first cable show to outright beat the broadcast programs in its time slot.
You can blame that old standby, creative differences. (TWD seems especially vulnerable to that condition, since original show-runner Frank Darabont barely lasted into the second season.) The network cited “differences of opinion” on where the show should go next.
Mazzara will be sticking around to finish postproduction on season three before moving on. The second half of the third season kicks off on Feb. 10. About 15.2 million people watched the Dec. 2 midseason finale of TWD — a number most broadcast execs would eat human flesh to attain.
Leave it to Twitter to source the “first look” image of Tom Hardy as the title character from Mad Max: Fury Road, in which he replaces Mel Gibson as former cop Max Rockatansky for the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise. Looks to be an autographed photo for a fan.
Director George Miller has been placating fans with images of the incredible vehicles to be featured in the movie, and while some industrious spies have been able to peep shots of Charlize Theron’s crew-cut hairstyle her character sports, until now, Hardy’s “new look” Max has been kept completely under wraps.
After seeing it, I have to wonder why they bothered. Hardy just looks like a dusty Gibson, with the scarf and the big knife in the holster being the obvious costume differences. Max sill looks to be wearing leathers to me. It’s kinda disappointing, actually. Of course that could be because, honest to Cthulhu, I don’t know what Tom Hardy looks like in real life! This could be his stunt double, for all I know. I do want to know if Hardy will he recite his lines in a muffled, Bane-like mumble?
Here’s the studio synopsis of the flick:
“Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived.”
Mad Max: Fury Road opens in 2013, but an exact date has not been revealed.