Episode 54 – Throw Owen from the Train (Wes Anderson films)

February 26, 2010

Wes Anderson. You know him. He helped start that whole quirky indie comedy thing which doesn’t seem to be going away.

He’s the guy who makes films about rich douchebags with trivial problems. Movies generally populated by a baker’s dozen of  Holden Caufields all grown up and still douchebags. Which is what’s both good and bad about them. It certainly can be a hurdle. Not so much a nerd hurdle as a douche hurdle. Which really could be it’s own podcast.

Which Episode 54 pretty much is. Since we really don’t get around to talking about Wes Anderson films (which are actually quite good). But after discussing vaginal hairstyles we do talk about…

This compilation of 20 years of anti-drunk driving ads from TAC. And how it’s juxtaposed with Australia’s draconian internet policy (which might block Nerd Hurdles by way of our compadres, Hooked):

And about Gretzky lighting the Olympic thinger. Not Michael J. Fox.

Mandi also impresses with her recital of the complete lyrics to The Maple Leaf Forever  and Scotland the Brave.

Unfinished Business. Thank the gods that business is now finished. We finally know why Apollo actually got fat and the worst UST in TV history has been resolved. Don’t listen if you haven’t gotten past disc 3 of season 3.

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Flynn Lives!

February 25, 2010

 

The makers of Tron 2 are raising the bar for nerdgasmic marketing events. Check out the video in the “Flynn Lives Meet-up” post for proof. I think the line “I’ve been waiting since I was 12 to play Space Paranoids and there it was” says it all. These guys know their target demographic like the back of their hand.

At 4pm EST today, tickets are being released through the Flynn Lives site for some kind of secretive IMAX pre-screening events worldwide. Nerds in the know will be on that.


Worse Than Fanfic?

February 24, 2010

Something has been brought to our attention which is actually a step below mary-sue fanfic. It’s ghostwritten mary-sue fanfic and it comes from www.bookbyyou.com. But the horror doesn’t stop there. They’re not even proper mary-sues! They’re mary-sues set in faux-fandoms!

For obvious copyright reasons they can’t just plop you into Bella’s spot in Twilight, but there seems to be a variety of Twilightesque titles at the moment. There’s also Pirates of the Carribeanesque titles and something that appears to be trying to suggest Star Trek. Vaguely.

Near as we can tell, there’s a questionnaire you fill out from which the characters’ names, hair and eye colour are changed to fit the IRL versions of you and your friends. Kind of like Mad-Libs, only more gingy.

Book By You does have “kids book” options and those could conceivably be really great gifts for children. Really, this sounds like an idea that would be great applied to Choose Your Own Adventures. That could actually be a lot of fun.

But the thought of a 35-year-old woman having herself inserted—by someone else or, possibly, a computer—into a pre-written pirate romance hurts the soul in a previously uncharted way. It’s stuff like this that makes the Cylons hate us.


Episode #53: Schlock Holmes

February 19, 2010

There’s a certain type of nerd who adores Mr. Sherlock Holmes. This variety of nerd is called the Holmesian. Unlike most fandoms, Holmesians don’t just write fanfic, they get into the weeds and write Holmesian Studies.

What do we deduce from the detective’s devoted disciples? What makes Sherlock Holmes an object of such fascination as to inspire people to write speculative essays about the character 123 years after his first appearance?

It’s elementary. Holmes is clearly a high-functioning autistic savant and a role-model for persons of a similar persuasion.

Curiously, the latest cinematic incarnation of the character (Guy Ritchie‘s 2009 film Sherlock Holmes) both highlights and downplays this aspect of Holmes. Where previous depictions of Holmes showed him to be a man of thought rather than action, Ritchie paints Sherlock as a man of action who does his thinking largely off-screen.

Robert Downey, Jr. adds enough awkwardness to his Hugh Jackman impression to indicate Holmes’ genius comes from a  difficult place, but Ritchie has him too busy jumping in and out of explosions to really develop the character. It’s too bad since given room—and time—to breathe, he could have been a fascinating interpretation. Of a character who really isn’t Sherlock Holmes at all.

It’s somewhat of an odd move. Though a detective who solves a crime by observation and quiet introspection might not be box-office fodder in 2010, that’s who Sherlock Holmes is. To change, or heavily downplay, that aspect of the character is to actually make a movie about someone else entirely. Unlike J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek, which stuck to at least the spirit of the original series, Ritchie’s film really is HINO (Holmes-In-Name-Only).

Even the basic structure of the film is wrong for a Holmes story. What is a Holmes story? A mystery, right? There is no mystery in Ritchie’s film. You’re told everything that’s going on from the beginning. It’s a thriller. The thrills come from dramatic irony—the audience knows what Holmes does not. The trademark of a good Holmes story is Holmes knows everything and the audience is left to figure it out (alongside Watson) until the big reveal in the final act.

By the time Sherlock makes his big reveal in this film, he just looks like an idiot because the audience has known what’s been going on for about 45 minutes. The cartoonish villain had laid out his cartoonish plan to his cartoonish minions in monosyllabic words so small children could understand without disturbing other members of the audience by making their parents explain it to them.

It’s ultimately too bad the movie was called Sherlock Holmes. Simply giving the character a new name would have given us an interesting new Victorian era action-hero. Though, in that case, I’d be knocking him for being derivative of Holmes, wouldn’t I?

This week we watched disc 2 of Season Three. Don’t listen if you haven’t gotten this far. Starbuck and Apollo turn into total douchebags, each in their own ways. Daddy Adama utters gruff, meaningless epithets. Characters you know aren’t going to get killed off, don’t get killed off. It’s business as usual back on board the Battlestar Galactica.


Igor and Banantastic!

February 17, 2010

Someone said fanart is worse than fanfic, but we disagree. This is the best Valenwhine’s gift ever!

So great, I couldn’t help making a video out of it!


What would Barbara Adams do?

February 16, 2010

If Barbara Adams were Camille, she’d buy a T-shirt from the Nerd Hurdles store and then blog about it.


Episode 52: Valenwhine’s Day

February 12, 2010

Why is Valentine’s Day such a bad holiday? If for no other reason it’s because these exist. Also, emotional scars from grade two which NEVER GO AWAY.

Thank the gods, BSG got good again in Season Three. Our faith was rewarded. Starbuck as a desperate housewife! Colonel T-eye! Uncharacteristically crazy Amanda Plummer! And yet…

Except I don’t. Other than the WTF cackles he provided me.


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