The Threeway: Top 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couples (Adam’s Take)

3smallIt’s Valentine’s Day. That means we need to roll out the romance. What’s a geek site to do, that publishes lists every Thursday, when Thursday and Valentine’s Day intersect? We populate with Geeky Couples of course!

First, there are some couple that I think are iconic, but don’t make the list. Lois and Clark being the most notable (I just never, ever, really buy into their relationship). Or Riker and Troi (just because you are Imazadi doesn’t mean you have chemistry). Or…whatever their names are in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (wonderful love story, but if I can’t remember the character names, they can’t make the list).

buffy_angel1#3) Buffy and Angel: I was tempted to put them at #1. But, honestly,the Buffy/Spike fiasco of the later seasons diminishes this couple for me. Like Anthony said, I could make an entire list of Whedon characters: Buffy/Angel, Fred/Gunn, and Wash/Zoe are just a few. Angel/Cordelia, Wes/Lilah, Willow/Oz, Angelus/Darla,  etc., they are all great. I buy into their relationships every time I watch any episode and I’m immediately torn when, inevitably, Joss stabs us with an emotional dagger. The Season 2 finale of “Buffy” (where Angelus turns back to Angel, and now Buffy must send her lover, literally, to hell) was emotionally gut wrenching. Even re-watching it a few years ago it was amazing. TV rarely gets better. Continue reading

The Threeway: Top Three Star Wars Characters that Most Deserve Stand-Alone Movies (Janie’s Take)

3smallI have to admit, I am meh about the whole concept of side-stories in the Star Wars universe. (In any universe, really.) I can barely tolerate subplots within the original movies. The thought of creating an entirely new movie about a character that didn’t even make the first string as a hero seems… Unnecessary. Unimportant.

An obvious attempt to un-brainrape those of us who willingly followed George Lucas into a dark alley on May 16, 1999.

No means no. It does not mean ‘maybe.’ It does not mean ‘come back later.’ It does not mean ‘try a little harder.’ It does not mean ‘Maybe, if I’m a little drunker…’ NO.

But I digress. Kind of.

So even though I am not excited about this Three Way, I know my compatriots have been dreaming/thinking about this for their entire lives. You can feel the glee fairly oozing from Anthony’s pores. (Adam’s too, under the stinky sarcasm.) So I’ll play:

StarWarsOola23) Oola. You know, the green dancer lady in the skimpy outfit in Jabba’s Palace. That’s right, she has a name – remember it: Oola. We all know she ends badly, but how did she get there in the first place? And did her death have some other meaning besides introducing us to the rancor? Enquiring minds want to know. She’s the like the Bree Tanner of Star Wars.  (That’s right, I just included a Twilight reference in a Star Wars post. Suck it.)

2) Boba Fett. An obvious choice. But hell, it’s my avatar people, what do you expect?

1) The Villains of Star Wars. Cause let’s face it: it’s Disney – they’re not just looking for a movie, they’re looking for a ride too.  It won’t be long until Star Wars UniveStarWarsVillainsrse is a full-fledged section of Tomorrowland in Disney World. What better ride could there be than all the villains of the Star Wars universe, based on the hit-movie?  Jabba (complete with rancor and sarlacc), Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, Vader, even Boba Fett, with some stormtroopers and battle droids thrown in.  And, of course, the one who came closest to destroying the universe: Jar Jar Binks.

The Threeway: Top Three Star Wars Characters that Most Deserve Stand-Alone Movies (Adam’s Take)

3smallWe here at the Sweep The Leg were looking for a way to discuss the new Star Wars stand alone movies (one being penned by Lawrence Kasdan). Rumor is a Yoda movie. Meh. Another is that Lucas is pitching a Jabba one. Double Meh (triple in that I want Lucas as far away as possible). Instead of rehashing old news and rumors we thought we’d go a step further. Let’s talk the three characters most deserving of a Stand Alone film (and, I’m going with the theory that Han, Luke, and Leia are “saga only” characters. So, no “Space Solo” or something, although, if I wanted a stand alone Solo film I think Anthony has the best take on it here.):

rogues1) Wedge Antilles – a completely side character who is overshadowed in the Trilogy. But he completely shines in the books. Further adventures of Wedge (and Rogue Squadron) would rock. I loved Stackpole’s (and Allston’s) X-Wing book series (a new one came out last year…mental reminder: need to pick that up) and could make a great stand alone movie. It doesn’t need to follow the books – just the idea of following Wedge and the Rogues. You have a character with some name value (among the core fanbase) and a fleet (in Rogue Squadron) that can have cinematic legs (and get Disney merchandise execs drooling over toy tie-ins). Added bonus, depending on how far in the future Episodes VII, VIII, and IX are, you can seed this movie with back-story for those saga films.

2) Lando – here’s a character with a shadowy back story. We know he’s a gambler and once owned the Falcon but that’s about it (and, yes, I know there is more about him in the books – I just don’t care.) He somehow gets control of a mining community. That’s an interesting transition. I’m intrigued how that happens. The only thing is that I’m sick of prequels (everywhere) so…whereas I like this, I can easily live without it. Although, if we do lando_smoothanother prequel-based movie, how about “Jango Unchained” with an early Jango Fett story? Where he learns to become a Bounty Hunter after being freed from a chain gang (probably by a nice Hutt)? Added bonus if Mace Windu is in it.

3) Someone new. What a cop out! I don’t even name anyone! Go me! Here’s the thing: the sequel trilogy will take place at some point in the future. There will be (ostensibly) new characters. More importantly, there will be new characters introduced in Episode VIII and IX that weren’t in any previous movie (like VII). Why not a full origin or a character (or world, or story line) that is pivotal in the sequel trilogy? For instance, in the original trilogy, there could have been a movie before “Empire” that introduces us to Lando. Or, a movie before “Jedi” that follows Lando/Chewie searching for Han. Things that flesh out the next trilogy, without being a prequel later.

What do you think? Who’s most deserving of a film? Next week we’ll see who is least deserving (and I’ll try and not serious pitch Jar Jar in a remake of “Public Enemy”).

The Threeway: Top 3 Christmas Specials (Adam’s Take)

3smallHO HO HO! Merry (early) Christmas. To help get you in the Holiday mood, we’re doing our Threeway on the Top 3 Christmas Specials. In grand tradition, however, none of us are sure if that is the Best 3, the Worst 3 or something else entirely. Should be fun.

I’m going with “something else entirely.” These are my three favorite Christmas themed clips/specials. The power of Youtube is in my hands!

#3 – Mr. Bean – The Nativity. Mr. Bean is simply brilliant. The over childlike and impish behavior is a dazzlingly joy to watch. I thought I was funny putting Humphrey Bogart in my manger scene. Bean has a host of toys that makes this best Nativity you’ll ever see. It’s the best 3 minutes you’ll spend today (and, yes, even more than the three minutes spent on the “Pacific Rim” trailer):

#2 – South Park – The Spirit of Christmas. This narrowly beats out the “South Park” Mr. Hanky episode. Solely because this is thing that started it all. This “Christmas Card” tackles the age old question of who would win, Santa or Jesus. Yes, this is a tad sacrilegious, but it is still incredibly funny:

#1 – “Star Wars Holiday Special” – Not many people have seen this atrocity. And, that is a shame. Everyone should be tortured with this at least once. Before the prequels dove into how bad of a filmmaker George Lucas really was, the “Star Wars Holiday Special” gave us a glimpse. Aired only once, the story follows Chewie’s family on “Life Day” as they await Chewie to come home. 90% of the dialogue is in Wookie. The other 10% comes from Art Karney and Bea Arthur (I only wish I was making this up). And, it included special music numbers, like this:

Lucas to Donate Proceeds of Merger to Fund Education

As much grief as I’ve given George Lucas over the years (or…um…earlier today), I will readily admit that he is a good human being who has a deep interest in creating a better future for our children. He founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation a while back and made a very public pledge in 2010 that he would turn his eye increasingly towards philanthropy.

Along those lines, he has announced that he would be donating the majority of the $4.05 billion that he will directly receive from the merger (since he is the 100% owner of Lucasfilm and the company carries little to no debt) and put it towards education.

Somewhat shockingly, there is a lot of snark and cynicism over this decision (because it’s the internet and most people adhere to the Greater Internet Fuckwad theory); but I would like to be genuine…just for a second.

Thank you, George, not only for your generosity, but for giving us a shining example of how to live.

The Threeway: Things We Want to See from Disney/Lucasfilm Merger (Adam’s Take)

I’ve been giddy for a few days now. The Disney/Lucasfilm announcement…it’s like Christmas and Halloween had a baby. I’m a big Disney fan and grew up on a steady diet of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” I’m the kid that obsessed over that giant ILM book back in the day. I bought a LaserDisc player just to have the original Trilogy in unedited, digital form.

Thus, I have some thoughts on this buyout. I have a list of desires longer than a Wookie’s arm. Here are the Top 3:

1) Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. This was part of the announcement and I am totally on board. Even more, I’m OK with Lucas serving as a creative consultant. The problem with the Prequels wasn’t Lucas, it was that no one said “no” to Lucas. No one was there to keep him in check. He isn’t a writer. He isn’t a director. He is a storyteller though. The story, the concept, that was his gift (that and business management, apparently). Allow him to breath some life into the idea and then PASS IT OFF.

I want a solid core creative team involved (NOTE: Not Seth Green). A team that can do the story design, writing, etc., and then team with solid directors to bring it to life. It’s too bad that Joss Whedon is tied up (at Disney, oddly) with Marvel Phase 2, because he would be perfect. I don’t want Nolan either. Or Bryan Singer (who just signed back onto “X-Men”). I don’t think I want Favreau either.

There a few people I’d be OK with, but the top of the list is Spielberg. I know, I’m a devoted worshiper and I’m blinded. But Disney just made his one of his long time producers, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm and he was BFF with George. Announcing him as director…I’d explode like the Death Star in the Special Edition.

2) Some “Indiana Jones” love. Whereas “Star Wars” has stayed alive and become commonplace in theaters (new movies, re-releases), TV (“Clone Wars”), game, action figures, etc., Indy is regulated to pretty much the back room. I’m not saying I need another film. But, a “Clone Wars” style cartoon could be interesting. An Indy ride at Disney World would be nice. Something.

1) “Star Wars” Land at Disney World. Last year when Disney announced “Avatar”-land for the Animal Kingdom I was confused. I guess Pandora can fit into the Animal Kingdom, but it seems like a waste of money. Disney is grasping at a straw to combat Universal expanding the incredibly popular “Harry Potter” world. Then it dawned on me – Disney should make a “Star Wars” land. But, putting that much money into something they didn’t own doesn’t fit their M.O.

Now, however, they can. Licensing fees would be easy to arrange. They already have Star Tours at the Studios. Plus, they blow that place up for “Star Wars” Weekends every May/June; Hollywood Studios gets overrun with fans every year. So, obviously, there is demand. They could easily retrofit some parts of the Studios while creating new attractions. Some free food for thought for the Imagineers:

  1. Turn the SciFi Diner into Mos Eisley.
  2. Retrofit Pizza Planet for a “Star Wars” theme.
  3. Use the space for the “Muppets” to create a new “Star Wars” attraction (NOTE – I love the MuppetVision 4D show – but its time has gone).
  4. Take out the “Pearl Harbor” esque opening of the backlot tour and replace with something “Star Wars” or ILM focused.
  5. Have a “Star Wars” themed character breakfast.
  6. Replace “Once Upon a Toy” (at Downtown Disney) with a “Star Wars” store

Essentially, use the assets to bring new experiences to the Parks. This was a great start:

Streaming Saturday: The Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy

There is a short list of “holy trinities” in cinema. The “Star Wars” Trilogy. The “Indiana Jones” trilogy. The “Beverly Hills Cop” trilogy.

Ok, that last one is a reach. But, they did make three of them (I think the last one was made just to get George Lucas involved – and thus cement a place in “Holy Trilogy”). Have you ever watched them back-to-back-to-back? Now you can.

The point is…they are now on Netflix Instant. Is there a better way to shoot a Saturday evening than with Alex F? You probably haven’t seen them in awhile, so I’ll give you a quick rundown:

Beverly Hills Cop – The original and the best. It falls into bad 80s action cliche-land at the end, but it’s great until then.

Beverly Hills Cop II – Guns and Brigitte Nielsen. What else do you really need to know? It’s a good sequel and doesn’t make you hate yourself when you finish it.

Beverly Hills Cop III – The one that inexplicably takes place at an amusement park. And has a cameo by George Lucas (WTH is that about?). If you get this far in the movie marathon…you need to get out more.

Don’t Take the Detour

There’s a great disturbance in the Force. As if we needed more proof that Lucas is off his rocker… now comes a new show for the Cartoon Network: Star Wars Detours. And…. holy hell:

Words fail me. This… this… SEE! NO WORDS! This makes “Attack of the Clones” look like sheer awesome. (BTW – I used “Attack” as my reference because it really is the bottom of the barrel of the Star Wars Saga. For those who think otherwise… you’re just wrong.) At this point, I think we can safely say that Star Wars has jumped the Rancor.

I can say that the child inside me is crying, but what’s the point? Honestly, the kid inside me no longer cares. Hell, my kids don’t even care. I’ve tried indoctrinating my five year-old into the Star Wars Universe more than once. We watched “A New Hope” at his school (with other kids). He liked it – but it wasn’t the Gateway Drug he needed. “Clone Wars” on DVD? Nope. Star Wars Weekends at the Disney Hollywood Studios? Meh, in his mind. I even shelled out for “Phantom Menace” in 3D. Again, there was enjoyment (as much as possible with that one) but no further love. My point is… maybe it is time we all just stop caring. Lucas obviously has.

Any rate, this… wow. Where to start? Let’s start at the top. I assume that King George isn’t really involved in this. He saw something shiny and jumped at it. What’s his end game here? I can only assume one thing… NEW TOYS! Seriously, what else is there? There’s no way anyone has watched this trailer and thought “yeah, we need for 13 episodes.” But, my big takeaway from that preview? New character design (wretchedly awful character design, but new character design nonetheless).

The bigger problem is in conception. “Detours” comes from Seth Green (although it is an official LucasFilm production). Seems like “Robot Chicken” caught the eye of Uncle George and he said “yeah, let’s make that.” Only he missed the point. “Robot Chicken” is funny in doses and when the topics change. The “Star Wars” specials had a diminishing margin of returns already with each sketch (that’s an economic term for ya. Google it if you need to be edumacated). Creating a second hand off shoot of that… Is like taking a detour when you don’t need to.