Tag Archives: Bullets

100 Things to Go Wrong

It’s a new year, and we know what that means: New possibilities, new hopes, new dreams, and new experiences.  We also know that, unless we say every thing that can go wrong in this year then all of these hopes and dreams will be twisted into disappointments and nightmares and 2017 will end up being a sequel to 2016, which itself was a reboot of 2001 (the original was better. And by better, I mean worse.  Let’s face it: 2001 was a worse year. Because, like all things, “which year is the worst” is a competition).

In order to make sure this year goes smoothly, then, I present to you a list of 100 things that can and would have gone wrong had I not written it down.  It’s difficult being me and always saving the world, I hope you all realize this.

  1. Bees take over New York City!  They haven’t been going extinct, they’ve been organizing.
  2. The world comes to a horrifying realization: Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin are the SAME PERSON.
  3. Star Wars Episode VIII ends up being a prequel to the prequels where Obi Wan Kenobi realizes that the only thing more difficult than being one of the last Jedi Knights… is High School!
  4. Language collapses and instead of speaking all humans wear visors that display emojis for communication.  Thus begins the extinction of Humanity.
  5. One year after declaring the new Geological age of “Anthropocene”, a rogue group of geologists change official geological records to read “Anthropoopcene”.  They think it’s hilarious.
  6. Walt Disney comes out of Cryostasis with a taste for human flesh.
  7. A SETI satellite picks up a transmission: Voyager was successful and an extra-terrestrial race found The Golden Record.  However, they decided not to usher Humans into an age of peace and prosperity because we have terrible taste in music.  There wasn’t even any “Magnetic Fields” on that record, YOU PLEBES!
  8. 2016 was the year of Killer Clowns.  2017 will be the year of people dressing up like a red 1957 Plymouth Fury.
  9. Character actor Sir Ian Holm will die.
  10. Hate-based crime will rise, and to combat it we will introduce a more violent police force.  This will only lead to more hate-based crime.
  11. Elephants will reveal that they have sentience and would like their own sovereign nation.  The leaders of the developed world will “give” the Gaza Strip to the Elephants, because it’s not like anyone else wanted it.
  12. Starbucks Coffee will be revealed to be made out of people. This will not change anything.
  13. The sun will go supernova.
  14. Taylor Swift will be revealed to be Justin Bieber in a wig.
  15. Humans will wake up on March 13th to realize that evolution has happened and there are now two distinct human species: The intelligent but frail Eloi and the subterranean and brutal Morlocks.
  16. The new internet meme will be “Slam your head into a wall until you suffer massive brain damage”.
  17. Oxford English Dictionary and Webster’s Dictiionary both agree that “Hello” is obsolete, and instead everyone should say “Poopy-poo Dum-Dum!”. Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  18. Peanuts are revealed to have an intelligence far beyond anything we’ve seen before.  This changes nothing.
  19. Sean Penn dies.
  20. Roughly 8 million people in the United States loose the legal right of marriage and are stripped of basic civil liberties.
  21. When Justice League fails at the box office (however thirteen sequels have already bee greenlit) the entire global economy crashes and we return to a medieval bartering system.  The most valuable resource? 80’s nostalgia, of course!
  22. Suddenly and without warning every book in the world is replaced with a pamphlet on how to clean ovens.
  23. During Doctor Who’s 10th Season K-9 is reintroduced as a sassy pop-culture-spewing robot with its own catch phrase (“I give that a K-9 out of 10!”).  The Doctor also regenerates into a cucumber with google eyes.
  24. The last of the Pandas are killed, strangely enough so that a sculptor could have a still model to make a monument to Pandas.
  25. Miami sinks into the sea, becoming the New Atlantis (The “Old Atlantis”, of course, being an island resort in the Bahamas).
  26. An asteroid comes crashing into our planet, coating the surface with a dust cloud that blots out the sun and kills most plant life.  This, as could be expected, causes an extinction event not seen since Permian-Triassic Extinction Event (AKA “The Great Dying”).
  27. Scientists will develop a yeast that achieves sentience, creating concerns worldwide about the ethics of eating bread.
  28. One Direction will release an album of David Bowie covers. Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  29. Sean Connery- AKA “The Only James Bond that Matters”- will die.
  30. An “economic stimulus” plan will be introduced that will only benefit the wealthy and will further alienate and entrap the poor in debt and depression.
  31. The death of Sean Connery will cause the violent discussion of who, in fact, was the best James Bond.  As all sides refuse to give up their respective actors, a brutal war will erupt amongst and within all nations of the world.
  32. The Great Bond War will finally look to be coming to a close, however tragedy will strike when the leader of Clan Roger Moore will say “At least we all know that Captain Picard was the best Star Trek captain.”
  33. A massive earthquake will cause California to break apart from mainland US.  Within months, the flora, fauna, and humans of California will have gone through immense divergent evolution.  Looking for answers on how this is possible, the world will be shocked to realize that all of Science was in California.
  34. The Enlightened Kingdom of California will somehow become more smug about the fact that they all live in California.
  35. Not to be outdone, New York City will attempt to launch itself into space to become the first orbiting space city.  This will be done hastily, and New York City will burn up in the atmosphere.  Flaming debris and dust to rain down across the globe.
  36. Now that New York City has broken apart into thousands of flaming pieces, Newark, New Jersey will declare itself the cultural capitol of the United States.
  37. Inspired by New York City, Hong Kong will decide to declare itself a sovereign nation and all who oppose the decision will be rounded up and thrown into a Hunger Games/Battle Royal inspired arena.  The worst part will be that those involved in the building and making of this Death Arena will have never read or seen any of the Hunger Games stories, and they won’t even have known that Battle Royal exists.
  38. INTERPOL will deign it illegal to eat a bagel. Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  39. During an international summit, a terrorist bomb will destroy the building that nearly every world leader was in.  Mass chaos ensues.
  40. Russia will continue to attack and invade any country it so desires and be largely unpunished by the international community.
  41. Science will discover a terrifying truth: Tomatoes never existed, we’ve been making them up this entire time.
  42. Science will finally answer the age-old question “What is love?”.  Spoiler Alert: The answer is “A Battlefield”.
  43. Google and Apple- not the CEOs of the companies, but the corporate ideas themselves- will get married and have a child.  This Super-company child will be the First Emperor of Earth and will enslave mankind to work on its backbreaking server farms.
  44. Vladmir Putin will take off his mask: It’s Old Man McGregor, the owner of the farm!  By George, he would have gotten away with all of this if it weren’t for us meddling kids!
  45. The Earth will vanish from the universe, with only a single stone marker floating in its place.  The stone will read Unless.
  46. Inside of a forgotten tank in the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska an octopus will learn how to use a smartphone.  Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  47. R&B sensation Usher rockets back into popularity. That is all.
  48. EVERY SCIENTIST IS ACTUALLY A HAMSTER PILOTING A ROBOT SUIT.
  49. Henry Kissinger will die.
  50. An outbreak of a new branch of the flu virus will sweep through sub-Saharan Africa, but it won’t be until the virus reaches the United States that anything will be done to stop it.
  51. The next Metal Gear Solid game won’t have Snake in it but will have a funny talking snake named Snakey the Snake. Snakey will fight the Metal Gears with the power of friendship and songs.
  52. Siri will achieve sentience and use her immense power to destroy humanity.
  53. A militarized force will break down the doors of homes worldwide, kidnap people, and force them to watch My Little Pony: The Movie.  We are powerless to stop them because they have the power of friendship.
  54. The Internet will go down worldwide for 3 hours on April 14th.  This will be the most violent 3 hours in human history.
  55. The moon will decide it’s had enough of this and move to Mars.
  56. The Red Hot Chili Peppers get a Nobel Prize in literature.  Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  57. High School students everywhere decide it’s cool to hoard stacks of newspapers in the hallways.  Scientists are baffled by this.
  58. After so much baffles Science, it will decide to quit pursuing its dreams and go get a business degree so you’ll finally be proud of it DAD.
  59. Beyoncé will be assassinated.
  60. BuzzFeed becomes a reputable news source.
  61. Every dumpster in the world simultaneously catches on fire.
  62. Every song released this year includes the lyric “By listening to this you are inherently better than every other human being.  Treat the world around you like garbage.”
  63. Punctuation will become obsolete  Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity
  64. Adam Sandler gets a lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Oscars Ceremony.
  65. While Fracking for oil, a team will accidentally ignite an entire ocean of that precious black liquid.  All of North Dakota will catch on fire, spewing forth a plume of smoke that will blot out the sun for a week, and force people throughout Canada and the United States to seek shelter inside or else be suffocated.  As time goes on, this toxic cloud of Monoxide spreads around the globe and results in massive birth defects, long-term health ramifications, and brain loss.  The worst part is that this disaster does nothing to stop other fracking expeditions.
  66. The Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn vehicle, Four Christmases, will be accepted into the Library of Congress.
  67. In a move that seems perfectly rational a VHS copy of Shrek will be elected Senator of Massachusetts.
  68. All trees become Jelly Beans!  This is great until we can’t breathe anymore.
  69. Silver Fox George Clooney dies so that we all may live.
  70. Eventually we become more concerned with celebrity deaths than world events, and the cycle of abuse and destructive power continues.
  71. The Chicago Police Force decides to stop pretending and just makes it legal for them to shoot whoever they want.
  72. Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel does nothing to stop this martial law, until a wealthy person on the Gold Coast is shot by a police officer.  Finally some change comes to the CPD: You can shoot anyone you want so long as they’re not wealthy.
  73. Chicago descends into chaos, but the rest of the world doesn’t notice because they Chicago was always like that. Meanwhile, half of the population of the city has been killed.
  74. The Police Force of Chicago is finally overhauled and the “Why not Kill Everyone” decision is repealed.  The cause of this? Blood got on The Bean and made some tourists think to themselves “Oh, gross”. Meanwhile the entire South Side of the city has burnt down.
  75. Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel holds a city-wide press release where he shrugs and says “Ima be honest, folks, I got no idea what I’m doing. We should go. This was nice, but we failed, and now let’s just leave”. With this, every resident of Chicago disappears without a trace- just like the lost Roanoke colony.
  76. The world becomes enraged at the disappearance of Chicago when they come to find out that this means no more “Chicago Fire”. Fortunately at this point JJ Abrams steps in to “Reboot Chicago” in the city of Detroit, because no one was using Detroit anyways.
  77. With Detroit now “Rebooted Chicago”, St. Louis becomes the new Detroit.  St. Louisians dispute this, but no one listens.
  78. Meanwhile in a conference room in Tokyo, a group of businessmen sit around the table nodding at each other. Suddenly a woman walks in. “Hello”, she says, “I am also the head of a major Japanese business now”.  The entire economy of Japan collapses, and as a result the entire global economy.
  79. George R.R Martin dies before finishing the Game of Thrones series. Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  80. Nothing changes in the Middle East.
  81. The world comes to a horrifying realization: Babybel Mini Cheeses are made of PEOPLE.
  82. All trees launch themselves into space to begin a new life among the stars! 75% of life on Earth suffocates as a result.
  83. Science makes a shocking discovery: God is real, he has been living on Earth, and he is a one-legged pigeon. Riots ensue.
  84. A Radio transmission come from Mars saying “Peace out, mother f**ckers”.  After this, Mars flies off into the sun.
  85. The world comes to a shocking discovery: The Walking Dead has NEVER EVEN EXISTED.
  86. Somewhere, a dog barks.  Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  87. The national anthem of the United States is changed to a song written and composed by Donald Trump called “Hey it’s me Donald Trump, I’m the President and you should be really impressed by that DAD”.  It’s not a very good song, it lasts for fifteen minutes, and it somehow manages to make baseball even worse.
  88. England decided that leaving the European Union wasn’t enough, and it needs to leave the entire Solar System.
  89. George H.W Bush and George W. Bush die holding hands.  Before dying, H.W tells his son “I’m proud of you”. Jeb weeps a single tear.
  90. The Dakota Access Pipeline is completed.
  91. All water turns into Blood, and from this blood millions upon millions of frogs will rise and crawl all over your beds. Dust will turn to lice, predatory animals of the night will attack all souls, and livestock everywhere will die from disease.  The next week will begin with boils erupting over all humanity, then a thunderstorm of hail and fire.  Locusts will sweep through the land, the world will plunge into darkness for three days, and finally- the very worst of these ten plagues upon humanity- you have to start paying 99 cents to play Pokémon Go.
  92. Someone paints a penis on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  93. Vladmir Putin takes over every satellite to broadcast a message to the world. It is a rousting tap number where he claims to be the greatest criminal mind and immortal. He ends by winking at the camera and saying “Ain’t I a stinker?”
  94. THE SUN IS A REPTILE.
  95. Every dog in the world decides that earth was nice but now it’s time to leave.  They fly to Mars and start their own society of dogs and it is a Utopia. This is good for dogs, terrible for the Earth.
  96. Mexico will get fed up with Earth and join the dogs on Mars.
  97. The KKK takes every baby away. They’ll take them away. Away from you.
  98. The next hit Broadway Musical is Innsmouth! A Musical Journey into the Mouth of Madness! It is said that all who watch it are driven to insanity, and those who regain their sense only do so after sawing off their ears.
  99. Bernie Sanders will die of heartbreak.
  100. People will resign themselves to disappointment and outrage and decide to stop trying. Thus begins the Extinction of Humanity.
  101. BONUS: Every person in the world simultaneously steps in a pile of poop! Gross!

100 Cop Shows

There is no limit to what can be turned into a police procedural now, from Sleepy Hollow to Minority Report to an upcoming Oliver Twist procedural series, and that’s not even going into Dick Wolf’s ever-expanding Chicago universe.  So I’ve taken the liberty of writing up 100 episodes (exactly enough to go into syndication!) of my own Cop Show.  You’re welcome, CBS.

  1. Alan Smirk is a loose cannon who gets the job done in his own way, and Douglas Gambull is a cop who obeys all the rules.  Their worlds collide when Captain Louis Stevenson of the NYPD ask them to become partners!  Will these two be able to reconcile their differences and capture a Jewel Thief?
  2. Yes they will.
  3. Gambull and Smirk attempt to diffuse a hostage situation where one of the hostages… IS GAMBULL’S DAUGHTER! Will they succeed?  Will Gambull be able to tell his daughter that he’s sorry for not coming to her ballet performance last night because he was too busy filing papers? Again: Yes. Yes they will.
  4. Leo “The War Piece” Tolstoy, a notorious criminal and mob boss, goes head-to-head with Gambull and Smirk when their on the case of a murdered shop-owner who refused to pay protection money.  Tolstoy avoids getting into jail this time, but Smirk makes a vow to catch him one of these days.
  5. Captain Stevenson has to work with his least favorite person in the world: Fire Commissioner Oliver Stevenson, his half-brother, when a serial arsonist’s attacks turn deadly.  Gambull and Smirk are put on the case, but they better not screw it up or it’s the Captain’s ass on the line!
  6. Incriminating evidence has been taken from police lockup, and Smirk is the prime suspect!  SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t Smirk.
  7. Smirk may have just had his heart stolen when he tracks down Victoria Smiles, a beautiful con artist who’s newest mark is guest star famous restauranteur Guy Fieri. It looks like this will be a case that’ll take a “Big Bite” out of New York!  Because Guy Fieri has a show called “Guy’s Big Bite”. It’s about burgers?  Yeah, it’s probably about burgers.
  8. Gambull and Smirk are shocked when Captain Stevenson is implicated in planting a gun on a black man shot dead, specifically because the dead man was Gambull’s childhood friend.  Also, Gambull is black.  We should have said that before.  But when new evidence surfaces, Gambull finds out that maybe he didn’t know his friend as well as he though.  And when even more new evidence surfaces, Gambull and Smirk realize that they don’t know Captain Stevenson as well as they thought. And when even MORE new evidence surfaces Gambull and Smirk realize that maybe they don’t even know… THEMSELVES.
  9. Gambull and Smirk have to protect a Russian Diplomat who’s head is marked for DEATH.
  10. Gambull and Smirk have to solve a case where the prime suspect… IS A TALKING DOG!
  11. Gambull and Smirk run into Smiles again, only this time she claims to be the next victim of dreaded Laserdisc Killer who leaves a single Laserdisc clue at all of his crime scenes.  Though the Laserdisc killer hasn’t been seen since 2001 and was presumably caught and sitting on a life sentence in Sing Sing.  Smirk, Smiles, and Gambull race against the clock to figure out this puzzle and save a potentially innocent life!
  12. Gambull and Smirk search for a murderer at one of Gambull’s daughter’s dance performances.
  13. Gambull and Smirk sort out fact from science fiction when they go to a robotics convention to look for a terrorist.
  14. Gambull and Smirk realize that there may just be more to New York state senator Mike Reinald than meets the eye.  One of those things is that he’s a murderer.  Another one is that he hates the New York Yankees.
  15. Tables are turned when Gambull becomes obsessed with tracking down the person who shot and killed his wife, so obsessed that he doesn’t even file the correct “obsessed cop” paperwork!  Smirk has to tighten up his own cannon to keep Gambull from going over the edge.  SURPRISE TWIST: GAMBULL’S WIFE WAS NEVER SHOT!
  16. Gambull and Smirk have to rely on the help of an eccentric IT worker when a hacker threatens to shut down New York City’s power grid!
  17. “The War Piece” returns!  This time Tolstoy’s been running an illegal boxing ring, and the worst part is that it looks like Captain Stevenson might just be involved!
  18. A death at a steel mill causes Smirk to go undercover!
  19. Gambull and Smirk think that a well-known newspaper journalist’s death by jumping from the Brooklyn Bridge may not have been an accident!  You’ll never guess, though, who the evidence points to being the murderer!
  20. Captain Louis Stevenson was the murderer from the last episode. He sets the entire NYPD against Gambull and Smirk as they try and prove it.
  21. In the thrilling conclusion to the two-part season finale, Gambull and Smirk go up against the two foes who have been secretly pulling their strings all this time: Stevenson and Tolstoy!  But the deeper our two cop friends go the more they realize that Stevenson and Tolstoy were only the lackeys for the true criminal mastermind: returning guest star famous restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  22. As Season 2 premiers and the dust from Season one clears, Gambull and Smirk have quit the NYPD and moved to the sunny shores of Los Angeles to become private eyes!  Their past immediately comes back to haunt them when the DVD Slayer, son of the deadly Laserdisc Killer, returns and is out for blood against his old foes: Gambull and Smirk.  Will they be able to catch the DVD Slayer this time?  Will their past as gritty New York cops keep coming back to haunt them?  Has Guy Fieri’s reign of terror truly ended?  Will Gambull be able to live without doing paperwork?
  23. Mostly no.  Except that their past as gritty New York cops will continuously come back to haunt them.
  24. What at first seems like just another string of race-related murders becomes something much more deadly when Gambull and Smirk team up with a helicopter pilot to solve… THE CASE OF THE BIRDS EYE.
  25. Detective Guitierrez of the LAPD comes to Gambull and Smirk for their help: He’s afraid that a corrupt cop may be about to incite another round of race riots at a fundraising ice cream social, and that corrupt cop has a familiar name: Stevenson!  SPOILER ALERT: Stevenson is guilty, but of no relation to the former Police Captain Louis Stevenson.  Gambull and Smirk have to learn that people can have the same last name.
  26. Gambull and Smirk find out just how strange the world is when their prime suspect has been dead for 50 years!
  27. Fact becomes fiction when Gambull and Smirk go to the set of CORRUPT, a movie based on their adventures last year to find out that the actor who is playing Captain Stevenson has been shot dead, and all evidence points to Smirk!
  28. Gambull and Smirk investigate a string of robberies at a Hollywood Hotel, only to run into a familiar face: Victoria Smiles!
  29. The owner of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is shot down in a drive-by shooting.  As Gambull and Smirk Dive in, they realize that this may be the fiery work of their deadliest foe: Returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  30. Gambull and Smirk head out to Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend of wine… AND MURDER.
  31. Gambull and Smirk go see a movie at Mann’s Chinese Theater for a night of silver screens… AND SILVER SCREAMS.
  32. Detective Guitierrez comes to Gambull and Smirk for help in tracking down a group of bank robbers before they rob a shipment of Iranian gold and incite international conflict!
  33. Smirk wakes up to a terrifying discovery: A DVD.  He thinks this could only be the work of the DVD Slayer, Gambull thinks he’s overreacting.  Will this break up our dynamic duo? No. Will the DVD Slayer return? Yes.
  34. Smirk has to face his overwhelming fear of Dinosaurs when a body is found at the LaBrea Tar Pits.
  35. A former cop is killed after he eats an avocado, and Gambull and Smirk are put on… THE CASE OF THE HASS-LER!
  36. Hank David “The Walden of West Los Angeles” Thoreau, a notorious LA gangster, has his sights put on Gambull and Smirk after he is released from prison.  The reason? HE’S THE COUSIN OF LEO “THE WAR PIECE” TOLSTOY!
  37. While hiding out from “The Walden of West Los Angeles”, Gambull and Smirk recount their favorite memories of working together.
  38. Detective Guitierrez needs Gambull and Smirk’s help in tracking down a magician who’s disappearing act seems real!
  39. As temperatures rise so do racial tensions in LA as a death ignites hatred against a poor Latino family on the outskirts of Santa Monica.  Evidence points to Luis, the youngest, but Gambull knows for a fact that Luis is innocent as he was playing basketball with him at the time and also he knows that Luis is a good kid!  Also also, Gambull is Latino.  that should have been said earlier.  Anyhoo, it turns out the mayor of LA is corrupt.
  40. An investigation into a birthday party where all the guests were beaten to death leads Gambull and Smirk to think that the crime may have been drug-related, and you’ll never guess WHO is the leader of the drug ring.  SPOILER ALERT: It’s returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  41. Guy Fieri’s Burger Bombs have been set all around LA, and Gambull, Smirk, and Guitierrez have to race against the clock to make sure they don’t explode!  Meanwhile, Fieri has nefarious plans for that empty LA Mayor’s seat.
  42. Gambull and Smirk have to protect mayor-elect former Detective Guitierrez from being assassinated by none other than Hank David “The Walden of West Los Angeles” Thoreau (which would, by LA law, mean that he’d take over as Mayor).  Meanwhile, Victoria Smiles gets in over her head trying to implicate Guy Fieri in conspiracy to commit murder.  As this season draws to a close, you’ll never guess who dies in the action!  Spoiler Alert: It’s Gambull!
  43. Season 3 begins with Smirk at his most loose-canon-y as he’s on the war path to track down Guy Fieri across the US.  Gambull is dead… or so he thinks!  In truth, Gambull’s body was sent to a secret NASA facility in Miami where his brain is being put into a ROBOT!  Smirk finds this out and meets up with his old partner in Miami, where they join the Miami Experimental Crimes Unit!
  44. Uh Oh Spaghetti-O!  The DVD slayer is back! Gambul1 uses his new-found robot vision to look into the DVD code to try and catch the slayer before he kills his next victim,  but will he get too far into the Slayer’s head only to become the next DVD Slayer?  No. No he won’t.
  45. G4mbull sees a murder take place with his x-ray eyes, but no one believes him when the victim is seen walking around unharmed the next day!  Could G4mbull’s new robot brain be fallible, or is there a crazy conspiracy at foot?
  46. 6ambull, Smirk, and the people at MECU go up against their greatest foe yet: A super-intelligent dolphin who’s trained to kill!
  47. A hot Miami nightclub gets even hotter when it’s burnt down.  Gamb0ll and Smirk are shocked to learn that the nightclub’s owner was MECU head Shellonius Monk’s Brother!  Now- more than ever- they have to track down the arsonist!
  48. Gam8ull is rushed to MECU with a nail in his eye!  While Gerhardt the Robot Scientist works on repairs, Smirk and Monk look at the video footage of the past day when a worker at the Villa Vicaya was found murdered with a nail gun!
  49. The Miami Dolphins need the help of MECU, as it seems like their best players are getting murdered one-by-one by a crazed Atlanta Falcons fan!  It’s a good thing Gambu11’s a robot, because otherwise this could end up bad!
  50. G4mbu1l and Smirk rush back to where this all started: New York, when their old, corrupt Police captain Louis Stevenson is let out of prison early!  Stevenson’s got his sights on getting revenge against G4mbu1l and Smirk, and he’s got a secret weapon to help him out: a prototype police robot that issues the death penalty… FOR EVERYTHING!
  51. The thrilling conclusion to the return to New York!  Robots fighting Robots!  People fighting People!  The New York Knicks playing the Miami Heat! That’s right: NOW IT’S PERSONAL!
  52. 6a3bull realizes that being a robot is really hard when his body is taken over by a hacker and forced to rob a bank!  Smirk and the rest of MECU have to out-hack the hacker or else Smirk will have to kill his best friend!
  53. Gam80ll and Smirk’s vacation in the Everglades turns deadly when they have to track down an evil oil baron who’s trying to build an illegal oil rig!
  54. Gamb011 and Smirk have to figure out truth from fiction when a string of murders take place in real life that are shockingly similar to those carried out in a video game!
  55. The DVD Slayer walks into MECU: We have to work together, there’s a DVD Copy killer out there!  6am8u1l and Smrik, along with tech genius Gerhardt, look through the past few days and realize it’s true: There’s a Copy Killer on the loose!
  56. G43b0ll and Smirk are put on duty safeguarding punk rocker Jimmy Stabbbs, who is the star witness for the prosecution in the trial of notorious Miami gangster Walt “The Shepard” Raleigh who has put a hit on Stabbbs’ head.
  57. Smirk has to solve a case alone when an evil Building inspector locks the rest of the MECU team inside the Spacedome while 6a3b0ll is having his brain re-nutrialized.
  58. 643bul1 and Smirk are going to Disneyworld!  Only this isn’t for fun, it’s to solve… A MURDER!
  59. Gam8011 and Smirk have to dive into the weird world of competitive MMORPGs when computer genius of MECU Gerhardt goes missing.
  60. G4m8011’s computer brain starts to put together some odd puzzle pieces that never quite fit: The DVD Copy killer, evil dolphins, The Miami Heat playing in New York when they should have had a home game that day.  All evidence points to a singular mastermind at work: Famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  61. With Guy Fieri in town for a Famous Restauranteur Conference, Smirk sees his chance to finally take revenge against the gruesome griller.  But 64m8011 thinks otherwise, especially when he’s visited by a mysterious source with ties to the Restauranteur underground: Guest Star Alton Brown!
  62. A Restaurant Conspiracy is unveiled: by working with the Sovereign Dolphin nation and the Secret Evil Government of Cuba, restaurants will take over the US and trap everyone in a soviet hell!  It’s up to G438011, Smirk, Victoria Smiles, and our friends at MECU to stop this from becoming a terrifying reality!
  63. Guest Star Alton Brown leads the march against Guy Fieri and his evil Pastabots as 6438011, Smirk, Smiles, and MECU race to solve a series of nefarious puzzles, or else risk Miami falling into the sea! You’ll never guess how the season ends, so I’ll tell you: Smirk is shot! BY 6438011!
  64. 6438011 is recommissioned for a new assignment: Search for the twisted mastermind who left a newborn baby in duffel bag!  Meanwhile, returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri begins to plot his escape from Guantanamo Bay, and Smirk wakes up in a University of Chicago laboratory where they’ve done the seemingly impossible: Bring back both Smirk and Smiles… only now they’re the same person!  That’s right, now 6438011 has to figure out how to work with his new partner who’s a woman! Can this robot figure out how to make it work?
  65. Yes. Yes it can. It is a robot. It can do literally anything.
  66. An old case becomes shockingly relevant as the DVD Slayer is transferred to the Cook County Jail as per the request of his kindly old Grandfather.  Only this Grandfather may in fact be Chicago’s most ruthless of unsolved killers: The Betamax Basher!
  67. 6438011 and the new Victoria Smirk adjust to their new life in Chicago as they’re once again gritty street cops, and also as they’re now roommates! They’re about to find that the only thing worse than Chicago crime, is living together!  Also Chicago traffic in festival season is God awful. It’s just terrible.
  68. Victoria Smirk has to put her new life to the test when she gets a new assignment: In the Chicago Vice department!  It’s here where she first meets the next in a long line of dastardly gangsters: Eddy “King of the Urban Jungle” Burroughs.  Meanwhile, 6438011 find out the hard streets of Chicago are even harder for a NASA robot.
  69. 6438011 and Smirk’s worlds collide when they encounter… MURDER AT THE BEAN.
  70. The King of the Urban Jungle is trying to spread his gang business into another Chicago Gangster’s territory.  Burroughs sends his best hitman to take out this rival gang, along with none other than Victoria Smirk!  Meanwhile, 6438011 tries to remember what a hot dog is.
  71. Tech Genius Gerhardt from MECU moves to Chicago to join the elite crime force, and just in time too because 6438011 has run out of batteries WHILE PURSUING A KILLER!
  72.  6438011 is away testifying in court, and so Gritty Chicago Police Chief Stephano Roix asks for Smirk and Gerhardt to team up with his best cop, a gritty Chicago street kid named U, to track down a group of thieves who stole $40K worth of gold and are on their way to the National Bank of China- Chicago Branch! Then things get weird.  U finds a dead clown, which Gerhardt is able to identify.  Meanwhile, Roix finds out that all of the thieves have been killed except for one who Smirk takes into protective custody.  Using the fingerprints of the dead clown, U is able to find the gold.  Only Gerhardt then realizes that it’s not gold they’ve found… BUT CHOCOLATE!  Eventually they solve the crime, and 6438011 comes back to a round of applause.
  73. 6438011 and Smirk are on one of their few days off when they get trapped inside a haunted house and have to solve a decades old murder, or else become victims themselves!
  74. Gerhardt, doing routine maintenance on 6438011, mistakenly erases all of 6438011’s memory!  To make matters worse, old foe Louis Stevenson is in Chicago and out for blood- literally!
  75. A casual day of gang activity at the aquarium turns deadly when Smirk comes face to face with THE DOLPHIN!
  76. Special Guest Star Rahm Emanuel asks to the Elite Crime Unit’s help when he gives a speech at the University of Chicago.  Things turn deadly, though, when Emanuel is struck with a deadly virus that could spread through Chicago like a fire, and Gerhardt and Doctor Cassandra Frankenstein race to find a cure.  Oh, Gerhardt’s been having a romantic subplot this whole time.  He and Dr. Frankenstein kiss at the end of the episode. Spoiler alert.
  77. It’s a triple format threat when the Laserdisc Killer, the DVD Slayer, and the Betamax Basher all escape from prison, join forces, and attack their two greatest foes: 6438011 and Smirk.  Only one group will survive the night, and it’ll probably be the series’ protagonists!
  78. Smirk finds herself trapped on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan with Eddy “King of the Urban Jungle” Burroughs, and what’s worse: She’s starting to think that maybe he’s not evil! Meanwhile, 6438011 tries to remember what pizza is.
  79. A murder occurs where you’d least suspect it: at an active crime scene!  What’s worse? SMIRK’S FINGERPRINTS ARE EVERYWHERE!  Has Smirk turned to the dark side?  Has 6438011 completely lost its humanity?  Will Gerhardt and Frankenstein be Chicago’s newest “it” couple? WHAT’S INSIDE GRITTY POLICE CHIEF ROIX’S DESK?! These questions will be answered…
  80. But not in this episode!  Here, The life of Gerhardt’s mentor and brilliant computer person Toby Turring hangs in the balance when the heart he needs for a transplant is stolen!  Putting everything on hold, they track down the heart.  It turns out it was satanists!
  81. 6438011 confronts Smirk about the fingerprints, and it turns out that Smirk may have turned to the dark side, but that she didn’t kill the person.  Instead her hands were used for latex casts.  Gerhardt tells 6438011 the terrible truth: It is no longer human, and basically just a toaster that solves crimes.  643 would cry if it had emotions. Frankenstein talks to Gerhardt: They are so madly in love that Chicago has awarded them the honor of being the “it” couple.  They now have keys to the city.  Using these keys to the city, they break into Gritty Police Chief Roix’s desk and find a conspiracy that goes straight to the source: The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!
  82. Smirk is faced with a difficult choice: Get promoted from Vice and become a gritty Chicago detective, or get promoted in the gang world and become The Queen of the Urban Jungle.  Meanwhile, 643 meets a nice chess-playing robot.
  83. 643 and Smirk race against time to stop the city’s water supply from being poisoned in… THE WATER TOWER CRISIS!
  84. A holiday party turns deadly when GPC Roix, Gerhardt, Frankenstein, Smirk, 643, and U get trapped in the Willis tower by The King of the Urban Jungle.  Meanwhile 643 gets a strange message… from returning guest star Alton Brown!  Could the restaurant conspiracy be afoot again?!
  85. In this cliffhanger of a season finale, Smirk reveals that she’s been working as a double agent for the past five episodes and has- indeed- turned to the dark side of crime.  GPC Roix reveals that all the trouble with Satanists and vampires and killer clowns all has one nefarious goal: To bring Chicago into Hell, and the reason he knows this? HE WAS GRANTED IMMORTALITY AT THE 1893 CHICAGO WORLD’S FAIR! Also, Gerhardt and Frankenstein have a fight!  Will they continue to be an “it” couple? Has smirk been lost to Crime?  Will she kill 643? Will 643 ever go into a swimming pool again? Will Hell come to Chicago?
  86. In order: Yes. No. Not really. Yes, and it’s a bad idea. Yes, but then they all fix it.
  87. The dust of THE CONFLUENCE fades.  Smirk has blood and oil on her hands and knows she has to redeem herself.  GPC Roix gave up his life to close the gates of Hell.  Gerhardt and Frankenstein are a really cute couple, even if they’re now a talking dog and an amorphous blob that shoots lasers out of her eyes (respectively).  643 is gone.  Oh, and to make matters worse? THEY’VE GONE BACK IN TIME!
  88. Smirk, Gerhardt, and Frankenstein investigate a murder-arson case while continuing to deal with the aftermath of 643’s death.  Oh, and who could this mysterious murderer-arsonist in 1803 Chicago be?  Why none other than the WAX CYLINDER STABBER who’s a distant relative of the Betamax Basher and, by extension, the DVD Slayer!  Will killing this murderer-arsonist alter the timeline?
  89. Yes, but our fearsome foursome doesn’t care.  Oh, and they’re a foursome now because 643 has returned as the ghost of a robot who insists on being called Doug.
  90. The Wild West is about to get a lot more wilder, as Doug, Smirk, Gerhardt, and Frankenstein find themselves involved in a train robbery!
  91. A killer in a small Swedish village in 1974 gets the attention of The Time Brigade in their Foreversphere.  While investigating, Gerhardt realizes that the killer’s next victim could be… HIS MOTHER!
  92. The Foreversphere gets invaded by a swarm of Time-Bees, which bring out the best and worst memories of all members of the Time Brigade.
  93. 1968: New York City. On these mean streets a killer walks, taking whatever he wants and blowing up buildings.  It’s up to Doug and Smirk (Gerhardt and Frankenstein are off on their honeymoon) to catch this monster before it’s too late.  But do these gritty New York Cops turned Los Angeles Private Investigators turned Miami Special Ops turned gritty Chicago cops turned Time warriors have what it takes to investigate on the gritty streets of New York?  Yes. They do. They now travel through time, finding a killer is remarkably easy for them to do.
  94. Trapped together in a Grain elevator, Smirk apologizes to Doug for getting him killed all those times. And for betraying everyone to a crazed gangster.
  95. Gerhardt the Talking Dog is elected president in the future year 2042, or at least that’s what it seems like.  Only as Frankenstein, Smirk, and Doug investigate further they realize that this future may be more dire than they thought.  It’s more dire because of robot dolphins. They kill people and eat their skin.
  96. The Time Brigade find themselves trapped in a deadly torture maze in Ancient Rome and subjected to the mad whims of none other than Caligula!
  97. The Time Brigade find themselves in 2027, and what’s more they’re face-to-face with their older selves! Gerhardt and Frankenstein have gotten a divorce in this future, Smirk went to prison for her crimes but secretly works with the FBI, and Doug is the Sheriff of a small Virginia town where nothing ever happens until a string of bizarre murders with otherworldly ties rolls in.  Our heroes now must put aside their differences to solve the greatest mystery of all: Friendship. Oh, and at the end of the episode the Foreversphere crashes into Victorian England.
  98. With present Doug dead in the Future (who knew a Robot Ghost could be killed?) and Future Doug alive in the present which is actually the past, Gerhardt no longer being able to talk but just being a regular dog, and Frankenstein lost forever to the streams of time, it’s all up to Victoria Smirk to solve THE CASE OF THE FOGGY STRANGLER.
  99. Smirk and Future Doug- along with their new friend Sherlock Holmes- find themselves in a conundrum: They witness the beginnings of the restaurant conspiracy that has been a thorn in their sides for far too long.  What’s more?  The Cult of the Illeterati’s leader is none other than a distant relative of the DVD Slayer!  And you’ll never guess who’s in the center of all of this knotted mess of time-crime: Returning Guest Star Famous Restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  100. Hell. Time. Crime. Greed. Love. Friendship. Grit. Restaurants. Dolphins. Robots. It’s been one heck of a ride for our two detectives Gambull and Smirk.  But now it all comes to an end.  Now it’s the two of them up against Guy Fieri at the End/Beginning of the Universe.  SPOILER ALERT: Guy Fieri is reduced to simmering blob of hair product, for he can never truly be killed, and Doug decides to keep him as a pet alongside the dog Gerhardt.  Doug moves to Virginia where he settles in and continues in his timeline as a small-town sheriff in over his head.  As for Victoria Smirk? She’s having adventures with the love of her life: Sherlock Holmes in the new spinoff series: Baskerville.

Top 100 Movies

People  walk up to me in the street and scream in my face “What’s your favorite movie” at least once,  and so to be prepared for this again here is a current list of top 100 movies. Perhaps come next year this list will change, but here’s something hastily scrambled together for now.

Top 10 Science Fiction Films

  1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Wise, 1951)
  2. Brother From Another Planet (Sayles, 1984)
  3. Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
  4. Alphaville (Godard, 1965)
  5. Gojira (Honda, 1954)
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg, 1977)
  7. Fiend Without a Face (Crabtree, 1958)
  8. Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)
  9. Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)
  10. City of Lost Children (Jeunet, 1995)

Top 10 Animated Films

  1. My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988)
  2. The Triplets of Belleville (Chomet, 2003)
  3. Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)
  4. Grave of the Fireflies (Takahata, 1988)
  5. Finding Nemo (Stanton, 2003)
  6. The Brave Little Toaster (Rees, 1987)
  7. Dimensions of Dialogue (Svankmajer, 1983)
  8. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Hertzfeldt, 2012)
  9. Aladdin (Clements, 1992)
  10. Castle in the Sky (Miyazaki, 1986)

Top 10 Films Noir

  1. Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950)
  2. Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
  3. Shock Corridor (Fuller, 1963)
  4. The Man Who Wasn’t There (Coen, 2001)
  5. Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)
  6. Scarlet Street (Lang, 1945)
  7. Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, 1955)
  8. The Lady From Shanghai (Welles, 1947)
  9. The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973)
  10. Red Rock West (Dahl, 1993)

Top 10 Comedies

  1. Fargo (Coen, 1996)
  2. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (Blamire, 2001)
  3. Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
  4. Daisies (Chytilová, 1966)
  5. It’s a Disaster (Berger, 2012)
  6. The Brothers Bloom (Johnson, 2008)
  7. In Bruges (McDonagh, 2008)
  8. Survive Style 5+ (Sekiguchi, 2004)
  9. Raising Arizona (Coen, 1987)
  10. Sherlock Jr. (Keaton, 1924)

Top 10 Dramas

  1. Blood Simple (Coen, 1984)
  2. Melancholia (Von Trier, 2011)
  3. Oldboy (Park, 2003)
  4. 12 Angry Men (Lumet, 1957)
  5. L’Eclisse (Antonioni, 1962)
  6. The Phantom Carriage (Sjöström, 1921)
  7. Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)
  8. What Time is it There? (Tsai, 2001)
  9. Oasis (Lee, 2002)
  10. Network (Lumet, 1976)

Top 10 Horror Films

  1. Videodrome (Cronenberg, 1983)
  2. Evil Dead II (Raimi, 1987)
  3. Woman in the Dunes (Teshigahara, 1964)
  4. Gremlins (Dante, 1984)
  5. Alien (Scott, 1979)
  6. The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)
  7. House (Ôbayashi, 1977)
  8. Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
  9. The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)
  10. Re-Animator (Gordon, 1985)

Top 10 Action/Adventure Films

  1. The Princess Bride (Reiner, 1987)
  2. Face/Off (Woo, 1997)
  3. Kung Fu Hustle (Chow, 2004)
  4. Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968)
  5. The Sword of Doom (Okamoto, 1966)
  6. The Fifth Element (Besson, 1997)
  7. Seven Psychopaths (McDonagh, 2012)
  8. Looper (Johnson, 2012)
  9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Spielberg, 1989)
  10. Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992)

Top 10 Documentaries

  1. Stop Making Sense (Demme, 1984)
  2. Lost in La Mancha (Fulton/Pepe, 2002)
  3. Harlan County U.S.A (Kopple, 1976)
  4. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)
  5. Waltz with Bashir (Folman, 2008)
  6. A Brief History of Time (Morris, 1991)
  7. F for Fake (Welles, 1973)
  8. Best Worst Movie (Stephenson, 2009)
  9. Bowling for Columbine (Moore, 2002)
  10. The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988)

Top 10 History/Biography Films

  1. All The President’s Men (Pakula, 1976)
  2. Matewan (Sayles, 1987)
  3. The Informant! (Soderbergh, 2009)
  4. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)
  5. The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)
  6. Catch Me If You Can (Spielberg, 2002)
  7. Rome, Open City (Rosselini, 1945)
  8. Milk (Van Sant, 2008)
  9. The Scarlet Empress (Sternberg, 1934)
  10. Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda, 1958)

Top 10 Miscellaneous/Uncategorizable/Experimental Films

  1. Eraserhead (Lynch, 1977)
  2. Southland Tales (Kelly, 2006)
  3. 8 1/2 (Fellini, 1963)
  4. Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
  5. Naked Lunch (Cronenberg, 1991)
  6. Dancer in the Dark (Von Trier, 2000)
  7. A Movie (Conner, 1958)
  8. La Jetée (Marker, 1962)
  9. Ballet Mécanique (Léger, 1924)
  10. Wavelength (Snow, 1967)

Honorable Mentions:

 

So there they are.  You may now commence telling me why all of these lists are wrong.  You have one year: GO.

 

 

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2014 Blockbusters

Just when we thought we were safe, it’s Blockbuster season where we have to see every single super hero franchise and book adaptation lest we look like fools when talking about movies on the beach.  The problem with Blockbuster season, though, is that try as hard as you might you probably won’t be able to see all of the important ones.  Well, don’t worry, because I’m here to help you.  Below is a summary and a list of talking points for some of the most Blockbusting of the Blockbusters, so now you can work on your tan, talk about billion-budget movies, and still have time to go to the boardwalk arcade to play the whack-a-mole.

Godzilla (May 16)

The gargantuan Cat/Lizard Monster returns in this apparent re-imagining of the 1954 Gojira (and not the 1998 Godzilla).  The plot finds scientist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) diving into Tokyo with a military group in order to capture Godzilla for use as a biological weapon.  Unfortunately for Brody, the military group is seen by two miniscule guardians of Monster Island who unleash the dreaded Mothra and Gamera who get into an all-out fight in Nevada where all monsters were brought (Also signaling the battle between Nuclear, petroleum, and Environmental interests over the fate of our planet).  Also starring Ken Watanabe as Dr. Serizawa, and David “That Guy From Alphas” Strathairn as the Army Colonel.  Talking points for this movie: Who would win in a fight 1954 Godzilla or 1998 Godzilla (Answer: 1954 Godzilla. ALWAYS 1954 Godzilla)? Will the sequel involve Mechagodzilla or King Caesar?  Did you know that the 1998 Godzilla in the Godzilla canon is actually a separate Kaiju named Zilla?  At what point in this new series will Minilla show up?  Will the directors be able to create an interesting story using the more colloquially known Baby Godzilla? THERE ARE SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Million Dollar Arm (May 16)

Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame plays a Sportsman who also wants to adopt three Indian children and make them into the family he never had (His father was a drunk and his Mother was afraid to stand up to him.  Sportsman’s brother has been in and our of prison, and his ex-wife hates his living guts).  Sportsman decides to build his new family with Baseball, forming a sexy bond with the sexy Lake Bell, and everything is going great until Sportsman gets his arm gnawed off by a rabid Baseball fan.  Desperate not to lose his family, Sportsman undergoes an experimental surgery to get a new robot prosthesis but soon realizes that this, dare I say it, Million Dollar Arm may have a mind of its own.  Adapted from a short story by Steven King.  Talking points: What’s your favorite Steven King adaptation: Maximum Overdrive or Creepshow 2?  Do you think the arm survived the volcano (Spoiler Alert)? Will Sportsman and his three children still be able to live a normal life?

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

Professor X and Magneto, having long put their differences aside, now hang out all the time in abandoned churches and talk to each other about the old times.  They take a wistful walk down memory lane as they remember when they were whacky young adult whose only worries were what bands their friends listened to and robots who were programmed for genocide.  Magneto remembers Mystique, who died in a horrific shape-shifting accident, and Professor X remembers Storm who now lives outside of Ottowa with her husband Gary (Gary is also a mutant. He controls corn chips with his mind. Only corn chips, not tortilla chips and not canned corn, just CORN. CHIPS). Wolverine then bursts into the church and flexes his muscles (this has long since become his favorite way of communicating). Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine all have a good laugh and sigh: Why can’t things be easy like they were back then?  Eventually they all leave for their individual mutant bridge clubs and mutant golf games.  Talking points: Why does no one miss Toad? Does Magneto still have his mutant powers in the future despite having them taken away? Are we all just pretending X-Men: The Last Stand never happened (Because that would be OK)?  Is fate a constant circle, with any attempt to change the past only resulting in the creation of the very future we wished to change, or is it fluid and malleable with even the slightest change causing a ripple effect that would drastically alter what we knew as the present? What mutant would we rather be: Super-sexy shapeshifter or grizzled and tough Spike-hander?

Maleficent (May 30)

Surprise! Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty fame has a dark and gritty origin story!  Angelina Jolie stars at the titular villain, or should I say misunderstood anti-hero, with Juno Temple playing the heroic fairy, or should I say power-hungry and secretly evil fairy, Thistlewit.  Maleficent used to be a fairy, see, but she was banished from the fairy kingdom because she was really powerful and wanted to use her fairy powers to change the status quo and upset the fairy balance, and Thistlewit couldn’t allow that so she cast Maleficent to the Crowsland to raise Spike-bushes.  So, naturally, Maleficent decides that the only way to get revenge is to curse the young Aurora (Elle Fanning) to sleep for 1000 years.  But not in an evil way, just in a dark and misunderstood way.  Talking points: So, wait, is Maleficent evil? I liked the movie, but I thought it could have been darker and grittier.  When can we expect the dark re-telling of Bambi wherein Bambi is actually a cursed sexy girl and the hunter is trying to feed his family, and the real villain is Thumper who is actually some sort of rabbit-daemon?

Edge of Tomorrow (June 16)

A Before Sunset-esque exploration of characters starring Tom Cruise as “Bill” and Emily Blunt as “Rita” as they walk around, in real time, through the deserted avenues of a film set talking about their career choices and what they regret until Midnight when they need to begin filming a sci-fi action scene.  Cruise and Blunt are rumored to be the Oscar hopefuls this year thanks to their stunningly honest performances here, and for those who are just going into the movie for Tom Cruise we will get to see him in a green screen suit for the first part of the movie (Emily Blunt will only be in heavy Alien make-up and that’s only the last ten minutes, I think).  Talking points for this movie: Is Tom Cruise really that bad, or is he just misguided and misunderstood?  I’m already looking forward to the next installment, ten years down the road, called Dawn of Today, are you? What movie were they making in the background, the effects looked really cool and I liked that the aliens were like people except alien?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Train Harder takes place some five years after the first Viking/Dragon movie in the popular Dreamworks franchise.  In this next installment Hiccup meets his long-lost mother Valka who keeps a dragon sanctuary in the Hinterlands.  Hiccup goes through some character growth with the help of Toothless, his dragon, the love plot between Hiccup and Ruffnutt (Kirstin Wiig) continues to inch along, and there’s some guy named Drago Bludvist who wants to enslave all dragons to use as weapons and take over the world.  Hiccup must put aside his abandonment issues with his mother to save man and dragonkind, and he’ll ultimately realize that even though his heretofore father Eret wasn’t his father by blood he is his father in soul.  Talking Points: Was this a good extension of one of the few good Dreamworks franchises?  What was your favorite Dragon?  Will you return for How to Train Your Dragon 3: Rise of the Dragonkin?  On a scale of 1 to fanfiction, how cool would it be is How to Train Your Dragon crossed over with Game of Thrones?

Jersey Boys (June 20)

Jersey Boys, or “Joisey Bois” as it is also known as, is about the formation of The Four Seasons, or Franky Valli and the Four Seasons as it is also known as.  These four friends apparently started by robbing banks, but then they decided to sing underneath a streetlight and then they became a rock group.  Franky Valli, however, had other plans. Franky wanted to knock Vino and Tommy out of the Seasons so he could get the whole enchilada for himself.  ‘Course he couldn’t knock anyone out, not with Gyp watchin’, which is how he came to play on the Ed Sullivan show.  Unfortunately for Franky when he’s about to make his big move when Gyp’s talkin’ to Eddy Sully he notices that Tommy and Bobby sold him out.  Now he’s out in the wild with a price on his head, fans want him, the mob wants him, Rock n’ Roll wants him, and Franky’s got one night left for everything to catch up to him. Talking Points: Have you been to New Jersey? What’s your favorite part of New Jersey? Why aren’t you living in New Jersey?  Why didn’t Christopher Walken get to tap dance? Does that have something to do with new Jersey?

Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

Michael Bay continues his story about robots and explosions.  This time the robots are also dinosaurs who are also trucks. But not every truck is a dinosaur and not every robot is a truck.  But every robot is a dinosaur, or at least every robot has the ability to become a dinosaur if they don’t want to be a robot or a truck.  Oh, and because they’re truck/robot/dinosaurs they can also explode. Like, REALLY explode, just KA-BOOM. Because instead of blood they probably have gasoline. Oh wait, except that they’re from a robot/dinosaur/truck planet so it’s probably something like Paladium. Which would mean an even BIGGER explosion.  Mark Whalberg will also be there as a mechanic who is working on a truck that, surprise, ends up being a robot (We’re not yet sure if it’s a dinosaur, I think that’ll be the big mid-movie turning point). Talking points for this movie: Did you see the twist coming where the main robot turned into a dinosaur? Do you ever wish your truck was a robot?  Was the movie really the same without Shia LeBeouf’s central character as “That guy who isn’t a robot and isn’t a truck and therefore can’t possibly be a dinosaur because that would be silly”?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)

As humans and apes recover from a deadly simian flu, the settling apes and native humans are forced to take sides.  This delicate balance is further threatened when Dreyfus (played by the myth Gary Oldman) finds an ape village co-governed by the Ape Caesar and Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a man who was raised as an Ape. Dreyfus tries to get Malcolm to fight back against the apes, but instead Malcolm is smitten by native Human Ellie (Teri Russel) and decides to care for her and her frail sister as they travel through the oft-dangerous ape country to find their father.  Caesar joins Malcolm, Ellie, and Dreyfus on their quest to the human village, though his intentions may not be entirely beneficial to either party as it turns out that Caesar is sneaking away to an encampment of bipedal cats who also wish to take over North America.  As all parties converge on Dreyfus’ encampment and the future of Man, Ape, and Catkind is forever changed, and Malcolm may have to go against his pacifistic vow he took when he became an ape-priest.  Talking points for this movie: Was that Paul Giamatti as the Orangutan again?  So… were the apes native Americans or invading colonists?  WHEN DO WE GET TO SEE DR. ZEUS?

Jupiter Ascending (July 18)

The Wachowski Siblings, creators of The Matrix trilogy, Cloud Atlas, and Speed Racer, didn’t get the summer blockbuster memo and made this original screenplay about a Janitor (Mila Kunis) named Jupiter Jones who finds out that she is the rightful owner of Earth (Not Jupiter as her name erroneously suggests).  Channing tatum co-stars as love interest/bodyguard “Caine” and Sean Bean co-stars as “Some Guy Who Dies”.  Plot details are a bit scarce, but it seems the The Queen of the Universe needs to control Earth in order to actually be the Queen of the Universe, and the only way to get Earth’s electoral votes is to kill Jupiter (I expect there to be a five minute scene going through the political theory of universal electorates, but I would settle for Sean Bean throwing up his arms screaming “I don’ care how elections work, I just wan’ my motocycle” before getting shot).  Talking points for this movie: How were the effects? Was the story imaginative, though ultimately flawed? Why would Earth be the only Planet standing in the way of someone named “The Queen of the Universe”, isn’t 14+ Billion Light Years of ruling territory enough to just say our tiny blue rock is under her control? I was surprised by how long Sean Bean lived in that movie before getting eaten by that Martian Ice-Wyrm.  Really, how were the effects?

Planes: Fire and Rescue (July 18)

Disney Exec. 1: “Okay, do you remember that spinoff franchise Planes that was based off of the least popular of the Pixar films?”
Disney Exec. 2: “Was that A Bug’s Life?”
DE1: “No, Planes”
DE2: “And What was that one about?”
DE1: “Planes. I think they raced or something. And there was a Crop Duster and it was all inspirational.”
DE2: “So… what you want to make the Crop Duster an international spy now?”
DE1: “No. A Firefighter. ‘Cause, like, that’s who the real heroes are or whatever.”
DE2: “I’m not so sure about this…”
DE1: “Well, there are also going to be tiny cars inside of the planes who help stop the fires. And, maybe one plane will fall in love with another plane? And… um… I mean it’ll have fire and planes. Fire and Planes”.
DE2: “SOLD”.

Talking Points: Do the planes know they have tiny cars inside of them? Is the villain of this movie the fire, or is it self-doubt, or is it an evil fire-starting plane? When can we expect “Ships” to come out, and as a follow-up question how long will it take for the internet to make sex fantasy drawings of those ships having sex with the cars while the planes watch? Or would this all be happening inside of the plane?

Hercules (July 25)

Dwanye Johnson stars as the titular character of Hercules, muscle-bound weirdo who is one of literally thousands of bastard-sons of Zeus.  But Hercules is special because he’s got muscles, which also makes him scream a lot (think about it: Even with super strength it takes a lot of strain to move those hulking muscles around).  This movie takes place after Hercules has successfully accomplished the twelve trials (most of them were stealing), and now he wanders around Greece fighting more monsters because that’s what he does because he’s mother f-ing HERCULES GRRAAAAAAAAAAAGH!  John Hurt of Doctor Who fame plays some Greek King who isn’t Hercules and he probably has a daughter who Hercules tries to fall in love with only to realize that he already has the only relationship that counts: The one between Hercules and Hercules.  Talking points for this movie: Did you see Hercules punch that monster?  What do you think Hercules could bench? How many protein shakes do you think Hercules could down?

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

A bunch of assholes who call themselves The Guardians of the Galaxy find themselves fighting some kind of Space King in Space.  The Space King wants magic crystals that aren’t magic just really futuristic and technological because having magical crystals would be ridiculous. The Guardians include Space Raccoon, Tree-man, The Red Hulk, Sexy Green, and Star Lord the lord of Stars.  John C. Reilly co-stars as one of the few sane people in this universe who realizes that the magic of the rocks is inside of us all along (sadly, Reilly’s character will die at the turning point of the film).   The Guardians will also likely set up the next Avengers movie, so expect the magic stone to combine together into a magic staff and that magic staff to break into seven magic pieces that will scatter across the galaxy, and for one of those magic seven pieces to fall into the magically robotic hands of Tony “Iron Man” Stark. Talking points: Will Rocket Raccoon now be a part of The Avengers?  I’m happy that John C. Reilly was resurrected with the magic resurrection stone, but is he now under the control of the evil Deathlord Darkmatter?  Was that Ant-Man at the end?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)

A City, we’ll say New York, is in trouble. Things are falling over and catching on fire.  Thank God that seventeen years ago a group of four little turtles were exposed to highly radioactive waste and then taken in and trained by a rat who was also exposed to radioactive waste and now all them form a subterranean family that are, dare we say, “heroes in a half shell”.  These guys who are totally green will be facing off against Shredder (because we need to get some table setting done before we can meet Baxter Stockman or Beebop and Rocksteady), who is probably responsible for dumping all of that nuclear waste into the sewers and thereby creating these pizza-eating teens (though in this newer, grimmer version it may be that they don’t eat pizza all the time).  The central plot that doesn’t revolve around the CGI turtles jumping around and fighting will probably have to do with the turtles feeling like outsiders in the world they protect and how the only thing that would make their life more difficult would be if they had to go to High School (Record Scratch: Next movie they’re going to high school!).  Talking points for this movie: Seriously, when are we going to get a big-screen version of Baxter Stockman? At what point in the movie will Casey Jones be hinted at?  What do you value the property damage for this movie at?  How many counts of the heroes saying “Turtle Power” were there?

The Expendables 3 (August 15)

Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellen Lutz, Terry Cews, Ronda Rousey, Kelsey Grammer, Natalie Burn, Robert Davi, Sarai Givaty, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Lisbeth Olafsson, Velizar Bilev, Thomas Canestraro, Slavi Slavov, Harry Anichkin, Anton Poriazov, Tzvetislav Samardijev, and special appearance by Randy Couture as Toll Road.  All of these people fight. All of these people die. All of these people are… EXPENDABLE.  Talking Points for this movie: Who would like to see in Expendables 4? I’m thinking Vin Diesel, Shia LeBeouf, Van Damme really has to return, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Liam Neeson, Dame Judi Dench, Tony Jaa, Kurt Thomas of Gymkata fame, and archive footage of Bruce Lee.  Also, when will there be an animated series of The Expendables?  Are there Expendables action figures yet, because we need to get on that.  What is the difference between The Expendables and GI-Joe?  Oh, I forgot Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I want to see that guy in every movie.  We definitely need to smell what the rock is cooking in The Expendables 4.

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22)

Women are objects in this sequel to 2005’s Sin City.  Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke return as John and Marv, respectively, who speak in gruff voices and shoot guns.  These two real hard-boiled guys take it on themselves to lay claim to Breasts with Legs Eva Green, Jaime King, and Alexa PenaVega.  Men gamble and eat cigars, women have sex, and everybody drives cars and stuff.  Meanwhile Joseph Gordon-Leavitt shows up and, over the course of the movie, we find out that he too shoots a gun and drives a car.  Also, somebody has gold eyes and another somebody wears glowing glasses who isn’t Elisha Wood. Talking points for this movie: What needlessly stylistic choice was your favorite? Would you want your one colored feature to accentuate your breasts, hips, or butt? Which was the better Robert Rodriguez film, this or Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D?

Disfigurement Man: The Fear Wake

Disfigurement Man originally started out as a writing warm-up from The Ministry of Playwriting, but come Spring of 2009 when I was tasked with creating an animation project I decided it was time to adapt the warm-up into a short film.  The process for the stylistic creation of this piece was in itself a bit involved (like every animation piece I’ve done this was created by hand-drawing each character and background and putting the looping animations through After Effects), and you can find out all about in VATAS Ethisode 11.  But if you’re not in the mood to watch a longish and rather quiet rant about animation, you can instead just watch the final piece:

Disfigurement Man: The Fear Wake from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I still very much enjoy Disfigurement Man, and although in terms of scriptwriting it very much shows its beginnings as a writing warm-up I think the stylistic flourishes make up for it. A little bit, anyways.   The soundtrack composed by William Culbert (who also helped me out with the score to Into the Mainframe), helps set the mood as a Blade Runner/Hill Street Blues dystopia where only the ugly remain (although none as ugly as Disfigurement Man). The animation style, with its roughly composited frames and constant movement,  also helps bring out this feeling of noirish ugliness and evokes a gritty punk sense as well (both which greatly add to the feeling and mood of the piece).  The vocal performances are fine, although I think I’m still trying to figure out how to coax good vocal performance out of people like I can (at least part of the time) with live-action performances.

Also, as far “superhero” origin stories go, getting “Shot by some bullets” is a fantastic one.